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Off the Record (December 22, 2021)

FOR THE SECOND TIME, roughly two dozen unmasked people, including children, invaded the Ukiah Co-Op two Saturday ago, allegedly in protest of the store's mandated mask policy. The protesters denounced CoOp employees as fascists while encouraging their children to help themselves to whatever food they desired as their parents loaded shopping carts with food items they eventually left in their carts. No one was cited although the store sustained minor damage and staff had to spend several hours cleaning up deliberately spilled goods and re-shelving items the demonstrators left in loaded shopping carts. The demonstrators call themselves the “Mendocino Patriots.”

Mendocino Patriots

THE REBUTTAL came from a phone call late afternoon Monday. The caller would not identify herself. She said the AVA's paragraph on Saturday's demonstration by the unmasked at the Ukiah Coop was fake news. She said her group entered the store with the intention to buy “but they wouldn't check us out.” She said her group of “22-23” people has a video of “what really happened.” She said nobody spilled anything on purpose. “One man was there with his children. He offered to pay for the chips his child ate but the clerks wouldn't take his money.” She said the clerks were rude and laughing at the demonstrators. “I am a Coop member and I have not been allowed in the store even though I have a medical exemption they refuse to honor,” the caller said. “We went to Black Oak Coffee but Black Oak closed early when we got there.” 

I MADE the mistake of trying to argue and off the patriot went into blanket challenges of the principles immunization, then a totally uninformed riff on Jews in Nazi Germany, challenges to the efficacy of vaccination — the usual anti-vaxxer catechism. 

HARD ON THE HEELS of Screwball Numero Uno's call, Screwball Dos called. He wouldn't give his full name either “because you don't need that.” Screwball Dos later said his name was “John.” John said he was an eyewitness, not a participant, to what happened in the Coop, and that my paragraph on the event was a “complete misrepresentation” of what happened and “our community will not tolerate these deliberate blah blahs” before he said, “Keep it up and we'll (plural give away) get our lawyers and blah blah blah…”

HMMM. Check the logic here, nevermind the science. Resorting to fascism to vandalize a market to protest that market’s “fascist” mandate that shoppers wear masks. Perfectly clear, as was the excellent parenting also on full display by the Coop invaders. Ironic that the store invaders cite Nazi Germany as they falsely equate mask mandates with Hitler’s Brownshirts, who also invaded and trashed stores belonging to Jews in the run-up to Hitler’s takeover. 

THE ANTI-MASKERS are, of course, anti-vaxxers, covid being a government hoax and the work of the same people who robbed the Orange Whale of re-election, who claim Big Pharma is murdering its customers and suggesting that Fauci wants men dressed as women to read fairy tales to kindergartners and teach poor little white kids that grandpa killed all the Indians and then made black people slaves. 

WHEN the female CoOp invader called to deny eyewitness accounts that they'd disrupted store business and done minor damage in the process, I got a distinct gunnysacker hit off her, a young-ish woman with endless grievances she carries around in her gunnysack, ready to dump them all over whomever pauses to listen to her.

I HAD TO LAUGH when the gunnysacker said the Coop tried to charge her five bucks for curb service. She has a medical condition, you see, that exempts her from the store's mandatory mask policy, but the store refuses to recognize her exemption so she can't go in the store without her mask, and they won't cater to her outside free of charge. “For the Coop to charge me five dollars for them to bring me groceries outside the store is a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act,” she said.

FOR YOUR OBSCENE COMPARISON FILES: According to the Mendocino Patriots’ post, the treatment of the anti-mask group by the employees and other customers of the Ukiah Co-op “felt very reminiscent of the 1950s when black people walked into a ‘whites only’ business looking to be served and (were) turned away. All because we did not conform to the societal norm of covering our airways with a piece of cloth.”

THIS COHORT of crackpots has also compared themselves to Jews in Hitler's Germany.

SCARY HED from the Daily Mail: “Brazen crime, open drug use, a spike in homelessness and trashed streets drives very tolerant San Francisco residents to say ENOUGH!”

