Cloudy Cool | 2 New Cases | Yorkville BBQ | 1950 Cloverdale | Phase 3 | Smith Story | Murray Jailed | Dusky Hills | Ed Notes | Morning Chase | Goldeneye Gig | Political Hypocrisy | Streetscape Update | Yesterday's Catch | Guerneville 1910 | Wetback Stories | Skeleton Lineup | Counting Coup | Avoidable Pain | PA Meeting | First Lowrider | EV Power | Leaning Anarchy | USA Last | Mighty Ira | California Map | Marco Radio | Pomo Indians | Paradigm Failure | Rebel Education
EXPECT CLOUDINESS INCREASE throughout the day with cooler temperatures across the region. Dry conditions will continue through half of the next week. (NWS)
2 NEW COVID CASES reported in Mendocino County yesterday afternoon.
BBQ SATURDAY, APRIL 3 AT THE YORKVILLE MARKET
We will be BBQing shrimp skewers with bacon and pineapple tomorrow afternoon, from 12:00ish to 4:00ish, or until we sell out. These will be served along side a rice pilaf with spring vegetables - the price will be $15 per plate.
We will be CLOSED on Easter Sunday. See you on Monday, 4/5.
Lisa at Yorkville Market, 894-9456, <firstname.lastname@example.org>
TED WILLIAMS DEBUNKS PHASE THREE MYTHS
John McCowen Writes:
In the Ukiah Daily Journal interview Supervisor Ted Williams addresses some of the many myths about the proposed Phase Three ordinance. Ted does a great job of replacing false Phase Three fears with facts. Don't be fooled into supporting a failed system that only benefits illegal growers. People are understandably upset at seeing natural habitat bulldozed; hoophouses destroying their viewsheds and lighting up the night sky; water resources being depleted; heavy trucks damaging public and private roads and other negative impacts of unregulated cannabis that degrade the environment and neighborhood quality of life. But all those things are happening now under the current ordinance. The proposed new ordinance will align with State law; guarantee extensive environmental review and CEQA compliance; require notification to neighbors; require a Public Hearing where all may be heard and every concern addressed; require the Planning Commission to make strict findings prior to approval; allow outright denial by the Planning Commission or allow imposition of conditions to address environmental and neighborhood concerns. The current ordinance contains none of these protections. One Supervisor wants to protect the current failed system that has kept 1,100 applicants in limbo and provided a shield for illegal growers. Supervisors Ted Williams, Dan Gjerde, Glenn McGourty and Maureen (Mo) Mulheren have given preliminary support to a functional regulatory system. People who don't like what they see now owe it to themselves to get the facts about the proposed land use ordinance. Don't be fooled into pressuring the BOS to stay with the current system that only benefits illegal growers who will never be able to get a permit from the State. Everything people complain about is what's happening now. If you don't like what you see insist that the BOS adopt a functional ordinance AND allocate funding for enforcement.
PLEASE KEEP Smith Story Wine Cellars in mind if you are in need of a unique gift or something special for yourself. The tasting room is packed! The shelves are full of vintage glassware, decanters, antiques, poetry, espresso sets, cookbooks and a few hundred little treasures. Complimentary gift wrap always. We have been here now for 4 years, owned and operated by my husband Eric and me, oh and Lord Sandwich of course. People have traveled from all over the world (pre-covid) to meet us and experience our world here in the Anderson Valley, we always welcome seeing a local face! Mask on of course... Cheers to a beautiful weekend.
— Ali Story
(PS...We are located in Philo, serving wine on the patio that was formerly Stone & Embers & our front door is open just below The Madrones upstairs guest quarters)
EX-UKIAH POLICE SERGEANT JAILED, CHARGED IN TWO SEX ASSAULT CASES
by Julie Johnson
A Ukiah police sergeant was forced to leave the department amid two investigations into sex crimes he’s accused of committing against women, one allegation involving a sexual assault at a hotel while he was on duty in November and the other involving a rape while armed with a gun in 2014.
Kevin Murray, 37, of Lakeport, was arrested in January and charged with felony sexual battery against a woman after gaining access to her hotel room on Nov. 25, according to police officials and court records.
Then Thursday, Murray, who had been released on bail, was jailed again on suspicion of committing felony crimes against a woman in 2014, including rape while carrying a firearm and oral copulation, court records show.
Murray remained in Mendocino County Jail Sunday on $500,000 bail. He is scheduled to be arraigned Monday on the new charges in Mendocino County Superior Court.
The former law enforcement officer faces mounting legal woes with multiple criminal and civil charges against him, including a federal civil rights lawsuit, alleging he used excessive force on a Ukiah man in 2018.
Murray had been with the Ukiah Police Department for about 10 years, starting as a patrol officer and promoted to sergeant in April.
“We reacted right away when we realized there was potential criminality,” Chief Justin Wyatt said about the November sex assault accusation that surfaced last week, which Wyatt said was immediately referred to the Mendocino County District Attorney’s Office.
“We realized the gravity of what we learned,” Wyatt said.
Wyatt declined to provide information about the rape case from 2014, saying his department was not conducting an investigation into it. Murray was a police officer at that time, but the chief said he had no information to suggest he was on duty at the time of the alleged crimes. Wyatt said the Mendocino County District Attorney’s Office was leading the investigations into both matters.
County District Attorney Dave Eyster, through a spokesman, declined to comment on the investigations because the cases against Murray are pending court matters.
Murray was working Nov. 25, 2020 when he is suspected of unlawfully gaining access to an occupied hotel room at the Super 8 on South Orchard Avenue in Ukiah, first with a key card and then by other means, according to a complaint filed Jan. 21 in Mendocino County Superior Court.
He is accused of forcing a woman in the room to touch his penis against her will and using his authority as a police sergeant to violate the woman’s civil rights, both felony crimes. He’s also charged with unlawful methamphetamine possession on Dec. 1, according to the complaint.
Wyatt said his department was contacted shortly after Nov. 25 about possible misconduct and they launched an internal investigation and alerted the county District Attorney’s Office.
Wyatt said Murray was first placed on paid leave Dec. 1. Following a two-month internal affairs investigation, Murray’s last day as a city employee was Jan. 28.
Wyatt said police privacy laws barred him from saying whether Murray resigned or was fired, though in a Jan. 29 video posted on social media the Ukiah Police Department announced Murray had been “taken off the force.”
