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DRY WEATHER is expected today. Rain with a cold front will develop across Del Norte County this evening. Precipitation chances will then slowly spread southward late tonight through Wednesday. Colder air behind the front will settle over the area by Thursday morning with frost and freezing temperatures expected for many of the interior valleys. Another front may bring light precipitation on Friday. Otherwise, dry weather with below normal temperatures are forecast for this weekend. (NWS)
STEPHEN DUNLAP (Fort Bragg): 48F under clear skies this Tuesday morning on the coast. We might get a shot of rain tomorrow then generally clear until later next week. Our weekend is looking cool & clear.
WILLIAMSON ACT ‘FARMERS’
A Boonville Farmer Writes:
We have a quick question about which the AVA may have some knowledge (and an opinion!). We just received notice that the County is raising the Williamson Act property taxes. Since, to our knowledge, there are not a lot of those properties doing what the Williamson Act was supposed to encourage, i.e., farming of some sort. We're curious whether the county has given enough effort to eliminating those properties that don't qualify and raising their taxes, before going after those of us doing the “right thing.”
Mark Scaramella Replies:
We're in no position to opine on the particulars of the Williamson Act situation.
But at last report we heard that there were over 6,000 properties in the County that are enrolled. Which sounds like a ridiculously high number. We suspect that a lot of them are what you might call boutique ag ops just for the purpose of getting the tax break.
The County is, of course, broke. So it's not surprising that they're looking at raising the rates, and they might be trying to fix the criteria or screen them more. But you can probably imagine the reaction from some people who might have their tax break questioned.
As several others have pointed out, however, they'd get a lot more money going after the under-assessed, unenrolled and delinquent taxes owed, than going after the Williamson Act list.
Theoretically, you could try asking your supervisor or the elected Assessor about the situation and the likelihood of screening improvements and/or abuse, but our experience with the Supervisor hasn't been all that good.
COUPLA SUGGESTIONS for you, Jacob Brown, candidate for 2nd District Supervisor.
I like your look, kid, a little truculent, a little wary, as indeed you should be if you hope to take the 2nd District seat from the uncomprehending incumbent. First, scrap the wuss-prose, as in “I'm thrilled to share a new chapter in my life....” The job isn't about you, it's about the rest of us taxed to our eyeballs to support a board of supervisors who are not competent to hold their positions. And there's nothing even particularly interesting about your announcement, let alone “thrilling.” The rest of your statement is basic Mendo Babble, boilerplate happy talk that alienates everyone, left, right and center, because it's insincere. You should come out swinging, and you look like a guy who's thrown a few punches, by simply pointing out that you hope to replace the incumbent because she's failed at her elected responsibilities, that the county is adrift, broke and leaderless. Etc. Anyway, good luck to you, Mr. Brown, you certainly can't do any worse than Ms. M.
BACK IN THE EARLY 2000s, I happened to be spening a day or two week in Norm Vroman’s District Attorney’s offices with Vroman’s permission. (Vroman, who ran a pretty good DA’s office, had hoped that I’d write a book about it. As it turned out, I got a number of good stories out of the experience and the cases, but I wasn’t able to spend enough time there to write a book about it. Our agreement was that I wouldn’t write about pending cases, or quote anyone without their permission.)
ANYWAY, one day a copy of a “workload chart” that had been prepared by then-presiding Judge Eric Labowitz was circulating around the DA’s offices. The chart purported to assess the time required in each courtroom for various categories of cases. Unsurprisingly, by the Labowitz analysis, all the courtrooms were busy, busy, busy. The charts attempted to show the utilization of each courtroom for each day of the week down to the hour of the day. The Assistant and Deputy DA’s at the time, two of whom are now sitting judges, all got a big laugh at Labowitz’s time estimates. It appeared to me and some of the attorneys that the objective of the chart was to show that the courtrooms were all fully utilized. But we all knew that was not the case. In fact, most of the time the top floor courtrooms sat empty. On any given day if you went to the top floors you would be surprised if more than one of them was in use. And even then, sometimes the only people in those courtrooms was the bailiff and clerk.
OBVIOUSLY, there was no attempt to question Labowitz’s self-serving time estimates. And nobody would ever suggest using the courtrooms more efficiently, especially since the judges who run the place like to have their own personal courtrooms, despite the fact that the majority of them are woefully under-utilized.
THESE DAYS, there’s this juggernaut of a new courthouse barreling down on the City of Ukiah and the County of Mendocino and we’re supposed to just roll over and accept a lot of assumptions, most of which have already been discussed and debunked in these pages before. But one of the big assumptions is that we need eight or nine courtrooms. Somehow, for example, Lake County gets by with about half that number, for example. Yet here are our local judges and a bloated state judicial bureaucracy telling us we need a new courthouse with eight courtrooms. Based on…? Well, probably on some cockamamie inflated workload analysis like the one Judge Labowitz handed out a couple of decades ago that assumes that the hilariously chaotic and inefficiency of the current court operations will be transplanted to the new one as if it's cast in stone.
A READER WRITES: I dread the new courthouse.
All the preliminary designs I have seen vary from ugly to unremarkable to warehouse distribution center vibe. It will be a high security concrete bubble for our over paid legal wizards, intent on keeping the public, unless shackled, out of view. The 4 acre lot is mostly parking.
The construction of the new courthouse will leave yet another once grand, beautiful building to decay in the heart of downtown. I often wonder what our county/state leaders are thinking when it comes to the current courthouse. If it is too expensive to rehabilitate for the state, with endless deep pockets, how exactly do they imagine the volatile, cyclical housing and development industry is going to pull this off?
The current courthouse could easily be doubled in size if the state was at all interested in creative solutions. Buy the block to the west between School and Oak and build a new office building. A glass and steel overhead connection could bridge courtrooms with the new office building. The entire facility would have closer access to the large, underused city parking lot one block west. The city could then in fact build a proper parking garage there and ease the daytime parking congestion as well as make some money.
