Off the Record (Dec. 26, 2018)

THE CURRENT EDITION of The Atlantic contains a brief piece called, "High Crimes: Is marijuana legalization causing rampant theft in California's Emerald Triangle?" Yes, say NorCal's lawmen (including Mendo's under-Sheriff, Matt Kendall). The gist of the article is that violent crime is on the increase in the Triangle's outback because the criminal element, resident and transient, is busily robbing each other for the cash and negotiable pot presumed to reside at the end of many remote dirt roads. If you can get the dope to New York City where it goes for around $3,000 a pound, crooks will risk ripping it off. Inside the Triangle, Boonville for instance, a pound of dope is going for $300 to $500 a pound. (Christmas fire sales dope went for as little as $200 a pound.) Nothing new here for locals, but the following para is new to us:

"FOR NOW, as thefts grow more brazen, many farmers are employing new security measures. Some use a company called Hardcar Distribution to carry their cash — and their harvest — in armored vehicles operated by teams of armed military veterans. Others are converting dollars into bitcoin or precious metals. 'I watch Breaking Bad and Ozark for tips,' one pot grower told me. 'It's like educational TV.'"

LEAVE THE ELEPHANT SEALS ALONE. Once a year, elephant seals go through a process called molting where they shed the outer layer of hair and skin. This molting process takes up to a month to fully complete. When it comes time to molt, they will haul out on land to shed their outer layer, and will not consume any food during this time. PLEASE do not bother or allow your animals to bother the Seals during this time. There was one at Noyo today and the volunteers got permission to move him back onto the beach. (He was near the parking lot.) DO NOT attempt to do this yourself. This is a natural process they go through and should be left alone. I had no idea and thought the poor thing was ill until I spoke with the people from The Marine Mammal Center. They are hoping it relocates to a different area where it will be left alone to finish the process. (Judy Valadao)

NPR MORNING EDITION, Dec. 18, 2018, 8am. “NPR reports where a Senate Committee documents Russia’s massive efforts to influence the 2016 election. One big project: turning people on the left against Hillary Clinton.”

FIRST OFF, there’s no left in America in any organized sense. Second, that committee is dominated by Democrats, i.e., people in permanent mourning the Great Loss to Orange Man. Third, a zillion facebook posts may or may not have swung the election to OM, but there’s no way to prove it one way or the other. The vast majority of Facebookers are people who watch cat videos. They might vote if a cat were running for president, but a glance at any random Facebook page reveals them as largely apolitical. 

THE NPR idea of “left” probably means Bernie Democrats who aren’t “left” in any real sense and were already opposed to Hillary because it was obvious what her election would have meant — war all over the globe, a continued free rein for Wall Street, no single payer etc. etc. The “left” defined as progressive Democrats of the Bernie type are liberals, not leftists. 

THE MOST INSULTING statement in this particular piece of fake news from NPR, said the Rooskies had aimed their disinformation at Black people especially, as if Black people were sold on Hillary. At best, and I dare to generalize here, Black people were lukewarm on Hillary to the point of not turning out in any significant numbers to vote for more of the same. This whole idea that the Russians changed the outcome of the election is a pathetically transparent attempt by Democrats to turn the blame from themselves for The Great Loss.

BIRD BOX is a new movie filmed, they say, in northern Humboldt County. And maybe it was, but I didn't watch long enough to make sure, but the river depicted was too clean and too healthy looking to be the Eel. Stephen King, King of Scary, advised on-line not to mind the negative reviews that Bird Box is really pretty good. And scary. What I saw made me laugh, especially since it bore no relation to anything I've ever seen anywhere in the Emerald Triangle, which is a consensus scary place, or certainly can be once you're off the pavement. The lead actors in BB are all up- market-looking, selected by a rote lib mentality with two black guys, an Asian, an insane white guy (older model), an old white lady gets immediately sloppy, reality-wise), two gay guys married to each other, a groovy white guy tatted to the max with dyed yellow hair, his babe of a girlfriend, and so on down to two pregnant women. The idea is that some sinister force — the North Koreans and Iranians are named while the Chinese aren't because they might stop shipping to WalMart — has suddenly caused the world's people to become suicidal, hence mass death in the streets via all manner of macabre means, mostly car crashes. Sudden mass insanity, if you think about how close most of us individually are in our daily lives, probably only needs a slight push, the possibility of which occurs to me regularly while I'm watching the Chuckle Buddies deliver the Evening News or listening to NPR. What if the presenters didn't stop laughing? What if all that forced laughter didn't stop? What if it became, arpeggio by arpeggio, more and more hysterical until it ignited terrified screaming and our tv screens exploded? Anyway, Bird Box didn't even offer up a bona fide North County bush hippie. Instead, a generic fat guy comes crashing out of the woods trying to help a fleeing woman and her two children only to be hacked up by the woman with her machete. Maybe the movie gets better, but I tuned out right there.

