Off the Record (September 9, 2020)

ONCE UPON a time in America there really were socialists organized as a Socialist Party with millions of registered voters. Their standard bearer was the great Eugene Debs, a railroad worker from Terre Haute, a man considered so dangerous by Woodrow Wilson, Wilson put him in prison for Debs’ opposition to World War One. Debs once threatened to free the popular labor leader Big Bill Haywood, imprisoned on a false murder charge in Idaho, by bringing armed sympathizers to Idaho to free Haywood by force, and right there’s your contrast with the “socialist” Bernie Sanders.

BIDEN has solidified the Trumpian fantasy that “radical socialists” are behind the rioting these days: “You know me, you know my heart, you know my story, my family story - ask yourself, do I look like a radical socialist with a soft spot for rioters? Really? I want to make it absolutely clear, so I'm going to be very clear about all of this. Rioting is not protesting, looting is not protesting, setting fires is not protesting. None of this is protesting. It's lawlessness plain and simple.” Biden, finally emerging from his basement, was speaking to a manufactured rally in Pittsburgh, you know, one of those placard-waving deals the Democrats put on to fake enthusiasm for their candidates.

FEDERAL HEALTH AUTHORITIES said Monday that 94% of all deaths attributed to covid were those of persons beset by underlying health conditions. No surprise there, which shouldn't mean we stop distancing and masking up to kill more of them, but by all measures, Americans are right up there with the unhealthiest populations in the world.

GOVERNOR NEWSOM and the state legislature have revealed their tepid plan to protect California from a looming tsunami of evictions caused by the coronavirus. There won't be any rent forgiveness for tenants. Or money for homeowners or landlords to help them meet their mortgage payments. The “Tenant, Homeowner, and Small Landlord Relief and Stabilization Act" of 2020 does propose some foreclosure protections to small landlords suffering from missed rent payments. 

CALIFORNIA DEMOCRATS say the bill is intended as a bridge to next year, by which time they hope a second round of federal stimulus spending will free up new rental assistance funds for California. Another round of larger unemployment benefits — which experts said kept many renters afloat before they expired at the end of July — could also help beleaguered tenants. 

TENANT ADVOCACY GROUPS, while pleased with certain protections afforded by the bill, expressed disappointment that not all renters would be protected from evictions for a longer period of time. They argue that displaced renters will inevitably end up in environments in which coronavirus thrives: doubled-up apartments, homeless shelters, and “inter-generational homes.” A recent UC Berkeley analysis found that nearly one million renter households in California have had a member lose their job due to the pandemic who could be vulnerable to eviction. 

WATER, WATER EVERYWHERE AND NOT A DROP TO DRINK. Fort Bragg councilman Lindy Peters writes: “The City of Fort Bragg is now officially in a Stage 2 water emergency. The groundwater flow to our primary water sources has reached a level so low that we have not seen the likes of this since 1977. The recently constructed reservoir and new storage tanks will help. What does this mean? It means we are asking all users of our water system to use 20% less. This includes residential and businesses. For tips on how to achieve this go to the City of Fort Bragg webpage menu and click on “My Departments”. Click on Public Works. Then look on the left margin for “Water Conservation”. Click on that for some steps you can take to meet the 20% reduction. You’ll also find Stage 2 requirements on that page. Please do your part and we shall get through this. Thank you!”

GUN CLUB CASE COMES TO AN ABRUPT END. With potential jurors waiting downstairs, the long-awaited jury trial for two former officers of the Ukiah Rifle and Pistol Club came to an abrupt conclusion Monday morning. Rather than proceed to trial, defendants Audie Lee Norbury, age 65, and Penny Renate Mathis, age 64, both of Ukiah, each pled no contest to knowingly receiving property stolen from the Ukiah Rifle and Pistol Club, as a misdemeanor. Once each defendant had waived his and her constitutional rights and the Court had accepted the changes of plea, each defendant was sentenced to 24 months of court probation, given credit for time already spent by both in jail, ordered to pay joint and several restitution to the URPC in the amount of $10,000 (reimbursement for stolen property not recovered), waived any claim of right to recovered property alleged by the prosecution to be stolen (property seized by law enforcement at the home of the defendants), and each was ordered to obey all laws.

