Dry & Breezy | 28 New Cases | Pfizer Boosters | Staying Well | Navarro Mud | Yorkville Fare | AVEF Wine | FB 1971 | BOS Motions | Hippie Circle | Streetscape Update | Bored Dog | Suing WM | Barber Mitch | Ed Notes | Yesterday's Catch | Henry Aaron | Bidentastic | National Nightmares | Package Removal | 4-Masted Ship | Media Manipulation | Coast Rock | Marco Radio | The Dudes | Be Bold | More Sage | Post Mortems | Looney Times | Biden Speech | 1973 Camper
A DRY AND BREEZY DAY is expected today. A cold front will bring a period of rain and snow to the area Sunday with showers lingering into Monday. Starting Tuesday afternoon a significant winter storm may bring rain and heavy low elevation snow through Thursday. (NWS)
28 NEW COVID CASES reported in Mendocino County on Friday, bringing the total to 3234. Another death.
SECOND DOSE PFIZER VACCINES, Wednesday, January 27 at Ukiah Fairgrounds for those who received their first dose on January 6 or 7 at the Fairgrounds. For further info or to schedule an appointment go to: mendocinocounty.org/community/novel-coronavirus/covid-19-vaccinations
ONE PERSON'S VAXX EXPERIENCE: “We got our first jabs of the Moderna vaccine at Sutter today. It was very well organized and painless. We left with appointments for the second dose in 28 days. We were cautioned that immunity builds up slowly, maxing a couple of weeks after the second shot. It greatly reduces the likelihood of illness resulting in hospitalization, but it is still possible to have an asymptomatic case and infect others. CDC guidelines are clear that we should all continue to wear masks and practice social distancing and hand washing. Dr. Fauci was interviewed Thursday night and reiterated this. The good news (reported in Friday’s Press Democrat) is that the sale of cold and flu remedies is down 46% from a year ago. Australia also reported a nearly 100% reduction in flu for the season that just ended there. It turns out that those “infernal masks" are good for avoiding more than Covid-19."
SATURDAY BBQ AT YORKVILLE MARKET
On Saturday 1/23, we will be BBQing chicken which we will serve with a side of potato salad and carrot apple slaw. The price for a plate is $15.00. Or if you are looking for something warm and comforting, you can grab a bowl of homemade chili with all the fixin's and cornbread for $10.
In our take bake freezer we have mac and cheese, a cheesy hamburger bake and chicken enchiladas.
Don't forget that although we are not doing grocery boxes at the moment we still have fresh veggies, dairy, and dry goods available for sale.
Lisa at the Yorkville Market
FROM SUPERVISOR WILLIAMS
In 2021, it's unusual to have two "industry" seats on our Planning Commission. I appreciate all those who have served and this is not a reflection of their hard work. No matter the objective reasoning of commissioners, the optics of special interest influencing public policy is not ideal. The proposed action would align us with other counties.
Mendocino BOS - Jan 26, 2021
Discussion and Possible Action Regarding the Composition of the Mendocino County Planning Commission
(Sponsors: Supervisor Williams and Supervisor Haschak)
Direct County Counsel to prepare amendment reducing Mendocino County Planning Commission to one seat per Supervisorial District.
Summary of Request:
The Mendocino County Planning Commission is presently composed of seven members. Each Supervisor nominates an appointment and in addition there are seats for agricultural and forestry representatives. All appointments are confirmed by the BOS. Mendocino County is unique in that we have two industry appointments. Other industries are desiring representation on the Planning Commission. The Planning Commission would benefit from a more streamlined commission and a more workable quorum. To align our Planning Commission with other counties and give fair representation to all, the recommendation is to eliminate the two additional seats on the Planning Commission. With five seats on the Planning Commission, a quorum of 3 would be sufficient and a majority of two could move decisions.
BOS - Jan 25, 2021 - Land use cannabis cultivation ordinance compatible with state license requirements; enables onsite farm sales on discretionary basis (cleaning up years of blunder)
Discussion and Possible Action including Direction to Staff and Requesting the Planning Commission Review and Make Its Report and Recommendation to the Board of Supervisors Within Forty Days on (1) Draft Amendments to Mendocino County Code Regarding Commercial Cannabis Cultivation; and (2) Draft Amendments to Mendocino County Code Regarding Commercial Cannabis Facilities and Cannabis and Other Special Events
(Sponsor: Cannabis Ad Hoc Committee of Supervisors Williams and Haschak)
Direct staff to submit proposed County Code amendments related to commercial cannabis cultivation, facilities and cannabis and other special events to Planning Commission to review and make its report and recommendations on the proposed amendments within forty days.
Summary of Request:
The Cannabis Ad Hoc Committee has worked with County staff on amendments and additions to the County Code regarding cannabis cultivation and cannabis facilities in response to direction previously given by the Board of Supervisors on both matters. Draft proposed amendment language is attached to this agenda item.
In addition, since amendments are being proposed related to cannabis events, staff has also pre-pared amendments related to events and festivals beyond cannabis events, including the elimination of Chapter 6.16 - Outdoor Festivals and placing all requirements related to festivals and events into the Zoning Code’s special event permit section. The Treasurer-Tax Collector was consulted and is in support of this change.
The Ad Hoc Committee also recommends requesting the Planning Commission to make its report and recommendation on the proposed ordinance changes within forty (40) days, in an effort to bring these matters back to the Board on an expedited timeframe.
Supervisor Williams states “the County’s existing Cannabis Cultivation Ordinance only allowed permitting of farms with proof of cultivation prior to January 1, 2016. Legitimate land use policy must not favor certain groups for economic benefit. It is beyond time to open the market to new applicants and treat all applicants as equal.”
Cultivation in Mendocino County requires both a county permit and a state license. The County’s 10A.17 “Phase 1” Cannabis Cultivation was developed prior to State regulations and despite endless board focus, it could never be properly aligned. Recent board action has attempted to open and document paths toward state licensure, but staff expects 85% of Phase 1 applicants to fail on the path to state license. Without a timely land use ordinance, cultivators will not meet the state’s sunset of pro-visional licenses scheduled for January 1, 2022, effectively designating nearly all outdoor cultivation as illegal once again.
