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Mendocino County Today: December 22, 2020

Cold Front | 26 New Cases | Butterworth Conundrum | Gift Books | Brevity Please | Figaro Family | Essential News | Fury Town | Owning Puff | New Highway | Ed Notes | 1900 Transportation | Winter Solstice | Hwy 20 | PD Headlines | Hwy 1 | Topknot Spotting | Driftwood Dragon | Rudilocks | Charity Nursery | Yesterday's Catch | Toy Soldier | First Christmas | Covid Relief | Bridge Column | Mitch Antoinette | Corporeal Joe | Magic Door | No Honeymoon | Good Question

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COLDER TEMPERATURES are settling in this evening after the passage of a cold front. A healthy ridge of high pressure will build in to set up a dry period for most of this week before the next colder weather system moves in on Friday with more precipitation chances. (NWS)

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26 NEW COVID CASES reported in Mendocino County on Monday, bringing the total to 2256.

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COLUMN ON THE HALF SHELL

by Fred Gardner

A put-down of George Butterworth, the head of gang-related prosecutions during Terence Hallinan's eight years as San Francisco District Attorney, drew a response from AVA reader Jim Miller, a retired SFPD officer. He wrote that Butterworth “worked hard at prosecuting gang cases. He took his work seriously and was skilled.” Miller also noted that the array of inmates' photos on Butterworth's bulletin board was hardly unique at the Hall of Justice. (I had been appalled by their 100% brownness.)

Kamala Harris made Butterworth the head of homicide prosecutions in 2006 after asking two widely respected civilian lawyers to review his role in the prosecution of J.J. Tennison and Antoine Goff. In a piece about Harris's selection of Butterworth, the Chronicle quoted veteran homicide prosecutor Al Giannini calling him “a brilliant choice… He has more knowledge in the Bayview (sic) than anybody in the office. He has the respect of the Police Department. He has worked closely with federal law enforcement agencies.”

How much “knowledge” did George Butterworth have about the lives of people in the projects? I took another look at the memo he sent me back in 2000 when reporters started inquiring about J.J. Tennison and Antoine Goff, two men convicted in 1991 for a murder that another man subsequently confessed to. Tennison and Goff were still in prison, still proclaiming their innocence. Butterworth's 7-point memo seems devoid of empathy.

Re: Tennison v. Henry — Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus

I have read with some care the petition for writ of habeas corpus filed on behalf of John Tennison in the 1989 murder case. Without a careful review of the file, which is now ten years old, it would be impossible for me to answer questions about specifics. However, I am left with the following impressions:

1. The petition contains allegations and conclusions that had never been formally responded to in federal court by the prosecution. They are, therefore, mere allegations. It is for the Office of the Attorney General to respond if and when requested to do so by the court.

2. The allegations contained in the petition regarding the admissions of Lovinsky Ricard were made known to the trial judge who ruled upon them before sentencing Mr. Tennison on the murder charge. Mr. Tennison's initial videotaped interview at the office of the public defender, with a coat over his head to conceal his identity, was ruled by the trial court to be untrustworthy hearsay. The fact that the interview was conducted by a deputy public defender at a time when Mr. Ricard was being represented by that office in a felony prosecution could only serve to cast further doubt on the veracity/admissibility of the statement.

3. The allegations of Chante Smith have been known to the defense and prosecution for almost ten years. Her version of the events gives rise to the probability that she was not even at the scene of the murder, much less that she was in a position to exculpate John Tennison. They are simply unworthy of belief.

4. The fact that John Tennison and Chante Smith have passed a lie detector test is not admissible in California under the evidence code because such tests are not sufficiently trustworthy. The particular facts and circumstances relating to the testing of John Tennison and Chante Smith are unlikely to affect this rule.

5. Despite characterizations in the petition of the two prosecution witnesses as ‘questionable,’ a jury found beyond a reasonable doubt that Mr. Tennison was a principal in the shotgun execution of a young man who happened to be driving the car of the intended victim.

6. This matter has been reviewed several times by the Office of the District Attorney and the San Francisco Police Department based upon the allegations raised in the petition for writ of habeas corpus. Nothing has been presented to date that would justify ‘reopening’ the investigation into the murder of Roderick Shannon.

7. There have been a number of misleading statements about the case circulated recently to the media and to the public on this case alleging ‘recent’ developments. However, there is really nothing ‘new’ in the petition for writ of habeas corpus. The ground has been plowed and plowed for ten years in the state courts. Whether the District Court will undertake to plow it again remains to be seen.

Butterworth's vaunted “knowledge” of the Bayview district was limited to the organizational structure and leadership of various gangs. J.J. Tennison was just another orange jumpsuit in a Polaroid on the wall.

In my time at the Hall of Justice I met cops and prosecutors with real experience and understanding of life in the projects. They knew people who lived there. I met others who commuted in from Novato and whose “knowledge” of life in the urban ghetto was, at best, pop sociology.

