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Off the Record (July 29, 2020)

THE GREAT IRONY of the BLM demonstrations is that they are occurring against a social backdrop of the rosiest ethnic relations we've ever had in our riven country, so much better than a mere sixty years ago it's almost startling to ancient mariners like me. Race relations is one area of American life where we've made real headway. No, I haven't been felled by Panglossian disorder. I bring it up because these rote calls for the elimination of "systemic racism" are starting to annoy me, and not only because they're meaningless without systemic application of tangible economic changes, without which the large majority of black people and poor people generally will continue to suffer, but because a lot of the incoherent demagogues we see shouting for an end to systemic racism have no plan beyond demonstrations of their own virtue. It's especially annoying to see elected Democrats out front in these demos when they're ongoing co-sponsors of economic injustice. These phonies will take a knee if they think a camera is anywhere near, but except for a few young women like the hugely maligned AOC, the people at the power levers are all for an end to racism so long as it doesn't cost them and their sponsors anything. 

COVELO has been plagued by arson fires for years, but those have typically been confined to grass and brush. With the terribly destructive arson fire two weekends ago that damaged an already empty hulk of a downtown, Covelo seems on the ropes as a coherent, functioning community. One large, ongoing negative for inland Mendocino County, and especially Covelo, is the high percentage of unreconstructed criminals in proportion to the non-criminal majority. Also, I think the theory expressed by one of our readers (next item down) has contributed to Covelo's social woes. He says Humboldt County's more effective crackdown on cartel grows has driven organized crime gangs south into eastern Mendocino County's wild vastness. The Mendocino County Sheriff's Department doesn't have the manpower and is literally out-gunned by some of these gangs, and is at a loss in doing anything about them in any systematic, effective way. 

A COVELO READER WRITES: “This cannabis season there has been an explosion of illegal cannabis cultivation in Covelo because: 1) Humboldt does a great job of enforcement and drives all the illegal grows to Covelo because Mendocino has no enforcement infrastructure like Humboldt (sophisticated satellite imaging and active pursuit of enforcement) to perform enforcement; 2) Mendocino County has no coherent cannabis permitting process. All regulations are a black box. Nobody really knows what the rules are and the regulators have no management and thus anybody and everybody grows in the black market _ small farmers as well as Cartel players from Santa Rosa and the surrounds. ‘The black market is not a concern for the legal cultivators except for 1) legal cultivators are paying a lot to the County and State so their costs are high and it is nearly impossible to make money at this juncture in the legal cultivation market except for large indoor cultivators who have vertically integrated businesses (cultivation distribution and retail that isn't supposed to happen but does because larger sophisticated operators with capital have good legal advice). I am concerned about the situation in Covelo because Mendocino County has created a public nuisance and health and safety hazard.’” 

BURIED in this week’s CEO Report is a memo from Planning & Building Director Brent Schultz outlining just one particular difficulty among many that the County and pot permit applicants have in satisfying state Fish & Wildlife “Sensitive Species” review requirements (a mostly paper exercise, because Fish & Wildlife doesn’t care about “sensitive species” unless an unwitting applicant applies for a pot permit, nor do they care much about “sensitive species” destroyed by wine grapes or illegal cartel grows).

AS SCHULTZ describes the problems, there is huge amount of County staff time, cost and delay — not to mention an unreasonable burden on the unsuspecting applicant — in meeting these requirements with no guarantee that a permit will be issued. This process alone (and there are many others) is a major disincentive for any pot grower to want to become legal. Nevertheless, a north county campaign (apparently organized by the Willits Environmental Center and/or the Black Tail Deer Association — which sued the County years ago to require an EIR and is politically opposed to pot growing — based on the similarity of the comments) is underway to not only maintain this requirement but all the other nearly impossible pot cultivation permit requirements as well. 

