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September, 2002

 

Letters To The Editor

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If you want to send a letter to the Coastal Post, do it with email! You can send it to PO Box 31, Bolinas CA 94924; OR you can fax it to 415-868-0502. But it is SO easy to email your letter to <[email protected]>.

About Time to Subscribe!

Subscription amount enclosed.

Been reading so much of your stuff online, thought it was about time to subscribe!

Stephen Winter

Sausalito

CP Forever

We hope you can keep the Coastal Post forever. We like your slant. We pick up a copy as often as possible. Check enclosed.

Keith & Luella McFarland

Los Altos Hills

Who Signs the Check?

The fact that it was bureaucratic nonsense for the state of California to charge $300 to bring in a car from out of state could have been decided by two ten-year-olds. The rest of us would have agreed.

First of all, how in the hell did it become a constitutional matter? And second, who would pay more than 10 for such a decision?

How did anyone arrive at a figure of $88,000,000 or $18,000,000, or whatever?

Who will write this check, to whom, and who will sign it? I'm very curious and will appreciate it if someone will let me know.

Mike Waddell

Lagunitas

To: Marin County Sups

Subject: Replace of Marin's appointed Bridge District Board directors.

1. Reference: Marin United Taxpayers Association (MUTA) letter dated July 16, 2002, subject as above, requesting your Board to revoke the appointments of Marin County's four current representatives on the Golden Gate Bridge board of directors because of their violation of the people's June 1988 Measure A initiative ordinance, and to appoint replacements willing faithfully to embrace and abide by that County ordinance enacted by a 72-28 percent vote of the people.

2. When may the MUTA board of directors expect the courtesy of a reply to the referenced letter, informing MUTA as to action taken, or to be taken, by the Board of Supervisors in response to MUTA's above-stated requests?

Fielding Greaves, Secretary

MUTA

Nation's Train Bill a Bust

Highway 101 is overcrowded and dangerous: there's no question that we need a safe and efficient way to work and play, and that 101 provides neither.

A reading of Assemblyman Joe Nation's 22-page bill AB 2224 shows that his proposed rail service will not relieve 101. Why?

Two-thirds of Marin residents live south of San Rafael: these commuters cannot use a train which begins in Sonoma County and ends in San Rafael. No southbound 101 relief there.

Sonoma residents will de-train in San Rafael. How will they get to San Francisco. By bus to the ferry or by bus across the bridge... no southbound 1010 relief there either.

The proposed train will block nine San Rafael grade-crossings every 15 minutes. West Marin, Ross Valley and San Rafael commuters in cars, carpools, and busses would be immobilized and furious... no southbound 101 relief there.

The conclusion is that Joe Nation's bill is a bust. To Sharon Davis (wife of our governor) when she visited Marin August 12, I proposed this solution:

Senator Feinstein recently emailed many of us announcing Federal appropriations of $25 million to the Petaluma River watershed and channel.

My conclusion? Why not build a ferry terminal where the Petaluma River meets the bay? Consider the benefits:

Sonoma residents will exit 101 in Sonoma County and take the Petaluma hydrofoil to the City. Highway 101 "narrows" are immediately relieved. SMART's expert Peter Calthorpe found that adding 101 lanes would cost more than a train.

Marin residents will have a safe and efficient southbound 101, every morning from any direction. Novato residents may prefer the Petaluma hydrofoil... I would.

To promote a logical 101 solution, please fight Joe Nation on his train bill AB 2224, and call MUTA for information, 456-7910.

Ellen Laferty Wright

MUTA member

Blast From the Past

It's a blast from the past to read about Eureka Valley, my old stomping grounds, in Moo Town News again. Through my response to Judy's first piece on Eureka Valley, I was contacted by old friends from Eureka Valley Friends Benevolent Society, and I now receive their news letters. Many of the old gang are still close and they've done some good work through EVFBS (when an old friend died years ago a group got together to form EVFBS for help and support). They socialize regularly, too.

It was indeed a great neighborhood to grow up in, a safe, friendly place with someone always around to hang out with. Though I'm younger than Judy and a public school girl (it was the Catholic school kids that wreaked havoc and we all heard the stories). I remember many of the people she mentioned and especially Albert.

