Slightly Milder | Tom Cahill | $300 Rabbits | Gathering Canceled | Cactus Flower | BBQ Canceled | PG&E Firestarter | Repent Ye | Water Curtailments | Wine Brick | Algal Mats | Vertiginous | Pet Blaze | Comptche PO | Reno Rodeo | Ukiah 1933 | Curtailment List | Delta Dining | Coastal Water | Table Scraps | Deputy CEOs | Constant Criticism | Yesterday's Catch | Jesus Reminder | Lawrence Ferlinghetti | Riding Shotgun | Glen Ford | Painted Mask | Growing Old | Interest Free | Disturbed Minds | Child Allergy | Covid Response | Isms | Completely Symbolic | Summer Day | Collective Suicide | Key Opened
A WEAK TROUGH will bring slightly milder temperatures today and Monday. Warmer temperatures will return next week as high pressure builds in. (NWS)
YESTERDAY'S HIGHS: Ukiah 102°, Boonville 101°, Yorkville 101°, Fort Bragg 66°
Long time activist Tom Cahill, passed away in his sleep of natural causes, still filling his bucket list.
For the last 10 years, he has lived in France and enjoyed kayaking in the lakes and traveling and photographing the beautiful countryside.
Born in New Jersey, after completing four years in the Air Force, he moved to Texas in 1959 to continue his education.
While there he developed his life long passion for justice for the underserved and eventually started an underground newspaper, ‘INFERNO’ that truly lived up to its name.
He became politically involved with issues such as the minimum wage campaign, civil rights, etc. and in 1968, he suffered a beating and rape in Bexar County jail by inmates who were told he was a child molester. His actual “crime” was breaking two television cameras concealed in a men's bathroom to spy on workers who were planning a possible strike for minimum wage.
When the men in his cell found out the truth they apologized and Tom forgave them.
After his release, in 1969, he headed to San Francisco and he and his second wife, Sedonia, opened a studio, “Victorian Vignettes” that specialized in portraits in vintage clothing.
They enjoyed participating in various events such as The Dickens Fair and Renaissance Fair and continued his political activism especially protesting the Vietnam War.
In the late 70s they moved to Mendocino and after divorcing, Tom moved to The Ten Mile area north of Fort Bragg.
All the while, Tom became even more politically involved with causes such as saving the old growth redwoods, the plight of the homeless and all victims of emotional, physical or financial abuse.
In 2003, he served as a Human Shield with other international volunteers, guarding a water treatment plant outside of Baghdad outside.
He re-established an inactive program for those raped in jail/prison and re-named it SPR (Stop Prison Rape).
It was eventually recognized, by the Human Rights Commission through Amnesty International and led to Tom's being invited to the White House for the signing of the PREA. (Prison Rape Elimination Act).
Currently the name is JDI (Just Detention International).
Tom is survived by his beloved daughter, Kelly Baxter (David), granddaughters Lauren Mims (Charlie), Lindsay Farmer (David) and great grand children, Aubrey and Reagan Mims and Weston, Lyla and Ellie Farmer.
He also leaves behind his dear friend and ex wife, Anna Marie Stenberg, his sister Teresa Cahill and step children Brad, Gray and Annie Laurie Shepherd.
Thanks also to his special friends, Helen Cneude, Judy Hedin and Maggie and Jeffrey who enriched his life and loved him dearly along with the residents of the Residence Benetin where he lived for 7 years as the only American.
Towards the end of his life he was learning and following the way of the Buddha and on June 18th his memorial was a combined Buddhist and Christian service.
Tom called himself a cosmic explorer and probably agrees with Sojourner Truth who said; "I am not going to die, I'm going home like a shooting star".
JUST IN: SUNDAY’S EVENT CANCELLED: AV Village Monthly Gathering: Volunteer Reception and 'Bring a Friend'.
Although we planned to follow the CDC protocols, the rising cases of the Delta variant close to home (as well as other related issues) have caused the majority of the Village board members to have less confidence about the safety of our gathering on Sunday. Hence we are cancelling the event and apologize for the late notice.
Anica Williams, <firstname.lastname@example.org>
THE AVA’S ONE-DAY-A-YEAR CACTUS BLOOM
THE LIONS CLUB SPONSORED First Responder Barbecue previously scheduled for August 29 has been canceled. Organizers cited the worrisome increase in Covid cases in the County and the Valley
JUDGE ORDERS UTILITY PG&E TO EXPLAIN role in start of Dixie Fire that’s tearing through California
As the Dixie Fire continues to ravage hundreds of thousands of acres in Northern California, a federal judge has now ordered Pacific Gas & Electric to explain the utility company’s role in starting what has become the largest wildfire burning in the United States.
The cause of the blaze remains under investigation, but U.S. District Judge William Alsup asked PG&E in an order issued late Friday to give information regarding the tree that fell on the utility company’s power line at the origin of the Dixie Fire. PG&E has said its equipment may have been responsible for starting both the Dixie Fire and the much smaller Fly Fire, which later merged with the Dixie Fire.
DROUGHT 2021 - State curtails water rights - City of Ukiah holds special meeting to discuss lawsuit
by Justine Frederiksen
In the hopes of having at least 20,000 acre-feet of water remaining in Lake Mendocino by Oct. 1, the California State Water Resources Board this week ordered about 1,500 water rights holders to stop diverting water from the Russian River.
However, if the current rate of outflow from the reservoir continues, the lake could reach 20,000 acre-feet by Aug. 23, said Elizabeth Salomone, general manager of the Russian River Flood Control & Water Conservation Improvement District.
“We were losing about 220 acre feet a day,” Salomone said on Friday, explaining that late last week before the long-expected curtailments were imposed, “there was a big draw down on the river,” which she said was likely due to people taking out as much water as they could before their rights were terminated.
