Off the Record (August 12, 2020)

DR. BIRX said last Tuesday that 60% of counties across the United States are now seeing an uncontrollable spread of COVID-19 infections, that the cases are "extraordinarily widespread." Here in Mendo, there is a surge in the number of cases as the crippled state counting system catches up with reporting after its computers crashed.

JOE BIDEN says he has delayed naming his vice presidential pick another two weeks out of concern that women are being pitted against one another, thus giving women two more weeks to knife each other, and if you believe that Biden gives a hoot, is even capable of giving a hoot, you're probably a Biden voter. Leading VP candidates include Kamala Harris, Karen Bass, Susan Rice, and even Elizabeth Warren have emerged as favorites, and one of them will be president because Biden is obviously non compos mentis.

GEOGRAPHY, an on-line comment from Mendo Mama: "Another one of them young tragic Pine Mountain Boys. If you look through a lot of crime articles there's been Grandpa killings, rapes, murderers and rip offs, beatings and domestic violence going on up on Ridgewood for a long time. A lot of the boys are on meth pills, coke. Chong on joints or vape pens all day and drink a lot. Then an attitude of I'm better than anybody else and it's a perfect storm."

JUST IN: Cutler "Carlo" Crowell turned in his nomination papers for a seat on the Mendo Coast Rec and Parks District board this morning at the County Clerk's Office. After the unfortunate pool experience suffered in November 2018, it seems that Mr. Cutler felt that the Board needs someone who understands the Brown Act.  Malcolm Macdonald's article on Huff's Conflicted Reversal made it clear that the District could use some help following some basic conflict of interest laws, in addition to the Brown Act failures Cutler was victimized by.

NO TO SOCIALISM IN AMERICA. That slogan pops up on placards wherever rightwingers assemble. I wish every person who brandished the S-word in public had to also present a brief essay demonstrating his or her knowledge of the difference between communism, socialism and fascism. I'd include anarchism but that would be asking a little too much homework for the average bluster-brains whose heads, if you had their contents on film, would look like ten movies played upside down and backwards.

RESPONDING to a report of a vehicle parked in the northbound lane of the Albion Bridge, early the morning of July 27th, a CHP officer soon found the body of 72-year-old Michael Joseph Reilly beneath the bridge, an apparent suicide. Reilly was a resident of Albion.

WROTE to Supervisor Williams to ask if he was the unnamed Albion firefighter who turned the hose on the suicidal man that occupied so much police time Saturday. The Supervisor, usually quick on the e-mail draw, didn't reply, soooooooo I'm gonna take that as a Yes until I hear otherwise. (Nope, wasn’t our intrepid solon.)

GOOD NEWS OUTTA COVELO

Hello Round Valley! My best buddy, and Covelo's favorite Italian, (Franco Tavazzi) are opening the "Old Drake's Inn" as the "Covelo Cave."

Our menu is your menu! So, please tell us what YOU want as food? We are a family and community establishment, that hopes to serve everyone's needs. Not to mention we have a fire stone pizza oven.

If you want to hold an event, birthday party, Christmas party, a meeting of the minds, or just celebrate the awesome people in your life, we will cater to your needs. We are building a community hub, and it starts with you. "It's not our restaurant! It's your restaurant!" So, tell us what you need. 

Our plans are to have a 3000 square foot outdoor area with dining, a stage and games. No more going to Willits just to get away. We will bring the bands, and excitement to you. 

We will also be hiring quite a few people, with the hope to see our community come together, and eat together. Whether it's over a live sporting event, or karaoke.

And yes, we are transplants. But if you know us already, you know you can't deny our charm, and lust for pizza. We are here to take your hearts, and fill your soul! 

So, Round Valley! What food, and/or events do you want to see? Our only success is based off your happiness. 

Open breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Brunch on the weekends!

Break bread with us Round Valley! Let us feed you homemade comfort food with an Italian twist!

Stay tuned for news on our grand opening!

JOE BIDEN, challenged by ace test taker Trump, rolled out this non sequiter to a reporter as a way of saying he would not take a cognitive test. “No, I haven't taken a test. Why the hell would I take a test? Come on man, that's like saying, before you got in this program, you're taking a test whether you're taking cocaine or not. What do you think? Huh? Are you a junkie?”

THE GREAT FORT BRAGG name change battle has gone sorta dormant, buried in an advisory committee process that will select the good and the pure to advise the Fort Bragg City Council on an “appropriate” name for the town. Come to think of it, Appropriateville might work. Or Hubrisville given the surplus of it in the Mendo-Fort Bragg region.