I lived on Collingwood between 18th and Market from 1954 until 1967. Albert used to take piano lessons from our neighbor, Miss Meyers, and she would open the windows so the entire street could hear him play. He was as natural and gifted a musician as my old friend Carlos Santana. He was indeed a character and everyone knew who he was.

I came back to E.V. for a few years in the mid-70's and things were really changing. I took my film to be processed to Harvey Milk's old photo store on Castro Street. It is still a great neighborhood -- very changed but still thriving and full of energy.

I never regretted leaving the city, though I wish in many ways my kids had had the early years I had in E.V. There are few friends near to them here, not enough for kids to do and often they have felt isolated. We had so much, the great E.V. Rec Center, the Castro Theater a block away, buses you could jump on and get about anywhere, and mainly just the great neighborhood and the feeling of belonging. We were lucky.

Thanks for the memories, Judy, and for helping me get back in touch with some of my old gang. I look forward to part three of E.V.

Pat Latimer

Point Reyes Station

High Price of Apathy

Ten years ago, during Bush Sr.'s administration, Saddam Hussein made him an instant hero when things were not doing so well in the home front. Saddam Hussein embarked on a mission impossible in Kuwait, knowing full well that the United State of America would not allow him to pull such a stunt. He virtually invited Bush I to throw the US military might against him for whatever purpose that only the Iraqi dictator could envision. Some say that Saddam did it to prove to the world that he is the only Arab leader who can engage the US and its allies in an all-out war and survive the experience unscathed. Knowingly or not, he did Bush I, his government, and his oil buddies a big favor. He demonstrated to the Kuwaitis and the other oil rich Arab countries that he has the capability to torch their oil fields whenever he wanted to and all they can do is watch while their precious black gold goes up in smoke. Besides proving that he can do it with only a slap on the wrist as punishment from the most powerful country in the world, he more significantly demonstrated that only the US has the technology to extinguish the resultant inferno. The US has no existing ally that can do all that good to the American oil interests.

Currently Bush II is showing clear signs that Saddam Hussein may again be depended upon to make a hero of another Bushie. This time it is the fortunate son. The efforts of Osama Bin Laden last September 11 boosted the ratings of Bush II from a dismal 41% (as an illegitimate president) to an 80% (as a war president). But after all has been said and done about that tragic event; after we have averted the death of over 3,000 innocent American civilians by devastating Afghanistan and killing an even greater number of equally innocent women and children in that country, things are beginning to quiet down. We are no longer in a frenzied mood to wave the American flag while reassuring each other that we are all united. We are no longer blindly behind Bush II in his ever expanding quest to get all the devils in his vision of axis of evil. The greatest evil, of them all, Osama Bin Laden, is no where to be found. He is either dead, as Bush II wants us to believe, or hiding in Pakistan, planning for the next September 11. He might even have shaven his beard and is incognito, sharing the prison cell of John Walker Lindh. No one knows. In other words, the war with the terrorists has abated. Bush II is no longer prominently a war president unless he can get us into a real war. He is beginning to revert back to his old image of illegitimacy. Even worse, he is now closely identified with the newly discovered terrorists -- who are driving Corporate America into bankruptcy. He and his vice president are among the corporate fat cats that have benefited from "cooking the books" and indulging in unfair "inside trading" practices. America is no longer interested in unfair "inside trading" practices. America is no longer interested in going after the September 11 terrorists. They are now fired up to go after the CEO terrorists. They are proving to be the more dangerous ones. The efforts of the American people to ensure homeland security should be addressing the more dangerous terrorists and Bush II is faced with the inevitable prospects of going after his fellow fat cats.

In view of the above, it is very likely that Saddam Hussein may again be called upon to help the Bushies. He is in a position to put Bush II back in a more favorable light as a "war president." The war against terrorism has sputtered after the obliteration of Afghanistan and is no longer occupying the minds of the American people. Another "Desert Storm" adventure with about 200,000 American boys thrown into harms way will do the trick. If this occurs, we can only blame ourselves for being poor students of history, and therefore deserve to pay the high price of such an unfortunate apathy.

