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RAIN EASES TODAY with most of the moisture offset to the south. Light winds and plenty of moisture on the ground will aid in fog development for the next few mornings. Expect clearing out tonight as ridging sets in Sunday. Cool pleasant weather will bring an end to the weekend. The next few bouts of rain are expected to arrive Monday, with an intense system due to arrive by midweek. (NWS)
RAINFALL the past two days: Yorkville 2.68" - Boonville 2.20"
HIGHWAY 128 CLOSED, Navarro River flooding [MCN-Announce]
As of 2 AM Saturday: Caltrans Traffic Information website shows Hwy. 128 closed due to flooding between Hwy.1 and Flynn Creek Rd. https://roads.dot.ca.gov
NWS Navarro gauge was at 21.2 ft. at 12:45 AM Dec. 31, 2022 and is forecast to crest at 21.3 ft. at 2:00 AM (previously forecast 23.5 ft. at 3:00 AM.) The official flood stage is 23 ft. https://water.weather.gov/ahps2/hydrograph.php?wfo=eka&gage=nvrc1
My guess is that Caltrans will reopen 128 Saturday morning.
THURSDAY'S ACCIDENT NEAR AV ELEMENTARY SCHOOL, additional details
A little before 3pm on Thursday, December 29, 2022 Anderson Valley Fire Department was dispatched to an area south of Boonville near Hutsell Lane (near the Highway 253 intersection) for a single vehicle accident. Responders could not find anything. They looked around the area, still nothing. After more radio and phone traffic they finally decided to check on the other end of town north of Boonville and finally came across the single vehicle which had gone off Highway 128 near Conn Creek across from the Elementary school and hit a tree.
The driver had minor injuries but the passenger had major injuries. Both were locals, neither were hispanic. The driver apparently and dozed off and lost control and the vehicle went off the side and started to tumble and was in danger of sliding toward the rain-charged creek. Apparently the driver had misreported his location on is initial cell phone 911 call. Responders had to stabilize the vehicle with ropes and chains and then use the extrication unit (aka “jaws of life”) to remove the driver and passenger from the crumpled chassis. Weather conditions prevented air evacuation so the injured passenger was packaged up and taken to Ukiah by Ukiah Valley Ambulance where he is expected to survive. Drugs or alcohol were not suspected to be involved.
The Mendocino County Office of Emergency Services has contacted the California Office of Emergency Services for assistance with the sinkhole at Creekside Cabins off of Hwy 101. More information will be provided as it becomes available.
IN 2015, EDGAR CONTRERAS (age 25 at the time) phoned for help from a Yorkville marijuana garden where he was found by the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Department with multiple gunshot wounds. Deputies also found another man, deceased in the garden.
Contreras and two others were eventually found guilty of killing that man during an attempted rip-off. Contreras was sentenced to 25 years to life for that killing.
But, according to a post on the Mendocino County District Attorney’s Facebook page,
At his request, Contreras was returned to Mendocino County in 2020 for court proceedings so he could attempt to have his murder conviction thrown out due to changes in California law.
While this legal maneuver ultimately failed, Contreras could not find it in himself to stay out of trouble during his visit to and stay in the Low Gap Jail facility.
In March 2020, during an unprovoked attack, Contreras came up from behind and hit another jail inmate watching TV in the face and head multiple times with closed fists. When the victim fell to the floor, Contreras continued his attack by repeatedly kicking the victim while he was down.
While Contreras later denied to investigators that he had hit the victim, the jail’s surveillance system clearly showed this denial to be a lie.
The investigation into that 2020 case was ongoing because others were also involved. Meanwhile, Contreras returned to the Department of Corrections to continue serving his murder sentence.
Charged by the DA in early 2021 with a felony assault with force likely to cause great bodily injury, along with Contreras’ prior Strike conviction (the murder), an arrest warrant was issued for Contreras.
Likely due to the pandemic, Contreras was not pulled from prison and returned to Mendocino County to face the new charge until July 2022.
Having entered a no contest plea to the felony charge and admitted the Strike enhancement in early December, Contreras was sentenced Friday morning to 48 months in state prison, said sentence to run consecutive to the 2017 lifer sentence.
The attorney who prosecuted the defendant in the new case was Senior Deputy District Attorney Luke Oakley. The attorney who prosecuted the 2015 murder case was District Attorney Eyster.
Mendocino County Superior Court Judge Keith Faulder presided over [yesterday’s] sentencing hearing.
JOIN US FOR THE OFFICIAL GRAND OPENING and Ribbon Cutting for the Slack Tide Café at Carine’s Landing! Saturday, January 7, 2023: 10am, Grand Opening — 11am, Chamber of Commerce Ribbon Cutting
Members of the Carine family will be in attendance to celebrate this new establishment housed in the former Carine’s Fish Grotto Restaurant.
The Slack Tide Café is the newest facility for the Noyo Center for Marine Science. The café was born out of the desire to gain dock access on the river and the ocean, create an additional revenue stream for our programs, and become a meeting spot for the community to gather for great coffee and food, and enjoy the marine life of the Noyo River.
The Slack Tide Café serves coffee from Black Oak Coffee Roasters, an assortment of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, and a menu of delicious breakfast and lunch items like breakfast burritos, sandwiches, and a variety of pastries.
Enjoy goodies and a great view from the café’s riverfront deck as you watch the seals, sea lions, and river otters that call the Noyo River home.
Best wishes to everyone for a Happy New Year!
Slack Tide Café is located at 32430 N. Harbor Drive in Fort Bragg. We are open Thursday-Monday, from 8AM-3PM.
ARE THERE 100 “MARGINAL HYPOCHONDRIACS” working for the County?
We can’t let the year end without commenting on the exchange between Supervisors Dan Gjerde and John Haschak at the last Board meeting of 2022. During a discussion of revenue re-allocation options, after agreeing with some of the other re-allocations, Gjerde suggested a two-tier approach, “We need to work with our healthcare provider to devise a health plan that provides 99% of county employees great health care, but doesn't deeply subsidize these users, these marginal hypochondriacs, from blowing up the plan. After we do that we offer the employees a second cheaper plan because we know that over half of our county employees of the 1000 enrolled in the plan, over half are single employees who don't have a family on the plan, they are just a single employee, and they are paying a bigger share of the cost of the plan compared to employees with families or a spouse on the plan.”
Haschak replied: “I respect Supervisor Gjerde’s comments. But when you start saying most of the costs of the health plan are due to 100 people who are “marginal hypochondriacs…” As a cancer survivor, I really take offense at that. We don't know these people’s situations. We don't know why they are going to the hospital. But when I was in the hospital it wasn't because I was marginally hypochondriac. So I would like you to think about those comments because people who are in medical need really don't need to be disrespected because they have high costs.”
WE SUSPECT that behind this exchange was a suspicion that during covid people were quicker to go to the hospital with flu-like symptoms than they were before covid. Calling them “marginal hypochondriacs” might be a bit unfair, but during the height of the pandemic the fear of the disease probably did have people on high alert for any of the range of covid symptoms. Before they jump to a revised or two-tier system, they should examine the claims on the County’s health plan to determine the extent of the “covid effect” on the County’s self-insured plan that is now said to be some $3.6 million in the red.
ANDERSON VALLEY VILLAGE: Join us for a special gathering next Sunday
Come and get acquainted with several of the wonderful nonprofits in our Valley, some you may know and some you may not. Each organization will give a brief overview of what they do and how you can pitch in, if you feel so inclined. The following organizations will be participating: Anderson Valley Adult School, AV Foodbank, AV Grange, AV Historical Museum, AV Lions Club, AV Parks and Recreation, AV Senior Center, AV Unity Club and Hendy Woods Community. There are a lot of nonprofits in the Valley and we hope to host another one of these with a whole new group later in the year, stay tuned. Help make this community building attempt a success!
January 8th, 3-4:30 pm
Anderson Valley Senior Center
Door Prize awarded to the lucky winner!
Please Note: Our gatherings are open to everyone, but COVID Vaccinations are now REQUIRED - please bring your vaccination card (one time) as proof. Masks are required inside - thank you in advance for your understanding.