A READER ASKS, “What is Bushanksy-ism? You put that over the guy's resignation letter from Coast Park and Rec.” Uh, well, it's more of a kind of malaise than it is a coherent theory like, say, Marxism, but Bushansky-ism is ava code for the oppressive, hope-extinguishing corporate Democratic domination of political life on the Northcoast from Marin north to Crescent City while describing its Republican-lite views as “progressive.” The man himself hosts a radio show on local semi-public radio called, “Politics, A Love Story.” Case rested.

FOR THOSE WHO VIEW the Albion incident as a law enforcement over-reaction (I don’t, and that no one is dead or badly injured and nothing got burned up, is evidence of a properly done intervention), try this one for a true and pretty surreal police over-reaction:

“From a 2017 complaint filed by David and Gretchen Jessen against Fresno County and the city of Clovis, California, for damages incurred during a police raid on their home. In June 2016, construction workers called the police after they witnessed a homeless man break into the Jessens’ house. The Jessens returned to find their home surrounded by law enforcement. The Jessens argue that damage to their home was “unreasonable and unjustified.” In April, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of Fresno County and the city of Clovis.

The Clovis Police Department and the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office deployed the following:

  • Fifty-five vehicles
  • A K-9 unit
  • Two helicopters
  • Two ambulances
  • A fire truck
  • A crisis negotiation team in a motor home
  • A SWAT team
  • A backup SWAT team
  • A robot

Law enforcement officers did the following to the Jessens’ home:

  • Broke six windows
  • Ripped out the front door and an interior door
  • Pulled an office wall off the foundation
  • Used a flash bomb in the office
  • Ripped off the door to the laundry room
  • Used a flash bomb in the laundry room
  • Teargassed the laundry room
  • Teargassed the kitchen
  • Teargassed the master bathroom
  • Teargassed the guest bedroom
  • Teargassed the office bathroom
  • Teargassed the sewing room
  • Destroyed more than 90 feet of fencing with a SWAT vehicle
  • Shattered a sliding glass door for robot entry

The homeless man did the following:

  • Broke a window
  • Stole milk, an ice cream bar, and half a tomato”

(Harper’s, August, 2020)

WING WO MA 53,  an organized crime figure based in Oakland has been convicted of the 2013 murders of Jim Tat Kong and Cindy Bao Feng Chen whose bodies were found in a mini-van near the area of the "Bark Dumps" off Highway 20 near Fort Bragg where they’d been shot to death. 

COULDN'T HELP but notice this item on the MCN chatline from Norman deVall referring to the Albion takedown of Marc Lucas: “Hi All… Posting for Gail Lucas… Hi Norman - thank you for this. I have been very concerned about the K9 Takoda. I just talked with the sheriff's dept and they have assured me that Takoda is fine now. He said he “suffered a few scratches.” Could you possibly post that on the thread so that the community knows?”

GAIL LUCAS is the mother of Marc Lucas, the man who touched off the exciting recent contretemps in Albion during which police dog Takoda had his head jammed by the perp in the perp's vehicle door. Back in the day, Mrs. Lucas was the Sierra Club's jefe for the coastal areas of Mendocino County and active in local liberal politics. Mr. Brian Lucas ran off with an Albion psychic, leaving mom with two boys to raise. Fast forward to the grown up boys, we find both in and out of jail, with Marc Lucas, on the morning of his big adventure, spotted in Navarro deep in consultation with that community's white powder cohort. Lucas is one of many local mental cases whose demons are made much worse by street dope.

THE FOLLOWING VIDEO won't be news to anybody who has visited San Francisco lately, but what may be news is relayed by a former drug veteran of Frisco's streets who estimates of the ever larger street population, now estimated at twenty thousand, about 85% are addicted to hard drugs, the others are crazy. The town's mayor, an obvious incompetent, and its supervisors, should be recalled. (Ditto for Ukiah.) If local government can't manage basic civic order it's time for the people running it to go. SF's tonier neighborhoods, and the vast Presidio, has no homeless people because the cops, local and federal, immediately roust them. But SF has allowed its downtown to become lawless, a drug free fire zone run by criminals. 