Norbury, Mathis, Mathis

A former co-defendant, Jack Keith Mathis, age 77, of Ukiah, was separately convicted in July 2019 of illegally possessing two assault weapons. He remains on probation. 

The law enforcement agency that investigated and developed the evidence underlying today’s Norbury/Mathis convictions was the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office.

The prosecutor who had prepared the case and was ready for trial this morning was Deputy District Attorney Josh Rosenfeld.

Mendocino County Superior Court Judge Ann Moorman presided over the proceedings and today's disposition. Background: https://www.theava.com/archives/82298

MENDOCINO, a facebook story for our times: “Unclear what if anything can be done....this morning in front of “Fiddlehead's” 7 humans (+2 canines) smoking and hanging out on the sidewalk in front of the block of closed businesses, basically our local homeless (harmless) crew. I heard loud and angry shouting “Get the fuck out of our town” and went over to inquire, intervene if there were fighting about to break out, but just a bunch of friendly fellas with no masks telling me “Not us, Merrie, this lady was the one yelling at us” and so they were “defending” themselves. I presume it was a masked person resenting having to pass by (they blocked the corner so if you were heading south on Lansing or East on Albion you ran the gamut). This is obviously not an asset for business (mine is directly across the road) and particularly not a great model for visitors whom we demand/expect to comply with our local mask ordinance. But these are not outside agitators or scofflaw tourists.....”fining” them would be a joke. I can talk to them but many people refuse to believe masks should be mandatory. They are obviously not SIP or whatever, they live in a big family of sorts but are out mingling with whomever comes along. Any suggestions? Clearly, this is our failure on the same level as not providing restrooms or cleaning up around town, etc. Jails are not for this. Even if we had space and staff to accommodate who knows how many individuals county wide. What are we becoming? What are we currently doing for/with our homeless here, I wonder?"

I'VE WRITTEN to the four candidates for Supervisor — Glenn McGourty; Jon Kennedy; Mo Mulheren; and Mari Rodin for their opinions about the new County Courthouse, silently, inexorably making its way to the area of West Perkins where the former train station was located. The two boy candidates didn’t respond, the two ladies did. Mari Rodin was first:

Thanks for asking your question about how I feel about the plan for a new courthouse at the old Ukiah rail station. The fact of the matter is that officials in Mendocino County—elected or otherwise—have very little say about the construction of a new courthouse in Ukiah. (I’ll get to the siting a new courthouse below.) The California Judicial Council oversees the matter of courthouses in all the counties. See q&a below: newsroom.courts.ca.gov/news/california-courthouse-construction-explained

I support a new courthouse for Mendocino County. Our current courthouse is not built to withstand an earthquake, is barely accessible to people with disabilities, and does not have a private or secure way for “in-custodies” to enter the courthouse. Nor is there a secure place inside our present courthouse for the “in-custodies” to wait until they are called before a judge. These are serious deficiencies.

I was the Ukiah City Council’s representative to the committee working with Judicial Council staff, a County Supervisor, a few local attorneys, and State-contracted architects (around 2011-12) to identify potential sites for the new courthouse. Everyone from Mendocino County felt strongly that the new courthouse should stay on the west side of State Street, as close to the heart of downtown as possible. We also examined the feasibility of remodeling the existing courthouse. Unfortunately, the requirements for the new courthouse (e.g., size, parking, etc.) precluded our preferred sites on the west side of State Street. The current site at the former train depot was the best we could get. (There were proposals to move it to the Brush Street triangle, which would have been terrible for myriad reasons.) 

Please let me know if you have any further questions.

