- Warm Interior, Drizzle Coast
- Ukiah Testing Site
- Manzanita Berries
- Malugani Mayhem
- Owl Boxes
- Another Iris
- 5G Whiz
- Ideal Trench
- County Notes
- Surf Riders
- Ed Notes
- Dismal Prognostications
- Yesterday's Catch
- MusicFest Line-up
- Safety Warning
- Makes Things Happen
- Trumpish Investments
- Mount St. Helens Eruption
- Cheaters' Remorse
- Found Object
AN EXTENDED PERIOD OF DRY WEATHER is expected across interior portions of northwest California. In addition, temperatures will warm from the 80s this weekend into the 90s by the middle of next week. Otherwise, periods of fog, stratus, and drizzle are expected along the coast today. (NWS)
COUNTY LAUNCHES NEW COVID-19 TESTING SITE IN UKIAH
Post Date: 05/20/2020 10:24 AM
Following Governor Gavin Newsom’s recent announcement to add more than 80 COVID-19 community testing sites across the state to focus on underserved communities, Mendocino County will launch one testing site at the Redwood Empire Fairgrounds at 1055 N. State St., Ukiah, CA 95482 in Carl Purdy Hall. The new testing site will launch on Saturday, May 23, 2020, and will be open to the public for testing from 7:00 am – 7:00 pm. After the initial launch day, the regular hours for public testing will be Tuesday – Saturday from 12:30 pm – 7:00 pm. This new testing site is provided through a partnership with OptumServe, the federal government health services business of Optum, a leading health services innovation company.
Testing will be by appointment only. Mendocino County residents can make an appointment online at https://lhi.care/covidtesting. Those without internet access can make an appointment by calling (888) 634-1123.
"I would like to thank Senator McGuire and Assemblyman Wood for all their assistance,” said Carmel Angelo, Mendocino County Chief Executive Officer. “Our representatives, and the public that responded to our Call to Action, were instrumental in our accessing OptumServe testing. Now we can meet our state-mandated testing numbers."
“This testing site will help Mendocino County dramatically increase testing needs for individuals who have had limited access to COVID-19 tests up until now,” said Dr. Noemi Doohan, Mendocino County Health Officer. “We’re thrilled to partner with the state and OptumServe to help ensure our communities are healthy, while also helping meet the local and statewide testing goals.”
OptumServe has extensive expertise in rapidly deploying and setting up healthcare services and has worked closely with the military under the leadership of former Army Surgeon General and retired Lieutenant General Patty Horoho, RN.
“OptumServe is honored to assist California in expanding COVID-19 testing for residents,” said Patty Horoho, CEO of OptumServe. “We are bringing our full commitment and capabilities to serve Californians, including extensive experience conducting large community health events.”
“Thanks to Mendocino County and to OptumServe for the collaboration to make these testing sites possible,” said Charity Dean, M.D., Assistant Director of the California Department of Public Health. “We’re working together as part of the state’s Testing Task Force to ensure regions with the greatest need have access to tests, and these sites are going to be a major component in reaching our testing goals.”
Schedule an appointment at: https://lhi.care/covidtesting
For more on COVID-19: www.mendocinocounty.org
Call Center: (707) 234-6052 or email email@example.com
The call center is open Monday – Friday from 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
MANZANITA BERRIES. You can see why they call them "little apples". Mansana=apple. Ita=little.
Thank you Senora Haas, my only high school teacher crush. She also brutally busted me to my parents for lunchtime activities I don't want to go into now. I wonder if there was a connection there?
— Chris Calder
MALUGANI AGAIN. AND AGAIN. AND AGAIN…
"On Tuesday, May 19th at about 1:50 am, officers were dispatched to the Ukiah Municipal Airport, located at 1401 South State St. in regards to a report of subjects running within the fenced area of the runways.
Upon arrival, officers heard what sounded like rocks being thrown against an object and responded to the area of the airport near the office building. Officers located Justin Malugani, age 33 of Ukiah, within the fenced area of the airport and noticed he was pulling a trash bin up a hill from the area north of the office.
The bin was loaded with miscellaneous items, which Malugani stated belonged to him. He appeared to be covered with a white powdery substance, which was later determined to be dry chemical powder from a fire extinguisher.
