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Off the Record (July 19, 2023)

RECOMMENDED VIEWING: “Waco: The Rules of Engagement” which makes an irrefutable case that the ATF and the FBI deliberately shot and incinerated the Branch Davidians at their church compound in retaliation for the deaths of four ATF agents. The ATF agents were shot by the Davidians, you will recall, as they stormed the church rather than serve the church’s leader, David Koresh, with a warrant when he was off the premises, as per normal procedures. From the beginning of the grisly and totally indefensible episode, the film make it clear that the feds were determined to deploy lethal force against a harmless religious sect. Why? Perhaps as a warning to other non-conforming groups that if you stray too far from the great two-party consensus, it will get you. Complete with footage of the tax-paid cowboys astride tanks in full Rambo fantasy — the troops at Waco mooned the women and children inside the compound and shouted obscenities at the Davidians before they murdered them. Waco is a step-by-step case description of our government’s murder of 86 innocent men, women and children. Not surprisingly, during the post-slaughter cover-up, the most aggressive defenders of the ATF and the FBI’s indefensible performances were Senator Joe Biden, and representatives Lantos and Shumer, generally considered liberals. 

THE ALL-TIME EXAMPLE of what’s wrong with journalism schools and, by extension, much of contemporary American journalism, appeared years ago in the Sunday Chronicle. It was written by Orville Schell, then-dean of Cal Berkley’s graduate school of journalism and called, “A Conversation on the State of the Media.” 

SCHELL BEGAN, “If one searches the media landscape for islands of unalloyed intelligence and integrity, few come more quickly to mind than the daily NPR interview program, ‘Fresh Air.’ What makes Terry Gross stand out so starkly from most other broadcasters in the American media is her dedication to doing programming that answers not market surveys which help to propitiate ratings gods, but to her own sense of what is intrinsically interesting and worthwhile.” 

IT GETS WORSE. “Lamentable as it may be to observe, Gross’s dedication to journalistic excellence has made her something of an oddity — an ‘anchor’ (even the word sounds off key in her case!) who, instead of pandering to the lowest common denominator of demand, seeks to create a demand for intelligent programming by adopting the novel strategy of simply doing intelligent programming. In this sense, Terry Gross and ‘Fresh Air’ are truly national treasures.” 

THESE PROSE SLIVERS having been driven under the nails of both my hands, Schell went for my toe nails. “Because her views are rarely predictable and her mental and political honesty is always on guard against muddled thinking, sophistry and cant, there is no one in America with whom I would rather have the kind of public ‘conversation’ we will have on the state of the media.” 

TERRY GROSS is the audio version of People Magazine. I’ve never once heard her ask a hard question. So far as I’m aware, Ms. Gross has never ever interviewed a single dissenter with the exception of an interview I heard her stumble through with an indulgent Norman Mailer. Among other irrelevant questions, she asked Mailer why his books were so long. And I heard her ask Salman Rushdie who was then in hiding from the famous fatwa issued by Iran’s senile ayatollah in the wake of Rushdie’s unreadable book, ‘Midnight’s Children’: “Were you lonely? Did you gain weight?” 

MAUREEN CALLAHAN: Add beauty pageants to the list of women's spaces that are no longer, well, women's spaces. The new Miss Netherlands, crowned on Saturday, is a transgender model named Rikkie Valerie Kollé. Kollé's next stop: the Miss Universe pageant, now owned by transgender Thai business mogul Anne Jakrajutatip. And we biological women are expected to cheer, to be exhilarated by this latest theft. From the faces of the runners-up, more than a few look as if they're in shock. Rightly so.

A CALLER wanted to know what the AVA’s candidates’ letters policy is. If the message is at all satisfyingly issue-specific or amusingly abusive, it goes. If it’s the usual “Joe or Josefina Blow is the finest human being who’s ever walked the wine and cheese reception lines of the Northcoast,” forget it. We once got a political letter from a lady who described Dan Hamburg as a “brilliant, gifted, heady person with a heart” who “cares about justice and the well-being of his fellow men and women.” I told her I always wished that my mom would have sent in a letter in like that about me.

THE CALLER BEGINS: “I met a woman on the bus coming back from San Diego. She’s one-quarter Hoopa and…” Hold it right there, I demand, as if I have him at gunpoint. You want me to write a story based on what a lady you met on a bus told you? 

I WAS RELIEVED that he hadn’t identified her as “one-fourth Cherokee,” the ethnicity of choice among the identity-desperate. There are at least ten million more Cherokees in America today than there were at the time of Columbus.