I’m sure a new building is preferred by the judges and lawyers and staff. Everyone these days seems to prefer ugly/bland/new over character/beauty/age.
The old courthouse has been allowed to decay to the point that suitable updates and repairs aren’t easily feasible. But if the state doesn’t have the money to fix it, no one else has it either. The city doesn’t want to tear it down and create a park – that will just draw more homeless people. God knows what will happen to it.
A LOCAL WRITES: I pulled over 3 times on my way to work today…. A rainy day in the Anderson Valley after harvest is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen…. This is the stretch between Navarro and Philo on Hwy 128.
BENEFIT AT OZ FARM
Beautiful Oz Farm will host Arena Theater's 2nd Autumnal pizza party on Tuesday, Oct. 24, from 4pm-7pm. Reservations are $100 per person. Party goers will enjoy appetizers and pizzas prepared by Uneda Eat catering as well as Oz Farm apple pie. Local wine, beer and Oz Farm cider will be served throughout. Aaron Borowitz and Korazon Honda, members of the nationally touring Reggae band Thrive, will perform acoustic duets featuring a variety of music, including Reggae, Soul, Country, Classic Rock, RNB, and more, providing a relaxed and fun atmosphere. The afternoon will also offer a tour of the farm.
Located just north of Point Arena, at 41601 Mountain View Road, OZ Farm is hidden in a quiet, private valley on one of the most pristine stretches of the scenic Mendocino County coast, 130 miles north of San Francisco. Bordered by redwood forests and the Garcia River running through its 240 acres, Oz Farm is blessed with tranquility, fresh air and clear water.
Gary Levenson-Palmer <firstname.lastname@example.org>
FRANK HARTZELL WRITES: Oops, I forgot the photos to go with yesterday’s "humor" article. If you don’t put the photos in, Tom will write for another correction and I know you probably don’t want this to continue!
GOTTA MAKE A NEW PLAN, STAN.
Dear Interested Parties,
The Staff Report(s) and Agenda for the November 2, 2023, Planning Commission meeting is now available on the department website at: https://www.mendocinocounty.org/government/planning-building-services/meeting-agendas/planning-commission
Please contact staff if there are any questions,
Commission Services Supervisor
County of Mendocino Department of Planning & Building Services
860 N Bush Street, Ukiah, CA 95482
Main Line: 707-234-6650
David Svehla Writes: Random Comments on the AVA...
Thursday Oct. 18..Happy very belated birthday to Mr. Scaramella, rightful thorn in the side of Mendo Bureaucrats! ... The on-rushing New Ukiah Courthouse is the height of public hopelessness. The skatepark is the height of public hopeFULLness!... One Frank Baumgardner, of Santa Rosa who frequently congeals your letters section would win an Oscar for “Histrionic Woketard” of the year were The Academy to award one (and I DETEST the word “Woketard.” Along those lines there seems to be quite a bit of Anti-Israel sentiment from your contributors. A Good Week 2 U! - From the sunny autumnal City…
THEY WALK AMONG US
The Well is happy to announce an amazing evening of experiential astrology with David Nichol. This is a fantastic opportunity to see what is happening in the stars and learn more about the cosmic soup in which we are swimming. David will be offering ongoing astrology readings at The Well.
Come one and all ~ Everyone is welcome!
Full Moon in Taurus
Experiential Astrology with David Nicol
Friday October 27th at 6:00pm - 7.30pm
Get in sync with the universe!
Join astrologer David Nicol for a presentation about how to understand our current world crisis from the viewpoint of astrology. We are in a tumultuous period of change at the cusp between ages; what does astrology have to say about our trajectory over the coming three to four years? Are we headed into a dark age of violence and war, or is it “darkest before dawn” and are we actually poised to enter a new phase of cultural rebirth?
The evening will include a fascinating experiential exploration of the Full Moon in Taurus energies. We will step into the chart and let the archetypal energies reveal their wisdom directly through us. This approach brings astrology out of the head and into the body, pure magic every time!
The Well Spiritual Center & Visionary Art Gallery is located in the heart of Mendocino at 45004 Albion Street, just off of Lansing Street around the corner from Gnar Bar and next door to The Garden Bakery.
For more information contact Sally, 707-357-3466, email@example.com
PRESERVE THE ANNOUNCE LISTSERV AS-IS
A Coast ChatLine Poster posted: “Please write the Mendocino Unified School District and its superintendent to let them know why you think it’s important, before their upcoming meeting, where it’s on the agenda.
* * *
Marco McClean here. Thanks. Here's what I wrote:
Hi, Windspirit, and hi, the others on the MUSD School Board, and Jason Morse, Superintendent.
I've been an MCN subscriber since almost back at the very beginning. I used MCN facilities to stream KMFB on the web back when that was still rare for radio. I have fond memories of teaching in the old Community School in the early 1980s, when it was in the building that now houses MCN, before they picked the building up, twisted it ninety-degrees, and moved it across the street to where it is.
I read the MCN Announce listserv every day for info about local issues and to get help where I need it and give it where I can. I've asked for materials and help for different people, for the theater company, for KNYO, etc., and every time people jumped up to offer whatever was needed. That includes when Juanita and I both got sick this summer and couldn't work, and she couldn't work for /more than two months/; her rent is not huge for nowadays, but it adds up, and she couldn't get on unemployment /because she couldn't work/. I asked for help and got it. The MCN Announce listserv, as it is, literally saves people's lives, and does it in an atmosphere of entertainingly edgy friendship.
I save up announcements, notes, requests and discussions from the MCN Announce listserv, and every Friday night I spend the first hour of my eight-hour-long radio show mostly reading those aloud on the air.
The very few people who are rude or who flood the message space with their constant lonely adolescent blurting about their pet issue or hating on their personal adversary in life, I deal with by having my email program filter their posts into a separate folder that I can skim when there's time. The problem of people saying things on teevee that hurt one's feelings is solved by changing the channel. The problem of people writing things to a message group or a listserv that hurt one's feelings is solved by blocking their email address from the inbox. It takes less than a minute; you do it once and it's done.
