- High Dry
- Community Forum
- MRC Complaint
- Musselwhite Show
- Political Donations
- PG&E Stations
- Inactive Attorney
- Eve Celebration
- Angelica Spurned
- Lonesome Gull
- Homeless Action
- Shorty Burgled
- Ambulance Ordered
- Boonville's Best
- Boont-Berry Burt
- Gjerde Website
- Courthouse Awards
- Final Minutes
- Investigate SMART
- Home Invasion
- Al Crashes
- Mulheren Website
- Yesterday's Catch
- Comical Pete
- Our Times
- Weak Impeachment
- 3 Branches
- Desert Globe
- Sinister Cohn
- Dem Death
- Final Edition
- Art Walk
- SF Restaurants
- Forecast 2020
- Found Object
HIGH PRESSURE will keep northwest California dry for one more day, before a cold front clips areas north of Cape Mendocino with some light rain tonight into Wednesday. The next chance for rain will then hold off until late Friday or Saturday. (NWS)
LABOR & DELIVERY SERVICES AT COAST HOSPITAL
A community forum on labor and delivery services at Mendocino Coast District Hospital will be held on Friday, January 3rd at 6 pm in the Town Hall - 363 N. Main St., Fort Bragg. The purpose is for an open discussion around the challenges that we currently face and the best way to provide such services given these challenges. The meeting will be facilitated by Dr. Zoe Berna and Dr. Robin Serrahn will be the main presenter. All interested members of our community are invited to attend.
William V. Lee, CPCS, CPMSM
Director - Medical Staff Services
Mendocino Coast District Hospital
700 River Drive
Fort Bragg, Ca. 95437
Tel: (707) 961-4740
TERRY d’SELKIE of Comptche, posting on her facebook page, December 26:
“DEAD STANDING TREES! Mendocino Redwood Company is still breaking the law! They have not removed the dead standing trees. When you or I break the law, we are either arrested or cited and have to go to court. When MRC breaks the law, they are cajoled into being in "working groups" or "community forums" and such to help them figure out how NOT to break the law. I'm done with law breakers. I filed a complaint with planning and building and now MRC has to answer to that complaint within 30 days. We will see what transpires.”
(Ms. d’Selkie’s complaint was filed before December 26 when she posted this note on her facebook page. We’re not sure when the 30 day deadline for a response from the County is. But the complaint response is supposed to be on the agenda of the recently formed Measure V ad hoc committee consisting of Supervisors Ted Williams and John Haschak who are also supposed to be discussing the economics of tanoaks — a subject which has been talked to death in the past. MRC stands firm in their position that poisoning thousands of acres of tanoaks to make room for more commercial species is the only (i.e., cheapest) way to handle them. And now that they have poisoned thousands of acres of tanoaks, Supervisor Haschak’s ill-considered and newfound interest in their potential value is irrelevant because the damage has been done and talking about yet again is simply a way for MRC to buy time until the question of what to do with the already poisoned and even more valueless tanoaks is moot.)
IF MENDO WAS SERIOUS about enforcing the will of the voters as Ms. d’Selkie suggests, they’d forgo the endless talk&squirt discussions and demand a plan from MRC outlining what the company plans to do about their tanoaks to comply with the law. If no plan or no satisfactory plan is provided, then, yeah, go to court. All it would cost is some of the County Counsel’s time and might put MRC in a bad enough light that they’d be pressured into at least promising no more poisonings. Why is Mendo so reluctant to go to court, especially when they have a strong letter from their own County Counsel, Christian Curtis, that should lead MRC to make major concessions?
Charlie Musselwhite with Kingsborough
8:30 p.m., Tuesday, Dec. 31
Mystic Theatre, 21 Petaluma Blvd. North, Petaluma
Tickets: $59.50 to $97.50
Information: 707-765-2121, mystictheatre.com
Additional shows: Friday and Saturday, Dec. 27 and 28, Freight & Salvage, 2020 Addison St., Oakland. Tickets :$20 to $40. thefreight.org
There aren’t too many blues legends still around whose careers date to the 1960s, but Geyserville’s Charlie Musselwhite is one of them. He’ll be ushering in 2020 on New Year’s Eve at Petaluma’s Mystic Theatre.
Musselwhite, 75, is best known for his lyrical harmonica playing. He’s also a captivating vocalist and guitarist who embodies the blues.
Like all great artists, he has a distinctive style — when you hear Charlie blowing his harp, you know it has to be Musselwhite.
“All I can tell you is I just follow my heart,” Musselwhite said recently. “I play what I feel. It’s just what I believe in and feels right to me.”
His early records, starting with “Stand Back! Here Comes Charlie Musselwhite’s South Side Band,” captured Chicago’s gritty, down-and-out feel.
For more than half a century, he hasn’t let up, crafting seminal blues albums and collaborating with musicians ranging from Cyndi Lauper to Tom Waits.
A Mississippi native, Musselwhite grew up in the 1950s in Memphis, a city that was “just loaded with music,” he said. As a kid, he would hang out listening to the blues that spilled out of bars on Beale Street and sift through used furniture stores to score old records.
“I could find blues 78s in old record players. Record players were like furniture back then, a big box with a radio and turntable built in, so these used furniture stores would have hundreds, maybe thousands of 78s.
“I’d go through them and pick out all the old blues. They were a nickel or a dime. I could afford that,” he said. “I still have a lot of those 78s.”
After graduating from a vocational high school in Memphis, Musselwhite saw friends who’d moved to Chicago come back in style, driving new cars like big Oldsmobiles.
“I wanted me one of those big new cars, but the South was so economically depressed. That’s why people were heading north. Just like thousands of other people, I went up Highway 51 to Chicago.”
As an 18-year-old in a new city, Musselwhite found Chicago to be an adjustment.
“My accent was so thick that the white people in Chicago could hardly understand me,” he said. “And I could hardly understand them.”
Musselwhite worked as a driver for an exterminator, which gave him daily tours of his adopted city. “I discovered the whole blues scene just by seeing posters and signs in the windows of bars,” he said. At Pepper’s Lounge on 43rd Street, he saw a sign for a Muddy Waters show.
“I couldn’t believe it. I felt like a kid in a candy store. You could go to all these places and hear everybody. These were my heroes — I had their records.”
Musselwhite moved to the mostly black south side of Chicago. Even though he was already a talented harmonica player, the modest Musselwhite wouldn’t ask to sit in with his heroes.
“It wasn’t until one night that a waitress I had gotten to know real well told Muddy, ‘You oughta hear Charlie play harmonica.’ Muddy insisted that I sit in. That changed everything.”
Soon Musselwhite became known as one of Chi-town’s top blues harmonica players. In 1966, he recorded “Stand Back!” and gained wider acclaim. The next year, as the album gained traction, Musselwhite lined up a month of work on the West Coast. As soon as he touched down in San Francisco, he felt he was home.
“I got off the plane, and I knew I wasn’t going back. The sun was shining in every conceivable way,” he said.
Musselwhite couldn’t have landed at a more interesting cultural moment; the Summer of Love was just beginning.
“The hippies, they were open to everything,” he said. For young people in the Bay Area, the blues was “something exotic. So I got to play the Fillmore, the Avalon, the Matrix. It was quite a time to be alive.”
Speaking about his Chicago days, Musselwhite said he could “drink with the best of them,” but by the late 1980s he’d had enough and gave up alcohol. He soon signed with Alligator Records, the Chicago-based blues label, which gave Musselwhite’s career a second wind.
