Coastal Post Online

April 2001

Letters By Readers

Betraying The Community's Trust

On March 23rd the Marin Independent Journal published an alarming letter by M.P. Fitzgerald, calling for the ban of Marin's horses from "fire roads and single-track trails" in order to stop the spread of hoof and mouth disease and prevent of the loss of the county's livestock and its tule elk and deer populations. Adding to the hysteria, Fitzgerald warned that unless the ban were adopted, the lives of young and elderly hikers would be menaced by horses "weighing many hundreds of pounds and foaming mad with an infection." He added that the Marin water supply was also in peril because, should the disease break out, the watershed would have to be sprayed with pesticides.

Clearly, Fitzgerald is no farmer or cattleman. If he were he would know that horses don't contract hoof and mouth disease and that pesticides are not used to kill the virus; any veterinarian would have told him. His reference to "single track trails," however, makes it highly likely that he is a mountain biker who, like so many others, harbors hostility toward equestrians who, bikers mistakenly believe, are responsible for federal, state, and county policies prohibiting bicycle traffic on hiking trails. The history of bitter conflict between mountain bikers and others who visit Marin's parks and open spaces is nothing new; most certainly not to the Marin IJ. In the past the paper has featured many stories on the conflict and has published countless letters from cyclists. Like Fitzgerald's, no small number have been false and misleading. Few, however, have been as alarming and inflammatory.

Whether he is a cyclist or not, Fitzgerald should know that although his freedom of speech is protected by the First Amendment, he is obliged to exercise that freedom responsibly. That he chose not to is disappointing, but how very, very sad it is to discover that the Marin IJ, in printing Fitzgerald's alarming and misleading letter, chose to be just as irresponsible. One cannot help but wonder - what's the matter with them over there? Don't they know any better? What can that paper's publisher possibly be thinking!!

Frank Lurz

309 Todd Way

Mill Valley, CA 94941

(415) 389-8311

You've Got To Be Kidding!

What a selfish kook this equestrian is for wanting to ban dogs from open space! You who give equestrians a bad name to bikers and other land users... Dogs are as American as apple pie and are family members to most households.

Learn to share and if your horse is out of control, then it's you who should leave your horse at home or in the corral. More dogs than horses are out there and hopefully they are of well trained temperament. Bike riders, horseback riders, hikers should always use courtesy and common sense so that it won't always be a war. The open space is everyone's and not a private country club for horses only. It's only a matter of time for the voices of others to be heard and the impact will be felt. Don't fool yourself just because you are one of the privileged few to own a horse. It's you who are in the minority. Why don't you and Teri go and save the dolphins or something more useful with your time?

Sophia Ezra

Great Cap Market Article

Great article on the Cap market! I would like to make the comment that the failed socialist systems were under attack by capitalist forces from day one.

The Soviet system in eastern Europe was literally attacked by the US and Britain even before the Bolsheviks seized power in Russia. As soon as Russian troops withdrew from the front in WW1-1 the fight was on. Had these systems been allowed to develop sans the relentless overt and covert attacks... would they have had the negative characteristics that we all are aware of?

I would love to hear more from you! Great work!

Wil Van Natta

Reality News Network..

"What the corporate owned press won't tell you"

North Palm Beach, Florida 33408

[email protected]

An Appeal for Humanity

On behalf of millions of TB patients, most of whom live in the Third World Countries, I appeal to you to kindly publish some information on Tuberculosis (TB), whatever you deem fit, on or around the World TB Day which falls on 24th of March.

The TB germ is not a powerful germ. Its strength to harm man lies in its modus operandi remaining hidden. You have the power to bring it out in the open and help the world conquer it before its Resistant forms plunge us back to the pre-antibiotic era!

Here are 8 true life-stories of TB patients, modified slightly if at all, so as to deliver the message effectively. Each story covers one aspect of the problem. To read these touching stories click on the

Dr. Raman Kakar

Haryana (India)

Email : [email protected]

The Capitalist Market

I read your piece on capitalism and it's cannibalistic ways. You seem to have a grasp of the field and I thought that you might be able to help me. I'm new at economics and it seems to me that you might be able to direct me to the proper sources. I've had no more than semester of micro and macro-economics and some economics on labor.

I have been looking for economic models that track the impact of the wealthy on the economy. I there are models of this kind, do they track the impact of the wealthy on economies historically? Can you help me? I have also looked for economic simulations that might help me gage the use of money by different ethnic groups or families.

Earl Shepherd


Temporary Building Moratorium

The California energy crises is solvable if the elected officials can wean themselves from the handouts of the land barons and mega developers. Every new electric and gas installation drives up the price of the utilities because there is a diminishing amount of energy for those whose fixtures are in place now. Today, if the politicians would impose a building and hook up moratorium I promise you that these affluent developers would find a way of increasing the supply of megawatts and therms. Just the way inflation is created by having too much money chasing too few products causes inflation.

For some reason local, county and state governments which have no qualms of imposing a sewer moratorium when there is not enough capacity, balk at the same development limits for energy starved communities. Growth must be stopped and let the chips fall where they may. Maybe energy should be rationed. The poor are taking a beating and are suffering the most while the affluent can survive with a minimum of problems. Why haven't the people spoken out? Why has UCAN sat on the sidelines as the evil game plan was being worked out?

