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Mendocino County Today: Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021

Mild Afternoon | 5 New Cases | County Sues McCowen | FB High | Vaccination Updates | Lawrence Ferlinghetti | Ed Notes | Book Launch | Hailey Missing | Changing Light | Noyo Fishermen | Jolly Boat | Heart Health | Camp Navarro | Flu v Covid | Logging JDSF | Ten Mile | Caregivers Needed | Yesterday's Catch | Propagandistic Reporting | Harbor Construction | Oligarch Divide | Happy Biker | Fish Extinction | Disliking Truth | Mama's Boy | I Am Waiting | OLM | Long Jihad | Twisted Tree | Watching Baseball | Sugar Beating | Defending Fox

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MAINLY DRY WEATHER and mild afternoon temperatures will occur across northwest California through the middle of next week. In addition, gusty north winds are expected today, particularly over Lake County. (NWS)

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5 NEW COVID CASES reported Wednesday for Mendocino County.

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COUNTY SUES McCOWEN!

Closed Session Item 9c: Report out of Closed Session Tuesday, February 23, 2021, by County Counsel Christian Curtis:

John McCowen (photo by Marilyn Davin)

Curtis: “The board met in closed session to consider possible legal remedies to return County property in possession of retired supervisor John McCowen. Per usual custom and practice, the county requested the return of the items at the time that Mr. McCowen left office. Despite repeated requests however, the property, including a laptop computer tablet, cell phone, printer, and building keys, was never returned and Mr. McCowen has ceased communicating with the County. Pursuant to existing authority and practices, County risk management has already initiated a small claims proceeding. The total damages to the county including the cost of rekeying the building is estimated to be between $3,000 and $4,000. At this time the Board of Supervisors unanimously indicated its support for the pending small claims matter, but decided that investing additional resources in a superior court proceeding would be premature.”

Supervisor Ted Williams: “John McCowen, I would appreciate it if you would return the keys, the laptop, the iPad, and the iPhone. I don't want to be in the position of having conflict. I appreciate that you served for 12 years with the county, even longer in public service. It's not fair to put the Board in this position that you created. We have to treat everyone, all employees, equally and we would ask any other employee to return public property upon their departure from the county.”

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Old Fort Bragg High School

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SUPERVISOR WILLIAMS:

We did ~558 vaccinations in Mendocino yesterday between first and second doses. It was Pfizer, so the follow-up will be at the same location in about 21 days. I'm hopeful we'll be in a position to augment with more first doses. Myturn (state reservation system) scheduling difficulties created a line we hasn't previously experienced. Hopefully it'll be smoother next time, but a big round of applause for the nurses, public health staff, volunteers and firefighters from Mendocino and Albion. Also thank you to Mendocino Unified maintenance staff.

Adventist will be doing 350-400 in Fort Bragg on Thursday for 65 and older and those turning 65 this year. CV Starr at 300 S Lincoln. They will be issuing appointment tickets on a first come first served basis starting at 8:00 AM. The ticket will reserve a spot and it will specify the time to return for shot, which will be between 9:30 AM - 1:00 PM. Please make sure to bring your ID. They're doing hand out tickets at 8am to attempt equity over purely online registration based on public feedback.

I hear the Adventist Health event in Willits tomorrow (Thus) still has open slots. Thursday, February 25, 9:00 AM - 2:00 PM. 65+ can register at https://www.signupgenius.com/go/9040d4eaeac2da3f94-covid1914

With any of the upcoming events, you can help with equity of distribution by assisting friends who aren't online. It will take volunteers and neighbors helping neighbors.

I'm working with staff on a plan to vaccinate on site at The Woods in Little River. I'll do my best to include seniors from the general area. We recognize the need to bring mobile clinics to towns, especially for people who can't safely drive long distances.

Mendocino Coast Clinics vaccinated hundreds in Ukiah yesterday. I don't have a final count, but I had heard they were targeting 800 for the week. The pace has picked up.

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LAWRENCE FERLINGHETTI

1919-2021

by Jonah Raskin

SONOMA COUNTY, Calif — He was a poet, a painter, a publisher, and a bookstore owner who helped to give birth to the writers of the Beat Generation, especially to the raucous work of Allen Ginsberg. Lawrence Ferlinghetti founded City Lights Books in 1953, along with fellow New Yorker, Peter Martin, who soon departed from San Francisco and returned to the East. Ferlinghetti died on February 23, 2021, at the age of 101. His Coney Island of the Mind has sold more than a million copies since it was first published in 1958.

Two years earlier, he published Ginsberg’s Howl and Other Poems, the best known book of American verse in the second half of the 20th century. In 1957, Ferlinghetti went on trial for obscenity. He was found not guilty. The judge ruled that Howl had redeeming social value. That verdict helped to open the door to avant garde and subversive literature for the next 50 or so years.

Though Ferlinghetti published many of the Beat writers, including Jack Kerouac, Gregory Corso, Michael McClure, Diane di Prima, and Bob Kaufman, as well as Ginsberg, he considered himself a pre-Beat who traced his literary ancestry back to the fifteenth-century French outlaw poet, François Villon.

City Lights Books started as a proverbial hole in the wall. It expanded decade by decade and became a Mecca for lovers of books and literature who flocked to 261 Columbus Avenue in North Beach from all over the world. Ferlinghetti’s own office was located on the second floor, and, while he was rarely seen in the bookstore, especially over the past decade or so, he was a visible presence in San Francisco often at a cafe and on the city’s streets.

A philosophical anarchist who believed that the government that governs least is the best government, Ferlinghetti lambasted American presidents like Nixon and Trump, denounced the War in Vietnam, and in one of his best known poems called for “a rebirth of wonder.”

A world traveler, he was also the first poet laureate in San Francisco and the subject of Chris Felver’s 2013 documentary, Ferlinghetti. In the 1950s, he performed with jazz musicians. In the 1960s and 1970s, he lamented the decline of reading in the American counterculture, and aimed to revive the culture of the book. His age took a toll on his work as publisher, and, for the past decade or so he did less and less at City Lights and relinquished most of the reins to Elaine Katzenberger. Nancy Peters also played a vital role at the store and the publishing company. In recent years, City Lights has put into print more and more books by women and people of color. It has evolved even while it has retained much of the founder’s original vision.

Raskin, Nancy Peters, and Ferlinghetti

In his most recent work, Little Boy, (2019) Ferlinghetti took the facts of his own birth and early years and turned them into the stuff of fiction. Born in Yonkers, New York, in 1919, he never knew his own father, and, while he was raised in part by a woman he called his “Aunt Emily,” he was for the most part an orphan and a waif who dropped his real last name, “Ferling,” and dubbed himself Ferlinghetti. No one who wanted to be on his good side, except for Ginsberg, called him “Larry.” He was always Lawrence.

Ferlinghetti will be remembered as a literary lion who showed in his own life and work that one doesn’t have to live in New York to enjoy a rich and satisfying career as poet, novelist, painter ,and publisher.

When he turned 96 in 2015, he was asked, “Are you a curmudgeon?” He replied “Everyone is a curmudgeon past the age of 70.” And on the changing face of San Francisco, he said, “Come back in 20 years and you won’t recognize it. Manhattanization goes on and on.” But he still loved the city that was his home for more than half a century. “In San Francisco you can still be an individual,” he said. “The city, what’s left of it, is the last frontier.” On that frontier, he took his last breath of ocean air.