Please RSVP with the coordinator – thank you!
NOYO HARBOR photos by Jeff Goll
CHRIS SKYHAWK WROTE: KZYX&Z Has An Opening For Membership Director
* * *
Marco here. Several problems with this.
1. Nowhere on the page does it say what the pay is, and it's the law now that you have to do that with a job notice.
2. KZYX has 2,000 members. Membership is either $25 or $50 a year. That's $100,000 total as a high estimate, which is coincidentally close to what just the Manager and Program Director suck out of the station for themselves in pay. So all the membership money goes to just two people in the office. Add to that the pay of the person cranking the begging wheel (whatever that amounts to; see 1, above), and the pay of the Business Underwriting Coordinator, who presides over schmoozing with wineries and so on, and the only thing paying the real expenses is the six-figure tax derived CPB grant and huge grants from rich people, to make sure never is heard on the air a discouraging word about them or their interests or class. Which is a lot. KZYX is swimming in money,* easily enough money, if the management model weren't tangled into a pretzel, to pay each of the regular airpeople a stipend of more than $1,000 a year; that's a mere $20 a show, and they won't even do that.
3. You heard right: the local airpeople, the ones at least going through the motions of doing all the real work the radio station is there for in the first place, are paid nothing. And if any of them ever speak up about the internal workings of the station or voice disaproval of the status quo or air a surprise without getting managerial approval, they're out like a shot. So the only people left on the air there over the course of thirty years of this are ones who are happy with the way things are because they don't need money, they have their show to play their harmless record collection on, or chat on the phone with their friends, and that's enough for them, or they're kids and they don't know any better, and it's fun for them. Of course it's fun; even crappy radio is radio.
*And they're building a million-dollar office situation in Ukiah with even more money from rich families and corporations, relying on innocuous canned crap from a thousand miles away for so much of the broadcast day and night. With no plans to ever open up the schedule to anyone doing anything out of the cookie-cutter NPR-colonized station sphere, and I'll say it again: nor to ever pay local radio people for doing real local radio.
Look: they say it over and over: “Listener-supported community radio.” It's the same lie every time they run that tape. It's not listener-supported, it's government and rich people-supported, and much of the community is permanently vibed out if not shut out of doing radio there. People died of old age waiting through half a dozen managers' tenures to get back on the air there after they were kicked out for not kowtowing properly to the well-paid comfortable autocratic management.
But, sure, a job notice.
THE HUNT-SANCHEZ STASH
On December 28, 2022 at approximately 11:30 AM, an officer received a tip about a female, Rachel Hunt, 37 years, from Fort Bragg, with a felony probation violation warrant was staying at a hotel in the 200 block of S. Main St in Fort Bragg.
After further investigation, the officer determined which room Hunt was staying in and saw her in the window. Upon entering the hotel room, the officer saw a bag of pills and several bags of marijuana along with other narcotic paraphernalia in the room. Also in the room was Daniel Sanchez, 32 years, from Fort Bragg, who provided officers with false identification. Further inquiries identified him as Sanchez and that he had a felony warrant for parole violation,
Both Hunt and Sanchez were taken into custody for their warrants. Officers located other evidence of drug sales in the room in plain view. There were seven different types of prescription medication totaling 263 pills in a single bag. Neither Hunt nor Sanchez had prescriptions for any of them. Also located was approximately two pounds of marijuana, metal knuckles, small plastic sealable baggies, and other drug paraphernalia, Sanchez was booked into MCSO jail for a felony, no bail parole violation warrant, and Hunt was booked into MCSO jail for a felony, $50,000 bail probation violation warrant. They both were booked on the additional charges of: possession of controlled substance for sales, possession of drug paraphernalia, (possession of marijuana for sale, possession of metal knuckles, possession of marijuana for sale, and false ID to a police officer.
Fort Bragg Police Sergeant Joe Shaw said, “This is another excellent example of Fort Bragg police officers doing proactive work to protect our community. All of those pills have multiple side effects and could have easily wound up in the possession of our youth.”
Anyone with information on these incidents are encouraged to contact Officer Frank of the Fort Bragg Police Department at (707)961-2800 ext 139.
This information is being released by Chief Neil Cervenka. All media inquiries should contact, him at email@example.com.
For my 214 closest friends, here's a sneak preview of the cover I designed for the previously-only-published-in-Europe Shore Of Pearls (Bertelsmann, 2000), the last collaborative effort with Dan Altieri, soon to be part of a trilogy, along with Court Of The Lion and Iron Empress, for Trident Media e-books.
A wicked tale, a jaunt into a T'ang Dynasty heart of darkness, featuring Magistrate Dee, a hellish tropical prison island, an enclave of corrupt eunuchs, an outbreak of bubonic plague, the ever-voracious Empress Wu and her “Rasputin” with benefits, the Tibetan monk-magician Hsueh-Huai-i. Having been some days in preparation, a splendid time is guaranteed for all...
BUMPERSTICKER spotted in Fort Bragg…
CHICKEN POT PIE
three of my favorite things
30TH ANNUAL PROFESSIONAL PIANIST CONCERT Hits The Stage January 21st & 22nd
On January 21st and 22nd, 2023 the 30th Professional Pianist Concert will once again hit the stage with two exciting concerts featuring eleven different pianists at the Mendocino College Center Theatre in Ukiah. Performers letting the keys fly this year are Spencer Brewer, Elena Casanova, Wendy DeWitt, Barney McClure, Frankie J, Tom Ganoung, Chris James, Elizabeth MacDougall, Ed Reinhart, Ben Rueb and Charlie Seltzer. The musical styles range from classical to jazz, boogie-woogie to Cuban, Broadway to ragtime.....each performance will be completely different!
This utterly fun and stimulating series features the finest regional pianists on stage in a living room environment. Throughout the performance they trade stories and melodies with two pianos on stage to accommodate impromptu collaborations. The event is an annual sellout because of the diversity and quality of music in a multitude of styles, and the humor that takes place throughout the evening.
‘Lost and Found’, a special assemblage sculpture show featuring artists Spencer Brewer and Esther Siegel, will also be on display at the Mendocino College Art Gallery throughout the weekend.
Saturday, January 21st at 7:00pm will feature Spencer Brewer, Wendy DeWitt, Chris James, Frankie J, Elizabeth MacDougall, and Barney McClure.
Sunday the 22nd at 2:00pm will include Spencer Brewer, Elena Casanova, Tom Ganoung, Ed Reinhart, Ben Rueb, and Charlie Seltzer.
No two concerts are the same, so if you love piano and piano music, please consider enjoying more than one performance!
The concerts benefit the Ukiah Community Concert Association, Mendocino College Recording Arts Club and the Allegro Scholarship Program. Tickets are on sale at Mendocino Book Co. in Ukiah, Mazahar in Willits and online at www.UkiahConcerts.org. Tickets are $25 general admission and $30 “I ‘Wanna’ See the Hands” limited seating. For more information call (707) 463-2738.
Sponsors are Fowler Auto Center, Sparetime Supply, Savings Bank of Mendocino, Ukiah Community Concerts, Willits Furniture Center, Waterman Plants, K-WINE/MAX, KOZT-The Coast and KZYX/Z. Wine & refreshments will be provided by Ukiah Community Concert Association.
The Mendocino College Center Theatre is at 1000 Hensley Creek Rd in Ukiah. There will be autographed CD's, music and books by the artists for sale in the lobby.
Styles Of Music:
Spencer Brewer - Contemporary Classical & Original Compositions
Elena Casanova - Cuban Classical & Jazz, Classical
Tom Ganoung - Originals, Rock, Classical
Frankie J - R & B, Soul, Gospel
Chris James - Traditional & Swing Era Jazz
Elizabeth MacDougall - Classical
Barney McClure - Outrageous Jazz
Ed Reinhart - Boogie-Woogie & Blues
Ben Rueb - Classical
Charlie Seltzer - Broadway & Show Tunes
Wendy DeWitt - Boogie Woogie & Blues
CATCH OF THE DAY, Friday, December 30, 2022
LOGAN BARNAS, Princeton, Illinois/Ukiah. False ID.
