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October 2001

Letters By Readers - October 2001

Bolinas Community: Notice of Parole Hearing

The Bolinas community is asked to write letters immediately to the California Board of Prison Terms in regard to the following case: Alan Frederickson, C-91891, Parole hearing date October 10, 2001. California Board of Prison Terms, California Medical Facility State Prison, 1600 California Drive, Vacaville, CA 95687.

This transient murdered Audrey Evans, an 8-year-old lifetime member of the Bolinas community, in her home on the Little Mesa, in January of 1983. There had been a huge storm of several days, during two nights of which he had entered her house while she slept, to get out of the rain. On both occasions, his noise had alerted Mrs. Evans' tenant, who had sent him away. Finally, on the Saturday after the storm, he game into the garden of her home in the daylight and she ran him off herself. She had Mark Frazier build extra locks on her gates and doors within an hour of that encounter, but Frederickson returned in the afternoon with a hammer and a can of gasoline. He crawled in through the garbage gate, murdered her, and set fire to the house. Jose Silva apprehended him downtown and fingerprints connected him to the crime. There is no doubt that he is the perpetrator of this murder.

Katherine Mitchell, the Marin County prosecutor of this case, urges the community to write many letters opposing the parole of this man. Written statements received by the Board of Prison Terms are considered as it decides whether to release the prisoner. It is very important for the community to continue to show a strong interest in this case. Parolees are released back into the county in which they committed the crime. We don't want this man around. Thank you for your attention.

Elizabeth M. Evans

Berkeley

Heaven, Not Armageddon

To My Fellow Citizens: I abhor violence and war. Terrorism, and what leads to the killing or harming of human beings, is terribly wrong and evil. The perpetrators must be brought to justice. But to start another war among nations in retaliation for this despicable act of terrorism against the US and humanity would be equally wrong and evil. It would only further more hatred and revenge eventually, and the cycle of violence would not be broken.

Violent retaliation and revenge are evil and a sign of weakness, not strength!

Justice and appropriate punishment for the perpetrators are called for, but not war on innocent people. The war on terrorism just declared by the US must recognize and attack the root causes of terrorism and violence in order to be successful. One cause is corrupt governments who fail to further peace and justice, particularly economic justice and fairness. Unevolved religious teachings, fundamentalism and wrong beliefs are also root causes.

God is never the cause of evil, violence, or war. Mistaken, unenlightened, and unrighteous human beings acting under their own free will cause evil and violence. God's purpose with evolutionary creations like ours is to eventually attain God-knowing and God-like human beings who can help create and maintain heaven on Earth for all. Heaven, not Armageddon, is God's will for us.

Eva Maria

San Jose

MV Cops' Overkill

Sunday night around 9 p.m., I drove down to Mill Valley from my home on Panoramic Highway to buy some popcorn at the local store. I am 54 years old and a long time resident of Mill Valley. I was driving a ten year old beige four door Nissan, the type of car you see for sale as being used by a little old lady to go to church in.

While puttering up Molino Ave., a windy, narrow, darkened suburban street, I was jolted by the sight of a myriad of flashing, multi-colored lights the likes of which I hadn't seen since being on the strip in Vegas. This was followed by an irritated sounding voice on a loudspeaker which strongly advised me to pull over to the side. Now this was not easily done as Molino is a narrow street and the only place to pull over was in someone's driveway. The voice become more irritated when I did this and barked at me to pull down one of the little sidestreets that look like an alley. At this point the voice became even more irritated, flashed more lights, and as if it weren't enough, turned on a high pitched siren which caused me to nearly jump out of my seat. By this time, lights were being turned on in all the houses, dogs were barking, and pairs of eyes were staring at me through the windows.

My heart was beating a mile a minute when I saw a policeman, or should I say someone who looked like they found their father's uniform in a chest in the attic, coming toward me, his hand on a large pistol, barking at me to produce my papers. I was scared to death, my fingers trembled as I held my wallet high in the air to insure that it wasn't mistaken for a gun. At this time, another car, lights blaring, siren screaming, came to a skid stop and another burly body holding a gun jumped out and walked toward me on the other side of my car. Surely my neighbors must have thought I robbed a bank or murdered my wife. When I mustered up the courage to ask him what I had done wrong, he screwed up his face and said disdainfully, "Seat belt violation." Even though my seat belt was firmly affixed to my body, I didn't know whether to be relieved or angry that I was an unwitting accomplice in some Kafkaesque testosterone display.

Is this an example of tax dollars at work. Aren't there enough crimes being committed in Mill Valley to occupy the police and, if not, why are they here? How much is it costing us to be harassed by the people we employ to protect us? Perhaps we don't need so many police officers -- maybe the money can be better used elsewhere. Maybe w need to start a police forum on the police and their role in the community. If you have a similar story of overkill or rudeness on the part of the police, please write me.

Tom Martell

Mill Valley

Results From Israeli Soldiers' Killing

Our family has a very strong image of 12-year-old Mohammed Durra and his father who was killed by Israeli soldiers last year.

Results from this horrible experience:

1) Our very strong belief in Israel died.

2) Is Israel the Nazi of the 21st century?

3) Did Israel do something or some things to cause the Holocaust?

4) Will this country continue to support Israeli human rights violations? This country needs to stop the billions of easy money going to Israel every year. Dimona, Israel has a full-blown, sophisticated nuclear weapons program which manufactures dozens of bombs a year, including thermonuclear weapons and delivery systems.

5) The Middle East nuclear buildup stems directly from this countries' legitimization of dropping the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki setting the stage for a dangerous righteousness and a seal of approval for an intensification of every type of crime and negative feelings. The latest being W. Bush breaking the Ten Commandments to steal the election with the help of his conservative friends creating Votegate 2000.

Ranier Penkert

San Francisco

Kill Them Violently!

