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Mendocino County Today: Saturday, Dec. 9, 2023

Cold | 128 Closed | AVUSD News | Fog | McConnell/Bressoud | Ukiah Construction | California Counties | Old Data | Mo Report | New Mayor | Deer Hunter | Planning Commission | Navarro Crew | Adventist BS | Ship Traffic | Ed Notes | Yesterday's Catch | Marco Radio | Shot Put | Blob Ball | Goya Self-Portrait | Empty Shelves | Advance Notice | Popeye Variant | Blood Warning | Death Toll | Handsome Virile | Wall | Journalists Banned | Time People | Right-Wing Nationalism | Xmas Spirit

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DRY AND MILD weather conditions will continue today. A weak front will bring a chance for rain on Sunday to Humbodlt and Del Norte counties. Dry weather is expected to return Monday and continue through much of the week with just a slight chance for rain Wednesday night. (NWS)

STEPHEN DUNLAP (Fort Bragg): A crisp 38F under clear skies on the coast this Saturday morning. We might see a few high clouds today, then maybe a late night shower tomorrow night, then clear skies for most of next week. After that, we'll see?

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ROUTE 128 IS FULLY CLOSED from the Route 1 junction to Navarro in Mendocino County due to flooding. There is no estimated time for reopening. (Caltrans District 1, 3:42pm, December 8, 2023)

Nick Wilson: I watched as a Caltrans guy closed and locked the gate at the Navarro bridge. 128 is closed between Hwy 1 and FlynnCr Rd. until further notice, probably several days at least. Caltrans posted advance notice on the Northern Division website that the road would be closed at 3:30 pm due to flooding.

Margaret Roberts: Just to be sure, it's still possible to cross the bridge and continue down Hwy 1?

Nick Wilson: The Navarro River Bridge is not affected in the least by the 1 or 2 in. of water over 128 in a low-lying stretch .18 mi. East of the bridge. Hwy 1 is fully open.

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Dear Anderson Valley Unified Community,

The holidays are suddenly upon us. Students from Mr. Hill’s CTE Academy will be delivering the canned goods to the Food Bank on Wednesday. We appreciate everyone’s participation. It really makes a difference. The winning class will receive a special treat to honor their efforts!

Elementary Site Reclassification Dinner:

The Student of the Month Celebration and reclassification ceremony is scheduled for December 13 at 5:30 p.m. and includes a tamale dinner. Sixty-six people have made reservations so far. Call the elementary office if you plan to attend at (707) 895-3010. 

Unity Club & Sixth Grade Fundraiser:

If you have time, stop by the fairgrounds this weekend and enjoy the student craft and fundraiser activities and the Unity Club Christmas Bazaar. This is a great community event. The sixth graders have been busy crafting posters and goodies!

On Time and No Cuts:

Please remind your student to make sure that they arrive at class on time and do not have any unexcused absences. I want to clear up a misconception that just because a parent calls, that does not mean the absence is excused. At teacher request, the Board will be reviewing the Sports Eligibility Policy to make the tardy and absence policy clear to all student athletes. The grade requirements will also be discussed shifting to no Fs and not more than one D for weekly eligibility to play.

I think we are seeing the correlation post-pandemic that people are relearning the incredible value of daily in-person attendance. Learning does happen from computers and books, but most importantly learning happens from conversations and instruction inside the classroom. We need your kids here! Every day they are out, they lose instruction, plus it is $75-$95 per student in lost income that fund our core classroom programs.

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In exciting news, the girls and boys basketball teams will be traveling to a tournament next week. If your student is going, please make sure they have turned in all of their required work. The grade book will not be held open. We appreciate Coaches Rhoades and Espinoza for making this opportunity happen, particularly for our girls to participate in a tournament.

A brief reminder of the last day of school before Winter Break is Friday, December 15. The grade book closes that day. Please have your students return any unfinished work by this Thursday in order to boost their grades for the transcript report.

It is important that your student returns on Monday, January 8 for the first day of the first day of the Spring Semester. Student schedules will be distributed that day. We are adding two periods of math support, one for Junior High and one for High School to support students during the day. Tutoring days are shifting after school and will be announced during the break.

For our parents of Seniors, please take advantage of the small group opportunities that are being held during the day in Senior Seminar to support the FAFSA application process. A note will be attached to your student’s report card listing available days and times. We hope you can come.

I just want to thank you again for all of your partnership with your kids. It really matters and is appreciated.

Have a wonderful and safe weekend!

Louise Simson, Superintendent

AV Unified School District

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Route 20 West of Willits Fog at Dusk (Jeff Goll)

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After more than 20 years in the job, Ukiah Daily Journal Publisher Kevin McConnell is leaving the newspaper and starting a new career in law enforcement. McConnell has taken a job with the Lake County District Attorney’s office.

McConnell started his California media career with MediaNews Group in 1995, in charge of the Alameda News Group News Center in Pleasanton. Then-MNG owner Dean Singleton and MNG’s Scott McKibben named him Publisher in Ukiah in October, 2000.

He continued in that role and in 2012 he was promoted to group publisher of both the Ukiah Daily Journal and the Lake County Record-Bee.

After the staff retirements at the Willits News and the coast papers in Fort Bragg and Mendocino, McConnell was given responsibility for those publications as well.

McConnell, whose last day was Dec. 1, recalled some highlights of his time in Ukiah including “Working with great people, enjoying several years of 7 days a week publication of the Ukiah Daily Journal, a special edition on September 11th, and moving both newspapers towards being locally centric while dropping national news (AP).”

