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Mendocino County Today: August 29, 2013

THE 50TH ANNIVERSARY of the March for Jobs and Freedom made for painful listening. The original made Martin Luther King famous. Today's event was a bad joke, an insult to King's memory and really nothing more than a tribute to themselves by the Democratic Party's bigshots.

MLK-MarchFROM THE TIME he came to prominence, and his prominence really picked up momentum after his famous speech at The March, King was nationally vilified by print media especially. Now that everyone's a liberal on the race issue, or afraid not to be a liberal on race, people forget, or never knew, that King identified the Main Prob as economic, structural, built in to the American economy.

“There are forty million poor people here, and one day we must ask the question, ‘Why are there forty million poor people in America?’ And when you begin to ask that question, you are raising a question about the economic system, about a broader distribution of wealth. When you ask that question, you begin to question the capitalistic economy. And I'm simply saying that more and more, we've got to begin to ask questions about the whole society. And you see, my friends, when you deal with this you begin to ask the question, ‘Who owns the oil?’ You begin to ask the question, ‘Who owns the iron ore?’ You begin to ask the question, ‘Why is it that people have to pay water bills in a world that's two-thirds water?’ These are words that must be said.” — Martin Luther King Jr., 1967

TODAY, from Oprah, Obama, Bill Clinton and the rest of them, we got a kumbaya emphasis because none of the speakers, except John Lewis, would dare call for a federal jobs program as King did. And none of them, including Lewis, would dare echo King's condemnation of imperialism, especially seeing as how the libs have about ten little wars going around the world with a major attack on Syria coming right up.

NPR, natch, was orgasmic at the big event, with all the hacks saying versions of, “Well, darn, there's a ways to go but we're pretty darn equal, All Things Considered.”

HISTORY REWRITES are constant in this country, but the leadership, such as it is, seems to have underestimated our plump, distracted people, only 9% of whom think an attack on Syria is a good idea. We're not as out of it as we often seem.


EARLIER THIS WEEK in Humboldt County, Dan Rather, Sheriff Downey and Congressman Spike, took a helicopter ride over stretches of the HumCo outback. The Sheriff said he knows of 4100 pot grows, of which he busts about 40 a year.

A NUMBER of these grows are the work of people uncommitted to walking lightly on the land. They heedlessly carve up their parcels, drain feeder streams of their water and fish, and use bad chemicals that kill wildlife.

THE SAME destructive things happen in Mendocino County's booming pot business but, it seems, not on the same scale as Humboldt County.

SHERIFF DOWNEY told Congressman Spike and Rather, the latter in town to make yet another documentary on the pot business, that it's time to either legalize marijuana or spend a lot of money on a lot more badged pot raiders.


ARSON ARREST IN MENDOCINO COUNTY — CalFire law enforcement officers on Tuesday arrested a 22-year-old Willits man for allegedly setting several wildfires near Willits earlier this month and last month, the agency announced. Brice Lee McKinnon was arrested and charged with numerous felony counts of arson to forest lands for allegedly starting wildland fires in the Willits area between July and August, according to CalFire. “CalFire law enforcement officers work diligently in arson cases to aggressively investigate and prosecute those suspected of intentionally starting fires,” the agency said in a Tuesday statement. The Little Lake Fire Department, Willits Police Department and Mendocino District Attorney's Office assisted in the investigation. “Residents should be vigilant in their preparedness and aware of suspicious persons when a fire does start,” CalFire stated. “If you witness someone suspicious, make note of the time, his or her physical description, as well as any vehicle description, including the license plate number. Always contact law enforcement; never approach a suspicious person.” Anyone with information about arson is urged to contact the CalFire Arson Hotline at 1-800-468-4408. Callers can remain anonymous.


THE NAVARRO DRUNK TREE has seen its share of unidentified objects over the years: some fly, some stumble, and a few have been known to crawl. But whatever your mode of transport, just head to the redwoods and stop when you hear the brilliant harmonica. There are a lot of things wrong in the world, but Charlie and his all-star band will have you flying into the ether. As an added bonus, Boonville’s own punk rocking/grill master Guy Kephardt will be setting things on fire and grilling tasty slabs of animal flesh on the state-of-the-art BBQ. At last year’s show, upon surveying the array of hill people, growers, buyers and tourists, an old Panther buddy of mine washed down two Viagras. He was last seen paddling out to sea in a kayak with a dozen roses, a slim volume of love sonnets, and a case of Schlitz. Swing big and go deep, my friend. The only fences holding you back are in your mind.

