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Mendocino County Today: Monday, June 23, 2014

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THE GIRLS of my youth never looked like this! Boonville is hosting the Sierra Nevada World Music Festival this weekend, and the town is teeming with half-clad rasta-babes. Or quarter-clad. Or, inside the festival at the Boonville Fairgrounds, un-clad. Which is what my informants are telling me anyway, but they may be over-excited. You can also hear the reggae all over town, and you can keep on hearing it until midnight when the dreads turn into pumpkins.

A PEACEFUL CROWD. And why shouldn't they be considering that the message is One Love. Mendo's finest don't have much to do other than suppress an occasional drunk or round up someone so loaded on whatever, the buckeroo has got to be sequestered for his or her own safety. The rickshaw dudes are present in sufficient numbers to pedal the more sensible Under The Influence people to their campgrounds, although probably a majority of celebrants camp at the Fairgrounds.

WE NOW GET a half-dozen of these mass events every year, but they are so meticulously organized that they're positively weird, in that the mob of five to seven thousand people appears Friday afternoon and but has disappeared by Monday afternoon.

NOT EVERYONE in town is pleased with the annual rastafarian influx. “Damn hippies.” One does hear that quaint condemnation, the last local hippie having cleaned up years ago, although this crowd doesn't look hippie so much as it does groove-o trend-o.

THE COUNTY FAIRGROUNDS people had arrayed orange cones the entire mile-and-a-half length of town on which an unwelcoming notices were attached that said “No Overnight Parking.” Well! That's not very friendly to people who will drop untold thousands on our captains of commerce over the weekend. I thought for sure the cones were the work of Caltrans because they seemed so excessively futile. And dumb. Has overnight parking been a problem in years past?

THE MOST UNWELCOMING sign of all, and I'm assuming it was a joke since I know the property owner, and he's definitely a hip-symp if not a reformed one, read, “No Hippys.” I can't remember the last time I even saw a hippie or a hippy, but I hear there are a few Smithsonian-quality specimens holding out in deep Albion and a nest or two way to hell and gone up Spy Rock.

THE ONE LOVE CROWD seemed thinner this year than years past, meaning in numbers not in nourishment. All the downtown cash registers were a-dinging and a-ringing and it was good to see that festival organizers had thought to rent a few porta-potties they put here and there in central Boonville, thus perhaps alleviating the terrible burden suffered by the few businesses that offer public restrooms. I'm hoping our community services district will seriously address the public restroom question. It isn't fair for a mere two private businesses to bear the entire burden. They have enough to do without cleaning up after the random public every mega-visitor weekend, especially in a time when a large percentage of that random public seems to have flunked Toilet Training I-A.

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IT ALL HAPPENED PRETTY QUICKLY last week, but in case you haven’t noticed, Humpty Dumpty fell off the wall over there. The bonehead American news media affects to be too stunned to even ask the pertinent questions, starting with: is that all it took to undo eight years and — what? — maybe $2 trillion in US-sponsored nation-building? Oh, plus 4,000 US dead and 50,000 wounded. So, my question would be: when do the political recriminations kick in? Pretty soon, I reckon, and when they do, expect them to be fiercely perverse. The theme of who lost Iraq? may cost more than who lost Vietnam?

James Kunstler

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Cool black night thru redwoods

cars parked outside in shade

behind the gate, stars dim above

the ravine, a fire burning by the side

porch and a few tired souls hunched over

in black leather jackets. In the huge

wooden house, a yellow chandelier

at 3 A.M. the blast of loudspeakers

hi-fi Rolling Stones Ray Charles Beatles

Jumping Joe Jackson and twenty youths

dancing to the vibration thru the floor,

a little weed in the bathroom, girls in scarlet

tights, one muscular smooth skinned man

sweating dancing for hours, beer cans

bent littering the yard, a hanged man

sculpture dangling from a high creek branch,

children sleeping softly in their bedroom bunks.

And 4 police cars parked outside the painted

gate, red lights revolving in the leaves.

Allen Ginsberg, December 1965

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CATCH OF THE DAY, June 22, 2014

Chavez-Rosales, Corson, Frank, Hewitt, Holberg, Meders, Nguyen
Chavez-Rosales, Corson, Frank, Hewitt, Holberg, Meders, Nguyen

OCTAVIO CHAVEZ-ROSALES, Hopland. DUI. Driving on a suspended license.

MARC CORSON, Fort Bragg. Battery on a police officer and emergency tech. Revoke probation.