ON THE BASIS of unsubstantiated claims that the current pot cultivation ordinance is somehow protecting small growers and the environment, the preemptory WEC/BTDA campaign has begun delivering dozens of similar letters and public expression comments to the Supervisors opposing any changes in the pot cultivation permit program (calling for stepped up enforcement on the permittees, but not the outlaw grows) based on nothing more (on paper so far) than the below memo from Planning Director Shultz. It is not clear if any of commenters are pot growers themselves, but we didn’t see any we recognized. If they succeed, they may a) put the final nail in Mendo’s costly, complicated and nearly unworkable pot cultivation permit coffin, b) cause hundreds of “provisional” growers to become unpermitted in January of 2022, and c) effectively stymie any new pot permit applications. (Mark Scaramella)

RESPONDING to the felling of small eucalyptus grove in the village of Mendocino, a reader writes: “My first awareness of a tree happened at my Grandparents where we picked Figs, Black Berries, Apples, Pears, and Walnuts, but none of those trees captivated our imaginations, like the Eucalyptus. This is where 17 of us kids went every Sunday for shade, play, to build pretend homes, and carry on deep conversations. None of us was ever injured by a branch. In the afternoon when the leaves fluttered, we knew time for play was ending, soon it would be time to go inside. Inside the house, the wood was stacked to the ceiling on both sides of the fireplace, where we stayed, and played, until we were all homeward bound. The Eucalyptuses ultimately became the giving tree to one of the 17 who cut them all down before the property was sold, and they live forever in the beautiful sculptures he made.”

THE SIERRA CLUB, the soft enviro adjunct to the even softer Democratic Party, has said it is moving to tear down "monuments" to its founder John Muir over his racist remarks and friendships, and apologized for the conservation group's "substantial role in perpetuating white supremacy." Muir, who died in 1914, was a native of Scotland who emigrated to America and played a key role in preserving the Yosemite Valley and Sequoia National Park. He co-founded the Sierra Club in 1892. In his writings from the late 19th and early 20th century, he was also known to make racially disparaging remarks. In one memoir, he described black people as "well trained" but "making a great deal of noise and doing little work. One energetic white man, working with a will, would easily pick as much cotton as half a dozen Sambos and Sallies."

AN AWFUL REMARK if spoken, even worse that Muir wrote it down for posterity. But the bulk of Muir’s work helped save areas of the country worth saving, not that the Sierra Club has done much of anything since the day they kicked David Brower out, the last true environmentalist to be affiliated with them.

CONGRESSMAN TED YOHO is the yobbo who called Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez "a fucking bitch" when he encountered her in public. The unrepentant Yoho “apologized” for the name-calling but, in the same speech to his colleagues, declared, "I cannot apologize for my passion." I'm sure millions of yobbos are pleased with the Congressman's "passion," but what does it say about the people who approve of him?

IT'S NOT SURPRISING that Ocasio-Cortez arouses such intense hatred among the bozos and bozettes of the political right; after all she's very smart and she's very beautiful, a combination certain to inspire fear, especially in stupid men. But if the stupeedos listened to what she has to say, millions of them, the redeemable ones anyway, might realize she's one of the few elected officeholders we have who represents the kind of reform that would specifically make their specifically doomed lives a little better. What's to fear from Medicare for All, free colleges and universities, the millions of jobs possible with a Green New Deal, a decent, orderly immigration policy, and so on?

A READER WRITES: “I first ran across your newspaper in the 80s in San Anselmo where I was a letter carrier. I transferred to Sonoma in the late 80s. I had a friend in the mid-80s who was a grower in the Navarro. A signature gatherer for the Peace and Freedom party recently gave me a few back issues of the AVA which has been a trip through the lock down. One of the reasons I'm subscribing again is your item about the Maxwells. I remember a joke about the elder Maxwell. What were his last words as he was pushed or fell off the boat? "Rosenblub." You may have heard it before or I remembered from your paper. I enjoy your paper and I am looking forward to receiving my weekly dose of vitriol.”

I'VE WRITTEN two letters to the Giants front office, the first a complaint about being sold a bad seat for forty dollars by a smirking ticket agent, which should have tipped me off that I was the day's designated sap. It was one of two forty-dollar seats situated in such a way that the bar between the seat and the field blocked the field from view. I'm sure I'm not the first person to complain about it. That day I walked all around the park and couldn't find another one like it, concluding I'd been sold an unremediated architectural fluke that the Giants, out of at least mild contempt for their customers, kept on selling. I guess there was something about me that the malicious little twit who sold me the seat didn't like. In my letter to the front office I admit to some gratuitous whining, pulling rank as a fan all the way back to Seals Stadium, through the long, frigid nights at Candlestick, through many losing seasons and teams that should have paid me to watch them, there I was in the cheap seats, a loyal fan from deep baseball antiquity whose first sports memory was listening to radio bulletins of Babe Ruth's death. And to sell me a ticket with the field not visible, a ticket I usually don't buy because I prefer the much less expensive seats at the very top of the new ballpark at 3rd and Townsend, which isn't so new anymore but still seems new to me? Me a loyally subversive American? The indignity! Not a peep from the Giants. Not even a form letter irrelevantly thanking me for my interest in the blah-blah quack-quack. Nothing.

