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DRY AND UNSEASONABLY WARM conditions are expected to continue this week. Most areas will continue to see smoke impacts. Coastal marine clouds and fog continue to move north and are expected to move onto the immediate coast this afternoon and evening. Inland temperatures are expected to see a gradual cool down late in the week and the coast will continue to see periods of low clouds and fog. (NWS)
TRUMP and Biden shouted over each other and insulted each other as Chris Wallace lost control of the first unpresidential presidential "debate" on Tuesday night. Barely had the night begun when the two candidates began name calling and fighting, with Biden asking Trump to shut up and slapping him down as the president repeatedly interrupted his answers. The 90-minute farce proved early on that it would a be a knock-out, drag-down match, as they squared off over the Supreme Court, handling of the coronavirus pandemic, Trump's taxes, Hunter Biden's business dealings and the Black Lives Matter movement. The president tried to command the stage from out of the box, interrupting his rival repeatedly to make his point, counter Biden, and push himself into the conversation. "Would you shut up, man?," a visibly exasperated Biden said about 20 minutes into the debate after Trump interrupted him again as he tried to talk about the Supreme Court. Trump interrupted Biden so many times that "moderater" Chris Wallace, rather than cut Trump's mike, stepped in, asking the president to let Biden finish his answer.
FIRST CLUE that last night's debate would be meaningless was in the list of topics:
- The Trump and Biden Records
- The Supreme Court
- The Economy
- Race and Violence in our Cities
- The Integrity of the Election
and they did not disappoint.
A FACT-CHECK of the first Trump-Biden debate of the 2020 election
by John Haltiwanger & Sonom Sheth, Business Insider
President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden faced off on Tuesday in the first debate of the 2020 campaign season. In all, the event featured a constant stream of false claims, misinformation, and conspiracy theories, most of which came from the president as he shouted over Biden and the Fox News host Chris Wallace, who attempted to moderate the debate. President Donald Trump and Vice President Joe Biden's highly anticipated debate from its outset descended into bickering and hard-to-follow barrages of false claims, misinformation, and conspiracy theories, most of which came from Trump. CNN's Dana Bash described the debate as a "s--tshow" after it was over. Her colleague, Jake Tapper, largely agreed, calling it "a hot mess inside a dumpster fire inside a train wreck. That was the worst debate I have ever seen… Primarily because of President Trump."
Here's a fact-check of some of the biggest whoppers from both presidential candidates during their first debate of the campaign season:
The Supreme Court
What they said: While discussing Trump's push to fill Ginsburg's Supreme Court seat, Biden attacked Trump for trying to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Trump then accused Biden of working to "extinguish 180 million people with their private healthcare that they're very happy with."
"That's simply not true," Biden said.
"Well, you're going socialist," Trump said, adding, "That's not what you said and that's not what your party said. Your party wants to go socialist medicine and socialist healthcare, and they're going to dominate you, Joe, you know that."
"I am the Democratic Party right now," Biden shot back. "The platform of the Democratic Party is what I, in fact, approved of."
Fact check: Trump and other Republican lawmakers have repeatedly claimed that Biden and other establishment Democrats caved to progressive lawmakers like New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Last week, one White House spokesperson described Biden as "a prisoner of the radical, extreme, socialist left."
In fact, Biden often comes under attack from his progressive rivals for his centrist record and long history of collaborating with Republicans. Though he adopted some positions endorsed by progressives, he has not embraced the benchmark policy proposal they've advocated: Medicare for All.
Biden opposes universal healthcare, and has instead pushed to expand the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). The former vice president also pushed back on the "socialist" label, saying during the debate that he "defeated the socialist," referring to Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who describes himself as a democratic socialist.
What they said: Trump claimed that Biden opposed his decision to ban certain types of travel from China early on during the US outbreak of the disease. He said of travel from China, "We closed it down." Trump also said the US is "weeks away" from a COVID-19 vaccine.
Fact check: Biden's campaign said in April that he supported Trump's decision to restrict travel. Trump also did not impose a complete ban on travel from China, and thousands of people traveled to the US from China after the restrictions were announced. The restrictions were also implemented after the virus had gained a foothold in the US.
Regarding a coronavirus vaccine, CDC director Robert Redfield recently told Congress: "If you're asking me when is it going to be generally available to the American public so we can begin to take advantage of vaccine to get back to our regular life, I think we're probably looking at third ... late second quarter, third quarter 2021."
What they said: Biden tore into Trump for saying that the virus outbreak would be gone by Easter and the early summer. He also attacked the president for suggesting during a coronavirus task force briefing that "maybe you could inject some bleach in your arm and that would take care of it."
"That was said sarcastically, and you know it," Trump shot back.
Fact check: Here's what the president said during the April task force briefing, according to a transcript and video recording of his remarks:
"So, supposing we hit the body with a tremendous, whether its ultraviolet or just very powerful light, and I think you said, that hasn't been checked but you're gonna test it. And then I said, supposing it brought the light inside the body, which you can either do either through the skin or some other way, and I think you said you're gonna test that too, sounds interesting. And I then I see the disinfectant, where it knocks it out in one minute, and is there a way you can do something like that by injection inside, or almost a cleaning. Because you see it gets in the lungs, and it does a tremendous number on the lungs. So it'd be interesting to check that. So you're going to have to use medical doctors, but it sounds interesting to me, so we'll see. But the whole concept of the light, the way it goes in one minute, that's pretty powerful."
What they said: Biden said the US has "5 percent — 4 percent — of the world's population, 20 percent of the deaths."
Fact check: This is true. According to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University, 1,005,394 people around the world have died from COVID-19. The US consists of 205,996 of those deaths.
What they said: Biden claimed that Trump will "be the first president in history to leave office with fewer jobs than when he came in."
Fact check: Former President George W. Bush "inherited 4.2 percent unemployment in January 2001. That rate had grown to 7.8 percent when he left office eight years later," Vox reported. When Trump took office, he inherited a 4.2 percent unemployment rate from former President Barack Obama. The current unemployment rate is 8.4 percent.
CNN also reported that job losses during Trump's first term are the worst of any president in recorded American history, although former President Herbert Hoover also left office with fewer jobs than when he took office.
What they said: Debate moderator Chris Wallace asked Trump about a recent bombshell New York Times investigation that found he paid just $750 in federal income taxes in 2016 and 2017. Trump replied that he paid "millions of dollars" in income taxes, and Biden called on Trump to "show us your tax returns." Trump said he would when the IRS was done auditing them.
Fact check: The president has indeed paid millions in taxes, but not in federal income taxes, as The Times reported. There is also no rule prohibiting individuals from disclosing their tax returns when they're under audit, as Trump has claimed for years.
What they said: Biden claimed that the US has a higher deficit with China now "than we did before."
Fact check: This is a misleading claim, according to The New York Times, which reported that the trade deficit with China "fell sharply" between 2018 and 2019 as Trump's trade war took a significant toll on commerce between the US and China.
What they said: Trump attacked Biden's son, Hunter, over his work for the board of the Ukrainian natural gas company Burisma Holdings and his business activities in China. The president accused Joe Biden of trying to have the Ukrainian prosecutor general ousted when he was vice president in order to shut down an investigation into Burisma and protect Hunter Biden. Trump also alleged that Hunter Biden received "$3.5 million from Moscow."
