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Off the Record (Dec. 13, 2017)


Albion-Little River Fire Chief Ted Williams to run for 5th District Supervisor.


I want to serve as the Supervisor for the 5th District of Mendocino County because I believe my experience, accomplishments and imagination can help find solutions to the many problems that currently confront our county.

We face a shortage of affordable housing, inadequate access to broadband and severe strains on our county’s long-term financial viability. We need to strengthen our coastal protections, especially against oil extraction. We need to bolster equipment and training for our public safety personnel and first responders. Mendocino County must do whatever it can to ensure health care availability and a functioning hospital on the coast.

I was born in the Coast Hospital, raised in Comptche and graduated Mendocino Community High School. My wife, Mary, and I celebrate our 20th anniversary next year and we are blessed with our daughter Alice, 15, and son Bjorn, 11 and I have served as Chief of the Albion-Little River Fire Protection District since 2011.

In 2014, I worked with concerned citizens to pass Measure M, the passage (82%) of which enabled us to modernize our equipment. In 2015, I served on the committee that authored and passed Measure V, the enforcement of which will enhance public safety countywide. As 5th District Supervisor I will listen. I will answer every call. The best way to learn about my vision is direct exchange: TED@TED.NET, Cell: 707 937-3600

ED NOTE: Measure V was the bold initiative that declared hack&squirted standing dead trees to be a public nuisance. At last check, Mendocino Redwoods subsequently claimed that since timber growing and harvesting is “agriculture,” they are exempt from nuisance declarations under the state’s “Right to Farm” ordinance. So far, the County has not taken any further action to dispute that specious claim.

THE ODD CASE of Point Arena’s Doug Burkey and Sheryl Lyn Smith began in the fall of 2016 in the Sonoma County courts where it remains. We've just learned that Burkey and Smith have again been arrested and jailed in Sonoma County on charges of forgery, attempted and/or actual grand theft, and conspiracy.

Burkey, Smith (2016)

ARRESTED in August of 2016, on a Sonoma County warrant, Ms. Smith claims she jointly owned Timber Cove property with her late husband. He conveniently died two months after the couple’s break-up. Ms. Smith’s "new friend and neighbor," Doug Burkey, "offered himself as a buffer” in her negotiations over the property with her late companion’s family. Sonoma County think’s the death of Ms. Smith’s ex is suspicious and the transfer of his property to Ms. Smith even more suspicious. The paper trail on the fraud is absolutely damning see the AVA’s website for documents).

MARILYN DAVIN’S FINE piece about rent gouging at Lake Mendocino Mobile Estates, belatedly rousted the park’s owner, SAR Enterprises President Bob Ridino, who got back to reporter Davin on Tuesday after deadline to say that “he has scheduled a community meeting for residents (which they told Ms. D they have requested several times with no response) for Wednesday, December 20, at 6pm in the park's community center. Ridino emailed the announcement to Davin including his note to her. She told him it was too late to include any comments from him in the story she’d already submitted. “He did leave me a voicemail yesterday evening but I was tied up with something else and did not speak with him until it was too late. It sounds as if he gave a lecture of sorts on responding to reporters to brother Sam. Anyway, if residents finally get a meeting out of him the story has done some good in that regard.”

RIDINO WROTE to Ms. Davin: “Thank you for the conversation we had this morning (both its content and tone). Again, my apology for any confusion related to your connecting with me directly and any unpleasant experiences you may have had during your outreach to me and/or my staff. Attached is the meeting notice I mentioned to you. If you are available to attend the meeting, I believe that would go a long way toward you (and the public as a whole) getting accurate information related to the topic at hand. I acknowledge the sensitivity that a notice of increasing occupancy costs brings to any resident or homeowner. I have followed up with both Sam and Jesse as to the points we generally discussed this morning and reinforced the need for us to keep honest communications open with everyone related to all aspects of life at Lake Mendocino Estates. This includes honest and timely responses to your newspaper, so that misinformation to the public may possibly be avoided…. “


You know, for years I've read with a bit of amusement and semi-disagreement your occasional diatribes about the increasingly slovenly state of dress displayed by American males in public. "Styles change," I would think. "Get used to it."