Other highlights came in the years that followed, including Musselwhite’s collaboration with Ben Harper on a 2018 album, “No Mercy in This Land.” The album’s haunting, heartbreaking title song is about the murder of Musselwhite’s mother during a home invasion just before Christmas in 2005, when she was 93.
“Every night (touring with Harper) when I would sing those verses, it was emotional for me, and healing.”
Musselwhite, known for his pencil-thin moustache, was nominated several times for a Grammy award before finally winning Best Blues Album in 2014 for his collaboration with Harper, “Get Up!”
The award means a lot to Musselwhite, he said, because the “Grammy is voted on by your peers; it’s not like a popularity contest.”
As for his look, Musselwhite has been credited with being the inspiration for the Elwood Blues character in the “The Blues Brothers” film.
“Danny Aykroyd told me that himself several times, so I think it’s true,” Musselwhite said. Aykroyd used to watch him play harmonica at a club in Canada.
“I didn’t wear a hat, but I used to wear a black suit and shades with my hair slicked back. That’s where he got that look.”
Asked what he’s most proud of, Musselwhite said, “Stayin’ alive. It’s great to be alive, and it just keeps getting better.”
(Michael Shapiro is author of “The Creative Spark,” a collection of interviews with musicians, writers and other artists. He covers the performing arts for national magazines and The Press Democrat.)
(The Santa Rosa Press Democrat)
ANDERSON VALLEY POLITICAL DONATIONS
On the Federal Elections Commission website for 2019 so far we found 6 Anderson Valley people who donated to Bernie Sanders for a total of about $4,500. Six more donated to Warren for about $1,300. There were 930 other smallish “actblue.com” on-line donations to unspecified Democratic Party candidates for relatively small amounts (up to $100) which we didn’t bother to add up.
PG&E ADDS MORE WILDFIRE CAMERAS IN MENDOCINO COUNTY
by Justine Frederiksen
As part of its Community Wildfire Safety Program (CWSP), Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) reported this month that it has now installed more than 30 weather stations in Mendocino County that track conditions such as wind, temperature and humidity.
PG&E describes the stations as being on its equipment in these “approximate areas”: Bald Mountain in Hopland, Oak Knoll Road in Ukiah, Sherwood Road and Reynolds Highway in Willits, Orr Springs Road in Ukiah, Blackhawk Drive in Willits, Pieta in Hopland, Blackhawk West in Willits, Cloverdale Peak in Cloverdale, Black Bart Trail in Calpella, Laughlin Mountain in Redwood Valley, Green Road Alternate in Philo, Mountain View Road in Boonville and Manchester, Highway 128 near Hendy Grove, Poonkinney Road in Covelo, Underwood Lane in Leggett, Greenwood Road West in Elk, Mathison Peak in Melbourne, Ten Mile Cutoff Road in Gallaway, Signal Peak in Potter Valley, as well as other areas in Potter Valley, Laytonville, Calpella, Willits and Covelo.
PG&E also reports installing five high-definition cameras in Mendocino County, two on Cleland Mountain, two on Mt. Sanel in Hopland and one in Redwood Valley. You can see all the cameras at alertwildfire.org
So far, PG&E reports that it has installed a total of 600 weather stations and 130 high-definition (HD) cameras across its service area.
“The station observations allow our meteorologists to analyze critical fire weather elements like extreme wind, temperature and low humidity,” said Ashley Helmetag, a PG&E senior meteorologist. “The stations and cameras are a part of our real-time situational awareness tools that assist us as we make decisions on Public Safety Power Shutoffs to protect our communities.”
This data is also critical information for PG&E’s analysts in the Wildfire Safety Operations Center, the “hub” from where the company monitors threats across its service territory and coordinates with first responders and public safety officials to respond to emerging threats.
Station observations are available to state and local agencies as well as the public, through online sources such as PG&E’s website, the National Weather Service and MesoWest.
The HD cameras are part of the ALERTWildfire Camera Network, a situational awareness tool built by the University of California San Diego, the University of Nevada, Reno and the University of Oregon. The high-definition, pan-tilt-zoom cameras have near-infrared capabilities that allow firefighters, first responders and companies such as PG&E to confirm and monitor wildfires.
By 2022, PG&E plans to have installed 1,300 weather stations and 600 HD cameras – a density of one weather station roughly every 20 circuit-miles and video coverage of roughly 90 percent within the highest fire-risk areas.
(Courtesy, the Ukiah Daily Journal.)
FOR YOUR PERSONNEL FILES:
Attorney Licensee Profile (California Bar Listing)
Vivian Lee Rackauckas #72315
License Status: Inactive
Address: PO Box 783, Willits, CA 95490
County: Mendocino County
Law School: Western State Univ; CA
Present Status: Inactive
As of 4/29/2019: Inactive
12/22/1976: Admitted to The State Bar of California
COME DANCE and toast in the new year at Lauren’s Restaurant! Well, we wanted to make sure some place was open in Boonville to greet the new year, but we didn't have much luck finding a band this year. Tough year for our little town in a lot of ways. So, we're going a little old school and creating our own dance magic with a bitchin' rock and roll compilation put together by Danny & Benna. (Thanks guys) The lights and the music will be on in Boonville, plus there will be fries! We'll be serving our regular dinner menu from 5 to 9. Dancing and disco ball begin at 9. No cover!
On Saturday, December 28, 2019 at about 5:50 a.m, Mendocino County Sheriff's Deputies were dispatched to a reported unwanted female subject at a residence in the 21000 block of Meadowbrook Drive in Willits. Deputies were advised the unwanted female subject also caused vandalism to the residence by breaking an exterior window. Upon arrival, Deputies spoke to an adult male and adult female who identified the subject as being Angelica Pedroza, 30, of Laytonville.
The two adults awoke in bed and discovered Pedroza standing over them. Pedroza and the adult male were in a prior romantic relationship and she was known to both adults. Startled from discovering Pedroza in their home, the adult male stood up to remove Pedroza from his home when she struck the adult male multiple times in the head causing visible injury. The adult male was able to remove Pedroza from the bedroom and the residence but not before she knocked over additional furniture items within the residence. Additionally, the adult female attempted to contact 911 and Pedroza took the phone from her and broke it. The adult male was able to eventually remove Pedroza from the residence and closed the entry door. While outside, Pedroza was identified as breaking an exterior window to the residence causing additional vandalism. Pedroza thereafter left the residence in her vehicle. Later that day, at about 12:10 p.m., Mendocino County Sheriff's Deputies responded to Pedroza's residence in Laytonville and contacted her about the reported incident. Pedroza was subsequently arrested for Burglary of an Inhabited Residence, Domestic Violence Battery, Felony Vandalism and Damage to/Destruction of a Wireless Communication Device. Pedroza was booked into the Mendocino County Jail on the listed charges and was to be held in lieu of $50,000 bail.
TEMPORARY ANSWER FOR THE MOST AT-RISK HOMELESS POPULATION IN MENDOCINO COUNTY
Homeless people are dying in the streets of the few cities of Mendocino County and along the linear garbage dumps that have becomes our creek beds and rivers.
Shame on us.
What's the answer?
Mendocino County should take some of its Measure B money -- $13 million and counting -- and immediately buy or rent a few double wide mobile homes, and convert them into secure psychiatric units and/or crisis stabilization units. It's a temporary solution, I know, but it will "house" the most seriously mentally ill and dually diagnosed who are homeless this winter.
