Dropping Temps; 3 Cases; Ukiah Trees; Egret; Regranting CARES; Otter Point; Help Smiths; Elk Fog; PG&E Rates; Notable Arrests; Save Drake; Navarro Bridge; Big Dem; Seaside Resort; Ed Notes; Yesterday's Catch; Swear Words; Mendo Aerial; Good President; Albion River; Clueless Dems; Polonial Tips; Albion Landing; Nolan Appreciated; Referential Mania; FB Pier; Police Presence; Albion Mill; Meadow Defense; Log Train; No Consequences; Electoral Chatter; Progressive Push; Found Object
ANOTHER WEAK WAVE OF LOW PRESSURE will pass over the area and bring a few showers tonight into Sunday morning, otherwise expect breezy and cool weather with a mix of sun and clouds for the weekend. Otherwise, Monday morning will feature some of the coldest temperatures of the season thus far. (NWS)
YESTERDAY'S PRECIPITATION: Boonville .24"; Yorkville .12"
THREE NEW COVID CASES reported in Mendocino County on Friday, bringing the total to 1216.
HOW ABOUT THE TREES, SAGE?
Open Letter to Sage Sangiacomo, City Manager of Ukiah.
I am writing this open letter in utter frustration because of your lack of leadership and respect for the efforts of volunteers to better life in the City.
I will focus on where my efforts of 20 years have been in vain: the better care of the City’s urban forest. And I will only speak for myself but all members of the Tree Advisory Group are frustrated, as you witnessed at the few meetings you attended last winter. At that time came the latest insult: you allowed the 3-year work of the Group to be literally thrown into the waste basket. Prompted by the lack of record-keeping of tree plantings and removals by the City, the Group had diligently worked in meeting after meeting to compile that record from notes, e-mails, and communications with staff. In addition, I spent countless hours visiting sites, photographing, editing, and fact-checking to make sure the list was as accurate as possible. It was meant as a management tool for the City to improve its tree care, as specified in the “Tree Management Guidelines”, adopted by the City Council in 2012. The list did not look good for the City.
Of the nearly 150 City trees lost over the past 8 years, only about 60 had been replaced, whereas the Guidelines specify a one-to-one replacement. No amount of doctoring the data by you and your staff could change the numbers significantly. So the list was dumped — and a new, sanitized list was started with only a handful recent entries. It is dishonest and a disservice to the community; it protects insolence and incompetence— it does not protect our urban forest, which we desperately need in our warming climate.
CARES ACT FUNDING
The Arts Council of Mendocino County makes CARES Act funding available to organizations serving communities disproportionately impacted by COVID-19
Ukiah, CA November 6, 2020 - The Arts Council of Mendocino County, through the California Arts Council, has been awarded a percentage of the CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) relief funding so that it may be regranted to support arts and cultural organizations serving communities of color disproportionately impacted by COVID-19, specifically the Latinx and Native American communities.
The Federal CARES Act recognizes that the non profit arts industry is an important sector of America’s economy and has therefore allocated this money to states to be regranted by State Local Partners such as the Arts Council of Mendocino County. The purpose of these grants is to aid local arts and culture organizations serving socially vulnerable populations within their communities that are not eligible for the direct CARES Act stimulus grants.
The application process will open October 27, 2020 and close on November 20, 2020 at 5 pm. A total of $12,630 is available. Organizations and nonprofits whose mission is to serve the Latinx and Native American communities in Mendocino County through the arts and culture are encouraged to apply.
The organization must include and represent, at a staff or board level, the communities to be served (at least 50% representation). Applications will be available online at www.artsmendocino.org and are also available in printed form if by request. Application assistance in Spanish is available and applications will be reviewed by a panel that has at least 50% representation by individuals of color.
The Arts Council of Mendocino County promotes the arts and cultivates creativity to benefit and enrich the lives of residents and visitors in Mendocino County.
For more information please contact us at 707.463.2727 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
A LITTLE HELP FROM HIS FRIENDS....
GoFundMe for longtime coast residents
Dylan Branson wrote (Coast Listserve): Please consider helping long time coast residents Marj and Will Smith with end-of-life costs. gf.me/u/y68yii
Marco McClean responds:
For people who might worry, that link is good and takes you to information about Marj and Will Smith and their lives.
Will Smith is a famous football player who retired to the Mendocino Coast and in the early 1980s did a children's show every Saturday morning at 8am on KMFB where he read stories. This was after the Todds (of Todds' Teddy Bear Picnic, same time, same station, same theme song) wandered away to other climes. I was working in Brannon's Restaurant, cooking breakfast and lunch, and I always turned that show on in the kitchen. I remember when Will Smith took several months to serialize The Call of the Wild in his terrific slow deep pipe-organ voice. I can hear it in my head right now, especially the part where BUCK WAS E-N-R-A-G-E-D!
YESTERDAY! GO ON THE RECORD ABOUT PG&E
As a customer, are you satisfied with PG&E? Do you think your rates are fair? Go on the record about your experiences with PG&E during online public hearings in PG&E’s rate case today.
PG&E is proposing to reduce the baseline electricity amounts that customers get at a lower rate and are climate adjusted. TURN is strongly opposed to any reduction in baseline quantities which are especially important for customers in the hottest parts of the state.
TURN will also be demanding lower residential rates than what PG&E is proposing. These are relatively small amounts (less than 1%), but TURN doesn’t want to leave a penny of your money on the table, and the rate reduction will apply for at least three years.
Speaking out is easy, all you need to do is to call in a few minutes before the hearing begins and you’ll hear further instructions. You can watch the meeting via webcast while waiting for your turn. Another option is to post your comment on the CPUC’s comment page. Details below.
This is your chance to speak out and to join us in demanding lower rates and justice for all customers. Call in and Speak Out!
PG&E General Rate Case Phase II (A.19-11-019) Public Hearings:
Friday, November 6 at 2 p.m.
Phone number: (800) 857-1917, passcode: 1673482
Friday, November 6 at 6 p.m.
Phone number: (800) 857-1917, passcode: 5020731
Written public comments can be sent using the “Add Public Comment” button on the “Public Comment” tab of the Docket Card for A.19-11-019, available at
Thanks, as always, for speaking out and for your support of TURN,
Executive Director, TURN
The Utility Reform Network
785 Market Street Street #1400
San Francisco, CA 94103
415 929 8876
NOTABLE FORT BRAGG ARRESTS
Over the last three days, the Fort Bragg Police Department have made several notable arrests while additionally handling nearly 100 calls for service. Below is a summary of the major incidents/arrests:
On Wednesday, November 4, 2020, at approximately 6:45pm, Officers responded to the report of traffic collision with injuries near the intersection of S. Main Street and Boatyard Drive. On scene, Officers determined that 41-year old James McGary, of Fort Bragg, was operating his vehicle intoxicated when he collided with the back of another vehicle.