Now I find myself crossing the Rubicon and fully coming to your side.

A few nights ago my wife and I drove to a well-known restaurant & inn near Mendocino to celebrate her birthday. We dressed smartly and well for the occasion, as we rarely can afford to eat out. We were seated in the formal dining room with the linen table cloths and napkins, the full silver service, classical music… All of that.

Not long after we were seated, in comes the maitre'd leading a couple probably slightly older than us, but appallingly attired. The husband (if that is what he was) was wearing a tatty, striped, knit pullover shirt (untucked) above cargo shorts and sandals. Cargo shorts, no socks, sandals…on a cold, dark, December night! He looked like a surf slob.

I know it's the off-season for tourists, and business is business but, were I the m'd I would've said upon seeing them walk in: "You're welcome to sit at the bar for your meal, or at a table in the bar room, but no long pants & no shoes = no dining room. If that's not acceptable, there's a Mickey-D and Jack-In-The-Box a few miles up the highway." (I was tempted to suggest that to him when we left.)

Alas — no such thing.

The guy had what was obviously an expensive haircut, a well-trimmed salt & pepper goatee, and soft looking pink hands with clean, manicured fingernails.

While we sat there mentally counting our coppers to make sure we could afford a mid-range entrée, no drinks, no dessert, and a generous tip for the waitress, I noticed he bought the most expensive bottle of wine on the list and ordered a couple of the most pricey entrees, plus the appetizer works.

The comparison couldn't have been more ironic, or pathetic. He had the fat wallet, the money, and absolutely no decorum. We had little money, but all the style and class. (I'm betting he left a lousy tip, too.)

Oh yeah — it's time to eat the rich.

RETIRED JUDGE DAVID NELSON has always been an ardent advocate for the unnecessary new County Courthouse. He’s also been the only advocate, ardent or not so ardent. At a Board of Supervisors meeting back in November of 2015, Nelson accurately described the many problems the new Courthouse will cause when it is built at the old Ukiah Train Depot site, especially on the District Attorney’s office because the new Courthouse will be some four blocks away from the present, perfectly serviceable Courthouse. After that 2015 assessment, Nelson suggested that the solution to the problem would be for the County to acquire a parcel next door to the Depot site and build facilities to house all the offices that will have to scurry back and forth from the present Courthouse to the new Courthouse that will house no one except the monarchical 9 judges. The Supervisors, as always prone before higher authority, could only reply “Thank you” to what is obviously a looming disaster for County functioning. And there has been no elaboration from Judge Nelson or anyone else about what to do about the District Attorney, Public Defender, Alternate Public Defender and other public services. We’re not surprised that the Public Defender and Probation departments have been silent on the subject; they’ve never paid much attention to county business unless it directly effects them.

JIM GIBBONS will appear at the Willits library on Saturday, December 16th at 2 pm. to talk about and read from his essential book “Flashbacks: A Memoir.”

HEATHER KNIGHT is a columnist for the Chron's business section. A couple of weeks ago she nicely summed up the neo-Zola street scene in San Francisco and, by extension, the streets of bucolic Mendocino County at Ukiah and Fort Bragg:

"MANY SAN FRANCISCANS wonder whether our political leaders truly see what we see: the filth, the garbage, the dirty needles, the drug use, the homeless people who sit at the same corner day after day needing help. Do the city's top dogs really see this embarrassing underbelly of our glorious city, or are they safely tucked away behind their big wooden desks, able to ignore the muck as they're whisked from one meeting to another in a private car…?"

