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Off the Record (December 23, 2020)

IDIOCY MARCHES ON: The San Francisco School Board has decided that Lincoln High School must be re-named. Abraham Lincoln, you see, has been determined by these historical illiterates as unworthy because “the majority of his policies proved to be detrimental to Native Americans.” In local fact, it was the Lincoln Administration that dispatched the Army to protect the Native Americans of the Eel River Basin, which should give the man Tolstoy considered humankind's greatest product some credit from contemporary illiberal liberals. It seems from here that the evil events characteristic of yesteryear shouldn't be erased, perfumed right outta the record, because it's against those events and institutions that we measure how far forward we've come. Call me Pollyanna, but every person of my vintage grew up in a social context where black people were legally harmed and insulted every which way, Indians were mowed down in the movies by John Wayne, Mexicans hadn't arrived, Chinese were synonymous with chop suey and firecrackers. We've done pretty well in the race department considering much of our past. 

WHENEVER the misery lobby pops up in the public viewshed, as they have recently in Fort Bragg (BIPOC), my general impression is of a kind of confused misery. Who are these unhappy white people to lecture anybody on anything? Do they ever consider the effect they have on most of us, how unappealing they are apart from their demand to change the town’s name as if at a stroke all the bad stuff that happened in the past will be erased? Who are they? I've tried to contact several of these fog belt book burners but they won't engage, and how serious is anybody who won't? 

THE LIB MEDIA, print, audio and visual, have behaved throughout the Trump interlude as propagandists for Democrats — Biden-Clinton-Obama Democrats, not of course Bernie or AOC Democrats. The belated discovery by the NYT and the Situation Room, a month after the votes were tabulated, that Hunter Biden, monetizing his father, has sold himself to foreigners. NPR this morning (Tuesday) said Hunter has tax problems, as if Joe's drug-addled son wasn't in any truly serious trouble.

THE NEW YORK POST broke the inconvenient Biden story before the election, but it was written off as a “distraction” by the NYT and a menace to democratic health by the technology companies that control the flow of much of our information. The few journalists who got it out there were insulted as Russian dupes. 

WE'LL NEVER KNOW what effect the Biden revelations might have had on the election if Big Lib Media hadn't hid them. The electoral margin in three states—Georgia, Wisconsin and Arizona—that combined to give Joe Biden 37 electoral votes, and the presidency, was a little under 43,000 votes, a vanishingly small sliver of the two candidate’s 155.5 million total nationwide votes.

HE RECOGNIZED IN HIMSELF a secret wish to step off into some abyss of bad taste and moral sloth, and Mendocino County seemed as good a place as any to find it. — Bob Jenks, Covelo

WHEN Liz Evangelatos-Barney was county-approved to continue her social media work with the Sheriff's Department, a contract worth about $15,000 to her, she became the target of an unfounded vilification campaign led by Alicia Bales, the program director at KZYX. Ms. Bales was immediately reinforced by others on her contact roster, including the late Judi Bari's sister, an art professor based in Maryland, none of whom bothered to determine the facts, none of which had anything to do with Ms. Barney's work and, in any case, were Ms. Barney's private affair.

IT ALL GETS CURIOUSER. Bales and Co., and I write from unhappy experience with her and her lamentable friends, don't fight fair. Despite their bold talk about speaking truth to power they operate entirely in a self-congratulatory echo chamber which allows no critical opinion of any of them, and they always travel in self-ratifying groups. (Back in the day we called them The Dwarf Bully Girls because they were short, yappy, unhappy creatures reminiscent of packs of chihuahuas, a few deballed, slack-jawed male thanatoids bringing up the rear.)

MS. BARNEY won't get the opportunity to confront any of them. Ms. Bales' employer, publicly-funded, tax-exempt public radio bills itself as “Free Speech Radio Mendocino County,” wouldn't dream of inviting Ms. Barney on to the air to defend herself against the now widely circulated libels about her. And Ms. Bales is in charge of who gets on the public airwaves at the station, and of course didn't ask Ms. Barney about the libels Ms. Bales circulated before she circulated them. 