Steve Bressoud will now assume the role of publisher for the Lakeport Record-Bee, Ukiah Daily Journal, Ft Bragg Advocate-News and Mendocino Beacon.

“Kevin has been an outstanding leader for our Lake and Mendocino county group of publications and websites,” Bressoud said.” Through his talent and dedication we have continued to provide relevant local news content for many years in challenging times. I’m sure Kevin will be as successful in his new endeavors as he has been with our news partnership.”

Bressoud has been in the publishing industry since the 1970s holding a variety of positions including publisher, general manager, and Chief Financial Officer among others.

“My goal is to continue to provide local news and serve the communities in Lake and Mendocino counties”.

Sarah McGrath, in sales at the Record-Bee will assume the role of Operations Director for the group while retaining her Sales Manager role. Bressoud states “Sarah has a proven track record and I have total confidence in her abilities to lead both our operations and sales departments.”

K.C. Meadows will continue her roles as Managing Editor of the Ukiah Daily Journal and General Manager of the Fort Bragg Advocate-News and the Mendocino Beacon.

(Ukiah Daily Journal)

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Drilling for a new foundation for a traffic signal at Scott and State.

On the south side (Mill to Cherry), crews will be replacing the main sewer line between Gobbi and Cherry. Weather permitting, that work will be followed by replacement of the sewer laterals. This work is occurring on the west side of the street, and there will be temporary interruptions to driveways on the corner of Freitas and between Freitas and Cherry. Travel lanes will continue to be open in both directions. Please drive carefully around construction crews. Towards the end of the week, weather permitting, work will begin on the joint trench between Mill and Gobbi, which will run along the west side of the street and contain underground electric and communication lines.

On the north side (Norton to Henry), the final sections of sidewalks and driveways are being completed. When new sidewalks are poured, pedestrian access can be allowed the next day. On driveways, however, it takes five or more days for the concrete to cure enough to handle vehicles…thank you for your patience! 

Also, the bases for the new streetlights are being installed. Please note that the traffic signal at Norton and State has been removed; please look for stop signs and changed conditions. Also, please note that, as we remove some of the old lights, some sections of the project area while be darker than usual until new lights are installed. Be extra vigilant for pedestrians in this area.

Shannon Riley

Deputy City Manager

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“I would just like to remind everyone that the data in the ACFR [Annual Comprehensive Financial Report] is now a year and a half old, so please take this into consideration when reviewing. Please remember that the economic factors in 21-22 are vastly different than what we are seeing today. So just be cautious when relying on the data. 

Um, in regards to the 22-23 ACFR, we're still a few months out. The auditor staff, along with RGS, is diligently working on trying to get the 21-22 adjusting entries into Munis so that we can begin utilizing Munis as a financial system instead of just a budgetary system. Um, we're going to have to end up basically drawing a line in the sand, saying anything from 21-22 prior in Munis is not, cannot be fully reported out on, as we know that there's information in different files. But going forward, the intent is that we would be able to use Munis to report, run reports, financial statements. This is, like I said, a few months out, because it's going to take a little bit to get the adjusting entries in the system. Um, and so we are still trying to work through; so once those entries for 21-22 are entered, we can then fully begin closing out 22-23 and reviewing the data and seeing if there's a likelihood of a carry forward. Right now, we're not able to confirm that or review it. And then, so, and then I just also like to remind everyone that the data that is in Munis for 22-23 right now is likely to change because we are still entering activity.”

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NEW UKIAH MAYOR WELCOMED - Ceremony for Dueñas full of dancing and singing

by Justine Frederiksen

In an evening full of firsts, Josefina Dueñas was sworn in Wednesday as the first deaf Latina to serve as mayor after a ceremony featuring a multi-cultural mix of dancing, drumming and singing filled City Hall for the first time to mark the beginning of a mayor’s term.

“We are here to do a blessing and sing some prayer songs,” said Carlos Romero, explaining that he drove up from Santa Rosa at the request of Dueñas, and was wearing a headdress featuring large feathers and other “regalia signifying transformation and change.”

And while he admitted that many people might find what he was wearing “scary,” Romero said items like the skull on his head were meant to represent the changes humans were constantly undergoing during their lives.

To mark the change of mayors, outgoing Mayor Mari Rodin stood next to incoming mayor Dueñas as Romero danced in a circle around them with a container of smoking sage, while another man accompanied him with a drum. Romero later sang in Spanish, and the festivities ended with another song sung in Spanish by a man dressed Mariachi-style.

“I think if this celebration was any indication, we’re going to have a good year,” Rodin told Dueñas while handing her the mayor gavel, showing grace during the transfer despite her not voting in support of Dueñas becoming mayor.

After taking her seat as mayor for the official council meeting, Dueñas said she was “so happy to have (Vice-Mayor Doug Crane coach her) in how to conduct the meetings,” and that she was grateful for her fellow council members “coming forward to help me with everything. And with so many blessings, we start over again.”

Also attending the festivities Wednesday were Mendocino County Supervisors Maureen Mulheren and John Haschak, as well as a representative of Rep. Jared Huffman (D — San Rafael), who congratulated Dueñas before presenting Rodin with a “certificate of special Congressional recognition for more than 13 years of public service to the city of Ukiah, including three terms as mayor.”

