Cool Dry | 42 New Cases | Covid Fatalities | Pyrocumulonimbus | Finding Boonville | Citrus Fair | Public Health | Boat Race | Financial Planning | Kasten Street | Exercise Bike | Food Banking | Drivers Needed | Lonely Funeral | Ed Notes | Craft Fair | Foxglove Awareness | Yesterday's Catch | Herd Thinning | Conspiracy BS | Most Warlike | Elevated Liars | Encourage Voting | Sick Fantasies | Autumn Leaves | Wood Removal | God Wants | Republican Coup | Weapons & Puppies | Sign Waving | Cognitive Distortions | Cellphone Radiation | Li'l Mo | Military Madness | Overpopulated | Space Boobs | Holy Floodwater | Climate Migration
COOLER, DRY WEATHER is expected to persist tomorrow. Daily smoke coverage will ebb and flow with terrain controlled diurnal winds. A gradual warm up to above average temperatures is expected Friday through the weekend. (NWS)
42 NEW COVID CASES reported in Mendocino County this morning.
LAST THREE COVID DEATHS reported by Mendocino County Public Health:
A 51 year old Willits woman has been confirmed as Mendocino County's 62nd death. The individual in question was not vaccinated.
A 68 year old Covelo man has been confirmed as Mendocino County's 63rd death. The individual in question was not vaccinated.
A 85 year old Willits man has been confirmed as Mendocino County's 64th death. The individual in question was not vaccinated.
WHERE THE HECK IS BOONVILLE?
by Cindy Wilder, Village Member and Honored Volunteer Extraordinaire
We raised our daughters mostly in the Los Angeles suburb of Chatsworth, in the farthest northwest corner of the San Fernando Valley. When we bought there in 1974, Tami was all of five and Tina, just three. Our new home was in a small development surrounded by strawberry fields, corn fields and horse ranches.
During the 21 years we lived there, those open areas were turned one by one, into housing for the growing population of LA suburbanites. When our daughters were finishing high school in the late 80s, Chatsworth was a much different place than it had been back in ‘74. Upon high school graduation in 1987, Tami went north to UC Santa Cruz. Three years later, after a year of JC, Tina headed off to Sonoma State University.
By then, I was a part time preschool teacher and Kirk was about eight years from retirement from the Los Angeles Police Department. With the changes taking place in Chatsworth, we were feeling that we wanted to begin looking for property up north. Two of our old high school friends had moved their family to Santa Rosa in the early 80’s and were enjoying raising their kids there.
In the fall of 1989, I said, “Let’s call Barbara and Pat to see if we could go up for a visit in December, while I have my two weeks off from teaching.”
“Come on up,” they replied enthusiastically when we called.
While staying with them in Santa Rosa, we spent a day exploring north. Kirk had been a pilot since the 70’s and I have loved the redwoods since a trip to Garberville when I was 16. We asked around at the airport in Healdsburg and were told there was a moratorium on building there. “But if you want to drive up to Ukiah, there’s a pilot whose wife is a realtor,” we were told.
The realtor, Kathy, was available and showed us some places in Ukiah, Willits and Lake County. After that day of checking out the area, we were pretty excited about a future in Mendocino County. We ended our visit with our friends and headed back to LA. The next week we got a phone call.
“Have you heard of Boonville?” Kathy was asking.
“Where in the heck is Boonville?” was our response.
“Not far from Ukiah, in the Anderson Valley. My husband flew me there so I could ask around. There’s a property with a house on Estate Drive across from the small airport. I talked to the owners and they are going to have to sell. It’s a great location for a pilot.”
The next weekend, we drove up to Ukiah and Kathy’s husband flew us to Boonville. With both pilot husbands up front in the four place plane, we took off from Ukiah and headed southwest. From my seat behind Kirk, I was looking out the window at more trees below me than I’d ever seen in one place. And many of them were redwoods! Kathy pointed out a road winding through the canyon.
“That’s Hwy 253. We call it the Boonville Road. The drive from Ukiah to Boonville is a little over half an hour, but by air we’ll be there in about 10 minutes.”
Though our intention had been to buy property on which to build a house, this location was too good to pass up. So that weekend, in early 1990, we found ourselves the owners of a house, in a small town in northern California, twenty-nine miles from the town of Cloverdale on Hwy 128, a windy road we had never driven.
With our grown children both living within an hour and a half of us, we felt we had landed in the perfect place, one that was made all the more pleasurable by the welcoming nature of the community in Anderson Valley. Right away I joined the women’s group ICW.
The women in that group helped me integrate into valley life.
Anderson Valley has changed a lot in the last 30 years, but it’s still a great place to call home.
CITRUS FAIR, CLOVERDALE, back in the days of civic pride.
QUE PASA, ANDY?
Re: Boonville (Covid?) Fair
Dr. Andy Coren (Mendocino County Health Officer);
I must say that I am somewhat surprised by this response, considering that virus cases are growing and that by your own admission our hospitals are full. I do consider you to be my friend, and I do not mean any of this personally. My sense is that you are repeating “The County Line” and that is what I am questioning.
