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Off the Record (Dec 23, 2014)

WE DOVE DEEP the other afternoon in an impromptu office discussion about torture. A friend said she thought people everywhere were getting worse, especially American people. The rest of us said versions of.... While we thought the quality of the leadership is definitely worse, people aren't any better or worse than they've ever been, although our brutalized culture has steadily worked to make us crazier, more distracted from the real problem, which is, ahem, the present form of social-economic-political organization.

WE ALL AGREED that every time one of our “leaders” pops up in our viewsheds we know in our bones that we're screwed unto the tenth generation. At least. You mean to tell me in a nation teeming with smart, decent people the best we can come up with is John Kerry (a haircut in search of a brain, in Kunstler's apt description), Leon Panetta and the Bush family?

BUT TORTURE has been around forever. Name the war and we tortured people. The diff is that the fascisti — Cheney and friends, with the libs going along as usual — got legal opinions saying, Sure, go ahead because it will stop terrorists from hitting us again here in the motherland. I'll pause here to point out that England was bombed every day for an entire year during World War Two without the Blitz being parlayed into anything but a legitimate war on the Nazis. We get hit hard once and the leadership goes all to pieces on our behalf while we suspect it's all hysteria and mostly pure imperial bullshit. The upshot of 9-11 has made billions for big financial interests, and sorry for being so trite about it but the obvious can never be repeated too often.

PREDICTABLY, POST 9-11 we wound up destabilizing the entire Moslem world. Our grandchildren will be fending off suicide bombers.

TORTURE. The FBI is not a liberal organization; the CIA is a liberal organization in the Clinton-Obama sense of liberal, drawing many of its cadres from Ivy League colleges. The FBI is heavy on Catholic and Mormon colleges. But the FBI said early on they wouldn't waterboard and otherwise physically attempt to extract information from Al Qaeda suspects. Why? Because torture doesn't work. If you waterboard me or hook my testicles up to a field phone I'm going to tell you whatever you want to hear, and implicate even my dear old mum if that's what it takes to stop you from ringing me up.

THE FBI discovered long ago that if an interrogator just asks versions of the same questions over and over again he'll find out what he needs to know. The CIA, though, went ahead and got two Mormon psychologists to say that torture does work, and Bush-Cheney, backed up by a lunatic legal opinion from a Berkeley faculty lawyer, went for it, as did the libs in the Obama administration. (My favorite torture victims are the four guys held at Guantanamo for 14 years, never charged with anything, then released a couple of weeks ago to Uruguay!) The CIA, not having the guts of their torture convictions, jobbed a lot of it out to places like Romania and Egypt. Anyway, it seems obvious that the serial atrocities, including torture, that we've committed over the past three decades has created exponentially more terrorists than have been suppressed. With no end in sight.

RAY DONOVAN, a movie. It came highly recommended, and Jon Voight was in it so I stuck around until he came on, but even Voight couldn't hold my attentions and I was so repulsed I walked around waving my arms and muttering to myself for an hour afterwards. This thing was just about the most witless, most inanely vulgar, most gratuitously violent, all-round dumbest movie I've ever seen, and I speak as a man who sat all the way through Dancing With Wolves and The Color Purple.

THIS RAY DONOVAN GUY is a Hollywood fix-it man, you see, meaning he goes around bailing famous scumbags out of trouble. The way he does is it is to kick doors down and beat people up. It's all totally implausible, and I cite it as a tiny example of how decadent the culture has become as millions of people seem to think the thing is entertaining, and that the hero is somehow admirable in a noir-ish way. In fact, now that my feeble mind is re-focused on it, this fascination that we seem to have with violent criminals is another measure of how far we've sunk, culturally speaking. Sorry to preach at you like this, but goddam, it's dark outside.

TUESDAY, I SPED out to Fort Bragg to visit two old acquaintances, one at the Moura senior complex just north of Noyo Harbor, the other confined to Sherwood Oaks. My friend at the Moura complex had died the previous day, and my friend at Sherwood had been rendered insensible by calming medications. I don't think he recognized me.

SHERWOOD OAKS is much improved these days. Back in the day it was, well, it was the kind of convalescent facility one comes away from vowing suicide before commitment. But that was the old Sherwood. The one I saw Monday was quite pleasant, and certainly pleasant by the woeful standards of the Waiting To Die industry. The staff I encountered was lively and genuinely attentive. We all get to that age where mortality is much with us, and it was heavily with me last week, so heavily I could feel The Reaper's hot breath at my back the whole way back to Boonville.