What an embarrassing pack of whining wusses, craven nitwits, and pacifist naivniks that have been revealed in recent days in their letters to editors and calls to talk shows - mindless dim bulbs who fear to react violently to the barbarous murder of thousands of innocent Americans in New York and Washington, lest it antagonize the perpetrators and bring us still more terrorist attacks in return!

If our caveman ancestors had thought that way, we would today be extinct, and the world would be ruled by the sabretooth, the cave bear, and the dire wolf. The only way to eliminate vermin is to kill them -- violently!

As to those incredibly ignorant anti-American bigots who claims "it's all America's fault," let them remember that American agriculture feeds nearly a quarter of the world's population, that no nation on Earth has been as generous with its taxpayers' dollars in providing as much foreign aid to as many other nations, and no people on Earth are as quick or as generous as ours in responding to help the victims of earthquakes, floods, and other major natural disasters throughout the world.

Fielding Greaves

San Rafael

Americans Addicted to Autos

In most of our minds, the words "automobile" and "California" go hand in hand. To me, however, the fact that the automobile has predominated in California is an anomaly, considering California's mild climate.

I can understand not wanting to endure unpleasant weather conditions while waiting outdoors for public transit in other parts of the country. If it's raining, hailing, windy, snowing, cold, hot or oppressively humid, I'd be better off in a climate-controlled automobile equipped with heat and air conditioning, even if I have to endure difficult road conditions and traffic congestion. After all, most of us in urban civilization are quite soft when it comes to physical discomfort.

But this harsh reality for transit riders in much of the country is not an issue in California's mild climate. In the Bay Area, there is virtually no rain from April through November, and even in winter two out of three days are normally dry and mild. Oppressive heat and cold are the exception here.

The biggest unpleasantry in California while waiting for public transit is dealing with abrasive, unrelenting traffic noise while standing or sitting alongside a busy street, highway or freeway. This could be at least somewhat alleviated by creating more transit corridors where non-public transit vehicles are restricted: Sacramento's K Street Mall and Portland's downtown transit mall are excellent examples. Locally, Fourth Street in downtown San Rafael would be a sensible place for a transit mall limited to buses, pedestrians and bicyclists.

The sad thing is, though, that even if public transit was easily accessible and ran frequently and was comfortable and free, I believe that most Californians would continue to avoid it. It's just not cool or fashionable to take public transit, except for certain white collar professionals who take a commuter bus, BART or Caltrain from their suburb to the San Francisco financial district. For everybody else, taking public transit is supposed to be embarrassing or shameful.

Auto commuters have reasons other than the comfort of climate-controlled cars and social conditioning against public transit for enduring the frustrations of traffic congestion. For example, for some people the commute time in their car is the only time during their day that they're alone. They commute between hectic home and work environments and are willing to tolerate traffic congestion because it's the only time of day that they're unburdened by other people's demands. In addition, a lot of people like driving because it's an activity where they can feel they have control. This is especially true of people who feel little sense of control in their personal and occupational lives: at least they can be in control of an automobile to and from work and maintain the illusion of having at least a semblance of control in their lives.

The fact that only four states and the District of Columbia have a higher percentage of workers who commute to work on public transit than auto-crazed California underscores how truly addicted to the automobile Americans are. Transit planners and managers need to know all the factors (social, economic, and otherwise) that they're up against when designing transit systems and allocating limited public funds toward them, because the American infatuation with the automobile is a complex phenomenon.

Keith Bramstedt

San Anselmo

Americans Pay for Leader's Mistakes

Watching President George W. Bush address the nation on TV in the wake of the latest and biggest tragedy to hit the American people in a long, long time makes one wonder why this guy is n such a high and important position? It is obvious that his advisers have instructed him to stock by his prepared script rather than ad-lib as other presidents do. I wonder why.

When our country is led by a man who is not the choice of the people, our democratic system has obviously failed. When our electoral system operates on the principle that best election results can be obtained by not counting votes, our system has failed. When no less than the highest court of the land makes a mockery of our constitution and reduces the rule of law to a virtual joke, our system has failed. When our system fails, there are dire consequences and not only we, Americans, but the whole world suffers.

Walking out of the UN meeting convened for the purpose of addressing the bloody, Palestinian/Israeli issue, was a terrible mistake. A world leader does not do that. It does not require too much intelligence to realize that this move will be tantamount to inviting a hostile reaction from groups that have proven to be very resourceful terrorists. While our leadership commits such stupid mistakes, we Americans have to pay dearly for them. We have just done so. God save us or there will be more to come.

Antonio Serna

Rohnert Park

Dear Mr. President

I am a former Marine Corps sergeant who served his country well and was honorably discharged in 1970. I have never written such a letter before and I pray that it will somehow get through the bureaucratic filters to reach you.

Like so many Americans, I was appalled and shocked by the death and destruction we witnessed two days ago. I am now coming out of my shock and am very concerned about the grievous state in which our country and the world find themselves. We have suffered a horrible attack and far too many of us have suffered and died. I am greatly saddened and sickened by the carnage and suffering of the victims and their families. I know you too are suffering and I can feel your anger and frustration as well as your desire for active retaliation and I understand it well. It is a natural and justifiable reaction to such a heinous criminal act.

And yet I would counsel you to proceed carefully. I fear we are in a perilous situation and a mistake on our part could easily widen the already huge spiral of violence in which the world finds itself. Mr. President, you now have the great opportunity to provide to the world that the United States if more than just a great economic and military power to be feared. It is up to you to show all of the world that the United States is also a law abiding and civilized country which can be trusted to follow the laws of the world as well as let itself be guided by the wisdom of human understanding and compassion.

