WITH LITTLE FANFARE because fan’s fares are preoccupied with weightier affairs, Mendo finds itself these days with several new news outlets staffed by young reporters. There’s the newly hired Alicia Bales at KZYX who’s been doing a good job of getting local officials on the radio waves to talk about the pandemic and its data and implications. She seems a natch for radio — pleasant voice, unafraid to ask real questions. KZYX’s Sarah Reith sticks to KZYX's formula of strictly nicey-nice, but she's a capable reporter who, in a less oppressive media context, might do some interesting work.
There’s two young ‘uns at MendoVoice who seem to have branched out from a heavy emphasis on marijuana to other subjects, heavily covid-related but their term paper prose is off putting. (All the young talent write like their older than old growth, and one reads in vain for the slightest evidence of spark, fun and funny seemingly beyond these dull normals.
There’s newcomer Matt LeFever at KMUD, KymKemp and his own new MendoFever.com, who stays on top of breaking news pretty well. There’s even a new kid named Lana Cohen whose reports for KZYX and the Mendocino Voice have focused primarily on local environmental subjects, albeit delivered like What I Did On My Summer Vacation. On the older side of the local journalo ledger there’s the always solid local reporter Justine Frederiksen holding on valiantly at the Ukiah Daily Journal, a paper on life support whose editor, KC Meadows is also a fine reporter when she ventures forth to do some reporting. And there's old reliable Mike A’Dair at the Willits Weekly, Jim Shields, long-time editor and close observer at the Mendocino Observer in Laytonville, Paul McCarthy at MendocinoSportsPlus, and, ahem, the codgers at the AVA.
If you're uninformed in this county, it's your fault. But all of us are overly-dependent on press releases from the usual subjects: the Sheriff, County government press releases, and an occasional questioning quote from an official or the Grand Jury. With the exception of Shields, A'Dair and the AVA, there’s little to no context, criticism, background, analysis, opinion or skepticism presented with news of events.
The upshot is we get reliable and near-breaking stenography and pass-throughs of what the authorities want to tell us, but very little else.
But some big Mendo subjects remain no-go zones: Grapes and the wine industry’s toxic, water-sucking, minimally enforced march across the rangelands, the utter failure of the cannabis permit program, the stalled talks on the Potter Valley Project, the waste and sloth of the Measure B Committee, the domination of local government by CEO Carmel Angelo, the still unexplained last minute firings of at least ten local officials that we can think of in the last two or three years, the looming budget crises at all levels of local government, the fragility of local emergency services, the alarming increase in overdoses and suicides as briefly mentioned by the Sheriff a couple weeks ago.
We’d sure like to see more depth from these newer, younger, presumably vigorous reporters . (Mark Scaramella)
SOME ON-LINE COMMENTERS noted that we missed a few local news outlets in the above round up/commentary.
• ICO Editor Chris McManus writes: “No mention of the Independent Coast Observer in Gualala or either of our two radio stations, all of which are independent. Nothing new about the south coast being ignored by the rest of Mendocino Co. PS. We do not do on-line updates except rarely on Facebook.”
• Joe Wagner at KNYO: “Anybody see KNYO on the front page of the Advocate? I read the tag line under the picture and left it alone. Looked like a puff piece about media with nothing critical in it. I imagine the writer was not really in tune with how radio and media actually operate. Oh well.”
• Paul McCarthy at MendocinoSportsPlus: “And we note there was not one mention of what passes for weekly newspapers in Mendocino & Fort Bragg.”
WE ALSO SOMEHOW OVERLOOKED the AVA’s own solid coast correspondent Malcolm Macdonald who certainly does a lot of local history and local reporting and consistently digs into stories behind the stories.
TRUMP was escorted from his press conference on Monday less than five minutes after it began after law enforcement shot a man who was shooting at the White House. "There was a shooting outside of the White House and it seems to be very well under control," Trump said after he returned to the room. "I'd like to thank the Secret Service for doing their always quick and very effective work. There was an actual shooting and somebody has been taken to the hospital. I don't know the condition of the person. Seems that the person was shot by the Secret Service, so we will see what happens," our dear leader said as if mentioning the Big Mac waiting for him off-stage.
FORT BRAGG PEOPLE SEEKING HELP with their rent last week stood in a line in front of City Hall that went down the street and around the corner, one more local sign of the times.