The county should also petition the courts for more Public Guardian-Conservatorships, also known as Lanterman-Petris-Short (LPS) Public Guardian-Conservatorships, for those homeless people who, by the serious nature of their illness, cannot make responsible decisions about their own safety and well being, and, are thus, a threat to themselves.
The Mendocino County Board of Supervisors should make the above their 2020 New Year's Resolution.
John Sakowicz, Candidate, Mendocino County 1st District Supervisor
SHORTY ADAMS’ HOME BURGLARIZED. Someone or someones entered the Adams home on Saturday night (28 December) while Shorty was away and took a shotgun and miscellaneous papers. The Sheriff’s Department is investigating. Shorty’s home is a stone’s throw from the ava office in Boonville. This is the first reported Boonville burglary in some time. If you have to ask who Shorty is you gotta be new to town. He is arguably the most famous school bus driver in the United States, maybe the world, having circumnavigated the globe several times over during his fifty-plus years as driver of four generations of Anderson Valley students. And not so much as a fender bender!
THE COMMUNITY SERVICES DISTRICT’S new ambulance is on order and expected to arrive in Boonville in March. The approximate $200k cost will be covered by a $107k grant from the US Department of Agriculture successfully applied for by Ambulance Manager Clay Eubanks, plus local Ambulance Foundation and Ambulance Department equipment reserves. The current ambulance will be retired and used as a backup. The old ambulance will not be regularly staffed since the District (and the entire county) is short of emergency medical responders of all categories.
“It is our pleasure to inform you that the Anderson Valley Advertiser has been selected for the 2019 Best of Boonville Awards in the category of Business Services.”
WITH the mounds of fire rubble in the center of town, and both the Redwood Drive-In and the Mosswood bakery and coffee shop closed for the holidays, there’s almost no there here in Boonville, but there’ll be music at Lauren’s Restaurant on New Year’s Eve and Burt Boont-Berry Cohen will throw his annual bash at his home on Lambert Lane. I remember attending a Burt end-of-the-year bash maybe 35 years ago, and that was a wonderful event complete with a celebratory bonfire. (If there’s an unsung retail hero in this county more valiant than this guy in creating flexible employment and quality food at people’s prices than Burt, well, name him or her.)
THIS ON-LINE COMMENT resonated with me: "Sensible folks eschew weed in favor of being clean and sober! Life is better when you are not loaded all the time. Try it for a couple of years, and you may agree too… I can't smoke modern cannabis, the smallest amount is too damn strong, and I have worked at the hospital, so I have seen the drug-wrecks of Humboldt and Trinity and Mendo Counties, up close, so thanks for your contribution to the North Coast Drug Paradigm. You cured your counties of having available services."
DON'T KNOW about "available services" unless the writer is saying dope-related people have overwhelmed public help for "straight" citizens, but we worked with a guy who smoked the new, improved bazooka, famously commenting, "This new Mendo stuff knocks me out for three or four hours. It's great!" Prob was we had a certain number of necessary daily tasks to complete, and MIA for hours at a time meant more work for everyone else.
BACK IN THE DAY, when a lotta hippies were taking advantage of welfare programs, the hippies got blamed for sucking up too many public services, but that blame invariably came from the professional hippie bashers of the day; they blamed hippies for everything and tended overwhelmingly to be politically hostile to any government programs that helped people needing help. Which isn’t to say there weren’t a few long-haired deadbeats scamming the system, but official Mendo of the time used hippie welfare fraud as an excuse to institute draconian measures that harmed everyone, the legit and the un-legit needy alike. Help these days, scant and austere as it is, is at least available.
DAN GJERDE: Let's catch up. See you at my website.
COURTHOUSE END OF YEAR AWARDS (PART 2)
by Bruce McEwen
NATO has the Napoleon Bonaparte Award for enterprising generals. The mighty AVA has the Hamilton Burger Award for outstanding prosecutors. This year’s HBA goes to Deputy DA Luke Oakley. Like Hamilton Burger in his Sisyphean struggle against the unbeatable Perry Mason, Luke Oakley has battled some of the best criminal defense lawyers in some sensational jury trials. Yet Mr. Oakley never loses his equanimity – even if he loses a case to acquittal or, more to the point, when he wins a no-win case and the defendant gets off on an eyebrow-lifting light sentence.
Consider, for example, the two cases of assault where the victim died as a result, but the charges brought against the defendant were not murder, or even voluntary manslaughter, but merely assault.
The first was when Kenny Fisher was killed by Charles Reynolds in Boomer’s Bar’s parking lot in Laytonville with a single punch. Mr. Oakley was up against the very accomplished Justin Petersen.
The second was more recently when Isaiah Bennett killed the homeless blind man with a kick to the face, Jimmy Isenhart in Ukiah.
These were not popular cases to prosecute since, by the nature of the charges, the defendants were not going to be exposed to lengthy prison sentences. In the event, Mr. Reynolds got six years and Mr. Bennett got eight years in prison.
These and other cases where the prosecutor is forced to play the unpopular role, the bad hat, as it were, like poor old Hamilton Burger, always going up against Good Guy, Perry Mason – I say, these kinds of cases require a prosecutor to put away his ego and perform his duties to the best of his ability in the face of public opinion that will be nothing short of opprobrious.
The Award for Most Experienced, Respected, Effective & Resilient Criminal Defense Lawyer goes to Jan Cole-Wilson.
Ms. Cole-Wilson has fewer years in service than Al Kubanis, but she has defended more murder cases alone than any other local lawyer still practicing and she has worked for both the Office of the Public Defender and the Alternate Public Defender. Whereas Kubanis has always been in private practice, with third-tier court appointments making up his bread and butter.
Recently appointed Assistant Public Defender, for the same office she started out in nearly 30 years ago, Cole-Wilson must surely have a feel, that is to say, an intuitive knowledge of the local underclass, the indigent and their chronic criminality, whether drug-induced or caused by the desperation of poverty, than anyone else in the county, social science professionals included. Of the many unacceptable oversights to be laid on the conscience of County CEO Carmel Angelo, passing this good woman and excellent attorney over for the top job at the OPD, in favor of an outsider, must be one of the more grievous.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT - HERE’S END OF 49’ER GAME SUNDAY NIGHT
TIME TO INVESTIGATE
It is time for the Sonoma County grand jury to investigate SMART, a publicly funded fiasco. Take your pick, massive cost overruns, lack of transparency, a board that seems afraid to confront the general manager, offering free rides, a bloated payroll, no response as to when service will extend to Healdsburg and Cloverdale, and many other issues. If this was a privately funded project it would have been mothballed long ago.
GARBERVILLE HOME INVASION ARMED ROBBERY
On Dec. 29, 2019, at about 3:46 p.m., Humboldt County Sheriff’s deputies were dispatched to a residence on the 100 block of Arthur Road in Garberville for the report of a home invasion armed robbery that had just occurred.
According to the male victim, two men broke into his residence just after 3 p.m. The suspects reportedly bound the victim prior to stealing his cell phone, truck, cannabis and a safe. According to the victim, one of the suspects was in possession of a firearm. After the suspects fled the scene, the victim was able to escape to a neighbor’s residence and call for help.
The suspects are described as following:
Suspect One: Male subject, approximately 6 feet 1 inch tall, wearing a blue hooded sweatshirt and a black and white biker-style skull mask, carrying a blued steel automatic handgun.