Your "recommendations include consideration of: requiring (through promotional material and posters for staff and attendees to show proof of full vaccination or negative test within 72 hours of entering, Universal masking indoors and recommend outdoors especially if immune compromised or unvaccinated, increased ventilation indoors and limiting indoor activities to allow 6' social distancing, attention to eating and drinking (avoiding indoors, keeping social distances, individual portions), hand hygiene, and masking and social distancing performers and during athletic events.”
Why not simply require proof of vaccination or negative test at the point of ticket sale and/or admission of participants? Would this not be a safer alternative? Surely there would be little backlash or economic harm considering that, as you say, we have so many people vaccinated?
Could you explain how the consideration of “economic harm and backlash” informs and influences your recommendations regarding public health?
How many cases of Covid transmission do you consider acceptable at such an event? What number of children infected might be acceptable? Will older people be at any risk if there are no specific requirements for admission?
If "The County cannot police these events,” why cannot they do that? Why do I always see many armed deputies and their dogs in uniform at such events? I have seen them stop and question people - are they not policing?
Would either of you want to take up my question about the legality of the Fair Board deciding for themselves that there was no need to have the scheduled election? It is my position that irregardless of the outcome there should have been an election. What if the President of the US should suddenly decide that it was too much trouble to have an election and that he would just remain President? What if he just alleged that the election had been “stolen?” I also wonder if the County is taking on any additional liability because of this in case of injury or illness?
Please be aware that I consider myself to be a citizen asking questions of my government and that I reserve the right to share my questions and your response with any entity or person that I might choose.
RUSSIAN RIVER AT HEALDSBURG, back in 1938 when there was water.
LEGAL & FINANCIAL PLANNING SERIES (2021)
From: Anderson Valley Village
I thought that you may be interested in this educational series:
This fall, join us for our six-week educational series, “Hope Is Not A Plan,” focused on legal and financial planning for family caregivers.
On each Friday listed below, we will “release” a new video aimed at discussing how legal and financial planning issues can affect caregiving families. Our experts are professionals who have worked in this field for many years, and they have helped many families with their knowledge and expertise! (These videos can also be viewed as recordings on our YouTube Channel.)
These videos will be captioned into Spanish.
Six consecutive Fridays, 10:00-11:00 AM:
Sept. 3rd: “Wills, Living Trusts, POA 101” (Legal Docs 101) presented by Sara Polinsky, Esq., Law Offices of Sarah Polinsky
Sept. 10th: “Scams Targeting Older Adults” presented by Janet Godoy, Supervisor, LA County Dept. of Consumer & Business Affairs
Sept. 17th: “Medi-Cal and In Home Supportive Services (IHSS)” presented by Kim Selfon, IHSS & Medi-Cal Policy Specialist, Bet Tzedek
Sept. 24th: “Estate Planning & Trust Administration” presented by Monica Goel, Partner, TLD Law
Oct. 1st: “Navigating Medicare Benefits and Coverage” presented by Stephanie Denning, Esq., Senior Program Manager/ Staff Attorney, Center for Healthcare Rights
Oct. 8th: “Uncovering the Myths About Medi-Cal” presented by Les Vanderpool, Director of Operations, Medi-Cal Regulation Specialists
More info and to register: https://www.fcsc.usc.edu/legal-financial-planning-series-2021/
MENDOCINO BEFORE ITS FALL
COACH TOOHEY: AVHS football is looking for a used working exercise bike. If you have one taking up space in storage and you would like to donate it, we would love to have it. Thank you!
HELP WANTED STILL! Bus Driver & Volunteer Drivers Needed at the AV Senior Center
The AV Senior Center is looking for a new Bus Driver - Please help spread the word!
In the meantime, they are in great need of *volunteer drivers to help with meal deliveries (Tuesday and/or Thursday to homebound seniors) and trips to doctor appointments.* Reimbursement for gas is available to volunteer drivers for rides to medical appointment. The AV Village has volunteer drivers for our members but many of the seniors that frequent the Senior Center are not currently Village members... Thank you for the support! Contact Renee for more updated info, if you are interested in volunteering or the job:
Renee Lee, Executive Director, Anderson Valley Senior Center. 707.895.3609, firstname.lastname@example.org
THE SUPERVISORS found themselves in the middle of a bizarre dispute Tuesday. What began as a routine appointment of Assistant Auditor Chamise Cubbison to fill out the remaining term of retiring Auditor Lloyd Weer, saw DA David Eyster, in full bluster mode, zoom in to claim that Ms. Cubbison was “wrong” in requiring documentation to accompany a grant claim. Ditto for several DA staffers’ claims for training-related travel.
MS. CUBBISON had rejected the claims for not being accompanied by the proper paperwork backup, and already taxpayers should fall in love with this lady for scrupulously guarding the public purse against windy big spenders like the DA who, incidentally, plays the CEO like a bass viola, getting whatever he wants from her like, for instance, a half-dozen or so investigators to investigate the three crimes a week committed by Mendocino County's master criminals.
EYSTER, though, insisted that the Auditor’s requirement didn’t apply to the DA’s office, and submitted various documents to allegedly prove his point.
BUT THE VALIANT Ms. Cubbison held her ground. She said she was simply following county policy, and as an independent auditor she was duty-bound to impose the local, state and federal rules as necessary.