“Police Blame SF Killings on Rap Gang War” a front-page Chronicle headline announced on May 5, 2000. Inspector Kevin Whitfield told the reporters that an SFPD gang task force investigation into a recent spate of shootings revealed that: “It all started over the music. It was over who was putting out the best music, who was putting out music first. Then it became about Big Block felt disrespected in music by members of Westmob.”

Deputy Chief Rich Holder was quoted repeating the SFPD line: “They are beefing over music issues.” And the reporters Jaxon Van Derbeken and Jonathan Curiel, repeated it for them: “Police have added patrols and formed a task force to calm the southeastern part of the city. They said people are dying because of feuds over who is the most talented rapper, who is selling the most CDs, and who is being insulted in songs.”

Fortunately, the reporters supplemented the SFPD's titillating “Rap Gang War” story with some relevant background. “The fight is between successors of gangs that have long clashed over turf and the drug trade.” In other words, mighty Westmob and Big Block each comprised about 20 desperately poor teenagers and unemployed young adults who vie for street corners on which to sell weed and crack. They dream of buying studio time so their talented friends can record. It's not about music, it's about money! Or, to be more precise, it's about the lack of money. The enduring poverty of the ghetto.

Inspector Whitfield of the SFPD gang task force appeared twice more in the Chronicle piece, sharing his dangerous, superficial expertise:

• “Whitfield said the younger members of the groups are causing most of the problems. ‘The young generation of these record companies-gangs (sic), they are at a point right now where they really don't care about anything,’ he said.”

• “Patrick Brown, 28, was shot to death Saturday at Third and Underwood Streets, and 25-year-old Kenneth Gathron died Saturday night at 111 Cameron Way. Both men were associated with the Westmob group, Whitfield said.”

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SUNRISE, Saturday December 19th - too late to make it into my photo collection, ‘Mendocino Inspirations,’ but there are fifty or more other photos in that book. 

Sunrises and sunsets from familiar sites and some from locales that most locals have never witnessed. It makes a fine last minute holiday gift. Pick it up at Gallery Bookshop in Mendocino. Call them at 707-937-2665 or use their easy online ordering system at gallerybookshop.com. Add a copy of my novel, ‘Outlaw Ford,’ to double down on photographic and literary gift giving.

(Malcolm Macdonald)

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BLAH BLAH OVERLOAD: We made the mistake of trying to watch the latest Newsom-Ghali “press conference” Monday afternoon. The Governor and his Doctor took every opportunity no matter how small to drone on at excruciating and repetititve length on practically every subject and question that came up. It was painful and insulting. Who do they think they’re talking to, moronic shut-ins with nothing better to do? Why do these people think they have to covidsplain a simple yes-no answer multiple times? Or go on for several minutes when the answer is a single sentence? And they complain that nobody’s heeding their tiresome advice? It doesn’t help that Dr. Ghali comes across as a male valley girl complete with whiny up-talk.

Mendo’s Health Officer, Dr. Andrew Coren, does the same thing, sans up-talk at least — on and on and on wasting everyone’s time when his audience, in the case of the Supes in particular, have better things to do — or at least should. We don’t need to hear Dr. Coren tell the Supes or the public yet again that gosh, these are all state rules and they must be followed even when they make no sense and covid is bad and these are tough steps that have to be taken and we all hope things get better soon, but yes it’s bad now and everybody has to hunker down and… OK! OK! Stop! Enough already! 

Remember last summer when Health Officer Noemi Doohan issued 16 single spaced typed pages of health order minutiae, almost all of which were copied and pasted from the overbroad state rules? Most doctors are famous for being abrupt to the point of rudeness when talking to their patients individually; why can’t they take that same attitude in their public statements? We need blunt, direct, no nonsense statements from our public officials these days, not endless MEGO/TMI/TLDR style speeches that seem to never end. (MEGO/TMI/TLDR: My Eyes Glazed Over, Too Much Information, Too Long, Didn’t Read). 

(Mark Scaramella)

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Manuel and Mary Figaro with their first-born son, John (c.1890). Both Manuel and Mary were from the Azore Islands. Manuel, a native of Sant Maria, married Mary Maderia-Saudades of Ribeira Grande, Sao Miguel and together they emigrated to the Hawaiian Islands. From there, they made their way to Mendocino where Manuel worked in the Mendocino Lumber Mill. Their three children, John, Herman and Dina, were all born in Mendocino. (Kelley House Museum)

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EXPOSURE

Dear AVA,

Thanks for the expanded issues and the local news so I can figure out what is going on nearby. I am grateful that you both are well and have the interest to continue to publish America’s Last Newspaper.

Mark Scaramella’s coverage of Supervisor meetings and county government is excellent. The amount of unresolved county business and monetary waste is unsettling. I wonder sometimes about what Humboldt County Supervisors are thinking because decisions are nuts and far from what the citizens are asking for. Putting the County news truthfully in the paper and exposing them for the public to read is essential. 