There's a guy named David who seems to be driving an effort to get MCN to police the listserv for him and somehow eliminate people from the world whose writing he doesn't like. In my experience he's been as mean and cranky and sweary and threatening as whoever he currently hates so much, but worse, he has the sense of humor of a box of hammers. He has a cycle; he goes through a bad time of bitching and moaning and lashing out in all directions, then he seems to catch himself, and be all calm and sweet for a few weeks or months to kind of smooth it over, then inevitably he loses it again. This has been going on for years. So when he, or anybody like that, complains to you, and makes demands of you, take that with a grain of salt. It takes all kinds to make a world. They also serve who only seethe and fizz.
As the MCN Announce listserv is, it's working smoothly and perfectly, naturally influencing people who are capable of learning to get along, and in the process it's doing a great deal of useful real-life work. It's a common-carrier of protected expression. It costs the School District nothing. Of /course/ don't shut it off, please.
ON THIS DAY IN MENDOCINO HISTORY…
October 23, 1882 - Nellie M. Bowman was born in Mendocino, the daughter of early-day pioneers George H. & Mary Louise (Flanagan) Bowman. The family lived in the Bowman House on the northeast corner of Howard and Ukiah streets. Master carpenter J. D. Johnson built this home for the Bowman family in 1879.
Nellie married William True Wallace, Jr. in San Francisco on December 24, 1902. William was born in Navarro in 1877, and the Wallace family moved to Mendocino soon after his birth. His father, William True Wallace, Sr., served three terms as Justice of the Peace for Big River.
The Wallace’s early marriage years were marked by tragedy. Nellie lost her father in 1906 and her mother in 1909. The sixth of nine children, Nellie provided a home for her younger brothers following the death of their parents.
In 1934, Nellie’s husband, a respected lumberman, died at the age of 57. After her husband’s death, she made her home in Fort Bragg with her brother James and his family, then later moved to Lincoln to live with her sister, Carolyn Carmichael.
Nellie died in a Sacramento hospital in 1969 at the age of 86. According to her obituary, she “leaves a host of saddened friends and numerous nieces and nephews who are left with fond memories of her, incidents of their childhood. She was affectionately known as Aunt Nell. She will be missed.” Survivors included her nieces and nephews Clayton Carmichael, Sacramento; Culbert Bowman, George Bowman, Berenice Bowman, Elva Bowman, Hazel Bowman, and Constance Quinn, all of San Francisco; Ethel Thorstensen, Watsonville; Betty Plympton, Sonora; Kathleen Shrode and Evelyn Larkin, Mendocino; and two sisters-in-law, Mrs. Lena Bowman, San Francisco, and Mrs. Anne Bowman, Mendocino.
Nellie was laid to rest beside her husband, in the Wallace plot at Evergreen Cemetery. Pall Bearers were George Bowman, Culbert Bowman, Clayton Carmichael, William Larkin, Kenneth Shrode and David Larkin.
Photo: Ukiah Street between Lansing and Howard Streets in Mendocino, 1934. The house on the left and its mirror twin next door were built in 1890 as rental properties by master carpenter and builder John D. Johnson. The next house to the right, with just the roof and second story dormers visible, sits back from the street and is known as the Walsh-Doolittle House, built in 1883 by William Riley Hamilton for Mrs. Maria Walsh. The house on the right is known as the Bowman House and was also built by J. D. Johnson in 1879 for George Bowman. Photograph taken March 13, 1934 by Roger Sturtevant for the Library of Congress as part of the Historic American Buildings Survey.
CATCH OF THE DAY, Monday, October 23, 2023
ZACHARIAH BOESEL, Ukiah. Domestic battery, vandalism.
SUSAN BROWN, Fort Bragg. Domestic battery, elder abuse.
GREGORY CUADRA II, Ukiah. Domestic battery assault with deadly weapon not a gun.
CARLOS FLORES-VAZQUEZ, Ukiah. DUI, no license.
KENNETH HANOVER JR., Covelo. Robbery, paraphernalia.
WILLIAM JACKSON IV, Ukiah. Battery, vandalism, controlled substance, probation revocation.
MICHAEL LANGLEY, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-under influence, controlled substance. (Frequent flyer.)
JUSTICE MENEAR, Ukiah. Trespassing. (Frequent flyer.)
DAKOTA MILES, Ukiah. Parole violation.
COLLEEN WARNER, Gualala. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, under influence.
JENNA WILSON, Fort Bragg. Grand theft, paraphernalia, tear gas.
ROSS YOUNG, Fairfield/Ukiah. DUI.
49ERS HAVE TO PROVE THEY CAN WIN ‘GRIMY GAMES’ AFTER VIKINGS LOSS
by Ann Killion
On the anniversary of their last truly humiliating loss, the San Francisco 49ers marked the occasion by losing in a far worse way than that 2022 beatdown by the Kansas City Chiefs juggernaut.
On this Oct. 23, the 49ers lost to an average Minnesota Vikings team. They allowed Kirk Cousins to shred their defense, as Kyle Shanahan’s former pupil threw for 378 yards and was never sacked. For the second straight week the 49ers defense looked lost and discombobulated.
“We flat-out got beat,” a terse Shanahan said after the game. “We’ve got to take it like a man. We’ve got a team coming in off a bye week, waiting for this.
“We can’t worry about what happened before this. We’ve got to find a way to beat the Bengals and go into our bye week 6-2, not 5-3.”
The Cincinnati Bengals — who arrive Sunday at Levi’s for what Fred Warner termed a “must win” — have plenty of interesting film to study from the 49ers’ last two outings. If last week’s loss to the Browns was concerning, this latest loss to the Vikings should set off alarm bells.
On Monday the 49ers lost to an NFC team, something that could very much come back to bite them. The 49ers are now 5-2, trailing the Eagles for the best record in the NFC, only a half-game ahead of the Seahawks for the best record in the division, and tied with the Detroit Lions. All those plans of staying home through the playoffs? That expectation just took a serious hit.
