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Off the Record (January 12, 2022)

THE DEMOCRATS are complaining that the January 6th slob-mob riot at Congress was an attempt by Trump and his Trumpers to overturn the election results. It was a riot, not a coherent, organized, serious attempt to overthrow the government. The rioters were surprised they got in. All of us looking on wondered at the lack of security adequate to squelching the maga mob everyone  except Congress knew would be showing up. A serious attempt at a coup would have seen armed intruders prepared to take their occupation all the way and then hold on to it. The magas weren’t prepared to do that, hence riot, not coup attempt.

WE LEARN from Newsweek that FBI “commando” teams with the authority to shoot-to-kill were  belatedly deployed on January 6th to protect ex-Vice President Mike Pence and members of Congress gathered to certify the 2020 election results. Even if the maga warriors had included its own commandoes they would have been easily put down.

IT’S INTERESTING to note, according to Newsweek, that it was Trump’s own Acting Attorney General, Jeffrey Rosen, who apparently acted alone in summoning the FBI’s tactical unit to the confused scene.

THE NOBLE OPPOSITION? Congress was in recess for the holidays but Nancy Pelosi has kept busy playing the market. The Democratic majority leader and her husband, Paul Pelosi, recently bought millions of dollars’ worth of call options for stocks including Google, Salesforce, Roblox and Disney, financial disclosures published last week show. The purchases occurred from Dec. 17 to Dec. 21 — just days after Pelosi insisted in a press conference that members of Congress should be allowed to trade individual stocks despite often being privy to insider information that can move markets. “We’re a free-market economy,” Pelosi told reporters, adding that members of Congress “should be able to participate in that.” 

‘VAXX JUNKIES’? Got to admit that this latest insult from the anti-vaxxers got a laff outta me. 

EVER CLOSER to the ultimate percentile on the actuarial chart, I at least glance at articles having to do with the elderly, widely assumed to be repositories of hard earned wisdom. Nope, young fools become old fools, as they say, but if you’re looking for smart people of whatever age saying smart, maybe even helpful things, there are whole libraries of them for you, the more respectable of which won’t include the thundering idiocies of “Tuesdays with Morrie,” a recent best seller by a sports writer about an old college teacher of his. “The truth is, once you learn how to die, you learn how to live.” Whew! One fortune cookie down. Need another one? Try this: “Death ends a life, not a relationship.” You’ll need an ouija board.

LIKE MOST PEOPLE, I’ll bet, as children when we begin to be conscious of the large people around us, we regard them as unreliable informants, if not so temperamentally uneven they seem dangerous to your health and welfare. Myself, surrounded by unreliable informants, especially at school, I got into libraries early via an extraordinarily kind and attentive librarian named Miss Hall, who set aside books she thought would interest me, beginning with the whole series of America’s greats biographies written for children. Then, when I was a little older, the Hornblower series, the John R. Tunis sports books, Johnny Tremaine, and then, the hormones began to groan, the real hot stuff like Peyton Place and Rickshaw Boy, and on into the heavyweights I stumbled on outside the mentally numbing halls of academe — Dos Passos’s USA; Hemingway; Herzen — among the writers who come immediately to mind as it was then, all of them unread in schools today and, except for Hemingway, probably unknown. 

ONE MORE SIGN that the culture’s collapsed is the depressing news that a collection of Norman Mailer political essays has been scrapped by Random House because “a junior staffer” objected to the title of Mailer’s famous essay, “The White Negro.”

MY FAVORITE LUNATIC, Texas Republican Rep. Dan Crenshaw, has speculated that congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene “might be an idiot.” (Might be?) Greene had said that Crenshaw was “hurting our brand” and “should stop calling himself a conservative” because he expressed support for FEMA resources to be used at COVID-19 testing sites. Crenshaw replied to that cretinous jibe, “Hey, Marjorie, if suggesting we should follow Trump policy instead of Biden mandates makes you mad, then you might be a Democrat—or just an idiot.” They’re both cuckoo, obviously, Crenshaw less so, proving his relative sanity recently when he described Greene as foremost among the “performance artists” and “grifters” in Congress.