I am not from Mendocino County so my range of opinions is limited. I do not have devices to search for all Mendo printed matter. Hence the issue of my ignorance on some such things.

Please take care, stay well, may you have a peaceful holiday and healthy unstressful New Year and know you both are appreciated by your readers for giving the service you do that makes them feel they are reading the truth. 

Sincerely,

Allyson Provisor

Garberville

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WANNA BUILD A PUFF? 

SUPERVISOR WILLIAMS: “Mendocino County plans to own the building that will be used as a Psychiatric Health Facility”

Mendocino County Behavioral Health & Recovery Services Psychiatric Health Facility Request For Qualifications

Post Date:12/21/2020 4:30 PM

Mendocino County Behavioral Health & Recovery Services (BHRS) has received a number of responses to the Request for Qualifications (RFQ) regarding the future Operator of a Psychiatric Health Facility within Mendocino County. The deadline for submission was November 30, 2020. The evaluation committee is currently reviewing these responses, and more information will be made available on the progress of this project in the coming weeks. Mendocino County plans to own the building that will be used as a Psychiatric Health Facility, using qualified and dedicated contractors to fulfill services on the county’s behalf.

For more information, please contact Jenine Miller, Director of BHRS at (707) 472-2355 or millerje@mendocinocounty.org.

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New Highway, Santa Fe

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ED NOTES

AS HE LEAVES OFFICE, Attorney General Barr said he won't provide special counsel for a Hunter Biden investigation or designate a special counsel to probe election fraud. Barr also said he was convinced the Russians were behind the massive computer breach which, and just sayin', if the Rooskies penetrated much of the cyber-infrastructure of the United States they could also have broken into the recent election, but so far there's no evidence that the hackers have done anything other than look. It seems that the Russians have out-hacked US, hence the Cold War-style huffing and puffing.

RUMORS drifting out of the County Courthouse say that Tim Stoen, the haunted former People’s Temple lieutenant and Coast prosecutor, has returned to work for the DA's office. DA says, “Not true.”

TRUE OR FALSE? White slavery preceded black slavery in America. “Virginia 1614. Over this colony now spread [tobacco] planters who hastened to avail themselves of this new-found means of getting rich. Land and climate alike favored them, but they were confronted with a scarcity of labor. The emergency was promptly met by the buying of white servants in England to be resold in Virginia to the highest bidder. This, however, was not sufficient, and complaints poured over to the English government. As the demands of commerce had to be sustained at any price, a system was at once put into operation of gathering in as many of the poorer English class as could be impressed upon some pretext, and shipping them over to be held as bonded laborers. Penniless and lowly Englishmen, arrested and convicted for any one of the multitude of offenses then provided for severely in law, were transported as criminals or sold into the colonies as slaves for a term of years… But, fast as the English courts might work, they did not supply laborers fast enough. It was with exultation that in 1619 the plantation owners were made acquainted with a new means of supplying themselves with adequate workers. A dutch ship arrived at Jamestown with a cargo of Negroes from Guinea…” History of the Great American Fortunes by Gustavus Myers.

OF COURSE white slavery ended by the 18th century while black slavery and the repurcussions thereof have never ended.

LOTTSA BAILOUT JOKES making the rounds. “The 600 bucks is like high fiving a drowning man.” And “every family will also get one lottery ticket.” 

NANCY PELOSI: “I would like them to have been bigger, but they are significant. And they will be going out soon.” Significant?

MR. BEAR OBSERVES, "I’m not one to usually judge by appearances but it does seem the neck tattoo is over represented in mug shots compared to the general population.

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MY WINTER SOLSTICE POEM sent with blessings of light and love; ease and joy in the coming year.

Marylyn Motherbear Scott

Winter Solstice

The sun is born out of deepest dark

We are the tinder; we are the spark.

Discovering self when the night is deep,

Awakening out of dream-held sleep,

We find our true and loving heart —

Earth, family, friends, All, a part.

We sing to the night, we sing to the light

Both grow in us as second sight;

Step by step, we place our feet

Upon the path of what we seek.

Be it ever toward thy heart's content,

in service to love may thy life be spent.

We are the tinder, we are the spark,

We sing our songs into light and dark.

This poem is the intellectual property of the author, Marylyn Motherbear Scott. It may shared as spoken word, with credit given to the author. It may not be published without written permission of the author.

motherbearscott@mindspring.com

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Highway 20

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ACTUAL PRESS-DEMOCRAT HEADLINES: Monday, December 21, 2020:

Gov. Newsom challenged to address Senate’s lack of diversity

Rose Bowl denied exemption to allow fans for playoff game

Election could stoke US marijuana market

Angry because my friend invited another couple to dinner without telling me

‘A Game Changer’: How a new airplane rule will benefit service dog users

Local African American vintners feel hopeful over future

Santa Rosa Schools ease graduation requirements after sharp increase in Fs

SoCo Covid Cases Spike

(Ed note: Mendo cases present a similar case increase timeline, albeit with about one-eighth the numbers of Sonoma County.)