MAUREEN 'MO' MULHEREN on the new County Courthouse:

The “move the Courthouse movement” came before my time on the City Council, but I was involved with the Chamber of Commerce and the businesses and the Downtown merchants were rightly concerned about the Courthouse moving out of the Downtown core. The plan has the Courthouse moving just a block or so away from its current location to the Railroad Depot area on Perkins. The current City Council has voted to move forward with site infrastructure improvements in preparation of the move including the bridge to turn Hospital Drive in to Courthouse Drive and the extension of Clay Street, and the Streetscape project which will make crossing State Street much easier for pedestrians moving from the new Courthouse location to the “core downtown” to shop and dine. The reasons for the new Courthouse that are of particular concern to the community are additional parking, prisoner transportation safety issues ADA and earthquake improvements. As a citizen I see the need for improvement of all of those things. I've never been a Courthouse employee so I don't know it from their prospective. 

I'm not going to try to prevent this move as a Supervisor. The County owns only a minimal percentage of the Courthouse but hopefully the State will let the Board of Supes take an active role in what happens to the “old” courthouse. This is where the community has let their imagination run wild most often calling for removing the “new” section of the Courthouse and turning the “original” section in to what…? A hotel, A library, Offices, A Museum, with a town square in the front. I'm not holding my breath for the new Courthouse to be built its been “about 5 years out” for the last ten years. I think what's more important is how do we keep the current Courthouse from becoming a blighted eyesore like the Palace Hotel? (Hopefully news coming about that soon.) And the “Old Post Office.” I know change is hard for some people in our community but if we want to move this County forward we need to work together to update and improve, everything from the streets to the buildings to the people. 

Have a great weekend! 

 Maureen “Mo” Mulheren

DA DAVID EYSTER responds to Maureen Mulheren’s assessment of the new County Courthouse:

The missing movement. County Supervisor candidate Mo’s weekend “keep my name in front of the voters” puff piece above refers to a “move the [county] Courthouse movement.” Wow. Have never heard of the movement she references, unless a “movement” is defined as a couple of retired judges wanting their names on a cornerstone of the proposed new building.

Pray tell … where is this local “movement” headquartered? Who is heading the local “movement” and pushing for this? Where can we find the agendas, public hearings, and public (versus bureaucrat) expressions of support?

Have you seen the design, Ms. Mulheren? Are you saying that you are in favor of the glass box design that has been proposed and that will be counter to the esthetics of Ukiah? If not in favor, what are you going to do about it?

In the hope that you exercised some degree of due diligence before putting pen to paper … are you aware that a primary problem with the current courthouse is the expense, staffing, and all-day delays in bringing prisoners from Low Gap to the courthouse? Those bottlenecks will NOT be resolved by a new building.

How about the traffic impacts on Perkins directly across from Hospital Drive?

How about the cost of having to build new office space for the DA and his staff, who are currently housed on the ground floor of the courthouse? Where do you propose that building be built and at what cost?

Ms. Mulheren, you’re still on the City Council. What is your plan for the future use of an abandoned courthouse. Not just a list of ideas … but, in your opinion, the best use of the building and real estate from a functional and financial perspective. Who is waiting in the wings money in hand to snap up an abandoned courthouse and for what purpose?

Have you read the article about the tour of the current courthouse that Bruce Anderson took with me, complete with my suggestions of how the current courthouse could be renovated and expanded at less expense? See, https://www.theava.com/archives/77013. What say you?

Enough of the puff … give specifics of why you believe this boondoggle is in the financial and legal interests of the Mendocino County taxpayers and Ukiah’s downtown merchants … and not just for judges who covet spanking clean new quarters even if those quarters are in an ugly glass box.

THE GOOD NEWS: Serial Killer Week kicks off Sunday on the Discovery Channel, not that I'm not much into psychos myself being more of a Joe Kenda, Homicide Hunter kinda Kenda guy, but since the covid monster kicked in I've noticed that HBO and Netflix seem to have bought up every cool-o documentary out there, so many this documentary fan can't keep up. Watched one called “Tread” on HBO the other night that was absolutely riveting about a guy so angry with officials in his little Colorado town he bulldozed city hall. Tragically sad and hilarious all at once.