The lack of clarity on both county permit and state license status has created an unenforceable cultivation paradigm. Unlike “Phase 1”, the proposed discretionary cannabis cultivation ordinance will not allow plants in the ground pending approval, but rather require the operator to meet all requirements in advance. This will mitigate the negative public safety and environmental aspects through oversight and enforcement.
The adoption of the proposed ordinance will satisfy dependencies necessary for an updated Cannabis Facilities to enable direct farm sales. Without these changes, onsite farm transactions will remain illicit activity under the cover of the regulated framework. Again, this proposal attempts to strike a balance of responsible community values and elimination of outlaw activity.
Without a timely state compatible regulatory framework, the negative impacts frequently associated with cannabis cultivation are expected to increase, resulting in an unregulated, unstudied and potentially significant negative impact on the environment and upon the public peace, health and safety.
The public has time and time again demanded that the Board of Supervisors fix the broken Cannabis Cultivation framework. The board gave initial direction to staff to begin the “Phase 3” land use ordinance over a year ago. The recommendation action offers follow through on existing board direction, creates alignment between county and state law and provides clarity to law enforcement
UKIAH STREETSCAPE PROJECT CONSTRUCTION UPDATE - January 22
The weather forecast is putting a bit of a damper on construction activities. Sidewalk construction will remain on pause until the beginning of February, and we may only be able to get about a day of work in next week on the underground utilities. In the meantime, however, we are beginning to work on the design of the future phase! As soon as we can secure grant funding, the project will be extended from Henry to Norton Street on the north and from Mill to Gobbi on the south.
In other downtown news, the City Council introduced two new ordinances on January 20—one will allow for permanent structures (shade canopies, etc.) to be constructed on the sidewalks for outdoor dining and the other allows us to make the 10-minute take-out/curbside pick-up spaces permanent if they continue to be well utilized. Thanks, Council!
Perkins to Mill Street
Wahlund Construction (Clay – Seminary):
Monday, 1/22: Clean-up work on the west side of State Street near the Economy Inn in order to prepare for rain.
Tuesday-Friday: No work if raining. If the rain doesn’t materialize, Wahlund Construction will trench across State Street between Master Cleaners and Bank of America and will work on undergrounding the electric utilities from Seminary to the south.
Construction hours: 6am – 5pm
Short and sweet this week! Have a great weekend--
Shannon Riley, Deputy City Manager, w: (707) 467-5793
GO GET ‘EM NORMAN!
NORMAN DEVALL: SUING WASTE MANAGEMENT
I’ve made the phone call telling WM of my intention to sue in Small Claims Court if the Back Bill issue is not resolved. I am now working on the Claims Letter and will mail today or Monday. I’m now suggesting that if you are going to pay your bill that you send them two checks: one for the Back Bill amount on your invoice and the other for the service rendered. Put a Qualified Endorsement on both checks: write on the back of the Back Bill check “Paid Under Protest” and then sign your name, on check #2 write: “For Full and Final Payment for Services” and again sign your name. My Small Claims suit against WM is that when an invoice is paid in full the offer to buy and sell their services has been consummated. No agreement between the WM and the County could change state law. Have questions? Please call: Norman 357.5555 and once again: I’m am not an attorney.
WE'RE SEEKING CONFIRMATION, but it seems that Mendo Public Health's Sharon Convery has been locked out of her office — summarily fired in the middle of the pandemic. Rumors of peculiar, if not illegal, practices at Public Health have been rife.
THIS RESPONSE re Convery late Friday afternoon: “Good Afternoon Mr. Anderson, Thank you for your inquiry. Ms. Convery is currently employed by the County of Mendocino. Beyond that, the County doesn't comment on personnel matters. Best regards, William Schurtz, Human Resources Director, County of Mendocino”
MARK SCARAMELLA NOTES: According to public employee employment records, Sharon Convery has been employed by Mendocino County since at least 2011 when she was listed as a part-time public health nurse. Later that year her title was changed to Sr. Program Manager, then Deputy Director Public Health Nursing in 2013. In 2016 she was again listed as Senior Program Manager, then in 2019 Senior Program Manager-Nursing with a base pay of $102k plus benefits. In April of 2020, Fort Bragg Police Chief John Naulty reported that Convery was “Mendocino County Director of Clinical Testing,” and praised her quick action on a covid-exposed prisoner who arrived in Mendo during an early prisoner release fiasco. Just last January 8, Ms. Convery was described in a County Presser as “a Registered Public Health Nurse with Mendocino County’s Communicable Disease and Immunization Program.”
“As part of the County’s Emergency Preparedness team, Sharon has staffed numerous drive-through flu clinics. ‘I’ve had a lot of practice with mass vaccination events,’ she smiles. ‘These clinics are a little more intense because of social disatancing and wearing N95s. What we do is public education. We’re here to make sure no one has prior medication allergies that would make them poor candidates for vaccination. Safety is our responsibility. This vaccine site is a good thing. In the future we will go wherever we’re needed to make sure people get vaccinated.’ The comment she’s heard most from vaccine recipients: ‘It didn’t hurt at all! I didn’t feel it’!”
EVEN MORE INTERESTING, perhaps, is that her name appears second in the list of defendants in Barbara Howe’s wrongful termination lawsuit against Mendocino County from 2019, just after Tammy Moss Chandler.
ACCORDING TO THE ASSOCIATED PRESS, California relies on a secret formula to determine regional lockdown tiers by projecting ICU capacity four weeks out, and that projection is arrived at by some fancy math indeed. State health officials say it would be too confusing to release to the public, as the governor and these same officials issue sudden cessations of stay-at-home orders as business owners frantically bring back staff to re-open only to be closed down again.