The driver of the second vehicle was transported to the hospital via ambulance. During the driving under the influence investigation, McGary attempted to flee the scene on foot but he was quickly apprehended by Officers. A breath test showed McGary’s blood alcohol content was 0.362% (more than four times the legal limit). He was transported to County Jail.
On Wednesday, November 4, 2020, at approximately 10:52pm, Officers were dispatched to Taco Bell for a vehicle driving erratically in the parking lot. Officers contacted and arrested 24-year old, Eduardo Maldonado-Lomeli, of Long Beach, for driving under the influence.
During the investigation process, Maldonado-Lomeli resisted arrest and spat on an Officer. Maldonado-Lomeli was transported to County Jail.
On Thursday, November 5, 2020, at approximately 9:40 am, an Officer of the Fort Bragg Police Department made a traffic enforcement stop on a vehicle occupied by three documented criminal street gang members. During the stop, the driver of the vehicle, 20-year old, Carlos Garcia, of Fort Bragg, was arrested on a felony warrant related to a previous gang incident.
Additionally, a 17-year old passenger was found to be in possession of an approximately 12-inch long bowie style knife secreted inside of his pants. The 17-year old passenger was arrested for possession of illegal dirk or dagger. A second 12- inch bowie knife and a replica firearm were recovered as well. Both Garcia and the juvenile passenger were transported to County Jail and Juvenile Hall.
On Thursday, November 5, 2020, at approximately 2:38 pm, Officers responded to the report of a traffic collision in the 600 Block of S. Main Street. While responding to the scene, Officers learned that the suspect driver was fleeing the scene on foot. An Officer of the Fort Bragg Police Department engaged in a foot pursuit of the suspect driver and apprehended him two blocks away. 31-year old, Steven Phenix of Fort Bragg, was arrested for driving under the influence and found to have a blood alcohol content of 0.15%. Phenix was transported to County Jail.
On Thursday, November 5, 2020, at approximately 7pm, Officers were dispatched to the bluffs north of Pudding Creek Beach for the report of domestic violence altercation involving a male and female. After checking the beach and bluffs extensively, Officers were unable to find the parties. Officers were later dispatched back to the area for the altercation now occurring in one of the nearby motel rooms. 33-year old Mary Larochelle, of Santee, California, was arrested for felony domestic violence and transported to County Jail.
On Friday, November 5, 2020, at approximately 8:20am, Officers investigated a commercial burglary which occurred at the Fort Bragg Outlet. Sometime overnight, an unknown suspect forced entry into the business and stole several items. Information related to the suspect’s identity has been aquired and physical evidence was recovered. This is an active investigation. Please contact the Fort Bragg Police Department if you have any information related to this incident.
Besides the above calls for service in the last two days Officers additionally made five other arrests for a variety of crimes.
Questions regarding this press release may be forwarded to Sergeant O’Neal at email@example.com or (707) 961-2800 ext. 167.
THE NO NAME CHANGE COALITION
Don’t Change the Name of Sir Francis Drake High School
Drake, an explorer and world circumnavigator, was a young sailor who witnessed two early slave trading expeditions, and then evolved to denounce slavery for the rest of his 40 year career.
Drake was not a slave owner, he freed or hired those slaves he came across, and proved to be a forward thinking man of his era.
Drake was ahead of his time by his fair and just treatment for people of color who helped him navigate the world.
We understand that Drake bonded peacefully with the native Miwoks, and did not try to colonize them. During his 5 weeks here, the Miwoks ceremonially made him honorary chief.
The Drake Jewel presented by Queen Elizabeth signified his bond with Africans, standing side by side as equals.
We advocate for a safe, inclusive school campus at Sir Francis Drake High School with racial justice, respect, equal opportunity, truth, and transparency, with athletic and academic excellence mandates.
Reallocate the Estimated $430K Name change cost in support of campus programs, as well as hiring teachers of color, for a direct impact toward achieving an inclusive campus culture goal.
Design, develop and implement anti-racism policies with measurable outcomes and hold violators accountable.
We Recognize the 70 year history of Drake High alumni as well as the many generations of community supporters.
We Agree With SF Mayor Breed, who states with today’s challenges, “…focusing energy and resources on renaming schools…is offensive.” (sfmayor.org)
Let Your Voice Be Heard
61 OF THE 80 members of the California Assembly are Democrats; 29 of the 40 State Senators are Democrats; the governor is a Democrat; 43.5% of Californians are registered Democrats, but 65% of Californians voted for Joe Biden. All eight of the state’s top elected officials are Democrats. (Pop quiz: Who is California’s Lieutenant Governor?)
SO WHAT DOES IT SAY about California’s Democrats when most of the ballot propositions they “endorsed” went down to defeat? The California Democratic Party endorsed nine of the 12 ballot propositions this year. Of those nine, only three passed — Stem Cell Research funding, giving the right to vote to ex-cons, and some minor property tax rule changes. But the big six endorsed by the Democratic Party — Prop 13 reform, restoration of affirmative action, giving 17 year olds the right to vote, expanded rent control, kidney dialysis regulation, and elimination of the money bail system — all failed, most not even close. And, of the two propositions the Dems urged a NO vote on, the big one — job protections for app-based workers — passed comfortably. (Voters agreed with the Dems on saying No to a few new parole restrictions.) The Dems were officially “neutral” on the consumer privacy proposition (#24) which passed easily.
WE’VE HEARD several theories about why the results tended to be counter to the Democrats recommendations: 1) An expensive and slick ad blitz from the Uber-Lyft outfits, the Rentier class, and Big Dialysis; 2) Many Californians who vote for Democrats are not really Democrats; 3) California voters are stupid and easily swayed by TV and on-line ads; and 4) The Dems made no real effort to publicize or explain their positions on the Propositions, just postured as usual, 5) Few voters give a damn what the Official Democrats think or say, or 6) The California Democratic Party is living in a time warp and is (and has long been) out of touch with the majority of Californians.
EXPLANATION NUMBER 1 may be true in the cases of dialysis regulation and Uber-Lyft and expanded rent control, but we saw quite a few well-done ads for Prop 13 reform along with the usual “it’ll raise the cost of everything” ads. And there were more ads in support of Affirmative Action restoration than against. Yet both of them were defeated. And we saw no ads for or against 17 year olds voting, the money bail system, yet both of them were defeated, despite the Big Dem endorsements.
