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Mendocino County Today: Saturday, Sept. 25, 2021

Cooling Trend | 6 More Deaths | Homeless Struggle | Eel Reconnect | Car Fire | Rock House | Understand Populism | Moderation Wisdom | 1911 Portrait | Candidate Training | Noyo Harbor | Dope Market | Scott Dam | FERC Ruling | Fish Hatchery | Boomer Lament | Vaccine Incoming | Hopkins Assistance | We Accept | Redistricting Agenda | Color Guard | Code Enforcement | Yesterday's Catch | PA Hardware | Remember Them | Klimt Eastwood | Musical Duo | PA Agenda | Fantasy Roundup | Interesting Developments | Ottoman Empire | German Election | 1937 Cadillac | Most Censored | Bike Jump | Past Month | So Morbid | Somebody's Lying

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DRY WEATHER is expected to continue for today and much of Sunday, although temperatures will start to cool off. Sunday night and Monday a frontal boundary will bring some light rain to mainly the northern portions of the area. Below normal temperatures are expected Tuesday with a return to near normal temperatures later in the week. (NWS)

YESTERDAY'S HIGHS: Ukiah 100°, Boonville 99°, Yorkville 98°, Fort Bragg 69°

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25 NEW COVID CASES AND SIX MORE DEATHS reported in Mendocino County yesterday afternoon. September's Mendo-Covid death toll is now 18.

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SUPERVISORS TO MENDO’S HOMELESS: We’re Spending Millions Of Dollars On Ourselves To Help You, But You Ingrates Are Still Homeless. 

by Mark Scaramella

In August, the County Grand Jury released a report entitled: “Homelessness In Mendocino County Is A Community Concern.”

In that report, Finding 7 reads: “The majority of members on the COC [Continuum of Care] are employees of other agencies and struggle to address the level of service needed locally without policy guidance from the Board of Supervisors, City elected officials, or other assigned staff.”

”Struggle” wouldn’t seem to be the word for secure, comfortable people occasionally gathering to fake concern, the ghost of Marie Antoinette blessing their assembly. 

All the GJ’s findings and recommendations were similarly as earnest and generic as finding 7 was innocuous and obvious.

But in a recently prepared Board of Supervisors response to the Grand Jury’s report on homelessness, the Board of Supervisors whines that “the Grand Jury [should] focus on verified facts and avoid unsubstantiated opinions that tend to inflame instead of inform discussion of this critical issue.”

There is absolutely nothing in the Grand Jury’s report that is remotely inflammatory. And the Supervisors’ “unsubstantiated opinion” that the Grand Jury “tends to inflame” is itself entirely free of “verified facts.”

For example, one of the Grand Jury’s findings (mis-numbered in the Supervisors’ response, by the way) was:

“The majority of members on the COC are employees of other agencies and struggle [sic] to address the level of service needed locally without policy guidance from the Board of Supervisors, City elected officials, or other assigned staff.”

The Supervisors’ response:

“Partially Disagree. While the COC has been set up to be outside of normal political influence and control, the BOS has implemented policy and actions which will provide needed services. The COC homeless strategic plan was adopted by the BOS. Most of the recommendations of the Marbut Report were adopted in the Strategic Plan. Of the 28 recommendations, only six were not adopted due to reasons of unclear jurisdictional purview.”

Says who? The word “Marbut” appears exactly three times in the so-called “strategic plan” (and only then in passing) and there’s no list of the 28 recommendations with the responses thereto. Therefore, the claim that 22 of Marbut’s recommendations were “adopted” is entirely selective and subjective and is typical of the “Continuum of Care’s” self-serving rhetoric. Their claim that “six were not adopted due to reasons of unclear jurisdictional purview” is similarly bogus. Which six? What “reasons of unclear jurisdictional purview”?

Another “inflammatory” GJ recommendation: “R7. County and local elected officials [should] prioritize the development of specific objectives that meet the homeless issues identified in the Strategic Plan within 180 days of the release of this report.” (The Grand Jury had correctly noticed in the Strategic Plan that it had no “specific objectives” or target completion dates. The only thing they “prioritized” was making sure that their funding was uninterrupted.)

Board response:

“The County has many homeless support programs offered by Mendocino County Social Services and Behavioral Health. The BOS does receive updates. There is a need for greater collaboration between funding sources. A working group was formed before the pandemic but has not met since. [Despite thousands and thousands of zoom meetings. – ms] The working group should start up again to collaborate across programs to better provide services to those willing to accept them.”

Not even an acknowledgement that the “strategic plan” had no specific objectives, much less a direct order for the vague “working group” to even meet. In fact, one of the COC’s strategic plan’s “goals” was to “reduce homelessness in Mendocino County by 5%” — an impossible to measure “goal” which of course the Continuum of Care thinks is some kind of standard, when it is nothing but irrelvent text inserted for lack of anything else.

Translation: Nothing will be “prioritized,” much less changed. And if you’re still homeless after all the money the County/Continuum of Care's 31 separate agencies spend on their self-serving, ineffectual, and hard to enroll in homelessness programs, it’s your own damn fault.

PS. If the Supervisors are defending this cruelly vague homelessness “strategic plan,” you can be sure that their grand $75k-plus-expenses County “Strategic Plan” will be similarly pointless.

PPS. The drafters of this ridiculous and insulting proposed response to the Grand Jury are Supervisors John Haschak and Maureen Mulheren, the ad hoc committee formed for that purpose on August 17, 2021. 

Previously: Mendo’s New Homeless Plan

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SOUTH FORK FLOWING AGAIN

South Fork flow is back at Dyerville.  About 3" of rain in headwaters
near Branscomb and about an inch elsewhere has reconnected the river
with the main Eel at Dyerville and it doesn't look like it is going to
disconnect again.

Also, NOAA is calling likelihood of La Nina (cold water at equator).  We
should get an average to wet year coming up.

(Patrick Higgins)


PREVIOUSLY: "South Fork Eel Goes Dry At Main Eel River – First Time Ever"

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CAR FIRE

On September 24, 2021, at approximately 0500 hours, Officers from the Fort Bragg Police Department responded to the area of the 1000 block of Glass Beach after hearing the Fort Bragg Fire department being dispatched to the area for a vehicle fire.

Upon arrival, Officers and Fire personnel located a passenger vehicle fully involved in fire.

Officers believe that someone was inside the vehicle when the fire started and then began trying to remove property from the vehicle. The first fire personnel on the scene reported that no one was near the vehicle or in the vehicle when they arrived. A cell phone was located nearby that may possibly belong to the owner of the vehicle.

The vehicle was a 2013 Toyota Prius, with a California license of (6ZHJ173). The registered owner of the vehicle is an Adam Snyder, out of Arcata California.

Officers are looking for anyone who may have information or possibly know the location of Snyder or anyone who was inside the vehicle when the fire started. Any information can be passed on to Officer Jarrod Frank at 707-961-2800 x 139 or jfrank@fortbragg.com.

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REMEMBERING THE ROCK HOUSE

Editor,

Re: Your recent article, “Portrait of a Marijuana Widow” by Jonah Raskin

My grandfather, Tom Vass, and his partner Pat (last name lost to time) built the Rock House in Finley about 1937-1938. It was called The Rock House because of the rocks it was built with.

It had dancing on the west end with usually a three piece group and sometimes one guy with an organ. My mom and dad went over from Ukiah on dance night to help out. I spent a lot of school vacation time there as a kid there drinking Coke and eating beef jerkey. That would have been in the mid- to late-1950s.

