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OTHER THAN A CHANCE OF SHOWERS THIS MORNING, dry and breezy weather is expected to prevail through the weekend. (NWS)
5 NEW COVID CASES reported in Mendocino County yesterday afternoon.
A PRIVATE “CONTROLLED” BURN escaped its boundaries a few miles up Nash Mill Road Friday afternoon around 2pm, but only grew to an acre or so, because of the steep terrain and a quick response by a half-dozen AV and Calfire ground units. AV Fire Chief Andres Avila said the fire burned mostly dry light forest and he considered it a portent of things to come. Avila said the local and Calfire crews responses were also very effective, contributing to the containment of the fire to a relatively small area. Avila said water for firefighting in Anderson Valley this year is going to be a challenge because winery ponds are low, creeks and rivers are running at a trickle, and sources of remaining water are farther away and more widespread. Avila is considering a recommendation to the Community Services District Board to add another water tender to the AV response fleet.
COVID-19 VACCINE 1ST AND 2ND DOSE EVENTS Have Been Scheduled for Next Week
There are three opportunities next week to get your 1st or 2nd Pfizer dose vaccine around Mendocino County!
COVID-19 vaccine 1st and 2nd dose events have been scheduled for next week. For additional location information and to register for a 1st dose, visit the link below. This event is open to all individuals over the age of 16.
Vaccines are safe, effective, and free. Parents must print and sign online consent form for minors, but are not required to be present at the vaccination appointment. The form can be found here.
If you received your COVID-19 Pfizer vaccine 1st dose from Mendocino County at the Willits Community Center on April 13th, the Ukiah Fairgrounds on April 12th or April 15th, or Mendocino High School on April 15, please see below to determine which COVID-19 vaccine second dose event is for you. Appointments were scheduled at the time of your 1st dose. Please arrive with your ID and vaccination card ready.
|5/6/2021||Mendocino Presbyterian Church - Pfizer3:00pm - 6:00pm||Anyone who received their 1st dose at the Mendocino High School on 4/15/21.*Please bring ID and vaccination card*||Appointments were scheduled during the 1st dose appointment|
|5/5/2021||Ukiah Fairgrounds - Pfizer1:00pm - 7:00pm||Anyone who received their 1st dose at the Ukiah Fairgrounds on 4/12/21 or 4/15/21.*Please bring ID and vaccination card*||Appointments were scheduled during the 1st dose appointment|
|5/4/2021||Willits Community Center - Pfizer3:00pm - 6:00pm||Anyone who received their 1st dose at the Willits Community Center on 4/13/21.*Please bring ID and vaccination card*||Appointments were scheduled during the 1st dose appointment|
UKIAH STREETSCAPE PROJECT CONSTRUCTION UPDATE - April 30
Do you hate sitting at a red light when there isn’t another car in sight? That happens when traffic signals are on timers—like on Perkins and Standley. They operate the same, regardless of how much or little traffic there is. The new signals at these intersections will operate using sensors that “read” the traffic. No cross traffic? Your light stays green! This is just one of the many ways that efficiency will be improved when the project is complete!
Construction Overview, Week of May 3
Ghilotti Construction (Henry – Mill): Continued work on the west side of State Street between Perkins and Mill Streets, including excavating, forming and pouring new curbs, gutters, and bioretention facilities.
Monday-Friday: On the west side of State Street, working south to north, crews will continue forming and pouring new curb and gutter and installing electric and irrigation systems.
Tuesday-Friday: Work will also occur in the 100 block of West Perkins on a vault in the sidewalk adjacent to the Brewery.
East Church will remain closed during this phase due to grade changes.
The 100 block of West Church will be temporarily closed until the concrete work at the corners is complete.
Construction hours: 7am – 5pm
Week of May 17: Sidewalk construction on the south side of W. Perkins to School Street.
Week of May 24: Sidewalk construction on the south side of W. Church to School Street.
Week of June 1: Sidewalk construction on the north side of W. Church to School Street.
Week of June 7: Sidewalk construction on the north side of W. Standley to School Street.