UNACCUSTOMED to such impertinence from another county office, Eyster continued to insist that he was correct. Ms. Cubbison's predecessor also drew the DA's ire on occasion for simply challenging expenditures and categories of expenditures. The Auditor is supposed to be a nicklenoser. We should be grateful to this lady for challenging every dime these outback Caesers claim reimbursement for.
THE PEOPLE'S PROSECUTOR went on at length about how wrong Ms. Cubbison was, adding that her unapologetic wrongness disqualified her from being appointed interim Auditor.
THE WUSS QUINTET functioning as Supervisors seemed flummoxed by the dispute, and clearly didn’t like being put in a position to rule on the validity of the arguments of the two opposing officials, one of them Mendocino County's lead law enforcement officer.
AFTER several rounds of back and forth between Cubbison and Eyster, neither of whom budged from their positions, the Board punted, deciding to continue Ms. Cubbison as “acting” Auditor in the absence of Weer, but with maybe a pay increase to go with the “acting” position.
THE BOARD then discussed consolidating the offices of Treasurer and Auditor into a larger “Finance Director” job at a later date whenever their $75k-plus Strategic Planning consultant comes up with her undoubtedly clueless strategic plan.
Foxglove contains digoxin aka digitalis and can be quite deadly if ingested in wrong amount or for wrong reasons, as it affects the heart.
Herbs are medicines with interactions, side effects, and in this case well known toxicities.
I believe it is not a native plant although it has “naturalized” and I very much enjoy the blooms throughout our area.
Hope that information protects anyone.
Sharon Paltin, M.D.
CATCH OF THE DAY, September 1, 2021
NICOLE ALVAREZ, Yucaipa/Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
OSCAR CABEZAS-TAFOYA, Ukiah. Probation revocation.
CHRISTOPHER DEMOS, Ukiah. Failure to register with prior convictioins, parole violation.
AMBROSE FALLIS, Covelo. County parole violation.
JOSEPH FITZGERALD, Clearlake/Ukiah. Failure to appear.
CODY JONES, Fort Bragg. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, resisting.
SHAREEN LENZI, Ukiah. Burglary.
DAVID MAXWELL, Oceanside/Ukiah. Failure to appear.
MICHAEL PEASE, Ukiah. Lewd-lascivious upon child under 14.
ZAHIR PECHCERON, Fort Bragg. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, shoplifting, resisting, battery on emergency personnel, probation revocation.
THOMAS VALDEPENA, San Bernardino/Ukiah. Domestic battery, controlled substance for sale.
FRANKLIN WHIPPLE, Covelo. County parole violation, ammo possession by prohibited person, prior felony enhancement.
LOCAL FACTS, WITH NUMBERS, against conspiracy bullshit about covid-19 and vaccination.
Marco here. I read this in today's /Mendocino County Today/ column in the Anderson Valley Advertiser's website, TheAVA.com. It's current, so inside the subscription site, so I'm posting the text instead of just the link:
Vaccinated Versus Unvaccinated Case Rates: The Facts
by William Miller, MD; Chief of Staff at Adventist Health, Mendocino Coast Hospital
I was going to address the monoclonal antibody treatment Regeneron this week, which is an exciting new preventative that we are offering to people who qualify based on symptoms and risk factors. However, I feel that will have to wait until next week. There has been a recent rise in conspiracy theories locally that I feel needs to be addressed head on. Namely, that we in public health and hospital health care are somehow hiding evidence, the word “cover up” has been used, about the “truth” regarding admission rates of vaccinated persons to our hospitals. There is no such cover up... here are the facts as of today:
We are now a little over 6 weeks into the recent surge of cases in Mendocino County which began around July 20th, 2021, and really took off about 2 weeks ago. As of today, our county public health officer, Dr. Andy Coren, confirms that of the 1,060 new cases since July 20th, 2021, the start of the current surge, 945 (89%) were in unvaccinated persons and 115 (11%) were vaccinated. This is very consistent with what we are seeing reported in the medical literature for COVID vaccination effectiveness against the Delta variant, namely about 88% effective with 12% still getting infected. Since roughly 2/3 of the population in the county is now fully vaccinated, this is clear evidence that the vaccinations are effective in reducing infection... otherwise, the percentage of new cases would more closely match the vaccination rate and we would see 64% of new cases in vaccinated persons instead of only 11%.
Mendocino County has three hospitals, all three are part of the Adventist Health system which has been hugely beneficial in allowing us to coordinate resources to respond to this situation. Ukiah Valley Medical Center (AHUV) has 50 beds, Howard Memorial in Willits (AHHM) has 25 beds and Mendocino Coast in Ft. Bragg (AHMC) has 25. Since the current surge escalated about 2 weeks ago, we have been holding steady at our capacity with 100 patients in our three facilities along with a small back log of patients awaiting admission to the hospital in our emergency rooms.
COVID cases have been running consistently between 30-33 of those 100 patients. Please note that the Mendocino County stats on COVID admissions posted on the county website includes ONLY those COVID patients actually admitted into the hospital. It does NOT include patients who were seen in ERs and then sent home. So, when we say we have 33 patients admitted with COVID, we mean in a hospital bed. About 1/3 of those are in an ICU and about 1/4 are intubated.
