Showers | Noyo Harbor | 253 Fatality | Gaza Protest | Q Approved | Betty MEC | FFA Contest | Winterize Garden | Mailbox Sky | Budget Numbers | Williams' Focus | Clouds & Light | Support MCHS | Ukiah Construction | Campaign Manager | Cline Concerns | Ed Notes | Eliminate Glyphosate | Petit Teton | Simply Succulent | Filigreen Farm | Yesterday's Catch | Embrace Season | DST | 2023 Vintage | Flight Prices | Palestinian Solidarity | Bat Boy | Tribalism Chokehold | Throw Remote | Lonely Liberals | Palestine Coin | Insufficiently Hysterical | J-Turn | 10 Ways | Doc Visit | Ukraine | Kid Shuckers | Pandemic Policies | Foreign Policy | Gaza | Canned Goods | Revisiting Waco | Matzo Ball | Gaza Poetry | Fetching Water
SHOWERS and isolated thunderstorms are forecast today through Saturday night. Showers will diminish on Sunday as a colder and stable airmass settles over the region. Dry weather is forecast to prevail into early next week. (NWS)
STEPHEN DUNLAP (Fort Bragg): 51F under clear skies on the coast this Friday morning. That system to our west is finally on the move & heading our direction bringing rain later today & thru tomorrow. Afterwards our forecast is clear thru the holiday next week.
SANTA ROSA MAN KILLED IN HEAD-ON CRASH IN MENDOCINO COUNTY
The man will be identified by the Mendocino County Coroner’s Division after the family is notified.
by Madison Smalstig
A Santa Rosa man was killed Thursday morning in a head-on collision in Ukiah, authorities said.
The man, who was 47, was driving west on State Route 253 just east of Stipp Lane at 10:50 a.m. when his Honda Civic crossed into the eastbound lane and crashed into a Ford Ranger, California Highway Patrol-Ukiah said in a news release.
The Ford was traveling at about 50 mph before the crash, which triggered both vehicles’ airbags, the release said. It’s not known how fast the Honda was traveling.
The driver of the Honda was not wearing a seat belt, authorities said. He was pronounced dead at the scene. The Mendocino County Coroner’s Division will identified the man after his family is contacted.
The Ford’s driver, who was wearing a seat belt, was taken to Adventist Health Ukiah Valley with moderate injuries.
CHP is investigating the cause of the collision, including whether drugs or alcohol were factors.
PROTESTERS DEMANDING GAZA CEASE-FIRE SHUT DOWN BAY BRIDGE
Westbound traffic into San Francisco was blocked, causing enormous traffic jams on highways in the East Bay. At least 50 people were arrested.
by Heather Knight
Protesters demanding a cease-fire in Gaza shut down westbound traffic on the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge on Thursday morning, interrupting Bay Area commuter traffic into San Francisco.
The demonstration was one of the most disruptive protests so far associated with the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting in San Francisco, where pro-Palestinian activists have focused on trying to capture the attention of President Biden. Mr. Biden addressed the APEC meeting on Thursday.
Other groups of activists have protested against President Xi Jinping of China over independence for Tibet, human rights abuses against Uyghurs, military activity around Taiwan and what they view as a lack of progress among a host of world leaders on climate change and workers’ rights.
Pro-Palestinian protesters said that they drove their own cars onto the bridge from the East Bay, stopped before the midpoint on Treasure Island and blocked all lanes headed into the city. Fifteen protesters covered themselves in shrouds and laid down in front of vehicles to represent dead bodies in Gaza.
The blockade, which the California Highway Patrol first noted at 7:42 a.m., led to miles-long traffic jams along freeways stretching into the East Bay.
Lujain Al-Saleh, a 29-year-old who lives in Oakland, said in a telephone interview that she was protesting because her cousin, a journalist and the father of a baby girl, was killed in Gaza last month when his home was hit by bombs.
Pete Woiwode, an organizer, said the protesters would remain on the span “until removed or a cease-fire is called.”
Police began towing the protesters’ cars after about 90 minutes, and arrested at least 50 people.
FORT BRAGG’S MEASURE Q RECEIVES RESOUNDING APPROVAL
by Mary Benjamin
Although the results of a special election on Fort Bragg’s Measure Q have yet to be certified, as of the posted count on the evening of November 7, the measure appears to show overwhelming approval of the one-half percent sales tax to fund repair, maintenance, and reconstruction of city streets.
The posted results stand at 81.02% for yes and 18.98% for no. The tax measure will extend the current street maintenance tax rate, which expires on December 21, 2024. The public previously approved the tax in 2004 and 2014.
Since the week of September 18, the Department of Public Works has been engaged in a series of street resurfacing projects in Fort Bragg. Work is expected to continue until February 4, 2024. Argonaut Constructors, who received the contract from the city for the street work, will provide residents with 48 hours’ notice if work will impact your street.
Construction hours are 7:30 AM to 6:00 PM, from Monday through Friday. If necessary, no parking signs and closures will be posted. Access to driveways may be limited but will be unrestricted at the end of each work day. Necessary detours will also be marked.
Some streets will have major reconstruction and paving. These are West Fir Street, Chestnut Street, Oak Street, Boatyard Drive, and North Franklin Street. The second major paving project will include South Harold Street, Lincoln Street, South Franklin Street, Pine Street, and Fort Bragg Sherwood Road.
Chantell O’Neal, Assistant Public Works Director, described the work as “long-awaited” and said the underground work would come first, then concrete sidewalks and curb ramps, and paving and striping. Some work will target ” residential areas, not commonly frequented by the typical driver.”
Because paving and striping work depends on the weather, O’Neal noted that “we are carefully monitoring the forecast to plan work appropriately for the best-finished quality.”
Now that the rainy season has begun and holidays are upcoming, O’Neal noted that the “majority of visible work on the current project is expected to resume on or about November 27,” weather permitting.
Any concerns or questions should be directed to Chantell O’Neal, Assistant Director of Engineering, at email@example.com or 707-961-2823.
(Ukiah Daily Journal)
BE PROUD OF THESE FFA MEMBERS!
Twenty three excited FFA members climbed on Marcia's bus and headed to Potter Valley High School for the Mendo-Lake FFA Section Opening/Closing Ceremonies Contest. This is a public speaking contest where FFA members present the FFA Opening/Closing Ceremonies used in every meeting.
Anderson Valley FFA had terrific results!
- The Novice Division team, with President Vanessa, placed 3rd!
- The Open Division team, with President Samantha, placed 2nd!
- The Officer team, with President Samantha, placed 2nd!
- And Rye placed 1st in the Cooperative Marketing test!
AV VILLAGE MONTHLY GATHERING: WINTERIZING YOUR GARDEN WITH VICKIE BROCK
Sunday, November 19th, 3 - 4:30 pm, Anderson Valley Senior Center
Join Vickie for a chat about how she gets her farm ready for the winter. Vickie will give a little history of how she got into farming, talk about what she does to close up her farm and how she gets ready for the new garden in the late winter/ early spring.
More info & to RSVP: Anderson Valley Village: (707) 684-9829, firstname.lastname@example.org
*Note earlier start time for the winter gatherings.
Here is the link to the County budget: mendocinocounty.org/home/showpublisheddocument/61390/638351121897400000
Page 95 has the list of designated funds in the General Fund. Looks like there is just shy of $10 million available that is not designated.
It also looks like they have already raided the remaining PG&E funds. In the most recent adopted budget, it says there is $668,434 remaining but if you look at the most recent report on the PG&E wildfire settlement money, it says there is $9,909,988 in obligated unspent funds. Some of that money has only been verbally obligated and no contract has been signed.
It still looks a bit fishy. The numbers don’t add up. There are still contracts out there that have not been expensed so that money should be budgeted as being available for when it is expensed. The money verbally obligated but not contracted-like Coastal Valley EMS, Carbon Reduction Fund, etc-should also show up as being available. Unless it is not available and already been spent or earmarked for something else.
