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Off the Record (January 20, 2021)

DOROTHEA DORMAN is dead. She died in a single-car accident on Greenfield Ranch last week near where she lived on Radical Ridge. Infamous for a relentlessness of personality that most people who knew her unkindly shortcutted as “major pain in the ass,” Dorothea was a pioneer flower child who'd made her inevitable way north from the Bay Area to the infinitely elastic social embrace of Mendocino County. I thought the loss of her children in a custody dispute when the children were quite young had unhinged her, but comparing notes with people who knew her in her salad days say her social sense had always ranged from impervious to impenetrable. “Ruthless if she got your attention. Weapons-grade tiresome,” were two characterizations of her personality I remember. I confess I hid from Dorothea when I saw her coming because I knew I was in for at least an hour-long monologue on everything from global affairs to diet. “You won't last much longer, Bruce, if you don't stop eating meat.” This from a skeletal figure who might have died from malnutrition if she hadn't careened into a tree at, I'm sure, the unsafe speed with which she always hurtled herself up and down Mendo's highways and byways. The old girl had her virtues, though. She was quite generous in her way, taking in, among others, homeless people, some of them obviously dangerous. I always thought one of her charity cases would finish her off, but Dorothea survived, perpetually involved in some legal beef or another, one of them involving a drunk driving charge in Ukiah. (For a vegetarian the girl could put down the booze.) She insisted the DUI was false because when deputy Lockhart arrived Dorothea was out of her car and “pushing” the vehicle, not driving it, a distinction the deputy and a series of judges failed to make.

Dorothea Dorman, 1968

BEFORE she was Dorothea Dorman, Dorothea was Dorothy Schmidt, becoming Dorothea in an odd 1968 movie called “Gold,” starring Dorothea in nude romps with the later well-known China scholar, Orville Schell, and the musicians, Dan Hicks and Rambling' Jack Elliot.

Dorothea wrote us a long (of course), rambling letter about the film's “deeper meaning,” which I could have sworn was about big naked piles, nude women, random boffs, and more naked women, one pair of exposed buttocks belonging to the scholarly Schell footnoting, you might say, the action. Dorothea was very attractive in her youth and might have been cast as Eve herself in a more pious film. She insisted to me that the naked piles were actually “nude water ballets” and that I'd missed the film's significance because of my “innate maleness,” as she put it. Well, she's gone, one more unforgettable character in this county's vivid human tapestry. I won't exactly miss Dorothea, but who can forget her?

AMERICA would be a far more serene country if the plug were pulled on the internet, including e-mail. Used to be there was a rough consensus on the facts, which were rolled out in print newspapers and by Uncle Walt Cronkite on nightly television, “the most trusted man in America.” Never trusted him myself, but Uncle Walt presented a recognizable facsimile of what seemed to be current events. Lone nuts were relegated to wherever they lived, not international cyber-communities of millions of them with their own facts based on no objective reality. And now we have these extra-terrestrials like Zuckerberg and Cook and Dorsey in charge of what we can read and see on-line, and their worldview is straight DNC-NPR. 

REMEMBER those government job apps that asked, “Do you believe in the overthrow of the American government by subversion or violence?” Got the answer on January Violence. It's faster.

AND ALL OF A SUDDEN the FBI and the CIA are pillars of national and international integrity. I remember when the FBI said there were communists operating everywhere, including, at one point, my high school library where “subversive” books were kept in a big, locked glass case, a signed note from home being required before students could read them, and can you imagine a better way to get young savages to read than telling them certain books were so dangerous they needed special permission to read them? (And the FBI’s years-long campaign to malign MLK.)

FAST FORWARD to 1990 Mendo where the FBI with all its resources managed to exclude Judi Bari's ex-husband from primo suspect status in the car bomb attack on Mendo’s diva of dissent,  Mike Sweeney’s exclusion a clear case of the biggest elephant in the smallest room, ever, but a major crime unsolved by the ace sleuths of the FBI, an agency formed by a still revered nut case who spent his off hours in a cocktail dress.

AND the Unabomber was found by his own brother, and the feds had advance notice that Arabs were taking flying lessons in Florida without taking the landing part of the lessons, and on and on. But now the FBI says it's going to track down all these dangerous Trumpers, as the Democrats give them a blank check to do it.