MIKE GENIELLA: If truth be known Justice Clarence Thomas and the late West Coast timber baron Harry Merlo shared a few drinks while mingling with the big boys, thanks to the elite Horatio Alger Association based in New York City. Harry, who prized his membership, would have admired Thomas's climb, and how he powered himself onto the U.S. Supreme Court, where access is everything. Merlo was once quoted by the New York Times after a Horatio Alger talk, “'Exploit your successes and don't try to redeem your failures.” Merlo, who in 1973 formed a Portland, Ore., lumber company, the Louisiana-Pacific Corporation, that reached $1 billion in sales by 1978. For a time L-P was the largest timberland owner in Mendocino, Sonoma, and Humboldt counties.

“I’M BEATING BIDEN in the Polls by the biggest margins ever. I assume that means there’ll be another Indictment & Arrest coming down the tracks very soon. These Radical Left Democrats, Communists, Marxists, and Fascists are destroying our Country but, have no fear, we will MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!” -Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump

THIS STATEMENT reflects no known reality, but somehow resonates with the Trump base because it’s code for “Everything that we don’t like.”

AT RANDOM: The Caltrans “interchange” on 101 at Redwood Valley wiped out 169 acres of pleasing semi-rural landscape and tripled the number of roads at the site. 

SUPERVISORS get elected, bumble through their terms, then disappear from the public life of Mendocino County.

TOM LUCIER, the amiable Willits Republican and mortician known around town as “The Jolly Reaper” is still collecting North County corpses, but he’s as silent as his clients. Colfax? McCowen, Shoemaker? Carrie Brown? And on and on. Norman de Vall still keeps a public eye on things, as does Johnny Pinches, but other than these two the rest of the former county leadership is long gone. Can’t say that they’re missed, but collectively, the silent ones represent how unserious they were and are. 

NOT a single Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee said they opposed Biden’s decision to sell cluster bombs to Ukraine, even though the sale is in contravention of US law. But some 50 Democrats have opposed the sale.

OK, YOU CONVINCED ME. I'll stop. An MSNBC op-ed claims that regular exercise is linked to far-right politics and says that exercising at home is just the latest fascist trend that glamorizes hyper-masculinity. Cynthia Miller-Idriss claimed that “white supremacists' latest scheme to valorize violence and hypermasculinity has gone digital.”

YOU'D THINK lib media like MSNBC would be more careful about giving dingbats air time, but then given the air time given over to dingbats on Fox and the rest of neo-fascist media it all probably evens out.

MINAL SHANKAR'S plans for Ukiah's once crucial Palace Hotel were not only doable, she was poised to do them, and had the resources to do them, and had high end contractors ready to begin work on the Palace at the beginning of summer. 

How Jitu Ishwar somehow bought into the Palace while it was in receivership is not known, but it seems obvious that Ms. Shankar assumed she could buy him out but couldn't, probably because Ishwar wanted way too much money for his share and Ms. Shankar refused to be robbed.

NOW we learn from Mike Geniella's fine report on the collapsed Palace deal that Ishwar allegedly has a syndicate of local heavy hitters ready to pick up where Ms. Shankar left off, but other than a vague statement from a Ukiah attorney that they exist and have the resources to begin the revival of the Palace, all we're left with is what we've had for forty years — the decaying hulk in central Ukiah of what was once a thriving anchor for not only Ukiah but the entire county. 

DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE Robert F. Kennedy Jr. dished out some wild COVID-19 conspiracy theories this week during a press event at a Manhattan restaurant, claiming the covid bug was a genetically engineered bio-weapon that may have been “ethnically targeted” to exclude Ashkenazi Jews and Chinese.

THIS story is “mistaken,” Kennedy said the next day. “I have never, ever suggested that the COVID-19 virus was targeted to spare Jews. I accurately pointed out — during an off-the-record conversation — that the U.S. and other governments are developing ethnically targeted bioweapons, and that a 2021 study of the COVID-19 virus shows that COVID-19 appears to disproportionately affect certain races since the furin cleave docking site is most compatible with Blacks and Caucasians and least compatible with ethnic Chinese, Finns, and Ashkenazi Jews.” 

NO SOONER had Cornel West announced that he will run for president as a Green than the middle-of-the-road extremists, right on cue as they have at every election for sixty years, accused West and the Greens of “objectively re-electing Trump.” Nothing wrong with the Democrats that propel conscientious liberals to seek alternatives to SloJoe and vice-president Cackles, it's just these darn nitpickers who keep on getting Trump elected by going third party. 

THERE ARE MILLIONS of people like me repulsed by the candidates the Democratic National Committee shoves at us as alternatives to Trump. The only person the Democrats have who seems to be fully functioning is Gavin Newsom, and it will be interesting to see how the DNC offloads Biden and Cackles for the only person they have who can beat the orange menace, assuming, of course, Newsom isn't saddled with an obvious nut case as vp. 