Have a great weekend!
Shannon Riley, Deputy City Manager, City of Ukiah, (707) 467-5793
PS. Why bulbouts? They enhance pedestrian safety by increasing visibility and reducing the crossing distance! The visual below helps illustrate this.
MARK SCARAMELLA NOTES: According to makeroadssafe.org, bulbouts can be safer by reducing the time a pedestrian is in the traffic lane and by slowing traffic.
BUT, “these extensions are only appropriate where there is an on-street parking lane available. Because they extend the curb, bulbouts may not impede a traffic lane, bike lane or traffic shoulder.”
Looking at Ms. Riley’s simplistic picture — which conveniently doesn’t show any pedestrians or traffic and shows buildings set well back from the street — we can only conclude that “these extensions” are NOT appropriate for State Street. Drivers and pedestrians in the bulbouts will be vulnerable to oncoming traffic in the narrowing at the intersections; trucks and emergency vehicles by necessity will run right over these things in a manner similar to the circumstances that killed Dr. Doug Rossoff a few years ago when he got caught by a wide-turning big rig and was horribly squashed against a tree.
Additionally, slowed/cramped traffic on State Street will force more and more downtown traffic onto other downtown streets (like Main Street) which will be made even more dangerous than they already are.
Was this nutty design reviewed by anyone with a functioning brain? Somebody should sue. Somebody probably will after someone is killed.
TIME FOR AN INTERVENTION?
• March 6, 2019, Domestic abuse.
On March 6, 2019 at about 2:41 AM Mendocino County Sheriff's Deputies were dispatched to a domestic disturbance in the 8400 block of East Side Road in Potter Valley. Upon their arrival, Deputies contacted an adult male, who had visible injuries. Deputies learned the male's girlfriend, Samantha Mendez, 20, of Potter Valley, was intoxicated and causing a disturbance at the location.
Both subjects were determined to be in a romantic relationship. Deputies learned they had been consuming alcoholic beverages early in the evening and had gone to bed together. Approximately two hours after going to bed, Mendez awoke and began yelling at the male. It was unknown why Mendez was upset. During the disturbance Mendez bit the male causing visible injuries to his forearm. The male had to push Mendez away in self-defense. Mendez was arrested for Felony Domestic Violence Battery without incident and was booked into the Mendocino County Jail where she was to be held in lieu of $25,000 bail.
• May 10, 2019, Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
• August 27, 2019, Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
• September 10, 2019. Resisting, probation revocation.
On Monday, September 9, at approximately 11:59 pm, a Mendocino County Deputy Sheriff was on routine patrol, when he observed a vehicle parked in the parking lot of the Eagle Peak Middle School in Redwood Valley.
The Deputy was aware of past incidents of vandalism and burglaries which have occurred on the school campus.
The Deputy pulled into the parking lot to investigate the vehicle occupant's purpose for being parked on the school property at such a late hour. As the Deputy entered the parking lot, the vehicle started to drive away. The Deputy initiated a traffic stop on the vehicle, which yielded in the parking lot.
The Deputy contacted a female subject driving the vehicle, who he recognized as being Samantha Mendez, age 21 of Ukiah.
The Deputy detected a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage emitting from within the vehicle, and also noticed Mendez's eyes were red and watery. The Deputy also observed a large glass marijuana bong (smoking device) in the driver's compartment of the vehicle.
Based on the above described observations, the Deputy asked Mendez to exit the vehicle in order to determine her sobriety. Mendez refused to exit the vehicle and placed both of her hands on the steering wheel. Fearing that Mendez was going to attempt to flee the scene, the Deputy opened the driver's door and again ordered Mendez to exit the vehicle.
Mendez continued to ignore verbal commands. The Deputy grabbed Mendez by her arm while again telling her to exit the vehicle. Mendez pulled her arm away and placed her hands back onto the steering wheel. When the Deputy grabbed Mendez by the arm, she attempted to bite his forearm several times.