NOBODY IS "WHISKED" anywhere on Frisco's congested, Mumbai-like streets, not even the insulated limo class ultimately responsible for the growing numbers of the damned who make their homes on the sidewalks, beneath the underpasses, on the banks of the Russian River, along the Skunk tracks not far from central Fort Bragg. Everywhere in the land shuffling shoals of Thanatoids drift up and down the public streets like a lost army of some terrible battle. It not only seems incredible, but is incredible that SF spends $305 annual millions to get homeless off the streets. By The City’s own recent count, there are 7499 people living outside within the city limits. Double that number is probably more like it, but for $305 annual million spent on less than ten thousand people they could all be housed at Frisco hotels with free delivered room service meals. The money people and their elected gofers like SF's bumbling mayor, Ed Lee, are fully aware of the growing numbers of damaged people out there and also know, at some level of their defective consciences, that if the rich paid their fair share of the social load the walking wounded would be properly cared for, a few of them maybe even set right again.

BUT SAN FRANCISCO, like Ukiah and Fort Bragg, has privatized and out-sourced the homeless to a large class of "helping professionals" who in turn faithfully vote for people like Ed Lee, and what we have is a large apparatus of well-paid people who are also an obstacle to actually getting the homeless off the street.

HERE IN MENDOCINO COUNTY, and everywhere else on the sinking ship, SS America, and despite spending literal millions, with millions for themselves of course, an array of comfortably compensated people preside over an inexorable increase of hopelessly damaged people wandering around unattended, further damaging themselves and public space via drink and drugs. The homeless were once the responsibility of the genuinely committed at this country's charities, but they’ve have now become funding units for an essentially parasitic apparatus who not only resist all reform but elect "liberals" certain to continue their funding, increase it even. And they all congratulate themselves as they make things steadily worse.

SO, MR. SMARTY BOOTS, what would you do? I'd begin by at least trying to elect people who have a basic understanding of this economy and the social structure it supports. Even the soft socialist, Bernie, briefly gave millions of people hope that the rich could be forced to pay their fair share, not that Bernie threatened the limo people with his wimpy proposal to bump taxes on the mega-wealthy by relative pennies. Trump, of course, has just gifted the One Percent with another round of windfall dollars at the expense of the rest of us, as the entire political drift of things, from the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors to the White House ensures that our cities and towns continue as outdoor asylums.

GARRISON KEILLOR’S RECENT OUSTER from Minnesota Public Radio was the result of “multiple allegations” of misconduct over an extended period of time, the president of NPR’s parent company told employees last week. Jon McTaggart, chief executive of American Public Media Group, told employees he was the only member of the company’s staff who was aware of the allegations against the smarmy Keillor and that only lawyers and a committee of APMG board members have been made aware of the specifics. McTaggart said he alone made the decision to cut ties with Keillor, the longtime host of A Prairie Home Companion. The company cited “allegations of inappropriate behavior” when it announced last week it was terminating all contracts with Keillor, who had retired from A Prairie Home Companion last year but was still producing The Writer’s Almanac. Keillor downplayed the allegations amid the scandal, saying he was fired for the single trespass of putting his hand on a woman’s bare back in an attempt to "console" her.

‘BRANDING’ FORT BRAGG. The County of Mendocino spends a small fortune on promotion, which the County seems to define mostly as the promotion of the wine industry, which can well afford its own promotion.  The tax-funded promo people attend wine events in San Francisco and dependably appear every year at budget time to ask for more money so they can attend for more wine events. Without their liquid selflessness, the six million people of the Greater Bay Area, let along the millions to the south, would have no idea that Mendocino County existed.

NOW Fort Bragg’s little government is talking about selling the town’s manifest charms. “We gotta brand this baby, tell the outside world about it.” Etc. Fort Bragg shouldn't have to "brand" itself other than what it is — a ghostly former company logging town with miles of accessible beach, a former Cannery Row at Noyo Harbor much like Steinbeck's original in its old structures and fishing boats. Factor in a number of fine little restaurants, and unobstructed beauty of forest and sea from every vantage and you have….. Of all the oceanside towns in California and Oregon, Fort Bragg's natural amenities are, by far, superior to any and all of them. The downside is a dying city center where rents are out of all proportion to what a small business can afford and a lunatic city policy that has established homeless centers that draw destructive and self-destructive transients from all over. The walking wounded don't seem all that intrusive to me, but I'm merely a visitor, just passing through. "Branding" Fort Bragg as whatever expensive consultants come up with is certain to be silly and totally irrelevant to all known reality of the place. (Ukiah tried branding itself as “far out, nearby.” That’ll be twenty-five grand, please.) I've been talking up Fort Bragg for years as the real deal Mendo experience, an interesting, still coherent little town with miles of paved path on the ocean, a town where the visitor is spared the tourist hordes. Another major plus for FB? It's only an hour away from Boonville.

