WELL HELL. Started last Thursday morning with a blaring security notice from Apple that locked up my computer. Had to call an 888 number where a barely coherent East Indian told me to do this, do that. He said I'd been hacked. I said I don't care. He said my computer wasn't secure. I said I don't care. He said he'd have to report my lack of security. I laughed. He said people can listen to my phone conversations and read my e-mail. I said I don't care. Long pause on the other end. Am I finished, I asked, can you take this disembodied creature's voice off my computer and unlock it so I can read the New York Times? Yes, sir, he said. The process is complete. But for the next two days every time I’d tried to access the Times, without which my daily quotient of bullshit is not complete, on came the blaring voice and the demand to immediately call India. And then, as suddenly as it had appeared, I could again access my daily quota of bullshit via the Times.
BACK a quarter century there was still something of an environmental movement, and although its Northcoast manifestation was deeply flawed, a few people pointed out that great crimes were being committed against the natural world, Mendo branch, too. No more, and even then the dominant voices tended heavily to lunacy.
GLEN MARTIN put his finger right on the prob in the Earth First! period, say 1980-2000. “It’s hard to tell the good from the bad in this conflict. Even if you accept the environmentalists’ point of view, the people nominally in the wrong usually seem good-humored, competent and reasonable — working men trained in the dangerous and demanding trade of hauling logs off the mountainside.
“And the people viewed as ‘right’ often come across as dogmatic, self-indulgent, dilettantish and bizarre in taste and habits.
“Certainly the average American doesn’t want to see old-growth redwood forests razed. But that same American would probably feel a stronger bond with a Humboldt County logger — a man who pays his taxes, has a couple of beers during Monday night football and spends his weekends fishing — than a vegan Earth First!er huffing a bong-load of Emerald Triangle skunkweed while dancing around a bonfire.” (SF Chronicle, December 6th, 1998.)
A KID who stopped by the AVA after a Headwaters rally years ago summed up her couple of weeks at a Humboldt County Earth First! base camp this way: “The people in charge were even crazier than my parents.” Which is why the movement didn't grow, which is why it never attracted the intelligent young, which is why on the Northcoast it worked almost entirely to the advantage of the extractive corporations it purported to oppose.”
THE ASIAN ART MUSEUM in SF has an exhibit on Asian Hell which seems to differ from European/ Christian hell. For one thing in some Asian religions there are helpers who come to the aid of people condemned to hell. I don't know of any such helpers in Christianity. I especially like the shadow puppet from Java. Here he is. I think he's male but I am not positive. I recommend the exhibit. It took me into another world, another time and place. (Jonah Raskin)
LOTS of us rustics pay close attention to crows. The following poem from the current New Yorker is the best crow poem I've read, although the crow genre isn't all that crowded (sic):
In Japan, in Seattle, in Indonesia — there they were —
…each one loud and hungry,
… crossing a field, or sitting
…above the traffic, or dropping
to the lawn of some temple to sun itself
…or walk about on strong legs,
…like a landlord. I think
… they don't envy anyone or anything —
not the tiger, not the emperor,
…not even the philosopher.
… Why should they?
…The wind is their friend, the least tree is home.
Nor is melody, they have discovered, necessary.
…Nor have they delicate palates;
… without hesitation they will eat
… anything you can think of —
corn, mice, old hamburgers —
… swallowing with such hollering and gusto
…no one can tell whether it's a brag
or a prayer of deepest thanks. At sunrise, when I walk out,
…I see them in trees, or on ledges of buildings,
…as cheerful as saints, or thieves of the small job
…who have been, one more night, successful —
and like all successes, it turns my thoughts to myself.
Should I have led a more simple life?
…Have my ambitions been worthy?
…Has the wind, for years, been talking to me as well?
Somewhere, among all my thoughts, there is a narrow path.
It's attractive, but who could follow it?
…Slowly the full morning
draws over us its mysterious and lovely equation.
Then, in the branches poling from their dark center,
ever more flexible and bright,
sparks from the sun are bursting and melting on the birds' wings,
… as, indifferent and comfortable,
… they lounge, they squabble in the vast, rose-colored light.
