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Mendocino County Today: January 24, 2021

Cold Front | Two Deaths | River Surge | Woodlands Camp | Eight Applicants | Pot Stir | Phase 3 | Winery Wastewater | Mendocino Kilns | Levi's Pants | Hotel Garcia | Keep Masking | Point Arena | Veterinary Emergencies | FB Fire | Dollar Deals | PA Inn | Patriot Party | Inaugural Music | Topless Duelling | DC Fortress | Mount Fuji | Paris Accords | Clear Picture | Spring Ranch | Forward Move | Budapest Bookmobile | Weed Greed | Beware Cornpop | Corrupt Cops | Fishing Accident | Limit Terms | Metamorphosis Museum | Normalizing Terror | Reeducation Camp | Marco Radio | Levi Lookalikes

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A COLD FRONT will bring a period of rain, strong winds and snow to the area today. Showers will linger into Monday. Starting Tuesday afternoon a significant winter storm will bring heavy rain, heavy low elevation snow, and strong winds through Wednesday evening. Thursday and into the weekend additional rain and snow is expected. (NWS)

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22 NEW COVID CASES reported in Mendocino County on Saturday, bringing the total to 3256. Two more deaths reported.

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The NWS Navarro River forecast accessed just now indicates a predicted crest of 9.7 ft. next Tuesday night and Wednesday morning. If it works on the listserv server, you will see an image of the chart copied from that page just below.

The chart is copied from the page at (The image itself is not posted here, only a URL which calls the image from the NWS server when you open this email)

When the sandbar across the river mouth is in place, backup flooding of Hwy. 128 begins at a gauge reading of about 3.5 ft. However the current sandbar is nowhere near as tall and wide as it was before the last breach. I think the much higher water level predicted in the above chart will quickly open the sandbar without causing flooding of 128 by the Hwy. 1 bridge. It is way below the official flood stage of 23 ft., so it will probably not cause major flooding upstream either. 

The National Weather Service (NWS) river forecast is based on the forecast precipitation in the Navarro watershed combined with hydrological data from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) to predict the timing and magnitude of river flow. Since weather forecasts get more accurate the closer we are to a given date, the river level forecast will undoubtedly be revised as to both the timing and the height of the predicted crest. The predicted height has about doubled since yesterday. Looking at the NWS weather forecast for heavy rain next Tuesday night and Wednesday, I would think that the crest will probably be higher and last longer than the above chart shows. 

As of today, Saturday, there is no flooding and the Navarro Beach Road is open, as is the parking and picnic area at the beach. In my opinion that is not likely to change before next Tuesday, Jan. 26.

Nicholas Wilson,


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Mendocino Woodlands Camp

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by Justine Frederiksen

Before the deadline of noon on Jan. 21, eight people had applied to the City of Ukiah in the hopes of being appointed to fill the seat on the Ukiah City Council vacated by Maureen Mulheren, who was recently elected to the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors.

The eight applicants include former City Council members Mari Rodin, who ran against Mulheren for the 2nd District seat on the county’s Board of Supervisors in the November 2020 election, and Steve Scalmanini, who lost his seat on the City Council in November after coming in fourth place among the seven candidates.

The other six applicants for the vacancy are: Jason Howard, Michelle Johnson, Cameron Ramos (a Ukiah City Council candidate in the November 2020 election), Susan Sher, Joel Veikko Soinila and Jeff Trouette.

All of the applicants were asked to describe the relevant skills and experience they could bring to the board, what they believe is the role of the board, to list three to five significant issues facing the city, and to share their thoughts on topics such as public safety, the city’s infrastructure, economic development, city finances and quality of life issues.

The City Council has scheduled a special meeting at 6 p.m. Jan. 28 to “review the applications received, hold a discussion and question the applicants if necessary, and possibly nominate and appoint one of the applicants to fill the unexpired term of Mulheren,” which is set to end in November of 2022.

All of the applications are included in the agenda packet prepared for the special meeting, and can be downloaded here:

With Mulheren recusing herself, the council voted unanimously last month to appoint a new council member rather than hold a special election at a potential cost of $30,000. According to city code, “the appointment must be made within 60 days of the vacancy, which would require a selection by March 5, 2021.”

The last time a member left for the Board of Supervisors in 2008, the City Council appointed Mary Anne Landis to fill the seat vacated by John McCowen, whose 2nd District seat Mulheren took over.

(Courtesy, the Ukiah Daily Journal)

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In what amounts to a bait and switch, Supervisors Haschak and Williams recommend opening up every neighborhood to dramatically expanded cannabis cultivation.

On Monday January 25, in line with previous direction, the Board will consider a proposed land use based permitting system for cannabis cultivation.

Unfortunately, Supervisor Williams and Haschak are taking the opportunity to overturn previous Board direction and eliminate every meaningful protection for neighborhoods.

If this passes in it's current form it will throw every residential neighborhood under the bus by allowing 12 outdoor plants without setbacks.

The original version posted with the agenda (the "bait") kept the current exemptions and setbacks in place. These restrictions were hammered out over the last 10+ years and were intended to allow for the legal cultivation of cannabis without tearing neighborhoods apart.

The "Final Draft" (the "switch") was posted last night and eviscerated the restrictions in the exemptions and threw out the setbacks, substantially eliminating protections for residential neighborhoods.

In place of 100 square feet grown indoors with setbacks from property lines and residences, anyone who can claim 2 exemptions will now be able to grow 12 plants of any size (some "plants" exceed 15' in height and 150 square feet of canopy) outdoors right under someone's bedroom window.

It's baffling to me why Supervisors Williams and Haschak are proposing to throw out these carefully crafted neighborhood protections and open the door to renewed neighborhood conflict.

I was initially very impressed by how faithfully the proposed ordinance follows Board direction to craft a land use based permit system that allows for expansion as well as permits in Rangeland, subject to a land use permit.

I know the issues of expansion and new permits in Rangeland are controversial but that is where the discussion should take place.

Without Board direction Supervisors Williams and Haschak have opened up issues that have been debated and decided multiple times with the same result every time.

I'm concerned that this backdoor attempt to undermine existing neighborhood protections will distract from and possibly jeopardize the need to enact critical reforms needed to put the industry on a sustainable footing in Mendocino County.

This ploy may succeed but at the cost of residential quality of life and a sustainable cannabis industry.


John McCowen: We have worked side by side for cannabis policy solutions many times over the years, and also often disagreed. It keeps it real.

This time, I seriously disagree with what you're suggesting. I think the language brought forth in the County's ordinance is a meaningful step forward in ending prohibition and updating our local cannabis policy.

The proposed language brings Mendocino County into alignment with CA state law passed by the voters in 2016, with consideration of personal rights as codified per California Health and Safety Code Section 11362.1 which states in part a person may:

(3) Possess, plant, cultivate, harvest, dry, or process not more than six living cannabis plants and possess the cannabis produced by the plants;

100 sq ft per patient is an antiquated prohibition era relic - a throwback to county SB 420 era policies which the voters did not adopt when they passed Prop 64.

What the voters passed in Prop 64 is 6 personal plants per person.

Setbacks don’t apply for personal cultivation, per state law. The commercial setbacks you want to see applied to personal cultivation would essentially extend prohibition for many county residents, and especially impact the rights of people with fewer resources (smaller parcel sizes). This is a step backwards, and it’s undemocratic.

