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Mendocino County Today: Sunday 6/9/24

Cool | Geese | AV Today | Local Events | Reclamation Funding | Jughandle Bay | AQMD Moving | Pink Clouds | Ed Notes | Pet Cowboy | Locals Discount | Memory Check | Hear Trucks | Kennedy Discussion | Forever Signs | BMW Troubleshoot | Library Programs | Financial Support | Tony Craver | Yesterday's Catch | Mind-Body Problem | 96 Bags | Alice Kramden | Astor's Music | Depression Days | Marco Radio | Exclusion | Frisco Nights | Boz Encounter | SF Sounds | Women's Team | Bach Bang | Consummate Grifter | Self Respect | Holy Copay | Terrible Precedent | Doughboy Farewell | Many Killed | Decolonize | Literary Perspective | Small Place | Before/After | Social Outlaw | Rubble Artist | The Journey | Albatross


TEMPERATURES will remain seasonable through the weekend with increasing marine influence near the coast. A moderate heat wave will build early next week. (NWS)

STEPHEN DUNLAP (Fort Bragg): Another overcast 51F on the coast this Sunday morning. Our forecast calls for clearing but yesterday was a real mix of skies so we will see what today brings. Generally clear skies are forecast for this week with some wind on Tuesday.


Canadian Geese, Caspar Pond (Jeff Goll)

ANDERSON VALLEY TODAY

Free Entry to Hendy Woods State Park for local residents
Sun 06 / 09 / 2024 at 8:00 AM
Where: Hendy Woods State Park
More Information (https://andersonvalley.helpfulvillage.com/events/3666)

AV Grange Pancake and Egg Breakfast
Sun 06 / 09 / 2024 at 8:30 AM
Where: Anderson Valley Grange, 9800 CA-128, Philo, CA 95466
More Information (https://andersonvalley.helpfulvillage.com/events/3891)

The Anderson Valley Museum Open
Sun 06 / 09 / 2024 at 1:00 PM
Where: The Anderson Valley Museum, 12340 Highway 128, Boonville , CA 95415
More Information (https://andersonvalley.helpfulvillage.com/events/3978)


LOCAL EVENTS


LATEST SKIRMISH IN THE WATER WARS

Potter Valley Project Update

by Justine Frederiksen

In the form of a grant described as coming from a “brand-new” source of infrastructure funding, the group hoping to continue diversions from the Eel River to the Russian River in Mendocino County has received $2 million from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, federal officials announced during a visit to Ukiah Friday.

“Your success is reclamation’s success, and we are committed to that,” Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner M. Camille Calimlim Touton told the group gathered at Coyote Valley Dam along Lake Mendocino June 7 to hear Rep. Jared Huffman (D — San Rafael) announce the award of $2 million to the Eel-Russian River Authority to help the group of regional stakeholders study how best to approach the possible continued diversion of Eel River water to the Russian River once the dams created for the Potter Valley Project have been removed, a plan being called the Two-Basin Solution.

“This is the first iteration of Aquatic Ecosystem Restoration funding, it’s brand-new, and we have $250 million, so I anticipate as we move forward there will be other funding announcements with that which you should all look out for,” Calimlim Touton added when officials were asked: “if infrastructure were built to continue diversions, where will the funding come from to operate and maintain it?”

As for the process of officially decommissioning the Potter Valley Project and removing the dams, Huffman acknowledged that Pacific Gas and Electric, the owner of the hydroelectric facility as well as Scott Dam and Cape Horn Dam, had recently requested a six-month extension to the timeline previously established by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

“This is a decommissioning process that’s moving pretty rapidly, if you compare it to other FERC proceedings, and there was a question, given the demands of that schedule, about whether PG&E would be able to incorporate, and fully collaborate with, the Russian-Eel Authority on their design and construction of a new diversion facility,” Huffman said. “Because PG&E is taking out Cape Horn Dam, and the folks with the authority need some time to finish the design and think about how we’re going to choreograph the removal of that dam with the building of this new, fish-friendly diversion facility.

“Ideally, that stuff should all work together, and there was some question, given the schedule, about whether PG&E would just need to race ahead with decommissioning and allow all the rest to happen separately, without integration,” Huffman continued. “And I don’t often praise delay, but I think the good news with this delay is that it gives the space and the time for that integration, and it should make everything work better.”

“We remain committed to getting our surrender application in to support the two-basin solution and goals within that timeframe,” said a representative from PG&E, describing the utility as “really pleased that we are now at a point in the surrender process that we can support, and will support, the proponents’ Two-Basin Solution by including it within our surrender application that we submit to FERC.”

“For a hundred years, people have been arguing about what to do in each of these outstandingly remarkable rivers,” Charlton “Chuck” Bonham, director of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, told the group. “And for my lifetime in this job, people have been arguing about ‘what will you do for the fisheries, and the Tribal nations and the communities that depend on both rivers from sea to source?’ and it’s time to solve some problems.

“How do you solve problems? You do it with relationships,” Bonham continued, pointing to Huffman and Calimlim Touton, as well as the many state and local officials involved in the process as building a “strong coalition that will only get stronger,” and that it was time to “stop talking and do this.”

When asked if and how the interests of Lake County were being included in discussions, Huffman said he knows that his support of removing Scott Dam as part of the Two-Basin Solution “does not make me the most popular guy in Lake County (because that means the loss of Lake Pillsbury), but it’s PG&E’s dam, and they’re removing it, but I want this to work for Lake County, and I am convinced that it can.”

Huffman pointed to a recently awarded state grant that will help Lake County officials “study the impacts and the different mitigation strategies that might be implemented for the reality after Lake Pillsbury goes away,” and noted that the county will not just get “some muddy wasteland” replacing Lake Pillsbury, but a “wild, scenic river full of salmon and Steelhead Trout.”

Bonham agreed, asking people to not “forget about the benefits. I love all of our 58 counties, and we’re going to get to an outcome that will work for Sonoma, Marin, Humboldt and Lake County,” he said, echoing Huffman’s comments about having a river full of fish. “Fishing for Steelhead up there, or salmon? Oh, my God! Don’t forget about the benefits.”


Jughandle Beach (Jeff Goll)

AIR QUALITY MANAGEMENT DISTRICT OFFICE IS MOVING

The Mendocino County Air Quality Management District Office will have limited in-person services through July 8.

Interim Air Pollution Control Officer Douglas Gearhart announced that the office is moving to 1100 Hastings Road, Ukiah.

The district anticipates being open for limited in-person services at 1100 Hastings Road., starting July 8.

In preparation of the move, and throughout the move, staff availability will be limited. Temporary, full office closures may occur. The district’s online and phone services should remain operational during normal business hours.

During the move, district staff will respond to priority items as soon as possible, non-urgent matters will be addressed as time allows. District staff will respond and be available to the public whenever possible.

“The public is urged to call our office in advance (707-463-4354) to confirm the availability of staff and services. If you reach our recording, please leave a detailed message and staff will return your call as soon as possible.”

The district can also be reached via email at mcaqmd@mendocinocounty.gov, the district stated in a news release.


Last night's sunset (Falcon)

ED NOTES

SOME TWENTY-FIVE YEARS AGO, a Mendocino County Superior Court judge — I can't remember which one — signed off on a class action suit brought and won by an outside attorney named Richard Ruggieri against Mendocino County. The suit, uncontested, described how Mendo people were arrested, booked into the County Jail, then freed without charges having been brought against them.

THOUSANDS of people (me included) have been arrested in Mendocino County, hauled to jail, held for periods of time ranging from hours to days at a time, then released without being charged.

RUGGIERI'S class action applied to persons “detained” without being charged between October 1st, 1998 and January 1st, 2002. The law says that people who have been “detained” without charges being filed against them are supposed to have that fact noted on their arrest records. Mendocino County didn't bother to change the booking sheets on three year's worth of ”detentions” from “arrested” to “detained,” thus subjecting uncharged persons to whatever repercussions they might suffer from an arrest record.

ALTHOUGH the Mendocino County Sheriff's Department was named in the suit as the agency responsible for the error, the blame lay with the County Counsel's office, the Mendocino County Superior Court and the DA. One would have thought that someone from one of these offices would have occasionally dropped in on the jail out on Low Gap Road to see if the cops were in compliance with the finer points of the County's innovative catch and release program. But the cops don't decide who gets prosecuted and who doesn't — the rest of the system makes that decision.

THE BIG WINNER in all of this was lawyer Ruggieri. He collected a big wad of uncontested public cash for having noted that Mendocino County, perennially out of step, was again out of step, expensively out of step.

ALL THE SCHOOL Districts in Mendocino County have the same lawyers, and all the superintendents and principals, teachers unions and school boards of the county's individual school districts, view themselves as one big ”management team.” It's the management team against the world, the whole show financed by juvenile funding units, the latter formerly known as “students.” The school lawyers run the show — them and insurance carriers, but mostly the school lawyers.

MENDOCINO COUNTY'S monopoly school lawyers operate out of offices in Santa Rosa. Their dubious private services got public sanction by the joint powers authority conferred on them by the individual school districts of Mendocino, Sonoma, Lake and, I believe, Napa counties, operating as a consortium, ratified by the school boards of the individual school districts of all these counties. It was a slick attorney character named Henry who brought off one of the great unnoted swindles in regional history. When a wronged family sues a school district, rare as it is, they have to pay lawyers to go up against the publicly-funded Henry Gang, funded, you could say off the backs of children.

THE HENRY GANG is based rent free in the over-large headquarters of the Sonoma County Office of Education on Airport Boulevard, far from the sight and sound of school-age children. They get all the legal business generated by all these Emerald Triangle school districts for handsome annual flat fees that come out of money that ought to go to instruction. To handle the hot questions that get people angry enough to turn out to their school board meetings, the Henry Gang charges extra. Primarily, their legal advice consists of one sentence: “Ask the incompetent how much he or she will take to go away and offer him or her half. In cash.” Since these payoffs don't come out of the pockets of the incompetents who hired the incompetent in the first place, school districts have no hesitation in forking over.

MANY TIMES I've been warned not to “get involved in Indian beefs” by people ranging from “activists” to journalists. “They're always fighting, and a lot of it is old family stuff that doesn't have anything to do with what they say they're fighting about.” Well, I must say that the characterization of rez disputes seems to be a rather more blatant ethnic slur than the usual ones I hear nowadays, most of those being aimed at Mexicans and as unfounded as the Indian slurs.

ANY DISPUTE can be sorted out in a way that enables one to determine where most, if not all, of the truth is. The one human constant is, if you'll excuse the lapse into punditry, that entrenched interests of whatever ethnicity are quick to play the race card when they're challenged. When a pale face like me asks the Native American managers of reservation housing why they overlook the criminal behavior of a few people who make life miserable for the many, I get either, “Butt out, white boy,” or “No comment.” If I were a Native American asking the question I'd get, “Butt out,” and “No comment” without the racial identifier.


UKIAH SHELTER PET OF THE WEEK

Cowboy is such a sweetheart, but right now, he can be a little shy when meeting new people. Cowboy enjoys going for walks and he’s had a good start on his basic training. He already knows sit and down. Cowboy enjoys hanging out with his people and he’s mellow indoors. We’re recommending older kids in Cowboy’s new home because he can be a little “head shy.” We’re betting this guy will enjoy canine classes, learning new and fun tricks. And, omg, he’s so darn cute. Cowboy is 3 years old and 50 delightful pounds.

