Off the Record (June 21, 2017)

by AVA News Service, June 21, 2017

A STOLEN 18-WHEELER has fouled the cleanest stretch of the South Fork of the Eel west of Laytonville near the Heath Angelo Preserve. The stolen truck collapsed the old Jacks of Heart bridge and went into the water of the creek, which flows into the South Fork. Then, doubling down on the disaster, the thieves stole a tractor to try to pull the truck out and it also went into the creek. Locals suspect tweakers working on a nearby pot plantation.

IN OTHER NEWS from the North County, Jack Ma, a Chinese national assumed to be the richest man in the world, now owns the 18,000-acre Shamrock Ranch south of Laytonville, known to many in the county as home to a large herd of elk. On a visit to his new holdings a couple of months ago, Ma, and a heavily armed cohort of body guards and employees, managed to get themselves lost on the Shamrock, finally emerging from the trees near Dos Rios.

ALEX JONES has lots of followers in Mendocino County. I know a guy who spends hundreds of dollars on the stuff Jones peddles — Survival Shield vitamins; Bill Clinton Rape Shirts; Superblue Toothpaste, even a special viagra-like substance called something like Automatic Re-Load.

I'D NEVER heard of Jones until a few years ago when I read a MCN comment by Supervisor Hamburg citing Jones' theory that 911 was faked, a government "false flag op." (The 5th District supervisor has been a guest on Jones' program.)

LISTENING TO JONES is, in a macabre, alternate universe sort of way, very funny. He's got the excited delivery typical of every paranoid you've ever known as he spins out massive conspiracies mounted by liberals like George Soros, Obama (of course), mainstream media, which the nut pies refer to as “msm,” and how all this conspiring is leading to government gun-grabs. Jones said the Arab immigrant who founded Chobani yogurt was importing Muslim terrorists until Chobani sued Jones for slander and won.

JONES' basic appeal is to mean bastards who think that the people they don't like — which is everyone except other dumb white males — are conspiring against them. Jones' banquet of dramatic unreason seats several million nightly.

THE FAMOUS whatever she is — "television personality?" — Megyn Kelly, has interviewed Jones for her television show. She justifies the national exposure she's giving this nut on the basis that Jones has the ear of the Dumbest White Guy of All, Trump, so ipso facto Jones is an important figure.

THE TRUMP-JONES friendship alone is a measure of just how nuts this country has become.

OFF HIS EXPERIENCE with Kelly, Jones described her as "not feminine, a cold psychopath with painted-on joker lips and those lawyer, sociopathic eyes."

YEAH, I laughed, but stopped laughing when Jones also said to her, "Your children are going to die of cancer. You're going to outlive your children, Megyn."

DAVID GURNEY REPORTS from Fort Bragg: “If you liked those nice old shade trees at Bainbridge Park in Fort Bragg, guess what? It's too late. They're gone. The genius City Manager and her supine underpaid subordinates at City Council allowed all of them (except one) to be cut down. So even though they were perfectly green and healthy, except for a few branches that needed to be trimmed, in the name of ridding the city of the homeless who liked to hang out there, we now will have a barren square, surrounded by a fence. Wonderful. Instead of hiring some local to do the deed, the City instead had it done by inmates of the CDC, who in a cozy relationship with our corrupt city officials, provides slave labor for much of the grunt work that needs to be done around town. According to the inmates I spoke to, they were being paid $1.45 a day,. Their guard/supervisor had previously told me they were getting that amount per hour. When I questioned him on the discrepancy, he threatened to call the police.”

LAST WEDNESDAY'S events — mass shooting at the UPS work site in San Francisco, the Bernie guy opening fire on Republicans playing softball — are more confirmation of a country coming apart, reminiscent, you historians might agree, with 1905 Russia where assassinations, strikes, insurrections, the czar's cossacks opening fire on a peaceful demonstration, the wonderful mutiny of the Potemkin's crew, and food riots added up to a dry run for the Bolshevik revolution of 1917. What the prevalent chaos here in Kardashian Land will result in remains to be seen, but it won't be happy.