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ED NOTES

FERLINGHETTI and City Lights were San Francisco to me. As a kid, I haunted City Lights, and liked Ferlinghetti's poetry so much I bought a record of him reading it. My first visit to the bookstore was my senior year in high school across the bay at Tamalpais High School in Mill Valley, unique at the time for the wild diversity of its student body, unique in the Bay Area anyway, because the student body was about 25 percent black kids from Marin City, some very rich kids from Belvedere (including Mary Martin's daughter) but mostly blue collar and lower middleclass scholars like myself. Except for sports, there was zero social mingling with the black kids, and the rich kids didn't do team sports and were anyway remote among their own ski vacationers and European summers. The only part of the Chronicle I read regularly as a young person was the sports page, but I was nevertheless dimly aware that City Lights was the center of controversies involving “free speech,” and that the owner of the store, Ferlinghetti, had been put on trial for publishing and selling Ginsburg's Howl. On Friday nights some jocko pals and I would walk around North Beach hoping to see some beatniks beating on bongo drums and eating gold fish, which is what we'd heard they did on Upper Grant. But the beatniks looked like everyone else pretty much except an occasional guy with a goatee or a woman in a beret and black turtleneck. Ferlinghetti always had the poetry he published in his store window, which caught my callow eye, I guess, and I went inside to look around where the guy at the cash register was arguing politics with a customer, and a lot of people were standing around reading without buying anything. After a stint in the Marines, I went back to City Lights and kept going back, especially for the news rack where I bought I.F. Stone's Newsletter; The Realist; Minority of One; The Nation, and whatever else seemed to menace the dominant paradigm. The printed word was still dangerous then, an added incentive to buy the books and mags considered most subversive. I also bought a lot of paperback fiction and poetry, then mostly under two dollars. City Lights was liberating and, by itself, educating, especially for a young person coming out of the stultifying 1950s and a high school whose English classes were still stuck in Longfellow, and books like On The Road and Catcher in the Rye were outside the course of study. Later, as the world turned and I became a big shot newspaper publisher, Ferlinghetti went out of his way to carry my paper, placing it prominently in the newsrack I'd haunted as a kid. I saw him read several times in the early 1960s but only met him once, and will always remember that he said he read the ava “most weeks,” and was especially following the Wanda Tinasky controversy and asked me if I'd written the Tinasky letters. In person, he was self-effacing, shy even, and we all know he was a brave man, never backed off the good and the true, the true especially. With his passing, San Francisco seems even more lost than it is.

SEEMS ODD that the Supervisors can't quite grasp that a county employee's political views are none of their business, but here was Supervisor Haschak Tuesday with a long-winded reassurance that while he and his colleagues are all for the First Amendment he and they nevertheless deplore opinions not shared by highminded persons like themselves and their candy-assed constituents who are still whining that a County contractor had her private Parler account broken into by a thought policewoman associated with KZYX, and before you could say Dwarf Bully Girls, here came Ellen and Naomi and Annie and Beth and Little Tree, highly evolved persons every one of them whose unfailing moral compasses have done so much to make Mendocino County the intellectual desert it is today.

PREDICTABLY, the Supervisors didn't pull another hundred and fifty grand for SF lawyers defending the County against a wrongful termination suit brought by Harinder Grewal from their consent calendar. Unpredictably, the Supervisors voted 5-0 to sue their former colleague, John McCowen, in small claims court. Seems that McCowen left office with cyber-gear belonging to the County, not him. But McCowen's thefts are in the tradition of “liberal” Supervisors Colfax and Smith, the former castigated by the Grand Jury for chiseling on his travel reimbursements, the latter compelled by DA Eyster to pay back the money she stole. Smith kept a record, the canny Colfax, a scammer from way back, was savvy enough to keep no records of his travels on “County business.”

A CONSTITUENT of 4th District Supervisor Dan Gjerde named Anna Stockel complained that she'd been unable to contact her Supervisor, having emailed him “20 times” with no reply. While the Supervisors are suing McCowen to get County property back, they might consider suing Gjerde for non-performance of his elected duties. If it's any consolation to Ms. Stockel, she isn't alone in being stonewalled by Gjerde.

TIGER WOODS was undergoing surgery to his legs and ankle on Tuesday following a high-speed crash in California which emergency responders described as “horrific.” The golfer was driving a Genesis SUV to the second day of filming for GolfTV at Rolling Hills Country Club, 20 miles south of downtown Los Angeles, when the early-morning accident happened. He had left his hotel in a hurry, other guests told TMZ, and shortly after 7am swerved, hitting the intersection and crossing the other lane, smashing into a tree and flipping his vehicle. Sheriffs said that he was traveling at high speed on a road known for its frequent accidents, and was saved by his seatbelt and by the interior protection of the car. When they arrived on the scene, six minutes later, Woods was conscious but was unable to get out of the car and needed to be cut out using ax on the windshield. The first responders said he was not able to stand and was put on a back brace. Sheriffs said there was “no evidence of impairment” and he was not noticeably intoxicated, although tests will be carried out to confirm his state at the time of the accident. The 45-year-old has had five surgeries on his back.

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BOOK LAUNCH: ‘DARK PAST, DARK FUTURE’ BY JONAH RASKIN

Live on YouTube: Sunday, February 28th @ 4pm

Into the Dark Heart of Sonoma Noir with recently published Dark Past Dark Future.

Writer Jonah Raskin, author of a series of detective novels that take readers on wild rides into a clandestine world rarely glimpsed, will share selected readings and join in conversation with David Madgalene. Audience questions can be submitted via live chat or by email to info@occidentalcenterforthearts.org during the live event.

About Dark Past Dark Future: Sonoma detective Tioga Vignetta finds herself caught up in intrigue that threatens to blow the lid off the city where she lives and works. There’s hidden loot, a band of pornographers who exploit young women and a cast of eccentric characters, who include a Mexican farmworker turned investigator, Jack London fans and members of an old farming family.

Jonah Raskin has lived in Sonoma County since 1976. He taught literature and media at Sonoma State University for 30 years, and he’s the author of 16 books, including fiction, non-fiction and poetry which he performs locally with musicians. A columnist for The Bohemian and The Pacific Sun, he has been a film critic, a restaurant reviewer and an investigative journalist.

David Madgalene is co-editor of the anthology Sons of Noir: Murder and Mayhem which launched at OCA with co-editor Ed Coletti. He also produced “Spirit Poetry Song Action: the David Randolph New Way Media Festival” and “Call Down the Angel: A Tribute to African American Gospel”, both events were held at OCA.

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24-YEAR-OLD AT-RISK WOMAN Suffering from Psychosis Goes Missing in Ukiah After Running Away from Treatment Center

24-year-old Hailey Skye Margaret Louise Aylwin Turner went missing in Ukiah Monday morning in the midst of psychosis, her step-mother Trish Turner told us. Her step-daughter was receiving treatment at Ukiah Recovery Center when “they changed her meds,” and troubling symptoms led staff to attempt to hospitalize her. According to Trish, it is unclear what occurred, but Monday morning Hailey fled the facility and is now missing.

mendofever.com/2021/02/23/24-year-old-at-risk-woman-suffering-from-psychosis-goes-missing-in-ukiah-after-running-away-from-treatment-center/

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THE CHANGING LIGHT 
                 at San Francisco 
       is none of your East Coast light 
                none of your 
                           pearly light of Paris 
The light of San Francisco 
                        is a sea light 
                                       an island light 
And the light of fog 
                   blanketing the hills 
          drifting in at night 
                      through the Golden Gate 
                                       to lie on the city at dawn 
And then the halcyon late mornings 
       after the fog burns off 
            and the sun paints white houses 
                                    with the sea light of Greece 
                 with sharp clean shadows 
                       making the town look like 
                                it had just been painted 

But the wind comes up at four o'clock 
                                     sweeping the hills 

And then the veil of light of early evening 

And then another scrim 
                  when the new night fog 
                                        floats in 
And in that vale of light 
                      the city drifts 
                                    anchorless upon the ocean

— Lawrence Ferlinghetti

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THE JOLLYBOAT in this picture will soon be the subject of a feature article about an old man and a boy who went sailing and never returned, by that renowned feature article writer, Marilyn Davin, all about a boat-building project that sailed thru --!-- to the end of Covid-19.

