- Warm Dry
- 1089 Cases
- Ultimate Sacrifice
- Old Building
- Homeless Motel
- Snow Scene
- Pet Molly
- 1962 Windstorm
- Elk Logging
- Ed Notes
- Found Jesus
- Everclear Defense
- Log Trains
- Planning Building
- Gualala Decision
- Yesterday's Catch
- Masks Off
- Protest Clash
- Brainless Swine
- Political Noise
- Covid Co-Morbidities
- DiFi Rising
- Leather Memory
- Double Standards
- Skara Brae
- Impartial Friend
- New Record
- Left-Wing Revolution
WARM AND DRY CONDITIONS are expected across interior portions of Northwest California through Friday. Meanwhile along the coast, periods of marine stratus will yield locally cool and cloudy conditions during the morning hours, followed by clearing afternoon skies and mild temperatures. (NWS)
YESTERDAY'S HIGHS: Boonville 99°, Ukiah 99°, Yorkville 97°, Fort Bragg 74°
NINE MORE COVID CASES reported in Mendo on Saturday bringing total to 1089.
WILLITS MURDER BACKSTORY EMERGING
The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) arrested James Presley Whetstone, 29, of Willits, on Wednesday, Oct. 14 for the suspected murder of his father James Andrew Whetstone, 69, of Willits.
Family members originally thought James Andrew had gone missing on Oct. 9 and reached out to the community on social media for help. MCSO began a search for the elder Whetstone a few days later, but on Oct. 14 sources say James Presley called the police and admitted to the crime. When law enforcement arrived at the family home where both Whetstones lived in the 1500 block of Valley Road in Willits, James Presley directed Officers to a “fresh grave that had been concealed with debris.”
According to an MCSO press release, “A search warrant was granted for an in-depth search of the property, prompting a further search by Sheriff’s Detectives with the assistance of investigators with the Mendocino County District Attorney’s Office. During this time, Sheriff’s Detectives excavated the area of the fresh grave and recovered the remains of James Andrew Whetstone.”
James Presley Whetstone was arrested based on probable cause, and was booked into the Mendocino County Jail on a charge of murder where he was to be held in lieu of a to-be-determined amount of bail. A forensic autopsy of James Andrew Whetstone’s body is pending at this time. MCSO Detectives are continuing investigations into the incident.
According to a social media post by the suspect’s sister, Amber Whetstone, James Presley is a life-long “psychopathic schizophrenic” and the medication he was taking “seemed to have no affect (sic).” She wrote that there “wasn’t any reason to believe that he was harmful or a danger to anyone” although he “did display strange behavior from time to time.” Amber said that “there were signs that [James Presley] might have done something to our father” but the family “didn’t want to believe that about our brother” and “gave him the benefit of the doubt.”
Amber said she doesn’t know why her brother did what he is suspected of doing, but her father was the “ultimate sacrifice to protect our lives from our brother.”
(Courtesy, the Willits News)
MORE THOUGHTLESS FACILITY SPENDING
by Mark Scaramella
County To Finalize Best Western Motel Purchase.
Item 5h on next Tuesday’s board agenda: “Discussion and Possible Action Including Adoption of Resolution Authorizing the Purchase of Real Property located at 555 South Orchard Avenue, Ukiah, California (APN 002-340-3900), in the Amount of $10,640,000, Approving the Agreement of Purchase and Sale for the Property, and Authorizing the Purchasing Agent or Designee to Sign and Execute Any and All Agreements, Amendments, and Other Documents Related to the Purchase of the Property. (Sponsor: Executive Office)”
THE COUNTY IS STARTING TO PAPER THE FILE to convince the public and the Supervisors that the $10.64 million Best Western Purchase is money well spent. County HHSA staff insists that the rooms at the Best Western the County is rushing to purchase with state “Roomkey” money will not, repeat NOT, be a glorified homeless shelter or tweaker magnet, even though the project has been described as “provides transitional and permanent housing for individuals and families who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.”
One such paper is the following unbylined attachment to next Tuesday’s agenda:
“Example - Target Population for Project Homekey
The following individuals are real people in Mendocino County, although their names and certain details have been altered to protect their identity. These individuals are likely candidates for housing at the new Project Homekey site.
Paula: Paula is 78 years old. She was a single mother who raised a son who struggles with addiction and lives out of state. She has rheumatoid arthritis and osteoporosis, but excellent cognitive function. She earns $908 per month in Social Security Retirement Income. She is completely sober - and has never used drugs or alcohol in her life. She is currently camping under a bridge in her vehicle. She tried to keep hidden because she doesn’t want to draw attention to herself. She is described by her caseworker as "the sweetest person you could ever meet." She has a HUD Permanent Supportive Housing voucher in hand that would subsidize her housing, but she has not been able to find a place willing to rent to her. She is on the waiting list for various Senior Housing Projects, but that waitlist is quite long.
