BRUCE McEWEN has lately written fine accounts involving a trio of nut cases whose hijinks have occupied a lot of court time. One guy claims he was traumatized during the Vietnam era by the knowledge that the Navy ship he was assigned to carried Agent Orange. RTS? Remote Trauma Syndrome? This terrible burden has so bedeviled the poor man he runs up to Ukiah pedestrians and screams in their faces and sets buildings on fire. At the County Jail, memories of laying twenty miles off Vietnam was not terribly distressing until our sailor boy learned Agent Orange was below decks, igniting his years of felonious behavior. The other guy got so drunk he trashed the Talmage house he thought he lived in and, exhausted from the effort, fell asleep on the homeowner's couch. The home owner, after getting hit over the head by the intruder with a 7-pound book, shot his assailant. The homeowner is left with the memory and big bill. And there's the lady whose horses were confiscated because (1) she's nuts and (2) doesn't have, and probably never did have, the means to care for the animals. She says she's being conspired against. The horses have cost the County more than a hundred thou to board and rehab.
EVERY DAY, all day, versions of these people are processed by the court system. There are literal armies of them, and tell me again why nobody's talking about a national system of mental health hospitals because, as Bill Gates and Jaime Dimon tell us, "We can't afford it” ?
OUR CONCLUSION here at News Central, and we only heard bits and pieces, is that Trump wanted to trade arms for "dirt" on the Bidens. But no aid was ever withheld, and the Bidens, with Biden Jr. pulling down $80 thou a month sitting on the board of directors of a Ukrainian power company, are hardly on the uppsies, are they? Whether or not unsuccessfully placing personal interest over the perceived overall welfare of US and the Ukraine is impeachable, we'll see, not that Trump can be finally impeached given that the Senate is dominated by Republicans. And the Democrats are going ahead with impeachment anyway, as has been obvious from the get. The charges against The Great Beast seem pretty small potatoes because, as we all know or should know, previous presidents, at least the modern ones, made secret deals with furriners as routine business all the time. Overall, it's a lotta posturing by Democrat bigwigs who, themselves, are impeachable in the broad sense of the term. Russiagate came to nothing, and Ukrainegate will be ditto. And the Demos will shaft Bernie again, and Trump will get another four years, thus accelerating the onrushing, unaddressed catastrophes.
THE WRECKAGE writing this is in its 8th decade. Despite the odds against another more or less coherent few years, I refuse to waste one more minute of whatever time I have left in a doctor's office. Nothing against the contemporary medical profession — may their investment portfolios grow! — but I much prefer, say, the healers of yesteryear like the ones who did sports physicals, those old drunks with cigarettes burning in your face who tapped your knee with their rubber hammers and declared, "Go get 'em, Tiger." The contemporary medicos are pretty good at insincerity, good enough to fool most of their patients, but the third time I was in front of "my" doctor he said, "Sorry, but what was your name again?" Then he had me count backwards from ten. I aced that one as he said, "Well, you're not senile." And the bubbly young woman who assured me she could install a couple of new knees for me? I saw her a few times for steroid shots until it occurred to me that living with low-level pain was better than an injection of super glue every few months. Wandering lost down long, “medical center” hallways for "a blood check" and every other unneeded test referral to bilk the MediCare system with, I say No More. Haven't seen a medical pro for two years, and don't intend to see one unless I’m hauled outtahere on a stretcher that puts me at the mercy of the emergency room ghouls. The doctors I had been seeing semi-regularly don't seem to miss me. They haven't called to ask if I'm still among the unburied. I get the feeling they're indifferent to my welfare, not that it ever occurred to me to worry about theirs.
IN THE PRESS DEMOCRAT'S story by Mary Callahan on the tragic sinking of the Miss Hailee, a fishing boat out of Fort Bragg, we read this jarring paragraph: "When the vessel suddenly lay on its side, Vargas tried to right it while the observer and perhaps others tried to grab flotations and throw them in the water as the boat quickly sank, sending them all into the drink."
A FISHERMAN DYING at sea while three other persons fight for their lives is not a canoe spill at Lake Mendocino in mid-summer. A canoe spill might send people "into the drink." But people thrown into the ocean in rough seas, with one of them, Arnulfo “Amigo” Santiago, missing and presumed dead, "into the drink" is not the descriptive we want.
THE NEWS from the north — via Kym Kemp's invaluable Redheaded Blackbelt site — that Flow Kana is laying off people shouldn't surprise anyone, despite the huge investments in property and facilities the newbie marijuana merchants have made on the Northcoast. The business model is sharecropping. You grow the dope, you genius self-taught old hippies, now in your third generation, and we'll spiff it up with cool packaging and market it for you. Buy cheap, sell high, higher than street dope. And there's the rub. The old growers with their old distribution systems don't need Flow Kana, and storefront marijuana is much more expensive than marijuana purchased without an expensive middleman like FK.