I urge you to use all legal means at your disposal to determine who perpetrated this horrible crime and to bring them to trial before the appropriate court. Let them indeed find the justice the world awaits and needs. But I beg you, let not one more innocent life -- be it American, Israeli, Palestinian or any other -- be lost because of this horrible crime. Too often our bombs and weapons have taken the lives of innocent victims. I believe the military euphemism is "collateral damage," but in reality it is manslaughter if not outright murder. What right can we claim that allows us to take more innocent lives? Is that not also a form of terrorism? Should we lower ourselves to the level of those who attacked the World Trade Center or should we stand tall and take the legal and moral high ground? You have chosen to describe this as an act of evil. I fear using such inflammatory language will only worsen the situation. Such language will all too easily incite a lynch mob mentality, when what we need is the compassion which Jesus taught as well as the cool reason which will help us reach our true goals of global peace, prosperity, and democracy for all people of the world. Lead us, Mr. President, with dignity and wisdom and do not pander to the primitive parts of our beings that are all too powerfully calling out at this moment. Show the world that you too are a leader with the greatness, strength and courage to seek true understanding and restorative justice, just as Nelson Mandela did in South Africa.

Rather than characterizing the attack as an act of evil, I see it as a terrible last act of desperation by people who believed they had no other way to make themselves heard than to resort to violence and mayhem. It is absolutely critical that we see not only their willingness to use horrible, illegal means, but that we also hear their desperation which makes them view such means as the highest form of heroism including the sacrifice of their very lives. As a former Marine, I know what it means to be willing to sacrifice one's life for a cause one truly believes in. While I see these people as horribly misguided, hate-filled and desperate, I do not believe they are cowardly or evil.

If we are to truly resolve the hatred and violence, we need to understand that in their eyes, they see themselves as a tiny, heroic David fighting against a huge, monstrous Goliath who seeks to kill them and their way of life. We certainly need not agree with their views, but we must understand them if we ever hope to achieve a lasting peace and not a world that is locked down and bereft of all the civil rights and freedoms we cherish so highly.

Months ago we saw magazine pictures of a young Palestinian child being cradled for hours in the arms of his father. Innocently caught in a gun battle, the child died from bullet wounds and the father could not move to save him. Can you begin to imagine the anguish, pain and sense of injustice this father must have felt? As a father yourself, how would you have felt in such a situation as the life oozed out of your child and you were pinned down and absolutely helpless? It is such intensely unbearable images and feelings that drive people to such desperate measures as we witnessed on Wednesday in New York and Washington.

In this moment of deep crisis, is also a moment of immense opportunity. I urge you to take this opportunity to move our world away from violence and suffering and towards peace, freedom, and abundance for all. Let these voices of desperation be heard and let the perpetrators have their day in court. Show them that we truly do believe in law and justice for all. Let us not make the mistake we did recently at Durban, but rather let us bring all voices to the table, even if they are screaming and telling the stories we would like not to hear. We are truly a superpower and we are too used to talking and expecting others to listen. Show the world that we are also strong enough to learn to listen. I know you are a Christian and I pray that you will indeed do what Jesus Christ counseled and not rashly lash out in violence. May God give you the wisdom to find the great opportunity for peace that lies in this horrible tragedy. I hope that later in this century historians will look back and applaud your greatness of spirit and cool sense of reason that moved our globalizing world closer to justice and democracy for all.

Greg Nees

America Needs to Grow Up

The United States has been very fortunate in its history in avoiding being attacked on its home soil by outsiders. The American mainland had not been attacked until Sept. 11 since the War of 1812 against Britain. Americans are not used to having their civilians be killed by foreign-based attacks.

However, the United States military has been killing foreign civilians for decades. During World War II, American and British bombers in one night killed 135,000 German civilians in the city of Dresden. American bombing of Tokyo took 84,000 mostly civilian lives on one night in 1945. Later in 1945, two American atomic bombs killed over 200,000 Japanese civilians.

In the Gulf War, a war aimed at Saddam Hussein and his government, many thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians, coldly referred to as "collateral damage," were killed in US bombing raids. Remember that "civilians" includes children. Continued American bombing in northern Iraq and economic blockades against Iraq in the years since the Gulf War have killed or destroyed many, many thousands of Iraqi civilians' lives. I wish I had the numbers, but the American press doesn't cover this topic much. It would be far more noble to disregard international law and assassinate Saddam Hussein than to kill so many innocent Iraqi civilians!

Now America gets attacked on its own soil by foreign terrorists and loses over 6,000 innocent civilians. That's very far short of the number of innocent civilians around the globe that America has killed over the decades. Now America will surely kill many thousand more innocent civilians in military strikes in South Asia and possibly the Middle East.

America needs to grow up. It needs to mature beyond the grandiose adolescent bully mentality that has dominated it for decades, or else it's going to continue to be the recipient of hatred and antagonism and be targeted by terrorists.

Alex Caylee

San Rafael

Funding Terrorists

You may well be catching a world of heat for your publication of Frank Scott's article, "Operation Infinite Injustice." The world of American insulation is swiftly evaporating in the face of so much new information. While people that enjoy the debate have fought over these actions, the majority of America has remained safely coconed in the fantasy that America is incapable of committing atrocities, or by proxy, having atrocities committed.

These horrific attacks remain irrefutably criminal, but they are exposing the number of criminal acts the American Government has sanctioned. I, unlike Jerry Falwell, cannot blame America at large for the perpetration of these acts against humanity. I do hold American Policy responsible for enflaming the militants to such acts.

If the Bush Doctrine would hold governments of foreign Nations responsible for harboring terrorists, then must it not also hold itself accountable for funding the training of the terrorists' leaders? All Blessings of the Cosmos.

Melody L. Polson

North Las Vegas, NV

Accessory To Murder

This year, a madman with a pitchfork murdered some children in the Fresno area, while their parents were out for the evening. One of the older children, who'd had safe gun handling and marksmanship instruction from her father, ran to get his handgun to protect herself and her siblings. She located the weapon, but her father, following the politically correct climate set by the mostly anti-gun legislature, had placed a trigger lock on the handgun, rendering it useless and the children defenseless. By the time police arrived ("Dial 911 and die - the police cannot be everywhere on time"), the murders had been completed, and the police shot and killed the madman, since THEY did not have trigger locks on their tools of defense.