THE STATE WATER BOARD has issued guidelines for taking water from the severely overdrawn Russian River. Read them yourself at

TERRELL JAMES MARSHALL Jr. of Sacramento has entered a plea of not-guilty in the death of 25-year-old Kayla Grace Chesser of Willits on Halloween night. Marshall is charged with murder with a special allegation of murder committed while being engaged in rape. The Mendocino County Sheriff's Office said in November that Chesser, of Willits, died as a result of strangulation, and that a sexual assault “was apparent.” Marshall, who has at least one prior conviction for sexual assault, was arrested in mid-November after being discharged from a Sonoma County hospital on suspicion of murder, rape and sodomy. Marshall apparently drove his truck off a cliff on the Covelo-Willits road in an apparent suicide attempt the day after Chesser was found dead. Marshall's preliminary hearing is set for 9:30 a.m. Feb. 5th.

THE LOCAL ANGLE: The Green Day band has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and you probably already know that the band was assembled from local teenagers by Lawrence Livermore of deep Spy Rock Road, Laytonville, and from there the rest is music history. Incidentally, Livermore was also a pioneer 'zine guy. His breakthrough publication The Lookout won him all the right enemies in Mendocino County before he moved on and up into big time music.

FORMER OAKLAND MAYOR and Congressman, Ron Dellums, now works as a lobbyist. Among the “progressive” Dellums' most lucrative clients? WalMart.

IN OTHER NEWS from the Home of the Brave, several of the country's largest movie chains have pulled “The Interview” from their theaters after threats of violent retaliation from, apparently, the Hermit Kingdom of North Korea if the movie is shown. Judging from the clips shown on the news, it's a moronic comedy based on the assassination of North Korea's “Great Leader,” Kim Jong Un.

JUST IN FROM CONGRESSMAN HUFFMAN: “Historic good news today: President Obama is ending a five-decade-long foreign policy disaster by opening the door to normalized relations with Cuba. This wrongheaded policy has failed by any measure, and created widespread resentment toward the United States in our own hemisphere. I've been to Cuba twice (as a member of the USA Volleyball team in 1987) and have always believed normalization of relations was the answer. There is simply no downside to this common sense change of policy, and the upside is enormous for the Cuban people and for our own economic and security interests. We have more work to do to repair decades of counterproductive policies in Latin America, but here's to the possibility of a new era of trust and collaboration between the United States and our neighbors in this hemisphere.”

AS A HALF-ASSED lefty-wefty myself — never has the American left been as pathetic as it is now — I've always been Cuba-friendly, although I've thought for years that Castro could have lightened up years ago with no threat to his regime. Relations will now assume a kind of Chinese shape, with lots of dissidents remaining behind bars while the corporate vultures convert the island to Miami.


Here on the Mendocino Coast, we know that when winter's first heavy rains arrive, a huge surge of rushing water will break through river mouth sand bars and open our blocked coastal streams to the ocean. Once again, it is time for the salmon waiting off shore to swim the final leg of their epic journey upstream. Coho Salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch), also known as Silver Salmon, spend its two-year adult life in the Pacific Ocean until they are instinctively called to spawn in the freshwater pools of their birth. Upon entering freshwater, the sleek silver fish begins to change and their bodies become a vibrant red, their jaws developing an iconic hook.

Protecting a Special Species: The coho salmon is a keystone species, meaning their lives are crucial to the way many other species interrelate. Remove the coho salmon from the habitat and everything changes. Coho salmon pull important nutrients from the ocean into their bodies and redistribute these nutrients back to the terrestrial environment, feeding the land and numerous other living species. Many factors are responsible for the decline of coho salmon. Deforestation, climate change, and sediment contamination disrupt their early life cycle. Dams prevent adult fish from returning to their spawning grounds. Over-fishing has also played a role.

Good News: Returning an endangered species to sustainable numbers is a daunting task. But after months of habitat restoration work, watching the mighty Coho swim back upstream is truly inspiring. There is still time to correct mistakes of the past. By restoring the streams and waterways of Mendocino County for our salmon, we will ensure their future for generations to come.

Mendocino Land Trust, PO Box 1094. Mendocino, CA 95460 (707) 962-0470,,

EXCERPTS OF JUDGES’ DESCRIPTIONS of Emerald Cup award winning marijuana

(Courtesy Kym Kemp, LostCoastOutpost)

• solid big buds densely packed with crystals - cardamon and eggnog, zabaglione, rich full flavor, cherry turpentine, subtle changes throughout the joint, big expansion and a clear mental high. Good for creative focus.