This proposed policy aligns with the State law. This is what the voters of Mendocino decided on, why would a formerly elected official take issue with that?

The expressed goal of the board was to move scaled commercial cultivation into ag appropriate zones. The Phase 3 ordinance does that thoughtfully, and with discretionary review. The goal was not to violate personal rights, or contradict state law.


This subject has become tiresome and the legalization problems seem intractable. This looks like yet another attempt to fix the problem by tweaking the current local rules. Mendo continues to thrash around trying to find some way through the pot reg maze, much of which McCowen created. I think Williams and Haschak probably mean well and have no intention of creating some kind of neo-green rush (over the one already in place). McCowen is kinda paranoid on this subject, always has been. It has driven his approach to hyper regulation for years and is largely the reason we are where we are. McCowen, like Ellen Drell and Dennis Slota, et al, objects to any relaxation of the rules which are his (and their) baby. At the moment almost all growers are illegal for pot cultivation rule violations or other site-related permit violations. Look at Rays Road in Philo. Does anyone think that anything Mendo proposes for pot regs will make any difference there — or in Covelo for that matter? The Sheriff has made it clear that minor unpermitted grows which don’t do much environmental damage and don’t bother the neighbors much are such low priority as to be equivalent to legal. To be legal, growers still have to comply with a mind-numbing array of state regs and requirements no matter what Mendo does. My guess is that Williams and Haschak are trying to make it easier for small growers, which McCowen & Co. see as a large “opening up.” Who knows if it will? Small growers will still have a hard time getting legal, even if McCowen's precious rules are weakened. But it's hard to tell from the proposed new regs themselves because nobody really knows how any of this will play out. I'd like to hear Jim Shields’ opinion on this rather than trying to analyze the particulars of this latest proposal, which may or may not even materialize.

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by Tyler Silvy 

Hundreds of California wineries will for the first time be governed by statewide wastewater processing rules, a change from the long-held, regional approach that could increase production costs for wineries and protections for waterways while providing consistency for vintners across the state.

The move toward a statewide regulatory framework, a five-year effort championed by industry leaders, was finalized this week by the State Water Resources Control Board, which approved an order setting up guidelines for wastewater processing at most of the more than 3,600 bonded wineries in the state.

The new order promises to bring at least 1,500 of those wineries into a regulatory framework for wastewater disposal for the first time, leading to extra compliance costs. But it also provides flexibility for how, and when, those wineries will be subject to rules meant to safeguard waterways and groundwater from harmful contaminants, including excess nitrogen, salinity and other compounds that deplete oxygen levels.

"I think it was the perfect example of a compromise," said Don McEnhill, head of the Sonoma County-based group Russian Riverkeeper.

The order ratchets up reporting requirements and caps the amount of processed water wineries can dispose of through land application and subsurface disposal. It specifies requirements for water treatment systems and ponds, and requires extensive groundwater monitoring for the state's largest wineries.

Rose Jimenez, a spokeswoman for Sonoma County Vintners, the primary trade group for local winemakers, said the majority of the county's roughly 500 wineries will fall under the new state regulations.

Mike Martini, a Sebastopol vintner who heads up an alliance of 20 family wineries, said he foresees some new impositions for local winemakers.

"As a small Sonoma County winery, I can tell you that if they proceed in the way that they're going, the difference for my winery is going to be somewhere in the neighborhood of $500,000," said Martini, adding the number was an early, rough estimate.

Martini said more than 90% of Sonoma County wine grape growers have committed to sustainable farming practices, and most winemakers, he said, have similar commitments.

California winemakers generate $71 billion for the state economy. In Sonoma County, where the wine grape crop is valued at $778 million, the economic impact of the industry is estimated at $12.4 billion, accounting for one out of every four jobs, according to Sonoma County Vintners.

State water regulators have provided a three-year window for permitting and another five years for wineries to come into compliance with the order, something industry officials praised.

As the new state rule takes effect, just 589 of the state's 3,612 bonded wineries have permits or waivers to dispose of winery wastewater. The order groups wineries into four tiers based on size, exempting the roughly 1,500 in the smallest tier — wineries that produce less than 10,000 gallons of processed water per year.

Environmental groups and industry leaders lobbied heavily in the months leading up to this week's vote.

Representatives from Jackson Family Wines spoke with a state water board member Jan. 4, according to state disclosures. The same day, state Sen. Bill Dodd, D-Napa, sent a letter seeking balance in the coming order.

"I believe the requirements should be tailored to maintain the environmental integrity while reducing unnecessary costs on California's wineries," Dodd wrote.

Dodd cautioned that of the order could have more severe impacts on smaller wineries, and he raised concerns about the cost for wineries to comply with the requirements.

"As you know, wineries have faced unprecedented challenges this year between shutdowns of tasting rooms to reduce the spread of COVID-19 as well as the numerous wildfires that impacted grape harvests. It is estimated that California's wineries, are expected to see losses of $3.7 billion from this year's fires and an additional $4.2 billion in losses from the pandemic."

The California Coastkeeper Alliance, a statewide environmental coalition that includes Russian Riverkeeper among its members, had meetings with state water board members as recently as Jan. 7 seeking last-minute changes.

In a news release sent Thursday, the group shared mixed reviews of the new order, which it said marked an important step toward filling regulatory gaps. But the group said the new rules don't go far enough to protect waterways, citing a dearth of groundwater monitoring requirements among smaller wineries and a lack of stringent standards to protect from spills.

Sonoma County saw one of the largest local wine spills on record last January, when a 100,000-gallon tank at Rodney Strong Vineyards in Healdburg failed and spilled nearly all of its cabernet sauvingon, according to state officials, into nearby Reiman Creek and eventually into the Russian River.

Winery officials told state investigators they recovered as much as half of the wine before it made it to the river.

"Every winery should be required to submit effective spill prevention and containment plans to protect our waterways," Russian Riverkeeper policy analyst Jaime Neary said in the release. "Last year, we had a 97,000-gallon cabernet spill that turned the river red. Accidents do happen, and this is not something we want to see happen again in our watershed, or anywhere in California."

(Santa Rosa Press Democrat)

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Mendocino Factory Kilns
Mendocino Kilns

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On Tuesday, January 19, 2021 at about 3:10 PM Mendocino County Sheriff's Deputies were dispatched to an adult male causing a disturbance at a local business in Laytonville.

While responding to the location a California Highway Patrol Officer contacted a subject, matching the description, just north of the location. The subject was identified as Levi Lamoureux, 32, of Laytonville.

Levi Lamoureux

Deputies were advised Lamoureux had attempted to steal items from the business and was told to leave. Lamoureux refused and began harassing customers.

Deputies learned Lamoureux was on active PRCS (county parole) with terms submit to search, testing, no drugs, and not to possess ammunition or firearms.

Deputies conducted a search of Lamoureux and located an unspent 7mm rifle cartridge, which came out of his pant's pocket.

Lamoureux was arrested for violating the terms of his parole and possession of ammunition by a prohibited person.

Lamoureux was booked into the Mendocino County Jail where he was to be held in lieu of $25,000 bail.

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Hotel Garcia, Point Arena

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Worried about a surge…

I’m extremely worried about a Covid-19 surge here in Fort Bragg. I ride my bicycle along the southern and northern coastal trail 4-5 times weekly. Since the announcement of the availability of two different corporations’ vaccines for the pandemic, I’m seeing more and more people walking and riding their bikes on the trail without masks. This includes many children.