PS. Here are the names that Big Dem are floating as possible appointees to replace Kamala Harris in the Senate. Mostly, they’re the same people who can’t get their own party to vote for their propositions: LA Congresswoman Karen Bass, Adam Schiff (yes, that Adam Schiff), Secretary of State Alex Padilla, Attorney General Xavier Becerra, Controller Betty Yee, Orange County Congresswoman Katie Porter, Congressman Ro Khanna, SF Mayor London Breed, Lt. Governor Elini Kounalakis, Congresswoman Barbara Lee, and LA Mayor Eric Garcetti.
PPS. The self-identified “progressives” on that list are Ro Khanna, Katie Porter, Karen Bass, and Barbara Lee who are members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. Hey! Jared Huffman’s a Progressive too! (In fact, 23 of the 97 members of the Progressive Caucus are from California.)
RAIN? I almost couldn't believe my sensory intake apparatuses, but at exactly 6:46am this morning there was audible, tangible moisture falling from the sky, a three-minute timpany on the office's tin overhang. And, a few minutes later, as if the sky gods were telling us the first burst was for real, a second three minutes of dust settling air sweetener. Best of all, maybe enough over the showery day to end fire season for this fraught year.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TONY SUMMIT, the youngest 75-year-old guy you'll see in all of Mendocino County, and just about old enough to qualify as patriarch of the Summit-Waggoner clan once based in Boonville where, for two decades, they made Anderson Valley High School among the most feared small school sports powers on the Northcoast.
“SWISS” was the unfailingly friendly guy who often manned the counter at the late Pic 'N Pay in central Boonville. I say “late” because it burned down a year ago, taking the legendary Boonville Lodge with it. “Swiss” now works at what most of us recall as the Water Wheel Market on South State in Ukiah, next door to the site of the now gone Water Trough, a watering hole every bit as legendary as the old Boonville Lodge as Mendocino County continues its dispiriting blanding down, way down. “Swiss” is a native of the deep Himalayas. He mentioned once that on his rare visits home he must pass through Afghanistan, a journey he made seem as simple as Boonville to Philo. His real name is far beyond my ability to either remember or pronounce, but he seems happy to simply go by “Swiss” rather than try to pound it into ethnocentric American skulls. (A friend of mine, upon meeting a French national, and having no idea where the guy came from, asked, “How's the fishing over there?”) Anyway, “Swiss” told me last week that Pic 'N Pay will be raised from its ashes and that the Shankat Ali family will be back to run it. (They were known locally as Shawn and Mrs. Shawn and, among the 'necks, Al Qaeda. Very nice family most of us miss.) The owner of the lot, Mr. Johnson of Sonoma has always been incommunicado, but the large lot has a pad, a good well and a functioning sewage system so we shall see what we shall see.
ON THE SUBJECT of Boonville's battered downtown, it would be real nice if our Community Services District would place several trash cans from the Disco Ranch on the north and on the south just past the presently vacant repro of the Tindall Market. But, but, but.... But won't all the deadbeats fill them up three minutes after they're in place? And who's going to pay to haul the trash away? The ongoing Mendo-wide prob is the steady rise in disposal prices, presently so high that lots of people simply can't afford them. The days when we simply drove up Mountain View Road and tossed whatever over the side are long gone and, most of us would agree, was not a particularly healthy way to offload everything from ancient cans of paint to deer carcasses. The old Boonville Dump was a literal dump, closed after two elderly women managed to tumble over the side and on into the perpetually burning mass of who knows what. The present transfer station rests on the old dump, much of it these days a pleasant vista of healthy new trees and bee-friendly brush.
WELL, who'll pay? CSD, that's who. They're responsible for the local infrastructure, and surely there's room in their budget to keep Boonville trash-free. Lots of locals haul their trash over the hill to Ukiah where disposal prices are a lot lower. Maybe CSD could do its own hauling via some of the people making that run regularly now.
AND A PUBLIC BATHROOM? Should have one downtown. I suggest the perfectly antiseptic one at the Boonville Fire House and a sign pointing visitors to it and the restrooms at the Fairgrounds just west of the Fairgrounds' world record number of handicap parking spaces, the most parking set asides relative to our population of any small town in America.
EVERY GEEZER reading this will agree that when we're on the road we're looking for men's facilities every two hours on the hour. The restrooms at the Healdsburg Police Station were open round-the-clock prior to the plague kicking in. We need similar accommodations here.
THIS MCN MESSAGE gave me a jolt this morning. An old lady living by herself in the Coast woods can't be blamed if her imagination runs away with her. Hell, I get the heebie jeebies just watching the television news or driving down State Street, but here's this poor old thing alone and lost in her delusions. On the other hand, given the ever larger number of pure creeps out there…
SHE WRITES: “A person has been stalking my bedroom window, pretending to try and get in, talking pictures with a special camera, making noise outside, waking me up for over 3 months. In the past two weeks, the person has been blowing cigarette smoke into my home several times during the night. Not sure exactly how they are doing it because it keeps changing. This occurs every night! Last night, the smoke came into the house 3 times 11:00PM, 2AM, and 3:30AM. Somehow, I think they are getting under the house. I am highly allergic to cigarette smoke and it is burning my throat and lungs. I have 2 air purifiers that help but it is very difficult. I called 911 and 2 Sheriff's deputies were sent out. It took 40 minutes to get here. It is difficult to capture anyone because I live in the forest and they either go into the trees or perhaps their home. I live on GURLEY LANE, MENDOCINO. I need some help! Emotion support, a place to sleep at night, help with a trail camera installation, advice. I thought I had found a large room to rent, but she changed her mind. So I had to pay my rent on the 1st. I am a senior citizen on a fixed income. I have always paid my rent on time and my credit score is 811. The highest possible score is 850. I had no sleep last night and haven't slept much in the past 3-1/2 months. Last week I slept at a friend’s house for 4 nights. She is not able to have long term overnight guests per her landlord. Please help with anything!"
READER ALERT! Here comes the editor's monomaniacal pursuit of his very own Great White. Yes, the mere mention triggers him. And it. A press release from the Peace and Justice Center of Sonoma County, a front group for the pathetic, terminally corrupt Democratic Party and, historically, at total odds with justice and as psychically a violent coven of wacky old ladies and old lady-like men as you'll find south of Mendocino Public Radio.
THE PEACE AND JUSTICE CENTER said it was holding a candlelight vigil for the late Judi Bari. The flier advertises an hagiographic film produced by the Bari Cult Scammers called ‘Who Bombed Judi Bari?’, which just happens to come with the same title as an honest film produced by Steve Talbot of KQED and PBS, also called ‘Who Bombed Judi Bari?’ Talbot's film panicked the Bari scammers into making their own fake film because Talbot lay responsibility for the attack on Bari at her ex-husband's doorstep — in other words, a fancy case of domestic violence not cartoon left boogeymen like corporations and/or federal police.
