- Brief Chance
- Barred Rock
- Missing Ballots
- Time Change
- Boonville Debate
- Little Dog
- Bafflegab Academy
- Mental Litter
- Sterilized Women
- Yesterday's Catch
- Socialism Coming
- Dyslexic Species
- Israeli Ironies
- Birthright Citizenship
- Civil Discourse
- Oppressive Pair
- Anemic Dems
- Greater Fool
- Progressive Voting
- Marco Radio
- On Yemen
A WEAK SYSTEM will bring a brief chance for light rain to the Redwood Coast this afternoon. Otherwise, dry conditions and near seasonable temperatures are expected through the coming week. (National Weather Service)
MENDO'S MISSING BALLOTS, an MCN comment:
My note on the list serve was passed around and resulted in contact with the Manager in San Francisco in charge of all North Coast Post Offices. The response was immediate and I am assured she will get to the bottom of the problem. I suspect the strong response was based more on the fact that soooo many people did not receive their ballots than the several hundred missing Woodlands Wildlife newsletters, but it seems the problem was pretty far reaching. I've had reports that mail coming in to us was returned to people marked 'not deliverable as addressed', and I have had a few newsletters returned to me marked 'not deliverable as addressed' though I know the address is correct. It seems a few newsletters got through, a few came back, and I don't know what happened to the rest. I'll pass on any information I receive.
Man, is it ever dark out there!
All our clocks changed themselves! I'm living in Magic Land.
Yeah, Nightmare Magicland. I still prefer clocks with arms on them, powered by little batteries — and those must still be changed. I do hope we stop this back and forth time now. I'd prefer being on real time all the time (high noon always being high noon), but would concede to this nutty notion of switching to Mountain Time permanently — if that gets us off this infernal switching. It's crazy: the day is the day, and time is time, and we should just leave them alone.
BOONVILLE DEBATES MODERN INFRASTRUCTURE
Some say yes, some say no
by Mark Scaramella
Although last Thursday night's meeting about the proposed water and septic system for downtown Boonville was advertised as "Notice of Preparation of Environmental Impact Report," the meeting had very little to do with anything "environmental."
Many of the hundred or so people filling the Fairgrounds dining room seemed to have only recently become aware of the proposed project even though it has been in the works for nearly four years, with several public meetings, many public notices and frequent articles in this newspaper.
Predictably, many of the newcomers to the subject had complaints.
Most of the speakers did not give their names, and we only recognized a few of them. Many of the complaints were related to perceptions of odor problems, the proposed location and versions of, "It's not my problem -- why do I have to pay for it?"
Redwood Drive-In proprietor, Ricardo Suarez, didn't like the proposed location of the proposed spray area on the hayfield near the airport. He thought the odor would blow into downtown Boonville over his home and business. Mr. Suarez wondered why they couldn’t find a different location downwind from his property.
Another man said that he was familiar with the Ukiah treatment plant and that it certainly smelled bad.
Project Engineers replied that only treated effluent would be sprayed and there would be minimal odor, if any, and the treatment system operator would try to avoid spraying during windy periods.
Susan Bridge-Mount of Boonville was openly skeptical of the engineers’ assertions that there would be minimal odor and that spraying would be confined to the hayfield, adding that it sounded to her like “a lot of smoke and mirrors.” Ms. Bridge-Mount also complained about the noise and traffic impacts of the estimated several dozen truck trips per year the engineers said would be required to occasionally truck treatment solids — bio-solids — elsewhere for dumping. Ms. Bridge-Mount pointedly demanded of septic system engineer Dave Coleman, “Do you live in Boonville?”
Coleman was taken aback.
“I thought not,” she said.
Mr. Suarez was also dubious.
Boonville resident Jeff Burroughs and a few other people didn't like the idea that they might have to pay for a system to fix water and septic problems of other downtown Boonville property owners. One of them (not Burroughs) even suggested that properties with inadequate septic systems just be ordered to fix them by the County. And if they were not fixed the systems should be red-tagged, and if still not fixed they should be taken to court and forced to abandon their residences. County Environmental Health Director Trey Strickland said he didn’t like the idea of forcing people out of their homes because of inadequate septic systems.
Strickland also addressed concerns that the water table might be affected by aging and failing septic systems. “When septic systems and leachfields fail,” said Strickland, “the waste no longer ‘percs’ downward, but floats upward and is visible on the surface of the field.”
Although project proponent and Community Services District Chair Valerie Hanelt has said many times that the project would not proceed if construction was not covered by state grant money, the "not my problem" people didn't like the idea of paying monthly rates for a system they didn't think they needed.