Angel’s Restaurant started out as Moon’s Chinese Restaurant which burnt down and gutted the bar. It was later rebuilt as a Mexican restaurant. I think it was owned by a lady named DeeDee. Not sure.

I don’t remember when the Angels took over and maybe that is when rock music started. But there is no possibility that the Rock House was known for rock music as long as Tom Vass owned the place.

Mr. Raskin, I thank you for bringing back to me some long forgotten memories.

Gary Miles

Ukiah

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OLD TIMER ERNIE BRANSCOMB: “I must admit that I am no expert on this subject. I only know what I see and hear. I have seen many drunks in my life, and possibly many more cannabis users. There may be some benefit in parking your brain for a few hours, but it is not wise to park it while you may need it for thinking. Not being particularly religious, I can’t trust in God to take care of me while my brain is in park. From that standpoint I never drink more than a 12 oz. beer, and I will never use ANY mind altering chemical that will take away my ability to protect myself and my family and friends. Alcohol predictably leaves your system rapidly. After smoking one joint a day for a period of time, cannabis stays in your system and is detectable for up to 30 days. For me that is not good. I have heard many stories about how peaceful cannabis users are and how violent drunks are. However, I have been in many situations where some things are just plain worth fighting for. 

All of society is in serious trouble right now, we no longer have a clear sense of the future. I keep hearing about the new fad called critical thinking. What good is critical thinking if all of the “facts” that you gather are ones that you select to believe. I’ve seen it too many times. So the advice that I have for everyone is to keep doing whatever you do and remember the wise council ‘Moderation in all things’.”

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Fort Bragg Ladies, 1911

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THE MENDOCINO WOMEN’S POLITICAL COALITION will once again be giving Candidate Trainings.

Next year we will have plenty of elections. The following seats will be up for election In November: 

4 seats on Ukiah City Council

4 seats on Fort Bragg City Council

Seats on All School Boards

Consider this Candidate Training in order to help your favorite candidate or be a candidate yourself.

They will take place in Ukiah, TBA, on October 2, 9, 16 and 23, 2021 from 9 am to 1 pm. 

Each training will include an elected woman as well as two trainers. 

State: all statewide offices are up for election. Legislators and local representatives may be running in new districts (redistricting).

Hope you are able to attend these training sessions. If you have any questions, please email vjmuchowski(at)gmail.com

ED NOTE: Uh, this “training” is basically a screening session to get the right kind of woman — tame Democrat — into local public office. Independent women, and certainly not conservative women, aren't welcome, although the Democrats who sponsor these things may pretend otherwise. If recommended for office by Ms. Muchowski, you will become a certified Middle-of-the-Road Extremist sanctioned by Congressman Huffman, state senator McGuire and assemblyman Wood with maybe even a photo op with Gavin Newsom.

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Noyo Harbor, 1950s

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THE DOPE MARKET, an on-line comment:

Granted that Prop 64, like most propositions, sounded like a well-intentioned effort to solve a problem, but was in fact always bankrolled by big business. But the voters didn’t see past “legal weed – yay!”, and now we’re stuck with it. Similar can be said for the unintended consequences of Props 47 and 57.

But…. An economist might look at the economy of Humboldt over the last 40 years and determine that it was a false economy based on some specific and faulty factors: a) weed was illegal and hence expensive, and b) despite all the tales of CAMP and the HCSO, enforcement was more lax here than anywhere else, as was the likelihood of prosecution. The only reason the emerald triangle became what it was is that, relatively speaking, your chances of getting away with it were far greater than anywhere else.

My point is that even if big-business weed wasn’t a thing the local market share in the weed game would have plummeted. Even if there were, say, a statewide 2000 sq. ft. limit (random number for the sake of argument) there’d be growers all over the state in the game, and there are a lot of cheaper and easier places to grow than Humboldt. If I can buy ag land in the Central Valley with water and warm temperatures for 1/2 what I would pay here why would I stay here?

And don’t forget tax incentives. Yeah, Humboldt County has been greedy, unrealistic, and inefficient in the permitting process. But even if that weren’t that case there’d still be some other county incentivizing people to grow there to draw in the business. Just as if it were an Amazon distribution center, but on a way smaller scale.

Our weed economy was propped up by factors that don’t exist anymore. We have 3 times (rough guess) more capacity than the market can handle. The old days are over, people are going to suffer, and the hills will depopulate. Only re-criminalization will change that.

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Scott Dam

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FERC DENIES TWO BASIN DELAY

[Yesterday] Congressman Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael), Chair of the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Water, Oceans, and Wildlife, released the following statement on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) decision to deny a request by a group of Northern California agencies to pause its application to take over the license for the Potter Valley Project:

“The Two Basin Partners have worked diligently to find common ground and resources to pursue a revitalized Potter Valley Project – but we always knew that this would be a major challenge. [Yesterday’s] ruling by FERC is just a new chapter in seeking a Two Basin Solution, and I am committed to doing the hard work needed to achieve that end. This partnership and the stakeholders in the Eel and Russian river basins are strong and ready to take on a new challenge,” said Huffman.

Congressman Huffman has played an active role in the matter, having facilitated initial discussions to create a Two Basin Solution for the project and establishing the Potter Valley Project Ad Hoc Committee in 2018. The Two-Basin Partnership includes California Trout, Humboldt County, the Mendocino County Inland Water & Power Commission, the Round Valley Indian Tribes and Sonoma County Water Agency.

A READER COMMENTS: “Huffman is based in San Rafael. He represents Marin and Sonoma counties (and nominally Mendocino and Humboldt). The water from the diversion of the Eel is going to Santa Rosa and northern Marin development and expansion. What do you think his mission is here? I’m gonna make a wild guess and say….Give us up north some pretty words and… But keep that water flowing south. I don’t trust him for a second. Santa Rosa NEEDS that water. Until they develop their own massive reservoirs or decrease their population they will take that water — even if the fish must all die. That’s how politics works and that’s just how people are. Heck, I know people down in SRosa and they don’t even have a clue or a concern about where their water comes from. They just use it and use it, washing their fancy cars and maintaining their LA-type lifestyles. Pretty sick when ya think about it…”

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Ukiah Fish Hatchery

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ON LINE COMMENTS OF THE DAY

(1) Oh it’s depressing as hell, no doubt and after serving the public for the last 6 years I should be chronically depressed myself. Fortunately for me I expected this and after putting forth a super-human effort only to confirm the fact that Americans actually embrace corruption as a way of doing business, well you reap what you sew.

Personally I have been blessed with a wonderful and productive life. I will have earned just about $2M dollars and have lived my 67 years living the life of a king. I am thankful and grateful to God for all He has done for me.

Watching my nation decay and collapse, sometimes even physically is what is so disturbing. How anyone can embrace the dirty, old sock in the White House as a good thing shatters my faith in my fellow humans. I am certainly sad at watching this farce play out, but not to worry, it’s not bothering me in the least, I saw it coming.

(2) Ah, the Boomer lament. You are the classic example of why your generation needs the hook off the world stage. Your statement reads almost like a satirist wrote it as it is filled will the usual tropes and the eye-rolling conclusion, “I saw it coming.” 

The thing is your generation has detached itself and takes no responsibility for the mess you’re generation helped to create, support and reinforce. 

But yeah, you saw it coming and did nothing. Like many it seems earning that $2 million got in the way.

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MENDOCINO COUNTY TO HOST LOCAL ASSISTANCE CENTER FOR RESIDENTS IMPACTED BY THE 2021 HOPKINS FIRE

The County of Mendocino, in partnership with state and local partners will host a Local Assistance Center (LAC) to provide services and resources for residents impacted by the 2021 Hopkins Fire.