BRITS immediately noticed that the bust of Churchill had been replaced by a bust of Cesar Chavez in Biden's Oval Office. The best account of the rise and fall of Chavez's United Farm Workers is Frank Bardacke's “Trampling Out the Vintage: Cesar Chavez and the Two Souls of the United Farm Workers,” the only comprehensive and non-hagiographic account I know of. Highly recommended.
BIDEN said Friday that the United States faces more than 600,000 COVID deaths as he signed executive orders aimed at providing assistance for those facing food insecurity: “I'm going to close and summarize this way. A lot of America is hurting. The virus is surging. We're 400,000 dead, expected to reach well over 600,000. Families are going hungry. People are at risk of being evicted. Job losses are mounting again. We need to act. No matter how you look at it we need to act. The United States now has more than 24.7 million cases and more than 410,000 deaths. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention projected this week that the country will have recorded up to 508,000 COVID-19 deaths by mid-February.” (Full text is posted last)
UNDER BIDEN, THE SACROSANCT apartheid state of Israel will continue to get a blank check courtesy of American taxpayers as will our high tech military, the same high tech military that controls, with its Afghan allies, less than ten percent of Afghanistan while its 10th century opponents threaten to take control of the entire country. The same people beat back the Russians over ten years, and before the Russians, drove the British out.
CATCH OF THE DAY, January 22, 2021
CURTIS BETTENCOURT, Fort Bragg. Assault with deadly weapon not a gun.
JAVIER MONTANO-FIGUEROA, Boonville/Ukiah. DUI.
CHERRI ROBERTS, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol. (Frequent flyer.)
HOME RUN KING HANK AARON DIES AT 86
Henry Louis "Hank" Aaron, the Hall of Fame slugger whose 755 career home runs long stood as baseball's golden mark, has died. He was 86.
The Atlanta Braves said in a release that Aaron died peacefully in his sleep. An assistant to Aaron said in a statement to ABC News that his family was asking for privacy at this time.
"We are absolutely devastated by the passing of our beloved Hank," Atlanta Braves chairman Terry McGuirk said in a statement. "He was a beacon for our organization first as a player, then with player development, and always with our community efforts. His incredible talent and resolve helped him achieve the highest accomplishments, yet he never lost his humble nature. Henry Louis Aaron wasn't just our icon, but one across Major League Baseball and around the world. His success on the diamond was matched only by his business accomplishments off the field and capped by his extraordinary philanthropic efforts.
"We are heartbroken and thinking of his wife Billye and their children Gaile, Hank, Jr., Lary, Dorinda and Ceci and his grandchildren."
One of the sport's great stars despite playing for the small-market Milwaukee/Atlanta Braves throughout a major league career that spanned from 1954 to 1976, Aaron still holds major league records for RBIs (2,297), total bases (6,856) and extra-base hits (1,477), and he ranks among MLB's best in hits (3,771, third all time), games played (3,298, third) and runs scored (2,174, fourth).
But it was Hammerin' Hank's sweet home run swing for which he was best known.
A 6-foot, 180-pounder, Aaron broke Babe Ruth's hallowed home run mark less than a week into the 1974 season, slugging his record 715th off Los Angeles Dodgers left-hander Al Downing in the fourth inning as 50,000-plus fans celebrated in Atlanta. In one of baseball's iconic moments, Aaron trotted around the basepaths -- despite briefly being interrupted by two fans, including a young Craig Sager -- and ultimately touched home plate, where teammates hoisted him and his parents embraced him.
Aaron went on to play two more seasons and finished with 755 career home runs, a mark that stood as the major league record until Barry Bonds broke it in 2007.
Aaron finished his career with a host of accolades. He was the National League MVP in 1957 -- the same year the Braves won the World Series -- a two-time NL batting champion (1956, '59), a three-time Gold Glove winner in right field (1958-60) and a record 25-time All-Star.
He was enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1982, receiving 97.8% approval in his first year on the ballot. In 1999, MLB created the Hank Aaron Award, given annually to the best hitter in both the AL and NL.
Off the field, Aaron was an activist for civil rights, having been a victim of racial inequalities. Aaron was born in Mobile, Alabama, and didn't play organized high school baseball because only white students had teams. During the buildup to his passing of Ruth's home run mark, threats were made on his life by people who did not want to see a Black man break the record.
"This is a considerable loss for the entire city of Atlanta," Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said in a statement. "While the world knew him as 'Hammering Hank Aaron' because of his incredible, record-setting baseball career, he was a cornerstone of our village, graciously and freely joining Mrs. Aaron in giving their presence and resources toward making our city a better place. As an adopted son of Atlanta, Mr. Aaron was part of the fabric that helped place Atlanta on the world stage. Our gratitude, thoughts and prayers are with the Aaron family."
After he retired, Aaron joined the Braves as an executive and hoped more Black players could find that type of work after their playing days were finished.
"On the field, Blacks have been able to be super giants," he once said. "But once our playing days are over, this is the end of it and we go back to the back of the bus again."
Aaron was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2002.
JOHN HEILEMAN at MSNBC compared Biden’s inaugural speech to Abe Lincoln’s second inaugural, and suggested that the sight of “the Clintons, the Bushes, and the Obamas” gathered for the event was like “the Marvel superheroes all back in one place” (this was not the first post-election Avengers comparison to be heard on cable). Rachel Maddow talked about going through “half a box of Kleenex” as she watched the proceedings. Chris Wallace on Fox said Biden’s lumbering speech was “the best inaugural address I ever heard,” John Kennedy’s “Ask Not” speech included. The joyful tone was set the night before by CNN’s David Challen, who said lights along the Washington Mall were like “extensions of Joe Biden’s arms embracing America.”
— Matt Taibbi
SO, OUR LONG NATIONAL NIGHTMARE IS OVER. After this commercial break, the new national nightmare begins. — Jeff St. Clair
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
These transgender guys should at least be required to get “package removal” surgery. That shows commitment. As it stands, any guy can slip on lady’s running shoes and pink shorts and proclaim himself a competitor in women’s athletics. Pull out the big scalpel and see who stays and who runs away!