Apparently a number of people think the end of the pandemic is in sight because the vaccines are being released. They couldn’t be more wrong. There are huge spikes all over the U.S. and California – especially Southern California. The latest death count I have been able to get for the U.S. is nearly 400,000.

Grocery stores in Southern California are being closed because so many people who work in them are coming down with Covid-19.

We have seen videos of the treasonous, armed insurrection in Washington D.C. Hardly any of those domestic terrorists were wearing masks.

Please fellow Fort Bragg citizens, don’t get careless and complacent! This pandemic is far from over. If anyone out there thinks the pandemic is a hoax, I personally know someone who recently tested positive for Covid-19 in Fort Bragg.

Ed Oberweiser

Fort Bragg

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Old Point Arena

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People are upset we have no Veterinary Emergency Medicine available. As a Registered Veterinary Technician I have been upset we don’t have a Veterinary Emergency Clinic. A midnight ride to Santa Rosa with our cat, got me looking into what it would take to open one. I talked to our veterinarian, called the state, asking questions. There was a building in Fort Bragg that would have done well as a VEC. You must look at the overhead: Licenses, permits, taxes, insurances, remodeling, equipment and meds. The last two being as costly as human and the insurances are the same in veterinary medicine as in human. It would be a full hospital with lab, surgery, treatment, kennels, radiology, pharmacy, bathroom, kitchen, office/bedroom. Staffing… techs and docs who are willing to work nights and weekends. Docs work a week on and a week off, sleeping in the office. Their families visit so they can see their kids. Two RVTs per shift, nights and round the clock weekends. Financial overhead is enormous. The hospital would have to support itself. The Coast could not support a VEC. Only place it makes sense is Willits. Humboldt, Lake and Mendocino Counties could support it, not having to go to Santa Rosa. It might make it financially. If someone wanted help to do that I would be glad to help. However, I do not want to move or commute regularly to Willits. I am writing this so that it may offer understanding for our veterinarians. Our veterinarians cannot be expected to work all day and then nights and on weekends.

Jo Bradley, RVT

Little River

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According to Fort Bragg Fire Department’s Chief Steve Orsi, a fire at 32941 Tregoning Drive just south of Fort Bragg’s city limits resulted in the total loss of a garage and outbuilding. Chief Orsi emphasized that “nobody was hurt, nor were any animals.”

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Recently: When our government wanted to buy the Best Western for a homeless shelter we learned: Cost and future maintenance expense are not important; all licensing, rules, regulations, and studies can be set aside and common sense and not-in-my-backyard arguments can be ignored.

Historically: When the state hospital was closed, our local government failed to accept it for $1. When the junior college was being considered, many bemoaned the shortsightedness of those officials not spending the dollar. Now the City of 10,000 Buddha has a beautiful school campus.

Presently: A facility for the mentally ill is being sought. I heard the old Willits hospital was offered to the county for $1. In my opinion it is the perfect location for a mental health facility. Why is it off the table? Cost? Is $1 too much again? Retro-fitting & future maintenance expense? Is 75 percent of Measure B money not enough but will build something new? Licensing, rules, regulations and studies? Now suddenly insurmountable? Are neighbors saying they don’t want it in their backyard?

Mental illness is a primary issue of the Nation. Will our representatives once more pass-up an opportunity for $1 and subject themselves to the opprobrium of future generations? Will they say; “It can’t be done”? See “Recently” above.

In my opinion, the emphasis on Measure B money should be to attract the best psychiatrists & psychologists available and for training of police and caregivers. No more talk about facilities. Do the government mandate thing for the Willits hospital and move on.

Jon E. Telschow


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Point Arena Inn, Vintage

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TRUMP is reportedly moving forward with his plans to create a 'Patriot Party' to put pressure on Republicans who oppose him and attempt to head off conviction in his second Senate impeachment trial. Trump has told people that the third-party threat gives him leverage to prevent Republican senators from voting to convict him during the Senate trial next month, people in his orbit told the Washington Post. Since President Joe Biden took office, Trump has been ensconced at Mar-a-Lago, remaining publicly cryptic about his plans except to tell a reporter on Friday: "We'll do something, but not just yet." But behind closed doors, Trump is already drafting an enemies list of Republicans who opposed his baseless claims of election fraud, instructing aids to prepare primary challenges against them, sources told the Post. The list includes Senator Lisa Murkowski, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp, Rep. Liz Cheney, and Rep. Tom Rice.

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by David Yearsley

In 1835 Henry Wadsworth Longfellow hailed music as “the universal language of mankind.” Few would disbelieve him and deny themselves the comfort of the cliché that music has the power to transcend cultural, political, and even geographical divides.

A few years on, Longfellow’s Transcendental Club colleague Henry David Thoreau struck a more quavering, conditional note: “In a world of peace and love music would be the universal language.”

Music has the power to bring people together but also to divide and destroy: the fife, drum, and bugle have been used to organize troops from Byzantium to Little Big Horn; the bass drum of the Turkish Janissary band was meant to fill the enemy with terror; the electric guitar, boom box, stacked speakers have been deployed to infuriate fogeys and crush cultists from Woodstock to Waco, and to wreck prisoners from Guantanamo Bay to Abu Ghraib.

Most musical weapons leave no physical trace, but they can leave their mark on the body politic. After the shock troops of song carried out their orders at last Wednesday’s Inauguration, the damage was not merely collateral.

The battle plan was simple. The commander-in-chief’s incantations of unity threw up a smoke screen through which the smart sonic weapons hit their targets with an accuracy more devastating than Lady Gaga’s perfect pitch.

With the exception of one invitee—the black-hatted Country conservative, Garth Brooks—the participants were drawn from the Democratic special forces, music division.

Never has an inauguration been so heavily militarized. In this atmosphere of heightened security, the fanfares and marches rang out with lethal force, admonitory rather than celebratory.

As the grandees of the Republic took the stage, the President’s Own Marine Band played the repertoire of Souza favorites and other military numbers, and did the palate-cleansing “musical honors.” Ritual serves its purpose: vestments—whether uniforms or dark suits—and time-tested liturgical music draw attention away from the individual and to the ceremony itself and its symbolic value.

Not so the two Democratic Divas—Lady Gaga for the Star-Spangled Banner and Jennifer Lopez for America the Beautiful. The message was clear even before either began to sing: their appearances were about themselves, not reconciliation.

First, the high-octave Gaga burbled down the steps in a hoop skirt wider than the Capitol dome above. An eighteenth-century fashion updated to the Age of Celebrity, the gown’s expanse and expense summoned thoughts of the decadence of the ancien régime—and its restoration. The vibrant red was the color of a swamp hibiscus flower.

The First Lady of Song let loose with amazing power and precision, not straying from the patriotic pitch, even if the finicky arrangement monkeyed with the tune’s usual foursquare rhythm. The Gagantuan show of strength already manifest in the opening lines of the anthem did not deplete her: she still had massive crescendo reserves. Even if, as one must assume ever since the infamous canned chamber music of Obama’s 2009 inauguration, what we heard was prerecorded, all one could do was duck and cover as her vocal cords delivered the necessary shock and awe. As her voice rocketed out over the “Home of the Brave,” Gaga swept her hand over the balustrade like a general cueing a Blue Angels flyover. It never came. Here’s betting that four years from now the Inauguration will have learned this lesson from its big brother, the Super Bowl, and adds jets to the inaugural order of service.

