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EXPECT VERY WARM TO HOT AFTERNOONS for the weekend across inland northwest California. With periods of offshore winds, areas of wildfire smoke and haze will tend to expand south and west across our region this weekend. This is also expected to keep the marine layer off the coast. An upper level trough will bring some modest cooling and onshore flow for next week. (NWS)
YESTERDAY'S HIGHS: Ukiah 102°, Yorkville 101°, Boonville 96°, Fort Bragg 68°
42 NEW COVID CASES reported in Mendocino County yesterday afternoon.
A TERRIBLE MONTH: Thus far in August, Mendocino County has reported 1217 new Covid cases and 9 deaths.
COUNTY OF MENDOCINO SEEKING WATER HAULING SERVICES STARTING AS EARLY AS AUGUST 31, 2021
The County of Mendocino is seeking water hauling services starting as early as Tuesday, August 31, 2021. A formal bidding process will be conducted in the near future.
The County is seeking proposals from Certified Water Haulers (or pending certification) for a per gallon and per hour estimate to haul water. Proposals should include your price and availability and the maximum number of per day you would be available to haul.
In order to perform this service you will have to be a certified water hauler with the State of California.
The estimates on the volumes are currently 47,500 gallons per day transferred for the months of September, October, and November. This is assuming 20 working days in the month.
The pickup location is City of Ukiah Water Treatment Plant, 935 River Street, Ukiah to 19701 Summers Lane, Fort Bragg.
For more information, please visit: mendocinocounty.org/government/mendocino-county-water-agency/water-hauling.
General questions related to the drought emergency should be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
MS NOTES: Even though the hauled water is to be deposited into the Fort Bragg treatment plant to be treated again, the County is only accepting bids from haulers who are licensed to haul potable water (unless the hauler applies for and receives a State-issued waiver based on equivalent capability). This will reduce the number of possible haulers and increase the cost.
GET READY: AV ARTISTS, OPEN STUDIOS, NOVEMBER 6&7
SATURDAY AT YORKVILLE MARKET
It's Saturday again, and Chef B is whipping up another delicious feast! Today's menu options are a mild yellow beef curry with rice or vegetarian Pad-Thai. We will be serving from 12:30-4:30 or until sold out. Price per plate is $15.00. Look forward to seeing you soon!
PS. Next Saturday, Labor Day Weekend, we will be serving made-to-order Burgers! Mark your Calendars!
LAKE MENDO DROPS TO NEW LOW
Level to be below Oct. 1 water storage goal this week
by Justine Frederiksen
The amount of water stored in Lake Mendocino dropped below 20,000 acre-feet this week, but a local water official said meeting that benchmark early does not mean it is time to panic even more.
“Yes, we met that mark sooner than was hoped, but that does not mean terrible things are going to happen,” said Elizabeth Salomone, manager of the Russian River Flood Control & Water Conservation Improvement District.
Salomone said that the operators of the reservoir, Sonoma County Water Agency, hoped to have 20,000 acre-feet in the lake by Oct. 1 in order to “maintain adequate downstream flows for fisheries and human health and safety needs for municipal users.”
According to the water agency, “a minimum storage goal of 20,000 AF by Oct. 1, 2021, was recommended by Sonoma Water in the hopes of providing an adequate carry-over water supply entering the 2021-22 fall-winter rainy season. The reservoir’s storage level dropped below 20,000 AF on Thursday, Aug. 26, signaling a worsening of the historic drought in the Russian River watershed.”
Salomone said that not meeting the storage goal does not mean that more curtailments are coming, but that “we need to keep doing what we’re doing, and conserve water.”
The good news, she said, is that “the agricultural season is almost over, the harvest is underway, and usage will taper down pretty quickly in the next three to four weeks,” so the amount of water being taken from the river will be reduced significantly.
“But I know my customers have already cut back usage, and then cut back even more,” she said of the farmers the RRFC & CID serves. “They are treating every drop as precious.”
She also pointed out that water losses from the river and lake are not all due to allowed uses, because water is also being diverted to illegal marijuana farms or other unauthorized agricultural uses.
“But also there is loss to evaporation, and the land is dry, the air is dry, and the trees are soaking up water,” she said, describing just about everything as needing water right now.
Earlier this month, the State of California curtailed water rights for hundreds of water rights holders in the upper and lower Russian River regions. Salomone said that in the past two weeks, state water representatives have been doing field inspections along the Russian River in Mendocino County to make sure that water users have the proper measuring equipment, and are complying with the curtailments.
FROM THE FACEBOOK PAGE of the Corners of the Mouth Market, Mendocino:
“SAD NEWS! Our dear friend and co worker Dan Bergeson passed away on August 16th. According to the coroner’s report 'Cause of death is congestive heart failure due to hypertensive cardiovascular disease'. Please refute rumors that he died of COVID or the COVID vaccine. Dan was a beloved and integral part of Corners and our community. He will be sorely missed.”
MEET THE CANDIDATES: The San Diego Union-Tribune has run a helpful series of Q&As with the gubernatorial candidates:
THE BOARD of the Anderson Valley Elder Home has made the difficult decision not to host our usual booth at this year’s Mendocino County Fair and Apple Show. For many years, the AVEH booth has sold donated local wines as a fundraiser, and we’ve always leased an extra booth next to it in order to provide a comfortable space where folks could sit, schmooze and also get information about local senior services. Not opening the booth was not an easy decision. We very much want to contribute to the Fair, showcase local wines, and connect with friends and neighbors, as well as raise money for the Elder Home. But given the sharp increase in Covid cases pretty much everywhere, we feel a particular need not to put the health of our volunteers and patrons – especially our seniors – at risk. We wish everyone a safe journey through to the end of this risky business, and we are hoping for a vibrant County Fair in 2022.