The 49ers had lots of chances to win the game — just as they did a week earlier. But once again, they could not make the play when needed. A week ago, the rookie kicker’s errant kick sealed the 49ers’ fate. On Monday night, their second-year quarterback’s errant throw was their final undoing.
It wasn’t a day of redemption for the 49ers, who were still licking their wounds from the Cleveland game. And this wasn’t a game cloaked in a regional 10 a.m. Pacific time start. It was a nationally televised game with the entire football world watching. Just two weeks earlier, in another nationally televised game, the 49ers flexed and were anointed the “best team in the league.” Two weeks later, they were a shadow of that team that demolished Dallas.
Brock Purdy came in with a lot to prove after his first regular-season loss as a starter and a chorus of critics loudly chirping. And though Shanahan praised Purdy’s overall play, there’s no denying that Purdy’s two fourth-quarter interceptions when the game was still up for grabs were back-breakers.
Nor was there any real redemption for rookie kicker Jake Moody, who missed a game-winning field goal the week before. He had a rough pregame warmup and, though he made a 54-yard field goal later in the game, his earlier miss of just 40 yards was problematic, to say the least.
Christian McCaffrey did what he does: score touchdowns. He had two. But it was the one he didn’t score that will cause him to lose sleep. McCaffrey fumbled inside the red zone on the 49ers’ first possession of the game, snapping their streak of scoring on their initial drive.
“I made a bad mistake that I believe cost us the game,” McCaffrey said. “Put it on me… I can’t put the ball on the ground.”
But the truly puzzling performance has come from the defense. After all, the offense at least had the excuse Monday of missing two of its best players: left tackle Trent Williams and Mr. Everything Deebo Samuel. But the 49ers’ well-regarded defense has been porous and pushed around for two straight weeks by depleted offenses, first by an XFL quarterback in Cleveland and then by Cousins who was missing his best weapon, wide receiver Justin Jefferson.
“We couldn’t get off the field,” Warner said. “Too much leaky yardage.
“You’ve got to overcome adversity. We’ve got to find ways to win the grimy games. We can win 30-10 but who are we when we’re down and we’ve got to come back and win the game?”
The past two weeks, they just haven’t been good enough. Even Klay Thompson, appearing on ESPN2’s Manningcast, couldn’t help save the night. He seemed stunned by the predicament his friends on the 49ers found themselves in, and might have started to think maybe he shouldn’t taint his brain space with such troubles from a Bay Area team the night before a Warriors season opener.
For a second straight week, the 49ers boarded a plane angry, humbled and with something to prove.
“You’ve got to let the anger fuel you in the right ways,” McCaffrey said.
Six days to figure out how to do that before that next “must win.”
49ERS GAME GRADES: Purdy picks seal game in which defense was a no-show
by Michael Lerseth
The San Francisco 49ers dropped their second consecutive game Monday night to fall to 5-2 as a national audience watched their vaunted defense struggle to stop Minnesota’s Kirk Cousins in a 22-17 defeat at the hands of the Vikings.
A week after suffering the first loss of his regular-season career and posting his worst rating (55.3), Brock Purdy lost for the second time with his second-worst rating (81.5). Interceptions on the 49ers’ final two drives sealed the loss, in which Purdy went 21-of-30 for 272 yards and a TD. The 49ers’ fortunes likely would have improved had Deebo Samuel been available, but Christian McCaffrey — whose status for most of the week was also in question — accounted for 96 total yards and scored a pair of TDs, pushing his streak of consecutive games with a score to an NFL-record 16.
The 49ers were missing a few key players on offense, but the defense was at full strength — and was shredded. The unit that entered the game ranked third in the NFL — allowing only 278 yards — gave up 452, including 378 passing by Kirk Cousins, who completed 35 of 45 and a pair of touchdowns. The 49ers failed to record a sack, surrendered 24 first downs and allowed the Vikings to convert 8 of 13 third downs. The Vikings held the ball for 34:56, an opponents' season high this season.
SPECIAL TEAMS: C
Jake Moody’s rut hit 3-of-4 when he missed a 40-yard field goal in the second quarter, though he did get back on track with a 55-yarder in the fourth quarter that gave the 49ers at least a chance in the closing minutes. Mitch Wishnowsky’s lone punt of the night covered 62 yards. Ray Ray McCloud covered 34 yards on his only kick return.
Credit Kyle Shanahan’s faith in Moody when he called for the 55-yarder. His choice to go for it on fourth down with 6:18 to play with a Purdy sneak — one play after a similar call wasn’t converted — looked good until Purdy’s first interception on the next play. The offensive guru needs to figure out a way to complete deep passes: the longest completion Monday was McCaffrey’s 35-yard catch-and-run TD on a short pass to the right.
There is trouble afoot in 49erland that goes far beyond Moody’s balky and highly drafted kicking tool. The team that looked like one of the best in the league after the Dallas beatdown has looked mediocre the past two weeks. And keep this in mind: this was supposed to be the easiest half of the schedule, the tough stuff comes in about a month. If Cousins did this to the defense, what might the Eagles’ Jalen Hurts and the Ravens’ Lamar Jackson do?
JEFF GOLL: The Mid-East situation is moving fast as most of the southern Hemisphere supports Palestine and the pedal-to-the-metal Zionist Netanyahu is not reconsidering his stance. As the BRICS economic bloc gains countries and substance, historic changes in world order are upon us.
SAKOWITZ DEAD RIGHT ON GAZA
I don't often agree with John Sakowitz but his letter in the October 18 issue, spelling out the essential background to the massacres of Gaza from the air being conducted by Israel's air force, a war crime backed to the bloody hilt by US President Joe Biden and the majority of both Democrats and Republicans and expressed unequivocally in the UN, by US ambassador, Linda Thomas Greenfield, who cast the lone vote vetoing a resolution calling for a ceasefire because it didn't included support for Israel's “right to defend itself.”