HERE’S DEMO-THINK from one of the heavy hitters at the NYT: “West previously had planned to run with the People’s Party before switching to Green, which could mean the outspoken academic could siphon critical votes from Biden in swing states, potentially throwing the election to GOP frontrunner Donald Trump, some Democrats said. In 2016, the Green Party played an outsized role in tipping the election to Donald Trump. Now, with Cornel West as their likely nominee, they could easily do it again. ‘Risky business,’ former Obama campaign guru David Axelrod tweeted earlier this week.”

CORNEL WEST: “Trump is leading us toward a second civil war, Biden is leading us toward a third world war. So I am not excited about either choice. I don’t want to just support a caretaker government against fascism every four years because sooner or later the fascists will still win. But the problem with the Democrats is that they’d rather lose than change.”


“We have less revenue per capita than Sonoma, but we've grown staff more per capita. It's impossible to pay comparable wages in this model.”

ED NOTE: A LOTTA YEAH BUTS IN WILLIAMS’S CLAIM. But even if true it's just now occurring to him?

ms NOTES: The Union is not asking for “comparable” wages. Mendo has no “model,” the County organization is the result of a series of incremental changes and expansions going back to the 60s when my uncle was Fifth District supervisor, each of which made sense to the Boards at the time they were in place and paralleled other California counties. In addition, most functions are mandated by state law (for better or worse) and have very specific staffing requirements. It’s silly for Williams to imply that a few new — and I would say naïve — Supervisors could somehow switch “models” because of a momentary (in historic terms) revenue deficit that is largely of the Board’s own making. If Williams was so concerned about the County’s “model” (as if it were some kind of tweakable profit-making “business” with a business model), why did he help push through an ill-considered and rash consolidation of the Treasurer and Auditor’s offices, an historical separation of functions that provides an essential check on the County’s revenue generation and expense tracking? If that’s an example of Williams’ organizational ability, a new Mendo “model” would only make things worse. Before he was elected in the 50s, my uncle, Joe Scaramella had been a decades long follower and critic of the Board of Supervisors when he was elected. On his first day in the Boardroom he told the skeptical Board clerk, “Anybody can get an axe and demolish things. It's not my job to demolish things. My job is to construct things.”


[1] There are many Americans who know what is going on and despise all of it but they, like me, don’t know what to do about it.

Pornography is a multi-billion dollar industry in America today so yes, I’d say most Americans love their porn.

Alcoholism is rampant, alcohol sales are a multi-billion dollar industry in America so yes, I’d say most Americans love their booze.

Unrecognizable tattoos are on most young people I see now, especially WOMEN. So yes, I’d say most Americans love their tats.

I’ve literally sat and watched Americans come in and out of Walmart and counted the obese people against the thinner people. 80% of those counted were obese. So, yes, I’d say most Americans love their fast foods and are lazy.

Private debt in America is $17 – 36 trillion dollars. So, yes, I’d say most Americans live well beyond their means acting like they own the cars they drive and the fancy homes they live in but they are so far in debt their children will never be able to pay it off. They own nothing.

This isn’t hyperbole, this is reality. Just look at the numbers.

[2] I don’t see a civil war happening, but I do see widespread criminal activities increasing. In the city where I presently live, there are shootings on my street every week, garbage just tossed or dropped on the sidewalks or fronts of the houses. It stinks when I walk the neighborhood. So far I’ve not been accosted, but I know that people sometimes look at me a little hard. It’s a black neighborhood, and there is plenty of fine weed being smoked, I can smell the quality every time I walk (I don’t partake, but used to). Generally the people, my neighbors do not look at me nor talk to me, and I respect that, and don’t try to engage them. It’s obvious they’re not interested and have some distrust of me being white. I don’t blame them. I try to be respectful and pleasant in my demeanor.

[3] Of course Photo-Op Mo supports the Great Redwood trail, she needs a new picture to post on her Facebook account! She is probably the one who suggested the Ad-Hoc Committee for the HR Director, Ad-Hocs are her second most favorite thing to do. She suggests these committees that never get anything done, but form a good excuse. When she is asked about failure she replies, “You know we formed an Ad-Hoc Committee, you should go talk to them.” And did you notice Haschak admits he was just on an Ad-Hoc Committee with McGourty that accomplished nothing.

Every time this board meets they just prove their name, Board Of Stupid! But let’s talk Rail Trail, while our employees form picket lines at the Courthouse and threaten to strike. Priorities People!