JULIE BEARDSLEY [Retired Public Health Staff, former President of SEIU Local 1021]:
Regarding Supervisor Williams announcement that he is running for Assemblyman Jim Woods’ seat in Sacramento. How does he plan on doing his job that we elected him to do, and campaign at the same time? The County is in crisis. The Supervisors all seem to be dithering about what to do. Williams comments at the last BOS meeting about changing the light bulbs in the BOS room are akin to re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. Much chaos has been self-inflicted because upper level management does NOT talk to the people doing the actual work. Combining the Auditor Treasurer Tax Collect offices for example. Moving Public Health and Behavioral Health out of their former offices in Willits, and moving them into the Justice Building where people in crisis have to march past the police department. Not a very “trauma-informed care” policy. Making the Willits home-visiting team nurses meet with their families in a cement room with no rugs, furniture or windows that was formerly an evidence storage room. Wtf is wrong with these so-called “managers” who clearly have no clue? Money – your money – is being wasted on stupid ideas, ad-hoc committees and outside contractors. The boots on the ground will tell you what needs to happen. Fewer middle-management positions, put an end to managers creating a toxic work environment resulting in losing experienced staff, and talk to your employees! Supervisor Williams would do better to focus on cleaning up the financial dumpster fire that we’re in.
SUPPORT THE COAST ANIMAL SHELTER
I recently learned that the Mendocino Coast Humane Society and the many animals it helps need our assistance. I’d assumed that MCHS, which does so much good, hard, and sometimes heartbreaking work, had city, county, and national financial support. But, no.
The City of Fort Bragg pays MCHS a monthly stipend of $2600. The County of Mendocino pays zero. Nothing. And keeps the fees from dog licenses sold in Fort Bragg. MCHS receives no money from the National Humane Society. In fact, the bulk of MCHS’s operating costs are paid by donations.
How can we help? Please send a brief email to our County Supervisors asking them to approve adequate monthly financial support for MCHS and to keep the license fees raised on the coast ON the coast, where they’re sorely needed.
In addition, I hope readers will consider making a monthly donation to MCHS, 19691 Summers Lane, Fort Bragg, 95437. Most of us aren’t wealthy. But when we all help a little, we can accomplish a lot.
UKIAH CONSTRUCTION UPDATES FOR THE WEEK OF NOVEMBER 20
On the south side (Mill to Gobbi), crews are installing new sewer laterals; these are the pipes that connect the main line in the street to each of the buildings; work will progress from south (Gobbi) to the north (near Mill). Following that work, pending cooperative weather, crews will begin replacing the sewer line between Gobbi and Cherry. In this area, the sewer is roughly in the center of the street. Therefore, travel lanes will continue to be open in both directions, and driveways are not expected to be impacted. Please drive carefully around construction crews.
On the north side (Norton to Henry), lots of work is happening on the sidewalks on both sides of the street. Most of both sides have been demolished, and new curbs and gutters are being framed, and sidewalks are being poured. Impacted businesses/residents will be notified in advance of any impacts to driveways. Additionally, we’ll begin to see the bases for the new streetlights installed.
No work on Thursday or Friday!
The ice skating rink will be located on the 300 block of South School Street in downtown Ukiah, on the west side of Alex Thomas Plaza. That block will be closed to traffic and parking from November 20th through approximately January 22nd (or later depending on weather conditions).
Ukiah on Ice will open to the public on Saturday, December 2nd and will remain open daily, including holidays, through Sunday, January 14.
The year-round farmers’ market will continue to meet every Saturday at a location adjacent to the ice rink on School Street.
And last but not least, on behalf of the City of Ukiah and all of our construction crews, I would like to thank you for your patience through all of this work to improve our community. We know it’s inconvenient, messy, noisy, and disruptive…but as one of my coworkers has said, “you can’t make an omelet without breaking some eggs.” So thank you, Ukiah, for bearing with us! We wish you and yours a safe and wonderful Thanksgiving holiday.
Deputy City Manager
City of Ukiah
300 Seminary Avenue
Ukiah, California 95482
SAKO POINTS OUT
Madeline Cline's campaign manager, Angle Slater, works under County CEO Darcie Antle. I think Ms. Slater directs Disaster Recovery. She had previously worked at Mendocino County Public Health.
Hatch Act anyone?
WENDY CAMINITI WRITES:
Re: Conflict of Interest?
I was surprised to learn that Supervisor candidate, Madeline Cline, was asked to run for Supervisor. Being a lobbyist and career politician is not what I feel our County needs.
I have been hearing Madeline's campaign manager, Angle Slater, who is an employee in the CEOs office, has been campaigning for her on County time.
Isn't that against campaign law? Also seems to be a conflict of interest since the CEO is the Clerk of the Board. –
Concerned Mendocino County Business Owner
NAME CHANGE FORT BRAGG has irritated most people in Fort Bragg by implying that the town is not only ignorant of its history but is probably Klan-disposed because the town resists changing its name. And now the Name Changers seem to have resorted to denouncing at least one person at her place of work, and writing insulting letters to others threatening business boycotts and, get this, lack of education!
THE NAME CHANGERS number about a dozen people, none of them native to Fort Bragg. They think Fort Bragg should change its name because Fort Bragg was named after a Confederate general and slaveholder, nevermind that Fort Bragg was so designated 150 years ago, nevermind that apart from a nearly invisible plaque on Main Street the town has never in any way honored or even recognized its namesake.
EVERYONE but this small, isolated, deeply unpopular band of virtue signalers knows that despite its unhappy founding years America has largely overcome its beginnings to become a functioning multi-cultural society where there are now millions of loyal, affectionate, color blind relationships.
LOGICALLY, FORT BRAGG can be proud that it and our mother country has made such progress in race relations since the Civil War, and continues to serve as a measure of how far we've come since the Civil War. Viva, Fort Bragg!
VISHNU WITH CRAIG? Our favorite post-modern Hindu is recovering well after heart surgery at St. Helena. He has been moved to the Heart and Vascular Unit where he can be reached at 707 963 6502, ext. 2553.
FOR YOUR INERTIA FILES. The burdensome process by which Mendocino County issues restraining orders still prompts some of us to hope that the process will be made less burdensome. But it's still the same old, same old. The person obtaining a court order aimed at keeping another person or persons from his or her proximity remains the same, and the burden is entirely on the person — invariably a woman — seeking the order. Once a judge has been convinced that there are grounds for issuing a restraining order it is then the responsibility of the victim to serve a copy of the order on the restrained person. That means finding a friend to do it or paying a cop to do it. By the time the order can be officially considered served, the lunatic has ample opportunity, and usually more incentive because now his aberrant behavior has been certified by a judge, to do whatever it is he is restrained from doing. Lots of counties immediately notify the police that a restraining order is in effect when the judge approves it. Here, the process depends on the victim getting off work to get copies of the order, trudging out to the Sheriff's Department to file it, then finding someone to serve it. No excuse for a cumbersome process like this in the age of computers.
AS ANDERSON VALLEY becomes ever more suburban in a sort of Third World way, with lots of well off well-offs in the hills, and the people who serve them stuffed into back road mini-slums on The Valley floor, it's still striking how wild a place the Anderson Valley remains just off the pavement.
OUT FOR A LONG WALK on an achingly beautiful late Fall afternoon the other day, I finished off an hour's amble by climbing down off the east end of Ornbaun Road where the rains of '64 carried off the bridge that once crossed Anderson Creek to link Ornbaun Road with Anderson Valley Way, and footed it up the sprawling streambed to where the creek parallels Anderson Valley Way in the same area as the Stilt House, former home of the Luffs, the last native Pomo speakers in the Anderson Valley if not all of Mendocino County.
THERE'S A HUGE CULVERT carrying winter rains off the east hills, past the north end of Evergreen Cemetery and beneath the pavement of Anderson Valley Way on into Anderson Creek. This winter stream is called Cemetery Creek, but it's no creek in the winter as it swells to twenty feet across as if the entire winter run-off of Anderson Valley was being fired into Anderson Creek out of the huge water cannon the culvert becomes in big rains.
IN THE DRY MONTHS the culvert walkable. I can propel my entire upright bundle of aged flesh through it without so much as bending my head.
THE OTHER DAY, as I approached the culvert from Anderson Creek, I saw a coyote at the cemetery end of the mammoth pipe, and the coyote saw me. We stood there staring at each other for a ridiculously long time — maybe three minutes — before it occurred to me that the impudent little beast seemed to be playing a sort of stare-down game with me. I resolved to outlast him, so I stayed on without moving at my end of the culvert, perhaps forty feet from the wise guy creature mocking me from the other end.
I STARED, he stared. We stood there looking at each other for another ten minutes or so. Even my minor twitches and foot-shifts didn't cause the coyote to bolt. I sneezed. The coyote handled my sneeze’s reverberating echoes without flinching. He seemed to be laughing at me.
