- Comptche Meeting
- Wildfire Book
- EOA DOA
- Chamber Mixer
- Grandma's Tercel
- Jetty Crane
- Historical Tidbits
- Bonnie & Clyde
- Address Signs
- Psychiatric Hospitalizations
- Freeform Dance
- NAMI Classes
- Yesterday's Catch
- Teddy Writhing
- Confusing Haikus
- Boeing Execs
- Anything Goes
- Political Courage
- Found Object
COMPTCHE COMMUNITY MEETING TODAY (Sunday, August 18)
Hope to see community members at the fire house park Sunday Aug 18th @2pm for a safety issues affecting our community. Possible issues that will be discussed: More traffic signs, private signs, speed bumps/speed dots etc. 5th District, Ted Williams will be at this meeting to discuss issues. We have all witnessed speeding (local/tourist) or near misses at the store and post office. So let's see what we can all come up with a plan.
UKIAH SHELTER PETS OF THE WEEK
Meet Samuel—a 4 month old, black kitten, whose full time job is loving you and being frisky. Guess what? Samuel is neutered, micro-chipped, and fully up to date on his vaccines. What does that mean you ask? It means this adorable guy can go home with you today!
Karl = Big lugnut love! Karl was easy to leash up and walk when we took him out for his off leash romp and photo session. This dude is loaded with energy. He's a real leaner, loves the company of humans, and enjoys getting pets and affection. Karl knows sit, and has a soft mouth. He's a work in progress--meaning he will benefit from canine classes, and will be a wonderful companion with some TLC and training. Karl is a fun dog who loves flipping toys around and then going after them. He's a real social lovey-dovey kinda dog with people. Karl is a 1 year old, neutered male, mixed breed dog who currently weighs 58 pounds.
The Ukiah Animal Shelter is located at 298 Plant Road in Ukiah; adoption hours are Tuesday, Thursday, Friday & Saturday from 10 am to 4:30 pm and Wednesday from 10 am to 6:30 pm. To see photos and bios of the shelter's adoptable animals, and the shelter's programs, services and events, please visit us online at http://www.mendoanimalshelter.com For more information about adoptions please call 707-467-6453.
AWAKENING TO WILDFIRE
Last year, I put out a call for stories, photographs, and artwork for a project called the Mendo Fire Storybook. The book is just about finished, and we are planning our release party. It is a collection of people's stories and images about the October 2017 fires. There are poems, narratives, interviews, photos, paintings, drawings, and a script from all kinds of people who faced the fire and had all different outcomes. We'll now have a published book giving a combined voice to those stories to preserve our history and help us heal.
Here's the link to the event: facebook.com/events/2369253363349429/
I hope you can join us to celebrate our achievement together.
— Jannah Mannix
THE EOA IS DOA
by Mark Scaramella
In 2012, the second of two expensive consultant studies pointed out the obvious: Mendocino County’s emergency medical services were inadequately funded, uncoordinated, hard to staff and fragile. Seven years later that description still holds.
At about that same time a huge Denmark-based medical services corporation named Falck/Verihealth showed up in Ukiah and started responding to 911 calls in addition to the long-established Ukiah-based ambulance outfit Medstar, creating a crazy race to emergencies to see who get to the patient first and get whatever reimbursements could be billed for.
Mendocino County soon announced that the solution to both problems was the establishment of something called an Exclusive Operating Area (EOA), contracting with one outfit, public or private, for exclusive ambulance coverage for a designated area of the County, primarily the Highway 101 corridor from the Sonoma County line to the northern part of the County — but also including Anderson Valley.
Now, after seven years and after huge amounts of staff time and consulting costs, the long delayed EOA appears to have fallen apart.
Last week Chief Doug Hutchison, Ukiah Valley Fire Authority fire chief effectively pulled the plug on the EOA, writing a letter to County CEO Carmel Angelo saying that the City of Ukiah and his fire authority had decided to withdraw from the EOA process. Hutchison didn’t say why, but in recent weeks it’s been common knowledge among local EOA participants that Ukiah didn’t like the answers or non-answers to the questions they had posed to the County and Coastal Valley Emergency Medical Services (CVEMS, the Sonoma County based administrative agency) that has been handling Mendo’s medical oversight and administration and which was coordinating the EOA Request for Proposals that was issued a few months ago.