The choice of Jennifer Lopez was another dagger to the Heartland. JLO appeared in an opulent white outfit and an abundance of pearls: an ensembled that matched the marble of the Capitol. Her back-beat version of the nineteenth-century patriotic hymn was stitched to an introduction that gave Biden’s Populism fitting musical form—Woody Guthrie’s This Land is Your Land, its lines of protest redacted and the original’s sincerity smothered by the syrupy canned accompaniment. Lopez then slathered the melody of America the Beautiful with seductive decorations and threw in some Spanish interpolations, like pepper spray in the face of any Trumpites watching the proceedings.

Country singer Garth Brooks was the third and last to sing. He was not basking in self-glory, but seemed intent on doing his job. He marched in purposefully in Cowboy rig, did his Amazing Grace, intoned by a mournful trumpet, without accompaniment and asked for the nation to join in for a second verse. He’s nowhere near the singer that Lady Gaga is, but there was more authenticity in his delivery than in his counterparts’ pyrotechnics and grandstanding. Brooks joked that he was the only Republican on the roster, and only his demeanor and delivery echoed Biden’s calls for unity. 

After Brooks finished singing, he walked over to the former and present presidents and, however ill-advised in the pandemic, shook their hands. He then departed the Capitol porch rather than stick around to schmooze as the starstruck Obamas did with Lopez and Gaga.

The Democratic display of strength was even more robust at the Inaugural Concert that night. The event was staged at the Lincoln Memorial, and the statue of Honest Abe in the background was the only Republican in sight. Unlike the morning show, even the token Country singers Tim McGraw and Tyler Hubbard were Blue Dogs.

Called “Celebrating America,” the show was a pumped up re-run of the Democratic National Convention this past summer with many of the same performers and hosts from that four-day slog somewhat mercifully condensed to ninety minutes. Bruce Springsteen, the truest and longest-serving of the party’s musicians started things off with “a small prayer for our country”—Land of Hope and Dreams. Forsaking the technological razzle-dazzle that was soon to come, things began with just a gritty singer and his guitar.

After the opening number, emcee Tom Hanks appeared halfway up the monument’s stairs. In his dark suit and gloves he looked like the Undertaker of Democracy, on whom rigor mortis had begun to set in. As the evening went on Broadway got its glory with spots from Lin-Manuel Miranda and other cast members of Hamilton which had hosted a confrontation with Mike Pence early on in Trump Time. From some city apartment balcony, Yo-Yo Ma recalled the Shaker Hymn he joined-in on at Obama’s first inauguration. In his opener Springsteen had sung of sunlight. From a Florida pier, Bon Jovi did “Here Comes the Sun”—not live (little was live on this evening) but in throwback music video fashion. 

Even the skies answered to Democratic commands: fake news includes a fake weather report, and as Bon Jovi closed the sunlight poured out over the Gulf of Mexico. The middle-aged, long-haired Foo Fighters thrashed and bashed from socialist Seattle. Demi Lovato discoed from an Artificial Reality penthouse above the Gomorrah of LA, and she, too, sang of sunlight. Another pre-fab video had Ant Clemmons and Justin Timberlake hymning “Better Days” from Memphis. The ubiquitous John Legend sang from a grand piano hauled in for the show; DJ Cassidy did encore and passed the mic for some Spanish-language contributions and hymned the keyboard of “Unity” and “One Love.”

How about actually bringing Democrats and Republicans together in a real bi-partisan chorus? Was an invitation sent to Trump fanatic, gun-crazy Ted Nugent in his hardened silo to see if he might be persuaded to join in a duet with the Boss on “Born in the USA”—a MAGA/Build Back Better anthem if ever there were one?

The Trumps had made use of the White House to close the Republican Convention, and faced criticism for likely violation of the Hatch Act which prohibits political fundraising on federal property. From the Truman Balcony of the White House, the Trumps had watched the family name written like bombs bursting in air above Washington’s Tomb.

It was inevitable that Perry would conclude the inaugural victory party and that she would do so with Firework. A number-one hit from Obama’s first term, the tune also capped Perry’s halftime show at the 2015 Super Bowl, a sparkling show of “resistance” just a few weeks into the dark Trump years. Punctuating that family’s retreat from the capitol and abject defeat, the Democrats now unleashed their full sonic and pyrotechnic arsenal, obliterating the Trumps in the very site of their summer’s apotheosis: the night sky.

With the Lincoln Memorial behind her Perry appeared in an ivory gown, piped with red and blue buttons. Shot from below and set against the Doric columns of the monument, she attained the size and magnificence of Phidias’s gold-and-ivory statue of Athena in the Parthenon, a Wonder of the Ancient World come to life to stride forth from her temple of Democracy.

This goddess sang of darkness and light and of fire: “there’s a spark in you.”

The camera circled around her as she turned, and the illuminated reflecting pool and Washington Monument extended behind:

You just gotta ignite the light

And let it shine

Just own the night

Like the Fourth of July

She drew her hand up the length of the obelisk, as the music surged: “Baby, you’re a Firework.”

The final assault began. It reduced the incendiary “TRUMP 2020” of the RNC to a puny footnote in a forgotten sky and the Capitol Insurrectionists to piddling ants. Even on television the din and glare of the battle was stupendous, ever more firepower unleashed as the bombardment threatened to incinerate the capital and the world:

“Boom, boom, boom / Even brighter than the moon, moon, moon,” sang this Athena of Pop in devastating concert with the final fusillade.

The brassed-up orchestral coda resolved from dissonance into triumphant concord, the detonations echoed over the monuments, the smoke lifting towards heaven.

Masked more for protection from the gunpowder than the virus, the new President and First Lady watched and waved from that same balcony as the Day of Unity ended with a preview of the Apocalypse.

(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

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Mendocino Hotel Painting

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Letter to the Editor

In the 50s, Washington was just beginning its conversion from a shabby southern town to imperial capital of the world. One block after another, the old brick row houses fell and the concrete and glass offices rose. 

The long stretches of army barrack style temporary spaces built for the wartime desk army came down along the mall, returning the ground to parkland. The processional section of Pennsylvania Avenue began its reconstruction into the new vision of power: Willard’s Hotel was unboarded and rebuilt, old offices from the last century bit the dust, the north face of Federal Triangle got a comprehensive update. The block of Pennsylvania Avenue I grew up on, a working class neighborhood where I’d walk with Grandma to buy a chicken at Western Market, the old block long open air city emporium, is totally gone. The last 19th century row house with the Froggy Bottom bar in the basement was turned into dust a decade ago. Both sides of the street are now walls of alienating ugliness.

The dark side of the force followed right along. The old intersection of 15th and Pennsylvania, with its tiny little triangular parks full of trees, was obliterated for something called Freedom Square, a barren expanse of granite with patriotic sayings incised into the rock, a shelterless waste baking in the sun, ready for some future dictator to pronounce commands in the name of liberty. Overseeing all was the new brutalist FBI building, huge iron gates closing its courtyard off from the rabble, its top floor cantilevered over the sidewalk, its whole effect to make it clear to all that the surveillance state intended to rule.