AS THE WORLD knows by now, Kamala Harris is Sleepy Joe's pick as his vice-president. It also means that Kamala will soon be president given Biden's obvious senility. It will be interesting to see how the fascisti go about attacking her. (Which I wrote minutes after she was named. Since, she’s been attacked on everything from her citizenship to old boyfriends.) Kamala isn't a flaming lib who would make a big target for political reasons because she’s mainline DNC. The flamers damn her simply for having been a prosecutor, as if it's a character flaw to understand that some people have to be separated from the herd. I thought during the debates she didn't seem like she'd thought much about the Big Picture stuff, but she's very smart and, presumably, fully prepped by now on the DNC worldview — protect Wall Street, prevent single payer, blank check for plucky little Israel, lottsa cash-free rhetoric of the uplift type without doing anything in the way of real help for the struggling millions, the usual Republican Lite characteristic of the Democrats. Kamala was probably picked because, of all the possibilities, she was the most conservative black female available and, of course, because she’s female and black, the ID that fools the feebs into equating with progressive politics. Her upside is she isn't crazy and she isn't stupid, but life in America as we knew it having ended, there's no indication from anything Kamala has ever done or said that she has the faintest idea of how to make the ongoing catastrophe less catastrophic. Libs always say, "Yeah, yeah. Biden's out of it but he'll have good people around him." Names!
NAME DROPS. I've met Kamala Harris through my connected nephew. I got a good hit off her, as the hippies used to phrase favorable impressions. And my cousin James Rowland worked for Kamala in San Francisco as her Domestic Violence guy. When I met her I mentioned that Cousin Jimmy worked for her. "Oh, I love James!" Kamala exclaimed. "He's in charge of my domestic violence unit." To which I responded, "Our family suspects that Jimmy himself is a victim of domestic violence," but Kamala had moved quickly on with a puzzled look on her face before I could explain that Jimmy's ex, a woman we called The Barracuda, was quick with a punch, and generally more violent than any ten Mendocino County pacifists.
THE NEW US POSTMASTER GENERAL, Louis DeJoy, has quickly proved he's DeShits, as he undermines the mission of the Postal Service, which is to deliver mail to Americans in a timely fashion, including the ava which it takes about a week to do to the East Coast or more, four or five days to Southern Cal.
BUT WITH DeJoy at the helm, mail delivery has dramatically slowed. As you know, or should know, DeJoy is a Trump mega-donor, who has no prior experience with the Postal Service, and was appointed by Trump simply because he'd shoveled a lot of money to the Dear Leader. The worry is that DeJoy will have the Post Office so screwed up by election time that Trump will be re-elected.
A REEL QUICK movie review: "Richard Jewell," a Clint Eastwood production about the poor shlub the FBI fingered as the man who planted the bomb at the '96 Summer Olympics in Atlanta when in fact Jewell, a security guard tending heavily to a bumbling officiousness, behaved heroically in shooing people away from the device before it exploded, killing two people and injuring several hundred. Jewell saved innumerable lives. The bombing was in fact the work of a white supremacist called Eric Rudolph, but the unfortunate Jewell was put through the media wringer, vilified internationally as a murderous lunatic. The guy who plays Jewell, Paul Hauser, is absolutely brilliant in the part, and the rest of the cast is pretty good, too, especially Kathy Bates as Jewell's mother and Jon Hamm as an FBI agent. Olivia Wilde, my late friend Alexander Cockburn's niece, is gratuitously foul-mouthed as the ruthless reporter who first identifies Jewell as the likely perp. It's an interesting movie because the story it's based on is interesting, but what most interested me was Eastwood's depiction of the FBI. As a well known conservative, Eastwood comes down surprisingly hard on the feds as the malicious bumblers they've always been, especially in the case of Jewell. (Hold your groans for the following riff: The FBI's role in the Bari Bombing case was jaw droppingly rancid. In that famous Mendo interlude the Hoover Boys managed not to consider the ex-husband as the primo suspect, although the ex had a history of violence going back to the sixties. That ex, former Mendo trash czar, Mike Sweeney, is now a resident of New Zealand.) Anyway, Eastwood lays it on the feds, lingering in several shots of a framed Confederate flag hanging on the Atlanta FBI’s office wall. One final parenthetical: Sweeney serves nicely as that old fact of Mendocino County life, the only place in the world where you are whatever you say you are, and history starts all over again every day.
