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DRY WEATHER with slightly warmer daytime temperatures are forecast today and Tuesday. Another trough will bring cooling and more precipitation Tuesday evening through Wednesday evening. Below normal temperatures are forecast for the latter portion of the week and during the weekend. Additional chances for precipitation remain uncertain toward the end of the week. (NWS)
STEPHEN DUNLAP (Fort Bragg): I have 54F under partly cloudy skies this Monday morning on the coast. Our "falling apart" system yesterday morning got back together for a healthy .94" of autumn rainfall. The main forecast feature for this week is really cool temperatures & a couple small chances of a shower.
YESTERDAY'S RAINFALL (past 24 hours): Hopland 1.09" - Yorkville 0.96" - Willits 0.70" - Ukiah 0.70" - Covelo 0.62" - Boonville 0.46" - Laytonville 0.37" - Leggett 0.20"
by Deep End News
A memorial service for Anna Taylor (1945-2023) was held Sunday, October 22 at 2:30 at the Philo Methodist Church.
Anna was born in New York City on June 11, 1945, and peacefully passed away early in the morning of September 15 in Burlingame. Her daughter Jordan and son-in-law Nathan were at her side. Anna was 78 years old.
Among many, many other achievements, she founded the Deep End News in the early 1970s. Based in Navarro, the news service provided Mendocino County news to the Mendocino Grapevine and various other print and radio outlets. Articles were typed and hand delivered or called in from a phone tethered to a wall. Anna’s articles were always factual and witty, fun to read, and accurate.
We still miss her sardonic remarks and smile.
SYSTEM OF SYCOPHANTS
The County has taken the questionable course of removing the elected Auditor/Tax Collector/Treasurer from her elected office. Whether they have the power to do this will be determined as the lawsuits begin to fly.
In her stead, a Deputy Chief Executive has been put in that Acting Position. The County currently is lacking 5-6 department heads, and the Executive Office (EO) is now running about 75% of all the County departments. What could go wrong with that? Well, it opens up the possibility for fiscal malfeasance and/or fiscal mis-management. One is deliberately stealing and the other is inexperience or incompetence. I am not asserting that there is any malfeasance and I believe most people who work for the County are good people and well-intentioned. But sometimes that isn’t enough.
When we interview department heads, we vet them to see if they have the in-depth program knowledge for that department. For example, you wouldn’t hire an Ag Commissioner to be the Chief Medical Officer. They both may have advanced degrees, but neither would know how to do the other’s job. The Executive Office is putting their cronies and their friends, in charge of complicated programs that require in-depth program knowledge, administrative experience and an understanding of the qualifications staff need to do their respective jobs. This is not only very de-moralizing for existing staff who are more qualified, it’s creating a situation where experienced staff with the institutional knowledge and qualifications are being marginalized. These staff are primarily older, have been in government for years, and are the people who will question decisions made by these inexperienced, unqualified managers.
These inexperienced and unqualified managers aren’t bad people, but they’re being put into highly paid positions that come with a hefty pension. So while they aren’t stealing, there is a nice reward whether they do a good job or not. Where is the oversight? The County can move whoever they want into “Acting” positions. These Acting positions are not supposed to extend more than 6 months, but guess who can over-ride that? The CEO.
Why does this matter to you? Because most of these people don’t understand what the department and its programs or services does, they are making wrong decisions. They are firing highly qualified staff members before they have completed their probationary period, and replacing them with their cronies. No merit system. Who suffers from this? You. The public. Instead of having a meritocracy, we have a system that doesn’t reward initiative, education, experience or character. We have a system of sycophants who will never question decisions made. And it trickles down. We also have new employees who never receive training or guidance because their managers don’t know how things should be run. This sets these new employees up for failure.
The Board of Supervisors tell us the County is in an economic hole - with a budget gap that they must fill of between $7 million dollars to $50 million by June 2024. But apparently no one is really sure what the numbers are. In order to help close that gap, the Executive Office is using grant funding from various departments to pay the salaries of these managers. This is technically not illegal, however in Public Health, for example, this is resulting in the inability of the department to conduct the programs and services mandated by the state to keep the community safe. Who loses? You do. Public Health makes sure your food and water are safe. We make sure beaches get closed when there is poop in the water. We provide disease surveillance and research the health of the community to address gaps in services. We make sure children in foster care get the health care and support they need. We monitor restaurants so you don’t eat rat tainted food. We provide free vaccine clinics so we don’t all get sick at once and over-run the capacity of our three hospitals. In Public Health having unqualified people making decisions has resulted in such a toxic work environment that there has been a literal exodus of experienced and trained personnel.
I am retiring after long years of public service. But I leave you with these cautionary words and a suggestion - We desperately need a Public Health Director with the experience, training and education, who understands how a functioning Public Health department operates.
I care deeply about this community. You deserve better.
Julie Beardsley, MPH
Mendocino County Senior Public Health Analyst
President, SEIU Local 1021
The AV Adult School is partnering with First 5 Mendocino to offer a series of positive parenting seminars starting on Thursday, November 2nd.
These are free sessions, and dinner and childcare will be provided!
This series covers parenting strategies including the power of positive parenting, raising resilient children, and raising competent, confident children. Come to get tips on dealing with some of the challenges of parenting, ask questions about specific issues, and learn about the Positive Parenting Program. Parents and caregivers of children of all ages are welcome!
Thursdays- November 2, 9th, and 16th 5:30-7:15 at AVES in room 18. For more information or to confirm your attendance, call or text Cora Hubbert at (707) 515-8440 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Please note: This series of workshops will be held in English.
A READER WRITES: “Why don’t you change places with the Fort Bragg Advocate? After all the AVA is the Advocate and the Advocate is the Advertiser.”
Make me an offer. Since the Golden Horde descended on Boonville to convert what was once a peaceful little place of ball games and pot luck suppers to a combination wine tasting and tourist stop, Covelo looks even better.