WHICH brings me to Recommended Reading: "The Dilemmas of Lenin — Terrorism, War, Empire, Love, Revolution" by Tariq Ali, a well known Brit leftist long affiliated with the New Left Review and a left leader in England during the 1960s. (Uh, yes, the Brit left is a lot smarter than the American left.)

AS A CASUAL student of the Russian Revolution, I found this book absolutely riveting, with lots of stuff I hadn't known, including this dead-on assessment of Lenin by Winston Churchill: "He was at the age to feel. His mind was a remarkable instrument. When its light shone it revealed the whole world, its history, its sorrows, its stupidities, its shams, and above all its wrongs. It revealed all facts in focus — the most unwelcome, the most inspiring — with an equal ray. The intellect was capacious and in some phases superb. It was capable of universal comprehension in a degree rarely reached among men. The execution of the elder brother deflected this broad white light through a prism: and the prism was red." (This quote is also on the book jacket.)

IT'S CONSTANTLY annoying to hear and read politically-minded people conflate communism, Marxism, Leninism, socialism, liberalism, anarchism. This book is a good place for you C students on the political right, which is all of you or you'd be on the left, to begin to learn to make basic political distinctions.

REX'S BOAT, AKA THE SAN JUAN, presently half-submerged in the Noyo Harbor: A knowledgeable person writes: "It could be done at almost no cost to raise it if the harbor people wanted to . The ship is not fully sunk so bladders could be put into the hold and inflated, forcing the water out of the ship. It would then be lifted as a balloon lifts, but from inside. Next, once it is floating, would be to remove it to land. This would require moving the ship about 300 feet to the landing where a newly custom built  trailer on wheels is positioned under the hull and the entire ship is pulled out of the water onto the trailer  by some big rig like an 18 wheeler or industrial tow-truck. So if you have volunteers it all could be done for $25-50,000. Otherwise the Harbor Commission figures the grant money needed is around $150,000. That’s the deal. Not likely that there are locals who are itching to volunteer. It is a 200,000 ton vessel with 100,000 gallons of water in it. Not a simple task, but back when men were men and mechanical was king and big trees were chopped down (not chain sawed), this rising would be a piece of cake.

MARK SCARAMELLA ADDS: While I was an aircraft maintenance officer in Biloxi we had to bring a ditched T-28 (large two seat trainer aircraft, probably at least as big as the San Juan) up out of about 15 feet of water from the Back Bay of Biloxi as salvage operations. We used airbags and straps which were kept in base rescue/salvage equipment inventory for just that purpose. We hooked them up and then towed the floating aircraft to shore, hooked up a tow bar and brought it back to the Hangar with a large aircraft tractor-tug for repair and re-introduction to the fleet.

A QUICK ON-LINE CHECK shows that such flotation bags are now a commercial product, fancier than in those days, and could probably be used to raise the San Juan with a little bit of ingenuity as described by the reader. I don’t think you’d need to put any airbags inside the boat, by the way. Once floated with airbags, a standard conventional bilge pump, probably easily obtained around the harbor, could be used to pump the internal water out pretty routinely. Here’s a link to one of several salvage equipment company catalogs: (PS. Exactly how those two planes ended up in the Back Bay of Biloxi (two separate incidents) is a story for another day. Suffice it to say, it had nothing to do with maintenance or mechanical malfunction.)

THE GALESBURG CONNECTION: three of the four suspects arrested following the murder of Sunni Grant of Klamath have been released. On March 20th, Grant was shot at her Klamath residence on the 100 block of Silver Side Circle. Later that morning, a silver truck that left the scene was located in McKinleyville. Along with the four suspects, a gun was found inside the truck. 32-year-old Cinique Pratt, 33-year-old George Johnson, 25-year-old Marcaulius Woodard and 36-year-old Natalie Wright were all arrested, and all except for Ms. Wright were from the Galesburg area. Wright, Woodard and Pratt have been released, with the agreement they will return to testify. Johnson, who is from Galesburg. He is now the only suspect for the murder and remains behind bars. Johnson’s defense attorneys claim he was stabbed by Sunni’s partner, Michael Grant, “because he was black.” They said Johnson then fired a gunshot that went through a wall and fatally struck Sunni. (Background and photos at: http://kymkemp.com/2017/03/21/victims-name-and-suspects-photos-released-in-klamath-shooting/)

THE THREE young men who robbed the pot dealer on Harrison Street, Fort Bragg, last week were also from Galesburg, site of the first anti-slavery society in Illinois, a pivotal stop on the Underground Railroad, and birthplace of Carl Sandburg.