BRIDGETTE FRANK, Covelo. Felony child endangerment; possession of meth; dope paraphenalia; assault with a deadly weapon that isn't a firearm.

RICK HEWITT, Fort Bragg. Meth sales, felon in possession of a firearm, revoke probation.

JESSE HOLBERG, Ukiah. Drunk in public.

WILLIAM MEDERS, Redwood Valley. Petty theft, possession of drug gear.

QUYEN NGUYEN, Sacramento. Felony abalone poaching.

Smith, Tasslor, Walrath, Webb, Wright, Davis
Smith, Tasslor, Walrath, Webb, Wright, Davis

RAYMOND SMITH, Ukiah. Felony child molestation.

TOREY TASSLOR, Ukiah. Burglary, resisting arrest. Obvious drug dependence. It would be a favor to her to keep her locked up and away from it for awhile. Overlooked in all the talk about tweekers, a lot of them are saved from themselves, at least temporarily, by being locked up.

CHRISTOPHER WALRATH, Ukiah. Felony-quality threats.

ANTIONE WEBB, Ukiah. Felony burglary, resisting arrest.

JESSICA WRIGHT, Fairfield. Felony domestic violence, bail set at 25k, which usually means the husband or boy friend had visible signs of injury. If bail is 10k it's he said, she said but his argument is stronger.

BRICE DAVIS, Laytonville. Drunk in public.

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by Jane Futcher

One of the nation’s first licensed medical doctors to treat patients with cannabis spoke to a packed house at the Laytonville Garden Club on June 15 about the remarkable results he’s had treating inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), Alzheimer’s disease, and many other conditions with cannabis.

Dr. Jeffrey Hergenrather, a Sebastopol physician and president of the California Cannabis Research Medical Group, said the reason cannabis is effective in treating many diseases is because all animals, with the exception of insects, produce their own cannabinoids, called endocannabinoids that work to protect the body from cancers and other injury. Animals have cannabinoid receptors in their brains, hearts, livers and gastrointestinal systems that can respond to externally supplied cannabis products.

“Pain signals go down when endocannabinoids are released,” said Hergenrather, a former Sonoma County emergency room physician. “When we’re injured, endocannabinoids go to help. . .They are doing things in very primary, elemental ways in keeping our bodies healthy. It’s homeostasis.”

The Laytonville Garden Club invited Hergenrather to speak as a part of its Cannabis Renaissance series.

On July 13 at 4 p.m. the group will present “Water Regulation, Cannabis and What We Can Learn from the Wine Industry.” Panelists will be John Nagle, a Sonoma environmental compliance consultant who works with small vineyards, and Hezekiah Allen, a Humboldt environmental consultant and lobbyist for cannabis farmers.

Hergenrather earned his medical degree from Brown University in 1975. For some years he was house doctor for the legendary alternative community called The Farm, in Tennessee, where he treated more than 1,000 residents., according to a report in O’Shaughnessy’s magazine. Many folks at The Farm reported that smoking pot regularly helped relieve everything from menstrual cramps to migraines, with “no significant adverse effects.” Ever since then, Hergenrather has incorporated cannabis into his private medical practice —first secretly, now openly.

Treating inflammatory bowel disease

Although Hergenrather’s study of inflammatory bowel disease in 38 patients was small and did not include an evaluating institutional review board required by major scientific journals, he presented his research in “Cannabis in Primary Care,” a 2013 continuing medical education course he created that was accredited by the University of California at San Francisco.

He believes his study of IBD patients provides a model on which physicians and patients can measure the effectiveness of cannabis in treating many disorders.

Hergenrather explained to the garden club audience that the human body has two types of cannabinoid receptors — CB1 and CB2 receptors. In inflammatory bowel disease, cannabis can activate both kinds of receptors in the lower esophagus, stomach, small intestine, colon and rectum. The cannabis “down-regulates” or slows intestinal motility and secretions, decreases pain and inflammation and lowers the risk of tumors. Patients’ appetites, moods, mobility and overall quality of life also improved.

Most of Hergenrather’s bowel patients smoked or inhaled cannabis with vaporizers; half stopped using their prescription medications, except during flare ups.

The downsides of the treatment for his IBD patients, according to Hergenrather, were the fear of discovery by employers, feeling too sleepy or spacey, and the costs.

Another potential risks of cannabis smoking that he cited was bronchitis. He also said megadoses of concentrated cannabis oils may affect the liver by competing for breakdown pathways with other medications.