“The City of Ukiah will not be participating in the County' s proposed exclusive operating area (EOA),” wrote Hutchison, “and has directed city staff to begin investigating the procurement of ambulance services for the City and to make recommendations to the City Council. Please note, this direction does not preclude consideration of a collaborative option with the County if agreement can be reached under an alternate approach.”
Upon receiving a copy of Hutchison’s letter, Anderson Valley Fire Chief Andres Avila notified the AV Community Services Board that “Several things have changed in the recent weeks with the EOA and this [the Hutchison letter] is a formal development from Ukiah that will impact the process. The conundrum we are facing is being integrated into a poorly written RFP but we are also against the clock with a local and county-wide ambulance stability problem. I have discussed this with several people and will certainly be getting more information before Wednesday's [board] meeting [August 21, 2019 at the Boonville firehouse]. We can have a more detailed conversation then.”
Fifth District Supervisor (and former Albion-Little River Fire Chief) Ted Williams who has been following the situation and the EOA very closely, added, “I can't imagine the ambulance EOA effort will survive Ukiah's exit.”
Ukiah’s withdrawal comes on the heels of a series of other problems with CVEMS that have been buildling up over recent months such as much higher proposed costs for future services, poor or slow responses to ambulance and staffing shortages, and ongoing compliance with the latest state law updates for emergency services.
Complicating things further is the patchwork of dispatch services that the Supes had decided last year to consider consolidating but never got off the ground.
For now, everybody’s back to the drawing board — a drawing board that has been tottering for years and now has been tipped over.
AV CHAMBER MIXER
THE AV Chamber of Commerce is having a Member Mixer! We want to celebrate our new Visitor Guide brochure and welcome our Members!
DATE: Wed, Aug 21st TIME: 6-8pm,
LOCATION: Disco Ranch, 14025 Hwy 128, Boonville.
Appetizers and Beverages compliments of the Chamber and Disco Ranch.
Please RSVP ASAP, (707) 895.2379 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
MY GRANDMOTHER’S TERCEL
by Justine Frederiksen
I still think it’s ugly. But I love driving my grandmother’s tiny old Toyota
The last car my grandmother bought herself was a new 1984 Toyota Tercel. I thought it was too small and an ugly color, but she loved it. Every time we walked up to it she would gush, "Whose pretty little car is that?"
I had never heard my grandmother use that voice before. I only knew the one she used to complain about my father. Or to order me and my sister not to walk so far away from her. Or to ask why I wasn't wearing the sweater she bought me.
I spent most of my life afraid of my grandmother and dreading our time together. But once I learned how much she lived through before I was even born, it helped me forgive her for being so difficult to be around.
She was put in an orphanage with her brother after their father died of the Spanish Flu, then came of age during the Great Depression, which taught her to track every penny she spent for the rest of her life. She became a bookkeeper, then a single mother in the 1940s. She kept my mother, kept working, and kept lists of every dollar she spent on my mother's diapers. Plus every dollar my grandfather didn't give her for those diapers.
My father said my grandmother only kept my mother to prove to her mother she could. But it doesn't matter to me why she kept her, just that she did. And then helped her daughter pay for college. And helped my parents buy a house. Then helped me pay for college.
It took me a long time to accept that spending her money was how she showed love. Because I always wanted a grandmother who hugged us and laughed when we played, not one who loved to remind us of every naughty thing we ever said or did.
The only time I remember sitting in her lap was when she let me drive a car for the first time at about eight-years-old. I don't remember why she put me behind the steering wheel that day, but I remember us all laughing as I struggled to guide the car through the empty parking lot.
The next time she gave me the wheel was two decades later when she took me to England so I could drive on the left side for her. The day after we picked up the rental car I woke up with a cold that my grandmother blamed on my walking around with wet hair. "You better not be too sick to drive," she announced as I stared out the window above my bed, wishing I could just sleep.
Later that same trip she gave me a rare compliment when I miraculously drove us back to our hotel through thick fog with no GPS, maps or even road signs to guide me, and later we shared an even rarer belly laugh. We got lost while driving to see a friend of hers and stopped at a pay phone to ask for directions:
"Where are you?" the friend asked.
"We're at Weak Bridge," I said, calling out the only sign I saw.
"You're where?" her bewildered friend said.
"We're at Weak Bridge!" I said, then finally it hit me. "That's not the name of the bridge, grandma. That's just telling us it's a weak bridge!"
We collapsed into the only laughter I remember sharing with her as an adult.