A PERSONALITY PROFILE in the current New Yorker is of a neo-fascist called Dan Bongino, a former Secret Service agent, former cop, and a rising star among a slew of snarling fascisti shouting their treasonous bromides on the public airways. As a confirmed lib lab, I don’t pay any attention to the radio gasbags of the political right. The one time I watched Alex Jones of InfoWars on Youtube I thought he was a comedian, and Limbaugh, the king of gasbags and the inspiration for this Bongino character and all the rest of the new audio-video tough guys? I remember being surprised that anyone, let alone millions of yobbos, listened to Limbaugh. Of course the lib-left is just as tiresome, as any public radio listener of, ahem, basic discernment will tell you. (Aside: I try to time my morning exercise to begin after the painfully PC, excruciatingly pious Takeaway talk show is inflicted on the Anderson Valley every weekday morning at 6am, but since I like to get out there early when only Alicia Perez and Jan Wasson-Smith are on the road, the Takeaway is the only audio company I can get that early in the morning. This morning (Tuesday), the hostess suddenly announced, “I’m highly educated and I have no idea how the courts work!” She was talking with another bubblehead, a judge, who has written a book about how wonderfully just she is. The Takeaway is an NPR production (of course), but a steady diet of NPR (or KZYX) and you can begin to understand why the Bonginos of America are making their move.)

BECAUSE THE LIBS are banning the fascists from the dominant cyber-forums, a serious tactical error that will come back on them, the fascists are starting their own cyber-forums, and Mr. Bongino has apparently joined Trump to create what they see as equivalent to Facebook and Twitter. Here’s where Bongino is at: “There’s a lot going on behind the scenes. There are people now openly silencing and attacking conservatives, trying to have them jailed, trying to have them sanctioned, bankrupted financially, fired from their jobs. This is all happening right now! And it’s all happening because of the Democrat Party and the liberals. They are fascists! That’s not in dispute!” (Ancient tactic — accuse your opponents of being you.)

BONGINO CONT: ....”The only good news about the rapid descent [of America] is we’re going to hit bottom soon. And I promise you, I promise you! I know it — the Lord will not let this country go down like that. There will be an ascent just as fast, where freedom and liberty will reemerge, and these people on the other side of it, the Big Tech tyrant totalitarian fascists, their liberal buddies, the Biden Administration, they will all — all — have to answer for this.” 

IT’S WAY TOO LATE to require a general tightening up of political terms, but jeez, when the fascists think we’re the fascists it all gets kinda confusing. Quick! Define “progressive.” See what I mean?

I’D NEVER heard of Betty White until her recent death was all over the news, even all over the news I watch, which is BBC America and David Muir’s always exciting weather report. Even the BBC noted Betty White’s passing while Muir, of course, was awash in croc tears. Every morning, NPR mentions a celebrity’s birthday. I’ve never recognized any of them, but I’ve heard NPR’s conservative think tank intellectuals lament “the celebration of celebrity culture.” So, like, why celebrate it? 

THE TV TALKERS the other night agreed that the 6 Jan riot was a “harbinger of things to come.” Not exactly. America’s neo-fascists seem to learn from experience, unlike the Democratic Party who gathered to lament the riot by embracing Dick Cheney. Who? Dick Cheney, the man who set the whole world on fire. But there he was with big hugs for Pelosi and Schiff and the rest of the dreary leadership whose present vice-president said 6 January was right up there with Pearl Harbor and 911 as American catastrophes. NOT. 6 Jan was a one-off riot. It’s highly unlikely the Camo Buddies will bull rush Congress again. 

THERE WON’T BE a repeat of 6 Jan because the magas are quietly, legally taking control of the power levers, all the state and county and even federal vote-counting positions, the state electoral college positions, elected slots from Congress to school boards. They already have a good hunk of the cops, while the military brass is worried enough about fascists in the ranks to worry about it publicly.

WHO ARE THE MAGAS? They are white people who wish that black people were invisible again, that Mexicans were in Mexico, that women stood by their men, that gays were not having parades on television, that children addressed adults as Ma’am and Sir. This is what is meant by Making America Great Again. It isn’t possible and, to what I hope turns out to be a majority of US, undesirable. But a big slug of Whiteys are definitely going for it.