To see all of our canine and feline guests, and for information about our programs, services and events, visit: mendoanimalshelter.com. Join us every first Saturday of the month for our Meet The Dogs Adoption Event at the shelter.

We're on Facebook.

For information about adoptions please call 707-467-6453.


SIERRA NEVADA WORLD MUSIC FESTIVAL IS JUST 2 WEEKS AWAY!

Ticket discount for locals! A weekend of authentic Roots Reggae, and irie vibes, with vendor village, international foods, Kidzone, workshops and fun for the whole family. Take advantage of the Locals Only ticket discount, available to Anderson Valley residents (Boonville, Philo, Yorkville & Navarro)! Limit of 4 tickets per order.

3-Day Ticket $260

Friday Ticket $75

Saturday Ticket $95

Sunday Ticket $90

On Sale Now at the Mendo Fairgrounds Office. Bring proof of residence.

Kids 12 & under are Free (with ticketed adult), so bring the whole family to the fest! Plenty of free street parking.


NICK EDGECOMB: I spent a lot of time in Mendocino in the early 70s. Used to stay on the beach and hang out at the Pie Wacket coffee shop (probably misspelled). I lived in Willits and Covelo. Around 1973 I came to Mendocino with the Grateful Dead and had an impromptu session at a bar in Fort Bragg. Another person I knew had a fried chicken business just off the highway to Willits. Any of those memories still around?



WHAT DO YOU REALLY KNOW about Kennedy for President 2024?

Video and Discussion, Fort Bragg Library, Monday June 17, 5:30-7 pm

Be curious!

Charles Acker, Elk cacker@mcn.org


CHANGE OUR NAME FORT BRAGG

Out of curiosity, does anyone know if there is legal recourse we can take concerning the "Fort Bragg Forever" signs plastered all over town? It's not THAT big of a deal, but in the 3 miles between my house and town, I pass more than seven of them. SEVEN. We're not in a political campaign, so what are the laws concerning posting (and removing) signs of this nature? Do we just call the cops at their non-emergency number, or…?

(Jennifer Clark)


MOBILE MECHANIC DANIEL GETS IT DONE

I just wanted to show you guys my very first mobile mechanic job!

This a 2011 BMW x6 that was overheating. You guys will never guess what was wrong with it.

It has an electric water pump. But there was no power too it. It took a long time to trace back the wire and then found where it was broken internally and fixed it. Still did not have ground. I checked the ground and found one was loose on a broken bolt. Extracted the bolt put a new one and voila it fixed the overheating problem. Customer was very happy!

Text me for any questions at 707-391-8899.


MENDOCINO COUNTY LIBRARY is celebrating learning during the Summer Reading Program with the  theme, “Read, Renew, Repeat.”  

“Our library branches are celebrating the cycle of reading by offering books to build personal libraries at many of their events, both at the library and in the community,” said Mellisa Hannum,  Mendocino County Librarian. “Having a personal collection of books has been shown to support  literacy development in children and teens.” 

The opportunities for learning include more than books, with professional entertainers and programs focused on science, technology, engineering, and math. Plus, there will be free  lunches during Lunch at the Library, a summer meal program funded by the California Summer  Meal Coalition (CSMC) and the California Library Association (CLA).  

“Anyone who has worked with kids knows that if they’re hungry, learning stops,” said Hannum.  “This year, Mendocino County Library is pleased to coordinate with community partners to offer  access to free lunches and library activities to youth 18 and under.”  

For the second year in a row, Coast Community Branch Library will have lunches available at  the library each Tuesday through Friday at noon beginning June 25 and continuing through  August 9. These are the same balanced, nutritious meals offered through the Point Arena  School District, and Hannum stated that she was grateful for the ongoing partnership with the school system.  

Additionally, for the second year running, Ukiah Branch Library will be attending pop-up events where summer lunches are served with books and activities in tow. Willits, Fort Bragg, and  Round Valley Branch Libraries are adding Lunch at the Library pop-up events in their communities as well.  

It wouldn’t be a Summer Reading Program without some performers. Fort Bragg, Ukiah, and  Willits Branch Libraries will be hosting Magical Nathaniel on either June 14 or 15 for their launch events. Coast Community Branch will have Pop and Go Puppets on June 15. All branch libraries will host the swashbuckling, rib-tickling, magical mayhem of pirate Jack Spareribs on  July 5 and 6. Finally, as the finale event, Coast, Round Valley, Willits, and Ukiah branch libraries will have the always-popular Conservation Ambassadors’ Wild Things on August 9 and 10.  Gabe will discuss the diversity of life on Earth and tell the stories of the amazing animals in his care.  

There are plenty of literacy activities in store for Mendocino County Library patrons this summer  as they “Read, Renew, Repeat.”  

For more information, please view mendolibrary.org or contact the Mendocino County Library at 234-2873. 



THE UNFORGETTABLE TONY CRAVER

by Jim Shields

Tony Craver, 85, passed away on June 1 in Caldwell, Idaho.

Tony was a big man with big ideas and a big voice to match. By far, the biggest of his big characteristics was his big heart.

Craver was with the Mendocino Sheriff’s Office for over three and a half decades, including stints as a resident deputy in Laytonville and as Coastal Commander. In 1998 he was elected to the first of two terms as Sheriff of Mendocino County.

Over the years, Tony and I talked about everything and anything we found interesting. In my book, if somebody can talk intelligently and make you laugh at the same time, I listen to them. I listened to Tony a lot.

When he was Sheriff we joined forces fighting the Supervisors over their short-sighted support of the Mental Health Department’s idiotic demand to close the Psychiatric Health Facility. Craver said that police frequently encounter individuals who are not lawbreakers, but merely folks who are mentally ill. “These people we pick up on a 5150 are not criminals,” Craver said. “They’re just mentally ill individuals who need professional help.”

As a Marine Corps veteran, he told me, “The Marines made a man out of a boy who was crossing the line too much and headed for jail.”

Here’s something I wrote back in 1998 when Tony won his first election as Sheriff.

“I knew 18 months ago after talking to Tony Craver in my office that he’d be our next Sheriff. It didn’t take a political genius to figure that out. Craver had a running start on his opponents with a constituent base that cuts across every social and economic strata in the county: He can yarn with the good ‘ol boys and he can discuss self-empowerment with the Old Hippies and the New Agers. Craver’s pragmatic, down-home approach on law enforcement issues (decriminalize pot, don’t over-react with enviro demonstrators, commitment to work with a Sheriff’s citizens’ advisory committee, priority to recruit community-approved resident deputies in Round Valley, etc.), guaranteed Tuesday’s election with 58 percent of the vote. The Sheriff’s Office will be in good hands with Craver. He’ll be creative, responsive and accountable. The voters made the right choice for the county’s Top Cop as we head into the 21st Century.”

Four years later, an astounding 79 percent of the voters re-elected him to a second term.

Here’s insights and comments from others who knew and worked with the legendary “Tony C.”

Current MCSO Sheriff Matt Kendall: “Tony served the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office for 34 years in various assignments. Tony was the Coastal Commander for many years until he was elected and assumed office as Sheriff in 1999. Tony served as sheriff until his retirement in 2005. Tony was the Lieutenant on the coast which was my first patrol assignment following my service in the jail. He later promoted me to the rank of Sergeant in 1999. Tony had an incredible sense of humor and he truly cared about people. Tony also had a business side which was no nonsense. If you were ever called to his office he would make his points clearly and without mincing words. Tony always ensured his directions were known and followed by his deputies. Tony also made a point that everyone who walked out of his office left with their dignity intact. He clearly showed how kind a person can be when they are strong and able. I remember as a very young deputy working the Redwood Summer protests during the early 1990s. We received briefings and directions from Tony prior to deployments to the protests. I was always impressed with his ability to calm things in heated situations and to hear both sides. During those times Tony often reminded us, we don’t have a side and to simply enforce the law with respect for all. He would also remind us we all had friends on both sides of the line and to treat folks accordingly without being walked on. These were lessons that have served me well and for that I am very grateful.”

Tom Allman, former MCSO Sheriff: “Some people are bigger than life. Some people use wisdom (and experience) to help other people become better. I truly believe that everyone was put here for a specific purpose. Tony Craver was bigger than life: His voice, his stature, his reasoning ability and his humor. He was a leader, he was a family-man and he was a friend. I had never put any thought into not having the ability to call him up and get an answer to a question. But, now that is a fact. Tony's death is being discussed throughout our county (and beyond), but I hope people talk about his life. He had the ability to mediate, negotiate and to honestly tell people when they were about to make a mistake. And yes, sometimes, he had the innate ability to ‘read’ and express his opinion of them. His choice of words often emphasized his feelings (enough said on that) and he had no problem telling anyone his opinion. However, and very importantly, he actively listened and would change his mind if he agreed with whomever he was speaking with.”

Kevin Bailey, former Sheriff’s detective; former DA investigator: “Tony Craver was a man with many sides. I remember as a young deputy on the coast I totaled a new patrol car. I was still on probation and told my wife the best we could hope for was for me to be transferred back to the jail. My Sergeant asked me to write a memo detailing the accident and I wrote a long memo on how my accident was a result of driving to fast for the road conditions and that as a result I was unavailable to provide response to the citizens and backup for my fellow officers, thus jeopardizing the safety of everyone on the coast. Tony called me into his office and I steadied myself for the firing or transfer that I deserved. Tony had my memo in his hand when I sat in front of his desk. He looked at me and said ‘Jesus Christ you’re too hard on yourself. I just want to know how the damn accident happened.’ He crumpled up the memo and threw it into the trash. I wrote him a new, much shorter one, and we never spoke of the accident again. I returned to patrol and the rest is history. Tony had my career in his hands, but I think he saw something in me that I didn’t necessarily see in myself. I will always be thankful for how he handled that. He had his warts like we all do, but I’m sad he’s gone.’”

Bruce Anderson, Anderson Valley Advertiser Editor: “Tony Craver was the first Mendo sheriff to understand that the county demographic had radically changed to include a large segment, if not a slight majority, of hippie-liberal-commies. Craver not only understood that the times had done changed in reluctant-to-change Mendocino County, he treated the enemy as full citizens. He was a professional who went about his work impartially. Previous top cops, Tim Shea especially, would practically hyperventilate at the mere mention of “those nuts,” nevermind invite them in for a chat. I suspected that Craver was faking his big tent embrace of the previously untouchable, many of them, I confess, I would have liked to club myself, but his masterful peacekeeping missions when confrontations between large groups of eco-demonstrators and large groups of irate loggers threatened to leave bodies on the forest floor, Craver not only kept the peace he miraculously accomplished his peacekeeping mission without seriously outraging either side. I once asked Craver when we could expect to see the Mendo Sheriff's Department on COPS. He laughed. “Are you kidding? Never. I can't believe some the stuff those guys put on national television.”