THE ECHO CHAMBER ERA
by Matt Taibbi
Trust in media is down, but if journalists don’t listen to critics anyway, why should they care?
A day after Joe Biden's inauguration, the headline in Axios read: “Trust in media hits a new low.” Felix Salmon wrote that “for the first time ever, fewer than half of all Americans have trust in traditional media.” The Edelman survey showed overall trust in the press dropping to 46%.
The traditional explanation for this phenomenon is that Republicans hate the press a lot, but Democrats just a little. The Axios story bore this out somewhat, as only 18% of Republicans reported trusting media, versus 57% of Democrats.
Still, 57% of half your potential audience is nothing to brag about, when you’re in the trust business. Other numbers, like 56% of respondents believing journalists are “purposely trying to mislead people,” or 58% thinking that “most news organizations are more concerned with supporting an ideology… than with informing the public” are more ominous.
Media critics who work in the corporate press, like Margaret Sullivan of the Washington Post, seem determined to look everywhere but inward for solutions. The dominant legend in our business is that if Republicans believe in fairy tales like Q and “Stop the Steal,” the traditional press can do nothing but stand its ground.
Sullivan’s reaction to at-times “embarrassing” Inauguration Day coverage was an injunction to reporters to resist the temptation to try to appear more balanced by showing “toughness” with regard to the incoming Biden regime. If anything, Sullivan said, the press should stand even taller in its opposition to red-state lie merchants like Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz, “without fearing that they’d be called partisan.”
Karen Attiah, the Post’s global opinions editor, took the same approach. She wrote that Trump had been caused in part by the media’s penchant for “balance” and “presenting both sides.” Going forward, it will therefore be necessary to work even harder to avoid missteps like Politico’s much-criticized decision to publish Ben Shapiro, which Attiah decried as a decision defended with the “rusty armor of both-sidesism.”
It’s astonishing that after so many years of decline in trust in media — this phenomenon has been going on for over a decade now, something I first started noticing when I published The Great Derangement back in 2008 — media people still think the issue is a mathematical question of “sides,” with widespread audience revulsion a kind of reward for their unflinching correctitude.
Sullivan was a lot closer to the truth when she warned of being seduced by the return of a Biden administration that closely reflects “our values,” which she described as being like the world as represented in West Wing: celebrating “multiculturalism, a belief in the principles of liberal democracy, and a kind of wonky idealism.”
West Wing was General Hospital for rich white liberals, a seven-season love letter to the enlightened attitudes of the Bobo-in-Paradise demographic. If that’s the self-image of the national press, it’s no wonder they make people want to vomit. The coverage of Biden’s inauguration, another celebration of those attitudes, was an almost perfect mathematical inverse of late-stage Trump reporting, a monument to groveling sycophancy.
John Heileman at MSNBC compared Biden’s speech to Abe Lincoln’s second inaugural, and suggested that the sight of “the Clintons, the Bushes, and the Obamas” gathered for the event was like “the Marvel superheroes all back in one place” (this was not the first post-election Avengers comparison to be heard on cable). Rachel Maddow talked about going through “half a box of Kleenex” as she watched the proceedings. Chris Wallace on Fox said Biden’s lumbering speech was “the best inaugural address I ever heard,” John Kennedy’s “Ask Not” speech included. The joyful tone was set the night before by CNN’s David Challen, who said lights along the Washington Mall were like “extensions of Joe Biden’s arms embracing America.”
As these neo-Soviet ministrations spread across the airwaves, an opposite storyline was discarded. From the Capitol riot on, we’d been warned about a sequel act of violence by Trump supporters. On January 11th, ABC reported that an internal FBI memo had “received information about an unidentified armed group” planning a “huge uprising” if efforts were made to remove Donald Trump via the 25th Amendment, while protesters were planning to “storm” state capitols in “all 50 states.”
We were shown how 25,000 National Guard troops were deployed to protect the capital, with attendant subplots about an unusual effort to politically screen those Guardsmen. “While we have no intelligence indicating an insider threat,” Defense Secretary Chris Miller said, “we are leaving no stone unturned in securing the capital.”
Beyond the 50-state threat, what if Trump just wouldn’t leave? That was the subject of countless stories across all four years of the Trump experience, with Vanity Fair’s “No One Knows How to Get Trump to Leave In January?” being a typical example. They speculated that the Secret Service might have to pull an old landlord’s trick:
[The Secret Service] could also simply do the equivalent of changing the locks: “When the staff leaves on January 19, don’t let them back into the complex the next day,” an ex-agent said. “He can’t do anything without his staff.”
Should we worry about martial law? Before the inauguration, USA Today and multiple other outlets wondered what would happen if Trump invoked the Insurrection Act, especially after the CEO of My Pillow, Michael Lindell, was spotted entering the White House with a document full of notes that apparently contained suggestions for invoking military rule.
On Inauguration Day these stories melted away in silence. Trump and his wife Melania ditched the White House more or less without event Wednesday morning, unless one counts the unauthorized use of Village People hit “YMCA” as an exit tune (“it would seem his abusive use of our music has finally ended,” the band said in a statement). In localities around the country, there were but a few scattered reports about tiny or nonexistent demonstrations at state capitols:
Lee Fang: “In all of New York and California a single protester showed up at the state capitol to protest. So terrifying.”
In other cases, as in the instance of a gun-rights rally held at the Virginia State Capitol — many of whose attendees were apparently vocal opponents of Trump — livestream coverage by indy outlets like Jordan Chariton’s Status Coup was shut down, allegedly because it violated Google’s “firearms policy.”
Balance isn’t about giving credulous coverage or equal time to Donald Trump or Josh Hawley or Ben Shapiro (though I think it’s crazy for news organizations to cut off all conservatives), it’s about being consistent. If you tell us on January 12th that all 50 state capitols are under serious threat — I was genuinely worried — you have to tell us what happens at the end of the story a week later. Was that threat real but deterred? Was it overblown? What happened to all of those warnings?