ASSEMBLYMAN JIM WOOD is one of two hard-hitting state solons gifted us by the tidy little town of Healdsburg, the envy of all Mendocino County's chambers of commerce. A flier from Wood suggests he's poised to take on PG&E but that glorious day remains at the woof-woof stage by Wood and his colleagues: "AB XX unnumbered Prohibits Ratepayers from Subsidizing Negligence by Utility. This bill would prohibit utilities from increasing utility costs to cover losses when the utility is found negligent in the maintenance of its systems. This bill is being drafted to respond to possible findings of negligence during the Northern California fires."

RECOMMENDED READING: "France: A Modern History from the Revolution to the War with Terror" by Jonathan Fenby. Accessible history by a former working Brit journalist. Nothing tedious about it — not at all one of these heavily foot-noted jobs written by a ham-handed academic.

RECOMMENDED VIEWING: "Cuba and the Cameraman," a documentary film by Jon Alpert available via Netflix. Alpert has returned to Cuba every few years from the beginnings of the revolution through the Obama rapprochement. Alpert follows three everyday Cuban families through the years, many of those years lean indeed. And he includes one-on-one interviews with the Jefe himself, the final one as he's dying. We get way too much of Alpert, a frenetic, overly intrusive guy who seems to think he's amusing as all heck, but the interviews with ordinary Cubans, and the film of Cuban towns and countryside are fascinating.

THE NORTHCOAST’S two hard-hitting solons, Assemblyman Jim Wood and Senator Mike McGuire, also added their keen insight and policy expertise to the aftermath of the October Fire Catastrophe last week.

McGuire: “It’s clear there are shortcomings in our emergency alert system, and residents deserve timely notifications and up-to-date information. Lives depend on the Legislature and Governor taking swift action to ensure statewide emergency alert standards are adopted, training is implemented and funding is secured to ensure communities big and small have reliable alert systems deployed.”

THIS STATEMENT of the painfully obvious apparently came as news to McGuire. As a result of McGuire’s newfound awareness that the alert system is — duh — flawed, he suggests that the state “require every county in California to adopt the up-to-date Wireless Emergency Alert system with trained operators who can implement an evacuation order using the alert system.”

MENDO had a version of this system in place before the Great Fires and we all know how that turned out. Even Senator McGuire knows. McGuire’s legislation would also “set out standards for when counties should use the system and the legislation will mandate that alerts have to be sent out via landline telephones, mobile phone devices, and other mediums as well as guidelines and protocols for when and how the alerts should be sent.” Guideline 1: Your house is on fire. Guideline 2: Your neighbor’s house is on fire. Guideline 3; 911 calls are coming in. Guideline 4: People are screaming in the street. Guideline 5: Sirens are blaring in the street. …

AS SHERIFF ALLMAN pointed out after the fires, the trouble with the notification system is that you either have to have a landline with a geographical exchange and you have to know which exchanges to alert, or you have a cellphone which the alert system only knows about if you register it. And then the cellphone tower has to have not burned down.

McGUIRE’S compadre, Assemblyman Jim Wood added, “The recent devastating fires in Northern California have put laser focus on our need to fix our emergency notification system. As we now see with the fires in Southern California, the time is now to protect our residents with a system that works for everyone, both urban and rural.”

NEITHER OF THEM mentioned anything about sirens or PG&E shutdown protocols during high fire danger or anything else. Actually, the time is now for doing a lot more than just fixing our emergency notification system.