Of the 30-33 COVID patients admitted at any one time, the number who are fully vaccinated has run consistently around 3 to 4 or about 10%. The range has been 8% to 12%. This compares with the state average in California where 9% of all COVID admissions to a hospital are in vaccinated persons while 91% are in unvaccinated persons. Once again, since the percentage of vaccinated persons in Mendocino County is roughly 64% (age 12 years and up) and statewide is 66%, this is incontrovertible evidence that the vaccines are working to reduce the risk of more serious illness and hospitalization.
To look at it another way, we have 49,600 persons vaccinated in Mendocino County. Yet since July 20th, 2021, there have been only 210 vaccinated persons test positive for COVID. That is an efficacy of over 99%! Grab a calculator and do the math yourself.
There have been 17 COVID related deaths in our county since July 20th, 2021. Three were in vaccinated persons, each of whom had advanced age (one was 99 years old) and/or serious co-morbidities. Meanwhile, 14 deaths were in unvaccinated people which included several under the age of 50 who had no comorbidities.
I understand that some folks may not believe in vaccination and may decide not to get vaccinated themselves. While I do not agree with the reasoning behind this, as I strongly believe that the vaccines are both safe and effective, I respect that personal decision. However, it is not helpful to any of us to have people spread false information or fuel false conspiracy theories that we in health care are all somehow in cahoots with... what.. big pharma? the Russians? the Chinese? a secret underground? Honestly, I just worked a very long and difficult night shift because of this pandemic. I desire nothing more than seeing this thing come to an end. There is no benefit to any of us, especially front-line workers like myself, to covering up the facts. If we have not been more forth coming with the numbers, and I think we have been transparent, then I apologize. It is because we are busy trying to put out the fires and perhaps haven't had the time to rebut every conspiracy theory that pops up on social media.
My ask to all of us is, continue to treat each other with respect and understand that this is a real challenge and that we will prevail, I am certain of that. How many lives are lost in the process, however, depends on whether we stick to the facts or get sidetracked in self-indulgent conspiracy theories that only serve to undermine the sincere efforts of public health officials and health care workers.
You can access previous Miller Reports by visiting www.WMillerMD.com.
"BREAKING POINTS": On Afghanistan, the Revolving Door, and Media Failure to Disclose Contracting Ties of Guests
by Matt Taibbi
Krystal Ball and Saagar Enjeti’s ‘Breaking Points’ is a lot like what TV news would look like if the top dozen or so noxious propaganda imperatives were removed from the broadcast equation. They do a great job of focusing on underlying issues ignored by the usual suspects.
In an interview Tuesday about a piece I wrote on Afghanistan, Krystal and Saagar brought up questions I overlooked, including the revolving door in the contracting world, as well as the remarkable intransigence of the corporate press on the “forever war” front. Many long-ago disgraced or discredited hawks were mysteriously revived to play analyst as the gruesome footage from Kabul rolled in. “The same liars are elevated despite the fact that we knew they were lying,” noted Saagar.
TV rehabilitation of the idiots who got America into the Afghan mess was so conspicuous that it became a late-night punchline, with even Seth Myers making a bit about it.
Myers only focused on the Republican ghouls revived, but he at least noticed, while Vox did a more comprehensive review that also puzzled over the on-air presence of people like Leon Panetta, who oversaw Barack Obama’s “surge.”
Krystal meanwhile brought up the problem of the revolving door. “After you finish your ‘public service,’ a lot of these people go and work in the defense industry, or they go and sit on a board,” she said. This is not only true, it’s a significant related problem to the first issue of pro-war officials herded on air to argue for extended deployments. In a lot of the recent coverage of Afghanistan, we’ve seen Big Five contractor board members not identified as such.
Hat tip to ‘Wayback Machine’ for an April 16th Washington Post op-ed by Meghan O’Sullivan and Richard Haass called, “It’s wrong to pull troops out of Afghanistan. But we can minimize the damage,” after the Post caught some flak for failing to disclose a key detail: The New York Times described O’Sullivan in an August 28th piece by Peter Baker, arguing for a “Middle Ground” strategy instead of a full pullout. Waldo was missing there, too:
You can find endless examples of this, as chronicled recently by the likes of David Sirota, Lee Fang, Rosa Adams, and Ryan Grim, as well as by Adam Johnson.
All these reporters have done a great job of pointing out that we’re almost told about the affiliations of TV guest pundits like David Petraeus (on the board at KKR), former Defense Secretary Mark Esper (a Raytheon alum), General Jack Keane (Humvee maker AM General), Condoleezza Rice (Pentagon contractor C3.ai) and many, many others.
A typical “silent contractor” media tour looks like the recent one involving “former DHS Secretary” Jeh Johnson, who has been opining a lot on the grimness of the Afghan situation of late: “My concern is that it could get worse before it gets better” was a much-circulated observation. Not one of the cable outlets hosting him bothered to note that he sits on the board of Lockheed-Martin.
Nor did CBS’s Face the Nation.
Nor did CBS This Morning.
Nor did MSNBC.
And so on and so on.
A lot of people want to look at the bright side with this withdrawal, and they should, up to a point. However much he may have botched the planning, Joe Biden deserves credit for sticking to his timeline. It is good news that the United States can eventually recognize that a war has stopped serving any purpose, and actually decide to leave a country ten years after the last theoretical reason for staying has expired.
