One Nation, On The Skids

The turning point in the 2018 midterm elections, courtesy of CNN 10, seen by thousands of local high school students.

I like beer. I liked beer in high school. I liked beer in the Navy. I liked beer in college. I’d like a beer right now.

Sure, it’s before noon, but this nation is on the skids and heading downhill faster and with more momentum than an alpine avalanche. Every day brings some never-seen-before outrage that becomes the new norm by the next day and the next never-seen-before outrage.

So a beer right now would seem to be appropriate. Let’s pretend it’s just after midnight. It’s not too hard. It’s pretty dark out there right now.

Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh also likes beer, and as a semi-professional beer drinker myself, I immediately knew he was lying through his teeth during his confirmation hearing about his drinking . When asked how many beers is too many, the judge said “whatever it says on the chart.”

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R.V. Scheide
R.V. Scheide has been a northern California journalist for more than 20 years. He appreciates your comments and story ideas.
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58 Responses

  1. Beverly Stafford says:

    Glad to have you back, R.V. I support much of what the Howard Jarvis group advocates, but drew the line when their suggestions for how to vote included LaMalfa. I know that Supreme Court Justices must play it close to the vest when appearing in public, but the look on Justice Ginsberg’s face during Kavanaugh’s oath of office made me wonder what the court’s deliberations will be like. Voices in the wilderness, I fear, and women’s rights will soon revert back to the 1950’s.

    • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

      In my opinion, much of what ails California can be traced back to Howard Jarvis and Prop. 13. Pre-Prop 13, California was in the top 5 in public schools, tuition at public universities was relatively low and the majority appeared to agree there was a social contract. Post-Prop 13, our public schools now rank in the bottom 5, college tuition has gone through the roof, and dog-eat-dog has replaced the social contract. Prop 13 should have never been expanded to include corporations. The same sort of selfishness is playing out with Prop 6 this election. Sure the gas tax is regressive and hurts poor people more than it hurts rich people, but we’ve got to maintain our infrastructure some way. It’s a vicious circle: hamstring the government’s ability to collect taxes, then complain when everything goes to hell.

      Kavanaugh has already shown, through his record as a federal judge and his work on the Clinton impeachment and the Bush II White House, that he is not an objective judge. His confirmation hearing was a sham, even before Dr. Ford testified.

      • AJ AJ says:

        I very well remember whenProp 13 was proposed. I remember many educators warning that the end result would be felt in all areas of education in the years to come. Most folks chose to ignore any of those warning in the glow of promised property tax relief . . . . and NOW we are reaping the results in crumbling schools and infrastructure and more and more expensive education. Don’t get me wrong. I am a property owner and I appreciate that my taxes have been held in check . . . . but I also realize at what cost. Very few people seem to understand the correlation. And just wait until the next bridge failure that kills people happens and hear the masses call for blood . .. not realizing that the blood they are calling for is their own.

        • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

          AJ, I moved here in 1978, and didn’t really know the history of Prop 13 until I became a journalist in the late 1980s. I was studying journalism at California State University, Sacramento, at the time they were dramatically jacking up tuition in the UC and the CSU. One of the first things I learned was the dramatic decline in public schools, from Top 5 to the Bottom 5, in just one decade, directly attributable to Prop. 13. The compromise should have been homeowners get a break, but corporations don’t.