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(via Everett Liljeberg)

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Agenda & Staff Reports for December 21, 2023 Planning Commission Meeting

Dear Interested Parties,

The Staff Report(s) and Agenda for the December 21, 2023, Planning Commission meeting is now available on the department website at:

Please contact staff if there are any questions,

Thank you

James Feenan

Commission Services Supervisor

County of Mendocino Department of Planning & Building Services

860 N Bush Street, Ukiah, CA 95482

Main Line: 707-234-6650

Fax: 707-463-5709

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ANOTHER OLD PHOTOGRAPH of local interest on eBay (via Marshall Newman)

The Navarro Mill crew (at Navarro by the Sea)

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An Open Letter to Our Community 

As your local community hospital, we want to share an important update. You may have heard about our hospital contract termination with Blue Shield of California.

First, I want to highlight some key details you need to know and your options for continuing care at our local hospitals and clinics: 

• Our hospital services contract with Blue Shield expired December 1, 2023. This includes medical imaging, lab, and other hospital-based services. You may be able to continue receiving these hospital-based services by calling Blue Shield and asking about Continuity of Care benefit and Out-of-Network Referral. 

• The contract with Blue Shield for clinic providers/physicians (such as regular physician visit, sick visits) is still in effect and is NOT terminated currently. However, during your clinic visit, your doctor may request labs and imaging as part of your care, which are considered hospital services. You may still be able to access these services by calling Blue Shield and asking about Continuity of Care and Out-of-Network services. 

I want to apologize for the stress and confusion this has caused our community. This was not our intent and we had hoped to come to an agreement or inform you sooner. We have been negotiating in good faith with Blue Shield for 11 months, fighting for what’s fair and what will allow us to safeguard the sustainability of our local hospitals.

Like many healthcare organizations, we have faced significant financial losses during the pandemic, while experiencing unprecedented increases in labor and supply costs. We are only asking for a small increase over our current rate to help offset those costs. We rely on fair contracts with health insurance companies like Blue Shield, which enable us to make investments in our staff and facilities. 

We are here to care for you, and we need your support. We need your help with letting Blue Shield know the unique challenges we face here as a rural community and why it’s important to keep access to care locally. Please call the number on the back of your insurance card and help us emphasize that we need local access to care. 

For more information and continued updates please visit:

Thank you for your patience and support of our team,

Judy Leach

Hospital Administrator

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Boats on the bay. When I was a kid if you lived in Pacific Heights or the Marina District there were guys who made a hobby out of recording the big ships that went in and out of San Francisco. They used binocs or telescopes to record ship names or numbers and kept track of their many trips in and out of the harbor. Now there is a computer program that does it for you.

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IT MIGHT BE TIME to re-think the way we do public schooling: “Frustrated Herbert Slater Middle School teachers rallied outside the school Friday morning, joined by parents and students, to demand safer schools following a violent outburst Thursday which led to a two-hour-long lockdown and three students arrested.”

CRAB SEASON has been delayed to protect endangered humpback whales and other species, and they said they would reevaluate just before Christmas. The commercial season traditionally opens Nov. 15 but has been delayed each of the past five years to reduce the number of whales getting entangled in crab trap gear. 

I WONDER if the “progressive” Northcoast cares that their Congressman Huffman is deeply complicit in the Gaza genocide? Huffman's largest campaign donor in 2021-2022, the J Street PAC, is lobbying Congress to approve $3.8 billion plus “emergency” military funding for Gaza-destined tanks, bombs and bullets.

HUFFMAN also gets tens of thousands of dollars in campaign money from weapons dealer Honeywell International, which services the Israeli military. 

EVEN BY MENDOLIB'S subterranean standards, that Ukiah tableau featuring councilwoman Rodin, Congressman Huffman and other lib luminaries welcoming Ms. Dueñas, who is deaf, to the mayor's job was pretty low. Just last week Rodin, backed by councilwoman Sher, announced, “I will not vote for Dueñas to be Mayor simply to add Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.” 

DUEÑAS responded by saying she was “very clear” on the job requirements, and added that she was elected to represent “The Latino immigrants, the deaf, the handicapped and the poor.”

Note to Mayor Dueñas: you're elected to represent everyone, not only your fellow Hispanics. 

REEL QUIK movie review for you football fans and for you non-fans perplexed by the game's devotees. Any Given Sunday is an Oliver Stone production from a few years ago. Lots of good stuff in this one — Stone's always interesting, isn’t he? — but the story line here is all over the place. There’s a ton of jock movie-mawk, some positively weird sidebar episodes, a full-body visual of an un-erect penis, and about five thousand too many quick cuts that seemed more like bus collisions than football players running into each other. 

THE WHOLE THREE HOURS is like a compendium of every football movie ever made and doesn’t convey the real speed and force of the game at the NFL level nearly as well as North Dallas Forty did, a movie that relied, as I recall, on clips from real games taken at field-level. But Al Pacino, big-eyed and bellering is acceptable as the coach, Ann Margaret is real good as the middle-aged souse/spouse of the franchise’s founder, the daughter of the franchise founder is nicely played by Cameron Diaz who I thought was a man until I saw the movie and whose role is redundant to the story, which could just as well have left the team with Ann Margaret who’s more fun to watch because she’s been around the block many more times than Miss Diaz. I thought Jamie Foxx was very, very good as the quarterback who edges out the vet well played by Dennis Quaid who at least looks and moves like an athlete. 

IT'S ALSO GOOD to see a football movie that uses real football players in both speaking roles and as locker room backdrop. Jim Brown and Lawrence Taylor are both first-rate in their roles as assistant coach and player respectively. James Wood is perfect as the corrupt medico, shooting up the key guys at halftime at the risk of permanent injury to them, which is what NFL medicos do. Stone himself appears as a sportscaster, and the whole works rumbles along for two hours and fifty minutes, plausibly enough so long as you pay no attention whatsoever to the story which is hopelessly confused, and when it isn’t confused, ridiculous. 