Suspect Two: Male subject, approximately 5 feet 9 inches tall, wearing a blue hooded sweatshirt and an unknown color bandana over his face.
The stolen vehicle is described as a silver 2008 Ford F-150 XLT with a third door on the passenger side, CA license plate of 10699Z1.
Anyone with information about this case or related criminal activity is encouraged to call the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office at 707-445-7251 or the Sheriff’s Office Crime Tip line at 707-268-2539.
I REALLY MESSED UP NOW.
Totally wrecked my gold truck on Highway 20 this past Friday trying to escape what has been bothering me lately and I didn't make it. I was headed down to the bay area to look into some housing that was being offered to me and to also spend new years there in hopes to cheer me up. Difficult for me now not having my truck, my wings, my freedom and to be able to go to work. I think I’m being offered an old truck so I won't be so stranded at home to wither away, not the same as having my own truck but I’m grateful for that offer if it happens. Not sure how all this is going to play out as I’m not sure how to think or do this. Tow company cost had somewhat left me broke while making it right with them putting me in a bad state of mind, let alone how I destroyed my little truck. Tomorrow I am going to see a therapist in hopes she can ease my mind from what is going on in there now from the added insanity I had added to it. I have been reading a book, The Power of Myths that a friend has recommended that I read and learned all what happens to me is because I am not right with myself. I feel like I’m late in the game and feel my suffering will continue as I had read and will become more, with no quick solution to fix and heal myself unless the therapist can. The book tells me when man and woman marry they become one like a church of god loving and forgiving living a happy life, I wish that had happened to me as I always wanted that. I can't help but think it’s probably not in the cards that are being dealt to me by the higher power. Some things I just don't understand or comprehend making me think I totally gonna keep missing the boat. I gotta go now being limited time where I’m at using computer and don't know when I’ll be back. Please wish me well or good luck because I need it more than ever now.
Al Nunez firstname.lastname@example.org
MO4MENDO CAMPAIGN UPDATE
Maureen ‘Mo’ Mulheren receives key endorsements for her Mendocino County Board of Supervisors, Second District Campaign Ukiah, California, Release: December 30, 2019. For Immediate Release Mo Mulheren proudly announces endorsements of her candidacy for Mendocino County Second District Supervisor by SEIU Local 1021, Sheriff Tom Allman (retired), Ukiah City Councilmember Jim Brown, and Mendocino County Office of Education Trustee Tarney Sheldon.
”Good leadership depends on energy, enthusiasm, and the knowledge of the many topics we face. I am endorsing Mo based on her ability to work with others and get the job done.” — Tom Allman
Mulheren announced her candidacy for Supervisor in January of 2019 while serving as Mayor of Ukiah. Mulheren was first elected to the Ukiah City Council in 2014 when three of the five members council were also new. This marked a wave of change in Ukiah including 140+ new units of both subsidized and market rate housing, improved budget transparency and communication with the community, and the undertaking of large capital projects including the Recycled Water Project and infrastructure upgrades at Airport Park Blvd, and Talmage and North State Street improvements through the Brush Low Gap intersection. As Ukiah’s Mayor, Mulheren stated "These projects should have been done twenty years ago when I was in high school, I'm glad to check them off the list."
I’m running for Supervisor because I want to apply my local knowledge and ability to get things done to our county-wide and regional challenges including homelessness, whole person wellness, housing, economic opportunity for all, and disaster preparedness and climate resiliency. So many of these challenges are typically siloed in government but they are interconnected and must be addressed by forming coalitions across disciplines, with community partners, and forging strong ties and good working relationships with the business community. Receiving the endorsement of both SEIU Local 1021—the county employees who serve our community every day—and Sheriff Tom Allman show that I have the ability to forge key relationships with diverse groups and individuals and get the job done for Mendocino County. For more information about the Mo4Mendo campaign including vision, complete endorsement list, and weekly campaign updates, visit www.mo4mendo.com and follow @Mo4Mendo on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
CATCH OF THE DAY, December 30, 2019
BAILEY ALBERS, Mendocino. Grand theft, stolen property, resisting, battery on peace officer.
THOMAS BINNER, Ukiah. DUI.
ODDIE BLAGG, Fort Bragg. Probation revocation.
DONALD COOK, Ukiah. Parole violation.
ANDREW DANIELE, Ukiah. Under influence, resisting.
JUAN GARCIA-GONZALES, Fort Bragg. Domestic battery.
TODD HUGHES, Penn Valley/Redwood Valley. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, under influence, probation revocation.
MALLORY KENNEDY, Point Arena. Probation revocation.
JUSTIN MALUGANI, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
JOSEPH MISITA, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
MALCOLM SESSIONS, Nice/Ukiah. DUI.
KRISTOPHER SPARKMAN, Boonville. Obtaining or using personal ID information without authorization.
by Fred Gardner
The Times has run some informative stories recently about the conditions people face at work. A piece by Andy Newman about working at Old Navy made the front page December 26. He wrote, empathetically:
“This is the job of a retail clothing worker at the end of 2019: dashing back and forth between stockroom and fitting room and sales floor, online and in-store, juggling the hats of cashier and cheerleader and personal shopper and visual merchandiser and database manager…
“Entry-level associates at Old Navy have store-issued mobile devices, too, that do things like ping them when a customer buys the last item in a particular size so they can replenish it from a stockroom that holds over 250,000 items (don’t worry, the app tells them where to find it), or ring up customers anywhere in the store’s 30,000-square-foot, three-story expanse, or notify them of a BOPIS — that’s Buy Online Pickup In Store, which sends an associate to find the items on the sales floor… and scan them in and print the invoice and stick it on a bag with the customer’s information and bring it up to the BOPIS register, where it goes on a numbered shelf.”
A Times piece posted online Dec. 19 focused on the hurt feelings of Kathryn and Craig Hall, the rich Democrats who got unwanted publicity from Elizabeth Warren after hosting a Buttigieg fund-raiser in their Napa Wine Cave…
“I’m just a pawn here,” said Craig Hall, who owns Hall Wines, which is known for its cabernet sauvignon, with his wife, Kathryn Walt Hall. “They’re making me out to be something that’s not true… Mr. Hall, 69, made much of his fortune in the real estate industry and said he started a business at 18 with $4,000 from his savings account. Ms. Hall, a lawyer and businesswoman, served as the United States ambassador to Austria under President Bill Clinton after donating to his re-election campaign. Her family has worked in the wine industry since the 1970s.
As chairman of the Hall Group, which is based in Dallas, Mr. Hall oversees a financial services company, wineries, art exhibits and a luxury hotel. He said that in Texas, he is often seen as the most liberal among friends and business colleagues, part of why he felt unfairly targeted during the debate.
One golden nugget of fact made it worth reading past the billionaires' bwa bwa bwa. The winery would be closed Dec. 20 for "the annual Christmas party and… active shooter training."
A Warning From Snowden
Edward Snowden was one of 14 people whose thoughts about the year 2030 ran in the last Sunday New York Times of 2019. He wrote:
"The drowned cities of tomorrow will be founded on the conveniences of today. Electricity usage by data centers is enormous and expanding, threatening to top 10 percent of global electricity consumption within the next decade and to produce roughly five times the CO2 emissions of all current global air travel. As more power is required to cool these data centers, the warmer the planet will become; and as consumer electronics get cheaper and more disposable, the more they will leach their minerals into our groundwater, poisoning the future.