On June 21st 2021, longtime resident of Mendocino County, Stephen Mayer Anapolsky exited the planet. He was a generous, funny, smart, caring, adventurous, creative, & hardworking man. He was ahead of his time in many ways. He lived a much storied life to it's fullest. Stephen loved nature, people, and especially dogs. He is survived by his three children, his three grandchildren, and his older sister.
Stephen will be sorely missed by those who loved and knew him. Celebration of life will be held at the Larry Spring Museum, 225 E Redwood Ave, Fort Bragg, CA 95437, Saturday August 21st 2021 at 3pm.
Anapolsky profile/background: peterkuitenbrouwer.com/pdfs/PaulStory.V3.pdf
SUPERVISOR MULHEREN POSTED THE FOLLOWING DECLARATION on her facebook page last week: “All agenda items will have a fiscal detail that outlines whether an item is in budget or what the expected recovery is if it’s not.” And last week’s special meeting agenda did have such information.
BUT NEXT WEEK’S AGENDA has nothing about “fiscal detail” or whether any of the items are budgeted etc. Will she complain?
To the Editor:
Open letter to Supervisor Glenn McGourty,
At the Board of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday, August 17th, Supervisor Glenn McGourty spoke profusely in support of retaining the incompetent and sadistic USDA Wildlife Services to implement Mendocino County’s wildlife management program. In his disjointed blatherings, McGourty seemed to be completely oblivious to the obvious contradictions contained within his own statements.
McGourty claimed that most of the ranchers he knows use non-lethal methods to protect their livestock and only rarely call on Wildlife Services to kill coyotes. But in his next breath, he says that if the County terminates its contract with Wildlife Services, ranchers will take matters into their own hands and mayhem will ensue out in countryside. Which is it Supervisor, are the ranchers friendly neighbors or a pack of marauding killers? You can’t have it both ways.
McGourty said over and over again how much he loves wildlife. But in his next breath, he demonizes coyotes as vicious evil lamb killers.
Which is it Supervisor, do you love wildlife or do you hate them for exhibiting their natural behaviors? You can’t have it both ways.
Let’s face it Supervisor McGourty, its the ranchers who are the problem, not the coyotes. When ranchers graze defenseless sheep way out in remote areas of the County, what do you expect to happen?
Ultimately, the full Board made the right decision to terminate the County’s contract with Wildlife Services on a 3 to 2 vote with Supervisors McGourty and Dan Gjerde in dissent. Also at the Board meeting, Supervisor John Haschak informed the Board that he is working on developing an “exclusion service” that will provide all County residents with non-lethal alternatives to protect their property from wildlife damage.
Supervisor McGourty, if ranchers really care about wildlife as much as you say they do, then they should jump at the chance to implement effective non-lethal exclusionary methods to protect their livestock. That singular act would untangle your ball of contradictions.
CREDIT IS DUE
I write to voice my opinion about an article written by Katy Tahja and published in the AVA of July 21, 2021. Ms. Tahja has once again “written” an article about the history of the schoolhouses in Mendocino County. The article published in the edition cited above once again shows her ignorance for conventions of giving the source and authors of her information. While she has heavily used excerpts from the “What Became of the Little Red Schoolhouse?” series, she never credits the persons responsible for researching, collecting and compiling the vast wealth of information contained in the series. Alice Holmes, my mother, and Joanne Matson, her sister, spent untold hours, and six years assembling this vast quantity of information so that it could be accessed for all interested in the local history the County.
Since she draws so heavily on this source she should have noted that the authors carefully cite the sources of the information in their work. I am disappointed that Ms. Tahja continues to plagiarize from the work of my family never giving credit to the two native daughters of Mendocino County who made her information available. I implore her to be more forthright in the future and give credit where credit is due.
Jill Holmes Walker
KATY TAHJA REPLIES: I accept the criticism that I have not acknowledged the two outstanding women who gathered the information for the five volumes of ”What Became of the Little RedSchoolhouse?” Alice Holmes and Joanne Mason gave years of time to assemble these volumes and I will be ever grateful for their research as I share Mendocino County history with AVA readers. Their names will be included in any future references to the volume.
EAST SIDE POTTER VALLEY ROAD, from 1998 to 2021, more than 20 years and still counting — a case study in why so Mendo roads remain unimproved.
The initial project planning funding came in 1998 (however the idea of continuing the same sort of improvement as the 1977 road upgrade from Highway 20 into Potter Valley was discussed right after that improvement project). The project was proposed as a State Transportation Improvement Project (STIP) funded - Renovation and Safety Enhancements Project in 2000. The STIP funding source requires that a road be brought to American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials’ (AASHTO) standards. This requires making both horizontal and vertical geometry modifications on the hill as well as basic widening in the straight segments. MCDoT applied for the STIP project and was deemed eligible because we have an accident record and a roadway with a “runoff” and “lane cross” safety problem. Additionally, because the road base is so deteriorated, it cannot simply be repaved it must be rebuilt from the base up. Therefore, the grant was approved and the conditions of that approval provide safety improvements. Specifically, providing three to eight feet of shoulder as a “recovery zone” so vehicles that stray from the travel lane have a chance to recover and don’t immediately drop off into a ditch. This also allows vehicles encountering oncoming traffic drifting over the centerline some avoidance area. AASHTO standards provide for a wider “clear zone,” without hard obstructions, so a vehicle leaving the traveled way (forced or distracted) is less likely to result in serious injury or damage. This grant allows us to ultimately make a safer road that is up to standards.