— Mary Oliver
DENIS ROUSE: Good morning. When I lived in Bieber, when we had to go to Reno once in a while, we'd take the southward loop through the vast lonely expanse of the Black Rock Desert, but we avoided it if the Burning Man thing was going on, because the traffic from every direction was madness. Once, in its aftermath, we went to breakfast in Cedarville, a beautiful little ranch town in Surprise Valley as remote as the moon, where the waitress said, “Jesus, those people are like fucking animals, they came in here before we had a chance to clear and clean tables and started eating leftovers on dirty plates.” Who was the French philosopher who said true hell is too many other people? Seventy thousand of them stuck in the mud? My plea to the BLM and the nice people making a fortune by promoting this onslaught on some of the last natural beauty left in the West: Cancel the goddamn thing! Happy Labor Day.
COUNTY EMPLOYEE STRIKE POSTPONED:
“Honestly, we were expecting to go on strike this week,” said field representative Patrick Hickey. “But fortunately, it seems like the county administration did see the light in our negotiations last week…in regards to the co-pay for health premiums…We’re hopeful that they are now moving in the right direction and are going to do everything that they can to try to support county employees.”
Third District Supervisor John Haschak said he’ll introduce some ideas to find more money for county employees at the September 12 Board of Supervisors meeting, which will be held on the coast. “County employees are hard-working public servants, and the unions are our collective voice,” he told a friendly crowd. “At our next board meeting, I am offering both revenue-enhancing proposals and cost-cutting efficiencies. These ideas are not mine alone. But rather, they’re from working with employees and unions.”
Outstanding report by Mike Geniella on the current fiscal mess that is of Mendocino County’s own making. Once again, County officials have created a problem where there was none, and in the process tied the most convenient fall guy — actually gal — to the whipping post. The 18-month slander campaign mounted against Treasurer-Tax Collector/Auditor-Controller Chamise Cubbison, is as unfair as it is unseemly, and casts a shadow across the landscape of local governing in Mendocino County.
So now there will be a state audit soon underway in addition to the ongoing but incomplete annual federal audit. Great, the more audits the better since the public has been informed that the County keeps three sets of books and no one knows how much money is in the bank.
But we also need another process to occur that should have happened prior to the December 2021 consolidation of the Treasurer-Tax Collector and Auditor-Controller offices. It’s something that yours truly and two Supervisors have recommended take place for some time. Here’s the most recent request found in a response I made to Supe Ted Williams:
As I’ve suggested, as well as Supe Haschak and I believe Supe Gjerde also, the Board should call in former officials responsible for fiscal matters (Treasurer-Tax Collector, Auditor-Controller, Assessor, CEO) and interview/question and, hopefully, learn from them how they did their jobs. This is critical information the BOS admits it is lacking. This process would include but is not limited to such things as assessments of their responsibilities and how they performed their duties, how they exercised fiscal oversight and the identification of internal financial controls, systems that were utilized (manual vs. electronic/software, etc.), staffing levels (classifications and job descriptions) narrative descriptions of interdepartmental and third-party (ex.: outside, independent audit) working relationships detailing scope of work and information disclosed and received.
Since no one has explanations or answers to what caused the ongoing, untenable fiscal mess the county is in, you need to conduct an inquiry and start finding answers to all of the current unknowns prior to launching a substantially, momentous alteration to your organizational structure with this idea of a Department of Finance. By the way, if the Board does decide to hold an inquiry, it won’t be necessary for former officials to attend in-person. That’s the beauty of zoom meetings.”
Here’s a short list of former County finance-related officials who should be called into a public hearing to share their information and insights on how they did their jobs over the years:
Shari Schapmire, Treasurer-Tax Collector
Lloyd Weer, Auditor-Controller
Meredith Ford, Auditor-Controller
Dennis Huey, Auditor-Controller
Tim Knudson, Treasurer-Tax Collector
Carmel Angelo, CEO
Jim Anderson, CAO
It would also be interesting to find out what they think about the wholesale replacement of the current fiscal organization with the proposed creation of a Department of Finance.
FROM THE SEPTEMBER 8th, 2021 EDITION OF THE AVA describing the origins of the ‘Get Cubbison’ campaign:
THE SUPERVISORS found themselves in the middle of a bizarre dispute Tuesday. What began as a routine appointment of Assistant Auditor Chamise Cubbison to fill out the remaining term of retiring Auditor Lloyd Weer, saw DA David Eyster, in full bluster mode, zoom in to claim that Ms. Cubbison was “wrong” in requiring documentation to accompany a grant claim. Ditto, Eyster said, for several DA staffers’ claims for training-related travel.