This has been an ongoing theme of coverage in the Trump years: hyping a threat for a news cycle or two, then moving to the next panic as the basis for the first one dissipates. How many headlines were aimed out our outrage centers in the last four years that were quietly memory-holed, once they’d outlived their political utility? We read dozens of stories before the election warning that Russia was already interfering in the 2020 election. A smattering of New York Times headlines alone:
“Lawmakers Are Warned That Russia Is Meddling to Re-elect Trump”
“Russia Continues Interfering in Election to Try to Help Trump, U.S. Intelligence Says”
“‘Chaos Is the Point’: Russian Hackers and Trolls Grow Stealthier in 2020”
“F.B.I. Warns of Russian Interference in 2020 Race and Boosts Counterintelligence Operations”
“Putin Most Likely Directing Election Interference to Aid Trump, C.I.A. Says”
The Times almost weekly quoted people like the “American official” who said Russia was like a “tornado, capable of inflicting damage on American democracy now,” or FBI Director Christopher Wray, who said there was a “very active” campaign to influence the election and “denigrate Vice President Biden.”
Then Biden won the election, the story disappeared, and the near-immediate conclusion of the same New York Times was that the election had been “free of fraud.” They quoted the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency as saying the 2020 vote was “the most secure in American history,” and as for all of those pre-election scare stories?
A bipartisan consensus like this may tempt some people to conclude that the dire pre-election warnings were overblown, that the risks to the election were never that serious. The reality is the opposite…
Like the wider Trump-Russia story itself, which magically vanished from coverage before both the 2018 and 2020 election seasons, audiences were asked for a time to care about certain things as if their lives depended on it, then just as quickly asked to forget the issues ever came up. And they wonder why people feel manipulated?
We went through many of these episodes, from Bountygate to the “mass hysterectomies” story to the recent spate of “What if Trump blows up the universe?” scare-o-grams (Forbes, echoing the famed “Generalissimo Francisco Franco is Still Dead” construction, wrote the best of these, with “Enraged and Isolated, Donald Trump Still Has Sole Control of America’s Nukes”).
We were repeatedly told that revealing the name of this or that patriotic news source would “risk lives,” only to have those sources turn out to be people like paid DNC researcher Christopher Steele, the “informant” Stefan Halper (exposed as an FBI source in the press in the eighties), or Brookings Institution fellow Igor Danchenko, who produced the pee tape tale over “beers” at a conversation made in “jest” with a pal in Moscow. Needless to say, no lives were ever threatened, and in many of those cases — Steele’s especially — the rationale for keeping the person’s name and employer a secret was clearly corrupt.
Blue-state audiences didn’t ask for accounting for those official warnings for the same reason Trump voters never asked what happened to those three million undocumented votes Hillary Clinton supposedly won in 2016: audiences don’t demand explanations for puffed-up claims about other groups.
People like Sullivan would have you believe that “balance” is a mandate to give voice to clearly illegitimate points of view, but it’s really about not falling so completely in love with your “values” that you stop caring to avoid mistakes about those who don’t share them, or even just mistakes generally.
By any standard, the press had a terrible four years, from the mangling of dozens of Russiagate tales to scandals like the New York Times “Caliphate” disaster and the underappreciated Covington High School story fiasco. Still, many in the business can’t see how bad it’s been, because they’ve walled themselves off so completely from potential critics.
Coupled with the enhanced aggressiveness of Silicon Valley in removing dissenting accounts across the spectrum — Facebook is taking down six Socialist Workers Party accounts in Britain as I write this, a day after zapping a series of Antifa accounts — reporters at places like the Post, the Times, and CNN every day have less and less to worry about in terms of audience blowback, and they know it. Just in the first few days of the Biden administration, we’ve seen editorial decisions that would never have been attempted once upon a time.
The Post just tried to remove seven paragraphs of their own archived article about Vice President Kamala Harris, which contained a cringeworthy scene of Harris and her sister joking about prisoners begging for water, only to restore it after an outcry. CNN meanwhile ran a story that incoming Biden officials had to “build everything from scratch” with regard to Covid-19 policy because the Trump administration had no plan for vaccine distribution at all — not a bad or even a terrible plan, but literally a “nonexistent” plan, despite the fact that 36 million vaccines had already been delivered.
In this rare case, rival media organizations cried foul, with reporters from both Politico and the Washington Post blasting the report as untrue and a “gambit to lower expectations” by the incoming administration. In an atmosphere where editors really feared discontent from outside demographics or rival party politicians, a story like that, with an over-the-top-to-impossible premise, would never even be tried.
Competing voices and critics who’ll keep your newsroom at least theoretically honest are important, which is why the mass-deletions of alternative media accounts are so upsetting: it hugely enhances the likelihood of errors and cheap caricatures, as well as the belief in one’s infallibility. The fact that pundits and reporters are leading the charge for an ever-purer monoculture is beyond creepy. A tweet by Anand Giridharadas expressed what probably more than a few people in West Wing media-land are thinking these days:
“It’s time for this question to be front and center: Should Fox News be allowed to exist? Brain-mashing as a business model shouldn’t be legal.”
It’s bad that trust in media is down, but even worse that so few in the business seem to think it’s a problem.
(TK News by Matt Taibbi: https://taibbi.substack.com/about)
MEMO OF THE AIR: GOOD NIGHT RADIO ALL NIGHT TONIGHT!
Hi. Marco here. Deadline to email your writing for tonight's (Friday night's) MOTA show is about 7pm. After that, send it whenever it's ready, up to 6pm Friday next week, and I'll take care of it then. There's always another time. There's no pressure. In fact, here's a tip I have learned: Always get up and at least wander into the other room and come back and look at it again before you press Send on anything to anyone. You'll be surprised at how many times this saves you from laugh-shouting GODDAMMIT at yourself.
MEMO OF THE AIR: GOOD NIGHT RADIO is every Friday, 9pm to 5am on 107.7fm KNYO-LP Fort Bragg as well as anywhere else via airtime.knyo.org:8040/128 (That's the regular link to hear what's on KNYO in real time, any time.)