Ms. Hanelt reminded everyone that the project is just a proposal at this point and there will be several opportunities for locals and property owners to comment and vote on the project before it moves forward. There will also be opportunities to comment on the environmental impact report and the project itself at future public hearings.
A few people worried about the system spurring development in downtown Boonville. Presenters responded that state grant funders require that the system is limited to no more than 10% above current estimated capacity; any significant future development projects would have to go through the full county permit process; if they expect to use additional water or septic system hookups they would have to pay for any system upgrades themselves.
The engineers said they had evaluated over 100 local well logs as well as the regulated water systems at both schools, the Anderson Valley Health Center and Airport Estates, and identified three existing well clusters within the proposed service area as the system’s water source(s). The three well clusters are off Lambert Lane, the existing Airport Estates wells, and the area near the Health Center, Community Park adjacent to the Health Center and high school's water system at the east end of the high school campus. They also expect that the (circulating) water would be stored in large tanks on the Bradford Ranch, upslope from Boonville so that gravity would provide some of the system’s pressure.
Several people were concerned about the disruption of downtown Boonville during construction. The engineers replied that trenching and construction would probably proceed at about 100 feet per day for each system, water and septic, so that disruption at any one location would be relatively short, a week or two, as the construction moves through town.
Concerns were expressed about the impact the system would have on the water table. Engineers replied that there should be no net increase in the amount of water drawn from the aquifers beneath Boonville and therefore the water table should not be negatively affected.
Fire Chief Andres Avila said that at present neither of the local schools nor the Health Center have sufficient water to adequately fight a significant fire. The proposed system, sized to provide water for fire protection as well as residential-commercial, would solve that problem.
Ms. Hanelt pointed out that if the septic system is approved and installed using state construction funds, the state would require that everyone in the downtown Boonville service area be connected to it. The water system's potable water, however, would allow individual property owners to decline hookups.
Fifth District Supervisor-elect Ted Williams made an appearance to ask if it would be possible to include an Internet cable in the trench(es). The engineers replied that there would be scheduling and logistics problems in attempting to do that and it did not seem feasible.
Most of the more ordinary questions about the system, the process, the costs, etc. had already been assembled on wall charts based on earlier input to the Community Services District and many of them seemed derived from Joan Burroughs’ interesting letter in last week’s newspaper.
All of the questions and comments will be addressed in the Draft Environmental Impact Report currently scheduled to be released in January. That will be followed by another review and comment period, and the Final Environmental Impact Report. Then the Community Services District board will hold a hearing to decide if they want to "certify" the environmental impact report.
If the report is certified, the engineers would then prepare a "rate letter," which will contain cost estimates for the water and sewer system’s separate construction, operation and maintenance along with estimated water and sewer rates for residences and downtown commercial establishments. Assuming the intermediate steps are approved, the "rate letter” would be available sometime in late 2019.
If both projects are approved by the Board and the service area parcel voters, it could take up to two years from beginning to completion but that would not be continuous activity since seasonal and separate project considerations would apply.
After Ms. Hanelt adjourned the meeting, Leane Sarasy and Mike Rielly, who live in the Lambert Lane area, asked to be allowed to read from a statement they had circulated in opposition to the project. As people milled out of the room, Reilly said he had obtained several signatures from neighbors in the Lambert Lane area. They complained that the proponents had not done enough "outreach" to neighboring parcel owners just outside the service area, that not enough consideration had been given to alternative locations, that the comment period should be longer, that their water table might be affected, that not enough attention had been paid to "environmental health," and alternative processing technologies, and that there would be unavoidable odor.
The full 2.5-hour meeting was videotaped and is expected to be posted on youtube in the next few days. We will publish the link to that video when it becomes available.
* * *
IT’S A COMMUNITY QUESTION
Thursday evening I went to the community meeting that had been called in order to inform area residents and property owners regarding the status of planning for the proposed water and sewer systems for Boonville. The people on the Community Services District Board have been working on this proposal for four years now. They are concerned about the quality of the water in Boonville, and after doing some testing of wells in the more densely populated parts of town and finding widespread contamination there they decided to explore the possibility of bringing in water and sewer service. I have been watching this process, mostly from the sideline, although my wife Kathleen is one of the District Board members working on it. She has gone to many meetings, all noticed and open to the public, as the proposal has been evolving.