Officers noticed a motor home that was parked in the area where Malugani had been initially contacted had three of its windows broken. They appeared to have been broken with rocks.
Malugani was detained while an investigation was conducted. Malugani was found to be on summary probation from this county. While detained, Malugani mentioned that there had been a fire within the airport property. Officers were aware Malugani had prior arrests for fire-related offenses.
Officers surveyed the area surrounding the office building, the runway and an area near the Cal-Star Air Ambulance facility.
Officers discovered three City of Ukiah Airport vehicles that were parked on the runway had been sprayed with the dry chemical powder from four fire extinguishers. These extinguishers had been attached to two of the three vehicles. One vehicle had not only been sprayed, but parts of the vehicle had been damaged and removed. Compartments on these vehicles had also been opened, tampered with and items had been removed from the vehicles.
A privately owned boat that was stored on the property and near an airplane hangar was observed to have been partially burned and a small area of grass near the boat had also been burned. Two partially burned emergency flares were located near the boat and appeared to have been the ignition source of the fires.
These flares were later determined to have been stored inside the boat. An unused emergency flare, which matched the two partially burned flares, was located within the items in the trash bin that Malugani was pulling when initially contacted.
The damages to the motor home, the boat and the three City of Ukiah Airport vehicles were estimated to be in excess of $7,000.00. Based on the investigation, Malugani was placed under arrest. During the arrest process, Malugani physically resisted Officers who were in performance of their lawful duties.
Malugani was transported and lodged at the Mendocino County Jail where he was booked on the aforementioned violations.
Due to the recent 'zero bail' emergency order; the violations Malugani was arrested for would have resulted in his release from the jail. Based on Malugani’s actions and the risk to the public’s safety; a magistrate was contacted and an emergency bail increase was authorized. Malugani’s bail was set at $30,000.00.
The Ukiah Police Department would like to thank the alert citizen who telephoned 911 to report suspicious activity at the airport. As a reminder, we are approaching the time of year when the risk of fires is increased. Citizens are urged to exercise fire safety and to report any suspicious persons in the area of fire activity to law enforcement and / or UVFA."
(MSP NOTE-- The Ukiah Police listed these charges: "452(d) PC - Unlawfully Causing Fire, 1203.2(a) PC - Violation of Probation, 594(b)(1) PC - Vandalism in excess of $400.00 (Felony), 647(h) PC - Prowling, 148(a)(1) PC - Resist or Delay an Officer, & 10852(a) CVC - Vehicle Tampering."
Re Sam's question regarding local owls.
1) it's too late in the year to install owl boxes, they go to nest in January and February. 2) We have great horned, a few barn, lots of screech owls in our area, and the rare miscellaneous species. Great Horned require a large, heavy nest box high up in a tree. Screech owls are so small they mainly eat insects and occasionally small mice and lizards. 3) That leaves barn owls, which are fairly rare right here on the coast, but there are lots of them as soon as you get a few miles back from the ocean and redwood trees. They like low nest boxes and lots of open meadows, but the box must be shaded from afternoon sun and they should face in a certain direction. Boxes can be on posts 15-20 feet off the ground with a baffle below to keep raccoons and other predators out. We have a wonderful wildlife facility at Wildcare in Marin who sponsor the Hungry Owl Project and sell barn owl boxes and give advise about how to install them. https://www.discoverwildcare.org/wildlife-resources/hungry-owl-project/ or call Wildcare 415-456-7283. Also, they hunt away from their nest box as they don't want to give away its location, so installing a box right at the garden probably will not help the garden. Not as easy as it sounds.
Support the wireless communication facility in Willits — Stop5GMendocino wrote: …These towers cause harmful cumulative, non reversible effects on the environment, plants, animals and health of residents including fire hazards especially in this very high fire danger zone…
Marco here. Stop5GMendocino, whoever that is, is incorrect about this. While it is true that if you deliberately abuse any portable device's battery you can start a fire (hearing aid, toothbrush, "massage" vibrator, drill, Casio keyboard, etc.) it's more dangerous to keep and use flammable essential oils, for one thing, and anything else whose value, real or spiritual, depends on its volatility. A wine bottle with clear wine or water in it is a magnifying glass you can cruelly burn ants with. Reading glasses are extremely dangerous, and not just to light a cigaret or blind you; if you trip or get punched in the eye, it can screw up your modeling career permanently (we've all heard people in old films say, "Not the face, Johnny, please! Not the face!"). My grandfather had one all-white eye. I was told several conflicting stories about how that happened; I don't know if it was glasses, but it could have been.