By being “the first US president to visit Israel at a time of war,” Israel's Duce Netanyahu, told the world, Biden will, I expect, go down in history as this century's Neville Chamberlain, who gave his blessings to Adolph Hitler before the Nazis took over Czechoslovakia, but by sending two US carrier groups to help Israel defend itself from what was essentially an uprising at "the world's largest outdoor prison," he appears to have exceeded Chamberlain in his willingness to crawl before evil.
BIDEN RETURNS FROM ISRAEL EMPTY HANDED
by Ralph Nader
If President Joe Biden were a pony, instead of a perennial warhorse (e.g., gung-ho for Bush/Cheney’s criminal destruction of Iraq), he would have his tail between his legs on his return from a one-day trip to Israel. He failed to achieve any immediate, critical objectives while the ongoing destruction of Gaza and the defenseless Palestinians continues.
Did Biden get Israel and Egypt to allow the exit of hundreds of American citizens fleeing the Gazan firestorm? No!
Did Biden open up corridors for humanitarian aid to the babies, children, women, elderly and other civilians in Gaza who had nothing to do with the October 7th Hamas homicide/suicide attack on Israelis? No!
To the contrary, earlier in the week he cruelly ordered his UN Ambassador to veto a widely supported resolution calling for a humanitarian ceasefire.
Did he forcefully double down on his earlier counsel to the Israeli government to obey the laws of war, then and now, being openly violated? No! He continued his silence after the Israeli Defense Minister ordered his soldiers with the genocidal command, “No electricity, no food, no fuel, no water…” That death sentence includes patients in hospitals who must endure the carpet bombing of this long-time blockaded tiny strip of desert land holding 2.3 million people. (See, Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide).
Did Biden press for the exchange of Hamas’ hostages for the release of Palestinian prisoners, including young Palestinians, who have been in Israeli jails for years without due process or charges? No! Worse, Biden failed to object to the Israeli military stating that the release of over 200 Israeli hostages is a “secondary priority” to smashing Hamas and Gaza “into the Stone Age.” This policy flouts the moral codes of many venerable Judaic sages described in an October 19, 2023, New York Times column by Mikahel Manekin titled “The Safety of the Hostages Must Come First.” Israel conducted two prisoners for hostages’ exchanges, one in 2004 and one in 2011.
Did Biden, in strong terms, tell the Israeli politicians that they have already exacted revenge many times over on the stateless people of Gaza – in civilian lives lost, injuries, related spread of disease, destitution and destruction? Did he say it is inhumane and counterproductive to bomb hospitals, clinics, schools, mosques, churches, apartment buildings, water mains, electric networks and ambulances, all of which is in violation of civilized norms and rules of war? Of course not. He greenlighted Israel’s genocidal warfare from the beginning of the Israeli assault and sent U.S. weaponry. He is enabling other actions of “co-belligerency” against the defenseless Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza.
Did he even get the 20 trucks of humanitarian aid waiting at the Rafah crossing – also bombed by the Israelis – from Egypt into Gaza before he left? No!
Biden did come back with a bill for the American taxpayers – who for decades have been forced to pay for these Israeli wars. Now Biden wants Congress to approve $14 billion for Israel to address the colossal failure of Netanyahu’s extremist coalition to protect its own citizens on the border. (Adding only $100 million for Palestinian relief).
That sum of money, to be authorized without any Congressional hearings or Congressional oversight, is greater than the combined annual budgets of the FDA, OSHA, NHTSA and the section of HHS, whose missions are to reduce the loss of hundreds of thousands of preventable American fatalities in the workplace, on the highways, and in the marketplace and the hospitals. (See, the 2016 peer-reviewed study from the John Hopkins University of Medicine).
Lastly, still not calling a ceasefire, Biden is disregarding his own military’s private advice against an Israeli ground invasion of Gaza as raising the risk of a larger war in the Middle East that would clearly be against the national interests of the American people and U.S. security.
He could have done what President Eisenhower did in 1956, when he demanded that the Israeli, British and French attack on Egypt stop immediately.
And stop, they did!
After all, the U.S. has some influence over Israel, to put it mildly. The U.S. endorses all Israeli aggressions (including Israel’s admission to bombing hundreds of sites in Syria, mired in its civil war and no threat, in addition to striking Damascus International Airport). All with U.S. advanced weapons, and billions of dollars in annual aid to Israel, a prosperous military, technological and economic superpower. In fact, Israel’s social safety net is better than that of the U.S.!
Biden provides total diplomatic cover in the U.S. with Washington’s automatic UN vetoes, and pressures allies to follow the party line.
Moreover, Biden seems unwilling to recognize the historical origins of this conflict that now has mighty Israel occupying, colonizing, brutalizing and stealing land and water from the twenty-two percent of the original Palestine left for millions of Palestinians under Israeli daily control.
Biden should take a moment in the Oval Office to read page 121 of the book “The Jewish Paradox” by Nahum Goldman (January 1, 1978), the head of the World Zionist Organization. He quotes the leading Founder of the Israeli state, David Ben-Gurion as candidly saying to him: “If I were an Arab leader, I would never sign an agreement with Israel. It is normal; we have taken their country. It is true God promised it to us, but how could that interest them? Our God is not theirs. There has been Anti-Semitism, the Nazis, Hitler, Auschwitz, but was that their fault? They see but one thing: we have come and stolen their country. Why would they accept that?”
Today’s Israeli leaders refuse to demonstrate this degree of empathy. Instead, they provoke and deny the creation of a Palestinian state, envisioned by the Oslo Accords they signed in 1993, hurl the most racist epithets (“animals,” “vermin,” “snakes,”), and make sure the politicians in the U.S. Congress never utter the words “Palestinians also have a right to defend themselves” as violently subjugated victims of Israel the superpower.
Many members of Congress who demand giving Israel whatever money and weaponry it wants for whatever it does, violating human rights under international law in its illegal occupations and blockade, turn around and vote against the child tax credit, worker health and safety, universal healthcare, paid family leave and daycare for Americans. Their viciousness – as with the homicidal outburst of Gen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) against all Palestinians, and Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) a Harvard Law graduate, saying “As far as I’m concerned, Israel can bounce the rubble in Gaza…” set new levels of depravity.
