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Off the Record (March 23, 2022)

PUTIN'S WAR ON UKRAINE is, by itself, a major crime and, potentially, this time next year we could be roasting squirrels over open pit fires in the hills of Mendocino County if Putin decides to go out with the ultimate bang. But the nightly barrage of atrocity visuals on television is, sic, overkill. Most, for instance, of the civilians sheltering inside a makeshift bomb shelter in a Mariupol theater a couple of days ago, have survived, according to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s office. “After an awful night of not knowing, we finally have good news from Mariupol on the morning of the 22nd day of the war. The bomb shelter was able to hold. The rubble is beginning to be cleared. People are coming out alive.” 

THE BUILDING had been marked “CHILDREN” but artillery and rockets, especially the way Putin is deploying them, are not sniper rifles. But the implication of the tv coverage was that the rat bastard Russkies were going to bomb a thousand or so children. The net effect of hyping this ongoing atrocity like this translates that the Russians, all of them, are beasts.

PUTIN, singlehandedly, started the war and he can end it. Russians, like most of US, have little to no influence on events. But resistance to Putin is growing inside Russia faster than, for instance, our resistance here in Liberty Land to the Bush Gang's wars in the Middle East ever grew. In fact, I can't recall much resistance at all, and we haven't faced anywhere near the danger Russians face in opposing Putin.

ANY DISTANT EVENT involving the U.S., here come the lefties with long-winded demonstrations of their vast historical knowledge, all pegged to the assumption the U.S. is fundamentally responsible. In the case of the shocking, indefensible invasion of Ukraine by Russia's lead kleptocrat, it's of course Biden's fault. Farther back, it's NATO's fault, NATO being an American construct as if the NATO countries haven't always been enthusiastic members. Farther back than NATO, Ukraine was a natural part of Russia, nevermind that an overwhelming majority of Ukrainians always preferred to have their own country.

ALL this history is trotted out by the recliner left to prove what? That the Ukrainians deserve the destruction of their country by a megalomaniac in $400 sneakers and a $15,000 jacket? The above talking points, incidentally, are identical to those that Putin is putting out.

SEEMS AWFULLY COLD to me, and suspiciously selective given that the left (negligible itself in this country since about 1970) was largely silent when the Russians razed Grozny and then Aleppo. The destruction of the Ukraine is indefensible. I'm mystified why there's even an argument about it.

MARINA OVSYANNIKOVA, the Russian TV news editor who burst onto the set with a “NO WAR” banner during a live Russian broadcast, has apparently been let off easy with a $300 fine and no jail time. Everyone assumed she'd either be disappeared or sentenced to a long prison term. With the whole world watching, the Putin Gang seems to have concluded that it wouldn't do to do their usual to this now famous critic.

THE LOCAL WOKE BRIGADE doesn't seem much for scholarship, but even they've got to know that Fort Bragg was not named after Braxton Bragg, the South's most incompetent general by all accounts, only the fort in Fort Bragg was named after the old boy, and named after him four years prior to the Civil War when, having married a wealthy slave owner, Bragg fought for the South. His association with our Fort Bragg is tenuous, but the righteous also aren't much for distinctions. 

THE SAME WIZARDS who brought us the unmasked mobs disrupting Ukiah businesses a couple of months ago, took their Trumpian anti-vaxx show on the road last Saturday, driving up and down spectator-free State Street then on up to Willits for a second ho hum reception. The “Mendocino Patriots” called Saturday's event a “Freedom Convoy” after the recent trucker's non-event in Washington D.C.

WE LOG a lot of calls and notes of the type we received last week from Jon Spitz of Laytonville. Jon said we hadn't printed a letter from him apparently chastising us and Dead Dog Brennan, the famous North County trapper, because we feared running his ferocious message. I wrote back to Spitz to tell him we didn't get his letter, and to please re-send it as we and Dead Dog tremble in anticipation. No word from Spitz. 

THE SUPES ANNOUNCED  TUESDAY that they will return to the Board chambers with open meetings (along with zoom on-line participation) on April 19.

AFTER READING CEO CARMEL ANGELO’S fact free whereases at Tuesday's bathetic meeting of the Supervisors Tuesday Board Chair Ted Williams said that criticism of the CEO is nothing more than “unfounded personal attacks.”