MS. CUBBISON had rejected the claims for not being accompanied by the proper paperwork backup, and already taxpayers should fall in love with this lady for scrupulously guarding the public purse against windy big spenders like the DA who, incidentally, plays the CEO [Carmel Angelo at the time] like a bass viola, getting whatever he wants from her like, for instance, a half-dozen full-time investigators to investigate the three crimes a week committed by Mendocino County's master criminals.
EYSTER, though, insisted that the Auditor’s requirement didn’t apply to the DA’s office, and submitted various documents to allegedly prove his point.
BUT THE VALIANT Ms. Cubbison held her ground. She said she was simply following county policy, and as an independent auditor she was duty-bound to impose the local, state and federal rules as necessary.
UNACCUSTOMED to such impertinence from another county office, Eyster continued to insist that he was correct. Ms. Cubbison's predecessor also drew the DA's ire on occasion for simply challenging expenditures and categories of expenditures. The Auditor is supposed to be a nickelnoser. We should be grateful to this lady for challenging every dime these outback Caesers claim reimbursement for. (One of those claims originating with Eyster was tax-paid dinners for 75 guardians of law and order at the Broiler Steak House! The taxpayers should be on the hook for that debauch?)
THE PEOPLE'S PROSECUTOR went on at length about how wrong Ms. Cubbison was, adding that her unapologetic wrongness disqualified her from being appointed interim Auditor.
THE WUSS QUINTET functioning as Supervisors seemed flummoxed by the dispute, and clearly didn’t like being put in a position to actually take a stand on the validity of the arguments of the two opposing officials, one of them Mendocino County's lead law enforcement officer.
AFTER several rounds of back and forth between Cubbison and Eyster, neither of whom budged from their positions, the Board punted, deciding to continue Ms. Cubbison as “acting” Auditor in the absence of Weer, but with maybe a pay increase to go with the “acting” position.
THE SUPES then discussed consolidating the offices of Treasurer and Auditor into a larger “Finance Director” job at a later date, or whenever the Supe's $75k-plus Strategic Planning consultant comes up with her undoubtedly clueless “strategic” plan.
A READER WRITES: “The DA’s internal dollars and cents person, whom I know and trust, tells me that the acting auditor is a zealous paperpusher who focuses too much time on inane rules and regulations. A bureaucrat already in the making. She like Weer is coming in via the backdoor because she doesn't have the qualifications the job description requires. What is with the board rehiring Weer as ‘special help’ if in fact his hand-picked successor is qualified? Mendocino has the legislative right to create a Chief Financial Officer, and it should. That is the way to recruit and hire a qualified individual to oversee the people's finances, kind of like a GAO. We don't need one more bureaucrat slowing down the process over nickels and dimes.”
A READER REBUTS: “Chamise Cubbison is a friend of mine, so I am probably biased. By the way, this is just my opinion from what I have heard, not Chamise’s. I know that Chamise is a sharp bookkeeper and the “accusation” that she is a nitpicker could indeed be correct from the perspective of those with what they consider to be nits. Chamise is also quite capable of standing up for herself and her interpretation of basic accounting rules. Except for the complaints from the DA, I am not aware of anyone else with public complaints about her performance. I suspect that she has somehow gotten on the wrong side of CEO Angelo and, considering the timing, this dispute between Chamise and the DA is another example of CEO Angelo’s behind the scenes orchestration of people who the CEO views as not under the CEO’s thumb. Like the Treasurer-Tax Collector, the Auditor is an independently elected office and not hired or fired by the CEO. The Auditor is also responsible for the very important revenue side of the County’s budget. The CEO needs the Auditor to play ball to make the budget appear ok. On top of that we’ve seen an increase in finance and budget staffing in the CEO’s office lately and a very understaffed Auditor’s office. It wouldn’t be much of a stretch to imagine that the CEO is taking the opportunity of Mr. Weer’s retirement to take more control of the revenue side of the Budget and slow the process of filling vacancies in the Auditor’s office so that the CEO can have more control of the financial numbers and what is presented to the Supervisors. Then we have the District Attorney, a personal friend of CEO Angelo, whose complaints magically arise just as Chamise is up for the Interim Auditor appointment. And we have the CEO conveniently reminding the Board (through the County Counsel’s office) that they have an option of creating “Finance Director” position which would combine the independently elected Auditor and Treasurer positions into another unelected, high-salary manager for the CEO to hire and fire. (Did you notice that during the exchange on Tuesday, after the CEO riffed on the desirability of the “Finance Director” idea, the DA went out of his way to add with great fanfare: “CEO Angelo speaks the truth!”?) So I support the idea of an independent Auditor and the appointment of Chamise and I hope the Supervisors take immediate steps to make sure the Auditor’s office is fully staffed.”
