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Mendocino County Today: Thursday, June 23, 2022

Hot Dry | Fire Forum | Caspar Breakfast | Sharkey Art | Kayak Container | Ballot Count | Mendo High | Free Tests | Oyster Memory | Ed Notes | Point Arena | Symphony Concerts | 1912 Fair | County Notes | Springboard Mania | Dem Celebration | Yesterday's Catch | Universal Healthcare | Ukraine | Proud Parents | Stroke Advice | Hard Times | PG&E Outages | Morning Coffee | Another Ripoff | Punk Talk | Interchange | Topsoil | Schoenahl Poems | Slice Life | Small Observations | Young Shuckers | Nuclear War | 75 Warriors | Biden/Putinflation | Scattergun | Fuel Prices | Hush Puppies | SF Shooting | Never Speak | Show Trial | SS Vanguard | Dangerfield Quiz | Meadow Life

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DRY AND HOT conditions will continue through the weekend. Temperatures will increase once again to the triple digit across the interior valleys on Saturday and Sunday. Some relief in temperatures could arrive early next week. (NWS)

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CASPAR BREAKFAST THIS SUNDAY

Caspar's 4th Sunday breakfast will be served this Sunday, June 26th at the Caspar Community Center. William Aquilino is this month's chef, the country gourmet breakfast will be served from 9 to 11am. Each breakfast features a unique menu featuring organic, locally sourced food.

This month's menu:

Eggs Benedict: Classic poached eggs and Hollandaise, applewood smoked ham on GF muffin with breakfast potatoes (GF) $14

Chickpea Frittata: Made with Chickpea flour, onions, mushrooms, and spinach. Served with lightly dressed greens and choice of bread (V) (GF) $14

Two eggs: over-easy with breakfast potatoes and choice of bread (GF) $12

French Toast: Sourdough french toast with a side of fruit salad $12

Choice of bread: Sourdough Spelt bread, Blueberry muffin (GF)

Side of Applewood Smoked Bacon $4

Side of Breakfast Potatoes $4

Thanksgiving coffee, tea and juice

Tax is included. Donations gratefully accepted Benefit for Caspar Community

Contact Lea (LEE-ah) for more information or to volunteer: casparevents@gmail.com 

You are invited to come and enjoy good food, nice people and a special place. The community center is located half between Mendocino and Ft. Bragg, just west of Highway One in Caspar. All are welcome. The breakfast, now in it's 19th year, is an important fund raiser for the center. Information at 964-4997.

More details about the center at: https://casparcommons.org/

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VIRGINIA SHARKEY is pleased to be included in monca’s (Museum of Northern California Art) exhibition “Red/Yellow/Blue” from June 16-August 21. Chico, CA

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NICK WILSON: There's been a lot of dither locally about a new addition to the Van Damme State Beach parking area next to Hwy. 1 in Little River. For several years there has been an old bus or RV parking there daily to bring kayaks and accessories for rental and tours by Kayak Mendocino. I'm told the business is operated by Craig Comen. He obviously has had a concession contract from State Parks to operate from the beach parking area. Now the old beater vehicle has been replaced by a shiny new cargo container which stays put, saving a lot of cost of gas and maintenance. The container is freshly painted a light green and adorned with several blow-up photos taken inside sea caves from the kayaks.

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STILL ABOUT 12,000 BALLOTS TO COUNT

by Justine Frederiksen 

As of Tuesday, two weeks after the June 7 Primary Election, the Mendocino County Elections Office had approximately 12,000 ballots left to count, Assistant Registrar of Voters Amanda Wolter reported.

Wolter said on June 21 that approximately 9,000 ballots had been counted so far, and she could not give an estimate of when more results would be available.

Katrina Bartolomie, Mendocino County assessor-county clerk-recorder and registrar of voters, reported in an email June 20 that more results were being posted to the elections website that morning, and that the process of counting all the votes was “taking more time than usual because this ballot is so large and we are short-staffed.”

As of June 20, the results posted online by the Mendocino County Elections Office have Sheriff Matt Kendall receiving 6,663 votes (88.84 percent), and write-in candidate Trent James receiving 837 votes (11.16 percent).

Another countywide race is for Mendocino County superintendent of schools.

As of June 20, challenger Nicole Glentzer had 4,725 votes (54.91 percent) and incumbent Michelle Hutchins had 3,880 (45.09 percent).

Two Mendocino County supervisors are also up for re-election, 5th District Supervisor Ted Williams and 3rd District Supervisor John Haschak. So far, early results have both of them earning new terms.

As of June 20, Williams had 1,258 votes (78.67 percent) and John Redding 341 votes (21.33 percent); Haschak had 1,331 votes (72.81 percent) and Clay Romero 497 (27.19 percent).

Three other countywide seat holders ran uncontested, and early results had all earning 100 percent of the votes: As of June 20, Assessor-Clerk-Recorder Katrina Bartolomie had 7,540 votes; Auditor-Controller/Treasurer-Tax-Collector Chamise Cubbison had 6,877 votes, and District Attorney C. David Eyster had 6,751 votes.

Per state law, the county has 30 days to certify the election, and Wolter said staff members at the Elections Office are focusing on meeting that deadline.

(courtesy, the Ukiah Daily Journal)

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Little Lake Street, Mendocino, 1895

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AV UNIFIED ANNOUNCES: Free Covid Tests Delivered to YOUR ADDRESS 

Households can receive another round of Covid tests free of charge! Please visit: https://special.usps.com/testkits

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MARSHALL NEWMAN WONDERS: Navarro-By-The-Sea. Anyone else have fond memories of the fried oysters served there in the early 1960s?

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ED NOTES

ENJOYED A VISIT Wednesday morning from Fort Bragg City government in the form of Police Chief John Naulty and Mayor Bernie Norvell. It occurred to me that if Ukiah and Fort Bragg swapped governments, Ukiah would be straightened up in a month, Fort Bragg destroyed.

DAN KUNY, logger extraordinaire, told me he's never seen the woods this dry. I've never seen my acre this dry, and the past two days of scorching heat, when the wind picks up in the afternoon, thoughts run kinda like apocalyptic.

EVEN THE WILDLIFE seem disoriented. Standing in the relative cool of early Monday evening, a young squirrel suddenly ran up my colleague’s leg, all the way to his shoulder, took a quick look around before realizing his mistake and scrambling back down and up the nearby redwood. The Major commented, “I know I don't move as much these days, but this is the first time I've ever been mistaken for a tree!”

AMONG all the things I just don't get, include radios on Harleys. And Boonville’s Redwood Drive-In next door gets a lot of them. Such a din. I thought the point of the bike was the country air, the wind in the hair, the pure freedom of the open road. Then a biker told me that some guys even have mini-tv sets on their dashboards.

YOU'RE getting to be an old timer if you remember when the Anderson Valley Ambulance was an elderly station wagon and the emergency room was at the old Hillside Hospital in Ukiah. If you remember when a fast-talking fellow named Fernhoff first subdivided Rancho Navarro you're also well on the way to full Old Timer status. And if you graduated from the old high school on Anderson Valley Way you are mos def an Old Timer.

COUNT ME among the many people who think the schools made a big mistake when they dropped home economics classes. As the economy tanks, and will continue to tank because no one is in charge at the federal level of government, a mandatory high school class called, “How To Be Poor and Still Have a Good Time” would be useful to millions of young people, few of whom these days can manage rice and beans.

OTHER SIMPLISTIC suggestions from the Boonville daily on-line and weekly in an antiquated paper-paper, include night lights and a basketball court to go with them. Works literal miracles in a lot of areas where kids without stable homes and lots of excess energy burn it off playing hoops instead of outlaw. Or just open the Boonville gym for a few hours every night and get the CSD to pay someone — I nominate John Toohey — to keep order.

HEY! You have any real news today or are you just going to ramble aimlessly on? Yes, I do, and if you're patient I'll get to it. Preliminarily, how many years have we worried, “Mendocino is becoming too much like Carmel?” But millions of people, including Dirty Harry, love Carmel, and love Mendocino just as intensely, although I can't remember the last time I swerved off Highway One to “the village” on my way to the true jewel of our fair county, Fort Bragg, pausing here to note that Point Arena is also muy cool-o and will probably stay that way because it's just a little too far from the golden arches.