BUT STONE does make the overall point that pro football reflects the prevailing corruption like no other weekly winter event. He even has a guy say that the day the games were stopped for commercials ruined pro football. What’s unique about the film is its sound track, which manages somehow to fit in an amalgam of stadium sounds like a player must hear them through his helmet. The AVA gives Any Given Sunday a “watchable.” 

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CATCH OF THE DAY, Friday, December 8, 2023

Green, Hanover, Meza


GORDON HANOVER SR., Ukiah. Failure to appear.

JOEL MEZA-REYES, Fort Bragg. Cruelty to child-infliction of injury.

Pere, Poindexter, Tepale

STEPHANIE PERE, Fort Bragg. Trespassing.

BRENDA POINDEXTER, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.

ANGEL TEPALE-RAMIREZ, Ukiah. Disobeying court order, failure to appear.

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MEMO OF THE AIR: Live on KNYO from Franklin St. all night tonight!

Marco here. Deadline to email your writing for tonight's (Friday night's) MOTA show is 5:30. Or send it whenever it's done and I'll read it on the radio next week. There's always another chance, so no pressure.

I'm in town for this show. I'll be in the cluttered but well-lighted back room of KNYO's 325 N. Franklin studio. If you want to come in and show off, that's fine if you're in good health. Just waltz in and say hi. To call and read your work in your own voice on the air, the number is 707-962-3022.

Memo of the Air: Good Night Radio is every Friday, 9pm to 5am on 107.7fm KNYO-LP Fort Bragg as well as anywhere else via Also the schedule is there for KNYO's many other terrific shows.

As always, at you'll find folders of illuminating folderol to fondle until showtime, or any time, such as:

The circle rotation paradox. Everybody got it wrong.

Double your breathing capacity with this ingenious rubber exercise brassiere.

Chelsea Williams sings Tom Waits' Tango Till You're Sore. (via Tacky Raccoons)

And Gaza, Minnesota. A distant sepia mirror.

Marco McClean,,

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BROCK LESNAR'S DAUGHTER, Mya, age 21, broke a Colorado state school record in the women's shot put with a mark of 18.5 meters! (almost 61 feet). (World record is just over 74 feet.)

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by James Kunstler

“The similarities between the late 1980s USSR and present day USA are uncanny — the endless lies, the corruption, the hollowing out of institutions, the censorship, and the decrepit leadership that is despised by the public.” — Dr Toby Rogers

The blob ran a clever third down lawfare play deep in its own territory Thursday night, a sort of double-reverse statue of liberty counter-switcheroo in its game-plan to “save our democracy,” as it calls its agenda of suppressions, persecutions, swindles, bad trips, and mind-fucks laid on the sore-beset people of this land. Blob special prosecutor David C. Weiss finally managed to indict Hunter Biden on tax evasion charges so flagrant and obvious that all the ham sandwiches convicted for the Jan 6 “insurrection” watched in awe from their prison cells.

You understand, this was months after Mr. Weiss concocted a cream puff plea deal for the president’s beloved son that blew up embarrassingly in the Delaware federal court when Judge Maryellen Noreika discerned a lifetime get-out-of-jail-free clause buried deep in the document, at about the same time that two IRS whistleblowers revealed the malfeasant incompetence of Mr. Weiss’s initial five-year-long dawdling investigation that, oops, let the statute of limitations run out on many of the pending charges.

That fiasco was followed by Mr. Weiss and AG Merrick Garland contradicting each other in House testimony about who had investigative authority where in the federal court matrix. And finally, the tax evasion matters landed in the Biden-friendly Los Angeles federal district, where Hunter officially lives (when not hiding out in the Lincoln bedroom), emerging from a grand jury Thursday night as a bill for three felonies and six misdemeanors.

The indictment, a public document, contains some interesting particulars, such as Hunter attempting to write off as business expenses $683,212 in fees for the unspecified services of “various women” (much as the services rendered by Hunter’s Owasco PC shell company were never specified in million-dollar legal retainer agreements made with Chinese “clients”). The curious can consult the website, a.k.a. “Marco Polo” for a photographic record of Hunter B’s sex trafficking capers, such as:

Of course, buried in this hairball of sleaze is another cute dodge that will permit Hunter to take a pass on his subpoenaed closed-door deposition scheduled for December 13th with Rep. James Comer’s House Oversight Committee on the grounds that he is under indictment and would only repeat his 5th Amendment rights ad infinitum. Smooth move, DOJ. While it confers a short-term field advantage to the DC blob, few will misunderstand that behind all of this procedural stagecraft is the somewhat greater matter of Hunter’s dad, President “Joe Biden,” being a paid agent of the Chinese Communist Party (and several other entities not favorably disposed to the USA’s national interests). That is: hanging over all this is the question of treason, attending the question of bribery, both being gold-standard impeachable offenses, and one them a capital crime.

That is the place to which all this rigmarole is tending, and so the pretense that “Joe Biden” is actually running for reelection grows more preposterous by the day. But it is just one of a thousand other things that the DC blob — i.e., our government — lies about incessantly to the peril of the people suffering its governance. What’s actually happening is that “Joe Biden,” our Flying Dutchman president, is barely clinging to office long enough to pardon his son and accomplices in the influence-peddling racket he ran at the center of which was “Joe Biden’s” strangely fortuitous blobular selection as Democratic Party nominee and subsequent “victory” by blatant fraud in the 2020 election. Some people knew the fix was in.