Antonio Serna

Rohnert Park

Overlooked Housing Problems

Some factors in the housing problem picture are being overlooked which make a satisfactory outcome nearly impossible. One is the fact that when we look at housing trends like those produced by ABAG (see Marin IJ, Feb. 19, 2001, page A9) which track housing produced vs jobs created, deficits from the 1950s appear substantial. This results from two forces -- one the huge investment in housing construction and financing after WWII by the Federal government and the other the tradition of elderly people living with families. In fact, a substantial number of homes in the early post war period had more than two generations living under one roof. Today we have seen the effects of an opposite trend, with a great increase in people living alone (most significant in California), single parents, and the elderly living longer and staying in their homes alone longer. This has put a tremendous stress on the housing inventory. On the other hand, the investment industry is building larger homes for fewer people as noted by Katie Fairbank in an article in the SF Chronicle 2/20/00. Construction data shows that the average home 30 years ago was 1,500 sq. ft. and today is 2,185 sq. ft., and 50 years ago (to compare with the ABAG figures) the average home was 1,200 sq. ft.

Opposed to this trend, the poorest residents of California are living in smaller, often substandard housing as shown by US Census date reviewed by the Associate Press (6/16/02). California had the highest number of homes with 1.5 people living per room, only 27 percent can afford a home (half the national average). We have to ask why has more housing not been built. The emphasis of your articles was that the fault is the cities, but this is just not true. The construction and financing industry simply have not been building affordable housing because it is the least profitable housing. And the deed-restricted housing you note which is threatened with being converted to market rate is the least attractive to both builders and investors. And there is another factor to consider: insurance.

The central factor driving organizations like Ecumenical Housing and Green Belt Alliance to press towns for new housing is the failure of the housing industry to build low cost housing. The primary factor preventing the housing industry is the collapse of insurance and financing for multifamily unit construction. The reasons are in dispute (a recent review can be found in an article by Kelly Zito, SF Chronicle, "Insurance Nightmare," 7/11/02) but from my own analysis, it appears that decreased construction standards (or their lack, in terms of industry agreement and implementation) from the 60s to the 90s led to a wave of litigation against builders by home buyers of condos, associations and townhouses. This conclusion is based on the apparent failure of builders to resolve construction deficiencies with buyers and the success of trial lawyers to produce sizable trial awards in court and in settlements with builders and their insurers. As a result, the building industry has nearly completely stopped building condos, townhouses and other multi-unit developments in much of the nation.

The number of such units in Marin built in recent years is vanishingly small and only San Rafael has produced any appreciable number to their credit, mainly through the substantial efforts and involvement of the City's agencies. But towns are not in the business of developing housing, yet a review of the 2000 census and recent reports of employment tell us that more than a third of Marin's workers earn below $40,000 per year (and this includes a significant number who live outside Marin and have to commute here to work) and most have families. A reference information published from the Construction Industry Research Board and the Marin Builders' Exchange of units built in recent years in Marin tells us that most construction here is of single homes and the greatest number of these are over 3,000 square feet. The vast majority of these homes require a yearly income in excess of $100,000 per year. Rents continue to increase and are squeezing middle income workers earning less than $60,000 out of the County. It is obvious we are not coming up with answers. Clearly all the shouting about affordable housing is not resulting in any significant construction of units that can be rented or bought by anyone earning under $100,000 per year.

A sign of hope if on the horizon. It is in a proposal by the Home Builders Association presently being pushed in Sacramento to provide a legislative solution to the insurance crisis (see HBA News, June 2002). We must hope that the eventual bill will protect the interests of homebuyers and that the trial lawyers will work in a spirit of cooperation to develop a reasonable and practical law. If a compromise is produced, uniform standards in construction and new insurance and financing for multi-unit housing will result. Problems will persist, however, and here is where organizations like Greenbelt Alliance can be of help instead of suing towns and costing taxpayers money. Greenbelt Alliance could focus on ensuring that banks ad builders produce more low cost housing. Certainly an argument could be made that for each monster house built, the housing needs of low income workers are reduced. Thus, if we are going to use the public arena to guarantee insurance and financing, we should be able to demonstrate that with finite land available, the county should institute a moratorium on monster homes until some balance in equal access to housing has been achieved.

Niccolo Caldararo

Fairfax

 

Transit Scores

California is often thought of around the country as an automobile lover's paradise. However, the following numbers show that California is actually more reliant on public transit than more of the nation.

Every year the American Public Transportation Association, a nonprofit association of more than 1,400 organizations responsible for planning, designing, constructing, financing, and operating public transportation systems, publishes a fact book of transit information and statistics. In perusing this year's edition, I came upon a table listing the number of public transit passenger trips in 2000 for each urban area in the US over one million population.

