Guest Posts

Antonio Andrade: I will not be opposing Syrian air strikes…


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From ANTONIO ANDRADE
Ukiah

September 10, 2013

I will not be joining my friends by signing petitions or protesting in the streets due to President Obama’s proposed air strikes against the Assad regime’s repeated use of chemical weapons against his own people.

I have spent the last couple of weeks reading up on and intensifying my knowledge about the Syrian conflict, the pros and in particular the passionate well-articulated cons of military action, the horrific brutality of this conflict inflicted by all sides and the incredible price the Syrian people have paid, are continuing to pay, and will continue to pay as far into the future as the eye can see.  I abhor war and put my personal convictions on the line in the early 1970s, resulting in my conviction in federal court as a convicted Vietnam war draft resister.

The debate raging in this country is perhaps the most important one we have engaged in since the Vietnam war.  This has now become the defining moment in the Obama presidency, one which will determine the success or failure of his overall agenda for his remaining years in office but also largely how his presidency will be judged in history.

To take a phrase from moderate Republican New York Times columnist David Brooks, losing this initiative will

Nobody Looks Like Who They Are…


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From DAVE POLLARD
How To Save The World

When I look at myself in the mirror, and try to see myself the way others see me, the person I see is not at all like who I am. The qualities that I think really distinguish me are not evident from my appearance. And when I meet people for the first time, and become aware of my judgements and assessments of them, often automatic and sometimes cruel, I invariably discover that, when I get to know them better, they are not like that at all. The women I’ve come to love in my life do not look like the women I imagined, and they do not look like who they are. And when I’ve met women who at first appear to have some of the qualities I love (e.g. exceptional intelligence, curiosity, playfulness, emotional strength, gentleness), I almost always discover my assessment was completely wrong. They don’t look like who they are.

James Lee comments on Wealth Inequality…


bFrom JAMES LEE
Anderson Valley

“The easiest way to steal money from someone is for them to never know they had it in the first place.”

The Great Debt Scam aka The Biggest Lie

“Over the past weekend, Gov. Jerry Brown of California took to the safety of YouTube to reveal that the Golden State’s budget deficit is now $15.7 billion, far greater than the original $9.2 billion estimate in January. (CNN, May 15, 2012)”

————-

The Simple Truth

The State Government of California has $100′s of billions in liquid investments and assets, could easily pay off all of its debt tomorrow, and would have $100′s of billions left over.

****

The Really Sad news is that a great scam has been perpetrated on the American people for decades by denying the existence of vast sums of money we have paid into our government systems and that the 99%’er’s have no idea this has/continues to occur.

The Great News is that we are not broke, not in the least!!! In fact, it is estimated that if just the CA government alone were to sell all the investment class assets it held, our debt would be eliminated and every resident would receive nearly $50,000. Think about that for a minute.

Big Government has taken money

Gina Covina: Is anything gained by starting vegetables early?



Apples and pears are blooming – here’s Pink Pearl apple

From GINA COVINA
Laughing Frog Farm
Laytonville

Is anything gained by starting vegetables early? Lucinda set up an experiment to answer this question some forty years ago. She planted seeds of various vegetables at one-week intervals, and charted their performance and yields over the entire season. Results across the board: no advantage in starting early.

“So does that mean you’ve never since tried to get a jump on the season?” I ask her.

“Well, no,” she admits.

I too find premature planting irresistible in spite of all past experience. Last year our sweet peppers, started in early April and transplanted to the hoop house in early May, just sat there dumbfounded in the cold, unable to grow at all. Finally we replaced most of them in early June with younger more vigorous starts that had never known the chill of April. Did we start the peppers later this year? Yes, but only by a week. And I’m moving them to the hoop house tomorrow, when night temperatures rise into the 40s for at least a few days.

We’ve planted out forty tomatoes (half the total), and Lin direct-seeded half the Dark Star zucchini a few days ago. Its sprouts emerged yesterday – that’s a month earlier than I’ve ever planted squash here. We’ll see how Dark Star lives up to its reputation as cold-tolerant.

