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December 2001

Letters To The Editor

Farallon's Nuclear Waste?

Has any nuclear waste been dumped at the Farallons?

Mike

Stinson Beach

Marin's Judges Appalling

SF Weekly has a modest Marin County readership and its coverage of Marin, unfortunately for us, is minimal. Staff writer Matt Isaacs in the Oct. 18-24, 2000 issue took a close look at Marin County courts. What he reported was appalling.

Isaacs reported one judge who presided over cases when he had direct and indirect financial ties with one of the attorneys. He also heard a large number of cases while his wife was working for the lawyers appearing before him. These are but two examples of rampant corruption at Civic Center.

Mercifully, Marin judges do not have lifetime tenure. Every six years they face voters. Verna Adams, a Gray Davis appointee, will be challenged during March 2002 by Nancy McCarthy. So voters will have the opportunity to replace one Civic Center club member with someone who seems to me to be much better qualified. Talk to Marin lawyers and you will find many disenchanted with Marin courts. Nancy McCarthy is the only lawyer doing something about that by offering a strong alternative to one sitting judge.

Norman Carrigg

San Rafael

 

Enough Lagunitas Tax Assessments

Enough is enough. This letter is to ask that the never ending property tax assessments for the Lagunitas School District finally must stop.

We live in one of the five or ten richest counties in the entire world. Why must we go outside the normal tax system to fund our schools, libraries, fire prevention, and other basic services?

We have more money in this county than thousands of other counties in the country with the same amount of roads, schools, police, fire, etc. How do they do it?

We also have an arrogant bunch of supervisors who grant themselves raises that are beyond all comprehension to anyone I know. The only one with a more secure pension plan is Bill Gates. It's said if "you don't pay them enough or what someone else makes somewhere else, then they will leave for the private sector." Sure! Name me only one that has left the public dole for a private job.

The bottom line is this. Do not vote for new taxes. Make the county meet their primary obligation for basic public services from revenues only dreamed of by any other normal community in this country. In fact, let's rescind these added taxes and force the county to spend the money on our schools rather than themselves.

I can't be the only one who feel this way. Speak up. No more taxes.

Mike Waddell

Lagunitas

Why Would God Bless America?

Why would God want to bless America? When this country was being formed as a nation, it kidnapped blacks from Africa and separated their families as they were sold as slaves on the auction block.

Many years later, a civil war was fought over this inhuman endeavor resulting in a bloodbath which this country had never before experienced, pitting brother against brother and dividing the southern states from its northern counterparts.

In addition, this country broke every single treaty it made with the western Indian tribes, annihilating their culture and way of life on the pretext that since gold was discovered in the black hills, it belonged to anyone who could obtain it.

Also, with the discovery of atomic power, this country had an opportunity to use this power for the betterment of mankind but chose instead to develop a bomb that killed over a million souls when dropped on two cities in Japan.

And after all these years, this country has yet to learn the meaning of the word justice. As an example, I cite the arrest of a drunk driver who had been arrested 18 times, only to be let loose, enabling him to finally kill an innocent person on his 19th DUI.

I'm a veteran of the second world war and a part of this bloodbath of inhumanity. This country can fly all the flags and sing all the God Bless America songs it wants to. But will God bless this country? I don't think so because we haven't earned his blessing...

Chuck Galletta

Novato

 

Open Letter To President Bush

Mr. President, with respect, it is a mistake to plan to try terrorists, including Bin Laden, in a military court. There are many wise people who have pointed out how wrong it would be.

Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas said, "Fear of assassination often produces restraints compatible with dictatorship, not democracy."

Aristotle noted that, "The citizens begin by giving up some part of the constitution, and so with greater ease change something else in the government which is a little more important, until they have undermined the whole fabric of the state."

Lyndon Johnson said, "You do not examine legislation in the light of the benefits it will convey if properly administered, but in the light of the wrongs it would do and the harms it would cause if improperly administered."

Several high court justices, in the Verdugo-Urquidez case, said that the term "the people" as it appears in the Constitution means not only citizens but also includes even aliens and prisoners, in short, anyone under our government's control or custody. Under that view, even Bin Laden would be eligible to enjoy the rights of open trial. Secrecy would be anathema.

Abraham Lincoln said, "Don't interfere with anything in the Constitution. That must be maintained, for it is the only safeguard of our liberties."

Chief Justice Earl Warren said, "Every exercise of governmental power must find its source in the Constitution."

Mr. President, we urge that you reconsider and revoke your order for trial of terrorists in military court. Let the world see justice done, as at the Nuremburg trials.

Fielding L. & E. Jean Greaves

San Rafael

Another Puppet Government?

I'm over here in Thailand, and have only been able to keep up through the two English papers The Bangkok Post and The Nation. Also, I have attended a conference titled, "The Better Side of Islam" try to get a better perspective on the Muslims.

The international press is not endorsing the military campaign at all. The Muslims in Malaysia, Phillipines, and Indonesia [are] very anti-American.

The Sept. 11 attack has been heralded as the Day of Infamy or the Day the World Changed Forever.

