Mild | Ravens | Reckless Driving | Muertos Altar | Football Playoff | Forest Health | Moon Shot | Contractor Meetup | Harvest Art | Resident Rights | Noyo Return | Ed Notes | Headstone | Amazing Mockel | Homeless Tip | Guitar Quartet | Oaky Testimonial | Joseph Blow | Benefit Dinner | Yesterday's Catch | SMART Fixes | Carson House | Oakland Crows | Timber Harvest | Rendering | Loathsome Joe | Noyo Theater | Grievance Artist | Niner Fan | Stop Wars | Ukraine | Depop | Gaza | True War | Probe Deeper | Earring Girl | NetanYahoo | Optimism | Jihad | Scary Treat | Biden Complicit | High Five | Ethnic Cleansing | Pumpkin Farmer | Natural Color | Moral Life | Blue Poppy
DRY, MILD WEATHER will continue into Wednesday. Precipitation chances will increase Wednesday as a transition into an active and rainy weather pattern develops. (NWS)
STEPHEN DUNLAP (Fort Bragg): A partly cloudy 40F this Halloween morning on the coast. More of the same into about midday Thursday when rain chances increase. It is looking wet in general for the next week with a few breaks along the way. Forecast is calling for over an inch of rain on Saturday alone, we'll see.
RUN OFF THE ROAD
If you were run off HWY 1 today, Monday 30th, driving north bound around 10:30 am by a small 4 door bronze colored car (toyota possibly) around the top of Caspar grade. And would like info about that driver email me - It was an incredibly dangerous scene.
Nancy Gardner, firstname.lastname@example.org
DIA DE LOS MUERTOS (Day of the Dead) Altars at the Fort Bragg Library
To honor loved ones who have passed, The Cancer Resource Centers of Mendocino County will have an altar in the Dia de los Muertos Altar Hall at the Fort Bragg Library Community Room. All are welcome to add a photo, offering or momento to our altar if they wish. No food or candles are allowed.
The Altar Hall will be open Tuesday, October 31st through Thursday, November 2nd from 10 AM to 5 PM in the Fort Bragg Library Community Room at 499 E. Laurel St. in Fort Bragg.
More information can be found here artsmendocino.org/event/dia-de-los-muertos-altar-hall/
THIS WEDNESDAY 11/1: AV Hosts Fremont Christian In The First Round Of The Playoffs, 3:30 pm at Tom Smith Field
BIG TALK COMING TO LAYTONVILLE
The Eel River Recovery Project (ERRP) and multiple co-sponsors are holding a comprehensive forest health meeting at Harwood Hall in Laytonville on Saturday November 4 from 9 AM to 5 PM. The meeting is aimed at helping the community to organize to maximize the benefits of forest health implementation, including tiered opportunities such as using wood generated for building construction or furniture. Another emphasis will be fire preparedness.
The meeting will convene at 9 AM with a welcome from the Cahto Tribe followed by brief remarks from 3rd District Supervisor John Haschak. A summary of the new CAL FIRE Tenmile Creek Watershed Forest Health grant by ERRP Managing Director Pat Higgins will follow. The project includes treatment of 950 acres comprised of private land and the Cahto Tribe Rancheria. The goal is to thin the forest and restore oak woodlands to reduce fire risk, restore biodiversity, increase stream flow, and create jobs. In the long term, the intent is to use frequent, low-intensity fire to maintain the landscape in the same way the Cahto Tribe did historically.
Karen Youngblood of the Redwood Forest Foundation, Inc (RFFI) will give a summary of the Red Mountain/Usal Forest CAL FIRE grant administered by the Mendocino County Resource Conservation District (MCRCD). Forest health consultant Tim Bailey will talk about the wealth of grant resources available that could be accessed by the community. Scot Steinbring of Torchbearr, a professional burn boss who is part of the ERRP team, will make a presentation entitled “Bringing Back Good Fire.” Rounding out the morning plenary session will be Jenny Burnstad of the Forest Reciprocity Group (FRG), Emily Tecchio of the Mendocino County Fire Safe Council (MCFSC), and Will Emerson of the Northern Mendocino Ecosystem Recovery Alliance (NM ERA).
After lunch is served, there will be breakout sessions at Harwood Hall, the Laytonville Garden Club, and the ERRP office across from Geigers Market. Harwood Hall sessions will address planning for fire defense, locating shaded fuel breaks to fragment fire, and the use of controlled burns to restore and maintain forest health. At the ERRP office, there will be sessions on the use of wood generated by forest health projects for pole construction of buildings, for founding a hand-made furniture industry, and as biochar for soil amendment at a community cooperative scale. The latter session will be co-facilitated by Casey O’Neil of Happy Day Farms.
Garden Club breakout topics will include organizing more non-profit capacity to bring in additional grant resources, the use of woody material to rebuild streams and to stop gullies in forests and meadows, and why native grasslands need to be restored to reduce fire risk and to improve the ecological health of the watershed.
Co-sponsors include all groups named above, CAL FIRE, the Cahto Tribe, and the Institute for Sustainable Forestry. While community needs for fire safety and economic development are huge, the resources potentially available are substantial. The question is, will the community organize to take advantage of the multi-tiered opportunities?
Food will be provided all day, starting with bagels donated by Los Bagels with cream cheese, fresh fruit, and coffee starting at 8:30 AM. Sandwiches will be served for lunch at noon and dinner will be served at 5 PM, including 30 pounds of wild rockfish donated by Pacific Choice Seafood. There is no charge for admission or meals, although donations will be gladly accepted.
For more information or to volunteer, contact ERRPoutreach@gmail.com or call 707 223-7200. Information is also available at EelRiverRecovery.org and the ERRP Facebook page.
CONTRACTOR MEETUP ON NOVEMBER 14 IN FORT BRAGG
Learn about Energy Rebates and Incentives
Sonoma Clean Power (SCP) in partnership with West Business Development Center (West Center) is pleased to announce a local contractor meetup on November 14, 2023 from 5:30PM to 7:00PM at the West Center offices at 345 North Franklin Street in Fort Bragg.
The event invites those in the building trades, contractors, architects, electricians, plumbers, etc., to learn about the current and upcoming energy rebates and incentives that can benefit their businesses.
SCP's Program Manager, Felicia Smith, looks forward to hearing from building professionals about their needs and/or concerns:
There are a lot of rebates incentivizing the installation of energy efficient heat pump HVAC systems, heat pump water heaters, and induction cooking. We want to help the contracting community stay informed so they can continue to build trusted relationships with their customers and grow their businesses.
Light food and beverages will be provided for attendees, and there will be a drawing for a $100 gift certificate redeemable at Rossi Building Materials.
SCP representatives will cover the contractor tax credits and rebates available under the Inflation Reduction Act, as well as other local and state rebates for the installation of HVAC systems, heat pumps, electric vehicle chargers, and more.
West Center Executive Director Mary Anne Petrillo notes, "This is a great opportunity for our local building trades to meet each other and learn how they too can benefit when they help their clients invest in the future of clean energy. We are particularly grateful to Rossi Building Materials for supporting this event."
Seating is limited. Please contact email@example.com to register and to learn more.
NOT ENOUGH POT REGS?
To the Editor:
We have been dismayed by some recent decisions by the Board of Supervisors and County staff regarding residents’ rights to safety and security. Here in Redwood Valley, over 500 local residents were denied the right, currently written in County law, to prevent large hoop house marijuana grows directly adjacent to houses. This month, a similar petition in Willits was also denied. Vague excuses were offered from several Board members for denying the residents’ requests, but the real reason is the undue influence of powerful lobbyists and moneyed interests promoting the cannabis industry.