A few Senators see it differently, especially Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT) who noted “…it is no secret that Gaza has been an open-air prison” with “horrendous living conditions,” and that “children and innocent people do not deserve to be punished for the acts of Hamas.”
Little known is that Israel and the U.S. fostered and funded the rise of Hamas as a religious counterpoint to the secular Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO). It was established in 1987 following the first intifada uprising. A 2009 The Wall Street Journal article titled: “How Israel Helped to Spawn Hamas” noted:
“Instead of trying to curb Gaza’s Islamists from the outset, says Mr. Cohen, Israel for years tolerated and, in some cases, encouraged them as a counterweight to the secular nationalists of the Palestine Liberation Organization and its dominant faction…”
To Biden and the Congressional “howlers” for the death of civilian innocents, historical facts matter little. Hamas’ lethal attack on October 7th was preceded by far greater numbers of Israeli violent attacks over the past decades taking four hundred times the number of innocent Palestinian lives, injuries and other casualties than inflicted on innocent Israelis.
Israel’s carpet bombing of Gaza will take twenty times or more lives of innocent Palestinians than those killed by Hamas on October 7th with the casualty toll of direct fatalities and the loss of life from the devastation of life-sustaining water, food, medicine, shelter and other hospital/clinic emergency infrastructure.
Also conveniently forgotten is the detailed peace offer to Israel in 2002, by 22 member states of the Arab League to establish diplomatic and trade relations with a recognized Israel in return for its retreating to the 1967 borders and creation of a Palestinian two-state solution. The Israel extremists in Congress and President G.W. Bush declined even to respond to this proposal. (See, the March 29, 2002 New York Times article: Mideast Turmoil; Text of the Peace Proposals Backed by the Arab League).
It is incumbent on the supreme military superpower in the region to take the initiative for peace over the powerless victims under its thralldom. That country is, of course, high-tech Israel, bristling with the latest weapons and nuclear atomic bombs.
Both the brave Israeli human rights groups and those courageous human rights Israelis standing shoulder to shoulder over the years striving to conduct non-violent civil disobedience at the besieged Palestinian village level, only to be dispersed by Israeli soldiers, know the real obstacle to peace. It is the plan by the right-wing Israeli parties to annex the entire Palestinian West Bank (nearly attempted under Donald Trump) and forcefully drive Palestinians into Jordan and Egypt.
Joe Biden is skilled at shedding tears at memorials of grief in this country. But he runs dry when the recurring catastrophes befalling Palestinians beg for his presidential compassion and actual deeds.
He will not escape history’s judgment.
HAMAS IS A TERRORIST ORGANIZATION; SO IS THE ISRAELI GOVERNMENT
U.S. media outlets dodge being evenhanded with the “terrorist” label—applying it to organized Palestinian killers of Israelis and not to organized Israeli killers of Palestinians.
by Norman Solomon
Labels are central to the politics of media. And no label has been more powerful than “terrorist.”
A single standard of language should accompany a consistent standard of human rights, which the world desperately needs. “If thought corrupts language,” George Orwell wrote, “language can also corrupt thought. A bad usage can spread by tradition and imitation, even among people who should and do know better.”
No amount of rhetoric from its defenders and apologists can change the reality that Hamas engaged in mass murder. What Hamas horrifically did to more than 1,000 Israeli civilians of all ages two weeks ago meets the dictionary definition of terrorism.
Americans have been acculturated to assume, consciously or not, that killing people with high-tech weaponry from the air is a civilized way to go about the business of war, if the U.S. or its allies are doing it, in sharp contrast to low-tech efforts of adversaries.
And no amount of rhetoric can change the reality that the Israeli government has engaged in mass murder during the last two weeks. What Israel’s military is horrifically doing in Gaza, already killing several thousand Palestinian civilians of all ages, also meets the definition of terrorism.
But U.S. media outlets dodge being evenhanded with the “terrorist” label—applying it to organized Palestinian killers of Israelis and not to organized Israeli killers of Palestinians.
The routine media bias does not in any way mitigate the horrendous crimes committed by Hamas in Israel. And that media bias does not in any way mitigate the horrendous crimes that are being committed—on an even larger scale, increasing daily—by the Israeli government in Gaza.
By any consistent standard, if referring to Hamas as a terrorist organization, then the same description fits the Israeli government. But such balanced candor is absolutely intolerable in the mainstream media and politics of the United States. It would be too honest. Too real.
Terrorists and their defenders always have excuses when tactics include ruthlessly killing civilians. But we’re choking on a nonstop supply of smoke-blowing rhetoric—what Orwell called political language “designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable.”
Some have contended that the word “terrorist” should be excluded from news accounts because it can be subjective. Although ignored or derided soon after 9/11, Reuters news service explained its policy this way: “Throughout this difficult time we have strictly adhered to our 150-year-old tradition of factual, unbiased reporting and upheld our long-standing policy against the use of emotive terms, including the words ‘terrorist’ or ‘freedom fighter.’ We do not characterize the subjects of news stories but instead report their actions, identity, or background.”
But that media stance is an outlier. We seem to be stuck with the “terrorist” word. Ending the routinely slanted, selective use of the “t” word would be a real improvement; more realistically, we should recognize and reject its flagrantly skewed usage. It functions in sync with an array of tilted reporting patterns.
Since the latest Israeli assault on Gaza began, U.S. news outlets have constantly used euphemistic words like “strike,” “hammer,” “pressure,” and “retaliate” to blur the real meaning of what it has meant to human beings when a very densely populated area is attacked with thousands of large bombs. Vivid reporting has occurred at times, but the overwhelming bulk of coverage of the Israeli government’s wide-ranging terrorism has been abstracted in ways that coverage of the Hamas terrorism has not been.