THE NEWS that Willits either has to up its sales tax or revert to becoming a county responsibility that the county is in no position to assume, places The Gateway to the Redwoods squarely between the proverbial rock and its hard place, primarily because Willits doesn't have all that large a tax base to begin with for the size of its population. Nor does Ukiah, for that matter. Most of Mendo's sales tax money is generated on the Mendocino Coast, not inland. The Sheriff's Department would be hard pressed to assume responsibility for Willits if the Willits Police Department were to disappear. But with businesses already struggling, an upwards bump of the sales tax is unlikely to be embraced by the town's petit bourgeois, the only bourgeois Willits has. Mendocino County boasts a thriving haute bourgeois but, hell, any place can say that. How about a bona fide bourgeois? Well, there's Charlie Mannon sitting on top of the Savings Bank of Mendocino, and maybe a coupla discreetly charming bourgies lurking in the sprawl of their ocean view dentist complexes near Mendocino, and several real-deal bourgies (the Witters) maintain huge ranches in the Covelo vastness, and one in Boonville, but Mendo, alas, is mostly a hard scrabble kinda place, getting harder and scrabbler by the day.
NOT ESPECIALLY RECOMMENDED VIEWING is about the Golden State Killer called, "I'll Be Gone in the Dark" via HBO, a five-part saga more about the author, Michelle McNamara, who died before the psychorama killer was finally identified and arrested. Ms. McNamara odeed, driven to the old uppers and downers cycle as the combined pressure of completing her book and her obsessive quest for the killer drove her fatally to the pharmaceuticals. Ms. M had the killer totally pegged except for his name and address, and even with all the dogged research by her and the police of several jurisdictions, without major advances in DNA technology the Golden State Killer would have finished his days in a comfortable suburb of Sacramento. An ex-cop — an unhappy fact that the cops working on the case suspected for years — when Joseph DeAngelo was finally arrested last year it turned out that he'd been married to an attorney for forty years, although they'd been separated for some time, but not before the couple produced three daughters, one of them also an attorney, another a doctor, the third a graduate student at Davis. Hmmm. Apparent normalcy, but…. When Mrs. DeAngelo left Mr. Rape and Murder back in '91, and just surmising here, did she at least suspect that hubbykins' unexplained nighttime absences were to satisfy some non-sanctioned impulses? Dad's many, many murderous nights out so, like, wifey had no idea or even curiosity what Mister was up to? A lot about this guy is still not known, but over three decades he raped 50-plus women, committed a confirmed 13 murders, mostly by bludgeon, and was known to have racked up 120 burglaries.
A READER WRITES: “I was in discussion with an old friend (who keeps up on these things). I asked her how long until KH moves into the big office, given Joe’s mental condition. Here’s her response: “Just understand that he’s not suffering from any form of dementia. He has had a lifelong stutter The way he keeps it under control, is a technique he was taught, which I know is a common tool for controlling stutters When he stops speaking, pauses and looks off somewhere else, he is rerouting the stutter instinct and controlling his speech pattern to come out clearly. It takes tremendous concentration to pull that off consistently, which he does. Couldn’t do that with diminished mental capacity. It sucks, but he chose a life of public service that requires him to speak in public regularly, knowing he had a stutter he had to control all the time. Imagine choosing that anyway! This doesn’t make him any more likable (to me) and I understand his history and policy choices are not gonna free the masses. Same old. Not gonna be enough to right the sinking ship.”
ANOTHER READER WRITES: “On my Mother’s side, my family name is Wong, amongst the most common Chinese names in the world, and they are all descendants of Ghenghis Khan... a man who raped and pillaged entire continents. Do you think I or any of the Wongs alive today give a second thought to what Mongols warriors long dead and gone did? You think any of Martin Luther King's greatgrandchildren get a free pass because he's in their family tree? Give it a rest. Focus what's in front of us now. This "Sins of the Father" malarky doesn't serve anyone or anything. It’s what you and I do today, to promote peace, justice, equality, and humanity that means anything more than a tinker's damn.”
ULTIMATELY, while defeating Trump remains a priority, it’s up to those of us on the left to generate the winds we want to prevail by building power outside of presidential politics. Taking to the streets for racial justice, strengthening the labor movement, demanding universal healthcare, establishing tenants’ unions, electing more candidates up and down the ballot who are committed to taking on corporate power to benefit the working class—this is how we can reorient politicians’ incentives and priorities. The weather vanes will follow.