Tiger’s son upstages dad in father-son golf tournament

Santa Rosa winery takes top prize at North Coast Wine Challenge

Judges nixes lawsuit challenging California home pot delivery

This tasty holiday wine compote only has 2 ingredients

Admission changes aim to remedy segregation in NYC schools

13 luxe holiday gift ideas from Sonoma County stores

Concern among Muslims over halal status of Covid vaccine

UK nixes Christmas gatherings

‘Nourish the soul’: Volunteers bring gourmet flair to Santa Rosa Shelter

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Highway 1, Garberville

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HEY, ISN’T THAT TRINIDAD? 

On 12/18/20 at approximately 1312 hours, two Ukiah Police officers were doubled in a marked police vehicle and were traveling eastbound on E. Gobbi St. One of the officers observed a vehicle pass them traveling westbound and recognized the driver of the vehicle as Trinidad Luise Magdaleno-Pulido. Magdaleno-Pulido was known to the officer from prior law enforcement contacts. The officer was also aware that Magdaleno-Pulido did not have a driver’s license, and the officer had warned Magdaleno-Pulido about driving a motor vehicle without a license in the past.

Trinidad Magdaleno

The officers turned their police vehicle around to initiate a traffic enforcement stop on Magdaleno-Pulido. Prior to the officers activating the overhead emergency lights on their patrol vehicle, Magdaleno-Pulido pulled his vehicle into the parking lot of Express Mart (390 E. Gobbi St.) and entered the store. The officers contacted Magdaleno-Pulido inside the store and advised him they had observed him driving. The officers confirmed through a DMV records check that Magdaleno-Pulido did not have a driver’s license issued to him.

The officers advised Magdaleno-Pulido that they were going to issue him a citation for driving without a license and have his vehicle towed. While performing an inventory search on Magdaleno-Pulido’s vehicle the officers located a box of .38 Special ammunition. Officer’s performed a pat search on Magdaleno-Pulido in belief he may be in possession of a firearm. In Magdaleno-Pulido’s waistband, officers located a loaded Glock 9mm style pistol that had been assembled from a kit that are commonly marketed as “80% frames” (also commonly referred to as a “ghost gun”). In Magdaleno-Pulido’s pants pocket the officers located two small bags of suspected cocaine. A more thorough search of the vehicle was performed and officers located a larger bag of cocaine hidden behind the dash of the vehicle.

Magdaleno-Pulido was placed under arrest for the above listed charges. Magdaleno-Pulido was transported to the MCSO Jail where he was booked on the related charges.

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Driftwood, Eureka

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THE MAN WHO CAME TO DINNER

On Tuesday, December 18, 2020 at about 7:24 PM Mendocino County Sheriff Deputies were dispatched to a residential burglary with a detained suspect at a residence in the 71000 block of North Highway 101 in Leggett.

When Deputies arrived they contacted Rudy Kaslofski, 33, of Sacramento, who was seated in a chair at the entrance of the driveway of the residence.

Rudy Kaslofski

The reporting party informed Deputies they were the landlord of the residence and discovered Kaslofski had entered their tenant’s residence and was in the process of consuming food items.

The reporting party was armed with a firearm during the contact and escorted Kaslofski to the entrance of the driveway to await the Deputies arrival.

Deputies investigated the incident and learned Kaslofski had entered the residence through an unsecured back door and rummaged through the kitchen for food items.

The adult female tenant was not home during the burglary.

Kaslofski was arrested for first degree burglary and was subsequently booked into the Mendocino County Jail where he was to be held in lieu of $50,000 bail.

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Charity Nursery, New York City, 1900

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CATCH OF THE DAY, December 21, 2020

Anderson, Balam, Gonzalez

AUSTIN ANDERSON, Ukiah. Battery, brandishing, ex-felon with tear gas, parole violation.

CARLOS BALAM, Oakland/Ukiah. DUI.

ERNESTO GONZALEZ, Pacheco/Ukiah. DUI-alcohol&drugs, paraphernalia.

Guerrero, Kaslofski, Magdaleno

SHAYLA GUERRERO, Ukiah. Harboring wanted felon, suspended license, probation revocation.

RUDY KASLOFSKI, Sacramento/Ukiah. Burglary.

TRINIDAD MAGDALENO-PULIDO, Ukiah. Controlled substance while armed with loaded firearm, controlled substance for sale, loaded handgun not registered owner, sale of narcotic drug, no license.