ARTURO REYES is president of Mendo College, Ukiah. Reyes has some dedicated detractors, one or more of whom sent us a Gotcha Package minus the Gotchas that effective Gotcha-ing require.

TO US, Reyes seems the typical, lushly compensated Mendo school administrator who can do whatever he or she wants to do, short of nude handstands at public events, and even at that would be placed on open-ended paid leave because he/she enjoys a rubberstamp board of chuckling trustees to whom public funds are a form of free money.

FACULTY OPPOSITION caused Reyes to back off a grandiose "create space" remodel project designed for him and visiting edu-potentates. But he did back off it.

HIS CRITICS complain that Reyes has an inner circle of stooges that do his bidding (also typical of contempo school admin at all levels) and has created "a culture of fear at the college." Fear is hardly new; it’s the dominant American emotion at every work site in the country. So long as people continue to work uncomplainingly in trembling contexts they'll continue to be enslaved.

THE MOST interesting complaint from our anon source is the claim that Reyes is boffing a staffer he's rewarded with a job she hasn't earned at a rate of pay she doesn't deserve.

DEAR ANON: You're going to have to do better than this. You need names, you need facts, and we couldn't find anyone at Reyes' prior stops on the junior college merry go-round who would talk about him, but his media escutcheon is clear — no mention of the guy other than in relation to the recent attempt at a pasha-lime building remodel at Mendo College and, before that, the football scandal at the same college, which mostly preceded Reyes' arrival here.

THE PEOPLE who popped up the other day at a large scale Lake County marijuana complex comprised a virtual United Nations enterprise: 58-year-old Jeffrey Mann, 51-year-old She Huang, 46 year old Xiaofeng Wang, 51 year old Tanng Zhili, 39 year old Martin Arellano-Carillo, and 29 year old Severiano Carrillo-Alvarado. Over in Covelo, and throughout Humboldt and Trinity counties, we've got Bulgarians, Russians, Hmongs, Spanish and Italian nationals, plus Chinese, and a Ukranian.

MEANWHILE, here in the Anderson Valley, we've talked to people who say they've quit growing because (1) prices are so low it's not worth the effort, that Colorado's mega-corporate grows are closer to the big, still lucrative markets on the East Coast, so who needs Mendo dope? So many people have jumped into the business that the bottom has fallen out of the market or soon will, at least in California.

FRONT PAGE HEADLINE in Thursday’s Independent Coast Observer: “Valedictorian Excoriates School Administration.” Of course the ICO headline draws one’s attention. In the article, Point Arena High School class valedictorian Elise Allen was complimented for her courage, and ICO reporter S.J. Black said Allen “held nothing back” as Ms. Allen spoke about “injustices” at her perpetually troubled alma mater.  Ms. Allen also served as student rep on the Point Arena school board for three years which, for any student of discerning intelligence, has got to be a dispiriting experience.  (“These toadying cretins are in charge of my education?”)

