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A 6.4-MAGNITUDE EARTHQUAKE rocked parts of northern California early Tuesday morning, knocking out power for thousands. The quake hit at a depth of 10 miles just after 5:30 a.m. ET [2:34 am PST] near Eureka in Humboldt County, the U.S. Geological Survey said. It struck around 7.4 miles west-southwest of Ferndale, the agency said. More than a dozen smaller earthquakes appeared to hit parts of the region afterward, it said. It was not immediately clear whether anyone was injured in the earthquake.
More than 70,000 utility customers were without power in Humboldt County as of 8 a.m. ET Tuesday, according to the online outage tracker Poweroutage.us.…
The quake comes almost exactly a year after a 6.2-magnitude earthquake struck offshore in the Cape Mendocino area of Northern California on Dec. 21 last year. No major damage or injures were reported in connection with that quake. That earthquake had struck at a depth of 5.6 miles in the Pacific Ocean, about 24 miles west of the small community of Petrolia along the rocky wilderness of California’s Lost Coast region in Humboldt County, the Geological Survey and the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Department said at the time.
Annemarie: Who felt the recent earthquake around 2:35am? 15 minutes ago 6.4 magnitude, 16 km depth, Ferndale, California. Aftershocks: 10 minutes ago 4.6 magnitude, 24 km depth, Rio Dell, California, United States. I felt it in Albion at 2:35am.
Adriane: My smart speaker sent an alert a minute before the shake. And the cat was sitting upright in the dark watching me for quite awhile afterward. That must have been the aftershocks she was following. In Fort Bragg.
LIGHT RAIN will move in today mostly for the North Coast with gradually warmer and dryer weather headed into the weekend. (NWS)
JUST IN: HOLIDAY PRESENT FOR COMPTCHE
After a summer and fall of public comments to the California Public Utilities Commission without much response or action, last week the CPUC issued a draft resolution to be voted on at their Jan 12th, 2023 meeting that would approve bringing fiber broadband to Comptche within two years time. Apparently the staff at CPUC did not want to grant AT&T relief from the fines it has incurred. However, President Reynolds and members of the Commission were impressed by Comptche’s outreach efforts and the arguments we put forward to use the funds from the fine relief to modernize our telecommunications network.
To all the citizens of Comptche that came forward to make their voices heard, thank you. You’ve earned this. We here at the Comptche Broadband Committee will be monitoring the vote closely and will do our best to ensure fiber comes to Comptche.
All will be able to view the proceedings. This link here details on how to connect up: cpuc.ca.gov/events-and-meetings/cpuc-voting-meeting-2023-01-12
Comptche Broadband Committee
STATE AG: WAIDELICH INVESTIGATION ‘STILL ONGOING’
by Mike Geniella
Mendocino County prosecutors are telling state authorities that a criminal investigation into a six month old sexual assault allegation against former Ukiah Police Chief Noble Waidelich “is still ongoing and is under review with the assistance of another county.”
The state agency to date is the only source of updated information about a high profile police misconduct case encircled in a blue wall of silence by District Attorney Dave Eyster and other local authorities.
Why is unclear.
Eyster refuses to comment about the Waidelich case, which is being described in local enforcement circles as a basic “he said, she said” scenario. Eyster has had the conclusions of an outside investigation conducted by Sonoma County since late summer.
Waidelich, a well-known Mendocino County cop, was stripped of his police duties in mid-June after a local woman complained that the former police chief, while on duty and in uniform, demanded oral sex from her during an encounter in June.
Mendocino County Sheriff Matt Kendall learned of the allegation, and immediately asked his counterpart in Sonoma County to investigate to avoid possible conflict. The results of the Sonoma County investigation were turned over to Eyster in late summer, but the findings remain under wrap.
Eyster’s refusal to act, or comment on the Waidelich case, leaves the former police chief in legal limbo. It also exacerbates concerns about how police misconduct cases are handled locally.
Waidelich’s case is the second high-profile police misconduct case that Eyster’s office has handled in the past year.
A public furor erupted in July when Eyster’s office agreed to a plea bargain deal for former Ukiah Police Sgt. Kevin Murray, who originally faced sexual assault allegations from two women. But after two trial delays, Eyster unexpectedly agreed to a plea deal with Murray’s defense team from the Santa Rosa law firm of Andrian & Gallenson, regarded as among the best in Northern California. Three serious felony sex charges were dismissed in return for guilty pleas by Murray to lesser charges. Instead of a minimum year in jail as recommended by Sonoma County probation authorities, Murray was placed on probation.
The disputed plea agreement was publicly ripped by one of the alleged victims, a Washington state nursing professional and friend of a former Murray wife, as a “sweetheart” deal. There were also a spate of public protests outside the Mendocino County Courthouse in downtown Ukiah.
In the Waidelich case, it is only through statements from the state Attorney General’s Office that the public has learned any details.
Eyster turned to the AG’s Office in late September seeking a possible recusal from prosecution of Waidelich, but state prosecutors determined there is no reason why the DA cannot decide if charging is warranted.
The scope of the Waidelich investigation was first revealed publicly in an official state AG response to Eyster in November.
The AG letter then stated in part, “The investigation arose from a complaining witness’s June 13, 2022, complaint to the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office that Mr. Waidelich sexually assaulted her while he was on duty.”