GOVERNOR BROWN, speaking Saturday from Ventura: “We’re facing a new reality in this state, where fires threatened people’s lives, their properties, their neighborhoods and billions and billions of dollars. So we have to have the resources to combat the fires. It's a horror and a terrible tragedy for so many people. This is the new normal, and this could be something that happens every year or every few years. We’re about to have a firefighting Christmas.”

THEN there’s the young dad doing a year in the Mendocino County Jail for violation of the restraining order keeping him away from his ex-wife. But she calls him up to tell him the kids are crying for him and please come over just this one time to see them. Which he does. She calls the cops, he’s arrested for violating the Stay Away order, the judge makes sure he doesn’t see his kids for a year.

AN OLD FRIEND is presently confined to a nursing home at Terra Linda while his San Francisco-based Kaiser doctor decides whether or not to cut off his left leg to the knee. Whenever his medical lordship comes to Kaiser in Marin, less than two miles from my friend’s nursing home, my friend has to be carried by ambulance to Kaiser to see his lordship. This arrangement, seems to me, amounts to a casual form of medicare fraud, but…. The doctor makes all his patients, no matter their condition, come to him. The nursing home at Terra Linda is packed with the dying and the terribly wounded. The staff a mix of immigrant Filipinos and Mexicans. My friend has nothing but praise for them. "They work very hard," he says. "If Trump sent them all back where they came from, everyone in here would be on their own."

JEAN. When my sister was found dead two weeks ago in her house at Cypress Village, Fort Bragg, she was nude, face down on her living room floor. She had suffered a final evacuative bathroom disaster, a last indignity after a life of indignities. Jean had previously lived across the street at Duncan Place whose cavernous, lonely halls conceal spacious apartments that mercifully open to the outdoors. Her small house at Cypress Village is a model of its kind — efficient, solarized, a neighborhood of amiable older people of limited means. (The federal government could easily build Cypress Villages everywhere, but housing citizens hasn't been a national priority since Roosevelt.) It isn't an exaggeration to say that it was Fort Bragg's emergency services and the medical staff just up the street at Coast Hospital who kept Jean alive all her years in Fort Bragg. These people saw her more than her own family. In my isolated opinion, Jean should not have been in Fort Bragg in the first place given her true dependence on other people for her daily care. A minute with her in her home it would be evident to all but government agencies and the local branch of the Regional Center that Jean was a person who should not live alone. But she insisted on her independence from her family with whom she'd lived more or less harmoniously for years prior to her self-exile to Fort Bragg. On her semi-own, Fort Bragg's sorely put upon medical establishment became Jean's family, but only after she had suffered another in a disastrous string of disasters over twenty years, several times having been discovered unconscious and near death in the chaotic squalor of her home. My sister and my wife made regular house cleaning forays to Fort Bragg, supplemented by in-home persons on limited hours. I was typically stopped at her door as an intruding "busybody," although we enjoyed regular telephone calls. When Jean lived with us in Boonville we could monitor her on a daily basis and, most importantly, in her case, keep her weight down, keep her on a regular bathing schedule, keep her in the family bosom however oppressive she may often have found us. The Regional Center reinforced Jean's "independence." They made it clear that they sue families on behalf of "disabled" people to preserve the "independence" of their clients, and Jean was a client, i.e., funding unit. The Regional Center provided in-home care workers, a series of kindly women whose hours Jean restricted even she badly needed their help. Jean often fired for no reason at all. Jean's disability was severe. On her own, her days were a medical roulette. She suffered a fundamentally uncontrolled epilepsy whose chemical formulas aimed at controlling them were forever being juggled, and always juggled post-crisis with long stays in hospital settings. Jean's seizures were so severe that several times over the years she had to be placed in month-long, induced comas to stabilize her for the next round of heavy meds, so heavy a couple of the pills would kill an ordinary person. Her meds often left Jean in a barely functioning fog. She slept 14-16 hours a day and was responsible for her own pill regimen which, of course, she was unable to efficiently manage. Objectively, Jean should have lived with family. Or she should have been placed permanently in a care home. She did spend several interludes at Sherwood Oaks where she was a difficult patient always anxious to get back to her own space where, in her mind, she was free. As it turned out, Jean died free at age 67.