Success with Alzheimer’s symptoms

Hergenrather showed slides and graphs measuring amazing results with a number of his patients at Primrose, a Santa Rosa assisted living facility for adults with Alzheimer’s and related forms of dementia. Most of the patients have symptoms such as moderate to severe memory loss, mood swings, aggressive behavior, agitation, severe depression, and mobility and other neurological problems.

At Primrose — beautiful, fenced and gated, according to Hergenrather — patients are often difficult to control. Those who tend to be aggressive, for example, can forget who their roommate is and may physically attack their roommate, whom they mistake for an intruder.

Traditionally, the only way to keep Alzheimer’s patients under control and out of danger to themselves, staff and other patients, is by prescribing what Hergenrather called “black box warning” drugs, including major sedatives, anti-psychotics and anti-depressants, some of which state on the box: “Warning: Increased mortality in elderly patients with dementia-related psychosis.” In other words, the drugs used to treat many Alzheimer’s patients are also killing them.

Working with the nursing staff and the approval — often the encouragement of — patients’ families. Physicians are putting participating patients on high-THC cannabis, including edibles and tinctures, that he says can impact the evolution of the disease by inhibiting amyloid aggregation — nerve tangles in the brain that cause many Alzheimer’s-related problems.

Hergenrather described an array of Alzheimer’s patients, all of whose symptoms had improved after using cannabis. They included an “alpha” male with aggression; a person who obsessively picked their skin, and a “5150” mental patient with extreme agitation and aggression. Like Hergenrather’s IBD patients, many of his Alzheimer’s patients refused to go back on their old medications after their course of cannabis.

High THC or high CBD cannabis?

“I don’t know if the results are same with high CBD cannabis,” Hergenrather said. “THC helps agitation, anxiety, psychosis and restlessness.”

The doctor emphasized that every patient is different and responds differently to cannabis depending on the strain, ratio of THC to CBD, amount, and delivery system used. Edibles, for example, are slow to take effect but last much longer and may be stronger-acting than smoked or vaporized cannabis.

By ingesting the raw green plant instead of smoking the dried plant, he said patients can increase their cannabis dose without the risk of getting stoned. That’s because heating cannabis “decarboxylates” THC, making it psychoactive.

Patients can increase their cannabis dose significantly without getting high by ingesting the plant’s raw green flowers. For example, a bud that would take a week to smoke, he said, could be put it into a smoothie and ingested two or three times a day without producing a high. Eventually, he said, a plant’s terpenes, which are aromatic hydrocarbons that have a protective function for the plant, can make people high if they are ingesting large amounts of raw cannabis.

“One dose is life changing for some patients,” he said. Some of the “toughest” tumors, including gliomas in children, respond well to cannabinoids.

One remark the physician made surprised some Laytonville herbalists in the audience who have switched out many of their high THC strains of cannabis for non-psychoactive high-CBD strains. Hergenrather said that for political not therapeutic reasons many researchers are using high-CBD cannabis in their studies. “It doesn’t have the stigmas of feeling good and getting high,” he said.

He said he regrets that Kaiser Permanente “won’t allow patients to use cannabis” despite the request of many patients and their families. “They think of it as a drug of abuse without medicinal value. They don’t believe it does anything.”

Teens and cannabis

Throughout his presentation Hergenrather fielded questions from the audience, including one from a woman who asked his opinion of a recent Laytonville presentation by educator Ralph Cantor on cannabis and the teenage brain. In his Healthy Start Coalition talk, Cantor presented data suggesting that regular use of marijuana by children between the ages of 13 and 17 could impair brain development and character formation.

Hergenrather dismissed that possibility and said he could as easily argue that “playing video games” could have a significant effect on a teenager’s brain.

“I don’t see it as a problem,” he said. “I recognize a lot of youth are using cannabis. Some kids stay right on track and pursue career paths. . . I’m not seeing dysfunction.”

Treating cancer

Hergenrather said he’s had good results removing skin lesions, from keratosis to carcinomas, by placing concentrated cannabis oil on them.

“For keratosis, try a Band-Aid with cannabis oil for a month. The more concentrated the better.”

Not all tumors are sensitive to cannabinoids. Hergenrather said common lung cancer, and some thyroid and breast carcinomas do not appear to respond well to cannabis treatment.

Cancers that have responded, he said, are: neuroblastomas; certain types of breast cancer; hepatic, renal, pancreatic cancer; colorectal, cervical and prostate cancers; Hodgkins, Non-Hodgkins, and Mantle cell lymphomas,; some leukemias; skin cancers, and sarcomas.

Cannabis alone, he said, without some positive lifestyle changes, cannot guarantee good health. “We’re kind of lulled into this sense that a bad diet is okay.”