THE SECOND LETTER — yes, written in full knowledge of its crank-like implications — was more whimsical, written just to see if the team's public relations office was on the job, that at a minimum I'd get a form letter back thanking me for my blah-blah quack-quack. On the remote chance that a fully functioning human-type being opened my letter and, fully getting it replied in kind, well, my faith in corporate sports would be partly restored.  I wrote that I was an old guy quite willing to risk covids 1 through 19 if the Giants would let me in to watch the games live, that I'd make no demands for amenities or special treatment, explaining I was quite spry for my age and could, no problemo as we say in Boonville, make my way to the rim of the ballpark unaided, that I'd be so far up there only the seagulls would notice. It's been two weeks…

ACCORDING to the usual depressing study apparently aimed at depressing US further, the US is one of the worst countries in the world to raise a family, with England running a close second. America was ranked 34 out of 35 in a comparison of the world's biggest economies, scoring three 'F' grades for safety, cost of living and work-life balance, a 'D minus' for health, and a 'C+' for happiness and education. Overall, it was given an 'F' grade for raising a family, with only Mexico coming out worse.

RAISING our nation's future to grow up more or less sane and capable isn't easy these days, but when has it been? The happiness indicators for a reasonably content life in the insane psycho-social context we have going are all in the negative. The only thing a kid can hope for is sane parents, and the odds are at least one of them will be crazy. 

WE’VE GOT AN ONGOING demonstration in Portland that seems kinda unfocused, but thanks to the federal intervention more and more focused on fighting the feds rather than mourning the shocking murder of George Floyd. Whatever the beefs, firing any kind of projectile head high at demonstrators should be a crime, as should heaving bricks at cops. Where’s the righteousness in that? Meanwhile, in Boonville, as the dog days of summer commence, lots of businesses are closed, those that remain open are just getting by. With livable-wage unemployment benefits finito as of Friday, and Congress already at an impasse at how much money to distribute to keep the capitalist beast fed, the uprising is unlikely to be confined to Portland.

SUPERVISOR WILLIAMS ASKS: "Measure B Mental Health Treatment Act is approaching a three year anniversary of passage. Would it pass today?" No, absolutely not. Then-Sheriff Allman parlayed his enormous popularity to get 'er done but… But B's advisory committee, a collection of bores and chronophages with maybe two exceptions, have fuddled it, probably beyond retrieval. The only way to get anything done any more anywhere is project czars with total authority to do what needs to be done. Even Mendocino County, with the highest per capita number of experts of any population in the world, can't seem to puzzle out facilities and humane services for the walking wounded.

CHICAGO'S finger-to-the-political-winds mayor has removed Christopher Columbus from the city’s Grant Park in the middle of the night to avoid, she said, "a confrontation between police and protesters." Mayor Lightfoot had previously disagreed with removing the statue as “erasing history.” There had been street battles between police and history cancellers earlier in the week when protesters tried to pull the statue down. Columbus opened the New World gates to Europeans. and immediately commenced slaughtering his welcoming committee.

BARTOLEME de LAS CASAS, writing in 1542: “The Spanish explorers forced their way into native settlements, slaughtering everyone they found there, including small children, old men, pregnant women, and even women who had just given birth. They hacked them to pieces, slicing open their bellies with their swords as though they were so many sheep herded into a pen. They even laid wagers on whether they could slice a man in two at a stroke, or cut an individual’s head from his body, or disembowel him with a single blow of their axes. They grabbed suckling infants by the feet and, ripping them from their mothers’ breasts, dashed them headlong against the rocks. Others, laughing and joking all the while, threw them over their shoulders, shouting, ‘Wriggle, you little perisher’.” 

STEPHEN ROSENTHAL raises an old Mendo question: With all the money the county shovels at Mr. and Mrs. Schraeder — roughly twenty annual millions — to provide "services" to people badly in need of rescue, how is it that people like Andrew Maynard are ignored, allowed to commit public suicide via alcohol? Andrew Maynard is the next Charles Hensley. Book it, Danno. Instead of Marmon’s mantra ‘Where’s the money, Camille’ why isn’t the County asking ‘Where’s Camille’?”


