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Off the Record (March 8, 2017)

THE NEW YORK TIMES is taking out full-page ads in its own paper in response, I guess, to Orange Man's scattershot lectures about fake news: “The truth is hard. The truth is hidden. The truth must be pursued. The truth is hard to hear. The truth is rarely simple. The truth isn’t so obvious. …”

AND SELDOM appears in the "newspaper of record," long a conduit for White House press releases and, some of us will recall, responsible for the most disastrous false news ever as its reporter, Judith Miller, relayed page one stories from Bush-Cheney about Saddam Hussein's non-existent weapons of mass destruction, thus kicking off an endless war with Islam.

IS IT AN EXAGGERATION to say that The New York Times, with its steady drip of propaganda for a war on Iraq, kicked off the destabilization of the entire world, a world our grandchildren unto the tenth generation and beyond will spend fending off fanatics?

I'VE ALWAYS operated on the safe assumption that people believe what they need to believe, that objective truth, where it applies, or is available, has no bearing on the conclusions drawn.

CASE IN POINT: A bunch of people I thought were basically tethered to what most of us consider reality, are suddenly opposed to vaccination, which not only endangers their own children, but ours.

IS IT POSSIBLE to be more irresponsible? Ask them for sources and they cite internet cranks, which means to me they are incapable of sifting fact from fancy, that they're crazy in the Orwellian sense. (The sage said so long as you could tell truth from untruth, you weren’t nuts.)

IF THE ANTI-VACCERS were quietly nuts, crazy all by themselves, nobody would care, but here they are talking hysterical young parents into a return to iron lungs and death from diphtheria.

ANY NEWS SOURCE, especially the big ones like the NYT, has to be read with the basic understanding of who owns it and the politics of the owners. The New York Times is the work of wealthy liberals. Ditto for the Washington Post. These people are lip-locked to the top Democrats. And there's your built-in bias.

ON THE RIGHT, we get the Washington Times owned by the Moonies, an excellent example of how crazy people get instant credibility if they have enough money to start their own national newspaper. (Naturally, there's a Mendo link here; back in the early 70's when Rev. Moon was still a consensus nut case, he ran his primary brainwash center here in Boonville.)

MSNBC is lib-owned, Fox News is the property of a rightwing Australian, so from him we get a lot of tough talking draft dodgers like Hannity and O'Reilly talking up war on everyone, the weaker the better. From Fox, you also get wall-to-wall yobbos like those two clowns, plus a lot of bombastic graphics heavy on the American flag, always the tipoff that fascists are in the house. And you have beautiful blonde women reading the nutball versions of the news. (Speaking of beautiful women reading the news, whatever happened to Lynne Russell? I  used to drop everything to watch her deliver the daily deluge of catastrophes. All these new babes aren’t even it with Lynne.)

READING back over my primitive media opinions, statements of the obvious, I should think, it occurs to me that the old notion that unless you devote a pretty good hunk of your free time to ferreting out the truth of things — and who has time for that? — you're flying blind. All you’ve got is your own biases and the daily evidence of your senses.

HEADLINE from the Press Democrat last week: “Schwarzenegger opens up about affair, Trump feud"

LEAD STORY on KRON Morning News: "Mountain lion sighted in wooded area near Gilroy”

THE MORE OR LESS highbrow New Yorker this week, we get a feature story called, “Image Consultant: The director behind Beyonce’s transformation”


Adoptions: 43 dogs, 11 cats.

Transferred to Rescue partners: 27 dogs, 9 cats.

Conclusion: The new boss, Mr. Molinari, is doing a great job moving animals out of our pet orphanage and into new homes.

QUESTION FOR LIBERALS: If an undocumented Mexican beats up his wife, as happens with depressing frequency here in Mendocino County, should he be deported as a criminal?

I'D SAY YES. Throw him out. And while Trump is at it, have him declare native born wife beaters as citizens of Mexico and throw them out, too.

SPARE ME the "cultural" excuses, which I've heard several times over the years. "Mexico is a macho society. Men beat women. That's what they do." Beating up women is macho? Something Mexican men are supposed to do? They're raised to abuse women?

DOUBT IT. I think some men grow up in homes where they see their fathers beating mom and, being children, they grow up thinking this is what men do, real men like the gavacho they grew up with, and the cycle continues, for generations.

AS GRAM AND GRAMPS bundle up in their frigid homes because their retirement doesn’t cover food and heat, PG&E gives dope growers a great big break: “While recreational marijuana cannot be sold in California until January 2018, existing medical marijuana growers and future recreational marijuana growers will be eligible as of March 1 for PG&E’s agricultural energy rate…” Etc.