“I want the community to know we acted swiftly and it’s because we took this matter seriously and in the matter in which it was happening that Murray is now answering in the criminal courts for his actions,” Wyatt said in the video.
Murray has been held to answer for the crimes after a preliminary hearing and is awaiting trial in that November rape and drug case related to his January arrest.
Few details were available regarding the 2014 case. Murray is accused of rape with possession of a gun and oral copulation against a woman, crimes that occurred between April 10 and June, according to a felony complaint prosecutors filed Feb. 22.
In a separate matter, Murray is accused of using excessive force against a Ukiah man in 2018 when the sergeant was responding to a 911 call from someone reporting an argument.
Chris Rasku, a 47-year-old disabled veteran, is suing the city alleging Murray violated his civil rights by unlawfully entering his home and using excessive force during that encounter, which left him with four broken ribs, a punctured lungs and other injuries.
Rasku alleged Murray lied on police reports about the initial encounter, which was captured on video by a bystander, according to the complaint filed Feb. 20, 2020 in U.S. District Court in San Francisco.
Murray was called to the apartment complex on North Orchard Avenue on Oct. 13, 2018 by a resident who overheard an argument between two people about a dog.
Rasku had left a note on a neighbor’s door after her dog had been barking all day. The neighbor “returned home drunk and found the note,” and confronted a different neighbor about it, according to the complaint. Rasku tried to break up the argument and said he was the one who left the note.
Murray arrived to the scene and tried to talk with Rasku, who was standing inside the door to his apartment. Rasku declined to leave his apartment and "without exigency or other legal justification, Officer Murray charged at the door, throwing his shoulder into it,“ according to the complaint.
The door hit Rasku in the face, “knocking him unconscious and to the ground. Officer Murray entered Mr. Rasku’s home and began punching and kneeing and kicking him where he lay on the ground,” according to the document.
Murray and other officers carried Rasku out of his apartment without his shoes on and put him in the back seat of a patrol car, when Murray “shut the vehicle’s door on Mr. Rasku’s foot,” he claims.
Rasku was sent to Ukiah Valley Hospital and then was flown to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital where he was treated for four days for his injuries, the complaint said.
In the complaint, Rasku claimed Murray had previously accused him of egging someone’s car, entered his apartment, searched his refrigerator “and claimed that Mr. Rasku’s eggs ”matched” the eggs found at the scene.“
Murray, in a response to the complaint filed May in federal court, denied allegations in the lawsuit including that Rasku was knocked unconscious, that he acted without justification or that he gave false information.
After being released from the hospital, Rasku was arrested on suspicion of felony resisting arrest, but the charges were dropped this year — more than two years after his arrest — after Murray’s body camera video was finally released from the incident, according to his attorney, Izaak Schwaiger.
The civil case is pending.
(courtesy The Press Democrat)
FROST FANS in the Anderson Valley again this morning (Friday), which makes 7 of the last 8 nights of interrupted sleep for… about a thousand residents, Yorkville to Navarro.
AS BEATDOWNS GO, the one of Mr. Magdaleno by five Ukiah police officers, was ugly but, except for pointless (and harmless) punches by one cop, inevitable and not all that bad in the circumstances of a large, strong, drug-fueled, rampaging naked man in the parking lot of a business where he might well have harmed passersby of all ages if he hadn't been somehow suppressed. The tenor of comments makes it seem as if this episode was Mendo's version of Rodney King. Please.
WHAT WOULD YOU have done if you were that first responding sole cop in that circumstance? Me? Alone? Probably maced him and tazed him in the hopes he could be handcuffed or at least stunned into temporary stasis until back-up arrived and he could be group-bull rushed into submission. Which is what happened, apart from the gratuitous, futile punches of that one young cop.
REAL VIOLENCE is always upsetting to witness, and police violence — statistically rare — in these politically charged times, inevitably brings out the critics.
I REMEMBER when former Sheriff Allman said he always carried a blanket, and encouraged his deputies to also carry them as a means to restrain the berserkers. Good idea if the crazed person isn't all that big and strong, but if he's the size of Mr. Magdaleno and combative under the influence, it would take a big, strong cop with a king-size blanket to stop him.
WHAT THE MAGDALENO episode truly reveals is that Mendocino County, population 90,000, with its 31-agency “continuum of care,” doesn't care, at least for Mr. Magdaleno, probably because he's not “reimbursable,” as the helping professionals dismiss the most intractable cases like Mr. M's. The cops, in lieu of the local continuum of un-care, have to repeatedly deal with this guy, and many others like him, and will deal with him again when he's cycled through the County Jail and the courts. And his family will again call the cops to deal with him when Mr. M again decides that methamphetamine is more fun than whatever downers he's on.
I'M NOT TRYING to be a smart ass here, but those ineffective several punches delivered by that Ukiah cop reminded me that there are punches and there are punches. Jack Dempsey once hit an opponent so hard that the guy spun completely around and broke his ankle! Magdaleno was not hit with any real force, not for lack of trying, and appears unscathed in his booking photo.
DIALOGUE OF THE DEAF. I'd written, "Any truly patriotic American with the big income should be happy to turn over a big hunk of his booty to make America a better place, no?”
George Hollister replied: "Yes, but only an idiot would give it to the federal government. Back to original statement: 'THE HOMELESS? The enormity of the prob is clearly beyond the ability of any single municipality or lightly populated rural jurisdiction like Mendo’s to solve by itself, even if the public money were freed up to seriously have a go at getting everyone off the streets who is unable or unwilling to care for himself.' This is mostly false. Single municipalities and lightly populated rural jurisdictions like Mendo’s did more effectively deal with indigent substance abusers, with less money in the past because they did it out of need not out a desire to make money. The mentally ill are another matter altogether. But there is no evidence that sending more tax dollars to Washington will better this problem, in fact the evidence is the opposite. Bruce, let go of your faith in a socialist central government state. I know that is a hard thing to do. Faith has a way of clouding people’s judgement. And it does not matter how smart they happen to be."