The LAC provides a single location where those impacted by the fire can access available disaster assistance programs and services. This multi-agency event will include representatives from local, state, non-profit, and other support services agencies. Agencies will be announced as they are confirmed. 

Redwood Valley: Thursday, October 7, 2021

When: 1:00 PM – 6:00 PM

Where: 8207 East Rd, Redwood Valley, CA 95470 “Old Jehovah's Witnesses church”

To slow the spread of COVID-19, masks are required. The County will follow social distancing guidelines, provide hand sanitizer, and conduct health screenings.

For more information, please contact the Disaster Recovery Team at (707) 234-6303 or disasterrecovery@mendocinocounty.org.

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REDISTRICTING ADVISORY COMMISSION AGENDA - September 30, 2021

The Redistricting Advisory Commission Agenda for the Thursday September 30, 2021, meeting is now available on the County website:

https://www.mendocinocounty.org/government/executive-office/redistricting/redistricting-board-meetings-and-public-workshops

Please contact the Executive Office at (707) 463-4441 if you have any questions regarding this message.

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COLOR GUARD, BOONVILLE FAIR, 2021

photo by Bill Kimberlin

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CODE ENFORCEMENT NEWS

Ukiah & Talmage - Months of August and September 2021 - Multiple non-permitted commercial cannabis locations identified; plants abated after Code Enforcement engagement.

In the months of August and September 2021 the Mendocino County Code Enforcement Division conducted investigations regarding non-permitted commercial cannabis cultivation at the listed locations below in the Ukiah/Talmage areas. Any cannabis cultivation over the Medical or Adult Use exemption limit (as defined in Mendocino County Code Section 10A.17.030) is considered to be commercial cultivation. Please see the Mendocino County Code (MCC) Section 10A.17 for additional information.

Code Enforcement investigations confirmed that commercial cannabis cultivation was taking place at these locations without either a County Cultivation Permit or a State Cultivation License, and/or cultivation was taking place in violation of MCC Sec. 10A.17 requirements. It was determined that there were significant community quality of life concerns in these neighborhoods. The responsible parties abated the cannabis plants after Code Enforcement engagement.

8/11/21 - 200 Block of Laws Ave - 85 Cannabis plants abated

8/31/21 - 700 Block of Riverside Drive - 84 Cannabis plants abated

8/31/21 - 1700 Block of Talmage Road - 4 Cannabis plants abated

9/13/21 - 8200 Block of Feliz Creek Road - 80 Cannabis plants abated

9/20/21 - 1500 Block of Talmage Court - 84 Cannabis plants abated

 Code Enforcement intends to take additional action as needed to achieve compliance with any non-permitted structures at these locations.

The Code Enforcement Division receives all Cannabis and General Code Violation complaints within the unincorporated areas of Mendocino County. Complaints can be made by visiting our website at https://www.mendocinocounty.org/government/planning-building-services/code-enforcement and filing an online complaint. You can also file a complaint by email at codeenforcement@mendocinocounty.org, or by phone to (707) 234 6669. Cannabis specific complaints can also be filed by calling the Cannabis Complaint Hotline at (844) 421-WEED(9333)

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CATCH OF THE DAY, September 24, 2021

Fahey, Finche, Framke, Hanover

CORINNA FAHEY, Point Arena. Assault with deadly weapon not a gun, interfering with police radio communications, controlled substance.

AARON FINCHE, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.

BRIAN FRAMKE, Willits. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.

GORDON HANOVER SR., Ukiah. Failure to appear.

Lilly, Marin, Morris, Travis

MATASHA LILLY, Willits. Under influence.

JAIME MARIN-JUAREZ, Ukiah. Assault with deadly weapon not a gun, disobeying court order, failure to appear.

GARY MORRIS, Fort Bragg. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, trespassing.

JALAHN TRAVIS, Ukiah. Interfering with police radio communications, protective order violation.

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Halliday & Howe, Point Arena

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REMEMBER THEM AT ELECTION TIME

Editor: 

Rep. Jared Huffman, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, Assemblyman Marc Levine and state Sen. Mike McGuire supported the Interior Department’s 20-year extension of 24 ranching leases at Point Reyes. The ranchers will be allowed to occupy about 40% of the national seashore, diversify their activities to include raising animals besides cattle, slaughtering on site and growing crops. All despite the extensive water they have used and polluted, the land they have denuded and the native species they have depredated over the past 30 years. Nothing is going to change, except for more damage to the national seashore, despite meaningless promises to try harder to reduce their damage and to kill fewer elk and other native species.

The public has spoken loudly, clearly and consistently about our support for nature, not ranching, on public land. But politicians care what deep pockets, not the public, wants. Please hold these two-faced politicians accountable. Remember when these hypocrites email you with their sincere grins, their commitment to green agendas and to climate change. Remember when they ask for contributions. And, most importantly, remember to vote against them in the next election. They don’t represent us.

Nancy Hair

Sebastopol

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BIG SKY OVER ITHACA

by David Yearsley

The playlist of life follows patterns, tends to the familiar. We don’t need Silicon Valley algorithm makers to seduce us into routines. We fall into them ourselves. Once these tastes are formed, we continue to pursue them—or, perhaps more accurately, let them pursue us. Music platforms have simply sought to monetize our reflex to like what we like, and then get us to like—buy—other things that confirm our inclinations.

I don’t use Spotify. In this non-binary world, I reject the tyranny of ones and zeroes.

But even if I’m un-connected from the umbilical cord of musical big data (or naïve enough to think it so), I am a creature of musical habit, not having moved on much from the fascinations of my youth: Bach, Charlie Parker, Dexter Gordon.

Having kids can help jolt one towards the new. You begin by foisting parental tastes and ambitions onto them with lessons (classical, of course), the family record collection, and other forms of intergenerational warfare.

Then they start getting ideas of their own. The next thing you know, the kids are grown and you’re heading to an old-time concert at a farmstead on the outskirts of a picturesque town called Trumansburg ten miles north from Ithaca.

Among the many subcultures in this part of the world is a thriving folk music scene. Ithaca and the surrounding area are home to many celebrated singers, fiddlers, banjo players. Young musicians travel from afar to learn from them.

I’ve lived in Ithaca Upstate New York for twenty-five years and even though I’ve encountered that scene at the local farmer’s market and other gatherings, I’ve never gone out of my way to partake.

Last Saturday night a brilliant young duo, Vivian Leva and Riley Calcagno, came to Big Sky Studio outside of Trumansburg. The duo has been pitching their recently released, eponymous recording on the present tour that brought them here, and that has them in Nashville this weekend to perform at the Americana Fest 2020.

The studio is on the Sweet Land Farm, held by many to offer one of the best CSAs in the county. Big Sky is a simple clapboard structure with a red metal roof set behind the old farmhouse. The studio’s porch gives onto a lawn bordered by trees and a wild hedge. An outbuilding at the back of the bring-your-own-camp-chairs-and/or-blankets seating area serves beer and wine and excellent homemade food at the concerts.

The initiative of musicians Rosie Newton and Paul Martin, the concert series that welcomed Leva and Calcagno came as a vital response to the hardship visited on them and their colleagues by the pandemic. Rather than succumb to the cancellation of their outside engagements, Newton and Martin did what has to be done against the forces of global mayhem: they fostered the local.