MY MOTHER mostly disagreed, although she was gone before Trump, who I know she would have regarded as the preposterous buffoon he is. So, one night I’m watching David Muir with her. She’d just looked up from her earthquake maps — she hoped to watch the Big One on tv — as Muir introduced a segment on same sex marriage with a visual of two women tying the knot in San Francisco. “Bruce! Quick! Turn that off!” I’m fumbling for the remote when she says, “Oh, nevermind. It’s probably a good thing homely people find each other.”

BUT LIKE a lot of people of her Depression- era background, my mother, while mourning the onset of almost every national development that began with the Kennedy Assassination, believed in basic fairness; she always supported the Civil Rights Movement and was all for Women’s Equality. Her life’s work as a nurse, much of it in emergency rooms, put her in working proximity with all kinds of people she saw as individuals, good, bad and indifferent, while often complaining how “soft” people had become, how too many people “whined” about relative trivialities. 

IT’S GETTING DARK in the Twilight Zone: In her letter inviting Biden to speak in the House chambers as crises multiply, Nancy Pelosi wrote: “Thank you for your bold vision and patriotic leadership which have guided America out of crisis.”

BEST RETORT to a website pest from Kym Kemp: “I hate to burst your persecution bubble, but…”

“THE VERY FINE PEOPLE of the Progressive Left believe many things — that men can be women (and mostly should be); that two plus two should equal how you feel, not the same darn thing every time; that “Joe Biden” is not just president but the greatest one since Barack Obama (and the 2020 election proved it). The very fine people on the Left don’t believe in a couple of things: reality and the law. This is getting to be a problem in what’s left of the USA.” (James Kunstler)

MR. K is a good writer, and often very funny, but his use of “progressive left” is redundant because the left, by definition, is progressive, especially against the backdrop of Trump-think. The left is also non-existent in this country in any traditional-historical sense of the term, the casual false labeling of Pelosi libs as communists for example. There’s nothing at all left or progressive about Biden; he’s never been either one, or even much of a mainline liberal, and I haven’t heard any conservative liberal of the Democrat type proclaim either Biden or Obama as great. 

THIS FALSE TROPE that conflates conservative liberals of the Biden-Pelosi Democrats with the left, whatever “left” means to Trumpers, is deliberately intended to discredit any government program likely to ease the burden of most Americans, a stance which just happens to work to the great advantage of Bezos Unlimited and the other owners of both political wings of American capital.

BEFORE YOU LEAVE TODAY, CLASS, you have to sit still for this pop quiz. Ready? True or false. (1) Karl Marx was a 19th century sociologist. (2) Marxists think that economic and social conditions determine your life. (3) Canada, Japan, Norway, and Sweden are socialist countries. (4) Stalin and Hitler were socialists. (5) Cuba is a Marxist-Leninist state. (6) Mendocino County is home to several thousand socialists. (7) Hippies are socialists. (8) Trotsky raised rabbits in Mexico. (9) There is no difference between a communist and a socialist. (10) Liberals are socialists. (11) Anarchists hated communists. (12 ) Many towns in Idaho, circa 1880-1920, were governed by socialists. (13) The Anderson Valley Advertiser is a communist newspaper. (14) The Spanish Civil War was about communists versus fascists. (15) Imperialism is a beer made in Belgium. (16) Democrats are socialists. (17) Republicans are fascists. (18) The Black Muslims are a racist organization. (19) Genocide and Vendetta is a true history of pioneer Mendocino County. (20) Social Security is a socialist welfare program. 

WHEN BIDEN said on 6 January that the Trumpers “hold a dagger at the throat of America,” dagger should have been plural, everything from the fascism the Trumpers yearn for to slo mo social collapse, to rolling environmental catastrophes. 

ON LINE COMMENTS OF THE WEEK

[1] I’m optimistic that 2022 is going to be a great year, but then again 2021 was a very good year for me and mine. I live in a rural community in a red state with a governor who never locked us down. My neighbors generally know that the whole Rona thing is a giant psyop and less than 10% of the people here mask up. We grow food. The blue people need us or they’ll get hungry in a hurry. Part of me wishes we’d stop distributing to them. Seriously. To quote James McMurtry, let them eat shit. They can go on Twitter with their pronouns and rainbows and celebrate our stupidity. I’m fine with that, as long as they stay in the craphole cities they call home. Life is good out here and we aim to keep it that way. Happy New Year!