* * *

Tax Exempt Gain The Most

Sooner or later Robert Reich and the other Wall Street bankers as well as the lobbyists for the working people of America will come to realize that each needs each other for this country's economy to move forward. Neither side wants top kill the "Golden Goose" of an ever increasing upward business cycles. Interest rate increase by the Fed may not be the answer. Inventories of consumer goods are growing and the only way to stimulate an up turn even with the tax rebate and let's say lower interest rates is to sell the Ford idea of "You ought to buy now" Do you remember? In addition Americans must adhere to concept of "psychological obsolescence." Unless more people will replace consumer good that are not worn out for newer models we will sink deeper into a depression. So get out and spend to save our economy.

Dr. Norman E. Mann MIP

San Diego

Hearing In Court Hearings

As I reflect on the performance of Paula Kamena as Marin County District Attorney, another example of why she should be recalled came to mind. I am hearing-impaired and wear a hearing aid. As anyone who uses one will tell you, it isn't perfect. Whenever I am a participant in a judicial proceeding or observing one, I often need the use of an assistive listening device. California law -- having nothing to do with the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990 -- requires state courts to provide people like me with one; not just physically, but that works. Until about two years ago, the Marin Courts had portable units which, because they had their own special microphone, worked perfectly if the microphone was properly placed. About two years ago, for no practical reason whatsoever, these functional units were traded-in by the Chief Executive Officer of the Marin County Courts, John Montgomery, for ones that use the microphones in the courtrooms. Because almost no one regularly uses the microphones, including the judges, and it is not appropriate for me to constantly interrupt judicial proceedings to ask the judge to use the microphone and order other people to do the same (I have tried and have been ejected from the courtroom every time) the new systems are, as a practical matter, useless.

California law permits a person "aggrieved or potentially aggrieved" by not being provided with a functional assistive listening device to sue the California court that does not comply with these laws. Further, the law also empowers the District Attorney to sue on their behalf. By formal letter I asked Paula Kamena to file a lawsuit to protect my civil rights, as is her function as the District Attorney. She refused. So, the situation remains unchanged and I often can't understand what is being said during a court proceeding in which I am an interested observer.

In my view, a District Attorney who enforces laws based on whim, favoritism, and a penchant for a high conviction rate -- rather than uniformity -- ought to be recalled.

Sanford Gossman

San Rafael

IJ Coverage Of Hamilton Toxics

As a concerned step-parent of a child at the Novato Charter School on the former Hamilton Air Force Base, I protest the IJ's coverage and slant on the issue of toxic substances at Hamilton.

IJ Publisher Roger Grossman, according to the current Marin Conservation League News, is publicly discussing 'increasing environmental presence in the media'. Then why does it take two front page articles in the SF Chronicle (Feb. 25 & 28) before the IJ finally reports (on March 1) that toxic contamination is impacting Hamilton home construction?

Further, the Chronicle accurately reports that the methane-leaking landfill in question contains major toxics including PCB's, fuel residue, pesticides and solvents, whereas your article merely describes it as containing 'construction debris' ... quite a discrepancy. I can only wonder at this seemingly deliberate 'spin'.

Increasing numbers of parents at the Novato Charter School question our planned relocation to a site within a quarter mile of this landfill and directly adjacent to an MTBE plume. If Mr. Grossman is truly committed to the practice of improved environmental coverage, why not start with timely objectivity on Hamilton's toxic contamination? It currently appears that the IJ reacts with 'damage control' only after the Chronicle takes action... and then deletes facts concerning highly the carcinogenic materials only a couple stone throws from the IJ offices!

L.B. Keilman

San Rafael, CA 94903

Iraqi Hoof And Mouth

There was an outbreak of hoof and mouth disease in Iraq that was well described in your publication. I have to wonder whether the US policies in Iraq, that denied them the drugs and equipment needed to contain that outbreak, wasn't implicated in this global outbreak of this disease.

Maureen Reilly


Check Your Sources On Recall

I strongly urge you to check your sources before printing an article. While Sanford Gossman may have filed a suit in federal court naming who knows how many defendants, Mr. Gossman is no stranger to the court process. If your reporter would have checked the files in the Marin County courts he would have discovered that Gossman has filed numerous, baseless litigation over the past years, including suits against almost all the judges in Marin, employees of the clerk's office, and many others who he perceives to have wronged him. In the 1980's he was declared a vexatious litigant by the Marin County Superior Court.

Mr. Gossman is probably the best known non-attorney in the halls of the court, and is probably better known by the judges and court personnel than most of the attorneys in the county. His reliability as a witness to perceived wrongdoing by the District Attorney, or any other official in Marin County, would have been placed in serious question if some background checking were undertaken.

I am sending this email without a signature as I do not have the time to be on his litigation list should he discover the author of this message. You should also beware of falling victim to his penchant for suing everyone.

No Name provided for publication

Would Like To Hear From Mr. Nuyens

I have recently seen your articles. I found myself asking why you had not called me in view of the many concerns you have about the way the District Attorney's Office has been conducted since I have been installed as DA. I do return the calls that I get. I keep politics out of the office, so when most reporters call, I meet them outside the office. I do not know if we will agree, but in the interest of balanced reporting, if you would like to know my position on just about anything please free to call.