“In order to have enough water in the river to keep it flowing into Sonoma County, they need 25 cubic feet per second at the Healdsburg gauge, and they couldn’t keep it there, it was at 19 cfs,” she said. “So they had to keep releasing more water from the lake.”
On Friday, the outflow from the lake had returned to a more reasonable level and was “holding steady at about 115 cfs,” said Salomone, adding that hopefully the imposed curtailments will mean much less water being removed and “we should see more water being retained in the reservoir.”
As to why the 20,000 acre-feet amount, Salomone said her understanding was “that is the amount needed to meet the human health and safety needs for another year if we don’t get more rain after Oct. 1.”
So far, Salomone said, most of the water districts in the Ukiah Valley are under mandatory restrictions but only the Redwood Valley County Water District has been restricted to only providing 55 gallons of water per person per day, with agricultural uses cut off. But she expects that 55-gallons-a-day restriction to eventually spread to nearly all water districts, as “we all depend upon Lake Mendocino: Calpella, Redwood Valley, Millview, Rogina and Hopland are all directly impacted by the amount of water in the lake.”
And there are more than human factors affecting the amount of water in both the reservoir and the river. Salomone pointed to evaporation, thirsty soil, thirsty plants and thirsty creatures being a draw on the water in the river, as well.
City of Ukiah
The water supplier in the Ukiah Valley that so far seems to be the least affected by the severe drought conditions is the city of Ukiah, which was already relying largely on what it describes as robust groundwater wells to provide potable water to its residential and business customers, and relying on its new recycled water system to provide a substantial amount of water to agricultural users.
However, the city also had rights curtailed this week, including its “pre-1914 water rights,” which were previously thought untouchable. On Monday the Ukiah City Council held a special meeting to discuss in closed session “consideration of potential litigation arising from emergency drought declaration.”
When asked Friday whether the city of Ukiah was planning to sue the state over curtailment of its water rights, City Manager Sage Sangiacomo replied via email: “The city of Ukiah has not filed any water right related litigation and no such action has been reported at a City Council meeting. In general related to litigation, the Brown Act requires disclosure in open session of approval given in closed session to legal counsel to initiate litigation (as well as to defend litigation). The report in open session of action authorizing new litigation need not disclose adverse parties or the particulars of the litigation, but must specify that direction to initiate litigation has been given and that the action, the defendants, and the other particulars shall, once formally commenced, be disclosed to any person upon inquiry. Again, no report of any related water right initiated litigation has been made at a City Council meeting.”
In regard to the curtailments imposed this week, Sangiacomo said, “The city of Ukiah is certainly concerned with the recent order related to the curtailment of pre-1914 water rights and other actions by the state in response to the drought. The city has attempted to work with the state on a formal agreement for conservation to avoid curtailments that will ultimately hurt the city’s ability to assist other regional partners that are struggling to meet the basic water needs of their residents for health and safety. The city will continue to explore all options with the State and regional partners in response to the drought with the hope cooperative solutions can be developed.”
TOXIC ALGAE BLOOM FOUND IN RUSSIAN RIVER IN CLOVERDALE
(How about the Navarro?)
by Andrew Graham
State and county officials are urging river users to be cautious after toxic algal mats were found on the bed of the Russian River in Cloverdale and at Riverfront Regional Park north of Santa Rosa.
The mats can be fatal to dogs that might eat the algae or drink nearby river water and harmful to humans, particularly children, according to a press release from the State Water Board.
The algal mats, which look like a rug of algae, range in color from bright green to orange, brown or maroon. While most algae is harmless, officials suggest an abundance of caution and generally avoiding algal mats.
Algal mats form along the river bottom and sometimes detach and float to the river’s edge.
While officials highlighted the presence of toxic algae at Cloverdale and the riverside park, a state harmful algae bloom database warned of toxic algae in various sections of the southern Russian River, from Cloverdale to the downstream of Guerneville. The database warns that exact locations of reported toxic algae may not be accurate.
Sonoma County Environmental Health and Safety has posted signs warning about the mats at ten of the most popular beaches along the Russian River.
Officials recommend seeking medical attention if people, livestock or pets appear sick after being in the river. Officials also recommend washing people and pets after playing in the river.
River users can report suspicious algae online, by emailing CyanoHAB.email@example.com, by calling a state hotline at 1-844-729-6466 or by contacting Sonoma County Environmental Health at 707-565-6565.
(Santa Rosa Press Democrat)
UKIAH SHELTER PET OF THE WEEK
Blaze has a wonderful temperament and great indoor manners. He walks well on leash and knows sit. Because he is a Husky mix, secure fencing and an active guardian will be important in his new home. Blaze is a year old and weighs a handsome 67 pounds.
For more about Blaze, visit mendoanimalshelter.com While you’re there, check out all of our canine and feline guests, our services, programs, events, and updates. Visit us on Facebook at: facebook.com/mendoanimalshelter/
For information about adoptions, please call 707-467-6453.
by Bob Dempel
Before we get started let’s learn how to correctly say rodeo, it’s
ro-dee-o, not ro-day-o.
I never participated in a big-time rodeo venue. One time I entered a junior rodeo at the Cow Palace. The event was a calf scramble. Some calves were turned loose in the arena and if I could catch and hold the calf, I’d received a prize. I was in high school showing lambs and I didn’t know how big calves were. All I came away with was a sore shoulder.
I recently attended the Grand Daddy of all Rodeos held in Reno, Nevada. Now you probably think of Reno as the sign says, “The Biggest Little City in the World.” The other sign says,”It’s the Wildest, Richest, Rodeo in the West.” The rodeo was started in 1919. They celebrated their 100-year anniversary in 2019. Unfortunately, there was no rodeo in 2020 due to the virus.