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Romanian Soldier, 1990

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ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY

Lil Smokies in the crockpot w/BBQ sauce…Slovak dumplings and cabbage w/polska and rye bread ready to fire up on the 24th…Vikings on the TV Christmas Day…two big bags of extra-worchestershire Chex Mix in the freezer…gifts under the slightly-too-large-for-my-taste, self-cut tree…gyms back open at 25% capacity (mask required lol)…restaurants and bars all still closed except for takeout…unbearable news cycles ignoring anything important…no snow on the ground…dreary gray skies meet the night at 4:30pm…car needs a serious wash and has a slow-leaking tire…dog puked on the carpet this morning…woke friends and family won’t stfu, needling and cawing their percevied political/intellectual superiority cuz Biden/Harris…

But my almost 4-yr old boy will probably remember this as his first Christmas of meaning. So tallying up all the good and bad…

A roundabout Merry Christmas to all!

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REAFFIRMATION

Editor: 

The behavior of the present occupant of the White House since the election only reaffirms the opinion I formed when he descended the golden escalator to announce his candidacy. My firm hope is that some day when I open my morning paper the word “Trump” will be nowhere to be seen, except maybe in the bridge column.

Carol Dixon

Ukiah

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YULETIDE VISITATIONS

by James Kunstler

Welcome to the longest night of the year, the moment of maximum mystification and terror for frail humanity, fretting that the sun might be going away for all the rest of time. Scanning the smoke signals from America’s loudest engine of mystification, The New York Times, one searches in vain for some evidence that Joe Biden still exists. There is barely a cookie-crumb trail of some hypothetical cabinet appointments, plus a few obviously insincere and artificial sugarplums about “healing the nation.” Where-oh-where is the party’s avatar and the country’s savior, Ol’ White Joe, in these fraught hours? Has the fabled basement become his tomb? Will his revenant float transparently out into the night sky on Christmas Eve and pass through the walls of the “residence” at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave to rattle his chains like Jacob Marley’s ghost at the foot of the president’s bed, wailing, “I cannot rest, I cannot stay, I cannot linger anywhere. My spirit never walked beyond the awful shackles of the CEFC Energy Company — mark me! — in life my spirit never roved beyond the narrow limits of our family’s money-changing hole; and weary journeys lie before me! Oooooohhhhhhhh…”?

It says something, does it not?, that the corporeal Joe Biden is missing-in-action. You’d think he’d be bustling around like crazy out there, trying to, at least, give some impression of being at-large-and-in-charge, preparing to launch a score of battles against the enemies of peace and prosperity lately afflicting this sore-beset nation, yo-yo-ing back and forth between Jake Tapper and Rachel Maddow to reassure their cringing viewers of Wokedom come, wolfing down plates of field peas, ham hocks, and cornbread to display his allyship with the downtrodden masses of this-and-that color, gender, flavor, and texture, comforting the homeless on the pitiless streets of the ailing cities, volunteering to get stuck with vaccine needles of every pharma company on the S & P, with side orders of hydroxychloroquine, ivermectin, and famotidine, huddling with the nabobs of Wall Street to halt the sinking dollar, visiting the troops with plane-loads of turkey dinners — you know… rallying the worried people of this anxious land in their time of trouble….

And what of Kamala Harris? Did she steal off to some Caribbean beach to mull over her options? It appears that she’s still holding that seat in the US Senate, let’s face it, a very cushy sinecure that “fixes” its exalted members for life, and in more ways than one, if you know what I mean. Of all the thoughts racing through Ms. Harris’s skull these dark days, I suspect the dimmest of them concerns the actual possibility she may actually end up as president. She acts like someone who knows something, and knows that the something she knows is not altogether a good something. Notice the giggling has ceased.

And so, we pass through a weekend of predictable news that Congress has authorized another gazillion dollars to bail out stock markets and banks, under the guise of helping ordinary Americans hopelessly crushed by lockdowns and government-induced small business failures, and we hurtle toward what’s likely to be the bluest Christmas in memory with the republic in the balance. The president… that would be Mr. Trump… is portrayed in the nervous mainstream news media as flailing wildly around the West Wing, confabbing with Krakens, battling with his “closest advisors,” all importuning him to concede the election. D’ya think so? Maybe, but I’m not so sure.

Something more orderly and momentous might be playing out, and on the q.t., something that may turn-around the odious sham that was the election phase of the long-running coup against the chief executive. Joe Biden, or the ghost of Joe Biden and the people who manage his hologram, must not be allowed to occupy the Oval Office and seize the levers of power. It should be impossible to ignore the evidence of his previously bought-and-paid-for obligations to the folks who run China, though the people who bring us the “news” do exactly that, and are probably acting as accessories to what will amount to one of the greatest attempted political crimes of history.

It also appears that, in the course of all these fractious election hijinks, foreign actors have penetrated America’s most sensitive computer networks, including the treasury department, the nuke labs, and the electric grid. Why not then the computers that tabulated the recent election? They were, after all, hooked up to the Internet, though they were not supposed to be. All this is right in the wheelhouse of the Defense Intelligence Agency, and the least you can say is that President Trump anticipated it when he shifted out the old DOD top management a month ago and replaced them with, shall we say, a more reliable crew. What remains to be seen this fretful Christmas week is exactly what, and who, will be flying over America’s rooftops on the eve of the Great Day.