Recently graduated from Oberlin, Calcagno is a college friend of one of our daughters, who invited us to the show along with a group of Oberlinites come to Ithaca to celebrate her birthday. The Leva and Calcagno CD happily made its way to us through her and has been a kitchen favorite in advance of the pair’s appearance here.

The disc delivers an upbeat wistfulness with a pure and compelling musicality that sounds utterly natural but is clearly the product of tremendous practice. Leva’s parents also form a noted folk duo, and she was reared in the tradition in the Shenandoah Valley. She first met Calcagno at an old-time music conclave in his native Washington State. Exchanging geographies, he went to college at Oberlin in Ohio, she at Lewis and Clark in Portland. At Oberlin, Calcagno did two degrees, one in religion the other in violin performance. He’s one helluva of a fiddling, banjo-playing, singing apostle. The duo command an impressive, uplifting store of organically cultivated talents.

As the sun set before the show our party strolled through farm. The tomatoes and peppers were still abundant in the hoop houses. The apple trees sagged with auctumnal fruit. The darkening land stretched towards the horizon. A chevron of geese flew south, silhouetted a golden-pink sky.

After the informal welcome and thanks from the duo for the invitation to play at what is already a cherished folk venue, Leva and Calcagno began. The audience knew right away that this music was so good, it was great: Leva in full voice singing natural and true, chugging along at her guitar, with Calcagno harmonizing with supporting nuance and offering improvised commentary on his guitar. Did that first song begin “How can I tell you that I was untrue” (the opening line on their CD)? I can’t remember now, but tell us they did, and in myriad ways.

Leva inflected her vocal lines with the yodeled catch and drawled twang. Descent to her chest voice underlined pointed observations of life and love. Calcagno was an always sensitive vocal accompanist (and occasionally a soloist), his instrumental prowess deployed on guitar, banjo and violin. The last of these encouraged flights of flamboyant virtuosity.

The duo’s songs are enriched by canny feints away from the harmonic expectation, often evoking a sense of love slipping through the fingers or the dissimulations of “making believe you’re telling me everything,” as the song On the Line has it, the seemingly comforting routines of relationships giving way to dark doubts. In Will You (still love me?) the counterpoint between two vocal lines chooses kindred moments of challenging poignancy and registral shifts to express uncertainty, even perhaps deceit.

The lyrics have a knack for orchestrating unanticipated collisions with poetic truth, as if suddenly turning to come face with an unexpected square-dancing partner. Many songs expertly choregraph avoidance and desire. These moves also take the form of personal confessions made universal, as in Leaving on Minds when Leva sings “there’s nothing I hate more than Sundays.” There’s nothing sweet about such parting of these song’s lovers—except the music.

The music draws its energy from that paradox: finely crafted, it resounds with spontaneity; even when lamenting lost love and the way things could have been there are wellsprings of joy in it.

As these optimistically regretful strains fled into the night, they began towards the end of the concert to mingle with the sounds of rock and roll coming from a party from the next property over. A blast from that unseen sound system caught Calcagno’s ear as he grabbed his fiddle for the encore. “Hey that sounds good,” he said, and meant it. The world and its music are indeed good, especially on such a Finger Lakes evening just past the middle of September.

(David Yearsley is a long-time contributor to CounterPunch and the Anderson Valley Advertiser. His latest book is Sex, Death, and Minuets: Anna Magdalena Bach and Her Musical Notebooks. He can be reached at dgyearsley@gmail.com.)

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POINT ARENA CITY COUNCIL MEETING SEPTEMBER 28, 2021

9/28/2021 Point Arena City Council Agenda

https://mailchi.mp/5c00da54825e/city-council-meeting-september-28-2021?e=d0e3cdc057

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HERE ARE TWO NEW INTERESTING DEVELOPMENTS;

1. In the ongoing soap opera, that is "Arizona's Fraudit", a local paper sued the CyberNinjas to provide an accounting of what they've been doing and what they discovered. The paper did this after the Ninjas' refusal to turn over any information about what it was they were actually doing with Arizona Ballots from the 2020 election. The Ninjas claimed that being a private corporation, they're not subject to public scrutiny... A local judge disagreed. So this is going to get interesting really fast. It would indeed be the height of irony if the only election malfeasance being committed in Arizona, is by the local Republican Party, in their desperate attempt to find election malfeasance. On an equally interesting note, it has been pushed for some time now by the Republican Party (in the name of their corporate masters) that Corporations have the rights of human beings (this was primarily the avenue that Scalia built to allow the endless pumping of dark money by corporations into government races.) It seems inadvertently, he may have accidentally taken away corporate protections with the same stroke of the pen... Corporations may now face the kind of lawsuits that only confronted flesh and blood people in the past. Again, plenty of irony to go around. 

https://tucson.com/news/local/cyber-ninjas-can-be-sued-under-arizonas-public-records-law-judge-rules/article_9a787940-1a35-11ec-9859-fb6edd4186a5.html

2. RussiaGate has just taken a fascinating turn. It seems Political Operative, working for Mitch McConnell and the Pauls (Ryan and Rand), have been indicted for illegally funneling Russian campaign money into the 2016 Presidential Race. That all important Putin connection seems to just get stronger and stronger. Poor Donald is looking at indictments coming from Georgia, New York, and now perhaps the Fed? He just can't seem to get a break. 

https://www.reuters.com/world/us/republican-party-operatives-charged-with-arranging-illegal-trump-campaign-2021-09-20/

— Marie Tobias (Coast Listserve)

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AT HOME IN BERLIN

by Harry Stopes

Most of the lampposts in my neighbourhood in Berlin have at least one election placard attached to them with cable ties. The centre-left SPD candidate for chancellor, Olaf Scholz, looks straight at the camera in black and white, wearing a dark suit, dark tie and white shirt. The polls all suggest his party will win the most seats on Sunday; whatever coalition emerges, Scholz is the likely chancellor. The SPD’s assertive campaign has an air of dry inevitability. As Jan-Werner Müller put it in the LRB, Scholz is presented as a ‘supremely competent Beamter (civil servant)’.

The SPD’s local candidates have a similar vibe. In my constituency Annika Klose is a former chair of the Berlin branch of the SPD youth. She has a degree in social sciences and used to work at the Deutscher Gewerkschaftsbund, a federation of eight trade unions. The centre-right CDU’s candidates meanwhile look like bank managers and the liberal FDP’s like tech venture capitalists. The Green and Die Linke (The Left) contenders are harder to categorise but they at least look more like people you might actually want to talk to.

This election has serious implications for the climate, housing and healthcare. There are major differences between the parties though the campaign materials aren’t always clear about what these are. ‘Berlin: ready for more,’ says a poster for the CDU’s mayoral candidate, Kai Wegner. (More what?) ‘There has never been more to do ... let’s grab the future,’ the FDP urges. ‘Olaf Scholz, chancellor for Germany,’ the SPD flatly declares.

The slogans that gesture towards policy often come as couplets: ‘stable pensions, good care’ (SPD); ‘for the millions, not for millionaires’ (Die Linke); ‘our country, our rules’ (AfD). The SPD appears to be offering pairs of things that go together, but the comma in a phrase like ‘strong economy, good jobs’ or ‘more homes, affordable rents’ actually implies ‘but’ rather than ‘and’. The triangulation is typical of the continuity Third Way tradition that Scholz belongs to. You can have good jobs, but only if the rich get their strong economy; you can have (undefined) ‘affordable’ rents, but only if the real estate lobby gets plenty of development opportunities.