AS THE POET said back when the world was still fairly orderly, the center is not holding, and the great beast is wide awake and stomping our way. But Frisco, once you get out of the downtown area, is as calm and orderly as ever because, although the mayor will never admit it, when the wealthy neighborhoods call 911 for even the slightest intrusion into their over-sized mausoleums the police appear pronto, hence no homeless tents or walking wounded anywhere but downtown. And you seldom see a homeless person or an unattended crazy person even walking through the Presidio because the federal cops are even faster to respond to unseemly behavior in that sprawling federal set aside. But downtown? Anything goes.

SF's HOMELESS TAKEOVER of public space in the central city is a larger phenomenon of the same thing we see in Ukiah with the homeless — civic paralysis. As soon as someone says, “Well, this has to stop. These people have to be removed from the streets,” here comes the entire multi-million dollar helping professional apparatus to scream (from the safety of their homes in safe neighborhoods), “These people have rights, too,” never mentioning that these armies of helping pros live off human misery, and that in a rational, just society all people unable or unwilling to care for themselves would be in hospitals. Which is where they used to be before America lost its way. 

DA EYSTER said Tuesday that charges against the two men who shot and wounded Chris Brown in Albion two weeks ago were not filed pending further investigation. The matter has been sent back to the Sheriff's Office for more information. “We couldn’t determine which guy did what,” Eyster said. “It’s not clear which guy shot the gun.” The DA said he couldn't hold someone “until you know who did what and why and I can’t charge a lesser crime because they might plead to it and get off on the less serious charge.” Eyster said neither of the men had criminal records, and that a third man might have been involved.

Aguiler & Chavez

HMMM. Jose Aguilar and Roberto Chavez-Sousa show up at Chris Brown's house at 2am, shoot and wound him and are found hiding in the nearby woods a few hours later. They are booked into the County Jail on attempted murder charges with bail set at $750,000 but when they appear in court they are released without charges while the episode is investigated.

I DON'T GET IT. If two people show up at two in the morning, shoot and wound a man unknown to them when they wake him from his sleep, run off when their target returns fire but leave their vehicle in the victim's driveway, how is it possible that both Aguilar and Chavez Sousa aren't held as suspects to determine which of them fired at Mr. Brown? I thought under state law (and common sense) that whoever is with a shooter during an attempted murder that person is also assumed to be as guilty as the person who did the shooting. Something is very, very off in this one. I'm sure the perps will be available for further questioning.

FORMER SUPERVISOR McCOWEN'S call for County Counsel Christian to be fired might have more credibility if McCowen's own performance as a county official hadn't been at least as dubious as his under-performing successors. In fact, McCowen, as supervisor, attempted the most brazen cronyism I can recall any supervisor attempting in full public view, and that was his creation of a climate change committee with, at full administrative salary and perks, his close friend and tenant, Alicia ‘Little Tree’ Bales, in charge. This move was too much even for his ethically challenged colleagues who, predictably, went ahead to allocate public money for the redundant committee but without Ms. Bales at the big pay at its head. Denied the County sinecure, Ms. B was promptly hired as “program director” at KZYX, at less money than the county “job” but certainly light duty at a semi-public radio station where the same programmers have been doing the same programs since the station's inception. Automatons need direction?

AT LEAST SUPERVISOR GJERDE tried to hide the County Counsel's laughably excessive raise on the consent calendar, apparently confident his gift of public funds to this particular incompetent (McCowen's correct about that) would get the usual unanimous consent from the other four supervisors. The raise for County Counsel, as predicted, was not only not pulled from the consent calendar for discussion, the entire consent calendar was approved without comment by all five supervisors.

THE RAISE for Christian is worth between $70 and $80 thou annually, a raise assumed by us to be the largest one-shot pay boost for a public official in County history, topping the whopper the Supes gave themselves 15 years ago.

THE DEMOCRATS — that small coterie of inside-the-bubble conservative liberals who shot-call for the party — don't have a single plausible national figure to replace Biden with, and are even in electoral trouble in many of their gerrymandered congressional districts. (At ease, Mendo Muffins! The Northcoast is gerrymandered to keep soft libs in office forever, hence Huff, McGuire and Wood.) Which is why I'm nominating Jen Psaki for president. She's smart, articulate, combative, presentable, and never comes off as a nut. Psaki for president!

BUT YOU KNOW in your bones who the Democrats are going to run in '24, initials H.C. She won the popular vote when she ran against Trump the first time, and here she comes again as the building civil war kicks off in earnest.