MR. MAYNARD gets no help because he can't be converted to cash. He's not reimbursable, thus a dead man walking until he dies somewhere on a Ukiah street. He is not "severely mentally ill," therefore there’s no state or federal money for him, and locally there’s only crocodile tears. But perpetual inebriation is insane by any definition of sanity. A judge or two occasionally ordered Hensley confined to the County Jail long enough for him to rest his liver and get completely sober. During one forced dry-out, our Marilyn Davin interviewed Charles in jail where the guy insisted he was fine and fully functional. Which is probably what Maynard would say, but what’s the harm in trying?


FROM MSP: "An MSP inland pilot pal sent along a few views of an airstrip we NEVER knew existed. Our friend said, "Hi Paul! We pilots over here are curious about Eden Valley airstrip south of Covelo. It’s odd because it shows up as a 'U' on our sectional... Anyways, it’s big money tucked away in the middle of nowhere lol! I guess we pilots are nosey as we fly over lol!"

MSP did a little research - and found the name of the airport in question is the Albert Seeno Jr. Airstrip. A little more research found the airstrip is: "Part of Eden Valley Ranch, California Private Land Management land in Mendocino County, belonging to Mr. Albert Seeno, Jr. of Peppermill Casinos - approximately 20,789 acres. We saw a comment from 2014 saying, "Beautiful ranch, my husband and I were ranch managers for them a few years back. Great people to work for and with! 6 years ago." Someone else commented, "I don't even think you can get here by car. I'm wrong about that. It's just very inconvenient to do so."

EDEN VALLEY. Never made the trip myself, but Willits friends have said they'd hiked to Eden Valley off Hearst Road east of town. I bring it up because I noticed the above item from that master of eclectic information, Paul McCarthy of the essential Mendocino Sports Plus. Hidden away in the mountainous vastness east of Willits, not far from Covelo, Eden Valley is infamous though virtually unknown as the site where a decade of genocidal attacks began against the Native Americans of inland Mendocino County and much of Humboldt County, the attempt at wholesale human erasure beginning when Judge Serranus Hastings lost a prize stallion to the Indians whose Eden he'd appropriated for himself as a horse-breeding ranch. (Hastings made his permanent home in Benicia.) Hastings' foreman, a 6'7" psychopath called Texas Boy Hall had promised a dozen Eden men canvas shirts they coveted if they'd hump Hastings sea-shipped furniture from Mendocino, where it had been offloaded, to Eden Valley via the ancient trail along what is now Branscomb Road, through Long Valley (Laytonville) and on to Eden. When the Indians arrived with the goods, Hall stiffed them for the shirts. In retaliation, the Indians killed Hastings' stallion. And In retaliation for the death of the horse, Hall and a posse of recreational Indian killers, wiped out the Indians of Eden Valley while Hastings, California's first chief justice, demanded that California pay Indian killers per scalp to eliminate all the Indians of inland Mendocino County. Upon his death in 1893, Hastings left a million dollars to the University of California and a grateful university named its law school after him. If ever an historical figure deserved cancellation, it's this man.

MIKE GENIELLA adds: “Bob Harrah, Max McKee and Earl Maize, large figures in the North Coast timber industry, were partners in Eden Valley Ranch. Harrah later became the sole owner. His wife Jayne Harrah was a pilot.”

GEORGE HOLLISTER re Eden Valley: “Another era. A time of easy money in the timber industry, for local people. I have often thought it must have been similar to the black market pot economy 20 years ago. The margins were so good few bothered to keep track of expenses. Of course that changed, and the survivors were business people like Bob Harrah who went on to other ventures.”

THE LATE HOURS of Portland's ongoing demonstrations now include leaf blowers to blow back tear gas at the forces of law and order who fired it. Prediction: Many more Portlands soon to come, but Trump's embrace of them too late and them not scary enough to scare enough maga-symps into voting for him again. The Orange Monster seems to have slain itself, but if anybody can raise himself from the dead, it's Trump.

REALITY having long ago outstripped satire, but try satirizing Saturday's events in Louisville where two groups of human explosives faced off, the armed black "Not Fucking Around Coalition" and the "Three Percenters," an armed white posse who claim to disdain both racism and the Klan. Shooting will commence any time now. (The Three Percenters say they are in the tradition of the American Revolutionary Army, further claiming that only three percent of Americans actually fought the British. These three percenters imply that only a gallant few like them have the cojones to stand up against the vague contemporary tyranny visible only. to them. (If my history recollections are accurate, there was a lot more resistance to King George than three percent.)