The Board and County staffers demonstrate that they aren’t reading the tea leaves about the public’s views toward poor cannabis regulations. Up and down California, residents who in 2016 voted in favor of legalizing marijuana now see that unforeseen consequences include increased crime, firearms, environmental disasters, and rampant expansion in the size of these grow sites. Here in Redwood Valley, beautiful and peaceful views are now marred by high fencing, dogs, security cameras, and giant hoop houses emitting stench year round. From wild dog packs in Riverside County abandoned by pot growers, to the replacement of diversified farming operations with cannabis hoop houses in Santa Barbara County, to encroachment on private property in Humboldt County, Californians are loudly protesting the problems caused by the cannabis industry, both legal and illegal (or “who knows if it’s legal at this moment”).
According to a paid lobbyist for cannabis, Michael Katz, Mendocino County voters support cannabis growing; after all, we voted for it in 2016. Of course, such a simplistic comment ignores real issues. We all know that pot growing sites, whether legal or not, bring the criminal element close behind. Cash, weapons, and product are a huge lure to criminals, as the Sheriff will validate with lots of data. Noise, dust, chemical pesticides, roads torn up by water trucks, abandoned plastic hoop houses, etc., all add to County costs and residents’ frustration. It was nice to think that de-criminalizing pot would ease many problems, but absent Federal legalization, a workable regulatory infrastructure, and strong (and expensive) enforcement, these problems won’t go away.
And the real cause of these problems is the usual one: greed. Big Canna has become just like all the other industries that have lots of money, like oil, railroads, trucking, and banking. Big money leads to undue influence, and to individuals’ loss of our rights to peace, quiet, and self-determination. It’s time to rein it in. The Board needs to re-consider the two Cannabis Opt Out requests. Then, re-think the zoning code to add a buffer zone between residential properties and cannabis grows; eliminate hoop-house grows; and stop claiming that taxing cannabis will pay for enforcement, when the reality is that as much as 80 percent of the pot sold now is illegally grown. Let’s get real.
Christine Boyd and Tom Schoeneman
SPOTTED AN INTERESTING ad for the North Cliff Hotel, promising “elegance in Fort Bragg.” What's refreshing about Fort Bragg is its absence of elegance.The Coast reader who sent along the ad also wondered how the compact 14x16 North Cliff rooms could accommodate “in-room hot tubs and an in-room fireplace,” which is handier than a campfire on the open-air hallway, certainly. Maybe the fireplace heats the hot tub which also serves as the hot water heater which also serves as the jacuzzi who might be an old Italian guy blowing bubbles up through the floor to give the old works old world authenticity.
I KNOW that language is more flexible than ever these days, but a motel, as I recall, is the kind of place where you park in front of your room, walk into an office where one of five million Patels takes your money and gives you the key to… you never know what, perhaps next door to fat bikers with no teeth and skinny blonde women with no teeth named Krystal and Tonya are cooking crank, which happened to me once in Garberville. At a hotel, by contrast, this entire process is indoors and the people next door are snorting cocaine, not processing it.
SPEAKING OF MOTELS, my friend Joe Paff told me that an old beatnik he knew always refused to sleep in motels because the idea of lying on a bed whose thousands of previous occupants had left their thousands of various dreams behind kept him awake.
DIRECTLY below the ad for the North Cliff Hotel and its hot tubs, is a smaller and more sedate pitch for “The Stanford Inn By The Sea,” a much larger Coast motel but owned by liberals, which accounts for it having “extraordinary ocean views” instead of the “views of the ocean” offered by the North Cliff.
THE NORTH CLIFF does offer unimpeded ocean vistas, but if you can see the Pacific from a room at the Stanford Inn you must be agile enough to climb up on the roof to see the ocean from any where on the premises.
THE STANFORD also offers “vegetarian dining” for $40. “Vegetarian meals” at the less pretentious Coast venues gets you a foot-high platter of lettuce and bean sprouts for ten bucks. At the Stanford you also get “full breakfasts, cooked to order,” which seems to mean if you order the Denver omelet you won’t get a cheeseburger.
WHILE THE NORTH CLIFF promises “elegance in Fort Bragg,” a self-cancelling and undesirable promise, The Stanford Inn By The Sea (a half mile from the sea as the gull flies) guarantees a lot more than a cot and a hot. “For those who wish to experience the quintessence of luxury on the Mendocino Coast,” the ad says. Even without the qualifier “Mendocino Coast,” which narrows the competition to exactly one establishment between downtown San Francisco and downtown Portland — the Heritage House — it can nevertheless be said that for a hundred bucks (and way up) you can get yourself a nice room at a whole lot of Fort Bragg motels and nice meals at a whole bunch of Coast eating places where you're unlikely to meet the kind of people looking for quintessences.
SLO LEARNER. Early this summer, I made a mistake identical to one I’d made in May of 1990; I tried to drive the big empty space from Willits to Fort Bragg on the Sherwood Road or, as the Gradgrinds who name things for the County call it, Road 311. No cautionary signs were posted at either end of the 30-mile road warning the unwary and the imprudent that the Fort Bragg end of the road is impassable to all but 4-wheel drives.
I GOT ALL the way to the Fort Bragg end when mud bogs and five-foot ruts caused me to turn back for Willits. Attempting to turn around, I managed to get my vehicle stuck. Ten years ago I got my truck stuck in a huge rut, probably the same one, That time I hiked into Fort Bragg, borrowed a hundred bucks from my reluctant sister-in-law, found a kid with a winch on the front of his pick-up lounging in front of the Tip Top, and persuaded him to haul me out for the cash.
THIS SECOND TIME I hiked out of the Sherwood wilderness at about 3pm, and I can report that the vast clearcuts are mostly overgrown with blue blossom or ceonothus. “Good for the soil,” an enviro friend assured me. I reached the paved Sherwood in about an hour. The three cars that passed me waved merrily but did not stop to ask me if I wanted a lift into town. One, containing two middleaged women, seemed to recognize me, accounting for their instant acceleration.
THE FOURTH vehicle I flagged down stopped. The kid at the wheel said, “We’ve been following you for miles. I can’t believe you’re this far down already.” Flattered, and not caring if the four young persons stuffed in the battered, big wheel Toyota were bandits or cannibals or both, I heaved my sweaty bulk into the back seat, clumsily shoving the two young guys over to make room for myself but apologizing for my unintended aggression.
I IDENTIFIED MYSELF. “You aren’t one of those corporate asshole newspaper guys are you?” I took another look at the kid driving. A media sophisticate? No, I assured him. I own the little paper in Boonville. “Boonville has a paper?” His passengers took no more notice of me than they would any other object, animate or otherwise, occupying the confined space with them.
THE DRIVER dropped his passengers off at a jolly little house in Fort Bragg where cases of beer and groceries were being carried onto the premises by young women. He said he’d pull me out for “a consideration,” which I thought was the most discreet remark I’d ever heard in all my years in Mendocino County. The driver told another kid to get in the truck. The driver didn’t tell the kid who I was or what we were doing but the kid hopped right in. We roared back up Sherwood Road.
THE DRIVER popped a tape into the vehicle's theater-quality sound system. After several rap stanzas having to do with murdering people, the driver turned to me, a huge grin on his face, and said. “It’s about the LA riots. I was there. It was great. The cops were scared shitless.” We careened on. Where the pavement ends and the impassable ruts begin, the driver told me, “Buckle up and hold on.”
NO EXAGGERATION, he roared through the ruts at an average 40 mph. My head bounced off the ceiling of the truck a half-dozen times. I was astounded. I had no idea certain vehicles could negotiate terrain like this. “You should do commercials for Toyota,” I yelled. “This is amazing. Do you always drive like this?” He looked at me, as if hearing the dumbest question ever. In no time at all we were at my marooned vehicle.