If you were one of the few who have not voted for these counter-productive, anti-self defense laws, congratulations: you are upholding the traditions which made this country great.

If you are in the vile majority which DID vote for restrictive gun laws, you have identified yourself not only as an enemy of freedom and safety, but also as an ACCESSORY TO MURDER!

Phil Graf

Coast Writers Syndicate

Bart To Santa Rosa

No feature better serves to unify a great metropolitan area than a great transportation system. Perhaps now is the time to introduce the first workable, affordable rapid transit plan for Marin and Sonoma counties. In order to undo freeway gridlock for the 21st century, the only practical solution in the short run or the long is to send BART across the Golden Gate Bridge.

This is not some crackpot notion. It was the conclusion of an engineering study commissioned eleven years ago by the Golden Gate Bridge District, that a second deck, for trains, is entirely feasible from an engineering perspective. Further, the tracks would be concealed within the structural steel framework below the highway deck and would in no way alter the appearance of The Bridge.

For a detailed look at the only way to resolve gridlock in Marin and Sonoma counties for the 21st century, please visit http://home.earthlink.net/~jonhbradley/ on the World Wide Web.

Jon H. Bradley

Bolinas, Ca.

Concerning Forced Vaccinations

I would like to see our attention switched from forced vaccinations to forced medical treatment.

The medical industry will not stop with vaccines. That is only the first step. Forced blood transfusions, forced mammograms and other treatments and procedures will not be far behind.

I suggest we accept donations. Get or own Board of Statisticians and find out more about the hundred-thousand drugs that are polluting the bloodstream of a nation. We can find out how many cures are actually taking place and how many diseases are being caused by the use of these products.

I submit that the findings of our own investigators would show that medicinal drugs are the number one cause of disease in our society, and certainly the number one cause of cancer.

Bob Catalano

[email protected]

Build For War, Plan For Peace

As we prepare for war, I pray we also plan for peace. Terrorists are created, not born. This is a war of conflicting ideals and values. It must be fought on two fronts, one to bring these murderers to justice, the other to bring more justice to the world . Asking who they are may guide our swords, but only by asking why they became who they are can we hope to build a greater peace.

Brian Lynch

Mine Hill, NJ

Stinson Cell Phone Tower

I'm looking at freely available data from the FCC (free data viewer here: http://www.fcc.gov/wtb/geographic/), data available here: http://www.fcc.gov/wtb/geographic/fcc_db.html. According to this, there is a cell phone tower already in Bolinas (100 Mesa at the fire station). Using my experience of GIS, and the data, it is easy to see from looking at locations in population dense east Marin that they can be 3-4 miles apart. Given Stinson Beach is 3.3 miles from the Bolinas tower, where's the need for one in Stinson?

Great article by the way. Thanks to Stephen Simac. This article prompted me to download the entire eight data sets (400 MB) on AM, FM, Antenna Structure Registration, Cellular, Land Mobile - Private, Microwave, Paging, and TV. Luckily, I live at least 2/3 of a mile from the closest source of human-made EMR.

Dan Clark

[email protected]

Ed. Note: The rub with the Stinson "tower" is that Sprint had a deal with the Firehouse antennae site in Bolinas which blew up because of community opposition. "No more!" was the word in Bolinas. So, Sprint landed in Stinson Beach -- an area much more densely inhabited than the Bolinas site.

Combating Islamic Terrorism

There has been an escalation of ghastly violence against Hindus by Pakistan-sponsored terrorists in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. The most recent series of incidents in the Jammu region has included massacres of scores of Hindus and the beheading of priests. This follows the same pattern used in the Kashmir valley, where over 350,000 Hindus were hounded out by Pakistan-sponsored terrorists in 1990.

These terrorists, encouraged and materially supported by Pakistan, want to extend Islamic rule to the state and to other territories of India. The response of India, which continues to pursue the path of negotiation, as well as the response of the United States, which has repeatedly refused to include Pakistan in its list of terrorist sponsors, is disheartening.

Over a dozen terrorist groups such as Harkat-ul-Mujahideen and Lashkar-e-Toiba are based in Pakistan and its satellite state, Afghanistan. The two countries host terrorist camps in collaboration with Bin Laden's Al Qaida, and their operations extend from the Philippines to Bosnia. They threaten to bring Islamic jihad to the West, and have made good on their threats at the World Trade Center and elsewhere.

Despite numerous olive branches extended by India and gentle pressure applied by the United States, Pakistan has refused to disband these terrorist groups, or to end its support to the Taliban. Afghanistan itself has been turned into a medieval wasteland. In Pakistan, the economy and the well being of the population have been bartered away in exchange for a fundamentalist utopia. In Jammu and Kashmir, Hindus and other pro-India civilians have been killed by the thousands every year since 1989, women are forced to wear veils, and movie theaters and cable TV are banned.

All these events are fast converging with the dangerous nuclearization of Pakistan. The time for words and gentle negotiation is long over. This fundamentalist nuclear-backed menace, which intends to extend its reach across the entire world, is more dangerous than individual rogue nations such as Iraq.

An urgent need exists for concerted action led by India and the United States in containing and driving back these terrorist forces. A Gulf War style operation needs to be planned and implemented without further delay against Pakistan and Afghanistan. Once Pakistan deploys the many nuclear devices it is building, it may be too late to contain the coming fundamentalist explosion.

Sunil Fotedar

Allen, TX

Website: http://www.iKashmir.net

Consider The Options To Combat Terrorism

I am an average, middle-aged American who is just as proud of flag and county as any, but I have to ask: Did we just declare war on a symptom?