THE GET CUBBISON cudgels were dutifully picked up by Supervisor Williams and Williams pet poodle, Supervisor McGourty, and here we are. Stay tuned because this story is about to go outrageous.
EVERY DAY A LITTLE CLOSER. Nuclear war is the “inevitable”' conclusion of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, a Russian general who wrote the nation's “war bible” has warned. The chilling forecast came from retired Major General Alexander Vladimirov, who penned Russia's three volume book called the “General Theory of War.” “For the transition to the use of weapons of mass destruction, only one thing is needed - a political decision by the Supreme Commander-in-Chief, Vladimir Putin, the veteran commander warned in an interview with journalist Vladislav Shurygin. 'The goals of Russia and the goals of the West are their survival and historical eternity. And this means that in the name of this, all means of armed struggle available to them will be used, including such a tool as their nuclear weapons. I am sure that nuclear weapons will be used in this war - inevitably, and from this neither we nor the enemy have anywhere to go.”
A READER COMMENTS: It is too late to eliminate these types of gun crimes in America. With 450 million+ firearms, including in excess of 15 million AR-type weapons floating around the country, it is just too late. Long term incarcerations of those caught and convicted would help, prohibition of 'ghost guns' and raising the age to legally purchase guns to 21 would make a slight dent positively. But the latter two would be challenged in the courts and if it wound up in today's Supreme Court, well most of us know that outcome.
ALBION RIVER CAMPGROUND:
2023 has been a pivotal year at Albion. There have been more visitors this year than at any time before. People travel to Albion campground to connect with nature, go fishing, and spend quality time with family and friends. It has been the objective of the Albion staff this year to help guests experience all that Albion has to offer. After many complaints about disruptive behavior by some guests that have disregard for others around them, Albion made a decision to enforce policies and rules that have been in place for many years. The enforcement was not received well by those that have their own agenda. They were angry, disrespectful and even resorted to writing vulgar graffiti on pillars under the bridge aimed at Albion staff. Only to be discovered by young children playing by the beach. Our goal is for all guests to enjoy their stay at Albion and we will continue to do our best to that end. Albion Staff
If anyone has questions regarding the rules and regulations they should contact the Albion office.
GROCERY OUTLET is coming to Fort Bragg. The Coastal Commission has denied the appeal to stop Grocery Outlet from opening a store on the premises of the former Social Services building on Franklin Street.
WHAT'S WRONG with this picture? If you guessed Trevor Mockel over four other viable choices, you guessed right. The cold, dead hand of the Northcoast Democrats has anointed Mockel as 1st District supervisor, nevermind Mockel's zero prior involvement in County politics. So here he is at the Democrat's annual Hell's Picnic inserting himself, Zelig-like, in a photo with four other middle-of-the-road extremists. Will the endorsement of Mockel by the Muchowski Gang ensure him a seat on the board over at least three other genuinely qualified candidates?
I LIKE CARRIE SHATTUCK and Adam Gaska in the 1st District, Carrie a little more than Adam because I admire her toughness, her no bullshit approach to County business. I think she's just what this allegedly non-partisan body needs. (Ms. Cline as candidate is a little too new to the Mendo political scene to be an effective supervisor, not that effectiveness has ever been the standard around here. Past board simply relied on capable CEO’s and CAO’s, but that back-up disappeared with CEO Angelo.)