The Deputy was able to remove Mendez from the vehicle, and she continued to fight with the Deputy by kicking at him, and attempting to pull her arms free from his grasp. Mendez and the Deputy went to the ground, where she was eventually restrained in handcuffs.
The Deputy assisted Mendez to her feet and told her to sit in the rear of his patrol vehicle. Mendez continued her combative behavior by kicking at the Deputy and attempting to escape. After several minutes of fighting with Mendez, the Deputy was eventually able to safely restrain her in the rear seat of the patrol vehicle.
Both Mendez and the Deputy sustained minor injuries as a result of the altercation. Mendez was found to be on summary probation out of Mendocino County with a term including “obey all laws.”
Mendez was placed under arrest for Felony resisting an Officer by use of Force or Violence and Violation of Probation.
Mendez was subsequently booked into the Mendocino County Jail where she was to be held in lieu of $20,000 bail.”
• November 4, 2019, Disobeying court order, failure to appear.
• November 17, 2020, Domestic battery, disobeying court order, contempt of court, probation revocation.
• March 17, 2021, DUI, suspended license for DUI, probation revocation.
• April 30, 2021, DUI, suspended license.
TWO MORE MILES for $3.5 million
The City of Ukiah has been awarded $3,563,212, from the California Natural Resources Agency’s Urban Greening program to extend the Great Redwood Trail an additional two miles to the south from Airport Park Blvd to Taylor Lane.
The funds will allow construction of a class I multi-use bike path with native plant landscaping using reclaimed water for irrigation. When completed the Ukiah section of the Great Redwood Trail will be a little over four miles long extending from Brush Street to Taylor Lane. The City will once again partner with North Coast Opportunities (NCO). NCO staff will oversee volunteer and CA Conservation Corps workers to provide education, job training, and community engagement.
According to City Manager Sage Sangiacomo the project will provide a short-term boost to the local economy as it is constructed, and a long-term boost as it helps to attract tourists and increases property values along the neglected corridor. “Unfortunately, there is no expectation of the railroad returning, so it’s critically important that we quickly transition this corridor to a beneficial community amenity” stated Sangiacomo. “This project will help us immensely in the transition from a blighted area to linear park that is part of the Great Redwood Trail.”
Senator McGuire first introduced the idea of the Great Redwood Trail in 2018 and stated “This once-in-a-generation project will convert a decaying railway into a 300 mile world-class destination for hikers, cyclists and nature lovers here at home and from across the globe… and will become the longest rail-trail in America and be a significant economic driver” for the community.”
The new section of trail will include connections to shopping facilities in Airport Park and provide safe non-motorized travel options to residents living on the south end of the City. Ukiah Vecinos en Accion was a strong advocate for the project. “This project will help to address some of the inequities that have traditionally been a problem in how we allocate infrastructure resources. It’s important that we have safe facilities for our entire community,” stated Mayor Juan Orozco.
Assembly Bill 74 (Chapter 23, Statutes of 2019) allocated $30 million from the Greenhous Gas Reduction Fund to the Natural Resources Agency for green infrastructure projects that reduce GHG emissions and provide multiple benefits. This project will help reduce greenhouse gasses by reducing vehicle miles travelled (VMT) and through carbon sequestration. North Coast Opportunities’ Sonja Burgal will lead volunteers with help from the CA Conservation Corps to plant over 200 native trees to reduce carbon and provide shade for users. “The City of Ukiah is committed to doing all we can to address the effects of Climate Change,” stated Program Administrator Neil Davis. “This represents a significant increase in the city’s shade canopy and is part of how we’re working to support and enhance our urban forest.”
For more information or assistance with registration please call the City of Ukiah Community Services Department at 467-5764 or email email@example.com.
(City of Ukiah presser)
Mark Scaramella Notes: For comparison, paving an average one-lane private road costs between $200 and $400 per linear foot. Picking the mid-range of $300 per linear foot, two miles of road (about 10,600 feet) would be: $300 x 10,600 = $3.2 million. And at this rate (about $1.8 million per mile) the Great Redwood Trail could cost upwards of $1,800,000 x 270 miles = almost half a billion dollars, depending on how much is paved and when (at least in today’s dollars.)