Will Parrish: ‘America’s Last Newspaper’


Bruce Anderson, Editor/Publisher, Anderson Valley Advertiser
From WILL PARRISH
Ukiah
TheAVA

I decided to enroll in the journalism program at my alma mater, the University of California Santa Cruz, during the run-up to the invasion and occupation of Iraq, circa late 2002 and early 2003. UCSC was home to a trenchant anti-war movement, far more than in most of the country. For example, a 2,000-person demonstration against the impending US invasion of Afghanistan took place there on October 11, 2001. It was the first event I covered as a student journalist.

The experience of these actions — which reached their pinnacle on February 15, 2003, when more than 15 million people protested throughout the world — gave me my first sense of belonging to a force capable of transforming history. We jumped on the earth, as Abbie Hoffman once put it, and the earth jumped back. With each demonstration, the repressive and heavily militaristic post-9/11 political climate thawed a bit more. Several US-allied countries responded by backing out of the invasion. Though the movement tragically failed to stop the war, many thousands of people — me included — were compelled to continue on with political resistance of various kinds.

Most journalism programs at US universities are feedlots of mediocrity. Their underlying purpose in most cases is to prepare the students for careers propagandizing on behalf of corporate and state power. By contrast, the lure of UCSC’s journalism program was that it encouraged advocacy journalism and dissident thinking. The course instructors were accomplished investigative reporters, authors, and academically-inclined people from various backgrounds. Yet, their lessons and assignments tended to be based on an unapologetic left-wing slant on news reporting and the functions of mass media.

The program’s main architect was a member of the San Francisco Bay Area’s most fascinating Irish political family, Conn Hallinan. His grandfather, Patrick, was a member of the revolutionary Irish National Invincibles who fled to the US to avoid persecution, then became a leading San Francisco labor agitator. His father, Vincent, was a famous Communist attorney best remembered for successfully defending union leader Harry Bridges against perjury charges

Todd Walton: Yes, But…


From TODD WALTON
UnderTheTableBooks.com
Mendocino

“If there’s not drama and negativity in my life, all my songs will be really wack and boring or something.” Eminem

For many people, December is the most neurotic month; and Christmas marks the apogee of shame, jealousy, disappointment, and self-loathing. Indeed, most psychotherapists aver that Christmas in America might as well be called Crisismas. One can theorize endlessly about why Christmas/Hanukah (and the attendant mass gift buying) inflame the dominant neuroses of so many people, but the picture that sums it up for me is of a child surrounded by dozens of presents she has just frantically unwrapped, not one of which satisfies her craving to be loved.

“The ultimate lesson all of us have to learn is unconditional love, which includes not only others but ourselves as well.” Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

When I embarked on my first experience of formal psychotherapy, I knew my parents had abused me, but I could not clearly elucidate the rules of behavior instilled in me by their abuse. My therapist suggested I try to write down the basic rules governing my behavior so I might gain a more objective view of how those rules impacted my life.

One of the most deeply entrenched rules I uncovered was: Nothing I do is good enough. Sound familiar? I ask because I subsequently learned that this rule runs many people’s lives. And though I doubt our parents ever came right out and said, “Nothing you do is good enough,” I know that in myriad other ways

Todd Walton: When Is It Done?

William Everson

From TODD WALTON
UnderTheTableBooks.com
Mendocino

(This piece appeared—twice!—in the Anderson Valley Advertiser in 2008-2009. I recently got a request for this article, thought it was on my blog, but could not find it herein. So here it is now. Enjoy.)

Thirty-five years ago, I was hitchhiking from Santa Cruz to San Francisco on Highway One, and I got a ride with the poet William Everson, also known as Brother Antoninus, one of the more esoteric Beats. He sported a wispy white beard and a well-worn cowboy hat, and his old car reeked of tobacco. Recently installed as a poet-in-residence at UC Santa Cruz, he was going to a party in Bonny Dune but had no idea how to get there.

I knew exactly where he wanted to go and offered to be his guide, though it meant traveling many miles out of my way. I was obsessed with poetry and wanted as much of the great man’s time as I could finagle. He accepted my offer to be his Sancho Panza and did me the honor of asking, “So what’s your thing?”

“Guitar. And I write stories and poems, too.”

He nodded. “Who do you read?”

“Philip Whalen. Lew Welch. Faulkner. Kazantzakis.”