And any time of any day or night you can go to https://MemoOfTheAir.wordpress.com and hear last week's MOTA show. By Saturday night the recording of tonight's show will also be there, in the latest post, right on top.
Also, at https://MemoOfTheAir.wordpress.com there's a funky cornucopia (never been washed) of links to divert yourself with until showtime, not to mention between shows, such as:
Sort of a luge on wheels. https://www.bitsandpieces.us/2021/01/17/switzerland-mountain-coaster/
Think up a spaceship name and this program will design that ship. Here, I've started you off with the U.S.S Henny Youngman: https://ship.shapewright.com/?name=Henny+Youngman
And a placid Japanese typewriter from the Rape of Nanking era. https://laughingsquid.com/horizontal-cylinder-toshiba-typewriter/
— Marco McClean
GO BIG, JOE. BIG!
President-elect Joe Biden and every Democrat in Congress: This moment calls for boldness. We don’t need another Barack Obama or Bill Clinton. We need a Franklin D. Roosevelt. It would be a huge mistake to think governing as centrists will somehow appease your most vocal and violent critics. It never does and never will. Those who subscribe to QAnon nonsense are too far gone in their sickness, and the relatively sane Republicans will call you a socialist no matter what. Embrace the label.
Help build a diverse working-class alliance by advancing policies that even Fox News surveys show have broad support. Include policies like Medicare for All, the Green New Deal and free college. Bring back the Fairness Doctrine, and make it mandatory that every student learns how to identify and verify sources.
These are the sorts of actions that will garner you enthusiastic, sustainable support. That’s the only way to marginalize the extremists, to ensure their demise. The pre-Trump status quo will not suffice; it will make matters worse.
American exceptionalism has always been a myth, and there’s nothing that says the U.S. can’t become a failed state or that fascism can’t take root here. It’s a trying time, but I remain hopeful. Be bold.
“We’re going to need more sage.”
ROUGH RIDEN’ WITH BIDEN
by James Kunstler
Speaking of the inauguration, I don’t know what was more peculiar: Lady Gaga sweeping out onto the capitol dais in Hunger Games drag — and I mean but exactly, down to the golden mockingjay pinned above her left breast — or Garth Brooks’s post-hymn dash to the exit as though he just heard the repo man was coming for his Gulfstream jet parked across the Potomac at Reagan National Airport.
The immense ranked American flags deployed silently down the mall in place of annoying US citizens lent a funereal vibe to the proceedings (as in the death of your country), while the thousands of massed national guard troops signaled the paranoia crackling under the surface as Ol’ White Joe Biden stepped forward to commence his party’s punishments against the unWoke (disguised as a call for “unity”). He was surrounded by a virtual wax museum of Deep Staters salivating for the upcoming blood-feast: The Obamas, Hillary and Bill (nodding off), Nancy, Chuck, Mitch… but just who was the Asian chap sitting behind the man-of-the-hour? Secret Service? Or his new minder (courtesy of Uncle Xi)?
As for Mr. Trump, he departed as he had arrived in 2016: stridently contemptuous toward the parasitical oligarchy that finally expelled him like a bladder-stone. The threatened impeachment trial will be a marvel of casuistry — a procedure for removing someone from office who is no longer in office — and also for the transparently flimsy charge of “inciting the insurrection” at the capitol. As if to underscore the absurdity of that, Antifa squads rioted in Portland and Seattle on inauguration night. Their banners expressed less-than-jubilant sentiment for the new regime. The Portland outfit broke windows and spray-painted the city’s Democratic headquarters, faking-out pols who had warned against an uprising of “white supremacists.” Of course, all those arrested would be promptly released without charges — demonstrating just how serious the Wokester officials running those cities really are about criminal anarchy. The grannies swept into the capitol rotunda by Antifa incursionists January 6th won’t be so lucky.
Neither did a much chattered-about military takeover happen during the tension-filled transition hours, though kibitzers on the web insist days later that it remains secretly underway. On his way out, Mr. Trump failed to pardon either Julian Assange or Edward Snowden, a disturbing failure, while he commuted the sentences of a couple of two-bit rap-stars, based on their contributions to advancing human dignity. And whatever Mr. Trump finally rooted out in the way of declassified FBI documents has already disappeared into the DC quicksand.
Much adored as he is for valiantly opposing everything swampish, it might be best now for Mr. Trump to just retire from the political scene and leave the battle to others. He made his point, colorfully and often bravely, considering the astounding bad faith of his adversaries, though he certainly could have articulated the stakes better and with more decorum. He leaves not merely a vacuum but a sucking chest wound of leadership opposing hysterical and tyrannical Wokery. Who will step forward in his absence? Probably someone we haven’t heard from yet. That’s how these things work.
The narrative instructs us that the election is resolved — so shut up about it already. But the election is not resolved. Enterprising gumshoes will be sifting through the evidence, interviewing witnesses, and combing through the thickets of fraud for a long time to come. Crime will be outed, if not prosecuted. Mr. Biden moves under a cloud of illegitimacy. Beyond the lingering election dispute lies all that evidence about the Biden family’s money-grubbing operations in foreign lands, clear down to the money-laundering records. Think that won’t bite eventually?
Nothing else is resolved about the national drift toward the Niagara of woe just downstream of here. Mr. Biden couldn’t have asked for trouble more loudly on Day One than by shutting down deportations of foreign nationals here illegally and signaling an open borders policy. The legions of newly unemployed and financially ruined US small business owners and workers may take a dim view of that. Rent and mortgage moratoria are extended as far ahead as June, as if landlords and mortgage-lenders don’t need to be paid to keep the banking system running. The new president has promised further, and even more severe, Covid-19 lockdowns. The Democratic Party apparently wants to utterly destroy what’s left of the real on-the-ground economy. No incoming US president has gotten off to a more feckless and ill-fated start.
(Support Kunstler’s writing by visiting his Patreon Page.)
JOE BIDEN SPEECH on ECONOMIC RESCUE/RELIEF, Jan. 22, 2021.