Mike: Mike is 63 years old. He has only one lung, and suffers from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. He worked at Masonite his whole working life until it closed. Shortly after that, his wife died and he sunk into a deep depression that lasted for years. He had been homeless on the streets for five years, but is now living in a tent on a friend's property just north of Ukiah. He has no criminal history and is sober. He earns $994 per month in retirement income. He is in possession of a HUD Housing Choice voucher, and has a caseworker assigned to him.
Mary: Mary is 24 years old. She has a two-year-old daughter currently in foster care. She was born and raised in Ukiah, but is currently in month four of a six-month residential substance use treatment program in Humboldt County. If she has nowhere to live upon release from residential treatment, she will not be able to parent her child. If living on the streets, she will be at much higher risk of relapsing. If she is able to reunite with her child in stable housing, she will be eligible for the CalWorks Housing Support Program, which will subsidize the cost of her housing for at least one year. Once enrolled in CalWorks Housing Support, she will have a caseworker assigned to her and will have expectations for seeking employment. She will also have a social worker assigned to her through Child Welfare Services who is responsible for monitoring her behavior and progress. Mary has no criminal history.
Jim: Jim is a Korean War combat veteran. He lives in a basement of a friend in Ukiah. He is 72 years old, but in great health. His retirement benefit totals roughly $1,000 per month. His daughter suffers from mental health and substance use issues and her child is currently in foster care. Jim would like to obtain custody of his 5-year-old granddaughter, but cannot do so in his current living environment. Jim is eligible for the HUD-VASH housing subsidy program, but has not yet found a place willing to accept the voucher. Jim has a social worker assigned to him through the HUD-VASH program.
Ben: Ben is a recovered alcoholic who is on dialysis, and must travel to the dialysis center two times per week. His retirement income is $994 per month. He has found a friend willing to let him park a trailer on his property, but the trailer is falling apart and the cost to repair the electrical system in the trailer would be higher than the value of the trailer itself. In its current condition, the trailer does not meet the definition of "a place meant for habitation." The property is also quite far out of town, and Ben struggles to get to his dialysis treatments. If Ben were to live in the Project Homekey hotel, he would be able to easily travel to his Orchard Street dialysis center. Ben has an assigned caseworker who has been seeking for months to find a solution for his housing situation.
Lisa: Lisa is a single mother of a 3-year-old son. She is currently living in a local motel with the partial cost of her room paid for by the CalWorks Housing Support Program. She works part-time at Starbucks during the hours that her child is in daycare, but her income is quite low. Her primary barrier to finding an apartment is that she has terrible credit from poor financial decisions made in her very early 20's. Living in Project Homekey for a few years would give her time to improve her credit and become more attractive to the mainstream housing market. Once her child is able to enter school full-time, she will be able to increase her employment hours. Until she is able to fully pay for her housing costs on her own, the CalWorks Housing Support program would be able to partially subsidize the cost of her unit. She has a caseworker assigned to her already through the CalWorks program.
Charles: Charles is a 63-year-old Army veteran who has lived in Mendocino County all of his life, with the exception of his years in service. He lives in his mother’s home. His mother recently had to leave the home due to dementia and he can no longer stay there because the home has gone through foreclosure and is now owned by a company in the Midwest. This veteran has developmental disability and receives $900 a month from Social Security income. He is eligible for a HUD- VASH housing voucher.
Official Ukiah is also on board.
“Letter of Support for Mendocino County Project Homekey Application Dear CEO Angelo:
The purpose of this letter is to express the City of Ukiah’s support for Mendocino County’s Project Homekey Application. We understand the County intends to utilize a Homekey funding award for the purchase of a 56-room Best Western motel located in Ukiah to provide transitional and permanent housing for individuals and families who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.
This is a much needed project during a critical time. Impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic have disproportionately affected lower and no-income families and individuals across the United States, including Ukiah. By providing this important transitional and permanent housing solution, individuals and families who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless will be afforded a safe and healthy place to live.
We wish you success in your application to the State Department of Housing and Community Development for Project Homekey. If there is other support we can provide, please contact Shannon Riley, Deputy City Manager, at (707) 467-5793 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Douglas F. Crane Mayor”
THIS $10.6 MILLION BOONDOGGLE has yet to address who will manage and staff the homeless facility or who will pay to operate and maintain it or how much that will cost or what funds will be used. So far, as is typical, they’re just claiming to do a wonderful thing for 50 or 60 needy people for, at minimum, about $180k per needy person, not counting operation and maintenance. Not one mention of any alternative more modest housing options that could help a lot more people for less money — just throw $10.6 million at the Pakistanis who own the Best Western and cross your fingers and walk away and hope that something good will happen. And, as the above summary of possible residents shows, these will be high maintenance people, even if they’re not street people or druggies.
LONG-TIME MENDOLANDERS might remember back in the late 80s when the state offered to sell the sprawling 90-acre Talmage State Mental Hospital property with a wide variety of perfectly good living quarters and support buildings and infrastructure to the County (complete with commercial vineyard) for $240k, about the cost of a modest home. The facility could have been used to house and support hundreds of locals who needed temporary help or short-term or long-term housing.