AMONG the Bay Area’s tame and tepid free weekly newspapers — tiny bits of reporting strewn amidst a hundred pages of sex ads, restaurant reviews, and plugs for bad bands — a front page piece in the Express, “The East Bay’s Free Weekly” caught my eye. Darned if it wasn’t a long story about Lawrence Livermore’s Lookout Records called, “The Little Label that Could — Lookout Records in downtown Berkeley proves that subversive, anticapitalistic music can turn a buck — but robust cash flow is just the start of its problems.”
THE FOUNDING FATHER HIMSELF, and long time friend of mine going back to Larry’s days on Spy Rock Road, had retreated to London on the millions he made from producing punk rock. I tried dancing to “Fuck You and Die” but I couldn’t stop punching myself in the face. Larry had come a long, long way from Spy Rock. When he departed, he turned over the business to a smart young guy from Garberville named Christopher Appelgren.
LIVERMORE began life as an multi-tasking entrepreneur in the hills of Laytonville where he published an inspirationally courageous ‘zine called the Lookout! in which he discussed local matters and reviewed the latest in young people’s music.
THE SOCIAL COMMENTARY Livermore turned out in those days quickly got him non-person status in Laytonville, got him physically attacked by the kind of rural tough guy who’s careful to make sure he’s punching someone smaller and weaker than himself (usually his wife or girl friend but a 120-pound man will do in a pinch), and got him a reputation among people who can read as a very good writer. The whole package also got him out of Laytonville and into a lot of money. The thing newspaper accounts of off beat success stories usually miss but smart people like Lar Livermore and this Applegren kid certainly don’t miss, is that capitalism will market anything that makes money, including faux subversion of the punk type.
ANOTHER PAPER asked Harvey Keitel, “Many of the characters you’ve portrayed over the years arrive on the screen from a position of strength. You have a quality that gives them a power that is very manly, both physically and psychologically. Yet they’re also able to exhibit deep pain. Does that ability come from doing a whole lot of living?” Keitel responded: “Hmm. It probably comes from a strong desire to suck my thumb.”
WHAT EVER HAPPENED to Arlene Lind of Little River? She came up with an effective deer repellant she called “Not Tonight, Deer.” The purely organic mix of dehydrated, aged eggs and white pepper is mixed with water and sprayed on the vegetation backyard gardeners most want to protect from the four-footed marauders and, according to a gardener I know, did what Ms. Lind said it would do. Maybe she made so much dough she retired up the road in Mendo.
THERE are lots of interesting monographs by Mendo old timers still available from the County’s various historical societies. One of my favorites is, “The History of Alderpoint, A Narrative by Ray Mathison.” Mr. Mathison, whose family lived in Anderson Valley for a few of the Depression years, describes life on the Eel River at the turn of the century up through the 1960s. Mathison’s descriptions of the Northwestern Pacific Railroad in the period before World War Two were especially interesting; the line served as inland Mendo’s primary means of north-south travel between Eureka and San Francisco with two trains a day both ways and full-time maintenance crews of a dozen or so men posted every twenty miles in the Eel River Canyon. Most intriguing of all, Mathison informs us that at one time near the turn of the century the Eel’s flow was great enough for a supply scow to navigate it all the way to Scotia. A horse pulled the scow over the summer low spots in the mighty river.
HARTZELL APOLOGIZES TO GRAND FIR TREES, plans tour with Tom
My AVA timber tete-a-tete with tree man Tom has reached a truce.
Remember that titanic article I wrote about the JAG (quit asking what that stands for!)? Tom the forester took umbrage at a few things and we exchanged comments, possibly read by nobody but us and poor Bruce and Mark.
Tom didn’t want me to call the timber company president a logger, in the context of environmentalists versus loggers. I have refused to budge on this position, although in the future I have agreed to note when timber company presidents are also foresters, Presbyterians or fine golfers. But it’s still environmentalists versus loggers. There is really no such thing as foresters versus environmentalists, foresters are mostly people who love the environment and got into the business to study and harvest our forests in a better way.
However, I did agree on Tom’s salient point. I may indeed have slandered grand fir trees by calling them an insignificant timber species and worse, calling them short! This is particularly onerous for those who spend their lives standing straight up! In my own defense, I told Tom that grand fir trees are some of my best friends! (see the photo of myself and Gandalf the Grand Fir on my own property) And grand fir trees seem like they would be immune to teasing with that regal name. Those unlucky other fir trees apparently named by unimaginative taxonomists who named all our rivers, trees and sports teams. There is the white fir (not actually that white), the red fir (not really that red) and the fir apparently named after a guy named Doug!
As Tom argued, the truth is grand fir trees are truly a significant lumber species here in Mendocino County. I was wrong. There, I said it Tom!. I actually had 4 people tell me this, as if the whole titanic ten thousand word tome in the AVA was only about the size of grand fir trees.
Grand firs are interesting trees, ones like on my property at lowlands don’t become the towering giants that can reach over 200 feet! that they do near the spot I was at in Jackson Demonstration State Forest when I insisted they didn’t measure up to Doug and Redwood, the trees that boast most of the swagger of Pacific Coastall forests. Grand firs actually can stand as tall as these rivals and they make fine boards but are only truly grand at certain altitudes. Sorry grand fir!
Tom says our county has at least three disjointed populations of grand fir. “Grand Fir is common in Idaho and Montana at much higher elevations but for some reason we have them here. I recently measured one at better than 4 feet in diameter,” Tom informed me.
Even in Jackson they quickly thin out when the altitude gets higher or lower. At higher altitudes they give way to their cousin, the mundanely named white fir. Interestingly, white firs and grand firs also cross and make something of a new species that lacks a name as far as I know.
I read all the books and studies I could find that mention grand firs. Apparently, these regal fellas really like forests that haven’t been burned in a long time, which is exactly what we were looking at when I remarked that grand firs I saw were surprisingly tall and generally short, the statement that created all the trouble.
