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Off the Record (July 21, 2021)

FAKE NEWS from the Daily Mail: “Democratic socialist voices including Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York remain silent on the issue of Cuba as protests take place in Miami and the island.”

IN FACT, Bernie correctly pointed out that the increased economic squeeze put on Cuba by the Trump Gang has led to widespread hardship on the island. Obama had opened normal relations to the benefit of both the US and Cuba only to have the ersatz tough guys roll back Obama's long overdue normalization of relations.

CREDIT the rightwing Daily Mail with at least making the socialist distinction between democratic socialism and the Leninist socialism of Cuba which, by the way, from all accounts, still enjoys mass support, especially among older Cubans who remember when their impoverished country was run by American criminals as a combination brothel and gambling center.

THE DISGRACEFUL deluge of racist abuse heaped on England's black soccer stars after England's loss to Italy is further evidence that the best way to stop this kind of psychotic cyber-behavior could be hugely reduced if people had to register under the true names and addresses when they went on-line.

BAD NEWS for the pot brigades. Emergency Room doctors have seen a surge in young marijuana users having psychotic episodes and vomiting uncontrollably, due to the extremely high levels of THC in the love drug. The medicos call it “scromiting,” a combination of vomiting and screaming. “Stand back everyone. I'm gonna scromit!” The ER at Parkview Medical Center in Pueblo, Colorado has recently reported five “scromiting” cases, but by 2018 —six years after marijuana was legalized in the state — the ER saw 120 cases, an increase of 230 percent in just nine years.

RIGHT ON SCHEDULE: In 1972, a team from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) predicted that humanity's pursuit of economic growth without regard for environmental and social costs would lead to social collapse by the mid 21st century, a prediction a new study finds prescient. Gaya Herrington, Sustainability and Dynamic System Analysis Lead at KPMG, undertook the task of proving or disproving MIT's claims and used a world simulation model that analyzed how our world has progressed from 1972. Herrington looked at 10 key variables, such as population, industrial output and persistent pollution, and determined our business-as-usual mentality will spark an across-the-board decline in all areas of American life.

JEFF BLANKFORT: “This story reminds me of the one time I went to Wembley Stadium, hoping to see the match between England and Scotland, as fierce rivals as one could imagine. On the underground from Baker St. to the stadium, fans were more tightly packed than sardines, literally, and most, like me, would find the game sold out when they arrived at the gates.

I took it in stride but quite a number did not. They went chasing after ticket scalpers who had run out of tickets--clearly to punish them for doing so-- and then had to run for their lives. I didn't see any evidence of drugs--this was the 1970s--but there was plenty of booze. 

When I returned to the underground station for the ride back to London I saw a Black man in a uniform, his head covered in blood, laying on his back. He was evidently an employee of the system, who had been slammed on the head by a rider with a bottle through a car window as an earlier subway car had departed the station and was being attended to by other employees

Once seated, I noted across from me two men, sweating and breathing heavily. Paper money seemed to be sticking out of every visible pocket. They were ticket scalpers. It was a comic book scene but for them it wasn't funny. The two both agreed that they were lucky to have gotten away alive."

ASSUMING the supervisors are interested in planning for long haul drought, they might cease the fantasy of the Skunk train hauling water to Fort Bragg from water-short Willits and, among other strategies, re-negotiate Mendo's one-way water deal with Sonoma County, whereby SoCo gets almost all the water, which it sells for millions, an arrangement going on 70 years. The Skunk train, btw, as Supervisor Gjerde undoubtedly knows but doesn’t say, can't even get through the first collapsed tunnel on the Fort Bragg end of the line, and the rest of the 30-mile route would need many millions to become viable for heavy freight like water, assuming Willits would be so agua-flush they'd have plenty to spare.

THE SKUNK SAYS THEY CAN DO IT

“We’ve been seeing a lot of misinformation going around about the proposed plan to haul water to service the City of Fort Bragg via the Skunk Train route.

The assertion has been made – including in some newspapers – that the plan is currently unfeasible because of the closure of Tunnel #1. We want to clarify that Tunnel #1 does not impact the plan at all – Fort Bragg’s pumping station (where the water would be delivered) is located just east of Tunnel #1.