In the initial years of project planning the idea of an 80-foot right-of-way with bike lanes and an equestrian trail were considered. However, from the beginning there were also less rigorous options including just meeting minimum AASHTO standards which were finally determined to be the only feasible way to meet grant funding requirements and achieve the desired safety elements for the project. Those safety improvements for the straight portion of the road include widening the average 101⁄2 foot paved lanes to 14 feet (according to AASHTO is 12-foot lanes and 2-foot paved shoulders) for a total 28 feet of paved road. AASHTO recommends 2 to 8-foot paved shoulders, so MCDoT took the minimum property necessary and plans to stripe 11-foot lanes with 3-foot paved shoulders to provide some traffic calming effect. Beyond this, we plan for the gravel shoulders to be between 1 and 5 feet (also the minimum) and the sharp ditch drop-off will be sloped flatter. MCDoT is meeting the safety goals of the project with minimum widening. A 28-foot paved road is bare bones minimum – County development standards on new roads of this type commonly require paved widths of 32 to 36 feet (38 feet is minimum for designated bike lanes which we are not building).
There are not formal bike lanes but there will be a 3 foot paved shoulder and 5 feet of gravel in most places which people could use to bike or ride if they want to; but we are not widening for that purpose – widening is for the traffic recovery zone.
For the most part, the road alignment will not be changed from its current position, only widened. The exception is a 1,400-foot portion of the road near the northern end of the project that currently contains two sharp switchback curves (Mile Post 5.58 to 6.73 or roughly in understandable terms from the bottom of Spenser Hill (Eckels Ranch - 11170 Eastside Potter Valley Road) to the sharp turn where ESPV turns 90 degrees at 10909 Main Street, Potter Valley. This is the Phase 1 Base Bid 2021 Contract). The alignment of this section of road is to be straightened. The radius of the curve at the northern-most end of the 4-mile straight stretch will be increased to meet current highway speed design criteria.
In another road improvement whiten Mile Post 5.58 to 6.73 is the abrupt cresting of the hill near MP 5.5 which fails to meet current highway sight visibility requirements. This hill crest is to be brought into specifications by down-cutting the road approximately 10 feet as it crests this hill. This will significantly reduce the vertical profile of the road at this site, increasing visibility for traffic in both directions.
An estimated 144 utility poles required relocation to accommodate the widening. Some tree and brush removal will be required to complete road widening and pole relocation. When any PG&E poles are relocated, the new installations are required to meet current, stricter fire prevention standards, necessitating relatively complete vegetation clearance near transformer poles and under lines (regulations and PG&E policy). Oaks and other native tree species will be affected.
Most existing roadside drainage ditches and some Potter Valley Irrigation District (PVID) channels will likewise need to be replaced or moved outward from their current locations during reconstruction. The PVID will use this replacement opportunity to upgrade some of their aged and undersized culverts, distribution boxes, gates, etc.
THE LUCAS GARDEN, UKIAH, MAYBE 1900
Counties with wildfires listed below:
- Amador County - Caldor Fire
- Butte County - Dixie Fire
- El Dorado County - Caldor Fire
- Kern County - French Fire
- Lassen County - Dixie Fire
- Plumas County - Dixie Fire
- Riverside County - Rock Fire
- Shasta County - Dixie Fire, McFarland Fire
- Siskiyou County - Antelope Fire, McCash Fire, River Complex
- Tehama County - Dixie Fire, McFarland Fire
- Trinity County - McFarland Fire, Monument Fire, River Complex
- Tulare County - Walkers Fire (wilderness area fire)
- Tuolumne County - Tiltill Fire (wilderness area fire)
Persistent unhealthy air quality continues as winds are bringing smoke from fires to the west into the forecast area. This smoke movement is predominantly to the northeast, affecting Macdoel, Tulelake, and Klamath Falls. Fire activity increases during the heating of daytime hours, and daytime smoke from the nearby Antelope Fire continues to bring Hazardous air quality into Tennant, with conditions improving during overnight hours. Moderate conditions are expected south of the Antelope fire. Alturas may experience smoke from the Dixie fire this afternoon. Beginning tomorrow, smoke movement is expected to shift toward the south with some relief for communities north of the fire. With shifting winds and multiple fires in the area, conditions can change quickly. https://wildlandfiresmoke.net/outlooks/NECalifornia
Dixie Fire - Butte, Lassen, Plumas, Shasta & Tehama Counties
Size/Containment: 735,064 acres and 45% contained as of Wednesday morning
Evacuations: Repopulation is occurring where safely possible. Evacuation Orders and Warnings in remain in effect.
Road Closures: Road closures remain for Hwy 89 and 36 with a threat to Highway 395.
Threats: Threats to critical water and power infrastructure, critical communications infrastructure, major County service facilities threatened such as Lassen County Hospital, Sheriff’s office, Lassen County Court and Supervisors chamber and fire stations, high value private timberlands, Multiple Watersheds impacted, critical wildlife habitat, and multiple Cultural and historical sites.