I DID WONDER about the Capitol invaders, several of whom seemed to be dressed in identical black jumpsuits, seemed also suspiciously young and fit and purposeful, unlike the over-nourished white males I associate with Trump-ism. My fave invader is the young guy who broke into the Capitol with his mother, a mean-looking battle ax built like a college lineman. (“Today you are a man, my son.”) Others seemed to be the usual handful of apolitical psychos who show up at any public event that threatens to get out of hand.

AN FBI bulletin allegedly obtained by ABC News on Monday claimed that Trumpers were poised to “storm” state, local, and federal government administrative buildings and courthouses if Trump is removed from office prior to Biden's inauguration on January 20. The bulletin said the FBI is aware of plans for armed protests in every single state between January 16 and 20, with one major demonstration slated to take place in Washington, DC, on January 17. The bulletin came conveniently to light just as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi introduced articles of impeachment accusing Trump of “incitement to insurrection” on Monday, five days after a yobbo mob stormed the Capitol. More than 6,000 members of the National Guard have been deployed in Washington, with dozens of them standing guard over the Capitol during Monday's proceedings.

PATRIOTS coach Bill Belichick said Monday night that he will not receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom. In a one-paragraph statement, the six-time Super Bowl winning coach did not say explicitly that he had turned down the offer from President Donald Trump, instead explaining “the decision has been made not to move forward with the award” in the wake of last week's deadly siege on the U.S. Capitol. “Recently, I was offered the opportunity to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom, which I was flattered but out of respect for what the honor represents and admiration for prior recipients. Subsequently, the tragic events of last week occurred and the decision has been made not to move forward with the award. Above all, I am an American citizen with great reverence for our nation's values, freedom and democracy. I know I also represent my family and the New England Patriots team.” 

LONG-TIME Giants nemesis, Tommy Lasorda, has died. Lasorda, as baseball fans know, managed the Dodgers for twenty years, during that long tenure there was a hardcore cadre of Giants fans who took their dislike of Lasorda to fanatical lengths, lying in wait for the Dodger team bus to arrive at the old Jack Tarr Hotel on VanNess where the team stayed where they would start insulting Lasorda as he stepped off the bus and followed him clear into the lobby, peppering their portly irritant with abuse. Those were the old Candlestick fans, many of whom were wayyyyyy outta control to the point where families stayed away from the ballpark — or at least the bleachers — because of the fighting and foul language, which always ramped up when Lasorda and the Dodgers came to town. The new ballpark behavior is chaste compared to Candlestick.

FROM THE AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION: “There is no legal definition of ‘hate speech’ under U.S. law, just as there is no legal definition for evil ideas, rudeness, unpatriotic speech, or any other kind of speech that people might condemn. Generally, however, hate speech is any form of expression through which speakers intend to vilify, humiliate, or incite hatred against a group or a class of persons on the basis of race, religion, skin color, sexual identity, gender identity, ethnicity, disability, or national origin. In the United States, hate speech is protected by the First Amendment. Courts extend this protection on the grounds that the First Amendment requires the government to strictly protect robust debate on matters of public concern even when such debate devolves into distasteful, offensive, or hateful speech that causes others to feel grief, anger, or fear. (The Supreme Court's decision in Snyder v. Phelps provides an example of this legal reasoning.) Under current First Amendment jurisprudence, hate speech can only be criminalized when it directly incites imminent criminal activity or consists of specific threats of violence targeted against a person or group.”

IT COULD HAPPEN HERE! In Portland last week, iconic Powell’s Bookstore, which prides itself on offering “banned books” has caved into pressure from Antifa mobs and has agreed not to carry Andy Ngo’s new book on Antifa/BLM riots in Portland and Seattle. Ngo lives in Portland, and you would think Powell’s would back a book by a local author, but no go. The store did say the book would be listed in its online catalogue, but for this assurance Ngo's book would be available online, an Antifa mob showed up at the store and shut it down, and it has remained shut down for a couple of days now.

MORE GOOD ADVICE, on-line type:Be careful not to mistakenly discard your stimulus payment envelope. I initially thought it was a piece of junk mail. This time you will receive a $600 debit card that can also be deposited into a bank account.

MIKE GENIELLA WRITES:

Here on the North Coast three decades ago we got an up close look at this emerging phenomenon.

The Redwood Region, and the Pacific Northwest, were at war over logging practices, especially on publicly owned lands. From Ukiah to Eureka, we witnessed then what happens when deep divisions turn violent and confrontational. 

The region flirted with danger.

Judi Bari, the inflammatory Earth First organizer, was the target of a still unsolved car bombing. An extreme anti-abortion activist on the Christian right was among the first suspects.