NavStoreMusselwhiteTHE MUSSELWHITE extravaganza is the perfect close to a glorious and insane summer. Fresh off of decisive victories in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Halliburton/McDonnell-Douglas/Democrat war machine now turns its lustful gaze towards Syria and Iran, the Federal Reserve prints money like drunk Confederates in the basement of an Alabama brothel, and the Giants have devolved into a bush league outfit that strands runners, walks lead-off pitchers, and misplays routine Texas bloopers. Of all the cardinal sins, misplaying a lazy fly to shallow left-center is the worst. (Yeah, we’re talking about you, Candy Maldanado and Marvin Bernard.) And yet the Giants have won two out of the last three World Series, riding dominant pitching, clutch hitting and solid fielding to improbable victories.

FOR A FAN who grew up shivering in an empty Candlestick while trying to fall in love with the likes of Mike Ivie, Johnnie LeMaster and Derrel Thomas, the Giants’ stumble into the dumpster is lurid if not surprising. San Francisco is in last place in the NL West, two games behind the Rockies, a game behind perennial doormats the Padres. For the 37th time in general manager Brian Sabean’s reign SF opted to pay too much for overachieving veterans on the downslope of their careers (e.g., Barry Zito, Angel Pagan, Marco Scutaro and colossal bust Aaron Rowand). Sabean’s strategy has been to focus on pitching, pitching and more pitching, to the detriment of our stock of position players. We have virtually no prospects, no depth, and no power at first base or left field. Compounding our misery is the rebirth of the Dodgers, who have a brilliant new outfielder in rookie sensation and Cuban refugee, Yasiel Puig, the bigs’ best hurler in lefty Clayton Kershaw, and an operating budget that rivals the NSA’s. Charlie, can you break out that blues harp and summon the spirit of Sasquatch? Even big feet feel better when they dance. (Z)



By Fred Gardner

“Our” government is lying about Syria in the same blatant way that they’re lying about marijuana. The split within the Obama Administration gave us hope for a while, but the Hawks —like the DEA— seem to have triumphed again. Why must the US rush to inflict what mild-mannered Wolf Blitzer called “a punishing attack” on Syria?

Bashir Assad, MD, is an Oxford-trained opthalmologist who presided over a functioning secular state. His government has successfully defended itself against a swarm of rebel militias —one al-qaeda, one led by a warrior who eats the heart of people he kills, one invented by the U.S. State Department and named “The Free Syrian Army,” probably by some Clintonite who had a vague memory of Peter Rowan’s song, “The Free Mexican Air Force”. The Assad government would not have used chemical weapons because to do so would give the US, France, and England an excuse to intervene. That’s the obvious, common-sense context to the events of recent days. Apparently a cache of industrial chemicals was hit by a crude missile launched by parties unknown, providing the pretext the U.S. and its imperialist allies wanted and/or created.

Pretexts ‘R’ us. To attack Iraq they said Saddam Hussein had imported “yellow cake Uranium from Africa” and some aluminum rods that could only be used, supposedly, in weapons of mass destruction.To escalate the War in Vietnam they trumped up an attack on a warship called the USS Maddox in the Gulf of Tonkin. Marijuana doesn’t impair the longterm memory.

Fifty years ago today I was at the Lincoln Memorial. Lincoln said the United States aspired to “government of the people, by the people, and for the people.” But after the Civil War the bankers and manufacturers imposed government in the service of the corporations, and that’s how it has been ever since in the United States of Amnesia. We, the people, have won some small victories for here and there, but the rulers have steadily increased their reliance on militarized police (privileged labor) to maintain the corporate state and its spiral of material inequality.

Martin Luther King, Bayard Rustin and many other organizers of the 1963 March for Jobs and Freedom would, in the days to come, oppose US intervention in Vietnam’s Civil War. But that aspect of King’s politics is downplayed, ignored. The synergy between the civil rights movement and the peace movement strengthened both. Equality for women, an end to discrimination against gays, all our demands re-enforced one another… and the lunch counters were integrated and the war finally ended, but ever since, the police state has been strengthening its grip.