IF BARI was in fact bombed by her ex the scammers could not only go to federal prison they could lose the several millions of dollars they falsely raised deliberately keeping Bari's ex out of the primo suspect pool. Bari's ex is a cunning little psychopath named Mike Sweeney, presently a resident of New Zealand but a man associated with left cult bombs and murders all the way back into the thrilling 1960s.
THE BARI CULT pulled it off, though; they kept the ex husband out of the suspect pool, along with a great big assist from the FBI, an agency the cult has always pretended to abhor but in living fact is a crucial co-dependent in this matter of literal useful idiots at places like the Peace and Justice Center and the now apparently defunct Mendocino Environment Center. (After you've saved the Mendo environment, what's left to do?) The latest solidifying piece of evidence that the Bari interlude still scares people occurred last year when the FBI returned the Lord's Avenger's Letter to the Santa Rosa Press Democrat, whose reporter Mike Geniella the confession letter for the Bari Bombing was addressed to.
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT says it lost the letter. The paper maintains a meticulously kept library and this letter was/is a key piece of evidence not only in the so-called mystery of Who Bombed Judi Bari but an important piece of Northcoast history because it was written by the bomber and presumably contains recoverable dna. But the Press Democrat “lost it.” Mike Geniella isn't the only person who doesn't believe the letter is lost, and he's also among the many non-cult persons knowledgeable about the case who thinks it's obvious that Sweeney is the primary suspect.
IT ROLLS ON, the Bari Bombing scam, an ongoing testament to the corruption of what passes for a left in this country, an article of faith among every mindless dupe of a so-called progressive on the Northcoast (and Amy Goodman on the national level) that the FBI did it. Or a timber corporation did it. Or a logger did it. Or a misogynist did it. Or all of them together in one great big ass conspiracy.
ONE MORE IRONY: Judi Bari herself always called the Peace and Justice Center the “Peace and Quiet Center.” She had nothing but contempt for the place and its people who regarded her similarly, but now that she's safely dead, here comes the candlelit piety.
CATCH OF THE DAY, November 6, 2020
SONO CARRIGG, Ukiah. Parole violation, failure to appear, probation revocation. (Frequent Flyer)
DAVID CLOW, Ukiah. Parole violation.
MARCUS DUMAN, Ukiah. Disobeying failure to appear, probation revocation. (Frequent Flyer)
MATTHEW FAUST, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
ARNOLD GAHM, Ukiah. Mandatory supervision sentencing, special allegation-not eligible.
CARLOS GARCIA-ARENAS, Fort Bragg. Failure to appear.
KEVIN JOHNSON, Weott/Ukiah. Rape-unlawful sex with person under 18, rape-victim prevented from resisting by any intoxicating or anesthetic substance, oral copulation with person under 18, selling-renting-distributing etc. matter to a minor/prior conviction.
MARY LAROCHELLE, Santee/Fort Bragg. Domestic battery.
JAMES MCGARY, DUI, resisting.
MICHAEL MCINERNEY, Ukiah. Transient registration, parole violation.
NICOLE MILLER, Willits. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, cruelty to child infliction of injury.
RICHARD OLSTAD, Fort Bragg. Community supervision violation.
by George Orwell
Some notes, as short as possible, on London slang and swearing. These (omitting the ones that everyone knows) are some of the cant words now used in London:
A gagger—beggar or street performer of any kind. A moocher—one who begs outright, without pretence of doing a trade. A nobbier—one who collects pennies for a beggar. A chanter—a street singer. A clodhopper—a street dancer. A mugfaker—a street photographer. A glimmer—one who watches vacant motor-cars. A gee (or jee—it is pronounced jee)—the accomplice of a cheapjack, who stimulates trade by pretending to buy something. A split—a detective. A flattie—a policeman. A dideki—a gypsy. A toby—a tramp.
A drop—money given to a beggar. Funkum—lavender or other perfume sold in envelopes. A boozer—a public-house. A slang—a hawker’s licence. A kip—a place to sleep in, or a night’s lodging. Smoke—London. A judy—a woman. The spike—the casual ward. The lump—the casual ward. A tosheroon—a half-crown. A deaner—a shilling. A hog—a shilling. A sprowsie—a sixpence. Clods—coppers. A drum—a billy can. Shackles—soup. A chat—a louse. Hard-up—tobacco made from cigarette ends. A stick or cane—a burglar’s jemmy. A peter—a safe. A bly—a burglar’s oxy-acetylene blow-lamp.
To bawl—to suck or swallow. To knock off—to steal. To skipper—to sleep in the open.
About half of these words are in the larger dictionaries. It is interesting to guess at the derivation of some of them, though one or two—for instance, ‘funkum’ and ‘tosheroon’—are beyond guessing. ‘Deaner’ presumably comes from ‘denier’. ‘Glimmer’ (with the verb ‘to glim’) may have something to do with the old word ‘glim’, meaning a light, or another old word ‘glim’, meaning a glimpse; but it is an instance of the formation of new words, for in its present sense it can hardly be older than motor-cars. ‘Gee’ is a curious word; conceivably it has arisen out of ‘gee’, meaning horse, in the sense of stalking horse. The derivation of ‘screever’ is mysterious. It must come ultimately from scribo, but there has been no similar word in English for the past hundred and fifty years; nor can it have come directly from the French, for pavement artists are unknown in France. ‘Judy’ and ‘bawl’ are East End words, not found west of Tower Bridge. ‘Smoke’ is a word used only by tramps. ‘Kip’ is Danish. Till quite recently the word ‘doss’ was used in this sense, but it is now quite obsolete.
The London slang and dialect seem to change very rapidly. The old London accent described by Dickens and Surtees, with v for w and w for v and so forth, has now vanished utterly. The Cockney accent as we know it seems to have come up in the ’forties (it is first mentioned in an American book, Herman Melville’s ‘White Jacket,’ and Cockney is already changing; there are few people now who say ‘fice’ for ‘face’, ‘nawce’ for ‘nice’ and so forth as consistently as they did twenty years ago. The slang changes together with the accent. Twenty-five or thirty years ago, for instance, the ‘rhyming slang’ was all the rage in London. In the ‘rhyming slang’ everything was named by something rhyming with it—a ‘hit or miss’ for a kiss, ‘plates of meat’ for feet, etc. It was so common that it was even reproduced in novels; now it is almost extinct. Perhaps all the words I have mentioned above will have vanished in another twenty years.