THAT is the message that I have read or heard in more or less the same language since Michael Moore told us in 1992 that the election of Bill Clinton over George HW Bush was the most important in our lifetime yet I have never seen ANY example of that happening under a Democrat president other than the antiwar protests during Lyndon Johnson's presidency when self-preservation (stopping the draft) took priority over genuflecting or sleepwalking through a Democrat's presidency. As I accurately predicted a Biden-Harris ticket back in January 2019, I would expect that should Biden and Harris triumph over the evil monster in the White House (an without question Trump epitomizes evil), there would be such a period of celebration that people would kick back and do as little to change the reality as they did during eight years of Obama.— Jeff Blankfort
ALBERTO THE TORCH. A street guy named Alberto Acosta was arrested last week for setting several fires in South Ukiah. Described initially as either an Indian or a Mexican with a pony tail, a flurry of on-line comment soon debated the suspect’s ethnicity on the basis of his hair style, several people arguing that the perp must be an Indian “because Mexicans don’t do pony tails.” Acosta is of Mexican descent. Bail was set at a million dollars for the penniless suspect.
FORMER SHERIFF ALLMAN once told us that there were about a dozen registered arsonists the Sheriff's Department kept an eye on, all males with arson priors.
CONSTERNATION rose its perplexed head here at the Boonville weekly earlier in the week when we saw a death notice for Ric Martin, a legal eagle we've admired for some time beginning when he worked as a prosecutor in Ukiah before being appointed to the Lake County bench. But the dead man turned out not to be Ric Martin the Lake County judge, but a Mendo man also named Ric Martin. Betsy Cawn subsequently forwarded an article by Elizabeth Larson of the Lake County News on Rick Martin the judge's retirement, not his passing. Rick Martin the judge, incidentally, is the father of Sheriff Martin of Lake County.
OUT on the Mendocino Coast, the Fort Bragg City Council has instituted Stage 1 Water Conservation Measures, and this on top of fairly recent water supply upgrades. City residents have been asked to voluntarily lower their water use by 10% from their last year's use at this time although Fort Bragg, with upgrades and the new the Summers Lane Reservoir, has much more water than it’s ever had.
THE BIG PICTURE grows more ominous by the day. A wire photo circulated Thursday showed thousands of people lined up a Texas food bank with cars stretching for a mile at the first mega-distribution, with people traveling from miles around to the Dallas site where the North Texas Food Bank distributed 10,000 boxes of food.
A READER NOTES: "It says something about how BORED I am with shelter-in-place that the excitement high point of the week is the arrival of the AVA in my post office box.”
JUDGING from local social media, Mendolib is positively orgasmic at the Biden/Harris ticket assuming, as always, that any Democrat is better than any Republican, especially this election with the orange monster on his destructive rampage. Of the four top candidates — Trump, Pence, Biden, Harris — Harris is the only one with brains, the only likable one, the only one who isn't cuckoo. She also came out for single-payer during the debates, but when the DNC puppeteers roll out their actual program, count on it, here comes Republican-lite and no single-payer.
AT WEDNESDAY NIGHT'S revolting vp naming ceremony, a shameless mawk-fest cynically choreographed to evoke even more mawk, naturally presented whole on KQED, Kamala was portrayed as the daughter of immigrants, as if her highly educated parents had jumped the border to make their way however they could, not the solidly middleclass whiz kid graduate students they were.
THERE ARE MILLIONS of us who wouldn't vote for Biden if Abe Lincoln were his vp, and please forgive the moralizing here, but anybody who would invoke the loss of his child in a deluded attempt to get himself elected, a psychopathic invocation seconded by Kamala, is a person capable of anything. We already know that about Biden, but it's at least mildly disappointing that Kamala would stoop this low. But then here comes her hubby, "a high powered attorney," as he's described in the MSM "who proposed to her while he was ordering Thai food." Huh? A side order of Kamala? I guess that's supposed to be cute as hell, but aren't most fifty-year-old people 47 years past cute?
THIS IS GOING to be a very long 70 days until the election, what with the Demo side rolling out relentless false feeling without an actual program other than the vague platitudes they specialize in, all of it code for more of the same but nicer, while the Trumpian cretins mutter about secret cabals of Satanist cho-mos. What a country.