Then, in her farewell letter to the Supervisors CEO Angelo told the Board to ignore criticism, writing,

“I am concerned about the ongoing public disillusionment with government. As the legislative body, it is critical to seek information, rather than listening to the vocal minority that defames county representatives for self-satisfaction and personal gain. These attacks damage the County's ability to recruit and retain good employees. Public comment & criticism come with the job of elected and appointed officials, but those constant false allegations make it difficult to promote a career in public service.”

IT'S A TIME-HONORED tradition in Mendocino County, especially among the libs, to dismiss all criticism or unwelcome opinion as ‘personal attacks,’ invariably without citing any unfounded “attacks” as an example.

I DEFY ANYONE to sit through a meeting with CEO Angelo and these five supervisors and come away with confidence in local government.

PLEASE NOTE the absence at last Tuesday’s cringe-inducing tributes to the disastrous reign of CEO Angelo of many department heads, including Sheriff Kendall; Treasurer/Tax Collector Sherri Schapmire; Howard Dashiell, Director of Transportation; Chamise Cubbison, interim Auditor/Controller. Also not in attendance, not a single worker bee of all thousand or so County line staff.

McCOWEN SHOULD SUE. Outgoing CEO Carmel Angelo and her backstabbing enabler Supervisor Ted Williams said this week that people should stop their “unfounded personal attacks” (i.e., criticisms of them) because it hurts the County by making recruitment more difficult, and makes them upset.

OF COURSE, our criticisms of the Board and the CEO are neither personal nor attacks, nor are they unfounded — because if they were so awful, they would engage and argue and correct them. But no, they simply dismiss them and tell themselves to ignore them.

THEY HAVE PROBABLY FORGOTTEN about their own real personal, and unfounded attack of last February, 2021: Emerging from a closed session meeting, County Counsel Christian Curtis reported, “The board met in closed session to consider possible legal remedies to return County property in possession of retired supervisor John McCowen. Per usual custom and practice, the county requested the return of the items at the time that Mr. McCowen left office. Despite repeated requests however, the property, including a laptop computer tablet, cell phone, printer, and building keys, was never returned and Mr. McCowen has ceased communicating with the County. Pursuant to existing authority and practices, County risk management has already initiated a small claims proceeding. The total damages to the county including the cost of rekeying the building is estimated to be between $3,000 and $4,000. At this time the Board of Supervisors unanimously indicated its support for the pending small claims matter, but decided that investing additional resources in a superior court proceeding would be premature.”

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

THESE TWO STATEMENTS are tantamount to a false accusation of theft of county property. 

A MONTH LATER District Attorney David Eyster avoided further legal action by brokering and mediating the dispute which turned out to be nothing of the sort but publicly alleged by Curtis and Williams. 

SINCE that quiet, private resolution, however, neither Curtis nor Williams have publicly apologized to McCowen nor corrected the record nor withdrawn their real “unfounded personal attack.”

McCOWEN should demand a public apology and retraction. If they don’t he should sue them for defamation of character. — Mark Scaramella

AN ATTENTIVE READER puts the lie to Supervisor Williams' unfounded claim the CEO Angelo is underpaid: “Salary and title comparisons of our CEO and deputy CEO compared to other counties. The premise from Ted Williams being that our CEO’s pay is actually low compared to the other counties, I found that our CEO is the 13th highest paid person in California in a similar job description. Also the majority of the counties call that position chief administrative officer, CAO. Which is really what it is."

BILL KIMBERLIN NOTES: It was Gertrude Stein (heir to a San Francisco Cable & Street Car fortune who told Hemingway, “If you want to learn how to write, you should read Grant's memoirs.” The memoirs were published by Mark Twain and were one of the most successful publications in American history.

ST. PATRICK'S DAY. Any excuse for a drunk, but it got me thinking about the noble House of Anderson, my ancestry, what is known about it. Like most people, lineage gets pretty hazy after the great grandparents. On one side, we've been in one place in Scotland — a town called Selkirk — since Caesar marched in to organize the primitive clans he found there. On the other side it's the now reviled Scotch-Irish traced back to Kentucky and Southern Missouri with one great-great grandfather a great friend of Jesse and Frank James with whom he grew up in Clay County. My grandmother always said “Mr. Major” — she always spoke formally of him — may have been close to Frank and Jesse James “but he was never involved in their robberies and such.” Doubt the old boy could have avoided criminal participation, seeing as how Clay County was a very bad neighborhood and his closest friends were outlaws from early in their teen years. Family lore has it that Frank James, who also, as it happened, touched down in the Anderson Valley where he visited other Clay County ex-pats, was a good fellow but his brother, the infamous Jesse, was a psycho, several times shooting people just for the hell of it. Major was well known as a horseman and trick shot ace, his feats written up in the St. Louis papers. He used to visit Frank in Texas where Frank had retired to a horse ranch. 