Ed reply: When Mendo’s population, circa pre-WWII, was a third the size it is today, the county farm out on Low Gap Road, not far from the county hospital, both institutions well serving the county, a state hospital was built at Talmage because even then there was a public need to humanely house and treat the dependent population, ranging from alcoholics to the dangerously insane, a population that has grown exponentially because, and excuse the simple-minded generality, capitalism drives people crazy, especially the unregulated capitalism we have going. It’s ironic but not surprising that Mendo’s contemporary “helping professionals” — God help you should you fall into their hands — are currently talking about a rural site for the Measure B facility unlikely, at this pace, ever to be created. Back to the future! Americans, except for the mega-rich, used to be pretty much on the same political page, hence the broad support for FDR’s New Deal, which saved big capital from itself. I’m encouraged that old, slow Joe is at least thinking big, that it’s obvious to them that has has got to tote their fair share of the social load. Whether or not it’s too late to save this sucker from collapse is the overall question. I’ll bet most Americans would agree right now that restoration of state hospital systems would be a good thing. Mendo, County of, having lost its way years ago when the hippies came down out of the hills after their interlude of hairy grabass to take over Mendo's public apparatuses — everything from the courts to animal control — ushered in the hopeless entropy now characteristic of public policy in this county. Thank you for listening, George, and have a nice day, which began in Boonville about 1am this morning with the grotesquely intrusive frost fan din, an annual gift to the Anderson Valley from the unregulated wine industry.
THE DOG WASHERS, a comedy (I think) on Netflix by Carlos Moreno. Absolutely brilliant film outta Mexico pegged to the drug trade. Wonderful acting but, ahem, not for people whose idea of entertainment is Singin' in the Rain. This one has it all — graphic sex, violence, enough politically incorrect dialogue to traumatize millions of snowflakes, and a filmic body count in the high two figures. Terrific movie!
LOOKING BACK at newspapers from 2000, I came across a re-print of an intriguing display ad that appeared in the Willits News that year: “Got Noise? If anyone has any information regarding a low decibel hum (vibration) that usually begins around 10 p.m. and lasts throughout the night. This noise can be heard all around Brooktrails, from Poppy Drive through Troll Ridge and 1st, 2nd, 3rd Gates. If you've heard this unusually low decibel frequency (resembling the lowest note on a bass violin), please call 459-4436 and leave your name and phone number so we can try and find out where this sound originates from. Carol Orton. 459-4436.”
SO, LIKE, was the source of the mysterious hum ever discovered? Laz?
FIRST REPORT we received said Ms. Louise Simson, the new Superintendent of the Boonville schools, comes to us from jumping frog country, Calavaras. Now we learn the Ms. S was last in Foster City, and has earned a credential in school administration as well as a special education credential. She has held her current position as Principal/Assistant Superintendent at Vallecito Union School District, a district of 600 students, for five years, and has led her current school in composing and carrying out its COVID-19 re-opening plan, implementing its Distance Learning program, coordinating a district professional development program, participated in labor negotiations, coordinating a successful WASC accreditation, and much else. Ms. Simson may find Boonville much less demanding assuming, of course, the gorgons at the Elementary School don't complicate her life as they did their previous female boss.
BOSS? Wrong word as applied to schools these days. They're now a kind of mutual-consent collective, with the bosses getting paid a lot more than teachers but having little to no authority, and not daring to exercise what little authority they have. Woe to the school boss who directs a teacher to do it her way.
SCHOOL BOARD MEETINGS are a kind of monthly love-in unless there's blood in the water and the community turns out with ropes and torches. Typically, though, everyone falls all over each other congratulating themselves on what a swell job they're all doing and how “dedicated” everyone is to student welfare. Ask a basic question like, “Are the young ones learning to read well enough to understand the small print when they leave the loving embrace of Boonville Unified?, and you are immediately lost in a meaningless statistical blizzard the gist of which is always a resounding, “Yes! We teach good but they…"
HARD TO KNOW, really, if the schools do what they're supposed to be doing, but on balance I'd have to say, “I guess,” because every year a healthy percentage of our tiny Boonville student body goes off for a two and four-year schools.
THE PERPETUAL MAWK about how much this or that group or this or that individual “loves the kids” and is “totally dedicated” to them, is belied by off-year elections when only school boards and special districts are on the ballot. In those elections the turnout is about 20%. Incumbents are typically unopposed or easily re-elected. Of course the rhetoric churned out by candidates isn't exactly inspirational, but an honest person here and there on a school board can and has made a big difference in the formal educational experience.
THE COUNTY'S Mental Health effort, despite the annual millions spent on it, has always been in ineffective flux. This is the agency that got all the way behind the non-existent Satanist Child Abuse hysteria of the 1980s, to give you an idea of the sophistication of the people dominating the agency at the time, and has remained rudderless ever since, maybe becoming worse, maybe better, who knows? Nobody asks, nobody answers if anybody does ask.
MENDOCINO COUNTY gave up even trying to do mental health, and turned it, and the twenty annual millions that accompany it, to Mr. and Mrs. Schraeder, a private business. Which reminds me, and probably isn't fair to bring up, but when the agency was in one of its usual confused phases, there was an episode at an open meeting of the supervisors that might still serve as a kind of metaphor for the county's mental health functioning. Early in the 2000s, a newly appointed mental health director, at no visible provocation, suddenly began weeping, which in turn caused the supervisor from Fort Bragg, Patti Campbell, to also burst into tears. Everyone else in the room was of course nonplussed, but the two women managed to get a grip before anybody had to run downtown for a huggy bear. (The Satanist hysteria was most intense in Fort Bragg, a full account of which is available from the ava at our website under Special Series.)
AS IT'S TURNED OUT, the cops, then and now, do the county's heavy mental health lifting, and the County Jail serves as a mental health holding area. A deputy told me some time ago that almost all the calls he got were mental health-related, and mostly involved otherwise sane people doing crazy stuff under the influence of hard drugs, but the cops have always been the go-to mental health staffers, and the annual mental health funding really ought to go to them.
GOLDENEYE is looking for a retail assistant, Fri-Sun. Job duties include: Bussing tables, washing glassware, kitchen prep, and more. Great job for a high school student or college kid home for the summer! Great pay and benefits. Have them email dm me for more info: email@example.com.
UKIAH STREETSCAPE PROJECT CONSTRUCTION UPDATE – April 2, 2021
We bet you’re wondering when this will be done! July-August is our best estimate right now, which—believe it or not—is right on schedule. Here’s what we anticipate the progression of work will look like over the next couple of months:
Now through mid-April: Constructing new sidewalks on the east side of State Street.
Mid-April through mid-May: Constructing new sidewalks on the west side of State Street, working from Mill to Perkins.
Third week of May: Sidewalk construction on the south side of the 100 block of West Perkins Street.
End of May-beginning of June: Sidewalk construction on the north side of the 100 block of West Standley Street.
Beginning of June: Sidewalk construction on the south side of the 100 block of West Church Street.