"To achieve sustainability we will need to treat technological change and environmental change as symbiotic. If more efforts aren’t directed toward converting data centers to renewable energy, and innovating ecologically-responsible, recyclable machines and batteries, then the internet, too, will become a weapon of the rich, even more than it already is — a tool used to seize and control ever more scarce natural resources."
Sharp Larry David predicted a "next big trend" that actually started long ago: "outright, brazen, shameless lying."
DEMOCRATS SHOULD GO AFTER TRUMP’S FULL CORRUPTION, NOT JUST UKRAINE
The democrats weak impeachment is pitiful. They should have pressed on more charges. See what Ralph Nader says here -
ON LINE COMMENTS OF THE WEEK
 I am almost 70 years old and have lived in Los Angeles for the past ten years. This place has no soul. My friend and I want to leave here and buy a small house in a nice town with normal people. The only problem is that any of these towns that might exist are filled with depressed people, some slumped over their steering wheels dying of heroin overdoses while their toddler children sit in the back seats of the cars freezing, screaming and starving. Starving for food, warmth and affection. Too old to fight the snow and frozen roads and sidewalks. Wish I had a pretty lake to swim in Spring, Summer and Fall with a nice mild Winter. And the quaint town of my childhood back again. I wish it wasn’t so, but I will probably die here in this hell hole with nothing but my memories of swimming lakes and pretty gardens with bluebirds and robins and cardinals singing. And in my memories I can hear my grandma saying, “If wishes were horses, beggars would ride.” Merry Christmas.
ED NOTE: Well, Willits has the Boy Scout Lake and there are mini-lakes at Brooktrails and Fort Bragg.
 I am a feminist and I do not buy into the Trans-insanity. In fact, I find the whole dick in a dress pantomiming ‘Woman’ beyond distressing. Cultural appropriation has nothing on what these faux-women are attempting to make their own and erasing the entire biological female sex while they do it. So relieved to know that the most difficult thing about being a woman is not the threat of rape or access to safe abortions but deciding what to wear! You know that society is circling the bowl when your Gynecologist can’t say ‘Pregnant Woman’ but must say ‘Pregnant Person’ and agree that Trans-women have periods and send out reminders for pap-smears to people who don’t and never will have a cervix! This mass-delusion needs to be knocked back before our legal system and society are damaged beyond the point of no return.
 If fast food is driving obesity, why aren’t McDonald’s customers fatter than average? It was a performance artist who came up with that notion, and it is surprising to see it carried throughout the media as if it were hard scientific fact. On second thought, no it is not. The purveyors of the diet that is fueling obesity would just as soon have a major corporation like McDonald’s take the heat, as their customers won’t do any different. In my estimation, it is the low fat diet causing the problem, in large part. Diabetics don’t just have to watch their sugar intake. They also have to watch their carbohydrate levels. Eating fat does not cause a spike in blood sugar levels. In the 1990s, I believe it was, the old “food pyramid” was redesigned, and suddenly a healthy diet included a whopping amount of what we used to call starch. Is it a coincidence that Big Food had a say in the new guidelines? The “healthy” diet that Michelle Obama (who used to work for Big Food)) jumped in to rescue school kids from being overweight with, is in actuality a low fat diet.
 There is no logic at work and no trusted institution so I fear your worst fears have already taken root. Neither party has even the slightest credibility and after 8 Obama years of hope with no change (except for the worst) in medical care, housing, and income for most of us, we don’t really believe a rescue plan is shaping up. It IS important that the people who participated in this travesty be indicted but even if indictments are issued it will turn into a political they’re-prosecuting-us-b/c-they’re-against-us-for-trying-to-stop-Trump and will be spun into this narrative across the media. Just look at the number of people who still believe Trump should be prosecuted for “obstruction of justice” of the Mueller report even though it proved to be a false accusation. Another reason people are cynical is even though we’re still paying for the 2008 crash, it doesn’t take much investigation to see that crime does indeed pay — especially crime that was legalized under Clinton, Greenspan, Rubin and Summers. A friend of mine’s son was a hedge fund guy who AIG paid $50 million in “insurance” when the stock market crashed. He created no jobs, built no factories, invented absolutely nothing but is still wheeling and dealing in this market and it’s all perfectly legal. Has even one of the Democratic candidates said a word about re-criminalizing all the janky Wall Street stunts?
MEET ROY COHN
Two opposite readings dramatize today’s dilemma. In Sunday’s NY Times, Nicholas Kristof had an opinion column that points out that “things have never been better.” He gives statistics about life expectancy, general health, infant mortality, poverty versus sufficiency, and like that. Kristof is—to use a word that has been little used in recent decades—a humanist. He didn’t write today to be a pollyanna. He knows we’re all under special stress, waking up every day to the likes of Trump, McConnell, Lindsey Graham et alia, and to a world turned mean. He points out the progress we make DESPITE these influences, and I, personally, appreciate it. My outlook has been gloomy lately. Trump is an agent of hate, anger and destruction, but since he’s also an agent of corporate profits and more income for the rich, he remains in the Oval Office like a turd in a punchbowl. What if he cheats his way into another term?
That’s the good news, Kristof's article. On a dispassionate, worldwide scale, things for ordinary people everywhere are better.
On the other hand, every now and then, to remind myself what I’m up against, I read a few pages of “The Autobiography of Roy Cohn,” by Sidney Zion
Cohn became famous as Joe McCarthy’s right-hand man, a lawyer and the perfect definition of ”sinister.” McCarthy was the senator from Wisconsin who made a career of ruining people by calling them communists. (“Commonists” was the ignorant way he said it.) Cohn was his brains. They were practically joined at the hip.
Whenever I read any of the Cohn book, done in collaboration with the subject creature, I put it down feeling soiled—always. McCarthy was only one of Cohn’s history of evil. He played in circles of wealth and influence. That’s the trouble, for me, in that book. Reading about the affairs of influential people is terrifying. They are merciless, soulless, morally absent, basically ignorant and indifferent to the common lot—and altogether filthy. They are also way stronger than me, given that they are restrained by no principle other than Win At Any Cost, revenge, greed and perfect ruthlessness.
I dip into the Cohn book from time to time to remind myself of who Trump’s avatar was, who Trump truly is, and who are the figures in a big part of American “leadership.” For this reason—and this reason only—I commend the book to your attention, but it’s a foul, shitty read, and if you don’t need to know any more about that stuff than is already glaringly apparent, forget it. Read Kristof. I cannot think of a starker comparison between decency and decadence.
Think I’ll have me some kava.
WINE CAVE DEMOCRATS
Wine cave owner Craig Hall said he intended to support any Democratic nominee in the general election, but he admitted it would be hard to back Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders. “I hope I don’t face that question,” Hall said. “It may be difficult. But I really want to support whoever the nominee is, and I plan to, but there may be some holding my nose.”
If Hall doesn’t like the “smell” of Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren, maybe he is in the wrong party, and Pete Buttigieg is Republican-lite.
And Barack Obama hasn’t distinguished himself by anointing Hillary Clinton, which brought us Donald Trump, or dissing Sanders now.
FRONTIERS OF FREE ENTERPRISE
Alabama dealership offers Bible, shotgun, and American flag with every car purchase
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
Reminds me of an exchange I had with my Mellenial son who has been a major Bernie supporter since 2016.
Yesterday he said, “Hey Mom! Did you see where the Democrat Establishment is starting to believe that Bernie might become the nominee?!”