WITH THE VILLAGE of Mendocino going dry earlier than usual this drought year of 2021, I’ve often wondered why Mendocino hasn’t tapped the Caspar Cattle Company, Oscar Smith proprietor, for a steady supply of water, assuming of course that Smith’s Caspar source is as lush as it is said to be. I know Smith sells water to a commercial water hauler who already supplies many parched customers in nearby Mendocino, why not supply more? This water source, on the east side of Highway One, used to supply the old mill town of Caspar and its huge mill — more than a thousand people and large-scale, steam-driven machinery. Smith also broached a plan a few years ago that would restore the old Caspar mill pond, some of whose waters Smith would then sell to water-starved Mendocino after Mendocino obtained all necessary permits. This scheme fell through because Mendocino’s informal government (it isn’t incorporated) was unenthusiastic. Moreover, people immediately pointed out that the old mill pond was now an entirely new “riparian ecology” which it would be unwise to disrupt.
RECOMMENDED READING: Families, A Pictorial History of Round Valley, 1864 to 1938, A Project of The Friends of Round Valley Public Library, Covelo, California. Anyone interested in the history of Mendocino County will want to have a copy of this very nicely produced book which, apart from its copious and fascinating collection of photos of early Covelo and its residents, also contains many passages from memoirs and newspapers of the time, illuminating the history of a very small place with a very big history. The book was steered to completion by Elmer Bauer and Floyd Barney, Covelo old timers whose roots go back almost to the middle of the last century when the first white slavers and outlaws — since upgraded to pioneer and explorer status — stumbled into Round Valley. I was especially fascinated by excerpts taken from the memories of Judson Liftchild, Covelo’s first doctor who seems to have arrived in town in the 1880s. Of a time when educated people not only were expected to be able to write and talk, Liftchild, as many educated people of the time, wrote in a vivid prose which, like no other I’ve read on local history, enables us to feel what it was like in this unique, and uniquely volatile little community in eastern Mendocino County.
EXCERPT: “CARTER ROHRBAUGH was the opposition lawyer and indulged in a number of sallies at my expense, in what I thought was rather poor taste, and I resorted to a little sarcasm myself, to the great enjoyment of the spectators, who always expected to be entertained whenever Judge Redwine’s court was in session. To my client’s surprise, as well as my own, as I really believe he was guilty, he was acquitted by the jury and Brad was returned to society, his remaining period of existence being spent in getting drunk and sobering up again. Poor Carter died under mysterious circumstances several years ago, having been shot while riding home one night. It was probably accidental, as he was too passive a character to incur enemies and passed through life as easily as possible, being satisfied with plenty of smoking materials and a book. He received an excellent education but lacked initiative. And there was little in Round Valley to stir his ambition, so he found refuge among his books, becoming a sort of literary hermit.”
BAUER AND BARNEY made a large contribution to County history with this wonderful book, which used to be available from the Covelo library (and may still be) whose proceeds go to support, the Round Valley Public Library, P.O. Box 620, Covelo, Ca 95428. $41.04 per soft cover copy including postage and handling.
IN THE LATE 1990’s, Northcoast Democrats, the insiders anyway, were still peddling the lucrative (for them) fantasy that the old Northwestern Pacific Railroad would again run between Marin and Eureka. A Chron story at the time by Jim Doyle revealed not only was the defunct line $5.5 million in debt, it had become a kind of jobs program for people like former assemblyman Dan Hauser, magically appointed to run the train although he had no experience running anything except for public office. The cynical hype included the delusion that the port of Eureka could somehow be revived to ship and offload stuff to Asia, as if the other ports from Seattle to LA and San Diego hadn’t already sewed that trade up. All pretense that trains would again chug up and down the Northcoast just kinda like sort of disappeared from public view, and here came the SMART train along the old Northwestern Pacific easement between San Rafael and west Santa Rosa, a modern electric train deep into immediate deficits and endless public bailouts. Conceivably, SMART, presently doomed, could have one day run from San Rafael to Willits, certainly to Cloverdale, whose city fathers built a neat little train station forty years ago in anticipation. SMART was from the outset a rail version of the heavily subsidized, under-utilized Mendocino Transit Authority, but in any case, dooming a train forever in Mendocino County, our civic-minded Democrats managed to sell off Ukiah’s railroad property to the Mendocino County Superior Court, where our equivalently civic-minded judges plan to build a brand new courthouse for themselves.