Starting in May, installation of the new lighting will likely begin throughout the project area…then landscaping.
Last but not least, new paving and striping throughout the project!
Construction Overview, Week of March 29
Wahlund Construction (West Clay Street):
Monday-Friday: Sewer work will occur on West Clay Street between School and Oak Streets. This process can be noisy and a bit messy, and will include trenching and other underground work.
There will be intermittent street and/or lane closures at the intersections of Clay and Oak while manhole work is underway. School Street will remain open.
Construction hours: 7am – 5pm
Ghilotti Construction (Henry – Mill): Continued work on the east side of State Street between Perkins and Mill Streets, including excavating, forming and pouring new curbs, gutters, and bioretention facilities. Pouring of new sidewalks continues next week.
Monday-Tuesday: Completion of new sidewalks and curb ramps and Perkins and State Streets.
Tuesday/Wednesday-Friday: Begin pouring new sidewalks at the SE corner of State and Clay, heading south toward Mill Street.
Monday-Friday: Also, crews will begin demolishing sidewalks on the west side of State, starting at Mill and heading north to Perkins.
East Stephensen Street may be closed to through traffic for the next week or so – Community Care and The Maple will have access to their parking lots from Main Street.
East Church may be closed intermittently during this phase.
Construction hours: 7am – 5pm
North State Street between Perkins and Henry: In between their work on other parts of the project, contractors will continue working on North State Street on the decorative brick band and landscaping areas.
Best wishes for a wonderful holiday weekend--
Shannon Riley, Deputy City Manager, City of Ukiah, w: (707) 467-5793
CATCH OF THE DAY, April 2, 2021
RICHARD CAUCKWELL, Ukiah. County parole violation. (Frequent flyer.)
ALLISON DUPONT, Willits. Assault with deadly weapon not a gun.
JAIME GONZALEZ JR., Ukiah. Under influence.
ZACHARY LAWSON, Ukiah. Controlled substance, parole violation.
GERARDO MAGDALENO, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, paraphernalia, resisting.
RICHARD OGBURN, Hayward. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
BYRON PETERS, Covelo. County parole violation.
LYDIA WILCOX, Ukiah. DUI, suspended license.
TRAVELS IN MEXICO
by Paul Theroux
The Zetas were the traffickers here; they controlled Matamoros and Reynosa. Ciudad Aleman was dominated by the Gulf cartel, Juarez by the Juarez cartel, Nogales by the Sonora cartel, and all of them, plus the Sinaloa cartel, fought for Nuevo Laredo.
I hired German for my day in Matamoros. I like his temperament -- easy-going, fatalistic in a comical way, anxious to please, grateful for the work of being a guide, and candid about his exploits. He had been born in San Luis Portosi, he said. It wasn't at all like Matamoros; it was quiet, traditional, but without many job opportunities. The action was on the border, he said. He had bounced around.
"I've been to the states," he said. "I lived there for three years. My girlfriend here has a US passport. We have three children." He glanced at me. "I might marry her!"
"How did you get to the States?"
"I went with 20 guys to Miguel Aleman," he said.
"The bridge over the river?"
"We swam across. It was easy, and most of us got jobs nearby in Rio Grande City. If we'd gone up the road, the border patrol would have arrested us at the checkpoints. But we stayed on the border. I worked as an electrician and earned good money. After three years I swam back."
A crossing similar to this occurs in Yuri Herrera’s novel of the border, "Signs Preceding the End of the World." This highly praised book ("masterpiece," "epic," "legend-rich") is an oblique and euphemistic narrative of a confident young woman, Makina, in search of her migrant brother in the United States. She goes from her village to a town to "the Big Chilango" (Mexico City), then takes a bus to the border and a short but turbulent inner tube journey across the Rio Grande. She suddenly capsizes, is rescued, and then has adventures on the opposite bank. Makina is a Mexican of the present moment: constantly on the move, in space, in time, in cultures. That aspect of its being cosmopolitan seems to me the book’s value.
Though the novel is portentous and incoherent in the way it chronicles the stoical Makina’s travels, this blurring also accurately represents the incomprehension of a Mexican migrant in the United States. Herrera is deft in rendering the insights of an alien. The brother, reluctant to turn home to return home, admits his migrant confusion: "We forget what we came for." Authority figures and officaldom are a menace throughout the book, with the paradox of Makina needing help in the strange land: "And what was the point of calling the cops when your measure of good fortune consisted of having them not know you exist."
COUNTING COUP was the winning of prestige against an enemy by the Plains Tribes of North America. Warriors won prestige by acts of bravery in the face of the enemy, which could be recorded in various ways and retold as stories. Any blow struck against the enemy counted as a coup, including killing, but the most prestigious acts included touching an enemy warrior with the hand, bow or coup stick and escaping unharmed. Touching the first enemy to die in battle or touching the enemy's defensive works also counted as coup, as did, in some nations, simply riding up to an enemy, touching him with a short stick and riding away unscathed. Counting coup could also involve stealing an enemy's weapons or horses tied up to his lodge in camp. Risk of injury or death was required to count coup.
Escaping unharmed while counting coup was considered a higher honor than being wounded in the attempt. A warrior who won coup was permitted to wear an eagle feather. If he had been wounded in the attempt, however, he was required to paint the feather red to indicate this.
After a battle or exploit, the people of a band would gather together to recount their acts of bravery and "count coup". Coups were recorded by putting notches in a coup stick. Some of the Pacific Northwest tribes would tie an eagle feather to their coup stick for each coup counted but many nations did not do so. Among the Blackfoot nation of the upper Missouri River Valley, coup could be recorded by the placement of "coup bars" on the sleeves and shoulders of special shirts that bore paintings of the warrior's exploits in battle. Many shirts of this sort have survived to the present.
Joe Medicine Crow (1913–2016) is credited with achieving the feat while serving with the US Army during World War II, as on one occasion he overpowered and disarmed a German soldier, and later stole horses from an SS unit.
WON'T WANNA MISS THIS ONE!
Special Point Arena City Council Meeting -- April 6, 2021
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
Let’s see. How much additional grid capability is needed for two EVs in every driveway. The current household usage in the USA is 13,000 KW per year. An EV driven at 50% of its range uses say an average of 25 KW so two EV in every driveway would add about 50 KW per day per household. So let’s say each EV is used 5 days a week so that would be 52 weeks times 5 or 250 time 50 KW per year. That comes out to an additional 12,000 KW per year.