The District Board is convinced that the money required to build a water system and a sewer system can be obtained through State and Federal grants and that it will not be necessary to borrow funds to build either system, and if they had not believed that they would not have pursued the idea. They obtained grants for planning the systems and they have brought in engineers, environmentalists and county officials to help. These folks were at the meeting Thursday to explain the current status of the proposals to the community. The meeting was in the dining hall at the Fairgrounds, and it was so well attended that there were few seats unoccupied.
It seemed to me that some of the folks attending were there not to find out what is being proposed but to voice their disapproval of any such proposal no matter what. There were people who don’t want anything near their yard or in their sight, there were people who don’t want any change at all in Boonville, there were people who don’t live in the proposed districts or even in Anderson Valley who are against it. Some people clearly feel that contaminated wells and failing septic systems should not be a concern of the community at large. Some simply do not want to pay anything that will in any way benefit anyone but themselves, even down to the cost of operating a water system built with grant money. Others seem to feel that there is no problem because their own well is a good one and their own septic system works. Some, of course don’t want to listen to engineers because they know more than engineers. Some wanted to vote right now when there is not yet a plan to vote on.
I was quite surprised at this, because the Anderson Valley where I have lived for nearly 46 years now has always been a place where people care about each other, a place that comes together to help when someone is ill or when some disaster strikes. Anderson Valley is a place where we know how to park parallel four deep and not to block each other in. Boonville is a place where you just might see someone running out into the street in a bathrobe to get a neighbor’s loose dog back in its yard. Anderson Valley is a Community, and Boonville is a town in our Community that clearly has a problem and I am surprised to hear anyone saying, “We Don’t Need That” or “It’s Not My Problem.”
I think that we can do better than that.
This thing is just a proposal now, the proposal can be changed. The folks organizing this and standing up in front of us at that meeting are describing what they are proposing. They want to hear our concerns, they want to answer our questions. They are not trying to take anything away from anyone or ram anything down anyone’s throat. There is a saying that it takes a village to raise a child. I would add that if you live in a village you have to figure out what to do with the poop, and that if you are real smart you will figure out how to keep it out of the water supply. Seems to me that you would want to work together on that — let’s do that and let’s keep our sense of community.
LITTLE DOG SAYS, “Bombs, shootings, bad vibes everywhere. Except Boonville, where all remains harmonious. Ommmmmmmm.”
BETSY CAWN OF UPPER LAKE in Lake County writes: ““Leadership” Academy: Bafflegab finishing school for marginally competent “safe” citizens* who perpetuate the behavioral “modeling” of sycophantic trained seals, so as to become qualified for mediocre government-funded bureaucratic positions in highly-cosseted “classifications” of organizations (agencies, departments, contractors) — how to “speak” and what to do with your hands, dress and defer, always smiling brightly and agreeable with every dicta delivered with sugar coating under the false rubric of “leadership training.”
As a “workforce development” program, the utility of compliant clerical maidens and malleable menfolk cannot be overlooked — our government offices are breeding grounds for the unquestioningly loyal red-tape purveyors whose friendly gestures and “customer service” pretenses are the primary buffer between the pesky public and the inner sanctums of administration, at every front desk and behind every glowing computer screen. They flock to self-congratulatory clap-fests conducted to reinforce their collective delusion of specialness, and go forth and multiply.
It’s a tough job, but somebody’s got to do it.
[*“safe” citizens being the readily groomed and preened relations of ensconsed “leaders” at the top of Mendo’s faux-civilian “chain of command” and the protected class of inside fixers — on this side of the Cow, we presume the first question on the County’s job application form is “who’s your cousin?”]
With only 8 pages, I find Philbrick’s mental litter to be not only disturbing, repetitive, and a perversion of American values, but also a waste of space. Please find more room more often for JH Kunstler, especially his Nov 2nd Midterm Endgame.
UKIAH SHELTER PETS OF THE WEEK
Ginger is a 2 year old, spayed female, mixed breed dog. Ginger has been in foster care since the end of September, and lives with 5 other dogs. She’s very playful and loves her canine siblings. She has pretty good indoor manners, but does turn her water bowl over at times. She’s crate trained, and sleeps in it at night. She needs some good exercise before she’s kept alone for extended periods--activities like playing fetch, which she loves! She’s not a big barker. She’s very loving, and a happy girl. Ginger walks well with a harness, and enjoys her daily strolls. Ginger’s foster person can tell you oodles about her, and you can read lots more on her webpage:
CeeCee is a spayed female cat who is a little over a year old. We were told by her previous owner that CeeCee is mellow and easy going with other cats, dogs and children. She also enjoys playing with toys, and of course, taking long cats naps! Here at the Shelter, she is very affectionate and will plop down and insist on getting belly scratches. Sounds like this nice cat will adjust perfectly in any kind of home.