THE COYOTE finally won. It was getting dark and I was hungry. I took a full step up the trail adjacent to the culvert. Looking up toward the roadbed, I watched the coyote turn and then saunter off in what seemed like satisfied fashion into the blackberry thicket bordering the cemetery.
JEFF GOLL: I hope the Napa Green Group can eliminate glyphosate from their wine grape acreage. One of the insidious effects of that stuff is that it kills mico-organisms in the soil; dead soil-no sustainable life. How did the world survive without that herbicide?
PETIT TETON FARM
Petit Teton Farm is open daily 9-4:30, except Sunday 12-4:30. As well as the large inventory of jams and pickles made from everything we grow, we also have perfectly raised pigs and cows and sell USDA beef and pork. There also are stewing hens, squab, and occasionally rabbits for sale and right now we have fresh fruits available...pears, Asian pears, quince, and apples.
We'd love to see you. Nikki and Steve
18601 Highway 128, Boonville
707 / 684-4146
ONLY DAYS LEFT…
Yes, Rella of Simply Succulent at 31250 Highway 20 is closing at the end of December. All plants in plastic containers are 30% off. Many thousands still available. One shopper has purchased a few flats of succulents which will be picked after the closing. There are many possibilities. One is that there are many excellent indoor plants just right for gifts and your winter enjoyment.
Simply Succulent is open Friday through Monday 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. WIND OR RAIN CANCELS. Call Rella at 707 357-1541 to confirm open.
Payment in cash or check only. See Simply Succulent
VELMA'S FARM STAND AT FILIGREEN FARM
Friday 2-5pm and Saturday 11am-4pm
For fresh produce we will have:apples, pears, winter squash (delicata, acorn, kabocha, butternut), cabbage, broccoli, potatoes, chard, kale, chicories, arugula, spinach, carrots, beets, onions, garlic, and herbs. We will also have dried fruit, tea blends, olive oil, fresh and dried flower bouquets, and everlasting wreaths available. Plus some delicious flavors of Wilder Kombucha!
For folks who are looking to make applesauce, we have #2 quality apples available for purchase in 40lb cases. Please email Annie in advance if you would like to pick up a case at the farm stand this week! (#2 apples are just cosmetically damaged but perfectly delicious!) $60/40 lb case
All produce is certified biodynamic and organic. Follow us on Instagram for updates @filigreenfarm or email email@example.com with any questions. We accept cash, credit card, check, and EBT/SNAP (with Market Match)!
Shop Filigreen Farm and Boonville Barn Collective at Velma’s Farmstand on Saturday December 2nd from 11-4and pick up an array of holiday gifts grown a mile apart on Anderson Valley Way!
Filigreen Farm will have everlasting and evergreen wreaths and bouquets, olive oil, dried fruit, tea blends, and late fall produce.
Boonville Barn will have a variety of chile powders, chile flakes, whole dried chiles, gift bundles, dry beans (!), strawberry & chile jam, and other items from the farm.
Velma’s Farmstand is located at 11750 Anderson Valley Way.
CATCH OF THE DAY, Thursday, November 16, 2023
LANEY HENDRY, Willits. Willful cruelty to child.
SHALOM LEWIS, Fort Bragg. Probation violation.
EDUARDO RAMIREZ-HURTADO, Willits. Controlled substance, resisting.
EDWARD VIKART, Ukiah. Dumping in commercial quantities, disobeying court order.
EMBRACE THE TIME CHANGE
There has been much negativity about the supposed psychological and other ill effects of a one-hour clock shift and diminishing daylight hours. Some people even get SAD (seasonal affective disorder.) Personally, I experience GLAD (glorious late autumn days) and WOW (wonders of winter): long shadows; golden sunsets reflected by hills and vineyards; endlessly changing cloud forms under intense blue skies; chilly, down comforter nights; and rain — fabulous tree-nourishing, creek-filling, fire-season-ending rain.
C’mon, folks, we don’t live in Siberia. Let’s embrace the changing seasons. It’s one of the few natural phenomena humans haven’t messed up … yet.
WHY THIS MAY BE ‘BEST START’ TO WINE COUNTRY HARVEST IN 50 YEARS
by Tara Duggan
Harvest is wrapping up in Wine Country after an exceptionally long and cool growing season, and many winemakers say the vintage is on track to be exceptional.
“It’s probably the best start that we’ve ever had that I can remember in 50 years,” said Andy Beckstoffer, who has grown wine grapes in Napa Valley since the 1970s and is one of the largest growers in Napa, Mendocino and Lake counties. “The canopies are very big and bright and full.”
This season’s late start after abundant rain and overall moderate temperatures allowed wine grapes to develop flavor and balance, growers say. Rather than rushing to pull grapes off the vine as during last year’s nine-day heat wave, or worrying they will be withered by drought (2021) or tainted by smoke (2020), conditions were refreshingly slow and cool.
“It looks like it’s going to be good, and it could be exceptional, but it’s too soon to tell,” said Brad Alper, owner of Square Peg Winery.
Heat spikes that are now common in summer and early fall can make grapes ripen too quickly and develop too much sugar, while cooler growing conditions like this year’s can give them time to develop a balance of flavor, sugar and acidity.
William Allen, winemaker at Two Shepherds in Windsor, said that wine grapes love cold and wet winters. Warm weather early in the year can cause flowering to start too early, not giving the vines time enough to rest.
“We’ve seen some really phenomenal flavors,” he said. “I’m looking forward to getting the wine out into the world.”
The positive outlook is welcome news to an industry that has faced years-long declining sales nationwide in addition to erratic weather and devastating wildfires. A report published in January forecast further declines in wine sales this year even as many wineries made plans to increase prices.
But Beckstoffer cautioned that it’s too soon to know how good this year’s vintage will be. After harvest it can take one to two weeks of fermentation before winemakers get early samples.
“Everything is looking great but you need to get it in the tank,” said Beckstoffer, whose vineyards will wrap up the harvest next week.
Winemaker Danielle Cyrot of Cade Estate Winery on Howell Mountain said what she’s been able to taste so far has been “fantastic.”
“I’m very excited about the vintage. The colors are off the charts, which is always a good indication,” she said. “Now it’s just turning those grapes into wine and trying not to screw it up from here on out.”
Cyrot said they’re getting “inky, dark color” out of the grapes, more purple than red, which can be good for wines intended for aging. She sees that color only in 1 out of every 10 vintages, she said.
Yields are also above average in many parts of Napa and Sonoma this season after many years of low yields because of drought, heat waves and fire.
Yields were 30% below average last year at Square Peg Winery but are back to around average, said Alper. Cyrot said some vineyards she sources from on the valley floor had double the average yield.
But extra-large yields aren’t always ideal when the market is down, said Allen, who scaled back production 20% this year in anticipation of lower demand.
“It’s not the best year to have bumper crops of grapes,” he said.
The moderate weather has also improved working conditions for employees, after years of heat waves and wildfires coinciding with the harvest.
Overall, this year is almost like going back in time, before climate change impacts became all too normal in Wine Country.
It reminds Allen of the 2011 vintage, another cool year that resulted in high-quality wines that are still going strong.
HUMBOLDT PROGRESSIVE DEMOCRATS APPROVES ‘RESOLUTION AFFIRMING SUPPORT AND SOLIDARITY WITH THE PALESTINIAN PEOPLE’
Dear Anderson Valley Advertiser,
At last night's membership meeting, the Humboldt Progressive Democrats (HPD) voted to approve the attached "Resolution Affirming Support and Solidarity with the Palestinian People" (PDF and Word versions). As stated in the resolution:
"Humboldt Progressive Democrats calls for our Congressmembers to demand: an immediate ceasefire; the unrestricted entry of humanitarian assistance into Gaza; the restoration of food, water, fuel and electricity to Gaza; the release of allhostages held by Hamas & prisoners unjustly detained by Israel; anend to all U.S. military aid to Israel; the development of a lasting peace that addresses the root causes of the current conflict which lie in decades of institutionalized oppression and occupation." HPD looks forward to your continued coverage of this conflict and humanitarian crisis. Please feel free to contact me with any questions.