Another thing people called to express rival opinions about was who decimated Jackson. Was it the Caspar Lumber Company? Or did it happen under Cal Fire’s tutelage after WWII? I had people from all sides tell me different, and contradictory things about this. Tom suggested a study on Whiskey Springs in Jackson Forest, which has data going back to 1970s and also describes what happens before that all the way back to Caspar Lumber company records from more than a century ago. It seems the perfect property to look at the science. He will give me the tour if we can talk about that published scientific study and on the grounds I bring Brutus,whom I think he likes much better than me.
Tom also points out that Point Arena has a population of Sugar Pine at elevations a few thousand feet lower than its normal domain in the mid-slope of the Sierra. “
Years ago (Frank not Tom) had a cute blondie girlfriend for a summer and we went hiking in the Sierra for a week and brought back a ton of the gigantic sugar pine cones on our property corner, hoping to do some art project. Instead a sugar pine tree grew from 1992-2012 and had big cones until the damn chicken turned over a can of gasoline and created a fire that burned our shed and the tree. The FBFD put it out quick and we could never figure out how the gas got ignited but I was thrilled the giant coned tree, with tasty sugary sap, could grow here.
Oh, the tete-a-tete with Tom has turned off on a tangent.
I will soon take the tour Tom has graciously offered to see. The JAG meeting on Nov. 15 figures to be another big deal. Details about the meeting are promised 10 days before the meeting.
The Tom referenced here is Tom Kisliuk, any resemblance to other tree men is total tomfoolery.
LARRY SHEEHY, UKIAH'S SUNFLOWER KING:
It was a good run for my 2023 Sunflower Forest's Rebel Sunflower. The others this year, not so good, they were overwhelmed with beautiful Morning Glories.
I'll be more focused planting 2024
FLUSHING THE ‘COMMUNITY INPUT’ MYTH
by Tommy Wayne Kramer
We’re getting a good hard lesson in state politics as a new county courthouse is rammed down our throats by forces no one can name.
Forget the happy talk about “community action” and “working together to build a better tomorrow” and “transparency” and “local input” and “citizen involvement.”
This is California taking tax dollars and demanding they be spent on a project that will destroy our downtown. It will make the present courthouse an obsolete white elephant joining the herd of other abandoned elephants haunting Ukiah, all within a few blocks of one another in a city that cannot afford more decay.
Do you think the best way to spend $118 million is on an ugly new courthouse that will look and smell like a San Jose office building but with better parking? Know anyone who thinks this is a good idea?
I have gone weeks trudging Ukiah’s dusty back roads searching for someone who is both A) an enthusiastic supporter of the new courthouse and B) not a certified moron. My quest has gone unrewarded.
And lo, the hours I have spent on astrological charts and spiritual devotions seeking answers in the stars and from minor deities: How has our land, and why have our people, been beset by so vexing a problem?
Ukiah needs a new courthouse? Says who? I think what Ukiah needs is leadership, vision, and a few good bars.
And when, if ever, was a project of such size, consequence and expense undertaken with no community involvement? The Rail Trail? Ha. The State Street reconfiguration? Any and every proposed new housing development in the last 40 years?
All these issues were hashed out endlessly via meetings, campaigns, letters to editors, elections, recall elections and fistfights. This one is getting muscled through with none of those messy niceties, nor even a phony dog-and-pony show where representatives from PG&E or L-P come to town, listen attentively to citizen input, then go back to headquarters and do whatever the hell they planned to do in the first place.
For more than 100 years Ukiah has struggled with itself over these matters, and has always made the wrong choice. Ukiah wants the new, the cheap, the gaudy and fashionable, and is willing to bulldoze her beautiful old buildings. One example: The old Carnegie Library at South State and Clay Streets, abandoned in favor of a snazzy replacement at North Main and Perkins.
Today, which one looks timeless? Which one looks out of fashion? Right: The new one, built from leftovers from the old, torn down Rite Aid building.
Meanwhile, City Council busies itself destroying old tin buildings while Sage Sangiacomo picks out new colors to paint his office. County supervisors are decoding budgets and playing musical chairs with department heads,
Judges? They conceivably benefit from a new facility, but I doubt their acquiring luxe amenities (stained glass windows, Tiffany chandeliers, wall-to-wall genuine leopardskin carpeting, half-acre desktops) blind them to the damage this boondoggle will cause Ukiah. They live here too.
Shall we hold a citizen forum at City Hall to discuss all this? Or shut up and let a committee in LA determine what’s best for a small town 500 miles north that none have visited and would need 10 minutes to find on a map?
Yes, there are deficiencies in the present courthouse. Security isn’t up to 21st century standards, elevator upgrades overdue, juvenile matters demand more privacy, commuting to and from Low Gap jail facilities is burdensome. All these flaws could be remedied at a fraction of $118 million
There might even be money left over (say $100 million) to restore the old courthouse to its pre-1950s remodel, allowing it to harmonize with the original grand (west side) building.
And that’s what this is mostly about: Retaining, conserving, honoring the old, beautiful buildings in downtown Ukiah, and shunning the cheap mall-style landscape horrors that cover California from top to bottom.
Our courthouse doesn’t have to look like a Florida prison or a Fresno shopping mall. The USA has been on a century-long campaign to replace classic, inspiring architecture with unappealing beige and glass copycat designs spit out by the hundreds from architect office xerox machines.
The country is already paved in cheesy landscape blights that cover the land from coast to coast.
Let Ukiah be the change: Older, different, better.
* * *
Never take dining advice from one who eats PopTarts for breakfast, Old Milwaukee for lunch and canned ravioli for dinner.
Yet there are two new eateries in town:
1) Ukiah Thai Cuisine, next to the Forest Club (no wonder I stumbled upon it) has a menu of wonderful, authentic-o dishes that arrive spicy as you like and tasty as can be. Beer & wine served, plus friendly staff. Tell ‘em Tommy sent you and get a free napkin!
2) Farola is attached to the Pub Bar (stumbled on this one too) on North State. It’s topnotch Argentinian fare served to-go only, by a personable young lady named Bailee who grew up in Ukiah. Over there is Peter, her Argentine husband and primary cook. And what a cook! Farola is about empanadas (meat/veggie or both) in half-moon pastries, plus canasitas, pie-like babies with wonderful fillings. Great side sauces. Tell ‘em Tommy sent you and leave a big tip!
