Off the Record (October 7, 2020)

REMEMBER the armed bandido roaming Redwood Valley’s Black Bart Trail, the former firefighter gone terribly, terribly awry? You will be pleased or outraged, depending on your crime and punishment views, but Doug Stone — stoned on white powders during his burglaries — has completed a drug program at New Bridge in Berkeley. 

Stone

He is now at the IFAA in Maryland for a 90 day PTSD program after which his attorney hopes to place him in another residential facility in Arizona near where his mother lives. He is wearing an electronic anklet. His psychiatrist tells his attorney that Doug is doing well. Mr. Stone's extensive gun collection is being reviewed by law enforcement. Another court event is scheduled for October 27th.

FORT BRAGG COUNCILPERSON, Jessica Morsell-Haye, seems unsure that the 17-person Fort Bragg Name Change Committee may not be entirely composed of the righteous and the good so she's added two more people to the already overly-large and unwieldy advisory group, placing cancel culture bots Andy Wellspring and Christy Olsen Day on the committee. Morsell-Haye's vague justification for the add-ons? To make the committee more credible. Suggestion from Boonville: To make the name change committee entirely credible, wake up your fatuous woke selves to understand that the entire national effort to re-write American history is dangerously foolish, admit that you know nothing about the history of Fort Bragg or this country, and apologize to the people of Fort Bragg for wasting their time. 

THE ATTEMPTED REWRITE of American history's saddest chapters is a direct path to censorship, and from there, to tyranny. Specifically, I know in my bones that Morsell-Haye's committee would certainly cancel me, and every other voice they disapprove of. Every damn thing should be open to question, open to debate. Why even Lincoln High School in SF, named after Honest Abe himself, has a gang of historical illiterates demanding Lincoln be erased. Why? They claim, against all the evidence, that Lincoln was… not against slavery enough. Imagine that, the man who risked dissolution of the country to free the slaves and said this: “Because of the monstrous injustice of slavery itself. I hate it because it deprives our republican example of its just influence in the world, and especially because it forces so many really good men amongst ourselves into an open war with the very fundamental principles of civil liberty.” 

BEWARE OF SCAMS. CHUCK DUNBAR WRITES:

Lots of scams out there - have dealt with 2 this morning:

Scammer sends me email, supposedly from a good friend in Ukiah. Asks that I purchase a gift card for her nephew for $300, as she is out of town on a short trip. Then, in second email, asks that I send her the pin #. Easy to see this was a scam, called my friend to confirm it was a scam. Friend said yes, a scam, and that several other friends had called today, with the same info.

This one’s good for a laugh: Email supposedly sent to me by my wife (who has a different last name than mine) !!!, asking this—“Please help me free my aunt from an erroneous prison sentence in an obscure Russian province. I desperately need $400,000.00 American cash to hire a competent lawyer to plead her case. Please send money to my PO box and I will use it to free my aunt from her terrible confinement non (sic) in a dark cave in an isolated region. You cannot fathom my generosity for your generosity.” No POB number included, but it grabs your heart, does it not? Anyone want to join me in sending the money—that’s one expensive lawyer, but one has to make a living?

I’m also engaged in fighting my friends at Mastercard over someone who used my credit card info to purchase skin care products for nearly $200. The facts are a little muddled, and after a shoddy, incomplete investigation, they are accusing me of being the fraudster, which really pisses me off. So will gather all the info I have and appeal, and hope to prevail…Nice way to spend my time.

Be careful out there.