ANYWAY on the eternal general topic of the Carmelization of Mendocino, a discussion now in its sixtieth year, a family named Schaeffer is developing their 35 acres just to the north of the Albion River Inn, and have been approved for a big house, a deck almost as big as the house, a big garage, a big “family care unit,” a big chicken coop (?), two big pump houses, a really really big solar installation, and a proposal to build a really big lodge/inn, and 8 (eight, count 'em) duplex rentals. (Incidentally, I remember asking the late Jerry Philbrick, a local guy born and bred, what he thought of contemporary Mendocino. “I'd like to drive through there with a flamethrower and a goddam crate of hand grenades,” he replied. That's what I loved about that guy. Ask him a question and you got an answer you'll never forget.)

ADDITIONALLY, just up the road, the Glendeven Inn and the Cobbler's Walk have been bought by a group called “Soul Community Planet.” (Cult alert!) The soul community says this is their ninth international project. These global transcendentalists intend, they say, a spa, a vegetarian restaurant, no radios or television sets in the rooms, with the whole show “done in Scandinavian motif” whatever that is.

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Point Arena, Now (above) and Then (below)

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REAL MUSIC

Live Orchestral Music this Weekend! 

Symphony of the Redwoods invites you to two full orchestra concerts this weekend. We are back! Led by guest conductor Phillip Lenberg, your orchestra will perform works by Schubert, Dvorak, and a newly composed piece; Carmel by the Sea by Nancy Bloomer Deussen. Abigail Rowland Strock, soprano, will perform a gorgeous Mozart aria with the orchestra as well. These celebration concerts will take place at Cotton Auditorium, Fort Bragg at 7:30 PM on June 25th and at 2 PM on June 26th. There will be a free 30-minute pre-concert lecture by Dr. Lenberg at 6:30 on Saturday and at 1 PM on Sunday. For tickets, the full program, and more information, please visit symphonyoftheredwoods.org, stop by Harvest Market in Fort Bragg, or Out of this World in Mendocino. Social DIstancing, Masks, and Covid Cards will be required. Symphony of the Redwoods is back after 2 and a half years to celebrate live orchestral music in our community. A joyous event for us all!

Symphony of the Redwoods, Office 707-964-0898

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MENDOCINO APPLE FAIR, 1912

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COUNTY NOTES

by Mark Scaramella

County Ordinance No. 4500 made the consolidation of the Treasurer-Tax Collector and the Auditor-Controller offices official on December 14 of last year. 

Just before that fateful (and dumb) decision, newly elected (unopposed) Auditor-Controller Chamise Cubbison (and many others) told the board it was a “misguided” idea, but since they were going to do it anyway Cubbison asked that they at least “learn about staff challenges and appreciate these hard working employees [the staffs of the two offices] and provide the resources and support we need to continue to do our jobs without future misguided interference.”

But of course, they have made no such effort to learn about her office’s functions, although we haven’t heard about any “interference” either, misguided or otherwise. Presumably because Carmel Angelo is no longer in Mendocino County.

A couple of weeks back the Board discussed the status of the consolidation which takes official effect next January. Apparently the Board thinks there will be some cost savings. But, since there’s a legally mandated separation between the functions of the two offices — the money coming in people are supposed to stay away from the money going out people and vice-versa — it’s likely it will actually cost more.

On Tuesday, the Board discussed the consolidation again with Ms. Cubbison who is now the officially elected Auditor-Controller but without the pay or title. The “acting” Auditor-Controller told the Board again that they will need to hire a Treasurer and an Assistant Treasurer and probably an assistant Auditor. Especially now, since long-time highly respected Treasurer-Tax Collector Shari Schapmire retired last year saying she could “no longer work with this board.” Her Assistant, Julie Forrester recently made her resignation official. (It’s been common knowledge inside County circles for a couple of months.) 

Ms. Cubbison reminded the board that without adequate staffing in the leaderless Treasurer-Tax Collector’s side of the office, the County is jeopardizing their ability to collect all taxes due (mainly property, sales, transient occupancy and pot), not to mention causing uncomfortable delays in filing required official reports. (The covid delay excuse is wearing thin with state agencies.)

As everyone, including Supervisor John Haschak, explained to the Misguided Four Consolidators, there was no consolidation plan in place before they up and consolidated. In fact, no one but Haschak even thought an advance plan of any kind was necessary. (Maybe the Board was too busy with their silly $100k-plus “strategic plan” to do an actual plan.)

On Tuesday, in typical Mendo style, they finally got around to asking for a plan. Ms. Cubbison, ever the trooper, agreed to help with a speeded up consolidation and work with County Counsel Christian Curtis to develop what Supervisor Ted Williams described as a “comprehensive plan.” (Mr. Curtis is not known for his ability to “speed up” anything, but we’ll see.)

Asked if it would be legal to appoint Ms. Cubbison to both current (pre-consolidation) positions (Treasurer and Auditor) in the interim prior to the January 2023 go-live-date, Curtis responded, “I apologize, that possibility slipped my mind,” adding that he wasn’t sure if it was “legally feasible.”

This is the same County Counsel who the Board recently gave a large raise to, a raise that County Counsel himself botched, failing to follow basic Brown Act procedures, in one of our favorite local ironies. 

Despite the Board’s desire to speed up the consolidation and the development of the “comprehensive plan,” neither Curtis nor Board Chair Ted Williams mentioned any dates or timeframes.

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As we mentioned yesterday, after an entertainly contentious argument about a potential sales tax on November’s ballot, the Board finally decided to ask County Counsel to draft a ballot measure for a 1/4-cent sales tax measure in November with an accompanying advisory measure saying the voters “advise” the Board to spend the revenues only to support emergency services and fire prevention. 

Supervisor Maureen Mulheren petulantly complained that it didn’t seem to her that anyone had paid much attention to all the work she put in “fashioning” her 60% for fire/40% for water tax proposal. So she tediously read through it all again, despite knowing that Supervisors Gjerde and Haschak had no interest in including her amorphous and vague admin-only water funding allocation which Mulheren insisted would go through an advisory board of water agency staffers around the County and would not — how could anyone even think this? — go primarily to the Cheap Water Mafia — aka the Russian River grape growers. During the entire discussion no one dared utter the words “grapes” or “wine,” even though everybody knew that that “industry” was was behind the idea that McGourty & Mulheren were pushing.

Supervisor Dan Gjerde, heretofore unquestioningly approving of almost everything put before him and silent on most issues, made the boldest statement of his Supervisorial career, declaring:

“The water tax is completely unnecessary. Even for the purposes that supervisor McGourty just mentioned. Just simple back of the envelope estimates show that the Potter Valley Irrigation District which virtually gives away their water at $22.50 an acre foot, knowing that the state rate for irrigation water is probably around $150-$200 per acre foot, if they simply went to the state average, if the Russian River Flood Control District went to the state average for their wholesale irrigation water — those two entities by themselves could produce well over $1 million a year. So there, problem solved! $1 million a year, just those two boards. They could take action. Nobody is stopping them. But instead, nope! They want everybody in Mendocino County to pay an extra sales tax to bail them out because they don't want their customers to pay the going rate. It is so offensive. This whole water tax is the most absurd proposal to ever befall the people of Mendocino County! If this tax goes on the ballot it is going down! It deserves to go down in defeat. Everybody who came to this meeting today to speak in favor of the fire services should back off from this ill-advised proposal by Supervisors Mulheren and McGourty to pass this ridiculous and offensive water tax through a fire service tax. Supervisor Haschack and I are offering a viable plan that could pass in November potentially because it would enable the voters in 2023 to know that their taxes will be going down in 2023 because it would be 1/8 cent. If the library tax passes adding an extra 1/8 cent tax, they would still see their taxes go down by 1/8 cent. This is the most plausible scenario possible. Promises from this group and promises for that group will guarantee nothing for anybody. The only guarantee with the 3/8 cent proposal that Supervisor Mulheren has put together is that everybody's taxes will go up. There's no guarantee on how any of the money will be spent.”

Gjerde also complained that the Cheap Water Mafia — i.e., the Inland Water and Power Commission (IWPC) made up mostly of grape growers — had inappropriately used tax dollars for political purposes by hiring a consultant to see if a water sales tax would fly and sending out flyers that looked like campaign ads. 

Nobody knew exactly how much was spent on political consultants — $25,000? $50,000? $2500? — or in which year, but everyone, even including McGourty, thought that such spending was fishy and should be looked into. County Counsel Curtis, who apparently acts as the IWPC’s attorney too, said he always advises “caution” when it comes to such spending. 

Either way, it looked bad and didn’t help the arguments that McGourty and Mulheren were making for inclusion of water bureaucracy subsidies in the sales tax proposal.

“If this entity [the IWPC] has enough money to do mailers and a poll, then they do not need County funds,” said Gjerde. “Apparently, they don’t need our money.”