Another 20 years passed before I drove for her again, but this time she didn't ask me to. She also didn't ask me to write out all her checks so she didn't pay her rent twice, or to have meals delivered to her room every day when she stopped going to the dining room to eat.
Instead, she fought my help every day until I finally cracked at the diner where she demanded to know why we weren't at the French bistro she loved (knocking over all the tiny tables with her walker) and I snapped at her before running into the bathroom to finish yelling in a stall.
Afterward as I buckled her seatbelt she said, "Are you sure you don't want to just push me out of the car?"
I sighed. "No, grandma. I don't."
And I didn't. But I did ask my husband to start driving her around after that.
A few years ago she died just shy of her 98th birthday, but she is still with me because I drive her car every day. I still hate its color. It has no air conditioning. The radio doesn't work. I can't move the driver's seat anymore and the rear-view mirror disintegrated long ago.
But I love driving it. Because now in that car I can spend time with the grandmother I choose: all the best parts with none of the bad. Inside her car, I don’t think about the woman who spanked me for spilling cereal milk on her bedspread. I don’t think about the woman I drove to doctor’s appointments after cleaning poop off her shoes.
Instead I think about the woman who drove me to countless museums, operas, ballets and Broadway shows. I think about the 56-year-old who moved to Paris for a year so she could learn French. And the 80-year-old who walked miles and miles of that city with me during a transportation strike. The 83-year-old who took me to New York. The 90-year-old who filled her tiny car with everything that would fit and drove herself to her new senior apartment complex in Petaluma.
And I hope that the more time I spend with that determined, independent woman now, the more likely it is that I'll still be driving myself around when I'm 90.
(Justine Frederiksen is a reporter for the Ukiah Daily Journal.)
by Nannie Escola, via Katy Tajha
Tidbits of Mendocino County history are always be fascinating. Nannie Escola, a historian with the Kelley House Museum in Mendocino, collected thousands of them 50 years ago. She mounted them in notebooks, indexed the volumes, and left them for future generations to enjoy. Following are a few of these tidbits.
The ship “J.C.Ford” arrived in Honolulu in 1886 after a 17-day trip from San Francisco. Twelve days out, in fine weather, it was hit by a fiery meteor which set fire to the mainmast head and burnt up the stay-sail with large pieces of molten matter falling on the deck. Water was hauled up the mast in buckets and the fire extinguished and burning sails were tossed overboard. The crew reported the material looked like burning lava. Fires out, the ship sailed on, bringing pieces of the meteor as proof of what happened.
In 1911 a freshet “downpour” of rain floated 20 million feet of logs, enough to run a sawmill 10 months, down Big River. A boom, or floating gate of logs chained together, stopped the logs from washing out to sea. Rainfall that week was 5.66 inches.
Again, in 1886, it was noted in the Mendocino Beacon newspaper that people wanted to know where abalones and their shells harvested on the coast were going. Export records from San Francisco showed 1,613 bags of abalone (dried?) worth $22,049 and 69 shell packages worth $320 went to China. Smaller shell quantities went to England, France, Germany, Japan and New York.
Covelo in 1886 wanted an outlet to Westport. A newspaper in Westport called the News-Argus reported Dr. Brown and others in Covelo wanted a road connecting the two places. Public subscriptions to pay for the surveying were being solicited. Today the road to Branscomb goes on to Laytonville and on to Dos Rios and Covelo, and may have been the eventual outcome to this idea.
A beet weighing 117 pounds was displayed at the Point Arena Register newspaper office in 1886. The previous champion beet had been one displayed at the Mendocino Beacon office, but it only weighed 84 pounds.
The schooner “Fannie Hyde” collided with a large whale off Fish Rock in April 1886. The schooner was undamaged and the condition of the whale unknown.
How much did lumberjacks and mill workers eat in 1911? Union Lumber Company in Fort Bragg opened a model slaughterhouse at their Company Ranch. Each week 35 head of beef, plus sheep, and hogs, were killed to supply cookhouses at logging camps, sawmills and railroad construction sites. The Company Ranch also had a model chicken ranch for meat and eggs and very fine vegetable gardens.
Many thanks to those folks who saved these tidbits of history.
From the Elk Emergency Planning Committee:
With the extreme fire season upon us, are emergency first responders having a hard time finding your address? Elk Volunteer Fire Chief Bob Matson is pleading for Elk residents to purchase and install reflective address signs out on the main highway or road to your property and at any forks in secondary roads that have multiple addresses. This is important not only for quick fire response, but also for urgent medical emergencies. The last thing you want is first responders driving around looking for your home when minutes matter. It is often pitch black outside and if your address sign isn’t reflective, you could be adding several minutes to their arrival time. These signs are dirt cheap compared to the value of saving your life or your home.