THE SAD NEWS that the Cliff House will close for good, driven out of business by the extortionate federal agency that owns the Frisco Coast, inspired this reminisce from a reader: “I was so shocked that the Cliff House will have to close. It was a very special place in my early California days. I had driven two months in my little blue Volkswagen through the West, tried out Boulder Colorado… not for me. Camped in remote Canyons of Utah alone, spent time in the Grand Tetons and met some sweet Bay Area Californians and moved on toward California seeking a new life. Drove up the Coast through LA which felt shallow and empty… And when I hit Big Sur was stunned with the extraordinary beauty and power of the Pacific; camped for a few days and knew I would stay in Northern California. I love the Pacific. It always brings me such great joy… to this day. Driving 128 and coming to the bridge and slowly making the way up to the top looking out at the Navarro merging with the ocean… It never ceases to be a thrill that brings a swift inbreath and a heart that opens to wonder. What a beautiful place we all have in this remarkable landscape. The first time I drove up 280 from Palo Alto to the Golden Gate I was captured by the majesty of the city and the bridge. It was like a fairy tale to me, the beauty. I turned around and drove back and took a right toward the ocean instead of driving into the City. And there was the Cliff House. I stopped and went inside. In 1976 it was dark and smoke filled with small windows, but it was such a unique restaurant and I roamed around for a while. And since then, my first stop in San Francisco remained a favorite place in my heart. After they remodeled it into that amazing tall glass walled restaurant, I would eat there whenever I drove to the peninsula or coming back to Boonville. It was such a special place. I am heartbroken it will be a thing of the past. Thank you for bringing the story into the paper. I am appalled that the Park Service would take such a stance that would absolutely shut it down. Merciless. Another very old and special place in the City that bites the dust. I am very very sad about it. The other piece in your paper was so well written and to me, a true perception of reality. Jonah Raskin is a fine writer. And a clear thinker. I appreciate your putting it in the paper."

THE NEWSOM RECALL seems pretty well-organized. A couple of Ukiah women are contacts for the statewide effort, which is fine with me given the governor's $350 unmasked dinner and his unnecessary shut-down of thousands of small businesses. But a recall won’t remove him from office. Newsom cannot lose a recall election in this heavily Democratic state unless a whole lotta Democrats vote for his Republican opponent. And that won't happen.

I SEE that Hillary wants to do away with the Electoral College. Not so fast, Hil. Yeah, yeah, you won the popular vote, and only you could have managed to lose to Big Wampum, but you lost to him big time in the deplorable states. Without that tiny protection of the College, California and New York would easily win every national election which, of course, the Democrats think would be a good thing because they own both coasts.

KEEP IT CLASSY, DEMOCRATS: The Presidential Inaugural Committee for Joe Biden's festivities is asking donors for $500,000 to $1 million for events that are mostly virtual, calling it “preferential access.”

MEANWHILE, Trump's doing a Queeg in the White House, muttering about betrayals and plots, and threatening not to vacate on January 20th. Outside the bubble where America lives, more and more people are out of work and facing eviction without a continuation of the still-not-declared moratorium on house-less-ness. And right here in our rural paradise half our population of 90,000 people depend on public aid to get by — just barely.

DA EYSTER is justly angry about Ten Mile Court's Judge Clay Brennan's inexplicably soft sentence for Katy Rhianon Smith, the 35-year-old Caspar woman who took her dog out into the East Caspar woods and shot him, shot him numerous times without killing him. Since dubbed Thunder the Wonder Dog, a German Shepherd, Thunder somehow survived for nearly two weeks until rescued by a woman who just happened on the wounded animal. The DA's office put a lot of work into this case, appropriately enough given its egregiousness, and Probation recommended jail time for Ms. Smith. Then Brennan tossed it, declared the felony animal abuse charge basically waived, and even suggested that Ms. Smith do some community service at the Humane Society. An added mystery here is how Ms. Smith, who claims to rake in $11,000 a month (!) got a public defender defense, who must now be regarded as Mendo's reincarnation of Clarence Darrow for getting her off.