Eyster has refused to publicly comment on any aspect of the case, despite the seriousness of a sexual assault allegation involving a police chief in uniform.
The identity of the woman, known as an supporter of the military and local law enforcement, is known but not publicly revealed. She has declined through an intermediary to talk about her encounter with Waidelich.
Eyster refused to release the contents of his original request to the state AG under the state Public Records Act. He insists the information is “privileged.”
In a November 15 letter of refusal signed by Eyster’s chief assistant, Dale Trigg, Eyster claimed any disclosure would “endanger the successful completion of the overall investigation or related investigation.”
Asked for a further review, the state AG on Monday concluded that because Eyster maintains the Waidelich investigation is still ongoing, the contents of his letter can remain under wraps.
“As the investigation is ongoing and no decision has been made yet about whether charges should be filed, the public interest in disclosure of the letter is clearly outweighed by the public interest in facilitating an accurate and thorough investigation and maintaining the privacy of the complainant.”
Neither Eyster nor Trigg responded Monday to requests for comment on the latest AG statements.
CHUCK DUNBAR, referring to some fresh outrage: “Makes me glad to be an old guy who’ll depart this earth before it all comes down on us.”
AS AN OLD GUY, I understand the feeling; the general decline has been unnervingly rapid for those of us who grew up in the serene fifties when nothing of interest seemed to happen, although it was obvious that major weirdness would break out at any time, and a large sector of the adult population seemed at least ten degrees off. But as chaos grows, no one can say its run-up over the last fifty years has been boring.
ME DEAR OLD MUM was positively giddy at any spectacle that promised catastrophe. Me dear old Pa assumed all of life, even in its uneventful hours, was a series of catastrophes. He signed his letters, “Fight on.” But Mum looked forward to apocalypse. She seemed to assume she could watch it on TV. On warm but overcast days, she'd remark, “Feels like earthquake weather,” and she'd haul out her maps and fault line charts to get ready for the Big One. One day she phoned the Chronicle to tell them they'd run the same earthquake column two days in a row. I'll bet she was the only one who'd noticed.
BUT NOW that social/economic unraveling is upon us, its prospect seems so much less remote; millions of us have begun to take basic precautions, like the storage of rice and potable water. The Bay Area media tell us that it could be as long as a week before we could re-supply after a major quake. My wife is definitely a prepper. She's laid in a month's supply of stuff. I ask her, “How do you know these San Anselmo people are as blandly harmless as they seem? How do you know if they might come for our cache with guns?” She replied, “Well, you have your gun, don't you?” Yup, but I'm in Boonville most of every week, and even if I was present by the time I got my gun unlocked and loaded we'd be overwhelmed. Crazy imaginings, but I know a lot of people share them.
MY GRANDSON, 11, is on a traveling basketball team that plays all over the Bay Area and beyond every weekend in weekend tournaments. The coaching is very, very good. The little guys already know how to dribble with both hands, do left and right lay-ups, box out, look for the open man — all the fundamentals. In the fifties, the way you learned how to play any sport was by watching the big guys and imitating them. I didn't have any instruction in the three major sports until I got to high school, and that instruction tended to be uninformed. For football, it was, “Okay, do twenty push-ups then take a lap around the field.” Basketball, I don't know because I had a deep dislike of the coach so I didn't “go out,” as we used to say, but I did play a year of JC hoops at Hancock College preparing to go to Cal Poly on a half-assed baseball scholarship — free room and board and an easy part-time job. Baseball had also been a matter of watching the big guys who'd condescend to let you shag balls for them on the promise of getting your “ups,” but then when you picked up a bat they would say, “Sorry, we gotta go.”
BUT WITH the grandson and granddaughter, and thousands of children in every urban and suburban area of the country, they get competent coaching from the minute they step onto the fields of play. When I was a kid, and please indulge me that room-clearing phrase, girls played nothing because there was nothing offered to them until high school where they were allowed to play a two-step version of basketball — two steps and a mandatory pass on the assumption anything more strenuous would be beyond their endurance. Granddaughter plays volleyball, softball and basketball. Both of them love these highly organized and already competitive activities, which grandad sincerely hopes will carry them safely through the minefield of modern adolescence.
HAD TO LAUGH when grandson said he was called a “white bitch” by one of his diminutive opponents after a basketball game. He was more puzzled than angry, but did admit, “A lotta kids we play swear a lot.”
To the Editor:
To Jim Shields’s fine article about Mendocino County’s previously undisclosed $6.1 million budget deficit…I told you so.
There was nothing but an incestuous love fest when Carmel “Boss” Angel retired in March. Angelo’s last Board of Supervisors meeting was attended by all the usual political insiders, and it was an orgy of mutual back-slapping and self-congratulations.
Not a critical word. Not a single truth.
Except for me. I got my three minutes of public comments at the March meeting pointing out Angelo's failures after which Chair Ted Williams dismissed my comments as “unfounded lies.”
It gets worse.
Presently, it’s tough to make critical comments of the Board without getting your microphone shut off. There are new restrictions.
Also, try submitting written public comment. The new system is so difficult to use that I believe it was designed to thwart written public comment.
So, my question is this:
Does the Board really want a participatory democracy? Or are they more interested in silencing the truth, and collecting their salaries and pensions?