[2] UKIAH PD’S RESTRAINT TACTICS, an on-line comment:

I wish cops would quit saying, “If you can talk, you can breathe.” It’s not accurate as far as suffocation is concerned. If we put you under water and place a coffee stirrer type straw in your mouth with one end above the water you’ll be able to “breathe” but you’re going to die if you don’t start getting more air quickly. The same is true for many people who are lying on the ground with their chest and abdomen on the ground while someone is on their back or putting pressure on their back. This is more common for people who are heavier and should be considered when arresting them with force. Yes, they can breathe enough to utter a few words but they cannot breath enough to stay alive for long.

I think a few officers have malicious intent while many other officers have no ill-intent and really believe this to be true, (What they’re implying with “If you can talk you can breathe”). It really needs to be addressed in their training and should have a doctor as part of their training explaining what’s happening to the individual in these conditions.

This, and of course the mental health training needed to deal with so many people that police will interact with.

Those two areas of training should not take away from but should be added to other aspects of an officer’s training and experience that are also needed in many circumstances they encounter.

There are times force is necessary; it never looks nice but that doesn’t mean it’s wrong or needs to be eliminated.

[3] The reason freedom of speech is so important is that it allows citizens to criticize power without being drawn and quartered as was done in the past. Of course it is easy to say we have that freedom today in the U.S., except for how whistle blowers are imprisoned, and journalists like Julian Assange are slowly tortured to death for exposing our government’s war crimes to a public who doesn’t seem to care. Freedom must be used or it ceases to exist.

We prefer to think freedom of speech means we can humiliate and degrade people we don’t even know on anti-social media because it gives us an outlet for our resentments and discontents with the world. If we practiced critical thinking about power, we would know where to direct our resentments and discontents instead of at one another or those who are even less powerful than we are. As it is, we don’t even see power. It is hidden from us by our corporate media which feeds us pablum and spectacle and makes us into consumer morons instead of citizens of a democracy.

When otherwise intelligent people can believe that U.S. foreign policy is about spreading democracy and human rights around the globe, we are being treated as children who are kept in ignorance and bliss. The corporate owned media is lying by commission (Fox) and omission (MSNBC, CNN). The ruling class wants us to think we are living in the end of history, that capitalism and the market are natural and fair, and There Is No Alternative. Government is bad. Anything collective, public, or universal is totalitarianism, which is code for communism.

So where can we get good information about the world? This is where it gets tricky because all criticism of power has been censored and relegated to the margins of society. Further, all criticism of power is not true or valid. We are thrown back onto our own biases which are usually unconscious. If it comes from government, it must be wrong. On the other hand, if it comes to us clothed as “scientific” facts and data,” it must be true. How to separate real science from pseudo-science.

In these uncertain times, we should all be equipped with crap detectors and not go out without them. That’s where I think real discussion among peers might be useful; but alas....If it is true that as individuals we can only be as rational as consensus reality, we are in real trouble; as there doesn’t seem to be consensus. — Carol Mattessich

[4] On 1/06 Eve, ... be sure that you leave some horse dewormer and a buffalo hat on your front door-step for the insurrectionists.

[5] Re Sheriff’s Dispute With The Supervisors: 

Cripe… Where do you even start on this one, period. Typical Mendocino County Legal theatrics. Mendocino County’s court system is beyond Dysfunction Junction. It’s embarrassing the attorneys in Mendocino, many of them have only practiced in Mendoland. Honestly, they run up their charges frequently at $300 or more an hour. They think they’re funny and cute laughing behind the clients backs. Laughing about how stupid and ridiculous they are all the way to the bank. Dragging out litigations forever. Simple cases run into YEARS with $70,000 $80,000 lawyer bills. Public defense you get nothing at all. Poor rulings, poor interpretation of law, no justice and liberty in Mendocino except in the bank accounts of our local band of legal marauders. 

[6] As a casino attendee, I see lots of slot players. They are mostly in a trance. They automatically keep pushing the “play” button, showing no emotion, staring straight ahead at the screen. If you ever want to hypnotize someone, give them some money and sit them down at a slot machine. In a few minutes they will be your willing slave. 