Elise Allen

THE ICO printed Ms. Allen’s full speech so we could read what she was complaining about. She described the atmosphere at Point Arena High during her four years there as “fraudulent and tumultuous,” and said PAHS implemented programs that were “controversial and poorly-drawn out” that were “not approved.” She complained about a mandatory drug testing policy for high school athletes which “three years later continues to be so ineffectual it’s considered a joke.” She specifically cited PAHS’s implementation of a new education program called New Tech Network which is “disputed” and too expensive, especially when “our classrooms were literally falling apart,” after which administration “turned a blind eye to its students.” In particular, Ms. Allen said one teacher “utilized manipulation, blackmail and intimidation tactics to suppress opposition from her students,” while “the true travesty in this situation were the irreplaceable and invaluable instructors that we as students were forced to lose. Beloved teachers were fired during finals week, one teacher received a gag order to silence any opinions he had about the program, and other teachers simply could not stand the toxic and pernicious environment created by the administration.” The rest of the speech was less specific; she described her fellow graduates as “survivors” and encouraged more people to get involved with the school, concluding on a positive note about being “progressive and ever forward reaching.” ICO Reporter Buck wasn’t able to reach Point Arena Unified’s Superintendent Brent Cushenberry or school board president Vikki Robinson, but school board member Bob Gardiner defended the New Tech Network program saying it somehow gives “leverage” to students “who are routinely left behind.”

ACCORDING to New Tech Network’s website they are a new non-profit that “partners” with school districts to design and develop “comprehensive school change” using “project-based learning.” In other words, this outfit sold the thing to, ah, the learning handicapped persons responsible for Point Arena’s trapped young people.

MODERN SCHOOLS schools don’t suffer so much from pedagogical approach as they do from simply moving too many kids through various grades without enough correction and fall-back prevention. And Ms. Allen is right to be suspicious about expensive, untested, and faddish education schemes with “non-profit” in their name. She just might be the only intelligent person in the PA school district, and she’s what? 17?

SAD NEWS from Westport. A 19-year-old boy from West Virginia died Thursday when he slipped and fell 60 feet while trying to climb down to the beach on the face of an ocean bluff. The dead youth's brother flagged down a Seattle family also touring the Mendocino Coast who summoned help, but the 19-year-old was pronounced dead at the scene. The Sheriff's Department has not yet released the dead youth's name.

POT REG BLUES. “382 Applications Received, 0 Permits Approved” is the title of ace reporter Mike A’Dair’s lead story in last week’s Willits Weekly.

THAT'S RIGHT. As of June 8, none of the permits of various types sort of, kind of being issued by Mendocino County, and costing growers eager to get legal thousands of dollars, have been approved. Why? “Multiple reasons,” Interim Ag Commissioner Diane Curry told A’Dair. “It’s a lot more involved than we could have anticipated,” a statement which immediately becomes the leading candidate for this year’s MEN-DUH Award.

WILL THE SUPERVISORS make the permit situation a standing agenda item under their new interest in “metrics”? ("Metrics" seems to be a hazy synonym for checking to see if things are actually getting done.)

"METRICS" don't seem to apply to the County's pot regs. Of course, metrics weren't applied when private party Ortner Management Group was gifted with Mendocino County's public Mental Health system in an unprecedented and ultimately failed move, and "metrics" are unlikely to apply to pot permits either.

WHY NO METRICS? Somebody might have to do something about the problem of what is shaping up as a purely Potemkin process if the numbers were timely reported. Best to just compliment everybody for all the “work” they do without asking anything about the work product.

WHY DID IT TAKE the intrepid A’Dair to look into the numbers? Why didn’t a breakthrough new program roll-out like this come with mandatory status reporting?

THE ONLY THING MISSING from A’Dair’s report is how much money the County has taken in from the suckers, er, applicants so far. If the County budget is any guide, the basic cost of a permit application (not counting permits and fees from other agencies, consultants, compliance costs, etc.) is around $3,000 per application. So that would be 382 x $3k = upwards of $1.2 million for zero permit approvals so far.

RIGHT ON THE HEELS of that sad news we see that Ukiah pot growers had much the same reaction to the County’s Track & Trace Road Show as growers did in Boonville last Wednesday. According to Ukiah Daily Journal reporter Ashley Tressel, the Ukiah workshop “left many questions unanswered.”

BUT NOT TO WORRY, “the County plans to address them on its website soon.” Key words being “address,” not “answer,” and “soon,” meaning someday. Maybe. “Many expressed doubt and confusion, not receiving answers on specific scenarios,” adds Tressel. Which leaves one to wonder, Why did the County do a road show without answers?