(Jim Shields is the Mendocino County Observer’s editor and publisher, observer@pacific.net, the long-time district manager of the Laytonville County Water District, and is also chairman of the Laytonville Area Municipal Advisory Council. Listen to his radio program “This and That” every Saturday at 12 noon on KPFN 105.1 FM, also streamed live: http://www.kpfn.org)


WHILE EVERYONE is praising the late former Sheriff Tony Craver, let’s look back to 2005 when Craver retired. Make no mistake, we liked Craver and thought he was a good Sheriff. But his allegiance to Gary Hudson as his successor was misguided and it became quite a political controversy. In December of 2005 we wrote extensively about the Sheriff’s Department leadership crisis and the Supervisors’ role in who would succeed Craver. Then-Ukiah Daily Journal reporter Seth Freedland wrote about it as well. (Mark Scaramella)

First, here’s Freedland:

CAPTAIN KEVIN BROIN was appointed interim County Sheriff by the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors Friday, against the explicitly stated wishes of retiring Sheriff Tony Craver. Supervisors tapped Broin, the sheriff department's field operations commander, for fear of anointing Craver's permanent successor by choosing Undersheriff Gary Hudson, a candidate in the June 2006 election. After being sworn in, Broin — who will serve through the election to January 2007 — told the assembled crowd he had “no plans for running for sheriff, at least this time around.” Despite noting the startling chain of events since Craver's surprise early medical retirement Thursday, Broin predicted a smooth transition for county law enforcement. But in an emotional oratory before the vote, Craver told the supervisors the transition would have been much smoother had they appointed Hudson. In an odd coincidence, the decision forced upon the supervisors mirrors that of Craver's when he took office seven years previously. At that juncture, Craver decided to alter the current system of having two second-in-command officers and was forced to choose between Broin and Hudson. “I agonized my first year I was in office as to who should be that person,” Craver said. “After sleepless nights, I had one of my most difficult decisions in appointing Gary Hudson as undersheriff.” Craver proceeded to list Hudson's strengths, including his ability to step into the role of sheriff and “provide uninterrupted service.” Craver's preference for his successor has been known in certain circles since his announcement, and he said he had heard concerns that such a move would elevate Hudson's standing with the electorate to an extent that would be unfair to the other two candidates for sheriff: Donald L. Miller, coast area commander and Tom Allman, north county area commander. Dismissing the idea that an incumbent sheriff is so easily re-elected, Craver implored the supervisors to follow the chain of command he created seven years ago. “I put together an organization that ain't broke — there's no need to fix it,” Craver said. “I take this as serious as I would a heart attack right now. I beg you to respect my judgment, my chain of command.” But the supervisors — noting they were about to make a decision normally made by 48,000 voters — were loathe to form a de facto endorsement for the upcoming election. Supervisor Hal Wagenet moved to appoint Broin as acting sheriff, noting that Craver's work in strengthening his department led him to believe either man could fill the role equally well. Supervisor Jim Wattenburger seconded the motion, calling the decision to create the most level playing field possible for the three candidates “a matter of business, not a matter of politics.” Supervisors David Colfax and Kendall Smith disagreed, however, as both expressed desires to keep political decisions from hindering the best possible law enforcement service to county residents. Smith reiterated Craver's point that, though both men carry the rank of captain, only Hudson took part in some critical decision-making. “To alter the chain of command politicizes the decision making,” Smith said. “We have to make the decision based on who's in the chain of command currently. (Craver is) telling us the reasons it should remain that way. We shouldn't pull into community sentiment (and make this) a political process, because I don't believe it is.” But Delbar, the last supervisor to speak, turned the tide against Hudson. He added his desire for “someone who can focus on the office and not be worried about knocking on doors and campaigning for (re-election).” After the vote, Craver told the supervisors he respected their “courage” to make a decision in one hour he about decision he anguished over for a year. But despite their decision to reject his wishes, Craver said emphatically he trusted Broin to perform well the duties handed him. Later in the day, Broin assured the Superviosrs that he will emphasize “consistency and calmness” while also working with the three candidates, who are all still high-level members in the department. He said he viewed the day's debate as an understandable chapter of a hectic process. “Everybody is trying to go through this and remove politics as much as they can,” Broin said. “In an office that is politically chosen it's hard to remove it completely.” Asked if he might subconsciously curtail his role as sheriff because he was appointed and not elected by the voters, Broin said he would simply continue the work he has done for years. Broin will earn an annual salary of $105,558. Craver will collect 100 percent compensation of the salary in his retirement package for his 34 years of county work. — Seth Freedland. (Courtesy, The Ukiah Daily Journal.)


AVA:

KEVIN BROIN is a good choice for interim Sheriff because he’s a pretty straight shooter and a decent cop. But he will have a tricky tightrope to walk having only one year to serve as a kind of caretaker. How will promotions be decided for top staffers? Departmental policies shouldn’t be too difficult unless there’s some major disagreement on something not previously worked on. Internal discipline might be a problem, As a cop’s cop, Broin might be tougher than Hudson. Budgeting might also be tricky, especially when it comes to time to make funding priorities and justify them to the Board, priorities Hudson may disagree with.

LOST in the farewell flurries for Mendo’s top cop, Tony Craver, is Craver’s breakthrough election strategy, BC (Before Craver) the county’s sheriffs had ignored, out of hostility for or ignorance of roughly half the county’s voting population — the libs. Craver was the first cop candidate to, figuratively speaking, pat Beth Bosk/Norman DeVall on the head while he cooed platitudes into their always fraught, inattentive intake lobes. In fact, Craver was the first local law enforcement candidate to at least pretend to be interested in what the libs wanted in the way of uniformed arrest priorities. What the libs wanted, mostly, was a sensible marijuana policy. (Scratch a contemporary liberal bigwig anywhere in Mendocino County, from your local school board all the way up to the boys and girls sitting as a superior court judges, and, likely as not, you’ll find a former pot planter, if not a planter, a dedicated huffer.)

THE LIBS, at the time of the Vroman-Craver revolution, also lauded belated recognition of the county’s new, basic demographic fact: Mendocino County was no longer a kind of free range redneck preserve wholly dedicated to stopping the hippies at Cloverdale. When Craver and District Attorney Norman Vroman began their savvy dual campaigns based on convincing the libs they weren’t the usual neanderthals who occupied the sheriff’s and district attorney’s chairs, Mendocino County was probably the last place in America where a sizable number of voters still saw themselves in a to-the-death struggle against the counterculture which, by then (around 1998) had been extinct for 25 years: well, not extinct, but retooled as school teachers and school administrators, lawyers, social workers and, of course, “helping professionals.” But, by the time of the Vro-Crave election, it simply would no longer do to have the county’s justice system aimed at liberals because the liberals were not enemies of the state and Wal-Mart: in it Mendocino County, as Vro-Crave recognize, liberals were the state. Hell, the libs had invited Wal-Mart to Ukiah.

CRAVER’S and Vroman’s electoral opponents still didn’t understand that not only were there now lots of libs in Mendocino County, they tended to vote in numbers larger than the ’necks voted. Candidates who promised a sensible pot policy would have built in support from the libs. Craver swept into office by huge margins, Vroman squeaked by in his first election then, when the libs knew he was rational about pot enforcement, Vroman, too, was re-elected District Attorney by a wide margin. And both were accessible. Vroman even gave any old body his home phone number — and name another DA anywhere in the country who has done that.

I HAPPENED to be several times on the receiving end of pre- and post- Vro-Crave law enforcement and I am here to testify that in the Vro-Crave period the county jail was so bad — literally falling apart and perennially overcrowded — that the state was threatening to bulldoze it, while District Attorney Susan Massini (and before her Vivian Rackauckas), prosecuted people based on the political-social-psycho hostilities of America’s most primitive electorate — Ukiah Republicans. Worse, the county’s judges, primarily James Luther, pretended that the jail was just fine.

DURING the Vro-Crave reign, county law enforcement’s class based policies no longer exempted people like Dominic Affinito and the wayward sons of savings bank officials from prosecution. Under Craver, the county jail, although it was also functioning as the county’s primary mental health facility, was run in a manner that would be recognized as generally first world.

I DOUBT that the known crooks who burned the heart out of Fort Bragg when Susan Massini was District Attorney would have gone unprosecuted under Vro-Crave, and I like to think that the literal Fort Bragg witchhunt of the early 1980s would not have picked up the evil momentum it did if a sensible, strong person had been functioning as sheriff.

COME, take my hand for a stroll down Memory Lane and a buyer-beware advisory for sheriff’s candidate Gary Hudson. Some of us will recall, back in the middle 1980s, that the more credulous sectors of the community (and those of much of the country) was swept by wild rumors that the devil was ritually, systematically violating their children. In Fort Bragg, the preposterous allegation went, a pair of newcomers, Barbara and Sharon Orr, were renting toddlers out of their day care center on Airport Road to “satanist child molesters.” The satanists, so the gossip went, and the gossip was not only prevalent among the usual dummies and hysterics but sanctioned and promulgated by employees of the Mendocino County Department of Social Services, notably a crackpot named Pam Hudson, would somehow ferry the children from the Orr sisters’ daycare center during daylight hours to a vague site north of town where the hapless preschoolers would be ceremonially molested. Having finished services for the day, the satanists would ferry the mangled tots back to the Orr sisters in time for their parents to pick them up after work, the children none the worse for their hours as the devil’s playthings, their parents unaware of their children’s foul exploitation. But, and at the same time as satan was getting lots of time on prime-time television because a Los Angeles daycare center was also allegedly functioning as the devil’s playground, in no time at all Mendocino County had become the netherworld’s favorite rural retreat.

IN ONE locally prevalent version of this jaw-dropping credulousness, a Georgia-Pacific helicopter was employed by the satanists to fly the children back and forth from Fort Bragg day care to Beelzebub’s busy altar somewhere up around Westport! The Orr sisters didn’t know what hit them until they were ruined. They were threatened by many locals, lost their home, their business and the two properties that housed them, and Sharon Orr’s eight year-old daughter was taken away from her mother by Mendocino County’s historically inept Department of Social Services and placed at Trinity School in Ukiah where she was raped several times by adolescent residents. The child was confined to an institutional setting with older children, Social Services would say, because Trinity had the professional staff to sort out the psychic damage done to her by her mother and Mr. Beelzebub.

THERE HAS NEVER BEEN so much as an apology to the Orr sisters from anybody in authority for the great harm done to them by this latter-day witch hunt. The Orr sisters were utterly destroyed by their experience they couldn’t muster the energy to sue for damages.

THE MENDOCINO County Sheriff’s Department will not allow anyone to see the files on the Orr case. Speaking through, as we shall see, the self-interested Gary Hudson, the cops say because there were allegations of murder, the case is technically still under investigation. Which is what Hudson says. He doesn’t say the case isn’t active or inactive because there is not a shred of evidence that a single child was ever harmed in any way in any context involving mythical constructs drawn from the Old Testament or because he got free trips to seminars and trainings to beat the devil back from the kids, he just says because a murder may have been committed involving satanists no one outside law enforcement can see the files. The true reason the files are sequestered is that a local cop, Hudson, and his boss at the time, bought the non-existent phenomenon all the way to the point of obtaining a grant for Hudson, presently a candidate for sheriff favored by the county’s “liberal” block, to attend training seminars on satanist child abuse. The files will also indicate the county’s mental health apparatus, various investigators, Fort Bragg nutballs and snitches, and various other people who’d prefer that the public not know how gullible they are and how crummy they can be when a whole county gangs up on a pair of undefended women. The satanist hysteria in Mendocino County was so widespread, and the political pressure brought by its propagandists so strong, that Hudson and the Sheriff’s Department bought all the way into it. Tom Allman is your best bet for Sheriff. You want someone who will stand up to crazy people, not join forces with them.