THE DRIVER ordered the kid to climb under my truck (and into the mud) with a piece of chain. The kid obeyed immediately, practically diving into the muck. In 30 seconds I was out. The driver told me how to take an alternate route in the backroad maze of inner Sherwood and soon I was in Fort Bragg via the little beauty spot called Glen Blair. Just before Glen Blair another old beatnik came driving up in a Subaru. My rescuer told him that “for a consideration” he’d lead him to an alternative route and the security of a paved path to Fort Bragg. He obviously made a nice side income pulling the unwary off Sherwood Road.
TREVOR MOCKEL (facebook):
Thanks to everyone who showed up to the Trunk or Treat event at the Redwood Valley Grange. It was great to see so many creative costumes and decorated trunks. We had a blast giving out candies and spinning the prize wheel, and enjoying the festive atmosphere. It was a wonderful community event and a great way to bring neighbors and friends together.
* * *
Just wanted to extend a huge thank you to everyone who showed up and put in all their hard work to make the Día de los Muertos celebration a success.
Día de los Muertos, also known as "Day of the Dead," is a holiday that pays tribute to beloved family and friends who have passed away, and it's widely observed in Mexico and the American Southwest.
This celebration was filled with incredible altars made by talented Mendocino College students and staff, as well as Mexican food booths, fantastic music, captivating Torito de Petate and Folkloric dancers, hot chocolate and pan dulce, piñatas, and arts & crafts.
This event wouldn’t have happened without the support and dedication of each and every volunteer and staff member. Thank you for joining and making it an unforgettable experience! Let's keep the spirit alive and remember our loved ones always.
(1) Can anyone point me in the direction of free/dispersed camping near a city on the coast? Like, an unpopulated area right outside a town where I can put up a tent. BLM or public land. Ideally by a stream or river.
(2) Hopland the gas station by burgers, my way the Russian river runs along there under 101 and you can put a tent under the Bridge by the Russian river. I think it’s 10 feet or something like that from the water and then some people I’ve even done it put a tent under the bridge and live in it Homeless go through Hopland and put up signs at the gas station asking for help and there’s a Lotta good people around there I was homeless 2 1/2 years in Hopland.
LOS ANGELES GUITAR QUARTET
The Los Angeles Guitar Quartet will create musical magic in Ukiah this Sunday, November 5 at 2:00pm on the beautiful stage of the Mendocino College Centre Theater.
Famous, acclaimed, and legendary, these Grammy Award winners are master musicians in a host of genres, with charisma and creativity that make them superb entertainers as well.
This is the UCCA’s second concert of this season and the last one for calendar year 2023. It promises to be a celebration and an inspiration—a performance you won’t want to miss!
Tickets for non-season subscribers are $35 in advance and $40 at the door. Advance tickets are available online (ukiahconcerts.org) and at Mendocino Book Company in Ukiah and Mazahar in Willits.
We offer free tickets for youth 17 and under, and to full-time (12 units) college students. Reserve free tickets in advance by calling the UCCA at 707-463-2738 with name, phone number, and email.
Whether as a season member or an individual ticket holder, we look forward to celebrating great music throughout our season with you!
DAVID SVEHLA IN SF WRITES: Oaky Joe’s letter, “Hyper Regulation Coming Soon to Mendo,” captures the current zeitgeist quite well! I’m proud to have met Oaky. His personal story, cannabis saving his life from alcohol, is priceless!
NOYO FOOD FOREST presents its Annual Benefit Dinner, Saturday, December 2
Tickets are on sale now for Noyo Food Forest’s Annual Benefit Dinner
Dinner in the Grove. Join us at Mendocino Grove December 2, 5-9pm, for a delicious evening featuring:
- Farm-to-table dinner
- Wreath-making with Golden Coast Florals
- Wine, beer
- Cider cocktails from The Farm
- Live auction including amazing packages of local experiences and adventures, and more.
Tickets are $85, available at https://noyofoodforest.org/annual-benefit-dinner-2024/
We’re also offering a limited number of glamping tents for guests who wish to stay the night or weekend. Sleep in style while supporting Noyo Food Forest!
Contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org
CATCH OF THE DAY, Monday, October 30, 2023
NATALIE CLOW, Willits. Disorderly conduct-alcohol&drugs.
DYLAN OUGH, Ukiah. Failure to appear, probation revocation.
SAMANTHA TAYLOR, Fort Bragg. Domestic abuse.
NOT SO SMART
Let me check in with what’s wrong with SMART: Lack of connectivity. By this, I mean it’s not connected to other transit systems.
First, at the Larkspur end, there is a 15-minute walk to get to the Golden Gate Ferry. This discourages people from using it to get to San Francisco. The track should go to the ferry terminal so it’s an easy two-minute walk to the ferry.
Second, the Santa Rosa bus transit mall is a 15-minute walk to the train station. The transit mall should be moved to the old rail yard west of the station, resulting in a two-minute walk to the train, and CityBus schedules should be adjusted to connect with the trains.
Third, a passenger should be able to buy one ticket for the entire journey.
Last, more parking is needed at the stations.
If these changes were made, SMART would be much more utilized.
A MASSIVE MURDER OF CROWS HAS DESCENDED ON OAKLAND.
The population of crows in Oakland nearly doubled from 2021 to 2022. What is the city’s max capacity?
by Nuala Bishari
A couple of weeks ago, I was having dinner with a friend in uptown Oakland when a slow but steady increase in noise started to drown out our conversation. We looked out the window and saw the sky outside the restaurant had turned black with the beating wings of crows. As we settled our bill, the birds kept coming. When we walked outside, the cacophony was deafening. Hundreds of crows filled the trees, sat on the telephone poles and lined the edges of buildings.
Passersby paused to stare. “Creepy,” I heard one woman say, while a man who had just parked his car under a tree looked up uneasily as he paid the meter.
Crows live in the Bay Area year-round. As the weather cools, they congregate in larger groups and roost together. In Oakland, this often happens downtown, in proximity to Lake Merritt and the enormous amount of trash produced by restaurants, a food source for the birds. The large roosts each fall have long invited curiosity and a flurry of articles.
But in recent years, something unusual has been happening with the crows.
In 2000, the Golden Gate Bird Alliance, which holds annual counts of birds every December, spotted just 167 crows in the fall roost. A few years ago, that number started climbing — and the jumps in population have grown. In December 2021, the group counted 2,429 crows. One year later, it jumped to 4,428.
“This is the highest we’ve ever seen the crow population, almost double the year before,” Whitney Grover, deputy director of the Golden Gate Bird Alliance, told me when I called to inquire about our downtown Oakland roosts. “It’s a huge boom.”
And it’s not just here. There’s an increase in crows in urban areas all over the country.
Grover isn’t sure why, but she has some theories.
“Crows are extremely smart and adaptable, and they’re really good at living with humans,” she said, noting that crows are successful scavengers of our trash. Safety may also be a motivator for their urban shift. “It is still legal in rural areas to get permits to hunt crows during the winter. It’s possible the rural areas are too dangerous, and they’ve relocated here.”
Whatever the reason, the crows in downtown Oakland this year are impossible to miss. They’ve drawn me back to the neighborhood several times over the past couple of weeks. As I stood beneath one of their roosts the other night, trying and failing to count how many had landed, I wondered how their population increase would shift our relationship with the birds. They are noisy, yes, but aside from that there is one clear downside to being near a massive crow roost: their poop.
This isn’t new territory for a city that’s home to a vast diversity of birds. Just a few blocks south of the crow roost I was watching is Oakland’s Chinatown, home to huge numbers of black-crowned night herons, which settle in the trees and along the edges of buildings at sunset. There, they make an absolute mess of things. Parking meters are so caked in dung it’s impossible to read their screens, let alone slide a coin in. The waste bleaches paint from cars. Tree branches sag under the weight of accumulated feces.