I said, “Yeah. Until the convention when The Superdelegates decide some nice middle of the roader, like Klobuchar, would be better.”
He said, “If that happens, it will be the DEATH of the Democrat Party!”
And I said, “In my dreams”.
That’s when the fight started.
MARTINEZ NEWS-GAZETTE PRINTS FINAL NEWSPAPER AFTER 161 YEARS
JANUARY 2020 FIRST FRIDAY UKIAH ART WALK
The First Friday Venues– Art, Music And Refreshments
Art Walk: emphasis on ART and WALK. Ukiah is a very walkable town.
Join artists and their hosts for an evening of art, music and refreshments as you stroll from one venue to the next; each showcasing local art and artistry. Held in Historic Downtown Ukiah on the first Friday of each month, the First Friday Art Walk is the perfect way to relax your body, mind and soul. This enjoyable evening begins at 5:00 p.m. and promises to delight your senses; all while enjoying the company of others.
For more information contact (707) 391-3664 or check out their facebook page.
MORE THAN 400 RESTAURANTS CLOSED THROUGHOUT SAN FRANCISCO DURING 2019
FORECAST 2020: WHIRLIN’ & SWIRLIN’
by James Kunstler
The big question for the year 2020 is simple: can America get its mind right?
If the answer is no, we may not have much chance of continuing as a peaceful, functioning country. The era of the long emergency, as I call it, is of a piece with Strauss and Howe’s figurative winter in their Fourth Turning view of history playing out in generational cycles analogous to seasons of the year. Whatever you call it, the current disposition of things has had a harsh effect on our collective psychology. It has made an unusually large cohort of Americans functionally insane, believing in demons, hobgoblins, and phantoms, subscribing to theories that, in previous eras, children would laugh at, while contesting obvious realities and provoking grave political hazard.
The madness is distributed over many realms of American life, with the common denominator of a thinking class fallen into disordered thinking. The disorder is led by the information media and higher education with their crypto-Gnostic agendas for transforming human nature to heal the world (in theory). It includes a grab-bag of delusions and deliberate mind-fucks ranging from the morbid obsession with Russian interference in our affairs, to the crusade against free speech on campus, to the worship of sexual perversity (e.g. the Transsexual Reading Hour), to the campaigns against whiteness and maleness, to the incursions of woke-ness in the corporate workplace, to the cynical machinations of economists, bankers, and politicians in manipulating financial appearances, to the effort to divorce reality from truth as a general proposition.
These diseases of mind and culture are synergized by an aroused political ethos that says the ends justify the means, so that bad faith and knowing dishonesty become the main tools of political endeavor. Hence, a venerable institution such as The New York Times can turn from its mission of strictly pursuing news and be enlisted as the public relations service for rogue government agencies seeking to overthrow a president under false pretenses. The overall effect is of a march into a new totalitarianism, garnished with epic mendacity and malevolence. Since when in the USA was it okay for political “radicals” to team up with government surveillance jocks to persecute their political enemies?
This naturally leads to the question: what drove the American thinking class insane? I maintain that it comes from the massive anxiety generated by the long emergency we’ve entered — the free-floating fear that we’ve run out the clock on our current way of life, that the systems we depend on for our high standard of living have entered the failure zone; specifically, the fears over our energy supply, dwindling natural resources, broken resource supply lines, runaway debt, population overshoot, the collapsing middle-class, the closing of horizons and prospects for young people, the stolen autonomy of people crushed by out-of-scale organizations (government, WalMart, ConAgra), the corrosion of relations between men and women (and of family life especially), the frequent mass murders in schools, churches, and public places, the destruction of ecosystems and species, the uncertainty about climate change, and the pervasive, entropic ugliness of the suburban human habitat that drives so much social dysfunction. You get it? There’s a lot to worry about, much of it quite existential. The more strenuously we fail to confront and engage with these problems, the crazier we get.
Much of the “social justice” discontent arises from the obvious and grotesque income inequality of our time accompanied by the loss of meaningful work and the social roles that go with that. But quite a bit of extra tension comes from the shame and disappointment over the failure of the long civil rights campaign to correct the racial inequalities in American life — everything from attempts at school integration to affirmative action (by any name) to “multiculturalism” to the latest innovations in “diversity and inclusion.” In short, too many black Americans are still failing to thrive in this land despite fifty years of expensive government programs and educational experiments galore, and there are few explanations left to account for that failure, which includes black-led cities in ruin and high rates of black violent crime. This quandary harrows the thinking class and drives them ever deeper into their crypto-Gnostic fantasies about changing human nature to heal the world. The net result is that race relations are worse and more fraught than they were in 1950. And the outcome is so embarrassing that the thinking class avoids facing it at all costs (despite bad faith calls for “an honest conversation about race” that is, in actuality, unwelcome).
Our country is caught in a matrix of self-destructive rackets and the common denominator is the immersive dishonesty we have given ourselves permission to practice. In ethics and daily conduct, we’re nothing like the country that came out of World War Two. Our national maxim these days is anything goes and nothing matters. That’s a poor platform for navigating through life on earth. After a decades-long clamor for “hope and change,” that’s one big thing we don’t talk about changing, and apparently have no hope for changing. America has got to get its mind right about lying to itself.
This is a forecast, after all, and I’m going to try to be as concise as possible on the particulars, which we’ll now turn to. Forecasts, you understand, are like jazz, an improvisational connecting of dots at a certain moment in time… or throwing spaghetti at the wall to see if anything sticks.
There’s an excellent chance that the Democratic Party will be in such disarray by summertime, that it may break apart into a radical-Wokester faction and a rump “moderate” faction. That would make the election somewhat like the 1860 contest on the eve of the first Civil War. The current crop of leading candidates — Biden, Sanders, Warren, Buttigieg — all look to me like horses that ain’t gonna finish. Michael Bloomberg could end up leader of the rump moderates, propelled by his inexhaustible bank account, but I doubt his appeal to the racial minorities and the new millennial voters Democrats depend on. I’m not sure he’s left with much else.
I’m convinced that Joe Biden is in still in the contest solely to avoid investigation. He’s already obviously not wholly sound of mind, and he’s not even in the White House yet. Think of how Bob Mueller looked testifying in congress six months ago, and imagine Uncle Joe in the White House Situation Room. The record of grift from Uncle Joe’s Veep days is vibrantly nauseating, and embarrassingly on-the-record in video and in bank statements. Similarly, for Elizabeth Warren: there are too many video recordings of her lying about herself. She’d never overcome an opponent’s political ad campaign replaying them daily. I’m sorry, but despite the crypto-Gnostic wish by many Thinking Class-niks to make the marginal seem normal, I doubt the voters want to see Mayor Pete in the White House with a “First Husband.” Bernie Sanders has a shot of leading a radical faction this time — if he can overcome the hacks in the DNC — and only a dim shot at winning the general election. This overview leaves a pretty big crack in the door for Hillary Clinton to ride into a hung convention in Milwaukee on a paper mache white horse and try to “rescue” the party. I believe she’d be laughed out of the hall, making for a humiliating final scene in her accursed career.
One other possibility is that a figure currently off the game-board somehow flies in to lead the Democratic Party, but it’s impossible to state who that black swan character might be. That could also be something like a “smoke-filled room” scenario of a nominating convention, like the one that picked Warren Harding a hundred years before: the party poohbahs get together and just ram their decision down the delegates throats. I’d assign a 20 percent chance to that outcome.