Chair, Humboldt Progressive Democrats
* * *
Resolution Affirming Support and Solidarity with the Palestinian People
WHEREAS, the Humboldt Progressive Democrats condemns the recent murder of civilians, including by Israel in Gaza, Israeli armed settlers in the West Bank, and by Hamas in Israel, and recognizes that Israel's attacks on Gaza constitute the war crime of collective punishment; Israel, according to its own leaders, is engaging in collective punishment against Gazans in response to the October 7th horrendous attacks by Hamas that killed 1,200 Israelis; this collective punishment against the Palestinian people includes the murder of over 11,000 and counting, including over 4,324 children, as well as the denial of electricity, water, food, and medicine, leading Oxfam to conclude Israel is using starvation as a weapon of war; and
WHEREAS, Israel is also committing acts of genocide and ethnic cleansing by forcing 2,000,000 Palestinians to leave northern for southern Gaza or risk being bombed, then bombing them as they flee; a leaked 10/17/23 Israeli government document cites the current moment as a “unique and rare opportunity” to displace Palestinians to Egypt and other countries that could “absorb” them; and
WHEREAS, Israel has maintained a military occupation and an apartheid system of laws and practices that, as described by Human Rights Watch, serves to fragment, oppress and dispossess Palestinians; even prior to the current bombardment, Gaza has been subjected to a complete blockade that has caused 80% of the population to rely on humanitarian aid & 60% of Palestinian children to be anemic; and Israel would not be able to maintain this apartheid regime without billions in military aid provided by the U.S. every year, thereby depriving U.S. citizens of money for their own basic needs while forcing us to be complicit in crimes against humanity; and
WHEREAS, Western Colonialism is the resultant force of the complex and adversarial relationship between Palestine and Israel particularly of consequence the 1922 decision of the League of Nations to accept the Balfour Declaration and appoint Britain to rule Palestine subsequently leading to the expulsion of 750,000 Palestinians by 1948 with what is known as the “Nakba”; and
WHEREAS, we mourn the loss of all civilian lives lost on both sides from October 7th to the present and also throughout the decades of displacement, occupation, oppression and blockade endured in Gaza and the West Bank; and
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Humboldt Progress Democrats affirms that “recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world,” as stated in the Preamble to the 1948 United Nations Declaration of Human Rights, and advocates for the dignity, safety and equality of all people, regardless of religion or race, and opposes racism, antisemitism, Islamophobia, colonialism and ethno-nationalism in all their forms; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Humboldt Progressive Democrats calls for our Congressmembers to demand: an immediate ceasefire; the unrestricted entry of humanitarian assistance into Gaza; the restoration of food, water, fuel and electricity to Gaza; the release of all hostages held by Hamas & prisoners unjustly detained by Israel; an end to all U.S. military aid to Israel; the development of a lasting peace that addresses the root causes of the current conflict which lie in decades of institutionalized oppression and occupation.
Hélène Rouvier Chair, Humboldt Progressive Democrats
November 15, 2023
Judges have ruled an insurrectionist can run for president (Michigan, Minnesota). A judge has ruled felons can possess guns (Chicago).
Biden has ruled that an economically failing Chinese dictator can come to San Francisco and get an investment bailout to help keep his Communist Party in power. Why? Because those business deals help Democrats stay in power too.
Republicans believe that serial lying by Congressperson George Santos is free speech or maybe an ethics violation, but not crime.
Not crazy enough? Biden supports Netanyahu’s judgment that Palestinian women, children, and elderly are not civilians protected under rules of war. Why? Because Muslims are not a chosen people like Jews are.
America becoming irrational? Nothing new. Remember, Covid vaccinations kill people. Democrats run deep-state, Satan-worshipping, pedophilia rings in government, business, and media.
Also, Draymond Green’s game-time chokehold on Rudy Gobert was justified because he’s on our Warriors basketball team and Rudy is not. (San Jose Mercury News).
Tribalism gaining a foothold in America? No, it already has a chokehold on America.
Woods Cross, Utah
PROGRESSIVES AREN’T LIBERAL
by Pamela Paul
Remember when “liberal” was a dirty word? In the 1980s, Ronald Reagan, who often prefaced it with a damning “tax and spend,” may have been the most effective of bashers. But the most blatant attack was in the early ’90s, after Newt Gingrich’s political organization GOPAC sent out a memo, “Language: A Key Mechanism of Control,” urging fellow Republicans to use the word as a slur.
It worked. Even Democrats began avoiding the dread label. In a presidential primary debate in 2007, Hillary Clinton called herself instead a “modern progressive.” She avoided the term “liberal” again in 2016.
Now the word is back. The portion of Americans who told Gallup pollsters they were “liberal” has increased from 17 percent in 1992 to 25 percent in 2021 (still lower than the proportions of those who said they were “conservatives” or “moderates”).
But the way “liberal” is being used now is more confounding than ever. Never Trump conservatives tout their bona fides as liberals in the classical, 19th century sense of the word, in part to distinguish themselves from hard-right Trumpists. Others use “liberal” and “progressive” interchangeably, even as what progressivism means in practice today is often anything but liberal — or even progressive, for that matter.
For those of us who never abandoned the term — why let Republicans define us? — liberal values, many of them products of the Enlightenment, include individual liberty, freedom of speech, scientific inquiry, separation of church and state, due process, racial equality, women’s rights, human rights and democracy.
Unlike “classical liberals” (i.e., usually conservatives), liberals do not see government as the problem, but as a means to help the people it serves. Liberals fiercely defend Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Obamacare, the Voting Rights Act and the National Labor Relations Act. They believe government has a duty to regulate commerce for the benefit of its citizens. They tend to be suspicious of large corporations and their tendency to thwart the interests of workers and consumers.
As recently as the 2000s, the difference between liberals and progressives was often a matter of degree — Obamacare versus Medicare for All, or increasing the top marginal tax rate versus imposing a wealth tax. But while liberalism’s most strenuous threat comes from the Trumpian right, a split over basic principles and the purpose of the left has been widening.
In an increasingly prominent version of the progressive vision, capitalism isn’t something to be regulated or balanced, but is itself the problem. White supremacy doesn’t describe an extremist fringe of racists and antisemites but is instead the inherent character of the nation.
Some aspects of contemporary progressivism look less like actual progress and more like a step in reverse. Whereas liberals hold to a vision of racial integration, progressives have increasingly supported forms of racial distinction and separation, and demanded equity in outcome rather than equality of opportunity. Whereas most liberals want to advance equality between the sexes, many progressives seem fixated on reframing gender stereotypes as “gender identity” and denying sex differences wherever they confer rights or protections expressly for women. And whereas liberals tend to aspire toward a universalist ideal, in which diverse people come together across shared interests, progressives seem increasingly wedded to an identitarian approach that emphasizes tribalism over the attainment of common ground.
More reactionary still is the repressive nature of progressive ideals around civil liberties. It is progressives — not liberals — who argue that “speech is violence” and that words cause harm. These values are the driving force behind progressive efforts to shut down public discourse, disrupt speeches, tear down posters, censor students and deplatform those with whom they disagree.
Divisions became sharper after the Oct. 7 Hamas attack, when many progressives did not just express support for the Palestinian cause but, in some cases, even defended the attacks as a response to colonialism, and opposed retaliation as a form of genocide. (One might argue that it is similarly illiberal for universities to suspend or cut funding to student groups that support Palestinian rights, as several have done, though those actions often came after chants by the groups that administrators considered threatening toward Jews.)
All this stands in marked contrast to the liberal stance that more speech is better speech, allowing for the free exchange of ideas. As David Frum, not generally considered a liberal himself, wrote recently in The Atlantic, “how is a society ever to settle its most important questions if it follows the rule ‘The more important a question, the more strictly its discussion is forbidden’?”
While progressives are not a large group (between 6 percent and 8 percent of the voting population, according to recent studies), they are likely to be the loudest on the left, and the most likely to shut out their would-be liberal allies. As Jonathan Haidt has noted, they also dominate the political conversation on social media.
In his recent book, “The Struggle for a Decent Politics: On ‘Liberal’ as an Adjective,” the political philosopher Michael Walzer writes that liberals “aspire to be open-minded, generous and tolerant.” He also notes, regretfully, “Illiberalism is more common than it should be among those who are, at least formally, members of democratic and socialist parties.”
This brings us to the most troubling characteristic of contemporary progressivism. Whereas liberals tend to pride themselves on acceptance, many progressives have applied various purity tests to others on the left, and according to one recent study on the schism between progressives and liberals, are more likely than liberals to apply public censure to divergent views. This intolerance manifests as a professed preference for avoiding others with different values, a stance entirely antithetical to liberal values.