STEPH CURRY is the best basketball player I've seen through my own cataract-occluded eyes. Pro basketball to this jaded fan is only interesting when he's on the floor because Curry's also a great passer, and the Warriors play the game as a team, like us old schoolers prefer, although even Curry, when he's got the hot hand, fires 'em up as soon as he gets across the mid-court line. I'm nostalgic for the Rick Barry-Al Attles Warriors when the pros played a team game. I think the game peaked in the 70s. Now, it's like 6th period gym, a mad, freelance scramble.

PG&E SAYS IT PLANS to bury about 10,000 miles of electric power lines across California to reduce wildfire damage. Which, if they were the public utility they claim to be but aren't because their first allegiance is to private stockholders, they would have done years ago, and have done years ago in communities who've managed to get them to do it. 

ELI LAUGHTON isn't a gunnysacker, but he is a monologist. He calls the ava regularly and unloads whatever unfounded bit of cockamamie info he's picked off from the internet, all of it crackpot-sourced. The other day he called with a recitation of the anti-vaxx catechism. I had to hang up on him when his bullshit became waist-deep, but he called back with a challenge to debate “the facts,” of which only he has possession, his facts being the starting point for his idea of a debate. The prob with the lad is a problem he shares with millions of the credulous — they don't have the tools to weigh and accurately assess information; their funds of knowledge are either bankrupt or so limited that arguing with them is impossible because they don't accept the known common denominators. To be an anti-vaxxer you have to disbelieve the principles of immunology, i.e., the basics of modern medical science. To be a Trumper you have to believe he's a reputable, plausible character. (Ditto for Biden, of course) The credulous have their own authorities, and thanks to the eternal fund of misinformation available to them on the internet, the lunatic, dangerous millions are now in communication with each other, hence the looming fascism we face.

BIDEN spoke seemingly off the cuff Tuesday in front of some posh DC hotel to advise Americans to get vaccinated. The president, frail and slurring his words, pointed to his infrastructure plans as a big plus for his odd administration, and said he hoped Congress would pass voting rights legislation. Again demonstrating he's only in tenuous touch with reality, the president said he was optimistic about the 2022 midterm elections while the fascists, aka the Republican party, are licking their fanged chops. “We know what we're for,” Biden said, “but Republicans don't seem to be for anything. Name me something they are for — they're against everything.”

NO, JOE, the Republicans are obviously for the re-installation of their down market fuhrer, while remaining against even the hint of voting rights protections, and will certainly chip away at Biden's infrastructure plans, even as the infrastructure crumbles, and remain opposed to any and all federal programs that might help everyday Americans keep afloat.

THE KENNEDY PAPERS: The National Archives has published more files online having to do with the assassination. They have been sequestered since 1997, when the government concluded its investigation into JFK's death. And, from first reports, there's nothing new in this latest release, most of which is about Oswald in Mexico where he visited the Russian embassy to ask about a visa to return to Russia. This stuff was confirmed years ago, and why it was “top secret” is simply one more indication that the “top secret” stamp is over-applied. There are still assassination files Biden says he will release next year.

A READER WRITES: “Some folks in Fort Bragg are stirred up that City Council member Tess Albin-Smith is going to a three day seminar in Yosemite. The seminar costs $500. Albin-Smith has apparently already booked herself a room at the Ahwahnee Lodge for multiple nights at $575 per night, all at city taxpayer expense. Maybe the City Council should reconsider this overpriced vacation masquerading as a seminar. Verified by a citizen and someone inside city government. Going to the seminar and the $500 seminar expense was approved at last city council meeting. Seemingly no one beyond Albin-Smith knew about her booking at Ahwahnee until yesterday or this morning.”

ALBIN-SMITH REPLIES: “Where did you get that? My room is at the Yosemite lodge at a conference rate of $278. Conference registration is $500 includes meals. The conference is a valuable networking session for policy makers in California. I went to it in 2019, sent by Mendocino Council of Governments, on whose board I sit—joint conference that year. I thought it was one of the best conferences I'd ever been to and wanted to go again. I met a lot of people (educators, elected officials, entrepreneurs, business professionals, etc) with ideas and solutions for everything from housing shortages to economic development strategies for small rural cities. It will be a valuable investment.”