The swear words also change—or, at any rate, they are subject to fashions. For example, twenty years ago the London working classes habitually used the word ‘bloody’. Now they have abandoned it utterly, though novelists still represent them as using it. No born Londoner (it is different with people of Scotch or Irish origin) now says ‘bloody’, unless he is a man of some education. The word has, in fact, moved up in the social scale and ceased to be a swear word for the purposes of the working classes. The current London adjective, now tacked on to every noun, is fucking. No doubt in time fucking, like ‘bloody’, will find its way into the drawing-room and be replaced by some other word.
The whole business of swearing, especially English swearing, is mysterious. Of its very nature swearing is as irrational as magic—indeed, it is a species of magic. But there is also a paradox about it, namely this: Our intention in swearing is to shock and wound, which we do by mentioning something that should be kept secret—usually something to do with the sexual functions. But the strange thing is that when a word is well established as a swear word, it seems to lose its original meaning; that is, it loses the thing that made it into a swear word. A word becomes an oath because it means a certain thing, and, because it has become an oath, it ceases to mean that thing. For example fuck. The Londoners do not now use, or very seldom use, this word in its original meaning; it is on their lips from morning till night, but it is a mere expletive and means nothing. Similarly with bugger, which is rapidly losing its original sense. One can think of similar instances in French—for example foutre, which is now a quite meaningless expletive.
The word buggre, also, is still used occasionally in Paris, but the people who use it, or most of them, have no idea of what it once meant. The rule seems to be that words accepted as swear words have some magical character, which sets them apart and makes them useless for ordinary conversation.
Words used as insults seem to be governed by the same paradox as swear words. A word becomes an insult, one would suppose, because it means something bad; but in practice its insult-value has little to do with its actual meaning. For example, the most bitter insult one can offer to a Londoner is ‘bastard’—which, taken for what it means, is hardly an insult at all. And the worst insult to a woman, either in London or Paris, is ‘cow’; a name which might even be a compliment, for cows are among the most likeable of animals.
Evidently a word is an insult simply because it is meant as an insult, without reference to its dictionary meaning; words, especially swear words, being what public opinion chooses to make them. In this connexion it is interesting to see how a swear word can change character by crossing a frontier. In England you can print ‘Je m’en foils’ without protest from anybody. In France you have to print it ‘Je m’en foutre’. Or, as another example, take the word ‘barnshoot’—a corruption of the Hindustani word bahinchut. A vile and unforgivable insult in India, this word is a piece of gentle badinage in England. I have even seen it in a school text-book; it was in one of Aristophanes’ plays, and the annotator suggested it as a rendering of some gibberish spoken by a Persian ambassador. Presumably the annotator knew what bahinchut meant. But, because it was a foreign word, it had lost its magical swear-word quality and could be printed.
One other thing is noticeable about swearing in London, and that is that the men do not usually swear in front of the women. In Paris it is quite different. A Parisian workman may prefer to suppress an oath in front of a woman, but he is not at all scrupulous about it, and the women themselves swear freely. The Londoners are more polite, or more squeamish, in this matter.
These are a few notes that I have set down more or less at random. It is a pity that someone capable of dealing with the subject does not keep a year-book of London slang and swearing, registering the changes accurately. It might throw useful light upon the formation, development, and obsolescence of words.
(Down & Out in Paris & London, 1940)
I KEEP HOPING that one day there’ll be a presidential candidate who just says very plainly: I don’t want to invade anyone else’s country or drone their wedding parties; I don’t want to torture anyone; I don’t want your family to go bankrupt from the bills for your daughter’s chemo; I want you to be paid fairly for the work you do and not be preyed upon by bill collectors when you’re unemployed; I want you to have a roof over your head and clean water to drink; I don’t want your kids to go hungry at school or be thrown in jail for smoking grass or be shot by the police while walking home from the 7/11; I want you to have time off to enjoy your life and not worry about your house burning down in a wildfire or being swept away in a hurricane. Is that too much to ask? Where is this person?
— Jeff St. Clair
DEMOCRATIC PARTY INSIDERS are already deploying their blame cannons, and the progressive wing of the party is a big target. One of the big complaints of corporate Democrats who did or nearly lost their seats is that they were smeared as “socialists” in attack ads. The Democrats need to quit running from socialism and start explaining that America already practices socialism for the rich (with examples) and maybe it’s time for socialism for ordinary people (with examples). But the problem is that the Dems are culpable of promoting socialism for the rich, as exemplified by the “no accountability” bank bailouts and the reluctance to address student debt and ever-rising health care costs. At the same time, as readers know well, there are boatloads of “progressive” policies that are very popular with voters, like raising the minimum wage, strengthening Social Security, providing for more income support during lockdowns, getting rid of the ACA and replacing it with government-provided insurance, and cutting military spending. And if 2016 and 2020 demonstrated anything, it’s that the Democrats aren’t benefitting from being joined at the hip with big corporations and billionaires. Bloomberg spent $100 million on the party’s behalf, for instance, yet what difference did that make? So the Democrats institutionally could break away from the grip of corporate big money, but too many pols and operatives are in their vise for that to happen. It will take at least another epic failure for them to be rooted out. And in the meantime, the scapegoating will continue.
— Yves Smith
FOR GOD'S SAKE WEAR A FACE MASK
Last page in a no-hit ball game?
It’s 1 PM on Election Day. Boy am I excited. An historic time in our historic history. Two political giants “Frick and Barak” going head-to-head, the likes of which we have never seen before. Thank God!
This publication is a few days prior to the outcome, waiting with bated breath, or more like a punch in the gut!
Some time ago I was young and dumb and leaned towards the Republican Party, right wing conservative flavor. As time progressed those dear Repubs got to a point where all they could say was No. To everything. It was/is a good thing they did not have to vote on whether the sun could come up or not. It is true we have got to break a few eggs to make an omelette. But come on folks, don't kill the chicken just because you screwed up the breakfast.
Love you Donald. Air Five! But your attempt to make a better country really requires fine-tuning. It may in part have worked for Teddy Roosevelt the Rough Ryder but the other team plus the media will pick your bones if you fart in the shower. How's it worked out for so far? I don't think they make a bandage big enough to cover the shots you have endured over the last four years. It's sad to think of energy wasted in trying to make the other side look bad. Millions and millions of dollars just wasted on meetings and investigations that absolutely had no redeeming value, did nothing more for this country other than tear good guys versus bad guys further part.
If those intellectual giants in the electoral college, retards and retardettes, forgot which party they swore to uphold, you my dear President may just be so unfortunate to occupy that rant and rave tower for four more years. I'm not sure that's a good thing. Then again?
If! If you get lucky and stumbled back in there you really should consider a reload and work at it.
Don't can Dr. Fauci.
Don't argue with the paper boy because he can’t throw the paper further over the fence.
When you lie, for god’s sake keep some notes as to what you said the month prior.
Don't fire everyone who doesn't agree with all the hot air you have an excess of.