THOMAS DAVIS, Willits. DUI.
SUMALEE FOLGER, Ukiah. Camping in Ukiah, resisting, failure to appear, probation revocation.
VINCENT GALVAN, Fort Bragg. Parole violation.
DANIEL HOAGLEN-LOCKART, Hopland. Failure to appear.
FOX HOAGLIN, Covelo. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
CODY WILLIAMS, Covelo. Failure to appear.
HELP OF ANY KIND
My name is Warren Beck II. I have been in Mendocino County Jail for going on six months now. I recently wrote to you to plead for help which I still need, all the help I can get. I would love it if people could find it in their hearts to send me home to Ohio. But if not that then if people could write to me offering work of any kind. I will do any type of work to get funding to get back to my children, my 15-year-old daughter and my 11-year-old son. I need any resources that anyone can offer. Readers can respond in writing to Warren Beck #74115, P.O. Box 300211, Prison Mailbox (PMB) 35803, Durham, NC 27702. Or write to me at the Mendocino County Jail, 951 Low Gap Road, Ukiah, CA 95482.
I greatly appreciate all support and kindness in these trying times. I know the holidays can be hard for some people. I personally do not like the holidays ever since my mother died on Christmas Eve in 2002 when I was only 16. But that is not for today. Today is about me and my children, Seriona and Dartanyan, both of whom have told me now in return phone calls that they miss their daddy and they would happily give up all their Christmas and birthday presents just to get me back home. After tireless days and nights trying to find out what I need to do or what I need to have to get home I found out that I need a mere $600 to get back to the ones who mean the world to me. If it you can offer assistance of any kind, write to me at the above address or to fund my journey home donate anything you can to my account at the Mendocino County Jail for Warren Beck #74145 or at the accesscorrections.com website. Please and thank you. Blessings to all and have a very happy holiday and happy new year.
Thank you, a loving daddy,
MARCO McCLEAN: Amica Wetzler, wow!
What a delightfully mischievous mug shot. I imagine someone going, “That ain’t right. Do it again. Get a good one,” and the one with better sense says, “It’s perfect. Next.”
ON-LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
Here’s a true story and quite recent – actually ongoing:
I was thinking of placing a profile on one of those dating sites – OKCupid I think – but what they wanted me to do to prove it was me was to take a picture of myself with my hand on my head or something kind of stupid like that.
So I balked, but my online foray in this regard introduced me to the world of women prisoner dating sites.
To make a short story shorter, I got seriously sidetracked and started doing research on the women on those sites, if they were real and how, and trying to find out about what they were in for and often finding more than expected, including seeing some of their mugshots.
What I found in part interesting, even kind of trippy, was how so of them in those shots, and without ‘womanface’, looked pretty much like young men, gay men or boys and especially when compared with their ‘womanface’ pics on their dating profiles. But I mean, these women look in their dating profiles like any other woman one might see in real life or on other normal dating sites.
Maybe, as a theory, that’s why many women can’t seem to dispense with makeup (AKA womanface).
So, yeah, what the hell is a woman anyway? LOL
EXCUSE ME, I HAVE TO TAKE THIS
Excuse me, I have to take this
While I’m here now in the
. . . . . . . dining room of this hotel
or will be later in bed with wife or with lover
With he/him they/their she/her
At the edge of anxiety & at the
square root of depression
Excuse me, I have to take this
Take a shit while I’m at it
. . . . . . take the pills
Prescribed by mad psychiatrist
Excuse me, while I betray you
Excuse me, I have to take this
Before I’m fucked, before I lose
. . . . . . my pension before
. . . . . . I lose my own ass
Excuse me, I have to take this
— by Jonah Raskin
MEMO OF THE AIR: Good Night Radio show all night Friday night features Ari in Ask A Jew!
Deadline to email your writing for tonight's (Friday night's) MOTA show is about 7pm. If you can't make that, send it whenever it's done and I'll read it on the radio next week. There's always a next week.
Memo of the Air: Good Night Radio is normally every Friday, 9pm to 5am on 107.7fm KNYO-LP Fort Bragg as well as anywhere else via KNYO.org. Also the schedule is there for KNYO's many other even more terrific shows.
But tonight the show starts at 8:30 for reasons that I'll explain later on, and it starts with the /X Minus One/ radio show /A Pail of Air/, made from Fritz Leiber's true story about a small family of survivors of a rogue planet's having pulled Earth away from the sun, so the very atmosphere has frozen. The boy goes out of their frozen-layered-blankets-sealed basement apartment nest in a diving suit, into the city to get ever-dwindling supplies /and frozen air/ to melt next to their fire, which must never be allowed to go out, and in this dead city in this dead world he sees a light moving in a building across the street. There are a lot of good X Minus One shows, but that's my favorite. So cold and bleak. And the family dynamics, with the mother having gone crazy a long time ago from the horror of the situation, and then the hopeful ending.
At 9pm, The Human Holiday, a cross between Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and a giant alien Tupperware party. “Join your host Midal Gogat of The Finite Corporation as he and a cast of thousands present to souls bored with an eternity of bliss a slickly-packaged sales pitch on the joys and excitements of incarnating on Planet Earth.” You can find the original recording here: https://tinyurl.com/HumanHolidayReference and I'm pretty sure it's also available via Spotify. Tell your friends, who might also like to spend a lifetime as a field mouse or a sponge or a precariously-balanced Nubian princess, or any of a zillion other unique choices.
The regular part of MOTA will start at 9:40 or so. This show is special. The new Ask A Jew section will feature Ari, who is studying to be an actual rabbi, so you're getting the straight stuff here.
Any day or night you can go to https://MemoOfTheAir.wordpress.com and hear last week's MOTA show. By Saturday night I'll put the recording of tonight's show there. And besides all that, there you'll find informational unguents and gels to daub on the soft parts of your brain until showtime, or any time, such as:
Here's the tongue of a silly dog who has taught his human to bark on command. Which reminds me: I hate it when people misspell whoa as woah (WO-uh! WO-uh! Ugh.) even though that's the way translators of Tintin and Snowy spell it, but I love it when people spell tongue as tounge. I hear /townjj/ in my head and smile. (via Everlasating Blort) (You might have to click the sound on.)
I didn't know starlings could do this. What a nice bird.
And here, watch how a linotype machine works. Newspapers and book publishers used linotype machines /for a hundred years/ before something better came along. (The story starts 30 seconds in.) I like their choice of voice to narrate this. It's very birdlike. They could have gone with an Orson Welles or a Don LaFontaine style but they went another way.
Marco McClean, firstname.lastname@example.org, https://MemoOfTheAir.wordpress.com
THE LEGACY OF JANUARY 6
On listening to the January 6 Congressional Testimony on June 21, 2022:
Yes, they shit in their nests
And ask us to eat it.
It's a death cult.
Goya could capture it.
And consider this
their children and their grandchildren,
they live in the past
and their fathers and mothers,
they don't care.
These ghouls call on the children
to join the jackbooted mobs,
Thugs with guns in hand,
to lay waste,
across the burning landscape
This is their legacy.
What is ours?
KEY NUMBERS FROM TRUMP’S TAX RETURNS
by Charlie Smart
New figures in a report by the House Ways and Means Committee showed that Donald J. Trump paid $1.1 million in federal income taxes in his first three years as president, and that he paid no taxes in 2020 as his income began to dwindle.
Mr. Trump’s fortunes changed during his presidency, according to the figures in the report, which include details on the former president’s tax returns from 2015 to 2020. In the two years before he became president, Mr. Trump suffered heavy business losses, the records showed. In his first three years as president, he had an adjusted gross income of $15.8 million.
Mr. Trump’s tax bills, after deductions, were based on his income when it was above zero, as well as the alternative minimum tax in four of the six years. The A.M.T. limits deductions that would have otherwise helped to erase his tax burden. He reduced his resulting tax bills with a mix of tax credits that included incentives and givebacks to business owners.
The detailed records in the report show consistent losses over the past six years, particularly in real estate and other business, a category that includes losses carried over from previous years.