Good afternoon, folks. Vice President Harris and I just received a briefing from our economic team and we remain in a once in a century public health crisis that’s led to the most unequal job and economic crisis in modern history. And the crisis is only deepening. It’s not getting better. It’s deepening. Yesterday, we learned that 900,000 more Americans filed for unemployment, 900,000. They join millions of Americans who through no fault of their own, have lost the dignity and respect that comes with a job and a paycheck.
So many of them never thought they’d ever be out of work in the first place, just like my dad did when he was used to lie awake at night when I was a kid staring at the ceiling unable to sleep, because he worried about whether or not he’s about to lose his health care. Or whether we were going to have the money to pay the mortgage, because of the economic circumstance he was in. And now a lot of these folks are facing eviction or waiting hours in their cars, literally hours in their cars waiting to be able to feed their children as they drive up to a food bank.
This is the United States of America and they’re waiting to feed their kids. Folks who are able to still keep their job, many have seen their paychecks reduced and they’re barely hanging on and wondering what’s next. Sometimes the anxiety about what’s going to happen next is more consequential than what actually happened, but this is happening today in America. And this cannot be who we are as a country. These are not the values of our nation. We cannot, will not let people go hungry. We cannot let people be evicted because of nothing they did themselves.
I cannot watch people lose their jobs and we have to act. We have to act now. It’s not just to meet them moral obligation to treat our fellow Americans with the dignity respect they deserve. This is an economic imperative, a growing economic and consensus that we must act decisively and boldly to grow the economy for all Americans, not just for tomorrow, but in the future. There’s a growing course of top economists that agree. That in this moment of crisis with interest rates as low as they are, historic lows, it is smart fiscal investment, including deficit spending, and they’re more urgent than ever.
And that return on these investments in jobs and racial equity is going to prevent long-term economic damage and benefits that are going to far surpass their costs. If we don’t act, the rest of the world is not standing still in terms of their competitive advantage or the competitive possibilities relative to us. That our debt situation will be more stable and not less stable according to these economists. And that such investments in our people is going to strengthen our economic competitiveness as a nation and help us out-compete our competitors in the global economy, because we’re going to grow the economy with these investments.
While the COVID-19 package that passed in December was the first step. As I said, at the time, it’s just a down payment. We need more action and we need to move fast. Last week, I laid out a two-step plan of rescue and recovery to get through the crisis and to a better and stronger and more secure America. The first step of our American Rescue Plan is a plan to tackle the pandemic and get direct financial relief to Americans who need it the most.
In just a few days, it’s just been a few days since I outlined this plan and it’s received bipartisan support from the majority of American mayors and governors. Businesses and labor organizations have together welcomed it as an urgent action that’s needed. Even Wall Street firms have underscored its importance. In fact, an analysis by Moody’s estimates that if we pass our American Rescue Plan, the economy would create 7.5 million jobs just in this year alone.
That would be on the way to the more than 18 million, I think it was 18,600,000 jobs that they believe would be created over the four year period with our Build Back Better recovery plan. And with our American Rescue Plan, our economy would return to full employment a full year faster than without the plan, even President Trump’s. President Trump’s now, not some liberal organization. President Trump’s top former economic advisor, Kevin Hassett said, quote, “He absolutely is in favor of this rescue plan.”
This almost doesn’t have a partisan piece to it. We’re seeing the support because this plan takes a step that we so urgently need. More than just a step number of steps. It funds big parts of the COVID-19 national strategy that I released yesterday, we released yesterday. Our national strategy puts us on a war footing to aggressively speed up our COVID-19 response, especially on vaccines and testing and reopening our schools.
I found it fascinating yesterday, the press asked the question is a 100 million enough? Week before they were saying, “Biden, you’re crazy. You can’t do 100 million in 100 days.” Well, we’re going to God-willing not only do 100 million, we’re going to do more than that, but we have to do this. We have to move. The American Rescue Plan also includes economic relief for most Americans who are in need. We’re going to finish the job of getting a total of $2,000 in direct payments to folks. $600, which was already passed is simply not enough. If you still have to choose between paying your rent, putting food on the table, we’ll extend unemployment insurance benefits for millions of workers beyond the deadline that’s now set.
It means that 16 million Americans who are currently relying on unemployment benefits while they look for work can count on these checks continuing to be there in the middle of this crisis. The American Rescue Plan also addresses the growing housing crisis in America. Approximately 14 million Americans, 14 million have fallen behind on rent and many risk eviction. If we fail to act, there’ll be a wave of evictions and foreclosures in the coming months as this pandemic rages on. Because there’s nothing we can do to change the trajectory of the pandemic in the next several months.
So look, this should overwhelm emergency shelters, increase COVID-19 infections as people have nowhere to go and can’t socially distance. The American Rescue Plan asked Congress to provide rental assistance for millions of hard hit families and tenants. This will also be a bridged economic recovery for countless mom and pop landlords who can’t afford not to have the rent, but they can’t wait. So on Inauguration Day, I directed my administration to extend nationwide restrictions on evictions and foreclosures. These crises are straining the budgets of states and cities and tribal communities that are forced to consider layoffs and service reductions among essential workers, police officers, firefighters, first responders, nurses are all at the risk of losing their jobs.
Over the last year, more than 600,000 educators have lost their jobs in cities and towns. The American Rescue Plan will provide emergency funding to keep these essential workers on the job and maintain essential services. Look, it will also help small businesses that are the engines of our economic growth. When you say small business, most people think the major corporate entities are the ones who hire everybody. These small businesses are the glue that hold and they’re important, but these small businesses that glue and hold these communities together. They are hurting badly and they account for nearly half of the entire us workforce, nearly half.
Our rescue plan will provide flexible grants to help the hardest hit small businesses to survive the pandemic. And low cost capital to help entrepreneurs of all backgrounds create and maintain jobs, plus provide essential goods and services that communities so desperately depend on. Look, our recovery plan also calls for an increase in the minimum wage at 15, at least $15 an hour. No one in America should work 40 hours a week making below the poverty line. $15 gets people above the poverty line. We have so many millions of people working 40 hours a week working and some with two jobs, and they’re still below the poverty line.