  2. Bruce Vojtecky says:

    Moving from Wyoming to Arizona was a massive change in politics even though both states are deep red states. Down here the political races are as heated and stormy as the weather. The Republican candidates all support Trump while the Democrats are against anything that Trump does. In the race for Jeff Flake’s Senate seat the polls show a dead heat between Martha Mcsally, the former combat Air Force pilot, and Kyrsten Sinema, who protested against the wars, pick one. This is being played out on the national level as it could change the Senate.
    Immigration is a big issue here and even some of the Democrats weigh in for support of some kind of border control. Democrat David Garcia has publicly stated. No Wall in Southern Arizona, and is being trounced by incumbent Governor Doug Ducey in the polls.
    Sheriff Joe was soundly defeated in the past election but, to show how the Mob is fickle, they are now protesting the current Democratic Sheriff for working with ICE.
    One glimmer of hope for the Democrats. In 2016 in Wyoming all the candidates ran on how they would work with Hillary Clinton, even those who opposed her, the supposedly front runner for president. Here in Arizona all the candidates run on how they will work with Trump who seems to be gaining in popularity. Will the front runner lose again.
    The political journalists down here say that if the Democrats continue the same platform as 2016 then 2020 will be the same results. The Republicans are not changing, it is up to the Democrats to bend if they want to win. Pointing out all the Republican wrongs is not going to win.

    • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

      I do not of a single Democratic Party candidate anywhere who is arguing for open borders. The reality is all Democrats are for some sort of border controls, and both parties have refused to do anything meaningful to curb illegal immigration because their donors depend on it for a low wage labor source.

      Democrats bending toward the Republican Party, which is now the party of Trump, will only hasten the arrival of full-blown fascism in the United States. Look around you, it’s happening already. Is this what you want?

      • Bruce Vojtecky says:

        As I posted Democrat David Garcia, running for Arizona Governor, is arguing for open borders with no wall. There may be others but Garcia is the main one.
        I look around Arizona and I do not see fascism. I see a battle, which is everywhere, between the White Majority becoming the White Minority and the rising tide of Hispanic voters. I wouldn’t call that fascism but fact. I can live with that but some cannot.
        And the latest on the immigration caravan heading toward, I understand California, is that Mexico offered work permits, healthcare and even schooling for the kids but the caravan rejected those offers. They are intent on immigrating/immigrating to the US.
        USA Today may own the Record Searchlight and the Arizona Republic, but they spend more money on the Republic/

        • Larry Winter says:

          Are you saying if one is opposed to Trump’s Wall, you’re for open borders? That’s quite the leap that’s been put out there as fact, as you seem to be doing.

          • Bruce Vojtecky says:

            Larry, no that is not what I said. I pointed out one Democrat who is for open borders and no wall, David Garcia.

          • Larry Winter says:

            Bruce, he stated he’s against Trump’s wall, but I can’t find where he says he’s for open borders. Can you point to him saying such a dumb thing?

          • Bruce Vojtecky says:

            Larry, you need to watch the Arizona news everyday like I do. David Garcia is a city educator, nothing wrong with that, who advocates higher teacher pay, instate tuition for illegals, higher taxes on Arizona families to pay for all his social changes. That doesn’t resonate with the rural farmers on the border who state that Garcia never comes to the border to see what it really is like. Governor Ducey has already promised a 20% teacher pay raise and visits the border often. He also is very happy that a couple hundred National Guard troops have been deployed to the border. There is never any mention in the national news of the private groups that patrol the border looking for migrants. Yes, they carry guns, but more important to the migrants stranded in the desert, they carry water and food. They will hold the migrants until the Border Patrol shows up. This saves many lives.

          • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

            It is indeed erroneous to say Garcia is for open borders. He’s against the wall, he doesn’t like the way ICE operates, but he’s not for “open borders.”

        • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

          The latest on the caravan is that Trump is deploying 5000 Army troops to the border.

          The “fact” you are describing is indeed one of the factors in the creeping fascism that’s taking over the United States. White animosity toward anything that’s “the other.” We got a preview of where this sort of thinking leads last Saturday in Pittsburgh, when 11 Jews were killed at their synagogue by a white nationalist.

  3. Robert Scheide Sr. says:

    LET ME MAKE IT PERFECTLY CLEAR.

    If this country allows both houses of Congress to remain in Republican hands you can expect cuts to or elimination of the following:

    1. Social Security- they want to privatize it and give that windfall to the insurance companies. They will take whatever steps to that end and have already had bills up to take huge chunks out of the admin budget and bit by bit destroy the program.