But Official Mendo, in all its typical blustering incompetence, turned it down declaring that they couldn’t afford to operate and maintain it, not even considering possible outside funding sources or other options or even just being a caretaker until something came along (like Measure B?). A couple of years later the Buddhists came up with the $240k and turned it into a navel gazing “university.” (Much of it is still standing unused.) Now here they are decades later paying millions and millions of dollars to help a much smaller number of needy people in downtown Ukiah. And a precedent is being set for buying up more private residential facilities for similar outrageous prices.
SO FAR, none of these well-paid brainiacs with their state-issued platinum credit cards have mentioned that these government purchases have taken and will take a good-sized chunk of taxable property off the County’s and the City’s tax rolls, not to mention whatever bed taxes they may have generated. Just like with The Training Facility Nobody Wants, or the Schraeder’s new $7 million Gold-Plated Crisis Residential Memorial B&B, Mendo is throwing money at buildings without any thought, much less a “strategic plan,” as Supervisors Haschak and Williams like to point out — after the fact.
UKIAH SHELTER PET OF THE WEEK
Molly enjoys going for walks, but she’s also perfectly content to be inside, hanging out with her peeps. We learned this sweet girl was adopted from The Humboldt County Shelter and spent some time as a greeter dog at one of the local casinos! Being a greeter is the perfect job for Molly, as she is a social butterfly and very happy to meet new people. Molly seems geared more toward people than other dogs, so a home where she is the only canine would be ideal. Molly is a smart dog who definitely can learn new tricks—but don't worry about teaching her sit or shake as she has those down! Molly is eligible for the shelter’s SENIOR DOG DISCOUNT! Molly is 8 years young and 68 pounds. She’s spayed and ready to head out the shelter door with YOU today!
You can find more about Molly on the shelter webpage at mendoanimalshelter.com While you’re there, you can read about our services, programs, events, and updates regarding covid-19 and the shelters in Ukiah and Ft. Bragg. Visit us on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/mendoanimalshelter/ For information about adoptions please call 707-467-6453.
ERNIE BRANSCOMB: I often think that the difference between modern perception of history and having seen it is phenomenal. There is nothing like being in the midst of history, seeing tasting, smelling, hearing and feeling history is just plain different than reading about it. Everybody points to the damage of the '55 and '64 floods, and the cause is often blamed on logging. Then, I agonize about the fact that most people just don't get it. Very few people even know about the worst windstorm in the last 150 years. The October 12, 1962 windstorm blew down millions and millions of board feet of timber. The timber lost in today's fires doesn't come close the timber lost in that blow-down.
Two years later we had the '64 flood in the middle of the major timber clean-up operation. The storm took out all of our infrastructure. Roads, power, phone, all gone. Getting access to food and medical care was a major emergency. The weather cleared after the flood and allowed transportation into the Garberville airport. That was a life saver, literally. If it were not for access by air many more people would have died.
With such a pressing transportation emergency, logging equipment was used to make access roads with no holds barred. Mud, rocks trees and brush went right into the river. Bridges were made from logs spanning creeks. The loggers that are cursed today for causing the '64 flood were actually the very heroes that saved our lives after the '64 flood. No talk of North Coast environmental damage should start without mentioning the October 12th, 1962 Columbus Day Windstorm.
After the '64 flood, the major damage to the salmon fishery was caused by cleaning the trees, brush, and log debris from the streams. The water holes and hiding places were removed by unwise people over the local's major objections. The unwise had college degrees.
I think that we all know the biggest problem to the environment and fisheries on the north coast is that we are living elbow to elbow, trying to squeeze babies in between us, and not honoring what we have learned from history.
October 1962: (source https://atmos.washington.edu/~cliff/Wind.pdf )
"The Columbus Day Storm: By all accounts, the Columbus Day Storm was the most damaging windstorm to strike the Pacific Northwest in 150 years. An extensive area, stretching from northern California to southern British Columbia experienced hurricane-force winds, massive treefalls, and power outages. In Oregon and Washington, 46 died and 317 required hospitalization as a result of the storm. Fifteen billion board feet of timber (more than a year's annual cut) worth 750 million 1962 dollars were downed..."
I wrote a little bit about windstorms on my blog: ernielb.blogspot.com/search?q=columbus+day+windstorm
IN THE EARLY 1970s, the winter rains started often enough in early September that the Boonville Fair was moved two weeks earlier in the month which, one year, still wasn't early enough because it poured the entire three-day Fair weekend. Now, the weather people tell us to expect rain in December.
THE JUBILATION greeting the revelations that Hunter Biden is your basic outta control type-guy comes mostly from the rightwing hoping to bring down his father. The Trumps, and Trumpians, are the very last people to celebrate given their own sins. And show me an American family that doesn't contain at least one Hunter Biden, and I'll show you a childless couple who lived to be a hundred. If the hapless Hunter weren't a Biden he'd be shuffling in and out of the Mendo County Courthouse with the rest of the local Bidens. There's millions of us! Not that I'm casting aspersions here, like most men I have Hunter Biden tendencies, and I've shuffled in and out of the County Courthouse in an orange jumpsuit a few times.