Tree spiking was a serious threat to mill workers until radicals like Bari during a ‘Redwood Summer’ of protests called for an end to the practice. Loggers and their supporters sometimes challenged activists with their fists at remote logging sites. Corporate timber equipment was trashed, and once booming mill operations were stymied. 

The ‘Wise Use’ movement that promoted more aggressive use of publicly owned lands sprang up to counter the growing environmental movement. It was eagerly embraced by corporate timber bosses.

Protesters locked themselves together in metal sleeves to block logging roads, and create chaos in the offices of timber companies, state regulatory agencies, and congressional field offices. There was political chaos from Sacramento to Seattle.

An added twist was uncertainty about law enforcement's role in the culture clash. For example, it was learned that an FBI agent who was first on the Oakland scene of the Bari car bombing in late May, 1990, just happened several weeks before to have conducted car bombing demonstrations on corporate timberland near Eureka. And so on. 

As a region, we survived the tensions. But timber-dependent communities and environmental movements were forever changed. The blame game lingers. It is disturbing to feel similar vibes today.

GENIELLA was the main media man in Mendo during Redwood Summer when newspapers were still THE media. I didn't envy him his impossible task of writing honestly about events and personalities during that fraught period, but he managed it. Imagine yourself as the Northcoast correspondent for the Press Democrat with timber execs calling you up all the time to whine about your coverage, and the formidable Judi Bari marching into your Ukiah office to demand you print something by her or about her. Additionally, if you're Geniella, you had to get your work approved by a cadre of cringing so-called editors hunkered down in their Santa Rosa bunker, far, far from the timber wars. As violent as Redwood Summer sometimes got, violence was certainly in the air, but this fascist uprising that seems to have jumped off last week menaces all of us.

MR. WENDEL OF FORT BRAGG WRITES: “No one representing the Hospitality Center bothered to take the time to speak at the January 11 City Council meeting when the City was considering which city-owned building to use for the Winter Shelter later in the season. The organization is arrogant and incompetent from the top. Without a complete overhaul it will not change. And where was Supervisor Dan Gjerde during this discussion at the meeting? Social Services is a County, not a City, service and he needs to attend public meetings about these issues in his district. Once again, the City of Fort Bragg was forced to take on the responsibilities of others who are paid to provide the services. Mayor Norvell has an abundance of patience with them.”

LAST WEEK some of our Kindle readers complained they couldn't get Amazon/Kindle to load the AVA. This morning our ace techno-guy, Mike Kalantarian, jogged over to the Amazon/Kindle website to upload this week's paper and was stonewalled by the message below. 

This title [the ava] is currently pending approval by Kindle. During this time, our Amazon operations team will review your submission prior to approving or rejecting it. The review process will take 24-48 hours. Amazon will notify you when the review process is complete and if the publication has been approved, rejected, or if additional information is needed from you. If you need to contact Amazon regarding this title while it is pending approval, please email to newsstand@amazon.com.

Kalantarian speculates, “My guess is they are combing through all publications looking for violators of their standards, whatever they may be.” My speculation is that the tech giants are purging Trumpers and all other opinion that “trigger” the snowflakes who run these mammoth cyber-platforms.

I ALWAYS KNEW when fascism finally overtook America, it would look like the Obamas and the Clintons, sound like NPR, act like Kindle/Amazon, and write like the above and the below:

Greetings from Amazon.

Thank you for contacting the Newsstand team.

We will respond to your e-mail as soon as possible. All time critical queries and concerns will be prioritized first and other queries will be answered within 24 hours.

Best Regards,

Kindle Newsstand Team

THE CYBER-LORDS soon condescended to allow us back on Kindle via this cryptic note:

Hello Publisher,

We regret for the convenience caused.

Earlier we received e-mail from Mike to refresh the KPP portal and the same has been performed at our end (attached related e-mail for your perusal).

“WE REGRET for the convenience caused.” Not to be too much of an American chauvinist about it, but if Amazon is going to jerk me around I'd rather have a fellow citizen do the jerking. 