On the subject of pay packages, our County CEO, Darcie Antle, gets a total of something like $350,000 in combined salary and benefits. This is obscene is a county with a $6.1 million budget deficit. This is obscene with a county with hundreds of miles of unpaved roads. This is obscene in a county that is raising fees on all services and permits.
This is especially obscene is a county with so much widespread poverty. Half of our county residents are eligible for Food Stamps. A third are eligible for Medi-Cal.
JOHN REDDING: Ted Williams had the gall to assert that the finances of the Mendocino Health Care District were in poor shape despite never taking the opportunity to delve into them with me. Yet every passing day demonstrates he has no clue about the finances for which he is responsible. Indeed, his comments here and in other places suggest that he believes he is just an innocent bystander to the implosion of the County.
The County, if it isn’t apparent, is in a death spiral that will end in bankruptcy. There is not enough tax money to be raised to solve these problems. In fact, more taxes will only drive businesses and people elsewhere. Remember the adage — if you want less of something, tax it.
Mendocino County needs a lot of economic development, but the BOS has made it increasingly harder to do business here.
The fiasco over the budget and financial reports demonstrates that the current members of the Board are in over their heads.
John Redding, past Treasurer
Mendocino Coast Health Care District
* * *
TED WILLIAMS RESPONDS: County government is not heading toward bankruptcy, nor does it have the power to enact taxes. Ridiculous notions.
We're ripping off bandaids and surfacing a long legacy of questionable financial reporting. Some choose to kick and scream on the path to regular, credible financial reports. Take note of the characters who object to a forensic audit.
CATCH OF THE DAY, Monday, December 19, 2022
MICHAEL BARNES, Redwood Valley. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
RAMON MACIEL, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol. (Frequent flyer.)
LUCAS OROZCO, Ukiah. Domestic battery, probation revocation.
JONATHAN WOLFE, Redwood Valley. County parole violation.
No one mentions or questions the appropriation of store carts by homeless and homed people. I went into Big Lots on Mendocino Avenue, and although the store wasn’t crowded, there were few shopping carts. I asked an employee who said they had just received a truckload but over half were gone in a week. The carts cost more than $200 each. People wheel them home and leave them for the next person to take home or to an encampment. There used to be penalties for theft, but shopping carts, unlike the 10-cent bags, are free?
THE REAL CAUSE OF CALIFORNIA’S HOMELESSNESS
by Dan Walters
California, an article in the Atlantic magazine persuasively argues, has made it too difficult to build enough housing to meet the state’s needs.
Gov. Gavin Newsom, newly inaugurated Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass and legislative leaders are pledging decisive action on California’s homelessness crisis, which raises a pithy question: Why did it erupt during a period of strong economic growth?
The reasons often offered include a moderate climate, the availability of generous welfare benefits, mental health and drug abuse. However, a lengthy and meticulously sourced article in the current issue of Atlantic magazine demolishes all of those supposed causes.
Rather, the article argues persuasively, California and other left-leaning states tend to have the nation’s most egregious levels of homelessness because they have made it extraordinarily difficult to build enough housing to meet demands.
Author Jerusalem Demsas contends that the progressive politics of California and other states are “largely to blame for the homelessness crisis: A contradiction at the core of liberal ideology has precluded Democratic politicians, who run most of the cities where homelessness is most acute, from addressing the issue.
“Liberals have stated preferences that housing should be affordable, particularly for marginalized groups … But local politicians seeking to protect the interests of incumbent homeowners spawned a web of regulations, laws, and norms that has made blocking the development of new housing pitifully simple.”
Demsas singles out Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area as examples of how environmentalists, architectural preservationists, homeowner groups and left-leaning organizations joined hands to enact a thicket of difficult procedural hurdles that became “veto points” to thwart efforts to build the new housing needed in prosperous “superstar cities.”
While thriving economies drew workers to these regions, their lack of housing manifested itself in soaring rents and home prices that drove those on the lower rungs of the economy into homelessness.
“The small-c conservative belief that people who already live in a community should have veto power over changes to it has wormed its way into liberal ideology,” Demsas writes. “This pervasive localism is the key to understanding why officials who seem genuinely shaken by the homelessness crisis too rarely take serious action to address it.”
The syndrome that Demsas details is well known in California political circles, and Newsom and the Legislature have taken some steps to reduce — or bypass — the procedural hurdles to increasing construction of new housing, particularly projects to serve the working-class families most in danger of being priced out of the market and therefore becoming homeless.
The state is finally enforcing the quotas it sets on regional and local governments for zoning enough land for needed housing. It has also exempted some forms of housing from local zoning rules and has talked about cracking down on cities that impose impossible land use or design criteria on developers. However, the state’s mostly Democratic politicians have largely been unwilling to put their ideological brethren and allies, such as environmental groups, on the hot seat.
That reluctance is symbolized by their persistent reluctance to make a much-needed overhaul of the California Environmental Quality Act, which is often misused by anti-growth activists and labor unions to tie up housing projects.
It should be embarrassing to California officials that while their state deals with a seemingly intractable homelessness crisis, red states, as Demsas points out, don’t have similar problems because they don’t have structural aversion to construction and therefore don’t have the high housing costs that drive people into streets.