Quick story that still makes me laugh. On one orange jumpsuit occasion they had me in the suit, complete with chains like I might go off in the courtroom, and here comes then-DA Susan Massini who, spotting me, exclaims, "Hi, Bruce, so nice to see you. How are you?" No, she wasn't being ironic.
THE HUNTER BIDEN saga is just getting warmed up. And it's already a case study of media corruption in that as of Saturday only the rightwing wank media like the Daily Mail and New York Post are giving it significant attention, but there's more than enough there, given the revealed links to daddy-o that the NYT and Wolf Blitzer should be running it down. But so far, the lib media is either ignoring it all or saying stuff like, "The Russians again."
MEANWHILE, the biggest accident in American history was in Georgia where he told the usual adoring mob, "Could you imagine if I lose? My whole life, what am I going to do? Maybe I'll have to leave the country?"
DEPUTY DA LONG SLAM-DUNKS THE OLD EVERCLEAR DEFENSE
A Mendocino County Superior Court jury returned from its deliberations late Friday morning to announce it had found the trial defendant guilty of two substantive charges.
Defendant Skyler Blue Dausman, age 37, of Calpella, was convicted of driving a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol, a misdemeanor. He was also found guilty of driving a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol .08 or greater, also a misdemeanor.
A separate special allegation alleging that the defendant’s blood alcohol was .15 or great was found not true.
In brief, the evidence presented at trial was that the defendant was driving a motorcycle in the Calpella-Redwood Valley area on the night of April 16, 2020.
A citizen called 9-1-1 and reported that a motorcycle was driving at a high rate of speed without its lights on. The CHP eventually found a motorcycle at Little Baker’s Market in Redwood Valley that fit the description given by the reporting party. When the driver was contacted, he also fit the description given for the motorcycle driver.
Upon contact, the investigating officer believed the defendant had been drinking and was under the influence of alcohol. Field sobriety tests at the scene confirmed to the officer that the motorcycle driver was under the influence. Later breath tests provided blood alcohol results of .23/.24.
The defendant’s defense at trial was that he had NOT been drinking BEFORE driving; rather, he began drinking 190 proof Everclear that a friend shared with him in the strip mall parking lot AFTER he arrived in Redwood Valley … during the ten minutes of time it took the CHP to find him, thus, according to the defense argument, this drinking pattern accounted for the high blood alcohol results.
The “friend” with no last name or address who supposedly provided the Everclear was not called as a witness at trial by the defense.
Personnel from the California Highway Patrol and the California Department of Justice’s forensic laboratory appeared as witnesses for the prosecution during the course of the jury trial.
The attorney who presented the case to the jury was Deputy District Attorney Kassandra Long.
Mendocino County Superior Court Judge Victoria Shanahan presided over the four-day trial.
(Distrct Attorney Presser)
BUILDING IN MENDO
by Paul Modic
I had been playing with the idea of putting a guest cottage in my backyard for a few years; the zoning might not allow it but maybe I would just do it anyway and no one would notice?
Then I heard about the “ag exempt” building, apparently I could build a barn with fewer bureaucratic hoops to jump through. I went down to the building department and researched the public record. The helpful woman at the office, after some hesitation, handed over a pile of other peoples' recent applications. I pored over them for a few hours and after a couple more research visits knew what it took to build an ag exempt building.
Last year I built a fence along the road for privacy and potentially hiding my new cottage from any roving building inspectors. Along the fence grew four huge Monterey pines which could also be helpful in shielding my building from any prying eyes driving along the well-traveled county road a couple hundred yards down the mountain. There was also an old slab in the backyard that I was determined to build around.
I enlisted a carpenter to help with the project and he drew a plot plan showing everything on my acre: house, septic, leach field, property line, setbacks, and slopes. He wanted me to get rid of the old 18x20 slab but I refused, thinking it would make a big mess in the yard. He suggested I get rid of the trees too but I wouldn't hear of it! Those are my trees, they give my house some privacy and I'm not going to get rid of trees for a little backyard project that would impact the privacy of the main house.
It was December--I lined up the carpenter for the spring. We had a hell of a winter, our private road slumped off, and the county went to hell with all the rain although my site remained stable. By April I had decided not to get a permit, just to build the damn thing and hope I didn't get caught. If I did I would just go for the ag exempt permit after the fact.
I was still not sure what to do and brought a consultant over to check out the site. He was very discouraging and thought I should get an engineer out to look it over. He didn't like the old trees hanging over the site and thought it was risky not to get a permit, although he wasn't too bothered by the old slab. After that consultation I didn't think the project would get off the ground--the carpenter just hated that slab but I was still attached. Another friend, a general contractor who knew everything about building, came by and I asked him to look at the site. He said the old slab should go and of course the trees.
"What?!" I said. "My trees?"
"Well," he said. "they're not native, they're dying anyway, and they'll fall on your new building."
"Well, what else?," I asked.
"That's three things--isn't that enough?" he said.
Something finally clicked and I decided to get rid of the slab and the trees, and get a permit. I took the plot plan, drew a simple floor plan, and turned in my application at the building department.