DON'T GIVE THEM A SINGLE DIME
Received a bill from somebody called Adventist Physicians Network for over $300, from the ICD appointment July 10th. Also received a bill from United Health Care-Medicare Advantage for over $1500 for the last day and a half at the nursing-rehabilitaiton center in Cloverdale, CA. I was told in Cloverdale that I had to stay after they took out the Medline for observation. Nobody at any time informed me that I would be billed at either place for anything. With less than $900 in the bank and still sleeping at the Building Bridges Homeless Resource Center, I'll keep the money, and everybody else can get by. I'm thanking you in advance for your understanding.
Craig Louis Stehr
CATCH OF THE DAY, Sunday, October 21, 2023
JOSE COLLI-BLANCO, Fort Bragg. DUI-alcohol&drugs.
NANCY GARCIA, Fort Bragg. Disturbing the peace by loud and unreasonable noise, child cruelty-infliction of injury.
JASON GOWER, Willits. Resisting.
PABLO MARTINEZ II, Covelo. Failure to appear.
JUSTICE MENEAR, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol. (Frequent flyer.)
RODOLFO PEREZ, Philo. Leaving scene of accident with property damage.
CYNTHIA PHILLIBER, Ukiah. Taking vehicle without owner’s consent.
KATTIE SANCHEZ, Clearlake/Ukiah. Suspended license, probation revocation.
BRENTON SMITH, Ukiah. Cultivation of more than six marijuana plants.
HALEY TYRELL, Willits. Harboring wanted felon, resisting.
MARCOS VASQUEZ, Ukiah. Robbery, probation revocation.
ON-LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
As an older child able to mow lawns for spending money in the late 50’s, I used loose silver coins in my pocket for buying gasoline, candy, and soft drinks for getting through a hot Saturday afternoon of mowing yards. One silver quarter in my pocket would purchase a gallon of gas. A penny would buy a big wad of double bubble chewing gum. I didn’t need a wallet for buying stuff at the gas station and a little store some blocks away but within walking distance. The change in my pocket would do. But that change was real silver not the fake plated silver money of today. Today just about everything around us is fake, phoney, and mostly useless – like the fake plated coins in our pockets.
SAD BUT TRUE
It is sad but true that federal judges and justices appear more and more to be defined by the party of the president who nominated them.
But this tough fact confirms why public opinion has become so distrusting of our judicial system: Judges and justices who are intended to be objective are in fact revealed to be partisan in their ideologies. And the number of split judicial decisions and appellate reversals merely accentuates that there is no one, clear legal conclusion, but legal opinions on both sides of each case.
It also doesn’t help to read how many federal judges and justices serve into their late 80s and early 90s. Without succumbing to ageism by suggesting that such ancient ones are unfit, it is still a weakness in our society for those in positions of authority to hold onto their office so long that it deprives the next generation — likely having a more current understanding of complex issues that evolve over the decades — of a chance to step into positions of judgment.
IRAN’S FOREIGN MINISTER, Hossein Amir Abdollahian, told Iranian state media outlets during a Sunday news conference that the Middle East was “a powder keg.” He said that he wanted to warn the U.S. and Israel that “anything is possible at any given moment and the region will go out of control,” if the strikes on Gaza continue. He called the strikes “genocide and crimes against humanity.”
I saw a man, he danced with his wife.
War has never been foggier. If the saying that Truth is the first a casualty of war persists from war to war, it’s just because it’s true. Richard Engle, at the scene, struggles to make it clear when something’s not clear, but his brethren and sistren are not always as conscientious. The fact of this conflagration is it will take a long time to sort out who’s responsible for what happened at the Al Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza. In desperate times, both sides lie like cheap clocks.
A Gaza man told the camera he saw 2 piles, burned babies, 6 each. That’s an awful thing if true, an awful thing to be even possible, an awful thing to see, to contemplate, to tell the trembling world. Burnt babies make terrible lenses through which to see anything.
There are worse things coming. Iraqis, for instance, mourn an event in 1991 when American bombers dropped a guided bunker buster on a reinforced underground shelter in Baghdad and killed at the very least four hundred women and children. That was during Poppy Bush’s first Iraq war, the Gulf War, the brief one when the Highway of Death happened and warplanes came from all over the world to kill thousands of people running away from Kuwait into Iraq. They were headed for Basra to take shelter, but the allies turned the head and tail of that six-lane, fifty-mile stretch into a parking lot by scorching enough vehicles on the road that the thousands behind them couldn’t move. What occurred then was called shooting fish in a barrel. The warplane pilots fell into a frenzy, swooping low and blasting everything that breathed under the brilliant desert moon. Again and again they went back to refuel, grab ammo and rush back to the shooting gallery. Nothing prepared those young pilots (certainly not restraint; one of the aircraft carriers blasted the William Tell Overture—the Lone Ranger Theme—over giant hairy speakers.)
First of the motorized ground troops came upon the scene while it was still hot. Iraqi military drivers and the guys riding shotgun were still in the seat of their trucks when incineration came to them. These were called “crispy creatures” by the allied forces that first arrived. Iraqi military were just a part of the stalled and terrified thousands. Civilians in buses and cars, delivery trucks, school buses, countless private cars and trucks—it didn’t matter. They were eliminated by our pilots and our allies’ pilots in a few hours of thrill-killing.
The world tut-tutted over the extravagant loss of life. The usual organizations of international war-resisters made their usual squawks, but few listened or cared
1991 was a busy month in Iraq. Check this: As U.S. and friendly foreign troops moved north through Iraq, they met Iraqi soldiers, mostly ragtag, huddled in trenches, pleading to surrender, many without shoes, boys and old men, untrained props in sand pits, conscripted to represent Saddam’s claimed great army. A reported two thousand surrendered. Those that did not all died. We filled in those seventy miles of trenches with great olive-drab bulldozers. We buried the old men and young boys alive. First the hideous terror of realizing you are about to die by suffocation; next, sand covers your head and face, mouth and nose. Then, the weight, the sand you dug and threw out to make this trench now on top of you, a weight too great for your chest to push against and your desperate breathing stops, stops absolutely; hysteria then, madness, wish for death to halt this—death. Not a single American combatant died.