CATCH OF THE DAY, Saturday, June 8, 2024

Aguilar, Elizabeth, Folger

ROGELIO AGUILAR, Ukiah. Suspsneded license, probation revocation.

VANESSA ELIZABETH, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, probation revocation. (Frequent flyer.)

SUMALEE FOLGER, Ukiah. Grand theft.



A READER POSES A “CLEAN UP TRIVIA” QUESTION:

Q: NASA is supposed to clean up after its astronauts. But they haven’t. How many bags of excrement have been left on the moon?

A. 10, B. 20, C. 40, D. 86, E. 96

Ans: E.

Everybody sing: 96 bags of poop on the moon, 96 bags of poop, if one of the bags should happen to…



THE TRUE WORTH OF ASTOR’S MUSIC

When you first hear it
It has to carry you off
You forget yourself
Leave yourself behind
To accompany yourself
Then succeed yourself
And come back yourself

— Jim Luther


Charles Bukowski’s childhood home in Los Angeles

“AND WHEN I'm in my neighborhood, I drive past the house I used to live in and there are strangers living there. Those Sundays were good, though, most of those Sundays were good, a tiny light in the dark depression days when our fathers walked the front porches, jobless and impotent and glanced at us beating the shit out of each other, then went inside and stared at the walls, afraid to play the radio because of the electric bill.”

— Charles Bukowski, from the story “Bop Bop Against That Curtain”


MEMO OF THE AIR: The pinochle of success.

"Pull your pockets out, Marty. Everybody in the future wears their clothes inside out."

Here's the recording of last night's (Friday 2024-06-07) 8-hour Memo of the Air: Good Night Radio show on 107.7fm KNYO-LP Fort Bragg (CA) and KNYO.org (and, for the first hour, also 89.3fm KAKX Mendocino): https://tinyurl.com/KNYO-MOTA-0596

Coming shows can feature your story or dream or poem or essay or kvetch or whatever. Just email it to me. Or include it in a reply to this post. Or send me a link to your writing project and I'll take it from there and read it on the air. That's what I'm here for.

Besides all that, at https://MemoOfTheAir.wordpress.com you'll find a fresh batch of dozens of links to worthwhile items I set aside for you while gathering the show together, such as:

James Dupuis plays Riders On The Storm on harpguitar. https://laughingsquid.com/riders-on-the-storm-harp-guitar

Zombie on harp and guitar. Alexandr Misko and Alexander Boldachev. https://theawesomer.com/zombie-on-harp-guitar/732666

Diana Ankudinova – Can't Help Falling In Love. This powerhouse singer is fourteen years old. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SY3OZVmfGVw

Louis Armstrong – When The Saints Go Marching In, on the Ed Sullivan show. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2eUzdTF3P2M

And Josephine Baker, slinky-sexy goofball. I'm not sure why but she makes me think of Servalan, the evil galactic despot in Blake's 7. Maybe it's the haircut, the outfit, the posture, the vividity, the pained/joyful sparkle in her eye. Before I had seen Blake's 7, Jerry at the late, lamented KMFB back in the Oh-Ohs told me, "If you like Firefly, you'll like Blake's 7. You'll really like Servalan." So I went and got the series and watched it and he was right; it's a kind of '60s-Doctor-Who-flavored Firefly, and it was first by twenty years. I also mix Josephine Baker in my mind with robot Maria in Metropolis and, oddly, filmmaker Miranda July. https://www.vintag.es/2024/06/josephine-baker-banana-skirt.html

Marco McClean, memo@mcn.org, https://MemoOfTheAir.wordpress.com



SAN FRANCISCAN NIGHTS

This following program is dedicated to the city and people of
San Francisco, who may not know it but they are beautiful and
So is their city this is a very personal song, so if the viewer
Cannot understand it particularly those of you who are
European residents, save up all your bread and fly trans love
Airways to San Francisco U.S.A., then maybe you'll understand
The song, it will be worth it, if not for the sake of this song, but
For the sake of your own peace of mind

Strobe lights beam, creates dreams
Walls move, minds to do
On a warm San Francisco night
Old child young child feel alright
On a warm San Francisco night
Angels sing, leather wings
Jeans of blue, Harley Davisons too
On a warm San Francisco night
Old angels young angels feel alright
On a warm San Francisco night

I wasn't born there, perhaps I'll die there
There's no place left to go, San Francisco

Cop's face is filled with hate
Heavens above he's on a street called love
When will they ever learn
Old cop young cop feel alright
On a warm San Francisco night
The children are cool
They don't raise fools
It's an american dream
Includes Indians too

— Eric Burdon, Vic Briggs, John Weider, Barry Jenkins, and Danny McCulloch (1967)



SOUNDS OF SAN FRANCISCO

by Jonah Raskin

What are the sounds of San Francisco? Music of all sorts of course and especially rock ‘n’ roll in concert halls, under the stars and on street corners. As the Starship once sang, “we built this city on rock n’ roll,” though the city had already been built several times over before their arrival and the arrival of the Grateful Dead, the Jefferson Airplane, Janis Joplin and Otis Redding at the dock of the bay. I heard the Starship rehearse at Paul Kantner’s house when Abbie Hoffman was hiding there in the 1980s, though he wasn’t really in hiding. He loved attention so much he couldn’t ever hide. I also met China Kantner, Paul’s and Grace Slick’s daughter at Paul’s house. Abbie wanted to connect China to his son America, though that never happened.

As great or near-great American cities go, SF is quite quiet and that’s the way citizens like me love it and want it. My neighborhood, Ocean Beach, can be as silent as a tomb. True, there’s the sound of vehicles on the Great Highway, but that’s only on weekdays. The Lower Great Highway and La Playa Street are largely noiseless every day of the week. The homeless, also known as the campers, were never loud and now most of them are gone.

Walkers and cyclists on the Great Highway on weekends hardly make a sound. Neither do I. I can hear the waves that crash and break on the shore and the rustle of leaves on the trees in Golden Gate Park—a soothing sound— where kids, teens and young girls and boys kick soccer balls and grunt and cry when they score a goal. The Mission, a 45 minute ride from me on public transportation, boasts noise in Spanish and English and music with a Latin beat and where murals feature Carlos Santana who was born in Mexico and who came to the US as a kid and learned to play the guitar as well if not better than anyone else in The City.

The skyscrapers in the Financial District, where I enjoyed a cubby hole for a few years, seemed to muffle the clamor of stocks and bonds. "Money doesn't talk, it swears," Dylan sang in 1965, but in my experience money neither talks nor swears but keeps its trap shut. Folks with money don’t advertise their wealth.

The libraries are quiet; that’s the way they're supposed to be. The fog horns in earshot of Golden Gate Bridge provide a lullaby that puts me to sleep, but the screech of the N-Judah streetcar can wake me earlier than I’d like to wake. City employees are trying to muffle that unpleasant sound by greasing the rails, a remedy, they tell me, that works when it’s dry but not in the fog and rain.

Perhaps my favorite city sound is the crack of a Giant’s baseball bat hitting the ball out of the stadium and splashing into McCovey Cove, which I can’t hear but I can imagine. I wish there were lots more sounds of homeruns. But that’s not gonna happen. The Giants don’t have an Aaron Judge; at Oracle Park this May he went 6-for-10 with three home runs and six RBI; the Yankees swept the series. Meanwhile, I’ll enjoy the silence in my backyard where the potatoes I planted in my raised beds are coming up in the cool weather and where the lavender sings a song of love and friendship. On most days of the week I can leave my apartment, take 30 or so steps and join the guys who gather at La Playa and Judah, and play and sing old rock ‘n’ roll songs.

(Jonah Raskin is the author of Beat Blues: San Francisco, 1955.)


OUTRAGED OVER CAITLIN CLARK’S U.S. OLYMPIC ‘SNUB’? YOU HAVEN’T BEEN PAYING ATTENTION

by Ann Killion

Caitlin Clark will be left off of the Paris Olympics team this summer, according to multiple reports. The leaked news has set social media aflame, with scorching hot takes and seething outrage, most of it coming from people who have never previously bothered to pay attention to the most successful Olympic team in the world.

And while the news is a disappointment, because Clark is a compelling story in any competition on any continent, this development is not only the logical one for the U.S. team, it’s probably best for Clark, too.

Anyone who has been paying attention for a while — which eliminates about 90% of the outraged — could see this move coming by looking through the lens of USA Basketball’s historical process.

That process has served the U.S. women’s Olympic basketball team extremely well: It last lost a game in 1992. The gold medal streak started in Atlanta in 1996 with Tara VanDerveer’s team. Cheryl Reeve, this year’s coach, will be attempting to guide the team to its eighth straight gold medal.

The team is a dynasty, a juggernaut so dominant it hasn’t gotten the coverage it deserves largely because everyone expects the Americans to roll the competition.

“Are we finally going to see the recognition of one of the greatest sports dynasties that’s not talked about?” Reeve wondered at a U.S. Olympic and Paralympic media summit in April.

Maybe.

Were Clark to have made the team, that would certainly have guaranteed more coverage. But that attention might have been extremely awkward, because — as a newcomer with zero history with the senior national team — Clark would mostly have been riding the bench. As USA Today writer Chris Bumbaca posted on social media, “I promise you, Caitlin Clark sitting on the bench for 98% of games at the Olympics but commanding 98% of the coverage does not do the service to growing women’s basketball you think it does.”

And please, newly minted women’s basketball evangelists, park your outrage when it comes to Reeve. The team is selected by committee — one that includes Jen Rizzotti, Dawn Staley, Bethany Donaphin, Dan Padover, DeLisha Milton-Jones and Seimone Augustus. Reeve, by design, has little input.

“I don’t know what their decision points are,” Reeve said. “I ask for a certain roster makeup and a certain way that features the best players in the league. I focus on trying to do that stylistically and anxiously await to hear the final 12.

“I know it’s a struggle every time they make a decision. No matter what, you’ve left off somebody that someone thinks should be there.”

The team is built on veterans who have paid their dues and built continuity over the years: that has usually been the successful formula and deviations are noteworthy. Twenty-eight years ago, the selection committee pushed Rebecca Lobo, fresh out of UConn, onto VanDerveer’s roster. Lobo attracted a lot of the media attention, little of the playing time and created an uncomfortable situation that remains a talking point to this day. Eight years ago, the committee selected rookie Breanna Stewart, leaving off Candace Parker, which seemed insane then and still does, even though Stewie is one of the best players in the world.

To my mind, the most controversial snub came in Tokyo when Nneka Ogwumike, one of the best players in the world and a loyal USA basketball participant who had patiently waited her turn, was left off the team. Her Olympic window came and went with that rejection.

Clark, in contrast, will surely be a vital part of the team for many years. But, to this point, she hasn’t paid her dues with USA Basketball, last playing for the program in 2021 on an under-19 team. When asked in April what Clark might work on, in order to make the team, Reeve said, “I’ve only watched her play against collegiate players. I’ve never been in the trenches with her, so it is very premature for me to even suggest what she needs to improve on.”

Who would you leave off the roster to include Clark? (That’s actually a question for basketball devotees, not the newcomers who only know Clark’s name). A few months ago, I might have said 41-year-old Diana Taurasi who has seemed to be grandmothered on to the team, having been on every iteration since 2004. But Taurasi has been playing great in this WNBA season and probably deserves her swan song.