565 PAGES OF NITPICKS. Predictably, Tamara Gedik of the Coastal Commission’s Arcata office, the CC’s "rogue employee" as described by Supervisor Gjerde, objects to the Mendocino Town Plan update’s conjured imperfections. But the MTP is a status quo plan that strengthens protection for the historic character of Mendocino (or at least the historic character of the buildings; the historic character of the old logging town is long gone). If this is typical of how the Coastal Commission operates it is a great argument for removing any control of local issues from them.

MS G, and her fellow CCers, apparently don’t do well with criticism. Ms. Gedik’s boss, Allison Detmer, sitting in the posh splendor of the Commission’s San Francisco office, was dispatched to object to the 565 nitpicks characterization of Ms. G’s critique of the eternally planned Mendo Town Plan. “It has come to my attention that during a discussion about the Mendocino Town Plan Update Local Coastal Program Amendment ("LCPA") at the February 14, 2017 Board of Supervisors meeting, certain negative remarks were made about Coastal Commission staff… The "565 pages of correspondence was mischaracterized.” And on and on, the gist being that “the successful update of the Mendocino Town Plan will be a tremendous accomplishment for the County and an important milestone for California's Coastal Program.” If it ever happens.

FRISCO SUPERVISOR, Aaron Peskin, a bona fide environmentalist, has been appointed to the Coastal Commission. This is a good news for an organization that has endorsed condo-creep along previously undeveloped stretches of the California coastline they're supposed to protect. See the Mendocino County coastline for confirmation of condo-creep, especially in the Elk area where there are new ocean view dentist complexes (a school of modern architecture begun in Marin County about 1965) seemingly every month. Peskin isn't afraid to take on developers. Done it for years in San Francisco.

MENDOCINO COUNTY’S tweaker community may be unaware of their preferred drug’s appropriately grim history. The fat guy with Hitler was his doctor, the man who regularly injected the One True Aryan with methamphetamine.

Few tweakers have their own physicians on call, but after the war the American glitterati — everyone from JFK to Marilyn Monroe — was treated with the very best speed by a certain German emigre, Dr. Jacobson aka, Dr. Feelgood.

NORMAN OHLER is a German journalist, novelist, and filmmaker. He has confirmed that the Germans not only invented the first version of the drug, but methamphetamine powered their famous blitzkriegs. (The French couldn’t figure out how the German took their entire country in three days.) At the core of Ohler’s book lie the fundamental paradox and shameless hypocrisy of Nazism. Its ideology demanded purity of body, blood, and mind. Adolf Hitler was portrayed as a vegetarian teetotaler who would allow nothing to corrupt him. Drugs were depicted as part of a Jewish plot to poison and weaken the nation—Jews were said to “play a supreme part” in the international drug trade—and yet nobody became more dependent on cocktails of drugs than Hitler, and no armed forces did more to enhance their troops’ performance than the Wehrmacht did by gulping speed in pill form. Blitzed: Drugs in the Third Reich by Norman Ohler, translated from the German by Shaun Whiteside. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 292 pp., $28.00

READING COMMENTS like the following on LCO, I had to wonder how sound Coyote Dam is. If that baby goes, in an earthquake for instance, Ukiah would go with it: "Scott Dam in Lake County holds back the Eel River. If the dam were to fail, Lake Pillsbury would flow down the Eel River watershed, wiping out communities along the way. Humboldt County communities include Alderpoint, Fort Seward, Eel Rock, McCann, Camp Grant, South Fork, Weott, Burlington, Myers Flat, Miranda, Larabee, Holmes, Shively, Pepperwood, Elinor, Stafford, Scotia, Rio Dell, Metropolitan, Fortuna, Fernbridge, Loleta bottoms, Ferndale and Ferndale bottoms."

I ASKED SUPERVISOR JOHN McCOWEN for his opinion on the viability of Coyote: "Yes, of course it has been considered. I do not believe it is considered to be an issue. In fact, when the dam was built it was anticipated that it would be raised at some point in the future and it was built with that in mind, so it is more substantial than if that were intended to be the final height. The Army Corp and local partners have been funding a slo-mo feasibility study on raising the dam. I think that would have already been stopped if dam safety were an issue.”