The Ukiah Animal Shelter is located at 298 Plant Road in Ukiah, and adoption hours are Tuesday, Thursday, Friday & Saturday from 10 am to 4:30 pm and Wednesday from 10 am to 6:30 pm. To see photos and bios of the shelter's adoptable animals, please visit us online at: http://www.mendoanimalshelter.com For more information about adoptions please call 707-467-6453.
BRAVE NEW FREEMARTINS
You were wondering about freemartins. Below is a quote from Aldous Huxley's "Brave New World," page 162. The scene is Eton College far in the future and still for "upper caste boys and girls."
"From behind a door in the corridor leading to the Beta Minus geography room, a ringing soprano voice called, ‘One, two, three, four,’ and then, with a weary impatience, ‘As you were.’
"Malthusian drill," explained the headmistress, "most of our girls are freemartins, of course. I'm a freemartin myself." She smiled at Bernard. "But we have about 800 unsterilized ones who need constant drilling."
Mr. Huxley wrote that in 1932 and it appears to mean that a freemartin is a sterilized woman.
Had a parole interview and they say they will give me a definite release date in September 2019 as long as I remain out of trouble until then. So I would greatly appreciate an extension of my AVA subscription.
Hope you are well and remain so because I intend to see you sometime soon.
Paul Jorgensen #53599-146
P.O. Box 09001
Atwater, CA 95301
CATCH OF THE DAY, November 3, 2018
DAVID AMUNDSON, Ukiah. Protective order violation, probation revocation.
CHRISTOPHER BANE, Willits. DUI-alchol&drugs, pot possession for sale, pot sales, suspended license, probation revocation.
CHELSEA BERRY, Upper Lake/Ukiah. Failure to appear.
LISA CAMPBELL, Ukiah. Failure to appear.
RICKIE CURTIS, Willits. Disorderly conduct-alcohl.
RODRIGUES GODINES, Ukiah. DUI, no license.
ROBERT MCCOY, Ukiah. Controlled substance, probation revocation.
JOSUE SANCHEZ-AGUILAR, Lower Lake/Ukiah. Driving without license.
JEREMY SIMMS, Ukiah. Felony “proceedings.”
THOMAS TICE, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohl.
MICHELLE WILLIAMSON, Fort Bragg. Grand theft, theft from elder, stolen property.
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
The widening inequality, tent cities, civil unrest… socialism, in some form, will be seen widely as the solution. And it will be - to the extent that the democracy and institutions function, in regard to public welfare.
A lot of conservatives look at socialism as a sure sign of a kind of capitulation, which it literally is. When capital no longer can lead to measurable improvements in income, security, or quality of life, redistribution is inevitable. You can pile up your sand bags and moat yourself, but the flood water will rise, and you’ll find that you are never self-sufficient.
Maybe Marx is right and capitalism is a transitional form of political organization. Not a perfection, and not easy - getting it wrong is easier than getting it right. America rode the edge for a long time, balancing the public welfare in policy. But the foxes got in the hen house, and the bats in the belfry.
We’ve been in failure mode my whole life, and it hasn’t been a wholesale disaster, falling from a high point and being economically and socially relatively strong. Ideally, we transition at a comfortable point. The expectation is, based on my observation, is that we’ll have to settle for doing so in a crisis, because that’s what we do.
ISRAEL AS IRONY
by Ted Dace
In a July 2002 article for CounterPunch, Northeastern economics professor M Shahid Alam observed that an academic boycott of Israel could help reduce Palestinian violence. “When the young Palestinians learn that academics the world over… are stirring on their behalf, this will convince them that they are not alone; and once they are so convinced, they may be persuaded to renounce their acts of desperation.”
Just over a month later the Jerusalem Post reported on Alam’s article under the headline, “US prof justifies Palestinian terror attacks.” The Boston Herald followed two days later with an article headlined, “Prof shocks Northeastern with defense of suicide bombers.”
“It is curious,” Alam later wrote, “how these reports had inverted the objective of my essay.” Indeed the inversion of reality is at the very core of Zionism, according to which the aggressors in Israel are the Palestinians, while its Jewish residents merely desire a safe haven free of anti-Semitism.