The pathetic thing about the Biden family business is that for all that trouble and all those jet plane rides, and tedious dinners with men reeking of too much cologne, and all the cozying up to foreign poohbahs and kissing their hirsute asses, shlepping the family brand from one sad-sack national capital to the next: Ukraine, Turkmenistan, Romania, the Biden clan only grossed about $25-million, maximum, over many years — which is to say about equal to one year’s salary-and-bonus of a mid-level shlub at the commodities desk of a hedge fund. I mean, when you consider the billions accumulated by the likes of Larry Fink at BlackRock, or Bezos at Amazon, or the obscene fortunes of the wonder boys at Google and Facebook.

Side note: Senator John Kennedy, usually witty and agile, had a go at FBI Director Christopher Wray this week in a Judiciary Committee session. Mr. Kennedy asked Mr. Wray how come, in the fall of 2020, with the election on, and The New York Post’s scoop on the existence of a Hunter Biden laptop, and the subsequent psy-op by 51 former intel maestros saying the laptop story was Russian disinfo — Mr. Kennedy asked, “Why didn’t the FBI just come out and say, hey, the laptop’s real?” Mr. Wray gave a bullshit answer of course… “an ongoing investigation, blah, blah….”

I have a better question that Senator Kennedy might put to Christopher Wray about this matter. In fact, the FBI had the Hunter Biden laptop hard-drive in its possession as early as December 2019, just as the first Trump impeachment trial commenced. Had they bothered at that time to examine its contents, and if not, why not? And if they had looked around inside and seen the multitudinous emails concerning Hunter Biden’s business dealings with other countries, Ukraine especially, and in particular with Mykola Zlochevsky’s Burisma company, why did Mr. Wray not alert President Trump’s attorneys that he was in possession of possibly exculpatory evidence regarding the president’s supposedly nefarious phone call to newly elected Ukraine President Zelensky that kicked off the impeachment? Huh? Just wondering.

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Francisco Goya, Self-Portrait with Dr Arrieta, 1820, Minneapolis Institute of Arts.

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Many many moons ago I was traveling in the Soviet Union. They had bread stores in the USSR. To compare one such to a boulangerie in France would be a mistake, of course, and the name of a bread store in Russia is not near as mellifluous as boulangerie; in fact, it sounds more like clearing your throat (seriously). But Russian black rye is still quite good. One day entering a bread store the shelves were empty. We asked our Intourist guide (a KGB agent) why the shelves were bare. She replied that the reason the shelves were bare is because the local farmers had bought it all; according to her (the party line), the bread was so inexpensive that the farmers were buying it up to feed their pigs.

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So Israel knew about the Hamas attack plan a year in advance and did nothing about it. Sounds crazy, doesn’t it? Be aware friends and neighbors, we have been given advance notice of an attack on our republic. Donald Trump has hinted he will invoke the Insurrection Act allowing him to use our own military to put down “vermin” liberals. That means anyone who shows any opposition to his efforts to thwart the Constitution and set up an autocratic government. MAGA Republicans have created and published Project 2025, a document that affirms the party’s support for Trump’s plans. We have been warned. Please, believe what they say. Our republic depends on all of us being aware and standing up against the threat.

Lew Larson


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(Steve Mannion cover)

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LYING WAS THE ONLY PLAN Biden, U.S. Ever Had in Ukraine 

After nearly two years of pretending "victory" was coming, the president and a senior advisor finally admit the reality of Ukraine's dilemma. On the hawks who cried wolf.

by Matt Taibbi

A series of remarkable events with enormous consequences for Ukraine tumbled in rapid succession this week, lifting the veil on years of untrammeled and proud — yet ultimately purposeless and sociopathic — lying by the Biden administration and the Pentagon about the war there.

First, ahead of a crucial vote on military aid to both Ukraine and Israel Wednesday, Joe Biden went on TV to denounce Republicans for threatening to halt the $110 billion national security package. GOP leaders had told the White House they wouldn’t support the bill without border-sealing assurances of the type they knew Democrats wouldn’t accept, so Biden was cornered and clearly pissed. Eyes snapped wide open as the (surely fantastic) drugs aides must pump in by the gallon before public appearances kicked in, Biden went off:

“Republicans think they can get everything they want without any bipartisan compromise,” he snapped. “And now they’re willing to literally kneecap Ukraine on the battlefield and damage our national security in the process.”

He added futher apocalyptic comment:

If Putin takes Ukraine, he won’t stop there… If Putin attacks a NATO ally… Then we’ll have something that we don’t seek and that we don’t have today. American troops fighting Russian troops… Extreme Republicans are playing chicken with our national security, holding Ukraine’s funding hostage to their extreme partisan border policies…

Seconds later, the Commander-in-Chief shifted gears to note he was of course very willing to play that game of chicken. “I’ve made it clear that we need Congress to make changes to fix what is a broken immigration system, because… we all know it’s broken… I’m willing to do significantly more…”

A few hours later, National Security spokesperson John Kirby upped the ante, telling ABC reporter Selena Wang that not only should we be contemplating deployment of American troops, but a possible cost in American “blood” if Putin is allowed to take Ukraine and threaten other NATO countries. (That potential cost has been the same since NATO was founded in 1949, but whatever). Kirby’s offhand observation that Ukraine would “lose this war” absent U.S. support was the actual big news, but Kirby’s “based Biden” comments about “blood” were the ones that went viral.