The 800,000-mile-wide naked sun in the sky, if you fall asleep at the switch and carelessly let it shine on the world and dry things out, is the greatest fire and cancer danger of all, and it hurts; wireless radio does not hurt nor impact health of anything; the only way to hurt yourself or others with a phone, besides by swinging it around like a maniac, is to concentrate on it while walking or driving to the exclusion of all else. Speaking of which, driving is hugely more dangerous, wasteful and destructive and more of a life-and-time-suck than working from home or garden or forest through the internet. If it's the "non-reversible effects on the environment, plants, animals and health of residents" you're worried about, compare the measured effects of a wireless antenna to, say, astrology or so-called alternative medicine, (equally none, unless you use astrology or psychic massage to try to cure a condition that you should call a real doctor for). And millions of people in the world believe astrology is a gateway to demonic possession. Can millions of people be wrong about something they believe so strongly? Yes. Billions of people can all be passionately mutually exclusively wrong about anything and everything. That's why reason and evidence and science are so important.
Ouija boards, now, those will in fact put you under the spell of Ol' Mister Satan. I've seen it. Also that game where you stand between two mirrors with your friend and repeat, "Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary," thirteen times. All that's left then is a powdered pile of preadolescent girls' bones and a scorched bathroom. That is a stupider game than football. Nobody with a brain in her (or his) head would play that. Even volleyball is dangerous; anybody who has ever jammed a finger on a cold day can tell you that. I was in sixth grade, and the middle knuckle of the ring finger on my left hand is still a little fucked up from that. It doesn't hurt anymore, nor interfere with playing the guitar, but it looks funny. It's too big, and it makes the finger look fat, like a fat-ass chess-piece queen, where the king is the middle finger, the bishop is the index finger, and the thumb would be, I guess, the castle. The pinky isn't involved in chess; it's more of a svelte attitudinous punk rock waif.
— Marco McClean
COUNTY NOTES: Returning from closed session Tuesday evening, the Board of Supervisors announced (via County Counsel) that they had declined to hire Dr. Joseph Iser from Las Vegas as “interim” health officer to replace Dr. Noemi Doohan of San Diego. No reason was given, but observers assumed that the Supervisors were worried how effective Dr. Iser could be in the high-profile position given the unrefuted misconduct allegations that preceded his Las Vegas retirement. Newly designated County Counsel (formerly “interim” County Counsel) Christian Curtis said that the Board had directed the CEO and Dr. Doohan to contact the State Public Health department to arrange for “mutual aid” coverage of the Public Health Officer role — apparently, there are no other candidates for the County position and the state will be asked to loan someone to Mendo for the time being, perhaps sharing a neighboring county’s health officer.
THE AGENDA ITEM about a report on Measure B turned out to be a discussion of whether the County can afford to build and operate the three primary facilities the Measure B was focused on: (locked) Psychiatric Health Facility (PHF), Crisis Stabiliztion Unit (CSU) and Crisis Residential Treatment (CRT). CEO Carmel Angelo put it as bluntly as we’ve ever heard it when, referring to the PHF, she said, “It is unfortunate that public has the perception that the government gave them that we could build this building and operate it.” Angelo said she didn’t know where the numbers came from that resulted in the estimated $38 million that the Measure B half-cent sales tax was expected to generate in its first five years (after which it is reduced to a a one-eighth-cent tax). Angelo also noted that sales tax revenues have taken a sizable hit with the corona virus downturn, further jeopardizing the completion of these facilities.
THE AGENDA ITEM had requested that a full-time “analyst” be hired to assist newly appointed Project Manager Alison Bailey along with two part-time (shared-time) administrative positions. But Supervisors Haschack, Williams and Gjerde were reluctant to approve the new positions with Williams saying he’d go along but only if the staff promised to produce a “business plan” showing how the three primary facilities could be built and staffed with existing plus Measure B funds.