    2.Medicare- Republicans really hate this program with the final goal of kicking us all to private insurance companies. They already in an appropriations bill cut $800,000 from the admin costs. Which means they will cut staff making it harder and harder to contact them which means your doctor will have the same problem.

    3.Medicaid- Huge cuts already in various bills -work requirements impossible for most to meet so off the rolls they go. For those who get kicked off, they offer so-called cheap insurance that covers next to nothing.

    4.THE HUGE THING CUTTING MEDICAID WILL GET YOU . NO LONGER WILL LONG TERM CARE IN A NURSING FACILITY BE PROVIDED. START BUILDING THAT SPARE ROOM NOW.

    5.ANY KIND OF PUBLIC ASSISTANCE WILL BE ON THE CHOPPING BLOCK. Food stamps. senior aide, food banks and too many other programs to name , but you get the picture.

    Your job if you accept this assignment is too vote for Denny. Just for once vote for what is good for you. Even if you have to hold your nose just vote to get us by this current bunch of madness sweeping the country. If you don’t you may never get the chance to make such a change in the country.

    • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

      Dad, you’re absolutely spot-on. If the Republicans retain both chambers, the social safety net is toast. Sen. Mitch McConnel said it out loud last week–that’s how brazen they are.

      Meanwhile, Trump has found his first war: 5000 troops are headed to the border to intercept the “invasion.”

    • Linda Cooper says:

      Well said. The Republican candidates want to cut social security and medicare and health insurance to pay for tax cuts to billionaires on Wall street.

      And, yes. This is no secret, it is “brazen.”

  4. Linda Cooper says:

    Thank you for this article. I agree, these are the times that can drive an individual to drink beer in the morning.

    You included all the measurable facts regarding the importance of voting for Audrey Denny, which I have readily done.

    Meanwhile, on a more casual observation, I watched the one debate LaMalfa agreed to participate in with Denney. As someone observed, “he looks like he would rather be watching the football game.” It appeared to me like he was coasting, and as long as he didn’t answer questions directly, he was sure to get elected again.

    He’s after your Medicare, people. And if that isn’t enough to make you think, I don’t know what is.

    • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

      “I like beer in the morning” would get you kicked off the Supreme Court.

      I think Denney will do well. Cross your fingers for a miracle and tell your friends to vote!

      • Beverly Stafford says:

        Seems to me that “I like beer in the morning” is exactly what would put you ON Supreme Court along with “I like assaulting women.”

  5. AJ AJ says:

    R.V. . . . you ever think of running . . . . ??? I’d vote for you!!!!

  6. Carolyn Dokter says:

    I hear you loud and clear, you are so right!

  7. Peggy Elwood says:

    Truth abounds here..vote blue

  8. Janet Williams says:

    Thank you.

  9. Candace C says:

    I voted for Audrey Denney and I didn’t have to hold my nose. I took in a deep breath of fresh air and coupled it with hope. Desperate hope. Then I drank a beer and in that moment life was good.

    • Beverly Stafford says:

      That’s a big #MeToo, Candace. But I had wine. I hate to say it, but I fear we are voices in a vast red wilderness. I have and/or have seen some funny t-shirts that I can’t wear up here. “Elect a clown; expect a circus” “Remember when Sarah Palin was the craziest person in politics? Good times” One with a picture of Obama with the words “Miss me yet?” This wasn’t a t-shirt, but I read that Bush said of Trump, “He makes me look pretty good.” I wonder how the Maine election will go since Susan Collins was met at the airport by a number of women with signs saying, “Voter her out.” And Flake certainly was a turncoat, but he’s supposedly not running again.

    • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

      I think my dad meant “hold your nose” and vote for Audrey Denney if you’re a Republican. No need for anyone else to hold their nose.

      To Beverly:

      “I like beer. I like wine. I alternate days.”

      • Bruce Vojtecky says:

        RV, that is what many Republicans here in Arizona say. Hold your nose and vote for Sinema because Mcsally is too radical. Sinema has a slight lead and it is probable that the first woman senator from Arizona will be her.