One encouraging development is that, thanks to the Clark-driven surge in popularity, more and more people know about all the accomplished players who are on this roster, as well as those who didn’t make it. It’s a good problem when there are far too many great players to make a roster — a problem the WNBA has been dealing with for years, and which should be eased a bit by the expansion Golden State Valkyries in 2025. Though the timing of the roster leak was awkward, with Clark having her best game as a pro on Friday night with seven 3-pointers, the truth is that Clark hasn’t even been the best rookie in the WNBA this season.

The U.S. team won’t convene until July 17 in Phoenix, then leaves for France on July 21 and starts group play in Lille on July 27. Continuity and chemistry are key under such a compressed schedule.

The WNBA will break for the Olympics, from July 21 to Aug. 14. And that’s the part where being left off the team is probably a good thing for Clark. If there was ever an athlete who could use a breather, and a mental detox, it’s Clark. Her Iowa season started last October and lasted until the last possible day of the season, on April 7, with immense pressure every step of the way. Just eight days later, after a whirlwind of appearances and sponsorship deals, she was drafted by Indiana.

In the first month of the WNBA season, she’s already played 13 games, more than any other WNBA team thanks to a Clark-heavy schedule as the league tries to milk every moment and revenue opportunity out of its new star. One of the previous CC talking points — in a nonstop stream of them — was that the league was being unfair to her and she was exhausted. Which might actually be true.

The pressure and expectations on Clark for the past two years have been unrelenting. A break to catch her breath and reset, work with her WNBA teammates and build needed chemistry, might be a huge benefit. We are supposed to be valuing players’ mental health, after all.

Clark has been portrayed as a savior of a sport that didn’t need saving. There’s some sanity in America’s greatest reigning dynasty saying, “Take a break youngster. We’ve got this.”

(SF Chronicle)


BANG FOR YOUR BACH

by David Yearsley

Reiseclavier and Winchester at the Garrison Dam and Lake Sakakawea, North Dakota. (Photo: David Yearsley.)

We met in Minot. My father came from Seattle on the “Empire Builder” Amtrak train with the rifle—a Winchester 1886.

I flew in from New York with a Reiseklavier—a travel clavichord modeled on the portable instruments virtuosos such as Mozart used when on the road back in Europe in the 18th century. The gun hasn’t been fired in at least fifty years, but if it were it’d be apocalyptically louder than the whispering musical instrument.

My father was born in Bismarck, North Dakota, in 1936, fifty years after the Winchester 1886 went into production. The rifle he brought with him had the serial number of 104101 on the metal plate that mounts the iconic Winchester lever action to the wooden stock. The last two digits indicate that the weapon was manufactured in 1901. That was the year that my great-grandfather must have bought the gun for it was also the year that he became the first elected sheriff of Dunn County in western North Dakota. He was a Norwegian with a lawman’s name: John Bang. He’d come out to North Dakota from Minneapolis at the age of nineteen in 1894 and homesteaded near the town of Dunn Center. His 160 acres were next to one of the few female homesteaders, a divorcée named Ethel Miller. She would soon become his wife.

Bang was elected sheriff again in 1914, the year that the Fort Berthold Reservation, where the Arikara, Mandan, and Hidatsa had been placed, was opened up to further “settlement” just north of Dunn County. Much of that area would later be flooded by the reservoir created by the Garrison Dam. That reservoir is called Lake Sakakawea, named after the Shoshone woman (more commonly translated as Sacagawea), who joined the Lewis and Clark expedition in the autumn of 1804. With the completion of the dam in 1953 the water backed up into the ravines and gullies known as the Breaks of the Missouri River and some of the Badlands where, according to family lore, my grandfather had single-handedly gotten the drop on a pair of infamous bank robbers and, as a rancher, pulled the tail off of a half-frozen steer stuck down in a draw in sub-zero winter weather.

John Bang was an ardent Non-Partisan Leaguers, the socialist-inflected Populist movement born in the 1910s that organized cooperative grain elevators and a state bank. My grandmother recited poetry at their rallies as a young child.

The Bangs lost their farm in the Depression and the former sheriff and his wife left North Dakota to find jobs in the Pacific Naval shipyard in Bremerton, Washington in 1939. The Winchester remained with John’s brother Thorvald in Dunn County. The gun was presented to my father with all due solemnity by one of his cousins when we visited Dunn County for a Bang family reunion over a long July 4th weekend in 1989, the centennial year of North Dakota statehood.

After 35 years out in the Pacific Northwest where it was admired and hefted by the lawman’s great-great-grandchildren, the gun was now to be repatriated to the Dunn County Museum.

My father had insisted on taking the train from Seattle, retracing his family’s rail journey from the Plains to the Pacific in 1941, when he and his parents and siblings joined John and Ethel Bang in Bremerton.

These days Amtrak requires that a firearm of whatever vintage be locked in an approved gun case. But when my father got to the station in Seattle twelve days ago, he learned that he was also required to notify the train at least 24 hours in advance that the rifle would be on board. Not having fulfilled that protocol, he had to postpone the trip for the day.

So, I met him off the train late on a Wednesday at the handsome Minot station, built in 1905 and recently restored. Towards eleven at night, the Empire Builder’s whistle cried out down the Souris River Valley and soon after that the locomotive’s headlight pierced the dark haze above the track. My father stepped off the train and the station attendant asked, “Is the gun yours?”

In the rental car the next morning our two travel cases of similar size looked like they could have belonged to a couple of assassins on their way to take out a Dakota oil cartel kingpin gone rogue. Where the buffalo once roamed, fracking towers and oil derricks graze all day— and all night, their flares dancing against the sky and grass.

We headed south over the prairie and across Lake Audubon—the eastern section of the Garrison reservoir—and to the south bank of the Missouri, backed up as Lake Sakakawea.

At the Garrison Dam picnic area we stopped to survey the lake and read the historic placards. On one of these was the devastating photo of Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara Nation chairman George Gillette bursting into tears among the stony pale-faced men of “progress” signing the “deal” to sell more than 150,000 acres of land for the dam and reservoir. Gillette summed up the extortion, much more succinctly and accurately than the U. S. Supreme Court ever would or could: “The truth is, as everyone knows, our Treaty of Fort Laramie … and our constitution are being torn to shreds by this contract.”

Native American leader George Gillette weeps at the signing of the Garrison Dam Agreement, 1948. Photo: National Archives.

On this land- and lake-scape so radically modified according to the imperatives of Empire-building, it was time for a photo-op. We took out the gun and clavichord. I played some Art of Fugue with the Winchester ready to fight off Proud Boys and rabid ravens. The rifle was cocked, though unloaded. Things had to be staged. I could see the record cover: Bach in the Badlands.

Were there connections to be made between complex counterpoint and high-caliber firearms? The print of Johann Sebastian Bach’s last work was masterfully executed by Johann Heinrich Schübler. He had studied with Bach in Leipzig but had also been schooled in his family craft of shotgun making. This trade included engraving the barrels with ornamental patterns similar to those decorating the blank spaces of the Art of Fugue print of 1751.

My father came closer to listen for threads of polyphony before the wind blew them over the dam and down the lake. The rifle lay silently by.

A couple of hours later we arrived at the Dunn County Museum. The chair of the advisory board and a local gun aficionado received the Winchester. After my father filled out the paperwork, the rifle was placed in a special glass-fronted cabinet above a photograph of John Bang next to his horse. The cabinet is beneath a trophy of an elk and alongside a pair of bulky wooden skis with leather straps for the boots. Maybe John Bang, who had also been a fiddler and square-dance caller, had made his way across the wintery wastes on Nordic skis to dances or duels with desperadoes.

The Dunn County Museum is housed in a simple but spacious structure of corrugated metal with an annex of like construction where the rifle now resides along with a bright blue cavalry wagon, surreys, butter churns and other relics of the 19th– and early 20th-century “frontier.” A separate building displays tractors, threshers, fire engines, and other big machines. Music is well represented. The locals have donated their pianos and harmoniums in abundance, but not their guns. John Bang’s 1886 is the museum’s first Winchester, fittingly from the county’s first sheriff.

After our afternoon in the museum, we drove west over red dirt roads to the Killdeer Mountain Battlefield. The one-acre fenced-in site is at the edge of a ranch whose gate warns “No Trespassing” and “No Oil Field Traffic.”

Spring Creek, on whose banks John Bang built his house ten miles downstream, flows out of Killdeer Mountain and snakes below the battlefield. I had always thought that the town and mountain were named after the bird, once abundant in the area, and still to be seen and onomatopoeically heard here, if in declining numbers. The battlefield monument’s plaque, which appears to have been recently redone by the State Historical Society so as to represent a view of history that is less triumphantly expressive of Manifest Destiny, informs visitors that the name is a translation Tachawakute: Place Where They Kill Deer.

Lt. Col. John Pattee of the 7th Iowa Cavalry described the start of the “battle” on July 28, 1864: “An Indian, very gaily dressed, carrying a large war club gorgeously ornamented, appeared in front of the 6th Iowa Cavalry and called loudly to us and gesticulated wildly from about half a mile away. Major Wood, chief of cavalry, approached my position and said, ‘The general sends his compliments and wishes for you to kill that Indian for God’s sake’.”

By the end of the day the U.S. army had destroyed up to 1,500 lodges. At least 200 peacefully encamped Native Americans were slaughtered. Sitting Bull, Medicine Bear, and Gall and some 5,000 others fled through a deep cleft in the mountain called the Medicine Hole, which has now had its sacred name shackled to a nearby oil field.

After a few more days along the wetlands and water holes of the Central Flyway spotting Black Terns and Bobolinks, Gadwalls and Godwits, White Pelicans and Northern Shovelers among dozens of other species, we headed back to the Minot station and departed for Seattle on Monday morning. As we approached the border with Montana on the Empire Builder, I took out the keyboard from its case and made my way with my father to the observation car. The porters had seen many instruments on their trains—Amtrak encourages music on board—but never a clavichord.

More Bach was heard—at least by me. A few snatches might have escaped the rattle of the carriage to nearby ears: a veterinarian from North Carolina just back from a choir tour to Salzburg and Vienna, a retired choral director from Oshkosh, Wisconsin and a videographer among others. The travel clavichord’s mission is to keep the fingers in shape while disturbing no one.

Giant Fingers gallop across the Plains. Photo: David Yearsley.

Next trip to the Flickertail State we take John Bang’s saddle engraved with his initials and his sheriff’s star to the museum.

(David Yearsley is a long-time contributor to CounterPunch and the Anderson Valley Advertiser. His latest book is Sex, Death, and Minuets: Anna Magdalena Bach and Her Musical Notebooks. He can be reached at dgyearsley@gmail.com.)


ON-LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY

I trust the system behind Biden way more than I do the POS Trump – the consummate grifter. Sorry for all of you who think Civil War is preferable to the current situation. You clearly haven’t thought through what that looks like, or your daily lives are so pathetic and empty that the excitement looks way better than what you have.


“WE ARE ALL ALONE, born alone, die alone, and—in spite of True Romance magazines—we shall all someday look back on our lives and see that, in spite of our company, we were alone the whole way. I do not say lonely—at least, not all the time—but essentially, and finally, alone. This is what makes your self-respect so important, and I don't see how you can respect yourself if you must look in the hearts and minds of others for your happiness.”