He lit a cigarette and seemed disinclined to continue the conversation.

And then, without consciously intending to, I asked, “So…how do you know when a poem is done?”

Todd Walton: Falling Behind


From TODD WALTON
Mendocino
UnderTheTableBooks.com

“If we weren’t still hiring great people and pushing ahead at full speed, it would be easy to fall behind and become a mediocre company.” Bill Gates

In 1983, as the trajectory of my writing career, commercially speaking, was turning steeply downward, my third-rate Hollywood agent gave me an ultimatum. “Get an answering machine or find another agent.” Thus I became one of the last people in America to discover the joys of screening my calls.

In the early days of owning an answering machine, I especially enjoyed making long rambling outgoing messages; and people seemed to enjoy hearing those messages a few times, after which they would urge me to change the messages because they never wanted to hear them again. So I got in the habit of making

Todd Walton: Complexity


From TODD WALTON
Under The Table Books
Mendocino

“Adam was but human—this explains it all. He did not want the apple for the apple’s sake, he wanted it only because it was forbidden. The mistake was in not forbidding the serpent; then he would have eaten the serpent.” Pudd’nhead Wilson’s Calendar

Are most humans inherently incapable of understanding complex arrangements of interrelated things and actions, or can almost anyone develop such a capability?

Yesterday I heard live coverage of the eviction of campers at Zuccotti Park in Manhattan, an occupation that began as a protest against rich people being further enriched by a corrupt financial system. After several weeks of camping in the park, the protestors morphed into an ongoing settlement of people who, judging from interviews I heard with a number of evicted campers, wanted to continue living in Zuccotti Park indefinitely because: “Where else am I supposed to go?” “The one per cent got rich ripping everyone else off.” “There are no good jobs left in America because the rich people sent all the jobs to China.” “It is my constitutional right to camp here as long as I want.” “Private property is a conspiracy

Todd Walton: Robbery


From TODD WALTON
Mendocino

Someone broke into our car last week while we were in Cotton Auditorium for another marvelous Symphony of the Redwoods concert, Marcia in the orchestra, I in the audience. I left our car unlocked, having lost the habit of locking up since I moved to Mendocino from Berkeley six years ago. The thief or thieves took a water bottle, a pair of dark glasses, and several CDs. They did not steal the stereo or wreck anything, but the invasion left us feeling sad and cranky. Marcia always locks her car, and I will do so henceforth, though it pains me to feel I must.

I’ve been robbed several times in the course of my life, each robbery ushering in a time of self-review. I’ve had six bicycles stolen, each theft necessitating the purchase of my subsequent mount, along with new and improved locks and chains. And because riding my bicycle was, until quite recently, my primary mode of transport, I understand very well why we used to hang horse thieves.

The grandest material theft of my life befell me two days after Christmas in 1979. I had just moved to Sacramento and was renting a house in a demilitarized zone—poverty to the south of me, wealth to the north. For the first time since childhood, and after more than a decade of living a monk’s life, materialistically speaking, I was relatively affluent. In quick order I had acquired

Todd Walton: 3-D


From TODD WALTON
UnderTheTableBooks.com
Mendocino

As the local and state and national and global economies continue to stagger under the weight of debt, real and imagined, and seven billion hungry humans vie for space and food and air and water on the besieged planet, and the Haves continue their eternal battle with the Have Nots, Hollywood has, in the last few years, been rescued from financial ruin by the advent of huge budget movies made in 3-D to be shown in special 3-D theaters and on special 3-D screens for audiences wearing special 3-D glasses. Yes, it was a close call. People weren’t going to the movies much anymore, preferring to wait to watch the junky new films at home for pennies on the dollar or pirating them off the interweb. Why drive to a multiplex and pay a small fortune to see crap when that crap can be delivered right to your doorstep, so to speak, like bad pizza?