  10. Bruce Vojtecky says:

    I did not vote for Trump and I will not vote for him, but the Democrats have shown me no reason to vote for them. That is fact here in Arizona and may be different in Redding.
    Redding has it’s own problem, from reading Redding news and talking with friends and family there, which Redding is not addressing.
    Mathew Shephard’s ashes were sent, last week, to be interned at The Washington National Cathedral. In reviews of which book represents each state, The Laramie Project represents Wyoming. The Laramie Project, the play, is performed all over the nation, including Redding. That is how Wyoming is dealing with a hate crime committed 20 years ago.
    Redding’s response to a hate crime committed 20 years ago, Bethel Church. Bethel advocates gay conversion and I read where the architect of that conversion plan did a book signing at Barnes & Nobles in Redding, or was that fake news? Redding has sold it’s soul to Bethel and there is no exit plan. If Bethel leaves, Redding’s already precarious economy would collapse. I think that creates a hopelessness which is turned against Republicans.
    I don’t worry about national elections, I worry about local issues. If I want to visit family I go to Trinity County because they all left Redding, including the Democrats.

    • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

      I’ll guess that the vast majority of the membership of Bethel supports Trump and his policies, since their lead apostle has wholeheartedly endorsed Trump and, as far as I know, never publicly criticized him. They are among the 84 percent of white evangelicals who continue to support Trump and Trump has given them everything he promised, from a Supreme Court that might overrule Roe v. Wade, to putting hard-right Christians in high level cabinet positions, to rolling back civil rights for the LGBTQ community under the guise of “religious freedom.” My point being, there is no longer any difference between the Republican Party and Bethel.

  11. Candace C says:

    Beverly, I was born and raised here. My mother, Nadine (Constans) Tucker was very active in the early days of the local Democratic Party when I was very young and then, the League of Women Voters. Obviously years go by and the political pendulum swings back and forth and I realize that a left leaning upbringing in Redding Ca was not the norm but I gotta tell ya our “Red County” is getting more and more difficult to take. Just when I’m beginning to feel a tiny bit of hope I find myself at a red light behind a truck sporting two bumper stickers; “Real Patriots Vote For Trump” and “Show Me Your T _ TS”. Sigh.

  12. Linda Cooper says:

    I just saw this on my FB feed. “Elizabeth Warren’s new housing proposal is actually a brilliant plan to close the racial wealth gap.” Don’t get me wrong, pre-fire, I once owned all of her books. However, sometimes I just wish the Democrats would shut up. Especially now, because it’s so critical. Struggling, white people read that, and I’m sure they feel alienated. I just wish the Democrats would repeat over and over, “the Republican candidates want to cut your Social Security and Medicare and health insurance.” If your a Democratic candidate running for office, and get asked a question, avoid the question and return to the quote. Save the other stuff for if you get elected. And I’m not even suggesting telling a lie. And now, I should shut up!

    • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

      That is a good plan, and from what I’ve been reading, Democrats across the country have been running on Medicare and Social Security and the ACA. As for Sen. Warren, I’d always argued that she should get a DNA test to shut Trump up and was totally blindsided by the backlash she received. I agree, if Democrats focus on income equality they will be more successful in their campaigns.

  13. George Koen says:

    People who support Trumpian nonsense;
    Have never experienced nationalism. (I have, for 30years). Trust me, you will not like it.
    Have never taken a moment to to really think.
    Some are the epitome of idiocy.
    Emotionally deny themselves the truth.
    Have finally found a a ‘legit’ platform for their choice to hate.
    Prefer lies-think CD1 incumbent-showing total fear of his challenger.
    Have no shame.

    O heck with it, they don’t care.

    RV, you are almost a Lone Crusader but a necessary and powerful one. Gavaria of Columbia was one and he achieved much success. Not to mention Nelson Mandela. Dare I use the cliché of David and Goliath? Or that the pen is….

    Hopefully we get to chat soon.