The governor, legislators and others who profess commitment to ending homelessness in California should begin by reading the message of truth to power provided by Atlantic, whose own ideological bent is also to the left.
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
Too many men are just life support systems for a penis and too many women are easily bullied into a demented agenda. We are designed to work with each other and balance each other out. Unless we can get to this point, which I don’t think we ever will.
CITY COUSIN comes to visit country bumpkin. Cousin goes on and on about how stupid country people are. While out walking around, city cousin notices some shiny black objects on the ground and asks what they are. Country cousin says, “Smarty pills. Eat some and they make you smarter.” City cousin puts some in his mouth and says “Tastes like crap!” Country cousin says “See, you're getting smarter already.”
HOW WILL THE 49ERS PLAY IT WITH JUST ONE SEEDING SPOT TO PLAY FOR?
by Eric Branch
How much does home-field advantage matter in the NFL playoffs? The San Francisco 49ers’ championship-game history highlights its significance.
The 49ers have reached seven Super Bowls and each title-game trip was preceded by a regular season that placed them in prime postseason position: They were the NFC’s No. 1 or No. 2 seed each year, meaning they rarely left the Bay Area before playing in the Super Bowl.
Twelve of their 14 playoff games played before their seven Super Bowl appearances were at home, with NFC Championship Game wins at Chicago (January 1989) and Atlanta (January 2013) the exceptions.
Consider that context for the question that arisen since Thursday night: How much should the 49ers give to get out of the NFC’s No. 3 seed?
Their 21-13 win at Seattle secured the NFC West title and assured them of being no lower than the conference’s third seed with three regular-season games remaining. The 49ers (10-4) are one game behind the Vikings (11-3), the No. 2 seed, and have only a faint chance of surpassing the top-seeded Eagles (13-1), who are in position to claim a first-round bye and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.
The 49ers are positioned to host a wild-card game at Levi’s Stadium on Jan. 14 or 15. And they would be in line to host a divisional-round game if they can leapfrog Minnesota for the No. 2 seed. If the 49ers finish 3-0 — and the Vikings lose one of their final three games — the 49ers would claim the second seed by virtue of their record in conference games. The 49ers are 8-2 against NFC opponents and Minnesota is 6-3.
It could mean the difference between hosting the Vikings in the divisional round or traveling to Minnesota a week before a potential trek to Philadelphia for the NFC title game.
“Huge,” fullback Kyle Juszczyk said of claiming the No. 2 seed. “Anytime you can play at home, that’s going to be to your advantage, especially us on the West Coast. … For us to continue winning and move up in the seed chart is big.”
A year after the 49ers had to expend everything to reach the postseason — playing into overtime in their regular-season-finale win against the Rams — head coach Kyle Shanahan has indicated he’ll try to strike a late-season balance. He doesn’t want his team, which has won seven straight, to misplace its mojo. However, he also wants to reduce the injury risk.
“I think you have to be smart,” Shanahan said. “I mean, you never just want to stop. You can’t lose your edge. It’s not something you can turn on and off. At the same time, you do need to be smart.
“It’s very important to get home games. So we’ll do everything we can to do that. But by no means at the expense of risking someone that we shouldn’t.”
What might that look like? It probably means All-Pro running back Christian McCaffrey won’t be replicating his most recent workload before mid-January. McCaffrey had 32 touches against the Seahawks, matching the third most of his 72-game career, and played 89% of the snaps, his most in eight games with the 49ers.
It likely means quarterback Brock Purdy, who was questionable to play against Seattle because of oblique and rib injuries, won’t have another gut-it-out performance in the regular season if he experiences a setback. And Pro Bowl pass rusher Nick Bosa, who has been nursing a balky hamstring and played 80% of the snaps Thursday, might not reach that figure for a fifth time this season.
And it wouldn’t be a surprise if All-Pro wide receiver Deebo Samuel (knee, ankle), whose tentative timeline to return would allow him to start in the regular-season finale against Arizona, doesn’t play again until the postseason.
In summary, it might mean that when Shanahan says the 49ers will “do everything” to get home playoff games, he shouldn’t be taken literally: They will try to keep rolling, while limiting risk.
“I DON'T SEEM to have trouble drawing a crowd anywhere. I can even do it on the sidewalks of New York, where people are used to everything. But when I get a crowd around me, somebody always wants to know if I'm really like the way I act. Well, of course I'm like I act or else I couldn't act this way. But what I have done is to exaggerate the natural way I am.
I wouldn't sit around my house shouting and carrying on if it was just me and my folks, but I would if there was anybody else there to hear me. I do that for the reason I've already said: to attract attention and to get rich. I don't really love to fight, you see, but as long as I'm doing it I sure don't want to do it for free.”
— Muhammad Ali
THE GREAT MESSI
by Cesar Chelala
What explains Lionel Messi’s unique abilities? David Konzevik, a former Argentine soccer player and now a famous economist living in Mexico City told me recently, “I have never before been so moved seeing a player as I am with Messi. I have watched him doing magic with the ball for years. There is nobody like him.”
Many claim that Messi’s remarkable ability as a player is the result of Pep Guardiola’s teachings when he played in Barcelona. However, since he was a child in Argentina, Messi was already a brilliant player. Ernesto Vecchio, a coach from his youth, said, “As a player, he is very similar now to how he was as a youngster. He decides in milliseconds what he is going to do with the ball at his feet.”