"For all I know, we could have killed thousands," said Col. Anthony Moreno, commander of the 2nd Brigade, 1st Infantry Division (Mechanized) that led the assault on the heaviest defenses. Another soldier: "I came through right after the lead company. What you saw was a bunch of buried trenches with peoples' arms and things sticking out of them." The things sticking out were rifles, held above the head, begging, and white flags. Laws of war say you’re not supposed to kill people while they’re surrendering, but heck. You know.”
This is about to happen, perhaps, in Gaza. I must not object, because any words I use will hold the wrong pronoun, will declare me anti-this or pro-that. You’re goddamn right. I’m anti-using violence to settle disputes that ultimately will end only when men or women of authority sit, negotiate and decide.
For you Facebook friends who read this in Europe, the Mideast, Asia or the Pacific, understand that the United States is not a neutral player. Jewish people are a large group here. Their influence is far beyond their numbers because they are generally high in education, drive, motivation, intelligence and talent. They are a people who have had to use every brain resource to survive, for centuries. Israel is their sacred home. The United States of America has been the place where they have thrived—and not because of lavish welcome, God knows. Jews were seen as mere vermin a century and a half ago. Their assimilation, reluctant as it was on all sides, injected powerful accelerants into the mainstream of America. Along with that came envy, resentment and prejudice. This diminishes, year by year, but Jews have not forgot—not the prejudice here, not the unequaled, unprecedented, unthinkable events in Europe, when Germany made a continent-sized machine to kill them all, a machine that worked, in the 1940s, until the opponents’ signatures on fateful documents ended it.
Many of the inheritors, come from survivors of these lapses in rational humanity, are in charge today. They are not inclined to give their enemies the “benefit of the doubt”—not ever. This must be factored into any reporting from the sands of Gaza or anyplace else where Jewish existence is challenged.
With no advance warning to the region or the world, Arab soldiers, the Hamas forces in Gaza, crossed the border to announce and commence a new excursion into Israel and against its right to exist. They fell upon a joyous, Dionysian scene, young Jews wildly celebrating a holiday. The Arabs murdered, raped and kidnapped the kids. Elsewhere, in the meantime, this happened (this is from Sara Horn’s vivid, nightmarish Opinion essay in today’s New York Times): “On Oct. 7, a Jewish holiday, Hamas terrorists went house to house in southern Israel murdering and abducting children and grandparents, pulling them from their beds, displaying victims’ dead bodies online, in a massacre of at least 1,400 people.”
Be careful in your reading, careful in your listening. There will be an absence of “balance” when reporting such a clash. Arabs are a growing cohort in the West, but Jews are already an established, powerful part of society, dispersed in America’s official irreligion, generally, sharing and enjoying the life around them. At times like these, many stand up in their Jewishness, affirm their identity, take action, spend whatever of their money and time this new violence calls for.
Muslims are fervent believers, many are made fanatic by their leaders. Fervor is hard to distinguish from fanaticism when the temperature rises. Palestine’s Muslims cite, as cause and justification of this breach of peace, their subjugation by Israel, the increasing nullification of all human rights of the Arabs of Palestine since Zionist armies defeated Arab ones in 1948, when they declared the regained nation of Israel.
The treatment of Palestine by neighboring Israel over the decades has been generally bullying. Israel being the heart’s home to the world’s Jews, and the United States being home to the biggest number of Jews outside Israel, Israel has prospered. America’s Jews, whose influence far outweigh their numbers, have, along with numerous non-Jewish friends and national leaders, funneled countless money and material assistance to Israel. This surely includes nuclear weapons, a certainty that is forbidden to to speak in Jewish-friendly lands. Under the warlike Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s heel on Palestine has hardened.
The Jewish answer to charges of misconduct in the Middle East have ever been the fact that she is surrounded by nations that want her gone. Egypt has come to a durable cessation of hostility with Israel. Should this be tested by widened warfare, no one can say what might happen. Israel remains a small, wealthy, mightily armed nation, mostly western in its views, its existence guaranteed by the U.S.A., a nation in a part of the world that is generally anathema to the west despite the wishes of a majority of the leaderships of those countries. Israel is a client of the United States and thus at risk in its part of the world. This is a summary of realities too numerous and complicated to summarize.
Does anybody want me to go on? Is Facebook a suitable place for this essay? The Gaza business is damn dangerous. How many readers of the cloggblog give a good goddamn?
BOMBS DON’T WORK
But there is one thing Israel can do to avoid a trap by Hamas
by Peter Hitchens
Last week, I said here: 'Israel's attack on Gaza is a mistake, mainly because it will probably not work, and because it will allow millions of people to start loathing Israel again. They cannot do this at the moment. As long as the memory of Hamas killers striding into peaceful villages and slaughtering unarmed civilians and even babies still lingers in the public mind, Israel will have the support of millions and most of its opponents will keep their voices down.'
I did not realise how quickly my prediction would come true. As soon as Israel began its bombardment of Gaza, the superbly cynical global anti-Israel propaganda machine whirred smoothly into action. And Israel was transformed in a few hours from victim into villain. The Hamas murders are already starting to be forgotten. Yet maybe something may still be rescued. If the retaliation against Gaza cannot be undone, perhaps it can be reversed and halted. But is there any true statesmanship or political courage to be found in Israel?
I do not myself join in the easy, modish condemnation of the Israeli premier, Benjamin Netanyahu. He is an unusually intelligent and experienced man, one of the very few major figures in world politics who has actually been wounded in combat. This is perhaps the most profound form of experience available, in a world where most Western leaders have never faced anything tougher than a selection meeting or a university final exam.
He must know he has not much time left at the top of Israel's political dunghill. Why then not crown his long career with a gesture to astonish the world?