Fire Activity: Winds continued to surface over the fire throughout the night, keeping the fire active. Humidity values did rise, allowing for spotting to be reduced, but heavy fuels still retained heat and continued to burn through the night. Thermal belts became stronger overnight with poor RH recoveries along the midslopes. Smoke settled over the fire in the early morning hours, moderating fire activity.
West Zone: Winds continued throughout the night keeping the fire active. Humidity levels did rise in areas of the fire reducing spotting except along the mid slopes where poor recoveries in the thermal belts were experienced. Smoke settled over the fire in the early morning hours, however, moderating fire activity. SW winds are again forecasted with temperatures in the 80s.
East Zone: On the east end of the fire there was a small slop-over between the road and Antelope Lake that firefighters were able to catch and line. Between Antelope Lake and Genesee Valley the fire continues to back down the slope towards the road. Yesterday dozers and crews worked at trying to stop southward progression by the Walker slop-over and were supported by aviation assets, they will continue line construction east today. Late in the day the Grizzly fire produced two spot fires to the east between the Walker slop-over and the Grizzly spot and these were visible from Quincy. Overnight they grew together and are estimated to be around 500 acres in size and are connected to the the main spot.
Smoke Outlook: Southwesterly winds yesterday were able to drift much of the smoke in the forecast area off the to the east and improve air quality into the Moderate range in most communities, including those seeing consistently poor air such as Chester. Similar conditions are expected today as the smoke that has settled into valley bottoms overnight, or through this morning, should lift and improve by the afternoon hours. Changes are expected tomorrow as winds over the fire lessen and higher level transport winds shift more northerly. This will limit afternoon clearing and allow smoke from fires to the north to seep into the forecast area. Tomorrow's air quality is looking to be in the USG to Unhealthy ranges. https://wildlandfiresmoke.net/outlooks/EasternSierra
McFarland Fire - Shasta, Tehama, & Trinity Counties Size/Containment: 119,560 acres and 73% contained as of Wednesday morning
Evacuations: Evacuation Orders and Warnings remain in effect.
Road Closures: Highway 36 remains closed. Local road, trail and area closures remain.
Threats: Threats to critical power, gas and communication infrastructure, cultural and historical sites.
Fire Activity: Moderate fire behavior isolated to the Beegum Creek area.
Smoke Outlook: Improved smoke conditions in most areas again as much of the smoke will be pushed northeast of fire again. Mountain communities near active fires will continue to see Unhealthy conditions during the day but will see some improvement overnight. Smoke will continue to slowly drain down the Trinity River during the morning until up-canyon winds pick up in the afternoon. Willow Creek and surrounding communities will see smoke into the Unhealthy range, before returning to Good conditions, with those communities closer to the fire seeing higher levels of smoke. Areas southwest of the fire should generally see Good to Moderate conditions today. Redding and other communities along the Sacramento River will generally see conditions in Moderate but may see smoke levels increase tonight and tomorrow. https://wildlandfiresmoke.net/outlooks/Shasta-TrinityArea
Russian River Cleanup (take two) This Saturday, August 28 – End of Norgard Lane – Sponsored by South Ukiah Rotary.
A huge thank you to South Ukiah Rotary for stepping up to help organize and implement this cleanup. We cleaned up a ton of trash on August 14 but several sites, far worse than the one shown here, still need our attention. The trash is all in the riparian zone right next to the river. The cleanup is timed for 8am to 12noon but feel free to come late and leave early.
In addition to South Ukiah Rotary this cleanup is assisted by the generous contributions and assistance of Schat’s Bakery, Chevalier Vineyard Management, District Attorney David Eyster, the City of Ukiah and the Mendocino County Resource Conservation District. Please wear sturdy shoes and long pants and bring a water bottle and gloves if you have them.
Pickers, trash bags, extra gloves and disposable masks will be provided and multiple locations will allow for Social Distancing. If you wish to work entirely by yourself or as a couple please let us know at check in and we will accommodate your request.
60 NEW CASES & 61st DEATH - This has become a pandemic of the unvaccinated. People are getting sick and dying primarily because they followed internet hacks, quacks and trolls instead of science.
Mendocino County Public Health has been notified of another Mendocino County resident who has been lost to the COVID-19 Virus. We send our condolences to his family and friends.
A 43 year old Ukiah man has been confirmed as Mendocino County's 61st death. At this time Public Health asks all Mendocino County residents to exercise caution when placing themselves in situations that could expose them to COVID-19, especially considering the new more infectious Delta variant. Mendocino County Public Health asks that you follow all CDC and CDPH guidance’s at this time. Vaccination, masking and social distancing remain the best options forcombating the Covid-19 Virus.
The individual in question was not vaccinated.
DROP THAT ROCK, JESSICA!
On Sunday, August 22, 2021 at about 9:34 PM Mendocino County Sheriff's Office Deputies were dispatched to a disturbance at a residence in the 76000 block of Henderson Lane in Covelo.
The Deputies were advised Jessica Oliver, 36, of Covelo had been in an argument with two individuals. During the argument, Oliver picked up rocks and threw them at the individuals prior to leaving the scene.
Upon arrival, the Deputies found a vehicle (which belonged to one of the individuals) with a broken rear window reportedly caused by Oliver.
Deputies located Oliver and subsequently arrested her for felony vandalism, and committing a crime while out on bail).
Oliver was booked into the Mendocino County Jail where she was to be held in lieu of $40,000 bail.