Later when the time came for a vote, the swing vote, Board Chair Ted Williams, said he leaned toward the Gjerde-Haschak fire-only axis and proposed a 1/4-cent tax for fire only because if they included the water subsidy Gjerde and all the local media was against it and it would fail, much as he preferred to include water money in the tax proposal. 

At that, the Mulheren-McGourty axis saw the handwriting on the wall and reluctantly conceded, accepting a promise from the other three that they will look at the 2022-2023 “lean” (Williams’ word) budget to see if they can find some money for water projects in existing funds. McGourty pulled on his hair-shirt and voted in favor, mumbling, “I’m feeling kind of betrayed about the water situation.”

Gjerde and Haschak suggested again that they could reduce the Transient Occupancy Tax tourism subsidy by a couple hundred thou (also staunchly supported by McGourty and Mulheren) and maybe spend that on developing (as yet non-existent) water projects and grant applications. But of course, McGourty and Mulheren (and Williams apparently) wouldn’t support that either. They wanted more for the cheap water mafia, not just a transfer.

We would be remiss if we didn’t mention the main/standard argument the Cheap Water Mafia/grape-tourism axis always uses to defend their subsidies (and their many other regulatory exemptions): They are a big part of the local economy and not giving them money and miscellaneous breaks will somehow lead to a local economic downturn. We’ve all heard this before, of course. They are a big part of the local economy, granted. But their sense of entitlement to public handouts for marketing and water subsidies — to the exclusion of all other local businesses — is, as Gjerde correctly noted, “offensive and ridiculous.”

We now await the draft language from County Counsel for a 1/4-cent proposed general tax (50%+1) ballot measure for fire/emergency services with an accompanying advisory measure which the voters are supposed to trust that the money will actually be spent on fire/emergency services even though the Board will be under no legal obligation to do so.

The advisory measure idea would have more traction if the Board hadn’t unanimously dismissed out of hand the last advisory measure (Measure AJ) which “advised” that “the majority” of pot taxes since 2017 (over $16 million so far) be spent on emergency services, roads, mental health and enforcement. Instead of even attempting to see if that had happened, they casually ignored it by saying that the money went into the general fund and the general fund goes for those things, among many others, of course, so — voila! —advisory met!

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SUPERVISOR GJERDE: 

Update: Supervisor Haschak and I were able to stop the idea of a forever tax with no real guardrails. Proposed tax is now limited to 10 years, so supervisors will have incentive to spend money as promised, knowing voters would insist on accountability if voters would support a renewal. If approved this November, the proposal is to support fire safety and emergency medical response. 90% of funds to fire departments and 10% for homeowner safety assistance through our regional and countywide fire safe councils. Background: Mendocino County voters have approved two countywide sales taxes:. One is for libraries, which is up for renewal, and one is for mental health buildings and services, which will drop by 3/8th of a cent in early 2023. If the library measure and the 1/4 cent measure now proposed for fire safety are both approved in November the countywide sales tax rate will remain unchanged.

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SPRINGBOARD MANIA

Loggers, Albion Watershed, 1923

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WHAT EXACTLY IS THERE TO CELEBRATE?

Coast Democratic Club Election Celebration July 7, 5-7 Pm

Let’s Celebrate the Election Results

Thursday, July 7, 5-7 PM Caspar Community Center, outdoors

Bring lawn chairs — picnic tables & benches available Refreshments hosted by Coast Dems with Re-Elected Supervisor Ted Williams and Club member Nicole Glentzer (invited) newly elected County Superintendent of Schools

Next: Let’s Work to Hold the House thru CA Write Postcards to Voters in Targeted Congressional Districts In Person Canvass Opportunities

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CATCH OF THE DAY, June 22, 2022

Barbosa, Beck, Chatham

BRANDON BARBOSA, Willits. DUI.

WARREN BECK II, Ukiah. Mandatory supervision violation, failure to appear.

DARIUS CHATHAM, Willits. Domestic battery.

Ford, Gilchrist, Heaney

MARY FORD, Ukiah. Protective order violation.

KEITH GILCHRIST, Santa Rosa/Ukiah. DUI, resisting.

CHRISTOPHER HEANEY, Ukiah. Protective order violation.

Hoelbl, Parker, Pellegrine

HOLLY HOELBL, Upper Lake/Ukiah. Check forgery, use of another’s ID without authorization.

MICHAEL PARKER, Ukiah. Controlled substance, county parole violation.

JAMES PELLEGRINE, Ukiah. Public nuisance.

Pivec, Schnyder, Vogt

MARK PIVEC, Hopland. Disorderly conduct-drug&alcohol intoxication, vandalism.

BENJAMIN SCHNYDER, Branscomb. Controlled substance, resisting.

BAILEY SCROGGINS, Willits. Child neglect. (No photo available.)

EARL VOGT III, Clearlake/Ukiah. Parole violation.

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UKRAINE, WEDNESDAY, 22 JUNE

As Wednesday draws to a close in Kyiv and in Moscow, here are the key developments of the day:

The most intense battles in Ukraine are still taking place in the east, but fighting has been picking up in the north and south of the country as well. Ukraine's military says it carried out strikes against Russian positions on Snake Island, an outpost in the Black Sea, suggesting the use of longer-range weapons recently provided by Western countries. In northern Ukraine, Russia has stepped up shelling of Kharkiv, the country's second-largest city, where Ukrainian officials say long-range Russian shelling has killed at least 15 civilians this week. Ukraine pushed back Russian troops from the outskirts of the city more than a month ago.

Ukrainian officials are gearing up to receive candidate status for the European Union. In their latest comments, Ukrainian leaders including President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said they expected unanimous support of all EU members for Ukraine to be put on the lengthy path toward potential membership in the bloc. An EU summit begins in Brussels on Thursday.

The Kremlin threatened to retaliate against Lithuania for blocking some goods headed to Kaliningrad, a Russian exclave on the Baltic Sea. A Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson said the retaliation wouldn't be diplomatic but practical, raising fears of a confrontation between Russia and NATO. Kaliningrad is a part of Russia that's surrounded by Lithuania and Poland — both NATO and EU members. Lithuania said it was banning the movement of goods like steel and other metals to the Russian territory as part of EU sanctions over Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Russia commemorated the 81st anniversary of the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union in World War II. Activists held candle-lighting ceremonies across the country and, according to Russian RIA new agency, also in the occupied Ukrainian city of Mariupol. President Vladimir Putin laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier near the Kremlin in honor of the estimated 27 million Soviets killed in what Russia calls the Great Patriotic War. Russia's invasion of Ukraine has created the largest refugee crisis since that time.

Microsoft reported that Russian state-backed hackers have targeted organizations in 42 countries allied with Ukraine. The report identified the U.S. as the top target, followed by Poland, a key logistics hub for aid to Ukraine. Hackers succeeded at infiltrating networks 29% of the time, and at least a quarter of those intrusions resulted in stolen data. Microsoft said the key targets were governments, but also included think tanks, humanitarian groups, IT companies, and energy and other critical infrastructure suppliers. 

— NPR 

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IMMEDIACY

Editor,

Speed of care most important for a stroke…

This is not a story about me, but about my mission. On Nov. 15, I awoke to find myself in the intensive care unit of University of California at San Francisco Medical Center surrounded by a group of “white coats” and concerned faces. They asked me many questions: What is your name? Where are you? Can you raise both your arms to the same height? Recite the months of the year backward.

After I answered them, I was informed I had a stroke.

Earlier that day, a friend recognized it. She called 911. After she described my behavior, in minutes, a medical team transported me to MarinHealth Medical Center where an infusion of the “clot buster” (aka tissue plasminogen activator) was waiting for me. Then I was transferred to UCSF.

For me, there is no wheelchair, no speech therapist, physical therapist or art therapist. There is no helper to assist me while I take a shower or dress. That’s because the amazing training kicked in for everyone involved — all performed with precision and speed.

My message: If you see somebody struggling with speech or balance; if they can’t use an arm, have a facial droop, feel sharp chest pain or are clearly experiencing something go wrong, don’t follow your first instinct — which, for most of us, would be to put them in a car and drive them to emergency department. If you do, the preparations necessary to reverse the stroke or physical damage won’t happen until you arrive.

Instead, call 911. Do not hesitate. The person who answers the call will make the decision whether or not to send out a medical team. The dispatcher will stay online with you until you don’t need them. Think FAST by keeping the victim’s face, arms, speech and time in mind. Speed is the most important element. Call 911.

Elizabeth Appell

Kentfield

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PG&E EXPANDS CONTROVERSIAL POWER SHUTOFF PLANS FOR FIRE SEASON

by Julie Johnson

Pacific Gas and Electric Co. has expanded one of its newest tools to prevent wildfires: automated power shut-offs triggered when its computer systems detect problems like trees hitting power lines.