TEN MILE COURT has always been presided over by, ahem, odd judges. Judge Heeb, back before criminals burned down the courthouse itself and, this being Mendo the arsonists went unprosecuted, fell in love with a young defendant, sending the lad time and again out the courthouse door with a free pass to continue committing felonies. Heeb was succeeded by Judge Lehan, a flasher nude beneath his robes, much to the ongoing disgust of a court clerk who, when she complained, found herself transferred to Willits. An "investigation" by the local judicial council, or whatever it calls its cover-up self, and presided over at the time by Judge Brown, brought Lehan over from Ten Mile to work out of the Ukiah courthouse for flasher purgatory then sent him back to Fort Bragg with his fat pay and benefits intact. And now Brennan. Mendo's legal community pulls a lotta fast ones on us unsuspecting rubes.

WILLIE BROWN famously warned against messing with the anthromorphs. Quoting from memory: “The animal people can turn out a mob faster by far than any other interest group,” he said. “You do something they don't like and the next thing you know you're looking at 500 old ladies and their Pomeranians.” 

SUPERVISOR McCOWEN on the dog torturer: “Usually I post about issues before the Board of Supervisors. I'm making an exception here because of the criminal disregard for justice displayed by the judge in this case. This is a case of an individual starving her dog then attempting to shoot it to death. The dog was victimized again when the judge absolved the perpetrator of any meaningful consequences.”

SIGN OF THE TIMES. Chatting with another geezer the other day, he mentioned that he felt menaced by a nest of tweekers who lived at the end of his road. He said he was sure they'd stolen stuff out of his barn. “Now I have a gun,” he said, “first gun I've had since I mustered out of the Army.” This particular anxiety was unknown in Mendocino County prior to 1970.

SEDITION ANYONE? Trump's former national security adviser General Michael Flynn, recently pardoned by Trump, has made his case for invoking martial law to prevent Biden from taking office. Flynn says Trump has “military capabilities” to force battleground states to redo their elections, citing a conspiracy theory that voting software flipped Trump votes for Biden. Flynn on Thursday: “I mean, it's not unprecedented. These people are out there talking about martial law like it's something that we've never done,” he said.

GOT TO WONDER if the "military capabilities" would respond to a declaration of martial law from Trump, even if he had hard evidence that tech moles turned the election for Biden. Pretty obvious that if Trump had the goods he would have produced it by now.

HARVEY READING WRITES: "Yesterday, while walking Diamond around the block, a dummy stopped his pickup to tell me what a fine looking walking companion I had with me. He asked if I hunted. I told him I’d quit hunting years ago, that, for one thing, it wasn’t cost effective. He said I better start again, “… ’cause things are gonna get crazy.” I replied that I already knew that things were gonna do so and resumed my walk, as he said, once again, “Nice looking dog,” to which I replied, “Thank you,” as I continued walking. Now, think about it. This guy thinks he can subsist on hunting (and fishing) to provide his and his family’s food. Multiply that by 600,000 other morons, and, voila, no more game animals to hunt (or catch) after a year, maybe two. And, as the game populations decline, a successful hunt becomes harder and harder. This is simply a small example of the stupidity, yes, stupidity, and ignorance, of the clowns who support the orange hog; who, indeed are so dumb that they would probably die for the fascist monster."

CONGRESSMAN HUFFMAN gets out a press release this week featuring himself getting a covid shot while 50 million Americans, including lots of Americans right here in the district he allegedly represents, are “food insecure,” one in four of them children, and a third of America living pay check to pay check, if they still have a pay check. But hey, our congressman is safe from covid.