Fact check: It is true that Biden, when he was vice president, pushed hard for the Ukrainian government to fire Viktor Shokin, the prosecutor general at the time. However, Biden was acting in his official capacity as part of the Obama administration when pushing for Shokin's firing because the prosecutor did not make a concerted effort to fight corruption. The US's western allies and institutions, including the World Bank, supported the move. Also, by the time Biden started pushing for Shokin's dismissal, the probe into Burisma was dormant, according to Bloomberg.
Trump's claim that Hunter Biden received $3.5 million from Moscow refers to allegations from a Republican Senate report last week that said an investment firm linked to Hunter Biden took in $3.5 million from Yelena Baturina, the widow of the late Moscow mayor Yury Luzhkov.
Biden's lawyer, George Mesires, told Politico in a statement that the Senate report held no merit because Hunter Biden did not have any "interest in" and was not the "co-founder" of the investment firm, Rosemont Seneca Thornton, "so the claim that he was paid $3.5 million is false."
Race and violence in American cities
What they said: Trump repeatedly accused the far-left group antifa of orchestrating violence connected to nationwide protests against police brutality. Biden replied that Trump's own FBI director, Chris Wray, said "antifa is an idea, not an organzation, not [a] militia."
"Well, then, you know what, he's wrong," Trump interjected.
Fact check: It's true that Wray has said antifa is an ideology and not an organization. "It's not a group or an organization. It's a movement or an ideology," he said. Wray added, however, that antifa activists and far-right extremists were a serious concern for the bureau and that the FBI has launched "any number of properly predicated investigations into what we would describe as violent anarchist extremists."
What they said: Trump claimed Portland Sheriff Mike Reese supports him.
Fact check: This is untrue, according to Reese, who tweeted, "In tonight's presidential debate the President said the 'Portland Sheriff' supports him. As the Multnomah County Sheriff I have never supported Donald Trump and will never support him."
What they said: Trump repeated his frequent claim that Democrats, former Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, and the Obama administration "came after me trying to do a coup" and "spying on my campaign. They were a disaster, they were a disgrace to our country, and we've caught them. We've caught them all."
Fact check: Trump was referring to the FBI's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 US election. The bureau launched the inquiry in July 2016 after a Trump campaign foreign policy aide, George Papadopoulos, drunkenly boasted to an Australian diplomat about Russia having dirt on the Clinton presidential campaign in the form of "thousands of emails."
The Justice Department inspector general determined after an internal investigation that the FBI had an "authorized purpose" to launch the investigation and that it was not motivated by political bias. He faulted the bureau for violating protocol when applying for a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant to monitor the communications of the Trump campaign adviser Carter Page. But he did not uncover evidence that the FBI improperly or illegally "spied" on the Trump campaign, as the president has repeatedly alleged.
What they said: "I'm encouraging my supporters to go into the polls and watch very carefully, because that's what has to happen," Trump said. "I am urging them to do it. In Philadelphia they went in to watch ... they were thrown out. They were't allowed to watch. There are bad things happening in Philadelphia, bad things."
Fact check: This is untrue. As The Philadelphia Inquirer reported: "There were several reasons — none is corruption — why elections staff did not allow members of the public to arbitrarily enter their offices. The Trump campaign has no poll watchers approved to work in Philadelphia at the moment. There are no actual polling places open in the city right now. And elections officials are following coronavirus safety regulations, such as those limiting the number of people indoors."
Trump's call for his supporters to "watch very carefully" also amounts to voter suppression.
What they said: Trump said that increased mail-in voting will result in a "fraudulent election" and that Democrats are calling for more voting by mail in order to "cheat" in the election.
Fact check: This is one of the most commonly floated conspiracy theories from the president and his allies. While voter and election fraud does happen, it's incredibly rare and affects a tiny percentage of all ballots cast. A database of voter and election fraud cases maintained by the conservative Heritage Foundation found that documented cases of fraud with mail ballots are more common than cases of in-person voter impersonation, ballot petition fraud, and registration fraud, but that overall rates of fraud are infinitesimally low.
FIRE UPDATES, September 30, 2020
GLASS FIRE: 48,440 acres, 2% contained
The fire burned actively throughout the night due to low humidity and above average temperatures. Crews experienced active fire behavior, and continue to focus on structure defense in both Sonoma and Napa Counties while building and reinforcing containment lines. Heavy dead and down fuels continue to threaten the fire line. Hot dry weather is anticipated over the next several days.
AUGUST COMPLEX: 949,055 acres, 43% contained
A preliminary estimate shows structures and powerline infrastructure have been damaged or destroyed by the powerful wind-driven fire in the past few days. Trinity County Office of Emergency Services has not yet been able to begin damage assessments. They will enter the area as soon as it is safe to do so and directly notify owners; your patience is appreciated. Hot spots, falling trees, impassable roads, and many other hazards are present. Roadblocks remain in place for firefighter and public safety as well as property protection. Please comply with the Sheriff’s orders. Failure to evacuate diverts firefighters from protecting homes to assisting residents who should have evacuated. Crews continue working in Ruth, Post Mountain, and Forest Glen defending structures and conducting structure triage.
Smoke is expected to move back into the area over the next several days with a strong low-pressure system building over northern California. Lighter winds and shade from the smoke is anticipated to moderate fire behavior, but fire danger is still extreme. Dry fuels and winds can carry fire quickly. The winds are expected to shift to a flow from the north to northwest today, which will push the fire generally toward the southeast. However, the terrain can also funnel winds, shifting wind direction.
The fire continued to burn actively through the night with flanking, backing down slopes, and isolated tree torching. Firefighters patrolled and monitored structures on the west side of the fire last night and those efforts continue today. Crews conducted overnight strategic burning operations near Hettenshaw on the west side of the fire and near the junction of Forest Roads 30 and 35 on the east side. Firefighters continue to hold and improve containment lines on the northeastern flank prior to the shift in wind direction.
Additional air resources are being assigned to the fire. Air operations support firefighters on the ground as conditions permit. Please respect the Temporary Flight Restriction; keep drones away from the fire and firefighting operations. If you fly, we can’t. Don’t be the reason a firefighting air mission has to divert!
WATER PUMP STOLEN AS UNLICENSED GROWERS CLASH WITH FIRE OFFICIALS
As firefighters battle the August Complex West Zone, underground cannabis farmers desperate to water their crops have begun impeding firefighting efforts, according to Mendocino County Sheriff Matthew Kendall. The sheriff said the rising tensions were indicative of a larger problem, stemming from the lure of the legal and illegal cannabis industries bringing crime in from outside the county.
AFTER TWO DAYS OF SMALL INCREASES, Mendo reported 15 new covid cases on Tuesday bringing total to 954 with 109 active cases, 7 of which are in hospital or ICU.
SIGNING YOUR MAIL BALLOT RETURN ENVELOPE
November 3, 2020 Election
Mendocino County ballots will be mailed to every active registered voter on Monday, October 5, 2020. In preparation of every registered voter receiving their ballot, we thought we would answer a couple questions we’ve had regarding signing your mail ballot return envelope. According to Katrina Bartolomie, Assessor Clerk Recorder, Registrar of Voters, with each Election we receive questions from our voters about their signatures. Two of the main questions we are asked are – does the voter have to sign their mail ballot return envelope exactly as they are registered; and what do they do if their signature has changed?