POT INFO SESSION FOLLOW UP
We would like to thank those of you who attended our first Information Session. The feedback and questions we received provided us with valuable insight, which is greatly appreciated by the Cannabis Program staff.
If you were not able to attend and would like to watch the presentation it is available for viewing here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R4ZoMAo-BOM&t=213s.
MCP Staff, CMSWebmaster@mendocinocounty.org
Coast Democratic Club Meeting
May 6, 2021. 6 — 7:30 PM
Stop The Republican Recall! Strategic Planning with: Lizzie Heyboer, Organizing Director, California Democratic Party
Request For Audit Of The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office, Andy Wellspring, Social Studies Teacher, Mendocino. Mendocino Chapter, Standing Up For Racial Justice
Join Zoom Meeting: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87848340141?pwd=Rys1RFcxVjlkcURtN0R4anF2a1pMQT09
Meeting ID: 878 4834 0141
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CATCH OF THE DAY, April 30, 2021
FERMIN BARRALES-GONZALEZ, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
MAYA ENGLERT, Fort Bragg. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
CAMERON HAMMOND, Ukiah. Failure to appear, probation revocation.
SHANE JONES, Kelseyville/Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
SHAWN LANE, Ukiah. County parole violation.
SAMANTHA MENDEZ, Ukiah. DUI, suspended license.
JACOB ROLLINS, Mattawa, Washington/Willits. Under influence, resisting.
BRYAN SMITH, Santa Rosa/Ukiah. Taking vehicle without owner’s consent.
BOB FASS & REVOLUTIONARY RADIO: THE MAN & THE MEDIUM
by Jonah Raskin
The death of Bob Fass, the longtime host of “Radio Unnameable,” and a crucial member of the counterculture of the Sixties, has understandably led to recollections of him and tributes to his many talents. What his death hasn’t yet prompted as far as I know is a discussion of the role of radio as a unique medium and a political force. Granted, obituary writers have mentioned his memorable voice and his innovative style on the air, but there has not been an in-depth look at the medium of radio at a time when television seemed to be all-powerful. Fass showed that radio wasn’t obsolete as so many claimed.
Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin and Paul Krassner emphasized the importance of images that carried messages without recourse to words. Throwing money on the N.Y. Stock Exchange, levitating the Pentagon, wearing a shirt made from an American flag to a hearing of HUAC and running a pig for president are examples of using images and guerrilla theater to reach and involve mass audiences. Abbie insisted that organizers shouldn’t go to factories to organize workers, but to Hollywood to make movies that he sometimes called “agit-pop.” Ed Sanders once called Abbie “the Tom Paine of electronic media.”
I never listened to a radio show with Abbie or Jerry, but I watched the TV news with them and listened to them dissect the images on the screen. They emphasized visual rather than acoustic storytelling, and of course they also wrote books, though they created books that broke away from linear communication. Abbie turned to Marshall McLuhan to buttress his arguments. For McLuhan, TV was the medium that most of all had to be understood and appreciated. In his view TV, unlike radio, invited audience participation and involvement.
For a time in the Sixties, radio seemed to belong to the past, while TV appealed to the future. One of the main Yippie ideas was not to appear on a radio show, but rather to produce images that would make the TV news. Bob Fass belonged to a generation that was in large part raised on the radio. He was a pre-boomer, born in 1933 when radio was still king. He seemed to recognize that radio, especially the listener-sponsored variety, had the potential to be innately subversive. He took the medium and expanded it, reinvented it for the late-night audience and lent it a certain conspiratorial feel. Because it wasn’t TV and not dependent on advertising, formats and formulas, listener-sponsored radio was radical, especially during the Vietnam Era.