“I think Messi is a unique case in the history of humanity, because he is someone capable of having a ball inside his foot. It has always been said that Maradona had the ball tied to his foot, but Messi has it inside it, something that is scientifically inexplicable. You see that 7, 11, 22 rivals chase him to take out the ball and there is no way to take it out of him. How is that possible? Because they look for it outside the foot, and the ball is inside. Now, how can a ball fit inside a foot? It is an unintelligible phenomenon, but it is the truth, he carries the ball inside his foot, not outside,” wrote the noted Uruguayan writer Eduardo Galeano.
His exceptional qualities as a player have made him the object of medical studies that attempt to find clues to his unique talent. How Messi’s brain works has been studied by a Dutch physician, Pieter Medendorp of Radboud University in Nijmegen. Dr. Medendorp hopes to learn “how people make split-second decisions and know how to prioritize.” It is Messi’s ability to confront opponents trying to block him and then almost effortlessly weave through them that particularly interests Dr. Medendorp.
The best explanation for Messi’s abilities can be found in an article written by the Argentine journalist Hernán Casciari, published in his blog and ironically titled “Messi is a dog.” Casciari -who doesn’t hide his admiration for Messi- tells how, after watching several of Messi’s goals on YouTube he realized that Messi plays as if in a trance, as if he were hypnotized.
Messi’s only wish is to see the ball in the opposing team’s net. “We must look well into his eyes to understand this: he looks cross-eyed at the ball, as if reading an out-of-focus subtitle; he focuses on it and does not lose sight of it even if they knife him,” wrote Casciari.
“Where had I seen that look before? In whom? I knew that gesture of supreme introspection. I pressed the Pause key in the video. I zoomed in Messi’s eyes. And then I remembered it: those were the eyes of ‘Totín’ when he became crazy for the sponge.”
“I had a dog in childhood called ‘Totín’. Nothing moved him. He wasn’t a smart dog. Thieves came in and he just watched them carry the TV out. The buzzer rang and he didn’t hear it. However, when someone [my mother, my sister, myself] grabbed a sponge—a particular yellow sponge for washing dishes—Totín became mad. He wanted this sponge more than anything in the world; he wished with all his heart to take this yellow rectangle to the doghouse.”
“I showed it to him holding it in my right hand and he focused on it. I moved the sponge from one side to the other and he never stopped looking at it. He couldn’t stop looking at it. No matter how fast I moved the sponge, Totín’s neck moved with equal speed through the air. His eyes had the searching look of Sherlock Holmes. I discovered this afternoon, watching that video, that Messi is a dog. Or a man-dog. That’s my theory. Messi is the first dog ever who plays soccer,” concluded Casciari.
I also found that Casciari’s is the best explanation for Messi’s talent.
(Dr. Cesar Chelala is a co-winner of the 1979 Overseas Press Club of America award for the article “Missing or Disappeared in Argentina: The Desperate Search for Thousands of Abducted Victims.”)
ELON MUSK KEEPS SILENT AFTER TWITTER USERS SAY HE SHOULD QUIT AS BOSS
Elon Musk has stayed silent on whether he will remain the head of Twitter.
The billionaire had asked his Twitter users on Sunday whether he should step down as the leader of the social media site. More than 17 million votes were cast and delivered a clear verdict: 57.5 percent said he should quit, in a Twitter “poll” that closed after 12 hours on Monday.
Mr. Musk had said he would abide by the results of the vote. But hours after the vote closed, there was no acknowledgment from Mr. Musk on Twitter.
If he follows through, Mr. Musk will be handing over the reins of the company that he bought for $44 billion in late October. The turbulent weeks since then have been marked by mass layoffs at the company, falling advertising sales, executive resignations and the suspensions of various high-profile user accounts for infractions of newly invented policy.
On Sunday, Twitter announced a policy to prevent users from sharing links and user names from other social platforms, like Instagram, Facebook and Mastodon, and then apparently curtailed the same policy.
But for some users, including former supporters of Mr. Musk, the chaotic weekend was a breaking point.
Mr. Musk’s latest actions with Twitter were “the last straw,” Paul Graham, a founder of the start-up accelerator Y Combinator, tweeted on Sunday. Mr. Graham had supported Mr. Musk’s takeover, but on Sunday he wrote: “I give up. You can find a link to my new Mastodon profile on my site.” His account was briefly suspended.
Last week, Twitter suspended about two dozen accounts that tracked the locations of private planes, including one that followed Mr. Musk’s private jet, justifying the decision with a new policy that banned accounts if they shared another person’s “live location.” The accounts of some journalists from The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN and other outlets were also suspended last week, seemingly under the same policy, and then reinstated after Mr. Musk asked users if they should be allowed back on the platform. Fifty-nine percent responded yes, in a Twitter “poll” with 3.7 million votes.
After asking users whether he should stay on as head of Twitter, Mr. Musk said in another tweet: “No one wants the job who can actually keep Twitter alive. There is no successor.”
There are signs that Mr. Musk’s ownership and focus on Twitter are interfering with his other business ventures. Since Mr. Musk acquired Twitter, the value of Tesla has sunk. The car company’s share price was $225 on Oct. 27, the day Mr. Musk completed the acquisition of Twitter. On Friday, Tesla shares closed at $150.