APPARENTLY, actual “answers” will be provided when the Track & Trace program vendor “SICPA” holds their own three-hour training sessions for each permit applicant — after the applicant pays about $1100 for participation in the Track & Trace program (over and above the County permit cost). SICPA rep Eric Anderson who participated in the Ukiah workshop, said that the three hour training session is “barely enough” to cover the complexities of it.

SUPPOSEDLY, with SICPA, a pot grower transporting his “legal” pot from grow to market “can simply flash that piece of paper to prove they are operating legally.” Hmm, something tells us that won’t be so “simple” when law enforcement is already busting grows that are in the process of getting legal.

ANOTHER FISHY COMPONENT of the Track & Trace program is that “growers can be as detailed as they want when documenting their tags (like strain and grow conditions).” But who checks what they “document”? And what protections are there for counterfeit tags or other wiggle room strategies since pot is such an amorphous and ubiquitous product? Theoretically, there’s a vendor-controlled “database” somewhere which will “make sure the reports are accurate.”

THE WHOLE SYSTEM is so over-regulated and under-managed that no sane small-time grower will go anywhere near it.

AND ALL THIS is happening in an already glutted NorCal market with many long-time growers getting out of the business. As one guy told us, "The only way you can make money is get it to the eastern states, and a lot of buyers in the east are getting product from Colorado rather than deal in California." The aptly named Green Rush does in fact resemble the Gold Rush — the gold was pretty much gone by the time thousands of prospectors showed up.

I WATCHED THE 20/20 two hour special Watergate retrospective Friday night with great anticipation, hoping that I’d find something out that I didn’t know. After all, some of those retrospectives have been pretty good: the one on OJ was good, the one on the Versace killing was good, even the Patty Hearst recap was ok. But I was wrong about the much hyped Watergate re-visit. The only things new were some amusing details about the night of the Watergate bugging.

FOR EXAMPLE, the first DC cops to arrive on scene after the black Watergate security guard alerted the cops to report some tape on some office doors, were plainclothes undercover DC cops who looked like hippies. As a result, the lookout the Plumbers had stationed in a room across the street didn’t warn the buggers to get out.

ALSO, when those first DC cops arrived on scene and started looking for robbers, they noticed that it looked like someone had ransacked all the Democratic Party offices, causing them to continue their search for robbers until they actually caught them (but of course they weren’t robbers, they were buggers). They learned later, however, that those offices looked like a mess all the time —the DC cops just didn’t know that at first.

SAM DONALDSON as some kind primary source on the story was also galling. He didn’t do anything but report what Nixon and his staffers did and said. Even though he was in the White House press corps at the time, Donaldson had nothing to offer then or in retrospect. The only thing he said that was even mildly interesting was, If Nixon had simply fessed up and apologized, there never would have been a story.

WHICH, unfortunately, is true. Nobody would have cared about Nixon’s dirty tricks if he’d admitted to them because, as Nixon himself said, he wasn’t the only President to do shady things. His “crime” was covering up.

OF COURSE, Woodward and Bernstein got lots of play. If they were such great reporters, why didn’t they cover any other scandals? And the two wealthy reporters had the FBI agent, Mark Felt (much feted in the Press Democrat during his retirement in Santa Rosa) feeding them the whole deal from his then-position as number two man in the FBI.

THE OTHER really bad aftermath of Watergate is the term “smoking gun.” In other words, when it comes to government crime, you have to have the perp on tape admitting to the crime, otherwise it’s just political carping.

THE REAL STORY, which most Watergate historians and commenters go out of their way to avoid, is that Nixon was never prosecuted for the totally illegal carpet-bombing of Cambodia and Laos. (Carpet-bombing Vietnam was perfectly legal.) Why? Because the Dems in Congress knew from the git-go that such illegal bombing was going on and highly illegal, but they had approved it and never complained so they couldn’t belatedly impeach Nixon for his real crimes they knew about. They were complicit. As always.