HOW MUCH CLEARER can it get that Joe Biden, 77, can't even read his lines without botching them, that the masterminds at the DNC are going to have to bench him, that even the inarticulate Trump will chew up Delaware's errand boy for the extortionate credit card industry if they “debate”? The other day in Pittsburgh Biden got lost in this simple sentence: “The outbreak, has taken more than 100 years… Look. Here's… The lives… It's just… I mean, think about it.”

TRUMP was everywhere on the media Monday, claiming on Fox that “a plane full of thugs” were planning chaos at the Republican National Convention. When he elaborates on the outside agitator theme, Trump says mysterious people are funding them, “people in the dark shadows, people you have never heard of.” I'd bet the people doing the arsons and window breaking are overwhelmingly young, non-ideological white guys who are basically recreational nihilists of the type plaguing Oakland under the guise of Black Lives Matter — suburban thrill seekers. It seems from here, though, that Trump has succeeded in his Big Lie that Democrats are synonymous with chaos rather than the principle-free Republican Lites foisted off on us by the Clintons first, then Obama.

BUT TRUMP'S DAILY malaprops sail on by. Describing the 7 rounds pumped into Kenosha's Jacob Blake, Trump excused the police shooter's psychotic break, “They choke, just like in a golf tournament, they miss a 3-foot putt.” And, natch, the president has defended Kyle Rittenhouse, saying the 17-year-old “probably would have been killed” by the mob if he hadn't shot two dead and badly injured a third. Truth to tell, looking at the videos of the episode, it does appear that Rittenhouse fired in self-defense, although he was obviously out there hoping he could shoot someone. The Kenosha cops have a lot to answer for in the way they let the punk wander around armed like he was, jogging right through police lines, too. Does it even have to be said that a black guy running around with an assault rifle in the Rittenhouse context would have immediately been ventilated?

DC MAYOR Muriel Bowser says that she fears the US is “descending into a race war.” The mayor was lamenting the violent demos in her city, which also happens to be the nation's capitol. She said that “70 percent” of the people arrested were from out of the area, i.e., young white guys and a few hefties — large white women who seem to function as blocking backs for masked vandals.

AN INTERESTING LARRY BENSKY-DAVID HOROWITZ exchange, since redacted at Bensky's request, and a wave of nostalgia overcomes the editor. Come, dear reader, take my hand as together we part the mists of time back to, say, '67-'68 when, inspired by the thugs comprising the leadership of the Black Panther Party, initially not known to be thugs and assumed by the rest of us young commies as the vanguard of the struggle to kill capitalism, there were a lot of white leftie wusses stomping around in black leather jackets, pistols discreetly stuck in their belts to impress the bimbettes… Well, that's the image that pops up on my mind screen when names like Horowitz are mentioned. How a guy like Horowitz went from white panther-ism to right-reactionary in about a half hour beats me. I do understand why people like myself, who recognized early that a lot of my comrades were stupid and murderously nuts, retreated to lives of lib-lab-ism, and went off to Candlestick for ball games, forever lamenting that it wasn't our time and nothing came of it but corporate Democrats.

BLUE THURSDAY, and I don't mean Democrats, although they're certainly depressing any way you consider them, and you're forced to consider them every time you turn on the tv news which, today, features Nancy Pelosi, for once without Chuck Schumer (who looks like the night manager of a payday lending store). Pelosi always reminds me of Joan Didion's famous remark about Nancy Reagan — “a study in frozen insincerity” modified in Pelosi to a study in faux sincerity, not quite the same thing because in Pelosi's case she means it, she is sincere. And totally out of it. But really, walking unmasked from one beauty parlor room to another is a high crime of hypocrisy? Her and her fellow Democrats' hypocrisy is on the big issues like enjoying total health coverage while denying it to the rest of the country, or claiming to be the peace party while signing off on W. Bush's destabilization of the whole world and every other disaster of the last 60 years.