For god’s sake wear a face mask when in public and start listening to the health care doctors on your staff. People are watching and some care.
Stop tweeting, not presidential.
And my dear President if you don't make it what the hell? We tried. In a left-handed way, we tried.
And for you Mr. Vice President, Joe Biden:
A few suggestions may keep some flamin’ lefties happy for a short time. Not happy with anything for any length of time.
Don't say no to everything those bad boy Republicans offer up.
If Nancy P. invites you over for a bite lookout for that red hourglass on her --!
God help you and a few others.
Gran says: Those twins “Duf and Doff” are growing some very strange looking plants out back. When I asked Duff he said those are just some bamboo for the kids down the way. Fishing poles! Kind kind of short with great big buds. Duff said, "Oh well. You know.”
Gran said, "Better give them some peanut butter cookies!" Yeah, right Gran! And take a nap.
Love you Gran.
God bless America, the Donald, Jerry Philbrick, and bamboo.
Still old and angry
CONNECTING SOME DOTS
Dear Mr. Anderson:
Thanks for the insightful letter from Michael Nolan. The first moment of clarity this year. Trump has given voice to anger and hatred and historically this has always been wildly successful in destroying societies.
It is common knowledge that since 1950 education has been for the top 10%. Sadly they arrive there through money influence and not merit as did Mr. Trump. To be born lower-class without prospects socially, economically or culturally is a special kind of living hell. It matters little your skin color, but it matters a lot if you are male or female, culturally confined. The playing field is not level. Nolan is further correct that half of the population is below-average intelligence. That is the truth of the statistical average.
I started out in 1957 with an apprenticeship in the Plasterers and Cement Masons Union two days after my 17th birthday as punishment for failing chemistry my junior year in high school. I was unionized and could make a decent living, travel, marry, buy a car, home, have children, and put myself through college without a dollar of debt. I could through a tough body, intelligence and desire, achieve something worth working for. I did not do it for some social or sexual identity. I did it for the lives I created and supported. No one asked me if I was real, self-actualized, sexually secure or even if I was having a good god damn time.
Thanks to Michael Nolan for some clarity of mind. Has it not occurred to anyone that the juvenile justice jails and programs are all shutting down due to the incarceration of sociopathic males and females for the last two decades? You might want to connect the dots.
PS. Last night I had a nightmare, O Marvelous Delusion: The Fable of the Fabulous Food Fight
It has been widely suspicioned by yet another rumor that 1,000 food trucks were trapped at the Bay Bridge approach built with 3,000 immigrants, gridlocked on I-80 and they all got in a wreck by someone dumping over used oil and fry grease out a window causing a massive collision and culture collusion of mobile ethnic kitchens that resulted in the Koreans throwing kimchee under the wheels of the Mexicans who retaliated by bombarding everyone with burritos. The Chinese chow meined the main highway with all the organic vegetables in the East Bay without a drop of soy sauce, being of a frugal nature, not a speck of pork belly was found. This is the pissed the vegans off because after shaking the dandruff off their dreadlocks they were reduced to licking up refried beans from the asphalt although many thought they had found the vegetarian Big Rock Candy Mountain instead and Nirvana from low blood sugar loss. That was until some Jose or Chuco or Paco tossed a cigarette out the window and set off a conflagration of competing cuisines and solved Trump’s immigration policy in one flash of fire and grease driven explosion. The lack of tax based fire system funding left no choice but to let it burn out like a crowned-out forest fire. It gave a new meaning to the melting pot. It is unreliably reported that Wolfgang Puck declined to give the eulogy after the cleanup. A spare the air day report was issued and visas in excess of the casualties were revoked by William Barr, Department of Justice.
It is worth noting that no African Americans died in this incident. They were too busy killing each other on International Boulevard in Oakland at the time.
Many Bubba Land White Rednecks did perish however by choosing death by drowning by leaping, Maga-hatted, into San Francisco Bay, instead of death by deep frying. Sadly, most were truck drivers who dropped out of school before they were taught to swim.
That Alice Waters in hiding in the berserkeley hills because she is afraid of fire is believed to be erroneous and without substantiation. But a lot of really smart and important people have said so. Someone ought to look into it.
PPS. Requiem for Lou Welch
It is all poke-jokey,
just whip whistle,
slap your ass, spit your sass.
You a twisted thistle
Mutha jumpin’ jiver,
always jokey pokey,
all the live long day.
Till the whole thing
Sucks the sweetness
Outta the outshout
And it is all always a
Do dah do do dah day.
She'll be fine sunshine
with your pokwy jokey
iffen ya’all keeps your
end of it up.
Don't you da da your do-do on me!
THE SYSTEM OF HIS DELUSIONS had been the subject of an elaborate paper in a scientific monthly, but long before that his mother and her husband had puzzled it out for themselves. "Referential Mania," Hermann Brink had called it. In these very rare cases the patient imagines that everything happening around him is a veiled reference to his personality and existence. He excludes real people from the conspiracy --- because he considers himself to be so much more intelligent than other men. Phenomenal nature shadows him wherever he goes. Clouds in the staring sky transmit to one another, by means of slow signs, incredibly detailed information regarding him. His inmost thoughts are discussed at nightfall, in manual alphabet, by darkly gesticulating trees. Pebbles or stains or sun-flecks form patterns representing in some awful way messages which he must intercept. Everything is a cipher and of everything he is the theme. Some of the spies are detached observers, such as glass surfaces and still pools; others, such as coats in store windows, are prejudiced witnesses, lynchers at heart; others again (running water, storms) are hysterical to the point of insanity, have a distorted opinion of him, and grotesquely misinterpret his actions. He must be always on his guard and devote every minute and module of life to the decoding of the undulation of things. The very air he exhales is indexed and filed away. If only the interest he provokes were limited to his immediate surroundings --- but alas it is not! With distance the torrents of wild scandal increase in volume and volubility. The silhouettes of his blood corpuscles, magnified a million times, flit over vast planes; and still farther, great mountains of unbearable solidity and height sum up in terms of granite and groaning firs the ultimate truth of his being.
--Vladimir Nabokov, 1948; from "Signs and Symbols"
ON LINE COMMENT: "I live in a Oakland neighborhood consisting of about 250+ houses... About 40% of the residents are African American... about 25% other people of color, and about 35% white. Talking to dozens of neighbors over the past months, I would estimate that less than one person in ten of ANY Of those groups favor defunding the police... or in any way reducing the number of police patrolling the neighborhood. If anything they want more frequent police presence. Local Democratic leaders, city, county, state, and federal, are out of touch with the residents of my neighborhood. Instead they seem to only reflect the position of the shouting protestors."