Unless our policy changes in the Middle East, the backlash is going to escalate. You can not contain the hate nor the anger that has been incubating for so long.

I knew ever since they executed Tim McVeigh this would happen. America has been shot in the foot and has shot itself in the other foot. The crippling diplomacy has turned more moderate Muslims against the US than it would wish for. Occupation of Afghanistan? Hardly. Another puppet government? More than likely.

I can only imagine the severe psychopathology that has been created in the United States under the uncertainty of this new campaign of terror or just cause.

The Arab and Muslim world is far different than ours so if wisdom can prevail, we will reassess our position.

Hope Bobo Land is providing you with a sense of peace in this day and age of abject horror. I'll be back in December and will be sure to pull myself up to the bar and order a margarita. Best to you always, your old ad sales rep,

Willard

from Thailand

 

Another One Bites the Dust

"Another One Bites the Dust" (Queen, 1980) is what I say to myself every time I hear for the first time another pop or rock song I recognize being used on a radio or TV advertisement. I figure every pop song I liked during childhood and adolescence will be used eventually by an American corporation to sell something. Pretty soon classic rock and oldies stations will play long blocks of commercials pitching products using old pop songs!

The most disturbing example to me was The Who's "My Generation" being used on a TV ad. I don't remember what product was being sold, but I do recall that the ad was for a large corporation. What a poignant example that is of the Baby Boomers of the '60's counterculture selling out to corporate America!

I imagine that some ambitious songwriters these days bypass record companies and instead look to contract their songs to corporations for commercial use, seeing that as a more direct and lucrative avenue to the mass marketplace than using record companies and radio air play.

A song that reminds you of your first girlfriend or first slow dance or your childhood dog might be used to sell computers, paper towels, cars, hamburgers, shoes. No pop song is too obscure or untouchable to wind up on a radio or TV commercial.

This trend underscores corporate America's exorbitant power. A corporation's advertising department finds a pop song that suits their product and a target consumer audience, they offer such a huge amount of money to the record company or songwriter who owns the song that they can buy or loan the rights to the song.

Rock music selling out to big corporations has been going on since right after Woodstock in 1969 when enterprising businesspeople realized that they could fill up arenas and stadiums for rock concerts. "Taking Care of Business" (Bachman Turner Overdrive, 1973, used by Office Depot on TV ads), indeed.

Keith Bramstedt

San Anselmo

Most Corrupt Criminal Justices

In rainbow-decorated Marin County, California, where some of America's richest people live, there thrives a collection of some of the most corrupt criminal justice personnel in the entire nation. The People of Marin allowed a particular judge, who wouldn't know justice or "fair play" (his words) if they slapped him in the face, to sentence an indigent defendant to 25 to life in prison for missing a court date. This same judge (his initials are John Stephen Graham -- oops) has actively facilitated and whitewashed perjury by prosecution witnesses, illegal suppression of evidence, denial of Right to Counsel, intimidation of witnesses, interference with the defense by the prosecution, and a myriad of other illegalities and bad faith practices too numerous to list. Instances of these Constitutional violations have been orchestrated by at least one prosecutor (Kathryn Mitchell) who has already had several of her illegally gained convictions overturned by reviewing courts at great financial cost to "the people" she pretends to serve.

Judge Graham came out of the San Francisco Federal prosecutors office. this is "the" very same office that current FBI Director Robert Mueller was sent in to "clean up." (Why would Mueller have been called in to "clean up" something that was not dirty?) Unfortunately, defendants who've come before Judge Graham in Marin County unable to pay off the right personnel for their Constitutional rights have suffered. It seems that Graham brought a good bit of the dirt with him from the SF Federal prosecutors office and so far has escaped any such thing as the above mentioned "clean up."

It has been observed that," Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely." Absolute power encompasses the very same non-accountability that exists at the Marin Corruption Center where police, prosecutors and judges arrogantly count on being exempt from the very laws they swore and are paid to uphold. What is "honorable" about that? Where is the integrity, "fair play,' or "common decency" in that?

With regards to justice, do you think that on the streets of Baghdad, Kabul, Moscow, Peking, Tripoli, or Tehran decent human beings would say that 25 years to life in prison for missing a court date constitutes "fair play"? Is Marin's Kangaroo Court justice part of the America everyone is asking God to bless right now? Nobody should hold their breath waiting for such a blessing.

"If we start to lapse into gray areas and if we can't count on common decency and fair play, we're lost... We might as well head for the hills." -- Judge John Stephen Graham, Marin Independent Journal, 10/25/01.

"Hypocrisy is the homage vice pays to virtue." - La Rochefoucauld

James Samuel Kor, Jr.

Soledad

A Shameful Day in Our Democracy's History

Tomorrow, Nov. 7, marks the anniversary of one of the most shameful days in our country's history as thousands of people turned out to vote only to find themselves eventually disenfranchised by the machinations of a politically-motivated court along with the cooperation of a corporate press too impatient to demand a truthful, complete and honest count of the votes.