(Bruce McEwen)

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FEBRUARY IS HEART HEALTH MONTH

Miller Report for the Week of February 22, 2021

by William Miller, MD; Chief of Staff at Adventist Health – Mendocino Coast Hospital

Sometimes I feel that we talk too much about COVID and forget that there is so much else to life and health. As I ponder my own growing waist line, undoubtably due to ‘stress eating’ as well as getting less exercise both a result of COVID, I am reminded that February is heart health month. Like other pandemics, COVID will fade over time as the number of people vaccinated in the world increases and we develop better treatments. I predict that most of this will be behind us in another year or two, with the virus still hanging around, but not wreaking havoc. So, in the meantime, we should remember that heart disease is still the number one health concern in America even though COVID is getting much of the limelight.

 The American Heart Association website has a nice article discussing the history of February as heart health awareness month that you might find interesting: https://www.heart.org/en/around-the-aha/february-is-american-heart-month.

On the Mendocino Coast, we have two cardiologists who have been coming here for many years. Dr. David Ploss, sees patients at Ft. Bragg Rural Health Clinic at 850 Sequoia in Ft. Bragg. Currently, he is here every fourth Thursday, but there are plans to expand that to twice a month. Dr. Ploss is part of a full-service cardiovascular group that operates out of both Adventist Health’s Ukiah Valley and St. Helena hospitals. Appointments can be made by calling 707-463-2400. Keep in mind that some insurances will require a referral from your primary care provider.

Dr. Masis Babajanian has also been coming to the Coast for many years. However, he is now closing his private practice and will be joining Sutter Pacific Medical Foundation in Santa Rosa on April 30th. He will continue to see his patients from the Coast, but will not be coming out here for clinics. His new number will be 707-573-5200 after April 30th.

Diet is an important part of preventing heart disease, especially if a person has diabetes. Mendocino Coast Clinics (MCC), located at 205 South St, Fort Bragg, offers an integrated medical program which includes dietary counseling. MCC also has a successful behavioral health program that can help folks deal with stress, which in turn can lead to such other problems as over eating and high blood pressure.

Now is a great time to check-in with your primary care provider and get routine heart health screening which should include checking your cholesterol and blood pressure and screening for diabetes. As spring approaches, this is also a great time to get out of doors and enjoy the beauty all around us on the Coast. A walk along the Mendocino Headlands or in the Redwood forests will surely help reduce stress and the fresh air will do us good.

(The views shared in this weekly column are those of the author, Dr. William Miller, and do not necessarily represent those of the publisher or of Adventist Health.)

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CAMP NAVARRO: Camp Navarro will reopen in late May and we plan to start posting jobs in a few weeks. In the interim, If you are interested in working with CN or want to be notified of specific jobs when we post them, please fill out this form, It only takes a minute. Feel free to share this link or tag someone. We will have more immediate maintenance and housekeeping work so please say hello if you desire work soon in either of those departments. 

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THE RUSH TO LOG JACKSON STATE

Dear Mendocino County Board of Supervisors, 

It has come to my attention through the work of the Mendocino Trail Stewards that there are plans to log seven areas of Jackson State Demonstration Forest in the near future. I am appalled that the community was not adequately made aware of these THP’s so that public comments could be heard. I have been a resident of the Mendocino Coast for 40 years, and frequent JSDF on foot and while riding my horse. I would like to see the Caspar 500 THP revoked so that I can to continue to enjoy these beautiful old forests with friends and family. I would like to see more information made public on the other plans. 

Our community depends on ecotourism to draw visitors to our area to support our declining local economy. Hiking and biking these forests is a major tourist draw to the Mendocino Coast and hence supports our local businesses. 

Additionally, old trees have thicker bark and more protection from fires. The forests support a wealth of biological diversity that we are only just beginning to understand and study. 

It is time for a change in how we manage JSDF. We need to manage mature forests for true forest health and at the same time preserve old forests for future enjoyment. 

Sincerely,

Sarah E. Quentin 

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Ten Mile Beach

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CAREGIVERS NEEDED

Pacific Medical Resources

Mendocino caregivers

Are you kind, caring, compassionate and looking for Essential work during the pandemic? We are a Home Health Agency providing care to clients along the coast, Willits, and Boonville area. We have full-time and part-time work available immediately. We have residents in our community that need your support to be independent and stay safely in their homes. We offer competitive pay, benefits, mileage, appreciation pay during the current stay at home order and monthly training. If you are interested you may contact us at www.pacificmedicalresources.com or text pmrjobs to 25000

We provide personal care, light housekeeping, errands, companionship and so much more!

Wouldn’t you like to make a difference for your neighbors and community? Apply Now!

Emily <mily0987@gmail.com>

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CATCH OF THE DAY, February 23, 2021

Hill, Lawson, Sanchez

TARA HILL, Willits. Ammo possession by prohibited person, paraphernalia, probation revocation.

ZACHARY LAWSON, Ukiah. Ammo possession by prohibited person, unlawful display of registration, parole violation.

BRYAN SANCHEZ, Ukiah. Attempted murder, burglary, prior conviction enhancement.

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CAPITOL RIOTS WERE A DARK DAY FOR AMERICAN JOURNALISM

by Patrick Cockburn

The invasion of the Capitol on 6 January now stands alongside 9/11 as an act of war against American democracy. Unsurprisingly, news coverage of the incursion has come to resemble war propaganda. All facts, true or false, are pointed in the same direction with the aim of demonizing the enemy and anybody who minimizes its demonic nature.

The three-hour takeover of the Capitol building by a pro-Trump mob is portrayed as a “coup” or an “insurrection” egged on by President Trump. The five who died during the events are seen as evidence of a violent, pre-planned plot to overturn the result of the US presidential election. Film spliced together and shown by prosecutors during the impeachment proceedings gives the impression that what happened resembled a battle scene in Braveheart.

Does it matter what really did occur? Many people feel that anything damaging to Trump and his fascistic followers is all right by them. They may suspect privately that accounts of Trump’s plot against America are exaggerated, but the fabricator of 30,573 falsehoods over the last four years is scarcely in a position to criticize his opponents for departing from the strict truth. They argue that he is an unprecedented threat to American democracy, even as it becomes clear that what actually happened in the Capitol on that day was radically different from the way elements of the media reported it.

But what is reported matters and particularly so when it risks exaggerating violence or deepening fear and a sense of threat. If the US government really was the target of an armed insurrection, then this will be used to justify repression, as it was after 9/11, and not just against right wing conspiracy theorists. By becoming partisan instruments for spreading fake news, the media undermines its own credibility.

A problem with a giant news story like the Capitol invasion is that at first it is over-covered before we know the full facts, and then it is under-covered when those facts begin to emerge. This has been true of US media coverage. But even at the time it seemed to be a very peculiar armed insurrection. Only one shot appears to have been fired and that was by a police officer who killed Trump supporter Ashli Babbitt who was involved in the storming of the Capitol. In a country like the US awash with guns, this absence of gunfire is remarkable.

Five people died during the takeover of the Capitol building and this is the main proof of deadly intent by the rioters. But one of the dead was Babbitt, killed by the police, and three of the others were members of the pro-Trump mob, who died, respectively, from a stroke, a heart attack and from being accidentally crushed by the crowd.

