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Takeover Complete

“In individuals, insanity is rare: but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule.” — Friedrich Nietzsche

The takeover is complete, and by takeover I mean the takeover of our collective ability to distinguish reality from illusion. We have been thoroughly conquered and now voluntarily carry devices on our persons day and night to keep us connected to the great corporate propaganda machine. Known as smart phones, these devices are not yet implanted in our foreheads, though I’m sure millions of people will voluntarily undergo such implanting when the propaganda machine tells them forehead implants are hip and super fast and greatly enhance video gaming and keeping up with the lives of celebrities.

Takeover? What am I talking about? Let me count the ways.

Among the tiny fraction of Americans who still read books, there is talk of boycotting Amazon for delaying sales and deliveries of books published by the media arm of the massive multinational corporation Hachette that owns television stations, newspapers, publishers, and aero-space companies and is doing all it can to hasten the annihilation of what little remains of our once thriving literary culture. Yet corporate television talking heads are celebrating this corporate behemoth as “the little guy” and urging book buyers to boycott evil Amazon and buy corporate junk elsewhere.

When will people realize that nearly all the books for sale in their so-called independent bookstores are published by corporations who would be every bit as bad or worse than Amazon if only they had gotten into Amazon’s position first? When will people realize that book reviews and their placement in various media are paid for by corporate behemoths in order to advertise books those corporations want people to buy? And when will readers realize that bestseller lists are lists of books that multinational corporations want to sell lots of, and virtually any new book you’ve heard of in the last thirty years was published by a corporation with politics that would make a fascist feel warm and fuzzy? Apparently never, now that the takeover of our collective intelligence is complete.

Boycott Amazon? How about boycotting Chevron or Chase or General Electric or Monsanto or any of the truly evil corporations?

“Democracy don’t rule the world, you’d better get that in your head; this world is ruled by violence, but I guess that’s better left unsaid.” — Bob Dylan

Reading Will Parrish’s excellent and terrifying summary of the dams and reservoirs and pipelines to be built with many billions of our tax dollars in order to transport nearly all the state’s water—should it ever rain again—to southern California for the benefit of corporate farms and to provide water for twenty-five million people who shouldn’t be living there, is to read a declaration of insanity and is further proof of the completeness of the takeover. Our collective willingness to allow this environmental suicide is a testament to how thoroughly brainwashed we are.

“Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” — Martin Luther King, Jr.

The number of registered voters in Mendocino County voting in the June 3 primary was a historically low eighteen per cent, which is far less than the percentage of Iraqis and Afghanis who vote in their war torn countries where voting might easily get them killed. But here where anyone can vote at home and mail in his or her ballot, only eighteen per cent of the registered voters—a fraction of those eligible to vote—cast their ballots. Takeover complete.

“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.” — George Bernard Shaw

The news is full of stories about corporate shill Hillary Clinton claiming that she and her philandering hubby Bill exited the White House in 2001, dead broke. Those are her words. Dead broke. And she says that is why she and Bill felt it necessary for Bill to charge 500,000 dollars per speaking engagement and Hillary 200,000 per engagement so they could struggle, as Hillary put it, to make payments on their two new behemoth houses and their various new cars and jets and things, and put Chelsea through Stanford. God, the suffering.

This poppycock is being reported as important news. Takeover complete.

“I am patient with stupidity but not with those who are proud of it.” — Edith Sitwell

Just about every day now, somewhere in America, someone goes on a shooting rampage and kills and wounds several people. For a while, these rampages were followed by cries from parents of the victims and from legislators calling for something to be done to keep guns from falling into the hands of certifiably crazy people, but now that these rampages have become so frequent we hear nothing in the news about the need for gun control. Takeover complete.

“We can end the use of rape and sexual violence as a weapon of war once and for all. We really can do it.” — Angelina Jolie

Reading about the four-day conference in London where representatives from 140 countries gathered with movie star and United Nations envoy Angelina Jolie to discuss the idea of possibly sort of maybe kind of trying to see about declaring sexual violence a no-no for armies and soldiers waging war, I thought Wait, is this a joke? Killing, bombing, and maiming is okay, war is okay, and it’s fine to use drones to blow up wedding parties and women and children, but while we are killing and bombing and maiming and blowing up women and children we must try real hard not to commit sexual violence. Okay. Takeover complete.

“Lust and greed are more gullible than innocence.” — Mason Cooley

At noon the boys and girls from the high school spill into the village to buy their lunches at Harvest or Frankie’s or the Goodlife Café or the marvelous Mendocino Grocery across the street from the post office. All the girls clutch their phones, fearing to be untethered for even a moment. Can this be true? Surely there must be one girl not clutching her phone. If I stand here long enough I might see one, and maybe a unicorn, too.