However, the fact that both the government and the national commentariat remain essentially captured by contractor money remains as big a problem as ever, as this episode shows. We haven’t even reached the stage of being able to identify the financial connections of the people occupying center stage on the national televised debate over military policy. It’s a terrible look that the people willing to point things like this out mostly all work for independent media outlets, while the New York Times and Washington Post have to be harassed to do the ethical minimum on that score.
If we properly identified the sponsors of the people with the biggest voices in media and politics, a lot more of what America does at home and around the world would make sense. We need more of that, and thanks to Krystal and Saagar for bringing the topic up.
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
“Have you heard about the free covid vaccine?”
Yes, I have. I got two shots months ago. Zero adverse effects, though an anti-vaxxer has now informed me that I will be keeling over in the Fall. I cannot wait to get my booster shot.
Predicting people are going to “keel over” from vaccination “in the Fall” is like predicting the economy is going to collapse, or peak oil is going to arrive, or nuclear war is going to annihilate us, or Japan is going medieval, or John Durham is going to put Hilary in jail, or Trump is going to be reinstated as president, or the UN is going to declare Islam a global religion, or Biden is going to resign, or there is going to be a second civil war in the USA.
It is all pure fantasy. Evil fantasy. Perverted fantasy. Sick fantasy because enjoying propagating such predictions, just waiting for apocalyptic things to happen, is a twisted cheap misanthropic thrill …
Instead, just enjoy each day as it comes without the need to terrorize others with visions of dysfunctional futures, instead of accusations of “normalcy bias”… instead of spreading fake news and conspiracy theories, instead of insinuating that those who are vaccinated will be “keeling over.”
Or not. Carry on. It is entertaining.
PG&E ANNOUNCES WOOD MANAGEMENT PROGRAM
Post Date: 09/01/2021 10:09 AM
The deadline for landowners to submit permission forms to authorize PG&E to remove trees that were cut down for safety after the 2020 Wildfires has been extended to September 14, 2021. Landowners who are interested in the Wood Management Program and have safely accessible wood from trees that PG&E felled, should call 1-877-295-4949 or email email@example.com.
After the fires, PG&E crews and contract vegetation management crews worked to restore power safely and quickly to customers. This included inspecting and cutting down hazardous trees that posed a potential safety risk to work crews or electric equipment. This work was done in coordination with CAL FIRE and other agencies responding to the wildfires.
After completing tree work, crews chipped wood that was less than four inches in diameter and spread the chips onsite, where possible. Because wood is considered the property of the landowner, any wood larger than four inches in diameter was left onsite. There is no legal or regulatory requirement to remove large-diameter wood, since it is the property of the landowner.
PG&E has been listening to customers and communities and recognizes that wood left on properties can be an additional burden to those already experiencing hardship. In response to this feedback, crews have been returning to those sites and inspecting remaining wood debris to determine if it is eligible for removal. PG&E has been contacting and working directly with landowners who have wood that qualifies for the program to ask if they would allow PG&E to dispose of the large-diameter wood that was cut down for safety.
In addition to phone calls and door knocks that have been conducted to inform property owners of this work, PG&E is sending letters and permission forms to property owners notifying them of the revised deadline to opt-in. Property owner questions should be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-877-295-4949.
Over the next few weeks, PG&E contractor crews will be conducting wood removal work. Although this work is taking place on private property, PG&E and its contractors will obtain all required ministerial permits, such as encroachment permits. PG&E contractor crews performing this work will carry identification and provide it upon request.
Let’s view the recall for what it really is — an ingenious Republican strategy to win the governorship of the largest state, where they are outnumbered 2 to 1.
The recall law is so poorly written that any losing party can pay for enough signatures to qualify, and an obscure election date would be set where a low turnout would be assured. Republican chances of ousting the governor increase incredibly, and they don’t even need a viable candidate.
If more than 50% of those voting oust Gavin Newsom, one of 46 unqualified candidates will become governor of the fifth-largest economy in the world, with possibly as little as 10% of the vote.
This is an attempted Republican coup d’état, legal though it may be. This law enables a total misrepresentation of the leadership in California, contrary to the political ideology of its citizens.
VAL MUCHOWSKI RALLIES THE TROOPS
Calling All Democrats In The Anderson Valley, Philo And Boonville
Come To Sign-Waving On Friday, Sept 3 From 4-5 PM
Highway 128 And Highway 253
Draw Attention To Vote "No" On The Republican Recall Of Governor Newsom
Bring Your Own Sign Or We Will Have Extra Signs
We Will Be Joining Sign Waving At The Same Time All Over The County
Please Be Masked And Social Distance
CELLPHONE RADIATION IS HARMFUL, BUT FEW WANT TO BELIEVE IT
"Our main takeaway from the current review is that approximately 1,000 hours of lifetime cellphone use, or about 17 minutes per day over a 10-year period, is associated with a statistically significant 60% increase in brain cancer."
For more than a decade, Joel Moskowitz, a researcher in the School of Public Health at UC Berkeley and director of Berkeley’s Center for Family and Community Health, has been on a quest to prove that radiation from cellphones is unsafe. But, he said, most people don’t want to hear it.