THE DAILY MAIL, a rightwing Brit tabloid — Fox News in print form — described the following reforms as "far left": AOC wants Biden to take executive action to raise wages, combat climate change, cancel student debt, and lower health care costs. Far left? Most Americans are for it all.

THE SIGNIFICANCE of Hunter Biden's famous laptop has finally been acknowledged by the NYT: The lib media have given the Bidens a year-long pass on the contents of Hunter's abandoned laptop containing slam dunk evidence that the Bidens benefitted mightily from their relationships with Ukraine. If Hunter Biden was Hunter Trump CNN, MSNBC et al would have been all over it from the get. Obvious enough, right? The lib media also covers up the obvious fact that Joe Biden is physically, mentally unfit to function in the big office.

ST. PATRICK'S DAY. Any excuse for a drunk, but it got me thinking about the noble House of Anderson, my ancestry, what is known about it. Like most people, lineage gets pretty hazy after the great grandparents. On one side, we've been in one place in Scotland — a town called Selkirk — since Caesar marched in to organize the primitive clans he found there. On the other side it's the now reviled Scotch-Irish traced back to Kentucky and Southern Missouri with one great-great grandfather a great friend of Jesse and Frank James with whom he grew up in Clay County. My grandmother always said “Mr. Major” — she always spoke formally of him — may have been close to Frank and Jesse James “but he was never involved in their robberies and such.” Doubt the old boy could have avoided criminal participation, seeing as how Clay County was a very bad neighborhood and his closest friends were outlaws from early in their teen years. Family lore has it that Frank James, who also, as it happened, touched down in the Anderson Valley where he visited other Clay County ex-pats, was a good fellow but his brother, the infamous Jesse, was a psycho, several times shooting people just for the hell of it. Major was well known as a horseman and trick shot ace, his feats written up in the St. Louis papers. He used to visit Frank in Texas where Frank had retired to a horse ranch. 

GIVEN the daily deluge of distractions — gosh, I sure hope Kim and Kanye get back together — I try to sort out truth from untruth by kicking the day off with the audio version of the NYT, NPR, deriving the national Democrat party line from NPR before moving on-line to CounterPunch for a quick scan of left perspectives long familiar to me. I check the on-line Chronicle and Substack, and then look for Mendo-specific news on Facebook. For long-form truth I've been dependent on the London Review of Books for many years. I've also read the New York Review of Books since its inception although it's gone Democrat-flabby, imo. I read The New Yorker where there’s maybe one piece a week of particular interest to me. In the evening, I watch ABC News with David Muir, which never fails to make me laugh, then BBC America whose reporting is dependably good, objective even, especially for television. Then it's on to documentary films. When I'm not putting together America's last newspaper, or dashing off my own prose sominex, I read novels and poetry. I'm re-reading Alan Brien's truly great novelized life of Lenin, ‘Spoon River Anthology,’ which I haven't read since high school and had forgotten how good it is. And ‘George Orwell's Collected Essays’ in the Everyman's edition; some short stories by Jack London collected under the title, ‘Chinago,’ plus ‘Orwell's Roses’ by Rebecca Solnit, and a collection of really good poetry titled Links by Jeff Brainard, an old friend. I don't watch or read any conservative media because it's so goddam dumb although I'll read an occasional essay from The Wall Street Journal. I tell you all this so you know “where I’m coming from” as the hippies used to express requests for motive. 

KELLIE-JAY KEEN, of Standing for Women, went viral after a clip of her in a discussion about Lia Thomas was posted online. It has now been seen 1.1 million times. Keen, watching on Friday in the stands, can be heard telling a male spectator: “Is he the same as the other girls in the pool?” The man replies: “Everybody is different.” Keen says: “No. Are you saying he doesn't have male organs? I'm a woman - that is not a woman. Do you have ovaries?” The man counters: “Let me ask you, are you a biologist?” Keen replies: “Oh my God - don't be ridiculous. I'm not a vet, but I know what a dog is.”