One factor that makes the blurring easier: The Hamas atrocities were mostly up close, with the murderers and murdered often facing each other, whereas the Israeli atrocities have been committed from high in the air, as if above it all. While international media outlets like Al Jazeera English and the U.S.-based program Democracy Now! have consistently provided extraordinary, high-quality, heart-rending reportage about the carnage and terror in Gaza as well as in Israel, such humanely equitable reporting has been extremely rare in mainline U.S. media outlets.
Americans have been acculturated to assume, consciously or not, that killing people with high-tech weaponry from the air is a civilized way to go about the business of war, if the U.S. or its allies are doing it, in sharp contrast to low-tech efforts of adversaries. This is an outlook from a privileged vantage point, far from those on the receiving end of “sophisticated” firepower coming from, or backed by, the U.S. government.
Apologists for Israel point out that Hamas targets civilians and Israel does not. That is a distinction without a difference for the people killed, maimed, and terrorized by the Israeli military—commanded by leaders who know damn well that Palestinian civilians will be massacred. The cover story of not “targeting” civilians is a comfortable rationalization for the slaughter of civilians while righteously denying the reality.
Overall—given the extreme pro-Israel, anti-Palestinian spin of U.S. mass media—evenhanded use of the “terrorist” label is highly unlikely. But we should strive to challenge the biases at work and the deadly consequences.
(Norman Solomon is the national director of RootsAction.org and executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy. His new book, War Made Invisible: How America Hides the Human Toll of Its Military Machine, was published in June 2023 by The New Press.)
DEADLIEST PERIOD FOR PALESTINIANS IN THE WEST BANK IN 15 YEARS
More Palestinians have been killed in the Israeli-occupied West Bank in the past few weeks than in any similar period in at least the past 15 years, according to Palestinian health authorities and historical data from the United Nations.
Israeli forces and settlers have killed 95 Palestinians in the Israeli-occupied West Bank since the Hamas attacks on Oct. 7, health officials said, a surge in violence in what was already a particularly deadly year in the West Bank. One Israeli soldier was also killed in clashes.
The Israeli military said on Tuesday that it had escalated bombardments in Gaza overnight, and Palestinian officials said that hundreds of people had been killed, adding to the devastating toll as Israel faces pressure to delay a ground invasion.
Israel said it had struck more than 400 targets in the past 24 hours, after hitting more than 320 a day earlier, in some of the most intense aerial attacks on Gaza in recent days. The Gaza Health Ministry, which is controlled by the armed group Hamas, said that it had recorded the highest single-day death toll of the war: at least 704 people killed in dozens of strikes on homes, a refugee camp and other places. It was not possible to independently verify the toll.
While Israeli military officials say they are well prepared for a ground assault in Gaza, part of its strategy to eliminate Hamas, it remains unclear when and if such an invasion will occur. American officials have said Israel’s military is not yet ready with a plan for a successful ground invasion, and has also urged Israel to give more time for hostage negotiations and aid deliveries.
During the delays, Israel has intensified its bombardment from the air. The Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry said Israel’s airstrikes had killed more than 5,700 people, nearly half of them children, since Oct. 7, when a Hamas-led attack killed more than 1,400 people in Israel.
by James Kunstler
“We are at an inflection point, a threshold, where weak, brittle, effete personality structures are a threat to human civilization.”— JD Haltigan on X
You might have noticed that the massive investment in Halloween yard shrines by families growing broke in America reflects the ghoulish convergence of malevolent events undermining and overtaking what used to be normal life in this land. Nothing is normal anymore. The groaning mummies, howling werewolves, and shrieking skeletons are trying to tell us something.
The message might be: detach from reality long enough and death comes creeping ’round your door. You see where consensual madness has gotten us? Believe enough things that are not true and nemesis comes roaring in, all fangs and claws, to gleefully shred you. So. Maybe it’s time to stop believing things that are not true.
Start with the first principle of US life in our time: that anything goes and nothing matters. This proposition has ruled for as long as most of us can remember. Consequence was exiled on Main Street so you can get away with anything now — until you discover that, somehow, everything is broken. Your livelihood is broken. Your community is broken. Your household is broken. Your car is broken. Your children are broken. Your health is broken. Your faith is broken. Your country is broken.
Here’s a first principle worth considering: court death and it will oblige you. Granted, there is a certain libido for nonexistence in the human psyche because life is so hard sometimes that you yearn to be relieved of it. But not everyone in America seeks to walk that way. Probably fewer than half of us. So why do we allow that other half to drag us to the bone orchard? Do you see what it means to get your mind right when times get hard and the path is uncertain?
Everybody knows that a ghoul was installed in the now-haunted White House. And everybody knows that the method of his installation was a fraud, a gigantic falsehood. The catch is that the fewer than half of us liked it that way, they celebrated it, did a victory dance, and then rubbed it in with prosecutions against the rest of us who saw exactly what happened and didn’t like it. They acted like it didn’t matter what you saw.
They tried to control the transmission of ideas and sentiment about these matters by placing half the CIA and the FBI on Facebook, Twitter, and Google. Nice try, but only cads and fools think that you can stuff reality in a black box, lock it up, and throw away the key. Reality has Houdini-like powers to escape because reality is true magic. Reality is the ultimate super-power. Reality is not some asshole in a spandex suit with a cape and a mask. Reality is the white light that reveals the world.
Reality is telling us that the war project in Ukraine started by the neocon pseudopod of our Deep State blob is not working out. The fiasco could not be more rank. Instead of weakening Russia, it crippled the USA. V. Putin is not the enemy of Western Civ, he’s one of its last remaining defenders. Was it not in everyone’s interest that for seventy-five years Ukraine existed as an inert borderland, making trouble for nobody, itself especially? Could we not respect that reality and leave it alone?
Reality is telling us that Israel refuses to be massacred out of existence. Israel will defend itself with us or without us. It’s possible they’ll manage it intelligently. You might ask: will we defend ourselves against the same antagonist that wants to wipe all of Western Civ off the face of the earth, us included? Notice that your own will to survive is being subverted by useful idiots while warrior cadres of mysterious origin pour across the Mexican border. Everyone knows it’s a clear and present danger and who will move to stop the invasion? Do we have to wait for a catastrophe?