KATY TAHJA WRITES: "A milestone attained. My book ‘An Eclectic History of Mendocino County’ will be a year old next month. I had qualms about self-publishing and thought ordering 400 copies was over-doing it. Well, a year later I sold them all, had 200 more produced, paid all my expenses, paid my business license sales taxes, and have $5,000 in my savings account for this effort. Not too shabby if I say so myself. Of course as a journalist, storyteller and public speaker I believe in shameless self-promotion. That helps. "

MS. T's WONDERFUL LITTLE BOOK should be required reading in the schools to give the young 'uns some idea of the history of the place they live, and does this place ever have a history! It's more than vivid enough to divert young attentions from their cell phones. Anyway, Ms. T's successful adventure in self-publishing is similar to mine. Our three books, include contributions by Major Mark Scaramella, USAF ret; Mendocino County's best ever courthouse reporter, Bruce McEwen; and vivid covers and illustrations by the talented Fred Sternkopf, and are still selling well ten years later. They've also aroused some interest in the outside world with a publisher writing to say he'd like reprint rights and a movie guy who said he wanted to create a film version of the Fort Bragg Fires saga. The book guy disappeared, the movie guy checks in occasionally to report he's working on it, meaning, I think, he's trying to get funding for what seems to my perhaps delusional (and cash-covetous eye) — a natch for the movies. Get this: A 400-pound San Mateo corpse robber, employed by that county's coroner to transport the deceased to mortuaries, relocates to Fort Bragg where he establishes himself as a late-night janitorial service, simultaneously cleaning The Savings Bank of Mendocino, among other prominent businesses, and cleaning the nasal passages of Coast drug people by distributing white powders up and down the Mendocino Coast. Well established as a familiar presence in the midnight hours, the fat man also distributes containers of gasoline to cocaine-addicted arsonists who burn down the Ten Mile Court, the Fort Bragg Library and the old Piedmont Hotel all in one night of operatic combustion. The fat man was put in charge of these logistics by high level drug dealers affiliated with outside organized crime. His name was Pete Durigan. Before moving north to No Questions Asked County 150 miles north of where he'd been arrested for picking the pockets of the deceased under the auspices of San Mateo County, Pete was instantly a perfect fit for Mendocino County, where you are whatever you say you are, and history starts all over again every day. (Murder Mountain is the excellent NetFlix documentary focused on the Alderpoint area of Southern Humboldt County, but considering that Southern Humboldt and Northeast Mendo are both teeming with outlaws, the crime stories out of both counties are many and unique.

SPOTTED IN SAN ANSELMO, spiffy SUV with a dog inside and this sign in the driver's side window: "Please don't break the glass. The A/C is on. He has water and is listening to Steely Dan."

ASK MR. WIZARD. Why are there bad cops, Mr. Wizard? Well, son, I'm hardly an expert on policing, but I know what the experts say, which is that a minority of cops are damn near saintly, a few cops are criminals themselves, and the rest are somewhere in between depending on their leadership. Officer Chauvin of the Minneapolis PD, for instance, practically leered into the cameras of the civilians filming him as he murdered George Floyd, the takeaway being that Chauvin obviously felt he had a literal license to kill, that his wink and a nod or merely incompetent boss wouldn't say anything. If this sad, shocking crime had occurred prior to cell phone cameras, Chauvin would still be out there, as would untold hundreds of cops like him. Reputable policing depends on leadership. If the leadership is poor, tolerating whatever their people do, the bad cops veer out of control. If the leadership is ethical and strong, George Floyd episodes don't happen. Mendo cops? I think they're very good, and I think their leadership is sound. How can I say that with such confidence? Because we would know immediately if cops were misbehaving, the ava being the defendant community's go-to media, and we'd tell you just as immediately, dear reader. 

I SYMPATHIZE with Sheriff Kendall's lament that it's been difficult for local law enforcement to keep up with the rapid increase in the volume of calls for help of one kind or another. He cites Covelo as an area where, as the poet put it, "mere anarchy is loosed." Not to be tooooooooooo pessimistic, but given the givens of our imploding society, especially its economic sectors, crime is already our most dependable growth industry. And Covelo has been… well, the biggest prob with Covelo is that it suffers a criminal population out of all proportion to its non-criminal population, that the dope industry has attracted even more criminals of the unreconstructed ex-con variety who, if you have the number of them Covelo has, they are going to set the tone, the vibe for the whole place. I can't imagine the broad daylight kidnapping and subsequent murder of Khadijah Britton at gunpoint, in front of several witnesses, happening any other place in the county. And the witnesses so afraid of scumdog retaliation they won’t talk!