Cleaning this up is no small feat. According to city staff I spoke with, cleanup crews respond to bird poop calls on a case-by-case basis. It takes water heated to 154 degrees and pressurized to 3,200 to 3,500 pounds per square inch to power wash the material off the sidewalks. Knowing delicate bird populations are nearby, the city avoids using detergent or disinfectants.
Other cities take a more aggressive response to their growing urban crow population. When the number of crows hit 15,000 in downtown Portland, Ore., keeping the bus stops, business awnings and sidewalks free of poop became too much work. So the city hired falconers with Harris hawks to chase the birds out of a 10-square block radius in the neighborhood.
Grover hasn’t heard of any such efforts in the Bay Area and doesn’t think we’ll need to go that far.
“We should have a little bit more crow tolerance,” she told me. “They are native species. They belong here, in some numbers. It’s hard to say what the appropriate population was before human development in the last 200 years, but I think we should welcome them.”
Granted, I am not tasked with power washing their feces off the sidewalk at 4 a.m., but I feel similarly. If crows are becoming a pest in your yard, simply visit the Halloween section of your local store and pick up a plastic one. Fake, dead crows, I’ve learned, are a deterrent, no hawk needed.
My other advice: Next time you’re walking through downtown Oakland at sunset, give up trying to have a conversation over the din and look up. My favorite roost is best viewed from the southeast side of Grand Avenue and Webster Street. From there, you’ll get the full panoramic effect of their black bodies silhouetted against the sky.
Just don’t stand directly underneath the trees.
MARILYN DAVIN: Our Banksy Print…
RENDERING is a $2.4 billion-a-year industry, processing 40 billion pounds of dead animals a year. There is simply no such thing in America as an animal too ravaged by disease, too cancerous, or too putrid to be welcomed by the all-embracing arms of the renderer. Another staple of the renderer’s diet, in addition to farm animals, is euthanized pets — the six or seven million dogs and cats that are killed in animal shelters every year. The city of Los Angeles alone, for example, sends some 200 tons of euthanized cats and dogs to a rendering plant every month. Added to the blend are the euthanized catch of animal control agencies, and roadkill. (Roadkill is not collected daily, and in the summer, the better roadkill collection crews can generally smell it before they can see it.) When this gruesome mix is ground and steam-cooked, the lighter, fatty material floating to the top gets refined for use in such products as cosmetics, lubricants, soaps, candles, and waxes. The heavier protein material is dried and pulverized into a brown powder — about a quarter of which consists of fecal material. The powder is used as an additive to almost all pet food as well as to livestock feed. Farmers call it “protein concentrates.” In 1995, five million tons of processed slaughterhouse leftovers were sold for animal feed in the United States. I used to feed tons of the stuff to my own livestock in Montana. It never concerned me that I was feeding cattle to cattle.
— Howard Lyman, Cattle Rancher, author of ‘Mad Cowboy’
Beginning next August 15 in Chicago, the morally bankrupt Democrat Party will be holding its quadrennial presidential convention in which it plans to re-nominate for a second term the world's leading war monger and the bankroller of Israel's genocidal war against the people of Palestine, Loathsome Joe Biden.
It is essential that people supporting justice for Palestine be in the streets of Chicago that week as I and others were in 1968 to prevent the morally bankrupt convention delegates from again foisting Biden on a world that deserves better. This is the time to begin talking up a week of mass protests in Chicago's streets that will mark a return to justice that has long been missing from the political charades that pass as "democracy" in the United States.
THE GRIEVANCE ARTIST
by Mark Danner
If Trump has a genius, it is his ability to shape, often out of his own self-made follies and recklessness and crimes, a narrative that relentlessly reaffirms his grim story of an us-versus-them America. He is the strongman standing between the “sinister forces” and the millions of ordinary Americans who love their country. The audacity with which he shapes this narrative and the unerring accuracy with which he targets his followers’ resentments and insecurities are unmatched in our politics.
Trump is the grand artist of grievance. He has replaced the Republican nostrums of balanced budgets and tax cuts and military strength with paranoia and bitterness and white-hot anger. A party that once wanted little more than to cut rich people’s taxes now wildly cheers gutting the FBI and the Department of Justice.
This is Trump’s Republican Party, brimming with working- and middle-class supporters only he could attract. Trump built this new party and he is determined to use it, energized with the ignominy of his prosecutions, to vault himself back into the White House. Regaining power is his only strategy, his only plan; and his very freedom, perhaps his life, depends on it.
It is absurd, of course. How could a politician indicted on 91 felony counts in New York and Washington, Miami and Atlanta, dare to hope to be elected to the highest office in the land? Absurd—almost as absurd as the idea that a reality-show loudmouth and failed businessman with not a whit of government or military experience could have reached the White House in the first place. And indeed, once again the smart money says it’s impossible: Trump, with help from the Supreme Court justices he appointed who struck down Roe v. Wade, has lost the moderates in the suburbs and the independents, and not enough right-wing “base” voters exist to return him to office.
Perhaps this will prove true. Or perhaps Trump will manage to persuade legions of nonvoters on the right to come to the polls to save their hero. Perhaps he will be able to seize on a hung jury or even an acquittal to energize even more supporters.
Whatever the results, Trump will use — is already using — the election campaign to carry forward a “slow-motion coup” that began with his political career and that has succeeded in undermining the legitimacy of the political system for nearly half the population.
If he loses, it can only be because of the election interference he daily denounces, and this “second steal” will stand for his supporters as the final proof that the system is irredeemably corrupt. And if he wins, he promises to transform the presidency and the government in ways that will make them unrecognizable.
Whether the man finishes by sitting in the White House or a federal penitentiary, this destruction of faith in the country’s political institutions and in particular in its ways of transferring power will stand as Trumpism’s toxic legacy.
HOW TO STOP THE WAR(S)
This week President Biden and Congress will likely pursue money to fund wars against Ukraine and Gaza, and to further actions against China and Iran. Here are short-term actions that you can take
by Dennis Kucinich
If you are opposed to continued US involvement in wars which are percolating globally and which threaten to ensnare our country, jeopardize our troops and ruin our economy, please read this article.
President Biden and Congress this week, in separate funding attempts, will likely pursue money to fund wars against Ukraine and Gaza, and to intensify further actions which could start wars against China and Iran.
This is a defining moment for Mr. Biden, for Congress, for America and the world. Congress may well split war appropriations into separate bills, but once the spigot is open, more and more money will flow to accelerate the killing.
We are on the offense vs. Russia, and preparing for offense vs. Iran and China. NONE of these nations have forward bases to attack the US.
We have over 800 bases around the world.
We spend close to ONE TRILLION DOLLARS a year, almost half of our discretionary spending for the Pentagon and various intelligence services.
We do have the obligation to protect our nation. However, we can’t protect it by actively inciting tensions and pre-emptively bombing Iran, Russia or China.
Such attacks will risk massive retaliatory strikes which would destroy our major cities and kill millions of Americans, no matter how good our defense is. We bombed and killed a million Iraqis precisely because they could not fight back, just as Gazans are being bombed under US supervision. Iran, China and Russia can and will fight back.
America is at greater risk today than ever because our leaders are prepared to gamble with wiping out all history and posterity. Don’t say it can’t happen. American foreign policy is a game of liar’s poker, money piles in and stakes go up. These powers in front of and behind the veil of government, including media pundits and their rhetoric, are betting with our money and our lives.
We have the power to stop wars. Now. Here’s how.
Here are short-term actions that you can take:
1. Contact your Congressional representative in Washington, by phone or email, NOW and tell them to oppose appropriations for war. Give your name and address The U.S. Capitol switchboard number is 202-224-3121.