You can order these signs online from several different retailers. The Elk Emergency Planning Committee has used smartsign.com and can recommend them. Scroll down their web page and click on ‘911 Address Signs’. The fire department is recommending the 6” x 18” signs with a green background and the numbers printed horizontally. They would prefer no street names, just the numbers. They also sell mounting options if needed.
By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail. — Benjamin Franklin
WHY MENDO'S FAILING
RE: PROOF OF FAILING PRIVATIZED MENTAL HEALTH SYSTEM
Ask yourself, why are these numbers rising? I'm an upstream thinking social worker, and I'm very concerned about the future.
“Based upon these data, three conclusions can be drawn. First, in FY 2017-18 Mendocino County’s mental health system, under RQMC administration, responded to more crisis conditions, conducted more crisis assessments, and placed more people into inpatient psychiatric care than in FY 2016-17. Second, total hospitalizations reached 645, which represents a 17.3% increase in psychiatric hospitalizations over FY 2016-17. This is a significant increase.”Lee Kemper, gap analysis
A functional mental health system would reduce those numbers, instead they continue to rise. This is not good folks, if this trend continues there won’t be enough “brick and mortar” in the world to help the situation.
James Marmon MSW
Former Mental Health Specialist
Sacramento, Placer, and Lake Counties.
“If you’re just going to do crisis, then you’re just going to do crisis”Lee Kemper to the Board of Supervisors
NAMI MENDOCINO COUNTY OFFERS FREE FAMILY-TO-FAMILY EDUCATION CLASSES IN FORT BRAGG
6 Saturdays from September 7 through October 12
12:30 pm to 5:30 pm
NAMI Mendocino County is offering a FREE Family-to-Family Education Course in Fort Bragg on Saturday afternoons. The 12-week class will be taught in 6-double sessions, and is for family members of people with serious psychiatric disorders. Course material covers:
- Information about the illnesses (symptoms, medications, latest research) ~ schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, major depression, OCD, PTSD, substance use, and anxiety disorders
- Coping skills for handling crisis and relapse
- Communication and listening techniques
- Problem solving, limit setting and rehabilitation
- Self-care and learning how NOT to get caught up in chronic worry and stress
- Information about connecting with appropriate community services and supports
- Advocacy for getting better services and fighting stigma
Class size is limited, so call early to register --
CATCH OF THE DAY, AUGUST 17, 2019
CHRISTOPHER ACKERMAN, Rupert, Idaho/Ukiah. Under influence.
JOHN AVILLA, Ukiah. Vehicle theft, suspended license (for DUI).
KEVIN BETTS, Willits. Controlled substance, paraphernalia.
IVY BODWIN, Willits. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
SPENCER CROWELL, Fort Bragg. DUI.
RAYMOND DERBIGNY JR., Ukiah. Controlled substance for sale, smuggling controlled substance into jail, paraphernalia, failure to appear.
BRICE MCKINNON, Ukiah. Probation violation.
JESUS NAVARRO, Antioch/Redwood Valley. DUI.
ENRIQUE NUNEZ, Covelo. Domestic abuse.
MARK RAY, Laytonville. DUI, suspended license (for DUI).
RYAN ROYDOWNEY, Covelo. Probation revocation.
RONALD VALENTINE JR., Ukiah. Failure to appear. (Frequent flyer.)
SILVIA WANT, Hopland. DUI, disorderly conduct-alcohol, paraphernalia.
BRETT YONKER, Fort Bragg. DUI.
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
I suspect if school budgets weren’t stripped of classes that taught industrial skills as well as also stripping out arts, crafts, music etc, a more wholesome for society version of education would occur to the benefit of all. The mentality that every kid should be able to attend college regardless their aptitude for advanced academics is a contributor to our national downfall.
You can put all the blame you feel comfortable about doing on the so called libruls but from where I view things the republicans have been throwing so much sand in everyone’s eyes by focusing attention on their hypocritical concerns about family values and the importance of devoting all of our available resources to enriching the already disgustingly rich by keeping the military machine well fed etc., ensuring that the moguls in charge of the medical/health care apparatus stay fat, that as many regulations as possible are eliminated to grease the skids for maximum profits etc.