UNTIL THE "DEBATE" last Tuesday I was pretty sure Trump would either win re-election outright or come close enough that he could plausibly convince the yobbos that he actually won and somehow keep himself in the White House. But he cooked himself with the debate. Either he's nuts in the clinically delusional sense or he seriously miscalculated the public reaction to his amazingly boorish performance. He's so inured, apparently, to the effect he has on the non-fascist majority of Americans that he clearly thinks his bullying makes him look strong, powerful even. For the first time ever, I felt sorry for old, doddering Joe, so out of it himself he reacted to Trump's every interruption with mostly incoherent riffs of his own. And Joe was rude and semi-outta control himself. At this time in our collapsing country we get this as the leadership alternatives?

AND HERE COMES the alleged moderator, Chris Wallace, saying post-debate, "I never dreamed it would go off tracks the way it did." Huh? This is what Trump does, and has done his whole life and you're surprised? Shoulda given Orange Man one warning then cut his mike off and gone back to regular programming. 

THE PHONY NON-PROFIT Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) is, natch, jointly sponsored by the Democrats and Republicans, which is why third party candidates are excluded. It's funded by the same corporations that fund the candidates and both parties.

WHAT WITH THE TRUMPERS whining about Zinn-tinged political correctness allegedly being force fed to students by purple com-symps, I thought back to my student days in the halcyon 1950s where I dimly recall American history as something like this: Some English people arrived on the East Coast in a big sail boat and sat down to Thanksgiving dinner hosted by Indians who were happy as hell at meeting the new folks. Then, the smartest, nicest white men in the history of the world liberated us from England, Abe Lincoln freed the slaves (although a lot of them liked working for free and singing and dancing outdoors), we beat back a German lunatic to win World War Two, and the next thing I knew I was in the Marine Corps supposedly training to fend off Russians! The American curriculum has since been updated. 

IF THERE can be such a thing as global schadenfreude it seems prevalent in the world today at the Trump covid news. Enjoying the misery of others isn't humankind's most endearing attribute, but most of us can't help ourselves. Much as I consider him a disaster, I don't wish covid on anyone. Survivors report it's like slow strangulation, and a terrible, terrible way to go.

A METEOROLOGIST named Alex Dodd at the National Weather Service in Eureka announced yesterday that “the convergence of current weather conditions and the record-setting wildfires have led to areas of Humboldt and Mendocino counties experiencing some of the worst air quality in North America.” In the Hoopa Valley air quality is so bad it has been pronounced “hazardous.” 

BOGUS stat of the day as blithely reported by NPR: 7.9% unemployment? Please. It's at least 25% right here in Mendocino County, worse in the cities and 'burbs.

AN ELDERLY FRIEND of the Eeyore personality type, pronounces with every purchase, “Well, that's the last set of tires I'll have to buy,” or “This is probably my last pair of shoes.” Etc. Which got me a' thinkin' about a probably unrealizable project I've had in mind for years, and for all the years I've been thinking about it and being snickered at by family and friends whenever I dare mention it, I have, week by week, accumulated the newspapers that will serve as its insulation. Years ago, I helped a guy tear down an old house, more like a cabin really, whose walls and sub floor were stuffed with old newspapers, a common insulation before we all became so well fed. We frequently halted work to read them, and these were papers from the early years of the 20th century, a fascinating time capsule-like trove I still have remnants of. Ever since, I've had this wacky notion of building a cabin wholly insulated with old AVAs, imagining some post-apocalypse hunter-gatherer, an American survivor, wandering through a deserted Anderson Valley when he discovers a crude shelter set back from what was once Highway 128, by then a broken skein of random pieces of ancient pavement. Removing the structure's wall boards to roast a tardy possum over an open fire, Post Apocalypse Man discovers a startling cache of America's Last Newspaper! P-A Man had heard of newspapers from his grandfather, but he'd never actually seen one, let alone held the miraculous pages to read, post-apocalypse a rare skill passed down through time by the few remaining families who possessed it. Returning to his small tribe of fellow survivors squatting in the remains of the Ukiah Visitor's Center, Post Apocalypse Man announces his good news: “My people, I've found the key to a new and better civilization in an ancient temple in the Anderson Valley. If we study and abide by these wise and sacred texts our lives will again be prosperous and joyous! Follow me over the hill to Boonville!” 