AT ONE POINT Board Chair John Haschak seemed exasperated about how much staffing was being added to the Measure B project saying, “We could start with a half-time analyst, see how it goes, see what they find out with the business model, and proceed from there. And if we find out that a half time position isn’t enough then we can beef it up. But if it is, and we get this business model and and we find out that we are really in, um, uh, you know, bad straits, and we’re spending money on program directors and project analysts and construction managers and consultants, then we re-evaluate.”
MENTAL HEALTH DIRECTOR Dr. Jenine Miller said that Mendo couldn’t run all three facilities without partnerships with neighboring counties. “On our own? No,” said Miller. “Two is possible. One is easy. But we need a regional model.” Miller said her staff could dig up some earlier incomplete reports from 2016 and 2019 and check with other counties and see if they can come up with some kind of budget numbers.
COMPLICATING THE PLANNING is the $500k state grant that can only be used as part-funding for a crisis residential unit on Ukiah’s Orchard Street. The state has set an arbitrary deadline of having something built and operational by November of 2020 as a condition of their funding. And this gives the Measure B staff extra ammo for their arguments for ever more staff — even if the staff and consultants end up spending a big chunk of the Measure B money on top of the crisis residential facility, leaving not enough money for the other one or two projects.
FURTHER COMPLICATING the funding picture is the extent to which the County’s existing Mental Health and Drug Treatment funding could help sustain the Measure B facilities. For example, how much of the $20 million per year or so the County gives to the Schraeders could be used to staff a Measure B building? How much of the existing out-of-county placements at $1000 per day could be re-routed to local facilities at much lower costs?
AFTER A LONG DISCUSSION the Board approved a half-time “extra help” position to assist Project Manager Alison Bailey with the semi-promise from Dr. Miller that she would assemble the prior reports and cobble together some kind of “business plan.”
THE QUESTION about last month’s Measure B committee’s controversial recommendation to divert $1 million Measure B dollars to subsidize existing Mental Health services didn’t even come up. Apparently, the Mendocino Community Foundation — which CEO Angelo had assumed would handle the disbursement of the $1 million — declined to participate, which has left that particular boondoggle dangling. Project Manager Bailey said Tuesday that her next task is working on a request to hire a “construction manager” for the Orchard Street project which is being rushed through because of the artificial deadline imposed by the state grant. (If anybody thinks those state demands and deadlines have any teeth, they need look no further than the state demands imposed on Coast Hospital as part of their loan terms — which were never enforced and which Coast Hospital never paid back. The state bureaucrats are not going to pull the plug on a measly $500k just because the Crisis Residential Treatment facility is running late — as in all probability it will.)
— Mark Scaramella
RICOCHET RANCH (Fort Bragg)
I THOUGHT DOC ISER was a natch for Mendo, the only place in America where history starts all over again every day and you are whatever you say you are. The guy was lauded by Dr. Doohan who Iser was going to replace as county Health Officer when, in closed session (of course), the Supervisors decided not to hire the controversial and well-traveled medico, while continuing to pay Doohan enormous sums of scarce public cash to issue statements of the medically obvious from her home in San Diego. Iser will now presumably get in the ever longer line of arbitrarily offed county employees suing the county for wrongful termination.
SPEAKING of healing professionals, I'm very happy with my recent visits to the Anderson Valley Health Center where I was seen by Dr. Rohat, a young guy new to the area. He jumped right on my prob — one apparently stemming from the general decrepitude accompanying advanced age — and we'll see what we shall see. Sure, I want to stumble on for a few more years, who doesn't? But I mean to say we're very lucky to have what amounts to a mini-hospital right here in the Anderson Valley. And it's sooooo nice not to wander the endless halls of the giant medical factories for one test by that guy, another test by the other guy who can't remember your name on visit five. The AV Health Center is one more major benefit of outback living.