This leaves just one person, Capitol policeman Brian Sicknick, as the sole victim of the Trump supporters who allegedly beat him to death with a fire extinguisher. On 8 January, the New York Times ran two stories about his death, quoting anonymous law officers as describing how pro-Trump rioters had struck him on the head with a fire extinguisher causing “a bloody gash on his head.” He is then reported to have been rushed to hospital, placed on life support but to have died the following day.

This graphic story went around the world and was widely picked up by other news outlets – including The Independent, the BBC and USA Today. It was also separately reported by the Associated Press. It gave credibility to the idea that the pro-Trump mob was willing to kill, even if they only killed one person. It also gave credibility to the idea that vice president Mike Pence, House speaker Nancy Pelosi and senator Mitt Romney had only escaped being lynched by seconds.

Yet over the last seven weeks – without the world paying any attention – the story of the murder of Officer Sicknick has progressively unravelled. Just how this happened is told in fascinating detail by Glenn Greenwald, the investigative journalist and constitutional lawyer, who concludes that “the problem with this story is that it is false in all respects.”

It was always strange that, though every event that took place during the riot was filmed, there is no video of the attack on Sicknick. He texted his brother later that day and sounded as if he was in good spirits. No autopsy report has been released that would confirm his alleged injuries. Conclusively, the New York Times quietly “updated” its original articles about the murder of Sicknick, admitting that new information had emerged that “questions the initial cause of his death provided by officials close to the Capitol Police.”

Since these officials were the only source for the original story, this – though readers might not guess it – amounts to an admission that it is untrue.

The misreporting of the Capitol invasion also included: a man carrying zip ties – that were taken to be evidence of a possible organized plan to detain political leaders – were in fact, according to prosecutors, picked up from a table within the Capitol, likely to ensure police could not use them. It is significant because it is part of a decline in media reporting everywhere, but particularly in the US. Trump is both a symptom and cause of this decline since he is a past master of saying and doing things, however untruthful or absurd, which are usually entertaining and always attention-grabbing. He guarantees high ratings for himself and the television channels, Trump haters and Trump-lovers alike, to their mutual benefit.

This symbiotic relationship between Trump and the media means that they do less and less reporting, allowing Trump and his supporters to provide the action while they provide the talking heads who thrive on venomous confrontation. Even American reporters on the ground have turned themselves into talking heads, willing to waffle on endlessly to meet the needs of 24/7 newscasts.

Events on Capitol Hill provided damning evidence of this decline in American journalism when Robert Moore, ITV News’s Washington correspondent, was the only television correspondent to make his way into the Capitol in the middle of the turmoil. He later expressed astonishment that, given the vast resources of US television and the thousands of journalists in Washington, that it should be “a solitary TV crew from Britain that was the only one to capture this moment in history – it’s bizarre.”

Bizarre, but not surprising. As a news event, the Capitol invasion showed that when it comes to spreading “fake facts,” the traditional media can be even more effective than the social media that is usually blamed.

(Patrick Cockburn is the author of War in the Age of Trump (Verso). Courtesy, CounterPunch.org)

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Building Noyo Harbor

* * *

ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY

The problem is Oligarchy, the 0.01% have concentrated and monopolized wealth, power, and information. But somehow the Oligarchy has been able to create this huge diversion to convince everyone that the problem is White People and “Systemic Racism”, irregardless of whether the individual white person in question has racist thoughts and behaviors. So, the unemployed white working class screwed over by Bill Clinton and NAFTA and the Obamas becomes the enemy, when in fact they are the class victims of the Oligarchy. It’s divide and conquer. And then most people can’t think because of all of the TV and high fructose corn syrup so they say bizarre things like: “The Oligarchy is mostly White, so the problem is all white people including those hillbillies over there…Get ‘em!”

* * *

Fort Bragg Biker, 1921

* * *

GLOBAL FRESHWATER FISH POPULATIONS at risk of extinction, study finds

The report by 16 global conservation organisations, called The World’s Forgotten Fishes, said that global populations of freshwater fish were in freefall. The problems are diverse and include pollution, overfishing and destructive fishing practices, the introduction of invasive non-native species, climate change and the disruption of river ecologies. Most of the world’s rivers are now dammed in parts, have water extracted for irrigation or have their natural flows disrupted, making life difficult for freshwater fish.

theguardian.com/environment/2021/feb/23/global-freshwater-fish-populations-at-risk-of-extinction-study-finds

* * *

"THE TRUTH, INDEED, is something that mankind, for some mysterious reason, instinctively dislikes. Every man who tries to tell it is unpopular, and even when, by the sheer strength of his case, he prevails, he is put down as a scoundrel."

― H.L. Mencken

* * *

I WAS A MAMA'S BOY. When I was 15, I began fighting in the local clubs, but I didn't want my folks to know. So I changed my name from Benny Leiner to Benny Leonard, after the famous minstrel man, Eddie Leonard. One night I came home after a fight and my mother was crying. She had found out. My father came in and started shouting at me. “Viper, tramp,” he yelled. “Fighting, fighting, fighting—for what?” I took out the five dollars I had earned and handed it to him. He looked at it, smiled and put his arms around me. “That's all right, Benny,” he said. “When are you going to fight again...?”

- Benny Leonard

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I AM WAITING

by Lawrence Ferlinghetti

I am waiting for my case to come up 
and I am waiting 
for a rebirth of wonder 
and I am waiting for someone to really discover America and wail 
and I am waiting 
for the discovery 
of a new symbolic western frontier 
and I am waiting 
for the American Eagle 
to really spread its wings 
and straighten up and fly right 
and I am waiting 
for the Age of Anxiety 
to drop dead 
and I am waiting 
for the war to be fought 
which will make the world safe 
for anarchy 
and I am waiting 
for the final withering away 
of all governments 
and I am perpetually awaiting 
a rebirth of wonder 

I am waiting for the Second Coming 
and I am waiting 
for a religious revival 
to sweep through the state of Arizona 
and I am waiting 
for the Grapes of Wrath to be stored 
and I am waiting 
for them to prove 
that God is really American 
and I am waiting 
to see God on television 
piped’ onto church altars 
if only they can find 
the right channel 
to tune in on 
and I am waiting 
for the Last Supper to be served again 
with a strange new appetizer 
and I am perpetually awaiting 
a rebirth of wonder 

I am waiting for my number to be called 
and I am waiting 
for the Salvation Army to take over 
and I am waiting 
for the meek to be blessed 
and inherit the earth 
without taxes and I am waiting 
for forests and animals 
to reclaim the earth as theirs 
and I am waiting 
for a way to be devised 
to destroy all nationalisms 
without killing anybody 
and I am waiting 
for linnets and planets to fall like rain 
and I am waiting for lovers and weepers 
to lie down together again 
in a new rebirth of wonder 

I am waiting for the Great Divide to ‘be crossed 
and I am anxiously waiting 
for the secret of eternal life to be discovered 
by an obscure general practitioner 
and I am waiting 
for the storms of life 
to be over 
and I am waiting 
to set sail for happiness 
and I am waiting 
for a reconstructed Mayflower 
to reach America 
with its picture story and tv rights 
sold in advance to the natives 
and I am waiting 
for the lost music to sound again 
in the Lost Continent 
in a new rebirth of wonder 

I am waiting for the day 
that maketh all things clear 
and I am awaiting retribution 
for what America did 
to Tom Sawyer 
and I am waiting 
for the American Boy 
to take off Beauty’s clothes 
and get on top of her 
and I am waiting 
for Alice in Wonderland 
to retransmit to me 
her total dream of innocence 
and I am waiting 
for Childe Roland to come 
to the final darkest tower 
and I am waiting 
for Aphrodite 
to grow live arms 
at a final disarmament conference 
in a new rebirth of wonder 

I am waiting 
to get some intimations 
of immortality 
by recollecting my early childhood 
and I am waiting 
for the green mornings to come again 
youth’s dumb green fields come back again 
and I am waiting 
for some strains of unpremeditated art 
to shake my typewriter 
and I am waiting to write 
the great indelible poem 
and I am waiting 
for the last long careless rapture 
and I am perpetually waiting 
for the fleeing lovers on the Grecian Urn 
to catch each other up at last 
and embrace 
and I am waiting 
perpetually and forever 
a renaissance of wonder

* * *

* * *

THE GREAT DISRUPTER PT. 2

Now that the Great Disrupter (God not don) has perhaps given us the respite of Mercy we’ve all been pining for perhaps we can begin to refocus from selfish preoccupations and resume with the matter. Trump years were good at the AVA but happily now we can get back to the scourging of the Liberal Establishment or what we like to call the long jihad.