In 2015 when the city of Fort Bragg was experiencing a water shortage, we learned that they might be trucking water in from a newly dug high producing well. We reached out to the City of Fort Bragg about the possibility of hauling water from Willits via rail to the City’s pumping station on the Noyo River which is east of Tunnel #1.

The idea, assuming the City of Willits grants the City of Fort Bragg water via a sale is to transport water from Willits to the city of Fort Bragg’s pumping station on the Noyo River. Most water trucks carry an average of about 3,500 gallons whereas a tank car can range from 15,000 to 30,000 or more gallons, so the efficiencies are huge. The tank cars we have tracers on are in the neighborhood of 30,000 gallons – that’s about an 8x efficiency.

We hope that clears up any misconceptions! We’re ready and willing to lend a hand as needed.”

ED NOTE: So the Skunk track, switchbacks, uphill stretches, old trestles from Willits to just east of Tunnel One outside Fort Bragg, are freight ready, and can carry large amounts of weight? At 15,000 gallons per container-car, for example, and at the low end of Skunk's claim, at 8 pounds per gallon, equals sixty tons of water. The Skunk has an engine that will pull that weight? Uh, count the ava as first among disbelievers. (Skunk's typical passenger load, maybe forty people, even with the usual numbers of, ahem, large individuals, is five tons at a low estimate of 220 pounds per passenger.) We don't think you can get water weight up the Willits Grade. And btw, has anybody checked with Willits to see if they're interested in selling water? And water rail cars would come from where with everyone in the Western United States looking for them?

HALF VAXXED. Mendo seems stalled at roughly 50% of us getting our covid shot or shots. One reason for this rather ominous Mendo stat, particularly ominous because the obese are at double risk from covid sayonara and we have lots of them, is the large numbers of anti-vaxxers in our small population. Speaking, as always, only for myself but as a guy who remembers kids on his childhood street in iron lungs prior to the polio vaccine, I'm continually amazed that the stupid and the misinformed are allowed to place their fellow citizens at risk. But, I understand that the refusal to accept informed medical opinion is one more sign of social implosion, and one more crime committed by the internet where our local anti-vaxxers go for their source material.

$68.33 IS THE ESTIMATED HOURLY WAGE you need to rent shelter in San Francisco. Mendo? 

Using the standard 1/3 of after tax earnings for housing that would be:

Rent of $1,000 per month = after tax earnings of $3,000 per month, or $36k per year which, assuming 25% tax rate, would be $45k per year gross. Not counting utilities etc. (And not counting having to haul water). However, if there were two equal earners for the $1,000/mo unit, everything would be half of that. 

$1500 per month rent using same formulas would need $54k per year net / $67k per year gross earnings. Half if split between two equal earners.

$2000 per month rent would need $72k per year net / $90k per year gross. Half if split between two earners.

A FORT BRAGGER WRITES: “I think everyone in charge of anything has gone off their rockers. Talk about a comedy show. So far we still have water. My guess is, it won't last long. Apparently the Noyo is drying up because Camp Noyo put their dam in, and here's the kicker: the Skunk Train has a new trip. Railbikes on the Noyo. Shoot, for a mere $500 (actually $495) you can rent a railbike and drive out Sherwood road (Fort Bragg side of course) take a stroll to the river, hop on your bike and peddle your behind out to Camp Noyo for swimming and drinks and I think a lunch. So, Camp Noyo installed their dam even during this drought and even knowing that Fort Bragg needs it to survive and that Fort Bragg was using that water to supply people up and down the coast with dry wells. Now the City may not be able to supply anyone with water if the Noyo keeps going down (it certainly isn't going to go up). And how many days will that little rinky dink reservoir out Hwy. 20 last Fort Bragg? 16 days maybe?"

THE COUNTY is going to have to put some seriously big teeth in its drought emergency rhetoric. We are in an emergency, and entities like Camp Noyo catering to a private business, the Skunk, can't be allowed to choke off water, a public resource derived from a public stream. 