HEALTH CENTER MANAGER, Chloe Guazzone, told us last week that the Center was conducting "surveillance testing" for the coronavirus in the Anderson Valley on Thursday the 14th. "We plan on testing all employees on-site at Roederer that day including both vineyard and winery employees. We are also going to test all our healthcare providers with direct patient contact and the two housing locations managed by the Anderson Valley Housing Association. Our intention in choosing whom to test was to test vineyard workers that may be traveling from out of county, those living in congregate living arrangements and other essential workers."
MS. G reported today (Wednesday) "that all 129 tests we performed were negative. Most were vineyard and winery workers and the others were our staff involved in direct patient care and Ambulance and EMS staff and volunteers. We are working on more surveillance testing and will do a second round this Thursday with more to come."
WE'VE GOT GLOBAL CRISES SQUARED and the people at the top have nothing better to do than swap lame insults? Pelosi says, apropos nothing at all, that Trump is "morbidly obese." As the child he is, Trump responds by saying Pelosi is "crazy" and "sick." Pelosi, third in line to be president after zomboid Pence, comes back with, "The things he says are so inappropriate for a president of the United States. The comments he makes about women… It's like a child who comes in with mud on their pants or something. He comes in with doggy doo on his shoes and everybody who works with him has that on their shoes too for a very long time to come. I don't take offense at anything. The president says things about me all the time, I say one thing about him and it's like, 'oh, some equivalence here'."
THERE'S no equivalence, Nancy. It's all just stupid. You'd think Pelosi would simply ignore Trump's gratuitous remarks, and doesn't seem to realize she really does look like a nut by responding to him.
IF OUR PHONE goes dead at 895-3016 it's because I'm at war with AT&T, a war I can't win although justice is on my side with both her righteous feet. Because they can't kill me, they'll knock off my phone, forcing me to deploy one of those cell jobs designed for impaired old guys, the ones with the giant numerals and simple directions for the technically retarded. Here's what happened, although most people reading this have had versions of the same experience. The phone monopoly keeps raising my rates, charging me $150 for "desirable placement" in a business directory. Which I don't need and definitely don't want. Talked to six different people over three hours, none of whom could or would kill the fee. Instead, they tried to sell me more stuff I don't need. So I'm killing all service by not paying, the only way to ever get the attention of a mammoth corporation. You can always contact us the old fashioned way — the U.S. Postal Service.
SUPERVISOR DAN GJERDE: Points I hope people will ponder as more businesses and activities resume, and we increasingly venture outside of our homes: 1) Local businesses will be asked to adopt best safety practices, and that's a good thing and for the protection of their employees and customers, and 2) In the weeks and months ahead the virus will be more mobile and more present everywhere in California, even in our community. So, please, do what you can to protect yourself, your loved ones and your community. Be safe, and we'll get through this together.
VALID ASSUMPTIONS OR “TACKY BLUFFS” — THE ECON FORECAST SHAPING NEWSOM’S BUDGET
Are the Newsom administration’s dismal recession prognostications a reasonable outlier — or “preposterously negative” and a “poker bluff” aimed at ratcheting up pressure for a financial assist from the feds?
CATCH OF THE DAY, May 20, 2020
KENNETH BORDELON, Willits. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, resisting.
GARY COSTA, Domestic battery, probation revocation.
ADELE WAGNER, Willits. Domestic battery, use of tear gas, harassing/threatening phone calls.
MENDOLAKE MUSICFEST LINE-UP is Here; Will be Live-Streamed This Sunday!
(Mendocino & Lake Counties, California 5/20/2020) After dozens of performer submissions and much deliberation, MendoLake MusicFest is thrilled to announce the performers for this weekend’s festival which will be aired on our website and Facebook Live this Sunday, May 24, at 3:00 pm. The festival’s headliners are Spencer Brewer and Weird Year. Other performers include: Acoustic Serenade, Andi Galusha, Anthony Neves, Audrey Ferguson, August Kaster, Back Porch Project, Carole Hester, Corwin Zekley, David Neft, David Scollin, Dennis Purcell, Devi Genuone, Earl Oliver, Fargo Brothers Band, Hella Mendocino, In the Mix, Jesse Timm, Joni Marie McLeod, Linda Shear, Marjo Wilson Trio, Mary Buckley, MonRodeos, OpporTUNEity, Sheila Fetzer, Sophia Butler, Spencer Brewer, Volte, Weird Year, Wendy DeWitt, and Wolf Tree. MendoLake MusicFest is free and can be accessed on our website (www.mendolakemusicfest.com/watch) and our Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/MendoLakeMusicFest/ ).