I recently finished reading a book about possibly our greatest president ever and poor Teddy must be writhing in his grave seeing what a horrible degradation his party has become mostly responsible for.
As for the world wide decline in fertility I’d start with having a hard look at Monsanto and god knows what other mindlessly irresponsible enterprises.
WITH THE BOEING 737 MAX GROUNDED, TOP BOEING BOSSES MUST TESTIFY BEFORE CONGRESS NOW
by Ralph Nader
Two Boeing 737 MAX crashes, one in Indonesia last October and one in Ethiopia this past March, took a combined 346 lives. Steady scrutiny by the media reported internal company leaks and gave voice to sidelined ex-Boeing engineers and aerospace safety specialists. These experts have revealed that Boeing’s executives are responsible because they chose to use an unstable structural design and faulty software. These decisions left the flying public, the pilots, the airlines, and the FAA in the dark, to varying degrees.
Yet Congressional Committees, which announced investigations months ago, still have not called on Dennis Muilenburg, the CEO of Boeing, or any member of Boeing’s Board of Directors to testify.
Given the worldwide emergency grounding of all 400 or so MAX aircraft and the peril to crews and airline passengers, why are the Senate and House Committees holding back? House Committee Chairman, Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR) wants to carefully prepare for such action after the staff goes through the much delayed transmission of documents from Boeing. Meanwhile, Senate Committee Chair Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS) deferred to Boeing’s request to put off their testimony before Congress until the Indonesian government puts out its report on the Lion Air disaster, presumably sometime in October.
Meanwhile, just about everybody in the airline industry, the Department of Transportation, the National Transportation Safety Board, the Justice Department (with its criminal probe), the transport unions, the consumer groups such as Flyers Rights, and the flying public are anxious to see top Boeing officials in the witness chair under oath answering important questions.
It is not as if Boeing lobbyists are absent. The giant company has been everywhere in Washington, D.C. getting its way for years in Congress, with NASA, the Department of Defense, and of course, the hapless, understaffed FAA. Boeing gives campaign donations to about some 330 members of Congress.
Corporate CEOs hate to testify before Congress under oath when they are in hot water. CEOs from the tobacco, drug, auto, banking, insurance, and Silicon Valley industries have all dragged their feet to avoid testifying. Eventually they all had to show up in public on Capitol Hill.
The Boeing case involves a more imminent danger. The company and its “captured” FAA want to unground the MAX as fast as possible and to get more new MAXs, under order, to the airlines.
This haste is all the more reason why Congress has to pick up the pace, regardless of “MAX Mitch” McConnell, the Kentucky dictator of the Senate who is a ward of the Boeing complex and its campaign cash. If the 737 MAX is ever allowed to fly again, with its shaky software fixes, glitches, and stitches, the pressure will build on members of Congress to go soft on the company. They will be told not to alarm millions of passengers and unsettle the airline industry with persistent doubts about the plane’s prone-to-stall and other serious safety hazards from overautomation and sloppy construction, already documented in The New York Times, the Seattle Times, and other solid media reporting.
With investigations underway at civil aviation agencies all over the world, and a grand jury operating in the U.S. looking into criminal negligence, this is no time for Congress to take its time in laying open the fullest truths and facts in public. Bear in mind, apart from the civil tort law suits, all other investigations are not being conducted in public.
There is a growing consensus by impartial specialists that after many iterations of the Boeing 737 series, beginning with the 737-100 in 1967, the much larger, more elaborate Boeing 737 MAX must be seen as a new aircraft requiring full certification. Certainly that is the view of some members of Chairman DeFazio’s committee and Chairman David Price’s House Subcommittee on Appropriations which holds the keys to funding a much larger FAA budget to do its job as a regulator, not as a deregulator that abdicates to Boeing.
Moreover, retired airline Captain Chesley Sullenberger, in his brilliant testimony before DeFazio on June 19th, called for full simulator training for pilots before they fly the MAX on scheduled routes (read Captain Sullenberger’s full statement here).
In a precise letter to the Secretary of Transportation, Elaine Chao and the acting and incoming heads of the FAA (Daniel Elwell and Stephen Dickson respectively), dozens of families and friends of the victims from many countries asked for full recertification and mandatory simulator training before any decision is made about the 737 MAX. Currently 737 MAX pilots are only given an hour of iPad training—a clearly insufficient measure and an affront to safety (see more here). The letter, which was sent on August 7, 2019, also called for the resignation of Ali Bahrami, the abdicator in charge of safety at the FAA.