If you think your signature has changed a lot, you should re-register. We take into consideration that our signatures change as we age, but the style normally is very similar. We look at the signature style, we do not require your ballot envelope be signed exactly as the signature we have on file, nor does your signature have to be exactly as you are registered. For example - if you’re registered as “Katherine Elizabeth Simpson”, what would your legal signature be - how do your normally sign your name? There are several ways you could sign your ballot envelope – you could sign your full name or you could sign Katherine E Simpson; Kathy Simpson; K E Simpson; K Simpson; as long as your signature style is the same, we will accept the signed ballot envelope.
If you now have a squiggly signature, we suggest you sign your squiggly signature you now sign every day, and right above or below that signature, sign your name as it appears on your mail label. It’s extremely hard to check a signature that we can’t make out when the signature we have in our database for you is a neat, spelled out, legible signature. By signing both ways it helps us decipher the signature on your ballot envelope.
Another way, is look at your driver’s license signature – does your normal signature look like the signature on your driver’s license? If you’ve registered online or through DMV, you most likely had to attach the signature on file with DMV to your registration form.
We check every signature on every mail in ballot envelope. If there is a problem we will make every attempt possible to contact you to cure your signature.
Please call or email the Elections Office if you have any questions. Our number is (707) 234-6819; or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
SHERIFF MATT KENDALL:
September has been an extremely hard month for Mendocino County.
If the wildfires in our County being the worst in recorded history wasn’t distressing enough, crimes like the one that occurred yesterday, September 27, 2020, also reflect some of the worst criminal activity our County has seen. (You can read the press release.)
These issues are causing me to reach out to the people of Mendocino County.
As we move forward towards the future I believe it is time we reexamine where Mendocino County is going with several of these issues. Recently we learned of an incident where fire personnel have been threatened, intimidated and ordered by illegal marijuana growers to water their marijuana crops with water tenders, which have been dedicated to the fire suppression efforts. There has also been theft of water supply systems that have been put in place to draw water for fire suppression efforts in the field, thus cutting response times to get more water to the fire lines.
Even more concerning to me, as we further investigate the kidnapping and robbery case which began on the Covelo Road, we learned these men were planning on murdering deputies if they were discovered and detained. These subjects were not residents of Mendocino County, coming from the state of Nevada and Riverside County California. However, they were drawn here by the lure of easy money. Monies that are funding the problems we are experiencing now. We see this time and time again. People from outside of Mendocino County and well outside of the law are continually drawn here like a moth to a flame.
The suspects, in this case, were equipped with military-grade weapons, and body armor. They had planned to open fire on deputies with these weapons. Our brave men and women who serve Mendocino County aren’t paid to be murdered. I will not stand by and allow this to happen.
I fear robberies, murder and constant threat to human life will become the new normal for Mendocino County if we don’t try to address the problem now. I have grown weary of hearing marijuana is a victimless crime. If this were true, we would not be dealing with murders and robberies clearly tied to marijuana. We can clearly see criminals lured by greed, and greed, in turn, leads to a marked increase in violence.
Anything causing this much violence must be stopped.
I have grown weary of hearing the marijuana trade is providing an economic base for our county. I don’t believe this. This falsehood is reflective in our County's general fund budget. The multibillion-dollar industry has provided us no financial benefit in taxes however has continued the social degradation combined with damage to the environment. The violence has become too much for our county to carry. Now is the time to stop pretending the illegal marijuana trade is a good thing.
I can’t count the number of calls we receive from residents in our rural areas who are tired of being intimidated and are tired of sheltering in their homes while armed subjects roam vast areas of the county protecting their crops. Gunfire is heard all night in the rural areas within our county. It is being used as a constant warning to anyone who would venture out of their homes in the evening and night.
The Round Valley area is approximately 19 square miles. Our best estimation is there are over one million marijuana plants cultivated in Round Valley every year. Round Valley is approximately 0.5% of the total landmass of Mendocino County. This is completely out of hand.
The market has been so saturated we can’t possibly expect the legal market could support this much marijuana. My estimation is less than 1 percent of the marijuana produced in Mendocino County is for the legal market.
I continue to support legal marijuana cultivation in Mendocino County as the laws are clear in California. I applaud those who strive to build this emerging market. We owe it to the folks working in this emergent industry to protect them as well.
The people involved in the illegal market must be dealt with in order to provide safety for our county. This industry has run wild with little to no enforcement against those who will continue to murder, rob and intimidate. We must take a hard look at the systems in place, we must look with honestly and recognize these systems aren’t working.
Recent changes in legislation, with little to no planning to deal with the consequences, are placing all rural counties at risk. While the state fails to address the illegal marijuana problem, we are tasked with unfunded mandates, which take away from the work we should be doing.
Simply changing the law does not stop people from being victimized. We are in a strange time where we have forgotten about the rights of our victims, and the good people in our communities. It is clear everyone knows their rights, however, many have forgotten their responsibilities.
I will be taking a much harder line on those who choose to work in the black market. The future of our county is dependent on the decisions we make today.
Staffing and personnel have always been an issue for Mendocino County. While other departments have grown at a staggering pace, the Sheriff’s Office has the same number of patrol personnel that we had when I was born, 51 years ago. This has to be dealt with. The safety of our citizens demands it.
I am asking all residents of Mendocino County to stand with me and with our Board of Supervisors to give this problem top priority. Our Board of Supervisors has shown time and time again they support public safety.
We all need to stand together to secure the personnel needed to truly combat this problem. We simply need the support of our communities to say enough is enough.
I will be moving more personnel into the Detectives Bureau as well as the Marijuana Enforcement Unit, however, these personnel will leave a void in the patrol force if we don’t begin some growth in our numbers.
Mendocino County has always been resilient and strong, our pioneering spirit is unmatched. We can deal with this problem if we have the support of our communities.
I know our Board of Supervisors agrees with me that all Mendocino County residents deserve a better quality of life. I’m asking each of you to contact your Supervisor by reaching out to them on social media or just tag them in a comment below. Let them know you stand with us in wanting all of us to live in a safer community.
Supervisor Ted Williams:
The starting point for discussion would be a formal proposal for adjustment to position allocation table. No such request was proposed by June 23 when the budget was finalized, but adjustments can be made to scale back other (general fund) departments in favor of increasing law enforcement. This would start with a proposal by the Sheriff.
I'm sad for the people of Round Valley area. Violent crime is out of hand.
HERE’S AN IDEA: Reduce the CEO/Supervisors combined $1 million budget by $300k and hire two additional patrol deputies with vehicles. (Mark Scaramella)
THE NOVEMBER 3RD ELECTION — CLIP AND VOTE
A number of the propositions on this ballot are there because the legislature doesn’t legislate the tough issues, especially the ones likely to offend their funders. Most props are easy to figure out simply by looking at who paid to get them on the ballot. Those in the public interest are typically the work of ordinary people who either collected the qualifying signatures themselves, or collectively paid to have the required signatures collected. But most initiatives are the work of the self-interested organized as corporations or as syndicates of the self-interested — doctors and landlords, for instance this time around. As the plague rages, the economy implodes, Trump bumbles, the libs sputter and cringe, the whole show coming apart, with events moving faster than the leadership, even if there was one, can cope with, meaning some of these initiatives are mooted by recent events. But all this is obvious to ava readers, as savvy and sophisticated a posse as ever walked our dying earth, but here goes anyway:
PROP 14: STEM CELL RESEARCH. What kind of monster could possibly oppose stem cell research? The Boonville monster, for one. The prob here is that the feds are already spending billions on this line of inquiry so, like, why should the State of California spend $7.3 billion on the same science? NO ON 14.