The best day time number to call at is 499-6788. I don't know if you will believe what I have to say, but I prefer you to write as a fully informed reporter.

Paula Kamena

Marin County District Attorney

Taliban Following Principles

It is surprising to see many nations condemning Taliban for destroying priceless ancient Buddha statues in Afghanistan. The Taliban, admittedly following Islam, deem any statue to be un-Islamic. The destruction of statues may be shocking, but it should not be surprising. This is the logical culmination of an Islamic state. Anyway, what good are heathen statues when there are no unbelievers left to worship them?

An Islamic state evolves from a Muslim-majority population to an all-Muslim population. If there is no place for unbelievers in an Islamic state, obviously there will be no place for their religious artifacts. Yet nations like Pakistan portray themselves as 'moderate Muslim democracies'. In a democracy, all are equal. In an Islamic state, there is no place for unbelievers. So the term 'Muslim democracy' is simply a ruse to dupe a gullible world. Adding the adjective 'moderate' to this term adds insult to injury.

On the tenth anniversary of Kuwait's liberation, Secretary of State Colin Powell observed that freedom is alive and well in that part of the world, and shall remain so. But even the US troops in Saudi Arabia - an ally and dependent - are forced to celebrate occasions like Christmas surreptitiously. This is hardly freedom. The events in Afghanistan are a warning that eventually this kind of 'freedom' and 'moderation' is the fate of the entire world.

Mac Kher

Bloomington, IL

Appalled at Proposed Flood Walls/Levees

I am appalled that the County is considering building flood walls and levees along the Corte Madera Creek and the State Ecological Reserve in Corte Madera and Larkspur. This proposal seems extreme and is certainly not a remedy for the flooding that occasionally occurs. The County needs to look at what is causing the water to back up on the streets - poor drainage? - deficient pumps? - a freeway at Lucky Drive that often needs to be repaved because it is slowly sinking? - holes and cracks in the freeway that need to be plugged to keep tidal waters out? - thirty feet of freeway asphalt sitting on the bay mud and silt? This extreme proposal does nothing to address these salient issues.

The environmental impact of this proposed project would be significant. There are Coho salmon and steelhead in the Corte Madera Creek, both of which are endangered species. The salt marsh harvest mouse and California clapper rail will also be adversely impacted by this project. There will be a loss of trees and plants. There will be impaired access to the Greenbrae Boardwalk, not to mention the impact this would have on those who live on Lucky Drive. And the flood walls will be an eye sore for the community.

Bunny Sandrock

Corte Madera

Voelker Sets the Record Straight

(Note to Editor Don Deane: On Feb. 12, 2001, I was used as a poster boy for what's wrong with Proposition 215. Given the obvious conservative bias of the Marin I.J., they have refused to print my response, and continue to inaccurately report the facts. I would appreciate it if you would print my response. Thanks.)

Here's Mr. Voelker's side:

This is regarding the opinion of Pat Field Ravasio which was reported on the opinion page in Feb. 12, 200 issues of the Marin Independent Journal. Since it was my picture and case being discussed and criticized, I would like the opportunity to respond and express a different, "Marin Voice." It is time to stop the vilification of marijuana. It is probably the most useful plant in the world. I challenge anyone to name a more useful one. As a medicine (much to the chagrin of some), it is effective at treating a variety of ills, including asthma, depression, chronic pain, as an appetite stimulant, nausea, insomnia, glaucoma, and seizures. These are just some of the ones I can think of off the top of my head.

Only the soybean rivals marijuana as a food source. Twenty-five percent of marijuana seed is protein. This protein has all nine essential amino acids. On top of that, hemp seeds are the richest source of essential fatty acids in the entire plant kingdom. These amazing seeds contain a near perfect composition of essential fatty acids, linoleic acid (Omega 6) and alpha linolenic acid (Omega 3). The Omega oils have been reported to help fight cancer.

It has also been used to make strong and durable clothing. In Europe, fiberboard, used in the construction industry, is made with hemp fibers. The fibers can also be turned into paper which would ease our dependence on the tree for paper products.

Recent Federal studies have concluded marijuana is not a gateway drug. The fact of the matter is, no one has ever died from marijuana consumption. Can we say that about societies' sanctioned drugs cigarettes and alcohol? Given the reality of its many uses, it is time to get the proverbial ostrich head out of the sand and face the facts. This reefer-madness mentality that afflicts the conservative religious right as well as law enforcement and most other government entities has got to stop. We have all been told if you don't know your history, you're bound to repeat it. It doesn't look like we learned anything from prohibition. The war on marijuana has been a colossal failure and a huge waste of manpower and resources.