SO HERE'S the September 7th issue of The New Yorker delivered right on time by our maligned Post Office. Thumbing its pages for something to read, there is almost nothing between its trendo-groove-o covers, but several irritatingly la di da pull quotes catch my jaded eye: “In naming what we grow, we perform the act of possessing.” So, I can name my under-performing fuchsia, slacker-flower? (I still have two fuchsias I bought years ago at Fuchsia Rama north of Fort Bragg, one of many gone Mendo small businesses I still miss that included mom and pop pet stores in FB and Ukiah.) I pause at “Drawn from the Diaspora” to wonder, Which diaspora? All of us come from one or another, and then “Grace Wales Bonner's alchemical sense of style” makes me stop to think for a while before I still probably don't get it. Like, you mean Grace makes clothes outta nothing but her imagination? Well good on her. She is an alchemist of sorts. First line in the short story: “One thing I will always be grateful to your mother for — she taught you to swim.” Uh, nope. I'll pass on that one. Let's see what the effetes have in the way of poetry. Page 42 we've got a way too long anthropomorphic job about the lady author's horses and donkey. Page 63 a poem called “Basho & Mandela” and immediately the pretension alert alarm goes off. But not bad actually. Better than not bad. Cartoons are a loss except for the sandbox one on the caption contest page, and that's it for this week's New Yorker for this outback reader, starved for some intellectual-type feed.

ALL THIS WILD TALK from the libs about the election kicking off a civil war is probably leading us there. Bill Clinton said Wednesday that Trump would refuse to attend a Biden inauguration, and instead would be “stacking sandbags” around the White House in January 2021. When Trump was asked back in July if he would respect the election result he said: “I have to see. No, I'm not going to just say yes. I'm not going to say no, and I didn't last time either.”

AT EVERY TRUMP provocation, the lib-fish rise to the bait. Trump threatens to “de-fund anarchist cities” and sure enough, right on cue, the governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, says, “He can't have enough body guards to walk through New York City.”

KELLYANNE CONWAY is one more grotesque in the parade of grotesques we get from the political leadership these days, but in her capacity as interpreter for the grandest grotesque of all when she predicted that Trump's “hidden undercover” supporters would get him another four years to finish his destruction job on the country, I think she's probably correct. “I've gotta tell you,” she said, “as the person who coined the term ‘hidden undercover Trump voter’ in 2016, there are even more of them and they are even more committed now and they are going to surprise you to who they are this time.” Fraid so. Even in Mendo, where libs never ever step out of their echo chamber, I'll bet Trump will get better than forty percent of the vote. Local Trumpers, except for Jerry Philbrick, are underground in Mendo, but there are lots of them unwilling, in the Mendo media context, to step out, intimidated, except for Philbrick, into silence.

TRUMP says he’s ready to “swear on whatever” that he never called slain American troops “losers.” He said a story in the current The Atlantic about him mocking Americans killed in combat was the work of “jealous failures” to sabotage his re-election. “I was never a big fan of John McCain, disagreed with him on many things including ridiculous endless wars and the lack of success he had in dealing with the VA and our great Vets, but the lowering of our Nation's American Flags, and the first class funeral he was given by our Country, had to be approved by me, as President, & I did so without hesitation or complaint. Also, I never called John a loser and swear on whatever, or whoever, I was asked to swear on, that I never called our great fallen soldiers anything other than heroes.” Trump has, in fact, called McCain a “loser” and a “dummy” because he was captured. 

I DOUBT even Trump went so low as to insult dead troops, and the attributions of these slurs to him are suspiciously vague. You allege statements this serious to “anonymous sources?” But Trump does seem to have a kind of Tourettes where he just blurts out whatever's on his fraught mind. Meanwhile, Biden, pandering as fast as he can go, told a black audience in Neshoba that a black man invented the light bulb. Nope, it was Edison. Lewis Latimer, the black inventor, came up with the carbon filament that made light bulbs burn brighter and longer.