I GUESS, GIVEN THE TIMING, we’re supposed to see some parallels between Nixon and Trump. But unless Trump has an as-yet undisclosed secret taping system, the parallels are meaningless. Not that the libs and the deep state — the term preferred by paranoids for the bureaucrats who stay on and on and on regardless of who's president — won’t try. Trump has upset life in DC so thoroughly he's got to go, and he will, although the difference between him and Hillary is that he's hastened the decay faster than she could have managed. (Mark Scaramella)

THE FOLLOWING is excerpted from the City of Fort Bragg's call for a "homeless action plan." It includes several dubious assumptions. For instance,  "In Mendocino County, the per capita rate of homelessness is 140/10,000 (compared to 30/10,000 in CA; 80/10,000 in SF; 18/10,000 in USA)."

FOR WHATEVER REASON, Mendocino County does have a seemingly intractable incidence of transient drug users supplemented by a large number of home grown drunks and mentally disordered persons whose families have turned them out. The entire population in, say, 1955, would have been placed in the now abandoned state hospital system. Mendocino County, especially in Ukiah and Fort Bragg, maintains what are essentially enabling institutions that provided just enough help to the drug addicted, the drop-fall drunks and the unhinged to keep all three groups out on the streets. Given the political givens of the country at this time, homelessness, even among working people, will increase. Less than ten percent of our population holds 90% of the wealth of the country. Until they are compelled to pay their fair share of the social load, nothing will change.

GUALALA, COVELO, ANDERSON VALLEY, LAYTONVILLE do not have homeless populations. Why? Drunks, drug users and crazy people can't get enough aid in these places to make it convenient for them to stay. The homeless concentrate where there's daily food and miscellaneous assistance.

"IN MENDOCINO COUNTY 47% of the homeless have Substance Use Disorders." Yes, they use drugs to such excess they are crippled by them, and they do it out of a nexus of factors beginning with hopelessness on through inadequate education, lack of strong families, work, shelter. The society is disordered, and so long as it is, despairing people will turn to substances that at least temporarily lift their spirits. And they will band with others like themselves in communities of the doomed. It's all a national problem. Nothing can be done locally other than to perhaps sort out those who want to try to get themselves together and provide what help for them can be made available.

"IN MENDOCINO COUNTY 41% of the homeless are experiencing Serious Mental Illness." Says who? Drinking and drugging yourself into total dysfunction is nuts but it isn't mental illness. This figure seems way too high. Most of the people you see acting nuts on the street are under the influence, not crazy. The truly insane are housed at the County Jail and eventually either released or packed off to Napa.

ACCORDING TO THE COUNTY’S LATEST POINT IN TIME Homeless Count conducted in May of 2017 the “sub-population” breakdown (based on 287 homeless people’s “self-reported” categories) is: 8% Veterans, 37% Domestic violence victims, 9% Chronic substance abuse, 29% Mental illness, 17% Physical disability.

NOTE. IT’S HIGHLY DOUBTFUL that 37% of homeless on the street are really domestic violence victims.

"52.5% of Mendocino County households spend 35% or more of their income on housing." At least, many are paying more for shelter, much of it sub-standard. Mexican seasonal workers, for instance, are barely housed at all while the vineyards that employ them provide no housing for them.

"RENTAL vacancy rates in Mendocino County are at 3.4%. The Supervisors could, for openers, crack down on weekend and Air B&B houses, not that these places would become available to working people at affordable rents. The County might also invest in housing rather than in the crap shoot of the stock market. And publicly-owned parcels in places like Ukiah, Willits and Fort Bragg could be developed in inexpensive fashion and rented by their municipalities.

"ONLY 28% of the Community Development Commission’s rental voucher recipients are able to find housing." Of course, because the vouchers are too meager to pay prevailing rates.

"WITH ALL THIS IN MIND, the City of Fort Bragg is considering preparation of a Homeless Action Plan. The concept is to engage stakeholder groups in deep conversation about the effectiveness of our efforts to address homelessness and to strategize about how we can sharply focus our resources and actions to be more effective. From this, we will draft a plan for addressing homeless issues in Fort Bragg. The hope is that our process and plan would also serve as a model for interagency coordination and prioritization throughout the County."