A new harbinger of fire season, the wildfire prevention mechanism was turned on this month across more than 1,000 circuits in high-risk places. Company officials said sudden blackouts associated with the technology reduced the number of fires caused by its power lines by as much as 45% after the software was first installed on a smaller scale in late July last year.

PG&E installed the software, which enhances the sensitivity of its circuit breakers, after its power lines started the nearly million-acre Dixie Fire. The utility came under scrutiny for what Cal Fire investigators called an “excessively delayed response” after its computers detected a fault on a remote line, where a tree had fallen onto a power line.

Today, company officials say their systems are automated to cut power when such a problem is detected across about 44,000 miles of distribution power lines in areas at greatest risk for wildfires. Those lines serve more than 850,000 households and businesses.

But officials in fire-prone areas are watching to see if PG&E is passing too much of the burden for stopping disastrous wildfires onto residents and businesses that have no control over the electric grid — but are dependent on it.

“Ratepayers should not have to sacrifice reliability for safety,” said Rep. Anna Eshoo, a Menlo Park Democrat whose district includes areas of Silicon Valley and the Santa Cruz Mountains.

Last year the system — dubbed enhanced power line safety settings — drew widespread rebuke for adding uncertainty to an already beleaguered electrical system. Repeatedly, some residents found themselves with refrigerators full of spoiled food, no power for medical devices or trying to work remotely during a pandemic without internet.

Between late July and November, the system triggered more than 500 power outages affecting more than 560,000 households and businesses. PG&E reported to regulators the average duration of the outages was about nine hours.

PG&E officials say they have fine-tuned the software to limit disruptions, and that the system is an integral part of its “goal of zero utility-caused catastrophic wildfires.”

“These enhanced safety settings help to reduce the current risk of wildfires for our most vulnerable customers and are just one of many wildfire prevention efforts we are employing to strengthen our system, incorporate new technologies and take aggressive action to increase system safety,” according to a statement from Mark Quinlan, PG&E vice president of transmission and distribution system operations.

Eschoo said she will monitor unplanned blackouts closely and has implored the utility to “resolve frequent and inconvenient power outages that so burdened my constituents in the Santa Cruz Mountains.”

Christine Wise, a resident of Felton (Santa Cruz County) said she lost power about a half-dozen times last fall and that “of course almost all of those times were right after I’d been to Costco.”

The outages were long enough to result in spoiled food on at least three of those occasions, and she had to shop again, she said.

“As a single mom, that’s a big ask,” said Wise, an office manager with a 17-year-old son at home. “I’m one of those people who buys food at the start of the week and has a meal plan. Then all of a sudden the trout’s in the trash can.”

Last year, PG&E officials held town halls in places across its service area impacted by the new blackouts, from the coast to the foothills, to discuss the program and listen to concerns. Local government officials and residents complained the outages sometimes seemed triggered without any link to fire risk, such as on rainy days when the danger is low. Wise said she’d heard Fulton lost power once because of a squirrel.

The complaints reached the California Public Utilities Commission, which in October ordered PG&E to provide monthly reports on the outages caused by its enhanced power line safety settings. Marybel Batjer, then-president of the CPUC, criticized the company for initiating the software “with little forethought as to whether the settings were appropriate calibrated.”

PG&E officials acknowledged to regulators they launched the automated system without notifying the public, though the decision was made because wildfires were “spreading outside of typical wind-driven events.”

PG&E lawyers argued the system, had it been in place, might have prevented the Dixie Fire from igniting on June 13 had its sensors triggered a power shutdown. Instead, the power line remain energized for 10 hours before a PG&E employee reached the area and found a tree had fallen on the line. The fire was already burning.

These enhanced power line safety settings are different from planned blackouts, called public safety power shut-offs. The company in 2019 started cutting power during periods of dangerous fire weather, disruptions announced to the public well in advance. In comparison, the latest blackouts occur when its system detects a fault on the line and its computer system automatically cuts power.

(SFgate.com)

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BLUE AND RED DO HAVE SOMETHING IN COMMON. THEY'VE BOTH BEEN RIPPED OFF, REPEATEDLY

Our "transitory" inflation disaster and looming market crash mimic past bubble disasters, which all had the same feature: a few insiders won, and everyone else got creamed.

by Matt Taibbi

“Good, honest, hardworking people, white collar, blue collar. Doesn't matter what color shirt you have on… People of modest means continue to elect these rich cocksuckers who don't give a fuck about them. They don't give a fuck about you. They don't give a fuck about you… It's called the American dream because you have to be asleep to believe it.”

— George Carlin

On June 14th, in Philadelphia, President Joe Biden gave a speech before leaders of the AFL-CIO. This is the role Joe Biden was hired to play, the hardscrabble “Scranton Joe” persona who gets the common working person. He addressed an issue very much on the minds of ordinary folk: “I’m doing everything in my power to blunt Putin’s gas price hike. Just since he invaded Ukraine, it’s gone up $1.74 a gallon — because of nothing else but that.”

This followed remarks he’d made in Los Angeles a week before, at the 9th Summit of the Americas: “The COVID-19 pandemic hit our region particularly hard… Twenty-two million more people fell into poverty in just the first year of the pandemic. Inequity continues to rise. Global [inflationary] pressures… made worse by Putin’s brutal and unprovoked war against Ukraine… are making it harder for families to make ends meet.” 

Watching Biden on the stump these days is heartbreaking. He combines Ron Burgundy-style slapstick teleprompter-dependence (one half expects him to end a speech soon with “Go fuck yourself, San Diego”) with the terror of a man who can see the bright light coming. Both effects are worsened by the fact that he’s peddling an insane, indefensible lie. i.e. that America is suffering through “Putin price hikes,” and not the inevitable consequence of yet another transparent state-aided ripoff scheme to soak the middle and lower classes on behalf of the 1%.

Possibly Biden’s people have secret polling showing that the public will buy the gambit, but the blunt truth is the rent is just coming due on years of Fed-fueled partying, and officials know it. They’ve repeatedly tried to lie anyway. As far back as last May, Biden’s Treasury Secretary, former Fed chief Janet Yellen, was reassuring the public that “I really doubt that we’re going to see an inflationary cycle,” and though “we expect somewhat higher inflation over the next several months,” this would be for “essentially technical reasons,” and “a transitory thing”:

Both Yellen and Fed chief Jay Powell kept insisting that inflation was “transitory.” Then, just a few weeks ago Yellen, in an interview that in a darkly humorous way recalled Alan Greenspan’s infamous “I’ve found a flaw” testimony about his belief that the self-correcting market should have stopped the mortgage manias before 2008, conceded to a feisty Wolf Blitzer that “I think I was wrong” to downplay the risk of inflation. Of course, Yellen immediately shifted to the “Putin price hike” excuse, blaming “unanticipated… shocks” in energy and food prices for America’s troubles.

Even CNN, whose reporters would normally buy ice in Alaska from a Biden official, wasn’t convinced. A “CNN Fact-check” on the administration’s inflation line pointed out that “America’s inflationary surge started in May of 2020, while Trump was still in office, and has skyrocketed under Biden.” Even former Barack Obama advisor Steven Rattner shat on the “Putinflation” theory back in March, tweeting, “Well, no. These are Feb #’s and only include small Russia effect. This is Biden’s inflation and he needs to own it.”

The last two years are really just the same old rehashed bubble economics heist narrative. A gang of insiders talks up a new asset class, and aided by a titillating infusion of institutional money and/or Federal Reserve largess, the public is enticed to jump in, perhaps also inspired by the stick of punitive savings rates. This time around, in place of Alan Greenspan telling people to hop into the counter-intuitive “new paradigm” of growth without inflation (during the Internet bubble), or recommending people use their home equity savings as ATM machines (in the heat of the wealth-eating mortgage Ponzi), we saw the Yellens and Powells of the world telling us inflation was “transitory.” Come on in, the water’s great! And jump in people did.

What really happened: at the start of the pandemic, on March 2, 2020, the Federal Reserve owned about $4.24 trillion in assets. After the passage of the bipartisan CARES Act and several subsequent COVID relief packages backed by both parties (one signed by Trump, another by Biden), the Fed went on an unprecedented buying spree. Their balance sheet reached a peak of about $8.96 trillion in assets in April of this year, before beginning a slight downward descent. That means the Fed dumped roughly $4.7 trillion in printed money into the economy in the last two years, creating the illusion of a boom.