ON THE SUBJECT of yesterday, Oliver Stone was recently interviewed by the New York Times on the Kennedy Assassination. I'm always reluctant to re-visit the Grassy Knoll, and I bring it up because I hope some gun person out there will weigh in on the much maligned Italian carbine that Oswald shot Kennedy with. I've read that Kennedy was not only an easy target from Oswald's perch — about 150 feet — the rifle was equipped with a scope, and was perfectly capable of doing what Oswald did in the time he did it. The controversy arises when Stone says his expert marksmen couldn't duplicate the three consecutive shots fired at and into Kennedy in the allotted time. I've always thought Oswald was a totally implausible guy, especially given his times. To get from the 1957-58 Marine Corps to Russia and back.... well, Leon had to have had associations unavailable to your average lone nut.

WHILE McDonald's and Chipotle nobly stand for medical science and require mandatory masking, Walmart, Walgreens, CVS, and Home Depot, despite announcing face masks were mandatory, in practice do not require them.

THE ANTI-VAXXERS have a lot to answer for although they won't have to in a time where responsibility and accountability are not the values they once were, but they've done much to undermine faith in medical science to the point where Dr. Fauci and his family are suffering such a volume of plausible death threats, Fauci has had to hire professional security. Mendo, needless to say, is a hotbed of unfounded anti-vaxx opinion preached by incoherent people who can read but not quite well enough to quite understand the lessons.

NOT SINCE "appropriate" has Mendo Feebdom been as conceptually excited as they are with "positivity," the latest arrow in their tiny quiver of prose oppression.

POSITIVITY on 101 near Petaluma where a billboard reads, "When the times are tough remember so are you." Unfortunately for US, we're about to be put to the test.

WHEN MEASURE B first passed we sent an email to then-Sheriff Allman, then Chair of the Committee, suggesting that the Committee members begin by identifying empty or under-utilized buildings in their respective areas which might be candidates for remodeling as  facilities for mental health cases. Sheriff Allman grudgingly distributed our suggestion to his committee, commenting, “This is interesting, I guess.”  At the time, the only vacant building Allman wanted to consider was the Old Howard Hospital, which was one possibility, but not anymore apparently. Since then the Measure B people have scrupulously done very little besides rubberstamp a gold-plated, grant-driven, grossly overblown new construction project on Orchard Street next door to Schraeder Inc.’s current operation. Millions of dollars are being spent to design and build what is essentially a glorified motel.

FOR THE MILLIONS of dollars coming in from Measure B’s sales tax, several remodeled vacant buildings around the County, closer to where the people live, including some of the ones Tommy Wayne Kramer lists in his weekly column, could take care of many more patients at much lower cost. CEO Carmel Angelo once said the Measure B facilities project is akin to building a $50,000 kitchen. And that’s essentially what we’re going to get — for a cost that will add at least two more zeros.  

 (Mark Scaramella)


[1] “I really have to wonder why I spent all that money on her education and she can’t think for herself…. Why can’t most HS kids pass a simple math test? Write a coherent sentence?”

– I work in higher ed, which I think is mostly doomed in the next decade for a panoply of reasons, of which the most germane to this conversation is that you can’t have higher ed without “lower ed” first

– “Lower ed” (i.e., primary and secondary ed) is now about ensuring that there is someone to watch the young’uns while the folks are at work, that some kids get three square meals a day, and that violence is kept to a minimum, with only the occasional faculty injury or parental arrest. 

– Who needs to know how to read and write when your smart house or social worker will do all that for you? And math is hard, and therefore [insert absurdly inflammatory politicized adjective here].

– As to why your higher ed’ed kid does not think for herself: thinking for yourself, or thinking critically (or even thinking, period), has been replaced in most non-STEM curricula by Critical Theory, Marcuse, Foucault, and Derrida. These intellectual anti-intellectuals see certain forms of thinking for yourself (unsurprisingly, those that contradict today’s cultural marching orders, which usually subvert norms while always leaving the real owners in charge) as making us into “bad people.” Cancel culture doesn’t seek to change actions, it seeks to change hearts and minds, to bring them into conformity with the day’s orthodoxy. It is theology, and stoopid theology at that.

2] “Do you suppose that voters have had a good look at these scenes and concluded that the Democratic Party is perhaps uninterested in civil order?”