THIS GUY is Attorney General of the United States? Bill Barr on Antifa: “We know people who are flying around the country — we know where they’re going. We see some of the purchases they’re making before the riots.” Well, Bill, we're going to need some evidence here, but apparently there are a few fun-loving rover boys commuting to protests, waiting until nightfall to commit major felonies. The SF Bay Area has a bunch, but there's no evidence that Antifa, the new riff on the “outside agitator” of the 1960s, is an organization in any sense of the term.

SPEAKING of outside agitators, I always wondered how the varsity agitators of the 1960s — Tom Hayden, Renne Davis, Jerry Rubin, et al — could afford to fly around the country doing their thing, until a guy who knows told me that Hayden had a wealthy sponsor who funded him, and the other guys were rich kids.

FAKE NEWS. We don't need the Russkies fooling us when we have our homegrown bot-heads at it full-time. Examples: That fake news story that had Wolf Blitzer spinning in the Situation Room about the Russians paying the Taliban to kill American soldiers in Afghanistan came and went, but Wolfie was pumped up over it for a couple days, as was Rachel Maddow. Then the story disappeared because there was no evidence supporting it, not even a wisp. But the entire MSM was on Trump's case for not challenging the Russians. And now a second fake news libel that has Trump insulting dead troops, and again the “sources” are anonymous. I don't like Trump. I don't think he should be president, but the libs hate him so intensely that they over-try to make him even more contemptible than he naturally is. The slanders aren't working. He's running strong for a second term, mostly because of the ongoing BLM riots and no plausible opposition to him in Biden. The spectacular lies about Trump work to make him sympathetic to lots of people, especially the millions of people who don't pay much attention.

SPY ROCK MEMORIES

Read about his adventures here: dongiovannirecords.com/products/625414-larry-livermore-spy-rock-memories

BEST headline of the week: “Little Red Rioting Hood” over a New York Post story of a wealthy young NYC woman busted for vandalism during another pointless BLM rampage.

MY BULLSHIT DETECTOR has exhausted more batteries since March than it did in all of 2019, shorting out a half-dozen times this past week alone, beginning with an earnest discussion of bullying punctuation on NPR (where else?) It seems that some of the more febrile young claim that the period is too harsh, implying an arbitrary, insulting end to electronic conversations. Oh yeah? How about the pretentious deployment of semi-colons in ten-word sentences, huh, huh? And the prose hysterics and their promiscuous exclamation points!!!!? How about full-stopping them?

THE KENOSHA COP who blasted Jacob Blake 7 times in the back as he may or may not have been reaching for a knife on the seat or floor of his vehicle can't plausibly justify the six point blank blasts after the first, and the cop probably can't justify the first, which Trump compared to a golfer “choking” to miss a three-foot putt. But even if there were a dozen more camera angles, this one looks like attempted murder.

BUT THE ROCHESTER death of Daniel Prude seems hard to blame on the police. Here's a mental case dusted on pcp who's running around naked in a snow storm. The cops corral him, he's totally out of it and the cops have to put a spit guard over his head, a breathe-through cloth and a standard tool in psycho-restraint. The cops load Prude into an ambulance and he dies several days later at the hospital. The mayor denounces the cops, the inevitable riots commence as if Prude's death was a homicide. Question: How would you and your book club have handled a naked crazy man running around in a snow storm?

THERE'S an interesting PBS doc floating around that describes the humane mental health strategies of the Miami Police Department which, boiled down, amount to training the police to handle the mentally ill as mentally ill, thus diverting a large percentage of them away from the criminal justice system into mental health programs. The prob for too many cities is the absence of mental health facilities, cf Mendocino County where some twenty annual millions are spent on mental health (plus another ten mil or so for county mental health bureaucrats) but the cops do almost all the mental health work, with the intractably violent mental health people housed at the County Jail. Whenever I hear someone characterize Mendocino County as “liberal” and even “progressive,” I demand evidence. What we have here is a lot of people voting for corporate Democrats and walking around thinking good thoughts, but institutionally considered, Mendo is a pretty retro place.