Last week, Mr. Musk disclosed that he had sold another $3.6 billion worth of Tesla stock. This year, Mr. Musk has now sold $23 billion worth of Tesla stock, much of it after he pledged in April to stop selling shares to finance his Twitter deal.
“Attention focused on Twitter instead of golden child Tesla has been another big issue for investors and likely is behind this poll result with many Musk loyalists wanting him to leave as C.E.O. of Twitter,” the analysts Daniel Ives and John Katsingris at Wedbush Securities wrote in a note published shortly before the Twitter vote closed.
Mr. Musk’s resignation from Twitter would be a “a major step forward,” they added, with the billionaire finally realizing that there has been “growing frustration around this Twitter nightmare that grows worse by the day.”
On Monday, Tesla shares ended the day largely unchanged, trading at just below $150.
THE JAN. 6 COMMITTEE’S BIG REVEAL HASN’T HAPPENED YET
by Kyle Cheney & Nicholas Wu
The Jan. 6 committee’s big reveal hasn’t happened yet Monday’s vote teed up the release of most panel evidence — material that could shed explosive new light on the Trump-led campaign to subvert the 2020 election.
The 160-page executive summary, which precedes a final panel report set for release as soon as Wednesday, hints at the extraordinary range of documents the committee collected. It references at least 30 “productions” of documents from various witnesses and agencies, including White House visitor logs, Secret Service radio frequencies and the Department of Labor, where then-Secretary Eugene Scalia produced a Jan. 8, 2021, memo seeking to call a Cabinet meeting to discuss the transfer of power.
“The select committee intends to make public the bulk of its nonsensitive records before the end of the year,” the panel’s chair, Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), said Monday. Thompson has stressed that the taxpayer-funded investigation’s materials should be made available to the public: “These transcripts and documents will allow the American people to see the evidence we have gathered and continue to explore the information that has led us to our conclusions.”
The committee opened its final meeting by urging accountability for the former president and allies involved in his attempt to subvert the 2020 election. Yet the panel’s members acknowledged, as they have throughout the probe, that an ultimate judgment would have to be delivered by DOJ and others after they turn out the lights.
Yet crucial questions remain about which evidence the panel will treat as off-limits to the public — including whether it will post hundreds of hours of video interviews alongside its transcripts. Thompson has also emphasized that transcripts will be redacted to exclude private information and law enforcement or national security-related details. And some witnesses who requested anonymity would receive it, Thompson has said.
Call records, with the exception of ones that the committee has found relevant to the probe, would likely remain secret as well, according to the chair.
Even so, the panel’s introductory materials gave tantalizing clues about what’s to come. The committee’s executive summary referenced just over 80 of the panel’s interviews and documents collected from 34 agencies or witnesses; among them, Christoffer Guldbrandsen, a documentarian who captured footage of Trump ally Roger Stone, and Bernard Kerik, who advised Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani in his bid to collect evidence to challenge the 2020 results.
The summary also reflects voluminous contacts among key players in Trump’s alleged plot that were not previously known but could be of interest to federal prosecutors. For example, the document describes numerous contacts that then-DOJ officials Jeffrey Clark and Ken Klukowski had with Trump campaign attorney John Eastman in the closing days of 2020 and into early 2021.
In addition, the summary casts doubt on the testimony of some select panel witnesses — like former Secret Service and Trump White House aide Tony Ornato and former White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, who the committee said were not as forthcoming as others who spoke to it.
During her testimony, McEnany had disputed the allegation that Trump was resistant to calling off the mob, but the summary noted that her former deputy Sarah Matthews had told the panel otherwise. Ornato, who played a potentially key role as a witness to an alleged altercation between Trump and his security detail on Jan. 6, drew similar scrutiny after telling the committee he could not recall relaying the account of the altercation despite others’ testimony to the contrary.
“The Committee is skeptical of Ornato’s account,” the panel added in a footnote.
The summary nods to even more material the Jan. 6 panel has kept under wraps for months.
The committee repeatedly noted that as it closes its doors, DOJ and local prosecutors in Fulton County, Ga., appear to have surpassed its ability to collect information that witnesses sought to safeguard — either by pleading the Fifth Amendment or invoking other privileges that lawmakers simply could not overcome.
“The Committee recognizes that the Department of Justice and other prosecutorial authorities may be in a position to utilize investigative tools, including search warrants and grand juries, superior to the means the Committee has for obtaining relevant information and testimony,” the panel concluded.
On Friday, a federal judge unsealed a secret grand jury opinion that underscored this point: DOJ obtained thousands of emails from key Trump allies like Clark, Klukowski and Eastman, months earlier than had been previously known.
The committee, which has largely resisted sharing its evidence with the Justice Department to this point, also noted that it had delivered some of its evidence to federal prosecutors already. The committee also encouraged prosecutors to issue grand jury subpoenas for Republican lawmakers who refused to comply with its summonses, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who the committee said had key evidence of Trump’s mindset during and after the attack on the Capitol.
And there’s more than prosecutors watching the panel’s work.
“The entire nation knows who is responsible for that day,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Monday. “Beyond that, I don’t have any immediate observations.”