Years passed, things got tighter. As a boy, I could walk into the Treasury building, buy a $20 bag of nickels, sit outside on the steps and look for rare ones, bag up the rest, go back inside and trade for another bag. Today, so many multiple layers of fences and cops that you can barely see Alexander Hamilton’s statue and you better be on official business or get a bunch of uniforms staring at you. East and West Executive Drives that were public streets flanking the White House have long since been gated off, and who knows what intrusive rigmarole tourists who want to visit the Mansion are put through now, if they are even still allowed.

Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House is closed to traffic, with walls of powered bollards as defense against truck bombs. Lafayette Square, once heavily timbered, has been severely opened up for the benefit of the snipers on the rooftops. All the land south of the Mansion that used to be open park is now in the security zone all the way to Constitution Avenue. When I wanted to see the 1st Division monument I was waved off by a guard who carried his machine gun in a quilted caddy. No point frightening the tourists.

Once, for a dime you could ride the elevator to the top of the Washington monument. No metal detectors or scanning wands or patdowns. You could walk up the stairs inside the hollow obelisk for free. Today, no mere citizen is allowed to look at all the memorial stones set into the interior walls by foreign countries in recognition of our attempt at freedom. You can’t even get into the Botanical Garden if you carry so much as a pocketknife. Fact is, you better leave the knife at home. You can’t even get into the Trump Hotel.

Today we have a rabble that has traded their Rapture delusions for the blind visions of a fat vulgar crook, breaking into the Capitol during a joint session of Congress, crazed enough to believe their grotesque Fuhrer’s lies, demented enough to actually imagine that they are agents of national salvation. These fools don’t deserve the title of insurrectionists. They don’t even have some half baked “manifests.” 

One moron in the vandalized Senate chamber said, “Now that we’re here, maybe we should set up a government.” They couldn’t even govern a wad of toilet paper. Give them 5 minutes and they’d be at each other’s throats. All they’ve done is give the state an excuse for staging a mammoth security exercise, walling off most public space in the heart of the city with fences and wire and thousands of armed soldiers. And all this stuff went up pretty damn quick, which means they were ready to do it, don’t you know, and it will be a long time before it comes down, if ever. There will always be an excuse to retain it; nothing I’ve seen in this regard for 65 years has ever fully reopened.

Self-styled revolutionaries of any political stripe will have to show up with at least one armored division, otherwise they’re just masturbating in public, a political misdemeanor. Pierre l’Enfant, drawing from a millennium of the history of European street fighting, designed the City of Washington to be resistant to insurrection. On top of the standard rectilinear urban grid, he laid out an array of circles connected by diagonal avenues cutting through the square blocks. The idea was, in the event of some future riot of future trumps, all the army has to do is position field guns on the circles, giving them radial lines of fire, breaking up tomorrow’s half-percenter noize boyze into small zones of ineffective gangs. Of course, you also have to wonder who will be in the army, and who they will be taking orders from. 

Jay Williamson

Santa Rosa

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Mount Fuji Painting by Yokoyama Taikan

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BIDEN IS GETTING PRAISE from the professional environmental lobby for rejoining the Paris Accords, which are, in effect, a group of post-industrial nations who have agreed to blame developing nations for their own failures to meet climate goals. — Jeff St. Clair

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IT REALLY MADE ME SEE for the first time a clear picture of what this country is about. My kids had to live like they were in prison because of kidnap threats, and I had to live like a pig in a slaughter camp. I had to duck. I had to go out the back door of the ball parks. I had to have a police escort with me all the time. I was getting threatening letters every single day. All of these things have put a bad taste in my mouth, and it won’t go away. They carved a piece of my heart away. 

(From Hank Aaron’s memoir, ‘If I Had a Hammer’) 

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Spring Ranch Barn

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President Joe Biden’s call for unifying the country could be facilitated by one quick move. Tell Congress to stop any further action on the impeachment process for former President Donald Trump. Liberals who truly want the new administration to focus on fixing the mess left behind by Trump should welcome this as prioritizing policy over politics and contributing to the healing of animosities, which have impaired efforts to move forward.

John Stedman

San Francisco

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Budapest Bookmobile

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Bottom Line: the situation in the hills of Humboldt is a million times worse than before the green rushers took over. People used to respect the forest and waterways. Now its all about profit and greed. We used to look at diesel indoor growers as villains. Now every “legal” grow in Humboldt has multiple diesel generators running 24/7. That “full sun” bud is usually just more diesel bud being grown with natural or supplemental light. When is Humboldt going to enforce the alternative energy regulations? These “legal” grows are supposed to be using 80% alternative energy for their power needs, but as we all know no one is following or enforcing these guidelines. We need our supervisors to take this issue to heart and start requiring “legal” grows to use alternative energy like solar to power their farms….

Come on Humboldt!

We can do it!

Let’s make Humboldt the alternative energy cannabis farming capital of not only CA, but the world!

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Dear AVA,

I just read an article in the November 2020 issue of Criminal Legal News. "Police unions: obstacles to criminal justice reforms and police accountability." The first subtitle was, "Special privileges that shield corrupt cops." Which brings to mind an incident that occurred in Lake County 12 or 14 years ago when the undersheriff Jeffrey Markham I believe his name was, ran a 35 foot speedboat through the center of a sailboat moored in the middle of the Clear Lake knocking a woman into the water where she drowned. If John Q. Public had been driving that speedboat he would have been charged and convicted of second-degree murder or no less than manslaughter and sent to prison. But because he was the Undersheriff and "one of the elite," nothing was done to him. Instead, the man on the sailboat was arrested and tried for second-degree murder on the taxpayer's dollars. They were acquitted as it should be. 

The district attorney, John Hopkins, and Sheriff Rodney Mitchell were both voted out of their jobs. The real murderer Undersheriff Markham went scot free. And that was only because he was a cop.

Second subhead: "Accountability and roadblocks: police unions wield a great deal of weight and insert provisions in their contracts which are impediments to any citizen oversight which are obstacles when it comes to building a type of legitimacy and trust in law enforcement.

Sheriff's and police departments have lists of officers "who have been found guilty or alleged to have committed acts which bear on credibility, honesty, integrity or other characteristics that would constitute exculpatory or impeachment evidence." At the same time, it prohibits the demotion, dismissal, suspension without pay, or a reduction in pay for officers placed on that list.

In my opinion a peace officer who lacks morals and displays moral turpitude should in no way be a peace officer. Think about it, these corrupt cops have the power to arrest you, detain you, and use force -- even lethal force, and should demand the highest moral character and ethical behavior. How can a police or sheriff's department have officers with such impaired credibility, integrity and honesty that makes them unfit to even testify in a courtroom?

Take Francisco Rivero for example, the one-time Lake County Sheriff elect. He was proven to be a liar and thrown out of office for it. But not before the people of Lake County were made to pay for his legal defense. If this had been you or I we would have had to spend at least $100,000 or more on lawyers or we would be sent to prison for doing what this man did, shooting at a unarmed man and then lying and claiming he had a gun. This is what we the people are being forced to deal with -- "criminals with badges"

My question is, why are officers like this still carrying a gun and badge? Just keeping them on the force is an impediment to law enforcement accountability and serves to undermine public trust and confidence in law enforcement overall. Cops who lie in order to put people in prison should be sent to prison themselves. And those who assault people or steal from them need to go to prison as well. Qualified immunity should be abolished and cops who are caught breaking the law should not be allowed to remain cops.