I would like to clear up some misinformation that has been repeatedly reported. The Twin Cities Police Chief Phil Green has stated that I'm just using the system and that I'm not legitimate in my medicinal use of marijuana. I couldn't disagree more. The fact of the matter is I was born with the congenital defect of stenosis which is essentially a smaller than normal nerve cell opening in my spinal column. Couple my stenosis with twenty-five years in the construction industry and twenty years as a union cement mason. I've had five or six major injuries over the course of my career, requiring medical attention and extensive rehabilitation. My MRI indicates I have stenosis, degenerative discs, and three bulging discs. Thus, I do suffer chronic pain in my lower back every day. I've tried numerous traditional pharmaceuticals including Percodan, Talwin, Toradol, Vicodin, Viox, Naprosyn, Ibuprofen, Aspirin, etc. I prefer marijuana because it is one hundred percent natural and it affects the same receptor sites in the brain as do the opiates, only it has far less severe side effects and it's not nearly so addictive. It has also been falsely reported that I got legal after my arrest. I have been under a doctor's care all along; I was merely getting my six-month update which is required for being in the good graces of the Marin Alliance for Medical Marijuana. In San Francisco you only need an update every two years.

It has also been reported that I got back fourteen mature plants and this was not the case. All fourteen were chopped down when they were immature and as such they are worthless. Of the one ripe plant returned, there was only a little over two ounces of bud - this is a far cry from police estimates of five pounds per plant!

I also resent and reject the insinuations that I might be less than a desirable neighbor. I am, in fact, the antithesis of the stereotypical image of a lazy pothead. The reality is I'm a good neighbor and have been active in my community as well. Being a father is one of the best things that I do and certainly the most rewarding. I've helped raise five children, all of whom are well adjusted and successful. I'm also a continuing student at the College of Marin where have a three point seven g.p.a. I'm invited every year to join the Alpha Gamma Honor Society. I'm also a licensed general contractor and an accomplished musician as well. I don't belong in jail. I think I'm part of what's right with Proposition 215 - not what's wrong with it.

Newspaper reports have incorrectly indicated the police left me six plants. In fact, they left me two live plants and four cuttings that had no root system and subsequently all four cuttings died. They took the one and only ripe plant and took all my bud. The one half pound of leaf they left was only good for making a tincture. I also question the timing of the police raid. They assumed I would be home, but I had left for work hours before their raid. So instead of confronting me, twelve armed agents in flack jackets confronted my eight year old god-daughter and her twenty-two year old brother, and my stepson who was home for the summer and is a senior in college. Police assertions that I would have had eighty pounds is absurd. These kinds of comments are not accurate or helpful and insinuate I'm some sort of drug dealer. This certainly is not the case. If it were, do you think I'd still be living in the R.V. park and working full time in the construction industry with a bad back?

Robert Voelker


US Tyranny

The US Government has taken over the role of oppressive tyrant, equivalent to that of King George of Great Britain 230 years ago, in the modern day role of military and money intervention in Columbia, Iraq, and other poorer nations.

The founders of this nation fought a war of revolution against the very form of tyranny which the US Government is now practicing around the world to loot the energy "spoils," as the alleged sole remaining "super power." There is nothing new about the latest form of oppression practiced by the bullying US Government onto itself. Blood was shed thousands of years ago in similar circumstances in the Roman Empire, and these last days of the Roman Empire are no different than those of the Greek and Prussian Empires.

Mark Twain in 1900 wrote about US imperialism in his paper, "To the Person Sitting in Darkness." Back then, it was the US Government waging war in Cuba, as it still wages economic/social war upon the Cuban citizenry; and about waking the "sleeping" giant of China.

The story of the "strong" (spiritually weak) waging war upon the poor is as old as the ages. In "modern" civilization, the only difference is the disparate technology used to wage money war. Nowadays, computers are a main source means of invasion into people's individual and national lives. Yet a stone from David's slingshot can still break the computerized "brains" of Goliath. One would think that the American people would have learned such from the Vietnam War, yet constituent "representatives" apparently have not yet learned anything other than the lie of money talk.

In this nation, a man cannot even get a jury trial or proof of any crime prior to indefinite illegal imprisonment by the demented government agents in the land of the "free." And so such US Government which does not care about individual people's/citizen's rights, obviously does not respect people's national and individual rights around the world. The vicious politicians/officials only concerns are about how much wool they can pull over the public's "eye," while they stuff their pockets with solicited "contributions."

The USA was founded on the principle ideals of freedom for all people within the nation, wherein lies some of the problem. Just as back in the 1700 and 1800's, when the government did not recognize the native people's rights, the same holds today in Columbia, Iraq, and other non-USA nations; similar to the Iroquoian or Cherokee Nations of old.

Greed still rules.

The problem with the rich ruling is that ideals are soon left to rot by the wayside. Because it is "easier" to violate people for the sake of money than it is for the greedy to check themselves.

Mark Andrew Hall


"Depressing" Truths

Got a fascinating book for your readers: "I Don't Want to Talk About It," by Terrence Real, subtitled, "Overcoming the Secret Legacy of Male Depression." Real, a therapist, states that between 60 to 80 percent of people with depression never seek help. As a man who has suffered from depression for years and sought much treatment, I see why so many people, men especially, do not seek help. Seeking help for depression can feel humiliating.

Doing psychotherapy or taking medication can be helpful on personal level, but on a public or social levels, the price can be inordinately high. As Real observes in his book, Americans do not like men to be vulnerable or to admit to emotional pain: "He who has been brought down by [pain] will most likely see himself as shameful, and so, too, may his family and friends, even the mental health profession." True in my case.