EXCITING WALK last Friday morning at the Golden Gate where, as I picked up my pace on the road to the parking lot at Baker's Beach on my way to the Sand Stairs, a large off-leash dog, teeth bared, lunged at me. He was a good 70 pounds with light blue eyes betraying a heavy wolf heritage. I swung my walking stick at him like a baseball bat, hitting him somewhere in his unfazed head area as a tiny Chinese woman hustled up with a leash, yelling, "Don't worry, he won't bite." He didn't bite but gave every indication of hostility, and he was way too much dog for his presumed owner, who was still chasing him up the hill with her leash as I walked on. Trudging along the beach to the Sand Stairs at the top of which one regains the pavement above, I saw a naked man standing in the surf line. Call me judgmental, but I don't approve, and, as I drew closer, I saw that he was erect. I looked down the beach, up the beach. We were the only people on it. It was overcast and cold. How could a guy possibly pop a boner in these circumstances? The perv's erection seems to have preceded my appearance, either that or I've suddenly become an erotic object at age 77. I've often seen naked people on Baker Beach, some of them engaged in the act. It's advertised in the city's cretinous weeklies as a sexual free fire zone, so on warm days here they come! But families also like to enjoy the beach, and why should an unsuspecting parent have to explain to her 7-year-old…..etc? Two long flights of stairs and I was at the Lookout, unmolested, my aerobic loop complete. A street guy staggered up to me and said, "I just got a letter from the goddam government. They want two million dollars from me." Son, I said, I'm betting they won't get a dime. "That's right," he said, "Not a dime outta me."

A FEMALE READER COMMENTS: “As for creepy guys… let me tell you that growing up in NYC and having to take the elevated train line to high school and college, from the Bronx into Manhattan, I had plenty of depressing images of naked guys standing in all their glory before their unadorned windows, apartment buildings so very close to the tracks. And so early in the morning! Gack!

IN ALL THE BACK AND FORTH about detoxing the old mill site in Fort Bragg, it seems that lots of people are still holding out for bio-remediation, the deployment of certain kinds of vegetation to naturally suck the poisons from contaminated earth.

WE ASKED FB City Manager Linda Ruffing for a clarification: "A considerable amount of the mill site remediation process to date has involved bio-remediation. In 2008/09, GP conducted an extensive "land-farming operation" whereby TPH contaminated soil was bio-remediated. They also conducted "bio-sparging" to help remediate contaminate groundwater. In 2008, GP also funded a bench test study to determine the feasibility of treating dioxin-contaminated soils with fungi. The test was performed by Paul Stamets (Fungi Perfecti) and NewFields laboratory. It determined that the fungi were not capable of bio-remediating dioxin to acceptable standards. Consequently, "dig and haul" has been the remedial action for dioxin-contaminated soils on the mill site."


“The GP mill site cover-up goes deeper. Below is a summary of my phone meeting with  three DTSC [state toxics office] staff Thursday March 2.  I think this is a big story….. There is quite a lot going on with the City (wanting to handle the mill site on their own without the State's help) recently telling DTSC their services will no longer be needed after this last phase of soil removal August 15, 2017.  Also that the City has developers lined up ready pay to develop the land with residences, etc., even though there will be dioxin and other toxics remaining in the soil and sediments at what they will call acceptable levels.  The public discussion about dioxin and the dangers of further exposure to the community when soils are disturbed, stockpiled, drained, loaded and moved away took place 10 years ago and the City and DTSC are acting like we are starting fresh.  The lack of concern by the City and DTSC about the dangers to the public of handling dioxin contaminated soils in Fort Bragg is really bad.”

MS. MILLER, just last week, was on a conference call with the state’s toxics people who included DTSC ’s Tom Lanphar, Kimi Klein, and Nathan Shumaker.  She writes:

Supervisor Julie Pettijohn said she might be on the call a few days ago but was not.

Nathan helpfully informed me that a way to have my concerns taken into account was that I am able to vote for the FB city council. He also told me the City of FB will be “monitoring” the project and has a responsibility to monitor that the mitigations of the project are followed. Toward the end of the call, Nathan finally mentioned they are working on an ‘implementation plan’ which they will have ready by the summer just before this toxics removal, scheduled for Aug. 15, 2017, to further specify the methodology by which they were going to require for the removal of the contaminated soils. I mentioned that EPA ordered agencies to consider all the materials (soils and sediments and effluents) which contain toxics such as dioxin are to be treated as contaminated materials in their entirety. There is no plan so far for how they are going to dry out the sediments and how they will deal with the effluent which will be contaminated with contaminated soil particles. I stated there is no accountability in the plan they have now, there is conflict of interest in that the subcontractor, who is removing the soils, of the [primary] contractor Arcadis, in charge of the project, who will be also in charge of observing whatever mitigations they have concerning wind speed, cleaning trucks, monitoring dust, monitoring air, covering the soil piled up and left on the ground after excavation, etc. At the same time the subcontractor is trying to get the trucks out by noon to have them in Kettleman City in time, has daytime working hours constraints, has a project length time restraint. This takes place on a very windy site with very changeable winds, and this subcontractor is also responsible for monitoring and stopping the work when the windy conditions are present. Meanwhile I looked up a few numbers:

Adults in industrialized world carry 2,000-6,000 pico grams per kilograms of body weight (pg/kg/bw) or parts per trillion (ppt)

Moderately exposed workers 3,000-13,000 pg/kg/bw or ppt

Highly exposed workers 28,000-400,000 pg/kg/bw or ppt

The soils and sediments in Georgia Pacific Fort Bragg Mill Site burn area, riparian area and ponds have a high dioxin concentration of 2,728 pico grams. In parts per trillion it is 2,728 ppt.

EPA maximum daily adult exposure of dioxin is 0.7 pg/kg/bw or 0.7 ppt or about 40 pg per day and DTSC says dioxin levels in the soils and pond sediments left after “remediation” will be at least 40-50 pg or ppt depending on the location.

AMERICA’S Weimar period may have kicked off in Berkeley last Saturday where the Trumpets planned a 2pm march "in support of the president." Berkeley as site for a pro-Trump march is reminiscent of the Nazi marches in heavily communist neighborhoods of pre-War Berlin. The Nazis would send in gangs of thugs to provoke the left-wingers who, of course, fought back. Trumpers are supposedly coming from all over the state while, count on it, the Bay Area's recreational rioters are padding up for a major confrontation. The Bay Area’s chuckle buddies at the various television stations seemed delighted at the prospect of blood, of which there was enough but not quite enough to continue reports on the actual confrontations past Sunday night.

FIRST TIME I've seen Berkeley cops stand back and let people fight. Saturday’s opposing forces — about a hundred Trumpians vs. a couple hundred of the Bay Area's recreational rioters — was preceded by the Berkeley Police Department's "expressed concern that opposition groups might have a disproportionate reaction to what appears to be a small, loosely organized event."

TRANSLATION: The Trump people are going to be attacked.

ANY TRUMP RALLY anywhere west of I-5 will summon the far more violent Black Bloc or, as news media call them, "anarchists."

FROM WHAT I could see on the television news, the anarchists were the aggressors. The Trump people looked like an odd collection of visibly retarded white guys, fat people, a few bellowers who looked like the assistant managers at muffler shops, leavened by a few nicely dressed Asian ladies who may have wandered accidentally into the fighting. At least one Asian woman was slugged by a masked Hero of the Left.

THE TRUMPIANS took a beating, and how the cops could just stand there as downed Trumpets were getting kicked in their errant heads was first inexplicable, then disgusting.

THERE WERE a few Trumpers who looked like they at least had a theoretical grasp of self-defense, but the anti-Trumps clearly turned out with some experienced tough guys. And there were a lot more of them.

ALL IT'S GOING to take for serious trouble to begin an American neo-civil war is for people to start showing up to these rival rallies with guns. The country is irretrievably divided, I'd say, millions of people are very, very unhappy, and this police-sponsored fight in Berkeley Saturday is only the first of many, much larger battles.

FORTUNATELY, Mendolib isn't much for street fighting — are there any libs in the County under the age of 60?, and if they were, Mendo's Trumpers, at least the ones I know, would pound the piss out of them. But I can’t imagine our local police forces just standing around while people riot. Saturday’s mele was the second violent event in a month that saw the Berkeley cops functioning as spectators.

RECOMMENDED VIEWING, the  truly excellent Netflicks documentary, “Amanda Knox.” The film brilliantly describes a series of events non-tabloid readers were only peripherally aware of about this slightly wacky American girl who got caught up in an extraordinary calamity, made even more calamitous by an even wackier Italian prosecutor and some truly head-slappingly incompetent work by Italian police. Throw in prevalent anti-American sentiment among Italians whipped up by inflammatory media coverage accusing the Seattle girl of everything from witchcraft to psycho-homicides, and until reason and justice finally prevailed Miss Knox had been dragged through miles of muddy, life-threatening experiences. The quality of the film is right up there with the OJ and Making A Murderer docs.

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