• Big Brachs Beauty Strong gasoline smell; Comes in waves

• Emerald Green & light brown hairs; firm bud; poopy deep stink/roasted peppers/very strong/rose lavender/ dried mango w/a touch of mint/delicious all the way through; Open headed high/happy thinking person’s high/put me in a space zone & got me really high

• tight trim loaded with golden trichomes; super strong pine&mothballs; Stinky minty dirty armpit - & it tastes like it smells! Tastes stony loose jaw and brain spiral/ vibratory head stone/good social weed

• Symmetrical shape; tight trim; smells like Tangerine juice and tequilla with some lime tastes like candy cane/full smoky rich flavor nose ticker/full-headed high

• Hairspray and tangerine

• Sparkly sticky dark green frosty coating smell: chocolate hash with raspberry sauce/fruity&fuely Tastes like it smells plus piney/peppery butterscotch; Clear head and bright eyed

• Tight bud and good trim/bright orange hairs smell lemon bars & naugahyde tequilla aftertaste/key lime pie/airplane glue/stinky socks - phew! Slow down and feel good!

• Pretty girl with big brachs; smells like yummy peach brandy - intoxicating taste apricot nectar &old books/very smooth month aftertaste/smoked to the very end full body take off on 4th hit/strong sensory awareness and big fun

• Blonde inside; tight firm bud; Smells like tangerine/cinnamon toast/pre-school locker room (& some kid pissed his pants) Tastes like grapefruit and cherry Clearheaded high

GLENDA ANDERSON of the Press Democrat reports: “In a photo posted on Craigslist this week, a smiling man holds a bloody seal carcass for an ad announcing a seal hunt is being held on the Mendocino Coast. The online photo appears to be real, but the seal hunt — which would be illegal anywhere in the United States — is a hoax, according to wildlife officials. “Totally bogus. This exact photo was posted on Craigslist in November 2013 with a similar, if not exact ad,” said Fish and Wildlife Lt. Patrick Foy. The photo likely was taken at a seal hunt in a country where it is legal, he said. The fake ad is one of a growing number of animal-related Internet hoaxes, which have included people claiming to sell mountain lion kittens, monkeys and even penguins. “We have had an upswing of Craigslist hoax ads,” Foy said. “It is creating a lot of unnecessary work for several reporters and our own law enforcement personnel to debunk them.” The ads generally are quickly noticed and removed from the Internet by federal and state wildlife officials like state Fish and Wildlife Lt. Michael Milotz, whose job includes scouring the Web for illegal animal trafficking. He said he’s not sure what laws are broken when the suspected crime turns out to be an Internet joke, rather than a Fish and Wildlife offense. It was unclear who was responsible for having the recent seal hunting ad removed from Craigslist, but it was posted for only a day before vanishing Wednesday morning. “Come enjoy our first Mendo coast seal hunt!” the short-lived ad begins. It offers to train attendees how to attract and kill seals, which has been illegal in the U.S. since 1972. The ad blames seals for destroying fisheries and attracting sharks, which then attack surfers. It details what kind of firearms and bullets to use. The ad promised seal stew, “Newfoundland-style” after the hunt. The ad was likely posted to irk people, Milotz said. And it did. “When I saw this last night, I was freaking out,” said a Sonoma County woman who did not want her last name printed for fear that the person or persons who posted the ad might seek retribution. The woman, Laurie, said she contacted state Fish and Wildlife officials to see whether they’d changed the law against seal hunting and to report the ad. In Fort Bragg’s Noyo Harbor, where the ad directed would-be hunters to meet, no one had heard of the hoax. “This is the first I’ve heard of it,” said Noyo Harbor District Manager Jere Kleinbach. “It seems rather bizarre.” At the Noyo Fishing Co., news of the hoax elicited a chuckle from Kurt Akin. “That’s a weird one,” he said.

HELEN LESLIE, 67, was found dead early Thursday morning off Highway 20 not far from Willits. The CHP said Ms. Leslie was driving a silver Chrysler minivan when she apparently lost control and veered off the road at an S- curve in the road. Her vehicle slid sideways and crashed into a Redwood tree, before sliding down an embankment. “She crashed some time during the previous night or early in the morning,” said CHP spokesman Kylar Adams. “Passers-by saw the vehicle this morning and called it in.” Adams said there was no evidence that anyone else was involved in the accident, but the cause of the crash was still under investigation as of Friday evening.