Where did that $4.7 trillion go? Virtually across the economic spectrum, we watched people at the top of the income distribution magically achieve personal net worth increases that bore eerie resemblances to the near-doubling of the size of the Fed’s holdings. Where to start? Just taking America’s 727 billionaires, they went from collectively being worth $2.947 trillion in March of 2020 to being worth $4.657 trillion in May of this year, a gain of $1.7 trillion. Another study showed billionaires went from owning 1% of the world’s wealth in 1995, to 3.5% by last year.

Every business that depends upon easy borrowing made fortunes during the pandemic years. The private equity business, which uses borrowed money to finance takeovers and mergers, had a record year in 2021, doing just shy of $1 trillion in deals in 2021 ($987.6 billion). This nearly doubled the industry’s also-awesome $474.5 billion in 2020 deals. There is no chance so many PE firms could have made so much taking over so many companies (resulting in job losses at firms like PetSmart and even some hospitals and emergency rooms society needed during the pandemic) without this extraordinarily loose credit environment.

Bailout servicers also made out. Banks reported a record $297 billion in profits in 2021, following a 2020 that saw those same institutions smash records for underwriting fees, a direct consequence of underwriting vast amounts of bailout lending in the form of bond issues. Bank after major bank in 2020 and 2021 either reported doing record business, or having their best years since 2009, which by an extraordinary coincidence happened to be the last time the Fed and the Treasury flooded the system with rescue cash.

After two years of doing mind-boggling business during a period when the national economy was essentially on hold, nobody thinks it’s weird now that bankers are now telling us to brace for a recession just as the economy is opening up and growing again.

Lloyd Blankfein, whose former bank, Goldman, Sachs had its best run of profits since 2009 in the first pandemic year, just a few weeks ago warned that global recession is “definitely a risk” if not “baked in the cake” yet. J.P. Morgan Chase chief Jamie Dimon, who saw a raise to $34 million in 2021 after his firm set a profit record (despite a 14% drop in the 4th quarter), warned of “storm clouds” ahead earlier this year, if the Fed reversed its buying program. (Such stories, in which chin-scratching business leaders warn of disaster ahead if the Fed stops handing them risk-free billions, have become a dependable news genre).

Everyone did well in 2020 and 2021, despite global commerce grinding to a near halt. The cryptocurrency market briefly surpassed $3 trillion last year, with some saying crypto attracted investment by assuming the role of “digital gold,” although as one industry writer put it to me, “There was a get-rich-quick thing going on there.” Sotheby’s and Christie’s rode the crypto wave and cheerfully sold digital art in the form of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) for tens of millions of dollars, with CryptoPunk’s “Covid Alien” selling for $11.7 million. while “HUMAN ONE” by the crypto artist Beeple sold for $29.7 million. Of course I’m no one to say this was a bad deal, and I get the idea of Blockchain-identified NFTs mimicking the unique financial properties of art, but from one angle this modern Van Gogh looks a lot like a Tweet that struggled to get 6,000 likes.

All this partying took place before disasters like the crash of the TerraUSD stablecoin and, more recently, the crypto lending platform Celsius announcing a freeze of all withdrawals, after which the total crypto market was down below a trillion. I happen to be a believer in the revolutionary potential of Blockchain technology, but bad actors can crack any market with the right rap, and the recent developments mean someone, or a bunch of someones, suffered nearly $2 trillion in losses in a very short time. Who got out, and who took a beating?

One hint lay in the fact that executives all over spent as much cash as they could on stock buybacks during the pandemic years. When companies buy back their own stock, they retire the shares, raising the stock’s value overall. The maneuver pays off top shareholders, who again by extraordinary coincidence are often the very executives approving the buybacks, while investing vast sums not in growing the firm or creating jobs, but in increasing the worth of the stock shares often used as compensation. During the pandemic, we had example after example of firms rushing into buyback plans the instant they got splashed by the COVID cash waterfall.

Defense contractors for instance got a special dispensation from the government at the outset of COVID, granted $4.6 billion in an “accelerated payment program” that gave firms like Lockheed-Martin credit for outstanding contracts even if they hadn’t been fulfilled. The industry responded by taking that $4.6 billion in cash and repurchasing $4.8 billion of its own stock just in that quarter, more than the entire previous year. It wasn’t until this year that the Pentagon decided to “weigh” whether or not to suspend the accelerated payments, which by early this year reached $5.3 billion just for the so-called “top-5” contractors: Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Raytheon, Northrop Grumman, and General Dynamics.

Overall, S&P companies repurchased a record $234.5 billion in stock in the third quarter of 2021, and this was after a record $2 trillion buyback binge in the three years preceding the pandemic. The orgy of buybacks was one of many factors fueling the stock rally of the last few years, and as the Wall Street Journal put it, “Asset prices have continued to benefit from the monetary and fiscal support that policy makers put in place to help the economy get through the pandemic.” The paper added last December that investors would “scrutinize signals out of the Federal Reserve… where officials may accelerate the process of winding down a bond-buying stimulus program.” Translation: the more money the Fed poured into the market, the more companies took out in the form of buybacks.

One could go on and on. One industry after the next cleaned up in the last few years, and top executives across the board cashed out as quickly as they could, in as many ways as they could. Sometimes this made a little sense (one at least gets why Pfizer had a great year), but Nike, Chevron, Steel Dynamics? Many firms jacked prices up to compensate for a variety of factors, including inflation, and overall corporate profits last year went up 37%, the highest in recorded history:

The moment the Fed slams on the brakes and accelerates any program of “quantitative tightening,” the pain will spread, as it always does, to the general population. Asset values will drop, pension funds will take it in the face, and all the things that we saw happen to innocent bystanders after 2008 will recur. Also just like 2008, the moment everything crashes, the predators left with cash on hand will scour the landscape, look for “babies thrown out with the bathwater,” as one finance-sector friend of mine put it, and go on a buying spree, again, as they did with mortgages after 2008. “That’s when they make the real money,” he said.

We already saw this in microcosm at the outset of the pandemic. You might recall billionaire investor Bill Ackman of Pershing Capital Management going on CNBC in the pre-bailout period of March 18, 2020 and literally weeping as he predicted, “Hell is coming!” and “America will end as we know it!” unless Donald Trump and Democratic counterparts approved a sweeping federal rescue program. Furious at the lack of action, Ackman told a story about how he, Bill Ackman, was already sacrificing, having already gone into self-lockdown, refusing to see even close relatives, because (pausing, sniffling) “I am not going to kill my father!”

A few days later, on March 25rd, 2020, when it became clear the CARES Act would indeed pass, Ackman sent a cheery letter to investors announcing that he’d not only made $2.6 billion shorting panicked markets, but that his Pershing fund had already begun the happy process of buying up stocks at “bargain” prices with the proceeds: 

“On March 23rd, we completed the exit of our hedges generating proceeds of $2.6 billion for the Pershing Square funds ($2.1 billion for PSH), compared with premiums paid and commissions totaling $27 million, which offset the mark-to-market losses in our equity portfolio. Our hedges were in the form of purchases of credit protection on various global investment grade and high yield credit indices…

“For all of the above reasons, we became increasingly positive on equity and credit markets last week, and began the process of unwinding our hedges and redeploying our capital in companies we love at bargain prices that are built to withstand this crisis, and which we believe will flourish long term.”

That happened in microcosm in 2020, and it’ll happen again when the “storm clouds” of 2022 turn into a real storm, which is expected sooner rather than later. The Democrats, in a decision that lays bare their admirable consistency in underestimating the public’s intelligence, are trying to pass off the ridiculous notion that inflation and other market disruptions are the fault of Vladimir Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine, and not due to the $4.7 trillion in central bank subsidies that 1%-ers have been gulping like Jell-o shots for over two years now. 

This is not to say the Russian oil and agricultural disruptions have no effect on the economy. They’re more like additional unexpected complications piled atop a set of problems that were already both massive and “baked in the cake,” as Blankfein might put it. The larger issue is whom exactly the Bidens, Yellens, and Powells of the world represent. 

As far back as 2016 (when both Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump put the Fed at the center of their campaign pitches), there’s been a growing sense among voters that national financial policy, and especially central bank policy, is dictated by the needs and desires of the very few. 

As that friend of mine points out, the notion that the managers of monetary policy don’t serve ordinary people is not a new one. Once upon a time, such resentments fueled the populist campaign of William Jennings Bryan, who saw the push for a gold standard as a gambit to protect with “hard money” the wealth gains of those who owned financial assets (as opposed to those who did not), with Bryan saying famously, “You shall not crucify mankind upon a Cross of Gold.”