A year later, we find ourselves in one of the most dangerous places we have ever been as a nation. And while huge majorities of the country have rallied around to support and protect our beloved nation, this should not be read as silent acquiescence to the powers that would seek to destroy our unique democratic republic.

Dissent will live as long as our nation can survive. And judicially-orchestrated coups will not be forgotten, no matter how the press spins it.

Lesley Wischmann

Laramie, WY 82070

Open Letter to America And People Around The World

CC: President Bush, P.M. Blair, Mr. Bin Laden, President Putin, President Mbeki, UN Sec. General Mr. Kofi Annan, President General Mr. Pervez Musharraf, Media, etc.

I, Lara Johnstone am writing to inform you that as of tonight, November 7, 2001 at midnight (PST) I will be starting a fast/hungerstrike of only oxygenated water and vitamins, and request that the American people and people around the world EXPRESS your SUPPORT to President Bush and other World Leaders to:

1. Condemn the mass murder of thousands of people on September 11, 2001, and express our profound grief at the atrocities last month that killed thousands of innocent people in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania, and acknowledge, honor and support the heroic rescue efforts on the part of dedicated police and fire departments, and the city, state and federal governments.

2. Ask our representatives to help break the cycle of violence, bringing the bombing of Afghanistan to a conclusion as soon as possible [before the beginning of Ramedan, November 17, if possible], avoiding actions that can endanger the lives of innocent people in Afghanistan, and elsewhere, and minimizing the risk to American and other nations military personnel.

3. Urge our representatives to support the people of Afghanistan to help rebuild their country in a manner that is suitable to the people and future of the Afghani people, if they so request.

4. Urge our representatives to support Truth and Reconciliation type hearings to help bring justice and forgiveness to all those who were complicit in last months violent attack, and work with international organizations toward the same end; as well as disclosing similar acts of terror that have been enacted on other nations and people's around the world, and working to heal those wounds.

5. Urge our representatives to devote our governments best efforts in collaboration with governments throughout the world, to addressing and overcoming the conditions such as poverty, overpopulation, malnutrition, disease, oppression and subjugation that tend to drive some people to acts of terrorism.

6. Request that we engage in a campaign to lessen our dependence on oil from the Middle East and to commit to a conversion to renewable energy sources such as solar, hemp, wind and fuel cells within five years, as well as other possible sources of alternative energies.

If you support me in this effort, please forward this email to friends, media and your religious, political and economic leaders.

Lara Johnstone,

(aka Braveheart/[email protected])

Berkeley

An Open Letter From NYC

Greetings from Brooklyn, New York, this little corner of the world.

The bones of September have barely been exhumed, and new crises are already punching through the once hum-drum droppings of everyday life. Flying in an airplane; attending antiwar protests; wearing darker skin; praying to an unsanctioned God facing the wrong direction; even opening a letter -- all are filled with trepidation.

The pervasive anxiousness is all-too-real. As Allen Ginsberg once wrote: "We hug and kiss the United States under our bedsheets the United States that coughs all night and won't let us sleep." There is a sense, not fully articulated, that at least some of the pervasive hysteria is being orchestrated, that our emotions are being manipulated, and that somewhere deep down a noisy little ulcer gnaws that this all may have something to do with Terrorism with a capital T, yes, but it also has something to do with Oil, with Pipeline, with Colony. Aladdin's lamps are exploding all at once, and Papa Bush's genetically engineered genies sweep down our chimneys at night when we are sleeping, jangling keys to apocalyptic dungeons lined with TV screens, we don't know why, and we don't have time to think about it as the next crisis is announced and is upon us just as earlier ones recede, wave after wave from sea to shining sea.

We are exhorted by mouths white with foam: "Support America. Go shopping." We purchase millions of American flags made in sweatshops in China to express our unity (and, for some, to say "Don't hit me, I'm a good guy too, not one of THEM."). We should be taking the opportunity to break off and think about who is stampeding us into returning to the routines we despised but which are now romanticized as "the good old days."

Peace is not a noun meaning the absence of war; it is a verb: "To Peace.". To live as though the oneness is real (despite all the doubters, despite one's own doubts!). To live as though we still have rights. To understand that all soil is sacred even as the gaping anthraxial wound swallows up the biggest filing cabinets mankind has constructed -- Manhattan's two front teeth -- and we wait for some tooth fairy to exchange them for a quarter left under the pillow, this Autumn of our abandoned childhood.

How is it that the death count keeps getting less at Ground Zero -- the Washington Post has exhaustively tallied it at around half of what the Mayor had been claiming, and getting smaller! -- and is getting higher, higher at someone else's Ground Zero the other side of the world?

Is there a huge transfer of bodies through the dark channels of earth, some insane transmigration of souls from the spiritual desert of Wall Street to Afghanistan's flat earthly sands?