I cannot imagine any other disease, save other mental illnesses, being as inherently shame-filled by the culture at large than depression. Even knowing that my depression originates mostly from growing up with a psychologically abusive alcoholic father does not ease the fact that my disease is negatively stigmatized by my culture.

Treatment itself can be inherently shaming. Psychotherapy focuses primarily on what is "wrong" with the client. A therapist I saw for many months who concluded I had been spiritually abused by my father still felt compelled to tell me that I was hard to be around. Medication can help ease depression (or simply numb it?), but I have found psychiatrists to be cold, distant people, and medication itself always has side effects.

Whether or not to seek treatment for depression is definitely a damned-if-you-do-damned-if-you-don't proposition in my opinion. To seek treatment is to risk identifying with the disease and its shame-filled cultural stigma, but to avoid treatment is to risk a worsening of symptoms or for the potential to develop additional illness such as alcohol or drug dependence. The ultimate Catch 22.

Alex Caylee

San Rafael

The Real Village Idiot

Antonio R. Serna titled his article in the March 1 issue, "As the Village Idiot Sees It." I don't know Mr. Serna. I was willing to assume his title was hyperbole until I read it, and then I learned that he really is a village idiot.

I'm taking you to task, Mr. Serna, on several issues:

First, your choice of literary comparisons from Gulliver's Travels - George W. as a Lilliputian, Clinton as a giant - is your attempt to assign Clinton superior status over Bush. However, if you had read the book, you would have known that the tiny Lilliputians had great intellects and abilities, while the giants (the Brobdingnagians) were rather slow-witted. By the end of his term, George W.'s ratings may be great or poor, but it is wrong to judge him after only two months on the job. As for your giant of a president, Mr. Clinton, you can honor him however you wish, but his presidency will forever be tainted by the scandals, dishonesty, and personal conduct during his tenure. Lilliputians or giants? Give me the little guys any day.

Next, you apparently believe that democracy and capitalism are antithetical. True capitalism can only work within a framework of democracy. The article you wrote is an expression of democracy. The newspaper that printed it is an example of capitalism - charging fees for advertisers to promote their capitalistic goals, encouraging readers to donate money, paying staffers and suppliers, etc. The Coastal Post might not be the greatest capitalistic success story; but without it, you would have no paper to read.

You show contempt for the Rule of Law and for the Justices of the Supreme Court. The law can cut both ways. Mr. Gore was hardly the first candidate to win the popular vote but lose the election, and he probably won't be the last. It was not a pretty way to win an election, but George W.'s victory was legal. If you don't like the law, exercise your legal rights to effect changes.

You stated that Governor Jeb Bush was personally responsible for making certain that the ballots in Florida were punched with holes that no one could understand, and that "most of the holes were covered by chads..." That is rubbish. Neither Jeb Bush in Florida nor Gray Davis in California had anything to do with the selection of voting equipment and ballots in their states. Those were determined by local officials, and the election boards in Florida's Miami and Dad Counties are Democrat Party controlled. In Marin County, we used the very same punch cord systems until a year ago, but no one here complained. And no one would have complained last November in Florida if Mr. Gore had been winning in the final hours of the election. It was a razor-thin election, the laws were observed, the ballots were counted (some of them multiple times), and George Bush won. Get over it!

You hope for a Bill Clinton return to the White House in 2004 is not worth debating. And your dismissal of the Clinton pardon issues as "all constitutional and legal" (what happened to your disdain for the Rule of Law?) demonstrates you are in total denial of the truth, sir. In closing, I have to agree with your final statement about the outcome of the election: "The American people and the whole world know about it." Yes they do, and that is why most of the people are quite happy about it.

Robert Kuchem


P.S. I don't always agree with your paper, but I enjoy it. Keep up the good work.


To the Victors Belong the Spoils

Hardly 57 days in office and it is already very obvious who are 43rd president is deeply committed to serve. Not that any knowledgeable political pundit is surprised about it. The man is simply paying back the people who put him in power and it is only fair that these people should cash in on their carefully planned investment. The American people cannot expect their incumbent president to be grateful to them. They did not give him their mandate. They actually elected Vice President Al Gore to be their president, by a whopping majority of over half a million votes. This is not even including the millions that were systematically disenfranchised by the "rule of law." Had it not been for the power of big money and the magical resources of the political machinery that backed George W. Bush up in the last elections, Al Gore and not "Dubya" Bush would not be sitting n the oval office.

It was a case of the people's mandate versus the "rule of law." Pit the power of the people against the authority of the US Supreme Court in a game called "The Rule of Law," and one can essentially predict the outcome. Why we allowed the Supreme Court to reverse the decision of the American people in a presidential election is a national tragedy. But that is not the point in question. It was constitutional. It was legal. Let's accept it. The American people lost. And big money won. To the victors, naturally belong the spoils.

Antonio R. Serna

Rohnert Park

Drop The Inciting Parts Of Koran

There are two types of followers of any ideology. Some critically evaluate different aspects of the ideology and accept only those parts which are sensible and rational. But there are others who uncritically accept the entire package without bothering about the validity of all the principles involved. Such followers have an all or nothing attitude. For them, a person has to accept the ideology in its entirety to be considered one of them.