Dear Friends and nature lovers,
Wonderful news, the logging plans to cut trees on slopes above Enchanted Meadow Wetlands Sanctuary (EMWS) were tossed!
Last fall we sought environmental justice through the court and found none. Both hearings ruled in favor of Mendocino Redwood Company (MRC) sawing trees down just yards away from our property line.
With no justice in sight and mounting legal costs, we made the tactical decision to dismiss the suit and continue our defensive outside of the courtroom.
Amidst court hearings we asked Water Quality (WQ) to inspect the proposed cut and it's potential impacts on EMWS. Several months later we received WQ's report and found it inaccurate, misleading.
The diameter of trees marked for cut were far larger than claimed and impacts from unmarked trees doomed for cut to accommodate cable logging corridors weren't considered.
Our volunteers inventoried, measured and photo-documented trees within the area of concern and apprised WQ of their findings. WQ responded and in a second onsite review with MRC and CDF, the plans to cut trees above EMWS were scrapped.
Those empowered to deem a forest's life or death made the wise decision to pack up the chainsaws and leave.
Thank you to our vigilant volunteers and canines who endured blackberry thorns, poison oak and stinging wasps to scout out the true data. Thanks to our attorney who stepped in at the eleventh hour and everyone who helped or donated money towards our legal defense.
Your kindness and effort is APPRECIATED!
Friends of Enchanted Meadow
P.O. Box 271
Little River, CA 95456
FOEM is a non profit land trust providing safe habitat for flora and fauna on 88 acres of nature preserve land they own and steward in the Albion River Watershed.
FOEM is supported by the generosity of friends and nature lovers, not corporate interests. Please consider a tax deductible gift to FOEM today via check or online.
All donations are acknowledged and appreciated. Thank you.
WITH OR WITHOUT
by James Kunstler
The matrix of interests, parties, and people styling themselves as The Resistance, who tried unsuccessfully to cough up Donald Trump like a hairball for four years, may finally succeed by harvesting the magical crop of mail-in ballots delivered by unicorns in the gathering darkness this post-election week of mathematical wonders.
America walked wide-eyed into this signal institutional failure, the one that lowers us to the level of places in the world where the loincloth is a business suit and the only instrument of persuasion is a machete. The Attorney General, Mr. Barr, warned the country months ago in so many words that mail-in voting would invite massive fraud, and so it has gone, but exactly as predicted, in plain sight, shamelessly.
The Resistance dared to work this operation because there were no consequences to their previous seditions and felonies. Nobody ever answered for the many crimes of RussiaGate (and possibly never will). The lying slattern Christine Blasey Ford slunk back to her cushy life in California with a big GoFundMe bundle after defaming Judge Kavanaugh. Eric Ciaramella and his UkraineGate accomplices, IC Inspector General Michael Atkinson and Col. Alexander Vindman, never even faced an inquiry over their janky scheme. Judge Emmet Sullivan still refuses to follow the DC Circuit order to close the General Flynn case. Rep. Adam Schiff never paid any price for knowingly lying his ass off, nor did The Washington Post, The New York Times, CNN, and MSNBC. Twitter founder Jack Dorsey and Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg are allowed to suppress the news and deform the public conversation because they’re more important than the rest of us, and they know better, too.
No consequences for these actors in a rough and dirty game, but great consequences for the USA — a now lethal loss of faith in the essential fairness of American life and the institutions that were created to insure it. Shame on us for letting it get this far.
Mr. Trump is a fighter, and some kind of battle will go on from here, but he doesn’t appear to have much help while the ballot mills still grind away his leads in several swing states. The whole wicked business is pretty sure to end up in the US Supreme Court, one way or another, and maybe that’s where some line can finally be drawn against the brazen bad faith that played out in the election, even as the forces of Lawfare go to work in the statehouses, attempting to engineer electoral college slates. They’ll have the assistance of state secretaries-of-state and state attorneys general elected with funding from various George Soros activist groups. I doubt The Resistance wants this thing to end up in the House of Representatives, because the peculiar math involved in that remedy could hand Mr. Trump the win there.
Sometime after this weekend, the news media will start a drum-banging campaign to convince the nation that the charismatic Joe Biden is president-elect, no matter how inconclusive the outcome actually is or how many procedural and judicial hoops it has to pass through before reaching a definitive conclusion. What if, during this murky period of litigation, the story of the Biden family’s exploits in global influence-peddling somehow re-enters the public arena, despite the best efforts of the news and social media to bury it? What if, during this period, Joe Biden himself is named by federal attorneys as a “target” in the already-opened investigation of his son Hunter’s, and brother James’s, overseas money-laundering op? It would be hard to keep that out of the news. What if the issue comes up of Joe Biden being a national security risk because of that grifting? Would he be allowed anywhere near the White House?
By the way, I’m not referring just to China and the deals that Hunter was chasing in 2017 when Joe Biden was out-of-office, but also of Ukraine in 2014, during and after the “color revolution” arranged by John Kerry’s State Department with help from George Soros’s Atlantic Council, when Veep Joe Biden was the official “point man” for US policy there and Hunter was installed on the Burisma board of directors for a cool $85,000-a-month, an arrangement that ran for years and netted him millions. The reason the investigation was opened in the first place was because there is hard evidence of a Biden family money-laundering trail through the Baltic States and Cyprus. And there is a lot of hard evidence of how all this worked on Hunter’s laptop. And there are the two interviews that erstwhile Biden business partner Tony Bobulinski did with the FBI only a couple of weeks ago. Do you suppose that all of that is just going to the dead-letter office? I wouldn’t.
Couple more things. First, what do you get with Joe Biden and the Democratic Party running the US government? Official suppression of free speech and official management of the news? Official cancel culture? Official race hustling and gender identity struggle sessions in the federal agencies? Campaigns against “whiteness?” Endless lockdowns and a new round of global misadventures in “nation building?”
Then there is the question of Joe Biden’s physical and mental ability to serve in office. Even the Democrats understand that he’ll be shoved aside probably early in his term under the 25th amendment (or perhaps with a simple resignation, if he doesn’t want to put the country through another wringer). They knew that all along, you realize. Leaving Kamala Harris in the oval office, a candidate so visibly unpopular that she dropped out of the primaries before the Iowa caucuses.
One other thing: whoever occupies that office beginning in 2021 is going to face an overwhelming economic crisis. Oil production, which stood just under 13 million barrels-a-day at its peak November, 2019, is down over 2 million barrels a day now, and will be sinking to about 7 million barrels-a-day in 2021, which is far short of what we use. Shale oil is a bust. It costs too much to get out of the ground and the companies that put their mojo into shale can’t make any money at it, and can’t pay off their loans, and won’t get new loans to continue operations. So, the whole industry is going to shit. Oil is what has supported the US economy for a hundred years, and it’s over. Our attempt to compensate for that quandary by borrowing more and more money at every level is also drawing to a close. It will break the bond markets, the dollar, and the banks. This is the essence of the long emergency and we’re entering the heart of the storm now.