I have attended the Reno rodeo several times. What inspired my renewed interest was a friendship I developed with Cotton Rosser. Cotton owns a rodeo stock company and produces rodeos all across the western United States. His company, the Flying U Rodeo, has been in business for 50 plus years. Producing a rodeo includes providing all of the livestock for the various events. In 2019 the Reno Rodeo celebrated 100 years as well as recognized Cotton for providing livestock to the rodeo for 50 years. Cotton has box seats right next to the bucking chutes (think brahma bulls). I have been fortunate in past years to be able to call Cotton at his country western store in Marysville and get complimentary seats. Generally, there are seven events in a rodeo. They include Bull Riding, Tie Down Roping, Saddle Bronc riding, Team Roping, Steer Wrestling, Bareback Riding, and Barrell Racing for the cowgirls. Many rodeos have added some additional events. One of the added events is Mutton Busting. Young cowboys and cowgirls (5 to 7 year olds) ride a sheep. They are fitted with a safety helmet and lots of care is given so as not to hurt any of the contestants.
I had tickets that I could not use in 2020, so I rolled the tickets over and used them this year. I did not ask Cotton for tickets this year since I needed to sit in the ADA section. Since this was my first time sitting in the ADA section, I did not know what to expect. A volunteer met me in the handicap parking section and walked me right into my seat.
A little history on the rodeo. It is produced with 1000 volunteers and only four paid staff. All of the volunteers wear the same-colored shirt on specific nights: pink is for breast cancer, purple for prostate cancer, and so on. The night I attended this year was purple shirt night. So, there I was in the ADA section with my purple shirt. As most everything I do, there is a story. This one is about my purple shirt. Two years ago, I wanted a purple shirt and the store was out of them. I hunted up the volunteer who ran the store and he thought he might have one at home. Sure enough he mailed me his shirt freshly washed and ironed in time for me to wear this year. He even came over to see me in the ADA section. I was the only one in the section wearing a purple shirt.
The event starts out with 25 or so women riding beautiful horses, parading around the arena carrying flags of the major sponsors, lead of course by a horse carrying the American flag. I should be right up front. This event is a display of the likes of Americanism, motherhood, and apple pie. The program starts with the national anthem, followed by a prayer.
In the middle of the rodeo there is always an all-entertaining event. This year was the entrance of the Broken Spoke Clydesdales. This was a six-horse team of big gentle giant horses pulling a spotless western trailer. They go forward, back up, make figure eights and put on a spectacular show. A smaller team of mules pulled a chuck wagon. On the back of the wagon were the rodeo dignitaries. A third stage was pulled by a six-hitch team of horses pulling the Wells Fargo Wagon. This team is known for the speed it can obtain going around the arena. You can almost imagine a group of bandits chasing the Wells Fargo Wagon some decades ago. There were no raisins from Fresno.
The 10-day event was almost sold out every night, and good luck finding a motel room. Everyone was courteous and friendly. No bullying allowed. My only hope is that my body will allow me to attend in 2022. I’m ordering my tickets early.
HERE'S THE 33-PAGE LIST of water rights curtailments in the Upper Russian River:
ms notes: The large majority of the list is grape growers including this one: 209 A017366 GLENN T MCGOURTY
MENDO COAST WATER, AN ONLINE EXCHANGE:
It's not just Mendocino that needs water. The entire coastline, the entire state, is going dry. Since it doesn't look like conservation is a priority, sources have to be found. Maybe a coastal communal water system is what's necessary.
How do you feel about the Mega development planned for the mill site in FB? Hotels, convention center, performance center, etc. Where will the water come from? These developers are looking for profit, not for what is good for the city of Fort Bragg. How can projects of this size even be approved without adequate water?
* * *
Big River Water. Who will pay for that? The end users? Talk to Irish Beach folk about that issue…
* * *
You’ve hit a number of things. Here are my thoughts.
I fully agree with your first paragraph. Yes! A coastal water system is exactly what supervisor McGourty and others like me are interested in. The idea is to use multiple sources up and down the coast to supply the entire region. The water is available at various locations while that huge infrastructure plan has not yet gone past the idea stage. That is what some of that proposal from the county that was posted earlier is all about. The ’95 plan for Mendocino can be included within that larger coastal system meaning that the Mendocino part of the puzzle is already done.
For Mendocino, “conservation” as in the current “ground water management” (gwm) program does not work at all. The same places run out of water every year mostly due to the geology and not so much the use. As you know well, Mendo does not sit over a water basin. It sits on a flat bit of crumbly porous rock where the “ground water” runs quickly into the ocean. It is quite literally a situation that “if you don’t use it (or capture it) you lose it.” The vast amount of water east of the highway never makes it into “town.” It too runs off into Big River or directly into the ocean through the rock. The only sensible long term solution is to install the infrastructure required to plumb the entire place and set up a system to supply its needs whether that be the Mendo only plan as drawn in ‘95 (updated for now), or included in a larger coastal system.
As far as developing the old mill site, if the water can be supplied, great. A coastal communal water system would provide the water needs for those developments and then some. The economic boost to the community is worth it. Tourism is the way things are going so the community should embrace that and ride that wave for all its worth. People that attend conventions or who would travel here for the arts will spend money at restaurants and local businesses of all kinds. That kind of action has the ability to revitalize and fund other things that Fort Bragg might need or want.
Even assuming that none of that stuff ever gets built, the people of Fort Bragg currently need a more stable water supply. If the town is to maintain or grow at all in the future, the water piece of the puzzle must be solved.
I really like the idea of a coastal communal water system. That is infrastructure that has great benefit. There are far more options to consider if good water is readily available than if there is no water at all.
MENDO has hired a management person with the following curriculum vitae:
Education: Central Michigan University, Cinematic Arts & Marketing (no degree mentioned)
National Ad Manager for Billboard Magazine.
Co founder of Red Dirt Music in Weaverville, California with husband.