Beyond right and wrong, beyond the political struggle to stop this bastard bombardment, beyond this and that, the harrowing dig through centuries of rubble to pull out real human lives; beyond the tarpits of civilization, we charge through life like wounded Tyrannosaurs fired up by avenging angels named General Electric and Lockheed and Boeing and Unocal, makers of BOTH SIDE's instruments, their awful machinery of holocausts. We are oblivious to -- or, if not oblivious, pushing aside -- the thought that we sit at the edge of world war three about to extinct ourselves in Ginsberg's hydrogen jukebox in a place called Pakistan, called India, to see in whose God we trust the most, the one with the accurate Timex watch, cell phone, dialysis machine, and patch over one-eye slaughtering the lambs or the accountant bookkeeper of capital with knotted white hair whose only prophets are profits, measuring abysmal teaspoons of justice for every abyssful of his believers' tortured souls.

Said Camus: I wish I could love Justice and still love my country.

We live in my country Tisofthee somewhere amidst the stars. Bush's stolen election has put the whole world out of whack, threw us into a parallel universe that wasn't supposed to be, and everything that has transpired since -- the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air, Glorious cancer and death, the stolen dreams of real democracy -- pile jumbled on the ocean floor as the earth heats up, the seas rise around us, and, like the World Trade Center, swallow us whole.

Mitchel Cohen

Bensonhurst, Brooklyn

[email protected]

Chemical Warfare in the US Is Nothing New

By definition chemical warfare is associated with military operations involving employment of lethal or incapacitating chemical agents, typically poisons, contaminants, and irritants. It is usually packaged in something for human consumption or used as a poisonous gas. Simply replacing the word military in the first sentence with any of the big tobacco companies cuts to the crux of the matter.

On 9/11/01 roughly 5000 individuals were killed in a heinous act of terrorism, upon the WTC, that affected the entire nation, and more importantly the loving families and friends of the deceased.

A few days later, Anthrax appeared in the US Postal System and in the US Capitol Building. As of this writing 4 individuals have died from this infection, with many more postal workers taking antibiotics prophylactically to prevent the illness.

In response to these actions the Federal Government suddenly had Billions of dollars to combat and destroy this "EVIL!"

This definition of chemical warfare included poisons packaged for human consumption and poisonous gas; therefore making the tobacco companies Americas real chemical terrorists and they have been for the past 40 years at least. Every 5 days 5,475 Americans die of tobacco related illnesses. That is the equivalent of the death total of the WTC tragedy every five days !! Just imagine if the media showed us 5,000 people dying in one place every 5 days from tobacco! But that profound video will never happen since the tobacco deaths are spread all over America. However the same pain is felt by the survivors, every 5 days, due to the poisons in tobacco. There are currently 400,000 deaths from smoking annually in America ! Secondhand smoke and environmental tobacco smoke are both passively ingested and are proving to be extremely dangerous, especially to our children. The EPA states that everyday 12 million children are exposed to secondhand smoke in their own homes which leads to serious health problems. So the argument that people choose to smoke is a mute point in these cases. And for those adults who smoke, what could be better than a chemical poison causing extreme addiction before its poisonous affects are noticed? But to this date tobacco products are prevalent in the market place. Now don't misunderstand me. I do think people should have the right to smoke. But surely we should restrict the number of retail locations for such a poison in order to make it less available. After all, availability is a huge part of the problem.

Where are the Feds and their money when it comes to stopping American Big Business from poisoning and killing its own population, and indeed at a rate much faster than Usama bin Laden!!! The tobacco companies have been doing this for years. Each year ,smoking kills more people than AIDS, alcohol, drug abuse, car crashes ,murders, suicides, and fires--- combined ! So who is the terrorist? Roughly 62,000 Americans have died from tobacco use since the WTC tragedy ! HUGE Profits for Death and Illness. Capitalism without compassion. Something to think about.

G.B. London

Marin County

Creeping Racism

I am writing this report on Sunday's Peace and Justice event, "The Role of the Israel-Palestine Conflict in the Current Crisis," because unabashed racism managed to pose as a legitimate position, without being rejected candidly for what it is, and I feel a need to correct that failure as soon as possible.

I myself have heard the "pro-Israel" argument or, more precisely, the Zionist justifications and demands for an officially "Jewish" definition of Israel on many occasions. They have always been replete with hate-speech against the Arabs; in fact, they have consisted of little more than disparagement of the Arab countries,? and ?the Arab world,? as well as caustic remarks about Muslims, Islam, and even mockery of ?Allah,? which is, of course, merely Arabic for the Lord: the same deity worshipped by Jews and Christians.

But I assumed that (1.) the Zionists would be better behaved, in a general forum, than they are among themselves or when challenged by one or two lonely individuals, or (2.) if the Zionists, in the midst of many experienced social-justice activists, would still be so foolish as to express their usual racism, they would be taken to task for doing so.

In reality, it was very disturbing to hear arguments which entirely depend on vilifying Arabs, Muslims, and Palestinians-vilification's which comprised more than half of what was said in total by each of the main Zionist speakers ? and yet to hear such overt racism applauded, passing apparently unrecognized by even the progressives in the audience. It seems that we have been hearing such racist arguments, on behalf of Israel, for so long, and we have been so conditioned by mainstream media to think nothing of them, we have lost the ability to recognize (and protest) racism itself.