ODD THINGS at Pudding Creek had some Fort Braggers fearing the peculiar presence. Dave Gurney clarifies: “No, it wasn't man-made pollution, but still pretty strange. It was a mass wash-up of pyrosomes as in this: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/news/2017/06/pyrosome-fire-body-bloom-eastern-pacific-warm-water/

The "black micro-plastics" one person mentioned was really bunches of eel grass decomposing."

AS A ZILLION conspiracy theories kicked off this morning, a platoon of doctors, perhaps the most ever assembled for a single big shot, appeared outside Walter Reed Hospital to say that Trump is fine, that the captain of the SS America remains at the helm capable as ever. “The team and I are extremely happy with the progress the president has made. He's been fever free for 24 hours and we are cautiously optimistic.”

“CAUTIOUSLY OPTIMISTIC” is a phrase ordinarily applied to someone on the brink, and soon the media were abuzz with reports like this one from Bloomberg Business: “The president’s vitals over the last 24 hours were very concerning and the next 48 hours will be critical in terms of his care. We’re still not on a clear path to a full recovery.” Trump's doctor had refused to answer questions on whether Trump had been on oxygen, and suggested he was diagnosed on Wednesday and wasn't clear on whether the president's liver or lungs have been damaged. Trump himself has not appeared, which has to mean he's sicker than his doctors and gofers will concede.

THE LEGIONS of the Gaunt, many of whom are probably in worse overall shape than Trump, what with their obsessive monitoring of their vital signs and their wheat juice diets, constantly cite Orange Man's age, 74, and “co-morbidities” — excess weight and bad diet — that put him at high risk for the plague. Well, now he's got it but he got it because he didn't mask up and associated with lots of other people who weren't masked up. Will his “co-morbidities” conspire to finish him? A fat guy of his age isn't necessarily unfit, although I've never seen mention of Trump's exercising other than his riding around a golf course in a motorized cart, which doesn't qualify as exercise. Who knows, really? 

I, A PERSON of Trumpian dimensions kept more or less proportional by a zealous push-up regimen, succumbed to the distance running craze of the 1970s, getting myself in the best shape of my life, so good I managed 6:30 per mile over a 3-mile foot race at Spring Lake in Santa Rosa, my best-ever time. But it was at that race that a fat guy, and I'm talking a guy whose adipose jello-jiggled the entire three miles that I chased him, astounded me that he just kept on jello-jiggling a couple hundred yards in front of me, ran through the finish line and straight to the tailgate of a pick-up truck where his elderly parents served him a manhattan! I went on to run several marathons, including HumCo's Avenue of the Giants, a beyond dumb thing to do, I say in retrospect because God didn't build us, me anyway, to run any distance beyond twenty miles where I inevitably “hit the wall,” as running fanatics put it, meaning the last six miles were an agonized shuffle, nipples bleeding, singlet white with sweated body salt. (You laugh, you sadists?) Best time I ever managed was 3:40. 