Experience: Retail Management, Distribution and Business Manager. Successfully implemented multiple target marketing programs with major retail clients including Whole Foods. Fry’s Electronics, and Tower Records among others.
Self-description: “Policy, Management and Governance specialist with over 11 years in local government and significant successful experience in marketing, promotions, media and economic development. Sectors include: fiber optic infrastructure, cannabis policy, natural resource policy at state and federal level, promotion of arts and outdoor recreation assets.”
Campaign Manager for husband’s unsuccessful run for Congress in 2008.
“[Husband Jeff] attended California State University Sacramento, studying music and international relations, and spent a year in Brazil as a foreign exchange student, learning Portuguese. In Sacramento, [husband Jeff] worked for a legislative information and tracking service and spent six years as an advertising executive for Tower Records, handling million-dollar budgets annually. Based on their experience in the entertainment industry [husband Jeff] and his soon-to-be-wife started a marketing firm [Red Dirt Music] in 1996. After a few years in Los Angeles, the couple returned to Trinity County, expanding their business to include a successful music shop and coffeehouse in the heart of downtown Weaverville. [Husband Jeff] was elected to the Trinity County Board of Supervisors in 2004, while [wife], an advertising and marketing professional, served as President of the local Chamber of Commerce and became involved in other efforts to bring business opportunities to Trinity County. In 2006 they sold their retail interests to focus on web-based ventures and business consulting. [Wife] previously served as California State Assembly member Patty Berg's ex-officio appointee to the Trinity County Democratic Central Committee.”
The only on-line writing we could find that was written by the applicant was about how important it is to hire women in government; nothing about governance, local government issues or policy in the “sectors” she mentions.
So, Question: What position was the applicant hired for?
From CEO Angelo’s recent staffing/juggling announcement:
“Judy Morris joined the Executive Office as a Deputy Chief Executive Officer as of July 25, 2021. Judy comes to us from Trinity County where she sat on the Trinity County Board of Supervisors as their 2nd District Supervisor for 11 years. In her role as a County Supervisor she worked on many local, regional and State issues. She has also held a seat as a Board/Executive Committee member with the California State Association of Counties, also known as CSAC.
“Regarding her appointment, Ms. Morris stated, ‘I look forward to working with CEO Angelo, the Executive Office staff and the entire organization in carrying out the Board of Supervisor's priorities and addressing the needs of their constituents’.”
So Ms. Miller also “held a seat as a Board/Executive Committee member with the California State Association of Counties”!
Was the job advertised? Who else applied? Where’s her husband, the other former Trinity County Supervisor?
PS. Mendo’s Deputy CEOs make about $100k per year plus benefits of around $50k per year. In 2018 Trinity County Supervisors were paid about $25k per year plus about $9k in benefits. The population of Trinity County is about 14,000.
PPS. The Executive Office budget for 2020-2021 was about $1.4 million, as of the end of May of 2021 they were running about $350k under that because of staff shortages. Given the timing, we assume that Ms. Miller will replace former Deputy CEO Sarah Dukett who, like most former senior County staffers, disappeared without notice or thanks a few months ago. According to her LinkedIn profile, although paid a very high salary with generous benefits by Mendo standards, Ms. Duckett has moved to Sacramento and is now “Legislative Advocate for the Rural Counties of California (RCRC)” where she started work last January. The Executive Office (which also includes Clerk of the Board, Central Services, Disaster Recovery, Facilities & Fleet, Garage, General Liability, “Health Benefits,” and Information Services has 105 allocated positions, 13 of which are Executive staff. There have been three “separations,” since July of 2020 and four new hires. Five positions were “in recruitment” as of the end of July 2021.
CATCH OF THE DAY, August 7, 2021
GERMAN ALVAREZ-MALFAVON, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
JAMES BASS, San Diego. Trespassing, disorderly conduct-alcohol, resisting.
NOEMI CALDERON, Fairfield/Ukiah. DUI-alcohol&drugs.
JULIO DELVILLAR-ACEVEDO, Bakersfield/Ukiah. DUI, suspended license for DUI, controlled substance, probation revocation.
FRANCISCO DUENAS, Gualala. Child endangerment.
MATTHEW HILL, Ukiah. Reckless evasion.
JONATHAN HOUSE, Fort Bragg. Stalking and threatening bodily injury, vandalism.
FELIX JIMENEZ, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
MICHAEL MCCALLION, Willits. Grossly negligent discharge of firearm.
JUSTIN MIXON, Redwood Valley. Domestic abuse, false imprisonment, damage to communications device.
JOSE RAMIREZ-VIRGEN, Santa Rosa/Ukiah. Assault weapon.
JUAN TOVAR-SEVILLA, Ukiah. Controlled substance, paraphernalia, concealed dirk-dagger, disobeying court order, probation revocation.
MEGAN VANHORN, Fort Bragg. DUI-alcohol&drugs, controlled substance, probation revocation.
LAWRENCE FERLINGHETTI - A VETERAN FOR PEACE
by Nadya Williams
In 1962 a group of San Francisco veterans of World War II and Korea - knowing the Viet Nam war was looming - marched unofficially at the end of the annual November 11th Veterans Day Parade under the banner of “Veterans For Peace.” The world had hovered on the brink of nuclear war just one month earlier with the October Cuban Missile Crisis. The principal organizer was world-renowned poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti who died on February 22nd at 101 years old in his home in North Beach, the literary heart of San Francisco.
The turning point in Ferlinghetti's life came in late September, 1945 as he walked the streets of Nagasaki, Japan six weeks after the atomic bomb was dropped there by his country. He was a 26-year-old lieutenant in the U.S. Navy, having already seen combat in the Invasion of Normandy the year before. Among the 40,000 Japanese that were incinerated on the day of August 9th was one who was drinking a cup of tea. Ferlinghetti picked up that tea cup; it had flesh and bone fused into it. The cup has now sat on the mantelpiece of his home for 75 1/2 years.