But crap in 3-D is amazing. 3-D crap looks fifty times more real (and better) than real crap. And little kids, the second largest engine of movie ticket sales after kids slightly older than little kids, love 3-D, probably because their brains aren’t fully formed yet and the impact of watching massive multi-dimensional animated penguins and cartoon characters and toys and gigantic super heroes killing and killing and killing

Will Parrish: The Occupy Mendo Food Project


From WILL PARRISH
Laytonville
TheAVA

On the night and early morning of October 16th  to 17th, the San Francisco Police Department raided the Occupy San Francisco encampment at Justin Herman Plaza, disassembling people’s tents and nabbing basic provisions such as food, water, and utensils.  Five people were arrested.  Footage of the police roughly dragging protesters across the pavement and beating them with batons spread quickly across the internet, sparking widespread outrage among movement supporters.

Those supporters include Anderson Valley residents Lisa and Francois de Melogue, who had been following the Occupy movement since its genesis as a small protest in Zucotti Park in the New York City financial district in August.  “We just thought that was, in a nutshell, bullshit,” says Mr. de Melogue, 47, referring to the SF police raid.  “We decided right there and then that we would start bringing food down to the Occupy San Francisco camp as a show of support.”

The San Francisco protesters reassembled their camp only hours after the police finished the raid.  In a matter of days, the de Melogues had solicited enough donations from farmers, bakeries, and grocery outlets in Fort Bragg, Willits

Will Parrish: The Evolution Of Occupy Santa Rosa


From WILL PARRISH
Laytonville

“We are reclaiming those same spaces of public practice that have been commodified, privatized and locked into the hands of faceless bureaucracy, real estate portfolios, and police ‘protection’. Hold on to these spaces, nurture them, and let the boundaries of your occupations grow. After all, who built these parks, these plazas, these buildings? Whose labor made them real and livable? Why should it seem so natural that they should be withheld from us, policed and disciplined? Reclaiming these spaces and managing them justly and collectively is proof enough of our legitimacy.”  — Egyptian Tahrir Square protesters, statement of solidarity with Occupy Wall Street movement, October 2011

A small but promising model for a better world has sprung to life on the previously sterile and generic expanse of lawns at 1st St. and Santa Rosa Ave., location of Santa Rosa City Hall, where participants in the growing Occupy Santa Rosa demonstration have assembled in a protest camp for more than two weeks. It is part of the larger Occupy Wall St. movement, which consists of hundreds of encampments in cities from San Francisco to New York to London. The tactic of occupying physical space to press for demands from those in power was popularized on a global basis by the Egyptian Tahrir Square demonstrators and other protesters throughout western Asia and northern Africa this past spring.

Occupations of public space in New York City’s financial district first began in August, as a means of challenging the corporate greed and democratic unaccountability that characterize the dominant political and financial institutions in the US and also throughout most of the world. While this country’s political punditry has persistently criticized the movement on grounds that it lacks clear goals, much less a coherent policy platform, it’s a laughable criticism

Todd Walton: Occupy Yourself


From TODD WALTON
UnderTheTableBooks
Mendocino

“The young always have the same problem—how to rebel and conform at the same time.  They have now solved this by defying their parents and copying one another.”  Quentin Crisp

In 1972, when I was in my early twenties, I founded a commune in Santa Cruz, California, a collective of eight people (with numerous and frequent overnight guests). We were disenchanted with American society, with America’s wars of aggression, with America’s pyramidal scheme of things, and with America’s environmentally disastrous use of the land, so we decided to explore new (to us) and regenerative ways to interface with the world rather than follow in the destructive footsteps of our parents and forefathers.

To that end, the eight of us shared a house built for a family of four, created a large organic garden (some of us having worked with Alan Chadwick in the university gardens), and pooled our minimal resources for the good of the group. Our experimental community lasted two years before collapsing under the weight of selfishness, immaturity, and a profound lack of preparation for such an undertaking. Our intentions were flawless; our skills and execution abysmal.

Nevertheless, I learned many valuable lessons from that adventure, and my next communal experience was vastly more successful, though it, too, died a sorry death for lack of skills, experience, and commitment by the majority of the participants. We were children, after all, though we had attained the age of adults in other societies; and children, with rare exceptions, eventually need guidance from elders to make the transition from play into self-sustaining living.