ON-LINE COMMENTS OF THE WEEK

[1] So, does a guy have to have his parts removed or can he just claim that he is a woman, grow his hair long and wear a dress and thereby qualify for a high power, six figure income with the government and beat out any biological women applying for the job? I am not so sure that that would be too much to ask to get such a special deal, as long as you don’t have to chop anything off. Boy, our feminist leaders sure are nice people to allow we men to totally take over their domains if we stop cutting our hair. I am looking forward to watching the first heavyweight boxing match between a woman and Bruno the Team Switcher. I never thought about being a professional athlete, but doors may be opening for all of us guys. Sweet.

[2] These are the U.S. “percolating variables” AT or EXCEEDED critical point, under the law of self-organized criticality:

  • Borders – Unsecured
  • Civil Unrest
  • Consumer – Credit
  • Crime – Urban
  • Earthquakes
  • Education
  • Electric Grid-Eastern
  • Electric Grid-Texas
  • Electric Grid-Western
  • Floods
  • Food Availability
  • Healthcare System
  • Homelessness
  • Hurricanes
  • Hydrocarbon Transports
  • Hydrocarbons – Production
  • Inflation
  • Interstate Highway System – Urban Centers
  • Market – Debt
  • Market – Housing
  • Market- Credit
  • Market- Equity
  • Military Rank and File Defection
  • Pandemic
  • Political Gridlock
  • Potable Water – Urban
  • Poverty
  • Public – Debt
  • Public – Emergency Services
  • Qualified Labor – Professional Services
  • Qualified Labor – Trade
  • Student Load – Debt
  • Supply Chain – Critical Infrastructure Material
  • Supply Chain – Non-Critical Infrastructure Material
  • Telecommunications
  • Terrorism
  • Unvetted Immigration
  • War-Civil
  • War-Worldwide
  • Wastewater Treatment – Urban
  • Western Drought
  • Western Food Production
  • Western Shipping Container Cargo Ports
  • Western Water Reservoirs/Reserves
  • Western Wildfires

The rolling waves of collapse are underway, across multiple realms, and not being disclosed by those employed in the service of public health and safety.

[3] DAYLIGHT SAVINGS TIME, an on-line comment: Thing is, most farmers back then worked sunup to sundown regardless of what the clock said. And I think most rural schools rolled with the same rhythm as well. And at harvest time the older kids who were essential to the farm would just skip school altogether if need be. The other story I’ve heard is that DST’s goal is to create more usable leisure time in the evenings, the better to encourage TV viewership and thus increase advertising revenues. Regardless, it damn sure encourages people to stay up later. Most of the people I know think I’m loony because I follow the sunup to sundown rule, myself. I’ve fallen into it gradually as I got older, but now I wouldn’t have it any other way. I think the body naturally prefers it that way.

[4] Biden is flying to Brussels on Thursday. Making these transatlantic flights can’t be easy for a guy pushing 80, but at least you can say Biden is game. It reminds one of Stalin summoning a moribund and sick President Roosevelt half way around the world to Tehran in Nov. 1943. That trip pretty much did Roosevelt in, and at the time Roosevelt was 15 years younger than Biden is now. My hope is that a befuddled Biden doesn’t do something stupid enough that it will trigger WWIII. I see historical comparisons being made in the MSM: Putin is Hitler, Z is Churchill, Biden … a modern day Talleyrand.

[5] ON LINE NOTE OF THE DAY:

I haven’t travelled abroad extensively, but have been to a few foreign countries. In Southern England, in the rural “designated areas of outstanding natural beauty,” there are no power or utility lines in view. Almost everything is underground (the really big towers with the cross country main lines are still in view), no overhead wires in town, the sidewalks are large pavers set in sand which can be picked up (no saw cuts on concrete sidewalks like here) and the underground conduits accessed. Really too smart, looks way better. Also those “designated areas” have no abandoned cars on view, no random piles of trash on the side of the road, everywhere I thought I needed a restroom there was one, with hot water even. Mendocino county, as far as the public infrastructure is concerned, looks a lot like Ecuador, all helter skelter and completely uncoordinated and mostly an eyesore. Rural Argentina does better in a lot of ways than Mendocino County, or California for that matter. Why not just get the wires underground and be done with this? No power outages every time the wind blows hard or it snows, no wildfires caused by transmission lines, all those tree trimmer crews can find another job. In the long run it HAS to be cheaper.

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