A toast to all my readers, and even the rowdy comment gang, this hallowed week of our darkest days, and a merry Christmas to all!

(Support Kunstler’s writing by visiting his Patreon Page.)

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WHY PROGRESSIVES MUST NOT GIVE JOE BIDEN A POLITICAL HONEYMOON

by Norman Solomon

The third time would not be a charm.

People on the left did very little to challenge Bill Clinton after he won the presidency in 1992. Two years later, a big Republican wave took control of Congress.

People on the left did very little to challenge Barack Obama after he won the presidency in 2008. Two years later, a big Republican wave took control of Congress.

Now, we’re being told that people on the left should pipe down and do little to challenge Joe Biden. But silence or merely faint dissent would enable the third Democratic president in four decades to again sacrifice progressive possibilities on the altar of corporate power.

Clinton and Obama -- no less than Biden in recent months -- could sound like a semi-populist at times on the campaign trail. But during 16 years combined in the White House, they shared a governing allegiance to neoliberalism: aiding and abetting privatization, austerity budgets for the public sector, bloated budgets for the Pentagon, deregulation of corporate behavior, and so-called “free trade” agreements boosting big-business profit margins at the expense of workers, consumers and the environment.

The idea that corporate centrism is the best way for Democrats to defeat Republicans is belied by actual history. Yes, Clinton and Obama won re-election -- but their political narcissism and fidelity to big corporations proved devastating to the Democratic Party and very helpful to the GOP.

During Obama’s eight years as president, Democrats lost not only both houses of Congress but also more than 1,000 seats in state legislatures. As the New York Times noted, “In 2009, Democrats controlled both the state senate and house in 27 states, the Republicans 14. After the 2016 elections, Republicans controlled both branches of the legislatures in 32 states to 14 for the Democrats.” Republicans also gained more governors.

It’s worth pondering Obama’s blunt assessment of his administration’s first term: “My policies are so mainstream that if I had set the same policies that I had back in the 1980s, I would be considered a moderate Republican.”

Yet the Obama era is now being fondly and routinely hailed as a kind of aspirational benchmark. We’re now being told to yearn to go back to the future under the leadership of the soon-to-be president who boasted last year: “I’m an Obama-Biden Democrat, man, and I’m proud of it.”

On the verge of 2021, populist anger and despair are unabated. And, as economic disasters worsen at macro and individual levels, more widespread populist rage is predictable. Only progressive populism offers an appealing alternative to the toxic pseudo-populism of the Trumpist Republican Party.

Pushing the Biden presidency in the direction of progressive populism is not only the morally correct thing to do, given the scale of human suffering and the existential threats posed by economic unraveling, the climate emergency and militarism. Progressive populism can also be the political antidote to the poisonous right-wing manipulation of genuine economic and social distress. In sharp contrast, “moderate” programs have little to offer.

My colleague Jeff Cohen describes the “No Honeymoon <https://nohoneymoon.org/>“ campaign we’re immersed in at RootsAction.org as “an effort to help save Biden from himself and from following in the footsteps -- missteps, really -- of his predecessors Obama and Clinton. Too much hesitation, vacillation, corporatism in the first two years will likely bring on a Republican landslide for Congress in 2022, as Clinton’s vacillation and corporatism, like NAFTA, did in 1994, and Obama’s in 2010, for example his bailing out Wall Street but not homeowners through a foreclosure freeze.”

To avert a big Republican win in two years, Cohen says, “Biden has to deliver for poor, working-class and middle-class people. Policies that make a big difference in people’s lives -- including cancellation of federal student debt and pushing for a $15 federal minimum wage. That will mean listening more to progressive allies, progressive economists and legal experts -- and less to the Democratic corporate donor class. If he doesn’t deliver, Biden plays into the hands of the GOP faux-populists, setting us all up for defeat in 2022.”

In the #NoHoneymoon launch video <https://youtu.be/EnNFUAENLX0>, released last week, former Bernie Sanders 2020 campaign national co-chair Nina Turner -- now running for Congress in a special election -- explained the concept of No Honeymoon. “We mean that we the people hold the power,” she said. “That we must continue to fight for what is just, right and good, and fight against what is not just, right and good. We mean that we must have solidarity and commitment, one to another.”

She added: “As long as there are injustices, we will continue to fight. What do we mean by that? We know that when everyday people put a little extra on the ordinary, extraordinary things happen. . . . We mean that we will not be seduced by smiles -- we need action, and we need it right now. We will not relent. And that’s what we mean when we say ‘No Honeymoon.’”

Over the weekend, under the headline “Biden Cabinet Leans Centrist, Leaving Some Liberals Frustrated,” the New York Times declared with typical media framing that “the president-elect’s personnel choices are more pragmatic and familiar than ideological” -- as though centrism itself is not “ideological.” The newspaper reported that “there is no one yet in Mr. Biden’s cabinet carrying the torch for the policies that he campaigned against during the primaries: free college for everyone, a costly Green New Deal, an anti-Wall Street agenda, universal health care and steep increases in the minimum wage.”