Within a week the inspector came by, then sent me a pre-site inspection list that included getting a soils engineer to check out the site. I found the one who had done the work on the existing house and he drove up from the county seat after telling me on the phone that the first minute cost $1200 but if he didn't approve it it would be only $400. He was a monster of a man and waddled his 350 pounds over to the site. I followed his enormous butt crack, trying not to look at the hairy crevice.
"You like to live dangerously," he said as he looked at the slide just ten feet away from the site, and I got discouraged. "You could build something here that will last 400 years," he said and I got hopeful again.
He approved the project verbally then went back to his car for the auger which he thrust into the earth to produce a sample. We stood around talking for awhile about his crackpot conspiracy theories and a few days later I got his report and so did the county. It seemed to be clear sailing now though I had not yet realized what I'd gotten myself into by going for the permit.
A cowboy demolition crew came up from Ukiah with a big truck and a few kids who hit at the slab with pickaxes, loaded it into wheel barrows, rode the hydraulic lift up into the back of the truck, and dumped in the cement and rocky rebar. Then the boss went out, rented a jack hammer, and continued loading the massive truck. When they got a good load they followed me out into the country a few miles where I'd found a friendly guy who was accepting fill to use against the erosion along his creek.
After two days of slab removal, the tree cutters came in and took out the pines. I had forgotten to tell them about the septic tank and they dropped a small log right through the two-foot-wide lid--it could have been worse. After the trees were gone the stump grinders came in to get rid of the stumps. The main tree climber was also the stump grinder so it was a long day for him and his puller/grinder assistant.
The site was transformed and I was ready to bring in the back hoe and start site prep. Then the county called me again.
"Since you are on the river you need to get a biologist to affirm that you are at least 100 feet above the transition zone of the river," he said.
What? Shit. I got on the phone and called a slew of biologists but most were busy counting spotted owls out on logging sites. Finally word of mouth got me a biologist who was actually familiar with my area. He accessed photos of my acre and determined that the building site was 115 feet above the scour zone. He wrote an official letter to the building department and sent me a copy. I brought in the back hoe and started clearing the land. (I had found the back hoe driver on the side of the road outside Laytonville.)
Then I received a letter from Environmental Health saying I couldn't build there because it was within ten feet of the leach field. What?! When the guy had sold me the house five years before he had pointed out the leach field in the side yard but hadn't told me that the whole damn back yard was a leach field too. There was no way I could build without breaching the set-backs on the property line.
I panicked, got on the phone to the planning department, and got the info I'd need to go for a variance before the Board of Supervisors. Then I calmed down, called the Environmental Health guy, and asked him what my options were. He happened to be in the area and came down the next day to look at the site. He said he would waive a few feet if I moved the site another few feet away from the leach field and fortunately the plot plan I had showed a few more feet to the property line. (That's when I realized that everything was negotiable.)
After moving the site, one line ran right into the roots left over from the pine trees. I had to tear down about thirty feet of fence so the back hoe could get in to pull them out.
A couple weeks later the county called saying my permit was ready to be picked up.
THE CHOICE IS CLEAR FOR SOUTH COAST RESIDENTS WHO CARE ABOUT GUALALA'S FUTURE:
a) Create a four-lane highway with no landscaping and parking on both sides of the street that may trigger another decade of debate over amendments the Town Plan. Some residents say this would turn Gualala into a strip mall.
b) Build a three-lane highway with landscaping that includes interim parking and turn lanes only where needed. The Gualala Town Plan, Local Coastal Plan and the Gualala MAC all support this, so the needed improvements can start sooner.
Let Caltrans know which you support. Send comments to Bonnie.Kuhn@DOT.CA.GOV and ask for info on a Nov. 12th Town Hall. Also "Like" the Save Gualala Page, and sign the petition at Change.org/SaveGualala.
Tom Murphy, Gualala
CATCH OF THE DAY, October 17, 2020
JOSE CEJA-LOPEZ, Ukiah. DUI, suspended license for DUI, protective order violation, probation revocation.
JAMES CLAUSEN, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
GARY COSTA, Ukiah. DUI w/BA greater than 0.15, second offense in ten years, probation revocation.
KEVIN DAHLUND, Ukiah. Failure to appear.
ROBERT DUNN, Willits. Fugitive from justice.
MATTHEW FAUST, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
RAMON FLORES, Ukiah. Possession of obscene matter of minor in sexual act, parole violation.
NOE GARCIA, Ukiah. County parole violation.
WILLIAM GREEN, Ukiah. Failure to appear, probation revocation.
CHRISTOPHER HEANEY, Ukiah. Protective order violation.
THOMAS HIDALGO, Ukiah. Concealed dirk-dagger, paraphernalia, probation revocation.
PEDRO LOPEZ-GARCIA, Fort Bragg. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
WILLIAM MCCLOSKEY, Minneapolois/Willits. Domestic battery.
PABLO MORA, Ukiah. Parole violation. (Frequent flyer.)
ALEXANDER ROJAS, Pleasanton/Ukiah. Unspecified offense.
BRIAN ROSE, Los Angeles/Willits. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
JEFFREY SHAFFER, Ukiah. DUI-alcohol&drugs, controlled substance.