With SF Giants billionaire owner Larry Johnsons political proclivities now revealed shall we change the teams name to the Qiants?

Well… I can’t bring myself to desecrate any memorabilia, not even a lousy t-shirt, so the answer is No, they will continue as Your San Francisco Giants. While on the topic shout out to the Great former SF Giant always a Giant Hunter Pence who still tools around the city, plants public trees with his family and proclaims his undying love for Baghdad by the Bay as any good resident celeb should. Hunter, we are the lunatics who yelled your name countless nights from behind the chain link fence at the free viewing area in McCovey Cove. Your acknowledgement of the fans on those cold nights during the game and after every inning and the Titles you brought us only sealed the love affair. We love you Hunter Pence!!!

I’ve had friends on both sides of the aisle say “hey aren’t whites being excluded from getting vaccinated?” And “hey aren’t black people being denied ICU Covid care?”

And my resounding answer to all has been, “Get your gullible ass off of social media FOR CHRISTS SAKE!!!” AND translated for you hipsters that means “Curb Your Enthusiasm for HA-SHEMS sake.”

I mean have we been reduced to an “American Spring” where our liberties must be and can only be represented by social media. The Arab Spring sprung from social media because people were subjects of the most repressive regimes on the face of the earth not because out of free will people chose it as their best option. What does that say about us?

Now that I’m on the topic I am disgusted by the casual and flippant anti-semitic remarks that people make AS IF its an okay form of racism, ITS NOT! It’s more like a slippery slope that one should studiously avoid because once you go there pretty soon it’s the “yellow peril” and the “Arab menace” and whatever else. What is truly baffling to me is that the Right in America spews dangerous violence inducing grade-A anti-semitism nonstop, yet its the liberal New York comedy outfit SNL that gets slammed for saying that “Israel vaccinated half of its population for reopening, the Jewish half.” For those on the righteous attack, are you defending a ‘great people’ or are you rather defending the disgraceful actions of the powerful???

Any “rhetoric” being used now in the interest of dividing is truly yesterday and I caution for fellow lefty lumpens and those loosely affiliated when we get our chance to celebrate our Heroes, such as with movies like “Judas and the Black Messiah”, and with the new rise in popularity of the history of the Black Panther Party, we should do this for the mass public in a historical manner and not as “believers”. I “believed” in the Panthers like the New Left had in 1970 when I was 15 years old in 1989. I’m not 15 anymore and the New Left committed revolutionary suicide, whatever the hell curse that is. Now so many years later I know the dangers of ‘belief’ and I know that the historical lessons are way too valuable to be lost as propaganda. Be a servant to the history, don’t just use it for self-serving purposes. Someone must have said that.

As far as the mass fear and paranoia that completely took us over nearly a year ago I wonder, did it somehow make the world smaller, are the worlds players somehow just a bit more visible, have more things been revealed or have more things been concealed?

I suppose with a little digging and deciphering we will soon find out.

Sign me up for another year see if we can figure this thing out before it all disintegrates like a pillar of salt.

- Nate Collins, The old stomping grounds

Oakland

* * *

* * *

WATCHING BASEBALL, sitting in the sun, eating popcorn, 
reading Ezra Pound,
and wishing that Juan Marichal would hit a hole right through the
Anglo-Saxon tradition in the first Canto
and demolish the barbarian invaders.
When the San Francisco Giants take the field 
and everybody stands up for the National Anthem,
with some Irish tenor's voice piped over the loudspeakers,
with all the players struck dead in their places 
and the white umpires like Irish cops in their black suits and little
black caps pressed over their hearts,
Standing straight and still like at some funeral of a blarney bartender,
and all facing east,
as if expecting some Great White Hope or the Founding Fathers to
appear on the horizon like 1066 or 1776.
But Willie Mays appears instead,
in the bottom of the first,
and a roar goes up as he clouts the first one into the sun and takes
off, like a footrunner from Thebes.
The ball is lost in the sun and maidens wail after him 
as he keeps running through the Anglo-Saxon epic.
And Tito Fuentes comes up looking like a bullfighter
in his tight pants and small pointy shoes. 
And the right field bleechers go made with Chicanos and blacks 
and Brooklyn beer-drinkers, 
"Tito! Sock it to him, sweet Tito!"
And sweet Tito puts his foot in the bucket 
and smacks one that don't come back at all, 
and flees around the bases 
like he's escaping from the United Fruit Company.
As the gringo dollar beats out the pound.
And sweet Tito beats it out like he's beating out usury,
not to mention fascism and anti-semitism.
And Juan Marichal comes up, 
and the Chicano bleechers go loco again, 
as Juan belts the first ball out of sight, 
and rounds first and keeps going 
and rounds second and rounds third, 
and keeps going and hits paydirt 
to the roars of the grungy populace.
As some nut presses the backstage panic button 
for the tape-recorded National Anthem again, 
to save the situation. 

But it don't stop nobody this time,
in their revolution round the loaded white bases,
in this last of the great Anglo-Saxon epics,
in the territorio libre of Baseball. 

— Lawrence Ferlinghetti

* * *

THERE'S TOO MUCH VIOLENCE in the world, most of it perpetrated on me by Sugar Ray Robinson. I came at that guy with a vengeance. He came at me with punches. Robinson opened everything I had that was closed, and closed everything that was open. But there was one thing you could say about me as a fighter—I kept my head. I lost my teeth, but I kept my head.

Robinson & Lamotta

— Jake LaMotta

* * *

I CAN’T STAND FOX NEWS, BUT CENSORING IT MIGHT BE THE DUMBEST IDEA EVER

by Matt Taibbi

How will the latest campaign against "misinformation" backfire for the country? Let's count the ways

Two and a half years ago, when Alex Jones of Infowars was kicked off a series of tech platforms in a clearly coordinated decision, I knew this was not going to be an isolated thing. 

Given that people like Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy were saying the ouster of Jones was just a “good first step,” it seemed obvious the tactic was not going to be confined to a few actors. But corporate media critics insisted the precedent would not be applied more broadly. 

“I don't think we are going to be seeing big tech take action against Fox News…any time soon,” commented CNN’s Oliver Darcy. 

Darcy was wrong. Just a few years later, calls to ban Fox are not only common, they’re intensifying, with media voices from Brian Stelter on CNN to MSNBC analyst Anand Giridharadas to former Media Matterscritic Eric Boehlert to Washington Postcolumnists Max Boot and Margaret Sullivan all on board.