Todd Walton’s web site is


  1. Jim Updegraff June 18, 2014

    Dear Editor:

    Mr.Walton, unfortunately, for most people is tilting at the windmills. We have a population of illiterates who are mesmerized by their smart phones and would not recognize a literary work even if it was a free gift. I dread riding public transportation. Invariably there is some idiot babbling away on the phone to some other idiot.

    As for the tunnels to convey Northern California’s water to Southern California that is a joke. In considering the rate of increase of CO2 in the atmosphere resulting in rising sea levels would ultimately result in salt water going to Southern California.

    As for our political class they are an enabling part of the 1%. Small wonder voter turn out continue to decline lower and lower. Most of them are for sale. We have the best Congress money can buy.

    Keep writing Mr. walton there are those that hear you and agree with you.

    In peace and love,

    Jim Updegraff

  2. Harvey Reading June 19, 2014

    More like the worst congress money can buy for most of us.

  3. tom June 21, 2014

    T. Walton’s writings are so self -absorbed, that we just scroll past them..
    but we always wonder why he is even given space.

    Most of his stories contain the “I” word dozens of times.
    Not the mark of an accomplished writer.

    There is sooo much great writing talent in Mendo…why saddle us
    with his inane, self centered dribble…

    Stay true to your creed…Walton is a boring loser.

    tom sparks
    the wildlife center

    • Jeff Costello June 21, 2014

      Friend of mine emails with comments about the “insufferable narcissist Walton.” You’re not alone.

    • Mark Scaramella June 23, 2014

      “…sooo much great writing talent in Mendo”?
      Names, Tom. Names!

      • Larry Vance June 24, 2014

        Well, it’s a cinch your name will not come up in that connection, Mark S.

  4. Jim Updegraff June 21, 2014

    Mr. Walton unfortunately is long winded and at times tends towards turgity but the message is what is important. He speaks to the truth when he talks about climate change. It is too bad his critics seem unable to focus on the message.

    • Jeff Costello June 21, 2014

      Some may think the, um, writing style gets in the way of the message. It can be difficult to wade through the self-references. Re climate change truth, there really isn’t a shortage of that in publication.

  5. Rick Weddle June 23, 2014

    Why all the crabbing about Walton’s ‘style’? The guy delivers incisive observations on many things with a very welcome dose of humor, thereby putting handles on issues otherwise too hot or disgusting for Human sensibilities to approach(you know, like politics and systemic social lunacy…crap like that). Hooray (and yippy, and so on) for Todd Walton!
    Try writing a personal view about anything whatever without use of the first person singular pronoun, and see how far you get.
    From where I’m standing, Mr. Walton ain’t the Donkey Oatie, here.

    • Jeff Costello June 23, 2014

      It’s the “I” count which bugs some people, and whether the articles are really about a topic or about “me.” Besides, when one puts his creative efforts or whatever we call them, into the public eye, one takes a chances and opens oneself to criticism. It’s the way things are. There used to be a saying, “Any publicity is good publicity,” and for some, it’s any attention is good…

  6. Larry Vance June 24, 2014

    One of the things that most turns off people about the Left is it’s unceasing negativity. Doom and gloom and forecasts of destruction everywhere and forever.
    Who needs that kind of epistemological diet ?
    Also I have to take issue with ‘peace to the cottages, war on the palaces’ Bolshevik-like slogan of the AVA.
    You really think war on the palaces will leave the cottages in peace ?
    All of existence including all of human society is interconnected. You can segregate stuff in your mind but not in objective or external reality.
    People defect from the Left, Right and so-called Center all the time. The Doomsday scenarios are the main reasons in all cases. After a while you lose all credibility when the Hell you predict doesn’t come to pass, so why keep uttering the same stupidities over and over and over and over again ?
    Most of the Left people are stuck in the New Deal Menshevik paradigm and most of the Right people in a Herbert Spencer-Ayn Rand paradigm.
    Stop whoring after these self-annointed pseudo-Gods
    and at least try thinking on your own for a nice change.
    The Center people are even worse, they are stuck on the NPR wine and brie pabulum and just twist mindlessly in the wind.

  7. Jim Updegraff June 24, 2014

    As I read some of the comments I am reminded of Nero playing his fiddle while Rome burned.

  8. mark June 24, 2014

    Vance is totally off topic, but then, I don’t think there is such a person as Larry Vance, he’s only a smokescreen.

  9. Kat Schaaf September 27, 2020

    Aye still think Todd Walton is Cool

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