WHY is the good ship SS Mendo headed for the rocks? Our ship has been adrift since — sexist alert — Mike Scannell and Al Beltrami departed the captain's cabin, leaving the wheel in the volatile hands of a woman trained as a nurse with no experience in public administration. Fiercely arbitrary, formidably large, nostrils flaring, bangles bangling as she fixed wild eyes on anybody who dared defy her (cf former supervisor McCowen), former CEO Carmel Angelo totally intimidated her theoretical bosses, the supervisors, as cringing a collection of male wusses and aged-out Ukiah High School pom-pom girls as ever held elective office any place in our doomed country, and proceeded, full steam ahead for the breakers, presently in full view from the fore deck. Angelo summarily discharged capable people — mostly men, of course — for no stated reason and at great expense to the county in legal costs and the large awards to the fired victims for their unjust terminations, all of it with the garbled approval of our tax paid county counsel, the second-highest paid official in Mendo, and the highest paid lawyer.
WHEN The Nurse abandoned ship and rumbled off to a savage retirement in distant San Diego, one of many high end County employees to flee the featherbed after they'd plucked Mendo clean, Angelo selected a wine pal as her replacement in the captain's chair, another lady with no significant public admin experience. The oblivious supervisors, led by “I Always Know Better” Williams, ignoring the warnings from capable county administrators past and present not to combine the Auditor's office with the Tax Collector's office, the two separate functions were combined with, of all people, District Attorney Eyster, offering his blessing in the public session of the Supervisors where the deed was done. (As part of Eyster's ongoing campaign to destroy Chamise Cubbison, administrator of the combined offices.) It’s all very ONLY IN MENDO, and only just beginning.
A READER WONDERS.....
Any chance Carmel Angelo is related to a Frank Angelo, a seedy saxophone playing environmental health supervisor in the 60s and late 70s in the Contra Costa County? I recently made the name connection because I worked under this guy as a county health inspector back then. I don't think he ever paid for a meal in exchange for grating an eating establishment a “clean bill of health” through his inspection reports. The culture back then in that department was rife with free meal corruption which was led by the Angelo namesake...just asking.
ED REPLY: Spiritually, if not genetically.
KEVIN MURRAY TAKE TWO? Murray was the Ukiah cop against whom multiple felony charges were magically reduced to no jail time and probation. Serious charges against former Willits cop Derek Hendry have been pending for a year with no prosecution by District Attorney Eyster.
LORNA ALLEN, 41, alleges that between 2015 and 2020, Hendry, a former member of multiple Mendocino County law enforcement agencies, deployed physical violence, threats of incarceration, and his badge to force Ms. Allen into sex with him.
MS. ALLEN is a former drug addict who has a criminal record. She says that Hendry took advantage of her and other similarly encumbered women because he was confident her charges against him would be ignored. Hendry was last employed by the Willits PD in 2022 when he was fired for undisclosed reasons.
COUNTY EMPLOYMENT. Another reason there are so many vacancies in Mendo County employment is that it takes an average of five months between application and hire, by which time lots of qualified people have found employment elsewhere. Additionally, many County employees, after being trained and on the job for a while, leave for better paying jobs in HumCo, SoCo and even Marin.
THE HAGIOGRAPHY of RBG continues unabated, even though her selfishness helped give us the current court, which is taking a sledgehammer to everything she professed to believe in. Even worse is the legacy she left from the bench. Each Supreme Court justice gets four clerks per term. These are highly sought positions that are a launching pad for future federal judges. RBG hired one black clerk. Not one a term, mind you. But only one in 25 years–one out of more than 100 who clerked for her!
(Jeffrey St. Clair)
FROM the inaugural edition of County Highway: “… Mel the driller taught me something else. We had a one-legged seagull, a pet, who hung around the cookhouse. ‘A seagull has the most powerful stomach acid in the world. It liquefies fish bones,’ said Mel. He claimed to have won a thousand dollars from a timber faller, betting the man couldn't hold his fingers down a seagull's throat for one minute. Mel loved recalling this event. I can still remember the look of pure delight on his face as he told how the faller reached five seconds, started sweating, his moan turned into a scream and he jerked his finger out of the bird's throat and stuck it in a glass of milk…”
COUNTY HIGHWAY, $50 a year for 6 issues, and well worth it. Haven't enjoyed a cover-to-cover read as good as this one in years. County Highway, PO Box 53, Franklin, NY 13775
KIRK VODOPALS WRITES:
Subject: Hay Joe!
$34 for a bale of alfalfa-grass mix in Ukiah at Rainbow!
I recall it being half that price maybe eight years ago.