Burgess Everett contributed to this report.
EVIDENCE SHOWS FBI, BIDEN CAMPAIGN AND TWITTER WORKED TOGETHER TO SUPPRESS HUNTER STORY
by Washington Post Editorial Board
It's increasingly obvious that the FBI had a heads up that the Hunter Biden story was about to be published. NurPhoto via Getty Images Members of the intelligence community, and censors at Twitter, stress that they just didn’t know the Hunter Biden laptop was real, so they erred on the side of caution. “It has all the classic earmarks of a Russian information operation,” the infamous letter from 50 former officials said.
Now we know that was a lie.
The FBI already had Hunter’s laptop — it was handed over to them by the owner of a Delaware repair shop, the same man who would provide it to The Post nearly a year later.
It’s also increasingly obvious that the FBI had a heads up that the information was about to be published.
The Twitter Files show how Yoel Roth, the platform’s head of trust and safety, was briefed by the FBI about possible “misinformation,” and that Hunter’s name was specifically brought up.
The latest bombshell, released Monday by journalist Michael Shellenberger, shows an intriguing timeline:
FBI pressured Twitter, sent trove of docs hours before Post broke Hunter laptop story
Biden marks 50th anniversary of death of first wife, daughter in car crash
The Post calls Hunter Biden’s lawyer for comment the day before publication.
* The lawyer calls John Paul Mac Isaac, the computer repairman. Side note, for all those who accused The Post of not doing due diligence on the laptop: We never provided the lawyer with Mac Isaac’s name. Told that we had Hunter’s laptop, he knew which repair shop to call, which provided another level of confirmation. Also: Hunter and the Biden campaign never denied the laptop was his, they just disparaged how we got it.
John Paul Mac Isaac, the owner of a Delaware repair shop, handed Hunter Biden’s laptop over to the FBI.
FBI Special Agent Elvis Chan sent 10 documents to Twitter’s then-head of site integrity Yoel Roth.
* A little more than two hours after the lawyer’s phone call to Mac Isaac, “FBI Special Agent Elvis Chan sends 10 documents to Twitter’s then-Head of Site Integrity, Yoel Roth, through Teleporter, a one-way communications channel from the FBI to Twitter,” Shellenberger writes. What’s in those documents? We don’t know, but …
* The Post publishes the first Hunter Biden story the next day, and Twitter moves almost immediately to ban us.
It’s impossible to believe that Chan and other officials in the FBI — not to mention the still-well-connected former intelligence operatives who signed that letter — didn’t know that Hunter Biden’s files were already in the wild. And that they knew they weren’t “hacked” or made up.
The Twitter Files show how Yoel Roth was briefed by the FBI about possible “misinformation,” and that Hunter Biden’s name was specifically brought up.
Knowing that eventually the information would leak, “experts” spent months prepping for how to suppress it. Shellenberger notes that in September 2020, a month before The Post broke the news, Roth “participated in an Aspen Institute ‘tabletop exercise’ on a potential ‘Hack-and-Dump’ operation.” The “example” they came up with? Hunter Biden! They outlined a fake scenario where Burisma documents were leaked online outlining payments to the former vice president’s son.
So, of course, when legitimate news about Hunter Biden did break, Roth was ready to doubt everything.
What the Twitter Files show is not caution, but a coordinated effort between the Biden campaign and the FBI to cast aspersions and limit the reach of a story damaging to Joe Biden.
“Experts” spent months prepping for how to suppress The Post’s report on Hunter Biden. Joe and Hunter Biden.
The Twitter Files show a coordinated effort between the Biden campaign and the FBI to limit the reach of a story damaging to Joe Biden.
Republicans have promised an investigation when they take control of the House, and we welcome more transparency. Our suggestion for first witnesses? Chan and Roth. What was in those 10 files? What did Chan already know about the Hunter Biden laptop? And what did he tell Twitter?
Perhaps then the rest of the press will decide that collusion between the FBI, a political campaign and a social media company is worthy of coverage.
A CHRISTMAS PARABLE
by James Kunstler
As the Yule log burns down, and the trivialities of the season melt into air, the nation might ask itself how the authorities who run things went to war against the citizens of this land. I will tell you, and, it will probably make you angry: It started when the women of the professional and managerial class watched their avatar, Hillary Clinton, lose the 2016 election against a man who seemed the quintessence of everything they hated about Daddydom.
Donald Trump, flawed to perfection, wrecked the chance of the amalgamated successful women of America to run the national household. Out came the pussy-hats, the shrieking Wiccans, and the celebrities threatening to “blow up the White House.” Out came a savage animus against men generally, and a campaign to feminize them in retaliation — and then punish them for objecting to it. Up rose a social movement, Wokery, that had the earmarks of a histrionic religious mania, with Satanic overtones. Up rose the demons, the Antifa louts, the BLM arsonists, the drag queens.
Thus unrolled a national psychodrama that continues to spool out as every system, every business, every institution in our country now wobbles and flies apart. In 2016, the men embedded in the professional and managerial class tried to chivalrously protect their women’s avatar and her steadfast followers and, failing ignobly that grim November day, then turned to actually attack their adversary, Donald Trump, with the explicit intent to destroy him by all means necessary. In the years-long process, they devolved into criminality, and in so doing they entered a vicious cycle of lying about everything they did to escape the consequences of their ostensible exercise in gallantry.