Silence or grumbling acquiescence as the Biden presidency takes shape would amount to a political repetition disorder of the sort that ushered in disastrous political results under the Clinton and Obama administrations. Progressives must now take responsibility and take action. As Nina Turner says, “everything we love is on the line.”

(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 to the 2016 and 2020 Democratic National Conventions. Solomon is the founder and executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy.)

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29 Comments

  1. Bernie Norvell December 22, 2020

    Significant < crumbs

  2. Gary Smith December 22, 2020

    Yesterday, Lane’s Redwood Flat was in Piercy. Today it’s on Hwy. 20.
    A friend and Humdocino history buff says Lane’s Flat was where the little rest area is between Confusion Hill and Legget, the state park rest area. Smithe Grove.

    • Marmon December 22, 2020

      Lane Redwood Flat is a former settlement in Mendocino County, California. It was located on the South Fork of the Eel River 6 miles south-southeast of Piercy.

      Marmon

  3. Craig Stehr December 22, 2020

    Igniting the Global Eco Revolution

    Sitting here at The Magic Ranch in the early winter of Mendocino county, California, the constant challenge is to realize spiritually focused direct action groups in the lost social wilderness of postmodern America. Aside from witnessing all of the stupidity and insanity of the past four years in Washington, D.C., I am still seeking others to do more than just somehow get by and die, which is for the most part what appears to be on the horizon for the vast majority of citizens.
    Right now, I am enjoying Vedic chants on Google, digesting a miso soup thick with brown rice, lentils, and pinto beans, plus tofu and veggies, and am contemplating heating water for a cup of Tulsi tea. My body and mind are relaxed with their current situation on the planet earth, because there is no doubt at all as to what my true spiritual identity is.
    In other words, I am having a fairly satisfactory evening in the American experiment with freedom and democracy, in spite of the fact that I would have to be stark raving mad to be appreciative. You might say that I am spiritually liberated with no debt at all to anything whatsoever. And you know what…it feels pretty good!
    I could leave my enjoyable community digs in Redwood Valley, California. I could do that to join with others who are compelled to ignite a global eco revolution. But I will not bore you with my usual pleas and philosophical questions. Let us face it…if my associations do not give a significant shit if global warming goes off of the charts, then what is the point of my continuous networking…and so, I send out this final message on the occasion of the winter solstice…because this is the time of new beginnings. Other than waiting for Divine Intervention, what else could I do…and now, I will heat the water for a cup of Tulsi tea.

    Craig Louis Stehr
    Email me at craiglouisstehr@gmail.com
    Hell ya I am accepting money, at Paypal.me/craiglouisstehr

  4. Harvey Reading December 22, 2020

    TRUE OR FALSE?

    As I recall, the white slaves were called “indentured servants” and could eventually buy their way out of their predicament. That option was NOT available for black slaves.

    • Bruce Anderson December 22, 2020

      Nope. Straight-up slaves. Indenture came later.

      • Bill Harper December 22, 2020

        When the British obtained Eastern Canada they sold the french settlers; Arcadian at the Boston slave market. Some went to Haiti then escaped to Louisiana where they became Cajuns and had an aversion to slavery.

        Cajun a contraction of Arcadian ( as Injun is to Indian )

        • Harvey Reading December 22, 2020

          Source (a valid one, please), in particular regarding the claim that the Brits sold Acadian captives as slaves.

      • Michael Koepf December 22, 2020

        For further erudition, read: White Cargo. Michael Walsh, Don Jordon. Initially, most American slaves were white. predominantly in the Carolinas and Virginia.

        • Harvey Reading December 22, 2020

          Re: White Cargo

          “From Publishers Weekly
          High school American history classes present indentured servitude as a benignly paternalistic system whereby colonial immigrants spent a few years working off their passage and went on to better things. Not so, this impassioned history argues: the indentured servitude of whites was comparable in most respects to the slavery endured by blacks. Voluntary indentures arriving in colonial America from Britain were sold on the block, subjected to backbreaking work on plantations, poorly fed and clothed, savagely punished for any disobedience, forbidden to marry without their master’s permission, and whipped and branded for running away. Nor were indentures always voluntary: tens of thousands of convicts, beggars, homeless children and other undesirable Britons were transported to America against their will. Given the hideous mortality rates, the authors argue, indentured contracts often amounted to a life sentence at hard labor—some convicts asked to be hanged rather than be sent to Virginia. The authors, both television documentarians, don’t attempt a systematic survey of the subject, and their episodic narrative often loses its way in colorful but extraneous digressions. Still, their exposé of unfree labor in the British colonies paints an arresting portrait of early America as gulag. 8 pages of photos. (Mar.)
          Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.”