CHAOS BY THE BAY: The Truth About Homelessness in San Francisco https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uw8MACDZ3RI

SO, what would you do, Mr. Wizard? Basic premise: No persons unable or unwilling to care for themselves would be allowed to live on the streets. Government certainly wouldn't underwrite street living and public drug use, as San Francisco (and Mendocino County) presently does. The many millions now being squandered on this small population of lost souls should be diverted to mandatory hospitalization in impromptu care centers created from now vacant hotels and motels. SF has already converted a few empty hotels to rooms for the homeless but Frisco, having lost its way some time ago, permits drug and alcohol deliveries to the new tenants! (Just this week a meth lab blew up in a hotel room occupied by a formerly homeless guy.) Every time I hear some self-certified “progressive” justify the present homeless situation as “non-coercive” and “basically the best we can do,” I feel like going out to score some laudanum for myself. But considered philosophically, the devolving society we see out there is devolving so fast that the present population of homeless people will soon be merely one more catastrophe.

EVERY DAY the leadership adds to the prevailing anxiety that there is no leadership, just an ominous drift as people lose work, income, homes, hope. And in November we get a choice between Trump and Biden, neither of whom should be in charge of anything more complicated than pizza deliveries. Trump says something crazy every day while he lambastes Biden for saying crazy stuff, as Biden did again today when he said the Latino American community is more diverse than the African American community. Which it is, especially considering Biden was addressing both the National Association of Black Journalists and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists in a pre-recorded speech, apparently not vetted by his staff. O yeah. Hell yes. This country's going to bounce right back.

FORT BRAGG is offering a tenant rental assistance program: https://city.fortbragg.com/ArchiveCenter/ViewFile/Item/1118

FROM CHRIS CALDER: Two seats were open on the Fort Bragg City Council. City residents to current council members: "Nah. None of us really wants to be in charge of this sh*tshow right now. You go ahead."

Also, city government here seems in general on pretty good terms with the local populace right now, with a minimum of, really no, bickering amongst themselves or other time/energy/$$$-wasting ego trips.

Also, this place gets about a disaster a year it seems like, between fire refugees, very severe PSPS experience (I still have flashbacks), and now this. Local government officials, like everybody, are getting used to it by now.

And finally: you have to eat some time and there is no escape from angry constituents in the grocery store, and there are only three (big ones). Keeps the city Moms and Dads* focused.

*Old time headlines, at least in the Fort Bragg Advocate c. 1950s, called city council members 'City Dads'. Those were the days!

DISGRACEFUL sign of the times, and one of many, is Dr. Fauci getting so many death threats aimed at him and his family that he's had to hire round-the-clock security. Prior to the internet the keyboard psychos had to put pen to paper, a major deterrent to woofing.

RENT MORATORIUMS expired this week in lots of places as did the $600 unemployment bonuses. Aggressive rent strike demos had commenced prior and will now become even more aggressive, maybe even here in Mendo when the marginally sheltered community realizes it's up to themselves to keep themselves indoors.

100 MILLION PEOPLE don't vote, and never have. Can either Biden or Trump mobilize the indifferent? Doubt it. Just the other day I asked a young couple if they were registered. “No. How do we do it?”

THE ELECTION probably depends on who Biden's handlers select as his running mate because that person will mos def be president, assuming Biden can beat back the Orange Beast even with a plausible VP. At some point Biden will have to emerge live at five from his basement, at which time his, uh, verbal incontinence will make the OB sound like Churchill. 

"LIKE it or not, the imperative of defeating Trump is directly in front of us. To make a progressive future possible, beating Trump is absolutely necessary while very far from sufficient. To organize against a government headed by Trump is to push against a thick stone wall. To organize against a government headed by Biden holds out the real potential of progressive breakthroughs." — Norman Solomon

MUCH as I like Norman, old war horse that he is for the good and the true, Biden inspires zero optimism in this reluctant Democrat and, true to his reactionary instincts, Biden is already muttering about the party's "left," i.e., the only principled people in the party, most of them only "left" in the Bernie sense, meaning FDR reform types. There is no left in the Democratic Party, and there's no left in this country in any true sense of the term. There are millions of people who want a social welfare state, not the destruction of capitalism. If nothing else comes out of the current catastrophe, we might at last get single payer and a few social welfare basics like guaranteed shelter and fairly compensated work.

WHAT ELSE could go wrong? Covid testing results are so delayed it's nearly pointless as a means to slow the spread, and the Golden State's computers broke down so tabulation was by hand for a week, hence a sudden surge here and there. Trump appoints a pal to run the Post Office. Pal immediately fires the PO's leadership, further rattling confidence in the looming mail-in vote. (A mostly black county in Alabama has one walk-in voting precinct for about 800,000 voters.) Covid deaths are running about a thousand a day. Global warming has so warmed areas of the globe, including areas of the United States, warming them warmer than they've ever been warmed and for longer periods that the warm is going to get us if nothing else does.