There was nobody like HARMONICA FRANK FLOYD (1908-1984). He was an orphan from Toccopola, Mississippi and raised by sharecropping parents. He played and sang with the harmonica stuffed sideways in his mouth and often, with his nose. He had a strange, sort of garbled tone as a result of leaving the harmonica in his mouth while singing. He made a few records, in 1951 in Sam Phillips' Sun Studios that were on country blues compilations. I love his “I'm a Howlin' Tom Cat,” and “Shampoo.”
BRYAN CHRISTOPHER KOHBERGER ARRESTED in brutal murders of four University of Idaho students
A 28-year-old suspect was taken into custody in connection with the slayings of four University of Idaho students on Friday morning. Bryan Christopher Kohberger was arrested by police and the FBI around 3 a.m. in Chestnuthill Township in Monroe County, Pennsylvania, according to reports. Kohberger, who briefly appeared in court Friday morning, was been pursuing a doctorate in criminal justice at Washington State University in Pullman, less than 10 miles from Moscow, where the killings took place.…
IN 1920 THE YACHT BUILDING BUSINESS that Bill McCoy operated with his brother Ben was struggling. So, Bill assessed the situation. He knew that he was a good sailor who knew how to make fast boats. And he knew that Prohibition had created a huge demand for liquor in the American northeast. Recognizing the business opportunity that presented itself, Bill McCoy seized it, becoming one of America’s most celebrated and notorious bootleggers, the “king of the rumrunners.”
McCoy bought a 127-foot fishing schooner capable of carrying 6,000 cases of alcohol and retrofitted it to make it one of the fastest commercial sailing vessels on the Atlantic coast. He registered his ship in Great Britain and renamed it “Tomoka.” He was in business.
He would load his cargo of spirits in Nassau in the Bahamas, then sail to the Jersey shore, anchoring between Sandy Hook and Atlantic City, just outside the three-mile boundary of international waters. Customers would come out to him in small boats and McCoy would sell them the booze in sacks that held nine bottles each. Ben McCoy would bring out supplies to the Tomoka, so that she never had to port.
McCoy made no effort to hide what he was doing. In fact, he welcomed the publicity. He boasted that he never diluted his product (as many bootleggers did), and that he never paid a dime to organized crime or to bribe law enforcement. And no law prohibited him from selling liquor in international waters. His enterprise was so successful that he soon added four more boats. In a little more than two years he sold an estimated two million bottles.
McCoy’s brazenness and his celebrity status infuriated government authorities, however, and they were determined to shut him down. In 1923, after first getting the tacit consent of British authorities, the Coast Guard was ordered to arrest McCoy, and to sink the Tomoka if he resisted.
On November 25 the Coast Guard cutter Senaca steamed out to the Tomoka and sent over a 15-man boarding party. When they were aboard, the commanding officer ordered McCoy to bring his ship into port. Instead, he set sail and raced away, with the boarding party still on board. The Seneca opened fire with her four-inch deck guns and the Tomoka’s crew answered with a machine gun set up on her forward deck. But as the shells from the Seneca started dropping closer to his ship, McCoy realized the game was up. He lowered his jib and surrendered. On board the Coast Guard found $60,000 in cash (about a million dollars in today’s money) and only 400 cases of the original 4,200 case cargo.
Once brought ashore reporters asked McCoy how he intended to defend himself against the charges. He answered with a smile, “I was outside the three-mile limit, selling whisky, and good whisky, to anyone and everyone who wanted to buy.”
But after two years of legal wrangling, McCoy ultimately decided to accept a plea bargain. He pled guilty to selling illegal alcohol and was sentenced to nine months in jail.
After serving his time, McCoy retired from rumrunning, returning instead to the boat building business. He also became a successful real estate investor and when Prohibition ended he cashed in on his notoriety by putting out his own brand of whisky, called “The Real McCoy” and featuring the Tomoka on the label.
William Frederick “Bill” McCoy, the King of the Rumrunners, died in Florida at age 71 on December 30, 1948, seventy-four years ago.”
COP, CRIMINAL, NOVELIST
My grandfather was a Boston cop for 30 years. He was involved in what would have been considered a gang task force. Back in the 30s they called it the Flying Squad. He was so aggressive going after the mob that at one point they tried to kill him while he was riding a motorcycle. They pulled up next to him and one of these old gangster guys hit him with the car door, driving him into a telephone pole. Later, on a fight night at the Boston Garden, he went up and confronted the biggest gangster. Told him if he ever came near him again he was going to kill him. He was crazy, you know. But to make a long story short, these guys developed a grudging admiration for my grandfather.
I remember being six or seven and going into a restaurant with my father that was run by the Mafia. Even though my father wasn't one of them, he knew them all. I went in with my dad one Saturday morning and there is Mr. Lombardo. He was a little guy, balding, wire rim glasses, freshly starched shirts, thin tie, and a sport coat. He was over in the corner and my father was talking to him and he called me over and I sat on his knee. He said, “What are you drinking?” I said, “What do you mean? A Shirley Temple, I guess.” He looked at me and said, “Guys don't drink Shirley Temples.” And he looked at this big goon who was standing right next to him, this enforcer type with a scarred up face, broken nose, cauliflower ears, all screwed up -- a monster. He said to this goon or, “Go get him a special.” So the guy went and came back with this drink and handed it to me. I took a sip and he said, “How do you like that?” I said, “I like it. I love it.” It was a Shirley Temple. But you don't call it that. He said, “That's a special. Whenever you come in here you order that, it's on me.” That was my first interaction with wiseguys. I drank “specials” until I was about 14 years old.
— Richard Marinick, former bouncer and Massachusetts State police trooper, later a member of the Boston underworld where he was convicted of armed robbery. While serving his ten-year sentence he earned a master's in liberal arts and wrote two critically acclaimed novels, 'Boyos' (2004) and 'In For a Pound' (2007).
WHAT CHARLES BUKOWSKI THOUGHT ABOUT POETRY MAGAZINES:
“When you flip the pages, nothing but butterflies, near bloodless butterflies. I am actually shocked when I go through this magazine because nothing is happening. And I guess that’s what they think a poem is. Say, something not happening. A neat lined something, so subtle you can’t even feel it. This makes the whole thing intelligent art. Balls! The only thing intelligent about a good art is if it shakes you alive, otherwise it’s hokum.”
I HAVE NEVER BEEN a great food-fusser -- it takes too much time. If I were going to really care about eating, I would have to study it, test it, experiment with it, become a world's expert. It's so hard to do one thing well in his short life and for me that's being a revolutionary. But if I were to choose, so far, the best thing I have tasted I think is Anna M.'s Karelian pie.
What's in it? Even I, who believe that everything can be analyzed -- even a joke, which may be why some say I have no sense of humor -- hesitate before profaning the mystery of a great pie. I would as soon demand the formula for a perfect sunset! It must mean something other than the usual ingredients because you can also ask -- what is NOT in it?
Certainly it contains almost every item for our normal supper -- cheese pastry, with herbs, made from potato flour; a creamy mushroomy lemony sauce; a filling of every kind of local fish, in firm, juicy pieces, filleted and marinated -- plus? Now no one has told me this or even hinted at it and I would not dream of hurting anyone's feelings by asking. (My triumph of diplomacy so far has been getting rid of those damned curtains without upsetting anybody.) But there must be other ingredients. Could they be amphibious? Newts, frogs, toads, water snakes? Or gastropodic -- snails, slugs, leeches? Vermiform -- slow worms, true snakes? Or flying creatures -- not just all kinds of birds, but possibly bats, large moths and butterflies? Does that sound physically repellent?
Yet Homo Sapiens perhaps became Sapienissimus through being able to be omnivorous. He or she could eat almost anything so they survived when more specialized, daintier consumers disappeared. I do know this family collects peculiar creatures on our morning expeditions although I instruct them and they agreed that it is cruel and perverse to kill what does not threaten you and you cannot or do not eat it.
So is that partly the secret of the Karelian pie? I've spent long periods in false positions, in strange company, in tense situations, where the wrong word the wrong stress could be fatal. So I have developed some educated intuitions. The family was strangely delighted when I became so uncharacteristically for me fixed on one dish. Usually they ate it only on Saturday night, the night I arrived. Two evenings later I pretended to be vague about the day of the week, although I was reading nine or ten daily papers by each noon. “Wouldn't you say it is Saturday today, Anna?” I asked.