A few nights ago, after watching a raft of Occupy Wall Street videos sent to me by fascinated friends

Todd Walton: Recent Studies Show


From TODD WALTON
Mendocino, California
UnderTheTableBooks.com

“As far as income tax payments go, sources vary in their accounts, but a range of studies find that immigrants pay between $90 billion and $140 billion in Federal, State, and local taxes. And let us not forget the Social Security system. Recent studies show that undocumented workers sustain the Social Security system with as much as $7 billion a year. Let me repeat that: $7 billion a year.” Luis Gutierrez

Which seems to contradict…

“The Center for Immigration Studies found that illegal immigrants cost the United States taxpayer about $10 billion a year. A large part of that expense stems from the babies born each year to illegal immigrants.” Nathan Deal

Marcia and I both have web sites and use the interweb for research, marketing, entertainment, and communication with the world outside of Mendocino. Her office and mine are separated by a wall through which we occasionally shout at each other, though we can never be certain what the other person is shouting about until one or the other of us rises from his or her chair and walks around the corner to find out; or we send each other emails. It occurs to me that we could call each other on the phone, since we have separate lines, but we never do. That would feel silly.

We both have taken to scanning news synopses and articles on the interweb and exclaiming about various horrors and wonders and nonsense we discover. These exclamations can be heard through the wall and often elicit shouts of “What?” or may cause the hearer to rise and walk around the corner to find out what the exclaimer is exclaiming about. We are particularly fond of reports of recent studies by so-called scientists that may prove or disprove something that absolutely, trust me, does not need proving or disproving, though this lack of necessity never stops the studiers from carrying out their needless studies because, hey, in these difficult economic times what else have they got to do with their time and your money?

Todd Walton: Whoopsie Doopsie [Local]


From TODD WALTON
Mendocino
UnderTheTable.com

“The one thing we can never get enough of is love. And the one thing we never give enough is love.” Henry Miller

A couple years ago I created a catchy blues tune entitled Whoopsie Doopsie, and after I performed the song to the apparent delight of my wife Marcia, I thought I might make a recording of the tune and see how the world liked it. I wrote a note to myself—Whoopsie Doopsie Project—and put the note in the center of my just-cleaned desk, thereby establishing a new bottom layer for the accumulation of papers and books and drawings and letters and bills that would inevitably grow into a high plateau of dysfunction until, in a fit of frustration, I abstained from eating and drinking for several hours until the mess was properly expelled.

Thus time and again over these many months, I worked my way down to a little yellow square of paper on which was writ Whoopsie Doopsie Project, a trio of words that sent me to the piano to bang out the latest rendition, after which I would say to myself, “Yes, I really should record that and see what the world thinks of it.” Then the tides of time and paper would rush in again and submerge the note, and the project would largely vanish from my consciousness, except on rainy mornings when I was practicing the piano, at which times I might essay a version or two of the pleasing apparition.

Feeling especially sad one such rainy morning, I played a very slow Whoopsie Doopsie, and the sweet little love song became dark and plaintive; and I appreciated the song in my bones rather than with my sense of humor. And that very night we went to a dinner party at which the hostess asked me to play, and Marcia suggested I premiere Whoopsie Doopsie for the public, as it were. So I performed a rather timid version of the tune, the piano unfamiliar to me, and everyone in the audience said

Todd Walton: What Lasts?


From TODD WALTON
UnderTheTableBooks
Mendocino

“You are the music while the music lasts.” T.S. Eliot

Long ago, in a time when records were big round vinyl things activated by spinning them on turntables while running needles through their grooves, when marijuana was highly illegal, and long before the advent of personal computers and cell phones and digital downloads and peak oil and whole sections of grocery stores being dedicated to gluten-free products, when my hair was plentiful and not yet gray, I performed a song of mine at a party where other songs were performed by other people hoping to become famous, or at least solvent, through their music.

Following my performance, a woman in black leather approached me, and by her gait and the slurring of her words, I deduced she was drunk. “Your song,” she shouted, “was good as anything you hear in grocery stores.”

“That was like… a classic?” said a woman in green paisley,

Todd Walton: Sexual Comportment [Local]


Shall We Dance painting by Todd

From TODD WALTON
UnderTheTableBooks
Mendocino

“There’s only one person in the whole world like you, and that’s you yourself.” Fred Rogers

You may have heard about Cynthia Daily, a social worker using an interweb directory to keep track of all the children fathered by the same sperm donor who fathered her child. According to Cynthia’s data, this same sperm donor

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