This time around, the belt-tightening measures that will be undertaken to crush inflation will of course protect ordinary people from the specter of $7 gallons of gas or other horrors. However, in the long run it’s the very wealthy who may have recent gains to protect who have the most to lose from this volatility, and it’s their interests the coming tightening will be designed to serve. Just like 2008, when piles of public treasure made gambling-addict banks whole again while individual savers and homeowners got wiped out and told to “suck it in and cope,” these post-2020 Fed policies made a handful of very big winners while gearing up to make losers of the rest. 

Then and now, the pain will cut across geography and party. The wealth gap widened significantly after the 2008 bailouts and has already done so again in the pandemic period, when the bottom 99% worldwide is worse off than at the start of the emergency, and just those slivers of high society listed above saw jumps. 

After 2008, there was intense propaganda to deflect public attention from the causes of the crash. The new emphasis will be on making sure culture-war issues prevent the losers in this latest bubble — be they millennial day-traders who became collateral damage to the crypto crash, or inner-city wage earners forced to watch their purchasing power wiped out via inflation — from realizing they may have shared antagonists in seats of financial power. 

This is a constant in financial predation stories that’s virtually always ignored in the popular press, which insists on portraying blue and red America as separate worlds, whose citizens have nothing in common. That’s not just a lie, it’s really the core lie at the heart of our partisan political system. It’s why the notion of “economic anxiety” as even a partial factor behind Trump’s rise was so violently suppressed by press wizards in 2016, and why such extraordinary effort was put behind a propaganda campaign to wipe out the “Russian asset” Sanders. 

Even Biden was scolded on MSNBC by Stephanie Ruhle when he tried once to suggest a “Scranton vs. Park Avenue” campaign theme. “Why is he going with this divide-and-conquer approach?” Ruhle cried. “What about a message for all Americans?” Unity, and “all Americans,” suddenly assumes enormous importance among professional division merchants once anyone starts talking not about red and blue, Trumpers and Dems, but few-versus-many. 

Really we don’t live in two Americas but one, whose obvious problem is that too many of its citizens have too much in common, having been repeatedly ripped off, in the same types of scams, by the same people, for decades. Sooner or later, the public will figure it out, and come running toward Washington all at once, pitchforks drawn. All the Bidens of the world can hope for is that that day comes later. As the “Putin price hikes” idiocy shows, they’re running out of ways to stall the inevitable.

* * *

London 1982

* * *

ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY

I haven’t been posting a lot lately because, frankly, a lot of the comments are the same old shit. I see a lot of interpersonal sniping between posters, a lot of opinions being written under the guise of facts, and very little discussion about issues that matter.

First, no one knows what will definitely happen in the future, so how can one talk about specific events that haven‘t occurred yet as if they are facts? I have nothing against opinions, but only if they are stated as opinions, including some idea of the probability of them happening.

Do we really know if midterm elections will be canceled? Will biden last through the rest of his term, or will he die before then? What party will control Congress? What candidates will run? What’s the probability of WW3 happening? Is the economy crashing? Will inflation get out of hand? Etc. The point is no one really knows. So why talk about this stuff until it happens. 

I’d like to read discussions about what really matters, not whether Joe Blow the poster is an idiot. Issues like what we can do about losing our supply of potable water, rising temperatures, loss of topsoil, getting people adequate nutrition, overpopulation, fouling the oceans, and similar important topics. Let’s hear all sides of an argument, so we can get an idea of what’s actually happening. Is there any cogent argument saying covid vaccines are not poison? All I read is that some person says they are, but I don’t hear about others saying they aren’t. I’m not saying what’s really happening because I’ve heard only one side. What’s wrong about hearing both sides, and deciding for one’s self?

Anyway, I, personally would like cogent, open discussions, rather than name-calling and trolling. That’s just me.

* * *

* * *

ABACUS SUNSET

Each rock a natural stair
Stairways doth lead into rare
Waterfall ionized air

Rare the air where heights art climbed
Climbing higher one shalt find
Solitude and peace of mind

Climbing higher views more vast
Friends with God, mans in the past
What a place to pray and fast

Hills sunlit dark is the town
Stars must wait for sun to drown
Night undressing dropped her gown

Largess larger from great heights
Distant neon, lonely nights
Fireflies or city lights

Order a pizza with their phone
Not the hermit all alone
That's not how he'll atone

Except for redwoods, deer and ferns
The recluse by nature spurns
All company, then he returns

Back to the world of man
To stock up the best he can
Down to town the hermit ran

* * *

ABACK TAKEN

Blizzard's blessings from above
And then the winds they soften
On Facebook at first sight fall in love
On Messenger we would chat quite often.
Snow flurries being a boon
And providence proving key
She's a therapist and I am a loon
No one else could be more helpful to me.
Much more than a mere conceit
Blizzards art gift from above
And if only Karen and I could be
For sure I would end this poem with love.

— Roger Schoenahl

* * *

* * *

SMALL OBSERVATIONS

by Herb Caen

"A year ago when I was only 82 I wrote somebody that 'I don't feel like an old man, I feel like a young man that has something the matter with him." I've now found out what it is: it is the approach of middle age and I don't care for it…"

Thus begins a note of Christmas greetings from Bruce Blevin who was editor of the New Republic magazine for 30 remarkable years and now lives in retirement at Stanford. He goes along cheerily: "I walk with a slight stagger, thus acquiring a lot of new friends; everybody welcomes the approach of what they feel is an amiable elderly drunk. I forgot a lot of words, thus reducing size of my whaddayacall it. The floor is covered with memos to myself which I hope I will be able to reach down and pick up. What have I learned in 83 years? I have learned that if you are mugged on the street don't yell Help! Yell Fire! Nobody wants to come to a mugging, but everybody is interested in a fire."

Seasons greetings, dear Mister B. And many more.

* * *

Swords into plowshares or something: do you remember the XB-70 bomber program? You should, since it cost you close to $2 billion, although only three prototypes were built (for you) at North American Aviation in Los Angeles. The first was destroyed in a mid-air collision in 1966 and the second reposes among the other dinosaurs at the Air Force museum in Dayton, Ohio. And the third? Well, it wound up in crates scattered here and there. Sculptor Tom Van Zant bought a lot of the stainless steel and titanium and fashioned the metal into huge abstract birds that now adorn the walls of the Crocker Bank branch in the Transamerica pyramid. I guess that closes the books on the XB-70.

* * *

William Randolph Hearst Jr. dropped into the Post-Powell branch of Roos-Atkins fine clothing store one day and bought a suit from Dave Falk, who said, "You know, I sold your father an Inverness cape for the Opera opening in 1939 down at the old Roos store on Market." At this, Hearst Jr. turned to his son William Randolph Hearst III and said, grinning, "Billy, buy yourself a suit so Mr. Falk can go down in history as the only salesman who sold clothes to three William Randolph Hearsts." Done and done.

* * *

Small observations guaranteed to shake you up a little:

Your psychiatrist's hands tremble every time he opens a fortune cookie.

The man in charge of the hair restoring salon is bald.

Your banker opens his attache case and a copy of the daily racing form falls out.

Just after you congratulated the owner of the French restaurant on his authentic provencale cuisine, the kitchen door swings open and you see that the chef is Filipino.

Your barber goes elsewhere to have his hair trimmed.

The renowned surgeon who comes to your cocktail party for "just one drink" because he has an operation in the morning is the last to leave, nine drinks later.

The guy who used to date your wife drops around to pick up your daughter.

* * *

These children from 8 years old up go to school half a day, and shuck oysters for four hours before school and three hours after school on school days, and on Saturday from 4 A.M. to early afternoon. Photo by Lewis Hine, 1911

* * *

PEOPLE DON’T THINK HARD ENOUGH About What Nuclear War Is And What It Would Mean

We're being sedated into a propaganda-induced coma while immensely powerful people play profoundly dangerous games with our lives.…

caitlinjohnstone.com/2022/06/23/people-dont-think-hard-enough-about-what-nuclear-war-is-and-what-it-would-mean/

* * *

THE WARRIOR'S FIRST CHAMPIONSHIP in the Bay Area

by David Hegler

This past week, the Golden State Warriors added another world championship to their trophy case, defeating the storied Boston Celtics in six hard fought games. Going into this past year and into much of the playoffs, doubters within the media circled like vultures over a rotting corpse. They said that the Warrior's best days were behind them and that they stood no chance at winning another Larry O'Brien Trophy. The Warriors proved the naysayers wrong and brought home their fourth title in eight years. As incredible as this achievement is, these were not the biggest underdogs from the Bay Area to win an NBA championship. The Warriors in 1975 were much more unheralded and seemingly stood no chance at winning a championship. This is their story.…

thegoldnuggett.com/post/the-warrior-s-first-championship-in-the-bay-area

* * *

BIDEN BLAMES PUTIN, REFINERS, & GAS STATIONS FOR RECORD PRICES: ‘Cost Of Saving Democracy’

Having had the 'Putin Price Hike' narrative thoroughly dismissed by Fed Chair Powell earlier in the day, President Biden is set to keep repeating the 'big lie' until more people believe it.