The blood warning didn’t take. Soon after, Senate Republicans voted against proceeding with debate on Joe Biden’s National Security Package, leaving the upper chamber cleaved at 49-51. The sticking point for Republicans was the $61 billion for Ukraine, which Mitt Romney of all people said they wouldn’t get “unless the border is secure.” (Romney was last seen scoffing that “the idea that [the Ukraine war is] too expensive is a little funny.”) One GOP caucus member after another came out practically wearing nightmares of stampeding MAGA hordes on their faces. Even Mitch McConnell, as if to stall the zombie attack, tried weakly to do a Steve Bannon impersonation, saying “Border security is national security.” Bernie Sanders, showing oddly belated willingness to dagger his onetime presidential opponent, also withheld support, balking over $14 billion for Israel.....

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The Financial Times reported this week that the retaliatory bombing of Gaza with American weapons and American consent may have already surpassed the death toll from the retaliatory bombing of Dresden by US and UK bombers during the waning days of WW II. (Jeff St. Clair)

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ARCHIE IS SITTING HERE with his hippie son-in-law, married to the screwball daughter. The son-in-law apparently goes both ways. This guy enters. He’s obviously queer, wears an ascot, but not offensively so. Very clever. Uses nice language. Shows pictures of his trip and all the rest. And so then Arch goes down to the bar. Sees his best friend, who for two years used to play professional football as a linebacker… God, he’s handsome virile, strong, this and that. And then the fairy comes into the bar…

— Richard Nixon on Norman Lear's ‘All in the Family’

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LA Times Reporters Who Demanded Unbiased Reporting Banned From Covering Gaza Thirty-eight journalists at The Los Angeles Times were banned from Gaza coverage after signing an open letter.

by Zane McNeill

The Los Angeles Times (LAT) has banned 38 journalists from covering Gaza for at least three months after they signed an open letter criticizing Western newsrooms for their biased reporting on Israel’s genocide of Palestinians.

“The urgency of this moment cannot be overstated. It is imperative that we change course,” the open letter says.

LAT management claimed that signing the open letter violated the paper’s ethics policy, but the policy contains no explicit prohibition against open letters. While the ethics policy does prohibit staff members from engaging in political advocacy and says that staff should avoid public expressions of their political views, LAT staff have asserted that demanding that newsrooms engage in unbiased coverage is not political.

“This is an issue that has popped up across several newsrooms represented by our local, and our members have, among many issues, raised strong concerns about confusing, inconsistent, opaque and unequal interpretation and enforcement of the rules, especially at LAT,” Matt Pearce, president of the LAT’s parent union, Media Guild of the West, told LA Public Press.

The open letter advocates for media to describe Israel’s actions in Gaza using terms that have been employed by experts, including “ethnic cleansing,” “apartheid” and “genocide.”

“We also hold Western newsrooms accountable for dehumanizing rhetoric that has served to justify ethnic cleansing of Palestinians,” the letter states. “This is our job: to hold power to account. Otherwise we risk becoming accessories to genocide.”

The letter also demands that Western media condemn Israeli forces for killing journalists. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CJP), at least 64 journalists and media workers have been killed in Israel’s war on Gaza since December 7, mostly by Israeli airstrikes.

“Journalists across the region are making great sacrifices to cover this heart-breaking conflict,” Sherif Mansour, CPJ’s Middle East and North Africa program coordinator, said in a statement. “Those in Gaza, in particular, have paid, and continue to pay, an unprecedented toll and face exponential threats. Many have lost colleagues, families, and media facilities, and have fled seeking safety when there is no safe haven or exit.”

Out of fear of retaliation from their employers, more than 30 journalists have asked to have their signatures removed since the open letter was published on November 9. As of November 13, 1,484 current and former journalists have signed the letter.

Media workers and unions have been outspoken advocates for unbiased coverage of the genocide in Western media, demanding that media companies condemn the targeted killing of Palestinian journalists.

On October 13, the National Writers Union condemned the actions of the Israeli military — “and its specific assault on the press,” and urged the Western media to — “cover this war in a factual, unbiased way, and with proper historical context.” In November, media workers calling themselves the “Writers Bloc” staged a sit-in at The New York Times lobby. The media workers read the names of thousands of Palestinians killed in Gaza since the start of Israel’s current military campaign, and scattered editions of a mock newspaper charging the media with “complicity in laundering genocide.”

“It is incredible to see hundreds of writers and journalists take part of this… in this action, because it’s telling us that journalistic malpractice, such as omitting facts and passive voice and denying war crimes and treating the lives of Palestinians as though they are less than, and demonizing and vilifying and dehumanizing Palestinians and Palestinian resistance, is completely unacceptable, if we are going to be truthful and if we are going to be loyal to the rules of this profession we call our own,” said Palestinian journalist and poet Mohammed El-Kurd.

Media workers have faced an unprecedented level of retaliation for speaking out. In October, BBC News Arabic took six of their reporters off the air for liking or publishing pro-Palestine posts on social media, and in November, the media giant Hearst instituted a new social media policy that bans its employees from expressing “personal political opinions” online. Editors at Artforum and eLife have also been fired for supporting Palestinian liberation.

Despite the retaliation media workers have faced, many have refused to back down.

“We are U.S. journalists and media makers calling for a permanent ceasefire, freedom for all Palestinian political prisoners including journalists, and a complete end to the military occupation of Palestine and the system of apartheid in Israel,” reporters wrote for Truthout. “This is a defining political moment of our lives.”


* * *

* * *


by Michael Chessum

Geert Wilders’s victory in the Dutch election seems to have shocked the establishment in Brussels and London. With 23.5% of the vote, the right-wing populist People’s Party (PVV) more than doubled its parliamentary representation and became the Netherlands’ (Holland’s) largest party. The day after the result, a London Times editorial warned that “mainstream parties across Europe should take note.” 