Apparently we need to stop and remember a few things:

1. The ethnicity of the people living in and around Palestine has nothing to do with the conflict except that, because they're not Jewish, the indigenous people have to be forcibly displaced, according to the openly-avowed Zionist plan for an officially Jewish settler-state, and because they're not white, the ethnicity of the displaced people is repeatedly emphasized, by the Zionists, in the familiar racist method of making the victims seem different and thereby less human. This is meant to help us forget that we, ourselves, would never allow (as no one on Earth would allow) a new state to be declared in our midst, even if it were meant for a particularly needy ethnic group, to be imported from all over the world. The Zionists would have us believe that indigenous opposition to the officially Jewish state, or to the racist partition of Palestine, is a peculiar and malicious trait of the Arabs, due to their innate anti-Semitism, and that the Arabs are therefore responsible for all the violence that Israel has inevitably needed, in order to defend the Jewish state from the human rights of its ethnically unsuited victims.

2. Any alleged deficiencies of the governments and populations of the countries surrounding Palestine cannot reduce the justice of Palestinian claims against Zionist Israel. If most of the Palestinians share some ethnic characteristics with most of the surrounding people, that does not mean they share in the blame directed at the Arabs in the neighboring countries. Israel's ethnic crimes against the non-Jewish Palestinians cannot be mitigated by vilification of the Arabs in general. Such arguments as "There isn't one Arab democracy," do not prove an ethnic inadequacy in the Palestinian people, and do not reduce the wrong of killing them, stealing their homes, etc. In fact, such racist arguments should be seen and adamantly rejected - as part of the problem which must be corrected, in Zionist ideology.

3.

The Palestinians have responded to the ethnic-cleansing they have suffered just as any people would, anywhere on Earth. Their hatred for their oppressors rises naturally from that suffering and from such extremes, inherently necessary in any racist oppression, as routine sharpshooting of stone-throwing children, etc. It is insidious to claim that Palestinian anger is not based on normal human feelings, but is instead a product of Islam or of the Arabs teaching their children to hate Jews.

I believe that many of us share equal repugnance to racism, with all the horrors we have learned to see in it. But it seems that many of us have been conditioned to NOT RECOGNIZE racism unless it appears in certain costumes. To those of us who recognize racism, in itself, the presentation of Zionist ideology at the College of Marin on Sunday was just as revolting and frightening as if we had seen Nazis trying to make their cause appear respectable and, largely, getting away with it.

Each attempt by social justice activists to explain the source of the conflict, in the ethnic displacement of indigenous Palestinians, was automatically countered by a Zionist who would treat the point as a mere criticism of Jews, to be defeated by an even greater criticism of Arabs. It was flagrant and arrogant. The suffering on both sides of the Israel-Palestine conflict cannot be resolved if we do not address its root cause, but every attempt to do that brought a response which masked the social justice issues under a regressive contest of good and evil between Jews and Arabs an overtly racist diversion. And each dreary account of Arab evil was concluded with a pretentious plea for understanding on both sides - an understanding and a plea for peace based, of course, on eternal denial of any Palestinian human rights that would infringe official Jewish domination of Palestine.

While some of the social justice speakers made excellent points, they could not have expected the easy overthrow of each argument by a rejoinder against one or another deficiency in the Arabs. And those who wished to identify that problem did not get opportunities to speak. In one instance, a Palestinian speaker managed to observe that one comment was racist, but without further explanation, his anger merely sank into the general jeering and howling of the pro-Israel section.

No one managed to observe that an officially Jewish state forced into a multi-ethnic area is itself an overt act of racist aggression, as clear as can be - and that the ensuing fifty years of hideous violence are just what history tells us to expect from such programs and that this violence remains in effect, and must continue to erupt into particular cataclysms, hurting both sides, until the human rights of the displaced Palestinians are allowed to take precedence over the official ethnic prejudice of Zionist Israeli policy.

That is, the elementary social justice argument against racism went almost unmentioned.

There was a sad deficiency of speakers prepared to identify racism as racism, even in Israeli uniform, and that failure reflects the Social Justice center's failure, all last winter, to discuss this issue - the fundamental wrong of

an officially Jewish state in Palestine - with local activists, who have been trying to raise consciousness about it. We hope that the need for clarification is now evident.

In lieu of standard anti-racist arguments, the event could only have been a fiasco. The Zionists, scenting weakness, went out of control. The racist slant of the main Zionist speakers, unchecked, encouraged the pro-Israel audience to freely jeer and shout; and in the brief discussions afterwards, one Zionist made the characteristic death-threat. We might hope that one or two people, observing all this, were able to see the sickness that results from a long-term commitment to ethnic discrimination, but I doubt it.