The movement crested this week with a letter from California House Democrats Anna Eshoo and Jerry McNerney, written to the CEOs of cable providers like Comcast, AT&T, Verizon, Cox, and Dish. They demanded to know if those providers are “planning to continue carrying Fox News, Newsmax, and OANN… beyond any contract renewal date” and “if so, why?”

The news comes in advance of Wednesday’s House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing on “traditional media’s role in promoting disinformation and extremism.”

This sequence of events is ominous because a similar matched set of hearings and interrogations back in 2017 — when Senators like Mazie Hirono at a Judiciary Committee hearing demanded that platforms like Google and Facebook come up with a “mission statement” to prevent the “foment of discord” — accelerated the “content moderation” movement that now sees those same platforms regularly act as de facto political censors.

Sequences like this — government “requests” of speech reduction, made to companies subject to federal regulation — make the content moderation decisions of private firms a serious First Amendment issue. Censorship advocates may think this is purely a private affair, in which the only speech rights that matter are those of companies like Twitter and Google, but any honest person should be able to see this for what it is. 

In the last go-around, Virginia Senator Mark Warner prepared a lengthy white paper called “Potential Policy Proposals for Regulation of Social Media and Technology Firms,” that among other things considered making the tech giants more susceptible to tort claims, as well as beefing up FTC authority over the firms. This was the sword raised over the head of Silicon Valley as it considered whether or not it had a duty to implement those Senatorial demands for plans to prevent the “foment of discord.”

The line to potential government action isn’t quite as direct this time, but it’s notable that Blair Levin, the former chief of staff of the F.C.C. under Bill Clinton, said that this week’s hearings could serve as a first step to what the New York Timescalled “meaningful action.” 

“You have to establish a factual record,” Levin said of this week’s hearings, “and then try to figure out: What are the appropriate roles for the government in changing that dynamic?”

Press freedoms have been in steep decline for a while. Barack Obama’s record targeting of whistleblower sources (and in some cases, journalists themselves) using the Espionage Act was a first serious sign, followed by Donald Trump’s prosecution of Julian Assange. We progressed to a particularly dangerous new stage in recent years, with oligopolistic tech companies, urged on by politicians, engaging in anticompetitive agreements to suppress political voices on both the left and the right.

The so-called media reporters at major organizations like CNN and the New York Times have mostly either been silent or have played cheerleading roles during the most eyebrow-raising recent developments: the decision by Facebook and Twitter to block access to a pre-election New York Poststory about Hunter Biden, the stunning exercise in monopoly influence by Amazon and Apple in swallowing up the “free speech” platform Parler, the banning of Socialist Worker Party accounts in England and the U.S., and the shutdown of livestream capability by alternative media outlets (and the removal of celebrated footage shot from the Capitol riot by people like Status Coupvideographer Jon Farina), a story that amazingly only got major play at… Fox News. 

All of these stories share the same theme: small, unelected groups of private executives making sweeping decisions about speech, cheered on by Democratic Party politicians. If it proceeds to its logical conclusion, it poses a much more serious problem for society than even Fox News at its worst. 

The campaign against Fox is being framed as part of an effort to combat what Eshoo and McNerney characterize as “misinformation, disinformation, conspiracy theories, and lies.” There are so many problems with this point of view, it’s hard to know where to start.

For one thing, complainants rarely make an effort to distinguish between opinions they find obnoxious, and actual lies or errors. This blurring of lines between “misinformation” or “disinformation,” and reporting that simply has political effects deemed deleterious by Democrats and their pals in media, has been going on since 2016, when for instance the leaked-but-true Podesta and DNC emails were regularly described as elements of a “misinformation campaign.”

It was the same with the Hunter Biden story last autumn, where there was no evidence that any of the material was false, but newspapers regularly described it as reading “suspiciously like disinformation” or a “misinformation test for social media.”

Take a look, for instance, at the timeline of “Fox News misinformation in 2020,” put out by Media Matters, a media-criticism agency founded by notorious once-Republican, now-Democratic Party attack dog David Brock. Here are some things listed as “misinformation,” a word that in almost every dictionary carries a connotation of “false” or “incorrect” communication. These are verbatim entries from December, 2020:

— A Fox “straight news” program mentioned Benghazi more than the over 3,100 people who died from the pandemic the day before. [Outnumbered Overtime, 12/10/20]

— Laura Ingraham encourages viewers to gather for the holidays. [The Ingraham Angle, 12/16/20]

— Fox & Friends goes full War on Christmas, after over 2,600 Americans died from the pandemic the day before. [Fox & Friends, 12/9/20]

— Dana Perino: Biden should show “a little bit of grace and gratitude” to Trump for COVID-19 vaccines. [The Daily Briefing, 12/8/20]

These are political, not factual complaints, as is Sullivan’s beef that Tucker Carlson “tries to sow doubt about the prevalence of white supremacy,” or that Sean Hannity likes to “blast Biden as ‘cognitively struggling.’” As to that last point, news features wondering about Donald Trump’s mental fitness were myriad for four years (hell, even I wrote one), as were “Trump with tiny wang” cartoons, and “Trump touchingly gay with Putin” jokes. Confusing that which you find politically offensive with actually erroneous or deceptive reporting has become so common, even media professionals don’t seem to care about the difference anymore. 

Fox absolutely does drift into outright deceptions, though it hardly has a monopoly on this behavior (more on that in a moment). But being the gigantic money-obsessed enterprise that it is, it still tends to steer clear of the worst kinds of offenses in this business, i.e. actionable lies.

It was amazing to see the Washington Postmedia critic Sullivan argue in favor of extraordinary measures to remove or boycott Fox by citing the fact that the network was considering a promotion for Maria Bartiromo, who was “among those… recently forced under threat of a lawsuit to air a video that debunked repeated false claims on her show that corrupt voting software had given millions of Trump votes to Biden.”

Sullivan glossed over this episode, which was actually evidence against the need to take these channels down. Before the New Year, a cease-and-desist letter from Dominion Voting Systems went out to Fox, the Epoch Times, OAN, Newsmax, and others, demanding an end to evidence-free claims about their company. It worked, as even OANretreated, and Newsmax, tail between its legs, broadcast a two-minute statement to “clarify” that it had no evidence for claims of election fraud made against the companies Dominion and Smartmantic. 

This is exactly how the existing system is supposed to work, in a legal framework that still makes the cost of broadcasting provable deceptions prohibitive to deep-pocketed companies like Fox. Libel and defamation laws are imperfect, but effective. If the massive Fox audience were driven further underground, that tool would no longer be worth much. 

However, those gunning for the removal of Fox, Newsmax, and other outlets are clearly not interested in getting there by way of the law. They want to take advantage of the hyper-concentration of power among media distributors — the tech giants like Apple and Amazon that can zap a massively successful app like Parler overnight, and the confederation of cable carriers like Comcast, AT&T, and Verizon that hold dominion over broadcast networks. 

We have to ask politicians like Eshoo and critics like Sullivan and Boot: where exactly do they want massive conservative audiences to go, if Fox is removed from the air? By any rational standard, having them watch Fox is way down the list of worst-case scenarios.

Take the example of Carlson and Trump lawyer Sidney Powell. Carlson asked for proof of election theft last year, and “she never sent us any evidence, despite a lot of polite requests.” Trump voters mostly don’t read the Washington Post or watch CNN, but they do watch Carlson, which made that segment significant, just as the following sizzle-reel of Fox personalities trying to convince viewers the election story was over was significant.

Sullivan went so far as to post this in her piece decrying Fox — would she prefer that a station with even less appetite for challenging its viewers rose in its place?