(Jane Futcher, author of Women Gone Wild, has been writing regularly on local marijuana issues.)

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In Our National Interest

by Missy Comley Beattie

For several days, I’ve read, written, deleted, read more, written more, deleted. I confess. I don’t know exactly what the hell is going on in Iraq except that this War of Terror is an epic clusterfuck and that the US armed Syrian jihadis who now have entered Iraq to join Sunni extremists in slaughtering Shi’ites.

Perhaps that George Bush “Mission Accomplished” photo op was a celebratory slam-dunk to commemorate Middle East destabilization — a goal that was supposed to lead to another: neo-liberalizing Iraq.

On Friday, June 13, early afternoon, my brother Mark called. CNN’s Pamela Brown was interviewing Marine Staff Sergeant Mitch Beeler who served with my nephew Chase (killed in Iraq on August 6, 2005) about the current Iraq situation. Pamela and Chase were friends, grew up together in Lexington, Kentucky, saying they’d marry someday.

Late Friday, Mark sent a link to the CNN video. After watching it, I lay awake, thinking of Chase’s death scene. Witnesses had told Mark that Chase was leading a convoy when a vehicle approached. Chase stood, aiming his rifle. Loaded with explosives, the vehicle slammed into Chase, blowing off his face. I closed my eyes and saw him, standing with his rifle, aimed at the driver that moved closer, closer, closer. I know Chase knew, had time to know he was going to die. And I couldn’t sleep.

It’s been almost nine years since Chase died. I think of him often, but not the way I did Friday night. Usually, I see the child, adorable and little-boy naughty. Never in that amphibious assault vehicle thousands of miles from home, because I don’t want to dwell on that, the choice he made to enlist, engaging in whatever he was trained to do, whatever, whatever, whatever. Whatever we know troops are trained to execute in dehumanizing another person and therefore dehumanizing themselves. I can’t bear to think about his death and what he was ordered to do in my name, in our names.

Many times when I lived in NYC, I took the train to Baltimore to either attend or speak at a DC peace rally. Mark called the evening before one of these, one at which I was scheduled to speak. He said an acquaintance, offering condolences, told him Chase died protecting his country. Mark responded, “No, Chase did not die protecting his country. The suicide bomber who killed Chase died protecting his country.” I knew this would be the bulk of my speech, brief yet powerful — my brother’s words spoken in painful truth.

These words are with me now, were with me on my morning run when I went out to sweat some anxiety but returned still carrying oppressive apprehension. I’ve heard the fear mongers, those predicting more attacks here at home, the jingoists, artful in frightening the public to juice up American nationalism. No acknowledgement from them about Iraqi sacrifice. No recognition that Saddam Hussein kept the balance; that the 2003 incursion and the dictator’s overthrow resulted in chaos. The mainstream media are complicit partners, interviewing not just the same bloodthirsty endorsers of violence but also veterans, like Staff Sergeant Beeler who said we can’t allow a breeding ground for terrorism after we provided a safer environment, liberated women and children.

Again, I don’t understand exactly what’s happening, but it’s reported that there’s a new and meaner bin Laden, leader of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS or ISIL), Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, with a $10 million US bounty on his head. There always will be someone to scare us stupid, replacing the villain eliminated by a team of US special operatives after which Americans can chant, “USA! USA! USA!”

Earlier this week, I read that Obama’s deployed troops to Iraq and that more are on standby, combat ready.

It’s Wednesday night. The DC death dealers convened today to strategize. Despite calling Iranians “thugs and killers,” Lindsey Graham, who customarily errs on the side of aggression with Congressional thugs and killers, called for dialogue with Iran, diplomacy.

White House spokesperson Jay Carney said administration lawyers are examining the legal implications if Obama chooses military action and doesn’t seek Congressional approval.

Gen. Martin Dempsey said, “…anytime we use US military force, we use it for those things that are in our national interest. That’s the standard.” When asked if the US will honor Iraq’s request for air power, Dempsey said, “It is in our national security interest to counter ISIL wherever we find them.”

No surprise that Obama has announced the deployment of up to 300 military “advisers” to Iraq.

Years ago, Henry Kissinger said, “Military men are just dumb, stupid animals to be used as pawns in foreign policy.” My nephew was among the 4500 US pawns killed during use in Iraq, where millions of Iraqis have been murdered, maimed, or displaced by Empire. You know, for “those things that are in our national interest,” but actually, really, ultimately aren’t.