Why not say: 'We have seen enough blood. Nothing is to be gained by shedding more of it. In fact, we are sure that our enemies want us to do precisely that. We will cease to bombard Gaza, and will abandon attempts at a ground invasion which will, in truth, bring only grief, much of it to innocent people. Most will understand our national rage at what was done to us and our initial desire to hit back. But our considered response to the Hamas murders is to turn to the world – and remind everyone in it exactly what Israel's enemies did on October 7.
'These murders and kidnappings were not, as their apologists claim, responses to oppression or maltreatment. They were vindictive acts of racist hate. They were driven by a high-octane version of a much wider anti-Jewish phobia which is still all too common in the world. It was this phobia which led to the desperate measure of creating a national home for the world's Jews, a place of last resort for those fleeing mass murder.
'It is this shameful and bigoted phobia which has stood in the way of general acceptance that Israel has as much freedom to exist as any other state. Look this hatred in the face. See what Hamas did on October 7. Look at those who have excused it or tried to offer apologies for it. And cease to help them. We in our turn will not please these fanatics by walking into the trap they have tried to set for us. We will seek out and punish known individual culprits. But we are not in the business of harming the innocent.'
Just try it. The bombs and the missiles have not worked. Perhaps this will.
Israel said on Monday that it had struck hundreds of targets in the Gaza Strip and attacked Hezbollah positions in Lebanon, as President Biden led an international diplomatic effort to try to ensure the conflict does not ensnare other nations in the region.
In a joint statement on Sunday, Mr. Biden and the leaders of Britain, Canada, France, Germany and Italy urged Israel to protect civilians as it defended itself, and called for the release of all hostages believed to be held in Gaza. More than 4,000 people have been killed in Gaza since Oct. 7, according to the Hamas-run health ministry, when Israel began retaliating for an attack by the militant group that killed 1,400 people.
U.S. officials said that the Biden administration had advised Israel to delay a ground invasion of Gaza, a move that would allow more time for hostage negotiations and for more humanitarian aid to reach the enclave. There have been glimmers of hope on both fronts — two convoys of aid entered Gaza over the weekend, and Hamas released two American hostages on Friday.
On Sunday, Mr. Biden also spoke with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel. The two leaders, according to a White House statement, affirmed that “there will now be continued flow” of humanitarian aid into Gaza.
Hamas and other militant groups are believed to be holding more than 200 people captive, and, according to Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken, have been blocking U.S. citizens and other foreign nationals from leaving Gaza.
It remains unclear when or if Israel will invade Gaza, but senior Israeli commanders increasingly have been making public references to preparations for a ground assault, which is crucial to its goal of eliminating Hamas — an objective the United States still supports. And for days, Israel has been ordering the residents of Gaza to move southward for their own safety, even as its airstrikes hit the southern part of Gaza.
If Israel enters Gaza, American officials expect attacks on U.S. interests in the region from groups backed by Iran to intensify.
Here are some other developments:
A second aid convoy crossed into the Gaza Strip from Egypt late Sunday, carrying water, food and medical equipment. The United Nations said the convoy comprised 14 trucks, and followed the 20 trucks that had entered Gaza on Saturday.
The Israeli military said that it had notified the families of 222 people who were kidnapped during Hamas’s attack and are believed to be held in Gaza, more than the 212 people it had confirmed a day earlier. The count of hostages has risen as the army has collected more information, including about the many foreign citizens who were kidnapped.
Israel’s military said that it had struck a Hezbollah position that was planning to fire anti-tank missiles on the town of Shlomi in Israel’s north. The military also said it had fired at a Hezbollah “military compound” and an observation post.
The Israeli military reiterated its warning for civilians in Gaza to move to the southern part of the enclave as a humanitarian crisis spirals. But many people in the north said that doing so was not an option because of cost — and that it was no guarantee of safety.
On Oct. 17, The New York Times published news of an explosion at a hospital in Gaza City, leading its coverage with claims by Hamas government officials that an Israeli airstrike was the cause and that hundreds of people were dead or injured. The early versions of the coverage and its headlines did not make clear that Hamas’s claims could not immediately be verified, leaving readers with an incorrect impression about what was known and how credible the account was. Read the full editors’ note on The Times’s coverage here.
ON THE OCCUPATION & THE PALESTINIAN RESISTANCE
An Interview with Hamas’ Khaled Meshal
by Alexander Cockburn (2008)
(In mid-May of 2008, Alexander Cockburn was among a group of Americans who sat down in a house in a Damascus suburb for two hours with Khaled Meshal, then the chairman of the political bureau of Hamas. Cockburn later described Meshal as an alert and humorous man who looked to be in his early 50s, born in a village not far from Ramallah. He was trained as a physicist, has visited the U.S. a number of times and speaks good English. — Jeffrey St. Clair)
* * *
Meshal: We, as Palestinians, have the honor of representing a just issue. We have endured atrocities and occupation. Because of the Israeli occupation, half of the Palestinian people live under occupation inside Palestine, and the other half are living without homes outside. Today we, as a Palestinian people, a Palestinian nation, are looking only to live in peace without occupation. We reject the occupation. We reject the atrocities. And we reject being without a home and away from home. We have no problems with any religion in the world, nor any race in the world. We learned very well that the almighty god Allah created human beings with different races and different religions and he asked us to accommodate these diversities. Hence, we request the same with nations all over the world to accommodate this just issue.
Our problem is with unfair policies in the international community: pre-eminently the policies of the American [Bus] administration. And, of course, we do not consider the people of America responsible for that. I have visited America many times. And I know very well that the American people are very kind people. But our problem is with the foreign policies of successive American administrations. We accepted a state of
Palestine on the borders of 1967. The international community failed to pressure Israelis to do the same. So, what is left for Palestinians to do, except resist? For our part, we prefer the peaceful path. But we find the peaceful path blocked. Hence, the Palestinians are left with no option but the resistance. And this is what explains why the Palestinian people elected Hamas and why, amid famine and hunger and siege inflicted on the Palestinian people today, you find the same thing: the Palestinian people are supporting Hamas.