AMERICA'S most annoying tv news reader, David Muir, said the other night that “Stop the Steal” is the biggest lie ever. Wrong again, Dave. Big ones kicked in from the get with the founding aristo's claim that they were establishing a democracy where slavery was already two hundred years old. Then the Indians had to exterminated because they were in the way of progress. That one was called Manifest Destiny.. Fast forward to more recent times, World War One was “The war to end all wars.” Then of course we had if Vietnam fell to the communists they would take the rest of Asia. And Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. And too big to fail. The miracle about US is that we've stumbled on pretty much intact, so many skeletons in the national closet that it sometimes seems, if you listen to the culture cancelers, that's all we are. But recent events just may finish US off as a coherent nation-state — half the people violently opposed to government, millions out of work, millions “food insecure,” growing disorder in the population centers, an uncontrolled lung disease uncontained, and a tired, physically and mentally unfit old pol at the head of a government despised by more than half our population.

WELCOME to the garrison state. The BBC said last night on its news program, the only news show for all-way-grown-ups, that there are more troops presently deployed in Washington DC than in Iraq and Afghanistan combined.

IS THIS DEPLOYMENT unprecedented? Only in its size. Honest Abe had to be smuggled into DC [by the original Mr. Pinkerton] for his inauguration because of very real threats against his life.

TRUMP was paying Giuliani $20,000 a day? He coulda got Ukiah's Al Kubanis for $75 an hour, a room at the DC Y and a meal ticket at Denny’s!

FROM the Santa Rosa Press Democrat: “Wednesday’s change in status was welcomed by people aged 65 to 74, especially those with underlying conditions that put them at higher risk of dire outcomes should they acquire the novel coronavirus. “Thank god,” said Martin Webb, 71, a Sebastopol and former principal at Analy High School. “I’m over 70, and I’ve had five heart bypasses. We were never in this line.”

ANOTHER HUMAN MARSHMALLOW mashed into ill health by a combination of school board meetings and tax-paid donuts.

THE ILLIBERAL LIBERALS continue to dictate what Americans can read and see: An upcoming storyline in “Pearls Before Swine,” the popular comic strip created by Santa Rosa cartoonist Stephan Pastis, has been pulled from 850 newspapers by its distributor because five installments scheduled to run next week depicted a military coup. Pastis submitted the strips more than a month ago and never meant to comment on the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol building in Washington, D.C., by supporters of President Donald Trump as Congress met to recognize the Electoral College victory of President-elect Joe Biden, a syndicate spokesman said.

NEWSOM finally does something useful, although with him you better wait to see if he actually does it. The governor says he wants to take on the $3.2 billion textbook industry by budgeting $15 million toward free alternatives. Not only are school books unreadable, they convert books to a form of kryptonite for millions of Americans, who leave school and never pick up a book again. (cf, Trump)

SPEAKING OF TEXTBOOKS, I had an argument with a local school teacher a few years ago who insisted that not only would on-line textbooks be fancier and better educationally, but that they’re cheaper than printed textbooks and the faster schools went digital the better. She refused to listen to my argument that not only are electronic texts a fundamentally bad idea, but that when you calculate licensing and upgrades and updates for hardware and software, e-textbooks are more expensive than printed books which last for at least seven years for most basic K-12 subjects which in general do not require “updates.” The big textbook publishers — McGraw-Hill, Houghton-Mifflon, et al, know the educational budgets and economics and they’re not going to suddenly become philanthropic institutions by selling their software and content for significantly less than textbooks. Instead, they tout the intangible additional benefits of ever-fancier e-textbooks such as “interactivity” and other alleged benefits as grounds for their ever-increasing costs. We won’t go into the entire pros and cons exercise here and besides, the computers in the classroom argument was lost decades ago when it was obvious that the educrats weren’t listening, choosing instead to pay through the nose for techno devices which actually hindered reading and learning. (Computers in lab settings and at home for high-school kids are ok, but no self-respecting teacher really wants teenagers focusing on a screen when they should be focused on the teacher and whatever course content is being presented. And most pre-teens shouldn’t even be exposed to computers.) If you can show me an independent study produced by anyone besides the edu-techno juggernaut that shows kids learn better with cyber-devices than books, I’ll be happy to change my mind. I have yet to see one after extensive looking. There are plenty of independent studies documenting the downside of computers in the classroom, but the average American, including most teachers, don’t pay attention and consider such argument to be heresy. The pandemic and associated on-line “learning” has only made this worse with more and more independent experts pointing out that excessive dependence and abuse of technology creates easily distracted, shallow, sometimes techno-obsessed graduates who are incapable of learning anything in any depth. Looking at today’s high school graduates who are the first generation of kids who went through all twelve grades with a heavy reliance on computers should be enough to convince anyone that there’s no overall educational improvement; in fact, it’s much worse. Not that the educational establishment is capable of any such reflection.  (MS)