IF TRUMP came in around 160 he'd be positively frightening, especially with the orange creature's nest on top of his head. His excess weight gives him the gravitas he needs for his visuals, odd visuals for sure, but visuals that hold up until he starts talking, and then we know he's…

JENNY KIMBLER is a new name to me, but she's the first Ukiah candidate for public office I've heard who gets right to the realities of our county seat: “Public safety, homelessness, and small businesses. Considering this is the first time a pandemic like this has hit in my lifetime, I feel they should have treated Ukiah a little differently than Sonoma County, but hindsight is 50-50. But now it’s time to open the businesses up; it’s time to open up our schools." Ms. Kembler and incumbent Crane are the people you want.

THE UKIAH CITY COUNCIL has been synonymous with incompetent management for a long time — drive one end of State Street to the other for confirmation — but Ukiah city politics are uniquely juvenile even by small town standards, a town whose entire west side has been mentally stuck in high school at least since 1980, and it's that population that dominates Ukiah politics and also has a baleful influence on county politics. 

CURIOUSER AND CURIOUSER. Trump's doctors announced Sunday they'd given him a steroid and put him on oxygen, but his main medical man, Sean Conley, said Trump could be discharged from Walter Reed as early as Monday. So how sick was he? Dr. Conley said Sunday afternoon that there was some confusion over Trump's condition because Chief of Staff Mark Meadow's comments making Trump seem sicker than he really is were misunderstood. "The Chief and I work side-by-side," Conley said of Meadows. "And I think his statement was misconstrued. What he meant was that 24 hours ago, when he and I were checking on the president, that there was that momentary episode of a high fever. And that temporary drop in the saturation, which prompted us to act expediently to move him up here [to Walter Reed]. Fortunately that was a very transient, limited episode. A couple hours later he was back up, mild again. I'm not going to speculate what that limited episode was about so early in the course. But he's doing well. Over the course of his illness, the president has experienced two episodes of transient drops in his oxygen saturation. We debated the reasons for this and whether we'd even intervene. As a determination of the team, based predominantly on the timeline for the diagnosis, that we initiate dexamethasone."

YEAH, YEAH. WHATEVER. When Trump faked work via Twitter on Saturday he looked fine. And today, Sunday, as several thousand Magas gathered outside the hospital to wish him well, Trump, again looking un-plagued, did a limo drive-by to wave to his supporters before returning to the Presidential Suite inside Walter Reed.

A READER WRITES: I have heard from law enforcement that there was a "pissing contest" between the feds and Calfire. The feds told Calfire to stand down. I heard that Calfire would have or possibly could have kept the August Complex fire two or three ridges to the east of the Sanhedrin and Impassable Rock if the feds had let Calfire go to it sooner. As you have your finger on the pulse of Amnesia County I'm curious as to what news you have about this. I live in the Hearst area, "across the bridge" in a mandatory evacuation zone and I went to Emandel when the warnings were issued because I work there. We set up nightly watches of 90 minutes each watching dozers work all night on Sunday, September 13 on top of the ridge. During the day when smoke allowed the flights came in here. Ace pilots, for sure! PS. Previously I suggested a crash pool for the Willits Bypass. Boy was I wrong. It must be wider than I thought. (I've never been on it.) PPS. I just listened to the presidential debate. They should be put in soundproof booths so they can turn off whoever is not supposed to be speaking!

ON LINE COMMENTS OF THE WEEK

 [1] They both lost!  Do not look for winners and losers here. CNN says Biden, Fox Trump. Big deal! America lost.

[2] Trump just showed himself even more clearly in contrast to Biden, who is a real human being. At the end I felt sick at my stomach, literally. At one point wanted to turn it off, but I wanted to see if Biden could hold his ground and speak away from Trumps traps. He did it well and he spoke to the American people directly I thought it was good for people to get this full dose of ugliness, not that we haven’t seen it, but this format actually allowed Trump to puff himself up fully like some kind of reptile and go for the jugular. I thought Biden did well. This country needs healing. If there is any politician of long tenure who can bring that to this country, it’s probably him. I like the fact that he is ordinary. We need ordinary as soon as possible. If they win the Senate and Biden wins, it might be possible to turn this train away from the wreck it is approaching.