FROM TOMMY WAYNE KRAMER'S weekly must read in Sunday's Ukiah Daily Journal:

“AT CRUSH RESTAURANT out near Walmart take a look at the liquor bottles in the main bar. On an elevated perch, nestled among the Jack Daniel’s, the Jameson Scotch and the Chivas Regal, is… Southern Comfort? Red label, yet. I’m not saying an establishment shouldn’t sell Southern Comfort but me, I’d keep it in a brown bag in another room, discretely available upon request. If Southern Comfort, why not Robitussin? Why no shelf space for Pepto Bismol?”

AND, “That collective huh?? we just heard echoing around Ukiah was the sound of people learning that the money raised by Prop B will first get spent on a bunch of consultants. Of course. Only makes sense. Why wouldn’t we hire people from far away to come to town and tell us what our problems are and how to fix them? It makes as much sense as staffing the committee to help run the new system with the mental health professionals who have been in charge of these programs for the past 30 years. They’ve done such fine work.”

I FAITHFULLY WATCH the ABC Television News, aware that all the tv news shows are pretty much the same, but I like ABC because their news personnel seem just a little bit wackier than those of their interchangeable competitors, with the exception of Wolf Blitzer, the nuttiest of all and, in his way, funny as hell even with the sound off. I also watch ABC to get a sense of what kind of information my fellow citizens are getting, at least from mainstream television. Out early in the mornings for a walk through the suburban sepulchers, I can see a variety of news shows flickering on living room screens. Anyway, and because I’m short of more relevant material this week my tv was still on when the news mannequins had gone off to their hairdressers or wherever personality-free people go after “work,” when on comes a show called PowerHouse Roundtable hosted by Martha Radditz who, the last time I saw her, looked alarmingly haggard but this morning appeared twenty years younger via, I suppose, the latest in cosmetic surgery. (You go, girl!) The subject seemed to be “The Trump Agenda” and, of course, the assembled power houses didn’t think it was the agenda millions of us assume — move as much public money as fast as possible to billionaires while wowing the wowzers with a lot of wild talk about nuking Little Rocket Man and building a wall to keep Mexicans out. None of the power houses so much as suggest that maybe Trump was nuts. They discussed his invisible agenda as if he and it were perfectly rational. The power houses were tv perfect with big white perfect teeth, and included an earnest black guy; an earnest white guy; two earnest women, one of whom might have been Asian, and earnest Martha, she of the permanently pained features. No fatsos, no unseemly passion, everyone on a first name basis, no one who looked like they might suddenly just go off. In other words, the power houses bore no resemblance to the fragged and frazzled America out there on  whose befuddled behalfs they were presumably clearing things up. It was a crazy discussion based on a truly insane assumption — that Trump is a plausible person making rational decisions.

PEARL HARBOR. I was there. I was two, my brother one, when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941. We were both born in Honolulu where our grandfather owned the Honolulu Iron Works, and my father spent his days surfing, his evenings in white dinner jackets among the island's high society.

By the end of the war, Pop was loading submarines at Hunter's Point in San Francisco. He'd sold his share of everything he owned in Honolulu for about a penny on the dollar and headed for California as soon as he'd cashed in. He, like most islanders, assumed the Japanese would follow-up their successful air blitz of America's Pacific defenses with a ground invasion, and Pop preferred to be among the missing when the Japanese came jogging up Waikiki.

The morning of the day that lived in infamy until Japan became our mortgage holder sometime in 1970, we'd been up just before dawn demanding, family lore has it, to "go for a ride and an ice cream cone."

Our father dutifully had us in the car and heading downtown as the sun rose in the east and wave after wave of low-flying planes swooped in over Honolulu. We drove obviously on as the planes devastated the American fleet conveniently assembled for Hirohito in Pearl Harbor. "The planes were flying so low I could see the pilots," my father remembered. "I thought it was some kind of maneuvers. There was smoke coming from Pearl Harbor, but most people assumed there had been an explosion and a fire. There were lots of people out in the streets watching the planes coming in. I heard later that quite a few of the rubberneckers were strafed by the attacking pilots just for the heck of it as they flew back out to sea. But I didn't know what was happening until I got home."