2. Visit your local congressional office. Ask to meet with the District Director. Tell them you want your congressperson to vote against appropriating money for the wars in Ukraine, Gaza, Iran, Russia or China.
3. Encourage, support and vote for those who oppose money for more war. War is the defining issue of our generation.
4. Be prepared to oppose those congresspersons who support money for more war and don’t be afraid to tell them that.
5. Ask the President and the Congress to support our troops by bringing them home. They are being used as bait. Demand all US troops, Special Forces, naval and air personnel who are stationed proximate to conflict areas outside the US to be brought home.
6. Support humanitarian aid, for food, water, shelter, and medical care to relieve the suffering of people in war-torn regions.
7. Attend rallies in your hometown to express your support for peaceful resolution of conflict at all levels and international diplomacy to settle disputes, before they turn violent.
8. Call the White House at 202-456-1414 and express your opposition to more money for war, or email email@example.com
Now is the time to build a new movement for Human and Ecological Security and Peace. Now is the time to become active, as though your life depends upon it.
UKRAINE, MONDAY, OCTOBER 30, 2023
Pressure is mounting on Moscow to protect the country’s Jewish community after an angry mob stormed an airport in the Russian republic of Dagestan on Sunday, reportedly looking for passengers arriving on a flight from Tel Aviv.
Israel condemned the incident and urged Russia to “safeguard the well-being of all Israeli citizens and Jews wherever they are and to take strong action against the rioters.”
Russia’s aviation agency Rosaviatsia said the incident has been brought under control and that 60 people have been detained. The airport, in Makhachkala, remains closed as investigations continue.
Russia, which is allied with Israel’s sworn enemy Iran, occupies an awkward position in the Middle East. It has enjoyed constructive ties with Israel, but its divided loyalties have strained relations since Israel declared war on Iran-backed militant group Hamas.
Ukrainian presidential advisor Mykhailo Podolyak denied Russian accusations Monday that Ukraine had a role in anti-Israel unrest in the Russian republic Dagestan at the weekend.
“The storm is certainly already raging,” Podolyak commented on X, formerly known as Twitter, adding that the “preconditions” for the riot in Dagestan — in which a mob of pro-Palestinian protestors stormed an airport, some chanting antisemitic slogans and reportedly seeking Jewish passengers off a flight from Tel Aviv — had been “formed by decades of wrong.”
″‘Pseudo-assimilative’ policies, toleration of the lawless behavior of aggressive regimes that violate global rules, and obvious flirting with Russian plans to ‘change the world order,’ have led to today’s sad consequences and tragedies,” he said.
ON-LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
Global depopulation is indeed multifaceted and modern warfare is the most effective method of depop. You’ve got the explosions and gun-fire itself and then a deluge of trickle-down effects like disease and localized anarchy. The Four Horsemen have finished their breakfast.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel categorically dismissed any possibility of a cease-fire in Gaza at a news conference late Monday, as Israeli troops pushed deeper into the territory and appeared to advance on densely populated Gaza City from three directions.
With Israel continuing to pummel the enclave with airstrikes, two senior United Nations officials for humanitarian affairs spoke with urgency before the Security Council, calling for a halt to the fighting and describing a catastrophic situation for Gaza’s two million civilians.
MASS MEDIA NEEDS TO PROBE DEEPER RE: ISRAEL/GAZA CONFLICT
by Ralph Nader
In the midst of extensive coverage of the war in Gaza, there are questions that the U.S. mass media should address:
1. How did Hamas, with tiny Gaza surrounded by a 17-year Israeli blockade, subjected to unparalleled electronic surveillance, with spies and informants, and augmented by an overwhelming air, sea and land military presence, manage to get these weapons and associated technology for their October 7th surprise raid?
2. What is the connection between the stunning failure of the Israeli government to protect its people on the border and the policy of P.M. Netanyahu? Recall the New York Times (October 22, 2023) article by prominent journalist, Roger Cohen, to wit: “All means were good to undo the notion of Palestinian statehood. In 2019, Mr. Netanyahu told a meeting of his center-right Likud party: ‘Those who want to thwart the possibility of a Palestinian state should support the strengthening of Hamas and the transfer of money to Hamas. This is part of our strategy.’” (Note: Israel and the U.S. fostered the rise of Islamic Hamas in 1987 to counter the secular Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO)).
3. Why is Congress preparing to appropriate over $14 billion to Israel in military and other aid without any public hearings and without any demonstrated fiscal need by Israel, a prosperous economic, technological and military superpower with a social safety net superior to that of the U.S.? USDA just reported over 44 million Americans struggled with hunger in 2022. This, in the midst of a childcare crisis. Should U.S. taxpayers be expected to pay for Netanyahu’s colossal intelligence/military collapse?
4. Why hasn’t the media reported on President Biden’s statement that the Gaza Health Ministry’s body count (now over 7000 fatalities) is exaggerated? All indications, however, are that it is a large undercount by Hamas to minimize its inability to protect its people. Israel has fired over 8,000 powerful precision munitions and bombs so far. These have struck many thousands of inhabited buildings – homes, apartments buildings, over 120 health facilities, ambulances, crowded markets, fleeing refugees, schools, water and sewage systems, and electric networks – implementing Israeli military orders to cut off all food, water, fuel, medicine and electricity to this already impoverished densely packed area the size of Philadelphia. For those not directly slain, the deadly harm caused by no food, water, medicine, medical facilities and fuel will lead to even more deaths and serious injuries.
Note that over three-quarters of Gaza’s population consists of children and women. Soon there will be thousands of babies born to die in the rubble. Other Palestinians will perish from untreated diseases, injuries, dehydration, and from drinking contaminated water. With crumbled sanitation facilities, physicians are fearing a deadly cholera epidemic.
Israel bombed the Rafah crossing on the Gaza-Egypt border. Only a tiny trickle of trucks are now allowed there by Israel to carry food and water. Fuel for hospital generators still remains blocked.
5. Why can’t Biden even persuade Israel to let 600 desperate Americans out of the Gaza firestorm?
6. Why isn’t the mass media making a bigger issue out of Israel’s long-time practices of blocking journalists from entering Gaza, including European, American and Israeli journalists? The only television crews left are Gazan-residing Al Jazeera reporters. Israeli bombs have already killed 26 journalists in the Gaza Strip since October 7th. Is Israel targeting journalists’ families? The Gaza bureau chief of Al Jazeera, Wael Al-Dahdouh’s family was killed in an Israeli airstrike on Wednesday.
7. Why isn’t the mainstream U.S. media giving adequate space and voice to groups advocating a ceasefire and humanitarian aid? The message of Israeli peace groups’ peaceful solutions are drowned out by the media’s addiction to interviews with military tacticians. Much time and space are being given to hawks pushing for a war that could flash outside of Gaza big time. Shouldn’t groups such as Jewish Voice for Peace, the Arab-American Institute, Veterans for Peace and associations of clergy have their views and activities reported?
8. Why is the coverage of the war overlooking the Geneva Conventions, the United Nations Charter and the many provisions of international law that all the parties, including the U.S., have been violating? (See the October 24, 2023 letter to President Biden). Under international law, Biden has made the U.S. an active “co-belligerent,” of the Israeli government’s vocal demolition of the 2.3 million inhabitants in Gaza, who are mostly descendants of Palestinian refugees driven from their homes in 1948. (See, Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide).
9. What about the human-interest stories that would be revealing? For example: How do Israeli F-16 pilots feel about their daily bombing of the completely defenseless Gazan civilian population and its life-sustaining infrastructures? What are the courageous Israeli human rights and refuseniks thinking and doing in a climate of serious repression of their views as a result of Netanyahu’s defense collapse on October 7th?