          • Harvey Reading December 22, 2020

            And, for what it’s worth, my grammar and high-school teachers, in the mid-50s, said basically the same things when describing indentured servitude. But some were able to work off their time or buy their way out of the servitude, which was NOT an option for black slaves.

          • Harvey Reading December 22, 2020

            The whole exchange on this subject reminds of the Civil Rights era, when conservathug fascists on the right were peddling noneense like, “…too much, too soon…” to cover their racist opposition to equal rights for black people.

          • Michael Koepf December 22, 2020

            But has the loveless misanthrope of the Wyoming wastelands read the book?
            Probably not. Pasting URL’s are the summit of intellectual effort for little minds these days.

          • Harvey Reading December 22, 2020

            Run out of steam and BS didya Koepf? Nothing left but bluster of hot air it seems.

            Toodles, sweet thing.

          • Douglas Coulter December 23, 2020

            Jack London spent 30 days indentured on the Erie Canal because a Corrupt judge had contract to supply labor.
            The Road by Jack London
            This story is confirmed by A#1 America’s most famous hobo who traveled with him.
            Played by Lee Marvin in Cannon Ball Run with Ernest Borgnin

        • Harvey Reading December 23, 2020

          Manumission is a prerogative of the owner, not the slave.

    • Michael Koepf December 22, 2020

      False. Between the 17th and early 18th century, most died in bondage, were sold, beaten, and chained as were their black counterparts with whom they ate and slept. The majority were convicts or the poor swept off the streets of England and Ireland (especially children) and transported to America. Read: White Cargo, Michael Walsh and Don Jordon, and then apply for reparations.

  5. Harvey Reading December 22, 2020

    “The Magic Revolving Door”

    Obummer knows all about that particular door.

    • chuck dunbar December 22, 2020

      Thanks, Stephen, for the citation–read it, and, yes, pretty scary stuff’s going on, but less than 30 days left for the guy and his third-level serfs to screw things up… Then we can all breathe a great sigh of relief….

      • Harvey Reading December 22, 2020

        Maybe a little tiny sigh. Biden, being the neoliberal POS that he is, will in all likelihood be even worse than the orange hog. He’ll smile and look proud as Social Security is privatized, as yet another tax cut or another abolishment of regulations is presented to the wealthy campaign donors, all the while babbling about the wonders of “bipartisanship”. And the wealthy robber barons will just keep getting wealthier on the backs of poorly paid, no-benefit workers.

        Why cannot people get it through their thick skulls that neither party represents the interests of any but the wealthy? Guess that’s just to be expected with a population dedicated to lesser-evil voting, a population who still believes that the “free” press is still capable of printing anything but lies.

        • Lazarus December 22, 2020

          “Why cannot people get it through their thick skulls that neither party represents the interests of any but the wealthy?” H.R.

          I had this conversation an hour ago with a family member I see twice, if that, a year. And now I know why.
          He and his whole LibLab family believe that Joe Biden will return the county to civility and normalcy.

          Then I told them, I had watched that awful Joe Biden excuse for a press conference earlier today.
          Biden blurted out that most will likely not see the vaccine for a year, in his own bumbling way. And we, the regulars, need to prepare for the darkest days ahead.
          Yet cutesy AOC and others can’t wait to show off their band-aided arms. Apparently forgetting that a mere few months ago, they were yelling at us they would never take, The Trump Vaccine…
          I’m wondering if our County leaders/BOS/CEO have been given the shot, continuity of government and all. If so it would be wise to keep it to themselves, politically speaking…The regulars are getting pissed!

          Be Swell,
          Laz

      • Stephen Rosenthal December 22, 2020

        Chuck,

        I realize there’s less than a month to go, but I posted the article and my thoughts because I have always believed the 25th Amendment is nothing more than window dressing and will never be invoked. Why would a bunch of appointed, indebted lackeys utilize it to essentially invalidate their positions? The necessary changes are above my pay grade, but taking the power away from the Cabinet to remove the President is a starting point. Perhaps an independent 13 member panel of psychiatrists, military leaders, legal scholars and neuroscientists? And by no means transfer this power to Congress.

        • chuck dunbar December 22, 2020

          I agree. Stephen. Thanks for the clarification. And, yes, the issue, imperfectly addressed at this point as you say, persists beyond this one administration.

  6. Marmon December 22, 2020

    BREAKING: President Trump calls the COVID-relief bill a “disgrace” and is threatening to veto it if Congress doesn’t cut “wasteful items” like foreign aid & increase direct payments to Americans from $600 to $2,000 per person.

    The bill also gives illegal immigrants in our country up to $1,800 each. Three times more than it gives Americans.

    Marmon

  7. Marmon December 22, 2020

    Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) is calling a spending package amidst the Chinese coronavirus crisis “a slap in the face to every single American struggling,” as it offered billions to special interests and foreign countries while sending Americans a $600 stimulus check.

    Marmon

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