BACK IN THE 80s when computers were first entering classrooms I taught computers and the major software applications — word processing, spreadsheets, database management, page layout, etc. — at Evergreen Valley Community College in San Jose for about five years. The computer classrooms had desktop computers with accompanying software at every desk. Since it was fairly early in the computer age, the textbooks were commercial instruction books (not textbooks as such) and the lessons were based largely on the chapters in those instructional books. I started every class by grandly marching over to the master power switch for the classroom and shutting all the student computers off. I then walked back to the whiteboard and the overhead projector for my own computer and announced, “During lectures you will be paying attention to me and the materials I present. There will be no temptation to peck away at the keyboard.” I used the whiteboard to explain concepts, diagrams, terminology, and process-steps and the overhead projector to demonstrate usage and techniques. About half the students were recent high school grads who, while computer savvy, had not been taught many computer basics (like hardware components, operating systems, file management and naming, backing up, etc.). The other half of the students were adults wanting to switch into computer careers. Even though the classes were supposed to have “prerequisites” of at least one basic computer course, and the students had supposedly “completed” them, I quickly found that they didn’t really know the basics they needed to know and I had to backtrack and cover basic stuff they should have already learned. This meant that there wasn’t enough time to cover the material in the instructional books so I had to grade them only on the material that I was able to cover. This in turn meant that if they went to further more advanced classes they started out again in deficit and the cycle continued. I was told by my fellow instructors that this was common across the educational landscape. Students went from class to class and grade to grade, each time falling further behind because they never learned what they needed to learn at any given grade. Test scores nowadays bear this out. The average high school graduate who has been through twelve years of technology-based “education” in this century is simply not at the educational levels that were common for most of the 20th Century. The implications of this growing educational and substance deficit in all kinds of jobs now are obvious in millions of supposedly educated Americans.

(Mark Scaramella)

JOHNSON AGAIN: According to FEC filings, in the lead-up to the 2020 general election, San Francisco Giants principal owner Charles B. Johnson and his wife Ann each donated $2,800 — the maximum allowable amount for congressional candidates — to Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., a QAnon sympathizer who tweeted about the location of House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi during the Jan. 6 riots at the Capitol that caused five deaths.

NEWLY SEATED SUPERVISOR MAUREEN MULHEREN was featured recently on the latest edition of a Ukiah-based podcast called “Like it or Not” which apparently started a few months ago without much fanfare.

https://www.stitcher.com/show/like-it-or-not

It was an interesting, two-hour discussion. We were somewhat surprised to hear that she’d been attending Supervisors meetings in person since way back in April of 2019 simply as an observer (and continuing via zoom since last spring) and is more familiar with the main issues facing the County than we had previously thought. The two podcast hosts, Ukiah musician Carter Lane and his partner Drew Nicoll (we couldn’t tell which was which from the audio) are contemporaries of Mulheren and asked good questions and Mulheren gave straightforward answers, addressing homelessness in Ukiah, pot permit challenges (Mulheren supports a simplification which minimizes County requirements in favor of state rules), and other local subjects. Mulheren demonstrated a good understanding of the problems the Ukiah area faces. No surprise, she’s familiar with street homelessness in her home town, saying that she knows a lot of the most visible homeless and that most of the regulars are from Ukiah area families but who have been kicked out because their drug habit(s) and/or general craziness made them unwelcome and generally unredeemable. Thereafter, in many cases, the parents have been forced to raise their grandchildren, the children of their outcast-offspring. When the podcast hosts asked if the County could simply set aside some land and put up carports and a common latrine/laundry/dumpster building and let people camp there, Mulheren said sure, but that somebody would still have to manage it, and there's the rub. Unsupervised homeless camps are hellish crime centers, as the impromptu ones that spring up here and there always demonstrate.

The only complaint we had, and it’s hardly unique to Mulheren, is the general lack of focus on the management and budgeting of the County’s administrative and helping/services apparatus. Mulheren said that one of the main reasons she ran for Supervisor was to try to improve human services and how they deal with these problems. She had grown weary of city-style infrastructure projects. Mulheren, like her colleagues, seem unable to get CEO Angelo to address the problems that Mulheren, et al, are supposedly trying to address. If the Supes can’t even get the CEO to follow through on the priority projects and problems they all agree on and claim to be working on, then no amount of understanding of the problems will help.