BOARD OF SUPERVISORS MEETING AGENDA - AUGUST 31, 2021
Community Partners, Colleagues, and Interested Parties:
The Board of Supervisors Meeting Agenda for the Tuesday, August 31st, 2021, meeting is now available on the County website: https://mendocino.legistar.com/Calendar.aspx
Please contact Clerk of the Board at (707) 463-4441 if you have any questions regarding this message.
REDISTRICING ADVISORY COMMISSION
Date: 09/01/2021 3:00 PM - 5:00 PM
UKIAH STREETSCAPE UPDATE
Not much left to do but celebrate! As one of the followers of this project, we hope you’ll join the celebration tomorrow (Saturday, August 28th from 11-4). A complete schedule of events and activities is below, but it will feature a car show, live music, kids activities, and much more.
As for construction and project elements, we are still waiting on the sensors for the traffic signals. New signage is also on order, as are the bike racks. Final cleanup and repairs are still in the works, so you’ll see some construction workers here and there over the next couple of weeks. A couple of trees were vandalized, and those are scheduled to be replaced today (Friday).
Also…is it too soon for this? Phase 2 is already in the design phase, and will be constructed next year. Phase 2 will extend the project both to the north and the south, from Henry to Norton and from Mill to Gobbi. Grants funds have already been secured. We expect this phase to be FAR less disruptive for a number of reasons, but nonetheless, we’ll be keeping everyone informed as we work through the process.
Please keep scrolling for some great photos and a link to a video that covers the entire duration of the project! Here’s the list of activities and events for tomorrow:
Here’s a link to the event on facebook, in case you want to invite friends!
— Shannon Riley, Deputy City Manager, City of Ukiah, w: (707) 467-5793
I'll believe it when I see if down here on State St., from Washington/Hastings on south past Plowshares. And I'll believe it when I see police giving tickets, and how about a dedicated traffic cop or two? And add Anti-Noise enforcement, esp the damn amped bass crap which should be banned anywhere in the city. Just admonishing the drivers won't cut it...tickets and more tickets works!
CATCH OF THE DAY, August 27, 2021
MAYRA AHUMADA, Fort Bragg. Attempted murder, assault with deadly weapon with great bodily injury, conspiracy.
KEANE DAVIS, Willits. DUI.
AMBER FRENCH, Ukiah. Failure to appear, probation revocation.
JORGE LABRADOR-ARRAGON, Ukiah. Stolen property, controlled substance for sale, failure to appear.
BRANDON MITCHELL, Laytonville. DUI-alcohol&drugs, under influence, controlled substance.
DONALD MOORE, San Rafael/Ukiah. DUI, controlled substance, paraphernalia.
ADAM NOTT, Crescent City/Ukiah. County parole violation.
SHAWN POTE, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, contempted of court, resisting. (Frequent flyer.)
CASEY RAY, Willits. Failure to appear.
JULIAN SALAZAR IV, Ukiah. Failure to appear.
SETH SMART, Willits. Ammo possession by prohibited person, large capacity magazine, probation revocation.
LEXIE THOMPSON, Chico. Lewd/lascivious with child under 14, oral copulation of victim under 16, sexual penetration with foreign object of victim under 16, probation revocation.
JAN TOVAR-SEVILLA, Ukiah. Failure to appear.
AVRIL WRIGHT, Clearlake/Ukiah. Smuggling controlled substances or liquor into jail, failure to appear.
SALVADOR YANEZ, Ukiah. Probation revocation.
THOSE WERE THE DAYS
Some of you getting this were artists in residence there, others of you were friends, visitors, students, and…
Taken in front of Fort Penngrove @ 490 Penngrove Ave in rural Petaluma across from corner of Goodwin Ave.
ONE OF THE REASONS Biden is having such a hard time making the case for the US’s exit from Afghanistan is that he is congenitally inarticulate and he has no one around him who can make the case for him. Nearly everyone in both parties has been corrupted by this war: voted for it, funded it, planned it, rationalized it, stood silent as it started, very early on, to go bad, closed their eyes to drone killings, torture, and an occupation with no end. Even Bernie Sanders and Ron Paul. They own this war and the war ended up owning them. Aside from Barbara Lee, there aren’t any heroes in this 40-year-long fiasco. But if Biden can stand firm as he’s ambushed from all sides, not retreat from his retreat, and finally bring the occupation to an end, he’ll go down in the history books a lot more credibly than the jackals who are assailing him... It’s so damn infuriating that the national press corps, like the drooling pack of war dogs they are, have put me in the position of defending Biden’s “precipitous” (if you can possibly call it that after 20 years) retreat from Afghanistan.