Berkeley News spoke with Moskowitz about the health risks of cellphone radiation, why the topic is so controversial and what we can expect with the rollout of 5G:
BIDEN’S REVENGE: FUELING ‘MADNESS OF MILITARISM’
by Norman Solomon
Joe Biden provided a stirring soundbite days ago when he spoke from the White House just after suicide bombers killed 13 U.S. troops and 170 Afghans at a Kabul airport: “To those who carried out this attack, as well as anyone who wishes America harm, know this: We will not forgive. We will not forget. We will hunt you down and make you pay.” But the president’s pledge was a prelude to yet another episode of what Martin Luther King Jr. called “the madness of militarism.”
The U.S. quickly followed up on Biden’s vow with a drone strike in Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province that the Pentagon said killed two “high-profile” ISIS-K targets. Speaking to media with standard reassurance, an Army general used artful wording to declare: “We know of zero civilian casualties.” But news reporting told of some civilian deaths. And worse was soon to come.
On Sunday, another American drone attack -- this time near the Kabul airport -- led to reliable reports that the dead included children. The Washington Post reported on Monday that family members said the U.S. drone strike “killed 10 civilians in Kabul, including several small children.” According to a neighbor who saw the attack, the newspaper added, “the dead were all from a single extended family who were exiting a car in their modest driveway when the strike hit a nearby vehicle.”
Words that Biden used last Thursday night, vowing revenge, might occur to surviving Afghan relatives and their sympathizers: “We will not forgive. We will not forget.” And maybe even, “We will hunt you down and make you pay.”
Revenge cycles have no end, and they’ve continued to power endless U.S. warfare -- as a kind of perpetual emotion machine -- in the name of opposing terrorism. It’s a pattern that has played out countless times in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere for two decades. And it should not be a mystery that U.S. warfare has created still more “enemy” combatants.
But neither the U.S. mass media nor official Washington has much interest in the kind of rational caveat that retired U.S. Army Gen. William Odom offered during a C-SPAN interview way back in 2002: “Terrorism is not an enemy. It cannot be defeated. It’s a tactic. It’s about as sensible to say we declare war on night attacks and expect we’re going to win that war. We’re not going to win the war on terrorism.”
By any other name, the “war on terror” became -- for the White House, Pentagon and Congress -- a political license to kill and displace people on a large scale in at least eight countries, rarely seen, much less understood. Whatever the intent, the resulting carnage has often included many civilians. The names and faces of the dead and injured very rarely reach those who sign the orders and appropriate the funds.
Amid his administration’s botch of planning for the pullout, corporate media have been denouncing Biden for his wise decision to finally withdraw the U.S. military from Afghanistan. No doubt Biden hopes to mollify the laptop warriors of the Washington press corps with drone strikes and other displays of air power.
But the last 20 years have shown that you can’t stop on-the-ground terrorism by terrorizing people from the air. Sooner or later, what goes around comes around.
(Norman Solomon is the national director of RootsAction.org and the author of many books including "War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death." He was a Bernie Sanders delegate from California to the 2016 and 2020 Democratic National Conventions. Solomon is the founder and executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy.)
While it's true that all the dire threats facing humanity these days need to be faced up to, the main threat, the real problem, the one driving all the others is essentially being ignored. Unless we face up to that one, all of our other efforts will be crushed by the tidal wave of humanity itself and will end in dismal failure.
The graph below makes the situation starkly clear.
On the bright side, if we can manage to put the population numbers onto a gradual, downward glide-path to sustainability, it will progressively reduce the effects of all the other problems and we will all get richer in the process.
by Mark O’Connell
A few weeks ago, around the time Jeff Bezos and Richard Branson were penetrating the lower reaches of space, I watched the film For All Mankind. Al Reinert’s documentary, released in 1989, is a gorgeous, melancholy record of the Apollo lunar missions, composed of Nasa footage from those flights, overlaid with audio of the astronauts recalling their experiences.
Reinert doesn’t provide us with the names of any of the men. Like the oral histories of Svetlana Alexeivich, the interviews form a depersonalised chorus, contributing to a sense of historical scale beyond any individual. This is a point that the astronauts themselves, in their straight-shooting manner, keep making. ‘You recognise that you’re not there because you deserve to be there,’ one of them says. ‘You’re just lucky. You are the representative of humanity at that point in history, having that experience in a sense for the rest of mankind.’
The astronauts remain in awe of what they experienced, and aware of their role as cogs in an intricate machinery of expertise and ingenuity. In one early scene, we see the Moon through a porthole in the shuttle, glowing pale against the lurid blue of a Florida afternoon, as an unnamed astronaut frames his job in comically modest terms:
“And doggone if the Moon wasn’t visible in the daylight, right straight at the top of the window. I know they’re doing their job right, because the Moon is right straight ahead, and that’s where we’re pointed, and they’re going to launch us right straight to this thing.”
For All Mankind is structured around a central contradiction. Nasa’s space programme cultivated a sense of collective purpose, but the urgency of the space race was inseparable from the struggle between two competing economic and political systems. Nasa’s retiring of the space shuttle a decade ago is often seen as a marker of cultural decline; it may well be that, but it’s also a consequence of there being no one left to race against.