The implied logical operator deployed by the right wing, in contrast, is ‘not’. The far-right AfD wants ‘neighbourhoods, not ghettos’. (The CDU posters promise, more discreetly, ‘safe’ and ‘clean’ neighbourhoods.) The AfD is also making a big deal about ‘normality’. The motto on all their posters is ‘Germany, but normal’. Fighting ‘indoctrination’ in schools is normal, keeping ‘our’ pensions for ‘us’ is normal, protecting our police is normal, protecting our borders is normal.

Almost all the posters are in German. I’ve seen Turkish on a handful of CDU materials, but the only party to use other languages consistently is Die Linke. As I was crossing Seestraße after football practice recently I saw one in Vietnamese. I photographed it and sent the picture to a Vietnamese-Polish friend, who translated: ‘Let’s protect the renters!’

The independent – but endorsed by Die Linke – campaign for the referendum to expropriate large landlords is similarly multilingual. I’ve seen posters in Vietnamese, Russian, Polish, Arabic and Turkish. The translation into many languages gives an extra layer of meaning to the campaign slogan ‘Damit Berlin unser Zuhause bleibt’ – ‘So that Berlin remains our home.’

(London Review of Books)

* * *

1937 Cadillac

* * *

MEET JOSIAH ZAYNER, AMERICA’S MOST CENSORED PERSON

Scientist Josiah Zayner is brilliant, daring, and may have incurred the wrath of more internet platforms than any person alive. Is America's most interesting person also its most censored?

by Matt Taibbi

Five years ago, on The Verge ESP Podcast, a pair of journalists discussed and debated a story called “A Bitter Pill,” about a young scientist named Josiah Zayner, who’d performed — this will take some explaining — a DIY fecal transplant.

Zayner, who has a PhD from the University of Chicago, worked for NASA researching the terraforming of Mars, and is the inventor of a musical instrument called the Chromocord that creates sound when light reacts with bacteria, was and is one of the world’s leading “biohackers.” He defines the term to mean “constantly pushing the boundaries of science outside traditional environments,” which he certainly did in this case, taking a radical approach to combating longstanding intestinal troubles. In layman’s terms, his plan was to nuke his natural bacteria with antibiotics, and replace them with bacteria from the feces of others.

“I wanted to see if, by transplanting different bacteria in my body, they would change the way my gastrointestinal system was functioning,” is how he explains it now. “Because, at the time, it wasn't functioning very well.”

On that May, 2016 podcast, neither science reporter Liz Lopatto nor Arielle Duhaime-Ross, who wrote the story for The Verge, had much that was positive to say about either Josiah or his experiment. In fact, in an eerie preview of the anger of self-proclaimed “experts” that would become ubiquitous among pundits after the arrival of Covid-19, they sounded downright furious.

“Extremely dangerous, possibly stupid,” said Lopatto, of Josiah’s gambit.

“In his mind, it made sense to tell people about it, and inspire them to take their health into their own hands,” said Duhaime-Ross. “The risk of copycats is really real with this.”

“This is one of the things that does bug me about biohackers,” agreed a put-out Lopatto. “I don’t want people playing with pathogens in their bedrooms. Like, I’m not interested in that, personally, as a person who lives in this society.”

A less judgmental New York Times later produced a short film about the episode called Gut Hack:

Whether it’s Zayner gulping down a massive antibiotic cocktail in a WU-TANG FOREVER t-shirt, or repeatedly grimacing as he swallows home-crafted feces capsules in a hotel room, the short documentary is a parade of scenes make your eyeballs pop out in shock and amazement, cartoon-style. Zayner, by any measure, is an extraordinarily interesting character. He has a mind almost perfectly engineered against obedience: brilliant, fearless, and not accepting every assumption but checking the validity of each. He alternately bristles at or ignores judgment, seeming to draw inspiration from it in either case. At the end of Gut Hack, we see him standing on a subway platform, shaking his head as he listens to the two Verge journalists denounce him. We hear their audio:

“Not putting your life in danger unnecessarily is pretty basic,” they complain, adding that his experiment was “not even a blip in the scientific radar.”

“There’s a fine line,” Zayner later sighs to the Times, “between being crazy and knowledgeable.” He goes on to talk about growing up poor, and different, in the Midwest. “When you grow up on a farm, you have all this freedom,” he says. “We don’t have any neighbors or anyone to interact with, so we’re used to just doing what we want. And when you get to this environment were people don’t do that, you’re immediately pegged as, you know, a weirdo.”

Some weeks after, he’s shown feeling better, but he wants more than a placebo result. The film ends with him receiving the results of genetic sequencing tests that appear to show his “gut hack” experiment worked. He bursts into tears. The Times reporter asks, “Do you feel vindicated?”

He seems surprised by the question. No, he says, it’s not about that. “It’s one of those things,” he says, “where you’re so moved and impressed by how science works.”

Zayner went on to claim his battle with irritable bowel syndrome had been won, only to be replaced by a new malady. “My physical signs of IBS were gone,” he said recently. “But so was my privacy. This is when the deplatforming began.

Around the same time Gut Hack was being made, Zayner founded ODIN, which he describes as “a company that sells science and genetic engineering supplies to people so that they can do science experiments in their homes.”

ODIN’s product line, which includes CRISPR gene-editing kits, seems designed to give ordinary people the tools to experience science as Zayner does, almost more as artistic expression than means to any end. He describes his Chromacord, for instance, as “something more purely inspirational, just outside the average notion of what science even is. In a manner of speaking, it was simply magic.” Or, as he said in another interview, “People having access to this technology allows them to do crazy and cool shit.”

Unfortunately, after the notoriety he gained from Gut Hack, bringing the “magic” of genetic engineering to the layperson suddenly proved a little beyond what science-journalism scolds or the faceless executives at tech platforms felt comfortable allowing.

Amazon and Facebook began delisting his products, and Patreon, PayPal, and Square all shut him down in short order. Sometimes he was told why, sometimes he wasn’t. He was forced to move on, and doesn’t want to jinx his relationship with his current payment processor by mentioning their name.

In between, the State of California brought a case against him on the somewhat preposterous charge of practicing medicine without a license. He won, but California state authorities were so peeved that they passed a law appearing to target his company alone, declaring that firms must append their wares with labels announcing “not for self-administration,” if they’re in the business of selling home “gene-therapy kits.”

In a piece called “Don’t Change Your DNA At Home,” the MIT Technology Review noted with amusement that, even if one includes ODIN, “We’re not sure any such kit exists.” The sponsor of the law, Republican State Senator Ling Ling Chang, appeared to think ODIN’s products were a lot more Frankensteinian and terrifying than they are.

“It was really weird,” Josiah says now. “It’d be like, I don’t know, labeling a computer: ‘You shouldn’t eat this computer.’ I mean, obviously.” Regarding ODIN’s home experimentation kits, he adds, “How would you use it on humans? I don’t even understand. I guess somebody crazy enough could just take some of the DNA that we sell and try to inject it into their body, but it wouldn’t even work in humans because it was meant for other organisms.”

Zayner didn’t comply with the law, and instead just moved to Austin, Texas (“Land of the free, home of the brave,” he laughs) and set up shop there. Then Covid-19 arrived, and Zayner’s biohacking got him in trouble again.

In May, 2020, he read a scientific paper that claimed a DNA-based vaccine against Covid-19 had been successfully developed and tested on macaques.

“I was like, ‘Why isn’t anybody working on this or trying this?’ Why don’t I go and order up the same DNA vaccine, have the company produce it for me and actually test it and see if it works on humans?” he said. “It worked on monkeys.”