SUPERVISOR WILLIAMS: Historic! State Assembly just passed the $6B Broadband Package in an overwhelming bipartisan 71-0 vote (and more adding on) This is the boldest action ever taken to close the digital divide in California! It now goes to the Senate for a Floor vote today!!

RE: VINEYARDS, POT & DRY WELLS (LAKE CO.) “After 21 years on my beloved property in High Valley in Clearlake Oaks California, my well has gone dry. Other wells have dried up and several more are experiencing problems. We are in extreme drought and the county of Lake is considering allowing an 80 acre marijuana grow to be established in my valley – directly across the street from another large water user, Brassfield Estate Winery! This is unconscionable and must be stopped! Stand with the residents and tell Lake County Planning Commission to put county property owners above these out-of-county companies with deep pockets who are using our resources and selling their product elsewhere. They are being short-sighted and aren’t considering what will happen to our beautiful county when all the water dries up on the pot grows, their projects abandoned, and their precious tax revenues cease to be paid. What the hell are our representatives thinking?? Please help us stop this travesty!” (Maria Kann)

AMERICAN BILLIONAIRES had a very good pandemic. Total billionaire wealth when the pandemic began was $2.9 trillion. It now stands at $4.7 trillion. The pandemic accounts for one-third of all billionaire wealth gains since 1990.

  • Musk: up $134 billion
  • Bezos: up $99B
  • Zuckerberg: up $72B
  • Page/Brin: up $57B each
  • Ellison: up $54B
  • Buffett: up $34B
  • Gates: up $31B
  • Ballmer/Knight: up $29B each
  • Waltons: up $28B
  • Average US billionaire: up 60%

(Jeffrey St. Clair)

ON LINE COMMENTS OF THE WEEK

[1] “Gun sales are booming” Get it! BOOMING. HAHA. Smith & Wesson just had a billion dollar sales year. They’re a couple towns over. I heard my first ever ad on the local radio for a gun company. It was from S&W. Buy American! They’re running 24/7 over there and still can’t keep up with demand.

[2] Governments are going to become inconsequential over time. Why? Because the problems of today are unsolvable. There are no solutions. Overpopulation, pollution, increasing disease creation rates, fresh water unavailability, Peak oil starting to poke up in spite of fracking, fracking’s chemical pollution, hyperinflation causing wages and prices to skyrocket ( we older folks remember the 70s, you younger generations do not have a clue) ( just announced that SSA is going up 6.1% next year. Thank you.), immigration, which will just increase all the other problems. Not just here, everywhere, medical cost inflation, widening income gap, 15% corporate income tax around the world, Every direction you look there are whack a mole problems that government cannot stop.

[3] In Humboldt you can steal a $90k car, put five pounds of heroin in it and get caught high speeding with a stolen, loaded firearm and be home in time for bong hits and Family Guy.

[4] A short synopsis: He has to allow things to get as bad as they can be, where humanity is at the point of annihilating itself, before He acts. And when that happens, humanity will fight Him, sort of like people are thinking “Who are YOU to come here and try to stop us from doing what we want to do? It’s not your business if we want to kill each other off.” Then humanity has its collective ass kicked, the Millennium takes place (and will be a lot different than just enjoying Heaven on Earth, as many pastors say it will be — Jesus is to rule with a rod of iron, plus it’ll probably take all of a thousand years to fix up the mess humans have made of the Earth) and humanity unsuccessfully rebels again before the judgment.

Our rights — ALL of our rights — will be lost. God will not intervene to save them from themselves because we have to learn from our mistakes, and because hardly anyone is asking for His forgiveness and that He will restore our country; we’re too busy being “right” to do what’s right. People in America are used to autonomy, but that’s fast disappearing because so many of us are terrified and want our national daddy to handle everything for us so that we can basically just fuck off 24/7. In the future, we’ll be able to think, but that doesn’t mean we’ll think clearly, or that we’ll be able to succeed in what we purpose to do because trading freedom for alleged security (brought to you by obtrusive government) really means trading freedom for slavery. The majority of people will embrace their slavery, while anyone who doesn’t accept it will be ostracized and/or murdered.

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