I came to the conclusion that these numbers would be much more meaningful if they were combined with the 2000 population totals for each of these urban areas in order to give a figure representing the number of passenger trips per capita, i.e., a "transit score." This would create a way to compare the level of transit patronage in America's largest metropolitan areas. The population figures for 2000 could easily be derived from the 2002 World Almanac.

I calculated these numbers for each of the 29 urban areas. For example, the San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose metro area with 2000 population of 7,039,000 and a total of 495,080,000 public transit passenger trips had a transit score of 70.3 trips per person, the score calculated by dividing the latter figure by the former.

Here is a list of transit scores for all 29 metro areas from lowest to highest:

Passenger Trips

Per Capita Metro Area

8.1 Tampa-St. Petersburg

8.8 Kansas City

10.5 Detroit

12.3 Phoenix

12.3 Norfolk-Virginia Beach, VA

14.2 Dallas-Ft. Worth

15.8 Cincinnati

16.7 Sacramento

20.8 St. Louis

21.5 Houston

21.9 Cleveland

26.8 Minneapolis-St. Paul

28.5 San Antonio

29.8 Miami-Ft. Lauderdale

29.9 Denver

33.4 National Average

33.8 Pittsburgh

36.5 San Diego

36.7 Seattle

37.3 Los Angeles

41.3 Atlanta

41.4 Portland

43.5 Milwaukee

47.1 New Orleans

53.1 Philadelphia

61.0 Boston

65.2 Chicago

65.3 Washington-Baltimore

70.3 San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose

152.1 New York

The older, more established urban areas of the Northeast collectively have the highest transit scores with an average of 73.1, while the West Coast and California metro areas have average scores of 39.8 and 40.2 respectively, while the average scores of the South (25.4) and Midwest (26.7) lag behind the national average of 33.4 (9.4 billion passenger trips divided by 281,422,000 population).

Not only does the Bay Area post the second highest transit score with a 70.3, but the Southern California metropolises of Los Angeles (37.3) and San Diego (36.5) score above the 33.4 national average.

What the six metropolitan areas with transit scores above 50 share is the heavy reliance on three types of urban rail transit: light (streetcars/trolleys), heavy (metros/subways), and commuter rail. The New York, San Francisco Bay, Washington-Baltimore, Boston and Philadelphia areas each employ all three forms of urban rail, while Chicago uses two.

Within California, San Francisco, San Jose, Sacramento, Los Angeles-Long Beach, and San Diego all operate light rail systems, while the Bay Area with BART and Los Angeles with its expanding Red Line subway line employ heavy rail networks, and commuter rail systems exist in the San Francisco-San Jose corridor (Caltrain), Stockton-Livermore-San Jose corridor (Altamont Commuter Express) as well as the Los Angeles metro area's Metrolink and San Diego's Coaster commuter rail networks.

Urban rail transit ridership increased steadily across the country during the 1990s. From 1990 to 2000, light rail patronage rose 82.9%, commuter rail 25.9%, and heavy rail 12.2% (APTA Fact Book). During the same period, bus ridership remained the same, while in 2000 the three forms of urban rail transit combined accounted for 35.9% of all public transit passenger trips.

With many metropolitan areas around the country currently establishing or expanding rail transit, Americans seem increasingly more charmed by rail transit than the more mundane motor bus. Here in the Bay Area, San Jose recently has added extensions to its light rail system, San Francisco has expanded MUNI Metro from the Embarcadero down third Street to the Caltrain Station while recently beginning construction of a Third Street extension to Hunters Point, and BART is nearing the opening of its line to SFO and is starting to plan an extension from Fremont to Downtown San Jose after Santa Clara County voters approved a bond measure for such in November 2000.

Keith Bramstedt

San Anselmo

American Outlaws

When this Constitution was sold to the People and We the People agreed to institute a Constitutional Republic Known as these United States We were guaranteed by the written word of our forefathers that the Powers of the people were to remain superior to the powers forbidden to the States or not delegated by amendments to the Federal Government. (http://www.law.emory.edu/FEDERAL/federalist/feder78.html)

We the people were told that it was the duty of the Judicial department to protect our Blessings of Liberty from the other branches of Government and We were warned about what would happen if the Judicial branch ever adhered to the Legislative Branch when the nature of Man to control the freedoms of others got the best of the legislative branch. That is why Treason against the United Stated was defined by Article 3 where the powers of the Judicial branch are delegated. To remind judges that Treason against the United States not only exists during times of war but also is described as "OR in adhering to their enemies" any enemy foreign or Domestic. The Constitution is the Fundamental law of these United States and the only way that those laws can be altered is delegated to a 3/4 majority of the Legislatures of the States or by conventions of the Peoples of 3/4 of the States depending upon who holds the power over the alteration requested by Congress.