10. Where is the media attention on the statements from Israeli military commentators, who, for years have declared high-tech US-backed, nuclear-armed Israel to be more secure than at any time in its history? Israel is reasserting its overwhelming military domination of the entire region, fully backed by U.S. militarism.
Historians remind us that in a grid-locked conflict over time, it is the most powerful party’s responsibility to lead the way to peace.
Establishing a two-state solution has been supported by Palestinians. All the Arab nations, starting with the Arab League peace proposal in 2002, support this solution as well. It is up to Israel and the U.S., assuming annexation of what is left of Palestine is not Israel’s objective. (See, the March 29, 2002 New York Times article: Mideast Turmoil; Text of the Peace Proposals Backed by the Arab League).
More media attention on this subject matter is much needed.
NETANYAHU REJECTS CALLS FOR A CEASE-FIRE — and for his resignation.
by Patrick Kingsley
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday forcefully rejected calls for a cease-fire as “calls for Israel to surrender to Hamas, to surrender to terrorism,” telling reporters that Israel was “fighting the enemies of civilization itself.”
Humanitarian groups and the United Nations General Assembly, among others, have appealed for a cease-fire. But Mr. Netanyahu, speaking in English, asked nations to back Israel in its fight against Hamas, saying “Israel’s fight is your fight.”
Asked about the civilian death toll in Gaza from Israeli airstrikes, Mr. Netanyahu said that “not a single civilian has to die,” and he accused Hamas of “preventing them from leaving the areas of conflict.” Israeli airstrikes and a ground offensive have killed more than 8,000 people in Gaza, according to the Hamas-run Gazan health ministry.
The Israeli military advanced deeper into the Gaza Strip on Monday, moving toward Gaza City from at least three sides as it continued battering the enclave with airstrikes. Israel has provided limited details about the invasion, four days into what an Israeli official described as an “extended ground operation” against Hamas, but photos, videos and satellite imagery verified by The New York Times show lines of armored vehicles moving into Gaza from the northwest, northeast and the east.
The apparent advance toward Gaza City was heightening fears among those who remained in the enclave’s largest city.
Here’s what else to know:
A video verified by The Times filmed on Monday morning south of Gaza City showed an Israeli armored vehicle on the Salah al-Din Road, one of two major routes used by Gazans to flee south. When asked about the video at a morning briefing, Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari, the chief spokesman for the Israeli military, said that he would not detail the location of Israeli forces.
The Israeli military and the Shin Bet internal security agency said in a joint statement that Israeli forces had rescued an Israeli soldier abducted on Oct. 7 by Hamas militants. The soldier, identified as Ori Megidish, was rescued in the Gaza Strip during ground operations there overnight, the Israeli security agencies said. She is in good medical condition and has met with her family, they added.
Israel’s foreign ministry confirmed the death of Shani Louk, a 23-year-old German-Israeli citizen believed to have been abducted by Hamas militants while attending a music festival on Oct. 7. Ms. Louk was most likely killed before she was taken into Gaza, her family said on Monday.
Hamas’s armed wing released a video of three women, identified by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office, that are being held hostage. It was unclear if Hamas forced the women to make the video. One of the women sharply criticized Mr. Netanyahu, saying they are being held in “unbearable conditions,” and demanded that he free Hamas prisoners. In a statement, Mr. Netanyahu’s office called the footage “cruel psychological propaganda.”
The Palestinian Red Crescent Society said Israeli strikes had damaged sections of Al Quds Hospital in Gaza City, while Palestinian news media reported that the Turkish-Palestinian Friendship Hospital in Gaza had also been damaged.
Forty-seven trucks carrying food, water, medical supplies and other humanitarian aid entered Gaza through the Rafah crossing with Egypt on Sunday, according to a Palestinian official at the crossing. That was the largest one-day total in the nine days since the shipments began, but remained far short of what the United Nations has said civilians need in Gaza.
The Israeli military carried out a raid in the West Bank city of Jenin overnight and at least four Palestinians were killed, the Palestinian health ministry said. The Israeli Army said its soldiers engaged in a gunfight with armed Palestinians in a refugee camp and that an Israeli drone struck from the air. At least 115 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces and settlers in the Israeli-occupied West Bank since Oct. 7, according to U.N. figures.
Netanyahu Says Israel Will Not Accept a Cease-Fire With Hamas
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Israel’s fight against Hamas was a fight against “the enemies of civilization itself.”
Since Oct. 7, Israel has been at war. Israel did not start this war. Israel did not want this war, but Israel will win this war. In fighting Hamas and the Iranian axis of terror, Israel is fighting the enemies of civilization itself. I want to make clear Israel’s position regarding the cease-fire. Just as the United States would not agree to a cease-fire after the bombing of Pearl Harbor or after the terrorist attack of 9/11, Israel will not agree to a cessation of hostilities with Hamas after the horrific attacks of Oct. 7. Calls for a cease-fire are calls for Israel to surrender to Hamas, to surrender to terrorism, to surrender to barbarism. That will not happen. I hope and pray that civilized nations everywhere will back this fight. Because Israel’s fight is your fight. Because if Hamas and Iran’s axis of evil win, you will be their next target.
Striking a defiant tone at a rare news briefing on Monday evening, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel ruled out a cease-fire in Gaza, dismissed calls for his resignation and rejected criticism of Israel’s strikes on civilian homes.
Mr. Netanyahu’s political opponents have called for him to resign over his failure to stop the attacks of Oct. 7, when terrorists from Gaza raided Israel and killed more than 1,400 people.
Abroad, the conduct of the Israeli counterattack on Gaza — which has killed more than 8,000 people, according to the Hamas-run Gazan health ministry — has generated widespread outcry, with humanitarian groups and the United Nations General Assembly calling for a cease-fire.
Speaking to reporters in Tel Aviv, Mr. Netanyahu said that Israel would not agree to a halt in attacks because, he argued, it would strengthen Hamas, the group that controls Gaza and led the attacks earlier this month.
“Just as the United States would not agree to a cease-fire after the bombing of Pearl Harbor or after the terrorist attack of 9/11, Israel will not agree to a cessation of hostilities with Hamas after the horrific attacks of Oct. 7,” Mr. Netanyahu said, adding that “calls for a cease-fire are calls for Israel to surrender to Hamas, to surrender to terrorism.
He then dismissed accusations that Israel is collectively punishing more than two million Gazans for the crimes of Hamas. Israel has cut off electricity, fuel and most food and water supplies to Gaza, and its airstrikes have killed more than 3,000 children, according to the Gazan health ministry.
On Sunday, António Guterres, the U.N. secretary general, said the number of civilians killed in Gaza was “totally unacceptable.” and that “all parties must respect their obligations under international humanitarian law.”
But Mr. Netanyahu said Israel was doing what it could to save civilian lives. He cited Israel’s warning civilians to move to southern Gaza, where there are fewer Israeli strikes.
“We’re going out of our way to prevent civilian casualties,” Mr. Netanyahu said.
JIHAD, BY GOD!
by James Kunstler
“The post-mortem on the disastrous Biden years will be one of incredulity at how Joe Biden, of all people, was ever placed in charge.” —James White
The fog of war has never been so dense, what with the years-long sustained psy-ops of the US Intel “Community” against the American people . . . the lawfare operations of the Democratic Party against innocent patriots. . . the homicidal depredations of the pharma-government complex . . . the Cultural Marxists’ weaponization of language against common sense and common decency . . . the Neocon warhawks’ serial failed crusades to control faraway lands of dubious national interest . . .and the relentless mendacity of the sell-out Big Media. . .
It’s a wonder that anybody might venture a coherent thought, or that such a thought might survive transmission from person to person intact, without a sadistic beat-down or a dishonest, tactical inversion of meaning along the way. A thought such as: the Jews have a right to exist in a place called Israel. This is now up for debate around the world, whereas it had been accepted as self-evident by many civilized states a few weeks ago.