So that means that the electric grid needs to roughly double in the next 10 years. That’s not only the grid but the power generation needs using green energy while replacing 80% of our current usage with green energy.
And that means that we need to increase green energy production from current levels of around 20% a full order of magnitude or 10 fold.
Is it doable? – perhaps but it is a long shot. Is it affordable? I doubt it.
MY POLITICAL OPINIONS lean more and more to Anarchy (philosophically understood, meaning abolition of control, not whiskered men with bombs) … The most improper job of any man … is bossing other men. Not one in a million is fit for it, and least of all those who seek the opportunity.
— J.R.R. Tolkien
NATIONAL HEALTH CARE
IS TRADITIONAL LIBERALISM VANISHING?
by Matt Taibbi
‘Mighty Ira,’ a documentary about legendary former ACLU chief Ira Glasser, is simultaneously inspiring and unnerving
There’s a scene at the beginning of Mighty Ira, an elegant and thought-provoking documentary about longtime ACLU director Ira Glasser, where the movie’s eponymous hero walks along the grounds of Ebbets Field Apartments, home of the old Brooklyn Dodgers. Glasser was obsessed with the Dodgers as a kid, becoming a fan at the age of 9, in 1947, when Jackie Robinson joined the team. He describes cheering in the stands next to 35- and 40-year-old black men, an experience white children could not have anywhere else in America at the time.
As Glasser puts it, the stands at Ebbets field were probably the “only fully integrated public accommodation in the country,” and would forever be a symbol to him of what America could be and was supposed to be, at its best. But the team was disappeared, “kidnapped” to Los Angeles by owner Walter O’Malley, described by Glasser as one of history’s three great villains, the other two being Hitler and Genghis Khan (“I've always rooted for the San Andreas Fault to take care of the Dodgers in Los Angeles ever since,” Glasser quips). He describes driving past as the baseball cathedral was torn down in 1960 and seizing up with horror, an experience like “losing a parent.”
Now, nothing is left but a plaque in the ground where home plate once sat, and he can’t process the idea that there might be washing machines “doing somebody’s dirty laundry” on the ground where Robinson once stole home. He sees a commemorative sign, but it’s “not real.” When a little girl walks by, she has no idea there was ever anything but a block of apartments there. “Standing here,” he realizes sadly, “has no resonance for me.”
It feels like an odd way to open a film about one of the more controversial figures of 20th century America. However, it makes sense as we realize we may soon also miss Glasser’s brand of liberalism in the same way. Glasser is best known for his leadership of the ACLU after the organization’s much-pilloried decision to represent neo-Nazis who wanted to march in a suburb of Chicago called Skokie, Illinois. The shorthand outlines of that episode are known on Twitter, but the deeply thought-out reasons for the ACLU’s actions back then belong to a pre-Internet era.
The film was produced and co-directed by Nico Perrino, Vice-President of Communications for the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), a modern speech rights advocacy group. Perrino is 31. He met Glasser at the funeral of former Village Voice columnist Nat Hentoff, and didn’t know who he was. Once he got to know the former ACLU icon, he realized that his story was “completely lost on my generation,” but also increasingly relevant, for reasons that become clear minutes into the film.
The 1978 case was horrifying on its face. Skokie was home to thousands of Jews, including many survivors of the Holocaust, to whom the mere idea of Nazis walking past their door evoked not only the terrors of the camps, but the shame and regret of inaction as Hitler’s party ascended in Germany. That was a time when many Jews elected to just pull the shades down as Nazis marched past, in the hopes that they would eventually go away.
What monster could agitate, in the courts, to bring about a repeat of such a scene? If ever there was a moment when speech could be “harm,” rubbing salt in the wounds of camp survivors, who’d spent decades convincing themselves that this leafy suburb in the American midwest was a safe haven, had to qualify.
Mighty Ira traces the reasoning of people like Glasser and ACLU attorneys like David Goldberger, as they connect their decision to defend Nazi leader Frank Collin in Skokie to their years of advocacy in the sixties for black civil rights workers in the South. You couldn’t have one without the other, they argue. “If you give the government the power to stop the right-wing marching in the street,” Glasser says, “they will acquire the power to decide who they think is dangerous enough to stop.”
Glasser doesn’t hide behind technicalities, either, noting that the myriad tricks localities in and around Chicago used to make the speech debate appear to have moved into the private arena, amounted to the same First Amendment obstruction. Requiring that marchers post a $350,000 liability insurance bond, when no private insurer would grant it, was equally a violation. “Those insurance bond requirements had been a classic mechanism by which white Southern towns used to ban civil rights demonstrations,” Glasser said.
Ultimately, the ACLU argued that Skokie was a Tower-of-Babel moment for American law. If you grant the village of Skokie the right to ban hate speech, or require insurance bonds, or prevent anyone in a military uniform from marching, the constitutional edifice comes down and every town in the country will soon be making its own rules. Next thing you know, Forsyth County, Georgia, might be banning Hosea Williams from marching on Martin Luther King Day. “Do you want every little town to decide which speech is permitted?” Glasser asked.
Glasser won the argument then, narrowly, overcoming significant opposition within his own organization. Once he won in court, the Nazi leader Collin decided not to march in Skokie, and was eventually humiliated first by a giant counter-demonstration in Chicago, then by a child molestation charge that landed him in prison.
The episode ended up looking like a powerful affirmation of constitutional principle, helping explain why Robert Kennedy — as Glasser notes, “hardly a man of the left… a guy who had worked for Joe McCarthy and wiretapped people” — had urged Glasser to join the ACLU in the first place. The organization held a unique place in American society, Kennedy told him, dedicated to neither right nor left, but to defending the “root ideas” that held us together.
Mighty Ira spends a lot of time on stories like Glasser’s unlikely friendship with William F. Buckley, or his tearful meeting years later with Skokie resident Ben Stern, who lost his family in concentration camps and vehemently opposed Glasser in the seventies. “I love you,” the 96-year-old Stern says. “I’m so proud of you.”
Glasser’s amiability, sense of humor, and sincere dedication to principle end up impressing even his political opponents, who may not change their minds, but at least become convinced that people who disagree may become friends. “I had to force myself to remember how awful you and your influence are,” Buckley joked in a congratulatory note, after Glasser’s retirement dinner.
“The central goal in talking and working with people who you don't agree with,” notes Glasser, “is to persuade them that there is a common interest between us.”