Those of us familiar with Zionist events saw nothing unusual. In fact, in this mixed audience, the Zionists were relatively subdued. One of the two Zionist speakers had been present at the Osher Marin JCC, when another Israeli speaker assured the audience that the Palestinians push their children out in front of the gunmen because they don't value life as much as we do, and they don't value their children as much as we do. Israelis, of course, he said don't sacrifice their children for photo opportunities. These comments, brought nothing but applause from the otherwise-typical Marin audience. The vociferous hostility and threatening behavior of the Zionists at Sunday's event were telling, but they fell short of the outright assaults that have traditionally reinforced Zionist arguments, in past decades, against those lonely individuals who have tried to plead the case of peace and ethnic equality.

A final suggestion: It is artificial, and misguided, to present the case against Israeli racism as an argument between Jews and Palestinians. The emphasis on ethnicity reflects the long-standing Zionist presentation of its ideology. In reality, it is an argument between people, of any ethnicity, who believe in ethnic equality, as essential to peace and justice, versus people who argue that some special circumstances of the Jewish plight call for ethnic discrimination and render it a viable and legitimate policy, despite the atrocities it entails.

Future events of this kind, if presented at all, should place Zionist speakers against those who represent the standard arguments against ethnic cleansing and violent state racism as undeniably inherent in the officially Jewish state still forcing its way, through a trail of Palestinian blood, deeper and deeper into multi-ethnic Palestine.

Dave Kersting

Marin County

For God And Country, We Must Change This

Separation of GOD and State is not same as Separation of Church and State. American tax payers are paying some $400,000 to for the Chaplains Offices, so that the chaplains are there to open the legislative sessions with a prayer to God for guidance. And even give guidance in the legislators private lives. But in our schools, where the Nation's future leaders outlook on life is molded, the word God is forbidden. Our leaders should stop this shameful hypocrisy. The Founding Fathers believed in God, but did not want the new Republic to discriminate anyone because of one's RELIGION, (the way to serve God), as was happening in England and many other countries in the world. Separation of Religion (Church), and State is not the same as Separation of God and State. The Native Americans, Moslemism, Judaism, Christianity all encourage to honor and serve God, the maker of heaven and earth, but in different ways. Our God should be honored in our Constitution, as it is in the Declaration of Independence. That should put an end to these frivolous lawsuits, and allow prayers,- and if the tax payers so desire, like for the legislators; even chaplains for the school children.

Eino Salminen.

Lancaster, N.Y

Commends Kinsey On Agriculture

I would like to commend the initiative taken by Supervisor Steve Kinsey in developing proposals to protect our local agricultural resources reported in your paper on 29 October. This is a happy and prudent action which can lead to keeping agriculture viable into the future. I hope that this initiative can be joined with that undertaken by the Marin County Planning Commission reported in the 30 October paper to stop trophy homes in West Marin. I agree with ranchers Peter Martinelli and Martin Pozzi that the county needs to be more responsive to the needs of farmers. Development in West Marin has other consequences as well, Fairfax is impacted by each new home the County allows outside our Town limits. We are forced to provide fire and emergency service while we receive no property tax to pay for these services. The County does pay Fairfax about $32 per new home built on our periphery for fire service, but Fairfax residents pay over $200 per home for fire service. I have just completed a study of wild fires, to be published in Science of the Total Environment in 2002, which documents how development in rural areas increases fire frequency. Increased housing in West Marin which is unrelated to agricultural needs and not clustered in existing developed areas can only increase fire danger.

Niccolo Caldararo

Fairfax, Ca. 94930

America Celebrate Diwali

BOSTON: The Hindu Students Council (HSC) chapters across North America marked Wednesday, November 14, with celebrations of Diwali, the Festival of Lights. Diwali is considered the highlight of five holy days in advance of the arrival of the Hindu New Year on Friday, November 16. Students congregated at HSC chapters on over 50 college campuses for prayer, devotional songs, and the lighting of Diyas, or earthen lamps, to symbolize the victory of knowledge over ignorance, and good over evil.

At the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, over 300 students and community members attended Diwali services and a dinner reception. The occasion had added resonance due to the turmoil since September 11, and the focus of the prayers was for renewal and peace in the coming year. "This [day] is for the entire community, for everybody to come together," said event co-organizer Gaurav Patel, a college sophomore. "It's learning more about the Hindu faith, if nothing else." Students of the college Jain community co-sponsored celebrations as November 14 also marks the day Lord Mahvira, the founder of Jainism attained Nirvana, or eternal salvation.

Sarju Shah, an HSC member at Boston University, reported attendance of over 150 students for prayer services on campus as similar reports continue to arrive from various college campuses throughout North America.

Widely celebrated throughout the Hindu world with fireworks, exchanging of gifts and intricate rangolis (designs made of paint, grains, or flowers), the Diwali festival encompasses worship of the male and female potential and manifestations of God. The Goddess Laxmi is worshipped widely as the divinity in just accumulation and distribution of wealth, and Lord Rama and Krishna for their homecomings following legendary victories over the demons Ravana and Narakasura, respectively.

Campus festivals sponsored by many HSC chapters will culminate this upcoming weekend with evenings of Indian classical music and folk dance.