[3] It's understandable that Trump is fed up and angry and correctly feels that the injustice over the fictitious Russiagate will be swept under the rug if Biden is elected. And it will be — Biden isn’t the only one with “memory” problems. James Comey just can’t remember anything important about it no matter how hard he tries. It’s amazing but no one told him anything — as far as he can remember. 

Trump should have realized never interrupting and using his full time to advantage would have served him best but that’s not his personality. He could have brought up Hunter Biden’s cash stream effectively but it turned on him when Biden went on a tirade about his dead son Beau who honorably served. 

Chris Wallace was pretty obviously pro-Biden but to give him credit he did ask him one very compelling question: did you ever pick up the phone and call the mayor of Portland or the governor of Oregon about the on-going riots? Biden slithered out of it by saying “he’s not in government now” but the question was pointedly about his moral authority as head of the Democratic party. 

We are in big trouble as a country (no surprise to anyone who can read) as both parties are preparing to accuse the other of voter fraud and not accept the outcome.

[4] This crud spreads like wildfire without mitigation. Bullshit, It is no more contagious than any other flu or virus. Just luck of the draw. I may be infected tomorrow, but in the past couple of months I have traveled coast to coast. I do not wear a mask unless absolutely forced to. At first I masked up to humor some folks, and I still don a mask around some old friends who have other health issues and are scared of the virus. The stupidest thing the USA did was to shut down the economy over this. I have a few friends that have contracted the virus and came through with flying colors. Some at the age of 65 or so and some in their 30’s. I personally don’t know anyone who died from covid. It hasn’t spread like wildfire in my community. Here, it has mostly been a problem for more elderly people, (80 yrs. and up). A local nursing home had the most deaths, but there too, some residents who were stricken recovered surprisingly fast.

[5] I am still somewhat astonished that people can seriously think the Obama was anything but a middle-of-the-road conciliator in the overwhelming majority of his policies.

Aside from the ACA, which Congress passed and he signed, which was a highly laudable effort to provide insurance and healthcare to some of the millions of the uncovered in the US, even if imperfectly done, he was clearly a centrist policy wonk.

The only thing divisive about Obama was that he was of mixed-race parentage. He wasn’t a bully, he didn’t name-call or try to humiliate opponents, and he presented himself as a someone who took the job he had seriously and intelligently, even if I disagreed with many of his policy decisions. Calling him the “Great Divider-in-Chief reeks a bit of simple racism.

If you were going to blame the Trump presidency on anything, I’d suggest it was the DNC machine insistence on pushing the highly unlikeable Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren.

[6] TRUMPERS AND ARCATA:

Food for thought… My wife, daughter, granddaughter and myself we’re in this Trump support parade, With my daughter driving and my 12 year old granddaughter sitting in the passenger seat. And let me say, the turnout of participants and the support driving through Fortuna Eureka and McKinleyville was incredible. About 25 of us drove through Arcata which was an entirely different story. For a town which touts itself on its diversity and inclusiveness it really showed his true colors. Besides being 100% immune to being flipped the bird now, and hearing many people wishing death upon our President we were all called racists over and over. While driving through the all inclusive farmers market our truck was accosted we were spit at. A 50 something aged grown woman flipped off my 12-year-old little girl and called her a racist pig, While a 50 something grown man tried to rip the flag out of my wife’s hand while telling her to go fuck herself. The icing on the cake was the young lady who told us that Arcata wasn’t OUR town and to get the fuck out of there. Reminder, none of these people know us.. The vile Bias and bigoted hatred Spewing from their distorted faces was absolutely unforgettable. Also, I may not live in Arcata but I have had a job for the last 21 years in which I provide a very essential service for this community and I do it with a smile and love in my heart No matter how many BLM , we believe or Biden signs They have in their yard. But I can’t promise this, and I’m sorry to all the entrepreneurs in Arcata. I will never spend another dime in the city of Arcata again. Please, let’s not forget we are all human and should treat each other as such.

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