‘A JOG DOWN MEMORY LANE’ is former Mendo distance runner Jim Gibbons’ fast paced, fascinating personal history of running in 56 stand-alone stories that will hold the interest of current runners, former runners and even non-runners alike. Checking out on Amazon.com under the title. Please download onto Kindle Tablet, Phone or Ereader. It is anticipated that this will be available in print sometime this fall.
COUNTY PLANNING, insofar as it exists, assumes a big bounce back to econ "normalcy," an elastic concept even in "normal" times, but wouldn’t it be far more prudent for the County, in this time of rolling catastrophes, to think worst case which, it seems, the heads-up governments of Fort Bragg and Willits are doing.
THE GENERAL STRIKE in Belarus reminds US how broken and divided our own country is. There, the whole country walks out to rid themselves of a tyrant, and so effective is the walkout and ensuing mass demonstrations that the tyrant apologizes for his secret police's brutality against demonstrators!
TRUMP'S attempts to stoke a false birtherism narrative over the eligibility of Kamala Harris to run for vice president will undoubtedly resonate with the yobbos, but only those sectors of the yobbos who think the Democratic Party's leadership is a gang of Satanist-inspired cho-mos. The yobs, susceptible to birther bullshit, number in the millions however, and include Trump, so here it comes.
HILLARY CLINTON said on Thursday that if she's “called to serve” in a Biden administration that she's "ready to help fix the United States. I'm ready to help in any way I can because I think this will be a moment where every American - I don't care what party you are, I don't care what age, race, gender, I don't care - every American should want to fix our country. So if you're asked to serve, you should certainly consider that."
NO THANKS, HIL, that's ok. You've done enough fixing. You've fixed you and Bill up plenty nice.
BEATINGS as part of the arrest process were common at the demos of the 1960s, but apparently not so common in Belarus until this month. The television clips of cowering young prisoners in a Minsk secret police basement revealed that they, young women included, had been seriously worked over, and showed that they clearly feared its resumption as they serially promised not to “engage in more misbehavior.” American police these days are positively benign by real police state standards, and if they weren't contemporary demonstrations here in liberty land would be much more perilous, and may become much more perilous as crises multiply and millions of people are suddenly without the means for even the basics of food and shelter.
CRISES? WHAT CRISES? The U.S. Senate has adjourned for the rest of August after failing to come anywhere close to approving another Covid-19 relief package, leaving tens of millions of out-of-work, hungry, and eviction-facing Americans without financial aid as the pandemic and economic crises continue with no end in sight. “During the worst economic crisis since the 1930s, Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans think they can take a long vacation while millions of Americans face hunger and eviction. That is morally obscene,” thundered Bernie Sanders. ”It’s time for the do-nothing Republican Senate to finally do its damn job.” The Senate is not expected to return until September 8, when economic conditions are likely to be even more dire for the 40 million people at risk of eviction, 30 million facing drastic income cuts due to the lapse in enhanced unemployment benefits, and 14 million households with children that don’t have enough to eat. Not to mention the tens of thousands of small mom-and-pop businesses who are straining to hold on.
YOU'D THINK that California's Independent System Operator could manage to give all us PG&E hostages minimum notice, say an hour, before we're plunged into darkness and summarily severed from the global village. As a friend put it, “Reminds me of the guy who's dying and his wife asks where he wants to be buried. He says, 'Surprise me'.”
WHY CUT MENDO? Our 90,000 souls are a drop in the state's power consumption bucket, and probably like you, I'm waiting (as if there's choice here) to see if PG&E's promise to only cut power in targeted high fire danger areas in high fire conditions of heat and wind rather than cut off the entire county like they did last year. They've claimed that they can be more discrete as to which areas get cut. If Laytonville, say, is about to spontaneously combust, power to that sector of the North County would be offed, not all of us north of the Sonoma County line.
ONE MORE DEPRESSING sign that the Democrats are as out of it as their candidate for president is their announcement that Bill Clinton will speak at their on-line convention. Hell, how about Harvey Weinstein, and maybe a guest cameo by Trump himself as a gesture of bipartisan commitment to rape and general pervery?