PROP 15: PUBLIC ED FUNDING. Partially undoes the massive gift of public money to corporations made possible by Prop 13 many years ago. Prop 15 would spike property taxes upwards on commercial parcels and structures, the billions thus raised funneled to the instruction of our nation’s future, those millions of sugar-fueled, twitter-fragged young who will somehow have to learn enough to cope with the social/environmental chaos they will inherit. YES ON 15.
PROP 16: DIVERSITY HIRING. Everyone should be nice, nicer, nicest. We shouldn’t not hire someone because he showed up in make-up and a mini-skirt for a job as a kindergarten teacher and referred to himself as “they” during the interview. But seriously, arbitrary rejection based on immutable human facts of race, gender and sub classifications thereof, aren’t fair when public money is in play. Ol’ Whitey, male division, still gets the biggest share of public money, although Ms. Whitey still makes less than Mr. Whitey both still do a lot better than most black and brown people who are denied equivalent opportunity. There’s still major unfairness in the way that public money and public jobs are allocated. Although many of the people pushing Prop 16 are race-baiting demagogues and stone weirdos, YES ON 16.
PROP 17: RIGHT TO VOTE. Remember when ex-cons were said to have “paid their debt to society”? Well, society still hasn’t stamped paid on their debt, and there are millions of people out there in our highly incarcerated land who deserve to be restored to full citizenship. YES ON 17.
PROP 18: THE VOTE FOR 17-YEAR OLDS. Only if they know front from back of their baseball caps, pull their pants up and don’t scatter “likes” “sort ofs” “kindas” and “dudes” in their every attempt at communication. But what the hell, considering the mass intelligence of so-called adult voters who’ve selected recent presidents, a few more idiots voting won’t even be noticed. YES ON 18.
PROP 19: CHANGES SOME PROPERTY TAX RULES. Big help to non-rich people, especially old people and the disabled and helps fund deserving public agencies while making property taxes more fair as it punishes multi-home celebs and other undeserving swine. YES ON 19.
PROP 20: PAROLE AND SENTENCING REVISIONS: This one’s a mixed bag of good and bad reform. Allows DNA collection from persons committing certain types of mostly misdemeanor crimes, which can be a good thing in that it can help solve other crimes, but makes some property crimes felonies which would expand prison populations when public sentiment is running against more prisons. The good thing 20 does is it would tighten parole restrictions on cho-mo’s and wife beaters, and make it harder for other sex criminals to get paroled. Overall, more good than bad. YES ON 20.
PROP 21: LOCAL AUTHORITY TO ENACT RENT CONTROL: A wimpy measure unlikely to be deployed by local authority of the fey Mendo type, but another small step towards the much tougher rent control needed by millions of rent-paying Americans as the economy crumbles and millions face eviction because they can no longer pay rent. The television ads make it seem as if little old ladies renting one end of their Ukiah duplexes will lose their only source of income, but the large majority of renters are at the mercy of large-scale landlords like, for instance, our president. YES ON 21.
PROP 22: Tricky Prop written by Uber/Lyft/DoorDash to stiff drivers out of decent pay and benefits. NO
PROP 23: KIDNEY DIALYSIS UPGRADES: This ghoulish billion dollar private industry feasts on people who will die without it. The world’s civilized countries include dialysis with tax-funded medical care for all their citizens, but the world’s richest country sells the lives of its citizens to syndicates of investors. The largest dialysis companies are hugely profitable. They can easily afford a minor upgrade in patient care and protection. YES ON 23.
PROP 24: CONSUMER PRIVACY LAWS. Protects us, perhaps, from cyber-harvesting our personal information. But given the fiendishly intrusive abilities of modern tech we’ll all remain subject to constant monitoring and sales of our consumption profiles to the titans of free enterprise. But what the hell, YES ON 24.
PROP 25: MONEY BAIL. Hugely unfair, especially to the Defendant Community, who languish in jail for mostly low-level, non-violent offenses because they’re poor and unable to afford bail. Opponents say Prop 25 will require an expensive bureaucracy to keep track of the caught and released, proponents point out county jails will be cheaper to operate because fewer people will be held in them — a wash? Maybe. But a long overdue reform. YES ON 25.
POLITICAL RACES: We recommend, as usual, protest votes, meaning NO on all Northcoast incumbents, a gaggle of undistinguished and indistinguishable machine Democrats, and an emphatic NO on Biden because, you Democrats will recall, Northcoast Democrats went heavily for Bernie, the timid socialist made to seem like a Bolshevik by the utterly corrupt DNC who, natch, chose elder abuse over even the possibility of discombobulating their billionaire funders. Given that California is in the bag for Democrats, a protest vote for, say, Peace and Freedom, is not an implicit vote for the Orange Monster, but an expression of your righteous and wholly justified outrage at the wholly corrupt Democratic machine.
LOCAL RACES: Sigh. The Supervisors? Whoever replaces McCowen and Brown are lateral moves because local elections tend to be issue-free and child-like i.e., popularity contests. Besides which we’ve managed to achieve, here in the “progressive” shangri-la of Mendocino County, a perfect political entropy, making even the most sensible reform impossible. The county, like the country, will soon be broke, and our county apparatus totally unable to cope or even understand what is happening. Anyone dependent on county services better hunker down, and county employees below the administrative level, well, good luck compadres. You’re going to need it.
WHAT HAPPENED TO THE MEASURE B MEETING & VIDEO?
We asked Measure B Project Manager Alyson Bailey Tuesday what happened to the video of the Measure B meeting on Wednesday, September 23 and got this response:
“The IS department is going through some personnel changes and they were unable to film the meeting as a result. If you would like to know about the outcome of the any of the agenda items, please contact the Executive Office. I am sorry for the inconvenience, and IS has installed placeholders for the rest of 2020 to keep this from happening again.”
Which sounds like a bureaucratic version of “we forgot.” Which would be an acceptable answer, if not particularly impressive, because it’s simply what happened. (Hell, I’m at an age when I forget lots of stuff, but I’m not on the County’s payroll.) The next question would be, of course, Why not post a note on the Measure B webpage explaining the problem and describing what happened at the meeting and what will be done to prevent it in the future? But we didn’t want to bother Ms. Bailey with that one; probably asking too much. Besides, she referred us to the CEO’s office.
When we forwarded Ms. Bailey’s reply to the CEO’s office as she suggested, our note was auto-converted into a Public Records Act request and “It is currently uner review and is not available for the general public to view.”
But soon we received a note from CEO Angelo:
“I would ask that you contact the person listed on those two agenda items for the update, or Ms. Bailey who is the Measure B Project Manager. I am only one person on the committee. Since you are submitting a PRA for information to the Executive Office, this will be referred back to the Measure B Program Manager as the Subject Matter Expert and the best person to respond to your PRA. The Executive Office manages the PRA database and sends a response for the specific department or program, but rarely are we the Office that has the information. Thank you.”