Mulheren said she has no problem being a dissenting voice when necessary, adding that she understands that the new Best Western motel purchase will not do anything about street level homelessness since its target populations are people and families who can pay part of their rent and are not among of the chronically homeless.

Mulheren, who at age 41 is about to become a grandmother, demonstrates a grasp of the problems she faces and shows real promise as a Supervisor. (He said, intending not to be at all patronizing.) Now let’s see if anything is done about them. (Mark Scaramella)

I WAS ONLY half-way through my first cup of Petrolia's fine coffee, Gold Rush Black Gold, when up popped this crew Friday morning.

Garcia, Hodges, Huang, Rapp

My first thought being, “What's a nice girl like this doing with these guys?” Turns out she was charged with domestic violence, imo an ongoing County scam whereby male weenies call in their domestic partners for smacking them, initiating, for the woman, a chain of court appearances, anger management classes taught by angry women, fines, court costs, and a criminal record. I know some serious domestics occur now and then but I'll bet this wasn't one of them. I remember one where a guy was immobilized in a traction apparatus when his love interest strode into the room, bashed his injured leg, brandished a pair of scissors as she threatened to do a Lorena Bobbitt on him, and finished her visit by dousing him with urine from his bedpan. I doubt that relationship continued post-op but, as any cop will tell you, couples are often wrapped in a psychotic symbiosis which, in between police visits, seems to somehow satisfy both parties.

I THINK Ocasio-Cortez might have been killed last week during the yobbo invasion of the House of Reps, but and I seriously don't understand how it is that she, above all other elected officials, arouses such fear and hatred in America's most primitive male souls. I know that pretty, smart women tend to terrify dumb guys, but the hatred and unending vilification of this one person seems only one more sign that this country has snapped, gone clear off its collective rocker. Medicare-for-all and a single-payer health care system, tuition-free college, banning private prisons, and an orderly, humane immigration system? Something scary about that, or the person recommending it?

COREY JOHNSON is the man just executed by the feds in a hurry-up batch of hurry-up executions as one of many Trumpian farewell gifts. Johnson's poignant last words: “I want to say that I am sorry for my crimes. I would have said I was sorry before, but I didn't know how.” Johnson listed the names of his seven victims, saying he wanted them to be remembered: Louis Johnson, Anthony Carter, Dorothy Armstrong, Curtis Thorne, Linwood Chiles, Peyton Johnson, and Bobby Long. “On the streets, I was looking for shortcuts, I had some good role models, I was side tracking, I was blind and stupid. I am not the same man that I was.” 

NEVERMIND that the whole show is falling down all around us, but California Assemblyman David Chiu, D-San Francisco, on Thursday proposed a bill that would allow transgender and nonbinary public college students to use their preferred names instead of their birth names on diplomas. 

IT SAYS A LOT about the current state of our political culture, and the enervated condition of the Democratic Party, that the House moved more expeditiously to secure a doomed impeachment of the president (for the second time), than it has in months to get millions of people the small amount money (relative to anything else they appropriate money for) they desperately need to put food on the table, pay their heating bills and stave off eviction. — Jeff St. Clair

TWO REPUBLICANS DIE and go to heaven. They ask God if he’d answer one question.

“Of course” God says.

They ask how the Democrats rigged the election in 2020.

“It wasn’t rigged” God replied.

The Republicans look at one another and say, “This conspiracy goes higher than we thought!”

KC MEADOWS of the Ukiah Daily Journal writes:

Kudos to newly elected county supervisors Maureen Mulheren and Glenn McGourty for questioning the idea of continuing to pay former county health officer Mimi Doohan $100,000 a year to consult with the county on COVID19 from her home in San Diego.

First of all, it’s a lot of money when we have a full time health officer making three times that much right here in the county. Mulheren made the good point that there are undoubtedly local physicians that could add to our COVID19 team if we feel we need more than one health officer on that task.

Other supervisors talked about needing “continuity” — in other words Doohan’s memory of the things she did. One could argue over the quality of Doohan’s time as health officer, but it seems that the county should surely know the decisions that were made at the time and why.

The county CEO says she would hire three public health officers to work on COVID if she could. It seems to us that if we need more action on COVID19 in the county, the CEO should come up with an action plan to submit to the supervisors on what exactly needs doing and what hires needs to be made to accomplish them and for what amount of money. Since the majority of supervisors voted to keep Doohan on the payroll, we hope that rather than continue to put her activities on the consent calendar, they will present to the public at every meeting, Doohan’s bills with a breakdown of each $125 per hour she earns and what she did to earn it. That should also serve to verify the claim from the CEO that Doohan is a bargain since she works many more hours than she bills.