This seems like the main message of the movie. However, the film isn’t quite so trite or easy. If you pay attention, you will spot hints of darker issues to come dotted throughout the movie. 1978, and Skokie, turns out to be the zenith of the ACLU’s influence, and the brand of liberalism Glasser represents begins slipping from the culture almost from the moment the case ends — kidnapped, seemingly, just like Glasser’s beloved Dodgers. Where did it go?
I watched Mighty Ira for two reasons. One, I saw an interesting review of it called “The Disintegration of the ACLU,” by James Kirchick in Tablet, who called it an “elegy to a world that no longer exists,” when “personal affinity wasn’t contingent upon ideological affinity.” The other was that I interviewed Thomas Frank the other day, after the author of The People, No! got blasted for defending free speech in The Guardian. The discussion ended up being an exercise in mutual puzzlement. What happened to the Glasser-style liberalism we grew up with?
Between the New Deal and the civil rights movements of the sixties, the Democrats’ identification with poor and working-class people especially gave them something close to a permanent majority in congress. As Frank noted, “Democrats held a majority in the House of Representatives from the early 1930s all the way to the mid-1990s, with two short GOP interludes.” This is why, in the eighties of our youth, Tip O’Neill’s role as House Speaker felt like a lifetime appointment.
What did liberalism mean back then? As a young person helping to read off test questions as my single mother prepared for the LSATs, I had a vague idea of it as a school of thought that believed strongly in the law and due process, and was concerned with protecting the rights of people without means or clout. It seemed also to embrace art, music, and the power of free inquiry, opposed war, believed in self-determination and universal human rights, sided with unions over bosses, had copies of Catch-22 and The Autobiography of Malcolm X somewhere in the house, and laughed at both Jerry Falwell and the “This is your brain on drugs” commercial.
As the son of a reporter I also gathered it had something to do with questioning authority, because power corrupts and the people who had it tended to abuse it. As Glasser says in Mighty Ira, “Anyone in power is going to violate civil liberties sooner or later,” which is why “we end up suing everybody, including our members.”
The ACLU was central to what liberalism meant once, and not just because it had a history of pursuing social justice cases like Brown v. Board of Education (taking on school segregation) and Mapp v. Ohio (helping create the exclusionary rule to protect against abusive prosecutions). Skokie seemed to establish the willingness to take an unpopular stand in defense of a principle as another prerequisite for all liberal thinkers of my generation, especially young ones.
This was the joke of the eighties sitcom Family Ties, which lampooned American liberalism’s assumption that it had a hegemonic grip on both youth and cool. In that show, the ex-hippie parents desperately trying to hang on to the anti-establishment aesthetic of their youth through bleeding-heart platitudes and goofy facial hair were the squares. Meanwhile, Michael J. Fox’s Alex Keaton character, who worshipped Milton Friedman instead of Salinger and kept a portrait of Nixon where most kids kept the Blue Oyster Cult poster, was the rebel.
Family Ties was just one sortie in a massive corporate public relations campaign that began in the seventies and eighties, aimed at undoing the cultural hegemony of Glasser’s brand of liberalism. In books, movies, music, and TV, the acquisitive rich were recast as the edgy hedonists who got what America was all about and earned all the rewards worth seeking — as Madonna put it in Material Girl, “the boy with the cold hard cash is always Mr. Right” — while liberals were losers.
Few today remember how completely the political tenor of pop culture changed from the seventies to the eighties. As friend David Sirota points out in his terrific and funny book Back To Our Future: How the 1980s Explain the World We Live In Now, two of the three top-grossing movies in 1975 were the anti-puritanical romp, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, and One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, an anti-authoritarian drama written by beat novelist Ken Kesey. Meanwhile, three of the top seven TV shows in 1975 were liberal dramas like All in the Family, which cast Archie Bunker as the recalcitrant bigot-with-a-heart who had to be gently introduced to positive social changes by comic irritants Sally Struthers and Rob “Meathead” Reiner.
The eighties turned this around. Big-screen message after big-screen message spoke to the overreach of the sixties revolution, and by 1985 the top hits were Rambo: First Blood Part II, which blamed antiwar activists for losing the Vietnam War, and Back to the Future, one of the first in a series of big-budget efforts designed to offer the Eisenhower years as a replacement template for cool.
Alongside the nonstop nostalgia for the fifties — that time “before President Kennedy was shot, before the Beatles came, when I couldn’t wait to join the Peace Corps, and I thought I’d never find a guy as great as my dad,” as Jennifer Grey’s Baby put it in Dirty Dancing —came an avalanche of political messaging. Even Nightmare on Elm Street was a right-wing commercial: Freddy Krueger is a psycho-killer free to torment children because in life, someone forgot to sign a search warrant and a drunk judge set him free. Earl Warren, with the help of Ira Glasser’s ACLU, sicced Freddy Krueger on your kids!
A film with even more prescience was The Star Chamber, a crime thriller starring Michael Douglas and the just-passed Yaphet Kotto, whose title referenced an ancient English tribunal that operated in secret, judging those too powerful to be tried in common-law courts. The eighties premise was that the post-Warren justice system let too many guilty criminals go — once again, including child killers — necessitating the creation of a secret “star chamber” of elite judges who’d send an assassin to precision-target liberalism’s glitches.
The thread that ran through that movie, and through hits like Die Hard, Lethal Weapon, and even shows like The A-Team, was that democracy doesn’t work, and the insistence on due process and rights just inhibits justice and enables bad guys. Therefore, the only way to guarantee society’s safety is to empower the right people to take matters into their own hands, a blunt right-wing message that would later be tweaked for blue-leaning audiences.
Around that same time, TV news began to push another angle. Not only were liberals over-educated dolts who loosed child killers on the world, they were wimps. Shows like Crossfire were framed as earnest debates, where someone “from the right” (Pat Buchanan?) took on someone “from the left” (Michael Kinsley?), but this WWE-style format always had the conservative on the attack while the “liberal” was always retreating and apologizing. Jeff Cohen, who briefly played the “left” host in a later incarnation of the show, described the Crossfire liberal as someone who “couldn’t punch back.”
It was eye-opening to see Kinsley’s cameo in Mighty Ira. He got his start as an “examiner” in Buckley’s Firing Line show, and could be heard introducing the premise of a debate between Glasser and Buckley: “Resolved: the ACLU is full of baloney.” It wasn’t an accident that when CNN went looking for someone to play the “liberal” on its phony debate show, they picked someone with the correct pedigree (Cranbrook, Harvard, Oxford, The Washington Post) instead of a Flatbush type like Glasser. There was nothing particularly “left” or liberal about Kinsley, but he had the characteristics Hollywood and Madison Avenue associated with liberals: Jewish, nerdy, vacillating, and analytical. He also had the right look and sensibility for TV, helping make Crossfire a hit by serving as a toothsome, uncomplaining punching bag for Buchanan.