The military pundit Scott Ritter acted out a spectacular mental melt-down the other day. Among the statements he made were: “We need the Israeli army to be destroyed, to suffer defeat” … “Israel is the greatest threat to peace in the world” … “Political Zionism is a rabid dog and must be killed” … “I’m glad Hamas is winning” …
It’s far from clear what Scott’s definition of Zionism is, but Dictionary.com says: “a worldwide Jewish movement that resulted in the establishment and development of the state of Israel and that now supports the state of Israel as a Jewish homeland.” That’s pretty standard across many dictionaries. So, is Scott Ritter calling for the cancellation of Israel? Sounds like it, a little bit. He’s not alone. That has been the dream of most of Islam in the region for seventy-five years. Now, a great multi-nation jihad rises to expel what the Iranians like to call “the Zionist Entity,” as if it were some scaley thing that slithered out of a UFO. Even the American Ivy League is rooting to drive Israel into the sea.
Among the reasons Scott Ritter reviles the Israelis is that they are too weak and incompetent to defend themselves. Their stand-by army of reservists, he says, are too soft and flabby to hump a standard-issue soldier’s kit into a war-zone — and Gaza is the worst sort of urban war-zone. They’ll fall down and have heart attacks the first time they try to run a hundred yards (which could be true, considering Israel’s 90 percent Covid vaxx uptake and the likely resulting non-symptomatic myocarditis present in young men there). Israeli intel sucks, he says. Israel’s sense of superiority, their notion of being the chosen people, must be smashed. Israeli soldiers should go into Gaza and be shot to pieces, he advises. Scott’s intemperance is… something to behold.
Three weeks ago, the Middle East was on the verge of putting through the Abraham Accords that would have “normalized” relations between Israel and several states of the Arabian Peninsula, exchanges of ambassadors, openings to trade and such. Other Islamic nations in North Africa were expected to join anon. And just before the October 7 Hamas attack, Saudi Arabia was about to hold normalization talks with Israel. That’s all out the window.
Scott Ritter’s proposed initiative goes like this: Call a cease-fire and halt the bombing of Gaza. Israel must commence direct face-to-face negotiations with Hamas — no intermediaries! — for the exchange of hostages and prisoners and to begin groundwork toward a two-state solution, that is, the creation of a Palestinian state alongside Israel. For decades, that two state solution has been hung up on two sharp thorns.
One is the practical question of where that Palestinian State would be. The common idea is that it would be the disputed zone called the West Bank (of the Jordan River) plus Gaza. The West Bank was occupied by Israel in the aftermath of the 1967 Six Day War, as was the Gaza Strip and the Golan Heights on Israel’s northern border with Syria. Israel eventually returned the Sinai Peninsula to Egypt in 1982, and Israel ended its occupation of the Gaza Strip in 2005. Gaza has been self-governing since, with internal conflict between its Hamas and Fatah factions. Gaza has been used as a launching site for rocket attacks in Israel ever since, regularly upending attempts to negotiate a lasting peace. Israel, on the other hand, has installed over 600,000 settlers in the West Bank, said to be in violation of international agreements.
The second thorn that hangs up any plausible peace is the Palestinians’ overt declarations in the Hamas charter, for instance, that Israel has no right to exist and must be destroyed. Iran, too, has for years notoriously declared its intention to “wipe Israel off the map.” That is hardly a viable pre-condition for settling this long quarrel. “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” goes the chant. Notice that the Islamic nations surrounding Israel refuse to admit any Palestinian settlers. Egypt, Jordan, Syria, will not take them. Why is that? I’ll tell you: because they understand that the bellicose, fractious Palestinians will bring them trouble.
Western Civ, weakened, broke, and mind-fucked, now faces a fast-unifying multi-nation Jihad that looks more and more like World War Three. The pressure is on for Israel to re-think its furious response to the savage attacks of October 7. Yet, the threat to its survival has never been so stark. There is little appetite for the US to get involved, though reports out of the war fog indicate that there might be as many as 5,000 US soldiers already inserted into the Gaza campaign alongside IDF soldiers. We have plenty of reason to worry that US towns and cities could be the next target, since no one really knows how many Jihadis have crossed into our country from Mexico under “Joe Biden’s” wide-open border policy. What a moment to be leaderless!
BIDEN IS A GENOCIDE DENIER AND THE ‘ENABLER IN CHIEF’ FOR ISRAEL'S ONGOING WAR CRIMES
by Norman Solomon
His unconditional support for Israel's assault on Gaza makes Biden and the vast majority of Congress directly complicit with mass murder and genocide, defined as “the deliberate killing of a large number of people from a particular nation or ethnic group with the aim of destroying that nation or group.”
For three weeks, President Biden has played a key role in backing Israel’s war crimes while touting himself as a compassionate advocate of restraint. That pretense is lethal nonsense as Israel persists with mass killing of civilians in Gaza.
The same crucial standards that fully condemned Hamas’s murders of Israeli civilians on Oct. 7 should apply to Israel’s ongoing murders that have already taken the lives of at least several times as many Palestinian civilians. And Israel is just getting started.
“We need an immediate ceasefire,” Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib wrote in an email Saturday evening, “but the White House and Congress continue to unconditionally support the Israeli government’s genocidal actions.”
That unconditional support makes Biden and the vast majority of Congress directly complicit with mass murder and genocide, defined as “the deliberate killing of a large number of people from a particular nation or ethnic group with the aim of destroying that nation or group.” The definition clearly fits the words and deeds of Israel’s leaders.
“Israel has dropped approximately 12,000 tons of explosives on Gaza so far and has reportedly killed multiple senior Hamas commanders, but the majority of the casualties have been women and children,” Time magazine summed up at the end of last week. Israel’s military has been shamelessly slaughtering civilians in homes, stores, markets, mosques, refugee camps and healthcare facilities. Imagine what can be expected now that communications between Gaza and the outside world are even less possible.
For reporters, being on the ground in Gaza is very dangerous; Israel’s assault has already killed at least 29 journalists. For the Israeli government, the fewer journalists alive in Gaza the better; media reliance on Israeli handouts, news conferences and interviews is ideal.
Pro-Israel frames of reference and word choices are routine in U.S. mainstream media. Yet some exceptional reporting has shed light on the merciless cruelty of Israel’s actions in Gaza, where 2.2 million people live.
For example, on Oct. 28, PBS News Weekend provided a human reality check as Israel began a ground assault while stepping up its bombing of Gaza. “As Israeli ground operations intensified there, suddenly the phone and internet signal went out,” correspondent Leila Molana-Allen reported. “So, people in Gaza, voiceless through the night as they were under these intense bombardments. People were unable to call ambulances, and we’ve heard this morning that ambulance drivers were standing at high points throughout, trying to see where the explosions were, so they could just drive directly there. People unable to communicate with their families to see if they’re alright. People this morning saying ‘we’ve been digging children out of the rubble with our bare hands because we can’t call for help’.”
Biden’s support for continuing the carnage in Gaza is matched by Congress.
While people in Gaza “are under some of the most intense bombardment we’ve ever seen,” Molana-Allen added, they have no safe place to go: “Even though they’re still being told to move to the south, in fact most people can’t get to the south because they have no fuel for their cars, they can’t travel, and even in the south bombardment continues.”
Meanwhile, Biden has continued to publicly express his unequivocal support for what Israel is doing. After he spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last week, the White House issued a statement without the slightest mention of concern about what Israel’s bombing was inflicting on civilians. Instead, the statement said, “the President reiterated that Israel has every right and responsibility to defend its citizens from terrorism and to do so in a manner consistent with international humanitarian law.”