I mourn the loss of so many innocent citizens and the perpetrators must be made to pay, but in my mind, if the barn is full of flies you don't spend your days going after them with a fly swatter. You grab a broom and start sweeping up the mess on the floor. We should commit troops to bring these criminals to justice, but terrorism itself is a social problem.

Terrorism doesn't just spring from afar. Our own citizens have bombed buildings and killed innocent people. Why? That's a question we need to ask. There are political, economic and cultural roots that must be considered.

No matter how massively we mobilize, or how united we stand, or how vigilantly we guard our shores, we can't uproot terrorism by force. Such an effort has as much chance for success as our "war on drugs." The "enemy" will be harder to find than they were in Vietnam and our military objectives are just as sketchy.

Before we move too far down this narrow, risky path we must consider all the other options not being discussed and pursue all the actions needed to restore our security and safeguard our freedoms.

Brian Lynch

Mine Hill, NJ 07803

Cycles Of Violence

On September 11, our world changed. With the unspeakable events in New York City, Virginia, and Pennsylvania - events whose origins we do not yet fully comprehend - we at International Rivers Network join all other people of good will in expressing compassion and solidarity with the victims of these tragic and senseless acts. Our hearts are open to all those who have been affected, especially those who have lost loved ones.

As we move forward from this horrible tragedy, we encourage all people to support nonviolence rather than retaliation as the appropriate response to these acts. Similarly, we urge our leaders in Washington to refrain from responding to this tragedy in a manner that visits more pain and suffering on an already sorrowed world. We also join in urging everyone to resist assigning responsibility to any particular group and condemn the hateful actions and discrimination that have been targeted at the Arab American community.

Out of respect for the victims of this disaster, with understanding of the strategic difficulties in conveying to a shocked media and public our messages regarding the World Bank and IMF, with concern for the integrity of security systems in Washington, DC, and for the safety of all, we will refrain from participating in activities surrounding the planned World Bank/IMF meetings this month. We are also sharing our concerns with the leading organizations responsible for planning and coordinating these activities.

We believe that the cycle of violence in which so many nations have long participated must be broken. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. reminded us that "peace is not the absence of conflict, but the presence of justice." We invite all people to join us in envisioning new ways to break the cycle of violence against all living beings and the Earth, so that the peace that is justice may flourish for all.

Susanne Wong

for The Staff of International Rivers Network

Berkeley

(International Rivers Network is a Berkeley-based non-profit dedicated to protecting human rights and the environment.)

Stifling Regulations In Fairfax

I saw a bumper sticker recently that said, "Get involved. The ones who run our world are the ones who show up.". I was born and raised in Marin and have lived in Fairfax for the last twenty years. Quaint and quirky Fairfax I have loved. I was perplexed when I was unable to get any help from the Town on a project I was considering so I began attending the monthly Town Council and Planning Commission meetings in order to understand how things work. And what an eye opener it has been! As it turns out, the majority of those who "showed up" are slowly and deliberately legislating away our individual freedoms and rights and replacing them with a thick web of stifling regulations and bureaucracy. This is done with the self-righteous and misplaced notion that the Town as a whole needs to be protected from it's individual residents. In the name of protecting the rights of all, individual rights are being legislated out of existence. We have rejected fascism and communism as a nation, and so should Fairfax. Ignorant bliss about what is occurring is possible unless you attend these meetings regularly to observe or until you try to do something yourself (sell a house, build an addition, build a house, cut down a dead tree, etc.). Only then do you see the truly disturbing mindset and personal agendas of some of those who now rule our world.

Beware of those who seek to control everything through regulation and legislation. One recent new ordinance decrees that not only do you have to get permission and a permit to cut down a dead tree but you must hire a certified arborist to inspect the tree and attest to your claim that the tree is dead before permission is granted. Another recent ordinance says that you may not sell a house unless and until you have installed low-flush toilets. These ordinances may seem unimportant, even amusing, but illustrate the degree to which they have insinuated themselves into our lives and what they think of our basic intelligence.

Beware of those who seek to "protect you from your neighbors and other residents through regulation and legislation." It is common practice for people to buy a house smaller than they may need because it is affordable. They assume that when the time comes they will expand their living space. Or their circumstances may suddenly change. They may need to make room for a suddenly ill parent, an unexpected child or a new telecommuting job. I do not want to build a house or an addition but nor do I want to be "protected" from those who do. The building regulations they have already put in place are sufficiently restrictive. The current move to cap the square footage of a house (including a garage) to 3,200 feet tells you more about the proponents of this plan than about the Town's ability to absorb some larger homes. I currently live in a 740 square foot cabin but I do not begrudge others different choices or needs. Who says Fairfax must remain a town of cabins and cottages in order to have community?

The alternative proposal is to expand the authority of the Design Review Board to review all new construction instead of just for those whose property has a 12% or greater slope. The DRB is a consensus building body made up of smart and thoughtful people who oppose the arbitrary square footage cap. They have done a good job with their current mandate and can be trusted with an expansion of their authority. It would provide fairness, consistency and humanity to the process (and more than enough oversight). Some Councilmen and Commissioners send the DRB projects for review with a stated desired result. This is inappropriate. The actions taken by the DRB need to remain free from demands from those trying to impose their will.

The voices of reason, those Council and Commission members who are not driven by the need to control, are in the minority and are routinely outvoted. Even a tie vote results in a denial of the citizen's request. I beg the citizens of Fairfax to educate themselves and to take very seriously the votes they cast for Town Council members, starting this November. The Council appoints Planning Commissioners. And they should check to see whose actions have cost this town the most in lawsuits brought by ordinary citizens over the years. Citizens who cherish our hard-fought-for individual freedoms and rights and abhor the thought of a suffocating controlled society need to start showing up. The erosion of individual freedoms and rights in principle should be the concern of every citizen, as in the end, the erosion affects us all and the kind of world our children will know.