To which we replied:
“As you can see by my original email I sent my first inquiry to Ms. Bailey who referred me to your office. I was hoping to avoid the cumbersome PRA process. So I am now replying with a cc: to Ms. Bailey. There were two substantive items on the agenda which I am pasting into this email below which are of primary interest. A simple description of the outcome of these two items would be fine for the time being pending the minutes of the meeting:
• Discussion and Possible Action for Measure B to Recommend to the Board of Supervisors the Hiring of a Consultant to Develop a Business Plan
• Report on the Status of the Kemper Services; Discussion and Possible Action of BOS Outcome, and BOS Measure B Ad Hoc.”
We cc’d: Ms. Bailey on the above email as suggested and later Tuesday afternoon Ms. Bailey replied:
“Here are the action items from the Measure B meeting on September 23, 2020:
Agenda Item 3a: Approval of Minutes from the August 26, 2020 Meeting – Minutes approved with some edits.
Agenda Item 3b: Acceptance of Action Minutes for Committee Meetings in Place of Summary Minutes; Discussion and Possible Action – Action minutes approved.
Agenda Item 3d: Discussion and Possible Action for Measure B to Recommend to the Board of Supervisors the Hiring of a Consultant to Develop a Business Plan – Motion made and approved to have the Kemper Ad Hoc Committee work with the Measure B Project Manager to complete a strategic plan with financial analysis.
Agenda Item 3e: Report on the Status of the Kemper Services; Discussion and Possible Action of BOS Outcome, and BOS Measure B Ad Hoc – Motion made and approved to expand the Kemper Ad Hoc Committee role to include program and financial strategic planning. Information provided regarding the Request for Proposal process, Request for Proposal Crisis Residential Treatment Operation, and Request for Qualification Operation Services for Mendocino County Psychiatric Health Facility. Update provided on Board of Supervisor meeting and the formation of a Board of Supervisors Measure B Ad Hoc Committee.
Agenda Item 3f: Discussion and Possible Action of Landscaping Services for the Behavioral Health Regional Training Center Property – No action was taken. Direction provided to Measure B Project Manager.
Thank you for your patience, and I am permitted to take your requests in the future.
Measure B - Administrative Project Manager
TRANSLATION: As we’ve come to expect, the Measure B Committee took no significant action — again. (We kinda knew that, of course, but at least now it’s on the record.)
PS. It’s nice to know that the Measure B Project Manager now has formal permission from the CEO to “take our requests” about what happens at her own meeting.
IS THERE REALLY A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN MASKS?
Miller Report for the Week of September 28, 2020
by William Miller, MD – Chief of Staff at Adventist Health – Mendocino Coast Hospital
Any discussion about different materials for masks can get pretty complicated looking at size of pores versus size of virus particles, versus electrostatic charges of different materials, versus thread counts, etc. However, last week we looked at two very convincing epidemiologic studies that suggest that any type of mask that fully covers the mouth and nose is highly effective in blocking transmission of respiratory viruses, regardless of the material, especially if both people are wearing a mask. So, in that context, a valid question is, “Should we really worry about what the mask is made of?” And the simple answer is, “Probably not.”
A few definitions will be helpful. First, a “medical grade mask” is made of layers of paper and is disposable. A “surgeon’s mask” is a medical grade mask that ties behind the head and neck while an “isolation mask” usually has ear loops to hold it in place. This is because it is easier to safely remove a contaminated mask by lifting off the ear loops instead of fiddling around with a knot to untie. Medical grade masks also usually come with a small wire or metal strip along the top so that the mask can be fitted better over the bridge of the nose so as to reduce fogging of one’s glasses. Some medical masks also have a thin adhesive over the bridge of the nose for the same purpose. However, the material that the mask is made of is generally the same. A “cloth mask” refers to any of a number of designs made at home by anyone who is handy with a sewing machine. An N-95, as we will discuss in more detail later, is a particularly thick mask, also known as a “respirator”, that is designed to filter out very fine dust particles or aerosols. N-95s are made for medical use as well as use in construction settings and workshops.
Personally, I think that the most important elements of a good mask are that it be comfortable to wear and even more importantly, comfortable to breathe through. For example, one of the problems with an N-95 mask is that it takes extra work to breathe through which can be fatiguing after a while. Also, if the mask doesn’t fit well and you are always having to reach up to readjust it, then that is not good, or even worse is when it constantly falls down. The same goes for a mask that leads to your glasses fogging up all the time. All of these annoyances will lead to people avoiding wearing the mask and that circumvents the point which is to have everyone wearing a mask when around others outside of your social bubble.
Most of the research comparing different mask materials has been in protecting against influenza. Since these two viruses, SARS-2 (COVID) and influenza, are very similar in size and means of transmission, then these studies are useful. I think one of the best such study was published in the British Medical Journal in 2015 in which a comparison was made of influenza transmission in 1,607 healthcare workers in 14 different hospitals between those who wore cloth masks and those that wore medical grade masks (BMJ Open / March 26, 2015 / 5: e65770). This study did show a reduction in the risk of catching influenza if a medical grade mask was used over a cloth mask. However, one potential shortcoming in the study is that the medical grade masks were disposed of daily, while the cloth mask were reused. Also, the cloth masks were made of layers of gauze which has a very low density of threads per inch. However, both types of masks did significantly reduce the risk of influenza, with the medical grade mask performing better. Based on this and similar studies, current guidelines are that healthcare workers taking care of patients should wear medical grade masks. Translating that to a recommendation for the general public is difficult given the more casual encounters that occur while passing each other in a grocery store aisle versus being a nurse caring for an ill, hospitalized patient in close contact. Incidentally, the study showed that masks combined with strict handwashing was significantly more protective against infection than masks alone.
Another interesting study, forwarded to me by another Dr. Miller, in this case our local psychologist Dr. Richard Miller, looked at different cloth fabrics and their ability to trap small droplets and particles in the laboratory. This was done by researchers at the University of Wisconsin and published in the journal of the American Chemical Society in May (ACS Nano / May 14, 2020 / 14(5);6339-6347). In this study, they compared different fabrics including cotton, flannel, silk and various synthetic fibers along with different combinations of each as well as varying fabric density (ie., thread count and thickness). They found that double layered masks are more effective than single layer, no surprise there, but that varying the fabrics of the two layers was better than two layers of the same fabric. The best combinations appear to be cotton−silk, cotton−chiffon, and cotton−flannel. Also, higher thread counts were associated with better performance, once again no surprise there, but that there wasn’t much benefit beyond 600 threads per inch (TPI). This is important because most of us would find it difficult to breathe through a thread count much above that.
N-95 face masks are not really advised for the general public. The reason is that the main transmission of viruses like SARS-2 is from respiratory droplets which are much larger than aerosols. N-95s are designed to trap much smaller particles called aerosols. Aerosols are really a concern in medical and dental settings where procedures such as high-speed dental drills or medication nebulizers create large amounts of aerosols. In those settings, an N-95 is required. However, once again for casual encounters in the general public, such a mask is really overkill in my opinion. Plus, they are much more difficult to breath through because of their construction needing to trap the smaller particle.