The unspoken subtext to all of these efforts is a hope that those enormous conservative audiences eventually won’t be able to go anywhere at all. The Internet, it is hoped, will gradually be cleansed of their “misinformation” agents, and red-staters will either watch CNN or suck eggs. The information distribution business is now sufficiently concentrated that it’s possible to imagine a fully politically homogenous news landscape. That’s the clear endgame, and the reason letting Fox go to the guillotine is a serious mistake.

It’s no accident that this campaign to go after Fox comes at the end of a very long and painful process of kneecapping the alternative press in America, one that benefited the biggest corporate actors every step of the way.

The introduction of the Internet destroyed the commercial formula of local newspapers, among other things by undercutting the revenue base long provided by classified ads. Marshall McLuhan wrote all the way back in 1964 that “classified ads (and stock-market quotations) are the bedrock of the press. Should an alternative source of easy access to such diverse daily information be found, the press will fold.”

He was right. According to PEN, in the fifteen years between 2004 and 2019, 1,800 newspapers closed, and the news media, most of it local, lost $35 billion in revenue, and roughly 47% of its staff. Roughly 1,300 communities in this country have no newspapers now, a dynamic that more and more forces people to look to regional or national news sources for information. 

Having severely undercut the ability of alternative media outlets to survive — just look at the preposterous YouTube restrictions of independent videographers like Farina and Ford Fischer — audiences are herded into ever-larger informational pens. Within those pens, the trend in recent years has accelerated toward ideological homogeneity, so that most people are getting their information from one of two ecosystems, conservative or “liberal” (which is really more like “neoliberal”). I warned four years ago where this was headed:

The model going forward will likely involve Republican media covering Democratic corruption and Democratic media covering Republican corruption. This setup just doesn’t work.

The reason it doesn’t work is that CNN, the Washington Post, MSNBC, the New York Times, the Boston Globe, and NPR do not act like competitors in this sort of landscape. In a binary setup, they don’t police each other’s mistakes, any more than Fox and the Daily Caller do.

Even forgetting about the appalling free speech issues involved, if you take Fox, Newsmax, and OANN off the air, who will check the work of the remaining CNNs of the world? CNN’s own media reporter, who is at the head of the line calling for Fox to be removed? Because the undeniable fact about the last four years, in particular, is that as bad as Fox often is — and I’ve found its cynical cheering of mask rebellion in particular almost viscerally off-putting — the so-called “reputable” press has of late been just as bad if not worse, from a factual point of view.

From calling Carter Page a foreign agent to raising massive fusses about an absurd and disproven Alfa-Bank-Trump secret server story to erroneous coverage of the Covington High School fiasco to rampant lying about the source of the “pee tape” story to putting Michael Avenatti on live TV to make dubious rape accusations to doing exactly what Fox is accused of doing, perhaps at a smaller scale but still — raising questions about the legitimacy of Donald Trump’s election — the last four years have shown that Fox does not have a monopoly on “misinformation,” not by a long shot. The Russiagate stupidity alone marks the whole business with a failing grade for the whole era, especially as it caused news outlets to openly align with political actors.

Just to take one example, virtually every “reputable” news agency incorrectly denounced the so-called “Nunes memo” detailing FISA abuse by the FBI, written in February 2018 by Republican congressman Devin Nunes. The Washington Post called it a “joke” and a “sham,” while another of its editorialists said Trump’s release of it was “his most unethical act since firing [James] Comey.” New York Magazine, bravely defending the honor of the FBI, wrote, “FBI Director Opposes Release of False Nunes Memo.” Bloomberg: “FBI Has Grave Concerns About Nunes Memo.” CBS quoted Nancy Pelosi’s warning that release of this “fake” and “distorted” intelligence might cause a “constitutional crisis,” and called for Nunes to be removed as a Committee Chair. 

In the end, the report by Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz ratified virtually every assertion about FBI misdeeds in the Nunes memo. Who covered this? A few random independents like me, but mainly, big conservative outlets like Fox News:

When congressional testimony of figures like former deputy FBI director Andrew McCabe was declassified, and we found out that the FBI as far back as August, 2016 had dropped George Papadopoulos as an investigative target because the evidence “didn’t particularly indicate… that he was interacting with the Russians,” who covered that key information about the ostensible origin of the Trump-Russia probe?

Not the papers that hyped to the sky the story of Papadopoulos as a conduit to Russian spies. No, these stories appeared in the fine print of The Wall Street Journal and in the work by figures like, of all people, Sean Hannity. The pattern is firm: when the Times or CNN screws up, you look for the real correction at Real Clear Investigations or Fox, and vice versa. Removing one side from the scene will leave the other with a monopoly on error. 

When original Fox programming architect Roger Ailes died a few years ago, I criticized the “Christopher Columbus of hate” for helping invent the toxic media culture that had long been tearing the country apart. Ailes made a fortune innovating a programming strategy based upon a “factory-like production of news stories that spoke to Americans’ worst fantasies about each other,” realizing “the more scared and hate-filled we are, the more advertising dollars come pouring in.” 

His version of Fox stoked the divisive effect with an endless barrage of stories mainly designed to terrify older, conservative audiences, who were told over and over — in between ad blocs, of course — that the America they remembered was under attack, by everyone from campus lesbians to al-Qaeda.

This looked like the corporate news media version of ripping off the elderly with telemarketed magazine subscriptions, and I wanted no part of it, which is one reason I never appeared on the channel despite regular invitations. It’s also why in Hate Inc., I described Fox as the clear progenitor of the division-for-profit model of modern commercial media.

Circumstances have come all the way around. Incredibly, Fox News may soon be the last line of defense against an all-out assault on the heterogenous free press as an institution, and people like me, who’ve despised the channel their whole lives, now find themselves in the unenviable position of having to defend the “Fair and Balanced” channel as a matter of self-preservation.

The local and alternative presses are already dying, and tech platforms have already successfully asserted their rights to censor. All that remains is to topple a behemoth like Fox as a show of strength, leaving an untouchable Soviet-style club of Chuck Todds and Jennifer Rubins and Max Boots in charge of disseminating an approved™ top-down version of reality. Are you excited yet? 

Imagine the reaction! Do the Eshoos of the world think Fox viewers would just shrug off the L, and find ways to warm up to Rachel Maddow, Chris Hayes, and Joy Reid? To the many Fox-haters out there: imagine a world in which you’re told, by an unelected bund of cable distributors, that you have to get used to watching Tucker and Sean. Would you take that lying down? Or would you lose your mind with rage, and reach for something sharp? How does anyone think this is going to end well?

(taibbi.substack.com)

27 Comments

  1. Craig Stehr February 24, 2021

    In June of 1971, I graduated from the University of Arizona, and with two friends, we got into my red & white Volkswagen bus and drove straight through from Tucson to City Lights Bookstore. You could still park in front of Vesuvio’s. ~The Beginning~

    Craig Louis Stehr
    24.II.’21

  2. George Hollister February 24, 2021

    Patrick Cockburn gets it right. An insurrection can cause a hysterical reaction, but hysteria is what it is. And we really seem to be driven by hysteria these days. Hysteria about everything. Hysteria about race. Hysteria about “the planet”. Hysteria about “the other guy”.

    • Marmon February 24, 2021

      Albert Ellis defined hysteria as a psychosis superinduced by ideation, the touchstone being the subject’s capacity for responding to suggestion.

      Marmon

    • George Hollister February 24, 2021

      Matt Taibbi’s piece speaks to the same hysteria, and attempt by some hysterics to censure other hysterics. I don’t watch any of the crap mentioned, because it’s all hysterics, whether on Fox, or on MSMBC, or CNN. Same for the Press Democrat these days. Political hyperbole fed by politicians, political interests, and media is the major factor driving the hysterics. Patrick Cockburn refers to it appropriately as “fake facts”. The result is we go on witch hunts, and crusades, maybe to a larger extent than we ever have.