Most of the followers of any ideology fall in the second category. This is especially true in case of religious ideologies where the source of the ideas is purported to be divine. For such people, any partial agreement is not enough. They have a take it or leave it approach. Islam is based upon absolute total acceptance of Koran and Prophet Mohammed. The Islamic jihadi terrorist movements around the world use exactly this attitude of the masses to unleash terror on non-Muslims. Systematic massacres, bombings, ambushes and ethnic cleansing by Islamic terrorists are routine.

The political fronts of these Islamic terrorists talk diplomacy and fool the world. Simultaneously, internally they incite the masses based on the Koranic philosophy of slaying the infidels (Koran 9/15). The principals of Islam cloak their inhuman destructive acts under a veneer of religion. All of us should read the Koran and see for ourselves the destruction of non-Muslims called for by it. The Muslim masses should be educated about this inhumanity as well. Unless they come forward and drop the inciting verses of Koran, peace is not possible.

Rachel Weinstein

Peoria IL 61604

Bush Tax Cut Will be Bigger Than Predicted

I believe that the Bush tax cut will be even bigger than he has predicted. For example, with the stock market having lost several trillion dollars in value, many middle and high-income families with get the "benefit" of writing off their market losses. This will not only save them the expense of sending their kids

to college, which they can no longer afford to do, but will give them an additional $3000 deduction every year for the rest of their life as they slowly deduct the money the lost.

Additionally, as the country slips into a recession. many people who have been in the high income brackets will have the tax "benefit" of moving to a lower income bracket. If you have less income --- you have less income to pay taxes on. And that's an across the board tax cut that benefits everyone.

The Bush plan also solves two problems created by the Clinton administration. It eliminates this new "disease" called "sudden wealth syndrome" --- and --- it will solve once and for all the problem of what to do with the surplus. I think there's one fact we all can agree on --- that we're as sure that the Bush tax plan will help the economy as we are that Bush won the election.

Marc Perkel

San Francisco Ca.

Cheap Senior Drug Scam?

The news brief titled "Seniors use email for prescription drugs" in your recent issue caught my eye. I think you should be aware that this web site, while teasing you with a list of very low prescription drug

prices, does not tell you where to buy them, but only offers you the opportunity to purchase a book that supposedly will give you this information. This looks like a scam plan and simple to me. You might

take the 60 seconds to look at web sites like this before you publish (and promote) them in your paper. I see the distinct likelihood of being ripped off for a useless publication that probably serves only to enrich

the publisher.

Michael Percy

Inverness, CA 94937

<[email protected]>

Curve Balls From The Bush

Our president George W. Bush is coming to Milwaukee. On opening day to throw the first pitch at Miller Park. The question is what pitch is he going to throw a curve or a slider or will it be a sinker. These are the pitches that President George W. Bush has pitched to American people the curve ball he threw to the American people said he would protect the environment He changed his mind. The slider he's trying to slide in a tax cut before we have a budget. The sinker he downplayed the economy so much an even the Army in a way this makes the people insecure. The American people want a pitch right down the center and that will satisfy everyone.

George Clark

Hartford WI


Firearms Training For Kids

School shootings and other accidents and assaults with firearms make clear the need for universal firearms training.

All children, from fifth grade through high school, need weekly training in firearms use and firearms safety, including live-fire practice for junior and senior high school students. Training must stress firearms safety and shooter responsibility and can be patterned after hunter education courses offered by the various state Departments of Conservation and national firearms associations.

School shootings are the result of decades of liberal attitudes which excuse people for responsibility for their own actions.

Firearms restriction and confiscation must never happen. Weapons confiscation historically ALWAYS precedes mass-murder of citizens by their own government.

William F. Jud

Fredericktown MO

An Open Letter To The Board and Membership Of The Social Justice Center

Your February 25 "teach-in," "Palestine & Israel, What the Media Don't Tell Us," met our expectations. The credentials of the speakers were nice, as is the effort that goes into arranging these events.

But the "teach-in" was a fraud, as it inevitably had to be, since its organizers angrily excluded those who tried to discuss the primary cause of the Mid-east conflict: the fundamental racism of a "Jewish" settler-state forced into multi-ethnic Palestine. When we asked SJC leaders if they would protest Israel's official "ethnic discrimination," they flew into obscenities and livid threats of violence. Apparently, they had not heard the culpability of "the Jewish State" identified in such plain progressive terms before.

The media have never hidden the fact that Israel was founded as an officially "Jewish" settler-state, forced into Palestine through violent "displacement" of non-Jewish locals. Nor would anything of that kind be allowed here. Nor can it be denied that each day the displaced victims are prevented from returning to what's left of their homes, because they're not "Jewish," is another day of gross ethnic violence against them. Nor is it conceivable that we can bring progress on any related issue, like Iraq, while the primary US-Israeli attacks against the region continue unprotested. But even at the SJC, this common-sense is so fogged in media rationales, that when we applied the ineluctable words, "ethnic discrimination," to "a Jewish State in multi-ethnic Palestine," they were suddenly seen to apply so horribly, across decades of catastrophic Israeli "self-defense," they may have sounded like sarcastic euphemism.