These stories have been recounted by Lawrence Ferlinghetti in many of the countless newspaper, TV and radio interviews, poems, essays and books by him, plus at least two documentary films. The 1962 group was not formally established, and in 1985 the national organization of Veterans For Peace was created by American veterans of the Viet Nam War. VFP now has over 100 chapters nationally and internationally, Ferlinghetti being an Honorary Member of San Francisco Chapter 69.
A true Renaissance man, he co-established City Lights Bookstore in 1953, which grew to be a major publishing house of so-called “Beat” literature - but so much more. Lawrence Ferlinghetti was a lifelong poet, author, publisher, and activist, who eventually found his love of painting. In all his prodigious creative works, he never missed the opportunity to rail against the absurdity of materialism, the obscenity of war and the soullessness of profit-driven destruction.
(Nadya Williams is an active Associate Member and Director of Communications of Veterans For Peace, San Francisco Chapter 69.)
MEANWHILE, IN SAN FRANCISCO.....
GLEN FORD: IN MEMORIAM
by Peter James Hudson & Jemima Pierre
Glen Ford's persona and dedication inspired analysis and created many friendships.
We first encountered Glen Ford during what he called the “lonely days.” The lonely days were those early months of the Obama presidency, when the jubilation of having a first Black president had rendered most Black people’s critical facilities completely useless and to even whisper a mild critique of Obama was to invite a torrent of scorn and opprobrium. Glen was one of “the 5-percenters,” as our mutual friend Kevin Alexander Gray called us. He was part of that small percentage of Black folk who did not fully support Obama. After Obama’s election in 2008, Glen, alongside the other contributors to Black Agenda Report, was a rare, persistent critic of Obama’s actual policies. He diligently scratched away at the progressive veneer to reveal a dangerous and reactionary neoliberal core; beyond the brown skin, he recognized the white soul of capitalism. During those difficult and lonely days Glen’s writing served as a lifeline for those needing critical analysis of imperialism, militarism, and racism, and of the meaning of Black liberation and self-determination.
One was struck by both Glen’s voice, and his verse. Glen was a baritone. His voice was low, rounded out by years of smoking. In some ways it belied his physical presence: you did not expect this powerful sound from a slight, bespectacled, lightskinneded man, with his waspish goatee and his straight-ish hair gathered in a long ponytail. Be it in person or on the radio, he spoke with the solemn, deliberate, halting articulation of another era. His cadence forced you to reckon with every syllable spoken.
As for the writing, Glen gave us the vocabulary and phraseology to understand contemporary politics, especially of the right-wing contortions of the so-called left under the wheel of neoliberalism. It was Glen who gave us the phrase “the more effective evil” to describe Obama, dispensing with those who would fall back on the amoral pieties of a “lesser evil.” Glen also helped popularize the use of “Black misleadership class” as a way to understand the assimilated US Black political elite. It should be said, however, that he inherited that phrase from the rhetoric of his political forebearers: the Black Communists of the 1920s and 1930s who used the term “Negro misleaders” to describe reformist Black politicians.
Glen’s gifts as a writer were not merely in the coining of cutting phrases. Glen was a prose stylist of the highest order, a master rhetorician who combined a strict economy of words with a directness and clarity that revealed the stakes and consequences of politics and policies. There was no hiding behind language, no cowering behind muddled grammar, but there was certainly complexity—for what appears in the world as commonsense or obvious often veils the complex machinations of power. Glen’s writing cut through these veils with forensic precision, giving us the kinds of political economic critiques of capitalism that allowed him to see clearly the historical factors that gave rise to the charter school movement and the gutting of public schools, to understand what the 2008 bank bailout meant for the future of capitalism and democracy, to comprehend the revanchist white madness that elected Trump and murdered Trayvon. When so much of so-called Black left critique remains trapped by identity politics, or mired in a fetishization of race and racism as the primary defining factor of Black social and political life, Glen brought a knife-twisting critique of capitalism, militarism, and imperialism. It was a critique that could only come from being a socialist writing in the tradition of Malcolm X and the radical Dr. King.
We were eventually introduced to Glen in person at the 2010 Left Forum conference. From that first meeting, we would occasionally catch up with him when we visited New York City. Glen would take the train over from New Jersey and meet us at a downtown bar and we would spend a few hours talking politics and laughing at Glen’s stories of life in the military and in the media. During one of those meet-ups, the conversation turned to Haiti and U.S. interference in Haiti’s elections. “I wish I could explain to people what was going on,” Jemima told Glen. He responded that she should just write it up for BAR. Jemima laughed and argued that she didn’t know how to write like the contributors to BAR. Glen looked at us earnestly and said: “all you need is a hook and 800 words.”
Jemima’s first contribution to BAR was published in April, 2011 and soon, her commentaries appeared frequently enough that she was listed as a BAR editor and columnist. But it was difficult to keep up with the pace of publishing. Glen understood, and when she did send something in, he was happy to receive it. “Wonderful piece -- great overview,” Glen wrote about her 2019 piece on the protests in Haiti and the “imperial amnesia” of western coverage of these protests. “Nice to have your journalistic company, once again. Please make it a habit. Sincerely, Glen.” Unfortunately, she did not make it a habit. But we would be surprised when BAR would sometimes publish work that we had placed elsewhere, often in academic venues. How did Glen know about these essays? We hadn’t told him. But then we remembered that Glen read everything.