SIGNS of the time, right here in bucolic Mendocino County: a young guy just roused after spending the night in a sleeping bag outside the fence at Boonville's Little Red School House. I said good morning. He, a kid in his early twenties, said, "Spare a coupla bucks for coffee?" I said, "Sure, handing him exactly two. "Where are you from?" He said he was from Montana. "What brings you out here?" “Nothing, really. Just wanted to see the ocean and I got stuck hitchhiking right here last night.” On down the street there's a trashed couch. Been there for two weeks, and up on the Ukiah Road there's a stripped, vandalized car that's been there for a month. There's a whole theory about how places go all to hell that's pegged to how fast broken windows are repaired and trash picked up off public streets. Later in the day in Ukiah, the young guy filling in for the irrepressible Marie at Sunny's Donuts says, "We're outta apple fritters. A lady drove over from Fort Bragg and bought 'em all." She came from Fort Bragg to buy out your apple fritters? "That's what she said."
THE UKRAINE HEARINGS seemed interminable even before Friday morning's festivities kicked off. And no sooner had Marie Yovanovitch begun her testimony than Trump tweeted that "Wherever she goes, bad things happen." Schiff, natch, his eyeballs fairly popping out of his head, pounced on Trump's tweet as more evidence that Trump's insults aimed at Yovanovitch were aimed at intimidating the entire State Department. Then, Yovanovitch, gracious throughout, was buried beneath a torrent of hackneyed praise from Democrats that clearly embarrassed her. With enemies like Schiff, Trump’s already home free.
EL PRESIDENTE is so inarticulate, it's often hard to figure out exactly what's he trying to communicate, but tweeting this morning's insult at Yovanovitch only made him look even more guilty of the basic accusation — that he tried to trade arms aid for "dirt" on Biden, and he saw her as in the way.
FUNNY THING about all this is that the Ukrainians were unaware of the threat and unaware that the aid, which resumed as soon as the news of the threat went public, had been briefly held up. It's obvious, isn't it, that all this show trial farce translates as the Democrat's realistic fear that they don't have a candidate who can beat Trump in 2020?
MARK SCARAMELLA ADDS: In Mendo when someone is abruptly terminated from his or her job, the CEO’s standard response is either “It’s a personnel matter,” or, “It’s under investigation.” But when Trump does it the response is insulting public tweets. I kinda prefer the tweets myself because they at least indicate the twisted thinking behind the firing. But I understand the “It’s a personnel matter,” etc. because of the liability and the subsequent references that are usually retained for the offed person to find other employment. In government work — employee or contractor — you never know who will end up being in charge of who — you can later find yourself working for the person you offed a couple of years ago so it’s better to keep your gripes to yourself. It’s easier to just paper it over with “personnel matter.” PS. I think Schiff anticipated Trump’s blurt tendency and set the whole thing up as a trap which Trump blundered right into because Schiff lit up like a Christmas tree when he got that Trump Tweet (Treet?) and lobbed it over to Ms. Yovanovitch for maximum sympathy effect.
ADD this undoubtedly false anti-vaxx tale that popped up on MCN’s chatline last week: “Watch out for rogue Ob/Gyn nurses at FB hospital From: Inger Grape:
A client who recently gave birth at our hospital told me a harrowing story.
After she gave birth, a nurse asked her if she wanted the Hepatitis B vaccine for her baby; she lied to my client and told her that it was mandated by law and that Child Protective Services would take her baby if she didn't comply. Another nurse came in with the syringe, and again asked the frightened mother if she wanted her baby to have the vaccine. The new mother, fearing for her baby, said "Yes." The nurse replied, "Good, because if you had said No, we would have sent CPS to your home to take your baby."
It is not yet illegal to not vaccinate, though the politicians are working hard at making it so. What the nurses said and did was not only untrue, but illegal. To act with coercion or threat fits the definition of assault. My client will be filing a complaint. If I were her, I'd sue. That baby not only got a worthless vaccine that will have worn off by the time he becomes sexually active, he's now been exposed to the following, in addition to the main pathogens….”
NO NAMES of either the evil doctor or the violated patient, but the phony warning went on into the usual faux chemistry science the anti-vaxx demagogues resort to as phony as the anecdote above. No one challenged it either.