― Hunter S. Thompson, The Proud Highway: Saga of a Desperate Southern Gentleman, 1955-1967



TAIBBI & KIRN

Matt Taibbi: Nixon was … he symbolized the political establishment, authority, the war, all of these things. He was the face of the machine at the time. And yeah, I think he was totally, he was fair game in the sense that it was never not punching up with Nixon. And because he was particularly touchy about being criticized and all those things is in some ways similar to Trump. Trump has a problem with this sometimes, but not to the degree that Nixon did.

When Hunter Thompson described Nixon saying, the only thing he could imagine Nixon laughing at was a paraplegic who couldn’t reach high enough to vote democratic. That was funny, right? There was a lot of humor to be had about Nixon and his face, the whole thing, but this is establishment celebration that we’re seeing. And even though Trump was president, there’s no question that this is high society kind of organized institutional guffawing and …

Walter Kirn: Right. Well, Nixon too was criticized for being kind of declasse. But the funny thing about this anti-Trump stuff is it does feel a little bit at times to me like bullying. Even though the butt of it is Donald Trump is-

Matt Taibbi: A bully-

Walter Kirn: … himself a bully. But it feels like cultural bullying because Trump does not represent the winners necessarily. He’s at this point, kind of an underdog populist candidate who similarly to Nixon does want to represent a silent majority, but that silent majority is not what it was. It’s not warlike. It’s not doing all that well economically. So there is a different flavor to it. Personally I kind of shudder a little bit to see the glee with which a real change in our political system is celebrated as the revenge against one individual.

Matt Taibbi: Right, right. And there was a total absence of … It just seemed like nobody really cared what the actual facts of this case were. He did something, he got convicted, and even within a couple of days after the conviction, a lot of the commentators switched overtly to this idea that, well, he’s been getting away with it all his life, so whatever this is, it kind of fits, right?

Walter Kirn: Yeah.

Matt Taibbi: And which is kind of a striking admission.

Walter Kirn: It’s like the opposite of a lifetime achievement award. It isn’t necessarily this movie that is his greatest, but let’s give him an award for all the movies in the past that were pretty great. This is like, it’s not like this is the crime that we should take him down on, but he’s committed so many others. Let’s let this one stand for those.

Matt Taibbi: Yeah. It’s like Al Pacino’s Scent of a Woman Oscar, right?

Walter Kirn: Or Al Capone’s tax dodging conviction.

Matt Taibbi: Yeah. So I saw a lot of people bring that up. Maybe the tax dodging conviction was a little lengthy, but he at least did it.

This is the problem I had with this case. I was like, I get you don’t like the guy, but you can’t just give him 34 felonies for this. It’s not even a crime.

The other things at least, the other cases at least allege something pretty serious, at least in the Jay sex case, I would say certainly alleges something that’s pretty serious. The Espionage Act case, I just hate that law in general. I mean, espionage for mishandling materials or talking to a reporter. That’s not espionage. They’re using just a very draconian law to impose very serious penalties for almost anything they want usually.

But in this case, we’re talking about paying off a porn star, which I’m sure most of the people who are dealing with this had no idea is legal. You’re allowed to do that. Even as a political candidate you are allowed to pay somebody off to not talk. That’s your business.

Walter Kirn: You’re allowed to have sex with them in the first place. Then you’re allowed to pay them off to have them shut up about the fact you had sex. The question is from what account should you draw the payment and how should you note it in your records? And are you somehow fixing or distorting an election by hiding information that the electorate, I guess might’ve used? In other words, is covering up personal venality, election interference?

Matt Taibbi: Well, that’s the allegation.

Walter Kirn: They came perilously close to saying that it was. In other words, so if you hid your medical records that showed you have some disability, let’s say, would that be election interference, to hide the fact that you’re having memory problems perhaps, or would any distortion of the factual record for purposes of getting elected be election interference? Well, that’s all electioneering is, is distorting or massaging the facts in order to make yourself seem more appealing, desirable, or whatever. Yeah, I don’t quite get it.

See, this seemed like the worst of both worlds. We set a terrible precedent, a terrible precedent in which a sitting president can see his opponent perhaps jailed, but convicted by means that don’t look totally kosher. And we did it for a stupid reason, I mean.

Matt Taibbi: Right.

Walter Kirn: And third, it’s not going to matter because it’s already clear people are going to ignore it. I mean, it was a fundraising coup for … Not only was it a fundraising coup from small donors, it looks like it’s been a fundraising coup from large donors, several of whom came out right away and said, “I’m giving hundreds of thousands to Donald Trump.” So you fucked up your system. You did it for a crime that is baffling, and that in the historical record will never really be legible. A porn star got paid off, and that’s illegal because? I mean, I still don’t quite get it.

And then three, it didn’t affect anything substantially.

Matt Taibbi: Yeah. So just to be clear, we didn’t talk about this last week, but the crime is that they entered, so the one thing that he actually did that’s actually illegal is sort of misidentifying the payments in their bookkeeping. So they didn’t put payment to porn star for illicit sex. It was legal services. I forget exactly what they called it.

Walter Kirn: He wasn’t. He wasn’t paying for the sex.

Matt Taibbi: But that’s falsifying records

Walter Kirn: He wasn’t paying for the sex. He was paying … And maybe he did. I don’t know. But that’s not what this-

Matt Taibbi: Right. For silence, right?

Walter Kirn: Yeah.

Matt Taibbi: Yeah. Yeah. So that’s a misdemeanor unless you couple it with the intent to commit another crime, and the other crime that they alleged was a New York election law, 17-152, conspiracy to promote or prevent election, which is defined as any two, or more persons who conspire to promote, or prevent the election of any person to a public office by unlawful means.

So, there’s two different big reaches here. One is that paying to cover up the illicit dalliance with Stormy Daniels is conspiracy to prevent the election of a person. Right? Namely, Hillary Clinton.


American soldier (doughboy) departing for World War One in 1917

ISRAEL RESCUES 4 HOSTAGES IN ASSAULT THAT KILLED SCORES OF GAZANS

The news was met with jubilation in Israel, where tensions over the hostages’ safety have been rising in recent months.

by Aaron Boxerman, Raja Abdulrahim and Steve Lohr

Israeli soldiers and special operations police rescued four hostages from Gaza on Saturday amid a heavy air and ground assault and flew them back to Israel by helicopter to be reunited with their families. The news was met with jubilation in Israel, where anxieties over the fate of the roughly 120 remaining captives have been rising after eight months of war.

Residents in the town of Nuseirat, where the hostages were being held, reported intense bombardments during the rescue operation. Khalil al-Daqran, an official at a hospital in the city, told reporters that scores of Palestinians had been killed and that the hospital’s wards and corridors were packed with the wounded.

Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari, the Israeli military spokesman, told reporters the rescue mission took place around 11 a.m. Saturday, when forces located the four hostages in two separate buildings where they were being held by Hamas militants. He said the Israeli forces came under fire but managed to extract the hostages in two helicopters. One special forces police officer died.

The freed hostages — Noa Argamani, 26, Almog Meir Jan, 22, Andrey Kozlov, 27, and Shlomi Ziv, 41 — were kidnapped by Palestinian militants from the Nova music festival during the Hamas-led attack on Oct. 7, when about 1,200 people were killed in Israel and 250 taken hostage, Israel says. All four were in good medical condition and were transferred to a hospital in Israel for further examinations, the Israeli authorities said in a statement.

The fate of the hostages has been a source of intense political pressure on the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, amid the broader criticism that his government, for its own reasons, is in no hurry to wind down the conflict or to address the issue of who should govern Gaza after the war.

Given the hostage rescue, Benny Gantz, a member of Mr. Netanyahu’s war cabinet who has threatened to depart over Mr. Netanyahu’s refusal to talk about a postwar plan for Gaza, indefinitely postponed a news conference scheduled for Saturday evening, citing “recent events.”

Mr. Hagari, the Israeli military spokesman, said the Israeli Air Force struck Nuseirat during the rescue in order to enable Israeli forces to extract the hostages safely.

“This was a mission in the heart of a civilian neighborhood, where Hamas had intentionally hidden among homes where there were civilians, and armed militants guarding the hostages,” Mr. Hagari said.

Videos showed people running for cover as bombs rained down. After the airstrikes, the streets were so clogged with rubble that ambulances and emergency services in central Gaza were unable to respond to many of the calls to transport the wounded to hospitals, the Gazan Health Ministry said.

Video from inside Al Aqsa Martyrs Hospital, near Nuseirat, shared by the ministry showed chaotic scenes as medical staff struggled to treat bloodied victims lying side by side on the floor. Two men held up IV bags while next to them a wounded person, whose face was bandaged, writhed under a blanket.

Reports of the numbers killed and wounded varied wildly in the confusion after the attack. Two Gaza health officials said that more than 200 people were killed in the strikes in Nuseirat, including women and children. They did not say how many of those killed were militants.

Mr. Hagari said the number killed should be “less than 100,” based on information he had seen. It was not possible to verify either number.



WALTER KIRN:

I look at America from a literary perspective. We can moralize all we want, for and against, but if you drive around America, and go to small towns, and you find out who was celebrated in the past of those towns, sometimes it’s a professional athlete, but most times, it’s a murderer, an outlaw, a robber, a prostitute, and so on.

If they had a brothel in a town, it’s probably been restored, and is now a museum. If they’ve got a hotel where a murder happened, there’s a pamphlet about it. If it happened that any big gangster came from there, they’re celebrated. This is not a country, which reveres perfect rule-following.

Every single drama that you look at post-1920s, maybe since the beginning of Hollywood, is about somebody who breaks the rules to accomplish a good end, often, or sometimes to accomplish a bad end, they’re just a scoundrel, but they’re charismatic, and they get the girl, or whatever, if they’re a man.


HUMANS SHOULD NEVER FORGET that we have been assigned only a very small place on earth, that we live surrounded by nature that can easily take back everything that has ever been given to man. It costs absolutely nothing in her way to one day blow us all off the face of the earth or flood the waters of the ocean with her single breath, just to remind man once again that he is not as all-powerful as he still foolishly thinks.

— Ray Bradbury



SNATCH & GRAB, ISRAELI STYLE: DISAPPEARING INTO THE GULAG

by Jeffrey St. Clair

Rasha Kareem wasn’t hiding from the police. She didn’t think she’d done anything wrong. And she hadn’t done anything wrong. Not by any reasonable standard.

Rasha was simply going about her day. She owned a beauty salon in Majd Al-Krum, a town in the Galilee. She was running routine errands when Israeli police pulled her over.

Rasha is tall and elegant. She has the face of a model and long, shimmering black hair. She was wearing a sleek black dress. She tried to maintain her composure as Israeli police swarmed around her. There is a look of confusion and then a flash of fear on her face as she is told she’s being arrested.

Her hands are tightly cuffed in zip ties. Then Rasha begins to weep, as the police ominously strap a blindfold over her eyes. You can see the long fingers on her restrained hands tremble as she tries to wipe the tears from her face. Imagine what was going through her mind at that moment. Why the blindfold? Where are they taking me? What have I done to deserve it? This decorous and dignified woman, who had offered not the slightest resistance, was being treated as a terrorist.