JEFF BLANKFORT: “I was a severe critic of JFK at the time, for whatever that's worth, as I was ignorant of the secret back channel efforts that JFK was making with Khrushchev to avoid a nuclear war over the Russian missiles in Cuba while restraining the US military from launching an invasion. But what I did know and what rarely is ever mentioned—and know from experience—that at the height of the Cold War, no US serviceman, with or without a high security clearance, which Oswald reportedly had, would have been allowed to defect to the USSR and then return to the US without being prosecuted as a traitor let alone pretend to represent the Fair Play for Cuba Committee. And he would certainly not have been able to get a job with any Texas state institution even its schoolbook depository, so conveniently located for the day of the assassination.”

ED NOTE: I think he'd already been discharged from the Marines when he allegedly renounced his U.S. citizenship. But if he was still on active duty, you're correct, Jeff.

THEN WE heard former Army Major General Paul Eaton and former Brigadier Gen Steven Anderson and former Army Major Gen Antonio Taguba warning of another coup attempt. They claimed in a column for The Washington Post that there may be an attack similar to the January 6 Capitol riot after the 2024 election. “Military and lawmakers have been gifted with hindsight to prevent another insurrection,” they wrote, emphasizing that leaders must take action now.

EASY, BOYS. Alarming as January 6 was, it wasn't a coup attempt, but it was certainly a major clue that millions of Camo Bros and their shrieking female auxiliaries are thinking dangerously subversive thoughts. If the Orange Pumpkin had himself led the charge after having incited it, and if he were accompanied by even a dozen armed people who knew what they were doing… Well, with the mob having routed the Congressional Guard, it's not hard to imagine what might have ensued. 

AS OF NOW, Trump is the only rallying figure they have, and he's not up to a full revolutionary fascist assault on the national government, as he's already established. Mussolini, say, would have taken January 6 over the top. Our fascists, however, are too stupid and lazy to have seized that particular opportunity, but there are a lot smarter ones out there raring to go, I'm sure, hence the worried talk out of the generals.

FROM A COUNTERPUNCH article of last week: “I want to say one thing only. The Republicans are pushing for civil war. Friend against friend, neighbor against neighbor. Armed and ready to kill. People are unhappy, desperate and oppressed. They are struggling. They aren’t being heard. Nobody cares about their hardships. The unhappiness and desperation of the average American is, paradoxically, the very thing that will lead us over the cliff to a suicidal civil war. Trump used this unhappiness. DeSantis is using it. Texas lawmakers used it. And the Supreme Court is making a mockery of its own institution by riding the same wave…”

THAT'S ABOUT RIGHT. The final crack-up will be widespread but heaviest in the regions much more estranged than mellow Mendo, not that there aren't plenty of fascists and latent fascists right here, especially east of 101. (For local example, the Coop invaders are latents, as is the entire anti-vaxx movement.)

A LOT will depend on the basic loyalty to democratic principles of police departments and the professional military. Many police departments, and the entire military, are replete with ethnic minorities who, if it comes to it, can probably be depended on to crush the Camo Bros. Additionally, the Camo Bros will be hurting for regional and local leadership. 

ON LINE COMMENTS OF THE WEEK

[1] My wife asked if I’d go to the store, pick up ingredients so she could make lasagna. OK, I’ll go. She gave me a list. I needed beer anyway. Then she said “Make sure you get artisan bread.” Artisan bread? So when I got to the market I looked at all the breads on the shelf and found a loaf that actually said ‘Artisan Bread.’ I was pretty proud of finding exactly what she asked for. Got home, she pulled the bread out of the bag and said “This is the wrong bread, I said Artesian Bread.”

Then…

The lasagna: “I wouldn’t have bought this brand”

The Mozzarella: “did you check the date on this?”

The Tomato Sauce “THIS IS ON SALE NEXT WEEK, NOT THIS WEEK.”

The parmesan: “Why’d you get the large size?”

Finally, a little snark: “I’ll bet you got the beer you wanted.”

[2] RE THE SKUNK PLANS for the Fort Bragg headlands: What a Tempest in a Teapot! It occurs to me, from what I hear, that possibly eventually maybe hopefully the trains will run up through the north bay again as far as Willits even. And they could connect with the Skunk, like they used to, not that long ago, transporting people and mail, and stuff.