[4] So, big Covid Guru Wachter contracted Covid himself, despite all the precautions he took. What does this tell us? Covid will eventually get you, no matter how hard you try to avoid it! And that’s what the data tell us as well. Sweden, a country that did not shut down like US or most other European countries did, had no more Covid deaths than other countries. But the shutdowns caused serious problems for children, people who were isolated and couldn’t see their families for a long time, people with other diseases who couldn’t get treatment. Most of the Covid measures, except for vaccinations, were a disaster, and medical experts like Wachter are responsible for that.

Nevertheless, I wish Wachter a speedy recovery.

[5] I was alive in the 50’s, and the only really bad part of it that I remember was the apartheid that was in place here in the south. Black people were openly discriminated against, and I can remember riding buses with signs up stating that black folks rode in the back of the bus. And the bus stations had four separate public bathrooms instead of two. Blacks weren’t allowed in public swimming pools and many restaurants and motels were closed to them. That was the one thing that needed to be changed. I’ve got no complaints about anything else, and as far as I can tell the insanity really started taking hold in the late sixties when I became a short lived feminist dope smoking wannabe hippie.

[6] “Agricultural activities” = spraying “round up” under each and every grape vine ( an herbicide; the whole valley has been sprayed with glyphosate) Sonoma County has banned glyphosate on city property but of course not in the vineyards. Grapes are also sprayed with pesticides, fungicides, and insecticides. Grape farmers do have to take precautions when using these chemicals, and I’ve definitely seen the average non -farmer spraying “round up” into the wind and their yard with no gloves on, in the name of a perfect manicure.

But let’s talk about the direct exposure to farm workers (Mexicans) who touch each and every grape vine. Do we care about their exposure? Do you know they should take their clothes off and wash them separate from their families’ laundry to avoid contaminating their house? Do you know the litany of symptoms of herbicide exposure, the cancer rates, the Parkinsons, the miscarriages, the birth defects, the neurological disorders? Do you know what an industrial vineyard smells like during spray season? How many days must pass before workers are let onto a sprayed vineyard with regular clothes on, no spray suits? Is this regulated? What are the cancer rates for ag families? Does the profit from this chemicalled cash crop at least trickle down to the community? How do you profit from your surroundings being poisoned? Does anyone give a shit about people living/working on industrial ag property?

I have very fond memories of playing in the spray dust after it settled as a child. Yellowish, powdery. Everyone in my family (living on the ranch) has had cancer or a miscarriage.

[7] When I get to the news in the morning, before the local paper or other web sources I tend to check Drudge first every day, just for a few seconds.

Not to see what’s happening in the world today, but rather to see what we are supposed to believe is happening in the world today. Whatever Drudge notes as newsworthy, we should generally ignore. Whatever Drudge is ignoring, we should be looking into it.

Note that today, Ukraine is currently not mentioned once on the entire page, probably for the first time in a year and a half. Therefore, it should be looked into and written about right now.

Ukraine has been losing popularity with the Wurlitzer-reading hoi polloi for quite some time, same as Uncle Joe…but they’re both clearly being prepped for the boot. And that’s all well and good.

What I could do without is the constant bullshit fear mongering about how it’s currently the “hottest the earth has ever been” right now. (Drudge splattering that everywhere again today)

It’s freakin’ July. And even then, record temps are not being recorded almost anywhere right now. Same as it ever was. But they’ll keep saying it until the younguns believe it, and then in 20 years they will be the ones running things…and might actually believe that the weather is supposed to be uniform and moderate every day here on earth, contrary to every piece of history or evidence available…ever.

I fear stupidity shall reign, even more so than it does today. Once they close the loop of “life experience” (when we all die and the kids are programmed), it shall be the age of stupidity. Best part is they will also think they’re smarter than any previous generation while doing so.

Or so I fear.

[8] I once had a fairly long e-mail correspondence going with a woman named Dr. Jane, who said she was a retired professor at Oxford. She was a believer in aliens, and she thought that these aliens dealt closely with our “elites,” and had promised them some sort of “breakthrough” energy technology. I suppose that the fact that such a technology has not materialized suggests that our “elites” were double-crossed. But if there are aliens, and if they are working closely with our “elites,” I would have to assume that they are not the good guys. In fact, probably demons. Which actually sounds kind of plausible.

[9] DOPE: Fentanyl has massively changed the risk profile of any drug use. I only know one person who has overdosed in the last few years. He was gainfully employed, owned a home, had a young family. He chose to snort some cocaine one weekend while he was out with some friends (not my idea of responsible fun, but historically a fairly safe drug consumption pattern) and apparently it had some fentanyl cut into it and he got a hot pocket. That’s the extreme case, but even habitual opiate users have largely not successfully adapted to the reality of synthetics as potent as fentanyl.

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