As Branson flew to the edge of space this year in his Virgin Galactic rocket plane, he gazed out over the world below and pronounced it ‘the complete experience of a lifetime’. Later, in a press conference, he said: ‘The whole thing was just magical.’ He sounded less like one of the astronauts in For All Mankind than a wealthy retiree just home from a luxury cruise.
Bezos, meanwhile, on returning from his fifteen-minute jaunt into the thermosphere, posted a short video to Instagram. We see him in the small but luxurious-looking cabin with his younger brother Mark (whose Wikipedia entry describes him as an ‘American space tourist and former advertising executive’), the octogenarian aviator Wally Funk and a teenager named Oliver Daemen, whose father, the CEO of a private equity firm, forked out for him to take a place on the shuttle. As they reach zero gravity, the space tourists unbuckle their seatbelts and float about the cabin, giddy with the thrill of weightlessness and the sight of the void outside the window.
‘Look at the blackness of space!’ says the richest man in the world, as he looks at the blackness of space. Then Bezos produces an orange ping pong ball, and sends it drifting across the cabin to his brother. ‘Oh yeah, ping pong balls!’ the teenager says, and produces an orange ping pong ball of his own. For a while, the ping pong balls float through the cabin, until Bezos ups the ante by producing a packet of Skittles, and he and his fellow passengers start throwing sweets at each other and catching them in their mouths.
It all looks quite fun but curiously purposeless, devoid of the charm and spontaneity that characterises footage of the Apollo astronauts goofing around – playing a little golf in a lunar crater, tossing a flashlight back and forth in zero gravity – which is charming because it is at odds with the historical significance of their task. The overwhelming effect of watching Bezos and Branson go to space is a sense of triviality. There is no sense of mission here, and barely any sense of occasion, beyond the personal fulfilment of those involved. At best, it has a kind of anthropological interest, observing the leisure pursuits of the super-rich. One small Skittle for a man, no Skittles at all for mankind.
Even the attempts to give Bezos’s adventure historical weight seem only to amplify its inanity. Wally Funk, at 82, is the oldest person ever to go to space. She underwent lengthy and rigorous training as part of Nasa’s ‘Women in Space’ programme in the 1960s but never got to go. (Nasa’s first woman in space was Sally Ride, in 1983, twenty years after the cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova.) But Bezos’s decision to take Funk along comes across as a PR exercise. As for Oliver Daemen, he may be the youngest person ever to go to space but the achievement is fatally undermined by the fact that it was paid for by his dad.
Bezos would not agree. He started Blue Origin, his space exploration company, out of a professed desire to save the world. Its stated aim is to develop technologies that will facilitate the building and settlement of colonies in space. The main problem we face, Bezos believes, is that we are on a course to run out of energy. We need to move into outer space, he says, to access resources, and to relocate heavy industry there so we can preserve the Earth’s atmosphere and climate. He dreams of thousands of off-world colonies, where trillions of humans will live and work.
Elon Musk, Bezos’s main rival in the emerging game of cosmic monopoly, has his own plan for saving humanity (and further enriching himself through US government contracts). He hopes to build private colonies on Mars, so that if some disaster – climate catastrophe, asteroid impact, nuclear war – makes Earth inhospitable to human life, our species will continue to thrive elsewhere. The idea, as Ashley Vance put it in The Space Barons (2018), is to ‘make humans a multiplanet species, and create a backup hard drive for the human race there, just in case Earth crashes like a faulty computer’. In the nearer future, we can look forward to advertising billboards being shot via SpaceX rockets into low-Earth orbit, there to have their corporate messages filmed on selfie-sticks and live-streamed back to Earth on YouTube and Twitch. In 2018, Musk launched a Tesla Roadster into orbit, with a mannequin in a spacesuit behind the steering wheel.
Probably the most revealing moment of Bezos’s space jaunt came shortly after he landed. Still togged out in his rugged individualism costume (blue spacesuit, ten-gallon hat, cowboy boots), he gave a televised speech in which he thanked the engineers and tech people who helped him slip the surly bonds. He saved his most effusive gratitude for Amazon’s customers and employees. ‘You guys paid for all this,’ he said. ‘Seriously. For every Amazon customer out there, and every Amazon employee, thank you, from the bottom of my heart.’ It was a strangely repellent remark: for all that Bezos seemed to mean it sincerely, it landed with a complex payload of gloating derision.
When the news of Bezos and Branson’s space excursions was most unavoidable, I found myself returning, with perverse insistence, to YouTube, to watch footage of the first Moon landing. Every time, I had to sit through a pre-roll advertisement in which Richard Branson offered me the chance to meet him, have a private tour of his spaceport, and be flown into low orbit on one of his Virgin Galactic space planes. Space used to be cool. Now the very idea of it has been degraded by these salesmen in spacesuits.
But what if the salesmen are a sign not of failure but of success? Whatever else it was, Nasa’s space programme was a front in the larger struggle between capitalism and communism, in which capitalism was the resounding victor. Bezos, Branson and Musk may, in that sense, be the rightful heirs of those Nasa astronauts. What better sign of capitalism’s ultimate victory than billionaires competing against each other with their own space programmes? To watch them rise, high above the heating planet in their branded spacecraft, is to be forced to reckon with how far we have fallen.