Susan Ashby

Fairfax

From Tragedy To Global Union

We are all New Yorkers. That is the gist of the message that I have been receiving from the thousands of e-mails, countless phone calls and faxes, and communications from people writing or calling me from over 30 countries. The outpouring of love, of service, and even of life itself is the miracle of humanity surpassing itself. All over this country and throughout the world people are affirming their unity with us, and more, the unity of all people. This tragedy brings us together in shadow and in light, for richer and for poor, in sickness and in health for as long as we all shall live. The desecration that occurred is also the announcement of a potential global union.

I have often spoken of how technology and the Internet gave us the world mind taking a walk with itself. But in the light of the events of September 11th, we now must speak of the world heart, the world stomach, the world spirit. America is not longer insulated from the pathos of other nations.

We are present at the birth of an opportunity that exceeds our imagination. Christopher Fry writes, "Thank God, our time is now, when wrong comes up to meet us everywhere, never to leave us till we take the longest stride of soul men ever took." All oppression rises in our time, all shadows, all terrors, and factors unique in human history also arise around us to compound our folly and confuse our desire. We yearn for meaning and deal with trivia. We are swept in currents over which we have no control. Government has become too big for the small problems of life and too small in spirit for the large problems. The tyranny that threatens to destroy us is not just terrorism; it is the tyranny of the unjust demands we have made of Nature and the tyranny of some nations being kept in economic slavery by other nations.

We are the ones who have the most profound task in human history--the task of deciding whether we grow or die. This will involve helping cultures and organizations to move from dominance by one economic culture or group to circular investedness, sharing and partnership. It will involve putting economics back as a satellite to the soul of culture rather than having the soul of culture as satellite to economics. It will involve deep listening past the arias and the habits of cruelty of crushed and humiliated people. It will involve a stride of soul that will challenge the very canons of our human condition. It will require that we become evolutionary partners with each other.

This is a huge test we find ourselves in. We have newly emerged from a century of war and holocaust. Our hopes for the new century, the new millennium were for a new way of being between nations and people, between the earth and ourselves, between spirit and matter. Those hopes still live, if anything, they have become more powerful, more necessary. For America it will mean a deep shift of our attitudes to other cultures around the world to one of service and support rather than exploitation and dominance. Yes, the perpetrators have to be found and dealt with through therapeutic law and international justice. They are not a nation, they are a cancer, and a cancer is rarely removed through a cycle of violence. Rather, as in holistic medicine, they have to be subdued by the strengthening of the healthy immune system, the envisioning of the pattern of health, and yes, the removal of the cancer wherever it can be excised.

The metaphor is apt. Our health, our security, is built on friendship. Instead of spending so many billions for weapons of destruction (which we manufacture ourselves and sell globally), what if we were to use some of those billions to the feeding of the hungry (one in every three persons), the housing of the homeless, the making of those efforts that can result in the healing of the wounds of nations. Real security demands real friendship, global marriage. As one of my correspondents brilliantly addressed these issues, "The problem is not just terrorism. The problem is generations of beings who experience not having an identity. The question is what made human beings incapable of feeling love, compassion or empathy towards themselves or anyone else, and thereby, becoming destroyers of their own species? What happened that human beings could become so psychologically, emotionally and spiritually distorted that they could believe that Islam, one of the most spiritual paths in the world, could encourage murder and suicide to gain heavenly reward?"

Friends, these are not Muslims. These are marginalized fanatics who have made a travesty of their faith. The issue is how we can join together to create a world in which such pathology will no longer be nurtured.

Many of us are feeling impotent before the enormity of the prospect. Some of you, I know, have experienced "meltdown", some have seen visions, had dreams. Many have had the portals of their minds blown open to deeper realities, potent reflections. Tragedy has drawn us closer, sent us deeper, and given us the option of preparing for life rather than death.

I have been considering some of the things that you may wish to do in the days and weeks to come that will give expression to your feelings and need to act. What I offer below is drawn primarily from my own reflections as well as others, particularly some prescriptions offered by Yes! magazine.

1. In these spirit quaking times, align with your own spiritual resources. Take time to meditate, pray, reflect in solitude and in nature. Allow yourself daily time and space to be re-sourced. Consider living daily life as spiritual exercise Watch your finer intuitions and ideas, and share them with others. Commune with your spiritual allies, archetypal friends, quantum partners. In the place of spiritual connection feel strength and compassion and intelligence flow. Become creative in your actions. Plot scenarios of optimal healing and begin wherever you can to put them in place for events as well as people. Practice miracle management.

2. Give yourself vacations from television. So much of it anyway is infomercials for war.(However the local New York City stations are filled with human stories of compassion and courage.) But do listen occasionally to talk shows and call in with your own opinions and ideas for making a better world. Write that letter to the editor. Write or call your congressman and local government officials. Handwritten faxes seem to be the things that are most likely to get through, followed by phone call. e-mails, alas are the least likely. You can find your US representatives at www.house.gov or for Senators, www.senate.gov. Above all, Let Your Voice Be Heard!

3. Gather in groups and, if possible in ongoing teaching-learning communities of wisdom and empowerment. But let everyone speak, and do not deny them the authenticity of their feelings even if they diverge widely from your own.

4. Talk to the kids, your own or other people's children. Let them express their feelings, tell you what is on their minds. Give them a grasp of the larger issues at hand. Tell them about mercy and compassionate action. If possible engage them in service oriented activities. Let them see the larger story.

5. Show up at town meetings, or other places where people meet to pray and talk and engage each other. Sign petitions if you are willing and join in other activities that are "sending a big message". have vision circles to put forth images of what the world can be. Envision the possible society together. (For ideas, you might want to look at my book, authored with Margaret Rubin, Manual of the Peacemaker, which deals with the Iroquois creation of a better society.)