Our SJC contacts could make no denial, but they refused to rethink their long-standing support for an officially racist Israel; or rather, they refused to hear ideas that show its incompatibility with the principles of "social justice." It is that violent privilege they upheld, not the best interests of the Jewish people, by excluding elementary progressive ideas from the planning of their "teach-in," and by refusing to protest their tax-support for Israel's overt ethnic war against the population of Palestine even after these issues were, so belatedly, thrust upon their unwilling attention.

Some SJC members later offered that the "teach-in" might gather data needed for a sound position, but that was only a dodge. As the main principles, already inherent in the elementary facts of the conflict, were banned from the event, it could only further muddle the issues it claimed to address. Even the worst media tricks had to go unmentioned: that is, not their ability to "not tell" us things, but the power of "spin" to dull moral comprehension, when horrific realities are too obvious to be denied. The title of the event, "What the Media Don't Tell Us," addressed only the weakest tricks. In overlooking the inherent racism of a "Jewish" settler-state in Palestine, the "teach in" organizers had to ignore the same kind of oversight, used by their counterparts in the media, to make the mainstream public undervalue the significance of overt wrongs.

David Glick's speech decried Israel's "discrimination" against its Arab citizens and the "apartheid" Israel maintains in "the occupied territories." It ignored the violence Israel inflicts on the displaced Palestinians, in order to maintain its dominant "Jewish" identity, by preventing them from returning to their homes; and Glick deceptively deleted this crucial "right of return" from his list of Palestinian demands. The Mid-east conflict can't be understood, nor can any argument for Mid-east justice hold together, nor does peace have a chance, through "oversight" of the primary issues! In fact, Israel's racist factions delete the main issues precisely because understanding, justice, and peace require an end to the racist identity of Israel.

As long as Israel is dominated by those who define "independence" as violent ethnic dominion, nothing can reduce its "need" for brutal "security," against any real Palestinian independence, and against any Mid-east country's arrival in the Twenty-first Century. That brutality also requires the gross censorship we have now seen in the SJC, blasting gory holes in "holistic" progress.

History shows that both sides will be trapped in a cycle of horrors as long as the initial injustice continues: and this is true, no matter what special excuse is claimed for that injustice. And our unqualified support for Israel gives a deciding advantage to Israeli extremists who achieve prominence by creating facts that cannot bear scrutiny. The supposed security afforded by unfair "Jewish" dominion over land areas of Palestine is actually the provocation by which Israeli opportunists perpetuate Jewish fear and make Israel depend on them for "self-defense" against the human rights of their victims.

We who finance Israeli policy must demand that our tax-support be used to promote justice and peace, for the sake of Israelis and Palestinians alike. This obliges us to stop violating the Palestinian right of return all the more because that would end the prejudicial "Jewish" identity of Israel-Palestine, which distorts the historic identity of the region, and is, itself, an act of war. We should be able to see, by now, that security and peace will require equal respect for the human rights of Jews, Arabs, and others, in a multi-ethnic Israel-Palestine, with Jerusalem as the shared capital.

Discussion of these ideas can only produce a clear distinction between support for social justice and support for violent state-racism. David Glick and others ended discussion when that distinction started getting too clear, but that only exhibits, in the most ignominious way, the regressive mentality it is meant to shield. An indolent "Social Justice Center," or politically-correct social club, maintaining shallow views on serious issues, would be worse than none at all.

Perhaps some SJC people had hoped that the "teach-in" would resolve the issues we have been trying to raise: It has, instead, verified our worst doubts.

We would like to repeat our inquiry as to the correct procedure for local social justice activists to discuss social justice issues, of utmost local and international importance, with the Social Justice Center of Marin.

Dave Kersting, Tom Kersting, Diane Buroff, and Sophia van der Harst

Marin County

Support Nike, Buy Shoes

Anyone who really cares about "sweatshop workers" and "child laborers" should buy Nike shoes, and support Nike. In fact, Anyone who wants the "sweatshop workers" and "child laborers" to have a raise in pay, should pay more for Nike shoes. The Nike "sweatshop" custom shoes controversy was reported in a typically shallow and unlibertarian manner. No one dealt with the obvious question: If Nike stops using the so-called "sweatshops" will that solve anything? If Nike stops using the "sweatshops" will the sweatshop workers have to find jobs elsewhere and work harder and take a pay cut due to the sudden loss of their Nike jobs? Will the brainless bleeding-hearts only succeed in causing the sweatshop workers to be fired? Will the sweatshop workers take harder work elsewhere under worse conditions? Will the "child laborers" become paupers, pushers, panhandlers and prostitutes?

One bleeding heart taunts Nike by saying: "Could you please send me a color snapshot of the ten-year-old Vietnamese girl who makes my shoes?" If the girl loses her job, or if bad publicity causes Nike to lose enough business to let the girl go, then the "bleeding heart" should be taunted thusly: "Could you please send me a color snapshot of the ten-year-old Vietnamese girl panhandling or walking the street as a prostitute?"