What had Rasha done? Not much. Not anything, really. She was a Palestinian woman living in Israel who had written pro-Palestinian comments on Social Media. She expressed her sorrow and anger at the mounting deaths in Gaza. Like many, even a growing number of Israeli Jews, she wrote of her hopes that the killing would stop and the war would end.

But such openly expressed sentiments are considered a crime now in Israel and it seems someone had ratted out Rasha Kareem to the offices of Itamar Ben-Gvir, the fanatical Minister of Security in the Netanyahu government.

“A report was received of a few posts made by the suspect against the IDF’s soldiers and the Israeli government that could disrupt public order,” the Israeli police said in a statement.

Ben-Gvir and his minions wanted Rasha charged with incitement to terrorism. The histrionic minister of security, who controls Israel’s police wanted to make an example of her. An example of what, though? His ability to crush any form of dissent, however innocuous, from whatever harmless quarter, even a beauty parlor.

The Israeli police had a problem, though. Ben-Gvir didn’t trust the State Attorney General’s office to issue a warrant against Rasha Kareem. The Security Minister’s attacks on the Attorney General, Galli Baharav-Miara, have become more and more bombastic. Baharav-Miara, Israel’s first female attorney general, was appointed to her post by Naftali Bennett, during his brief tenure as PM, in 2022. There’s no question Baharav-Miara is a hardliner. But not hard enough for Ben-Gvir, who has accused her of leading “the moral and professional degradation” of the attorney general’s office and “acting in an unprecedented manner against the state.” The state being Ben-Gvir’s brutish ministry, one assumes.

So instead of serving Rasha Kareem with a warrant, Ben-Gvir’s police targeted her on their own using the novel theory that her social media posts posed a threat to public order. On this thin pretext, Rasha was detained, cuffed, blindfolded and whisked away to some Israeli black site where she was subjected to interrogation.

But soon a startling video of her arrest leaked. Apparently, the video was shot by one of the Israeli cops involved in the arrest, so it’s not out of the realm of reason to assume it was leaked by Ben-Gvir’s goons with the intention to humiliate Rasha and intimidate anyone else from expressing empathy for Palestinians in Gaza.

If so, the malicious intent seems to have backfired. The video of Rasha’s arrest elicited more sympathy and outrage, than fear or panic. Rasha’s lawyer protested her arrest and detention to the office of the State Attorney, who swiftly found that Ben-Gvir’s police had not received the necessary permission to investigate her and that “the police’s decision to cuff the suspect with zip ties and blindfold her is unclear.”

Kareem was released from custody and ordered to house arrest for five days. Ben-Gvir condemned her release and accused the State Attorney’s office of“rushing to intervene in support of the terror backer Rasha Kareem.”

The arbitrary arrest, detention and interrogation of Rasha Kareem is nothing new. During the First Intifada, more than 100,000 Palestinians were arrested, many of them without warrants or trials, under an administrative detention policy that was a relic of the British Occupation of Palestine. At least 85,000 were subjected to torturous interrogations.

Now this oppressive scheme is being revived. Since October Israel has arrested more than 9,000 Palestinians, including 300 women and 635 minors, from the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, alone. There’s no accurate count of the number of Palestinians Israel has detained from Gaza but it’s certainly more than the 9000 arrested in the West Bank.

Many of the male Gaza detainees, young and old, have been interned at Sde Teiman military-run torture camp near the city of Be’er Al Sabe, where they are kept blindfolded, stripped of most of their clothes and shackled for weeks at a time. Most of the Palestine women and young girls detained in Gaza have been sent to the Anatot military torture camp outside Jerusalem.

Unlike Rasha Kareem, who was snatched in daylight on the street, most of the arrests of Palestinians took place late at night with doors being blown open while the targets and their families were asleep. Israeli soldiers and security police often barge in with attack dogs, hurl threats and insults at family members, vandalize property inside the dwelling and humiliate and abuse the detainees in front of their families.

A typical case is that of Bilal Dawood, who was arrested late on the night of October 16, 2023, less than 10 days after the Hamas attacks. Israeli security forces blew the door off Dawood’s house at the Dheisheh Refugee Camp in Bethlehem. The explosion shattered the windows of the building. When the Israeli forces entered the house, they immediately began trashing the place, smashing the TV, and destroying furniture, lamps and dishes. As his mother looked on in horror, an Israeli soldier hit Bilal in the face with the butt of his assault rifle. As Bilal lay on the floor, he was repeatedly kicked, and then dragged across the room, leaving a trail of blood. When his mother screamed in protest, she too was hit in the face, dislodging her dentures. Then the Israeli forces taped her mouth shut.

Many times these midnight raids turn lethal. On the night of December 5, 2023, the Mansara family was awakened by voices outside their house in the Qalandia Refugee Camp near Jerusalem. The young Mohammad Mansara approached the door to see what the commotion was about, not knowing the sounds were coming from Israeli forces preparing to break into the house to arrest his brother Abdullah.

As Mohammad moved to open the door from the inside, the Israelis detonated a bomb on the outside. The explosion killed the young man and seriously injured his mother, who was standing nearby. The Israelis stepped over Mohammad’s eviscerated body, restrained his family members from helping him or his mother, grabbed his brother Abdullah and hauled him away into the night. No ambulance was called to treat the wounded.

A couple of days after the October 7 attacks, Israeli forces broke into a house occupied by two Palestinian women and a two-week-old baby, also female. Again the home invasion took place late at night, when all the occupants were asleep. The door of the house was knocked down and the Israeli forces, all of them male, entered the house and surrounded the bed of a Palestinian woman called “H.H.” The woman pleaded with the soldiers to be allowed to cover herself and her hair in a hijab and abaya. They refused. The soldiers then entered the room of H.H.’s daughter and her two-week-old child. Saying they were searching for a cell phone, they ordered the daughter to strip naked for a cavity search. When she refused, they threatened her with a taser. When H.H. attempted to intervene, a soldier spat in her face, covering her glasses with a foul-smelling glob of saliva. Then the soldiers demanded that H.H.’s daughter strip her baby. Meanwhile, the soldiers rummaged through the house, ripping pages out of the family’s Koran and parading around with the women’s underwear, while HH and her daughter sat on the floor with both their hands and feet bound. Later they were taken to an interrogation facility, where one of the interrogators whispered in HH’s ear his intent to rape her from “the front and the back.”

The targets of these raids have included Palestinian students, teachers, engineers, lawyers, doctors, and even Palestinian members of the Palestinian Legislative Council, at least 18 of whom have been arrested and detained without warrants. Often the victims have done little more than, like Rasha Kareem, make a pro-Palestinian or anti-war post on Social Media or tweet a verse from the Koran.

Most of these Palestinians are being held under Israel’s shadowy administrative detention policy, which allows the state to arrest, detain and torture Palestinians without presenting charges or indictments. Instead, Israeli state security is allowed to justify the arrest by citing so-called “Secret Files,” which, like Kafka’s Josef K, the accused is never allowed to see or dispute.

In addition to administrative detention, Israel also enacted “emergency measures” on October 26 to deal with “unlawful combatants” that gave the Israeli army the authority to arrest Palestinians on secret evidence and detain them without charges for up to 75 days before a judge can rule whether the arrest was lawful. The “emergency measures” allow the Israelis to prevent detainees from having access to a lawyer for up to 210 days.

Most of the “enemy combatants” are held at the Yemen Field military camp, under conditions of extreme severity. None of the detainees at Yemen Field are allowed visits from the International Red Cross or their lawyers. Thus, not only is there no way to challenge these arrests, but there’s also no avenue to protest the abusive conditions or torturous treatment in prisons.

The conditions at Yemen Field and the other camps were harsh to begin with, but after October 7 Bin-Gvir was allowed latitude to make them even more austere. Food rations were cut from three meals a day to two. A typical breakfast consists of a small cup of yogurt, a piece of bread, and a tomato. The second meal consisted of a small serving of rice along with a sausage, all often undercooked. Windows were knocked out to make the cells freezing in the winter months. The blankets in the cells were threadbare. Many prisoners were made to wear the same clothes for more than 50 consecutive days. Rooms were searched almost daily, often by guards wielding metal rods and holding attack dogs. Garbage was routinely burned inside the prison compound flooding the cells with toxic smoke.

Dozens of Palestinians, snatched by Israeli security forces, have died in Israeli custody since October 7. And at least two were beaten to death, like Freddie Gray in Baltimore, by Israeli forces while being transported to one of the torture camps.

Abed El Rahman Mar’ii was beaten to death in Megiddo Prison on November 13, 2023. The official autopsy report showed that “bruises were seen over the left chest, with broken ribs and chest bone underneath. External bruises were also seen on the back, buttocks, left arm and thigh, and right side of the head and neck…As no signs of background disease were found, and based on his history as a healthy young person, one may assume that the violence that he suffered, manifested by the multiple bruises and multiple severe rib fractures, contributed to his death. A cardiac arrhythmia (irregular pulse) or even a fresh myocardial infarction (a heart attack) can result from such injuries without leaving any physical evidence.”

A leaked report from UNRWA describes the death of a detainee after his interrogators put an “electric stick” up his anus. Ibrahim Shaheen, a 38-year-old truck driver was arrested in December and held for nearly three months. He was repeatedly interrogated about the location of dead Israeli hostages. Shaheen said he was tied to a chair and shocked nearly a half dozen times. A detainee named al-Hamlawi described being restrained in a chair wired with electricity and shocked so frequently that he began to urinate uncontrollably. Another detainee said his interrogators “made me sit on something like a hot metal stick and it felt like fire.”

Even juvenile detainees are not immune from abuse. Consider the case of JK, an 18-year-old Palestinian boy confined to Niqab Prison, who recalls being seized by Israeli prison guards wielding metal batons who forced him to strip naked and then began taking photos of him. When JK tried to shield his genitals, the guards kicked him repeatedly and clubbed him with their batons. Then they forcibly pried his legs open to photograph his genitals and anus as they taunted him.

Few of these cases of murder and abuse inside Israeli prison camps are ever investigated and, historically, 99 out of 100 cases that are investigated are closed without any charges being filed.

So, I guess we can say Rasha Kareem was lucky. Luckier than many Palestinians anyway. Some go into the darkness of the Israeli gulags and never return. The others never return the same.

(For more information on the treatment of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prison camps see Addameer: Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association. Jeffrey St. Clair is editor of CounterPunch. His most recent book is An Orgy of Thieves: Neoliberalism and Its Discontents (with Alexander Cockburn). He can be reached at: sitka@comcast.net or on Twitter @JeffreyStClair3. CounterPunch.org)



THE JOURNEY

One day you finally knew
What you had to do, and began,
Though the voices around you
Kept shouting
Their bad advice‚
Though the whole house
Began to tremble
And you felt the old tug
At your ankles.
“Mend my life!”
Each voice cried.
But you didn’t stop.
You knew what you had to do,
Though the wind pried
With its stiff fingers
At the very foundations‚
Though their melancholy
Was terrible.
It was already late
Enough, and a wild night,
And the road full of fallen
Branches and stones.
But little by little,
As you left their voices behind,
The stars began to burn
Through the sheets of clouds,
And there was a new voice,
Which you slowly
Recognized as your own,
That kept you company
As you strode deeper and deeper
Into the world,
Determined to do
The only thing you could do‚
Determined to save
The only life you could save.