TRUMP'S dramatic, unilateral move to suspend payroll taxes and extend expired unemployment benefits doesn't mean much when the fine print is read. $400 instead of the prior $600 is better unemployment help than a kick in the teeth but why not stick with the $600? And suspending the payroll tax, out of which Social Security and MediCare are funded will weaken both programs, their destruction being a long-term Republican dream.

"IF DEMOCRATS continue to hold this critical relief hostage," Trump thundered, "I will act under my authority as president to get Americans the relief they need." 

AN ESTIMATED 23 million people are at risk of homelessness. Trump kinda extended the federal eviction moratorium—which barred evictions on government-backed residences to protect the millions of Americans who lost income due to COVID-19. Although some states have their own eviction moratoriums on a wider array of homes, those are often also slated to expire soon too, and Trump's alleged extension of the moratorium against evictions is more conditional than a true extension. 

SOME of us shut-ins are taking advantage of social distancing to catch up on the great stuff produced by Netflix and HBO. If this rolling catastrophe has an upside it's the opportunity to over-indulge in film product, and that product for me is documentary film, reality having long ago outstripped fictional attempts to explain it. I highly recommend two HBO docs: "What's My Name" brilliantly captures the splendor of Muhammed Ali, certainly one of the most vivid personalities of our time. This hugely entertaining biographical film brings much new footage absent from previous Ali films, including him chatting with both Martin Luther King and Malcolm X and his ambassadorial missions overseas where he accomplishes hostage releases our State Department is unable to bring off. Lots of boxing, of course, so the squeamish might want to fast forward past them.

SECOND HIGHLY RECOMMENDED doc is "Mike Tyson: Undisputed Truth." This is Tyson solo (produced by Spike Lee) with a memorably vivid account of his life, a life, like Ali's, only possible in America, the editor said as he rose to salute the flag. Tyson is a truly gifted raconteur with one riff movingly sad, the next hilarious. Tyson is also a gifted mimic, and as a comic he's right up there with Chris Rock and Larry Chapelle. (Are there any funny white guys left?) The scenes Tyson re-enacts, all drawn from his unique life, are unforgettable, and what an amazing life he's had, emerging whole after trials that would have finished off a lesser man. 

ON LINE COMMENTS OF THE WEEK

 [1] It is beyond obvious that we are now witnessing the historical dissolution of the United States of America.

Our parents’ and grandparents’ generations experienced the rigors of two world wars and the Great Depression, the crucibles which tested and honed the American Spirit which reached its apotheosis at the end of World War II.

Those of us of the Boomer persuasion have experienced the peak of the American experience — from 1946 to 1971 (when Nixon dropped the gold standard and sullied the Presidential office) — the Pax Americana if you will. 

And now we are sliding down the backward slope of the peak, and it seems to be accelerating by the day. In 20 years, you will not recognize the USA from what is was. It seems that the breakup of the nation into disparate regional countries is inevitable. 

The only question is, will the resultant society look more like The World Made By Hand or The Hunger Games?

 [2] Yet there are soft hints sprinkled throughout one’s coming of age.

Did your mother often sigh, exasperated after the latest unimpressive report card, “there’s always the civil-service”?

Recommended for shop, technical, home-ec, vocational school?

I have a feeling they may no longer exist.

When the military recruiters came trolling for low-hanging fruit at your high school did the counselor cough-up your name?

This does not preclude one from having a successful future, or a rewarding future. It merely suggests your capabilities may lie somewhere other than the formal erudition of higher education. Regrettably, learning tradecraft, a process of tacit knowledge transference, bears the stigma of stupidity. Yet how many people of trade be it a medical doctor to an electrician to an architect to a machinist to a lawyer are geniuses at their craft but, peculiarly, seriously deficient in common sense or general knowledge? 

But colleges became a right, then a land grant, then a big business. Many of the aforementioned outgrew their immaturity, became better traditional students, and proved many wrong. More did not. They became ambulance chasers, insurance agents, salesmen, a corner cubicle manager in an office park.

They made it, somehow. So of course they’re smart: see the sheepskin above the Dell? A generation of Dunning-Krugers, with the financial debt and the raised seal certificate to prove it.

Well, that’s what society asks for, and well, that’s what society gets. Empty goalposts and dim lodestars.

 [3] And seeing Biden’s handlers cut him off in mid-sentence because he is going too far-afield in his answers as he says, “Wait! I have more to say!” 