MEANWHILE, the reality, this reality at the Humboldt-Mendo county line deep east in outlaw country: At around 2035 hours, a male victim called 911 reporting that he and his daughter had been robbed at gun point at his residence located on Sesame Loop Road in the Island Mountain area of Southern Humboldt County. The victim stated he and his daughter were confronted at gun point by two young Hispanic males in their early twenties who knocked on the front door. The two men duct taped the victims and forced the male victim to open two safes in the house and garage. The male victim and his daughter were both beaten with firearms and then placed in a closet that was barricaded by the suspects to prevent the victims from escaping. The male victim was eventually able to get he and his daughter free and called 911. Cash, gold and silver coins and seven firearms were taken. The male victim then discovered his 2016 GMC Denali had been stolen by the crooks. OnStar was contacted and located the vehicle traveling south on Bell Springs Road. CHP and the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office were notified to be on the lookout for the vehicle. The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office located the vehicle south of Laytonville on US 101 and OnStar disabled the vehicle. The suspect, Franklin Molina, 21, refused to comply with orders to exit the vehicle and a standoff ensued with the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office SWAT Team being mobilized with their BearCat. Molina was eventually taken into custody by deputies and transported to the hospital for treatment and medical clearance. The stolen GMC Denali was secured and towed for evidence. The second suspect is still on the loose and his whereabouts are unknown at this time. Anyone with information regarding this case is asked to call the Humboldt County Sheriff’s office at (707) 445-7251. Refer to case 201806595. We would like to thank the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office for their invaluable assistance in taking Molina into custody.

Molina

RE ISLAND MOUNTAIN HOME INVASION, an on-line comment: “It will stop when we form our own militias, with road stops and ID checks. Since our roads are private, we can pull their ass out of their rigs to check them. And why let them in? Every village, especially along 101, should be protected from these thieves. How many home invasions occur in wine country? Those winery owners have big bucks. Do they get invaded like here? We need village training for invasions, even have drills. It will only take a few punks blown away, and this problem should slow down. or, you can be killed, or severely hurt, and call the sheriff, who is an hour away. The govt is not the answer, private security and lead is. There are private security firms all over the place, who patrol and can arrest. Just deduct their fee from your property taxes.”

THEIR ADS are everywhere, saturating Bay Area TV. The Shen Yun (divine rhythm) dance troupe, according to dance experts, expertly carries out a flashy but repetitive routine with the whole show being a recruiting ploy for the Fulan Gong cult, banned in China but growing among overseas Chinese. The cult is based on a kind of Tai Chi, meditation, and straight-edge morality — no smoking, no drinking, no smoking, no extra-marital or same sex sex, a program unlikely to get much traction among round eyes.

HAVE TO WONDER if the talking heads who repeat endlessly that "inflation is under control" ever go shopping? Inflation isn't yet out of control to where it takes a wheelbarrow full of cash to buy a lottery ticket, but grocery prices go up and up, a 15% increase since 2010, hence more and more people at least partly dependent on local food banks like the Fort Bragg Food Bank established in 1979, "now feeding about 1,600 people each month," according to their website. And the public schools operate breakfast and lunch programs for several thousand children around the County. Millions of Americans are getting seriously squeezed, with no political hope for them in sight beyond a few freshly elected leftwing Democrats.

I MIGHT NEED an intervention but Trump's looking better all the time, at least his foreign policy. Withdrawing from Syria, and threatening to pull out of Afghanistan, has upset all the correct people and institutions, from Wolf Blitzer spinning in his big chair in CNN's "Situation Room," to the lock step scholars think hard in the "think tanks," the generals with their chests full of medals for staying a hundred miles from the shooting, and, of course, the mainstream media. This sorry apparatus has got US where we are, and if it takes a bellowing, bloated windbag to unravel it, well, great gifts come in all kinds of packages.