The concert will be aired at 3:00 pm on Sunday, May 24, 2020. MendoLake MusicFest wants to thanks its business partners: Groundloop Events, Vocality Community Credit Union and JOSMA designs. Groundloop Events is excited to offer a virtual photo booth experience free for our viewers!
Participants will be able to take photos of themselves watching the event and create digital film strips and gifs to remember this performance! We have the filters and the backgrounds, you bring the props and let your creative side shine!
Vocality Community Credit Union graciously decided to support MendoLake MusicFest’s mission to support our community during troubled times donating to North Coast Opportunities COVID-19 relief fund. Vocality offers affordable borrowing options for consumers and small businesses, as well as checking and savings accounts and online and mobile banking services. Vocality Community Credit Union is coming to Mendo and Lake Counties soon.
We would also like to thank JOSMA designs for all graphic and web design, along with the video editing and compilation for this event. JOSMA designs is a local graphic design and custom apparel creator based in Ukiah, CA.
So remember, this Sunday, May 24th at 3:00 pm, light up the grill, crack open a cold one, and tune-in to hear your favorite Mendocino and Lake County musicians in the comfort of your very own home.
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
“Trump fights problems, brings up issues, makes things happen.”
A vague and frivolous statement. You might just as well have said, “Trump does stuff!”
What has he accomplished, specifically – besides signing the same McConnell/Ryan tax cut and appointing the same judges that Jeb or Rubio would have?
Have you noticed that he has appointed a bunch of donor billionaires and bankers (DeVos, Ross, Mnuchin) and lobbyists (wtf are their names anyway?) to his cabinet, to run the federal government? McConnell’s wife, for Chrissakes?
Are trillion dollar deficits what you meant by “making things happen”? Because you couldn’t possibly have meant effectively fighting the pandemic.
Hasn’t he just run his mouth for three-plus years?
THE FRENCH CONNECTION: TRUMP FAMILY TRUSTS ARE INVESTED IN HYDROXYCHLOROQUINE MAKER
President Donald Trump and his allies in the conservative media sphere have repeatedly pushed the health benefits of anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine for patients who have contracted the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). While scientific opinion on the efficacy of the drug for treatment of the COVID-19 disease is necessarily shy of consensus, Trump himself has a personal financial interest in a French drugmaker that produces a brand-name version of the medication.
MOUNT ST. HELENS ERUPTION, May 18, 1980
IF TRUMP WINS, DON’T BLAME PROGRESSIVES
by Ted Hall
The corporate conservatives who control the Democratic Party are suffering from cheaters’ remorse.
The DNC and their media allies (NPR, CNN, MSNBC, New York Times, Atlantic Monthly, Vox, etc.) subverted the will of primary voters, undermining initial frontrunner Bernie Sanders in order to install the worst candidate of the 20 centrists in the campaign.
Now the power brokers are worried that the befuddled Biden, whom they touted as the Most Electable Against Donald Trump, will lose to him. Rather than take responsibility for their idiocy and force Biden to pull out of a race for which he is obviously physically and mentally unprepared, the corporatist sellouts are preemptively blaming the progressives who warned them about this exact scenario.
Sorry, right wingers. Biden is on you. You made him the presumptive nominee. If Trump wins again, it’s your fault.
Just as it was last time.
Establishment panic over Biden is most palpable in the pages of the official party organ of the Democratic Party, the Times. “While [Biden] has held consistent leads in most national and swing-state polls, they have not been altogether comfortable one,” the paper noted on May 15th.
If Biden is to squeak by Trump in November, he requires a comfortable lead now. “A CNN poll released on Wednesday found Mr. Biden leading the president by five percentage points nationwide, but trailing by seven points among voters in crucial battleground states…for some Democrats, the results of the CNN poll again raised the specter that Mr. Biden could win the popular vote but lose the Electoral College, as Hillary Clinton and Al Gore both did.”