N-95s are commonly found in hardware stores with a one-way mechanical valve. These masks are designed to trap small dust particles such as from wood working or metal polishing. As I mentioned, N-95s are difficult to breath through, so for work shop applications many come with a one-way valve that makes it easier to exhale. However, since our public health strategy in mask wearing is mainly to prevent people who are infected with the virus from spreading it to others, then masks with one-way valves are not as effective. Similarly, simply wearing a plastic face shield without a mask does not cut it at all as your breath simply cascades all around the face shield. Healthcare workers wear these in addition to our masks to reduce the risk of splashes into the eyes and not to take the place of a mask.
As we saw in last week’s article, science supports that masks are a very effective part of our public health strategy to limit this epidemic. In the end, it probably doesn’t matter which type of mask you choose to wear. Again, if is comfortable, fits well on your face to cover both nose and mouth, and is easy to breathe through then that is enough. I think that for the most part, people now get the need for wearing a mask in public. However, we still have new cases and a lot of those are due to social gatherings, especially parties and family get-togethers, where there may be great social pressure not to wear a mask. If you venture outside of your social bubble to go to a party or other large gathering, you better be wearing a mask. Do it not only for yourself, but for the rest of us. The sooner we get this pandemic behind us, the sooner we can go back to social and economic normalcy. And, thank you to all of you who do wear your mask.
Dear Gardening Friends,
Thank you for your heartwarming messages during our recent fire emergency. Our office, trial gardens and Renee’s home were all evacuated for 10 days because of the CZU Lightning Complex Fire. On our return, besides airborne ash to clean up, there were lots of overripe vegetables in the trial garden including these gigantic zucchini! While we made use of the ones we could, most were tough and seedy and ended up enriching our compost pile.
We are all fine and there was no damage to any part of Renee’s Garden. Sadly, this 86,000 acre fire (now fully contained) destroyed over 925 homes in our county and recovery is just beginning for all those hit by this tragedy. Our firefighters and first responders are true heroes and we are eternally grateful for all their hard work, bravery and valor on behalf of our community under extremely tough conditions.
FREE CAR AND MORE!
From: Anderson Valley Village <email@example.com>
One of our members, Jim Tuhtan (Philo) is moving out of the area in the middle of October and has a lot of FREE stuff to pass around. Please contact him directly for more details and to arrange pick-up (707) 380-9649
Including - FREE:
- Car: Acura 3.0 CL, 1998, over 200,000 miles, needs work but runs great
- Book shelves
- PC Desk top computer
- End tables
- Coffee tables
FORD HOUSE, 1863
ON MONDAY, Supervisor Ted Williams attempted to dispute our claim that what the Board approved for the cannabis permit program last week was “impossible.”
Williams first quoted us: “In effect, Tuesday’s decision is an ill-considered split approach which, on the one hand expects the current applicants pay to the County to salvage their own long pending permits, then switch to a zoning-use permit approach sometime after that.”
Williams commented: This is not accurate. The action on Tuesday did not ask cultivators to “pay to the County to salvage their own long pending permits.” Cultivators who submitted applications with payment deserve follow through. Which step of the process do you see as not feasible? I see a trail of inaction, but conceptually, I don’t see impossibility. Nobody is talking about switching permitted cultivators from one model to another. It’s foreseeable that the appropriate model for grandfathering legacy cultivators is not the same as the ideal model for new applicants.
Mark Scaramella Replies: Obviously, this is not going to be a particularly productive discussion. You have correctly noted that it will take millions of dollars and thousands of staff hours (or costly outside consultants) just to clean up the existing applications mess and you/the Board have asked that those applicants provide “cost recovery” to, well, recover that cost. If you can’t see the substantial difficulties in that item alone, much less the other conglomeration of unlikely, contradictory and kick-the-can items in that agenda item — what lawyers might call unconstitutionally general and vague — then there’s not much point in discussing this. By “impossible” we mean that taking all this together — including several items that are highly unlikely — reduces the likelihood of any kind of practical, observable pot permit program success, however measured, to near zero. I suppose you could tap that equity grant money for some of this, but that’s not what it was intended for and even that remains unquantified and seems insufficient and wouldn’t be necessary if the program wasn’t so screwed up. But good luck. We’ll be very pleased to be proven wrong, much less “not accurate,” on this one in the highly unlikely event that we are.
MENDO FISHING, WAY BACK
FROM SUPERVISOR WILLIAMS:
Mendocino County: Final Cannabis Tax Revenue for 2019-20 was $5.8 million. Provided there are no changes to the number of cultivators in our system, we would expect similar numbers next year. For reference, in 2018-19, the bed tax (transient occupancy tax) generated $5.6 million.
CHRIS CALDER RESPONDS TO WILLIAMS:
The huge tidal wave of tax revenues from legalized weed continues!!!!
Wait. Five point eight million dollars in tax revenue in a county that grows between two and five billion dollars worth of weed every year, probably close to half of it legal?
Six million dollars in tax revenue does not touch the cost of regulating "legal" weed in Mendocino County and has no relation to the value of the local product. Ten times that might cover it.
Local cannabis regulation is a shambles, largely because it is underfunded and plagued by backlogs. This is driving legal growers into an increasingly brutal black market, which is exploding under the "hide in plain sight" camouflage of legal grows.
The county probably benefitted more from pot economically when it was illegal. Now the fouled up regulatory system favors deep pockets while the small farmers who started it all get hammered. And they are competing and dealing and partnering more and more now with people who make regular "organized crime" look like high school, i.e., the Mexican mafia. Pray they don't come to your neighborhood.
One thing's for sure: it ain't getting solved this year.
SCHOONERS PLYING THE MENDOCINO COAST
REMEMBER the armed bandido roaming Redwood Valley, the former firefighter gone terribly, terribly awry? You will be pleased or outraged, depending on your crime and punishment views, but Doug Stone — stoned on white powders during his burglaries — has completed a drug program at New Bridge in Berkeley.
He is now at the IFAA in Maryland for a 90 day PTSD program after which his attorney hopes to place him in another residential facility in Arizona near where his mother lives. He is wearing an electronic anklet. His psychiatrist tells his attorney that Doug is doing well. Mr. Stone's extensive gun collection is being reviewed by law enforcement. Another court event is scheduled for October 27th.
FORT BRAGG COUNCILPERSON, Jessica Morsell-Haye, seems unsure that the 17-person Fort Bragg name change committee may not be entirely composed of the righteous and the good so she's added two more people to the already overly-large and unwieldy advisory group — cancel culture bots Andy Wellspring and Christy Olsen Day. Morsell-Haye's vague justification for the add-ons? To make the committee more credible. Suggestion from Boonville: To make the name change committee entirely credible realize that you know nothing about the history of Fort Bragg or this country, apologize to the people of Fort Bragg for wasting their time with your bullying posturing and take a reputable history class, if you can find one where everyone doesn't get an A for merely showing up.
THE ATTEMPTED REWRITE of American history's saddest chapters is a direct path to censorship, and from there, to tyranny. Specifically, I know in my bones that Morsell-Haye's committee would certainly cancel me, and every other voice they disapprove of. Every damn thing should be open to question, open to debate. Why even Lincoln High School in SF, named after Honest Abe himself, has a gang of historical illiterates demanding Lincoln be erased. Why? They claim, against all the evidence, that Lincoln was… not against slavery enough. Imagine that, the man who risked dissolution of the country to free the slaves and said this: “Because of the monstrous injustice of slavery itself. I hate it because it deprives our republican example of its just influence in the world, and especially because it forces so many really good men amongst ourselves into an open war with the very fundamental principles of civil liberty.”