Arbitrary invasion of the Blessings of liberty makes Domestic enemies out of Legislators and once they become Enemies of the union it is treason to adhere to them. Even Legislators, Judges & Police Officers go outlaw when they turn against the Constitution or fail to protect the Sovereignty of the blessings of liberty claimed by ourselves and our posterity. By allowing the arbitrary invasion of the Peoples Sovereign rights without, amending the Constitution to grant the power to disparage the blessings of liberty or the legal recourse to protect our freedoms, the People are required by the very nature of Sovereignty to use overwhelming and even deadly force against those domestic enemies of the United States to keep Our Sovereign rights or give up being Free men altogether.

Today Treason against the United States is the most prevalent crime committed in and against the United States By Men and women sworn to protect and to serve. These acts of treason against the United states are the root cause of Terrorism against the united States today, in that they allowed This government to violently manipulate the balance of power in other parts of the World creating the hatred that now strikes back at us. Their acts of Treason against a Nation of Free men with a free market society have actually created a "black market" which in turn has created powerful and violent street gangs in our cities and drug cartels which fund the terrorist attacks against us.

We have become our own worst Enemy. We can lay the blame at the feet of our JUDGES whose adherence to the Enemies of our constitution has brought this about. BUT We the People allowed this to happen, We were warned, and We knew, but We weren't smart enough to realize the truth in "Men born to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil-minded rulers. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding. "

Justice Brandeis

Can we stop these fools by asking or must We once again put down a government that has become destructive of the constitutional republic our forefathers fought and died for?

Thomas Jones

Weston Or.

[email protected]

Attacking Iraq Not Arrogant

Opponents of regime change in Iran insist that it's "arrogant" of the US to unseat dictators such as Saddam Hussein. This is absurd. It's like arguing that a peaceful citizen has no right to call the police when he's mugged, assaulted, or robbed. Or, it's like arguing that the government should not be so "arrogant" as to release hostages being held captive inside a bank. Calling on our government to topple Saddam Hussein-a man who would gleefully unleash biological or nuclear weapons on us and others, once he has them-is an act of self-defense even more important than the usual kind.

Michael J. Hurd Ph.D.

Chevy Chase MD

www.DrHurd.com

Bring 'Em to Injustice

Pres. Bush, speaking of terrorists, says he will "bring 'em to justice." But the reality is often that, by abandoning due process and the Bill of Rights and by holding people without charges, he, the Justice Department and Pentagon are bringing them to injustice. No greater mistake can be made than to broadcast this vindictive message to the world.

Instead of trusting the American democratic legal system to do what it is so well designed to do-bring justice while protecting the innocent (okay, it has glitches but it's the best in the world)-the Bush administration is trashing our own justice system and in so doing telling the world we are not a nation that abides by the rule of law. Each "suspect" dragged off and denied the right to a hearing or to an attorney could be you or me. We can get the bad guys without endangering the good guys. Dragnet methods, police state tactics and operating in secrecy mean the Bush administration is acting out of fear and should be replaced before they do permanent harm to the nation (you and me).

Jane Wardlow Prettyman

Santa Barbara

Broken Treaties And Conventions

Since Bush came to office, the United States government has torn up more international treaties and disregarded more UN conventions than the rest of the world has in 20 years.

Robert Vogel

[email protected]

http://www.guardian.co.uk/bush/story/0,7369,769755,00.html

Happy To Support CP

We are happy to support the Coastal Post. It is really a breath of fresh air to read some articles which reflect our "prejudices" -- which, of course, are "the Truth."

Interesting to hear Mr. Ritter on BBC talking about USA v Iraq. Information which US papers simply to not print. Not to mention the disinformation re: Israel & Palestine.