(London Review of Books)
WHEN CLIMATE CHANGE COMES TO YOUR DOORSTEP
by Alexandra Tempus
There was not enough time to fully evacuate New Orleans before Hurricane Ida hit. The hurricane intensified too rapidly. Thousands who could flee, did. Mayor LaToya Cantrell urged those left behind, including many without the money or resources to pack up and go, to “hunker down.” The storm tore off roofs and wiped out power.
We are now at the dawn of America’s Great Climate Migration Era. For now, it is piecemeal, and moves are often temporary. Brutalized by hurricanes, flooding and a winter storm, Lake Charles, La., residents have been living with relatives for months. In early August, the Dixie fire — the largest single fire in recorded California history — claimed at least one entire town, and locals took to living in tents. Apartment dwellers in Lynn Haven, Fla., were forced from their homes to slosh through streets flooded by Tropical Storm Fred. The evacuee tally has continued to rise, from New Englanders in the path of Hurricane Henri to flood survivors in North Carolina and Tennessee to people escaping fire in Montana and Minnesota.
But permanent relocations, by individuals and eventually whole communities, are increasingly becoming unavoidable.
Climate-linked disasters are now such a common threat to our homes that the real estate brokerage firm Redfin recently unveiled a rating system that scores climate risk down to the ZIP code. In the United States, the Internal Displacement Monitoring Center found 1.7 million disaster-related displacements in 2020 alone.
Moving safely and efficiently from vulnerable areas more than temporarily remains a steep challenge for most Americans. As the U.S. Government Accountability Office concluded in a 2020 report, “Unclear federal leadership is the key challenge to climate migration as a resilience strategy.”
Increasingly, Indigenous peoples, community organizations, local governments, universities and others have stepped in to fill this void in leadership. They’ve developed innovative relocation plans and tools for towns and cities scrambling for solutions. In the wake of Ida, tied as the fifth-most-powerful hurricane to lash the United States, the federal government must make climate migration a viable option for all.
Right now it’s not — nor is it the choice everyone would make. Newly released Census Bureau data shows that Americans are largely moving into risky areas: the drought-riddled West, the hurricane-prone coastal South. In this crucible of poorly informed decision making and an inflamed climate, experts have begun to insist on a coordinated, justice-minded effort to facilitate voluntary climate migration and relocation.
In its report, the Government Accountability Office recommended a “community led” federal climate migration pilot program. On this front, the Biden administration could take cues from creative local approaches already underway and add its support.
In the United States, efforts to relocate households or even whole neighborhoods have largely been facilitated by federal home buyout programs. After disasters like hurricanes and floods, state and local governments can purchase damaged homes with federal funds. Homeowners can then, instead of rebuilding, move elsewhere. In coastal communities, where residents move back from the water’s edge, this process is called managed retreat.
Unfortunately, this is all ad hoc; homeowners routinely deal with labyrinthine bureaucracy and yearslong delays to obtain buyouts. And because programs can include incentives for relocating within a certain geographic area, homeowners can land in places just as vulnerable to climate danger. This is to say nothing of renters, who may simply lose everything in a disaster.
Real change — like relocating entire neighborhoods and communities out of harm’s way — would be far better handled not in times of crisis, when the displaced must weigh complex decisions in the midst of chaos and loss, but before a crisis hits.
In August, the Biden administration amped up funding for communities before disaster strikes. This included doubling the budget to $1 billion for a Federal Emergency Management Agency program aimed at shoring up vulnerable communities; some experts have called for more. Other, similar budget increases that could support relocation projects are tucked into Congress’s pending infrastructure bill.
A more robust, specific plan is required if the United States seeks to adapt safely to a warming world.
Meanwhile, some communities have begun to problem-solve on their own. In Paradise, Calif., which lost 11,000 homes in 2018’s record-breaking Camp fire, the Paradise Recreation and Park District has started a buyout program for fire hazard zones, buying up hundreds of acres of the riskiest properties from willing sellers.
In coastal Alaska, 15 Native villages have worked with the Alaska Institute for Justice to design a culturally sensitive process for relocating communities. This has included giving a name, usteq, to the rapid, climate-driven erosion and permafrost melt — at a clip of 10 feet in one night — causing buildings to fall into the sea. Usteq means “catastrophic land collapse” in the Native Yup’ik language, and several of the villages have installed usteq monitoring devices. By gathering regular data and identifying the land loss as a disaster event rather than natural erosion, the villages are building a legal case that usteq should be a federally recognized hazard that qualifies them for relocation funding.
Some community advocates around the country have suggested that the Civilian Climate Corps that the Biden administration promised as part of its jobs plan — modeled after the New Deal’s Civilian Conservation Corps, which installed thousands of infrastructure and parks projects — could build housing for climate-displaced people.
On Monday, grass-roots leaders called for the president to establish a climate migration agency. The leaders — from low-income, Black, Latinx and Indigenous communities from South Carolina to California — have been meeting throughout 2021 to discuss how climate change is shaping the uncertain places they call home. They hope that federal relocation money and information will be easily accessible to all, so that leaving home and finding a new one is no more of a disaster than it has to be.
Alexandra Tempus, who has received multiple climate reporting fellowships, is writing a book on climate migration. (nytimes.com)