It hadn't occurred to Pop that the planes were hostile. The thought hadn't occurred to much of anyone until they were either shot at or a stray bomb fell on their neighborhood. Some 20 minutes after the attack had begun, we stopped for the ice cream cones served up by an unperturbed clerk and we drove on home. "Nobody had any idea that the Japanese would do such a thing," my father said whenever he talked about December 7th later in his life. "They were too far away and America had no quarrel with them."

Arriving home, me and my brother's passion for locomotion and ice cream temporarily slaked, my father indignantly complained to my mother "that these military maneuvers are getting a little too darned realistic." My mother, who'd always regarded her husband skeptically, informed him that the Japanese were in the process of attacking both Pearl Harbor and, it seemed, Honolulu, where errant bombs, aimed at Hickham Field, had already destroyed the homes and businesses of non-combatants.

She'd turned on the radio when she'd heard explosions. A bomb obliterated the store where we'd made our ice cream purchase about 20 minutes after our visit. In 1968, a hippie told me that I'd eluded the Japanese because I had "good karma." I think it was clearly more a case of God's high regard for idiots, drunks and children.

My father was pressed into service as a member of a sort of impromptu Honolulu home guard. (Honolulu in 1941 was about the size of today's Santa Rosa.) It was called the Business Man's Training Corp or BMTC. My mother had much ribald enjoyment at the abbreviation and even more at the sight of my father togged out as a World War I doughboy, the only uniforms available.

The BMTC wouldn't have been much of a match for the Imperial Japanese Army which, fortunately, never appeared on Waikiki. The Japanese had themselves been surprised by the unopposed success of their attack on Pearl Harbor. But that attack was a major trauma for America. For our family, too.

Pop made plans to head for the Mainland as soon as he could wrap up his affairs and depart himself, but he wanted to accomplish both without being derided as a slacker for fleeing. As Pop cashed in his chips — several million dollars worth in today's money — he put my mother and his two toddlers on a troop ship for San Francisco. She says there were daily submarine alerts all the way across during which everyone would be trundled over the side, climbing down rope nets into life boats. Mom recalls that we loved being handed off like a couple of footballs up and down the side of the ship, but the daily alarms and exertions terrified her and the rest of the people on board. But we made it through the Golden Gate unscathed where we were trundled off to the evacuation center for Hawaii’s refugees, the Fairmont Hotel.


This Russia stuff is a coup d’état to get rid of Trump disguised by a sloppy veneer of due process. The Great and Powerful cannot abide Trump, they don’t trust him and never will no matter how many enrich-the-rich tax bills he signs. Trump could deliver the moon, and it wouldn’t be enough. There are certain people that the Ruling Class and its Deep State appendage will not accept as one of their own. For a long time Bill Clinton wasn’t accepted as his travails while in office showed. It didn’t matter that Bill de-regulated Wall Street banks, that he shepherded NAFTA, neither did it matter that he brought China into the WTO. But Bill eventually got his membership card by gorging on corporate money after his presidency. Bill’s feeding at the trough (and Hillary too) showed that the Clintons could be trusted. And membership paid off for the Clintons with Hillary getting away with the most astounding offenses. The Kennedys are now widely seen as America’s glamorous royal family. But it wasn’t always such and it had lethal consequences for them. A few generations ago, the contempt of the Ruling Class for these presumptuous Irish Catholics was matched in wide segments of the public. When the first one was gunned down, a public school teacher led her class in a rousing chorus of “Dixie” in celebration. Why did the Ruling Class get away with such heinous crimes and laughable “investigations”? It was because public support for this political decapitation was wide and deep. But Trump will never be a card-carrying club member. No matter what, unlike with Bill, unlike with the Kennedys, this is a problem that isn’t fixable. Time won’t fix it, nothing will.

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