This is 1968 all over again. All those ‘60s riots and things in the streets openly going to hell. The Great Silent Majority was watching back then and so they elected an insecure paranoid fellow who once said I Am Not A Crook who promised Law and Order in response to seeing all the mayhem. The silly public bought the joke and had law and order until Mr Not Crook was caught obstructing justice. Will the same fear response by the public happen again in 2020? Or, has the current occupant of The Big Chair tweeted once too many times, thrown one too many insults, displayed a bit too much Pure Ego to fit the taste of the Vast Uncounted Souls out in the sticks beyond the Beltway? In 2020, the victor will either be The Big Ego Man or the Who The-Hell-Am-I Man? Somehow this all seems to fit the spirit of the times just right. Either way, America loses.

“Is there anything about this republic that you think is worth defending?

Just having to pose this question just about answers it fully. Too many deep wrongs committed over too many years by too many people and too many mortal wounds left unhealed does not lead to a healthy body politic. And all the doctors are missing, too. Is that a warning siren we are hearing, or a funeral dirge? Maybe both.

[3] This is starting to feel like deja vu all over again. Clinton hands Pigmy Bush a fantastic economy, and what does Bush do? One disaster after another. 9/11. Iraq War. Hurricane Katrina. Finally the Great Financial Crisis where we’re losing a million jobs a month, unemployment at over 10% and people losing their homes in record numbers. Stock market in the toilet. Enter Barrack Obama, and like some majic shaman or voodoo doctor, he brings the economy back from the dead. Stock market at all time highs. Unemployment below 5%, health care for all Americans. And this with oil at over $100 barrel most of his term. Still had growth between 2 & 3 %. He hands this dream economy to Trump, who proceeds to do what he does best. He runs it into the ground. Now unemployment back over 10%. Biggest deficits in history BY FAR. Race riots in the street. Biggest public health crisis in American history with 140,000 dead and counting. This ain’t 1918 folks. You think America would wake up to the fact that conservative Republicans don’t know what they’re doing and run em out of Dodge? Biden gets the same crapper economy that his boss got. Deja vu all over again.

[4] Portland Mayor Wheeler actually got up and spoke to the crowd, like that other political failure, Mayor Jacob Frey of Minneapolis. Wheeler declared his support for BLM. He was asked if he would “defund” the police. He said no, he would not. He was quickly shouted down. He had a group of plain clothes police officers around him the entire time to protect him since the rioters next to the Mark O. Hatfield Federal Courthouse have repeatedly and violently assaulted numerous persons, some quite egregiously, often at random. He was later pelted with water and water bottles and had to be shielded when he was grabbed by several rioters as he returned to the “Justice Center”, ie. the central police station, located next to the Hatfield Courthouse.

Background on Ted Wheeler: He is the descendant of the founder of one of the six companies that were combined to created Willamette Industries, a large timber company that was purchased by Weyerhaeuser in 2002 for nearly $8 billion. He possesses an elite educational trifecta pedigree, having earned degrees from Stanford, Columbia and Harvard. He is personally worth north of $10 million. His mother just passed away, so perhaps he stands to inherit more money. His wife of many years has announced she is divorcing him, and thus he has moved out their house. 

He faces a close run-off race for reelection as mayor, having failed to garner >50% of the primary vote total. His opponent is far further left politically than he is, so it is plausible that he is attempting to carve off a piece of her supporters by showing some sympathy towards their support for anarchical behavior that has been tolerated in Portland for the better part of four years.

On balance, Ted Wheeler has been the worst mayor in Portland in a long, long time. However, there are a number of mind-numbing radicals lining up to serve on Portland City Council, intent on implementing all sorts of social planning schemes to satisfy their moralization in the midst of this Great Awakening religious revival.

[5] Calling the protesters “antifa” may sound good but you miss the mark. You’ve got a mixture of old and young, different races and religions, but mostly a big number of pissed off people who are pissed off about a bunch of different problems.

Unemployment is probably 25-30% (the government statistics are rigged); we’ve got 30 million unemployed and the government doesn’t even count the 100 million who stopped looking. 50% of the population owns almost zero of the country’s wealth; 40% of Americans can’t come up with $400 for an emergency; 25-50% of small businesses will not survive the virus shutdown. One-third of renters and homeowners can’t pay their rent or mortgage. And before the pandemic, something like five million car loans were in arrears, so the evicted won’t even have cars to live in. And tens of millions have no health insurance–or crappy health insurance–during a damn pandemic. Hell, I’d be in the streets too.