ON LINE COMMENTS OF THE WEEK

[1] Neither side concedes after November. Where do we go then? Is there even a where? Cry Havoc? Chicago Warlordism. The future is here. It’s just not widely distributed. Yet.

[2] Public schools are simply a microcosm of the larger society. The breakdown of community, the neighborhood, and small town/village living. 

When main streets were replaced by strip malls, shopping malls and collector roads laden with big box retail and fast food, so to were the neighborhood schools. No need to build small schools directly in the neighborhoods (that land is better served by developers to stuff-in more SFH’s $$). 

Besides, it’s cheaper (is it?) to administer giant insecticide factories (or in Southern California, minimum security prison campuses) that rely on fleets of busses to vacuum up the wastrels of the exurbs. The school, no longer located in the community, a focal point of the community, is no longer located in the community. Just as nothing but SFH’s and the occasional Quickie Mart with gas pumps is located in the “communities”. If you are fortunate to live in an older neighborhood, one that makes up the first concentric ring of SFH’s outside the city, chances are the schools are neglected, in disrepair, and are blighted by transportation policies, ostensibly for desegregation, that force communities to adopt opposing standards.

Alas, this just another symptom of overpopulation. It’s simply too cost prohibitive and resource prohibitive to build small schools around the suburbs and exurbs that are quickly being infested with 4-6 story “luxury apartment/condo” towers (in 5-10 they will be low income tenements, but at least initially believe the marketing). 

Until humanity wakes up to the necessity of living on a smaller scale, including their population footprint, every sector, every area of QOL will continue to rapidly deteriorate. If today’s political landscape does not force one to be aware of the inverse correlation of population to power, nothing will. Ironically, the more the masses grow, the lesser their voice and influence, and lives matter.

Yet we knew about this, back a few decades ago when we learned we were home from nowhere.

[3] I always hated huge schools; they seemed like factories, huge, out of control, with the inmates running the asylum via peer pressure and bullying while teachers took smoke breaks between classes.

Best education was primary school as these were much smaller since they were right in our neighborhoods. Classes were smaller and you knew the kids in your class because you lived a few doors away from them and we walked home together. The good old days, 1954-59.

Best year for me was 6th grade when I went to an old 4-room school where 5th and 6th grades were held together. Our teacher was an old Irish maid with a heart of gold who loved every kid as her own; she also doubled as school principle. Her sister, another old Irish maid with a heart of gold, was principle where I spent grades 1-5, another neighborhood school. It’s still there.

It all changed in 1960 when I began 7th grade in a much larger ‘factory’ school where rough kids from distant neighborhoods were bused in. High school was worse, even bigger, more impersonal. Couldn’t wait to get out. Never looked back. Never went back. Sold off my yearbook and class ring on ebay as the 50-year reunion approached. Goodbye.

Education is poorly funded In many states which is how we got Trump elected. The know-nothings, raised on racism, fell for Trump’s garbage.

As legendary newspaperman H. L. Mencken presciently told us a hundred years ago: “On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.” 

The “cut taxes” crowd is instrumental in the downfall of our society and nation. School funding is cut to appease tax haters while public tax money builds stadiums for billionaires. Religious zombies want their lily white kids in evangelical madrassas and they want tax money to pay for it. Separation of church and states only works when they want to deny tax money to the OTHER guy’s religious fictions.

Putin won’t have to fire a shot; useful idiots are in place to assure that most Americans never even hear of “critical thinking skills” much less learn them. 

The obsolete electoral college will keep installing massive idiots like Trump who play on racism, xenophobia, homophobia, misogyny and all around “anti-everything” sentiments. The “anti” crowd loves to hate the government … but these 2-faced bastards will be first in line demanding a vaccine from that same government.

Such is the state of our glide path to global irrelevance.

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