Who is “Joe Biden” working for? Wouldn’t you like to know? Not much is left of him in mind or body, though he made a fortune in a short span of years for doing effectively nothing but retailing his favor before landing so uncannily in the seat of power. The truth about it is all over the place now and might provoke constitutional procedures that will induce the de-platforming he likely deserves. All that is going to unspool now whether The New York Times pays attention to it or not, and no matter what the fewer than half of us want to pretend about the evil legerdemain that put him where he is.
The extended festival of ghouls and dancing skeletons comes to an end in a week with the Day of the Dead, also known as All Saints Day. That is your cue to stop celebrating wickedness for its own sake. Remember, we are the living. While we are here, we have an obligation to those who come after us. The dead can take care of themselves. It is possible to have faith in ourselves. Even as the days grow shorter, the people of this land can gather in the remaining light instead of worshipping the darkness. A new season will be upon us soon. Hark, the herald angels sing!
UKRAINE, MONDAY, 23 OCTOBER
Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has submitted a bill for Sweden’s Nato membership bid to parliament for ratification, the Turkish presidency said. The presidency did not provide further details.
Sweden and Finland applied to join Nato last year after Russia invaded Ukraine. Finnish membership was sealed in April, marking a historic expansion of the western defence bloc, but Sweden’s bid has been held up by Turkey and Hungary.
All 31 Nato allies must endorse Sweden’s membership.
Turkey has previously said Sweden must take more steps at home to clamp down on the Kurdistan Workers’ party (PKK), which the EU and US also deem a terrorist group.
ON-LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
USA’s new business slogan? “Building our country by destroying yours!”
TRAITS OF THE DISINFORMATIONALIST
1) Avoidance. They never actually discuss issues head-on or provide constructive input, generally avoiding citation of references or credentials. Rather, they merely imply this, that, and the other. Virtually everything about their presentation implies their authority and expert knowledge in the matter without any further justification for credibility.
2) Selectivity. They tend to pick and choose opponents carefully, either applying the hit-and-run approach against mere commentators supportive of opponents, or focusing heavier attacks on key opponents who are known to directly address issues. Should a commentator become argumentative with any success, the focus will shift to include the commentator as well.
3) Coincidental. They tend to surface suddenly and somewhat coincidentally with a new controversial topic with no clear prior record of participation in general discussions in the particular public arena involved. They likewise tend to vanish once the topic is no longer of general concern. They were likely directed or elected to be there for a reason, and vanish with the reason.
4) Teamwork. They tend to operate in self-congratulatory and complementary packs or teams. Of course, this can happen naturally in any public forum, but there will likely be an ongoing pattern of frequent exchanges of this sort where professionals are involved. Sometimes one of the players will infiltrate the opponent camp to become a source for straw man or other tactics designed to dilute opponent presentation strength.
5) Anti-conspiratorial. They almost always have disdain for ‘conspiracy theorists’ and, usually, for those who in any way believe JFK was not killed by LHO. Ask yourself why, if they hold such disdain for conspiracy theorists, do they focus on defending a single topic discussed in a NG focusing on conspiracies? One might think they would either be trying to make fools of everyone on every topic, or simply ignore the group they hold in such disdain.Or, one might more rightly conclude they have an ulterior motive for their actions in going out of their way to focus as they do.
6) Artificial Emotions. An odd kind of ‘artificial’ emotionalism and an unusually thick skin — an ability to persevere and persist even in the face of overwhelming criticism and unacceptance. This likely stems from intelligence community training that, no matter how condemning the evidence, deny everything, and never become emotionally involved or reactive. The net result for a disinfo artist is that emotions can seem artificial.
Most people, if responding in anger, for instance, will express their animosity throughout their rebuttal. But disinfo types usually have trouble maintaining the ‘image’ and are hot and cold with respect to pretended emotions and their usually more calm or unemotional communications style. It’s just a job, and they often seem unable to ‘act their role in character’ as well in a communications medium as they might be able in a real face-to-face conversation/confrontation. You might have outright rage and indignation one moment, ho-hum the next, and more anger later — an emotional yo-yo.
With respect to being thick-skinned, no amount of criticism will deter them from doing their job, and they will generally continue their old disinfo patterns without any adjustments to criticisms of how obvious it is that they play that game — where a more rational individual who truly cares what others think might seek to improve their communications style, substance, and so forth, or simply give up.
7) Inconsistent. There is also a tendency to make mistakes which betray their true self/motives. This may stem from not really knowing their topic, or it may be somewhat ‘freudian’, so to speak, in that perhaps they really root for the side of truth deep within.
I have noted that often, they will simply cite contradictory information which neutralizes itself and the author. For instance, one such player claimed to be a Navy pilot, but blamed his poor communicating skills (spelling, grammar, incoherent style) on having only a grade-school education. I’m not aware of too many Navy pilots who don’t have a college degree. Another claimed no knowledge of a particular topic/situation but later claimed first-hand knowledge of it.…
NEW YORK – ALBANY
God I had forgotten how
the Hudson burns
in indian autumn
fall away through
all those trees
The leaves die turning
falling into loam of dark
yellow into death
falling fallen falling
those ‘pestience-stricken multitudes’
blown all blasted
They are hurting them
with wood rakes
They are raking them
in great hills
They are burning them
the leaves curl burning
the curled smoke gives up
never the same leaf turn again
the same leaves burn
In a red field
a white stallion stands
and pees his oblivion
upon those leaves
washing my bus window
only now blacked out
by a covered bridge
we flash through
No roundtrip ticket
the youth years fallen
away back then
Under the Linden trees in Boston Common
through these woods of years
They flame forever
with those thoughts
I did not see eternity
the other night
but now in burning
Every bush burns
In the red end
Small nuts fall
— Lawrence Ferlinghetti, from Starting From San Francisco (1961)