Zayner followed through on his idea, contracting with a company to make the vaccine described in the paper. Then he and two other scientists/bio-hackers live-streamed the process of injecting themselves with it. He claims they all had antibody responses, but even at the time — his experiment was covered by Bloomberg — he said, “I’m very suspicious of my own data.” Here is how he describes the results, and his thinking, in a recent essay:

I’m hesitant to say it worked because vaccines are complicated and we’d need further testing to confirm our results. But, even if it didn't work, the fact that someone could have designed a vaccine, and contracted a company to manufacture that vaccine in June 2020 for under $5k is fucking profound — and that is what, at the time of releasing our video, I felt people needed to know.

At the time, there was no action taken against him. But just as mRNA vaccines began to be distributed across America and other parts of the world, he abruptly received notice from YouTube that he’d been banned for “severe or repeated violations of our community guidelines.”

He appealed, but lost his appeal. In none of these communications with YouTube was Zayner told exactly why he’d been shut down.

Contacted for this story, YouTube spokesperson Ivy Choi did, however, elaborate, seeming to echo the complaints from The Verge journalists years ago about the risks of copycats:

We terminated the Josiah Zayner channel following repeated violations of our sale of regulated goods policy, which prohibits content intended to facilitate the use or sale of unapproved or homemade COVID-19 vaccines. We enforce this policy equally for everyone, and channels that repeatedly violate or are dedicated to violative content are terminated.

“It's just a little sad and heartbreaking,” Zayner says, in response. “I want to believe we have evolved as a culture since Galileo was a proclaimed a heretic but it doesn't appear so.” He adds, “When science is outlawed only outlaws will do science.”

By the time Zayner received his YouTube ban, he’d won the Triple Crown of Internet censorship many times over. He’s been shut down by retail distributors, payment processors, and media platforms alike, and his case speaks to issues far beyond the ordinary speech restrictions typically covered in this column. In modern capitalism, a whole galaxy of decisions that once upon a time would have rested solely with regulatory agencies, licensing boards, or the courts may now be addressed in one stroke by the inaccessible executives of tech oligopolies.

A larger question has to do with an issue increasingly on the minds of people of all political persuasions in America. Who should have access to knowledge? Should things that are true be withheld from people for their own good? A growing movement of what ABC correspondent Jon Karl described as “serious people” has decided that, yes, Americans are generally too stupid to be trusted with knowledge about everything from politics to science, that the dangers of allowing the moron hordes access to the fire of Prometheus are too great.

For Zayner, the dangers lay in the other direction. “I want people to realize this technology is real and powerful and it’s available to them,” he once told Freethink. “But we can’t only put it in the hands of the rich and the powerful… I think that’s the scarier thing.”

Culturally, we’ve always been a people up to something in our garages that was none of your business. As the world’s great hothouse for growing crazy people, America produced masses of harmless quacks, surrounded on the edges by a few world-changing geniuses and a fair number also of Mansons, Meteskys, and Starkweathers. With the exception of the occasional Anti-Saloon League or Un-American Affairs Committee, the freedom of spirit at the heart of this equation has for most of our history been celebrated more or less uncontroversially as a core American value. Usually, a majority figured the odd Scientologist or laetrile dealer was worth tolerating if we also got flying machines, the telephone, and Star Wars out of the bargain.

That dynamic is changing, and the remote unsupervised farm is fast being replaced by a vast, searchable electronic grid. Before, if you wanted to gobble mushrooms and invent Mormonism, who could stop you? Now we’ve got a class of experts who think even enlightened self-abuse can’t be tolerated on their watch.

“That’s the other crazy thing,” Josiah says. “I have a PhD in this stuff from the University of Chicago. So it’s really weird when people point and say, the experts don’t like this. Technically, am I not one of the experts? Don’t I get a say?”

More from Zayner:

Matt Taibbi: Is the problem in your case one of companies intentionally targeting you because you’ve been in the news and controversial, or are you just repeatedly falling afoul of algorithmic censors?

Josiah Zayner: I don’t think necessarily anybody’s out there trying to be deliberately take me down, or is out to get me. Sometimes it feels that way, especially when my payment processors all go away at once, boom, boom, boom. I thought, who’s reporting it? How do you even find out if there’s coordination?

I think it’s just the system is designed so poorly that people are just getting caught up in a net, one that’s taking away completely legitimate stuff, and they don’t care because they would rather just take out as much of the bad as possible. It’s like the fraud detection for the banks. It’s terrible… They call and say, “You charged this thing for getting gas!” I’m like, ‘I get gas like once a week. How is that fraud?’

MT: You’re in a position where there are lots of videos about you on platforms like YouTube, and those are allowed, but the primary source is not. What’s that like?

Josiah Zayner: The information is totally being controlled. That’s what it is. It’s not even about politics. It’s just the information we are all experiencing is totally being manipulated and controlled. It’s hard for me. If I can’t even post something about my own life, everybody is only getting a weird, distorted filtered view from the media. They can’t even hear my own account. That’s really weird.

MT: What do you think the real objection to your vaccine videos was? Is it just the safety issue? They also imply that lives could have been saved by developing and releasing a vaccine more quickly, or by releasing a different kind of vaccine.

Josiah Zayner: The reasons they gave weren’t related to the vaccine or COVID necessarily. It was just dangerous stuff. So yeah, I don’t know. But I imagine — it’s a question, who’s correct? We say, “Well the FDA is correct.” But then you say, China has approved their own vaccine. They’re a country with a much bigger population. Over a billion people. Is China really going to be that wrong? Or India, or Brazil, or any of these other countries?

We’re right and everybody else is wrong? That doesn’t make any sense. Nobody is trying to kill their population. But only our vaccines are okay? Only the things that the CDC says is okay? It’s a distorted point of view. It’s very US-centric. The idea that we’re the only people who can make the correct decisions in the pandemic, when obviously we can’t — I don’t think anybody would say that we’ve done a good job in any way.

MT: What is it about this deplatforming movement that troubles you the most? Is any of it defensible?

Josiah Zayner: The crazy thing is that people can’t even see this stuff. It just gets totally removed from all public consciousness. But it’s super important, especially science information and knowledge. You’re basically dumbing down our population for the sake of trying to protect them, instead of just allowing them to look at the information, analyze the information, and make a choice. How do we ever expect people to be able to make this choice on their own, if we never give them the information, or access to the information and say, “Here, look. Decide based on the data what you want to do.”

Instead, it just becomes a system where you have to trust the experts and you have to trust the government. I’m like, who trusts the government? Let’s be honest. It doesn’t matter what political party you are part of. Come on!

* * *

Old Fashion Fun

* * *

BIDEN BREAKING BAD

by James Kunstler

Time, the saying goes, is nature’s way of making sure that everything doesn’t happen at once. So now, maybe, we’re at the event-horizon where nature is suspended, because everything seems to be happening at once. The weeks ahead will determine whether we are a coherent society that can function on the basis of a firm consensual reality, or just a convocation of battling narratives designed to conceal anything that quacks like truth, all veering toward failure.

Up this afternoon (Friday) for instance: the results of the Maricopa, AZ, election audit. The New York Times has declared a preliminary draft of the audit “a cap-gun ending to an inquiry whose backers hinted would turn up a cannonade of fraud.” Their conclusion: “Joe Biden” won the 2020 election fair-and-square. That would be momentous if it were true, but is it? Or is it just the juke of a player that typically runs zig-zags through the facts? The Times certainly has an interest in, shall we say, getting ahead of the story in its never-ending quest to control the narrative — as opposed to delivering actual news fit to print. I’m standing by to sort out the jokers from the face-cards.