Campaign journalists, then and now, pushed the same theme. They swarmed over Mike Dukakis, a Kinsley-esque monotone nerd who looked like a dink in a tank and wouldn’t defend his wife when Bernard Shaw invited America to fantasize about her rape and murder on national TV. Mighty Ira shows Glasser bursting with pride when George H.W. Bush denounces Dukakis as a “card-carrying” member of the ACLU, but the way the press roasted the Duke as a prototypical liberal weenie foretold bad things. This was part of a broader campaign to connect Glasser’s brand of politics with failure and weakness in the public consciousness, and it worked.
Bill Clinton supposedly changed all of this. He presented an image of a Democrat and sixties child who was also a winner. However, Clinton won by hurling overboard most of the meaningful principles of liberalism. Over and over, his DLC strategists worked the same theme: switching out a working-class political template for an upper-class, authoritarian substitute. Liberalism was pro-labor: Clinton Democrats embraced NAFTA and accelerated the Reagan-era export of the manufacturing economy, which allowed them to attract Wall Street donors and end their dependence on union money. Human rights were non-negotiable for true liberals: Clinton gave Most Favored Nation trading status to China. Liberals opposed the death penalty, and favored criminal justice reform: Clinton went out of his way to execute mentally impaired Ricky Ray Rector in the middle of an election campaign, and worked with future president Joe Biden to pass a crime bill that did everything but “hang people for jaywalking.”
By the end of Clinton’s run, not much was left to connect the party to either its New Deal or Great Society legacies, and the apparently self-evident logic of his two wins versus the crushing losses of McGovern, Mondale, and Dukakis (as well as the embarrassing one-term “malaise” of Jimmy Carter) made old-school liberalism infamous among the pundit class. Instead of Norma Rae, Silkwood, and The China Syndrome, Hollywood’s idea of liberalism was The American President, made by the Meathead himself, in conjunction with the monstrous aristocratic bore, Aaron Sorkin.
The movie depicted politics as a palace drama led by a heroic Clinton figure who bombed Libya (but felt bad about it) and dated a lobbyist who burned a flag “with her ACLU pals.” Michael Douglas’s Andrew Shepherd stands up for Sydney Ellen Wade in the way Dukakis didn’t stand up for Kitty, and declares with manly pride that “I am a card-carrying member of the ACLU” — but the truth was, Clinton Democrats of the type Shepherd was supposed to represent were running full-speed in the opposite direction from the brand of working-class liberalism the ACLU represented.
Mighty Ira shows Glasser debating Rudy Giuliani about Broken Windows policing, which “encouraged the police to do what they already do, violate the rights of many innocent people in order to catch a few who are guilty.” It’s true that Giuliani was responsible for ushering in the stop-and-frisk model of policing, but that same system became the template for local Democratic politicians across the country. Baltimore Mayor and future presidential candidate Martin O’Malley’s incredible record of arresting 100,000 people in a single year (in a city of 640,000) fit in with the new tough-on-crime image the likes of Clinton and Biden pushed at the federal level.
Forget factories, coal mines, and courthouses. This was the West Wing era, which depicted politics as a gang of sanctimonious upper-class pseudo-intellectuals rescuing humanity by huffing their own farts and coming up with genius ideas like slashing Social Security to “protect FDR’s legacy.” The fact that a generation of Obama and Biden officials had their worldviews shaped by that asswipe atrocity of a soap opera (as did media figures like Lawrence O’Donnell and longstanding Vox buddy movie Ezra Klein and Matt Yglesias) should tell you everything you need to know about what happened to liberalism during those years. It was replaced by a marketing campaign that before long saw almost complete reversals on everything from war to deficits to surveillance to financial bailouts — leaving America in such a weird place politically that Donald Trump, famous until then solely as a rich pig who fired people for fun, could successfully paint his Democratic challenger as a tool of the wealthy.
One of the most telling scenes in Mighty Ira shows Buckley on TV, teeing off on the ACLU over Skokie. “The leading social problem in America is the loss of moral coordinates,” Buckley says. “The need for civilized restraints has met with encouragement for people who want to parade in Skokie with their Nazi banners… The ostensible aims of the ACLU are admirable — it is a national pity that it has now become, to use Sunday suited ramblings, a bunch of baloney.”
With worse syntax and better looks, that seventies version of Bill Buckley could easily be a 2021 MSNBC host, or a New York Times editorialist preaching journalism’s return to “moral clarity.” The Democratic Party and its supporters have undergone so many changes in the last forty years that big parts of its platform sound indistinguishable from what was once called Buckley-esque conservatism. It’s yet another switch. Buckley is dead, but his politics are enjoying a posthumous rebrand, while Glasser has been forced to watch his ideas recast as regressive and racist.
Mighty Ira goes shows scenes from Charlottesville and the death of Heather Heyer, which serves as the obvious bookend tale to Skokie. The two narratives are eerily similar. The locals awaiting the arrival of white nationalists in 2017 make exactly the same declarations the Skokie residents made, about how “we’re not going to have it here.”
That Charlottesville ended in bloodshed while Skokie did not is blamed on bad policing, the one moment in the movie where Glasser seems to be copping out. The reality is that Skokie could have and probably would have ended in much the same way, had Collin chosen to march. The more honest answer to the question of why Glasser chose the path he did isn’t so much that it’s the safest or most effective in preventing violence (although in the long run, I think that’s true also), but that democracy is messy, and all the other options are worse.
We hear Heather Heyer’s mother make this exact argument, saying, when asked if those white nationalists should have the right to speak again, “I do, and that’s not a popular opinion.” She adds, “I think once we take away the right to free speech, we may never get it back. My big concern is… who makes the decision, what speech is allowable and what is not?”
In the age of Trump, huge portions of the Democratic electorate are willing to take their chances on that front. As Mighty Ira goes to great pains to point out, minorities and the poor tended to have an easier time understanding the ACLU’s Skokie decision, because the history of the wealthy using restrictive power against labor, communists, and civil rights activists is so long. As a result, they tend to grasp that they’ll eventually be targets of speech rollbacks.