Whatever you think of his style, manner, and policies, Donald Trump has one outstanding quality: resilience. As David Collum has remarked, Mr. Trump is anti-fragile (in the Nassim Taleb sense). The more he is antagonized, the stronger he seems to get. His weak spot is his ownership of the economy and the financial markets that are supposed to serve it. His destiny, which I described in blogs three years ago, is to be the guy left holding the bag when things economic start cracking up — a situation I’ll describe in its own category below. The odds are not so good that the status quo of an ever-rising stock market will hold up until next November. And if it goes south in a hard way, that will certainly work against his reelection. It could also be the one thing that would permit the Democratic Party to stay glued together — but implies that a shake-up in markets and banks would have to happen by early summer, before the conventions.
Meanwhile, the attempts at impeachment have a peevish Lilliputian flavor. Keeping it up —bringing a threatened second or third bill of impeachment with extra charges — will only reinforce Mr. Trump’s anti-fragility. Second to the economic issues is the question whether the firm of Barr & Durham will manage to pin some criminal responsibility on the people who undertook the RussiaGate coup against Mr. Trump — a ghastly mis-use of government power now celebrated by Democrats, who, you might recall, used to be against police states. A series of perp walks by the likes of Brennan, Comey, Clapper, and others could finally burst the bubble of credulity that the Mueller face-plant and the damning Horowitz report failed to achieve among the True Believers of Rachel Maddow. Of course, this matter has even greater significance for correcting the meta-problem of America chronically lying to itself. RussiaGate and its spinoffs was such a gargantuan edifice of malicious dishonesty that it must be deconstructed in the courts, or the mental health of the nation may not recover. It is the key to ending the regime of anything goes and nothing matters. Bottom line: if the markets or the value of the dollar don’t crash, Mr. Trump will be reelected.
However, I expect that his rivals will resort to Lawfare tactics to tie up the election process in a paralyzing tangle of litigation that would impede or deny a peaceful resolution of the outcome. These tactics may provoke the president to declare some extraordinary measures to overcome this climactic act of “Resistance” — perhaps a period of martial law while the results are re-tabulated. Yes, it could get that extreme.
Economy and Its Accessories
The shale oil “miracle” was a financial stunt using debt to provide the illusion that the nation’s energy supply was safe and assured long-term. It’s been an impressive stunt, for sure, with production nearing 13 million barrels-a-day now, but it is foundering on its Ponzi business model — the producers just can’t make money at it, and they’ve spent ten years proving that it’s a foolish play for investors. The result will be dwindling investment in an endeavor that requires constant re-investment. Which means that 2020 is the year that shale oil de-miracle-izes and production falls. The bankruptcies have only just begun.
The economy is really just a function of energy inputs, and these must be inputs that make economic sense — that don’t cost more than whatever they return. All our banking and finance arrangements depend on that. If energy inputs decline, or the cost in energy exceeds the value of net energy you get, then debts of every kind can no longer be repaid and the whole system implodes. From there the question is whether collapse is slow or fast. My guess is that it may start slowly and then accelerate rapidly to critical — and the process has already begun.
As a result of this energy dynamic, we’re seeing a generalized contraction in economic activity and growth worldwide, expressed in standards of living that will fall going forward. The effects in America are already obvious and discouraging: the struggling middle-class, people living paycheck-to-paycheck, people unable to buy cars or pay to fix them. The hope was that America might reindustrialize (some version of MAGA) while the “emerging” economies kept producing stuff as the “engines” of the global economy: China, India, Korea, Brazil, Mexico and others. These places saw standards of living rise dramatically the past thirty years. Reversing that trend will be a trauma. These emerging economies are topping off and heading down because of the same basic energy dynamics which affect the whole world: running out of affordable energy, oil especially. The likely result will be political instability within China, and the rest — already manifest — and some of that disorder may be projected outward at economic rivals.
Europe has experienced plenty of blowback from its contracting standard-of-living as expressed in the Yellow Vest disruptions in France, the Brexit nervous breakdown, the gathering power of nationalist political movements in many nations, and the ongoing refugee crisis (largely economic refugees from failing third world places). The European banks, led by the sickest of them all, Deutsche Bank, suffer from a crushing burden of bad derivative obligations that are liable to sink them in 2020, and then there will be a scramble for survival in Euroland, with the recent refugees caught in the middle. I think we will see the first attempts to expel them as financial chaos spreads, violence erupts, and nationalism rises.
The “solution” to the quandary of contraction since 2008 has been for central banks to “create” mountains of fresh “money” to provide the illusion that debts can be repaid (and fresh loans generated) when reality clearly refutes that. All that money “printing” has only deformed banking relations and the behavior of markets — the most obvious symptoms being asset inflation (stocks, bonds, real estate), the quashing of price discovery (the chief function of markets), and zero interest rates (which makes the operations of banking insane).
The bankers will continue to do “whatever it takes” to try to keep the game going, but they’ve run out of actual mojo to get it done. Interest rates can barely go any lower. The amount of money “printing” needed to sustain the illusion of a functioning, rational system grows ever larger. In the six weeks just before-and-after Christmas, the Federal Reserve is expected to pump $500 billion into the banks to stabilize asset prices. How long can they keep doing that?
Eventually, either asset prices fall (perhaps crash), or the increasingly desperate measures needed to prop them up will degrade the value of money itself. The catch is, that might not happen everywhere at once. For instance, China’s banking system, like Europe’s, is ripe for a convulsion, which would send money fleeing for perceived safety (while it can) into America’s markets, temporarily pumping up the Dow, the S & P, and US Treasury bonds even while other big nations crash. But US banks have the same disease and those birds of disorder will eventually roost here, too.
Also, the method of distributing fresh central bank money-from-thin-air will likely change going forward. The public will surely revolt at another bankster bailout. Instead, the folks-in-charge will turn to “Peoples’ QE,” otherwise known as “helicopter money” (as in dropping cash from choppers), or Modern Monetary Theory (MMT — print money until the cows come home), featuring “Guaranteed Basic Income.” The tensions in the contraction trap we’re in are such that disequilibrium in the debt markets can only play out in a hard default or a softer attempt to inflate currencies. Inflation could keep stock markets afloat and allow continued debt repayment (“servicing”) in currencies of declining value — a process that is never really manageable in history, always gets out-of-hand, and leads quickly to political mayhem. Remember, there are two ways of going broke: having no money, and having plenty of money that is worthless.
The elements of this financial psychodrama will meld into the US election politics of 2020 as the Left turns to increasingly promises of “free” money and “free” services (medicine, education) to panicked voters who can no longer afford the American Dream standard-of-living. Tremors emanating from the seized-up Repo markets (Repo = repurchase of collateral for overnight loans) the past three months suggest that some major US banks and insurance companies have entered their own zones of criticality. I’m doubtful that any ploy can fend off major financial instability before the end of 2020, but if the US does become a refuge for money from elsewhere in the world, that could stave off the arrival of crisis until summer.
The idea that a roaring stock market signifies a “great” economy is especially fallacious with all the ongoing market interventions and manipulations of the past decade. All it really signifies is how swindles, frauds, and rackets have taken the place of the industrial production of yesteryear, and that’s not a very sound basis for an economy. I don’t think there are any real prospects of getting back to the industrial might of yore. We’ll surely have to make things in the times ahead, and produce our bread by some means, but it’ll be a very different model of production, at a much more modest scale. When standards-of-living fall, they’ll eventually land somewhere. We just don’t know where that landing place is yet.
