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Mendocino County Today: Monday, Dec 22, 2014

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LOOKS LIKE the recent rains have taken another bite out of the embankment next to the Lambert Lane bridge near downtown Boonville. County road crews have put a temporary cover over the slide so it’s hard to tell how much of the fall away is new. The temporary covering is certainly new. A couple of young pedestrians told the AVA they barely cared, it's been this way for a while, just more rain and more slippage. Ho-hum. There's a stop sign before going on to the newly one-lane/one-way bridge because about half of the southeast lane has now fallen away, apparently the lane restriction and stop sign are not new.


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AN AVA READER ASKS, "How come you guys print so much crime and dope stuff?" Because dope is a huge part of the local economy, and dope and crime are intertwined. You can't understand life on the Northcoast by pretending marijuana and the array of other mind-altering substances don’t impact the daily lives of everyone who lives here.

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AN INTERNAL INVESTIGATION at the Federal Bureau of Investigation has found that the agency mishandled, mislabeled, and lost evidence in every region of the country. The agency is also storing more weapons, two tons more drugs, and less money and valuables than its records indicate. The report was based on a review of more than 41,000 pieces of evidence in FBI offices and could affect future criminal investigations, since lawyers are able to get evidence thrown out of court because of record-keeping discrepancies. Most of the mistakes appear to come from the FBI’s transition to a computer system called Sentinel. But some of the errors include disappearing evidence, which is more serious. “A majority of the errors identified were due in large part to human error, attributable to a lack of training and program management oversight,” auditors wrote in the report.

WE BRING IT UP because the Bari Cult periodically surfaces with allegations that the feds are hiding evidence related to the 1990 bombing of Earth First! leader Judi Bari. But in that event the FBI managed to lose the entire case, including the one and only viable suspect, Judi Bari's ex, Mike Sweeney. The cult, incidentally is down to four people — Darryl Cherney; Naomi Wagner; Karen Pickett; and Dennis Bernstein of KPFA.

SWEENEY, like many persons in this uniquely unquestioning sanctuary behind the Green Curtain where everyone is whatever he says he is and history starts all over again every day, has successfully reinvented himself as Mendocino County's lead garbage bureaucrat, having serenely transitioned from a Stanford-based group of Maoist cop killers to a top public job and a big house in the hills west of Ukiah.

WE ALSO BRING IT UP as a primo example of a cowardly media and comparably dumbed down and utterly craven American left, the left defined here as the enfeebled Pacifica Network and its brain dead subscribers. The Bari "mystery" was unraveled in a month by Steve Talbot of PBS working with one investigator, Dave Helvarg. Talbot's subsequent film, ‘Who Bombed Judi Bari?’ was never widely viewed in the Emerald Triangle but it points straight at Sweeney, the cunning ex-husband. (The shameless Cherney produced a hagiographic epic also called ‘Who Bombed Judi Bari?’ a couple of years ago. It was heavy on Cherney and the late Bari singing songs.)

FOR A LOT OF REASONS, beginning and ending with mercenary ones, and with a big boost from Pacifica, the case remains unsolved. It could have been wrapped up by the feds as quickly as Talbot wrapped it up if any of the large-circulation newspapers had gotten on it and stayed on it, and why the FBI waved the bombing on by is the only real mystery left these many years later.

I THINK THE FEDS knew everything about it, front to back, but failed to wrap it up. Why? I think the FBI determined it was in the best interests of their undercover work during the Redwood Summer period that the bombing remain a "mystery." I think the bomber, i.e., Sweeney, was in a position to seriously embarrass the G-Men, hence he and probably several other persons involved got a free pass to detonate a car bomb in the middle of a major American city.

ON THE OFF CHANCE anybody is interested, we invite that person to compare the Bari Cult's websites with our archive on the case, which that person can find at

IN A WAY, the recent police shootings controversies are reminiscent of the Bari case the few times the Bari case was debated in public. The police shootings, each of them different, is now combined into one, and the party line coming out of the "left" is that the police are knocking off random black people for no reason at all. Anybody trying to nuance the discussion is shouted down. Or simply not heard.

ON EACH of those rare occasions the Bari case got a public hearing, the Cult tried to get the discussions closed down before they occurred. Failing that, they — cartoonishly unattractive women — showed up in person to disrupt things. They weren't good at that either, but they did manage, through a cartoonishly unattractive man, Dennis Bernstein, to get the big lie out on the Pacifica Network, and that big lie was that Bari was the victim of more fashionable villains — a combination of timber corporations, religious nuts, men generally, and the FBI. The Cult managed to parlay this fantasy into a multi-million dollar federal court payday for Cherney and Bari and Sweeney's already very wealthy two daughters.