Simply extending a contract with someone hundreds of miles away with another job to do seems lazy and wasteful.

MARTIN LUTHER KING. Best biography remains Marshall Frady’s Martin Luther King, Jr.: A Life, Penguin edition. 

SO WE ALL take a day off, on the off chance we have a job to take off from, to celebrate Martin Luther King’s birthday. The in-school discussion, if there is one about King, will emphasize his commitment to non-violence as a tactic to achieve full citizenship for Black Americans. Memorial editorials will leave out King’s commitment to economic justice. King was routinely denounced in the mainstream media before his martyrdom as a Com-dupe, a libel fed the media by the FBI, these days rehabbed by the Democrats as an heroic, a-political police agency who will slay the Orange Monster's cult-brained followers. King was murdered just as he became outspokenly critical of the War on Vietnam, American imperialism generally, and the multi-ethnic, color-blind class structure of poverty. The way King is remembered these days is as the guy who made corporate faves like Condoleeza Rice and Colin Powell possible.

DON'T KNOW about you but I'm more interested in Trump's departure Wednesday than the Biden inauguration, the latter shaping up as a kind of mega-grotesque Superbowl half-time show with the cadaverous Biden slurring through an address that only confirms he's unfit. Not a peep in msm that Biden's not up to it, and absolute silence on the Bidens' multi-million dollar deals with Ukraine and China. Trump's exit Wednesday will upstage Biden's swearing in, for sure.

O YEAH. I watched Netflix's “Night Stalker: The Hunt for a Serial Killer,” the story of the homicidal Satanist, Richard Ramirez, who terrorized LA in the summer of 1985 by murdering 13 people, kidnapping and molesting a half-dozen children who he didn't kill. But it was the San Francisco Police Department, specifically Inspector Falzon leading the sleuthing, that identified Ramirez for the LA cops who finally arrested him. There was only a brief mention of Ramirez's bewildered immigrant parents accompanying a family photo taken when the killer was a kid, the most poignant photo of all in the deluge of the photographed mayhem Ramirez was responsible for. 

ON LINE COMMENTS OF THE WEEK

[1] Hopefully those who have supported Trump in the past (like me) will wake up and smell the roses. The REASON so many supported him (about 45 % of the voters) is that we were (and still are) tired of 25 years of a DO--NOTHING congress and white house. Trump came along and appeared willing to sidestep all the BS and get things moving again. What we didn't realize was that he was most likely a sociopath, psychopath or a wanna be dictator. We drank the Kool-Aid. In desperation .... Now what?

[2] Twitter is not in any way, shape or form a “public square”. It is a company, albeit a very large company, but still a company, not the government, that is run by a relatively small number of people. These people, others at “big tech”, other companies and individuals are editing content and choosing sides, based on what they saw on 1/6, as is their guaranteed right based on the First Amendment. They listened to the same speeches and watched the same videos you did on 1/6, and decided, for the most part, the scene displayed was not the side they wanted to be on. You are all now whining apparently because, surprise, surprise, they didn’t choose that side (your side?).

Also, consider the alternative. What if the government had the right to force these companies to carry content that they disagreed with, thought was false, broke the law, or could lead to violence? If you want to read the text of the First Amendment, you’ll see that idea is actually the opposite of the First Amendment. The truth is, Donald Trump has absolutely no interest in free speech, unless that speech happens to agree with him. Not so with Twitter or Facebook, despite the apocalyptic claims on this blog. You can still get an account on those platforms and post whatever you want and, so long as you don’t break any laws, the worst that might happen is it could be flagged as untruthful. But, sorry, you as an individual are still liable for what you say and any resulting consequences. So, why do you think Trump wants to repeal the Section 230 law? For free speech? No, he wants to open up the companies themselves to liability so that he, as the most powerful person on earth (for a little while longer), could sue them for disagreeing with him, as would then be his right whether or not the lawsuits would ultimately be successful (you’ve been watching the last two months, right?). I wonder what that would do for “free speech” on the internet.

Don’t worry, it won’t be long before another platform pops up to fill the vacuum created as the gas clears from Trump’s Twitter account. Maybe it will even be a platform that is run by Trump himself, if he is true to his word. On that platform, he’ll be able to exercise his First Amendment rights, say anything he wants, and abuse or banish anyone who disagrees with him. It will be beautiful, everyone says so.