Palestinians lived in what is now Israel for many centuries before their lands — like so many others around the world — were invaded by Europeans, in this case Jewish European. It was Jews who colonized Palestinian territory, not the other way around. When Jews attacked and terrorized Palestinians, causing three-quarters of a million to flee for their lives, the Zionists were simply clearing the territory of the natives, no different from colonial-settlers of any other time and place.
As we all know — though it must be repeated — Palestinians are Semitic. Only by tradition, not logic, do we employ the term anti-Semitic to refer exclusively to the persecution of Jews. But this tradition, like so many others, is inherently racist, as it implies that only Jewish Semites are worthy of acknowledgement as victims. By excluding Arabs as targets of anti-Semitism, the traditional use of this term airbrushes them out of public discourse, much as Zionists would like to airbrush them out of Israel. The brutal subjugation of its non-Jewish Semitic population generates widespread condemnation of Israel, which all too easily spills over into hatred of Jews as a people. As Lenni Brenner bluntly put it, “if you want to end today’s ‘anti-Semitism’ against Jews, end Zionism’s ‘anti-Semitism’ against Palestinians.”
The London Declaration on Combating Anti-Semitism, because it focuses exclusively on “political actors who engage in hate against Jews and target the State of Israel” and makes no mention of anti-Arab hatred, is inherently racist. Its authors could have corrected the error by condemning anti-Semitic violence directed at Arabs, but this would have defeated their purpose, since Israel is the world’s leading purveyor of anti-Arab violence. Moreover Israel targets Arabs specifically because they are not Jewish, that is, they are the wrong kind of Semite. Those who’ve invoked the London Declaration in defense of their claim that Jeremy Corbyn is anti-Semitic — though Corbyn has always demonstrated sensitivity to both Jews and Palestinians — inadvertently brand themselves anti-Arab bigots. Indeed many kneejerk defenders of Israel are Islamophobes, the other side of the coin from the paranoid fabulists who think Jews are secretly conspiring to orchestrate world events, i.e. Judeophobes.
Since the July passage of the Jewish nation-state law, which limits the right of national self-determination to Jews, Israel has become an anti-Arab state in exactly the same sense that apartheid South Africa was an anti-black state. Does this mean Israel is anti-Semitic? Well, not exactly. As a Semitic people, Jews no more than Arabs can logically be labeled anti-Semitic. Likewise people who criticize Israel over its treatment of Palestinians cannot logically be labeled anti-Semitic. Why stand up for a Semitic people if you’re anti-Semitic? True anti-Semites, like the Pittsburgh shooter, hate Jews and Arabs equally and hope for a biblical destruction of both peoples. By contrast critics of Israeli subjugation of Palestinians want Semites of both religious persuasions to live together in peace and prosperity.
Of course, idealism such as this is no longer taken seriously. We’ve come a long way in the wrong direction since 1948 when the UN General Assembly adopted the Declaration of Universal Human Rights, which encourages all human beings to “act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood” (Article 2) and asserts that “everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person” (Article 3), that “no one shall be held in slavery or servitude” (Article 4) or “subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment” (Article 5), that “all are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law” (Article 7) and that “everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state” (Article 13).
Israel, also established in 1948, has violated every one of these articles. Since imprisoning the people of Gaza with an electrified fence and bombing their schools, homes and even sewage treatments plants, Israel has imposed a blockade that has prevented reconstruction and thereby perpetuated the inhuman and degrading treatment endured by its residents. And for what crime are they being punished? For electing a government, Hamas, that asserts their human rights (and which long ago renounced violence against Israelis). Even Palestinians of the West Bank, like residents of South Africa’s infamous Bantustans, have no means of developing economically in their balkanized land and so are kept in servitude to their Jewish masters.
The coincidence in timing is no accident. 1948 was only three years after the revelation of what the Nazis did to the Jews. Six million dead! Hitler had hoped to clear eastern Europe of its Slavic and Jewish inhabitants so as to open it up to colonization. Never again, cried the people of the world, would settler-colonialism and its racist pseudo-justification be tolerated. Never again!
In was in that spirit that Albert Einstein, Hannah Arendt and other Jewish luminaries signed a letter to the New York Times denouncing Menachem Begin’s “Freedom Party,” which was “closely akin in its organization, methods, political philosophy and social appeal to the Nazi and Fascist parties” and was founded by a “terrorist, right-wing, chauvinist organization in Palestine.” Begin was eventually elected Prime Minister of Israel with his successor party, Likud, which has subsequently been headed by anti-Arab bigots Ariel Sharon and now Benjamin Netanyahu. What began as a Nazi-like element within the state of Israel is now its dominant force.