In effect, the people running things went from a war against a particular person to a war against reality and its twin sister, truth. Now they are deeply invested in unreality and untruth to the point where they have forgotten how this whole fiasco started and all they can do is desperately patch the dike they had to construct against the informational deluge of truth and reality coming at them like a tsunami rolling across the sea. The harder they work at this futile task of defense, the more absurd they make themselves, leading to ridicule, humiliation, and finally condemnation in whatever remains of the legal arena, where their deeds will finally be judged.
The first stage of that outcome for them is to pretend that none of it is happening. That’s why The New York Times and Washington Post ignore the news that the gallant knights of the FBI and several other tentacles of the Intel octopus mounted a ferocious, long-running psy-op through the new phenomenon of social media — which happened to rise in importance through this whole period of national discord. In effect, the intel agencies seized the transmitters (as Fidel Castro might put it) and used them very effectively to control their hallowed narratives.
The second stage is deploying a ruse to distract the public’s attention: That’s why CNN allowed Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), the most accomplished liar in all of American politics, to set the stage on Sunday for this week’s criminal referrals against Mr. Trump to be issued out of the House Special J-6 Committee he sits on. That will give America something else to talk about than how they’ve been gaslit and deceived for years. If The Party of Chaos can only bring The Insurrection back into the spotlight, they will feel safe for a little while during the Christmas holiday — because shortly after the new year, there will be a different crew running the J-6 committee and, for the first time in a couple of years, they will be looking into neglected and tacitly suppressed matters such as the FBI’s actual role in that event, and Nancy Pelosi’s failure to honor the then-president’s request for national guard troops to protect the Capitol building.
Between then and now, we must expect to see the release of Elon Musk’s Twitter files regarding the interactions between federal public health officials and the social network during the years of Covid-19. You understand that these officials, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, CDC chief Dr. Rochelle Walensky, US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, and many others, lied about absolutely everything concerning the pandemic and continue lying to this moment about the putative remedy for it: mRNA vaccines, which happen to be killing a lot of people these days. These disclosures will be very serious business. Soon will come congressional inquiries, subpoenas, compelled testimony, and perhaps even criminal referrals.
Of course, the professional and managerial class also happens to be the most stalwart group of vaccine champions in the land and thus the most psychologically invested in thinking they did the right thing taking all those shots — while forcing as many others to submit, whether they consented or not. The psychology of previous investment is a prime generator of self-delusion. It looks like that class of people will be proven incorrect the hard way. It turns out, after all, that the mRNA “vaccines” were very effective — but only at being deadly. The excess mortality has already kicked in. It’s 18 percent above normal, for instance, in Australia right now, because they’re keeping track. Our officials don’t want to keep track. They don’t want to know, and they certainly don’t want you to know. This is what you get when you make war against truth and reality.
(Support Kunstler’s writing by visiting his Patreon Page.)
ON-LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY (DOS):
It's been 53 years since we proved we could build powerful missiles better and faster than the USSR.
After 53 years, an ex-KGB man rules the ruins of the USSR and kills with impunity, while a substantial portion of Americans vote fascist. Their kleptocrats and our kleptocrats and China's kleptocrats compete for the largest yacht. The destruction of our planet's ability to support what has passed for human civilization is done, needing only a bit of time to come to fruition. Our streets are filled with lost souls begging.
Mars or the moon? Neither. It would be impossible to imagine a bigger waste of science and engineering talent, and money.
HOW TO WARD OFF ATROPHY and routine, you ask? Well, I can give you a small and perhaps ridiculous example. Every day, the New York Times carries a motto in a box on its front page. “All the News That’s Fit to Print,” it says. It’s been saying it for decades, day in and day out. I imagine that most readers of the canonical sheet have long ceased to notice this bannered and flaunted symbol of its mental furniture. I myself check every day to make sure that the bright, smug, pompous, idiotic claim is still there. Then I check to make sure it still irritates me. If I can still exclaim, under my breath, why do they insult me and what do they take me for and what the hell is it supposed to mean unless it’s as obviously complacent and conceited and censorious as it seems to be, then at least I know that I still have a pulse.
You may wish to choose a more rigorous mental workout but I credit this daily infusion of annoyance with extending my life span.
— Christopher Hitchens, Letters to a Young Contrarian (2005)
UKRAINE, MONDAY, 19TH DECEMBER
Russia launched drone attacks on Kyiv and other Ukrainian cities in the early hours of Monday morning, damaging civilian targets and power systems.
Nikopol, in central Ukraine, was struck by more than 60 Russian shells, hitting infrastructure and cutting off some water supplies, according to regional authorities.
The attacks come after Russian missiles pounded Ukraine Friday, leaving many without light, power or heat. The government said services were restoredfor millions by Sunday, but large-scale outages remained in some areas.
Moscow said on Monday that it had shot down four US-made anti-radiation missiles over a region in southern Russia bordering Ukraine.
WHAT THE FINAL STAGE OF REAGANISM LOOKS LIKE
Back in 1981, when Ronald Reagan was sworn in and implicitly promised to destroy our government because it was “the problem,” many of us who strongly opposed him wondered what the final stage of Reaganism would look like. Now we know. We’re there.…