Gaza is the biggest detention camp in the history. Remember Newton’s law that to every action there is always an equal opposing reaction. The Israeli occupation is the action, and resistance is the reaction. Whenever you increase the level of atrocities in an occupation, at the same level you increase the reaction of the resistance. So our rockets come within this formula. If the atrocities and occupation stopped, the rockets would stop.
Israel’s habit is to set its own agenda, to put its match to the fire any time it wants and to stop the fire anytime it wants. They don’t want a reciprocal commitment. Do you know why? Because they feel that the Arabs are weak. Why should they respect them? Why should they manufacture any reciprocal formula with them? Hence, I say that peace cannot be made between a weak party and a strong one.
Peace is manufactured by strong parties. We are ready for peace, but one forged from competition and reciprocity, without atrocities and without occupation.
AC: What do you think Israel’s ultimate strategy or vision is? What is its idea of a solution?
Meshal: I believe that Israel wants to keep the land of Palestine. Gaza is an exceptional case. Because of Gaza’s high population density and size, it was OK for the Israelis to leave. But because of religious considerations, issues of access to water, and military outposts, Israel will never surrender the West Bank. Yes, they may offer to withdraw from 60 or 70 percent of it. Sometimes they offer 40 or 50 percent of the land. But this is a temporary tactic in order to win time, to build or to establish a “reality on the ground,” to expand settlements and chop up the land in such a way that it is impossible to build any national entity. In any peace proposal, Israel always wants to keep four settlement blocs on the West Bank. The biggest is the one surrounding Jerusalem; the second bloc is the northern area of the West Bank. The third is in the southern area of the West Bank and the fourth is in the Jordan Valley. So, what is left of the West Bank then?
When former President Carter visited over here, I told him that the circumstances surrounding the Camp David peace agreement between Egypt and Israel no longer exist. In those days, Israel was compelled or pressured to sign the agreement for two reasons. First, the war of 1973. By then, the Israelis understood that Egypt was not an easy country to defeat. The second reason is that the then Prime Minister Begin saw that Israel had a major interest in isolating Egypt from the general Arab constituency. Today, Israel is not under the weight of any such compulsions. We told former President Carter that the Palestinian resistance is the only power to force Israel to move.
Q. Would you accept a single state?
Meshal: The problem is not with what the Palestinians or the Arabs might accept. The Palestinians have accepted many things. And the Arabs have accepted many things. But Israel refused. Even what the Israelis did endorse, under the auspices of the Americans, the American organizations, Israel did not abide by. The main question is: is Israel going to accept or not? The mistake in Arab strategy and in the strategy of the former Palestinian leadership consists in the various easy offers, duly rejected by the Israelites. We will not adopt that track. Israel has to offer. They have to propose what they want to accept. Then we will respond.
AC: You’ve said that force and the ability to resist is the only thing that Israel and its backers will understand. How will this resistance continue and unfold under the leadership of Hamas?
Meshal: The resistance in Palestine is living in a very abnormal situation. Under classical conditions of resistance, there should be no resistance in Palestine. There’s no international party, which supports us. The Arab neighborhood and the regional neighborhood do not welcome the resistance, though there are some regional parties who collaborate with the resistance. So, from a holistic perspective, the “whole” wins against the resistance.
So, what is the secret behind the steadfastness of the resistance? First of all, the ferocity of the occupation. Hence, with such pressure, there is a reaction from the people, which is the resistance. The second element is Israeli intransigence. The Palestinians have tried the negotiation option, and they gave a chance for the peace process to succeed: with Oslo agreements, its aftermath, with 1991 and the Madrid Conference. The Palestinian people tracked the peace process, the negotiations, and the result was negative. Hence, the Palestinian people understood that all other paths were blocked.
This reality has pushed the Palestinians to steadfastness in their resistance. Third, there is no other party internationally that the Palestinians can depend on. An American administration could pressure the Israelis, but they don’t do so. When we talk about the international community, they are helpless in front of Israel. Hence, the Palestinian people consider resistance not as an option or as an alternative but as a way of life, a way to survive. Now, does this resistance have a future or is time against it? I would say that the future is for the resistance and the future is for the Palestinian people.
Today, Israel refuses the proposals offered by the Arabs and the Palestinians: it’s Israel’s loss because the future is not in its favor.
Q: Is Hamas willing to accept a two-state solution if Israel withdraws to the ’67 borders?
Meshal: In order to unify the Palestinian position politically, we agreed on one political platform in 2006, in a document we signed. We called it the National Conciliation Document. And we said in it that we accepted a state of Palestine based on the borders of 1967, including Jerusalem, without settlements and with the right of return to the refugees.
This is a platform we agreed upon. But we, in Hamas, have a very important issue and that is not to recognize Israel. But not recognizing it does not imply war with Israel. What we want is a state of Palestine on the borders of 1967. Then, there will be a cease-fire between us and Israel. We say that international relations between states are not always established on the basis of reciprocal recognition.
And when a Palestinian state is established, it will specify the level of relation with Israel. The big challenge for all of us today is to give a chance for Palestinians to live in peace. The problem today is that the Palestinian people are the victims. Half live under Israeli occupation amid deadly conditions. The rest are refugees in the camps, without a homeland. And so the victim here – the Palestinian people – is being asked to recognize Israel? This is unfair.
Q: You mean, they’re saying, “Recognize Israel now.” They’re asking the Palestinians to say, “It’s okay to go ahead and steal our land, we forgive you.”
Meshal: Of course.
AC: If we’d been having this conversation 30 years ago, there would’ve been a mention of the U.N., but no one here today has mentioned the U.N. Do you think now the U.N. is purely an instrument of the United States?
Meshal: Unfortunately, the United Nations is rendered a joke.
AC: Earlier you said the future of Israel is not that good, not that bright. Could you elaborate on that?