She gave me an odd smile. “Whatever you say Ilych.” From then on there was always Karelian pie.
Eino is here this afternoon. He advises I should move along to Shotman's next newy prepared stop because communications with Peter will be so much easier and quicker in mainline Helsinki despite the extra distance, than here on the frontier a good gallop from a neglected minor station.
I take the point. It is the advice I would give to any clandestine party member on the run -- keep changing your safehouse, stay near to good communication, lose yourself in large crowds. Although I have relived some of my country here, I realize that every day I stay multiplies the chance of damaging those protecting me.
“When the great moment comes,” I asked. “Promise. You will send me a pie.” We said goodbyes as if I were the eldest son being dragged off in chains. It was the deepest I had ever been enfolded in another family.
Yet as Eino and I trotted the pine forest paths, I felt a kind of nursery blanket lifting from me. I was a big boy now. I had a job to do in the world -- change it! My heart expanded like a bird. It was the first chapter of The Three Musketeers. I was on a sprightly black stallion with a holstered carbine slapping by my knee. The adventure was just beginning.
— Lenin, as channeled by Alan Brien
UKRAINE, Friday, December 30, 2022
Ukraine continues to log Russian war crimes: AP
Ukraine is investigating Russian war crimes as the conflict nears the end of the ten-month mark.
The Associated Press and “Frontline,” have recorded in a public database, has independently verified more than 600 incidents that appear to violate the laws of war.
Some of those attacks were massacres that killed dozens or hundreds of civilians, and as a totality, it could account for thousands of individual war crimes.
Karim Khan, chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court in The Hague, told the AP, “Ukraine is a crime scene”
While authorities have amassed a staggering amount of evidence they are unlikely to arrest most of those who gave the order or abused people.
Ukrainian authorities face serious challenges in gathering air-tight evidence in a war zone with the vast majority of alleged war criminals have evaded capture and safely behind Russian lines.
Russian President Vladimir Putin says he is expecting his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, to visit Moscow in the spring as the two leaders meet via video link and discuss Russian-Chinese relations.
Putin sends foreign governments New Year wishes but US President Joe Biden, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and French President Emmanuel Macron left out.
by James Kunstler
“The powerful are panicking, and so they should. Their secrets are leaking.” —Miranda Devine
“It’s all just snake oil. We want to save the planet, and the life upon it, but we’re not willing to pay the price and bear the consequences. So we make up a narrative that feels good and run with it.” — Raul Ilargi Meier
“2023 could be a pivotal year for the USA if the pervasive lying can be exposed, digested, and believed. All that exposure has to happen amidst continuing boondoggles toward the Great Reset agenda.” – Truman Verdun
“More borrowing only ever makes sense if you are expecting a larger economy in the future. All economic expansion is based on energy. Countries with energy can expand, those without cannot.” — Chris Martenson
“To be an enemy to America can be dangerous, but to be a friend is fatal.” — Henry Kissinger
“The incorrect narrative provided by mainstream media (MSM) is that climate change is our worst problem. To lessen this problem, citizens need to move quickly away from fossil fuels and transition to renewables. The real narrative is that we are running short of fossil fuels that can be profitably extracted, and renewables are not adequate substitutes. However, this narrative is too worrisome for most people to handle.” — Ugo Bardi
It’s hard to contemplate 2023 without spiraling into nausea, tachycardia, and cold sweat. But it is an inescapable duty here to lay out the probabilities ahead. I’ve been doing this forecast thing for some years now, and, of course, I am often wrong, so take some solace in that and relax. Maybe the new year will be all unicorns, rainbows, talking gerbils, and candied violets.
2022 sure was a cold shower. The long emergency I talk so much about finally got up to cruising speed, with the ectoplasmic “Joe Biden” revving our country into economic, political, and cultural collapse — a hat-trick of calamity — and he did it more swiftly and directly than any emperor managed in late-day Rome, with policies and actions 180-degrees contra to America’s public interest — cheered on by a thinking class that had obviously lost it consensual mind.
Was the governing strategy simply to do the opposite of what the loathed and detested Mr. Trump would do? Could it be that simple or that automatic? The thinking class’s eyes have a zombified glaze these days. It’s obvious, you might agree, that “Joe Biden” is not in charge of anything, really. He’s an animatronic figure programmed to read a teleprompter and not much else. Half the time, he can’t even find his way off-stage after doing that one trick. The claque pulling his strings just may be the crew you see around him (you know, WYSIWYG): Susan Rice, Ron Klain, Jake Sullivan, Antony Blinken, Victoria Nuland, and company. Ms. Rice has kept herself completely hidden backstage at the White House for two years. Nobody ever hears about her or sees her. Weird, a little bit, for the Director of the Domestic Policy Council.
Or else, are there puppeteers deeper in the shadows, say, “JB’s” former boss Barack Obama, Der Schwabenklaus and his WEF retinue, Bill Gates and other tech billionaires, the “systemically important” bankers, George Soros…? Or some coven of super-elite warlocks we’d never heard of? The US leadership dynamic is truly mystifying and has been for two whole years. Will mysteries be revealed in 2023? Personally, I think so. Things are lining up in that direction, though who knows whether the damage can even be reversed at this point. And now onto the shape of things to come….
All you can really say is that the folks running things have hijacked every module of our nation’s interests and tilted them down into decadence and ruin. They’ve tanked whatever’s left of the US economy with an array of surefire idiotic maneuvers. By spending trillions of dollars that don’t exist to buy votes, they’ve inflated away our money’s purchasing power — an Econ 101 level mistake. The “Green New Deal” is a swindle, an out-front, in-your-face nefarious operation to subvert Western Civ by the WEF, and its stooges — laid out explicitly in its house publications.
There is no way we can run our society as currently outfitted on any combination of alt.energies. All the Greenies can really accomplish with this crusade is to destroy the complex systems we rely on faster than would happen in the normal course of things, foreclosing any chance of an orderly retreat to a plausibly downscaled arrangement for daily life. We are exiting the current system anyway, like it or not — the longstanding thesis of The Long Emergency.
This gets to the heart of the conundrum we face. Ill-intentioned as the WEF and its allies may be, the world is heading toward a Great Re-set. The catch is, it won’t be the WEF’s version of it, their schematic techno-nirvana with a tiny comfortable elite lording over the bug-eating hoi-polloi. They somehow miss the glaring point that the energy required to run their precious transhuman tech won’t be there. By the way, the WEF’s core idea of central control by a coordinated world government is at odds with the core reality of the times ahead, which is that life is about to get much more local and downscaled — the exact opposite of centralized. Everything organized at the giant scale is veering into failure: empires, global corporations, hypertrophic cities, giant universities, giant farms, you name it. Their business models are broken. The activities these things represent have to get smaller, finer, and more regional. Depending on what we’re able to salvage and re-purpose from the fabricated leftovers of Modernity, we’ll be lucky to land back in life lived at the level of the early 1800s. Or else, if we really mess up, we’ll plunge haplessly into a dark age in a resource-stripped world.
The “Green New Deal,” based on a combination of wishful thinking and self-destructive malice, includes the deliberate undermining of what’s left of America’s oil industry by cancelling pipelines, drilling licenses on public lands, draining the strategic petroleum reserve, and other efforts to sabotage what’s left. America still has a lot of oil in the ground, yet much of it is hard to get at and uneconomical to produce at the scale required. It’s a money-loser, and losing money consistently doesn’t pencil out for any real business.
This hard reality is especially true of shale oil, which had a good run production-wise 2009 to 2022, though the producers could barely make a dime at it. The shale oil “miracle” was largely a byproduct of near-zero interest rates. Investors flocked to it after 2009 because they couldn’t get any yield from bonds. Shale oil was played-up as a sure thing. It took investors a decade, and over a hundred oil company bankruptcies, to catch on — and now shale oil can’t attract enough new investment to keep up the giant operations at scale. The main shale oil regions, the Permian Basin in Texas and the Bakken fields of North Dakota, have entered permanent decline as they run out of “sweet spots” to drill and frack. Considering the new era of capital scarcity ahead, money for shale oil companies will be even harder to get and we’ll get less shale oil every year, while conventional oil continues its own remorseless decline. The catch here is that oil prices are just as likely to go down as up because the foundering economy creates substantial demand destruction — meaning that customers drop out of the market.