As Summit News' Paul Joseph Watson detailed earlier, only 11 per cent of Americans believe the Biden administration’s narrative that Vladimir Putin is to blame for record high gas prices, with the majority blaming Biden’s poor energy policies instead.

A Rasmussen poll finds that 52 per cent of respondents think unaffordable gas prices are the fault of the president, with the vast majority rejecting the “Putin price hike” excuse.

zerohedge.com/political/only-11-americans-believe-biden-narrative-putin-blame-record-gas-prices

* * *

* * *

THE NEOCON'S DREAM - DECOLONIZE RUSSIA, RE-COLONIZE CHINA

The real reason for high fuel prices is Biden's misguided foreign policy. Three of the biggest oil producers on the globe, Venezuela, Iran and Russia, are under U.S. sanctions that limit their oil exports: "The sanctions have made it more difficult for Russia to sell its oil. Biden has also banned the import of Russian oil, and last month Europe announced it was imposing a partial embargo on it. As of 2020, Russia was the world’s third-largest producer of petroleum, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration."

As the New York Times correctly headlines: Western Move to Choke Russia’s Oil Exports Boomerangs, for Now

That move will continue to boomerang. Russia sells it oil to China and India where it gets refined. The resulting gasoline and diesel is then exported to the U.S.. That is good for India and China as they buy the oil with a rebate and sell the end products with a substantial margin. It is a 'win' 'win' 'win' for Russia, India and China with the sole loser being the 'west'. Whatever NYT hope of sanction success is expressed in its 'for now' addition to the headline is not going to change that.

moonofalabama.org/2022/06/the-neocons-dream-decolonize-russia-re-colonize-china-.html

* * *

* * *

AND LEAVE THE DRIVING TO US

One person was killed and another was wounded in a shooting on a subway train Wednesday. A third victim was transported to San Francisco General Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

The San Francisco Police Department said the shooting happened on a Muni train between Forest Hill and Castro Muni Metro stations.

At about 10 a.m., police responded a report of a shooting at the Muni Forest Hill station but discovered that the train had already left and was headed toward the Castro station, according to police spokesperson Allison Maxie.

Officers found the two victims at the Castro station. One was taken to San Francisco General Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries and police and fire crews rendered emergency aid to the second victim, who was pronounced dead on scene.

It was not clear if the shooting of the second victim, a female, was accidental, she said. The female victim was injured in the knee and is the one who survived her injuries, said District 7 Supervisor Myrna Melgar.

In an email to The Examiner, Maxie said, "No arrests have been made and this remains and open and active investigation. The suspect is described as an unknown race male wearing dark clothing and a hooded jacket."

"Further information will be released as it becomes available, but we also want to assure community members and visitors that this incident does not appear to be related to Pride festivities or targeting the LGBTQ community," she added.

Subway service was suspended in the area as police gathered evidence. Passengers were being transported in buses and shuttles.

At 2 p.m., the San Francisco Department of Emergency Management tweeted that the incident has been resolved. Commuters were advised to expect traffic delays, consider alternate routes and allow for additional travel time.

ALERTSF: The incident in the area of Castro and Market Streets has been resolved Expect traffic delays, consider alternate routes, and allow for additional travel time. For live traffic information visit https://t.co/KhHeZty2yc. https://t.co/Y2qMCw6Vjp — San Francisco Department of Emergency Management (@SF_emergency) June 22, 2022

Erica Kato, a spokesperson for the SFMTA, said that to her knowledge, a fatal shooting has never before happened onboard a Muni train.

The shooting is being viewed as an isolated incident.

Kato also noted the SFPD is fully taking over the investigation of the incident.

"The best information I can give, as this is a fluid situation, is to monitor our Twitter page," said Kato. "In addition to that, we will also be making announcements on buses and trains and in the subway stations on those scrolling platforms."

Muni shooting: @SFMTA_Muni spox says once @SFPD clears the scene, they are ready to resume regular service. pic.twitter.com/Q3gM6JLvIx — SF Examiner (@sfexaminer) June 22, 2022

Business owners in the area said they were generally unconcerned as the altercation was not an active shooter situation.

State Sen. Scott Wiener called the violence a “horrific tragedy,” and noted that it occurred on a stretch of subway line that he’d taken “thousands of times.”

“It’s another reminder that as long as our country is awash in guns, shootings can happen anywhere, anytime,” he said in a statement. “California has the strongest gun safety laws in the nation, and we’re continuing to strengthen them. But we need strong action from Congress to truly improve the safety of our community.” 

— SF Examiner

* * *

* * *

THE DEMOCRATS’ ONE-SIDED SIDESHOW

by Michael Goodwin

To Democrats, they’re still just “deplorables.”

Hillary Clinton’s infamous slur of Donald Trump’s supporters in 2016 likely played a role in the election outcome. Six years later, it’s worth asking if her party has learned anything about why Trump beat her and why he retains such a vast following.

To judge by the January 6 hearings, the answer is no, hell no. Were they wiser, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her henchmen would have realized a kangaroo court treatment of the Capitol riot would not be persuasive because it would not be trusted by nearly half the country.

Her ignorance is America’s loss. Many of the gritty details the investigation panel has presented would have wider impact if the members were not so one-sided. But because they are, the proceedings smack of another partisan exercise, a Trump Impeachment, Act 3.

For example, testimony last week by former White House insiders revealed the strong pushback among much of Trump’s inner circle against his claim the 2020 election was stolen and detailed then-Vice President Mike Pence’s principled refusal to halt certification of the Electoral College results. Tuesday’s appearance by officials from Arizona and Georgia, states Joe Biden took from the GOP column, showed the extreme efforts Trump and his lawyers made to overturn the results in those states.

While Trump’s position on the election was well known, the first-person accounts illustrated how outlandish his proposed remedies were and how little hard evidence he had. But in refusing to seat any Republicans who did not start with the view that Trump should be forever barred from public life, Pelosi undermined the findings before they were revealed.

* * *

As George Washington University Law School’s Jonathan Turley and other legal experts have noted, the lack of any semblance of a cross-examination of witnesses means viewers are getting only the part of the story that supports Pelosi’s agenda. Show trials are un-American, even when Trump is in the dock.

Although I believe Trump needs to change his tune about the 2020 election if he intends to run in 2024, the mental hurdle against trusting the Dems’ performance peaks with every appearance of Rep. Adam Schiff. His face makes it impossible not to think of the Russia, Russia, Russia hoax he pushed beyond the breaking point and his mad-dog effort to turn a Trump 2019 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky into a cause for removal.

In that sense, Pelosi & Co. continue to repeat the essence of Clinton’s mistake. Hillary’s 2016 thesis was that all she had to do was plant concocted “evidence” with the media that Trump was a Russian stooge, get the FBI to investigate and voters would migrate to her side in a heartbeat.

When they didn’t, Clinton called them names, most notably at a private fund-raiser.

“You know, to just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables,” she said. “The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic — you name it. And unfortunately there are people like that. And he has lifted them up.”

Apparently it was news to her that calling voters stupid and accusing them of being bigots is not the way to charm them. Nor was it helpful to the anti-Trump movement in the long run that Clinton’s claims about Russia were fake news and the FBI had spied on his presidential campaign.

Similarly, Pelosi’s insistence on conformity of viewpoint and contempt for those who refuse to subscribe to her vendetta helps explain Trump’s staying power even now.

Any normal politician would have been abandoned because of the January 6 riot itself. No hearings would have been necessary to seal the door shut against any potential comeback.

Still a GOP powerhouse

Yet, despite Pelosi’s persistent attempt to destroy him, Trump remains the most powerful force in the GOP and is still reshaping the party one endorsement at a time. He is also shadowing the hearings with acidic commentary and his version of events, which include his continued insistence the election was stolen.

While it’s possible the hearings will persuade some supporters to abandon him, there is no sign of that yet.

Also still unclear is the Dems’ ultimate aim. Just last week, panel chairman Bennie Thompson of Mississippi said he did not envision a referral to the Justice Department urging that Trump be prosecuted. “That’s not our job,” he told reporters. “Our job is to look at Jan. 6. What caused it and make recommendations after that . . . We don’t have the authority.”

Other members of the panel, including Rep. Liz Cheney, a Republican ally of Pelosi, quickly pushed back, saying no decision had been made, a suggestion that she and others want charges brought against Trump.