CATCH OF THE DAY, September 29, 2020
CLINT GUNTER, Ukiah. Domestic battery, controlled substance, failure to appear.
JASMINE KAHOALI-LUCERO, Eureka/Ukiah. DUI, controlled substance.
JAMES MILES, Ukiah. Parole violation.
JASON MILLS, Fort Bragg. Resisting.
FOREST NICHOLSON, Fort Bragg. Domestic battery.
KEVIN SHAW, Ukiah. Brandishing a non-gun weapon in a threatening, rude or angry manner, criminal threats, contempt of court.
RON COBB (aka 70s cartoonist R.Cobb), a Pioneer in Science Fiction Design, Dies at 83
Ron Cobb, the artist and movie production designer known for his work on the spaceship in “Alien,” the DeLorean in “Back to the Future,” and some tipsy aliens in “Star Wars,” died on Sept. 21 in Sydney, Australia. He was 83.
LAKOTA CODE OF ETHICS
1. Rise with the sun to pray. Pray alone. Pray often. The Great Spirit will listen, if you only speak.
2. Be tolerant of those who are lost on their path. Ignorance, conceit, anger, jealousy - and greed stem from a lost soul. Pray that they will find guidance.
3. Search for yourself, by yourself. Do not allow others to make your path for you. It is your road, and yours alone. Others may walk it with you, but no one can walk it for you.
4. Treat the guests in your home with much consideration. Serve them the best food, give them the best bed and treat them with respect and honor.
5. Do not take what is not yours whether from a person, a community, the wilderness or from a culture. It was not earned nor given. It is not yours.
6. Respect all things that are placed upon this earth - whether it be people or plant.
7. Honor other people's thoughts, wishes and words. Never interrupt another or mock or rudely mimic them. Allow each person the right to personal expression.
8. Never speak of others in a bad way. The negative energy that you put out into the universe will multiply when it returns to you.
9. All persons make mistakes. And all mistakes can be forgiven.
10. Bad thoughts cause illness of the mind, body and spirit. Practice optimism.
11. Nature is not FOR us, it is a PART of us. They are part of your worldly family.
12. Children are the seeds of our future. Plant love in their hearts and water them with wisdom and life's lessons. When they are grown, give them space to grow.
13. Avoid hurting the hearts of others. The poison of your pain will return to you.
14. Be truthful at all times. Honesty is the test of ones will within this universe.
15. Keep yourself balanced. Your Mental self, Spiritual self, Emotional self, and Physical self - all need to be strong, pure and healthy. Work out the body to strengthen the mind. Grow rich in spirit to cure emotional ails.
16. Make conscious decisions as to who you will be and how you will react. Be responsible for your own actions.
17. Respect the privacy and personal space of others. Do not touch the personal property of others - especially sacred and religious objects. This is forbidden.
18. Be true to yourself first. You cannot nurture and help others if you cannot nurture and help yourself first.
19. Respect others religious beliefs. Do not force your belief on others.
20. Share your good fortune with others.
CHILE AT A CROSSROADS & CHILEANS ON THE MOVE
by Jonah Raskin
Election Day this November rightly occupies the minds and hearts of American citizens, no matter what their political affiliations. The future of the republic itself is at stake. But the U.S. isn't the only country in the world with an upcoming election, and where the system of government is at issue. Chile, the South American nation that runs along a narrow strip of land between the Andes and the Pacific Ocean, faces a national plebiscite on 25 October 2020, just two weeks before Election Day in the States.
In Chile, millions of citizens will go to the polls, cast ballots and decide whether or not to draft a new constitution that would make the nation more democratic. Chileans will also decide who will draft the new constitution, whether members of a constitutional convention elected directly, or a "mixed" convention made up of members of the parliament along with citizens directly elected. The stakes are incredibly high. No one in the country is standing on the sidelines.
Indeed, over the last year, millions of Chileans have been in the streets of the capital, Santiago, and all over the country, protesting the policies and the actions of President Sebastian Pinera, a right wing billionaire, who has an approval rating of about 10% of the population. Approval of the police is less than 20%.
The Chilean feminist art collective, Lastesis, created a brilliant, dynamic performance piece titled "Un violador en tu camino" ("A Rapist in Your Way") to protest gender violence. It has gone viral and has been performed by women around the world. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oPtC48Aqo4w).
The haunting lyrics include: "it wasn't my fault, where I was, or how I dressed/ The rapist was you, the rapist is you/ It's the police, the judges, the state, the President/ The oppressive state is a macho rapist."
The protests in Chile which have taken place over the past year have been an integral part of the worldwide movement against authoritarian rule that has taken place from Hong Kong to Belarus. In Chile, protests began over a proposed increase to ride on public transportation. Workers and women, including feminists, as well students, have played leading roles, though all sectors of the population have been involved. After the initial protests in October 2019, they quickly expanded to focus on the perceived failures of Chilean democracy. Over the past year, basic human rights of citizens have been systematically violated.
Americans might take a special interest in Chile in large part because the CIA engineered the overthrow of the democratically elected socialist government of Salvador Allende. The coup took place on 9/11 in 1973. Singer, song writer and political activist, Victor Jara was arrested and tortured. Chilean poet, Pablo Neruda, the 1971 Nobel Prize winner for literature, died on 23 September 1973. Thousands of Chileans disobeyed a curfew and gathered in the streets to honor Neruda and his work.
With U.S. help, General Augusto Pinochet was immediately installed as dictator. He ruled until 1990. Tens of thousands of people were arrested, jailed and tortured. Thousands of Chileans were executed. Trade unions were banned, social security and state owned enterprises were privatized, newspapers censored and a reign of terror imposed on the nation.
Also, thousands of Chileans fled to Mexico and the United States. Some of them, including the novelists, Isabel Allende and Ariel Dorfman, created new lives for themselves in the States and have helped to focus the world's attention on their homeland. This October, the whole world will be watching the outcome of the Chilean election. It might suggest which way the political scales will tip in the U.S.
In any case, the results will illuminate the tragedies and the glories of Chilean society. Dictatorships take terrible tolls on their own citizens, but they don't last forever.
(Researched and written with a little help from my Chilean friends in the U.S.)
To the Editor:
Finally! The liberation of America and the republican party from the tyranny of the democrats has been solved by our 45th president. The greatest of all our presidents has figured out, with his brilliance, a catch phrase that has liberated us all from the terrible democratic war mongers. By now we all should know it. The catch phrase is “Fake news” which means every word spoken on MSNBC, 60 minutes, most newspapers, channels 4,5,7, t.v. etc is democrat fake news. But now we have Fox News! What a relief.
If you believe what is stated above, you deserve all the repercussion of having no democracy and dealing with the whims of a dictator. This label “fake news” has already divided our country with sinister diabolical intention to change our democracy. Please believe that.
TAX REVELATIONS AND CORPORATE MEDIA Won’t Defeat Trump
by Norman Solomon
The big banner headline across the top of the New York Times homepage as Tuesday got underway -- “TRUMP’S TAXES SHOW CHRONIC LOSSES AND YEARS OF TAX AVOIDANCE” -- might give the impression that Donald Trump is finally on the verge of political downfall. Don’t believe it for a moment.