Natural gas involves similar dynamics. There seems to be a lot of it for now in the Marcellus formation spread over Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, and into New York (where fracking has been prohibited for years). Natgas is very useful for electric generation, home heating, and some manufacturing, but not so much for transportation. Shale gas production is also based on “sweet spots” for drilling and there are fewer of them every year. The depletion curve for natgas is even more extreme than it is for oil: the flow stops all at once. The early shale gas plays in the southern US — Haynesville, Fayetteville, Barnett — have been in decline for years. As with shale oil, producing shale gas is expensive, with all the trucks ceaselessly delivering sand, water, and fracking chemicals to the drilling pads, and then transporting waste liquids off-site. Prediction: in 2023, we’ll hear the first rumblings about “nationalizing the oil industry,” which will be a giant step toward killing it altogether, given the all-around incompetence of government.
The strategy of changing out oil-based cars and trucks for electric vehicles (EVs) is a loser on several counts beyond the disruption and instability facing US oil production. One, it’s premised on the fantasy that we can continue living in a suburban sprawl arrangement by other means. Two, the electric grid is too inadequate and fragile to support the charging of so many millions of EVs in addition to everything else we ask it to do. Three, the middle class is being decimated, so there are fewer credit-worthy customers for cars priced out of their shrinking budgets anyway. Four, far less capital will be available for consumer loans. The car industry itself may not survive the re-possession orgy coming in 2023 for defaulted auto loans. That shortfall will infect banking, too. The economy is already hurting. The “Green New Deal” will cut its wobbly legs off.
Similarly, the new mandates against the use of nitrogenous fertilizers (made from natgas). European countries are already on-board with this WEF folly. The Netherlands, Europe’s leading food producer, is going so far as to forcibly shut down thousands of farms and limit fertilizer use on the remaining ones. Germany is likewise limiting fertilizers. Canada fell in line next. Prediction: in early 2023, “Joe Biden” will set in motion anti-fertilizer policies in the US. There will be plenty of squawking in the big farming states, rising to angry protests. The tractor convoys may invade Washington. The situation sets up a grim prospect for the US food supply: scarcity, high prices, and hunger ahead.
The Ukraine bread-basket is out of the picture in 2023, unless military action ends well before planting season. Thanks to “Joe B’s” stupid sanctions policy, a more vulnerable Europe can’t depend on Russia, another world-leading grain producer. By summer, the projected harvests all over Western Civ will be inadequate to feed the existing populations. Routine grain exports to the poor nations of the “global south” will stop and a lot of people will starve in those countries. By then, it will be too late to fix anything. The price of food will soar throughout Western Civ, aggravating other economic crises that will amount to metastasizing poverty. Populations will get very restless. Governments will fall (candidates: France, Germany, UK, Australia, the USA). In some places they will not recover in their prior form.
As a general proposition, Globalism is done. That got that underway in earnest with the Covid shut-downs. Now, geopolitical friction gets worse and trade relations deteriorate further. There will still be trade between nations, but much reduced. Global supply chains are already wrecked, especially for specialized mechanical replacement parts and electronic components. It will be harder to fix cars, trucks, turbines, really any sort of machine, including computers and things run by them. A lot of commercial activity will just stop.
Europe has already blundered into buying its one-way ticket to Palookaville. Germany and the rest paid for that ticket by going along with feckless US policy to “weaken” Russia with sanctions (mission not accomplished). The coup de grace was the US wrecking the Nord Stream pipelines. So, Euroland has inadvertently decided to ditch its industrial base, which means they go medieval or worse. They have committed economic suicide. They’d better hope reincarnation is for-real. Anyway, they’re not coming back from this fiasco the way they went into it, that is, the way things were. When the shock of winter is over in early 2023, strife will be the new leitmotif in the Old World. People grow desperate in the six-weeks-wont of springtime. Nations crack up.
America’s economy largely hinges on finance now that financialization replaced manufacturing as the basis for prosperity. Alas, financialized prosperity is false prosperity, since it consists mainly of borrowing ever greater amounts of money to keep up the mere appearance of prosperity. In real life, prosperity requires producing things of value, not just trading increasingly abstract financial instruments purporting to represent money. I’ve discussed this enough in books, prior blogs, and previous forecasts. Suffice it to say we’ve run out the string on this stunt. All we’re left with now is the debt markers, documents that purport to represent wealth. The collateral is all the stuff we produced previously that is still standing: buildings, developed properties, public works. A lot of this stuff is deteriorating quickly, losing its value — for instance the tens of millions of suburban houses built with shitty, short-lived materials like strand-board and vinyl… all the cars….
Financialization led to the current inflation in our debt-based money system. More borrowing becomes more money going into existence, chasing a declining amount of goods as production falls off and supply lines choke. Services also suffer. People can’t afford to eat out, get acupuncture, visit hair-dressers. When the inflation is bad enough, say more than ten percent annually, it will cause enough economic damage to provoke a big contraction in activity, bringing on a deluge of loan defaults on mortgages, car payments, and corporate obligations. Loan defaults cause money to disappear from the system. This flips inflation into deflation. The bond-market is blowing up as this occurs, because bonds are debts and they’re not being serviced or paid-off. The imploding bond market infects the stock markets and they crash, too.
Before long, nobody has money, except people who invested in gold and silver. Prediction: the change-over from inflation to deflation comes in summer of 2023 and gathers momentum into the fall. The implosion leads to economic conditions worse than the Great Depression of the 1930s because our social and family arrangements have disintegrated along with our towns and cities. Civil disorder ignites. The government attempts lockdowns, but this time without a disease to blame it on. It’s no longer safe to be a politician.
The Covid-19 Story Backfires Badly and Hell Breaks Loose
Against the backdrop of a developing economic depression, the public can no longer avoid seeing the calamity that the mRNA vaccines have instigated. Early death is in the news daily now and from exactly the adverse effects that have been derided as “conspiracy theory” by public health experts since 2021: myocarditis, blood clots, organ damage, neurological illness, unusually aggressive cancers, damaged immune systems. Meanwhile, America’s public health aristocracy — Dr. Tony Fauci, Rochelle Walensky, Francis Collins, Deborah Birx, Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, and many, many others will be compelled to testify under oath before newly re-constituted House committees and finally answer for all their dishonesty in the Covid-19 response saga. They lied about everything, especially the “vaccines?” It will go worse for them as public sentiment turns from submission to official bullshit to rage over a deadly fraud.
By then, the past efforts of this gang to mislead the public on Twitter and other social media will be well-documented. The exposed slime-trail of money and corruption between Pharma and federal bureaucrats will finally make an impression on the long-bamboozled nation. The mainstream media will be dragged into this morass and the public will begin to understand how the newspaper editors and TV news producers, too, were bought off by Pharma and controlled by the national security state to pimp for the Democratic Party and globalist interests outside the USA. This exposure could be the end of the great legacy news organs, The New York Times and the rest of the gang. Their executives will have to testify along with everyone else. They might not be prosecuted — in a gesture of respect for the First Amendment — but rather will suffer badly from their loss of credibility.
All of this will aggravate the animus against the government and the Democrat Party’s “Joe Biden” regime — which will be under assault from separate inquiries into the Hunter Biden laptop and its abundant evidence of bribery and treason, and hearings about the wide-open border, payments to Ukraine, and the gestapo-like behavior of the FBI.
Here’s a scenario for you: The Justice Department will be drowning in criminal referrals. The FBI will be in a state of paralysis, unable to carry out more insults against US citizens as its systematic crimes are revealed. When the DOJ dithers about bringing action, the public will be even more enraged. The current Attorney General, Merrick Garland, gets dragged into Congress to answer for his misconduct and the resulting humiliation will run him out of office. “Joe Biden” may be forced to resign, drowned in a sea of troubles and scandals revealed. A deal will be made to let Veep Kamala Harris off the hook in exchange for her resignation.