JAMES WHETSTONE, Willits. Murder.
PUNCHES THROWN AS LEFT-WING PROTESTERS SHOW UP AT CONSERVATIVE RALLY IN SAN FRANCISCO
Six injured including three police officers during clashes between pro- & anti-Trump groups.
TRUMP TOWN TUNES
by David Yearsley
The Democratic Process is in its final season. Thursday night’s line-up attempted a novel format in which the presidential candidates duked it out separately in parallel prime-time slots. In the end it all comes down to ratings. The ballots may be corrupt, moistening in ditch water or marked up by the deceased, but YouTube hits don’t lie. Nielsen is the only Electoral that matters.
Friday morning Newsweek reported that the Democratic candidate had more than just pipped the current Commander-in-Chief at the post. Biden racked up 507,445 YouTube viewers at the end of his two-hours plus on ABC, whereas Trump had a mere 153,660 over on NBC. The viral president had not gone viral. Even if neither fighter had broken through to seven digits, a feat easily attained by second-rate TikTok influencers, the Scranton Scrapper had hit Donnybrook Don where it hurt most: in his numbers.
ABC dubbed their show “The Vice-President and the People.” The synthesized theme music had a disco pop to it, dated but energetic, hoping to convince the undecided that even though Biden remained seated for his Townhall he still had a spring in his septuagenarian step. The broadcast emanated from Philadelphia’s National Constitution Center and the commercial breaks (only in America!) were framed by an assuring disembodied male voice reading passages from the sanctified Constitution. For these recitations the soundtrack followed the reverent contours of Aaron Copland’s Americana, evoking in just a few seconds the open-range possibility of this great land, its high-minded morality, super-power altruism, and cheap gas. Social distanced on stage were the comforting democratic duo of Joe Biden and George Stephanopoulos, one-time communications director in the Clinton White House. This was clearly a re-run except that the actors were older. Enhanced reality technology had digitally adjusted the actors to account for the advancing years—the gray hair, the sagging jowls, the ultra-white teeth. My fellow Americans, we are now in round-the-clock syndication!
For two hours I waited (at least when I was clicking in—or better, swiping over—from NBC’s YouTube stream) for Biden to steal Trump’s best line: “Trump—you’re fired!” It never came.
Returning to the network that elevated him from many-times bankrupt Business Boy to franchise Entertainer, Trump had no doubts—he never does—that his snug hour on NBC would put him over the top, over-inflating his unburstable ego and limp poll numbers. Before he left The Apprentice in the vice-grip hands of fellow celebrity Arnold Schwarzenegger to take up his current role in his yet-to-be-cancelled presidential reality show, Trump’s night was Thursday. The network would be good to him once again.
NBC dutifully branded the episode TRUMP TOWHHALL—the font almost as outsized as the those of the fireworks that ejaculated his name from the Washington Monument across the sheet of heaven at the climax of the Republican National Convention back in August. NBC spread their title’s alliteration across a massive tv marquee with blue background. The half of a white star to the left of the letters of Trump’s name was a motif drawn from the American flag whose stripes peeked out from the right side of the P. Or was the partial stellar eclipse a clever visual pun that previewed the prying loose of Trump’s star from the sidewalk of fame and power?
Perched above the letter T was the NBC peacock, a fitting symbol for the man whose name extended to the bird’s left. If anyone could strut and screech from a lagoon-side bar stool at an art museum (Trump in an art museum?) in the Sunshine State, showing his true colors even at night, it was this Presidential Preener.
But soon enough the NBC peacock would shit on the gamekeeper.
Before that happened, NBC’s ersatz-John Williams lead-in music called the viewers to attention as the TRUMP TOWNHALL banner alternated rhythmically with another screen that proclaimed DECISION 2020: martial snare drums called patriotic militiamen to arms; soaring strings sang of a Destiny that put the Man back in Manifest, just as Trump had put the Cock back in Peacock; throttling syncopations captured the divergent voices of democracy and threw them in a maximum security federal penitentiary; anti-Antifa forces fell into lockstep to the clarion calls of the top brass. The Generals, at least for this Thursday night, were on Trump’s side.
But was that a lone Tinkerbell “ding” that cut through the inexorable tank track advance of the military-musical machine? Some e-arranger has a rebellious sense of humor, launching this cruise-missile quip from his or her high-altitude dungeon in Rockefeller Center—or a more likely a black site half a world away. Expect the unassuming orchestral triangle to be immediately classified as a terrorist weapon.
Faeries be damned, the voting public was still stoked with biggie-sized portions of musical machismo. All were set for a rollicking good time.
The Townhall brass theme ascended towards presidential apotheosis. Somehwere behind the marquee, the curated questioners nervously sucked on their lozenges, readying themselves for their scene with the star-in-chief, who was congratulating himself for having put the Trump back into Trumpet. (Or do I mean the Trumpettes?—a can’t-miss Radio City Music Hall attraction featuring Ivanka and Tiffany when family money is tight in the years to come.) But right at its crux, the soundtrack veered into frightening silence. TRUMP TOWNHALL glowered down on the mute chaos.