[7] The retail store is on the way out.

Amazon keeps taking away the advantage of the retail stores, ease of returns, better selection, instant gratification, and eyes-on selection. Retail sales has almost no protective advantage, thus its precarious position.

My wife says that retail stores have lousy selection, too, but that could be generational.

Ha, like paying to have holes torn into jeans legs. To make them look worn out?

Someone needs to come up with a better idea, always. Someone needs to compete with Bezos. Governmental protection to protect Amazon needs to be removed.

Along with all the other big corporations, competition needs to reign supreme.

Remove protection, do not penalize, the competitive sand box needs to be level.

[8] You know a satirical movie has hit its target when the mainstream reviewers call it “shrill” and “overblown.” That’s what’s happened to the brash comedy “Don’t Look Up” which was released on Netflix the day before Christmas. Most of the mainstream reviewers panned it. Audiences disagreed — the movie promptly jumped to the top of Netflix’s most-watched list in 89 countries. As one site said, “general audiences don’t give a rat’s ass about what the critics think.” Like the earlier political comedies “Network” and “Dr. Strangelove,” the movie is a cry of frustration. We know bad things are in store. We know we’re being lied to by politicians, the media, the sociopathic billionaires. But what can we do? We write earnest articles, we protest, we try to understand different points of view. For years we do this, and the machine rolls on. Sometimes we just need to rear back and laugh at all the jackassery.

[9] I pick up trash from streams and the side of the road when nobody’s looking.” Why when nobody’s looking? I pick up a ton of trash along my regular walking route, which is out along the harbor. There is a trash bin at the harbor access for boaters, so I take the trash there. I often get a thumbs-up from motorists. I used to feel a bit shame-faced about doing this—like, what? Am I some kind of bag lady? Recently, though, there was a piece in one of our local life-style rags about this very topic of picking up others’ trash. Apparently those in the know have noticed that there is less trash on the beaches when they do the annual spring cleanup. The inference is that people are actually picking up a lot of trash all year round. About a week ago I noticed a huge pile of beer cans and other trash in the brush near a parking lot on one of our near-town beaches on the outer harbor. People park down there to drink after work, and they throw their cans and empty snack bags into the area fenced off for piping plovers. I decided to come back with my car and clear it out, also when better dressed for the job (lots of thorny rosa rugosa). But when I returned a few days later someone else had cleaned it up. IMO clearing up trash is one of the easiest and most effective things one can do for the total environment. It also sets a good example to others who might otherwise feel funny about doing this. 

[10] Perhaps what is needed is a useful term to describe the opposite of woke, a term with which to describe the pseudo-Christian white straight men who have discovered that they are the truly oppressed, and the women and occasional perverse people of color who are bought into their bullying style. Come on, you know precisely who I mean -- on both left and right, the ones who want to kill Dr. Fauci, because he thinks in facts, making them feel stupid, and, on the right, the ones who have made Kyle Rittenhouse their latest mascot, because not only does he cross state lines to defend property he has no connection with, but he has managed to turned a military-grade weapon into a personal toy, and is able to kill with it without consequence, a young fascist’s dream. Hmmm, “trumper” is too specifically tied to the jackass real estate fraudster and traitor, and doesn’t begin to encompass the new fascists. How’s about an acronym: LIARs. Loud Ignorant Aggressive Rumps.

2 Comments

  1. Pat Kittle January 12, 2022

    Antifa & BurnLootMurder mobs were far more violent & destructive over a far greater area over a far longer period of time — and who, at the behest of corrupt politicians, met very little resistance from law enforcement.

    But never mind all that, let’s pretend we’re outraged that some clowns broke & entered the freaked out some Congress critters for a few hours, burning nothing, looting nothing, murdering no one; and the only person murdered that day was an unarmed White woman who was shot to death by an unpunished Black cop!

    Most Americans don’t even know that — because ACCURATE comments like this one are almost always censored.

    • George Dorner January 13, 2022

      Fires and looting in Portland don’t threaten our national government. Rioters smashing into Congress do. Both instances are criminal, but not comparable. Try straining your brain to understand that, Mr. Kittle.

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