HSC is a North American organization with chapters at over 50 colleges. HSC provides opportunities to learn about Hindu heritage and culture, foster awareness of issues affecting Hindus, & provide seva (service) to the community. For more info, visit www.hscnet.org. More info. on Hinduism is available at: www.hindunet.org.

Hindu Students Council

Boston, MA

About "The Great Game"

First of all I want to compliment you on your first rate newspaper Coastal Post. I am from New Zealand and staying in Palo Alto with a friend on study leave at Stanford. We visited the coast this weekend and picked up a copy in a pub while there. Both of us are very impressed with the excellent coverage of more thoughtful views in the columns of your paper.

As editor of a journal on ecology and sustainability myself, I am at this point particularly interested in the article The Great Game by Karen Nakamura. The reason for this is that right now I am coordinating an issue of our journal Pacific Ecologist on climate change. In the editorial I refer to the US being at this time

very concerned about security and seeking to form coalitions internationally in the "war on terrorism" - but at the same time the US is obstructive at climate meetings trying to reduce CO2 emissions. Climate change is also very much a matter of global security.

I am therefore very keen to see if we can possibly print in part or wholly Karen Nakamura's article- perhaps as a book review of Ahmed Rashid's book Taliban; "Militant Islam, Oil and Fundamentalism in Central Asia." This "review" would be much appreciated in our journal at this time, being applicable to both the climate issue and the sad cucntry of Afghanistan, so much a focus of attention these days. Would this be possible Perhaps you could send this request to Ms Nakamura for me. If this is possible, can we download it from your website or would you send it to us?

With best regards

Kay Weir

editor, Pacific Ecologist

Military Courts Not Appropriate

President Bush, in asking for the power to establish military courts to try terrorism suspects, is rapidly laying the groundwork for martial law in America --for the suspension of the very rights that make our flag worth defending. Do we trust the people now in control of our government to properly discriminate between real terrorists and those who are, instead, honorable citizens with contrary opinions to express non-violently? The people who now protect us from airborne nail clippers and tweezers will soon be protecting us from members of the Green and Reform parties --then our neighbors and then members of our own families. If this comment seems like a rash overreaction, note that 91 year-old cross-country walker Doris "Granny D" Haddock, who dared suggest that campaign finance reform is needed to clean up the corruption of Congress, is now singled out for hand searches and frisking at every airport. Once it begins, it moves quickly. Surely our freedoms, and the civil rights that guarantee our freedoms, are more endangered by extremists in government than extremists who are, after all, only trying to kill us.

Dennis Burke

Phoenix, Arizona

Israel does NOT Warrant Being Demonized

On 10-9-01, I sent an open letter to Marin County Supervisor Hal Brown re: "Where is the support for us?" At least one newspaper -- the Coastal Post -- printed that letter. However, it has come to my attention, that the following sentence was contained within, which was a typographical error on MY part!

<< Despite the propaganda disseminated by fanatics dedicated to eliminating Israel from the face of the earth, Israel does warrant being demonized for the so-called â"Palestinian" conflict. >>

What I intended to say was clearly "DOES NOT". I apologize for the error, any confusion it may have caused and hope that it can be corrected. Thank you!

Cindy Ross

Fairfax, CA

China Is Getting Away With Wholesale Supermarkets

Let's all feel sorry for Japan's loss of manufacturing businesses to China. China really is a powerhouse. But don't get fooled with the China World Trade connection. Just remember that someone will sooner or later demand that Hong Kong and Macau products be labeled as "Made in China". Does anyone remember the Tooth in Lending program? Let's just call it truth in labeling. We could also add the Northern Maraianas Islands USA since they host over 50,000 Chinese guest working indentured workers and their label should also read Made in China or "Made by Chinese". Let's call a spade a spade.

Dr. Norman E. Mann

San Diego

Not-So-Collateral Damage

The worst thing about the "accidental" Red Cross warehouse bombing in Kabul, is that it was accidental. Since the Taliban kicked out all foreign aid workers such facilities are in the hands of barbaric thugs. That warehouse no longer serves the innocent. It supports tyranny. It must be destroyed, not protected.

Mike Pease

Rome, Italy

This IS War

It is my guess that many of those who protest our response in Afghanistan (as tepid as it is) are too young to remember how wars are won, and how horrible they can and must be. Check your history books. The wars that the United States have won have been fought with our full might, resources and strength. Innocent lives were lost. Governments toppled. Lives changed forever. Post-World War II Germany, along with the ruins of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, are testament to how wars must be fought.

We won against Germany and Japan. We lost in Vietnam. Why? We "targeted" our attacks. We "measured" our response. We dropped leaflets (as far as I know, we did not feed our enemy -- interestingly enough, had anyone done that back then, they would have probably been tried for treason). We fooled ourselves by calling it a "police action" We did not use our full might. Two presidents waffled, skulked and dawdled as our young men were humiliated, shot and left to rot in a jungle on the other side of the world. The enemy scurried off into their huts and laughed at us.