Even though we were not writing regularly for BAR, we stayed in touch with Glen. We invited him to Nashville to participate in the 2014 symposium Black Folk in Dark Times and to Los Angeles in 2018 for a forum on Peter’s newly-published book, Bankers and Empire. In Los Angeles, Glen asked for instructions on what to present and he wanted to go over his presentation with us beforehand. We were surprised by the request, and what seemed to be a sense of self-doubt behind it. He told us “this [academia] was not his world.” He said he didn’t understand how it functioned and the codes that governed it. Yet for us, Glen was among the greatest writers and sharpest minds we had ever encountered and we always wished scholars would try to learn from him.
Glen also told us something else during that visit to Los Angeles. “My mind’s not right,” he said with a wry smile looking over his glasses. He had been on dialysis for some time. He had to schedule appointments with the VA hospitals in California to ensure he could participate in our event. But there was a palpable sense in him that he was losing control. He had lost weight and seemed slightly disoriented. He told us that he had to make an intense effort to stay focused. It was at that point that we began to worry about his health. That worry accelerated from the fall of 2020 when he spoke of increasing serious health problems. At one point Glen lost his voice. The grand baritone was reduced to a forced rasp.
But Glen continued. The publication schedule of BAR continued, until the final months when his byline didn’t appear and the content of each issue became thinner and thinner. The only contact time BAR supporters had with Glen was during the weekly Black Agenda Radio segments.
The last time we “saw” Glen was on New Year’s Eve 2020. We had planned a Zoom meeting to discuss The Black Agenda Review, but Glen joined us with a bottle of cheap red wine after a day of editing and it turned into a couple of hours of animated conversation, storytelling, laughter, and libation. He said he was working on the page proofs for an edited collection of his writing. He was in good spirits and we all laughed when he admitted he no longer understood white politics. Glen had to join his family for the New Years celebrations and so our meeting reluctantly, for us, came to an end. We raised our glasses one last time and wished him a happy new year.
Sleep well, dear friend. We will miss you.
(Peter James Hudson is a writer, editor, and historian who teaches Black Studies at UCLA. He is the author of Bankers and Empire: How Wall Street Colonized the Caribbean. Jemima Pierre is a contributor to Black Agenda Report, the Haiti/Americas Coordinator for the Black Alliance for Peace, and a Black Studies and anthropology professor at UCLA.)
THE UNSPIN ROOM: GRATEFUL FOR THE WISDOM THAT COMES WITH THE GRAY
by Dalton Delan
Smithers the cat curls up beside me on the couch, forepaw batting at dream-mice she no longer chases waking.
Sweet 16, she is 80 in our years, and has earned the right to rest. Her top job she does automatically, lowering my blood pressure like a furmometer. Ensconced by the table, my father-in-law Len enjoys his newspaper over his favorite raisin cereal. He left the law at 75, and further down the road he gave up competing with the crazies driving, but you wouldn’t know it when he steers his electric cart round the supermarket aisles. Reminds me of bumper cars — only without the bumping. Our world narrows, but we make of it what we may.
Shrinks still take off the month of August. So do the French. Me, I took my birthday — this Leo can command a couch, too — but I am as averse to retirement as I’ve ever been. On the tennis court the other day, a new opponent asked “What did you used to do?” Them’s fightin’ words, pardner. I’m about the last guy at the club still working. I like it that way. To live is to do.
But who knows for how long. I have a pesky fly bugging me. No matter how much I remind myself it’s a floater, a bit of flotsam in my eye, I keep thinking it’s something to swat away. Rust flaking from body parts. Luckily my dentist, Jacqui, is like family, a sculptor whose clay is human and who maintains my smile despite my being long in the tooth and as shivery in the chair as a lion in winter. My doctor, as he reaches the coconut of my prostate, tells me he doesn’t like going to the dentist as he’s never cared for someone else’s fingers in his mouth. Given the moment at hand, I resist the urge to quip to each his own. Besides, he’s threatening to retire, which terrifies me. He’s the last of the old-time practitioners who prescribes less is more, just the way I like it.
The flesh failures. Sagging and dragging. Takes more to rev up in the morning and three tries to finish an episode on Netflix, repeatedly interrupted by falling asleep. On the flip side, I awaken with the night still young. Ah, the short-cycling of aging. The same boy lives in my brain, but he is surrounded by a crumbling edifice and a catalogue of what the late, great short-story writer Grace Paley titled “The Little Disturbances of Man.” She nailed it. Goodnight, Gracie.
Our kids are adults now, sure that I am verging on doddering and hopelessly unwoke. I yam what I yam. On work Zoom calls, every one of the Hollywood Squares looks like they could be my child. When did everyone get so young? My cultural references — author, singer, baseball batter, star of television or silver screen — all receive blank stares. Truffaut recognition is rare as truffles. Was Norman Mailer a kind of Amazon packaging? I might as well be discussing pterodactyl sightings at the La Brea Tar Pits. Yes, Virginia, the late Jurassic is where I hail from. They named the park there for me.
Is there some wisdom that comes with dotage? I’d like to think so, and as an eminence grise I try to spread the experience gleaned from my decades in media like soft butter on toast, humming in my head “I’ve forgotten more than you’ll ever know.” The Davis Sisters took it to the top of the country charts in 1953. These days, I’m lucky if I can understand the words being sung on Sirius, and luckier still if I care. The hooks are missing. Takes six producers to pen one meaningless lyric. With so many of the greats of rock gone — Franklin, Joplin, Hendrix, Holly, Harrison, Morrison, Allman, Orbison, Lennon, Marley, Mercury, Moon, Bowie, Spector, Tosh, Presley, Prince, Garcia, on and on — I can barely stand to hear them. When Dylan goes, it’s over.
Spare me your TV series about time travel. We only go one way. Time and again, in my days at the used bookstore, they’d back up the truck and dump the literary detritus of someone’s lifetime of reading. As I sifted through the boxes and bags, I reconstructed the person they outlined. I, too, am in my books. Giving up the material things gathered in my travels, collecting is a mountain you spend half a life climbing and the other half falling down. What was the point?