That will leave the Republican Speaker of the House, whoever it is, to become president. He will fire every political appointee in the executive branch and replace them with people who will follow the law. It will look like a promising return to decency and the rule of law. But the damage to America’s prestige will have been so gross by then that the federal government has lost legitimacy. The financial crisis, meanwhile, puts the government into something that smells like bankruptcy. The country is in a ferocious depression, the people have no money, but neither does the government. Real authority devolves to states and localities. The playing out of these dynamics also depends on what is happening outside the USA.
Europe in Macro
Don’t forget, Europe, the west end of the Eurasian landmass, used to be an important part of the world, with an aggregate GDP greater than even the USA’s or China’s. Europe is the birthplace of Western Civ, a division of the human project the past few thousand years that yielded tremendous advances in science, art, music, philosophy, and organized intelligence generally. Now it is on the rocks. Europe, in the aggregate, as represented, say, by the European Union, or NATO, made a grave error going along with the USA’s foolish Neocon project to make a heap trouble in Ukraine in order to “weaken” Russia.
Russia was no longer a threat to the USA after 1991. Once the USSR was done as a political entity, and after Russia recovered from the daze of collapse, it wanted to be treated by the West as a normal European nation. Russia became a market economy, like all the others in Europe. It held elections like the others, had a legislature, a new body of property law, a private news media, regular banks, and all the other trappings of modern political normality. Russia even requested early-on to become a member of NATO. The USA and Europe refused NATO membership, but also refused to admit Russia into European normality. Instead, led by the USA, the West conducted an asset stripping operation which hampered Russia’s redevelopment.
Otherwise, the West mostly ignored Russia, and in spite of all that Russia got back on its feet, got some industries going, especially oil-and-gas, and enjoyed two decades of relative stability. Russia eventually began reaching out in the world and made trade agreements with other countries. It built those Nord Stream gas pipelines. It organized a regional “customs union” among its Eurasian neighbors that functioned rather like the Eurozone.
As that was all happening — pay attention — around 2010 then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sat on a State Department’s Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) that threatened to block the sale of a Canadian company, Uranium One, to Rosatom, the Russian State Atomic Energy Corporation, on the grounds that Uranium One’s assets included 20-percent of the USA’s uranium supply. Selling all that American uranium to Russia looked kind of bad, you’d think, and you’d be right. But then, suddenly, about $150-million dollars poured into the Clinton Foundation — much of it from Uranium One’s owner, one Frank Giustra — plus Bill Clinton happened to get a half-million dollar speaking gig in Russia, and… whaddaya know, CFIUS ended up approving the sale. The public hardly heard a peep about it. (Where was the US new media?)
During that same period, Hillary Clinton also helped facilitate the transfer of American bio-medical, nuclear, and Info technology to the high-tech consortium called Skolkovo, Russia’s version of Silicon Valley. Much of the tech at issue was dual-use, good for civilian and military applications. Again, tens of millions of dollars gushed into the Clinton Foundation from the corporate participants in the Skolkovo deal. Crickets from the news media again.
In 2011, relations between the US and Russia soured when President Putin accused the US of fomenting protests in Russia over its parliamentary elections. And from there, our State Department decided that Russia and the USA could not even pretend to be friendly.
Jump ahead to 2014: Neocons in the Obama administration figured it was time to cut Russia back down to size. That effort crystalized around the former Soviet province, Ukraine, and blossomed into the US-sponsored-and-organized Maidan Revolution, utilizing Ukraine’s sizeable Stepan Bandara legacy Nazi forces in the vanguard, to foment violence in Kiev’s main city square. The US shoved out elected Ukraine President Yanukovych — who angered America by pledging to join Russia’s Custom’s Union instead of the EU — and installed its own puppet Yatsenyuk, who was ultimately replaced by the candy tycoon, Poroshenko, replaced by the Ukrainian TV star, comedian Volodymyr Zelensky. Ha Ha. Who’s laughing now? (Nobody.)
From 2014-on, Ukraine, with America’s backing, did everything possible to antagonize Russia, especially showering the eastern provinces of Ukraine, called the Donbas, with artillery, rockets, and bombs to harass the Russia-leaning population there. After eight years of that, and continued American insults (the Steele Dossier, 2016 election interference), and renewed threats to drag Ukraine into NATO, Mr. Putin had enough and launched his “Special Military Operation” to discipline Ukraine. Once that started, American Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin stated explicitly to the world that America’s general policy now was to “weaken Russia.”
That declaration was accompanied by America’s policy to isolate Russia economically with ever more sanctions. Didn’t work. Russia just turned eastward to the enormous Asian market to sell its oil and gas and utilized an alternate electronic trade-clearance system to replace America’s SWIFT system. Sanctions also gave Russia a reason to aggressively pursue an import-replacement economic strategy — manufacturing stuff that they had been buying from the West, for instance, German machine tools critical for industry.
Russia did sacrifice more than $50-billion in financial assets stranded in the US banking system — we just confiscated it — but, ultimately, that only harmed the US banking system’s reputation as a safe place to park money, and made foreign investors much more wary of stashing capital in American banks. Net effect: the value of the ruble increased and stabilized, and Russia found new ways to neutralize American economic bullying.
Europe was the big loser in all that. For a while, Europe could pretend to go along with the US / NATO project, pouring arms and money into Ukraine, and at the same time depend on Russian oil and gas imports. Eight months into the Ukraine-Russia conflict, the US blew up the Nord Stream One and Two pipelines, and that was the end of Europe’s supply of affordable natgas, to heat homes and power industry. In a sane world, that sabotage would have been considered an act of war against Germany by the USA. But it only revealed the secret, humiliating state of vassalage that Europe was in. Europe had already made itself ridiculous buying into the hysteria over climate change and attempting to tailor its energy use to so-called “renewables” in history’s biggest virtue-signaling exercise. Germany, the engine of the EU’s economy, made one dumb mistake after another. It invested heavily in wind and solar installations, which fell so short of adequacy they were a joke, and it closed down its nuke-powered electric generation plants so as to appear ecologically correct.
So now, Germany, and many other EU member states, teeter on the edge of leaving Modernity behind. They managed to scramble and fill their gas reserves sufficiently this fall to perhaps squeak through winter without freezing to death, but not without a lot of sacrifice, chopping down Europe’s forests, and wearing their coats indoors. Now, only a few days into Winter, it remains to be seen how that will work out. We’ll know more in March of the new year. France had been the exception in Europe, due to its large fleet of atomic energy plants. But many of them have now aged-out, some shut down altogether, and “green” politics stood in the way of replacing them, so France, too, will find itself increasingly subject to affordable energy shortages.
Prediction: Europe’s industry will falter and close down by painful increments. The EU will not withstand the economic stress of de-industrialization. It will shatter and leave Europe once again a small continent of many small fractious nations with longstanding grudges. Some of these countries may break-up into smaller entities in turn, as Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, and Russia did in the 1990s. Keep in mind, the macro trend world-wide will be downscaling and localization as affordable energy recedes for everyone. Since the end of World War Two, Europe was the world’s tourist theme park. Now it could go back to being a slaughterhouse. The Euro currency will have to be phased out as sovereign bankruptcies make the EU financial system untenable, and animosities and hostilities arise. Each country will have to return to its traditional money. Gold and silver will play a larger role in that.
The USA poured over $100-billion into Ukraine in arms, goods, and cash in 2022. That largesse will not continue as America sinks into its Second Great Depression. In any case, much of that schwag was fobbed off with. The arms are spent, the launchers destroyed. A lot of weapons were trafficked around to other countries and non-state actors. Russia is going to prevail in Ukraine. The news emanating from American media about Ukraine’s military triumphs has been all propaganda. There was hardly ever any real doubt that Russia dominated the war zone strategically and tactically. Even its withdrawals from one city or another were tactically intelligent and worthwhile, sparing Russian lives. The Special Military Operation wasn’t a cakewalk because Russia wanted to avoid killing civilians and refrain from destroying infrastructure that would leave Ukraine a gutted, failed state. Over time, the USA proved itself to be negotiation-unworthy, and Ukraine’s president Zelensky refused to entertain rational terms for settling the crisis. So, now the gloves are off in Ukraine. As of December 29, Russia shut off the lights in Kiev and Lvov.