However, not a brick was broken or even one person killed on our soil by Vietnamese forces or German armies. Except for the attack on the military base at Pearl Harbor, not even one American civilian was harmed by Japanese forces on our soil.

To those who say our response must be "measured" and "compassionate" have you turned on the TV lately? Have you taken a look at New York City? Or at the fear in the eyes of our postal workers? Do you have a funny feeling when you open your own mail? We are under attack like never before. The Taliban and their unwashed cohorts hunker down in the mosques we promise not to bomb. They laugh at us for dropping food on them. They despise each and every one of us and would love to see us dead. Their religious leaders have brainwashed the fear of death out of them, making them the worst kind of enemy: an enemy who wants to die.

How do you deter someone like that other than with brute, horrific force to either scare the sense of self-preservation back into them, or give them their wish and dispatch them to their mystical heaven on a mushroom cloud?

We need to bring our biggest bombers into this fight. We need to seriously consider nuclear arms -- not only in that pitiful pit of a country but also in Baghdad and Teheran. Will civilians, Red Cross warehouses and hospitals be hit? Unfortunately, they sure will! Will our enemies sneer at us from the inside of their mosques? Not any more.

This is war. It's not, and cannot be, the Bill and Hillary Clinton sociology experiment of the past eight years. A military organization is, by definition, a killing machine. Before more people die of anthrax, or are hurled into San Francisco Bay if or when the Golden Gate is bombed, or some other beautiful, towering icon to our way of life is leveled, we must allow our military to do its job unfettered by the equivocation, guilt, and unexplainable restraint of our present Commander-in-Chief.

We are capable of leveling any country in this world, three times over, within minutes. What the hell are we afraid of?

W. Robert Yesbek

Personal/Corporate Coach

Columbia MD

Veteran's Day

Somewhere in Afghanistan is a young, tired soldier clinging to a cold, wet rock, trying to get some sleep. His back is more than likely up against his buddy's back so they can "watch" both ways while they catnap. That's the way Special Forces soldiers sleep in the field. Even though they can hear the distant thunder of allied aircraft, there's no real assurance it could save them if necessary. And yet, they are comforted by it.

Overhead somewhere else in the region are air force and navy pilots and crew, flying their missions, their bombs and rockets being guided in by the Special Forces soldier's laser pointers on the ground, hoping like hell they hit their targets and miss civilians.

On the ships the flight crews eagerly await their aircraft's return. The "kids" in the CIC area plot any known air or sea movements. The cooks run a 24 hour kitchen making sure the sailors and marines are well fed.

While somewhere in Pakistan and somewhere else in Uzbekistan, soldiers and marines there are once again grumbing "oh joy, rice again" as a main part of their meal. They wonder if the supply folks back home will ever get the food they know and love to them.

And of course back home, the supply folks are wondering where in the blazes the forward troops have moved to again, so that they can indeed get them their food and much needed supplies shipped out as quickly as possible on the next freighter heading that way.

And so the Coasties watch and guard those freighters as they go by, making sure their critical passages in and out of ports are safe and quick.

Each soldier, sailor, airman and marine share a common oath: supporting and defending the Constitution of the United States. And each share a common goal - not war, but peace.

And it is on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month that I ask all of us to take a moment of silence and utter a prayer for our service men and women, utter a prayer for peace.

Dorian J. Cougias

Veteran

War Profiteering

In this time of national crisis, amid calls for sacrifice, we're deeply troubled by the choices of the Republican party's right-wing leadership. Here's their idea of an economic stimulus package*:

$1.4 billion for IBM

$833 million for General Motors

$671 million for General Electric

$572 million for Chevron Texaco

$254 million for Enron

This is war profiteering, and it's just plain wrong. Yet the House has just approved it, on a virtual party line vote, ending the recent spirit of cooperation in Congress. Speak up with us before the Senate acts:

http://www.moveon.org/warprofiteering/

Last week, while our nation was reeling from the Anthrax threat, the House voted to repeal the Alternative Minimum Tax on corporations. This law normally requires hugely profitable companies to pay at least some tax, no matter how many loopholes they can find. Its repeal would allow many companies to pay zero US income tax in perpetuity - a loss of more than $12 billion in revenue next year alone.

The repeal is retroactive, so companies would get rebates of all the Alternative Minimum Tax they've paid for the last 15 years. The numbers above are a sampling of these rebates.

The House also voted to allow corporations to store their profits overseas as a tax shelter. That's right - this "stimulus" would actually take money out of the US economy. It's backwards.

The right approach to stimulus is to put more money in the hands of everyday people who need it most - by expanding unemployment insurance, for example. People living marginally will spend it quickly on consumer goods, so it circulates through the economy, benefiting everyone.

Helping people would make economic sense. Giving billions in tax breaks to America's biggest corporations doesn't.

The Senate could vote on stimulus as early as this week. Speak up at: http://www.moveon.org/warprofiteering/

Thank you. We must all fight this together.

Wes Boyd

MoveOn.org

* Source: Citizens for Tax Justice. See our website for details.

 

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