Notwithstanding that, if and when one of these rogue cops is caught in unethical dealings they are slapped on the back of the hand and told to stop it and not do it again. If by chance a citizen complaint is filed, their union makes it almost impossible for members of the public to see these complaints even when they are taken to court. Then after five years, the complaint is removed from the file never to be seen again. They are never published. Just think, we the people are paying these cops to ride roughshod over us with no retribution for their bad faith conduct while we go to prison a lot of dimes for minor infractions.

Then there's the issue of absolute immunity given to prosecutors which gives them carte blanche to screw people without any fear of being punished for their unethical deprivation of people's constitutional rights guaranteed to us under the U.S. Constitution. It too should be abolished. When district attorneys are caught cheating and lying to a judge in order to put someone in prison then they themselves should be the ones sent to prison, not rewarded with a paycheck for their bad conduct.

In my opinion these corrupt officers and district attorneys who commit these types of atrocities should be stripped of their immunity and their asses thrown into prison. The first two on the list should be Jon Hopkins and Richard Hinchcliff in Lake County. Both of these men think they are above the law when they put people in prison for years even when they know they are not guilty of the crimes they were charged with. When does it stop?


Charles Statler

California State Prison-Solano


PS I hope everyone out there made it through the fires over the past few years. My prayers go out to all of you at home.

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THE LEVEL OF INSINCERITY in most politicians is astonishing. But it’s still kind of fun to hear them talk. In particular, it's fun to listen to Washington politicians talk. When the issue of term limits comes up I always tell people that the only term limits I'm interested in is to limit some of the terms used by politicians. They speak of course with great caution because they must take care to not actually say anything. Proof of this, according to their own words, is that they don't actually say things, they “indicate” them. As I indicated yesterday and as the president indicated to me… Sometimes they don't indicate, they “suggest.” Let me suggest, as I indicated yesterday… that I have not determined that. They don't decide, they “determine.” If it is a really serious matter, they “make a judgment.” I haven't made a judgment on that yet. When the hearing is concluded I will make a judgment or I might make an assessment. I'm not sure. I have not determined that yet. But when I do I will advise you. They don't tell, they “advise.” I advised him that I had made a judgment and so far he has not responded. They don't answer, they “respond.” He hasn't responded to my initiative. An “initiative” is an idea that isn't going anywhere. When he responds to my initiative I will reveal his response, take a position and make a recommendation. They don't read, they “review.” They don't have opinions, they take positions. They don't give advice, they make recommendations. So at long last after each has responded to the others' initiatives and each has reviewed the others’ responses and everyone has taken a position and made a judgment and offered a recommendation, now they have to do something. But that would be much too direct. So instead they “address the problem.” We are addressing the problem and we will soon be proceeding. That's a big activity in Washington. They are always proceeding or “moving forward.” A lot of that is going on. “Senator, have you solved the problem?” Well, we are moving forward on that. And when they are not moving forward they are moving something else forward which is the process. We will move the process forward so we can implement the provisions of the initiative in order to meet these challenges. No one has problems anymore, challenges. That's why we need people who can make the tough decisions. Tough decisions like, How much soft money can I expect to receive in exchange for my core values?

— George Carlin

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by Yonatan Mendel

It seems a long time since May 2018, when Trump moved the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Under his administration, prospects for the Palestinians grew steadily worse. In September 2018 Trump stopped US funding for UNRWA (the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East) and closed the PLO office in Washington. In 2019 the economic part of his preposterous peace plan was released, followed in January last year by the political dispensation, which makes ‘the state of Palestine’ anything but an independent sovereign state. Benjamin Netanyahu echoed Trump’s description of the ‘peace plan’ as ‘the deal of the century’, and called him ‘the greatest friend that Israel has had in the White House’. The Israeli prime minister also continued his efforts to disenfranchise Palestinian citizens of Israel. During the 2015 elections, he had urged Likud voters to go out to vote since ‘the Arabs are heading to the polling stations in droves’. In the 2019 elections, Likud hired 1200 activists to attend Arab polling sites (illegally) with hidden cameras and recording devices, allegedly to expose irregularities but really to deter Arab citizens from voting. Following the 2020 elections, Netanyahu argued that the right-wing bloc had won a majority because the fifteen seats won by the Joint List shouldn’t be taken into consideration.

Meanwhile, in the last six months of 2020 – the death spiral of the Trump presidency – a series of peace deals and normalisation agreements were signed between Israel and Arab countries: the UAE and Bahrain came first, in September, followed by Sudan and Morocco. Rumours are that Oman will be next. In November, Netanyahu went to Saudi Arabia to meet the crown prince, Muhammad bin Salman. Apparently, while most countries were counting the minutes till Trump’s term would be over, Israel and a few monarchies and dictatorships in the Arab world were squeezing the most out of his last weeks in office. Each delegation asked Trump, as if he were the Wizard of Oz, for what it most wanted in return for normalising relations: to be taken off the list of state sponsors of terrorism (Sudan); to have its illegal occupation of other people’s land recognised (Morocco); to buy a few squadrons of F-35s (UAE); to put the Palestinian cause to sleep (Israel); possibly along with other promises we will never hear about.

These deals didn’t open relations, so much as make them public. Israel and Morocco exchanged diplomatic missions from 1994, after the first Oslo Accord, until 2000, when the Second Intifada broke out. Even after that, Israeli tourists were allowed to enter Morocco as long as they were part of a group – or belonged to one on paper – and about 50,000 visited in 2019. The two countries have had continuous economic relations, trading in agriculture and food, as well as in Israel’s biggest industry: security. In January 2020, the Moroccan military reportedly received three Heron drones built by Israel Aerospace Industries, in a deal (mediated by a French firm) worth $48 million.

Israel and the UAE also had under the radar relations for many years (though they became public from time to time). Israeli officials visited the Emirates to participate in international conventions and in 2015 Israel also opened a semi-official diplomatic office; ‘semi’ because Israel said it was official and the UAE described it as part of the International Renewable Energy Agency. The Israeli company Logic Industries, which specialises in homeland security, operated in Abu Dhabi from 2007 to 2015, for an estimated $6 billion. According to Bloomberg, Logic Industries was contracted to equip oil refineries and ports with security systems, installing ‘thousands of cameras, sensors and licence-plate readers along the UAE’s 620-mile international border and throughout Abu Dhabi’. Israel also supplied planes to spy on Iran, and software that allows the UAE to monitor the phones of anti-regime activists and dissidents. Since 2015, according to Middle East Eye, ‘every person’ in Abu Dhabi ‘is monitored from the moment they leave their doorstep to the moment they return to it.’ According to different sources, the Saudis, too, have been supplied with Israeli software, which they used to spy on the journalist Jamal Khashoggi before they murdered him in Istanbul.

Joint interests – such as monitoring Iran – have allowed Israel to push through deals with the Gulf countries without making any concessions to the Palestinians and, under Trump’s aegis, to normalise relations with Arab countries with nobody even mentioning the core issues of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: the occupation of the West Bank, the settlements, the ongoing siege of Gaza, the Nakba, the Palestinian refugee question or the situation in East Jerusalem. The Gulf countries claimed that they normalised relations because Israel was ready to suspend its annexation plans in the West Bank. But Netanyahu gave the lie to this on the very same day: ‘There is no change to my plan to extend sovereignty, our sovereignty in Judea and Samaria.’