COMMENTS ABOUT Congressman Huffman's fatuous press release announcing that he's been covid-proofed elicited a deluge of derisive on-line comment of which the following is representative: “Encouraged others to do the same when it becomes available?” You are joking, right? The masses will be lucky to get vaccinated by late spring but here you are jumping the line to get vaccinated. Are you a Doctor, Nurse, Health Care Professional? No. How about a fireman, policeman, first responder? Nope. Do you work in an assisted care facility with older people who are very susceptible to the Coronavirus? Uh-uh. OK, maybe you are at risk because you have a pre-existing condition? No, again! Just another privileged politician who took advantage of his position, again for no apparent reason? Bingo. Stop telling your constituents how much you ‘care’ about them. You obviously don't. There are others who actually needed this vaccine you so selfishly accepted. Shame on you, Mr. Huffman, you and Thompson just lost my support (and vote).”

NON-STARTER of the week. A front page story in the Press Democrat featured a SoCo public defender saying she and her colleagues should get priority covid vaccine consideration. I'd give her a shot ahead of Congressman Huffman, or the governor, but lawyers as priority recipients?

MENDOCINO COUNTY staffs a hotline for the disturbed and the distressed called the “Warm Line.” It's probably helpful to the forlorn and the lonely, of whom there are many, and what I wouldn't give to listen in some time, not out of morbid curiosity but to see what Mendo is offering in the way of succor. I’m reminded of the essential, or used-to-be-essential, novel by Nathanial West called “Miss Lonelyhearts.” I'd especially recommend it to the people answering calls on the Warm Line, and not only because it's a great little work of literary art but because West, writing in the 1930s, was already aware that the nature of our estranging society had created millions of emotionally isolated citizens whose distress was intractable. Not a message the fuzzy warms of Mendocino County are likely to be receptive to, but the mental health professionals among them might find instructive.

FROM THE NOVEL: “As far as he could discover, there were no signs of spring. The decay that covered the surface of the mottled ground was not the kind in which life generates. Last year, he remembered, May had failed to quicken these soiled fields. It had taken all the brutality of July to torture a few green spikes through the exhausted dirt. What the little park needed, even more than he did, was a drink. Neither alcohol nor rain would do. Tomorrow, in his column, he would ask Broken-hearted, Sick-of-it-all, Desperate, Disillusioned-with-tubercular-husband and the rest of his correspondents to come here and water the soil with their tears. Flowers would then spring up, flowers that smelled of feet. ‘Ah, humanity…’ But he was heavy with shadow and the joke went into a dying fall. He tried to break its fall by laughing at himself.” 

NOW THAT the Adventists have grabbed all of Mendocino County's hospitals, driving up medical costs as they monopolize medical care in the county, some of us will remember the old County Hospital at Bush and Low Gap in Ukiah where a low income or no income person could get competent doctoring at a price consistent with the economic reality outside its doors. Ditto for Coast Hospital in Fort Bragg, created as a hospital owned by the Fort Bragg community. The County Hospital is long gone, and the for-profit Adventists have just snagged Coast. (Any of you remember the old Hillside Hospital in Ukiah? Doctor Sey? Yolanda Sey, if I have her name right, a no-nonsense, old school medico whose services I was grateful for, circa '71-72.)

TUCKER CARLSON is one of the more toxic voices in Fox's fascist-yearning stable, a crew Trump has denounced as not reliably fascist enough. The other night Carlson, who has a huge following, told his millions of viewers that the coronavirus vaccine is being distributed based on race, that elderly white people are not getting the vaccine in lots of places because they are from a “disfavored race.”

CARLSON said that the government's plan to prioritize non-healthcare essential workers over the elderly is because “racial and ethnic minority groups are disproportionately represented in many essential industries. Old people in this country are too white to save. They even put it in writing,” going on to claim that the vaccine rollout is “entirely racial.”