Many decisions are coming up for the FAA and Boeing. The FAA would be very foolish to unground the 737 MAX just for U.S. airspace without the counterparts in North America, Europe, Asia, South America, and Africa concurring.
As for Boeing, the company cannot afford another one or two crashes attributed to continued indifference to longstanding aerodynamic standards of stability. The issue for Boeing’s celebrity, minimally experienced Board of Directors is how long it will tolerate Boeing’s management that, over the judgement of its best engineers, has brought the company to its present predicament.
How long before the Securities and Exchange Commission or the Department of Transportation or the Congress and the betrayed airlines themselves call for the resignation of both officers and the Board and, end the career conflict of interest these failed incumbents have with the future well-being of the Boeing Corporation itself?
(Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer and author of Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us!)
FIFTY YEARS AGO today, a Monday, Jimi Hendrix came onstage at nine in the morning to close out Woodstock. Originally slated to end Sunday evening, rain had pushed the lineup into the following day. Hendrix played a little over two hours, the longest set of his career, and near the end performed a medley which included the Star Spangled Banner. Most attendees had already left, and missed the performance.
ON-LINE COMMENT re Saturday's confrontation between neo-fascists and anti-fascists:
"It's something else, too. None of this would have been thought of, much less permitted, as recently as twenty years ago in the US. Cities would have simply said no. Cops would have arrested any people causing trouble. The US was as weird then as now, the politicians as bought off, the churches having no moral suasion while pandering to political power to keep their tax-exempt status, but something has changed. There is a notion now that freedom includes anything anyone wants to say or do. Anything goes. Those who say no to open expressions of anarchy are branded anti-freedom. This is a reversal. It actually feels like a complete reversal. Thugs call the shots, are allowed to post hate speech and get permits, politicians disappear, churches do nothing and good people everywhere have to hide to stay safe. Accepting any of this as normal or civilized will end this country."
FOUR DIFFERENT TYPES OF JELLYFISH - Ernst Haeckel - 1904
IF ISRAEL BANS MEMBERS OF CONGRESS, IT SHOULDN’T RECEIVE US AID
by Jake Johnson
Sen. Bernie Sanders told MSNBC Thursday night that perhaps Israel should not be receiving billions of dollars in U.S. military aid after the right-wing government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu barred Reps. Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib from entering the country.
“I wish I could tell you…that I am shocked. I am not,” Sanders, a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, said of President Donald Trump’s support for Israel’s decision. “We have a president who, tragically, is a racist, is a xenophobe, and who is a religious bigot.”
On Friday morning, the New York Times reported that Israel will allow Tlaib to visit her 90-year-old grandmother who lives in the occupied West Bank. Israel did not change its position on Omar.
Sanders said Thursday that “the idea that a member of the United States Congress cannot visit a nation which, by the way, we support to the tune of billions and billions of dollars is clearly an outrage.”
“And if Israel doesn’t want members of the United States Congress to visit their country to get a firsthand look at what’s going on — and I’ve been there many, many times — but if he doesn’t want members to visit, maybe [Netanyahu] can respectfully decline the billions of dollars that we give to Israel,” Sanders added.
Progressives applauded Sanders’ remarks, noting that the senator’s willingness to challenge U.S. military aid to Israel makes him unique in the 2020 Democratic presidential field.
“People have been asking how Bernie can distinguish himself from rivals who at least profess agreement on domestic issues,” tweeted HuffPost reporter Daniel Marans. “This is one area where the distinction is clear.”
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) called the Vermont senator’s statement “a big deal.”
“One thing that is completely undeniable about Bernie Sanders is the enormous political courage he consistently wields on behalf of others,” tweeted Ocasio-Cortez. “He’s not just standing up for two members — he’s standing for the integrity of the entire U.S. Congress.”
In addition to his comments on MSNBC, Sanders, who is Jewish, released an online video to push back against the specific claim made by President Trump and many others that to criticize the policies of the Israeli government is to be anti-Semitic — a charge he said is “disgusting.”
Sanders’ appearance on MSNBC Thursday night was not the first time the senator has called out U.S. military aid to Israel as the Netanyahu government enacts racist policies and commits atrocities against Palestinians.
Speaking to the Council on Foreign Relations last month, Sanders said, if elected president in 2020, he would “be willing to bring real pressure to bear on both sides, including conditioning military aid, to create consequences for moves that undermine the chances for peace.”