Bob Fass was able to reach thousands of listeners and persuade them to go into the streets and protest. There was no one on network TV who had that reach or that potential. The powers that be at CBS, NBC and ABC, along with the advertisers, never would have allowed TV programming to be used by the likes of Bob Fass, who had one foot in the counterculture and another in the world of technology. What made “Radio Unnamable” possible was Fass’ individual genius as well as the fact that radio seemed to have lost its preeminence as a means of communication in the Sixties, and was not worth fighting over, or enlisting the big guns at the Federal Communications Commission, who cracked down during the Reagan administration when the Fairness Doctrine was abolished. That was a sad day for freedom of speech.
I grew up with WBAI when I was a teenager on Long Island, New York. WBAI brought the culture of the city and the world to suburbia. Several decades later, in California, I subscribed to KPFA which once played great music, including jazz and the blues. I remember a sense of intimacy on the air waves. I knew that thousands of others were listening, but I could also feel that the radio host or the DJ was talking to me personally and for me. That’s the power and the paradox of mass media.
Bob Fass knew how to exploit it better than anyone else in his generation. What he did probably can’t be duplicated today if for no other reason than that many citizens have become to a large extent slaves to the Internet. Fass understood that real bodies in the street matter. Forget about virtual protest. He put radio in the service of the people.
(Jonah Raskin is the author of For The Hell of It: The Life and Times of Abbie Hoffman and American Scream: Allen Ginsberg’s ‘Howl’ and the Making of the Beat Generation.)
May Day, 2021
ALL OF HAWAII'S UGLINESS and none of its beauty comes from the mainland — every sack of cement, every piece of paper, every plastic bag and soda can, every hard drug, every chain-link fence and pane of glass and rusted rebar, every roll of barbed wire and yellow crime-scene-do-not-cross tape. The cheesy Christmas ornaments, every plastic toy, all the hats and t-shirts, the high-rises at Kakaako, golf clubs, TV sets, books, Styrofoam cups, every car, every gallon of gas, every bicycle, the fiberglass and epoxy for surfboards, every single haole, Me.
— Paul Theroux, ”Under the Wave at Waimea”
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
Interest rates on credit cards have been around 22 to 25% for a long time and even if you pay the minimum on the bill every month it will take years to pay it off. If a couple spends $5000 on getting set up for a new baby and puts it on a cc, pays the monthly rate — guess how old Junior will be when the balance is zero? 35. And this racket’s home state is now and has been for a very long time Delaware.
WILL ‘GOLDMAN PENIS ENVY’ CRASH THE ECONOMY AGAIN?
by Matt Taibbi and Eric Salzman
Nearly fifteen years ago, on December 10, 2006, the CEO of Senderra, a subprime mortgage lender owned by Goldman, Sachs, sent a grim report to its parent company. “Credit quality has risen to become the major crisis in the non-prime industry,” Senderra CEO Brad Bradley wrote, adding that “we are seeing unprecedented defaults and fraud in the market.”
Within four days, senior executives at Goldman decided to “get closer to home” by unloading risky mortgage instruments. They didn’t alert regulators, of course, but did save their own hides, with Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfein soon after ordering subordinates to sell off the ugly “cats and dogs” in their mortgage portfolio.
Around the same time that Goldman was having its come-to-Jesus moment, the heads of rival Lehman Brothers were going the other way. In one meeting, the bank’s head of fixed income, Mike Gelband, pounded a table, telling the firm’s infamous Vaderqsque CEO Richard “Dick” Fuld and hatchetman-president Joe Gregory there was a $15-18 trillion time bomb of lethal leverage hanging over the markets. Once it blew, it would be the “grandaddy of credit crunches,” and Lehman would be toast.
Fuld and Gregory scoffed. They didn’t understand mortgage deals well and thought Gelband lacked nerve. “Be creative,” they told him, adding, “What are you afraid of?”