— Jeff St. Clair
THERE WAS A RARE MOMENT, in late 1984, of Charlie throwing his drummer’s punch–a punch I’ve seen a couple of times and it’s lethal; it carries a lot of balance and timing. He has to be badly provoked. He threw this one at Mick. We were in Amsterdam for a meeting. Mick and I weren’t on great terms at the time, but I said, c’mon, let’s go out. And I lent him the jacket I got married in. We got back to the hotel about five in the morning and Mick called up Charlie. I said, don’t call him at this hour. But he did, and said, “Where’s my drummer?” No answer. He puts the phone down. Mick and I were still sitting there, pretty pissed–give Mick a couple glasses, he’s gone–when, about 20 minutes later, there was a knock at the door. There was Charlie Watts, Savile Row suit, perfectly dressed, tie, shaved, the whole fucking bit. I could smell the cologne! I opened the door and he didn’t even look at me, he walked straight past me, gold hold of Mick and said, “Never call me your drummer again!” Then he hauled him up by the lapels of my jacket and gave him a right hook. Mick fell back onto a silver platter of smoked salmon on the table and began to slide towards the open window and the canal below it. And I was thinking, this is a good one, and then I realized it was my wedding jacket. And I grabbed it and caught Mick just before he slid into the Amsterdam canal. It took me 24 hours after that to talk Charlie down. I thought I’d done it when I took him up to his room, but 12 hours later, he was saying, “Fuck it, I’m gonna go down and do it again.” It takes a lot to wind that man up. “Why did you stop him?” My jacket, Charlie, that’s why!
— Keith Richards, "Life"
IT WOULD ONLY BE CRUEL to burden readers with more opprobrious denunciation of the pathetic figure pretending to lead the nation, but it might be fair to ask: what is to be done about him? It’s looking a little bit as though “Joe Biden” is skidding toward resignation. His body language suggests defeat. When newsman Peter Doocy asked him Thursday evening on live TV about the thirteen American soldiers blown up outside the Kabul airport, he folded up in front of the cameras like a broken accordion. Poor optics, as they say in the spin business. This was after he kept the country waiting for five and a half hours to even make an appearance when news of the bombing broke.
His managers installed a “poison pill” named Kamala Harris as his vice-president, and even members of her own party get the vapors at mere fugitive thoughts of her trying to run the country, giggling from one crisis to another. Meanwhile, the veep cut short her tour of Southeast Asia, rushing to aid beleaguered California Governor Gavin Newsom at a rally to fight his recall vote… but then cut short her Newsom rescue mission to fly on to Washington. Electioneering during the greatest hostage crisis in US history probably equals more poor optics. She will presumably spend the days ahead “standing by” on developments, within reach of the Xanax vial — while a claque of party bigwigs importunes her to get rolling on the 25th amendment.
Some of said bigwigs, including the managing parties behind “Joe Biden,” might be cooking up a neat operation in which “Joe Biden” resigns, Ms. Harris gets elevated to POTUS… Ms. Harris appoints Barack Obama vice-president… and then Ms. Harris resigns, making the popular ex-president president again. The 22nd Amendment only prevents presidents from being elected more than twice, not from being appointed by happenstance. Would they dare? Well, why not? They dared to engineer some pretty audacious election hijinks in 2020.
One thing you can count on, the situation has the potential to get a whole lot worse, both for the nation and for “Joe Biden”. Our new Taliban “partners,” assigned to provide security in-and-around Kabul, may prove to be less than steadfast in their duties as hoped. Thursday’s bloodbath hints at their inadequacies. The number of Americans stranded in Afghanistan remains hypothetical, a thousand… six thousand…nobody seems to know. Plus, Gawd knows how many NATO-ally civilian personnel, international NGO workers, and other people of, shall we say, the Western persuasion, remain trapped.
The ISIS suicide bombings made a pretty bold statement, too. If one ventured to say that our new Taliban partners are something less than gentlemen, how would you describe the cadres of Al Qaeda and ISIS? Poor sports? Ruffians? Misogynists? They have the run of Kabul now, the ability to go from door-to-door, rooting Westerners out, something they probably regard as fun. Do you remember from just a few years ago what kinds of things they like to do to their captives? Cut their heads off. (Notice I didn’t say chop.) Roast them in cages. That could start any minute. What then, “Joe Biden”?
But, then, maybe something else happens, something rather shocking: a play to remove the current president by unorthodox means, say, a rising up of parties seemingly outside of US government, including a select group of current and former US military officers? An extraordinary hiatus in the long-running usual procedures around the transfer of power? I can say no more about that because I know no more about it — except there are rumors in the wind and this is at least as dark a moment in our history as Valley Forge, Fort Sumter, Pearl Harbor, Nine-eleven. You can’t overstate how ticked-off some resourceful folks are about the current situation.
— James Kunstler
NEWSOM SHOULD GO
Yes, 46 candidates are running to replace Gavin Newsom; 135 ran to replace Gray Davis. Many of the 46 are well known, experienced and well qualified to take over.
While crime spikes, Newsom ordered the early release of 20,000 inmates. He cut $150 million from the state’s fire protection budget and lied about it. We have the highest taxes, gas and home prices in the country.
Poor water management record: we need new reservoirs and dams to capture the next great rainfall. He’s a hypocrite in disallowing our attendance at social gatherings during COVID but spent thousands and went maskless at a private French Laundry affair.
Our children haven’t been able to attend school, but his four have gone to private schools and camps. He allows teachers’ unions to dictate, not using science, about when schools can reopen, who gets vaccinated and wears masks.
Is he proud our schools, ranked No. 41 nationally. We rank high only in pupil-to-teacher ratio. Remember when our state was No. 1?
His Employment Development Department doled out more than $30 billion in fraudulent checks to prison inmates. No refunds. This is just a start. Please vote yes to recall Newsom. We deserve better.
“I AIN’T DRAFT DODGING. I ain’t burning no flag. I ain’t running to Canada. I’m staying right here. You want to send me to jail? Fine, you go right ahead. I’ve been in jail for 400 years. I could be there for four or five more, but I ain’t going no 10,000 miles to help murder and kill other poor people.