  14. Candace C says:

    Linda, I understand your concern about the election and the reality that Democrats should shut up about anything having to do with closing the racial wealth divide for fear of alienating struggling white people. Sadly, you’re probably correct. For me , the mere fact that anyone should shut up about anything helping to close that divide in order to win elections illustrates exactly why no one should shut up about it.

    • Linda Cooper says:

      Candace, of course you are correct. (I didn’t write “right,” ha, ha.) Sometimes I just wish the Democrats would be a little more shrewd. These are extraordinary times.

  15. Hollis Pickett says:

    Ahh-hhh…..complacency………laziness and lack of introspection are your calling cards. Tell me what, exactly, makes you think the winds won’t shift? What makes you think you are safe, immune to the whims of the margins and the marginal? What makes you think you won’t be the next to fall? Whatever you do, don’t speak up…..don’t take a stand…..don’t face up to the bullies. Keep your silence, hold it close, and pray for your future. And while you’re at it, you should probably also pray for your children and your grandchildren…….

  16. Candace C says:

    Linda, Full disclosure, I’m not always a fan of Elizabeth Warren and thought her Native America heritage testing in order to throw the political football back at Trump was cheap.

  17. Candace C says:

    Linda, That said, I’ll give Warren this, she speaks up and out for what she believes is in the people’s best interest. She indeed does not “sit down”.

  18. Frank Treadway says:

    RV knocked it out of the park again…Saw a poll in a Nevada Co. paper, Denney 61%. LaMalfa 34%. Same for Chico and hopefully Butte Co. both of which are Blue. If the Dem candidates on the local ballot get 43% in Shasta Co.–Denney & Sisk, the Blue counties could carry them over the line on Nov.6. Combined with Dems and NPPs and other disenfranchised voters, could be a Blue Wave even in the new Light Red Shasta Co. My fellow white friends are getting nervous knowing that they’re rapidly becoming part of a minority, therefore bumper stickers like the ones mentioned above.

  19. Joanne Snyder Joanne Snyder says:

    Excellent article R.V. Fear is such a strong emotion and is being used shamelessly to manipulate people in this country. There’s nothing to fear in being part of a minority, unless you are treated unfairly by the majority. Why are we even hearing about this “invasion” of people from Honduras? Why are we afraid of this group of people….maybe they have scud missiles and fighter planes and I didn’t know about that.
    Are your neighbors really as horrible as they have been described in the press….
    Issues that will change the course of our country include the disparity of wealth which is growing all the time, a lack of compassion for our elders and vulnerable members of our society, environmental changes that will put more and more people at risk and a growing population that will create more competition for finite resources. Thank you for your work R.V.

    • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

      Thanks Joanne. For all the hysteria Republicans have been whipping up about the caravan, the most amusing thing to me is the caravan won’t even make it to the border until weeks after the midterms. Trump and others have said George Soros is behind the caravan–an antisemetic canard–but who’s actually trying to politically benefit from it? The Republicans. It’s truly disgusting.

  20. Linda Cooper says:

    This just in: the Chico Enterprise-Record endorsed Audrey Denney. Their editorial board has not endorsed a Democrat for Congress in decades.

    Feeling hopeful.

  21. Linda Cooper says:

    Exactly. Although I’m still not sure why a political science teacher once said to never respond to a poll. Anyway, Denney and her volunteers have been canvassing in Redding and Red Bluff. I didn’t notice LaMalfa on the streets. But then he has all that money…from outside the District.

  22. Steven Towers Steven Towers says:

    I was working way up Feather River Canyon yesterday, so I’m late to this party. Later in the evening, I did get a chance to post the following to a friend’s FB page:

    My German relatives in the mid-1930’s….

    “Does it seem…I dunno…like this NAZI thing is getting way out of hand?”

    “Yeah. Maybe.”

    “How does Chicago sound?”

    “Cold and windy, but less NAZI-ish.”

    “Should we?”

    “Ja, we probably should.”