Looking back, I let most days get away unsavored, transiting at best a memory motel. Now I think what if this were my last day, and strive to live it that way — helpful, humble, self-pitiless, family to friends and a friend to family. Consider the alternative. I try not to.
(Courtesy, the Berkshire Eagle)
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
Recent history looks to my eyes like a succession of lunacies each of which may have been unable to topple Western Civ on its own given built-in social inertia and maybe resilience plus the raw survival instinct of ordinary people, but each following on the heels of the last may have the cumulative momentum to put this thing to where vanished civilizations go ie, dirt mounds.
Consider the miseries of the Industrial Revolution which had a hand in creating both communism and fascism, and the two world wars with tens of millions dead and wounded, and then the rise of neo-liberalism which ruined the lives of huge swathes of people of the formerly developed West. And now what one guy deems a step back to pre-Enlightenment authoritarian modes of thinking coming out of university campuses, of all places. How far can we be from witch burnings?
But what would we expect? I mean our best and brightest brought us viral gain-of-function research. Just between us, does this look to you like the product of disturbed minds? Because that’s how it looks to me.
Our allegedly best and brightest hatched all this craziness and now they’re back to incubating more. They don’t believe in reality? Well, their grip on it has been pretty weak for a while now, accommodating only what conforms to their own self-justifying narratives. The trouble of course is that reality doesn’t give a shit about narratives.
NEWSOM SAVED MANY WITH COVID RESPONSE
A comparison of COVID-19 death rates in California against other states that chose to not shut down their economies such as in Georgia and Florida reveals that there are several thousand Californians who are alive today as a result of Gov. Gavin Newsom and his staff’s actions taken to manage this crisis over the past 17 months.
If only we knew who those thousands of people who are alive today are, I am sure they would vote to not recall Newsom for his actions in managing this ongoing crisis.
THE HAWK SAYS YES ON RECALL
Yes to the Newsom recall.
Of course Gavin Newsom will survive the recall. Of course there are bad faith actors pushing it. But I will be voting in favor for an unusual reason, something that has fallen off our political radar. When pushing Prop 64 Newsom promised small emerald triangle growers that no large farms over one acre would be allowed for five years, The idea was this time would allow small growers to establish collectives and establish a market niche, or transition out of the business.
In Salinas and Santa Barbara County we have farms up to 40 acres, and the price is plummeting. Mom and Pop growers who supported our communities and economies for decades are finding themselves pushed aside by Gavin’s broken promise. Mr. Newsom has been very toxic to our North Coast community, and although my vote is completely symbolic, I will be adding it to the recall effort.
THE COLLECTIVE SUICIDE MACHINE
by Chris Hedges
The debacle in Afghanistan, which will unravel into chaos with lightning speed over the next few weeks and ensure the return of the Taliban to power, is one more signpost of the end of the American empire. The two decades of combat, the one trillion dollars we spent, the 100,000 troops deployed to subdue Afghanistan, the high-tech gadgets, artificial intelligence, cyberwarfare, Reaper drones armed with Hellfire missiles and GBU-30 bombs and the Global Hawk drones with high-resolution cameras, Special Operations Command composed of elite rangers, SEALs and air commandos, black sites, torture, electronic surveillance, satellites, attack aircraft, mercenary armies, infusions of millions of dollars to buy off and bribe the local elites and train an Afghan army of 350,000 that has never exhibited the will to fight, failed to defeat a guerrilla army of 60,000 that funded itself through opium production and extortion in one of the poorest countries on earth.
Like any empire in terminal decay, no one will be held accountable for the debacle or for the other debacles in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Somalia, Yemen or anywhere else. Not the generals. Not the politicians. Not the CIA and intelligence agencies. Not the diplomats. Not the obsequious courtiers in the press who serve as cheerleaders for war. Not the compliant academics and area specialists. Not the defense industry. Empires at the end are collective suicide machines. The military becomes in late empire unmanageable, unaccountable, and endlessly self-perpetuating, no matter how many fiascos, blunders and defeats it visits upon the carcass of the nation, or how much money it plunders, impoverishing the citizenry and leaving governing institutions and the physical infrastructure decayed.
The human tragedy — at least 801,000 people have been killed by direct war violence in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen, and Pakistan and 37 million have been displaced in and from Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, the Philippines, Libya, and Syria according to The Watson Institute at Brown University — is reduced to a neglected footnote.
Nearly all the roughly 70 empires during the last four thousand years, including the Greek, Roman, Chinese, Ottoman, Hapsburg, imperial German, imperial Japanese, British, French, Dutch, Portuguese, and Soviet empires, collapsed in the same orgy of military folly. The Roman Republic, at its height, only lasted two centuries. We are set to disintegrate in roughly the same time. This is why, at the start of World War I in Germany, Karl Liebknecht called the German military, which imprisoned and later assassinated him, “the enemy from within.”
Mark Twain, who was a fierce opponent of the efforts to plant the seeds of empire in Cuba, the Philippines, Guam, Hawaii and Puerto Rico, wrote an imagined history of America in the twentieth-century where its “lust for conquest” had destroyed “the Great Republic…[because] trampling upon the helpless abroad had taught her, by a natural process, to endure with apathy the like at home; multitudes who had applauded the crushing of other people’s liberties, lived to suffer for their mistake.”
Twain knew that foreign occupations, designed to enrich the ruling elites, use occupied populations as laboratory rats to perfect techniques of control that soon migrate back to the homeland. It was the brutal colonial policing practices in the Philippines, which included a vast spy network along with routine beatings, torture, and executions, which became the model for centralized domestic policing and intelligence gathering in the United States. Israeli’s arms, surveillance and drone industries test their products on the Palestinians.