What a strange paradox that at the very moment the word “liberal” is enjoying a renaissance, liberalism itself feels on the wane. Many liberals find themselves feeling lonelier than ever.
For anyone who wants a simple proof that Palestine existed before 1948, here’s a coin from 1927 worth 10 Mils (this currency is no longer used). Also note that the word “Palestine” is written in both Arabic and Hebrew indicating not only a Jewish presence, but a substantial one. Jews and Arabs DID live side by side in peace before the Zionists came.
EXPERT: MEDIA INSUFFICIENTLY HYSTERICAL ON SUBJECT OF TRUMP
Joe Biden trails in polls because the press has been too laid back in its Trump coverage, warns columnist
by Matt Taibbi
Margaret Sullivan, former New York Times public editor and Washington Post media writer, warns in The Guardian that a poll showing Joe Biden trailing in key states shows the press has not adequately communicated “the dangers of a Trump win”:
The press generally is not doing an adequate job of communicating those realities. Instead, journalists have emphasized Joe Biden’s age and Trump’s “freewheeling” style. They blame the public’s attitudes on “polarization,” as if they themselves have no role. And, of course, they make the election about the horse race – rather than what would happen a few lengths after the finish line.
After praising a Post story for publishing a subhead that called Trump’s ideas “dangerous and unconstitutional,” Sullivan went on:
We need a lot more stories like the ones the Post and the Times did – not just in these elite, paywalled outlets but on the nightly news, on cable TV, in local newspapers and on radio broadcasts. We need a lot less pussyfooting in the wording… Every news organization should be reporting on this with far more vigor – and repetition – than they do about Biden being 80 years old.
A small sample of headlines you’ll find on a simple “Trump threat democracy” Google search include: Trump’s Threat to Democracy Now Systemic, Trump’s Violent Rhetoric Threatens Democracy to the Core, How Trump’s rhetoric compares with Hitler’s, Trump’s Recipe for a Shockingly Raw Power Grab, and my personal favorite, Charlie Pierce’s Nazi-Curious Madman Currently Under Indictment For 91 Felonies Gives Speech. You can’t bend over to clean up after your dog without running into one of these.
Unless there’s one stranded on a Pacific atoll somewhere, there isn’t an American alive who hasn’t heard the “Trump is a threat to democracy and Hitler” story at least ten thousand times since 2016. I’m afraid to read things stitched on my mattress, for fear of finding another Hannah Arendt cite. The only conclusion one can come to looking at polls like the recent New York Times/Siena College survey Sullivan referenced (and didn’t link to, calling it only “that poll” that “sent chills down many a spine”), is that all the media “vigor” either no longer moves people, or more likely, has begun to move them in the other direction, through sheer force of annoyance.
Margaret either smoked the world’s biggest bag of crack before writing that piece, or this is actually Andy Kaufman’s last, greatest disguise. If the latter, it’s take-a-bow time. Less “pussyfooting”? More “vigor”? More repetition? Genius. This has to be a joke. Right?
ON-LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
Are you prepared?
10 Common Ways People Will Die In The First Month If There Were An Extended Catastrophe
1. The lack of water or even safe water to drink
2. Starving to death
3. Your medication runs out
4. People will die because they’re out of shape
5. Individuals will die due to trauma, small injuries or simply get sick
6. Lack of sanitation
7. You die when looters come for your stuff
8. You aren’t prepared for reality
9. You freeze to death
10. You give up
UKRAINE, THURSDAY, 16TH NOVEMBER
Fierce fighting has erupted between Russian forces and Ukrainian units that crossed over the Dnieper River to the Russian-occupied eastern bank of the river in the southern Kherson region.
Battles are concentrated around a number of villages on the east or left bank of the river where Ukraine has managed to establish several footholds, but Russian forces are now reported to be pounding those positions.
A Russian-installed official in the occupied part of Kherson said Russian forces were “destroying” Ukrainian forces “on the largest scale” in the village of Krynky, where he claimed they had been trapped.
Analysts at the Institute for the Study of War painted a picture of mixed fortunes for Ukrainian forces in the area, citing Ukrainian officials, Russian military bloggers closely following developments in the war and open-source evidence.
In other news, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday that any internal and external attempts to interfere with the 2024 presidential election in Russia will be suppressed.
Putin said any measures necessary will be taken to prevent any illegal obstruction of the election, including any pressure applied to the electoral process. Russia has long been accused of interfering in the electoral processes of other countries, particularly the U.S. vote in 2016, although it denies the allegations.
SAME-SAME: Covid lockdowns were no more effective at reducing infections than letting people adapt their own behaviour, a major Oxford University-baked study suggests.
A team of international researchers created a model that estimates Covid death and unemployment rates in response to different pandemic policies.
Results suggest that imposing shutdowns — that forced people to stay home and closed essential shops — squashed fatality rates from the virus.
However, leaving people to adapt their own behaviour — such as by socialising less to avoid becoming infected, an approach used in Sweden — was just as effective.
The experts concluded that both policies led to 'similar trade-offs' for people's health and the economy, with both approaches triggering job losses.
THURSDAY IN GAZA, NEW YORK TIMES
Israeli forces searched Gaza’s largest hospital and showed what they called evidence of a Hamas military presence.
A day after it took control of the Gaza Strip’s largest hospital, the Israeli military on Thursday afternoon was still searching the site that Israel has said concealed a secret Hamas base, and to bolster its case offered video of more weapons it said it had found there and what it described as a tunnel entrance.
The images presented by Israel from the hospital, Al-Shifa, in Gaza City, could not be independently verified, and still have not proven the existence of the sprawling Hamas operation that it said the hospital concealed.
But Israeli officials said the search was bound to be slow, citing the physical difficulties and the risks. They added that Hamas had plenty of warning that Israeli forces were coming and time to remove evidence. In an apparent attempt to rebuff skepticism of the evidence released thus far, Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari, the chief spokesman for the Israeli military, said Thursday evening at a news briefing that troops were searching the hospitals, building by building, sometimes while under fire.
“This is a complex activity that needs time in order to most importantly ensure our forces’ security, and then operational success,” he said. “In Shifa, Rantisi, Al-Quds and other hospitals, we are finding Hamas activity aboveground and underneath it. This is no coincidence — this is Hamas’s method.”
Since invading Gaza 20 days ago, Israel has presented Al-Shifa as one of its primary targets, saying it sits atop a network of subterranean fortifications installed by Hamas, the armed Palestinian group that controlled the entire territory until the invasion began. Hamas and the hospital leadership have denied the accusations.
The claim that Hamas operated from within the sprawling hospital complex has been central to Israel’s defense of the death toll caused by its military campaign in Gaza, which has killed more than 11,000 people, according to Gazan health officials. Israeli officials say that the extreme loss of life has been caused in part by Hamas’s decision to hide its military fortifications and command centers inside civilian infrastructure like Al-Shifa.
One of the videos released on Thursday by the Israeli military showed a white pickup truck on the hospital grounds and, laid out on the ground near it, the arsenal the narrator said had been its contents: automatic rifles, rocket-propelled grenades, ammunition magazines, hand grenades and other gear.
Another video shows excavated earth and a doorway into an underground passage, which The New York Times has confirmed is at the northern perimeter of the sprawling hospital complex. Israeli forces appear to have destroyed a small structure and dug up an extensive area to uncover the opening, an analysis of satellite imagery and video shows.
On Wednesday, the military released video showing about a dozen guns, a grenade, protective vests and military uniforms that it said soldiers had found within an M.R.I. unit at the hospital.
At a news conference in Beirut, Lebanon, on Thursday, Osama Hamdan, a Hamas spokesman, called that video “a weak and ridiculous narration.” Mr. Hamdan accused Israel of planting the weaponry to show a militant presence at the hospital.
Israel’s ability to prove its claim could determine whether its foreign allies continue to support its military response to Hamas’s Oct. 7 attack on Israel. White House officials have said they believe, based on intelligence gathered independently of Israeli sources, that Hamas used the hospital as a base.
Israel received broad international support after the Hamas-led raid killed roughly 1,200 people, most of them civilians, according to Israeli officials. But as the Israeli counterattack has dragged on, devastating much of Gaza, there have been signs that allies were beginning to take a more nuanced position.