The same kind of mistaken belief has led many to put undeserved trust in a corporate-media system. But the New York Times isn’t going to save us. Neither is the Washington Post, MSNBC, CNN or any of the other mass-media outlets, “liberal” or otherwise.
To a large extent, the corporate media -- especially the TV networks that gave Trump billions of dollars’ worth of free airtime while raking in enormous ad revenues -- made him president. The advertising-and-ratings-bedazzled head of the CBS network, Leslie Moonves, uttered an infamously emblematic comment eight months before the 2016 election, in the midst of a campaign that Trump dominated with TV coverage: “It may not be good for America, but it’s damn good for CBS.”
Less well-known are other statements that Moonves also made while speaking to a Morgan Stanley conference in February 2016. “Man, who would have expected the ride we’re all having right now?” And: “The money’s rolling in and this is fun.” And: “I’ve never seen anything like this, and this is going to be a very good year for us. Sorry. It’s a terrible thing to say. But, bring it on, Donald. Keep going.” And: “Donald’s place in this election is a good thing.”
At the same time, CNN president Jeff Zucker -- who presided over the network’s “all-Trump-all-the-time” policy during the 2016 primaries -- was privately offering guidance to candidate Trump. Zucker had helped build the Trump myth years earlier when he was at NBC presiding over Trump’s “Apprentice” show, which turned out to be financially and politically crucial for his path to the White House.
Under the ongoing reign of the casino economy, the corporate house is set up to always win.
Now, after doing so much to help create a political Frankenstein, most of the big media organizations are largely disapproving. While the right-wing zealots at places like Fox News and aligned talk-radio and online entities are determined to re-elect Trump, the majority of mainstream media outlets are down on him. Yet the tenor of their coverage, including news of the latest polls, should not lull anyone into a false sense of security about Trump’s impending demise -- a demise they’ve predicted before.
Trump won in 2016 while the bubble inhabited by elite media was rarified and cut off from the everyday experiences, frustrations and anger of everyday people. As a consummate demagogue, he knew how to stoke and pander to resentments against elites -- resentments that mainstream media seemed clueless about.
The corporate media are part of a system that thrives on rampant income inequality, giving more and more power to the rich while doing more and more harm to people the less money they have. Media elites are apt to do fine whether Trump wins or loses the election.
Four years ago, Trump played off the elitism of the establishment to ply his toxic political product laced with racism, xenophobia and misogyny. He has governed the same way he ran in 2016, and he hopes to govern for the next four years the way he’s running in 2020 -- using the broadly and vaguely defined establishment as a foil for his poisonous, pseudo-populist messaging.
Amid the bombshell coverage of Trump’s tax records, it might be tempting to believe the tide has turned and will drown his election hopes. But that’s wishful thinking.
It would take more than two hands to count the times during the last several years when Trump's preposterous and vile statements -- or the emergence of incontrovertibly damning facts -- provided ample reasons for his political fortunes to turn into toast. Instead, he has continued to conduct a national master class in demagogy.
Trump would like nothing more than to play his victim card yet again while media give the impression that he’s headed for defeat -- a combination that worked like a charm for him in 2016. It could easily happen again. With voting now underway, healthy skepticism toward media spin is badly needed.
Four years ago, corporate media overwhelmingly insisted that the likelihood of a Trump presidency was remote. On Election Day, the New York Times categorically pegged the chances of a Trump win at less than 10 percent. Now, those who want to prevent another Trump victory should go all-out to show they won’t be fooled again.
(Norman Solomon is the national director of RootsAction.org and the author of many books including “War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death.” He was a Bernie Sanders delegate from California for the 2020 Democratic National Convention.)
THE BOMBSHELL MEMORY HOLE
by Matt Taibbi
The New York Times published a massive expose about Donald Trump’s taxes on Sunday, starting the world on yet another trip up the Trump delirium roller coaster. The stages of the morality play are burned in our brains. Pundits scream bombshell, rush up a ladder of indignation, jump squealing into an abyss of apocalyptic predictions, dust off and do it again.
How many of these stories have there been? A hundred? Five hundred? A thousand? I tried physically counting and gave up. Our heads are packed with years of half-told stories that were discarded the instant they stopped having commercial or political utility. Some involved Trump, some not, who can remember them all? From sonic weapons in Cuba to spies gone dark to a secret bank server to hacker huddles in Prague to probable cause for an “agent of a foreign power” to Mike Flynn’s mistress to the Manafort-Assange confab to the exfiltrated agent with a home on Realtor.com to Putin’s niece and treason in Helsinki and North Korea and the Oval Office, we remember beginnings and not ends.
This fall, Showtime released a movie about Jim Comey whose trailer features scenes of Russian prostitutes in a hotel elevator on their way to give the Donald a pee show. This scene not only seems never to have happened but was revealed in recent weeks to have been spun by a Washington-based Brookings Institute analyst who was, no shit, the subject of an FBI counterintelligence investigation a decade ago. That doesn’t mean Igor Danchenko was a spy, but considering the awesome quantity of ink the pee story commanded across years of convulsive warnings about a compromised president, blue-state audiences at least deserved to hear this ridiculous development — and didn’t, apart from one item in the Post and a Vox story pooh-poohing the news as a Republican fundraising stunt. For the rest of time, a plurality of the country will be frozen in the moment when this and dozens of other panic-switches were turned on, a campaign of titillating false starts now too numerous to be undone.
Like many “bombshells,” the Times tax story contains real information, including potentially real outrages, like bank fraud or deducting consulting fees paid to his daughter. The headline revelation is Trump as metaphor for American finance generally, showing the appearance of wealth resting atop absurd fictions, with monster debts rolled into the next ice age and losses somehow appearing as his greatest assets, in ways inconceivable to regular people. At the end of the cycle, pundits will conclude that Trump has a story about being rich in place of actual wealth, making him (drumroll please) more like a con man than a tycoon.
That this is the same analysis some of us made at the beginning of Trump’s national political run eons ago won’t matter. Nor will it matter that Trump’s returns ought to be as embarrassing to media antagonists and a string of “reputable” politicians as they are to him, given that it was screamed to high heavens for years, from op-ed pages and cable news panels and the floor of the U.S. Senate that proof of secret links to Vladimir Putin would be found. This idea never had merit — no sane person can think an espionage conspiracy would be detailed in a tax return — but a parade of experts and officials contended just this, including Chuck Schumer, George Will, Rachel Maddow and countless others:
(This is an excerpt from today’s subscriber-only post. To read the entire post and get full access to the archives, you can subscribe for $5 a month or $50 a year at rollingstone.com.)
HOW MANY MORE of these goddamn elections are we going to have to write off as lame but "regrettably necessary" holding actions? And how many more of these stinking, double-downer sideshows will we have to go through before we can get ourselves straight enough to put together some kind of national election that will give me and the at least 20 million people I tend to agree with a chance to vote for something, instead of always being faced with that old familiar choice between the lesser of two evils?
Now, with another one of these big bogus showdowns looming down on us, I can already pick up the stench of another bummer. I understand, along with a lot of other people, that the big thing, this year, is Beating Nixon. But that was also the big thing, as I recall, twelve years ago in 1960—and as far as I can tell, we've gone from bad to worse to rotten since then, and the outlook is for more of the same.
— Hunter S. Thompson, Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72