Notice how the "bleeding hearts" who claim to care so much about the workers in the sweatshops never have any quotes of support from the people they are supposedly trying to help? Notice how the "bleeding hearts" who claim to care so much about the workers in the sweatshops never have any better job offers for the workers? The "bleeding hearts" have no proposal to invest in any shoe company or any company at all to demonstrate how they would pay more to the sweatshop workers. All one hears from the "bleeding hearts" is a request that you boycott Nike and help the sweatshop workers lose their jobs.

Some westerners who complain about foreign sweatshops have an ulterior motive: they want to protect high-paying western jobs by stopping the sweatshop workers and child laborers and the competition that they provide with the jobs that the sweatshop workers cherish. Many westerners couldn't care less about the "sweatshops" and "child laborers" and really would like them to eat dirt and die rather than keep their valued Nike jobs, and rather than provide competition to westerners who live like kings in comparison.

Shallow reporting is how "sweatshop" and "child labor" issues have always been handled. Child labor laws did not save children. Out of necessity to the children (and their families) the laws were (and are) often ignored. To the extent that the labor laws were enforced they caused children to lose their jobs, find worse work or turned children into paupers, pushers, panhandlers and prostitutes.

The media is quick to criticize capitalism for the conditions under which children worked, while ignoring how those conditions were an improvement on past conditions. The media imagines that child labor laws somehow magically changed the conditions, while ignoring the fact that child labor became unnecessary due to increases in productivity and the use of machinery. In other words, capitalism saved the children, not government, and not thoughtless people with emails about Nike's

customized shoes.

Rex Curry

Tampa, FL

[email protected]

The Bankruptcy Bill Sucks

Should children be subjected to mail and telephone offers for free credit cards from companies that make a careful effort to get around the watchful parents? Over six percent of bankruptcies are filed on behalf of minor children as a result. Would Congress be interested in curbing this abuse? Not if money is available from the credit card companies for their reelection campaigns!

What about people who are terminally ill and who have staggering medical bills? If the Congress cannot properly deal with the health care needs of our people, shall it at least provide fairness so that such people are not hounded literally unto death by collection agents? Not if money is available from the credit card companies for their reelection campaigns!

It is well known that the credit card industry bought themselves a bill this week, and that they did so at the expense of all fairness. It is well known, too, that the current Congress--the can't-say-no 107th--was happy to prostitute itself for the occasion (though they wink and say they wanted to do it anyway, perhaps because poor people need to be indentured to corporate interests from cradle to grave). Only 15 brave senators opposed the corrupt bill.

There may have been uglier Congresses in our history, or less competent ones, but there has never been a more fundamentally corrupt one than the present 107th Congress. It shall some day be a mark of great shame to have a family member who served in it.

So now the 107th shall make a nice plum pudding of the McCain-Feingold bill. It will be fun to watch. Some anti-reformers in Congress will say it does not go far enough, when what they really want is to kill it with amendments that will drain-away key votes. Some will say that it is unconstitutional, when the nation's finest constitutional scholars at the Brennan Center and elsewhere say the bill is fully compliant with past rulings. Besides, we have a Supreme Court to deal with that issue, and if the apologists of corruption really intend to bang that drum in Congress, they are abusing our principle of separation of powers between the branches.

Other poor senators, crying in their million-dollar campaign troughs, will weep at the idea that any real reform might tilt the playing field unfairly. It doesn't matter how the field it tilted if no team is playing for the people. The playing field is up beyond the moon now, and it matters very little to ordinary Americans whether it is tilted in favor of the credit card party or the billionaire party. They are not playing for us anymore.

Democrats, addicted now to the vast corruption of the Clinton fundraising machine run by Mr. McAuliffe, somehow think that it can continue in business even though it has no bedrooms to rent. The more cowardly Democrats are softening on their resolve to outlaw soft money. But it is not so much a test of their courage as it is of their IQ: they are less than our brightest bulbs if they think their cash-and-carry fundraising party will continue from it's new headquarters in Harlem. Soft money is not the Democrat's friend anymore. It never has been the friend of Democrat values.

But these are small matters compared to the real news of the bankruptcy bill and of so many other corrupt bills passed recently by our so-called leaders. The larger problem, as it now comes clear to me and to most Americans, is that there has been a corporate coup in this nation, and that we the people have lost our democratic republic. We have no representatives, save a few brave remnants.

What shall we do besides the long work of establishing publicly financed elections in the states? We must call and write these senators, and call them out in public and in meetings, and bear witness to the shame they have heaped upon themselves --Republicans and Democrats alike. Why should we sit silently while they try to bore us over the next two weeks with their anti-reform amendments to McCain-Feingold and their fraudulent replacement bills like Mr. Hagel's (which would triple the limits on hard money contributions and forever push ordinary Americans out of participation in their own politics).

This corporate coup is the most serious threat to challenge our democratic republic during my long lifetime --certainly democracy had a better chance in the two world wars.

It is a coup, undoubtedly. Is it a treason? We arrest government agents who sell America's interests for cash. What do we do with those whom we have honored and trusted with the reigns of our dear republic, and who then sell the country itself for a bag of cash? It cannot be treason, for we must reserve that word for the unusual, the special treachery. What Congress has become is a standing treachery. Regular Americans, if they consider themselves Americans at all, must peaceably rise up against the corrupt 107th Congress this week.

Doris "Granny D" Haddock

Dublin, New Hampshire

(603) 563-8086




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