“We called it ‘Goldman Penis Envy’,” says Lawrence McDonald, former Lehman trader and author of ‘A Colossal Failure of Common Sense.’ In telling the Gelband story, he explains that Fuld and Gregory were so desperate to beat out Goldman and become the richest men on Wall Street, they chased every bad deal at the peak of the speculative bubble. “These tertiary financial institutions, in order to win business away from the big players, they have to continually juice their offerings, offer more leverage, more goodies,” says McDonald. “Dick and Joe, they wanted to do these banking deals, to steal Goldman’s business by offering more.”
In the end, Goldman got out just in time, and Lehman — which had scored record profits in every year from 2005 through 2007, pulling in $19.3 billion in revenue in 2007 alone — became a bug on the windshield of history.
In the triggering episode, Goldman was the first bank to smell a rat in AIG’s financial products division and demand collateral calls to AIG swaps, just before AIG imploded. Goldman ultimately got bailed out in its AIG dealings by the Fed and the taxpayer to the tune of a hundred cents on the dollar, while the collapse of Lehman’s portfolio of bonehead deals sent them into bankruptcy and helped trigger a global chain reaction of losses that cost Americans $10 trillion in 2008 alone.
It feels like deja vu all over again. We’re in a frothy economy where banks are pouring money into the worst conceivable deals, upselling the most dubious clients in an effort to outdo each other, resulting in huge losses. Just like in 2008, the warning signs are being ignored.
The narrative started in January, when GameStop captured the public imagination. The struggling retail video game company, targeted by short-sellers, saw its share price shoot from $6 to $347 in a few months, spurring elation among Redditors and day-traders who’d bet on the stock. Wall Street pundits threw a fit over GameStop because for whatever else was going on there, there were outsiders trying to break into a rigged game, which was deemed unacceptable. Across the political spectrum, there were howls of outrage and calls for official probes of all involved, down to YouTuber-in-ski-hat Keith Gill, a.k.a. “Roaring Kitty,” who had the temerity to invest $745,991.
While GME gobbled headlines, other short-targeted companies saw wild jumps. GSX, a Chinese online tutorial firm shorts had circled since last year, moved from $46 on January 12th to $142 fifteen days later. Baidu, a Chinese Internet services firm some claimed used shady reporting practices, went from $133 in late November to $339 in February. Viacom, the most heavily shorted media stock, went from $36 on January 1st to an incredible $100 on March 22, in a rally that supposedly left investors “scratching their heads.”
There was no million-member army of Redditors to focus on in these cases. The rallies of Viacom, Baidu, Discovery, GSX, Tencent Music Entertainment Group, Vipshop Holdings, Farfetch, and IQIYI Incorporated — all targets of institutional short sellers — were at the center of an elaborate, multi-billion-dollar short squeeze play by a single SEC-sanctioned Jesus freak of an investor: Sung Kook “Bill” Hwang, head of a fund called Archegos....
(continued at https://taibbi.substack.com)
RUDDERLESS, LEADERLESS & DRIFTING
by James Kunstler
While the China-sponsored hologram known as Joe Biden dazzled a sparsely-filled House chamber Wednesday night with a plan to turn the USA into the Big Rock Candy Mountain, events were spinning out of control so fast elsewhere that Rachel Maddow’s head was revolving like the demon-possessed little girl in The Exorcist, spewing a pea soup stream of Woke hysteria at her credulous audience. What’s got her noggin in a twist?
“Conspiracy Theorists” are auditing the 2020 election ballots in Arizona, causing “grave concern,” she gushed. An army of DC-based Lawfare attorneys attempted to quash the audit earlier in the week on the grounds that the vote had already been certified and that was that. But Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Daniel Martin ruled otherwise, that it was the prerogative of the state Senate to authorize it, and the audit continues. Democrats continue trying desperately to hit the pause button on the process. The venue, an old civic arena, is only rented until May 14, so physically disrupting the audit may be their only hope to prevent discovery of massive, widespread election fraud — exactly what the Democrats have aimed their firehose of propaganda against since last November.