Clearly they didn’t have a pen and paper handy when Marine Le Pen came within 10% of the French presidency in 2022, or when Giorgia Meloni became prime minister of Italy, or when the Sweden Democrats were ushered into a confidence and supply arrangement, or when Vox almost entered government in Spain.

“Will Britain soon get its own Geert Wilders?” Allison Pearson asked in the Daily Telegraph. Britain already has several, and they have been running the government for years. We already have a de facto asylum ban in the form of the Illegal Immigration Act. European free movement ended with Brexit in 2020. Rishi Sunak now plans to bar anyone earning less than £38,700, including British citizens, from bringing their partners and dependants to the country. While they cannot match Wilders’s aggressive anti-Muslim rhetoric, the Conservative Party’s immigration policy differs from the PVV’s only in the sense that it is more ambitious and easier to implement.

The day after Wilders was elected, Newsnight reported its astonishment that, in a founding member of the EU, a “far-right leader” had won first place on an anti-immigration ticket. Meanwhile, the UK government intends to press ahead with deporting refugees to Rwanda in an act of symbolic cruelty, despite a Supreme Court ruling on 15 November that doing so would be contrary to the UN Refugee Convention, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). 

In response to the ruling, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced that he would have Parliament simply declare Rwanda a “safe country.” Reporting on Sunak’s plan, Newsnight framed the issue as one of political intrigue and hurdles to implementation. It sought input from multiple politicians who advocated Britain’s withdrawal from the European Commission on Human Rights, but no one who wanted to challenge the policy on a moral level. Robert Jenrick resigned as immigration minister because he thinks the proposed legislation “does not go far enough.”

While the far right advances across Europe, the British cling to exceptionalism. Larry Elliot in the Guardian reassures readers that “the UK has not witnessed the rise of the nasty nationalism seen across the channel.” Keir Starmer speaks of “fair play, respect for difference, the rule of law.” Suella Braverman last year lauded Britons as “fair-minded, tolerant and generous in spirit.” Three months later, she introduced the legislation that imposes lifetime bans on migrants who arrive irregularly, effectively withdrawing the UK from international refugee conventions. A clear majority of the public backed the policy. Yet the obsolete vision of Britain as a moderating influence against continental excess endures.

One of the arguments for Britain’s first-past-the-post electoral system is that it supposedly locks out extremism. It’s true that proportional representation has made it easier for the PVV, and other European far-right parties, to gain an electoral foothold. But in order to govern they will need the support of the center and center-right, which should moderate much of their platform.

In the UK, this alliance is hardwired in the Conservative Party. David Cameron was the self-proclaimed “compassionate Conservative” leader who, while imposing a brutal regime of austerity, legalized gay marriage and said that his proudest achievement was increasing the UK’s foreign aid budget. His return to the cabinet as foreign secretary last month was sold as a sop to the party’s liberal wing. But it also shows that, having tipped the Conservatives in the direction of border-building and authoritarianism, the leadership can expect the disciplined support of almost every “wet,” including Lord Cameron of Chipping Norton. As Braverman’s sacking and Jenrick’s resignation make clear, the fault lines are on the party’s right.

Most British liberals have confidence in their institutions to withstand the onward march of the far right. This is a sign of complacency, not inoculation. Now that right-wing nationalism has entered the mainstream, the UK’s political system acts to promote and normalize it. It is the captive of a mass media driven by the agendas of three billionaire families – the Murdochs, Rothermeres and Barclays – who between them own 70% of Britain’s newspapers. Next year, the many British versions of Geert Wilders and Marine Le Pen will be swept from office. But their policies and influence will linger. Short-term catharsis is no guarantee of long-term safety.

(London Review of Books)

* * *



  1. Marmon December 9, 2023


    I’m so sick of calling invaders “migrants.” They are not migrants, they are illegal immigrants or illegal aliens, take your pick.


    • Chuck Dunbar December 9, 2023

      First thought of the day again, worst thought of the day again–the honors abound…

    • Rye N Flint December 9, 2023

      What did they call my Grandparents? Immigrants. I find it really interesting that all these conservative a-holes want to close the Border to Mexico but not Canada. What’s up with that? I wonder if it has anything to do with the Color of their Skin? Hmmm? Maybe some not so subtle tones of discrimination. Not American at All.

      “”Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
      With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
      Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
      A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
      Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
      Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
      Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
      The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
      ‘Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!’ cries she
      With silent lips. ‘Give me your tired, your poor,
      Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
      The wretched refuse of your teeming shore,
      Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
      I lift my lamp beside the golden door!'”
      by Emma Lazarus

      • Call It As I See It December 9, 2023

        Oh, did you get your feelings hurt!!! You sound like The Radical, Bruce Mc Ewen.

        One exception, your grandparents came when we were excepting immigrants, I suppose.
        That’s the issue legal or illegal, not skin color.
        You know the person who cries racism, is usually the racist.

        • Mike J December 9, 2023

          Bruce can quote Grandpa McEwen wisdom and I can quote my great great great great grandfather Thomas Corwin who on the Senate floor condemned his Whig party leader (President Polk) for a deceptive triggering of the war with Mexico. Abe Lincoln did the same in the House. Democrats during those days supported the immoral land grab.

          Us gringos got this land illegally and immorally. So did the Spanish.

        • Rye N Flint December 9, 2023

          Well, since you are “Calling racism” then you must be confessing. Have you ever heard of critical thinking? Doesn’t appear that you do.