Historically, in May of a presidential election year Democrats need lead of at least 10 points over their Republican rival in order to prevail in a general election. Republicans always close the gap during the last six months of a presidential race.
The Times is pushing Biden’s candidacy via two lines of argument. First, lesser-evilism. As columnist Frank Bruni wrote May 17th, he’ll “take Biden’s confusion over Trump’s corruption.” (Of course Biden is corrupt too.) Second, they claim, Biden should be acceptable. He isn’t Hillary Clinton. Due to the coronavirus crisis, Bidenites say, their man is willing to pivot to the left. (Never mind that progressive programs need to be in place before a crisis, not ramping up a year after it begins.)
The second argument is the easiest to shoot down. Biden has a decades-long track record of voting and governing to the right, including voting to invade Iraq for no good reason. Even now, as tens of millions of Americans lose their jobs and thus their health insurance, Biden refuses to join the rest of the industrialized world by endorsing single-payer healthcare. Progressives don’t trust Biden. They trust history. History proves Biden isn’t one of them.
Bruni’s argument involves magical thinking too. “At the end of the day, Biden can be trusted to do what Trump didn’t and won’t: stock his administration with qualified professionals. He could compensate for any supposed cognitive deficit with a surplus of talent,” Bruni says. There is no evidence, none, zero, zip, that this is true. Biden could validate that argument by announcing his cabinet nominations now. But he’s not.
Biden leaves progressive voters cold. That matters because the enthusiasm gap could decide the election. “Trump had a consistent edge over Hillary Clinton in enthusiasm [in 2016],” reported CNN’s Harry Enten. “His voters were 4 points more likely to say they were very enthusiastic in voting for him than Clinton’s were for her in the final ABC News/Washington Post poll, even as Clinton led overall. That enthusiasm advantage should have been one of the warning signals to the Clinton campaign. Trump’s current edge in enthusiasm over Biden is even larger. In a late March ABC News/Washington Post poll, 53% of Trump backers said they were very enthusiastic about voting for him. Just 24% of Biden backers said the same about their guy.”
If anything, the enthusiasm gap might widen as billions of dollars of stimulus payment letters bearing Trump’s signature hit voters’ bank accounts and he wraps himself in the trappings of the presidency while Biden sits in his basement trying to figure out how to use his computer camera. If I were Trump, I’d be planning my second term.
Let’s not forget how we got here.
When Bernie Sanders announced he was running again, Democratic-aligned media outlets said he was too old. “Mr. Sanders would be 79 when he assumed office, and after an October heart attack, his health is a serious concern,” the Times said in its absurd editorial joint endorsement of Amy Klobuchar and Elizabeth Warren.
Then, when Bernie emerged as frontrunner for the nomination, corporate media presented him as an existential threat. Head-to-head polls showed he was at least as electable as his rivals, yet “journalistic” organizations stated, without evidence, that a left-wing Democrat couldn’t beat Trump. Headlines proliferated:
“Can Bernie Be Stopped?”
“Bernie Sanders Can Still Be Stopped.”
“The Stop Sanders Movement Has Gone Public.”
CNN even compared Sanders to the coronavirus.
Remember all those “Can Obama Be Stopped?” headlines from the 2008 primaries. Me neither. When it came to Bernie, pseudo-liberal media didn’t pretend to be objective.
The DNC went after him like crazy.
Bernie Sanders won the key Iowa caucus but Democratic vote-counting chicanery cheated him out of the PR for his win. Party insiders believe that Barack Obama personally arranged for Beto O’Rourke, Amy Klobuchar and Pete Buttigieg to endorse Joe Biden the day before Super Tuesday. Speaking of which, Sanders won California, the biggest state—but the vote count mysteriously took days, denying him a big headline and an accurately optimistic delegate count in media coverage.
They’re still at it. At this writing party leaders are trying to prevent an embarrassing protest vote against Joe Biden in New York by fighting in court for the right to delete Bernie Sanders from the state’s mail-in primary ballots.
A Times headline from February 20th proved prescient: “Democratic Leaders Willing to Risk Party Damage to Stop Bernie Sanders.”
(Ted Rall, syndicated writer and the cartoonist for ANewDomain.net, is the author of the book “Snowden,” the biography of the NSA whistleblower.)