IN THE PRESENT racially-charged social context Carlson's unfounded claims are not helpful, to say the least. Although there's so much pernicious nonsense circulating these days on all subjects, thanks to the internet, it's still possible to separate out the lethal from the merely silly, and this guy's statements are a big contribution to lethality.

RECOMMENDED VIEWING, a 5-part doc on Netflix called ‘Room 2806: The Accusation.’ It's about the rape of a hotel maid by a bigshot French political figure named Dominique Strauss-Kahn. The doc, like a lot written about the case, at first suggests that what happened in Room 2806 — not a room but a lavish suite of rooms — implies that the vic, an African immigrant named Nafissatou Diallo, just might have made it all up, but Strauss-Kahn turns out to have long history of sexual assault, so flush a history his priapic, years-long predation seems compulsive bordering on psychotic. No question, to me anyway, that the swinish DSK, as he's known globally, did it. The biggest question is why the New York DA declined to prosecute what was clearly an irrefutable police case that DSK had indeed raped Ms. Diallo. The Me-Too movement has helped bring a lot of bigshot rapists to public attention, and it was this case in particular that gave the movement much impetus. Fascinating stuff, fer shure.

INTERESTING COMMENT Sunday morning by Laz of Willits, and us outback folks might want to adjust our anticipation accordingly: “This is my place in line according to The New York Times vaccine calculator. ‘Based on your risk profile, we believe you’re in line behind 118.5 million people across the United States. When it comes to California, we think you’re behind 12.3 million others who are at higher risk in your state. And in Mendocino County, you’re behind 30,000 others’.”

I'LL get my shot and its booster poke whenever it becomes generally available. I think it's obvious that masks and distancing are keeping infection at bay so I don't feel any particular anxiety about when. Quick anecdote if you'll indulge an old man: In Marine Corps boot camp we got all our shots at once, whatever they were vaccinating us for, no questions asked. We lined up at an unmarked door in a quonset hut and, barely breaking stride, we marched past medics posted on either side of the door as they hit us with the shots, and that was that. 

CLICHÉ MONGERS always roll out phrases like “end of an era” when a notable person moves on, but Michael Krasny deserves a lot more than a cliché no matter how apt. So far as I'm aware he was the first and the last talk guy who brought true erudition to the microphone, as at ease with formidable intellectuals like Chomsky and David Foster Wallace as he was with show biz personalities. When Krasny was talking with a writer it was always clear that he'd done the reading, and not merely in preparation for his morning slot on KQED Radio but because he reads books, and is an intellectual himself, both qualifications going, going, gone but still hugely appreciated in the Bay Area where Krasny's absence will be felt like a death in the family. He writes: “I want to thank all of the listeners, guests and exceptional colleagues I’ve had the great fortune to encounter over the years as host of KQED’s Forum. I’ve been unusually fortunate to sustain such a long career serving the Bay Area in a role that allows me to participate in such rich and thoughtful conversations about the topics of our times.” 

A LITTLE BETTER than a kick in the teeth but still way short of what's needed: Congress today (Sunday) agreed to a $900 billion coronavirus relief package. The deal finally delivers long-overdue help to businesses and individuals and provides money to deliver vaccines. It establishes a temporary $300 per week supplemental jobless benefit and $600 direct stimulus payments to most Americans, along with a new round of subsidies for struggling businesses and money for schools, health care providers and renters facing eviction. 

YOU KNOW the end is near when Point Arena can't find anybody more reputable than its grasping outgoing “part-time” city manager ($50,000 a year) to swear in its new rubber stamp city council. The ICO reports: “Ford, Dahlhoff and Ignacio took their oaths of office — swearing to support and defend the constitutions of the United States and California, as well as the Point Arena municipal code — via Zoom, as led by City Manager Richard Shoemaker.”