The open questions: how much punishment does Ukraine seek to suffer before it capitulates? Will Zelensky survive? (Even if he runs off to Miami, he may not survive.) What exactly will be left of Ukraine? In 2023 Russia will decide the disposition of things on-the-ground. Failed states make terrible neighbors. One would imagine that Russia’s main goal is to set up a rump Ukraine that can function, but cease to be an annoying pawn of its antagonists. Ukraine will no longer enjoy access to the Black Sea; it will be landlocked. The best case would be for Ukraine to revert to the agricultural backwater it was for centuries before the mighty disruptions of the modern era. Perhaps Russia will take it over altogether and govern it as it had ever since the 1700s — except for Ukraine’s brief interlude post-USSR as one of the world’s most corrupt and mal-administered sovereign states.
Bottom line: Ukraine is and always was within Russia’s sphere-of-influence, and will remain so. The USA has no business there and it will be best for all concerned when we bug out. Let’s hope that happens without America triggering a nuclear World War Three. (Yeah, “hope” is not a plan. Try prayer, then.) Mr. Putin’s challenge going into 2023 is to conclude the Ukraine hostilities without humiliating the USA to the degree that we do something really stupid.
The enormous region where most of the world’s people live is swirling with quickly changing dynamics. It’s hard to tell what kind of shape China is actually in at the close of 2022. The CCP capitulated on its extreme lockdown policy and now the country seems gripped by a new and severe outbreak of the Covid virus. It’s killing a lot of people, including quite a few higher-ups in the CCP. The world saw the beginning of a popular revolt in China through the fall of 2022 as demonstrations erupted. The political side remains opaque.
The economic side, less so. China’s wealth since year 2000 has derived from its immense factory capacity and cheap labor force. Globalism is wobbling, and with that the world’s supply line network. If trade relations with the USA continue to sour, both China and the USA will suffer. China will find itself at over-capacity, even for the giant Asian market. And they are competing with several other quickly-industrialized nations in the south, plus India, plus the old stalwarts South Korea and Japan.
The main problem for China, and indeed all the Pacific Rim nations on the Asian side: energy. China doesn’t have very much oil in the ground and is utterly dependent on imports. It has a lot of low-quality coal. It’s building coal and nuke plants like mad. Will that suffice? Electricity is great, but you need fossil fuels to run heavy industries. In the great shiftings of 2022, China made deals for getting more oil and gas from Russia. That might work for a while. But Russia’s energy resources are probably near peak production now. What happens on the way down from that peak? Maybe Russia will be less avid for sharing its fossil fuels with its neighbors. Maybe that will cause political friction. Maybe a desperate China will reach out and try to grab resources from Russia’s vast Siberian territories? Not next year, though….
The Neocon-led US foreign policy establishment is insane for sure, but the CCP is only not-crazy during times of great stability. Throw in some popular dissent and some economic distress, and the CCP could go cuckoo. Uncle Xi shows very Mao-like tendencies for creative despotism. The party must have a long game for Taiwan, but a distressed and crazed CCP, and an agitated Uncle Xi, could turn that into a short game out of desperation — and then what? We’d have two really crazed governments, the USA and China, ginning up the Eastern theater of World War Three. The upshot of predicament depends to some extent on how delicately Mr. Putin can organize America’s exit from Ukraine.
Prediction: For 2023 internal friction will preoccupy China as it attempts to square its operations with those pressing trends of our time: downscaling and relocalization. All this could easily lead to regional strife in China. For decades, the CCP has been the glue between its disparate peoples. It may prove to not be superglue.
Japan remains as enigmatic as ever. It has drifted economically for nearly forty years. Now it looks like it’s drifting into a sovereign bankruptcy as it loses control of its deeply-gamed bond markets. I’ll stick to my old predication that Japan is en route to going medieval. Its pre-industrial culture was very charming and worked well for long periods of history. Industrial modernity demoralized them. Japan imports all its oil. Without it, you can’t even begin to run a modern war machine, so there won’t be a second reaching-out for resources as in the 20th century. The Japanese will not be alone in the new medievalism when this era completes itself.
The Deep State, an Appreciation
America is at a crossroads, a threshold, a tipping point. Every vital institution in the land has been at least partially wrecked, most especially the ones in charge of the rule of law, which was the best thing we had going for us. The Deep State is for real — the weaponization of a national bureaucracy against the nation itself. Yet, it’s certainly not just an American thing; it’s happening across Western Civ. Is it some natural process of self-destruction? An auto-immune disorder of a giant cultural organism, with parts attacking the whole? The USA, Great Britain, Canada, and Australia took such special pride in being open societies and now they are consumed in censorious lunacy. Continental Europe had a sketchier history with liberty, the enlightened individualism of Everyman, though they actually birthed its principles. But now the whole works is infected and ailing, and by what? It’s as if some cosmic spike protein came among us all and got into our hearts.
Most major religions feature some version of the idea of death-and-rebirth, and it’s a fact that we see ourselves embedded in cycles, especially seasons. Things turn and return, are born, develop, degenerate, pass away. This was the brilliant application of Strauss and Howe’s Fourth Turning theory to the study of history, and by those terms we are have entered a deep secular winter of the human project. One can appreciate how the onset of winter spooked our prehistoric ancestors. They developed their prayerful ceremonies for bringing back the sun, and warmth, and new growth, dancing around the fire in the skins of animals, often making blood sacrifices to the mysterious forces in charge of… everything. The modern way of reenacting all that seems to be industrial-strength warfare. Many of us are praying right now that we don’t have to go through that.
More likely, I think, we’ll forego the nuclear fire and simply go through a collapse of the socioeconomic organization that our governance rests on, and the Deep State illness with it. It’ll come with plenty of hardship, but it will purge the poisons that have disordered us, and when we get through it, we’ll make new arrangements for daily life. For some years, I’ve been calling this process a long emergency, and now we seem to be right in the thick of it. I believe in the natural process called emergence. Systems transform themselves organically from one state to another when acted upon by the circumstances of time and place. The outcome is usually a surprise, and not all surprises are bad. So, adios 2022 and hello little baby 2023. Lead us where you will and let’s go forward into it bravely. As Bob said so many years ago, it’s all right, Ma. It’s life and life only….
ADVICE (submitted to the NYT)
Boyfriends come and boyfriends go, but SAT scores are forever.
The best advice I received this year was to stretch my calves regularly. It cured my mild knee pain.
Stop and recognize happy moments when you’re in the middle of them. Literally stop and say out loud, “This is a happy time.” It’s a way to ground yourself in the joyful parts of your life. We do this with moments of trauma and crisis all the time. Maybe we should flip that script.
In your closet and your life, subtract whenever you add.
When you see a ball on the road, make a full stop. There’s usually a kid running right behind it.
You don’t have to identify with your feelings.
Parent the child you have. As a parent of a child with special needs, this is my mantra. But this is also true of any child. Stop trying to make your child quieter, louder, more outgoing, more interested in things their sibling likes and appreciate the unique and individual small person you’ve been given.
Everyone is going through something.
Just be a gentleman.
Teach your children to swing from the trees — not to keep them from falling, but to see that they never hit the sidewalk.
If you didn’t have to keep working, would you?
You can’t control other people’s actions, but you can control your reaction to them.
Never accept work where you’re not learning.
When the wrench is on the nut, tighten it. In other words, if you’re already touching a piece of mail, deal with it. If you see a thing you’ll need soon, buy it now. If an uncomfortable conversation comes up, have it rather than deflecting it.
Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you have to do it, or that it’s good for you.
I like to remind myself that my track record for getting through bad days is 100 percent, and that’s pretty good.
Things don’t have to be perfect to be wonderful.
The day of your wedding, have a good breakfast. Chances are, it’s going to get busy.
Be where your feet are.
Stop reaching for people who aren’t reaching back.
The greatest gift you can give to your children is your own emotional well-being.
Never trust anyone wearing a lapel pin.