Sleepy Joe, please tell the Saudis that we ain't gonna let them farm alfalfa in Arizona anymore and ship it out to the Middle East. You know that they aren't going to increase oil supply anyways. Might as well try to get some of this insane inflation down.
At this rate I'll never take my family out to eat again. Well stay home and eat alfalfa.
Hey Joe, bow down and let someone under the age of 70 take a crack at it. But not Kamala or Gavin please.
Both national parties are so full of hacks and quacks. The ridiculous political circus continues.
A story and a question.
Last time that we were here was several years ago. Tip Top Tavern, Fort Bragg, sitting at the bar around 10 AM. Having a great time, and noticed everyone there with us seemed old and had long gray hair. Then we realized that we were old and had long gray hair! Always a great time! I can't figure out the status of this place. Closed for good? If anyone knows please chime in. Thanks!
I think it would be interesting to start a group that was dedicated to the history and actions of Braxton Bragg. Maybe the Braxton Bragg Preservation Society. It's functions could be to have parade floats with Bragg waving to the crowds and maybe a gallows at the back of the float. Possibly a public drive to change the name of Main St to Braxton Bragg Blvd. And of course to honor all of the businesses that have Ft. Bragg Forever signs and possibly start a monthly Braxton Bragg Award ceremony that is given out at the Public input portion of City council meetings for the official or citizen that most reflects the views and ideals of Braxton Bragg. Outside news organizations could be called upon to report on the activities surrounding the Braxton Bragg Preservation Society. There are many other activities that could be initiated. Point is, it could bring the attitudes out of the dog whistle arena and bring to public view the attitudes that seem to go far beyond generational.
ON-LINE COMMENTS OF THE WEEK
 I like how people who have never studied science beyond high school think they know more than people who devoted their whole life to it. We have entered the era of arrogant stupidity, no need to present a theory, then spend years researching and then proving your theory as true. In the modern era a YouTuber, who has spent no time researching and proving their theory as true, says it and people will believe it. Apparently scientists are nothing more than pawns of every government in the world to lie to and fool the people for a middle to middle upper class salary. .
 RE GENIELLA’S article about the Auditor situation: “Why is there this animosity towards the ACTTC? Years ago when Cubbison was the assistant auditor, she denied an illegal reimbursement claim by DA Dave for a restaurant bill he racked up. As a result, he was the one who pushed the merger and most of the board members want to be in his club. Because? Because of the wonderful things he does. This is all well documented and is important context for this whole show. Another note, County Counsel Curtis is also DA Dave’s agent in the board room. When DA Dave says “Christian, kill the cannabis equity grants” the board’s attorney snaps his heels and does what he can to stop years' worth of work at the last second.
 “Tell me the carrying capacity of the earth using your imagination,” he said.
Very limited imagination required. Take long-term-sustainable energy resources (no significant hydrocarbons, no nuclear, nothing requiring intensive mining or infrastructure), long-term-sustainable ecological practices (very little intensive agricultural monoculture land-use, little domesticated livestock raising/grazing), long-term-sustainable social-organizational patterns (no affiliated group larger than the regional tribe).
Max population under these conditions = maximum sustainable carrying capacity of the planet. Something certainly under a few hundred million, as max historical numbers with these conditions are about 10 million.
Disagree? Poke holes in this formula.
 A THIRD of the 49ers fanbase would call the cops on the other two-thirds if they ran into them anywhere other than Levi Stadium.
 Best Burning Man ever. The degenerates finally got their due. The Paiute people of pyramid lake finally got their wish. Kudos to their elders. Stay off the Playa, it’s sacred.
 As sales and profits dwindle, marketing is told to get with the program and boost them back up again. I’d really like to take the time to time one of the upcoming NFL or College games for commercial vs. content time, but I’m way too impatient. They even cut back to the game for 30 seconds or so in the middle of a big commercial block (usually with commercial fade-ins and fade-outs), just to cut right back out again for another 2 or 3 minutes. Absolutely maddening. I’d likely throw the remote through the damn TV, although that’s probably not such a bad idea either.
 In 1850, the population was self-reliant. No matter what happened over the next 20 years, unless killed in battle, most families were able to survive or flourish through the civil strife. In 2023, as a society if there is 1 month of interruption of food communication, transportation medical care we will lose at least 1/2 of our society to anarchy, malnutrition and sickness. There are no good answers to the quagmire.