    I’ve been having a lot of similar thoughts lately. By all appearances, we are at a tipping point. Is it inconceivable that we could find ourselves living in a fascist state a year or two down the road? It’s happened before. It’s happening in other precarious democracies right now. And people, right now this feels to me an awful lot like a precarious democracy.

    Here’s one measure of how bad it is: There are local GOP politicians who are good people of good intent, and are likely not on the Trump Train. Ask them how they feel about Trump, and you very likely won’t get a straight answer. They’re afraid to speak up in opposition—it’s political suicide now, and who knows what the consequences will be a few years down the road?

    Last week we experienced three high-profile acts of right-wing terrorism—two mass shootings/killings and one serial mail bomber. At first the conservative media peddled the outrageous theory that some of these were likely false-flag attacks carried out by liberals.

    Then, when the false-flag bullscheisse became impossible (for most) to argue, they switched to faux-outrage: How DARE the left suggest that Trump is in any way to blame for cultivating the current toxicity of our politics! Just because he refused to unconditionally condemn NAZIs chanting, “The Jews will not replace us!” in Chattanooga? Just because he has repeatedly advocated violence against the left? Oh, by the way, the victims kind of deserved what they got, because they were too anti-gun and weak-willed to protect themselves.

    That’s how fascists think.

    • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

      Thanks for commenting, Steve. I wrote this while I was still outraged about the MAGA Bomber knowing that something worse was bound to happen the next day, and it did, in Pittsburgh.

      I’ve always tried to control using the real F-word, fascism, because in the past it has been over-used quite a bit, although the fascist elements we’re dealing with right now have been around as long as I’ve been in journalism in northern California. Because it’s been here all along, it wasn’t two hard to fan the flames and get things real hot quick. All it took was two years of Trump.

      • Steven Towers Steven Towers says:

        I have ALWAYS refused to use the words “fascist” and “fascism” because they’re such powerful, loaded words. To overuse them is to strip them of the power that they hold. I’ve always recoiled when someone tosses out the “fascist pig” label.

        I started using “proto-fascists” to describe Trump and many of his followers a couple of years back. I’m done with dancing around it. Trump is a white nationalist who abhors and almost daily denigrates democratic institutions and traditions. He fans the flames of xenophobia and racism. He promotes “us against them” divisiveness, where “them” are not true Americans, like “us.” His instincts are authoritarian to the core.

        Donald Trump is a fucking fascist.

  23. Bruce Vojtecky says:

    President Trump is sending 7,000 active duty troops to the southern border. That they are welcome depends on who you ask but not debatable is they are safer on the southern border than in some Mideast sand box where they are not welcome. These troops, according to Arizona News, will not actually confront migrant caravans but will assist border agents and build housing for them.
    Also, in a move that would remove a dividing issue is the abolishment of Anchor babies born in this country. Now all the posters can say why this won’t happen. Just like Trump being elected.

    • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

      Trump’s plan with the Army at the border appears to be to employ engineers to build tent cities. I imagine those tent cities will look pretty attractive to the asylum seekers after their long journey.

    • Steven Towers Steven Towers says:

      I won’t say it won’t happen, Bruce. The removal of the right of citizenship to those born in the USA to alien parents could happen in one of two ways—the first nearly impossible, and the second plausible, but probably temporary.

      1. An act of Congress proposing to amend the US Constitution, signed by the POTUS, and ratified by the legislatures of two-thirds of the states. This route is widely acknowledged to be a non-starter.

      2. An Executive Order issued by Trump. Such an EO would normally be invalidated promptly by the Supreme Court as blatantly unconstitutional. The new conservative majority on the SCOTUS are supposed to be strict constructionists, so you might predict they would throw such an EO onto the burn pile where it belongs. But several are also rabidly partisan (especially the new guy), so who knows? They might just refuse to hear a challenge of the EO out of cowardice, which would allow the Trump administration to pretend that babies born here aren’t citizens, up until the next administration takes office.

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