6. Get thee to a mosque! Give support and compassion to Arab friends, colleagues, or people you happen to meet of middle eastern origin. Stamp out hatred and fear surrounding these people wherever you can. Let them tell their stories, their hopes and dreams. In fact, try and learn as much as you can about the Middle East, the political situations there, as well as the teachings of Islam. For key information on the crisis and well considered information and opinions about the Middle East you may want to go to Alternet.org and commondreams.org.

7. Give up your own holding patterns on your old self. This is the time to become or at least to enact the possible human. Let your senses take pleasure in the glory of this world. Let your heart celebrate the incredible gift of life. And share this with others.

I live in a double domed house that was the last design of my old friend Buckminster Fuller, completed just before he died. I asked my house what words it would give you and it responded with Bucky's own. They came out of a time of tremendous personal crisis in his life.

"So I vowed to keep myself alive, but only if I would never use me again for just me - each one of us is born of two, and we really belong to each other. I vowed to do my own thinking, instead of trying to accommodate everyone else' opinion, credo's and theories. I vowed to apply my own inventory of experiences to the solving of problems that affect everyone aboard planet Earth."

Jean Houston

Jean Houston, Ph.D., is a scholar and researcher in human capacities, and for the past 30 years has co-directed, with her husband Dr. Robert Masters, the Foundation for Mind Research, first in New York City and now in Pomona, New York. Their work has focused on the understanding of latent human abilities. She is the founded of the Mystery School--a program of cross-cultural mythic and spiritual studies dedicated to teaching history, philosophy, the new physics, psychology, anthropology, myth, and the many dimensions of our human potential. Dr. Houston was the protégé of the late anthropologist Margaret Mead, who instructed her in the workings of organizations and power structures in many different cultures. With the late mythologist Joseph Campbell, Jean Houston frequently co-led seminars and workshops aimed at understanding interrelationships between ancient myths and modern societies.

I'm Confused

I agree with President Bush that we should go after the Terrorists. Wanted-Dead or Alive! And I agree that we should go after those who harbor terrorists and those who provide support and fundiung to them. "The people who feed them will be held accountable," says President Bush.

But the part that I don't quite understand is that it turns out that the Bush Administration has given the Taliban 43 million dollars this year making us possibly the biggest funder of this terrorist organization. What does that mean? I am so confused!

Marc Perkel

San Francisco

http://www.perkel.com

The Military Is Useless

We hear continual comparisons between the recent surprise attack and Pearl Harbor. As in 1941 we suddenly consider ourselves at war. We then go on to say that this is a different kind of enemy, much harder to attack or even identify. Guns and planes and ships defeated the Japanese but we know that our vast superiority in military hardware is useless against terrorism and sabotage. Still, we are mobilizing our military forces worldwide.

I would suggest that there is indeed a successful model for waging this type of conflict. This is the US defeat of Communism. Communism was an ideology that attracted millions. It had a strong appeal (and still does) among the have-nots of the world. In its dogmatism it allowed no room for dissent or even question, it had no respect for human liberty or individuality. All humanity was seen as subject to the inexorable forces of Marxist economics. Is this mind set very different from the Taliban's interpretation of Islam?

In spite of Bin Laden's wealth, as with Communism, impoverished millions are seeking salvation in the violence of an absolutist dogma. Yet Communism was defeated by the US. Let us look at how.

Not through military action. In fact, in actual wars against Communist countries the result was either stalemate or defeat.

The methods used were political action, subversion of foreign governments and movements and our own brand of terrorism. While much of this was in conflict with American values, it was made possible by the remarkably effective creation of internal consent.

Communism was successfully portrayed as the antithesis of the many things that people admire about the US such as the prevalence of economic opportunity and the absence (for whites) of state sanctioned repression of ethnic groups. Through ever increasing influence in popular culture and the media the economic and political anti-Communist elites were able to have their values internalized by those who formed popular opinion. This permitted the "war" against Communism. The very word "communist" became a term of vilification.

Communism was combated with political action and subversion: Through the world the US financed those who could influence public opinion such as journalists, writers and politicians.. After WW II opponents of political parties on the Left in Europe, especially in France and Italy were heavily financed and the countries were prevented from "going" Communist. The list of movements and governments subverted is extensive. Indonesia, Chile, Angola, Cuba, Guatemala, Iran (before the Shah).

Where political action and subversion did not suffice, anti-Communist regimes of countries through the world were heavily financed and militarized resulting in numerous death squad governments such as in El Salvador, South Africa, Peru, Colombia, Argentina, Honduras, Haiti.

Occasionally, outright attack was required as in Vietnam, Nicaragua, Panama, Grenada.

The way to defeat the terrorists is to use their own weakness against them as they have used the fragility of our technology against us. The enemy is not Islam, but economic inequality, absolutism and the contempt for those who do not subscribe to a particular dogma, just as it has always been.

It took years but we defeated Communism. Similarly, we can defeat terrorism and maybe even commit fewer crimes in the process.

Leon Kunstenaar

Woodacre, CA

Jihad Of The Almighty Dollar

I may be persecuted for saying this, but here is the truth as I see it.

There is a religious war, and it is the Jihad of the almighty dollar which recognizes no culture and no boundary but its own insatiable desire to propagate at the expense of others. I am angry at the Korporate Amerika Klowns. Who, in their dreams of conquest, have brought down upon our nation the deaths of thousands, a looming depression and a standard of living that has not improved since the seventies, despite the fact that millions of Americans are working harder than ever.

Sadly, this tragedy will probably be followed by an increase in taxes to pay for an unneeded missile-defense system as well as an increase in gas prices (all of which will do nothing except to further empty our pockets and further enrich the rich).