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The Health Center Boss Job Opening Posted — Notice that Anderson Valley Health Center is seeking a new permanent executive director is being posted on the websites of various state and national community health organizations such as the Medical Group Management Association. The Notice refers interested people to AVHC’s own website where information about the job, the Health Center, and Anderson Valley as well as application instructions can be found. To find the material on the AVHC website, click on Jobs in the darker green strip at the very top of the home page []. Anyone local who is interested in the position should consult the website and go from there.

Sincerely, Bill Sterling Chairman, Search Committee

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SOME OF YOU will remember a fellow by the name of Graves, a large-scale cannabis cultivator based in the Laytonville-Leggett area. Mendo County couldn't nail the jolly and charismatic Graves, who was acquitted by a local jury, but the feds have gone after him big time. Graves has been found guilty in federal court, San Francisco. The feds want him to do 88 months, which is more than 7 years, and one more reminder that the NorCal feds, unable to nail much in the way of real criminals, likes to look busy catching the people with fixed addresses. When's the last time you read about the DEA taking down a major meth operation, the Northcoast's true plague?

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WE'RE TRYING to put together a story on local female domestic violence cases. If you've been so-charged and jailed, or so-charged and not jailed, we want to talk to you. Anonymity guaranteed.

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CATCH OF THE DAY, Dec 21, 2014

Alban, DeWolf, Massey, Rassbach, Rea
Alban, DeWolf, Massey, Rassbach, Rea


HEATHER DEWOLF, Fort Bragg. Drunk in public, probation revocation. (Frequent flyer.)

NATHAN MASSEY, Talmage. Domestic assault, under influence of controlled substance.

TROY RASSBACH, Arcata/Laytonville. DUI.

CRUZ REA, Ukiah. Drunk in public. (Frequent flyer.)

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Something for the Obama haters who are accusing DiBlasio, Obama, Holder, Sharpton, etc. … everybody except the shooter … for the deaths.

President Barack Obama strongly condemned the killing of two New York City police officers, calling on Americans to “reject violence.”

“I unconditionally condemn today’s murder of two police officers in New York City,” Obama said in a statement. “Two brave men won’t be going home to their loved ones tonight, and for that, there is no justification. The officers who serve and protect our communities risk their own safety for ours every single day – and they deserve our respect and gratitude every single day.”

Obama continued: “Tonight, I ask people to reject violence and words that harm, and turn to words that heal – prayer, patient dialogue, and sympathy for the friends and family of the fallen.”

I agree with President Obama. To blame anyone other than the shooter is … heavily irresponsible.

I can’t breathe.

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by Emily Hobelmann

Dab a lot, do you? Right on.

Dab not? I understand.

Dab only on special occasions? That’s my style.

Dab exclusively? I understand that too.

You see, dear friends of OTP, after surviving the weekend at another massive Emerald Cup, I realize that I’ve undergone a total cannabis character arc with respect to dabs.

For 20 years now, my cannabis use has centered around smoking bud. It still does. Bubble hash or kief is always bonus. Sure, I smoked honey oil here and there over the years, certainly well before I ever heard the term “dab” in a cannabis context. But I never sought it out and I didn’t know that it was made with solvent, like butane. Yes, I was the quintessential ignorant end user, only concerned with getting high.

Now that I’m in my 30s and I’ve been living in Humboldt off and on for the past decade, I know a lot more about cannabis farming and processing than I ever did before. These days, I stick to smoking local outdoor organic cannabis buds. I stick to local organic food too.

“Dabs” came on my radar in the months before I began writing this column, oh, almost a couple of years ago. More and more incidents of blown up butane hash labs were making headlines and I had come to know a couple people that were all about the dabs.

I knew a guy that spent the summer of 2012 up in Oregon, “blasting tubes” at an indoor scene. He showed me a bunch of photos he took at this spot, featuring PVC pipe and lots of butane. It looked sketchy and not good. And I had a roommate in Arcata that dated an Oregonian dab dude. I tried his dabs, squashed/smeared on a bowl of bud, but I wasn’t into it.

The idea of solvents and cannabis didn’t work with my organic mindset, and I didn’t know that smearing the dabs onto the flower is not the ideal way to dab. I had yet to encounter an “oil rig.” I didn’t know that you can dab cold-water hash too, provided it has the right texture and you have the right dabbing device. I had much to learn. Still do.

In July of 2013, I started writing this LoCO - OTP column. I penned an article that debuted on July 28th called “Dabs Will Blast Ya.” It features the famous photo of the “Vansplosion” off the Arcata Plaza. Arcata Fire conjectured that the Vansplosion was related to all the butane canisters inside the van, butane that was probably for making honey oil, or dabs.