The Knesset vote to approve the ‘normalisation agreement’ with the UAE had the unanimous support of eighty Jewish-Israeli members and was opposed by thirteen MKs only: all of them from the Arab-led Joint List who believe the deal undermines the Palestinian cause. That Arab countries are ignoring the unanimous voice of Arab-Palestinian elected officials in Israel should come as no surprise. Israel has always, as the Arabic saying goes, been skilled at ‘fishing in troubled waters’. Israeli intelligence services have tarnished the Iranian regime and successive governments have also depicted the Palestinians – not Israel – as the obstacle to peace (as if they were the occupying, annexing, besieging, militarily hegemonic power). Over the course of the Trump administration, with mounting reports of increasing collaboration between Israel and the Gulf states, it began to look as if the main goal for the Arab countries was not to get closer to the US via Israel, but to get closer to Israel via the US.

Henry Kissinger once said that ‘Israel has no foreign policy, only domestic politics.’ Referring to the political slogan ‘Land for Peace’, meaning Israel has to end its occupation to gain peaceful relations with the Arab world, Netanyahu claims to have invented ‘Peace for Peace’ (or as some have called it, referring to the US recognition of Morocco’s claim to Western Sahara, ‘Occupation for Occupation’). Unlike former prime ministers – Menachem Begin, who withdrew from Sinai to make peace with Egypt; Ehud Olmert and Ehud Barak, who negotiated with Syria on withdrawing from the Golan Heights; or Yitzhak Rabin, who negotiated with the Palestinians on the basis of creating a Palestinian Authority in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank – Netanyahu bragged about getting money, recognition, arms deals, vacations, flights over Arab countries and more without concession or circumscription of Israel’s activities. He also took all the credit himself; all in order to make his ongoing corruption trial seem minor next to these historic deals. Strikingly, his political rivals – the defence minister, Benny Gantz, and foreign minister, Gabi Ashkenazi – heard about the peace treaties from the media.

The relationship between Israel and the UAE is based on mutual economic and security imperatives, but there is another factor too: mutual fascination. There is a longstanding Orientalist predilection in Israel for the Arab noble savage, or Arabs in white jalabiyas, while Emiratis admire the Israeli security apparatus, and the ‘Sons of Abraham’ rhetoric of Netanyahu and others. Unlike Egypt and Jordan, whose peace treaties with Israel (from 1979 and 1994 respectively) have remained stalled by deadlock over the Palestinians, the Emiratis don’t ask for anything in return. This is partly a matter of civil society – Egyptian and Jordanian citizens wouldn’t allow their governments simply to embrace Israel and abandon the Palestinians – but it’s also a matter of ideology. The common cause that links the interests of Palestinians with those of Arabs across the region has little meaning in a Gulf country such as UAE, rich from oil, close to the US and with a tiny privileged citizenship (around 1.4 million people) and six times that number of foreign residents. More generally, the Arab regimes that have made or are making formal peace deals with Israel have long since signed up to the notion of ‘economic peace’, the American-oriented business approach to foreign policy (which fits Netanyahu like a glove) that turns solidarity into collusion, and self-determination into GDP. The moral compass here isn’t MBS (Muhammad bin Salman) or MBZ (Muhammad bin Zayed al Nahyan) but MBA.

Tens of thousands of Israelis took a trip to the Gulf in December, just before the third Covid-19 lockdown began. It takes three hours and costs around $200 to get from Tel Aviv to Dubai, flying over Saudi Arabia. Some two hundred flights were scheduled by Israeli airlines in the first month of the agreement and, according to the CEO of flydubai, the number of Emirati flights was double that. Things have become so strange that Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Nahyan of Abu Dhabi recently bought a 50 per cent stake in Beitar Jerusalem, the only major Israeli football team never to have had an Arab player (Netanyahu is a supporter). Beitar fans are infamous for such chants as ‘Death to the Arabs’ or ‘May your village burn,’ and for insulting the prophet.

The consequences of all this are unclear. For the first time in the history of the region, Israel has open relations with Arab countries entirely disconnected from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the ongoing occupation. There are those who argue that this may improve Jewish-Israelis attitudes to Arabs. I beg to differ. At best it will only give new life to Netanyahu’s distinction between depoliticised, post-Palestinian, pro-business ‘good Arabs’ and the hard-headed, politically engaged, Palestinian-concerned ‘bad Arabs’.

Ahead of the general election on 23 March (the fourth in less than two years), Netanyahu is already using the agreements to divide and rule the Arab citizens of Israel, encouraging them to see the economic fruits of the deals, pushing individual profit over collective rights. He is also presenting a strategic shift; trying to break up the Joint List and bring some of its Arab MKs into his own coalition – those he considers Emirati-in-spirit ‘good Arabs’.

It is hardly likely that the new agreements will give Palestinians in the Occupied Territories greater leverage. Other countries in the region will surely be less inclined to press their cause even on a symbolic level. On 5 November, less than two months after the normalisation ceremony between Israel, UAE and Bahrain was held in the White House, Israel carried out the biggest demolition of a Palestinian village in the occupied West Bank for a decade, at Khirbet Humsa, in the occupied but (officially) unannexed Jordan Valley. Some 73 people, including 41 children, were made homeless overnight. Business with UAE – in all senses – continued as usual.

The Arabic word tatbi, meaning ‘normalisation’ with Israel, has turned from a curse word, a symbol of betrayal, a description no one in the Arab world wanted to be associated with, into a badge of honour and a way of life for some of the region’s leaders. A few weeks ago, on the fifth day of Hanukkah, a ceremonial lighting of the candle was held by the Western Wall, opposite the al-Aqsa mosque. According to the Israeli website Ynet, those taking part included the Israeli health minister, Yuli Edelstein; the Rabbi of Jerusalem, Shlomo Amar; a delegation from UAE and Bahrain; and ‘liberators of the Old City, IDF veterans from the 55th Paratroopers Brigade’, the first Israeli troops to enter East Jerusalem in June 1967. This apparent contradiction, Arabs from the Gulf with no interest in an Arab-Palestinian connection, celebrating a Jewish holiday at the Western Wall alongside an IDF commemoration of the 1967 War, is a clear image of the new reality.

(London Review of Books)

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The human fascination with fun has led to many tragedies in your short but violent history. One wonders how your race has survived having so much fun." -Tuvok

The recording of last night's (2021-01-22) Memo of the Air: Good Night Radio show on KNYO-LP Fort Bragg is right here:

 As well as all the regular MOTA features and surprises and what we in the industry call the droll slog, the show ends with a Firesign Theater recording from 1973 that I, a card-carrying Firesign Theater afficionado [say uh-fiss-ee-oh-NAH-doh], did not until recently know even existed: TV or Not TV. (It’s not the entire troupe but mainly Phil Proctor and Peter Bergman.) In case you wanta skip straight to that, it starts about seven hours and ten minutes into the show and runs forty minutes. Bonus activity: Simultaneously play this silent 8mm film of Proctor and Bergman doing a later on-stage version of TV or Not TV for enhanced simulated verisimilitude and further reclamation:

And at you'll find a fresh batch of dozens of links to not necessarily radio-useful but nonetheless worthwhile educational items I set aside for you while gathering the show together. Such as:


A practice bagpipes chanter. Illegal in California, Vermont and Sweden, but you're a wild rebel; what care you for their puny law. Scissors and a plastic straw is all you need. Also cellophane tape for if you get the holes in the wrong place.