"If I want to die, I’ll die right here, right now, fightin' you, if I want to die. You my enemy, not no Chinese, no Vietcong, no Japanese. You my opposer when I want freedom. You my opposer when I want justice. You my opposer when I want equality. Want me to go somewhere and fight for you? You won’t even stand up for me right here in America, for my rights and my religious beliefs. You won’t even stand up for me right here at home."
— Muhammad Ali
TIP FOR EFFUSIVE WRITERS
Run off at the mouth?
Don’t know when or how to stop?
You might try haiku.
— Jim Luther
THE GREAT GAME OF SMASHING NATIONS
by John Pilger
More than a generation ago, Afghanistan won its freedom, which the U.S., Britain and their “allies” destroyed.
As a tsunami of crocodile tears engulfs Western politicians, history is suppressed. More than a generation ago, Afghanistan won its freedom, which the United States, Britain and their “allies” destroyed.
In 1978, a liberation movement led by the People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA) overthrew the dictatorship of Mohammad Dawd, the cousin of King Zahir Shah. It was an immensely popular revolution that took the British and Americans by surprise.
Foreign journalists in Kabul, reported The New York Times, were surprised to find that “nearly every Afghan they interviewed said [they were] delighted with the coup.” The Wall Street Journal reported that “150,000 persons … marched to honor the new flag … the participants appeared genuinely enthusiastic.”
The Washington Post reported that “Afghan loyalty to the government can scarcely be questioned.” Secular, modernist and, to a considerable degree, socialist, the government declared a program of visionary reforms that included equal rights for women and minorities. Political prisoners were freed and police files publicly burned.
Under the monarchy, life expectancy was 35; 1-in-3 children died in infancy. Ninety percent of the population was illiterate. The new government introduced free medical care. A mass literacy campaign was launched.
For women, the gains had no precedent; by the late 1980s, half the university students were women, and women made up 40 percent of Afghanistan’s doctors, 70 percent of its teachers and 30 percent of its civil servants.
Backed by the West
So radical were the changes that they remain vivid in the memories of those who benefited. Saira Noorani, a female surgeon who fled Afghanistan in 2001, recalled:
“Every girl could go to high school and university. We could go where we wanted and wear what we liked … We used to go to cafes and the cinema to see the latest Indian films on a Friday … it all started to go wrong when the mujahedin started winning … these were the people the West supported.”
For the United States, the problem with the PDPA government was that it was supported by the Soviet Union. Yet it was never the “puppet” derided in the West, neither was the coup against the monarchy “Soviet backed,” as the American and British press claimed at the time.
President Jimmy Carter’s secretary of state, Cyrus Vance, later wrote in his memoirs: “We had no evidence of any Soviet complicity in the coup.”
In the same administration was Zbigniew Brzezinski, Carter’s national security adviser, a Polish émigré and fanatical anti-communist and moral extremist whose enduring influence on American presidents expired only with his death in 2017.
On July 3, 1979, unknown to the American people and Congress, Carter authorized a $500 million “covert action” program to overthrow Afghanistan’s first secular, progressive government. This was code-named by the CIA Operation Cyclone.
The $500 million bought, bribed and armed a group of tribal and religious zealots known as the mujahedin. In his semi-official history, Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward wrote that the CIA spent $70 million on bribes alone. He describes a meeting between a CIA agent known as “Gary” and a warlord called Amniat-Melli:
“Gary placed a bundle of cash on the table: $500,000 in one-foot stacks of $100 bills. He believed it would be more impressive than the usual $200,000, the best way to say we’re here, we’re serious, here’s money, we know you need it … Gary would soon ask CIA headquarters for and receive $10 million in cash.”
Recruited from all over the Muslim world, America’s secret army was trained in camps in Pakistan run by Pakistani intelligence, the CIA and Britain’s MI6. Others were recruited at an Islamic College in Brooklyn, New York – within sight of the doomed Twin Towers. One of the recruits was a Saudi engineer called Osama bin Laden.
The aim was to spread Islamic fundamentalism in Central Asia and destabilize and eventually destroy the Soviet Union.
In August 1979, the U.S. embassy in Kabul reported that “the United States’ larger interests … would be served by the demise of the PDPA government, despite whatever setbacks this might mean for future social and economic reforms in Afghanistan.”
Read again the words above I have italicized. It is not often that such cynical intent is spelt out as clearly. The U.S. was saying that a genuinely progressive Afghan government and the rights of Afghan women could go to hell.
Six months later, the Soviets made their fatal move into Afghanistan in response to the American-created jihadist threat on their doorstep. Armed with CIA-supplied Stinger missiles and celebrated as “freedom fighters” by Margaret Thatcher, the mujahedin eventually drove the Red Army out of Afghanistan.
The mujahedin were dominated by war lords who controlled the heroin trade and terrorized rural women. Later, in the early 1990s the Taliban would emerge, an ultra-puritanical faction, whose mullahs wore black and punished banditry, rape and murder but banished women from public life.
In the 1980s, I made contact with the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan, known as RAWA, which had tried to alert the world to the suffering of Afghan women. During the Taliban time they concealed cameras beneath their burqas to film evidence of atrocities, and did the same to expose the brutality of the Western-backed mujahedin. “Marina” of RAWA told me, “We took the videotape to all the main media groups, but they didn’t want to know ….”
In 1992, the enlightened PDPA government was overrun. The president, Mohammad Najibullah, had gone to the United Nations to appeal to for help. On his return, he was hanged from a street light.