Our plan provides access to affordable childcare. That’s going to enable parents, particularly women to get back to work. Millions are not working now because they don’t have that care. All told, the American Rescue Plan would lift 12 million Americans out of poverty and cut child poverty in half. That’s five million children lifted out of poverty. Our plan will reduce poverty in the black community by one third and reduce poverty in the Hispanic community by almost 40%.
I look forward to working with members of Congress of both parties to move quickly to get this American Rescue Plan to the American people. And then we can move with equal urgency and bipartisanship to the second step of our economic plan to Build Back Better, the recovery plan. It’s a plan that’s going to make historic investments in infrastructure, manufacturing, innovation, research and development, and clean energy and so much more that’s going to create millions more jobs. Good paying jobs, not minimum wage jobs. It will only work with members of both parties in the Congress. There are steps that we can and must take right now.
For example, on Inauguration Day, I directed my administration to pause student loan repayments for interest for the interest payments for Americans with federal student loans until at least September. So they’re not going to have to pay till September. They still pay the bill as it stands now, but they will not accrue interest and they don’t have to pay, begin to pay until September. And we may have to look beyond that I might add. Today, I’m signing an executive order that directs the whole of government, a whole of government effort to help millions of Americans who were badly hurting.
Requires all federal agencies to do what they can do to provide relief to families, small businesses and communities. And in the days ahead, I expect agencies to act. Let me touch on two ways these actions can help change Americans’ lives. We need to tackle the growing hunger crisis in America. One in seven households in America, one in seven, more than one in five black and Latino households in America report they do not have enough food to eat. That includes nearly 30 million adults and as many as 12 million children.
And again, they’re in this situation through no fault of their own. It’s unconscionable. The American Rescue Plan provides additional emergency food and nutrition assistance for tens of millions of children and families to address this crisis. But families literally can’t wait another day. As a result of the executive order I’m going to shortly sign, the Department of Agriculture will consider taking immediate steps to make it easier for the hardest hit families to enroll and claim more generous benefits in the critical food and nutrition assistance area.
This is going to help tens of millions of families, especially those who can’t provide meals for their kids, who are learning remotely at home who are not receiving the regular meal plans that they have at school for breakfast or lunch. We also need to protect the health and safety of the American worker. Right now, approximately 40% of households in America have at least one member with a pre-existing condition. Just imagine, you’re out of work through no fault of your own, you file for unemployment while you’re looking for a job, you find one and you get an offer. But then you find out if there’s a high risk of you’re getting infected with COVID-19 because of your condition and you and your loved ones have even greater risk of death and serious illness because of the pre-existing conditions, so you turn it down.
Right now if you did that, you could be denied unemployment insurance because you’re offered a job, you didn’t take it. It’s wrong. No one should have to choose between their livelihoods and their own health, or the health of their loved ones in the middle of a deadly pandemic. Because of the executive order I’m about to sign, I expect the Department of Labor to guarantee the right to refuse employment that will jeopardize your health. And if you do so, you’ll still be able to qualify for the insurance. That’s a judgment the Labor Department will make.
Look, they’re just two consequential ways that the action I’m taking today will help people in need. Another way to help approximately two million veterans maintain their financial footing by pausing federal collections on overpayments and debts. Another, make sure that federal contractors are receiving taxpayers’ dollars, provide their workers with the pay and benefits they deserve. These are places where federal tax dollars are administered or being made available to build things from ships to staircases. And we let out the federal government lets the contract and we’re going to make sure that they buy American and are made in America.
And here’s another. Right now there are up to 8 million people that are eligible for direct payments from the CARES Act and a relief bill passed in December. They’re entitled to those payments, but there’s not an easy way for those folks to access them. So we’re making it a priority today to fix that problem and get them relief they’re entitled to. Look, I’m going to close and summarize this way. A lot of America’s hurting. The virus is surging. We’re 400,000 dead, expected to reach well over 600,000. Families are going hungry. People are at risk of being evicted. Job losses are mounting again. We need to act. No matter how you look at it, we need to act.
If we act now, our economy will be stronger in both the short and long run. That’s what economist left, right and center telling us. Both liberal and conservative will be better and stronger across the board. If we act now, we’ll be better able to compete with the world. If we act now, we’ll be better able to meet our moral obligations to one another as Americans. I don’t believe that people in this country just want to stand by and watch their friends, their neighbors, co-workers, fellow Americans go hungry, lose their homes or lose the sense of dignity and hope and respect. I don’t believe that, especially in the middle of a pandemic that’s so weakened and wrecked so much havoc and cause so much pain on America.
That’s not who we are. The bottom line is this. We’re in a national emergency. We need to act like we’re in a national emergency. So we’ve got to move with everything we’ve got and we’ve got to do it together. I don’t believe Democrats or Republicans are going hungry and losing jobs. I believe Americans are going hungry and losing their jobs, and we have the tools to fix it. We have the tools to get through this. We have the tools to get this virus under control and our economy back on track. And we have the tools to help people. So let’s use the tools, all of them, use them now.
So I’m going to sign this executive order, but let me conclude again by saying. Folks, this is one of the cases where business, labor Wall Street, Main Street, liberal, conservative, economists know we have to act now not only to help people who are in need now, but to allow us to be in a competitive position worldwide and be the leader of the world economy in the next year or two and three and going forward. So thank you. I’m going to sign this executive order.
The first one is the economic relief related to COVID-19 pandemic that I referenced. The second one is protecting the federal workforce. Thank you very much.
Question: Mr. President, do you support Mitch McConnell’s timeline for a February impeachment trial?
Biden: I haven’t heard the detail of it, but I do think that having some time to get our administration up and running [inaudible 00:21:12] I want to thank the Senate for passing on our Secretary of Defense. It looks like our Secretary of Treasury. It looks like our Secretary of State’s in place. So the more time we have to get up and running and meet these crises, the better.