It seems inconceivable, given Hitler’s attempt to annihilate Jews as a people, that Zionism could have mutated into a mirror-image of Nazism, with one Semitic people replaced by another as the targeted population. Only from a psychological perspective does this outcome make any sense. Perhaps the unimaginable trauma inflicted on the Jewish people is now playing itself out in the persecution of another captive “outsider” population. Perhaps by imposing suffering onto another people, Zionists gain temporary relief from the terror impressed upon the Jewish psyche during centuries of persecution, of which the Final Solution was only the icing on the cake. If so, this would exemplify a theory proposed by political scientist C. Fred Alford in his book, What Evil Means to Us.
Alford canvassed people for their opinion on the guilty verdict and subsequent hanging of Adolf Eichmann, the Nazi official who had organized the mass murder of Jews in Germany. Shockingly, most respondents tried to make excuses for Eichmann, claiming he was just a bureaucrat following orders and that the death penalty was too harsh. Alford realized the respondents were empathizing with Eichmann rather than his victims. Perhaps placing themselves in the position of Jews at Auschwitz was simply too painful, so the respondents unconsciously switched their sympathies to Eichmann. Now, of course, we naturally empathize with Jews, as it’s too painful to contemplate the horror endured by a people shot down for the simple act of walking in peace toward the fence that imprisons them in a strip of desert. When we recycle the evil done to us by imposing it onto another, we cease to be the despised alien-other, the one whose suffering is ignored or even celebrated, as is now routinely the case in Israel when another Arab civilian is picked off by a sniper for daring to assert that human rights apply to everyone.
A single thread of evil connects the Holocaust to the Nakba. The same fungus that ate Anne Frank consumed Rachel Corrie as she stood in solidarity with Palestinians facing the illegal demolition of their homes. Zionists feel justified in colonizing another people’s land because their own minds have been colonized by narcissistic delusion. Because they are inherently good, whoever stands in their way — or even criticizes them — must be inherently evil. As Arendt noted, Jewish historians often view anti-Semitism as an ineradicable trait of the racist, much as Jews themselves were once thought to carry ineradicable traits that rendered them unfit for Christian society. The sickness is recycled.
The racist principle of might makes right, that a stronger people has the right to persecute and even eradicate a weaker people — illustrated most dramatically with the genocidal invasion of the Americas — was finally repudiated after the horror of the Nazi Holocaust. By treating all peoples with respect, we honor those who suffered and died in concentration camps. By reviving this principle of evil just as it seemed at last to be on its way out, Zionism has rendered meaningless the deaths of six million Jews. This is perhaps the most unforgivable “anti-Semitism” of all.
(Ted Dace is an independent scholar. His critique of capitalism and science, Escape from Quantopia, was published by Iff Books. “Special Relativity in a Universe of Flowing Time” is available here. He is has been a long-time occasional contributor to the Anderson Valley Advertiser. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
“THE ENDURING EMPTINESS OF OUR PUBLIC RAGE” (Excerpt)
by Phil Klay, U.S. Military veteran and writer
…Civility is a style of argument that implicitly welcomes response. It is a display of respect and tolerance, which make(s) clear that you are engaging in a conversation, not delivering a last word. Unlike contempt, which generally seems less about your targets than about creating an ugly spectacle for your own partisans to enjoy, a civil argument is a plea to all fellow citizens to respond, even if in opposition. It invites the broader body of concerned citizens to fill in the gaps of my knowledge, to correct the flaws in my argument, and to continue to deliberate in a rapidly changing world.
Anytime we as a nation act in the world, we are met with a host of second-and third-order consequences, sometimes consequences of greater significance than what we initially set out to fix. The invasion of Iraq, and the rise of jihadism that followed, taught us that. Debates about how to respond to Saddam Hussein had to be followed by debates about the insurgency, the breakdown of governance, the value of international aide vs. military action, the rising influence of Iran, the costs of inaction in Syria, and the escalating refugee crisis. Critics of today's policy may have useful information about tomorrow's problems. Which means we should engage them in a style of discourse that isn't about “destroying” them but about inviting them to respond.
Whether this leads to electoral victories is another question altogether. The civil debates where good-faith participants collectively grope toward better answers to our most pressing challenges are happening in small corners of the public square. Meanwhile, we have a President who came to office flinging insults. Clearly, stoking rage and contempt in the public square can work. It excites us. It gives us courage to act in the face of uncertainty. If instead of hesitating before the other and acknowledging that we do not fully know them or their motives or the extent of their virtues and vices, we reduce them to the least charitable caricature possible. Then we feel on certain ground. But we're never on certain ground. And while abandoning a process of thoughtful deliberation can win you power, what it can never do is give you the hope of using that power wisely.