“I DO BELIEVE that we need to do buybacks and I’ll tell you why: First of all, let’s be clear about what assault weapons are. They have been designed to kill a lot of human beings quickly. They are weapons of war with no place on the streets of a civil society. I’ve seen assault weapons kill babies and police officers. A buyback program is a good idea. Now we need to do it the right way. And part of that has to be, you know, buy back and give people their value, the financial value of what they have and not just take things from people that have value without compensating them. We need to do it the right way.” — Kamala Harris
GUN NUTS correctly point out that assault rifles are responsible for only a tiny sliver of all gun deaths in our seethingly unhappy country. Of course Kamala is correct in wanting to get them out of circulation, but the overall violence prob is more existential than mere confiscation or buy-backs. Trite to say but violence would be much less of a problem is half the population wasn't ripped off and abused every day of their lives.
UNSETTLED WEATHER seems to go nicely with the unsettled times, he said, drifting into vague anecdotes hinting at apocalypse. I noticed some twenty years ago that my rose buds were frying on the stem, that the air felt thinner somehow, that hot days seemed hotter. Confirmation that global weather shifts of the ominous type were underway began to appear in the science journals, and then in the mass media, and now everywhere as most of us begin to feel like the proverbial frog on simmer. Even if industrial civ were capable of adjusting to cool the globe the science says the damage is irreversible, that from now on it's rolling weather catastrophes on top of the civil ones we've got going, the globally-warmed weather exacerbating all of them.
SAW A REPORT yesterday from a Fort Bragg weather alarmist who said it was a hundred degrees on the town's east side. Cooler heads (sic) immediately weighed in to say it was about 80, which is still hot by Coast standards. Here in Boonville where the ava bunker sits in a sea of macadam left over from a drive-thru coffee stand, which raises the temp higher than it naturally is, our hyperbolic thermometer read 112 in the shade, again. It was a hundred though, and we were walking slow and drinking a lot of water.
TRUMP claimed Sunday morning that Kamala Harris "is the most liberal” lawmaker in Congress, even more of a liberal than Bernie Sanders. Gulp and Gosh! Any other place in the world, and even here in the U.S. in the population pockets where words still have meaning, Sanders is most accurately pegged as a social democrat. He calls himself a socialist but like social democrats everywhere he believes in reforming capitalism, not ending it. Kamala? More a mainstream Demo-lib from her votes and occasional statements, a kind of go with the Big Lib Flow person rather than an aggressive reformer like Bernie or, say, AOC ,whose reforms, if miraculously enacted given the reverse pull of Biden and the DNC, would benefit the average American no end. But painting any of these people as radical leftists — opposed to capitalism — is simply a perversion of language. Which is why people like me are un-enthusiastic about Biden and Harris. Trump has exacerbated all the social/political faultlines for sure, but those faultlines pre-dated him. He's speeded them up but the Democrats need to offer more than just saying they're not him.
THE GOOD NEWS. I assumed the Animal Shelter would be stuffed with unadopted dogs because of the coronavirus shutting things down, but when I asked Kathy Shearn, she said there were only four dogs presently without permanent homes. "The community has been amazing--adopting," Kathy said, "fostering and stepping up to help the cats and dogs. Amy, the Adoption Coordinator, also told me that several shelters in the Bay Area are closed due to covid, so people are coming to Ukiah. Also, I believe there are fewer Animal Control officers scouting the hills and dales, so fewer dogs being nabbed. And, people are home more, and (hopefully) watching over and taking care of their pets, so not nearly as many loose dogs out and about. The average before for many years was about 40 dogs available and 20 or so in isolation. When I first started volunteering, there could be 90+ dogs for adoption, and available kennels, which number 46, would be doubled up."
PG&E, AN ON-LINE COMMENT: “Like all utilities, there’s a cost shared among every user just to keep the system in place — this includes shareholder profits, CEO bonuses, etc. BUT it also includes the cost of simply maintaining the infrastructure, workers wages and benefits, debt service, building capital improvement funds, and in the case of private corporations, advertising and lobbying. So there’s a base rate that you pay whether you use any electricity or not. Some of it is gouging, but some of it is necessary. I believe that all basic utilities necessary for a decent life — and that includes electricity — should be publicly owned, not profit-making entities.”
ON LINE COMMENTS OF THE WEEK
 The importance, or lack thereof, of good leadership is becoming painfully apparent in the current presidential race in the USA. The inability of the Democrats to find a credible candidate to oppose Pres. Trump exposes a deep lack of leadership ability within the Democratic Party. It should have been easy. Leaving aside his many personal flaws, simply running against Mr. Trump’s record would be a winning strategy for the Dems, if only they had good leadership within their party. Perhaps this is Mrs. Clinton’s final legacy/revenge. Having failed to get her elected to the position that she felt entitled to, Mrs. Clinton left behind a party bereft of any effective party leadership. Overall, the failure of the political elites in the USA to put forward credible candidates is a tragedy of historic significance. It will all end in tears.