“I confess that [countries] are pieces on a chessboard,” said Lord Curzon in 1898, “upon which is being played out a great game for the domination of the world.”
The viceroy of India was referring in particular to Afghanistan. A century later, Prime Minister Tony Blair used slightly different words.
“This is a moment to seize,” he said following 9/11. “The Kaleidoscope has been shaken. The pieces are in flux. Soon they will settle again. Before they do, let us re-order this world around us.”
On Afghanistan, he added this: “We will not walk away [but ensure] some way out of the poverty that is your miserable existence.”
Blair echoed his mentor, President George W. Bush, who spoke to the victims of his bombs from the Oval Office: “The oppressed people of Afghanistan will know the generosity of America. As we strike military targets, we will also drop food, medicine and supplies to the starving and suffering … “
Almost every word was false. Their declarations of concern were cruel illusions for an imperial savagery “we” in the West rarely recognize as such.
In 2001, Afghanistan was stricken and depended on emergency relief convoys from Pakistan. As the journalist Jonathan Steele reported, the invasion indirectly caused the deaths of some 20,000 people as supplies to drought victims stopped and people fled their homes.
Eighteen months later, I found unexploded American cluster bombs in the rubble of Kabul which were often mistaken for yellow relief packages dropped from the air. They blew the limbs off foraging, hungry children.
In the village of Bibi Maru, I watched a woman called Orifa kneel at the graves of her husband, Gul Ahmed, a carpet weaver, and seven other members of her family, including six children, and two children who were killed next door.
An American F-16 aircraft had come out of a clear blue sky and dropped an Mk82 500-pound bomb on Orifa’s mud, stone and straw house. Orifa was away at the time. When she returned, she gathered the body parts.
Months later, a group of Americans came from Kabul and gave her an envelope with 15 notes: a total of $15. “Two dollars for each of my family killed,” she said.
The invasion of Afghanistan was a fraud. In the wake of 9/11, the Taliban sought to distant themselves from Osama bin Laden. They were, in many respects, an American client with which the administration of Bill Clinton had done a series of secret deals to allow the building of a $3 billion natural gas pipeline by a U.S. oil company consortium.
In high secrecy, Taliban leaders had been invited to the U.S. and entertained by the CEO of the Unocal company in his Texas mansion and by the CIA at its headquarters in Virginia. One of the deal-makers was Dick Cheney, later George W. Bush’s vice president.
In 2010, I was in Washington and arranged to interview the mastermind of Afghanistan’s modern era of suffering, Zbigniew Brzezinski. I quoted to him his autobiography in which he admitted that his grand scheme for drawing the Soviets into Afghanistan had created “a few stirred up Muslims”.
“Do you have any regrets?” I asked.
“Regrets! Regrets! What regrets?”
When we watch the current scenes of panic at Kabul airport, and listen to journalists and generals in distant TV studios bewailing the withdrawal of “our protection,” isn’t it time to heed the truth of the past so that all this suffering never happens again?
WITH RECALL LOOMING, Newsom Gets Some Help From Friends in Legislature
With Gov. Gavin Newsom facing a Sept. 14 recall election, fellow Democrats in the Legislature appeared to protect him from having to sign or veto some controversial measures as they culled hundreds of bills Thursday in the biannual ritual known as the suspense file.
NOT THE TIME
I know many people are upset with the drought, the fire season, COVID, and our nation’s politics. It’s easy to find fault with anyone who is in office when we have so many worries.
This recall is not a referendum on Newsom’s effectiveness.
If more than 50 percent of the people who bother to vote support the recall, our Governor becomes whoever got the most votes in the second question. That could be someone who is only supported by 10 percent of Californians. That is not representation.
This is not the time to create more disruption in our state. Let’s wait until the 2022 Gubernatorial election to decide if we still want Newsom or who the majority of California voters want as their leader.
Your vote does matter. When you get your ballot, please vote and send it in!
VIRTUAL PICNIC FOR THE DEMOCRATS
Democrats of Mendocino County agreed to avoid Covid risks, so the Labor Day Picnic will be Virtual. See attached flyer. The zoom information can be obtained by contacting Susan Savage 707.962.7026. Union leader will be speaking as well as our electeds.
IN FACT you didn't even need to go out to have a berserk night in John's [Lennon] company. One evening in New York, we were holed up in my suite at the Sherry-Netherland Hotel, determinedly making our way through a pile of coke, when someone knocked at the door. My first thought was that it was the police: if you've taken a lot of cocaine and someone unexpectedly knocks at the door, your immediate thought is always that it's the police. John gestured at me to see who it was. I looked through the spyhole. My reaction was a peculiar combination of relief and incredulity. "John," I whispered, "It's Andy Warhol."
John shook his head frantically and drew his finger across his throat. "No fucking way. Don't answer it," he hissed. "What?" I whispered back. "What do you mean don't answer it? It's Andy Warhol." There was more knocking. John rolled his eyes. "Has he got that fucking camera with him?" he asked. I looked again through the spyhole and nodded. Andy took his Polaroid camera everywhere. "Right," said John, "And do you want him coming in here taking photos when you've got icicles of coke hanging out of your nose?" I had to concede that I did not. "Then don't fucking answer it," whispered John, and we crept back to doing what we were doing, trying to ignore the continued knocking of the world's most famous pop artist.
—Elton John, 2019; from "Me"