ON LINE COMMENTS OF THE WEEK

[1] The depressing thing is that most people don’t WANT to think. Because to do so requires effort, persistence, discomfort, juggling paradoxes, solving puzzles. Much easier to receive the consensus thoughts of others. That way lies comfort. History teaches us, in many ways, the overwhelming human weakness for mental inertia, cowardice, and conformity. Anyone who thinks differently is automatically dangerous because it disrupts, even a bit, the comforting paradigmatic lies they’ve told themselves all their lives.

 [2] RE RICHARDSON GROVE: I'm afraid of a truly unique, and one of the last stretches of "unmanaged" road becoming yet another Broadway thoroughfare. I'm afraid of ugly franchises everywhere, and the linchpins which start that process. I'm afraid of the WalMart-ification of America, and that everywhere you go will look like the inside, and outside, of some thoughtless, hideous, litter strewn, convenience oriented plastic prison full of dull entertainments for obese hollowheads. I'm from Los Angeles, and in the 16 years that I've lived up here, I've watched LA slowly creeping closer like the disgusting oozing alien thing it is. The only bulwark holding it back being our natural landscape and the people's iron will to protect it even in the smallest, seemingly arcane doses.

[3] About 5 years ago my company opened a small web printing plant in a small city west of here, asked me if I’d work out there till it got going, I said sure. One of the guys we hired was a local hick (like I am) I noticed he limped around when he walked. He was in his 30s, one day I asked him what the hell is wrong with your leg? He told me got shot in the knee with a .22. Shot in the knee? Yes, shot in the knee, then he went on to tell me a long story of madness, deception, betrayal and bloodshed. Turns out he had been married, the marriage wasn’t going too well, and he met a pretty young thing on the computer who was looking for a man just like him. One day he told his wife he was going out and never went back, instead making trail for the babe, who lived in West Virginia. That should have been a warning right there. Surprise, she was a middle aged woman with 5 kids who lived in a trailer. Having burned his bridges he ended up staying, for a while. He even got a job there, fabricating aluminum parts for a mobile home manufacturer. The honeymoon didn’t last long to say the least; there were fights, and during one of the fights she shot him in the knee with the .22 pistol, which ended the West Va. romantic interlude. He was gone about 2 and 1/2 months apparently, needless to say his wife didn’t take him back and he went to his mother’s house, where he was living when he came to work for us. He related the story in a matter of fact way, with no embarrassment on his part at all. A lot of other stuff happened too, but getting shot in the knee was the high point. It was a good story, and I congratulated him on it.

[4] The neat thing about conspiracy theories is that they are always safe…they can infinitely change to meet the needs of their conspirees.

Easy peasy.

They can’t be argued with, so don’t even try.

People who are in denial of their emotional issues are free to blame all their troubles on others, like the Clintons, Obama, MSM or me.

It’s all inside the rules of their dysfunctional game.

[5] If you consider young lungs as having an air capacity of 100%, we lose lung capacity during our lifetime to old age emphysema, disease destruction, smoking, pollution, and obesity. Consider that each hit lowers the percentage capacity. When the inside surface area gets below a certain percentage, the lungs cannot absorb enough O2 and exhale enough CO2 to keep up with the body’s needs. You die. The O2 sat measurements that folks talk about is a measurement of how much the body can get vs. what it needs.

So if you are compromised below a certain percentage by obesity, old age, smoking, compromised perfusion, etc. taking a hit from this virus and the immune over reaction drops you below the critical percentage,

You die.

Think about the proverbial straw breaking the camel’s back, that is Covid. Eventually, something comes along, COPD, asthma, allergic reaction, flu or Covid that uses up that last critical lung space and that is it.

Covid is just one of a number of things that can kill by reducing lung capacity. It does have two things that I have heard aggravates the situation, one, the immune over response which floods large volumes of lung space and two, in the severe cases, there is a protein present that gels the secretions, making the lung act like a solid. Hence the inability for ventilators to help much.

Once below criticality, it is over. I do not care what category you want to put it in.

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