(Missy Beattie has written for National Public Radio and Nashville Life Magazine. She was an instructor of memoir writing at Johns Hopkins’ Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in Baltimore. Email:

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“I THINK THAT THE PROPOSITION OF GOING TO BAGHDAD IS ALSO FALLACIOUS. I think if we were going to remove Saddam Hussein we would have had to go all the way to Baghdad, we would have to commit a lot of force because I do not believe he would wait in the Presidential Palace for us to arrive. I think we'd have had to hunt him down. And once we'd done that and we'd gotten rid of Saddam Hussein and his government, then we'd have had to put another government in its place. What kind of government? Should it be a Sunni government or Shi'i government or a Kurdish government or Ba'athist regime? Or maybe we want to bring in some of the Islamic fundamentalists? How long would we have had to stay in Baghdad to keep that government in place? What would happen to the government once U.S. forces withdrew? How many casualties should the United States accept in that effort to try to create clarity and stability in a situation that is inherently unstable? I think it is vitally important for a President to know when to use military force. I think it is also very important for him to know when not to commit US military force. And it's my view that the President got it right both times, that it would have been a mistake for us to get bogged down in the quagmire inside Iraq.”

— Dick Cheney, 1991, on why George Bush Sr. elected not to topple Saddam Hussein at the end of the First Gulf War.

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by Friedrich Engels in England, 1844

Drunkenness, sexual irregularities, brutality, and disregard for the rights of property are the chief points with which the bourgeois charges the workers. That they drink heavily is to be expected. Sheriff Alison asserts that in Glasgow some 30,000 workingmen get drunk every Saturday night, and the estimate is certainly not exaggerated; and that in that city in 1830, one house in twelve, and in 1840, one house in ten, was a public house; that in Scotland, in 1823, excise was paid upon 2,300,000 gallons of spirits; in 1837, upon 6,620,000 gallons; in England, in 1823, upon 1,976,000 gallons, and in 1837, upon 7,875,000 gallons. The Beer Act of 1830, which facilitated the opening of beer houses (jerry shops), whose keepers are licensed to sell beer to be drunk on the premises, facilitated the spread of intemperance by bringing a beer house, so to say, to everybody’s door.

In nearly every street there are several such beer houses, and among two or three neighboring houses in the country, one is sure to be a jerry shop. Besides these, there are hush shops in multitudes, i.e., secret drinking places which are not licensed, and quite as many secret distilleries which produce great quantities of spirits in retired spots, rarely visited by the police, in the great cities. It is estimated that there are more than one hundred of these secret distilleries in Manchester alone, and their product to be at 156,000 gallons at the least. In Manchester there are, besides, more than a thousand public houses selling all sorts of alcoholic drinks, or quite as many in proportion to the number of inhabitants as in Glasgow. In all other great towns, the state of things is the same. When one reflects that many a mother gives the baby on her arm gin to drink, the demoralizing effects of frequenting such places cannot be denied.

On Saturday evenings, especially when wages are paid and work stops somewhat earlier than usual, when the whole working class pours from its own poor quarters into the main thoroughfares, intemperance may be seen in all its brutality. I have rarely come out of Manchester on such an evening without meeting numbers of people staggering and seeing others lying in the gutter. On Sunday evening the same scene is usually repeated, only less noisily. And when their money is spent, the drunkards go to the nearest pawnshop, of which there are plenty in every city — over 60 in Manchester, and ten or twelve on a single street of Salford, Chapel Street — and pawn whatever they possess. Furniture, Sunday clothes where such exist, kitchen utensils in masses are fetched from the pawnbrokers on Saturday night only to wander back, almost without fail, before the next Wednesday, until at last some accident makes the final redemption impossible, and one article after another falls into the clutches of the usurer, or until he refuses to give a single farthing more upon the battered, used-up pledge.

When one has seen the extent of intemperance among the workers in England, one readily believes Lord Ashley’s statement that this class annually expends something like 25 million pounds sterling upon intoxicating liquor: and the deterioration in external conditions, the frightful shattering of mental and physical health, the ruin of all domestic relations that follow may readily be imagined. True, the temperance societies have done much, but what are a few thousand teetotalers among the millions of workers? When Father Mathew, the Irish apostle of temperance, passes through the English cities, from 30,000-60,000 workers take the pledge, but most of them break it again within a month.

— Frederick Engels

One Comment

  1. Jim Armstrong June 23, 2014

    One guiding principal that the United States needs to follow without exception in the Middle East:

    Not one more Iraqi, Iranian, Syrian or any other person in the region should be killed, wounded or made homeless by any American action in the air, on the sea or on the ground. Period.

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