Although Attorney General Merrick Garland does not need congressional referral to bring a case, there are other, more substantial hurdles.

Most important, many legal experts say they have not seen compelling evidence Trump committed a crime during the run-up to the Capitol riot or in his efforts to overturn the election. Without a slam-dunk case showing clear intent to break the law, they believe the Justice Department would not take the leap of bringing criminal charges against an ex-president for acts he committed as president.

Then again, if Dems want to make certain that Trump remains a powerful nemesis, they should get Garland to bring any case he can as soon as possible. To Trump supporters, the prosecution would be persecution and fresh proof that Washington is a swamp that only he can drain.

* * *

SS Vanguard, Point Arena, 1937

* * *

TAKE THE DANGERFIELD QUIZ

(Compiled by Mark Scaramella)

Finish the quip. In each case the answer will be exactly two words.

1. My girlfriend phoned me the other day and said, “Come on over — there's nobody home.” I went over. Nobody… _____ _____.

2. I went to see my doctor. I said, Doctor every morning when I get up and look in the mirror I feel like throwing up. What is wrong with me? He said, I don't know but your eyesight… _____ _____.

3. My wife's not too smart. Once somebody stole our car. I asked my wife if she saw who it was. She said, no — but she did get the… _____ _____.

4. I remember the time I was kidnapped and they sent a piece of my finger to my father. My father said that he wanted… _____ _____.

5. My wife and I were happy for 20 years. Then… _____ _____.

6. When I was a kid my parents moved a lot, but I always… _____ _____.

7. I looked up my family tree and found out that I was… _____ _____.

8. My wife met me at the door the other night in a sexy negligee. Unfortunately, she was just… _____ _____.

Answers below.

1. was home. 2. is perfect. 3. license number. 4. more proof. 5. we met. 6. found them. 7. the sap. 8. coming home.

* * *

"Nestled in the Meadow" painting by Jo Grundy

22 Comments

  1. Marmon June 23, 2022

    RE: THE RIGHT TO KEEP AND BEAR ARMS

    So, just minutes ago the Supreme Court handed down a ruling that’s going to effect Californians. The Supreme Court STRUCK DOWN a New York gun-control law that required people to show “proper cause” to get a license to carry a concealed handgun outside the home. The vote is 6-3.

    Marmon

    • Harvey Reading June 23, 2022

      Fascists will be fascists…

    • Marmon June 23, 2022

      Now any law abiding citizen can apply for a permit or license.

      Marmon

      • Harvey Reading June 23, 2022

        And any nut case, too, so long as its nuttiness isn’t in some data base somewhere, because it failed to seek assistance from the witch doctors. The misinterpreted second amendment should have been repealed long ago. This is a nation of blind morons.

    • Chuck Dunbar June 23, 2022

      HEADS IN THE SAND: GUNS AND THE SUPREME COURT

      “New York Gov. Kathy Hochul, a Democrat, called the decision ‘frightful in its scope,’ its language ‘shocking’ and said the court was turning ‘this nation and our ability to protect our citizens back to our founding fathers.’

      ‘I think everyone should know what happened here. As governor of the state of New York, my number one priority is to keep New Yorkers safe,’ Hochul said on Thursday. ‘But the Supreme Court is sending us backwards in our efforts to protect families and prevent gun violence, and it’s particularly painful that this came down at this moment when we’re still dealing with families in pain from mass shootings.’ ”

      Politico 6/23/22

      • Marmon June 23, 2022

        Hochul has not been keeping New Yorkers safe. Crime is out of control, likewise in California. Now New Yorkers and Californians can protect themselves.

        Marmon

        • Bruce McEwen June 23, 2022

          If crime were under control it wouldn’t be crime — a catch phrase for dupes who don’t pause to think what they’re saying — and the only place sure of safety is the urn which is why I have my niche at California’s safest place for vets.

  2. Bill Pilgrim June 23, 2022

    Perhaps the Major should change his nickname to Groot.

  3. Marmon June 23, 2022

    RE: WHO DETERMINES MORAL CHARACTER AND PROPER CAUSE?

    Most importantly, the Supreme Court rejects a two-part test for looking at limitations on gun rights. And stresses you need to presume that people have a right to exercise individual rights like gun possession. And that means that you can’t put the sort of thumb on the scale as New York did here and say, ‘show us that you have proper cause, including moral standing to have a gun.’

    Currently Ca. State law allows for a person to be issued a concealed carry permit if:

    -You are of good moral character;
    -Good cause exists for issuance of the license because you or a member of your family is in immediate danger;
    -You meet certain residency requirements; and.
    -You have completed an acceptable course of firearms training.

    The first two requirements are no longer considered constitutional.

    What is your moral character?

    Moral character can be conceptualized as an individual’s disposition to think, feel, and behave in an ethical versus unethical manner, or as the subset of individual differences relevant to morality.

    Marmon

    • Bruce McEwen June 23, 2022

      Moral turpitude is the phrase the courts use and it refers to fellows who fondle their pistols under their pants.

  4. Stephen Rosenthal June 23, 2022

    Re Ed Notes: I’ll see your home economics classes and raise you shop (wood & metal) classes. Teach kids useful skills instead of numbing their skulls with subjects they’ll never need, like European History prior to 1850 (an actual class I had in High School). It’s amazing how many people under 30 can’t use basic hand and power tools.

  5. Michael Geniella June 23, 2022

    Mr. Marmon, who is going to protect the school children and other innocents caught in the gunfire?

  6. Bruce McEwen June 23, 2022

    My grandson and I built a dingy the first year of Covid and year two we got a set of leather tools and made vaccination card wallets for all the family (obsolete now but fine handsome wallets nonetheless); and all my wood shop and leather craft skills came back like second nature, having learned it so young.

  7. Marmon June 23, 2022

    RE: FROM TRUTH SOCIAL

    Trump’s latest truth. 40 min. ago

    “What about the massive ballot stuffing shown, on Government Tape, by the highly respected and credible Patriots of True the Vote (2000 Mules)? I suppose that’s OK also? Such lies by the Unselects!”

    -Donald J. Trump
    @realDonaldTrump

    Marmon

  8. Marco McClean June 23, 2022

    The yellow orange rectangle with strings on it– how is that art, except for maybe as a parody of art?

    It reminds me of an old New Yorker cartoon where a sidewalk beatnik character sits on a stool among his paintings, which are all stick figures and random splortches of paint, and he addresses a viewer who clearly doesn’t think much of his work. He says happily, “May I assume from your expression that you also have a five-year-old at home who could do as well?”

    When /I/ was five years old my mother went out for awhile with a beatnik painter. So some of his work was on the walls of my grandparents’ Italian restaurant. One was a clown whose bow-tie was half-finished and looked like a melted plastic fish floating in space; the tie drew the eye away from the clown face, which was a pass-fair clown face. One was some boats, kind of, in sort of water. The one I liked the most was a flat field, a telephone pole and some wires. There might have been a train in the distance, I don’t remember exactly. Nothing he painted managed to reach the frame; it all sort of petered out on the way there. But I remember thinking of the telephone wires one when on trips in the car, driving next to telephone wires, forehead against the side window, focused on infinity, not on the wires, which made them flow up and sharply down, up and sharply down, up and sharply down. Peaceful.

    He painted on the rough, checkered side of Masonite, so if you got close it suggested pointillism by merely brushing. He didn’t use enough paint to fill the grooves, which I attributed to thrift.

    In my whole life I made two paintings where I really tried to make them look good. In acrylic on a wooden box, and water colors and pen outline on cardboard. One was an astronaut in a bubble helmet shooting a ray gun by mistake and killing the sylph-like space alien /mother of his child/ (the child was a giant egg that tragically he saw a moment too late). One was a little vampire boy –very like Eddie Munster– miffed about having to mow the lawn, as every boy is. It’s night-time and a quarter-moon is overhead. A vampire would have to mow the lawn at night. I thought that was clever. Very bright colors and sharp edges, the way a vampire would see things.

    All the paste-up and collage I did for display ads and covers and titles and things for Memo, the paper, and for posters for projects and Mendo Movies, was lots of fun but I don’t think of that in the same way as real art. Comic book art is almost always clearly art. Movies and teevee shows made from comic books are visual art. But a three-minute job of yellow and orange spray paint and some string? Ehh.

    If you ever learn how much that sells for, I’m curious to know.

  9. Marco McClean June 23, 2022

    Furthermore regarding what’s art: The gallery of mugshots today. Every one is a gem. Fascinating faces.

    • Stephen Rosenthal June 23, 2022

      Especially the one of Bailey Scroggins. ^..^

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