Relations with Other Lands
The RussiaGate hysteria worked effectively the past three years to obstruct the chance for repairing relations between our countries. That and the earlier idiotic 2014 intervention in Ukraine under Mr. Obama, which prompted Russia’s annexation of Crimea and fighting in the Donbass. All of that was unnecessary and was carried off just because we were determined to cram Ukraine into NATO — or, at least, not let it join the Russia-centric Customs Union. In the process, we left Ukraine badly damaged. Can we please stop creating more damage? They have always been Russia’s stepchild and always will be. Can we get our American mind right on that?
I suspect Mr. Trump would still like to rectify the situation, especially our relations with Russia. We have some outstanding interests in common, starting with a wish to discourage Islamic maniacs from blowing things up and cutting people’s heads off. How about we try cooperating to manage that problem? Russia is not our economic rival. Vast as its land-mass is, Russia’s economy is not much bigger than the economy of Texas. They possess a very potent nuclear arsenal, with new hypersonic delivery systems that were probably developed to temper our paranoid narratives about them since 2016. War is not an option.
There’s a fair chance in 2020 that Mr. Trump may find an opening to reduce tensions between the US and Russia, even if he is being repeatedly impeached and the S & P index falls by half. Ukraine itself may be a hopeless basket case, its destiny: to become a quasi-medieval agricultural backwater. Anyway, it’s really none of our business, any more than the occupation of Afghanistan was, or the intervention in Iraq was, or Vietnam before that. For starters, though, can we just agree that going to war with Russia is not a good idea and stop militating for it? Liberals used to blame the Military-Industrial Complex for thumping the war drum. Now they’re doing it.
Further temptations to intervene in foreign lands will only accelerate the bankruptcy of the USA and drive a quicker, more dramatic journey down to a much lower standard-of-living. Anyway, with all the other elements of the long emergency proceeding, the trend in 2020 will be for nations to be preoccupied with their own business, and if it doesn’t work out at a national level it might lead to more breakaway regions attempting self-government. Catalan is still burbling away, Italy still has a north/south problem, Scotland still has a mind to dissociate from the UK. Contraction, or de-growth, or declining prosperity — however you want to say it — goes hand-in-hand with a smaller scale of management. Bigness itself is going out.
It’s worth considering this, though: I remember the USA being a pretty sane nation. If things can get this bad in America, with all these political hallucinations, don’t you think they can get bad in other places, too? China is entering a traumatic squeeze with the end of its thirty-year growth spurt. What if China gets as crazy as we are? What if the USA goes from being Number One customer to Demon Ghost Dragon from the Underworld in their scheme of things? (Anybody remember the cultural revolution of the 1960s? That was communist Wokesterism on methedrine.) When the going gets tough in China, the government cracks down. And when that doesn’t work, China historically cracks up into some kind of civil war. The action in Hong Kong this past year may be a preview of coming attractions for Beijing or Shanghai. For 2020, I predict turmoil in China as banks fail, companies go under, and factories shut down — but falling short of an uprising against the Xi Jinping regime. It will make China appear very crazy. We will have to tread carefully around them. Please, no naval hijinks in the Straits of Taiwan….
I pretty much covered Europe in the Economics section. The main warning for Europe 2020 is that the international rules-based liberal order of the West was made possible in a post-war world by decades of rising energy inputs and rising prosperity. As that reverses, the assumptions behind that order will cease to hold it together. The formation of a new set of operating principles will probably entail a period of disorder, perhaps long in duration.
Israel and Iran seem to be cruisin’ for a bruising,’ which probably won’t work out so well for Iran. Something will happen in 2020 between them and the US will manage to stay out of it. A fast, sharp conflict could set the stage for the Iranian people to finally throw off the yoke of their mullahs. This may be accompanied by a widespread anti-jihad movement (an Islamic peace movement) across the Middle East and North Africa — a recognition that Jihad is working only to destabilize one country after another and make their lives worse. Israel will restart talks with its antagonists in Gaza and the West Bank. The talks will be arduous but promising and little will be resolved through 2020.
India and Pakistan cooled their jets during the economic topping off period of the past ten years, avoiding a major war, including a nuclear exchange. That could change tragically in 2020 as global prosperity reverses and all the other long emergency pressures pile on these two, struggling, way-overpopulated countries. The damage would be awesome, perhaps terrifying enough to persuade people in other lands to just take the economic losses and do their best to downscale rationally.
Japan’s drift toward the eventual fate of neo-medievalism speeds up in 2020 as financial infection spreads from China’s failing banks. Emperor Naruhito issues a royal memorandum acknowledging that Japan’s dependence on imported oil must end and they will embrace de-growth hoping to return to an Edo-level of pre-industrial civilization. This will be an even more positive example to other nations to start making similar plans. Of course, it will provoke bitter political opposition. The best ideas always do.
Latin America is coming off more than a decade of relative peace, except for Venezuela, which lately just whirls around the drain without any fanfare. Argentina underperforms in grand style, but can’t seem get to a critical threshold of collapse. What’s her secret? Lately a revolution (possibly CIA-backed) overthrew President Evo Morales of Bolivia, supposedly to allow the US access to its lithium resources. More dramatic action erupts up in Mexico in 2020 where civil war breaks out. The US dispatches regular army troops as refuges try to flee north in epic numbers. We create a designated “safe zone” fifty miles below the border to contain the human flood. Mr. Trump is vilified for setting up humanitarian refugee camps there. But throughout the year he refuses an outright military intervention between the warring factions.
Culture War, Wokesterism, and the Battle for Hearts and Minds
One might suppose that the crypto-Gnostic Wokesters had carried their lunacy far enough in 2019 with the Tranny Reading Hours, the firings of distinguished faculty who insist that biological reality means two sexes, and much much more. It was also the year of The New York Times’s “1619 Project,” a pseudo grad-school-style attempt to rewrite US history as entirely inspired by racism. And then there’s Greta growling “How dare you” at the world with that spittly grimace of pubescent moral superiority. Who of right mind in this land is not sick of this fucking nonsense?
By 2020 Wokesterism has shot its wad and the Wokesters are banished to a windowless room in the sub-basement of America’s soul where they can shout at the walls, point their fingers, grimace spittlingly, and issue anathemas that no one will listen to. And when they’re out of gas, they can kick back and read the only book in the room: Mercy, by Andrea Dworkin.
And then, one fine spring morning, after everyone else has given up on it, Donald Trump, social media troll-of-trolls, the Golden Golem of Greatness himself, rises in his pajamas and tweets that, at long, long last, he has finally got “woke,” changed his name to Donatella, and declared his personal pronoun to be “you’all.”
All right, that’s probably expecting too much, but personally I believe the Wokester act is on the run. Even some true believers are looking worn out from their exertions. Anyway, these incidents of public madness always burn out. A curious feature will be an utter lack of remorse when it’s all over. Instead, we’ll get amnesia, and then it’s off to the next phase of history.
There you have the Forecast 2020. We all know it’s an exercise in futility, but it’s one of those unavoidable rituals of human existence. Good luck to all! You may be interested in my forthcoming book, out in March, which is a deep-dive update of where we’re at and a series of portraits of interesting people leading alt-lifestyles in these uncertain times.
(Support Kunstler’s writing by visiting his Patreon Page.)