We are in a depression and Congress has bailed out all the people who don’t need the money. And then you wonder why people are losing it?

[6] Fantasy and mania run rampant in the delusional republic, no more so than in the bastions of higher – cough – learning where derangement of emotion and disorder in logical processing mark the scholar and philosopher and self-proclaimed thought leader.

You can see it on the telly, in such shows as Amanpour’s gab-fest where self-congratulating participants laud themselves and the people that led the US and much of the world into this historical cul-de-sac where rules of nature and of such minor considerations as the march of history and its lessons are proclaimed to be suspended for no reason other than their inconvenience.

Realty’s logic is iron-clad but its means are devious. If disease plagues the thought processes of an increasingly unfit “thinking” class, with the concept of a “borderless world” as one of its manifestations, Reality has the solution. It’s called the coronavirus. You hear about natural selection? This is natural selection. 

Most severely affected right now are the underclasses, those serving the physical needs of the intellectual, you know, people like farm workers, people in meat plants, but as economic and societal disruption spread, it becomes a matter of who has the means to provide for himself and his family i.e. guys with practical skills and not only that but means of self defense, i.e. fire-arms. And intellectuals have got a severe deficit in both these departments. 

It’s a lesson of history, one of those buggery things that you see dotted throughout the written and archaeological record, elites are upended when they fail to get a clue. 


  1. burnunit July 30, 2020

    On the BLM issue – well done Mr. Scaramella!

  2. David Severn August 3, 2020

    Good morning Bruce,
    From it’s inception – what, 5-6 years ago? – you have been whining, though maybe not in print, about “Black Lives Matter”. So I feel your declaration that the “rote calls for BLM are starting to annoy you” is disingenuous.
    But even before I got to that part of your online July 29 “Off The Record” I was already choking on your notion that right now we are experiencing “the rosiest ethnic relations we’ve ever had in our riven country”.
    Rosy? My god!
    When an unarmed Black man, Ahmaud Arbery is killed by two guys because he is jogging through their White neighborhood? And then prior to the BLM protests the powers that be refused to prosecute.
    Or when Elijah McCain a Black teenager returning home from a convenience store at night through a white neighborhood with earplugs on and dancing is put in a choke hold and killed by police?
    Or when a young white supremacist kills 9 members of a church Bible study group in Charleston, South Carolina?
    The Ors go on and on and on to undeniably point out that systemic racism is extant within the bowels of the legal, economic, social and law enforcement facets of American culture.
    That you would describe American ethnic relations as rosy must be senility. The only two people I can think of that would agree with that obtuse sentiment would be Kanye West and Donald Trump. Oh! And maybe your local pal Jerry Philbrick.
    Though I might agree with you relative to the phony Dems that take a knee before the camera I do wonder at the obvious bias that infuses your psyche, compelling you to designating Black Lives Matter protestors as “incoherent demagogues with no plan other than demonstrating their own virtue”.
    Donald Trump’s racist views appear to have support from close to 40% of the American people who are bigoted to the point of xenophobia. That we in opposition to the ongoing racial injustice that has in fact been systemically embedded on this continent since the arrival of Christopher Columbus and feel that it is past time for it to change have no plan is no reason to put us down or belittle us.
    What is your plan, Bruce? And in your 20 years or so as editor how effective have you been in changing the economic paradigm whose engine does feed at least in part on racial subjugation?
     David Severn

    • Eric Sunswheat August 4, 2020

      “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” is a poem and song by Gil Scott-Heron. Scott-Heron first recorded it for his 1970 album Small Talk at 125th and Lenox, on which he recited the lyrics, accompanied by congas and bongo drums.

      A re-recorded version, with a full band, was the B-side to Scott-Heron’s first single, “Home Is Where the Hatred Is”, from his album Pieces of a Man (1971).

      It was also included on his compilation album, The Revolution Will Not Be Televised (1974). All these releases were issued on the Flying Dutchman Productions record label.

      The song’s title was originally a popular slogan among the 1960s Black Power movements in the United States.[1]

      Its lyrics either mention or allude to several television series, advertising slogans and icons of entertainment and news coverage that serve as examples of what “the revolution will not” be or do.

      The song is a response to the spoken-word piece “When the Revolution Comes” by The Last Poets, from their eponymous debut, which opens with the line “When the revolution comes some of us will probably catch it on TV”.[2]

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