Biden’s support for continuing the carnage in Gaza is matched by Congress. As Israel began its fourth week of terrorizing and killing, only 18 members of the House were on the list of lawmakers cosponsoring H.Res. 786, “Calling for an immediate de-escalation and cease-fire in Israel and occupied Palestine.” All of those 18 cosponsors are people of color.
While Israel kills large numbers of Palestinian civilians each day—and clearly intends to kill many thousands more—we can see “progressive” masks falling away from numerous members of Congress who remain cravenly frozen in political conformity.
“In a dark time,” poet Theodore Roethke wrote, “the eye begins to see.”
(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.)
ETHNIC CLEANSING IN THE WEST BANK
by Neve Gordon
As 46-year-old Abu Hassan and 27-year-old Mohammed Khaled were driving out of the Palestinian village of Wadi a-Siq, two pickup trucks full of masked Jewish settlers in military fatigues blocked the road. The men were instructed at gunpoint to step out of their car. Hagar Sheizaf described in Ha’aretz how the settlers beat Hassan and Khaled, pinning their heads to the ground before tying their hands with wire, blindfolding them and dragging them to a deserted sheep pen. One of the settlers tore off the men’s clothes with a knife, leaving them in their underpants.
‘The violence was relentless,’ Hassan told Sheizaf. ‘They poured water on us, urinated on us, and then someone holding a stick tried to shove it up my rear. I fought with all my strength until he simply gave up. He then beat me all over my body, stomped on my head with both feet and jumped on my back.’ The abuse lasted from late morning until Israeli Civil Administration officials arrived in the evening, releasing both men as well as a third Palestinian who had been tortured not far from the sheep pen. By the time an ambulance reached the village, the settlers had disappeared, taking the victims’ car and money.
Located to the east of Ramallah, Wadi a-Siq is surrounded by three relatively new settler outposts whose residents have been terrorizing the villagers for months. David Shulman, an Israeli Sanskrit scholar, is part of a group of activists trying to protect the Palestinian residents from settler violence. During one of their ‘sleep-ins’ at Wadi a-Siq last month, a Palestinian called Ali, who has lived in the village for fifty years, told Shulman: ‘Our children are terrified; they cry a lot. But we are here to stay.’
Three weeks later, Ali was one of 180 people, including forty children, who left Wadi a-Siq. Settler cruelty had become so intolerable that the community, who had moved to the West Bank as refugees after the 1948 Nakba, felt they had no option but to abandon their village. They are now refugees twice over.
The settlers’ assault on Hassan and Khaled took place two days after the entire community had already fled. The men had returned to the village with a few other Palestinians and some Israeli activists to dismantle parts of their houses, load them on trucks and take them west, where the villagers are now squatting on land owned by Palestinians from the village of Rammun. Hassan and Khaled were tortured not to drive the Palestinian villagers out of Wadi a-Siq – they had already left – but to terrorize other Palestinian communities that have remained on their land, still unwilling to leave their homes.
Although underreported, the expulsion of Palestinians from the hills east of Ramallah, the Jordan Valley and the South Hebron Hills has been in the making for many years. As the Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem explains, attacking Palestinians is part of Israel’s well-known, longstanding policy to make life so miserable for dozens of Palestinian communities in the West Bank that the residents eventually leave, seemingly of their own accord. Israel then proceeds to take over the land and use it for its own purposes – mainly building and expanding settlements.
Often escorted by soldiers and backed by police, settler groups have for several years been deploying systematic violence against Palestinian communities, destroying buildings and olive trees, stealing livestock and agricultural equipment, and vandalizing water tanks, pipes and solar panels. Though frequently described as vigilantes by the media, these settlers receive weapons, money, operational support and even legal assistance from the state: the objective is to dispossess Palestinians in order to ‘Judaize’ the West Bank.
Since Hamas carried out its massacre of more than 1300 Israelis on the Gaza border on 7 October, the violent dynamics in the West Bank have acquired an ominous messianic overtone. On 28 October, the community of Khirbet Zanuta in the South Hebron Hills, which was home to 250 Palestinians, joined eight other communities that have been forced to abandon their villages in the past three weeks, while six others have been partially evacuated. Settlers have told these Palestinian communities that if they refuse to leave their villages they will be killed.
Since 7 October, Israelis have killed 125 Palestinians in the West Bank, eleven of whom died at the hands of settlers. Flyers have been placed on the windscreens of cars in Palestinian villages that say in Arabic:
You asked for a Nakba similar to 1948, so by God we will descend on you ... soon. You have one last chance to flee to Jordan in an orderly manner because afterwards we will destroy every enemy and forcibly expel you from our holy land that God has dedicated to us and commanded us not to retreat from.
These messages come in the wake of soldiers disseminating clips on TikTok that depict scores of men in fatigues, some armed, dancing to a live band: ‘We are not ashamed, we want revenge! We want revenge!’ The soldiers are echoing various Knesset members who have also called for revenge. Israel’s finance minister, Bezalel Smotrich, has a plan to annex the West Bank and offer Palestinians two options: to live in the West Bank without citizenship or to realize their national aspirations ‘in one of the many surrounding Arab countries’. Thousands of guns, including assault rifles, have been distributed to settlers, many of whom are already organized in local militias.
While all eyes are on Gaza – where the death toll, according to the Hamas-run health ministry, has passed eight thousand – the ethnic cleansing in the West Bank could intensify further, with Israeli forces pushing Palestinians out of their homes and possibly across international borders. Dror Etkes, who has been monitoring Israel’s land grab for more than two decades, says:
There is no force within Israel that can [stop] or is interested in stopping the ethnic cleansing being carried out before our eyes. Therefore, the responsible and right thing for all Israeli human rights organizations to do is to issue a statement calling upon the international community to station a multinational force in the West Bank … A multinational force of this kind was deployed in Bosnia only after years of war and hundreds of thousands of deaths. Now is the time to bring a multinational force into the West Bank, before the massive ethnic cleansing takes place, before even more extensive lethal violence is unleashed.
I got an email yesterday from a friend in the Palestinian village of Susya in the South Hebron Hills. The settlers, he writes, ‘have issued a menacing ultimatum: if the villagers do not vacate within 24 hours, they vow to return and perpetrate murder.’
(London Review of Books)
A YOUNG BLONDE WOMAN was so tired of blonde jokes that she dyed her hair a dark shade of brown, curious to see if it would change her life. She then went for a leisurely drive out in the country, coming to a stop when she saw a large flock of sheep crossing the road in front of her. “Hey, shepherd!,” she called to the man tending the flock, “I've got a proposition for you.”
The shepherd smiled at the pretty brunette and asked her, “What did you have in mind?”
“Well,” she answered, “if I can guess the number of sheep you have, can I take one?”
“Sure,” said the shepherd whimsically, “take your best shot.”
The woman glanced around and guessed, “Is the number three hundred and fifty-two?”
“Wow,” exclaimed the shepherd, “that's exactly right. Well, a deal's a deal. Go ahead and pick out the sheep you want.”
The woman quickly chose a sheep which seemed to be friendlier and more playful than the others.
“Now,” said the shepherd, “I have a proposition for you.”
“Let's hear it,” replied the woman.
Smiling, the shepherd said, “If I can guess your natural hair color, can I have my dog back?”
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY #2
I conduct my life on the assumption that there is an immaterial world from which we came and to which we return, and that there are higher powers to which we’re ultimately answerable.
I don’t think we’re meant to solve these seemingly impossible and unsolvable situations. We’re meant to try to live in a cruel and unfair world in as honest, useful, kind and honorable way as we’re able. It’s, as my mother used to say, not a game you can win but, rather, a test of character.
Perhaps my perception is entirely wrong (though obviously I don’t think so), but it works well as a template for the effort to lead a moral life.