And some of the weirdness of Mars. You might recall the spider iconography in Edgar Rice Burroughs' Mars books of the early part of last century. We’re only just able to see this stuff now, though, with our best instruments in actual low orbit around actual Mars. Hmm.

PS. If you want me to read on the radio something that you've written, just email it to me and that's what I'll do on the very next Memo of the Air.

— Marco McClean,

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  1. Cotdbigun January 24, 2021

    Hey Ed,
    while most people agree that wearing a mask is beneficial, some might argue that while being outdoors by yourself, it might be ok to take it off for a while. Your point of view might even be the right one, but spewing out nonsense like treasonous, armed insurrection and domestic terrorists in a debate about mask ? Really ? OMG the drama.

    • George Hollister January 24, 2021

      According to the John Hopkins guidelines, that I follow, wearing a mask outdoors is not necessary. Wearing a mask while in close contact, indoors, it is a requirement. It is also a requirement to wash hands with hot water and soap or use a hand sanitizer after anytime there is contact with a surface, particularly indoors, that is commonly touched. Also, remember, if one is sick, stay home. Cover a cough by coughing in the elbow. There is too much made of mask-less park users. There has been no surge in infections due to mask-less outdoor recreationalists on the coast.

      I don’t wear a mask while pumping gas, or driving, or walking down a street by myself. There is no point in it. However, the mask will help prevent transmission of a virus after a contaminated surface is touched so you don’t touch your nose before washing your hands.

      • Bruce McEwen January 24, 2021

        “Cough into your elbow” — why not use a handkerchief, George? Why sneeze and cough all over your nice clean shirt? Is it too much an affront to your vanity to use a hanky?

        I recall being regarded with distaste for using a handkerchief around the courthouse, where the lawyers all coughed and sneezed into their elbows while wearing nice suit coats, then wiping their noses on their sleeves.

        Why the abhorrence of handkerchiefs, George? What’s up with that?

        • Bruce McEwen January 24, 2021

          I also recall being accosted for wearing hats — as if the handkerchiefs weren’t bad enough. A woman lawyer (and she know who she is) gave me a pitying smirk of contempt on sunny afternoon and said, “you’re not from around here, are you. [it wasn’t a question] Men around here don’t wear hats.”

          Later, I came up with a good comeback* but at the time I only stammered impotently and pulled off my hat and wiped my brow on my handkerchief. She snorted with contempt at such a backward lout, as me, or maybe I imagined it. But ever since then I was perhaps overly self-conscious about my hats and handkerchiefs…

          *That’s probably why so many local men have skin cancer scars on their faces, eh?

        • Harvey Reading January 24, 2021

          Now, McEwen, that is funny, actually funny; perhaps the first truly amusing statement I’ve ever heard from you. And, it was directed at the perfect target to boot.

          • Marmon January 24, 2021

            You guys need to take that to the bedroom.

          • Marmon January 24, 2021

            “The enemy of my enemy is my friend”

            -whoever said that first.

          • Bruce McEwen January 24, 2021

            Oh, sure, you think I’m all lib-lab, etc. but I agree w/ your concern for the girl kid in Alabama, having to deal w/ boys in drag, tranny, whatever.

            Male H. sapiens are on average 15 percent faster and 20 percent stronger than females. And I get it that you’re not a sexist.

            Now, my Mom and I have always been big sportsfans when it comes to college girls’ basketball. And if you add the strength, the speed, and then you calculate in the advantage in height — well, you can see why a gal would be at a disadvantage on a basketball court.

  2. Lazarus January 24, 2021

    ” Do the government mandate thing for the Willits hospital and move on.”
    Jon E. Telschow

    Hey Jon,
    What if Willits Doesn’t want your PHF?
    Be well,

  3. George Dorner January 24, 2021

    Retired captain McCowen of the sinking S.S. Mendocino is still striding the sidelines, roaring that if we only find the magical arrangement of deck chairs, it won’t go under.

    • Lazarus January 24, 2021

      Call it what you want, but in this case, I hope McCowen is wrong about the bait and switch.
      If not, I could join the exodus…not that anyone would notice.
      Be Swell,

      • Marmon January 24, 2021

        Judge McCowen did not want a bunch of small gardens, he wanted just a few big ones on ag land. Easier to regulate and tax.


        • Bruce McEwen January 24, 2021

          Judge McCowen by his works, not his words.

          I believe there was an old idiom to that effect, one Major Scaramella used often to recite in his father’s own words, which I can’t translate… over to you Major.

          • Marmon January 24, 2021

            I used to love getting drunk with dad, he was a blast. I don’t know what happened to John. You probably feel his dad’s ghost every time you enter the Forest Club.


          • Marmon January 24, 2021

            Judge McCowen’s answer was always, ‘send them to the State Hospital.’ He put more people in Talmadge than the anyone who ever lived.


          • Bruce McEwen January 24, 2021

            That little anecdote was as pointless and disjointed as a lot of Trumpisms that spring to mind. An attempt to disparage me as a drunk, no doubt, on a par with your usual travesty of sanctimony, your long-suffering been-there-done-that condescension towards anybody who doesn’t share your terror of alcohol.

            Let me just quote Wil Rogers for you on that subject: “Never trust a man who doesn’t drink.”

            All the criminals I saw convicted of the worst crimes were tee-tottalers like you, James. For the simple reason that any man with something to hide dare not get drunk around his fellows, lest he let slip his perverse proclivities.

            On that note, here’s to you, you smug nut.

  4. Harvey Reading January 24, 2021

    Imagine that all of the life forms in the universe are like those on earth; no “advanced” species at all, the “top” species of all limited to bottle rockets for “space” exploration. Then, since everything in the universe is accelerating away from everything else in the universe, and since all species are destined to commit suicide by greed and stupidity, as we earthlings (ALL species of earthlings) are doing with such diligence here, it is very unlikely that any of the other inhabitants of the universe will ever “discover” any of the others, and soon all will be gone, while the universe continues its peaceful, unending, trip to infinity.

  5. Marmon January 24, 2021


    Now that Kamala is VP, maybe she will finally do something. I’ve been talking about this for years.

    State official links troubled foster care system to human trafficking
    JAN. 30, 2015

    Speaking at a UCLA symposium on human trafficking Friday, California Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris talked about how the state’s broken foster care system is contributing to the problem.

    “Human trafficking is not a monolith. There are many components,” Harris said, adding that “of all the discrete parts contributing to our concern about human trafficking, our foster care system is a big one…. The foster care system in California is not working.”

    During her address, Harris said that 59% of children arrested on prostitution-related charges in L.A. County spent time in the foster care system.

  6. Craig Stehr January 24, 2021

    It’s late…11:33PM in Redwood Valley…and I just had to add one last comment after browsing through today’s discussion. I mean, I got the fact that my spiritual offerings are apparently receiving mixed reviews, but then, how long can anybody remain glued to the numbing subjects of 1. The derangement of the American presidency, 2. The COVID-19 virus, and 3. the rather undynamic politics in district two? So okay everybody, how about we consider the Super Bowl February 7th (at 6:30PM ET), between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (playing on their home field), with Tom Brady at QB after enduring the naysayers all season claiming that he represented “buyer’s remorse” when a playoff string of on the road victories was not certain. Seriously, are the oddsmakers accurate giving the Chiefs a three point advantage? Let’s talk about something important, with some life in it for a change.

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