The West Wing set does not have such an experience, though, so calls for companies like Facebook and PayPal and Google to impose “civilized restraints” make more sense to them. Modern elite politics believes, as Perrino puts it, that “all that is good and noble has been decided,” a new version of the End Of History delusion that assumes problems are simple binary choices best decided by the push of a button, and has no interest in the idea that things have to be worked out through struggle and debate, over time.
Glasser’s politics were based on the idea that good ideas eventually win out over bad ones, and people will tend to find common ground if they talk enough, preferring to make friends instead of enemies. A theme of the movie is Glasser just talking and talking. We see him hanging out at the Comedy Cellar on MacDougal Street in New York — Glasser probably could have been a comic, not something one can say about a lot of current activists — engaging with a table of comedians, who push him hard on where exactly the line is between speech and violence. “You’ve gotta make a distinction between speech, including symbolic speech, and conduct,” he says, coming alive. He loves it. He believes what he says will convince you. But throughout the movie, you can feel the skepticism of the Internet age closing all around him.
The old-school liberalism Glasser represents believed in that model of constant engagement and constant dialogue, which is probably what RFK was talking about when he said the ACLU defended the “root ideas” of the country. That optimism is vanishing, though, and just like Ebbets Field, a generation may grow up now never knowing it was there.
MEMO OF THE AIR: Good Night Radio all night
Friday night! Live from Franklin Street.
Subject: Memo of the Air: Good Night Radio all night Friday night! Live from Franklin Street.
Hi. Marco here. Deadline to email your writing for tonight's (Friday night's) MOTA show is around 6pm. 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.
I'll be in KNYO's Franklin Street studio for tonight's show, again. The phone works great there. If you want to call and read your work in your own voice, the number is (707) 962-3022.
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 http://airtime.knyo.org:8040/128 (That's the regular link to listen to 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.
As if that weren't enough, also at https://MemoOfTheAir.wordpress.com there's a virtual lunatic hoarder's Texas doublewide full of fascinating educational dangers, where you can go in through the imaginary tarp over a metaphorical broken window and clamber around until showtime, not to mention between shows, among items such as:
Fun with dry ice, dish soap, glycerine and clamp lamps.
A person deliberately flew a toy drone slowly down into an erupting volcano in Iceland, camera pointed straight down. The drone can no longer be returned even for store credit, but it gave what life it had to send this video from a portal to the bowels of Hell.
And a realistic train experience from the window of a toy train, where you are a passenger the size of your own thumb. Look at your thumb right now. That's how big you are.
— Marco McClean
by James Kunstler
A nation literally falling apart certainly might want to Build Back Better, but it also might want to consider building back differently, consistent with the signals that reality is sending to humankind these days. For instance, the signals that the old industrial paradigm is coming to an end, and that the furnishings and accessories of it may not be the ones that humankind actually requires going forward.
Alas, the psychology of previous investment tends to dictate that societies pound their capital — if they still have any —down a rat-hole in the vain and desperate attempt to keep old rackets going, and this is the essence of Mr. Biden’s infrastructure bill, a colossal confection of government over-reach with its thin cake layers, cloyingly thick “social justice” frosting, and its giant cherry-on-top of drawing on “capital” that doesn’t exist.
The main racket is the ongoing effort to replace a transactional economy of individual enterprise with the managerial state that attempts to allocate all resources and direct markets. We’ve seen that movie before. It beats a path directly to totalitarian tyranny, and that is already sickeningly visible in the pre-production activities for the new movie, with social media assisting government to set up total control of its citizens lives — actually copying the techniques already operating in China. (And you have to wonder whether we’re doing this on our own or at China’s prompting, considering all the money China lavished on the Biden family in recent years.)
Some pieces of the bill are just plain tragic, like the effort to prop up mass motoring by switching out electric cars for the old gasoline-powered cars that have ruled the land for a century. It’s an appealing fantasy, of course… but the electric car thing ain’t a’gonna happen, not at the scale envisioned, not unless the government plans to buy the electric cars and give them away to everybody, and that’s rather a stretch.
First, the whole mass motoring racket is falling apart more on its financial model than on whether the cars move by gasoline or electricity. Americans are used to buying cars on installment loans, and, with the middle-class withering away, there are ever-fewer credit-worthy borrowers for those loans (for ever more expensive cars). Soon, as the debt markets groan and wobble under the weight of massive new debt, there will also be even less hallucinated capital (“money”) to loan out to this shrinking pool of borrowers.
Second, the decrepit US electric grid can’t handle the charging needs of such a gigantic electric car fleet (and fixing the grid alone would be a trillion-dollar project). Third, the manufacturing of electric cars depends on scarce rare mineral resources that are not readily available in the US, but controlled by foreign nations. Fourth, car-making utterly depends on far-flung international supply lines for parts and electronics in a time when the integrated global economy is cracking up under the strain of desperate competition for dwindling resources and the ill-will generated by that. There are yet more kinks in the electric car scheme but those are enough.
Of course, this whole initiative is in the service of preserving a set of living arrangements that is going obsolete, namely, suburbia. The previous investment represented by all the housing subdivisions, commercial highway strips, malls, office parks, and super-highways pretty much drove the American economy since the Second World War. It’s understandable that we would be desperate to keep it all running, and fix the pieces that are falling apart, because it’s where we put most of our national wealth. It’s the whole American Dream in one nifty package. And, it sure seemed like a good idea at the time, in such a big country, with so much cheap land, and all that oil. But now things have changed and reality is sending us clear signals that we have to live differently. The effort to oppose reality is apt to be ruinous for us.
A thumping sense of triumph attended the roll-out of the Build Back Better infrastructure bill, at least on the Democrats’ side, especially with all the chocolate Easter eggs for “social justice” lodged in the $1.9 trillion basket. I imagine it will mark the Biden regime’s high point of esprit.
By the time Congress churns through it all, the financial markets will be sending florid distress signals of deepening instability and, with Covid lockdowns ending (or even if they resume), warm weather will bring out people angry about one thing or another into the streets, and a number of pending legal matters — the Derek Chauvin verdict, the Durham investigation, the Hunter Biden case at DOJ, and perhaps the burgeoning and rather sinister new Matt Gaetz melodrama — will stir the pot that the American zeitgeist is brewing in, with plumes of chaos wafting over the land. By fall, Build Back Better might transmogrify into the ominous question: build back anything?
(Support Kunstler’s writing by visiting his Patreon Page.)