Had the Proud Boys stormed Rockefeller Center guns blazing? Had vacationing Michigan Militia frogmen emerged from Florida’s stagnant waters to drain the Perez Art Museum swamp and their fully-loaded magazines? Had the plug been pulled not just on bad intro music but Fake News itself?
After an epic twenty seconds of radio silence, the frantic voice of Townhall host Savannah Guthrie was heard to say “It’s nothing but noise …” No truer words had been uttered in this endless campaign season, still in search of finale.
(David Yearsley is a long-time contributor to CounterPunch and the Anderson Valley Advertiser. His latest book is Sex, Death, and Minuets: Anna Magdalena Bach and Her Musical Notebooks. He can be reached at email@example.com.)
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
Regarding co-morbidities and COVID:
Everyone has some body part that doesn’t work perfectly or has some functional weakness. That’s why we don’t live forever. Many of these imperfections are at a very subclinical level, so a person can live a full lifespan without any symptoms. But eventually that imperfection gets you.
COVID-19 is very good at attacking weaknesses and exacerbating them. In effect, everyone has co-morbidities. The average person has a healthy enough immune system such that the virus doesn’t get enough of a foothold to affect the inherent weakness. That’s why many victims only just don’t feel well as their symptom, or are asymptomatic.
Others, however, have obvious malfunctions. These people are the ones who get permanent organ damage or die. They suffer from diabetes or asthma or some such. Old persons especially have more malfunctions and/or obvious co-morbidities, so they die at a higher rate than apparently more healthy, younger people.
Just because you aren’t sickly or old, you still have major susceptibility to the virus. All the figures aren’t in yet because this disease has only affected humans for a year or so. People now 21 or 22, like college students may be asymtomatic or only get the sniffles, but remember, symptoms aren’t the disease itself. The virus may do a lot of subclinical damage to vital functions that aren’t yet detectable. Years later, a 55 year old man dies of kidney disease, never realizing his kidneys sustained subclinical damage 30 years earlier.
My point is that it is unwise, even foolhardy to minimize concern over catching Covid. As a matter of fact, other illnesses and infections may also affect the human body subclinically and cause an earlier death later in life; thus it is important to try to avoid close contact with sick people as much as possible.
JAMES MARMON, childhood memories: "My dad or stepdad, had a razor thin leather belt me and my three brothers were terrified of. I remember only getting it once. We were more afraid of our mom snitching us off than I was of him. She always demanded punishment, my dad had to comply or face terrible consequences."
FACEBOOK & TWITTER'S INTERVENTION HIGHLIGHTS DANGEROUS NEW DOUBLE STANDARD
by Matt Taibbi
On Wednesday, the New York Post released what they claimed was “smoking gun” evidence of corruption involving Hunter Biden, troubled son of Democratic nominee Joe Biden.
The “blockbuster” had a controversial provenance. A computer repair shop in Delaware reportedly came to possess a laptop belonging to the younger Biden. According to the Post, it contained a treasure trove of Republican oppo, including videos of the younger Biden smoking crack and having sex, and emails from a Ukrainian businessman pleading with Hunter to use connections to help the corrupt energy firm Burisma escape a shakedown.
Later, the Burisma exec appeared to thank the younger Biden for an introduction to his father. The Post strongly suggested that these emails, in conjunction with the well-known tale of Joe Biden demanding the ouster of then-General Prosecutor Viktor Shokin, represented a misuse of influence.
Soon after the story was published, we were hit with a stunner: two major tech platforms, Twitter and Facebook, took third-world style steps to limit the distribution of the story. Facebook announced that it was slowing the article’s spread on its news feed via a tweet from Andy Stone, a Facebook employee whose previous jobs included handling communications for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and for Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer.
Twitter’s response was more extreme. It allowed the story to reach #3 on its list of Trending topics before blocking it as “potentially unsafe,” preventing anyone, even the author of the piece, from sharing it. It then took the extraordinary step of locking the account of the White House press secretary, Kayleigh McInany, explaining in a series of tweets that the story had been halted for several reasons, including on the grounds that the materials had been hacked.
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey seemed torn about his company’s decision: A day later, facing intense public pressure and threats of Senate inquiry, the company relented and said it would change its policy Twitter’s legal chief, the New York Times said, was worried that the firm “could end up blocking content from journalists,” implying that it hadn’t already done just that.
The company said it would henceforth allow similar content to be shared, affixed to a label about the source of the information.
The intervention by the two platforms resulted in a predictable Streisand effect, in which an effort to censor results instead in increased attention. Conservatives lost their minds; Ted Cruz described the platforms’ actions as “actively interfering in an election.” The Hill called it a “Declaration of War.” Tennessee Senator Marsha Blackburn used the word “despicable.”
The near-universal reaction among mainstream press outlets, meanwhile, was to denounce the Post story as dangerous, and probably foreign, misinformation. The exposé “rings all the foreign-disinformation alarms in the book,” said Axios. “[Rudy Giuliani] and the New York Post Are Pushing Russian Disinformation,” sneered Mother Jones, the publication which introduced the raunchiest parts of the unverified Steele Dossier to the American public. “B.S. Ukraine Smear,” chirped Salon.