The United Nations Security Council called on Wednesday for immediate, dayslong pauses in the fighting to allow more aid to reach civilians. The United States — a key ally that often vetoes U.N. statements critical of Israel — abstained from voting on the resolution, allowing it to pass.
“The occupation resorted to this farce to cover up the fall of its alleged story,” he added.
He said Israeli troops had “terrorized the patients and detained them in a barbaric manner,” and accused them of “destroying the medicine warehouse and disabling the M.R.I. machine.”
On Oct. 27, the day that its forces invaded Gaza, the Israeli military published a map of the site that suggested Hamas was operating four underground complexes beneath the hospital’s internal medicine department, its chest and dialysis department, its M.R.I. department and a rest area at its western edge. The map also suggested that Hamas ran a command center at or near the hospital’s outpatient clinic.
The army has not yet presented evidence publicly that any of those five sites exist. It did say in a statement that soldiers had found an aboveground command center in the M.R.I. unit, without providing further evidence. Hamas dismissed the assertion as “a fabricated story that no one would believe.”
A spokesman for the Israeli military, Maj. Nir Dinar, said that Israel needed more time to find and present evidence.
“It takes time because Hamas knew we were coming, and they’ve tried to hide evidence of their war crimes,” Major Dinar said. “They’ve messed up the scene, they’ve brought in sand to cover some of the floors, and they’ve created double walls.”
Hwaida Saad, Aric Toler and Malachy Browne contributed reporting.
* * *
Israel Says Soldiers Recovered The Body Of A Hostage Near Al-Shifa Hospital.
Israeli soldiers have recovered the body of one of the hostages kidnapped during the Hamas-led attack on Israel last month from a building next to the Al-Shifa Hospital complex in Gaza City, the Israeli military said on Thursday night.
The body of Yehudit Weiss, 65, a resident of Be’eri, a kibbutz near the border with Gaza, was found by troops who in recent days have taken control of much of the hospital, the largest in the Gaza Strip, and were searching within and beneath it. Israeli officials say the hospital complex hosts major Hamas facilities, some in underground bunkers, a claim rejected by Hamas and hospital officials.
The military, in a statement announcing the recovery of her body, did not say how Ms. Weiss had died. Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari, an Israeli military spokesman, told reporters that soldiers found weapons belonging to her captors near her remains.
“Yehudit was killed by terrorists in the Gaza Strip, and we didn’t manage to reach her in time,” he said.
Israeli authorities said Hamas and other Palestinian groups took roughly 240 people hostage during the surprise attack on Oct. 7 that left around 1,200 dead in Israel. The ongoing hostage crisis — which involves dozens of dual nationals — has stunned the country and complicated Israel’s hopes of toppling Hamas in Gaza.
Hamas has released four Israeli hostages so far, and Israeli troops successfully rescued a 19-year-old Israeli soldier last month. Negotiations have reportedly advanced this week for the release of 50 hostages, in exchange for the release of Palestinians held in Israeli jails and a cessation of hostilities for several days.
Israeli troops transferred Ms. Weiss’s body to Israel for forensic testing by health officials, who confirmed her identity, the Israeli military said. Her husband, Shmulik Weiss, was killed in the Oct. 7 attack, Admiral Hagari said.
Their community, Be’eri, a close-knit kibbutz of approximately 1,000 residents, was devastated by the Hamas attack. At least 86 residents were killed in the assault, according to the kibbutz administration, while roughly 25 are missing, with many of those believed to have been kidnapped in Gaza.
In a video statement after her kidnapping, Ms. Weiss’s family said that she and Mr. Weiss ceased responding to messages after around 10:15 a.m. on Oct. 7. Both of their phones were later traced to Gaza, said their son Ohad.
”We had so much hope that Mom would come back,” another of their sons, Omer, told reporters on Thursday night, after learning of his mother’s death. “We wished for it and we hoped. Sadly, it was too late for us — but perhaps for the rest of the families, it’s not.”
Gaza’s health ministry says thousands remain inside Al-Shifa hospital.
The Gaza health ministry said on Thursday that thousands of people remained inside the Al-Shifa Hospital compound with little food and water as Israeli forces searched the premises for a second day.
Ashraf Al-Qidra, a spokesman for the ministry, told Al Jazeera Arabic that, in addition to people who have been sheltering at the complex, about 650 patients remained there. Israeli forces had barred medical workers and patients from leaving, and had detained two technicians, he said. The army was digging around the site and had bombed the water line, and tanks were going in and out of the compound, according to Mr. Al-Qidra.
The troops also seized corpses that were stored in the hospital’s yard — its morgue was full — without specifying where they were being taken, he said.
The Israeli military did not immediately respond to a request to address that claim, but it did announce on Thursday night that the body of a hostage was recovered from a structure adjacent to Al-Shifa. The hostage, Yehudit Weiss, 65, was abducted from Be’eri on Oct. 7, it said.
Fighting continued around Al-Shifa on Thursday. The military wing of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, an Iran-backed armed group in Gaza, said on Telegram that it was battling Israeli forces near the hospital.
A communications blackout also swept through Gaza on Thursday, making it exceedingly difficult to reach anyone at Al-Shifa or at other hospitals.
Even before Israeli troops entered the premises, Al-Shifa and other hospitals in the northern part of the enclave were already struggling to function because of severe shortages and large influxes of people wounded in airstrikes.
The head of the hospital, Dr. Mohammad Abu Salmiya, told Al Jazeera on Thursday that three premature babies in the hospital’s care had died. A report on Thursday from the Palestinian Authority’s Ministry of Health said that a total of 40 patients had died at Al-Shifa since Nov. 11. The report linked those deaths to the lack of fuel and closure of some departments amid the ongoing siege.
For weeks doctors had warned that a dwindling supply of fuel to power generators would prove fatal for patients, especially in the neonatal and intensive care units.
A Hamas government statement, read aloud for television cameras on Thursday evening, said Al-Shifa had become “a prison” for the thousands who remain there. In remarks broadcast a short while later, Ismail Haniyeh, the group’s Qatar-based top political leader, said Israel’s claim that Hamas uses Al-Shifa for military activity was based on lies. He also warned that Hamas was prepared for the war to continue.
Only one inpatient hospital in northern Gaza, Al-Ahli Arab, was still operating on Thursday, the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said. An explosion last month at the hospital killed scores of people sheltering there, though the death toll has not been verified.
Israeli officials and Palestinian militants have blamed each other for the Al-Ahli Arab explosion. Although responsibility for the blast has not been confirmed, a video analysis by The New York Times casts doubt that a failed Palestinian rocket launch — the contention by Israeli and American intelligence agencies — is to blame.
Late Thursday, the Palestine Red Crescent Society said Al-Ahli Arab was surrounded by Israeli tanks and that medical teams were trapped inside as loud explosions and “intense gunfire” were heard nearby. The aid organization wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter, that there were several casualties in the hospital’s courtyard, but that medical staff could not reach the wounded or killed amid the violence.
* * *
In A Shift, The U.S. Does Not Block A U.N. Resolution Calling For Humanitarian Pauses In Gaza.
A decision by the United States to abstain from a United Nations Security Council resolution calling for humanitarian pauses in the war in Gaza marked the first time that Washington has refrained from blocking a resolution that does not also condemn the Hamas attack.
The shift comes after weeks of division at the Security Council over the Israel-Hamas war, with four previous resolutions failing because of disagreements between the five members with veto power.
The United States had vetoed a previous resolution calling for humanitarian aid and access because it did not say that Israel had a right to defend itself. The resolution that passed late Wednesday called for pauses to allow aid to reach civilians. Russia and Britain also abstained on the resolution.
The United States has supported Israel’s war against Hamas in Gaza, and on Wednesday President Biden reiterated his condemnation of Hamas for its Oct. 7 attack and his commitment to Israel’s right to defend itself. But U.S. officials have been increasingly forceful in talking about the civilian death toll under Israel’s bombardment and ground invasion of Gaza, and the Biden administration this month called for humanitarian pauses.
Human Rights Watch — which, along with the United Nations and some governments, has called for a cease-fire in Gaza — said the resolution should send a signal to Israel.
“That the U.S. finally stopped paralyzing the Security Council on Israel and Palestine so this resolution on the plight of children in Gaza could move forward should be a wake-up call to Israeli authorities that global concern, even among its allies, is strong,” it said in a statement on social media.
The U.N. resolution also calls for all parties to comply with international laws of conflict requiring that civilians, especially children, be protected, and for the immediate and unconditional release of hostages held by Hamas.
Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, Gilad Erdan, criticized the resolution as “disconnected from reality” and “meaningless.” He maintained Israel’s stance that the country was acting according to international law and that Hamas had been violating it.
Mr. Erdan also said it was “shameful” that the Security Council had not issued a resolution condemning the Oct. 7 Hamas attack, which Israeli authorities say killed around 1,200 people.
Hamas’s Qatar-based top political official, Ismail Haniyeh, said in a televised speech that the resolution “should have included a clear and direct condemnation” of what he said were war crimes committed by Israel “around the clock in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.”
At a news conference on Wednesday, Mr. Biden described the raid by Israeli forces on Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City as “incredibly careful” and said that Hamas had committed a war crime by “having their headquarters, their military hidden under a hospital.” Hamas has rejected claims that it used the hospital for military purposes.
But Mr. Biden also contrasted Israel’s approach at the hospital, whose capture was a significant military objective for Israeli forces, with the way it had used force in its wider assault on Gaza.
“This is a different story than I believe was occurring before, an indiscriminate bombing,” he said, according to a White House transcript. It was not clear whether the comment represented the U.S. position on Israel’s use of force in Gaza. Palestinian health officials say that more than 11,000 Palestinians have been killed since Oct. 7, mostly by Israeli airstrikes.
* * *
Gaza Is Plunged Into A Communications Blackout Amid A Severe Fuel Shortage.
The Gaza Strip was in a communications blackout on Thursday, leaving most of the more than two million people in the enclave cut off from the outside world amid an escalating Israeli ground operation and relentless bombardment.
Two major Palestinian mobile networks, Jawwal and Paltel, said that “all telecom services” in the besieged strip were out of service “as all energy sources sustaining the network have been depleted, and fuel was not allowed in.”
The networks had repeatedly warned this week that dwindling supplies would halt their services amid a severe fuel shortage across the strip that has exacerbated an already dire humanitarian situation. UNRWA, the largest United Nations agency in Gaza, which has been distributing aid coming in from the Rafah border crossing with Egypt, said it would not be able to deliver assistance on Friday because of the blackout.
Israel has been preventing fuel from entering Gaza, saying Hamas uses it for rocket attacks and has stockpiled fuel intended for civilians, and has cut off electricity there since it began its bombing campaign after Hamas’s surprise attacks on Oct. 7.
Communications appeared to go down in the late afternoon on Thursday. In some cases, phones rang unanswered. Other times, callers heard a recorded message: “Contact with the beloved Gaza Strip was lost as a result of the ongoing aggression. May God protect Gaza and its people.”
This message is familiar to those who had tried to reach people in Gaza late last month when communications were severed on three occasions for periods ranging between 12 to 48 hours after strikes damaged phone lines. U.S. officials also said Israel had switched off Gaza’s phone networks and caused some of the outages earlier in the war.
Last month’s outages made it difficult for emergency and rescue crews to locate and evacuate those killed and wounded in strikes and sent panic and fear across the territory.
“Israel’s ongoing refusal to deliver sufficient fuel and restore power will bring Gaza’s communications network to a complete halt,” Amnesty International said in a statement on Wednesday, adding that “civilians in Gaza cannot afford another blackout.”
Even before fuel ran out and strikes damaged lines, reaching people in the strip has been difficult since the start of Israel’s retaliatory bombing campaign. Gaza has been facing connectivity below 30 percent of normal levels since the first week of the war, according to data by IODA and NetBlocks, which track internet access worldwide.
THE GHOSTS OF WACO STILL HAUNT AMERICA
by James Bovard
After decades of writing about the greatest atrocity of 1993, I finally visited Waco last week. I was traveling with a friend who was hepped up on seeing Waco’s most popular tourist site – Magnolia, a massive shopping complex spawned by an HGTV program on home remodeling.
That venue was easy to spot thanks to its trademark giant silo in the downtown area. Having grown up in a farming area, I struggled mightily to comprehend how a silo could become a chic fashion symbol. The main building was overstocked with frenzied, middle-aged women who would not be described as “bookish.” There was a surplus of henpecked husbands holding their wives’ purses. Prices seemed whackier than the customers: a burlap bag that looked like it had been used to feed horses sold for $68. Attaching the Magnolia insignia was the alchemist’s secret for turning crap into gold.
I didn’t need a feed bag so I told my friend I’d wait outside. I sat down on the opposite end of a bench from an amiable elderly lady who was savoring a $4 chocolate cupcake from the Magnolia bakery. She mentioned that she was on a bus tour.
“Where is the tour going?” I asked.
“It’s the Brazos bus tour of Waco. We’re seen several fixer-upper houses that have been on the television program.”
“Did the bus stop at the site where the Branch Davidians died?”
“No, that wasn’t on the tour,” she replied.
“It’s amazing what the feds did to those people,” I commented.
“Sometimes it seems like the government just gets away with murder,” she sighed.
Holy smoke! At that moment, I realized I was no longer on the East Coast where everyone defers automatically to officialdom. Inside the Beltway, anyone who ever thinks about shooting back at federal agents is considered a terrorist.
“Yes….” I began.
“I’ve heard about the federal government doing other killings but I’m not sure if they were true or just rumors,” she added.
“Ruby Ridge wasn’t a rumor,” I replied.
At that point, my friend came bounding out of the store with a new Magnolia tote bag. (She was not one of the frenzied shoppers.) I wished the lady good luck for the rest of her Waco bus tour.
We headed off to the distant outskirts of Waco. An Uber driver in Dallas told me a couple days earlier that he had difficulty finding the site of the debacle and suggested that was because locals wanted to bury the entire issue. I cranked on WAZE. In lieu of searching for “federal atrocity sites in Central Texas,” I entered “Mt. Carmel, Waco.” WAZE came through with only a couple quirky surprises (“turn left in 37 feet”).
Turning off the main road, our rent-a-car came upon the fence surrounding the Davidian site (now owned by Adventist preacher Charles Pace). A sign on the fence announced that the area was closed. But the gate was open and another sign said that visitors were obliged to pay $10 per vehicle. I would have happily paid but I encountered no humans during the visit.
I wasn’t even sure about the only sign of life that I witnessed. There was a dog lying on the side of the road – I thought he might be dead. As I drove past, he lazily opened one eye. With such a robust response, I wondered if the dog worked for the government. He looked like a mix of an English Setter and Dalmatian, but his papers probably certified him as 100% Texas mutt. The dog ignored me like a bad editor.
This swath of land entered the history books on February 28, 1993, when federal agents had attacked this sprawling home occupied by members of an offshoot of the Seventh Day Adventists founded by a Bulgarian immigrant in 1935. Seventy-six Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms agents arrived on cattle trailers, shot the Davidians’ dogs, and then commenced trying to blast and smash their way into the house occupied by scores of women, children and men. The ATF supposedly had an arrest warrant for Davidian leader David Koresh but forgot to bring it along that morning. ATF named its operation Showtime, and made sure that multiple crews from local television stations were nearby to film their triumph.
Things went awry, and the resulting firefight left seven Davidians and four federal agents dead. ATF top brass wailed to the media that their agents had been “ambushed” that morning. That characterization was difficult to reconcile with the facts that the feds launched a surprise assault and were far more heavily armed than the Davidians. Perhaps the feds considered it an “ambush” because the victims shot back.
The ATF targeted Koresh because they suspected he had illegally converted semi-automatic firearms to shoot more than one bullet with each trigger pull. Prior to attacking, the feds had scorned numerous opportunities to easily arrest Koresh. Nine days before the attack, undercover ATF agents (whom Koresh recognized as such) had even gone target shooting with Koresh. But that damning fact was buried in federal archives until years after the catastrophe.
After the ATF raid fiasco, the FBI took over and ratcheted up the pressure on the besieged Davidians, bombarding them around the clock with high volume soundtracks of rabbits being slaughtered and Nancy Sinatra singing (choose your poison). On April 19, 1993, FBI tanks pumped the Davidians’ home full of CS gas, a potentially lethal, flammable compound and collapsed much of the building atop the inhabitants. Around noon, fires broke out that quickly burnt the compound to the ground; 80 bodies were found in the rubble. FBI spokesmen raced to blame the Davidians for the fire and swore they had proof that the cult members committed mass suicide. (No such evidence was provided.) The spokesmen neglected to mention that the FBI had stopped local fire trucks racing to the scene.