If these guys can qualify for funding, attract investors, afford to repair and maintain their tunnel and infrastructure, while bringing development and business to the Coast, development of that GP land I don't see what's so bloody wrong with it. Not like the city is going to do anything worthwhile. All they are good at is obtaining grants, building and removing useless roundabouts, building giant swimming pools that nobody can afford to go to, purchasing and giving away historic hotels to worthless nonprofits that no homeless get to sleep at, all the while wringing their hands with their thumbs up their butts. A train is a hell of a lot better than 100 18-wheelers coming over the mountains, possibly spilling gas and God knows what, 100 potential accidents and toxic spills per day. I think this could be a good thing.

[3] SATURDAY'S CO-OP INVASION, an on-line comment: “Their perversion of the meaning of the word “patriot” has grown tiresome. They are NOT Patriots. Patriots act for the good of all the members of their nation. Patriots don’t obstruct others from doing their jobs or engaging in essential activities like shopping for food. Patriots don’t handle fresh or packaged food and then leave it for employees to clean up, or for customers to have to buy ‘sloppy seconds’ or potentially tainted items that the ‘Patriots’ have spewed with their aerosolized breath from chanting and shouting while unmasked. Patriots don’t open and consume products knowing they will end up ditching them without paying, thereby contributing to ‘shrink’ (theft or waste causing loss of income/profit) for that business. Patriots don’t teach their children to be selfish and aggressive and mean. They call their action ‘civil disobedience,’ yet there is no civility in their actions. No, they are far from being Patriots.”

[4] Where do we stand, and how much more can we take? Where I live, economically and socially, the place is in shambles. And to think, up until not long ago, I thought of this culture, this civilization I live in as being ‘Rock Solid’. What an eye opener these last 2 years have been. (When I say ‘In Shambles’ I’m referring the fentanyl deaths, murder suicides, closed small businesses, traffic deaths and road rage incidents, car theft, car hijackings, assaults, sexual assaults and so on)

[5] WHAT NOW? An on-line comment: 

Best sit this one out Bleaker… This whole effing situation was not or ever has been planned, organized, arranged or designed by any effing bosses or authorities or central planning dept.  Like everyone else posting older than 65 We All Worked At The Mill!!! When the mills automated people got laid off. When automated mills finished off the logs Everyone got laid off.  We didn't have anywhere else to go Buddy. We were here and hungry and heard the first stories of buds in 73 grown by V Vets not hippies. Not knowing it would be our job 10 years later. 

All the clear-cut sheep ranches that got subdivided in the 50s and 60s became deer hunting cabins and back to the land homesteads that became the bud cottage "industry" ! It's called luck that so many things came together and the Fine People of Northern California picked their darn selves up from the end of timber and learned to grow the kind bud.  And everyone I know has always kept a day job too! It's called the work ethic and plenty still have it around here.  How do you think everything got built anyway? And no life here's never been what you wrongly think it was... for me it was like finding a good under the table job when my kids were small! And yes thank you I'm proud and humbled to have made it thus far!

[6] The University President told all the incoming Freshmen and their parents that 2/3 of the students present would not graduate. – Bull Gator … I received a similar message at my St Joe’s College freshman orientation in 1958. The Dean said to the assembled new freshman: “Look to your left… now look to your right… one of you three will not be here at the end of this school year.” Being the literalist that I am I was sorely tempted to raise my hand and say, “Father, how does that work out number-wise for the students seated at the ends of these rows?” But even at 17 y/o I knew somehow this wouldn’t be a good idea.

One Comment

  1. Jim Page December 25, 2021

    About the Ukiah Co-Op incident — here’s a cell phone video that’s pretty interesting to watch. You can clearly hear an employee say that the store protocols are posted and that “If you’re not wearing a mask we can’t check you out.” Somebody laughs and says, “Well, I’ll just fill up my cart.” They went in knowing what was going to happen, filled up their carts with things they had no intention of buying, and left a big mess.

    https://youtu.be/hxILHrxsq4A

    By the way, an acquaintance of mine here in Seattle who claims to be a doctor was posting anti vax articles on Facebook and I decided to source them. They all came from websites that also carried Jewish conspiracy stories and pro trump. That’s the through line right there.

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