Otherwise, it’s been a less than stellar month for the putative winner of that 2020 contest, the media figment known as “Joe Biden.” His open border policy flipped savagely on him as a nine-month influx of Central and South Americans (and opportunists from even more distant lands) turned into the bad optics of some 15,000 Haitians (most up from living in Chile, Colombia and other non-Haitian places) flooded the zone at Del Rio, Texas. Predictably, their insta-town under the border bridge turned septic when the few Port-a-Johns dropped off there boiled over — instant Haiti! — and the appalling situation could no longer be hidden from the news media.

Federal border agents next tried policing the scene on horseback — arguably a daintier approach than driving SUVs through the mob — and the news media instantly parlayed the scene of horsemen using the reins to control their mounts into a narrative about slaves getting whipped in the cottonfields. In other words, another chapter in the testament of “systemic racism.” Even the notorious race hustler Al Sharpton drifted down to Del Rio to sprinkle a little gasoline on a potential fire, but his audience heckled him into submission and the operation fizzled.

Meanwhile, “Joe Biden” cranked up a cosmetic airlift sending a few Haitians back to Haiti — which they had fled from years ago to live in South America — at the same time shuttling another cohort of Haitians over to Houston and other cities around the USA, as if nobody will ever catch on to the shell game being played. Any way you cut it, the fiasco on the US / Mexican border had turned into a big loss for the Big Guy since the economic alarm bells ringing across the country tell you the last thing we need is more illegal immigrants to compete with actual citizens for a declining number of low-paying jobs.

The Big Guy also had a bad week on the family grift front as the story broke, first on Politico and then elsewhere like a brushfire, that the trove of incriminating memoranda on Hunter Biden’s laptop was for-real, and that the concerted effort to hide all that muck from the voters during last year’s election campaign was a completely dishonest operation. Add up all the memos and emails on Hunter’s hard-drive and you have a pretty clear digital trail of a major racketeering operation that can no longer be denied. So, will Merrick Garland’s DOJ keep ignoring it?

The Attorney General was probably forced to approve John Durham’s recent indictment of Hillary Clinton errand-boy, lawyer Michael Sussmann, from the DC Lawfare Central outfit called Perkins Coie. I say forced because it was an open-and-shut case, and denial by Mr. Garland would have been seen as just another RussiaGate ploy by an agency hopelessly tainted by years of official criminal misconduct — and let’s assume that Mr. AG Garland does not want to be dragged into that mess, especially as Mr. Durham is unraveling it. And the Special Counsel signaled that he is doing just that by implicating a wheel of culpable public figures in a 27-page indictment for Mr. Sussmann’s simple crime of lying to the FBI, which could have been accomplished in two concise paragraphs. That is, expect the Sussmann indictment to not be the end of a matter that could be tending toward a massive RICO indictment against the entire DNC wax museum of liars and seditionists.

Coincidentally — and on rather a separate track — we have China’s latest export to the advanced economies of the world: the meltdown of its bond market as signified in the wreck of super-gigantic real estate conglomerate Evergrande. Behold the broken daisy-chain of obligations stretching to the furthest reaches of global finance and the deleterious effect of that on capital markets everywhere to follow. The central banks are pulling out the last stops now to prevent a general meltdown of hallucinated “wealth” around the world and you can probably measure the success of that last-ditch effort in days as we enter the cursed month of October, when skeletons dance on the graves of lost fortunes. The stage-managers behind “Joe Biden” look forward to that as they would to so many stakes driven through their degenerate hearts.

Events are converging. Everything is happening at once. Narratives are in collapse. Governments may soon commence to fall. Food and critical supplies of parts for things needed to run advanced societies are up next. What will you decide to do about yourself, your community, and your country?

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

* * *

* * *

BIDEN’S LOADS OF LITTLE LIES ARE FINALLY CATCHING UP WITH HIM

It took the better part of a year but the serious flaws (internal divisions, lack of competence, and a reliance on messaging) he mostly hid during the campaign are emerging now.

by Matt Lewis

Somebody’s lying, but who?

The Biden administration suggested this week that the 15,000 Haitian migrants under a bridge in Del Rio, Texas, were being “swiftly” deported. But on Tuesday, two U.S. officials told the Associated Press that Haitians had been released into the interior of the U.S. on a “very, very large scale” with “notices to appear at an immigration office within 60 days” (which means we may never see some of them again).

When asked about it on Wednesday, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki passed the buck and said to “ask the Department of Homeland Security.” But the department has declined to give those numbers. DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas twice this week refused to provide Congress with even a “ballpark” estimate on how many undocumented immigrants have been released into the U.S. this year. Either nobody in the administration knows the answer or they aren’t willing to say.

Finally, on Thursday, the DHS announced that 1,400 migrants had been sent back to Haiti, 3,206 had been moved to other locations and are in U.S. Customs and Border Protection custody, and that fewer than 5,000 migrants in the Del Rio area. The only problem? If you add those numbers together you get 9,606—5,394 less than the estimated 15,000 Haitians who were under the Del Rio bridge. As Fox News’ Peter Doocy asked Psaki, “where’s everybody else?”

The delayed response and mixed messaging might be partly due to the fact that the Biden administration would probably have preferred to keep the details quiet for understandable political reasons. If Biden appears too dovish on the border, it will invite Republican criticism and play poorly with the general public. On the other hand, the progressive base in the Democratic Party is already outraged over the mistreatment of Haitians at the hands (or alleged whips) of Border Patrol agents on horseback. On Thursday, a Special Envoy for Haiti resigned, citing the U.S.’s “inhumane, counterproductive decision to deport thousands of Haitian refugees.”

Joe Biden is being forced to choose between pleasing the public or pleasing his progressive base, in some ways mirroring the civil war currently playing out over his legislative agenda. Trying to thread the needle, Biden has to insist his policies work for all sides, even as all sides are nearing their boiling point. A president who likes to declare he’s delivering “straight talk” keeps talking out of both sides of his mouth. To try and get away with that, he has to withhold basic information. But how long can that last?

This is where the plot thickens. Even as Sec. Mayorkas was evasive when it came to delivering details about Haitian migrants, he was, however, willing to reveal another (possibly more) troubling statistic this week: out of 60,000 Afghan nationals evacuated during the withdrawal, a mere 16% are U.S. citizens or Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) holders.

A generous interpretation of this news would be to say that America rescued countless Afghans from the Taliban. But a less charitable interpretation might be to point out that we left behind hundreds of American citizens and thousands of Afghan interpreters—and instead rescued tens of thousands of military-aged young Afghan men who may or may not be fully vetted.

 You might recall that the Biden administration kept bragging about how many “people” they were able to evacuate. It is now clear that this wording was not accidental.

Neither was the timing. Imagine if, during the time that the public was focused on the Afghanistan debacle, it had been revealed that 84% of the people we were rescuing were neither citizens or SIV holders.

That might have been devastating to Biden, who was already on his heels, which is probably why Mayorkas is providing this information weeks after the media has moved on from the Afghanistan story—just as he is now withholding information about the Haitian migrant story, as the media focuses on the current Biden disaster.

Aside from the obvious fact that these two developments will likely result in more immigrants coming to America, two related themes have evolved here.

First, Biden’s incompetent administration keeps failing to deliver on its promises. Biden said “diplomacy is back,” but French President Emmanuel Macron might beg to differ. He said the “over the horizon” technology would stop terrorism without “military boots on the ground,” but innocent children were killed in his botched drone strike. He swore that inflation was “transitory,” even as it continues. He promised “independence” from the virus, but here we are two and a half months later and COVID-19 is still wreaking havoc. He insisted the Taliban’s takeover of Kabul was not inevitable. He vowed to evacuate all Americans. He claimed the border crisis was “cyclical.” I could go on.