I have actually seen one of his handlers grab his hand and lead him off stage like a lost child.

This charade cannot last much longer. Something so blatantly off the wall will be said by Biden that even Rachel Maddow will have to say something.

Most recently he said, “While I was at Walter Reed a nurse leaned over and breathed into my nostrils and she brought me pillows from her home.”

Imagine three two hour debates between Biden and Trump with no ear pieces for Joe, no TelePrompTer for Joe and no handlers there to drag him out of the room.

There is NO WAY they will let Biden openly debate Trump even with Zoom or FaceTime or whatever.

Biden’s team is whistling past the graveyard. Only a matter of time before they get spooked.

[4] Ever seen the equipment vaults and rows up on rows of humming servers, switches, routers and infrastructure it takes to run even a small sized business much less something like internet?

I assure you it's all very delicate and sensitive to power fluctuations, heat and moisture.

One of my servers has gone through four hard drives in less than three months I am constantly reaching out to Dell for replacements and that is just one of my servers I have fifteen more buzzing away all across Southern California.

One of my sites in El Centro has had the fiber run into the building severed at least five times in the last decade! It takes AT&T for ever to make those repairs and why? Because the fiber run is as big around as your thigh and it is composed of thousands of strands little larger than a human hair. Having had to make fiber connectors I can’t even imagine what it took to effect that repair. Back in the day making one connector took hours of polishing and getting it just right.

 [5] Pardon me for smiling regarding the economic hit on professional sports. These modern contracts are obscene and so if they disappear then Xmas has come early. Also obscene is the money that so called celebrities are paid, and I include Ms. Oprah into that mix. If Americans are forced to stand down from supporting these people, then Covid is worth it. No, no socialist here, but I do enjoy the celebrity suffering. But more enjoyable is the media’s job losses which are growing. Hooray I say. I wish I could comment on social media but I’m not part of any of that. I read about Facebook and its tyranny but friends who use it seem to have no interest in quitting it. Same with Twitter and Instagram. I frankly don’t know what those really are except that we have a president who communicates via Twitter while using the toilet. Fitting.

The current days are far more dangerous than any other part of our history. The ship is sinking. The government is installing screen doors and windows. NYC and Chicago and Seattle and others are already under water. The ship cannot sail on.

 [6] I'd like to point out a few items of note to those who think the only reason our country is suffering from the pandemic is Trump's policies (or lack thereof). And just to clarify, I wear a mask every time I leave the house, avoid social gatherings, and have voluntarily worked from home since March. I'm proud to do my small part to help fight the pandemic. I also didn't vote for Trump in 2016 and won't do so in 2020. I also won't be voting for Biden.

California has the highest number of cases and the highest number of deaths in the US. Governor Newsom was one of the first to institute a government mandated stay at home order. Many mayor's and BOS's throughout our state have implemented even stricter stay at home orders. California has instituted additional policies to provide unemployment, medical, and food assistance to those "non-essential" workers who have been hit the hardest. We do this so they can continue to stay home and do their part to help fight the pandemic. California has done an amazing job of creating new temporary hospitals to handle any surge in cases. California has also done an amazing job of creating new or temporary housing for those who would opt to leave the streets (yes, opt, we can't force them) and thereby slow the spread of the virus. Newsom, who's updates I regularly watch, has continually mentioned he bases these policies on the data and the science. I believe he does.

Yet, despite the above, California has the highest number of cases and the highest number of deaths. If you take a look, you'll see that Texas, Florida, and NY aren't far behind. So, two states with conservative leadership and two states with liberal leadership have similar numbers. What gives? Is it possible there are other reasons, outside of who are president is or what party he belongs to, that may be responsible for the number of cases and deaths in the US? That's not a rhetorical question. It's a real question. I doubt I'll receive any non-partisan responses to this question. I do believe the answer is extremely complex and likely lies in the openness of our society (travel for biz and tourism, immigration) and the freedoms that many in our country hold above all else (that's not a criticism). It's possible a society based loosely on principles of limiting government power would struggle more to contain a pandemic than other societies more comfortable or supportive of government authority. The point, there is far more to this analysis than politics.

 [7] They promised that small cannabis farmers and mom and pop growers would be able to get permitted before big business came in, but instead they are priced out of the game with ridiculous permitting fees. $65,000 to get a legal permit regardless of whether or not you’re selling it? And then forced to sell only to white market companies like Flow Kana who have tens of thousands of barrels of (perishable) weed sitting in warehouses while the farmers aren’t paid for 6-8 months…

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