(TIME Magazine, Nov. 5, 2018)
DEMOCRATS: HEADLINE ‘AMERICAN NEEDS A RAISE’ NOW, BEFORE ELECTIONS
by Ralph Nader
The top Republican politicos must be thinking with adversaries like the Democratic Party, who needs friends. Since 2010 the GOP minority has taken over the majority of state legislatures, Governorships and now the three branches of the federal government.
Polls consistently show most Americans oppose the catastrophic Republican agenda. The American people support raising the frozen federal minimum wage from $7.25 per hour; want to protect Obamacare; want law enforcement to punish Wall Street crooks and prevent consumer rip offs; support forming labor unions and protecting labor rights; favor prosecuting the student loan and the for-profit school rackets; want the Republican Party to stop voter suppression and judicial disenfranchisement, and want injured people to have access to the courts. Despite all of these unpopular Republican Party positions, the Republican Party keeps winning.
Even in next month’s elections, which are supposed to produce a blue wave of Democratic victories, the polls are tightening. Trumps polls are edging up, in spite of the belligerent loud mouth’s daily foul and lying invectives.
To see the anemic Democrats, watch the debates between the various candidates. A recent debate between Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill and Republican Josh Hawley, whose office of attorney general is a widely reported mess, is illustrative. Hawley had McCaskill on the defensive regarding the southern border wall. She kept Trumpeting how she has voted for $70 billion for the wall and border security. She did not advance her own immigration policy.
She agreed with Hawley on a GOP ruse, namely a federal reinsurance program for pre-existing conditions, instead of specifically strengthening Obamacare or, better, coming out for a more efficient full Medicare for everyone with free choice of doctor and hospital. She did not challenge Hawley with an explicit minimum wage target or where he stood on lifting poverty and crumbling infrastructure throughout the state. A few Democratic candidates have solidly put forth a “fight for $15 an hour” position. They also need a public works plan and an alternative tax agenda for fairness and job expanding, crucial public investments.
Too often the GOP candidates have the Democratic candidates on the defensive. The Democrats need to respond to the GOP’s cruel and misleading triad of lower taxes (for the super-rich that is), de-regulation (endangering your health and safety) and a strong defense (meaning further bloating the wasteful, redundant military budget and its boomeranging Empire abroad).
The Democrats are always backtracking because they largely have no military or foreign policy differing from the GOP; they have no stand against crony capitalism for corporate welfare, despised by both conservatives and progressives. They will not argue strongly for needed “law and order” regulation to prevent toxics from poisoning your air, water and soil. They advance no law enforcement plan to protect your consumer dollars and prevent another Wall Street criminal collapse on jobs, savings, and pension funds that would result in another giant taxpayer bailout. Some Congressional Democrats even joined with Republicans this year to weaken the Dodd-Frank law.
In recent months, I have been asking numerous Congressional Democratic groups, such as the House Democratic Caucus and the Democratic National Committee, why the specific, abysmal and cruel Republican votes in Congress are not made into campaign headliners. No response. Why are they not making the stagnant, low wages an emblazoned cause for tens of millions of Americans? Why are they not telling people to go “Vote for a Raise,” –long overdue following years of workers being shortchanged by inflation, being denied raises for productivity advances, and being subjected to wage theft amounting to as much as $50 billion a year?
“America Needs a Raise,” can become a clarion call for getting out the vote and highlighting the vast inequalities of, say Walmarts CEO making $12,000 an hour, plus perks and benefits, while many of his workers sweat away at little more than $11 an hour.
So compromised by campaign cash are most Democratic candidates, excepting the few progressive insurgents, that they are not even rebutting the exaggerated and defective Republican boasts about the economy’s low unemployment rates for Hispanic and Black workers. Millions of workers have dropped out of the labor market, record millions are temps or work short weeks, wages are stagnant, rents higher, and at least a third of Americans are poor.
The Republicans are getting away with their phony sing-song of a robust economy in their political TV ads and debates. Again and again, too few Democrats will not stand for explicit policies that reflect majoritarian opinion and contrast with the plutocratic, big business interests of the Republicans.
With all the winning issues waiting for the Democratic Party to show the voters what it stands for, why is there is hesitation, cowardliness, and obsession with raising money from commercial interests? Moreover, four time losers at the Congressional level and their failed political consultants have refused to step aside and be replaced by fresh, young politicians insistent on defending the country from the worst, cruelest, most corrupt iteration of the Republican Party in history.