TRANSLATION: Publicly employed persons will drive around the county during work hours to eat donuts with other publicly employed windbags. This process will go on for six weeks at the end of which an unreadable statement will be issued promising more of the same.

A NUMBER of helping professionals refused to back Sheriff Allman's humane and practical proposal to house and treat the most defenseless persons in a facility designed for that purpose right here in Mendocino County. Supervisor Hamburg specifically, and his colleagues more opaquely, also refused to support the Allman Plan. Many of the people called by the City of Fort Bragg to devise solutions to local homelessness have a vested interest in things as they are.

COUNTY EMPLOYEES will get a 3% pay raise each year for the next two years, plus a $2,000 bonus each year. Law Enforcement Management “Union” to get similar offer.

POINT IN TIME HOMELESS COUNT for May 2017, according to the Supe’s agenda, only 110 Mendo people are considered “chronically homeless.” Also: 1240 people were counted as “homeless,” including almost 1100 “unsheltered” persons who seemed to be transients in transit when the haphazard count was done.

REDWOOD QUALITY MANAGEMENT, a private for-profit business, will get $15.4 million for mental health services from July 2017 to June 2018. “Item 4(r) Approval of Agreements with Redwood Quality Management Company for Specialty Mental Health Services in the Amount of $9,481,381 for Children and Youth 24 Years and Under; and $5,869,000 for Adults 25 years and Older for Fiscal Year (FY) 2017-18.” Redwood Quality is based in Ukiah. This sum is basically forked over for services which may or may not be rendered. We won’t know because there’s no meaningful accounting and the Supervisors just wave this big number on through.

MENDO has agreed to pay — brace yourselves — $250K, at the exorbitant rate of $350 per hour, to an LA law firm to conduct the County’s simple, uncontested labor negotiations. “Item 4(v): Approval of Agreement with Liebert Cassidy Whitmore for an Amount up to $250,000 for the Period of July 1, 2017, Through June 30, 2018, to Provide Contract Negotiations and Employer-Employee Relations Services with the County’s Eight Bargaining Units and Other Legal Representation as Needed.” The County maintains its own office of six attorneys, plus the lead Counsel. It’s called the County Counsel’s Office, and one has to wonder why the County pays a quarter of a million dollars to an LA firm for “services” that should be rendered in-house.

WILD TALK about Trump as fascist ignores the history of the real thing. Trump doesn't have the hard support of the police forces he would need, let alone the military to bring off a dictatorship. And his hardcore is maybe — max — 25% of our fine, fat population. And he's not smart enough to bring it off, not ideological and disciplined enough, and our more intelligent fascisti are themselves a gang of dimwits. We're more likely headed for chaos followed by a more or less benign general, some guy who comes off like Clinton, a cornpone kinda nazi. But we're a very long way from this 1905 directive from the Czar's chief of police:

“Rioters to be exterminated immediately by force of arms, their dwellings to be burned down in the event of resistance. Arbitrary self-rule must be eradicated once and for all — now. Arrests would not serve any purpose at present and anyway it is impossible to try hundreds and thousands of persons. It is essential that the troops should fully understand the above instructions.” — P. Durnovo  (The contemporary version of this standing order can be seen in Israel vis a vis the Palestinians.)

ON LINE COMMENTS OF THE WEEK

(1) I see young adults with 1-2-year old babies and toddlers in strollers and car seats and I have three blasphemous thoughts these days: (1) are they aware that those strollers and car seats (posture nightmares) are destroying the structure and development of their child’s backs and necks? (2) did they look at the Earth science before they brought new life into this world? (3) They’d better figure out how to focus their lives on bringing about an eco-socialist revolution if they want their kids to have any shot at a decent life.