Of the outlets who bothered to cover the story, nearly all of them weighed it not according to its truth or untruth, but in terms of its potential impact on the coming presidential election.
A New York Times headline was typical of the attitude of the “reputable” press toward this story: Times writer Kevin Roose noted that “politicians and pundits” have hoped for a stronger response from tech firms ever since “Russian hackers and Wikileaks” injected “stolen emails from the Hillary Clinton campaign” into the public discourse in the last election cycle.
“Since 2016,” he wrote, “lawmakers, researchers and journalists have pressured these companies to take more and faster action to prevent false or misleading information from spreading on their services.”
Roose neglected to mention that the “stolen emails” in 2016 were real, and not “false or misleading misinformation.” That they may have damaged the Democratic Party was not great for them, but as Bill Clinton-appointed federal judge John Koeltl ruled in the Democrats’ failed lawsuit against Wikileaks, the Trump campaign, and Russia, those documents were of “public concern and therefore protected by the First Amendment: The only thing that should matter, when it comes to stories like this, is whether or not the material is true and in the public interest. This disturbing new confederation of media outlets and tech firms is rewriting that standard.
The optics of a former Democratic Party spokesman suddenly donning a Facebook official’s hat to announce a ban of a story damaging to Democrats couldn’t be worse. Moreover, the Orwellian construct described in papers like the Times suggests that for tech executives, pundits, and Democratic Party officials alike, the lines between fake news and bad news, between actual misinformation and information that is merely politically adverse, have been blurred. It’s no longer clear that some of these people see a meaningful distinction between the two ideas.
The public can’t help but see this. While papers like the Times denounce the true Podesta emails as “misinformation,” and Facebook says the New York Post story must be kept out of sight until verified, the standard for, say, the Steele dossier was and is opposite. In that case, we were told “raw intelligence” should be published so that “Americans can make up their own minds” about information that, while “salacious and unverified,” may still be freely read on Twitter and Facebook, reported on in the New York Times and Washington Post, and talked about on NBC so long as it has not been completely “disproven.”
As Erik Wemple of the Washington Post points out even that last point is no longer true, but the Steele dossier and plenty of other products of what Axios calls “hack and leak” journalism continue to be embraced and freely distributed. The obvious double-standard guarantees that the tech platforms will henceforth be viewed by a huge portion of the population as political censors instead of standards enforcers, and moreover that mainstream press pronouncements about such controversies will be deemed automatically untrustworthy by that same population.
(This is an excerpt from today’s subscriber-only post at Rollingstone.com. To read the entire post and get full access to the archives, you can subscribe for $5 a month or $50 a year.)
KEITH ANDERSON: In 1850, a farmer found a secret village. It was later determined to be older than the Great Pyramids of Egypt. Archeologists estimated that 100 people lived in this village named Skara Brae, the "Scottish Pompeii." The houses were connected to each other by tunnels, and each house could be closed off with a stone door.
"THE IMPARTIAL FRIEND: Death, the only immortal who treats us all alike, whose pity and whose peace and whose refuge are for all--the soiled and the pure, the rich and the poor, the loved and the unloved."
- Mark Twain, last written statement
TRUMP: WORSE THAN NIXON
Dear Mr. Anderson,
The Senate Bipartisan Report Vol. 5, describes hundreds of actions by Trump, his campaign, and his associates in the run-up to the 2016 election that involve participation by Trump and associates in Russian activity.
1. The Trump campaign was run for a time by a man with an ongoing business relationship with a Russian intelligence operative, to whom he gave proprietary internal polling data..
2. Trump’s campaign, and later transition, were filled with a remarkable number of people who had secret interactions with Russian actors, about which they lied..
3. All of this activity, amounts to a grave set of counterintelligence concerns, which any number of Trump campaign figures—including Trump himself—exposed themselves to coercive pressures from adversary foreign actors..
The over 900 page report summary can be found at www.lawfareblog.com and shows the Mueller Investigation was not a hoax, but based on very real U.S. National Security Concerns.
Speaking of Useful Idiots… after former Ukrainian parliamentarian Andriy Derkach, who's been feeding dirt on Joe & Hunter Biden to Rudy Giuliani, was identified by the U.S. Treasury Department as "an active Russian agent." Giuliani explained, "There's nothing I saw that said he was a Russian agent." The Week News, 9-25 20 So FOX News viewers get dumb Russian Propaganda, as "News" straight from Trump's lawyer Giuliani.
Also, it's false to say it's BOTH Democrats & Republicans equally corrupt. Trump's first term has brought 215 criminal indictments, and 7 convictions of senior Trump officials.
No indictments or criminal conduct found in eight years of Obama, including the Benghazi-Clinton "scandal.” Ten investigations, no indictments!
So it's Trump who has three times as many criminal indictments as Nixon even, one of the MOST Corrupt Ever. A New Record!
AMERICA'S GREATEST LEFT-WING REVOLUTION