Imagine what FDR, Harry Truman, and LBJ would have done with this current crop of grim and greedy Republican corporatists such as super-rich Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who just told the country that cuts in Medicare and social security are necessary due to the deficits he and his GOP created with the giant tax escapes for the rich and big corporations. For starters, old style Democrats would be “raising hell” promoting the omnipresent message that America Needs a Raise!
(Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer and author of Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us!)
A fool always finds a greater fool to admire him.
Should I vote for Sylvia or Sheldon for County Dog Catcher?! I don't know a thing about either one of these people!
These ballots are scary! One paragraph says a budget increase for the library is necessary or the library will close. Another says they've been wasting and embezzling library funds. How do I know? It's like being given a test I'm not prepared for!
So. Listen, folks. Tell the young people and the old people and the in-between people you know: They won't be graded on how they fill in--or whether they fill in--their ballot. You can leave any fill-in space blank. They'll only count what you vote on, only the boxes you fill in.
It worries me that nobody talks about this. They talk all night about Voter Intimidation and Voter Suppression, but nobody says anything about the complexity of election ballots and that you don't have to care. You can vote only those things you know and care about. You won't be fined or jailed or your ballot discarded because it is incomplete.
All the talk about elections has to be troubling if you're not a news junky. The ballot can make you feel incompetent, ignorant, stupid--or all of those. Tell everybody this: a partially filled-out ballot has the same effect as a "complete" one on the matters and candidates you mark.
There are all sorts of helpers. Every newspaper publishes recommendations. If you trust the paper, trust its election-day advice. The League of Women Voters has been doing excellent work for generations on this. I read the recommendations I find online from a local guy named Tom. He's extraordinarily well informed and studies these election questions closely, and I tend to agree with him. Occasionally he'll say he doesn't know about this or that. Maybe I do. Maybe I don't, but I hate the name Smith. I won't vote for a Smith. Fine. Don't vote for Smith, or Jones, or Rumpelstiltskin, but vote!
It's best if voters inform themselves, but that's like saying it's best if every human being is granted money enough to live on--a fine idea but not one I'll ever see. What's crucial, and tends to be self-tending, is that voters vote. The act itself and anticipation of the next time will incline people to pay more attention.
The United States of America, regardless of how reactionaries try to redefine the word "progressive," was begun and has remained a progressive country. That was the whole point, to do it better. The result of our collective desire to have a good country has always been a progressive population--way more progressive than our overlords have ever permitted to dominate. So the bigger the turnout, the more progressive the outcome will be. In blood-red trumpish places, it's not progressive, but those are exceptional. By and large, we're still a fair-minded, generous crowd.
Selfish people, not surprisingly, have more money to dump into elections, but the "regular" people have more votes. The result is the forever-changing "balance" we call the United States. For my money, if the majority attitudes of the American people were reflected in their governance, I'd be proud and happy with it.
Help your fellow citizen!
“Sisyphus, hey, I’m going to need you to come in on the weekend. So we don’t fall behind.”
The recording of last night's (2018-11-02) KNYO Fort Bragg and KMEC Ukiah Memo of the Air: Good Night Radio show is available by one or two clicks, depending on whether you want to listen to it now or download it and keep it for later and, speaking of which, it's right here:
Also at http://MemoOfTheAir.wordpress.com you can find a fresh batch of dozens of links to not necessarily radio-useful but nonetheless worthwhile educational items I set aside for you while gathering the show together. Such as:
Mustn't be uncivil. Not everyone who wants to murder us is a bigot, son.
Damsels of design.
And a one-legged hopping robot. My schoolfriend Randy had a spindly little dog named Twiggy who had all four legs like most dogs but behaved just like this its whole boingy life. I'm trying not to sound dog-racist, but I think it might have had both whippet and Jack Russell in it. Tireless and smart. (This gives me an idea: a dog-powered, dog-piloted little ultralight kite-plane. We've seen dogs push and steer a skateboard, pedal a tricycle, drive a car, why not an airplane? And the piston action of jumping could turn a propeller or even flap the wings, or both.)
Marco McClean, email@example.com
(Photo by John Sakowicz)
Please use this link to hear the most recent podcast of Heroes and Patriots, November 1, 2018, KMUD Community Radio. Guests: Dr. Ben Freeman & Dr. Shireen Al-Ameida speaking on Yemen and the US role in the three-year war.
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