NEIGHBORS of the Taj MaTrash proposed for Highway 20 a little east of Fort Bragg are probably the only people who remember that the multi-million dollar boondoggle seemed close to being built before Fort Bragg awakened to rise up and stop it. I asked Supervisor Gjerde about it the other day, and here's what he said, "It's in limbo, but work is underway to ensure the Coast will have a long-term solution to problems created by the cobbled-together transfer station off Road 409 [Caspar]. As you know, State Parks is no longer willing to participate in a land swap with CalFire, and CalFire only has legislative authority to provide the 12 acre Highway 20 parcel in exchange for a property deemed to be of comparable environmental value by Jackson Demonstration Forest. The Caspar Transfer Station, which was never significantly upgraded, has a tipping fee surcharge to ensure the Coast will someday have an efficient way to transfer solid waste, recyclables and organic waste to commercial facilities over the hill. With the tipping fee providing funding, the City of Fort Bragg and the County of Mendocino are in the midst of contracting for help, in order to take a fresh look at the fully enclosed transfer station proposed in the approved EIR. In addition to doing an updated fiscal review, the contracted help will speak with alternate landowners who could participate in a land swap and make the CalFire site available off of Highway 20. As directed by the City and County, the contracted help will also evaluate other back-up options, including the possibility of upgrading the existing facility off of Road 409."
AN UPGRADE OF 409 is also objected to by neighbors, and it doesn't seem wise over the long term to haul large bins of trash up and down a road not designed for it. The existing transfer station at Pudding Creek seems the most reasonable option since (1) it exists, and (2) it's the least expensive alternative.
THE HIGHWAY 20 transfer station was a deal cooked up by Mike Sweeney, former County trash czar with his self-created Mendocino Solid Waste Authority, and now an expatriate living in comfortable retirement in New Zealand where he is undoubtedly chuckling to himself about how he not only bamboozled law enforcement at all levels (assuming he wasn't federal law enforcement himself) in getting away with the 1990 car bombing of his ex-wife, as he simultaneously managed to become Mendocino County's ultimate Reinvented Man, moving seamlessly through violent prior lives as Maoist "revolutionary" to become Mendocino County's top garbage bureaucrat, using the County's Democratic Party to obtain the initial state trash grants he parlayed into a lush public position for himself. We certainly look forward to Sweeney's memoir which, we understand, is tentatively called, "See Ya, Suckas."
TED WILLIAMS has only been Supervisor for a year, but already he could give how-to lessons about the job. He brings an energy and a high ability to the position that hasn't been seen in years around here, if ever. Fully informed, Williams is direct and unafraid to ask questions of the CEO and department heads as his colleagues sit mute. I hope Williams' energy doesn't flag; he sets a brisk pace. He also seems to have galvanized Supervisor Gjerde, although Gjerde's recent awakening may simply be due to being opposed by Lindy Peters for re-election. But after years of arrogant incompetence occupying the 5th District seat, Williams is truly a breath of fresh air, pardon the cliche.
ON LINE COMMENTS OF THE WEEK
 When impeachment proceedings began against Nixon the public trust in government was 65 to 70%. According to polls, public trust is now in the low teens for Congress and this has been true for over a decade. Most people correctly see this as a corrupt system that doesn’t care if you have decent health care, a marginal standard of living or protection from predatory banks/credit cards. They’re living with the consequences that our “elected officials” would rather attend cocktail parties than do their job and they’re sick of all the posturing. Bernie inspired people b/c he seemed genuinely angry over the dismal prospects most Americans face and he wanted to do something about it. But it’s over for the Democrats — they switched from beer to champagne and they’re not about to go back.
 Both of our parties have degenerated into corrupt organizations where legislation is bought and paid for on a daily basis. My parents and grandparents came from a time when the Democrats actually worked on behalf of the working man and his family, but sadly, those days are gone. As far as the Republicans go, they have always been the party of the wealthy, so they didn’t have far to descend. What has puzzled me, is how they managed to convince working class people that they were on their side.
I know it started with Ronald Reagan, and they’ve been able to keep it going ever since. They know how to work the long con, and that’s a fact. If you had told my parents or grandparents that Republicans were on the side of the workers, they would have laughed in your face, and rightfully so.
Either way, looking at the current situation, I don’t see much hope for the blue collar guys, and I have told my kids so as well. With the coming revolution in AI, and robotics, we’re gonna be looking at a completely different world. Throw in climate change, and the problems that will come with it as well, and the future doesn’t look very promising. I’m doing what I can to try & prepare my kids for the coming shitstorm, but really it’s a flip of the coin as far as how things will work out. The one thing I do know, however, is that the wealthy will do better than the rest of us.
 I watched the hearings on Wednesday and had to wonder — is someone paying Adam Schiff to destroy the Democratic Party? Because if they are, he deserves a bonus. He doesn’t seem to realize without the completion of a “crime” there is no case and equally important, most people (including Democrats) couldn’t locate Ukraine on a map and don’t want to. They couldn’t care less what Trump said to their president whom they’ve never heard of and never want to again. But they do understand this very well — people in power use that power to advance themselves, get favors, build wealth, wield influence and destroy others. And this includes holier-than-thou Adam Schiff and should-have-retired-a-long-time-ago Joe Biden.