Second, Biden’s administration, not unlike the last one, puts more emphasis on spinning or burying bad news than it does on generating good news. This administration focuses on message control, while hoping that someone else will handle the details. The bad news is that nobody else is competently managing the logistics. And while kicking the can down the road can postpone paying the bills, to mix metaphors, it’s unwise to assume that buying more time will allow you to fix the fundamental problem. When the bills come due, you have new fires to put out.

People have a way of revealing themselves, eventually. It took the better part of a year to realize that the Biden administration was concealing some serious flaws (internal divisions, lack of competence, and a reliance on messaging) Biden himself was (mostly) able to hide this during the campaign.

But the chickens have come home to roost for the Biden administration. They are not who we thought—who we hoped—they were.

(The Daily Beast)

19 Comments

  1. Craig Stehr September 25, 2021

    Hello postmodern America, Having recently returned to Redwood Valley, California after ten nights in Las Vegas, I wish to share this update with you. I was able to contact online everyone I needed to contact from my solitude in a guest room on the 15th floor of the Four Queens Hotel & Casino on thunderous Fremont Street, during the labor day week of non-stop partying. Closure was brought to 50 years of radical environmental and peace & justice activism, and writing all about that. Nobody anywhere offered my any cooperation to continue on with it. Therefore, I have moved on, with the collective well wishes of all.
    I am back in the room that I was previously in at The Magic Ranch, helping out around here doing chores etcetera which benefit the place and others. I am looking for a place to move to which is enthusiastic about the creative arts, literature, music, and is spiritually connected at the highest level. It’s a simple question: now that we have saved a collapsing world, what are we going to do now? I’m mobile, centered, have sufficient resources for my own needs, and like you, don’t owe anybody anything. Do you like what you are reading?

    Craig Louis Stehr
    Email: craiglouisstehr@gmail.com
    P.O. Box 938, Redwood Valley, CA 95470-0938
    Blog: http://craiglstehr.blogspot.com
    September 24, 2021

  2. Lee Edmundson September 25, 2021

    “Everything in moderation. Especially moderation.” — Oscar Wilde

  3. Marmon September 25, 2021

    RE: OPEN MINDEDNESS

    Kunstler is right, the audit might have found that Biden won, but it did not find that he won fair and square. The State’s Attorney General will have to make that determination once he examines all the evidence.

    Nut cases who rely on mainstream news sources like the New York Times get to read what the want to read but that doesn’t make a narrative true. From the beginning the State Senators said that the Audit was never about overturning the election, but instead it was about finding any irregularities in the 2020 election and they found plenty of those. Criminal charges are most likely forthcoming. More will be revealed, the fat lady hasn’t sung yet.

    Marmon

    • chuck dunbar September 25, 2021

      The Republicans can’t win by promoting their programs, which are nutcase ones like politicizing Covid and resisting vaccines and masks, among many other nonsense issues. So they want to–and are actively working to– undermine trust in the electoral process. It’s very dangerous for America. While they shout from the rooftops that they believe in electoral integrity, that just BS. James, you have lost your integrity by supporting such issues and lying and spreading false narratives about them. It’s the Big Lie.

      • Stephen Rosenthal September 25, 2021

        Chuck,
        Unless he’s a completely unhinged member of the cult, I think Marmon posts this stuff because he’s craving attention. He pushes the buttons that he thinks will get replies, or rambles on about his numerous jobs and/or family/friend connections. Textbook stuff.

        I’ve wasted enough of my time on him and stopped responding to his nonsense. Unlike the County’s lamentable experience, which required a restraining order, maybe if everyone simply ignored him he’d go away.

        • chuck dunbar September 25, 2021

          It’s a good insight, Stephen, and a reasonable response. I will try the same, as I surely get hooked too often. Over the last months, I’ve sometimes had similar thoughts about James: seeing him as a little boy saying outrageous things, and stirring-up stuff, then grinning to himself as folks respond with facts and moral clarity that don’t matter to him. He gets the attention he wants, then moves on to the next issue. It’s imitative of Trump–a kind of hit-and-run theater….

          • Marmon September 25, 2021

            Snowflake
            Snowflake, snowflake
            Floating on down

            Snowflake, snowflake
            Drifting through town

            Snowflake, snowflake
            What do you see?

            Snowflake, snowflake
            Have you come to see me?

            Just passing through?
            If you come back, tell me what’s new.
            I long to see the world,
            Laid out before me, unfurled

            But alas little snowflake
            I am trapped in the ice

            Oh snowflake, snowflake
            Let me see through your eyes.

            • Harvey Reading September 25, 2021

              What’s the one for “shitflake”?

          • Lazarus September 26, 2021

            I guess it makes no difference that almost half the country, in one way or another, agrees with James. Personally, I don’t agree with him on many of his Trumpian/righty comments. But I do not think playing the superiority card by lefties is mature or productive. And marginalizing comments with ancient history insults is bullshit.

            For me, the election is over, and Trump lost. I hope lefty likes the price and gas, housing, food, the coming taxes. The border mess, and the Dems Covid management insanity.

            Maybe, come 2022, the midterms may not look like the recent recall in rapidly dissolving, politically irrelevant, and environmentally ignorant, California.
            James and everyone else here has a right to an opinion.
            But I’m a small Libertarian. You know, the governs least, governs best idea…
            Be well,
            Laz

      • Marmon September 25, 2021

        I think the Auditors were brilliant in how they conducted the audit and presented their findings so far. By just focusing on election anomalies they found with the ballots themselves, they raised more questions than answers.

        The job of resolving those questions now fall to Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, a Republican who has ambitions of winning a U.S. Senate seat in 2022.

        Brnovich immediately seized the opportunity, announcing his office’s election integrity unit would review the questionable ballots to determine if further action was warranted.

        Marmon

    • Chuck Wilcher September 25, 2021

      “Nut cases who rely on mainstream news sources like the New York Times get to read what the want to read but that doesn’t make a narrative true.”

      Same can be said for GateWay Pundit, NewsMax, WND, OANN etc…

      They read what they want to read.

      • Marmon September 25, 2021

        I happen to have online subscriptions of several left wing newspapers including the AVA, New York Times, Washington Post, and the Press Democrat. I try to keep an open mind and avoid GROUPTHINK. It’s important for my continuing education that I don’t retard my growth by letting someone else do my thinking for me.

        Marmon

        • Bruce Anderson September 25, 2021

          The AVA’s editor is a democratic socialist/libertarian socialist but the paper isn’t lockstep left in the least. Those papers that are are boring. The PD is the house organ for Northcoast Democrats of the conservative type we suffer here. The NYT and Washington Post are big and fat but conservative lib, and house organs, basically, for the national Democrat Party

        • Professor Cosmos September 25, 2021

          Just wash that Orange Man out of your hair, and get his voice out of your head, and your prophecies might hit the mark more. This diminished your credibility regarding local affairs. Certainly you must sense that?

  4. Marmon September 25, 2021

    RE-AZ AUDIT

    The auditors said that they did not find any fraud as Trump had alleged, but at the same time, they maintained they’d found multiple election anomalies, among them more than 17,000 duplicate ballots.

    Marmon

      • George Dorner September 26, 2021

        And the end result? Six million dollars spent to INCREASE Biden’s victory margin by 360 votes. When I read that, I laughed until tears came to my eyes.

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