(2) So what do we mean by Deep State? Is it a cabal of shadowy operatives who live by black-mail and threats and by the law of the knife and the gun? There’s situations, after all, where the only due process is a bullet. More than that though, the Deep State operates in plain view. It’s just your ever day government bureaucracy. Do you file taxes? Sure you do. The boffins at the IRS, they do their thing and you pay every year and life goes on. Mostly, that is. Because the IRS also has got enormous power to screw up your life if they want. Same with law enforcement. You stay on the right side of the line, you stay under the radar and mouth the right words and your life goes on. Mostly. Because, for people in certain positions, attacks of conscience just won’t do. If they speak up the whole apparatus crashes down on them. Their house will suddenly be crawling with Virginia farm boys with guns and badges. There’s certain things not meant to be known. Like what? Like, that old example, surveillance. Terror, they claim, or drug running or money laundering. Right-o, no doubt, there’s nasty people that need watching. And besides, it’s just “meta-data”, as if that was an accurate characterization. But it wasn’t. They knew what number you called and what day and what time. The data gathered was very specific which by itself could be used to wreck lives even if they didn’t listen in and record the call. For example, the middle-aged married guy that repeatedly called the number belonging to that sweet young thang. Imagine that information presented to Mr. Middle Age as a threat. Do this or do that or else this goes to your Mrs. So no more of that meta-data nonsense. Or imagine Mr. Middle Age as a closeted gay who called that man-for-hire not, as Seinfeld would say, that there’s anything wrong with that. Well, in NYC maybe and its big-city anonymity, it’s no big deal. But not every place is like NYC where people pretend to be relaxed and ok with everything. Tough as it is for a New York liberal to grok, in some societies in the US people don’t make-believe about being all casual and intellectual. Why? Because not every place is as socially fragmented as the big city, some places are much closer knit and more personally connected and action has consequences. You know every other face on the main-drag, they know you. Woe to the cheated-on wife or cuckolded hubby. Or worse, woe to the cheater. Or to the gay, un-closeted against his-her will. Such things aren’t celebrated, they’re not shrugged at, careers are damaged, friendships come apart, families disintegrate. Yeah, some small towns are worse than Peyton Place and their denizens Harper Valley hypocrites. But they still ain’t Paris where you and your babe and your wife and her lover have croissants together every morning. That shit just don’t fly over here. Unnerstan’ boy?

(3) Indeed Sir it is all farce and has been for many decades now as you do well to point out. There are two main reasons that the system will never recover and cannot ever get any better. The first is that there are NO leaders of character that could ever rise to the level required to make any serious improvements or corrections. The system itself is far too corrupt and degraded to be repaired. The fact that they call themselves “Parties” should tell you all you need to know about their intentions. The second is that there are far too many, and I mean WAY too many Mindless American Idiots that do not vote at all, vote for a candidate based on the color of their tie or the line of happy horseshit that it spews, or vote simply for an “R” or a “D” line because that is the limit of their abilities. Sorry, but Americans are simply no longer able to rule themselves or even smart enough to choose which Sock Puppet will be lifted onto the stage for the next go around at the Show. In the end, what does it matter anyway since the Sock Puppet does not actually rule anyway, the Money Masters do. It may even be in all of our best interests if They simply appoint the next Sock Puppet so that things go smoothly even if in the wrong direction. In the end, slavery for the masses is the final destination and the people will even beg for it I assure you. There is a certain comfort in being subjugated for after all they will never have to think again and it is clear that having to think is something that bothers them anyway. Bring it on, they will embrace it.

(4) The only places I’ve been that resemble current southern Humboldt are third world countries. The place is completely out of control and there is absolutely no regulation. It’s like a scene from mad max and the walking dead combined. It’s terrible.

(5) So, is it just America being bat-shit crazy, or is it a built-in flaw in all of humanity? Unfortunately, I believe the latter. Has there ever been a long-term rational society? If you believe life exists elsewhere in the galaxy, it’s entirely possible an explanation for the Fermi paradox is that what sane civilization would want to touch us with a 10-light year pole?

(6) Reminds me of the ‘Long Hot Summer’ long ago – only this one will be hotter and longer thanks to the billions of tons of crap we spewed into the atmosphere these past magical years. Almost no mention whatsoever about how this mutt got a hold of a deadly assault rifle. In massacres gone by, there would at least be a hue and cry along this line. No more – the NRA has us firmly in line. A truly horrid time, about to get horrider (I’m starting to sound like the Orange Beast)

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