It will require a pretty thorough rearrangement of life in our country, mainly in downscaling everything we do and re-localizing productive activity as much as possible. This has absolutely nothing to do with race-and-gender issues or any of the other ideological horse-shit that has preoccupied the Left for more than a decade. They will never wrap their minds around it. They will only respond by creating more unnecessary mischief here and probably overseas in their panicked desperation. A demoralized American people will finally see the mind-fucking they’ve been subjected to and will rise to save themselves from the ground up, with or without their government.
(Support Kunstler’s writing by visiting his Patreon Page.)
PROGRESSIVES MADE TRUMP’S DEFEAT POSSIBLE. NOW IT’S TIME TO CHALLENGE BIDEN AND OTHER CORPORATE DEMOCRATS.
by Norman Solomon
The evident defeat of Donald Trump would not have been possible without the grassroots activism and hard work of countless progressives. Now, on vital issues -- climate, healthcare, income inequality, militarism, the prison-industrial complex, corporate power and so much more -- it’s time to engage with the battle that must happen inside the Democratic Party.
The realpolitik rationales for the left to make nice with the incoming Democratic president are bogus. All too many progressives gave the benefit of doubts to Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, making it easier for them to service corporate America while leaving working-class Americans in the lurch. Two years later, in 1994 and 2010, Republicans came roaring back and took control of Congress.
From the outset, progressive organizations and individuals (whether they consider themselves to be “activists” or not) should confront Biden and other elected Democrats about profound matters. Officeholders are supposed to work for the public interest. And if they’re serving Wall Street instead of Main Street, we should show that we’re ready, willing and able to “primary” them.
Progressives would be wise to quickly follow up on Biden’s victory with a combative approach toward corporate Democrats. Powerful party leaders have already signaled their intentions to aggressively marginalize progressives.
“Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her top lieutenants,” Politico reports <https://www.politico.com/news/2020/11/05/house-democrats-warn-caucus-left-434428>, “had a stark warning for Democrats on Thursday: Swing too far left and they’re all but certain to blow their chances in the Georgia runoff that will determine which party controls the Senate.”
Also on the conference call with congressional Democrats was House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, who reportedly declared that if “we are going to run on Medicare for All, defund the police, socialized medicine, we’re not going to win.”
Such admonitions were predictable and odd, coming from House Democratic leaders who just saw shrinkage of members of their party due to the loss of “moderate” incumbents as well as the losses of avowedly “moderate” <https://www.nytimes.com/2020/10/26/us/politics/senate-iowa-ernst-greenfield.html> and widely heralded Democratic senatorial candidates in Maine, Kentucky, Iowa and elsewhere.
At the core of such conflicts, whether simmering or exploding, is class war. When Pelosi & Co. try to stamp out the genuinely progressive upsurge in congressional ranks that is fueled from the grassroots, they’re “dancing with those who brung them” -- corporate elites. It’s an extremely lucrative approach for those who feed out of the troughs of the Democratic National Committee, the Senate and House party campaign committees, the House Majority PAC and many other fat-cat political campaign entities. Consultant contracts and lobbying deals keep flowing, even after Democrats lose quite winnable elections.
Biden almost lost this election. And while the Biden campaign poured in vast financial resources and vague flowery messaging that pandered to white suburban voters, relatively little was focused on those who most made it possible to overcome Trump’s election-night lead -- people of color and the young. Constrained by his decades-long political mentality and record, Biden did not energize working-class voters as he lip-sunk populist tunes in unconvincing performances.
That's the kind of neoliberal approach that Bernie Sanders and so many of his supporters were warning about in 2016 and again this year. Both times there was a huge failure of the Democratic nominee to make a convincing case as an advocate for working people against the forces of wealthy avarice and corporate greed.
In fact, Clinton and Biden reeked of coziness with economic elites throughout their political careers. To many people, Clinton came off as a fake when she tried to sound populist, claiming to represent the little people against corporate giants. And to those who actually knew much about Biden's political record <https://www.rootsaction.org/news-a-views/2036--joe-biden-i-dont-think-500-billionaires-are-the-reason-why-were-in-trouble>, his similar claims also were apt to seem phony.
It's clear from polling that Biden gained a large proportion of his votes due to animosity toward his opponent rather than enthusiasm for Biden. He hasn't inspired the Democratic base, and his appeal had much more to do with opposing the evils of Trumpism than embracing his own political approach.
More than ever, merely being anti-Trump or anti-Republican isn't going to move Democrats and the country in the vital directions we need. Without a strong progressive program as a rudder, the Biden presidency will be awash in much the same old rhetorical froth and status-quo positions that have so often caused Democratic incumbents to founder, bringing on GOP electoral triumphs.
In recent months, Biden showed that he knew how to hum the refrains of economic populism when that seemed tactically useful, but he scarcely knew the words and could hardly belt out the melody. His media image as “Lunch Bucket Joe” was a helpful mirage in corporate medialand, but that kind of puffery only went so far. Meanwhile, the Biden strategists decided to coast on the issue of the pandemic, spotlighting Trump's lethally narcissistic insanity.
But when it came to healthcare -- obviously a central concern in people's lives, especially amid the coronavirus -- Biden largely fell back on Obamacare rather than advocating for a genuine guarantee of healthcare as a human right. Likewise, Biden talked a bit about easing the economic burdens on small businesses and families, but it was pretty pallid stuff compared to what's desperately needed. To a large extent, he surrendered the economic playing field to Trump's pseudo-populist blather.
Looking ahead, we need vigorous successors to the New Deal of the 1930s and the Great Society programs of the mid-1960s that were asphyxiated, politically and budgetarily, by the Vietnam War. Set aside the phrase if you want to, but we need some type of “democratic socialism” (as Martin Luther King Jr. asserted <https://www.huffpost.com/entry/martin-luther-king-was-a-democratic-socialist_b_9008990> in the last years of his life).
The ravages of market-based “solutions” are all around us; the public sector has been decimated, and it needs to be revitalized with massive federal spending that goes way beyond occasional “stimulus” packages. The potential exists to create millions of good jobs while seriously addressing the climate catastrophe. If we're going to get real about ending systemic and massive income inequality, we're going to have to fight for -- and achieve -- massive long-term public investments, financed by genuinely progressive taxation and major cuts in the military budget.
With enormous grassroots outreach that only they could credibly accomplish, progressive activists were a crucial part of the de facto united front to defeat Trump. Now it’s time to get on with grassroots organizing to challenge corporate Democrats.
(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.)