It is one of the dark ironies that it was the American empire, led by Jimmy Carter’s national security advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski, which spawned the mess in Afghanistan. Brzezinski oversaw a multibillion-dollar CIA covert operation to arm, train and equip the Taliban to fight the Soviets. This clandestine effort sidelined the secular, democratic opposition and assured the ascendancy of the Taliban in Afghanistan, along with the spread of its radical Islam into Soviet Central Asia, once Soviet forces withdrew. The American empire would, years later, find itself desperately trying to destroy its own creation. In April 2017, in a classic example of this kind of absurd blowback, the United States dropped the “mother of all bombs” — the most powerful conventional bomb in the American arsenal — on an Islamic State cave complex in Afghanistan that the CIA had invested millions in building and fortifying.
The attacks of September 11, 2001 were not an existential threat to the United States. They were not politically significant. They did not disrupt the balance of global power. They were not an act of war. They were acts of nihilistic terror.
The only way to fight terrorists is to isolate them within their own societies. I was in the Middle East for The New York Times after the attacks. Most of the Muslim world was appalled and revolted at the crimes against humanity that had been carried out in the name of Islam. If we had the courage to be vulnerable, to grasp that this was an intelligence war, not a conventional war, we would be far safer and secure today. These wars in the shadows, as the Israelis illustrated when they tracked down the assassins of their athletes in the 1972 Olympic games in Munich, take months, even years of work.
But the attacks gave the ruling elites, lusting for control of the Middle East, especially Iraq, which had nothing to do with the attacks, the excuse to carry out the greatest strategic blunder in American history — the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq. The architects of the war, including then Senator Joe Biden, knew little about the countries being invaded, did not grasp the limits of industrial and technocratic war or the inevitable blowback that would see the United States reviled throughout the Muslim world. They believed they could implant client regimes by force throughout the region, use the oil revenues in Iraq, since the war in Afghanistan would be over in a matter of weeks, to cover the cost of reconstruction and magically restore American global hegemony. It did the opposite.
Invading Iraq and Afghanistan, dropping iron fragmentation bombs on villages and towns, kidnapping, torturing and imprisoning tens of thousands of people, using drones to sow terror from the skies, resurrected the discredited radical jihadists and was a potent recruiting tool in the fight against U.S. and NATO forces. We were the best thing that ever happened to the Taliban and al Qaeda.
There was little objection within the power structures to these invasions. The congressional vote was 518 to one in favor of empowering President George W. Bush to launch a war, Rep. Barbara Lee being the lone dissenter. Those of us who spoke out against the idiocy of the looming bloodlust were slandered, denied media platforms, and cast into the wilderness, where most of us remain. Those who sold us the war kept their megaphones, a reward for their service to empire and the military-industrial complex. It did not matter how cynical or foolish they were.
Historians call the self-defeating military adventurism of late empires “micro-militarism.” During the Peloponnesian War (431-404 B.C.) the Athenians invaded Sicily, suffering the loss of 200 ships and thousands of soldiers and triggering revolts throughout the empire. Britain attacked Egypt in 1956 in a dispute over the nationalization of the Suez Canal and was humiliated when it had to withdraw its forces, bolstering the status of Arab nationalists such as Egypt’s Gamal Abdel Nasser.
“While rising empires are often judicious, even rational in their application of armed force for conquest and control of overseas dominions, fading empires are inclined to ill-considered displays of power, dreaming of bold military masterstrokes that would somehow recoup lost prestige and power,” the historian Alfred McCoy writes “In the Shadows of the American Century: The Rise and Decline of US Global Power.” “Often irrational even from an imperial point of view, these micromilitary operations can yield hemorrhaging expenditures or humiliating defeats that only accelerate the process already under way.”
The death blow to the American empire will, as McCoy writes, be the loss of the dollar as the world’s reserve currency. This loss will plunge the United States into a crippling, and prolonged depression. It will force a massive contraction of the global military footprint.
The ugly, squalid face of empire, with the loss of the dollar as the reserve currency, will become familiar at home. The bleak economic landscape, with its decay and hopelessness, will accelerate an array of violent and self-destructive pathologies including mass shootings, hate crimes, opioid and heroin overdoses, morbid obesity, suicides, gambling, and alcoholism. The state will increasingly dispense with the fiction of the rule of law to rely exclusively on militarized police, essentially internal armies of occupation, and the prisons and jails, which already hold 25 percent of the world’s prisoners although the United States represents less than 5 percent of global population.
Our demise will probably come more swiftly than we imagine. When revenues shrink or collapse, McCoy points out, empires become “brittle.” An economy heavily dependent on massive government subsidies to produce primarily weapons and munitions, as well as fund military adventurism, will go into a tailspin with a heavily depreciated dollar, falling to perhaps a third of its former value. Prices will dramatically rise because of the steep increase in the cost of imports. Wages in real terms will decline. The devaluation of Treasury bonds will make paying for our massive deficits onerous, perhaps impossible. The unemployment level will climb to depression era levels. Social assistance programs, because of a contracting budget, will be sharply curtailed or eliminated. This dystopian world will fuel the rage and hyper nationalism that put Donald Trump in the White House. It will spawn an authoritarian state to keep order and, I expect, a Christianized fascism.
The tools of control on the outer reaches of empire, already part of our existence, will become ubiquitous. The wholesale surveillance, the abolition of basic civil liberties, militarized police authorized to use indiscriminate lethal force, the use of drones and satellites to keep us monitored and fearful, along with the censorship of the press and social media, familiar to Iraqis or Afghans, will define America. We are not the first empire to suffer this fate. It is a familiar ending. Imperialism and militarism are poisons that eradicate the separation of powers, designed to prevent tyranny, and extinguish democracy. If those who orchestrated these crimes are not held accountable, and this means organizing sustained mass resistance, we will pay the price, and we may pay it soon, for their hubris and greed.