[3] That’s because politicians play people and they seize upon a misinformed electorate i.e. “stupid people” who have been domesticated with TV, sports, food, sex and celebrity news. Politicians never have our interest at heart. They don’t care about me, you or anybody else. As long as it serves THEIR AGENDA, that’s all that matters even if it means watching and encouraging you to destroy your neighborhood including injuring and possibly killing your neighbor. They are capable of lighting a match and starting a civil war and standing back, watching the fireworks until it burns out, then zoom in for the kill by “seizing more control and power over you.

Fortunately, I figured it out long ago and it’s why I have no party affiliation and have never voted.

What really matters most is the “UNIPARTY” finally showing its face and true colors and coming out from behind the curtain. It’s been a one party system disguised as Democrats and Republicans for ages. 

[4] Joe Biden: a virtual candidate elected in a virtual election, sworn-in via a virtual inauguration to preside over a virtual presidency. Virtually no one has physically attended any public event with him in attendance since 2019. See also ‘Wizard of Oz.’

[5] The 20,000 National Guard in DC are just there for show; more olive-drab theatrics of the type we’ve been treated to since 9/11. Absolutely nothing will happen; the freakshow of January 6 served its purpose — justifying a further expansion of the omnipresent “Securitate” and pushing the narrative of an ever-present threat of White supremacist insurgents (now that the Islamic terror threat seems a bit long in the tooth).

The Great Trumpkin has proved himself to be a feckless, self-absorbed spoiled brat, ever ready to leave his supporters twisting in the wind and holding the bag. The best historical analogue is probably “Bonnie Prince Charlie” scurrying away dressed as a woman while the highlanders got sliced to ribbons by the redcoats.

Still, I voted for him over Sleepy Joe.

I’ve voted in ELEVEN presidential elections, and the choices got worse every damn time.

[6] Trump lost over 50 (is it over 60 now?) court cases on the election issue, and gave him only one tiny win. And the supreme court rejected him again:

Generally I trust judges because they don’t have to be raising money and securing influence for the next election. Generally I trust the results the judicial system produces because it’s designed to seek out truth. It’s highly imperfect, but it does evaluate based on evidence, precedent and rule of law.

On top of that, and I hate that it’s the case, but I find myself trusting the judges who threw out all those Trump cases because so many of them are Trump appointees. Trump managed to squeeze three onto the Supreme Court, and fully expected them to come to his rescue in his time of need. They didn’t. And I think that’s because, however much I disagree with their politics, they answer to a higher power: Truth, supported by evidence.

I trust them more than I do some person on the internet, copy-pasting something some other person on the internet said.

If there’s any validity to this stuff it can survive examination by courts of law. Rudy had plenty of chances. 50 (or is it 60?) at least.

[7] Joe Biden isn’t the most popular president, Donald Trump is the most unpopular and people wanted him to be a one-termer.

Outside of the 40-45% of lifelong Democratic voters who would vote for a tree-stump if it were painted blue, a large number of others (Independents, Republicans) wanted to be rid of Donald Trump, and voted that way. I think it’s pretty clear that there were a lot of anti-Trump votes rather than enthusiastic pro-Biden ones.

The number of troops seems to keep growing rather rapidly, from 12,000 to 30,000 and counting. But whatever, it’s an extremely sad state of affairs for America – where a big slice of the national capital has to be cordoned off as if a war zone.

I don’t know how realistic and dangerous the threat from the crazier end of the pro-Trump crowd is, but they are not being indulged this time; not after 6 January … the state is in control this time.

Donald Trump made four fatal mistakes, in my view:

1. He downplayed the pandemic all year

2. He claimed a lost election was a rigged one

3. He discouraged supporters from using mail-in voting

4. He incited the storming of the US Capitol

You can argue whether all these things are “true”, but their truth doesn’t matter much – it is the perception in the popular mind and the mass media that matter most.

Anyway, in his dotage, sitting around one of his country clubs in a big leather chair, he can bore the pants off his guests about how he coulda been a contender …

On the issue of where are the adoring Biden crowds, I think that can be explained too. Firstly the Dems take the pandemic seriously – and much more like sensible governments and public figures do in most other countries, and secondly, I think the Dems are on the right track – America doesn’t have an appetite for another president with crazy adoring crowds and mass rallies.

Perhaps the people want a period of dull, methodical, and a steady ship … after the experience of the Trump years.

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