Papillion, Zingarelli
Papillion, Zingarelli

TWO YOUNG Sonoma County men are being held in the County Jail as suspects in a Redwood Valley home invasion in early September. Mark Anthony Papillion, 21, was booked into the jail Wednesday night. Nathan Zingarelli, 18, of Santa Rosa, was also booked into the jail on Dec. 7th.

ON SEPTEMBER 7TH at 5:32 a.m., deputies responded to a reported home invasion robbery in the 7000 block of East Road. The male resident of the home was found injured when deputies arrived on scene. The bandits had apparently entered the home at 4am that morning. The injured resident of the home told deputies he was confronted by four or five suspects described as “20-something” white males.

ONE OF THE SUSPECTS was armed, and the others demanded marijuana and money before ransacking the home. The homeowner reported to deputies that the suspects took several firearms, personal belongings, and “a few” marijuana plants which were growing outside the home.


(with some actual new information, a short report on the mystery Emerald Triangle pot raiders, a segment on “marijuana candy/medicine,” and an update on possible legalization)

Part 1: (Follow the links for the other three parts.)

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 Pacific 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 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 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 wealthy two daughters.

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.


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?

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.

One Comment

  1. Rick Weddle December 27, 2014

    re: this unpleasantness with the torture…
    Please notice how not one of these self-styled ‘christians,’ with the gold crosses on the gold chains around their well-fed necks, has said one word against these Enhanced Interrogation Techniques. You’d think the very cross they keep displaying would remind them of the vast difference between torture and Justice, and why there are Laws against the former in all civilized countries (unlike this one), AND why we Americans are so short on the latter these days. I’m speaking of Jefferson, MO; Iraq; and many other points outbound…
    One look at George W. Bush can tell you how mentally destitute and morally derelict he is. This isn’t to absolve him of any of the crimes against Humanity of which he is so manifestly guilty, but you can see why it would be only prudent not to allow him near any levers of Power. For the rest of the Ghouls’ Gallery sponsoring torture in America’s name, or apologizing for it short of Justice, the banality of their own evils is, as Jesus might say, excruciating. Since W. wouldn’t recognize a thought if one walked up and slapped him, he might be forgiven for never entertaining one; not so for Cheney, Rumsfeld, Obama, Kerry, et al.
    Obama’s assertion that ‘mistakes’ were made in the wake of 911 (as results of patriotic fervor avenging that horrific attack on U.S.) is spurious, an evasion of the Justice he is sworn and too highly paid to pursue and secure. No clearer illustration of the well-intentioned sham of ‘liberalism’ is needed.
    But Cheney and others of those around him most certainly know better than to think torture ‘works’ for any Human purpose whatever. He blessed us with an interview recently where he stated that those practices ‘worked’ to keep us from further mass-casualty attacks. Really? And are we to thank them also for keeping most of the elephants out of American living rooms? How do you spell relief? T-O-R-T-U-R-E?
    Cheney nor any of the Petro corpiration alumni can be unaware of their LONG history of terrorism against the Peoples of Iraq, and many, many other places. Long presented as ‘covert’ actions on behalf of ‘American interests,’ that multitude of crimes against Humanity are coming home to roost. Adding to that black list by following prescriptions from Cheney and his ilk can only disgrace our flag worse, endanger us more, and further betray all our principles and values. Remember America’s revolutionary promises of ‘…Liberty and Justice for All?’ I do, and torture is not part of it, for God Damned Certain.

    Leaders? The German language has a word for it: Fuhrer.
    How and when did America’s public servants morph into ‘leaders?’ For whom? To what end?

    I’m gnawing away at this elusive little hypotenoose about Power. Say there’re two distinct kinds of power: (1) THE Power, and (2) Artificial power. Then say that that distinction has been obscured by the very scope, the very convincing, daily, and in-your-face display of the latter….Then say that losing that distinction in all the flash and dazzle, shock and awe, has us hooked on the Artificial kind, long paying way too much and about to pay Everything Entirely, for an addiction both imposed and enforced for cash and prizes…

    Look outside. Wherever you are on this suffering little planet, more Power falls on the ground all around you on any given day than we have yet learned to take advantage of. So, why is it we are afflicted with the Monkey of the most expensive, most dangerous (up to and including ‘unthinkable’ varieties) of Power sources imaginable?

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