A FEW LONELY VOICES, all left radicals, said at the time that George W. Bush's invasion of Iraq was based on a lie (the non-existent weapons of mass destruction) and would destabilize the entire Middle East. Sure enough, and here we are two decades later with more fanatics than ever but none presenting nothing but a theoretical threat to the United States. Trump is correct. Out! If the Arab countries can't handle ISIS and kindred movements their governments deserve to fall.

TRUMP is also correct about criminal justice reform. Sentences are too long and too often out of all proportion to the crime, especially nonviolent crimes. My late friend Dannie Martin, a self-described "career criminal" who spent more than half his life locked up, said he thought sentences should be a lot shorter but prison time a lot harder. Martin recommended hard labor and few comforts to make prison a place to be feared, not the time out room it largely has become. He said he never liked going to jail but it held no real dread for him.

NOT QUITE on the other hand, and according to an important and shocking piece in the current New Yorker, only random American and European presence in today's Iraq prevents the Iraqi government from committing even more ISIS-like atrocities on thousands of Iraqis suspected of ISIS sympathies. "Shallow Graves — ISIS has been destroyed, but will Iraq's campaign of revenge help bring about its resurgence?" Author Ben Taub's answer is a resounding Yes! Taub's story is depressing in the extreme, filled with excruciating instances of grotesque cruelties committed by "democratic Iraq," the whole of it summarized by a poignant but emblematic quote from a 25-year-old woman: "I have not seen happiness at any moment in my life."

TROUBLE SLEEPING? Try this from the PD: "Healdsburg Democrat Mike McGuire, who represents the North Coast, was selected to serve as assistant majority leader of the California Senate, a newly created leadership post that will put him among California’s top Democrats shaping the majority party’s legislative agenda in 2019. The position was created by California Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins, D-San Diego. McGuire’s selection was announced Friday among five other leadership appointments and 45 committee assignments for the upcoming legislative session that starts in January."

TWEET FROM ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ: “Next time we have a gov shutdown, Congressional salaries should be furloughed as well. It’s completely unacceptable that members of Congress can force a government shutdown on partisan lines and then have Congressional salaries exempt from that decision. Have some integrity.”

ON LINE COMMENTS OF THE WEEK

(1) Which is worse: fatal-over-reach or futile-reach-around? Americans prove to themselves daily that the only thing that gets done in Washington D.C., and most state capitals, is more of the same political circle-jerk that has kept troops in Shitholistan for going on 18 years; military adventurism from Syria to Somalia, Nicaragua to Niger and everywhere in between – to no strategic effect; budget deficits of trillions of dollars; laughably gargantuan trade imbalances; domestic opioid and suicide crises; broke pension, education and transport systems; crumbling cities and, well, you get the point. The Wall Street bubble pop that is now happening should take most everyone’s mind off of the putrid parade of political peccadilloes and onto focusing on the most important thing in the whole fucking Godless world – the money.

(2) I’ve been out of the education system for a long time but I saw the beginnings of the degradation when I was finishing the elementary grades. About 25 years ago I was talking with a teacher in her 40s at a work-related function (she was the wife of one of our guys). She said that when she started teaching she’d have one or two problem kids in a class of thirty but now (25 years ago) she’d typically have a half-dozen out of control and it was all she could do to keep a lid on things. I’ll bet it’s even worse now. I think to some extent the classroom is a reflecting pool for society at large. Atrocious discipline? It starts at home. Having said that, it continues in the schools. What is it but a gross dereliction by the teaching profession and the edu-crat establishment as a whole when you have people in their 20s – college and university grads – working in head-office functions and they don’t know how to calculate percentages and cannot string together a few words into a coherent sentence? I saw it with my own eyes. It’s absurd. This isn’t just a result of gross negligence of the most shameful kind but a result of the gross indiscipline by all the actors in the educational process over many years. Or maybe they think that what they do doesn’t matter. If that’s the case then they should quit and hand the reins to people that think it DOES matter. Teachers, their unions, universities, colleges and their lecturers and professors can act high and mighty and judgmental but I judge by results. Their results are garbage. While elite American colleges spew out young adults steeped in the latest fads in political correctness, but who can’t calculate percentages and who don’t know their times tables, Chinese universities spew out grads steeped in science and engineering.

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