Syria is “an incredibly beautiful country,” says the filmmaker Saul Landau, who made an informative documentary called Syria: Between a Rock and a Hard Place in 2006. Anyone wanting background on the current nightmare should check it out. Landau told your correspondent that he could not understand the U.S. neocons’ fierce desire to depose Assad. Syria was not threatening to reclaim the Golan Heights from Israel; its intelligence agency had cooperated in finite ways with the Bush Adminsitration’s “War on Terror.”

It seems like only a few years ago that Morley Safer was in Syria respectfully interviewing Dr. Assad. We thought at the time that Gavin Newsom, then mayor of San Francisco, now lieutenant governor of California, could be his body double.

On Saturday, August 24, the US and its allies demanded that Syria allow UN inspectors in to determine the nature of the deadly chemical exposure. On Sunday the Syrian government agreed. On Monday the inspectors arrived. Also on Monday Secretary of State Kerry put on a phony show of moral outrage —as if “we” didn’t supply Iraq with chemical weapons to use against Iran in the 1980s— and announced that the US was going to respond militarily. Why not give the UN inspectors a chance to inspect? Are the Hawks afraid the UN observers will do what Hans Blick did a decade ago when he concluded that Saddam Hussein did not have weapons of mass destruction? (Blick had gone on his mission believing he would find weapons. When the great UCLA pulmonologist Dr. Donald Tashkin reported in 2005 that smoking marijuana did not cause lung cancer, his position was exactly analogous to Blick’s, as we noted at the time.

The underlying way in which the U.S. attacking Syria and banning marijuana are analogous is that we, the people, don’t really understand who is calling the shots, and a large majority of us don’t agree with the shots they’re calling. We want peace and we want safe access to cannabis. We want clean water to drink and nutritious food to eat and air that doesn’t cause cancer. We want free public education and meaningful work and security in old age. What a nerve our masters have to call this society a “democracy.” The only bigger lie is when they say “we” and kill people in our name. Hands off Syria, you mad dogs!



NAMI Mendocino is sponsoring a free comprehensive 12-week course in Ukiah, designed specifically for families of persons with serious mental health issues. The class is structured to help family members better understand and support their relatives while maintaining their own wellbeing.

Do You Have a Family Member or Friend with a Serious Mental Illness?

A FREE class for family members of individuals struggling with mental illness is starting Tuesday, September 24th in Ukiah. The “Family to Family” classes are provided by the Mendocino chapter of NAMI, National Alliance on Mental Illness. The instructors are local NAMI members who have received facilitator training.

Each week a different topic is covered: symptoms of major mental illness, medications and side effects, empathy, self care, communication skills, crisis interventions, and setting limits. Each meeting builds on the previous one, and each participant will have a binder of resources at conclusion. The weekly meetings also provide opportunities to learn with others going through similar life experiences.

If you would like more information, have questions, or wish to sign up for the class, please contact: Jan (707) 468-8632 or Diane (707) 467-9798


  1. Brandon Merritt August 29, 2013

    I have to say, your publication of Syria conspiracy theories is already getting old. Its above and beyond clear that Bashar “fu*khead” Assad is a mass murderer and has already cleaned out his country’s population of 100,000 people through violent military strikes. For reason’s unclear, he continues to do so. To take his side is to take the side of the hutus during the Rawandan genocide.

    Speaking of the Rawandan genocide, this little war in Syria is basically becoming the same thing. An embattled populace, regardless of whether or not they happen to be Muslim (which by the way, is the source of your conspiracy theorists’ fears), is failing to fend off a madman, a tyrant, and a brute, who feels the need to show power by killing off as many of those who disagree with him as possible.

    When Hitler started killing the Jews back in the ’30s, do you in hindsight wish the United States had stayed out of the war and had let him continue killing? I didn’t think so.


  2. Harvey Reading August 29, 2013

    Golly gee whillikers, the AP whitewash, er,story, didn’t even mention King calling “his” country the greatest purveyor of violence on the planet … just a year before the CIA murdered him. Obummer seemed to have forgotten that, too, as do all the scum politicians who pretend to represent us, as they worship wealth, and consider the opinions of yuppie scum to be representative of the rest of us.

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