My article had a negative slant, but a negative slant on dabs is justifiable. Terrible things can happen when blasting tubes. A more recent example of bad hash manufacturing juju was the explosion last month in Rancho Sequoia. The photos are fucking crazy. And we can’t forget when a two-year-old got badly burned in a hash lab explosion in Eureka last year. Negative dab manufacturing incidents aside, it was about this time last year when one of my trusted SoHum friends hooked me up with a proper solvent-derived dab. By “proper,” I mean that the dab was made from organic cannabis and was lab-tested and proven to be virtually solvent-free. In other words, the butane was effectively purged during the production process. Plus, I hit the dab out of a proper rig.


That dab blew me away. It tasted great, all hot-knife style out of the rig. It warmed me up and brought the circulation back to my cold hands. (I have Raynaud’s disease.) That solvent-derived dab tasted better and was more powerful than most of the cold-water hash I smoked during my stint as a 2013 Emerald Cup hash judge. Most of the cold-water stuff tasted like burnt baked potato compared to that light and flavorful dab.

At the 2013 Emerald Cup main event, I stuck to the dabs at the VIP lounge dab bar. I got very high. On the second day, I got too high when I did a big dab through a Nectar Collector. It was game over. I was fucked up beyond. I hit the Eject button and got out of there. Smoking bud never got me that high. Dabs are different, stronger.

Then at the High Times Cup last June, I did’t even mess with flowers. I went exclusively from dab to dab. Same story with the 2014 Emerald Cup. And on day two (last Sunday), I did my first ever “clear dab.” I dabbed in moderation at both events, and it was good times.


I don’t smoke dabs at home. I don’t use an e-pen. I don’t own an oil rig. I smoke joints and I use a one-hitter glass pipe. That’s it. However, now that I have some legit dabbing experience under my belt, I can say I prefer the taste of dabs to the taste of smoking flower. If dabs are available and I am in a setting where I can be extra high, I’m all about it. I dab socially and only on occasion, when the dabs are made by people I trust or by people that my professional weed friends can vouch for. I’ve come to really like dabs.

On dabbing with an oil rig: You use a torch to heat a “nail” of some sort (titanium, ceramic, quartz), or maybe you have a constantly-hot “e-nail” that’s plugged into a power source. The nail is connected to what’s basically a bubbler. You smear your dab onto the hot nail and it vaporizes the dab. You inhale the vapor via the bubbler and voila, you have dabbed.

The Nectar Collector is basically a long glass tube with a titanium tip. You torch the tip to heat it up, then you touch the hot tip to the dabs, vaporizing the hash as the tip makes contact. You inhale the vapor through the other end of the tube. (It’s akin to snorting coke through a straw.) There are so many different ways to make dabs, to smoke dabs and to use dabs. My rudimentary understanding is that the various processes for making dabs can be quite technical and should only be done in the proper setting with proper equipment. Skunk Pharm Research up in Oregon is all about making dabs right. Sometimes they do hands-on extraction classes. That’s what’s up.

Ideally, organizations like Skunk Pharm and legalization and more legitimacy for the cannabis industry will curb the market for sketchy dab manufacturers.

Happy Holidays!

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by Zachary A. Goldfarb

In her book released this year, Sen. Elizabeth Warren recounted a dinner she had with President Obama’s chief economic adviser, Larry Summers, in April 2009, when Warren was the outspoken chairman of a congressionally appointed panel probing the government’s response to the financial crisis.

Larry leaned back in his chair and offered me some advice. ... He teed it up this way: I had a choice. I could be an insider or I could be an outsider. Outsiders can say whatever they want. But people on the inside don’t listen to them. Insiders, however, get lots of access and a chance to push their ideas. People — powerful people — listen to what they have to say. But insiders also understand one unbreakable rule. They don’t criticize other insiders.

I had been warned.

Warren ignored the warning.

And if the past few weeks are any indication, she can operate as an insider without giving her up outsider credentials. She’s remained outspoken, but has become even more influential. She hasn't stopped throwing bombs at the rich and powerful — and causing trouble for the White House — but she's won a spot in Senate leadership, changed the shape of congressional debates over financial regulation and continued to draw widespread attention as a potential presidential candidate.

It all helps to explain why – for the 300 former Obama campaign officials who last week urged her to run in 2016 – she is the one they’ve been waiting for.

“Rising income inequality is the challenge of our times, and we want someone who will stand up for working families and take on the Wall Street banks and special interests that took down our economy,” they wrote.

Over the past week, Warren galvanized liberals across Capitol Hill against a government spending bill that weakened a key provision of the 2010 Dodd-Frank law that tightened oversight of Wall Street.

The Senate may have passed the legislation late Saturday, but it was not before Warren and other liberals asserted their power in a confrontation with the White House, joining with House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi to oppose the legislation.