 On a daily basis I now have to monitor my food supply. I’m always on the lookout to buy silver at the lowest premiums – they’re currently at 25-30% over spot, which is ridiculous. Ammo is real hard to get – it’s almost impossible to buy on-line, at least without constant monitoring, the way I used to have to check for good concert tickets at Ticketmaster when an on-sale started. We’re getting ripped off all the time. I mentioned before we have ice cream once a week; it’s on Wednesdays. We’re addicted to sugar and have to carefully monitor our intake, hence our strict adherence to dessert on Wednesdays, kind of like monitoring our gambling addiction and not going to the casino too often. It ain’t easy, but doable. That’s the price we have to pay to indulge ourselves a little. Anyway, we love Haagen Dasz ice cream. When we buy ice cream, we buy a pint – 16 ounces, Yesterday we went shopping for it. We saw the same pint package at the same price, but upon reading the label, we saw that it contained 14 ounces. If you didn’t look at the contents or didn’t know a pint is 16 ounces, you would never know. This is 12.5% inflation. Of course, the government says we only have 2.5-3% inflation, but that’s a lie. What burns me is the dishonesty. Instead of raising the price 12.5%, Pillsbury sneakily downsizes the amount and keeps the same price. Sleazy. You know, I’ll kind of be happy that the system will be crashing.
 No Trump is not Julius Caesar. He is King Lear. As a study on self pity, King Lear has no peer. “I am a man more sinned against than sinning.” Sound familiar. “No president has ever been treated this badly by the press in our history.” As a modern day King Lear, Trump must also have a tragic flaw. As JohnAZ said, election of a democrat government will result in catastrophe. I think we passed catastrophe many moons ago, but nevertheless Catastrophe has a very specific meaning, deriving from Aristotle. Paraphrasing him, the catastrophe is an element of a tragedy and comes directly from the hero’s realization of his or her tragic flaw. It represents the demise of that hero and those people around them, and it precipitates the conclusion of the tragedy. Literally, it means an “overturning”. We retain mainly this sense of it in contemporary usage. What is Trump’s tragic flaw? Like King Lear, self pity, but also hubris- the overreaching arrogance, the overburdening pride. Sure, all of those would work. Trump’s tragic flaw is his need for adulation. During the 2016 campaign it was his strong suit since networks covered them he spent a pittance on his campaign, almost got elected for free. Ahhh, but Karma is such a bitch. When Trump first heard of the highly contagious respiratory illness in China, his mind immediately went to his rallies. If this becomes a pandemic, no more adulation. When Paula Reid asked him what he had done with the month of February, he was busted. You could it all over his face. They’re going to find out. Normally his rallies were every month, sometimes every 2 weeks. But in the month of February 2020 he did 5 rallies, 6 if you include March 2, which is OK since his first February rally was not until February 10. 6 rallies in less than a month, so he could get his last fix, his last chance at adoring crowds. Inside that arena there are no bad polls, no pandemic, and no economic crisis. The enemies that surround him are nothing more than foils for his unsurpassed wit, there to be knocked down a few pegs with insightful put-downs while his supporters cheer their encouragement. In the arena, victory in November is assured, as is his acknowledgment by history as America’s greatest president. America has been made great again. If Trump could spend his every waking moment in that fantasyland, he would. But alas Fantasyland is over. And Americans are dying in droves because Donald Trump chose to spend his time being adored, rather than preparing for the greatest public health crisis in a century. Tulsa sealed the deal. The packed to the rafters, people cheering, mindless chanting, ocean of white faces is now gone forever. Without that, this job is no fun for Trump. Now the only reason he has to win is to get it back so he can have his mindless shit eaters once again cheering and adoring him. How pathetic is that?
 Full HazMat suits with respirators will be all the rage in 2021. And who knows, after the novelty of the virus wears off, perhaps we’ll go in for a radiological scare of some kind as we well? We’ll need dosimeters to measure day to day exposures along with some regularly scheduled internal biometric lab work. All payed for by the individual, of course. Available for low monthly payments now at your friendly neighborhood HazMart! Gonna be a lot of people begging for a bolt stunner to the head before this is all over with. No country for old men indeed!