          • Call It As I See It December 9, 2023

            I believe you brought race to the thread
            Don’t know how you would get a confession out of my comment. If anything it was critical thinking mixed with a little common sense. All your posts prove, is you have no common sense.

      • peter boudoures December 9, 2023

        The Canadian border is closed Ryan

      • Cotdbigun December 9, 2023

        Canada has a closed border, regardless of skin color, I’ll let you figure it out. The grandparents were legal immigrants that were vetted through the legal process and had to have a sponsor to assure that they will not become a burden to the country. Not everyone and everything is racist, honest.

    • Marshall Newman December 9, 2023

      There but for fortune go any of us. Put yourself in the migrants’ place, consider the forces and dangers they face and their limited options, and THEN tell us whether and why you would stay or go.

      • Chuck Dunbar December 9, 2023

        There it is, the essence of it all. Best thought of the day on this issue. This is the issue we all will be dealing with –those of us fortunate to live in “rich” nations–as we go on and on in a world of worsening climates and other tough issues that will devastate poorer nations and their peoples. Thank you, Marshall.

  2. Rye N Flint December 9, 2023

    Jesus! Most people don’t even know what the words “Christ” or “Messiah” mean. They think it means Son of God. Really all this religious mumbo jumbo comes down to some version or another of the Indo-European Sky Father deity. ( ) Just a bunch of made up stories that the Romans turned into a State religion eventually called “Christianity”. Ever heard of the Holy Roman Empire? Ever learn why the Jesuits stopped killing protestants and turned to Education Missionaries?

    Anyone know why the Rothchilds own half of a town in Israel called “Caesarea”?,_Israel

  3. Chuck Artigues December 9, 2023

    These human beings you describe as illegal aliens have been an important part of the huge agriculture business, that not only is an economic driver in our state, feeds millions of people. Without their existence and participation, agribusiness would stop dead in its tracks. You should be ashamed of yourself Marmon, if that’s even possible.

    • peter boudoures December 9, 2023

      They’ve been a major part of everything America does, far more than just agriculture. They are our family. Things have changed at the border and the cartel is cashing in and deciding who comes. It’s disgusting. The most important people to the cartel are those who can distribute their fentynol. The generation around Joe bidens age are struggling to understand this.

  4. Joseph Turri December 9, 2023

    As to the report of ACTING AUDITOR-CONTROLLER / TREASURER-TAX COLLECTOR SARA PIERCE. Tuesday, December 5, 2023.
    What did we learn from this report? That we know NOTHING.
    And that NOTHING is subject to change.
    As to accountability, NOTHING has changed.

    Everyone needs to get out to vote and CHANGE out the entire Board of Supervisors before we have NOTHING left to change.

  5. Marmon December 9, 2023

    Any Jew in America who doesn’t procure firearms and get trained in their use is making the same mistake millions of Jews made in 1930’s Germany.

    NEVER AGAIN is NOW! Be prepared this time.


    • Bruce Anderson December 9, 2023

      Trump’s THAT dangerous?

      • Steve Heilig December 9, 2023

        It’s the US military the delusional 2nd amendment yahoos fear, but they will defend MAGA-world and fight those state-of-the-art tanks and machine guns and guided missiles and drones and well-trained soldiers off with their amateur skills using their rifles and pistols and camouflage gear, you just wait.

      • Marmon December 9, 2023

        Think, Think, Think !!!


        • Bruce Anderson December 9, 2023

          I’ll try, try, try!

      • Marmon December 9, 2023

        you’re getting almost good as Ted Williams at gaslighting.


      • Call It As I See It December 9, 2023

        No, Joe Biden is that dangerous. Seriously, Bruce you need to get help for your Trump Derangement Syndrome. Trump has been gone for almost three years and we are talking about Joe Biden’s border policies. It’s statements like these that show your real agenda.

        • Bruce McEwen December 9, 2023

          Damn you, Winchester, I almost had the Old Man radicalized but no you had to but in with you seriously dangerous rhetoric and it spooked him away from my crafty trap!

      • Bruce McEwen December 9, 2023

        “And yet that performance has a method. Trump’s artlessness, like Mark Antony’s, is only apparent. Listen, for example, as he performs one of his favorite riffs. He begins by saying something critical of Mexicans and Chinese. Then he turns around and says, ‘I love the Mexican and Chinese people, especially the rich ones who buy my apartments or stay at my hotels or play on my golf courses.’ It’s their leaders I criticize, he explains, but then in a millisecond he pulls the sting from the criticism: ‘they are smarter and stronger than our leaders; they’re beating us.’ And then the payoff all this has been leading up to, the making explicit of what has been implied all along. ‘If I can sell them condominiums, rent space to them in my building at my price, and outfox them in deals, I could certainly outmaneuver them when it came to trade negotiations and immigration.’ (And besides, they love me.)

        Here is the real message, the message that makes sense of the disparate pieces of what looks like mere disjointed fumbling: I am Donald Trump; nobody owns me. I don’t pander to you. I don’t pretend to be nice and polite; I am rich and that’s what you would like to be; I’m a winner; I beat people at their own game, and if you vote for me I will beat our adversaries; if you want wonky policy details, go with those losers who offer you ten-point plans; if you want to feel good about yourselves and your country, stick with me.

        So despite the lack of a formal center or an orderly presentation, Trump was always on point because the point was always the same. He couldn’t get off message because the one message was all he had.”

        —Stanley Fish

  6. Stephen Rosenthal December 9, 2023

    Sorry Bruce, two thumbs down, way down, for Any Given Sunday. North Dallas Forty, on the other hand, highly recommended.

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