— Mary Oliver


THE ALBATROSS is the largest bird that can go years without landing. They spend their first 6 years of life flying over the ocean before coming to the land to mate. It is capable of traveling more than 10,000 miles in a single journey and circumnavigating the globe in 46 days.

26 Comments

  1. George Hollister June 9, 2024

    Wonder how many are stupid enough to follow our elected Pied Piper, Jared Huffman? Scott Dam, and Lake Pillsbury have been in place for over 100 years, Cape Horn for a little longer. During most of this period, the Eel River had lots of Steelhead, and Salmon. It has been only in the last 30 years that large decreases in fish populations have occurred. Just like we have seen everywhere else. The dams and water diversions did not seem to matter. So why should we think now, that taking out the dams will suddenly result in a “return of Steelhead”? Self deceit can be a powerful driver, and it appears the Pied Piper is willing to drive his constituents off a cliff. Of course, he will be long gone when the results of the catastrophe are felt.

    • Harvey Reading June 9, 2024

      As usual, you peddle total nonsense, doctor Hollister. The salmon runs were much lower after flows decreased because of the dams. In the first few years, adults returning to spawn had no way to get to spawning areas and died near the mouth.

    • Scott Ward June 9, 2024

      The percentage of fish habitat above Scott Damn is miniscule compared to the rest of the Eel River. Environmental zealots and a flat land city boy congressman are lying to the public.

      • Harvey Reading June 9, 2024

        But, obviously, a lot of habitat, known as water, is stored behind the dam, diverted, and thus unavailable to migrating and spawning salmon. Seems to me the actual lying comes from those who prefer dams and reservoirs and water diversions to salmon runs.

        • Scott Ward June 9, 2024

          Have you been up there in August, September and October? Lake levels very low, the portion of the Eel River above the dam reduced to holdover pools here and there. Smokehouse Creek, Packsaddle Creek, Salmon Creek, Mill Creek, and a dozen other unnamed Class I and Class II drainages are dry. Not much fish habitat. I have been hunting and fishing in the basin for 50 years. I know it as well as anyone. I know it better than Congressman Huffman and his misinformed sycophants.

          • Harvey Reading June 9, 2024

            You’re just making excuses…like George. If the dams and diversions are removed, there’ll be salmon again, like there were before the damned things were built. It’s normal for reservoirs to go down during the summer, when the water is being diverted. Streamflow goes down as well. A few years after natural stream flow is reestablished, without diversions, salmon populations will reestablish themselves, too..

            • Scott Ward June 9, 2024

              Pray tell, how will Mill Creek, Salmon Creek, Smokehouse Creek, Packsaddle Creek stream flows be reestablished Harvey? These creeks will flow as they have been for the 50 years I have been in the area whether or not Scott Dam is in place. Maybe Congressman Huffman has some fairy dust mixed with unicorn scat to sprinkle over the watershed. Is CDFW going to kill the Sacramento Pike Minnow, large mouth bass, sunfish, and planted trout that currently reside in Lake Pillsbury before the damn is torn down, to save the salmonoids?

              • Harvey Reading June 10, 2024

                You also are making excuses. What is it about a damned reservoir that turns you people on? Poisoning a reservoir before drawdown is a simple task. Removing the dam and diversions will provide more water to anadromous salmonids. It will take a few years for the instream habitat to fully recover. There will likely be silt from the pathetic reservoir that may take a few years to wash down. But, the Eel will recover and salmon will increase in the end. Just as they, predictably, DECREASED following construction of the putrid thing. What part of that do you not get?

          • George Hollister June 9, 2024

            From what the long gone old timers who remember the Eel before Scott Dam said, the Eel below the dam dried up as well. The only reason it has water in the Summer currently is because of minimum flow requirements from Lake Pillsbury, and water flow to the diversion.

            Jared Huffman, and company’s only flaw is their faith in their crusade to save the planet. Destroying the village to save it is SOP. Mendocino County, including Potter Valley, Redwood Valley, Ukiah, Talmage, and Hopland are in their crosshairs. Oh yea, the Great Redwood Trail, and all the tourist money it will bring will save us.

            • Harvey Reading June 10, 2024

              Spoken like a true farmer representative.

  2. Stephen Rosenthal June 9, 2024

    Re: OUTRAGED OVER CAITLIN CLARK’S U.S. OLYMPIC ‘SNUB’? YOU HAVEN’T BEEN PAYING ATTENTION

    Lots of salient points in Ann Killion’s article and I agree with all of them. But she left out the most important point, to wit, NBC is paying $7.75 BILLION for the broadcast rights. Olympics viewership has steadily declined, in some part due to time differences which impede live viewing of events. This year is no different, with an 8-11 hour difference between Paris and the biggest media markets in the US. Viewership equals advertising dollars and Clark is the biggest draw in sports at the moment. Don’t be surprised if Clark makes the team as an “alternate”, or replaces a player who develops a last minute phantom injury. Big money always talks.

    • peter boudoures June 9, 2024

      If she makes the team it won’t be because she’s forced on by nbc it’s because she ranks 13th in the wnba in scoring, 4th in 3pt made. She isn’t physical yet but she’s skilled. If the other women weren’t so jealous of the attention she’s getting then she’d probably be on the team.

      • Stephen Rosenthal June 9, 2024

        I follow the WNBA and am well aware of Clark’s stats and skill level. She’s already a terrific player and will get better with experience. But you’re beyond naïve if you don’t think the financial investment that NBC has in the Olympics broadcast rights won’t play a major role in her making the team, if it comes to pass.

        • peter boudoures June 9, 2024

          I hope you’re wrong and that she gets selected because of her game. She was drafted by the worst team in the league so it’s hard to tell how good she will be and is. She holds so many records its impossible to list them here.

          • Lazarus June 9, 2024

            Programmers are all about eyes on their content. Whoever has the broadcasting rights for Women’s Basketball will walk through fire to increase the ratings. It’s simple, it starts and ends with money.
            Laz

  3. Jim Armstrong June 9, 2024

    Last night’s sunset was one of the best in years.
    The only way to identify Canadian Geese is by checking passports.

    The unavoidable participation of PG&E in Eel River/Russian River decisions is like playing a shell game. They own the shell and the peas and have manipulated the whole thing for their stockholders do-re-mi and nothing else for decades.
    Huffman and the insufferable FOER do their damage through stupidity.

    Thanks for the light (as dark as it is) you shine on Gaza today.

  4. Cotdbigun June 9, 2024

    I remember many cold,cold nights in the Haight in 66 and 67. We always enjoyed Eric Burdens great “Warm San Francisco Night” song, while freezing our butts off. Crashpads were not always available. Thanks for the memories.

  5. Sarah Kennedy Owen June 9, 2024

    Just curious as to where you found the before and after photos of Gaza. Obvious that it is at the coastal area, and there is a mosque in the background. I could only find one mosque in the coastal area and that was the famous Omari Mosque, which was destroyed in December, but this photo looks nothing like the area around that mosque “before” (there is a big city all around the Omari Mosque and a well-identified, busy two-lane road). Also kind of curious about (in the “before” photo) the pedestal-like things lining the one-lane road (driveway?) that seem to show photos of guys and inscriptions. Are these posters of martyrs? Some mosques do display posters of suicide bombers and other “martyrs”. Just to mention that the Palestinians do support terrorist bombings and even use the mosques to encourage it. Vast amounts of money go to the survivors/relatives of the “martyrs”, collected and distributed by the PA (Palestinian Authority). On top of that to display adoring posters of the perpetrators seems to be beyond the pale. It would be wise for you to check your sources and post the sources and identify the area you say is “before and after”. It just says “Gaza” before and after, not necessarily the same place in Gaza (there is a lot of shoreline there).

    • Harvey Reading June 9, 2024

      I’d support terrorist bombings, too, if a bunch of mixed-blood foreigners came into my land, given to them by a guilt ridden west, at the behest of Zionists, who then proceeded to treat my people like dirt for the next 75+ years, including murder, torture, infringement on rights, land theft etc., which continues to this day, only showing that the west is just as bad. Hell, woman, just look at the record of US wars fought, based entirely on lies, since the second war on the world.

  6. Jim Armstrong June 9, 2024

    It is up to almost 300 dead and 400 wounded Gazans in the “rescue” of 4 unscathed Israeli hostages. I think that the order went out “We got ’em, waste the area.”
    Of course I also think that Netanyahu and his cohort set up the October 7 “terrorist attack.”

    • Steve Heilig June 10, 2024

      They set it up WITH Hamas, as the money trail shows. Neither side gives a damn about their own people.

      • Chuck Dunbar June 10, 2024

        THESE ONGOING TRAGEDIES– THE ONLY SOLUTION

        ”…I am a hardheaded pragmatist who lived in Beirut and Jerusalem, cares about people on all sides and knows one thing above all from my decades in the region: The only just and workable solution to this issue is two nation-states for two indigenous peoples. If you are for that, whatever your religion, nationality or politics, you’re part of the solution. If you are not for that, you’re part of the problem…”
        Thomas L. Friedman

  7. Sarah Kennedy Owen June 10, 2024

    Well here is a late reply to all of that. I will make it as short as possible. I believe in world peace. I wish that the dissatisfied ones could be at peace but that will probably never be. However, I also draw the line at hatred that includes random acts of violence on unsuspecting villages, such as the outposts attacked in Israel on Oct. 7. Why was it that the Israelis already had “safe rooms” ready in case of attack?
    The before and after photos shown here are supposed to show how nice Gaza was before the war. If it was so nice what was all the Palestinian anger and hatred about? Read your history. It is anti-semitism, clear and simple. It hasn’t always been that way. It was built brick by brick by Hamas and others, even before Hamas came into being. None of this is that simple, but there has to be some clarity somewhere, and to me, that clarity is defining the limits to which humanity can go in its crazy wish to annihilate other races and creeds. The world needs to set those limits, and then stand by them. If an outlaw (terrorist) country attacks another country without provocation there should be firm repercussions, such as alienation from the rest of the world, freezing trade and oligarch’s bank accounts (and do not think for a minute that there are no oligarchs in Gaza) and ending world support for that country. Also there should be an investigation and the perpetrators brought to justice. Only then can the “terrorist” country in question be able to heal the wounds inflicted by the ringleaders/perpetrators.
    Sorry if I offended anyone here, these are just my opinions, not judgment calls on people here.

    • Bruce Anderson June 10, 2024

      You might brush up on your history, Ms. Owen. The history is complicated but historically the Palestinians are the wronged party here. Hamas, or terrorism, the weapon of the weak, the wronged weak, was inevitable in the context of the much stronger Israelis imprisoning two millian Palestinians in an area smaller than the Anderson Valley. The only way out of this is two states, but I agree with my friend Marshall Newman, that a just settlement probably died with Rabin.

  8. Sarah Kennedy Owen June 10, 2024

    Bruce, I agree it is complicated. I can’t say I understand, and neither can most people, since there really isn’t enough untainted information available to make a call.

  9. Bruce Anderson June 10, 2024

    Well, my faithful and earnest correspondent, I disagree that there’s a dearth of “untainted information.” There are volumes of untainted, scholarly, non-partisan information both Israeli and Arab on the history of the founding of Israel which, after all, was not very long ago. For starters you might read Israel Shahak’s ‘Jewish History, Jewish Religion — The Weight of Three Thousand Years. Also the writing of Edward Said will help fill your info gap.

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