To change the situation, we need to take the following concurrent actions. Certainly, we need to beef up our security. We also need to alleviate the root of the problem by demobilizing the global-korporate complex. This can be achieved by opening all corporate information to public inspection, requiring corporate accountability to a triple-bottom line of economic, social and environmental guidelines which are verified through external audits. And, finally, initiate and approach a global dialog with humility and adherence to values of democracy, rather than the value of money. We are truly a global village and we need to govern ourselves along respectful and democratic principles rather than the principles of Korporate Kontrol.

I don't want America to end up like Israel where we evolve from oppressed to oppressor. This is the only sure way to complete the destruction of this once-great nation.

Steve Wallis, MA

Senior Partner

Integrative Solutions

Petaluma

The Day America Grew Up

Let's hope this is what future historians write about yesterday's events. If not, we won't be here- and won't deserve to be:

September 11, 2001, was the day America grew up. Its adolescent rebellion against all its roots- individualism, science, capitalism, individual rights, reason- ended with the force of a single day's events.

In many respects, America was at its peak. Despite its acknowledged problems, it was a spectacular civilization. In a mere two hundred years- a brief period in the life of a nation- it had established the most successful republic respectful of individual rights in history; it had generated both the Industrial revolution of the nineteenth century and the technological revolution of the late twentieth; it had successfully outlawed slavery and largely eliminated racism; it had raised the standard of living, for itself and much of the world, to levels royalty could not have conceived of one or two centuries earlier.

Despite this unprecedented success, more and more Americans began to ignore- or even mock- the very things which had made these awesome accomplishments possible. They began to teach their children that business, capitalism, and science were evil. They turned the other cheek and tolerated enemies at every possible opportunity. They shrugged their shoulders when it was learned that China- a country with missiles pointed towards their cities- had stolen secrets from the highest levels of government. Through their indifference and nonchalance, they communicated to their enemies that they did not value their freedom. Their communication was heard.

Aside from the bombing of Pearl Harbor- which ignited the United States’ role in World War II sixty years earlier- the United States had never sustained any real damage from warfare. Until September 11, they did not know what it was like to have their cities bombed, or to have their most cherished cultural symbols destroyed before their very eyes. They were complacent, adrift, and naïve. They lost sight of the fact that the price of liberty is eternal vigilance, as the American founders had wisely warned.

In such an era of complacency and drift, one would have expected America’s intellectual leaders- its presidents, university professors, media commentators, clergy- to warn them: "Americans, you've got to grow up! Wake up! What you have is great. You must know why it's good, so you don't lose it. There are those who seek to destroy you. You are better than they are, and you are stronger than they are because your system respects individual rights. Your system is fueled by reason, science, and human mastery over nature, the engines of civilization. The problem is, you don't know it. You’re afraid to admit you’re better, because you have also been taught to be humble, selfless, and peaceful at any price- even towards bullies. You have been taught to feel guilty for your accomplishments, and to undercut them. This is your fatal weakness."

Instead, the intellectuals, political and spiritual leaders of the time did exactly the opposite. They pushed Americans in precisely the opposite direction. They encouraged Americans to hate capitalism, to hate reason, to hate scientific progress. Their professors told them they were imperialistic, heartless and cruel. Their religious leaders condemned them for their selfishness, their capitalism, their materialism. Their psychotherapists told them to understand, not judge, their enemies. Their politicians told them they must give more to the collective treasury and keep less for themselves. Increasingly, Americans bought into it.

In the years leading up to the terrorist attacks, the federal government- instead of only pursuing fraud and violent criminals- spent a huge amount of resources on prosecuting the country’s most successful wealth creators, under anti-trust laws. The same federal government rushed to apologize to China after China opened fire on an American plane. Most incredibly, instead of using its power to protect a young boy who had managed to flee a dictatorship in Cuba, the government used all its power to send him back to totalitarian Cuba.

It was almost as if America’s enemies had taken over the minds and bodies of their leaders. Of course no such thing was possible. America was still a democracy, and its citizens sanctioned all these actions. It was a peculiar, perhaps unprecedented event in human history- an event unique to the United States, precisely because it had been so spectacularly successful and therefore had so much to lose.

It was a slow suicide.

On September 11, 2001, the slow suicide and the era of outrageous complacency reached its climax. On that day, the country- and the world- witnessed simultaneous catastrophes it had never before witnessed, nor imagined possible outside of science fiction or action thrillers.

The United States was no longer a young country. This much changed in a single day. America was no longer a spoiled, rebellious adolescent. It took some years- and several generations- to sort out all the particulars, but this was the beginning. For a rare moment in time, its intellectuals, professors, and media figures- its fawning, ever-apologetic politicians and presidents- were either silent or irrelevant. This was the silver lining in the catastrophe.

The best of the American spirit was reborn on this day. Something good which still existed inside the people- something lacking in most of its leaders, but still alive (though dormant) in most of the people- woke up. It took losing something great to realize that it was great.

There were many catastrophes that day- tens of thousands of lives lost, irreparable physical and psychological damage done. Like the aftermath of most disasters, it got worse before it got better. But freedom and individual rights did ultimately triumph- this time, though, under a more vigilant watch.

Of all the specific disasters that day, note the one that seemed most horrifying to those who still loved freedom and capitalism- and most uplifting to those who despised them. The worldwide symbol of capitalism- the two gigantic World Trade Center towers- collapsed before the world’s very eyes, like quicksand.

The emotional reaction one felt towards this particular scene, played over and over again on television and the Internet, revealed the essence of who one is: a lover of freedom, or a hater of freedom. On this day, with this issue, there could be no in-between. You were either profoundly horrified or joyous beyond belief. There was no escaping it. Your emotional reaction revealed who you were.

After September 11, 2001, there could be no more gray areas. The era of fearful, cautious, play-it-safe "middle-of-the-roadism" was over. It took many more decades for the intellectuals to understand why. On this particular day, though, every true American could- at long last- feel it.

Michael J. Hurd Ph.D.

Psychologist/Author/Radio Host

Chevy Chase MD

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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