      I do watch Brett Baier on Fox, and the Wall Street Journal Report. It is best to record them first, so you can skip the commercials, and also the occasional side shows of hysterics that creep in.

      • chuck dunbar February 24, 2021

        “Political hyperbole fed by politicians”…The primary example being the aptly termed
        “former guy” and his minions, and of course they are still out there, not completely gone.

      • Marmon February 24, 2021

        “I do watch Brett Baier on Fox, and the Wall Street Journal Report.”

        Spoken like a true “Never Trumper”, how’s timber sales to China going?

        Marmon

        • George Hollister February 24, 2021

          If being a never Trumper means never buying into an ignorant big mouth, then I am in. I did vote for him, though. And, unfortunately, would still vote for him, if the choice were the same.

          • Harvey Reading February 24, 2021

            You’re a funny boy, George, when you get your words all twisted around.

    • Harvey Reading February 24, 2021

      We’re driven by propaganda, George. None of it can be taken at face value. You do enjoy downplaying racism don’t you? Trying to make folks think you’re not one?

  3. Rye Flint February 24, 2021

    Facebook can’t seem to apply it’s rules to everyone. Alex Jones apparently gets a free pass because CEO Zuker B felt like it… Media is distorted in ways you don’t think about. Corporations are not democracy, we don’t even get a vote in what they do.

    And to the ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY “opinion” that Old white hillbillies shouldn’t be singled out as part of the problem. This person has not yet confronted the extra privileges afford to them by a society that promotes “whiteness” as “rightness”. Do a deep dive and look into how long divide and conquer has been used to steal native land and oppress people of color for centuries. I am a white male myself, and am comfortable with the fact that Old white guys have created the system of Oligarchy and Control. A few token people of color in power hasn’t changed that.

    • Jeff Fox February 24, 2021

      Those pesky “old white hillbillies” have been a concern of the upper classes since the country’s founders. The book “White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America” by Nancy Isenberg does a good job of disassembling conventional views about those other white folk. They’ve been a key tool of the oligarchy since the beginning.

  4. John DunBear February 24, 2021

    I think the majority of problems in society are caused by Centralization of power and resources. If we could decentralize, it would make our society and environment healthier. Do you really trust more than your 150 core group of people? I don’t think so. Or so goes the Dunbar’s number theory. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunbar%27s_number

    • George Hollister February 24, 2021

      Sounds like the founders, and federalism to me. I agree with you and them. We would also get along much better.

      • Harvey Reading February 24, 2021

        I’ll bet you’d love “unity”. The Third Reich was a prime example of it. The founders are far overrated. Just a bunch of slave-owning, self-entitled wealthy guys, sort of like what you pretend to be.

  5. Michael Koepf February 24, 2021

    Ferlinghetti.
    So sorry to see him go. I shared dinner with him once. In Montara at Arron Mosley’s house. Arron was an extremely, creative designer who taught at the Art Institute in North Beach, where female students danced naked during the noontime break to the latest music by the Doors. I’ve always feared that Aids took Arron’s life. Hope I’m wrong in that. At dinner, Ferlinghetti mostly spoke of his recent trip on the Trans-Siberian railroad, which wasn’t that interesting to me. Endless, boring steppes passing by your window day and night. I refuse to speak ill of the dead, as neo-progs often do in these posts, when anyone who care for this country passes away. Thus, I will say this about Lawrence Ferlinghetti the man. He appeared to be a very sweet and gentle guy. However, a man and his art often fail to coincide. Ferlinghetti was a lovely man, but as a poet he was rather mundane. Per example, re-read the poem ‘I Am Waiting above.’ I am waiting for this and that—a hundred wrongs with the world that the poet identifies as questions intended to answer themselves which is intended to cast a virtuous light on the writer in all the questions posed. Petitio principii. Begging the question is who it’s called; virtue signaling by the right, and it’s thought to be intellectually demeaning to intellectuals on the left. Ferlinghetti was a nice guy, but he was no Phillip Larkin, Emily Dickenson, or Yeats; not even Robert Frost. Yes, City Lights is a nice little book store, but it was mostly for suburban tourists who came to the city so that they could go home to safe harbors in Marin or San Mateo to tell their friends that had hung out with the Beats or the advent-guard of the Beach. (even though he Beats were gone) The poets, writers and painters who claimed North Beach as their place, may have bought a book or two from City Lights, but if you knew the Beach in those days, you’d mostly be in a bar. Specks across the Street. Vesuvios right next store. Geno and Carlos any night. Powels in the afternoon. Any dive on Grant any time of the day. The Washington Bar and Grill for the voyeur class rubbing elbows with denizens of the Beach. There was the Portofino for an expresso, where the Italian guys played cards, and the fat guy behind the bar—hooked up with the mob—could steer you to good cocaine. North Beach was a war between the Ins and Outs; a refuge for drunks and hustlers and hookers off the clock. It appealed to lots artistic types enthralled with the darker side of life, because that’s where all the fun was at. Ferlinghetti was a nice guy. Ferlinghetti owned a store. Ferlinghetti wrote a lovely poem about fog.

    • Michael Koepf February 24, 2021

      …who cares for…

      …is what it’s called…

      …the beats…

    • Bruce McEwen February 24, 2021

      What the devil is advent guard?
      Do you mean avant garde, that is, what the beats used to call “the Cong” (later, Viet Cong), referring to the van guard, the tip of the spear in the arts revolution?
      “advent guard indeed! Sounds all together too Christian for my tastes.

  6. William Brazill February 24, 2021

    I think the photograph of “The Old Fort Bragg High School” is really the main entrance to the old Fort Bragg Grammar School which was connected to the old Fort Bragg High School.

  7. Douglas Coulter February 24, 2021

    Both sides now! Joanie Mitchell
    The single side narrative of propaganda cannot tolerate correction. Now that world media rests in the able hands of a few billionaires we can adjust to rationing of truth. The heretics will all be burned at the stake or simply deleted. That one world government we all yearn for is close at hand. To quote my old friend from Brooklyn, “fagetaboutit”

  8. Marmon February 24, 2021

    The so-called “Equality” Act that congress will vote on this week needs to be struck down.

    It puts trans rights over women and girl rights and a whole bunch of other sick shit.

    Marmon

    • Harvey Reading February 24, 2021

      You sound like an echo of the rethuglicans and others from the lunatic fringe in their responses to the Civil Rights and Voting Rights acts of the 60s.

  9. Jim Armstrong February 24, 2021

    Kudos to whoever honchoed the Adventist Vaxfest in Ukiah today.
    A whole bunch of very nice folks, most volunteers I think, made the experience smooth, stressless and so far painless.
    1200 shots in four or five hours.
    And the big hall full of conversation sounded like the Antiques Roadshow.

    • Pam Partee February 24, 2021

      Agree. I was impressed with how efficient the organization was, from parking to after-shot dismissal. Everyone was friendly and professional. It was the smoothest operation I have experienced in this county. I thanked a couple of staff members for their first rate effort.

  10. Marmon February 24, 2021

    RE: OLD LIVES MATTER (OLM)

    I finally got my mom and older brother vaccinated this morning, I get it tomorrow. Lake County is finally providing drive-thru vaccinations at the auto drive-in in Lakeport. I had to get up at 3:00 in the morning the other night to make our appointments before all the slots were full. I think the drive-thru clinics are the way to go. I did not want my 89 year old mother standing in some line for hours at a time.

    Marmon

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