The question is: what actually happens if the auditors come up with clear and conclusive evidence proving that the ballot count was wildly incorrect due to fraud? Might the Arizona legislature have to de-certify the results? One big tamale is the US Senate seat that former astronaut Mark Kelly, Democrat, took from Republican Martha McSally, giving the Dems a 50 plus one (Kamala Harris) vote advantage. Whoops, there goes Ol’ Joe’s agenda, right there. Might Georgia, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan have to submit to audits? Will it take lawsuits to prompt the courts in those states to order it? More importantly, does it shift public opinion further in the direction of cynicism and mistrust of the establishment — including their local officials and the news media?
The numbers are already pretty grim: 70 percent of Republicans and 30 percent of Democrats say they doubt the veracity of the 2020 election. Will the discovery that massive, widespread election fraud actually occurred lead to a constitutional crisis? How will Joe Biden survive in office if a growing percentage of the public sees him as illegitimate? And what might happen if the establishment attempts to blow the whole matter off? Can they still say “nothing to see” when the public has seen so much that they can’t unsee?
None of that will happen in a vacuum. Plenty of other events are roiling in the background with the potential to go critical. Joe Biden’s proposals to jack the US economy by $5-plus-trillion won’t be very good for the credibility of the US dollar, with other countries already eager to dissociate themselves from dollar-based global trade payment arrangements. But that’s just financial esoterica compared to what’s happening on-the-ground across America, with households running on debt and back payments for rent and mortgages piling up, and landlords and banks taking the hit in the meantime. There’s no Heimlich maneuver for a nation choking on debt. And that plan to become the Big Rock Candy Mountain, where they hung the jerk who invented work, is liable to disappoint even the mesmerists in the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Also, meanwhile, the US continues to stupidly stir the pot in Ukraine, to provoke war over the breakaway Donbass region in order to give NATO a reason to exist. The Russians don’t want or need to take responsibility for what has become a failed state. But Ukraine has been their buffer from European invasions for centuries and they won’t permit it to become a forward base-of-operations for NATO. Does the USA actually have any real interests there — other than to justify the earnings of defense contractors? The Biden family is not even taking any more payments out of there (as far as we know).
When it comes to real geopolitical friction, look in the other direction, at China. Not only is US weakness vividly obvious to them, they are substantially responsible for it, having successfully launched the bio-weapon Wuhan virus that pushed the disordered US economy over a cliff, and then helped install their errand boy in the oval office. Among other stupidities, the USA allowed most of its advanced microchip manufacturing capacity to relocate in Taiwan. We can’t run anything here from cars and refrigerators to municipal water systems, and probably even our war weaponry, without continuous supply and resupply of these chips. Game this out.
Then there is the fantastically stupid agitation and provocation on the home-front of the Democratic Party-sponsored Woke Jacobins, who are too dumb to even understand that if you want a police-state, you need police. Rather, they want to live in chaos and anarchy, the Satanic version of the Big Rock Candy Mountain, where the looters play in the stores all day and the jails have gone away. Joe Biden pimped for that hustle Wednesday night, too, declaring the nation systemically racist and “white supremacy” the nation’s greatest domestic menace. Oh really? Not our own DOJ, FBI, and the rest of the Intel Community?
The FBI raid on Rudy Giuliani was an interesting development on that front. The little imp that is Merrick Garland may have chosen the wrong guy to mess around with. If the bozos in DOJ actually charge him with something, they’ll find themselves in a special hell of discovery — that is, discovery of conclusive evidence that the DOJ has become a criminal operation actively working against the public interest. I daresay the truth is that just about everything the DOJ has done for the past five years involves the covering up of their own crimes, and a case against Mr. Giuliani will be just the wedge to open up public recognition of all that. That’s going to be a little bit of a problem when the people lose all faith that their public officials were elected fairly and honestly.
There’s a lot to push through and sort out in the months ahead. We’re all on ship, leaderless and rudderless, heading into a summer maelstrom.
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