Warren is also in an unusually public battle with the White House and Treasury Department over Antonio Weiss, an investment banker who has been tapped for a key Treasury position. White House officials say Weiss is deeply sympathetic to Democratic views and is the right man for the job. But Warren has won over several colleagues in trying to block the nomination, saying the administration is too cozy with Wall Street.

It’s a topic she reprised in a speech Friday evening after losing the battle over the spending bill, in which see singled out mega-bank Citigroup as an example of a bank with too much power.

Enough is enough with Wall Street insiders getting key position after key position and the kind of cronyism we have seen in the executive branch,” she said. “Enough is enough with Citigroup passing 11th-hour deregulatory provisions that nobody takes ownership over but that everybody comes to regret. Enough is enough.”

Critics of Warren, even if they're sympathetic to her view, would say that by taking absolutist positions, she won't achieve much more than fiery rhetoric.

On the government spending bill, Obama could have pushed for more, but ultimately gotten less – especially in a new Congress controlled by Republicans next year. And opposing hiring finance industry officials for Treasury jobs, one might argue, is like fighting for a Justice Department staffed with people who never worked for a private law firm.

The history of Obama's presidency, in many ways, is a story of compromises that disappointed liberals but still achieved substantial policy gains for Democrats, including the Affordable Care Act.

Looking forward, the power of Warren and likeminded senators seems only to be growing. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) made her a member of leadership. In the next Senate, the top Democrat on the Banking Committee will be liberal leader Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio). The top Democrat on the Senate Budget Committee will be Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), a self-avowed socialist.

It's hard to imagine any of them leading the way on any legislation the Senate will actually consider, and it's equally difficult to know how Warren would respond if she was actually in a position where she had to negotiate legislation. To the degree he seeks congressional accords in his final two years, Obama will be forging them with Republican leadership in the House and Senate, and bringing along as many Democrats as he can.

But should he move far in hopes of a compromise with the GOP — on trade, the budget or any other issue — Obama will likely find Warren leading a liberal flank in opposition. It's hard to know if she would succeed, but the past few weeks show that she has the influence to make a difference.


  1. Michael Slaughter December 22, 2014

    Decades ago, Larry Bensky was in Washington, D.C., doing some of his gavel-to-gavel coverage. Privately, an acquaintence inquired why Larry was so busy. “Don’t you have any help?”

    Larry said, “No, I don’t. Well, I have Dennis Bernstein…”

    ‘Nuff said–almost.

    Right after Steve Talbot’s report aired, I was at (the old) KPFA. I broached the subject to K. Welch, P. Maldari, and maybe some others.

    They didn’t want to hear any of it.

  2. Harvey Reading December 22, 2014

    If Harry Reid appointed someone to a position, you can bet that person has been corrupted by the other sewer rats of the senate. And, Babbling Bernie? Give me a break. This piece is nothing but wishful thinking. Typical democrap nonsense. I suspected Lizzie would be corrupted, and it’s happened.

    The ‘craps will never change. They are completely sold out to the wealthy, and, at best, cater a little the well-off middle class, the people who see their problems as being identical with those of their wealthy masters. The only hope is if people awaken and form a third party — well, at least a second party — that actually represents the Working Class. I see no sign of that happening, as Rocky Anderson and the Justice Party languish.

  3. Bill Pilgrim December 22, 2014

    Nice painting above the Warren piece.
    ‘Last call’ at the Water Trough?

  4. Bruce Anderson December 22, 2014

    Used to be the left was synonymous with openness, integrity even. KPFA’s founding fathers and mothers would be shocked at how doctrinaire, how stupid its become.

  5. LouisBedrock December 22, 2014

    Re Pacifica and Denis Bernstein:

    Denis Bernstein is clueless, narcissistic, and cojonesless clown.
    When Pacifica’s Berkley station was occupied by the police, Denis Bernstein hid under a table and whimpered, “Don’t hurt me. Don’t hurt me.” These whimpers were caught on a live broadcast of the police occupation.

    He is frequently heard on WBAI, Pacifica’s New York station. Disgusting.

    Most of what remains of WBAI and Pacifica is disgusting and depressing. This link will carry you to a report by the CPB ombudsman and is from a blog by former WBAI manager—and author of Bessie, Chris Albertson.

    RIP, Pacifica.

  6. John Sakowicz December 22, 2014

    The painting to which Mark Scaramella refers is “Inn with Drunken Peasants” by Adriaen Brouwer, painted in 1625. The literal translation of the title from the Dutch is “farmersdrinkingparty.”

    The painting is an apt metaphor for the carrying-ons at KZYX.

    A peasant mentality.

    A closed club.

    Wastrels who are drinking, smoking, gaming, fighting, and otherwise wasting time and money in a fetid atmosphere.

    Lots of smug grinning and taunting.

    KZYX to a tee.

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