Meshal: When we try to read the future, we read it from the perspective of the past and the present. And we read it with the measurements of the nation’s values and the people. Is there any future for occupation and settlement? Is there any nation in the history of the world that insisted on establishing its own rights and failed to do so? Third question: since 1948, if we want to draw a curve of Israel’s progress, do you think that this curve is still heading up, or maybe is at a plateau, or is heading down? I believe that the curve is now in descent. And today, the military might of Israel is not capable of concluding matters to Israel’s satisfaction.
Since 1948, you may notice that Israel has defeated 7 armies. In ’56 they defeated Egypt. In ’67 they defeated 3 countries: Egypt, Syria, and Jordan. In ‘73, the war was somewhat equal 0n both sides between Egypt and Israel; if not for Nixon’s airlift to Israel’s forces at that time, the map of the world would be different. In ’82 Israel defeated the PLO in Beirut. But since ’82, 26 years ago, Israel has not won any war. They did not defeat the Palestinian resistance, and they did not defeat the Lebanese resistance. Since that time, Israel has not expanded but has contracted. They have withdrawn from southern Lebanon and from Gaza.
These are indicators that the future is not favorable to Israel. Then today Israel, with all its military capabilities – conventional and unconventional – are not enough to guarantee Israel’s security.
Today, with all these capabilities, they can’t stop a simple rocket from being launched from Gaza.
Hence the big question is, can military might ensure security? Hence, we may say that when Israel refused the Arab and the Palestinian offer, a state of Palestine on the border of 1967, Israel lost a big opportunity. Some years down the road, a new Palestinian generation, new Arab generations, may not accept those conditions, because the balance of power may not be in Israel’s favor.
Alya Rae.: My question is about using violent means. When people use violent means, inevitably innocent people suffer, in particular children – not only on the Palestinian side, but Israeli children too. What do you think about the use of violence?
Meshal: Good question. We do not like to see any victim, such as a child or a woman, even on the Israeli side, even though at the start it was the Israelis who attacked us. But, unfortunately, the insistence on violent repression by our assailants leads to innocent blood on the street. Since 1996, 12 years ago, we have proposed to exclude civilian targets from the conflict (on both sides). Israel did not respond to that. When Israel insists on killing our kids, our elders and senior citizens and women, and bombarding houses with the guns ships, F16s and Apaches, when Israel continues these attacks, what is left for the Palestinians to do? They are defending themselves with whatever they have. If the situation was such that we had a smart missile, we would never launch it, unless at a military target. But our missiles and rockets are very crude.
Hence we fire it, within its own capabilities, in reaction to Israeli atrocities. And we do not know specifically what it will target. Had it been that we had smart missiles – and we wish that some countries could give us these – rest assured that we will never aim at anything except the military targets.
This morning was something. A little snow
lay on the ground. The sun floated in a clear
blue sky. The sea was blue, and blue-green,
as far as the eye could see.
Scarcely a ripple. Calm. I dressed and went
for a walk — determined not to return
until I took in what Nature had to offer. I
passed close to some old, bent-over trees.
Crossed a field strewn with rocks
where snow had drifted. Kept going
until I reached the bluff.
Where I gazed at the sea, and the sky, and
the gulls wheeling over the white beach
far below. All lovely. All bathed in a pure
cold light. But, as usual, my thoughts
began to wander. I had to will
myself to see what I was seeing
and nothing else. I had to tell myself this is what
mattered, not the other. (And I did see it,
for a minute or two!) For a minute or two
it crowded out the usual musings on
what was right, and what was wrong — duty,
tender memories, thoughts of death, how I should treat
with my former wife. All the things
I hoped would go away this morning.
The stuff I live with every day. What
I've trampled on in order to stay alive.
But for a minute or two I did forget
myself and everything else. I know I did.
For when I turned back i didn't know
where I was. Until some birds rose up
from the gnarled trees. And flew
in the direction I needed to be going.
— Raymond Carver
YEARS AGO, anthropologist Margaret Mead was asked by a student what she considered to be the first sign of civilization in a culture. The student expected Mead to talk about fishhooks or clay pots or grinding stones.
But no. Mead said that the first sign of civilization in an ancient culture was a femur (thighbone) that had been broken and then healed. Mead explained that in the animal kingdom, if you break your leg, you die. You cannot run from danger, get to the river for a drink or hunt for food. You are meat for prowling beasts. No animal survives a broken leg long enough for the bone to heal.
A broken femur that has healed is evidence that someone has taken time to stay with the one who fell, has bound up the wound, has carried the person to safety and has tended the person through recovery. Helping someone else through difficulty is where civilization starts, Mead said.
We are at our best when we serve others. Be civilized.
UKRAINE, SUNDAY, 22 OCTOBER
KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — A missile strike on a mail depot in the eastern city of Kharkiv killed six people, Ukrainian officials said Sunday, as Ukraine reported a record number of bomb attacks in the southern Kherson region.
A further 17 people were wounded in the blast late Saturday, which is believed to have been caused by a Russian S-300 rocket, Kharkiv Gov. Oleh Syniehubov said on social media. All of the victims were employees of private Ukrainian postal and courier service Nova Poshta.
The Ukrainian-held front-line city has been at the heart of fierce fighting as both Moscow and Kyiv push for battlefield breakthroughs amid the looming onset of wintry conditions. Russian President Vladimir Putin launched his war against Ukraine in February last year.
In a statement, Nova Poshta said the air raid siren had sounded just moments before the attack, leaving those inside the depot with no time to reach shelter. It announced that Sunday would be a day of mourning for the firm.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy described the strike as an attack on an “ordinary civilian object.”
“We need to respond to Russian terror every day with results on the front line. And, even more so, we need to strengthen global unity in order to fight against this terror,” he wrote on social media. “Russia will not be able to achieve anything through terror and murder. The end result for all terrorists is the same: the need to face responsibility for what they have done.”
Elsewhere in the Kharkiv region, three people were wounded in Russian shelling on the city of Kupiansk, Syniehubov said.
Officials in southern Ukraine said Sunday the Russian military had used a record number of aerial bombs over the country’s Kherson region in the previous 24 hours.