I was enraged by the attack and the smugness of government spokesmen before, during, and after the fire – and by the lapdog media. I lusted to write about the abuses when they happened but I was dangling at the end of my rope trying to finish Lost Rights: The Destruction of American Liberty (St. Martin’s Press). I had approximately 17,619 remaining details to track down or lock up in the manuscript. I did finagle the insertion of a few pages on Waco at the last moment of the book’s preparation, perhaps earning the undying wrath of the copy editor. I later wrote about Waco for the Wall Street Journal, Playboy, New Republic, American Spectator, Washington Times, and other publications.
Walking the turf that I had often written about was borderline eerie. It was hard to visualize that, 30 years earlier, National Guard military helicopters had flown above an American home, spraying gunfire on the hapless residents. Waco was several wars and hundreds of battles ago, as far as topics that I had investigated and sought to expose. It was difficult to even conceive of a time before my name was added to terrorist watch lists. But Waco was a landmark for both the nation and for my own thinking and writing.
The feds quickly bulldozed the site even before the fires had cooled in April 1993. The biggest remainder from that time is the swimming pool that had been located in the back of the ramshackle home. That pool shows up in the overhead photos of the final day’s tank assault.
The most piercing memento was a simple red sign atop a three foot post: “Vault where the mothers and children were gassed.” The “vault” was the bottom story of a four story tower, specially designed for apocalyptic times. Almost 30 corpses of women and children were found there after the FBI assault.
The initial coverup of Waco was a roaring success, at least until the April 19, 1995, Oklahoma City bombing put the issue back on the national radar. Republicans had captured control of Congress in the 1994 elections and two House committees held joint hearings in the summer of 1995.
The Clinton administration and their media allies portrayed federal agencies as heroic for their conduct at Waco. But the details of the FBI gassing operation settled any doubts about federal intent on April 19, 1993.
During the 1995 hearings, congressional Democrats portrayed the CS gas as innocuous as a Flintstone vitamin. FBI deputy director Floyd Clarke testified that the FBI’s plan was to “immediately and totally immerse the place in gas and throw in flash-bangs which would disorient them… and cause people to… think, if not rationally, at least instinctively, and perhaps give them a way to come out.” The FBI assumed that maximizing terror inside the building would make people come out and surrender to the government. But a 1975 U.S. Army publication warned, “Generally, persons reacting to CS are incapable of executing organized and concerted actions, and excessive exposure to CS may make them incapable of vacating the area.” Shortly before she approved the FBI final assault, Attorney General Janet Reno was warned that CS gas could cause “some people to panic. Mothers may run off and leave infants.”
CS gas is deadly. United Nations officials estimated that CS gas killed dozens of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip in 1988. Benjamin Garrett, executive director the Chemical and Biological Arms Control Institute in Alexandria, Virginia, observed that the CS gas “would have panicked the children. Their eyes would have involuntarily shut. Their skin would have been burning. They would have been gasping for air and coughing wildly. Eventually, they would have been overcome with vomiting in a final hell.” Many areas of the Davidians’ residence were saturated with doses of CS and methyl chloride that were nearly double the levels considered “an immediate risk to life and health.”
Chemistry professor George Uhlig testified at the 1995 hearings that the gassing may have turned the poorly ventilated area where many of the children’s bodies were found “into an area similar to one of the gas chambers used by the Nazis at Auschwitz.” Uhlig concluded that the CS gasses probably “suffocated the children early on” in the FBI assault. Rep. Steven Schiff of New Mexico declared that “no rational person can conclude that the use of CS gas under any circumstances against children, would do anything other than cause extreme physical problems and possibly death…. I believe the deaths of dozens of men, women and children can be directly and indirectly attributable to the use of this gas in the way it was injected by the FBI.” Committee Chairman Rep. John Mica told me that even if the children didn’t die directly from the CS gas, “we sure as hell tortured them for six hours before they died.” A few months before the April assault, U.S. government officials signed an international Chemical Weapons Convention treaty pledging never to use CS gas against enemy soldiers. But the treaty contained an exemption that permitted governments to use CS on their own subjects.
The FBI exploited that exemption to target the women and children. On the day of the fire, FBI spokesman Bob Ricks declared, “We knew that that protection [area] was in there — we believe we were finally able to make entry into that compound and were able to insert gas inside that protective area” where the women and children were huddled (quoted in the movie Waco: The Rules of Engagement, at two hours and eight minutes). The FBI knew that there were no gas masks that fit children, and Ricks also declared, “we put massive gas in there – their gas masks by that time had to be failing. ” But the feds remained entitled to brutalize and/or kill the Davidians because no one can disobey Uncle Sam and live. And any resulting deaths were not murder – merely public service gone awry.
At the front of Mt. Carmel is a plaque listing the names and ages of people killed on April 19, 1993. That plaque was practically the only remembrance of the 18 children who perished that day.
As we prepared to vamoose, a mockingbird arrived and perched on that red sign. Mockingbirds symbolize innocence and rebirth, so maybe there was a positive message from the visit. My friend told me that she felt like there were ghosts on the site. But she is Celtic so she often senses ghosts around her. After returning home, I glanced at a Wall Street Journal piece I wrote before the 1995 hearings and saw a similar invocation: “The ghosts of Waco will continue to haunt the U.S. government until the truth is told about what the government did and why.”
Waco still haunts the feds because the cover-up continues. Waco vaccinated millions of Americans against ever blindly deferring to Washington and federal law enforcement. The lives lost at Waco were never recovered, but the same is true of federal legitimacy – at least in the eyes of legions of Americans.
(James Bovard is the author of Attention Deficit Democracy, The Bush Betrayal, Terrorism and Tyranny, and other books. Bovard is on the USA Today Board of Contributors. He is on Twitter at @jimbovard. His website is at www.jimbovard.com This essay was originally published by Future of Freedom Foundation.)
THE CARNAGE IN GAZA CRIES OUT FOR REPUDIATION AND OPPOSITION. MAYBE POETRY CAN HELP.
by Norman Solomon
Two centuries ago, Percy Shelley wrote that “poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world.” Yet elite power has routinely vetoed their best measures. Still, the ability of poetry to inspire and nurture is precious, including when governments are on protracted killing sprees.
In Gaza, more than 11,000 civilians have been killed since early October. Children are perishing at an average rate of 10 deaths per hour.
The ongoing slaughter by Israeli forces -- supported by huge military aid from the United States -- follows Hamas’s atrocities on Oct. 7 in Israel, where the latest estimate of the death toll is 1,200 including at least 846 civilians in addition to some 200 hostages.
But numbers don’t get us very far in human terms. And news accounts have limited capacities to connect with real emotions.
That’s where poetry can go far beyond where journalism fails. A few words from a poet might chip away at the frozen blocks that support illegitimate power. And we might gain strength from the clarity that a few lines can bring.
Stanley Kunitz wrote:
In a murderous time
…the heart breaks and breaks
……and lives by breaking.
It is necessary to go
…through dark and deeper dark
……and not to turn.
“In a dark time,” Theodore Roethke wrote, “the eye begins to see.”
Bob Dylan wrote lines that could now be heard as addressing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Biden:
You fasten all the triggers
For the others to fire Then you sit back and watch When the death count gets higher You hide in your mansion While the young people's blood Flows out of their bodies And is buried in the mud
June Jordan wrote:
I was born a Black woman
I am become a Palestinian
against the relentless laughter of evil
there is less and less living room
and where are my loved ones?
In the United States, far away from the carnage, viewers and listeners and readers can easily prefer not to truly see that “their” government is helping Israel to keep killing thousands upon thousands of Palestinian children and other civilians. “I call it cruel and maybe the root of all cruelty / to know what occurs but not recognize the fact,” a poem by William Stafford says.
From Pink Floyd:
Don’t accept that what’s happening
Is just a case of others’ suffering
Or you’ll find that you’re joining in
The turning away
Just a world that we all must share
It’s not enough just to stand and stare
Is it only a dream that there’ll be
No more turning away?
Franz Kafka wrote:
“You can hold yourself back from the sufferings of the world, that is something you are free to do and it accords with your nature, but perhaps this very holding back is the one suffering you could avoid.”
(Norman Solomon is national director of RootsAction.org and executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy. He is the author of many books including War Made Easy. His latest book, War Made Invisible: How America Hides the Human Toll of Its Military Machine, was published in summer 2023 by The New Press.)