Mr. & Mrs. W. R. Usellis

Sausalito

Bolinas Food Program

Every week, with a few wintertime exceptions, the Bolinas Food Program has received a most welcome gift. Usually it is six to twelve boxes of prewashed organic salad and vegetables from Webber's Star Route Farms. These products are most sought after as the produce is fresh, snappy and the taste is magnificent. So much so that for me it is a new taste experience (my son-in-law, who normally eats no greens at all tried and had seconds on the salad).

In my opinion, Webber's farm is a capital asset to our community and I do remember the time when the land was redundant. We owe a thanks to Warren Webber and his staff. In fact, Annabel delivers the prize to us at noon on Sundays. Thank you.

Bolinas Food program is for anyone and is at Mesa park next to the firehouse on Mesa Road every Sunday of the year at Noon sharp. Cost? $2, or free, no profit is made.

There is a wide selection of mainly organic foods. Help yourself.

Brian Spencer

Bolinas

Bush's Night Time Reading

George W. Bush isn't an avid reader. So when the press leaks word that his nose is in a book, we take notice. The current read on his night stand is a book about some high-testosterone incursions of past Presidents into US military planning. Bush's interest in this topic isn't just another PR ploy for his â"war on terror." It is a warning for military planners that civilian political strategists can replace them if they insist on making plans based on rational assessments.

I'd like to suggest another publication for the President's summer reading, the US Constitution.

We have seen a steady disregard for America's Constitutional principles ever since Bust took office. Examples range from Cheney's refusal to name the corporate leaders he met with in developing our energy policies to the secret arrests and detention of people who haven't even been accused of a crime. More fuzzy logic is found in the Administration's plans to engage the military in domestic law enforcement, to establish a corps of civilians to spy on other civilians and to create internment camps for both citizens and non-citizens considered to be "combatants" in Bush's â"war on terror."

The President can still demonstrate some Constitutional loyalty by pledging not to invade Iraq without a Congressional declaration of war. The Constitution requires it and we should insist on nothing less.

Brian Lynch

Mine Hill, NJ

Constitution Day Coming

September 17 marks the day in 1787 that the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia completed its work of drafting a constitution for ratification by the 13 states. Since then the date has become established as Constitution Day, to be celebrated and used as an occasion to study the principles which the Constitution for the United States represents.

Look for new material on our web site to commemorate this day.

For the last several years I have celebrated it by, among other things, standing on the corner of a busy intersection holding a sign that says "Honk if you love your Constitution! Constitution Day September 17". Sometimes I've been the only person doing it. It would be nice if others joined me this year, all across the land.

Don't let the events of September 11 distract us from what is really important. If we allow that, we will have surrendered to terrorism.

Jon Roland

Austin, TX

[email protected]

http://www.constitution.org/

Doesn't Like Miller

Edward Miller is a stinking anti-Semite. His hatred on Jews is apparent in his writing. It discredits your entire magazine to have him writing for you. He should be writing for the Ku Klux Klan or the American Nazi Bund.

Dan Bergher

[email protected]

Iraq Invasion And War-What's In It For Me

Dick Cheney just blew out of town this past week, I don't belong to the Commonwealth club or the media so I was unable to ask the question of the moment of our Vice President before he left San Francisco heading back to his secret undisclosed location.

It was not surprising that I was unable to question this man when even powerful US Senators from large states were unable to gain even a meeting with him even though he was the man who was likely a key policy maker of the new energy game during our recent California energy crisis.

Is this unavailability and unaccountability to be the key hallmark of the Bush presidency? My question for Mr. Dick Cheney is about Iraq and the invasion and war that the Bush Administration is planning as described in the NY Times and Washington Post and other media. The last war in the mid-east cost over $60 billion but we had other allies who agreed to share the costs. And, not insignificantly, we had Bill Clinton to preside over an economy that produced multi-billion dollar surpluses after the war was over.

This little military excursion by Bush Jr. is going to cost at least as much as the last one and the US is now billions in deficit.

Who is going to pay for this puppy? Will it be paid for with cuts in Medicare, social security, and other social programs? And when the body bags start coming homeâ "Remember Vietnamâ" chasing the light at the end of the tunnel, who is going to pay for that?

Who is to pay? Let's see so far we have: Young males of a certain military age-250,000 to start with (and how long before the draft is reinstated?), the old and the retired by cuts in social security, the sick and the frail: prescription drugs benefits Medicare etc., the poor and of course the kids who don't vote: social programs health insurance etc.

The answer to the question, "Iraq Invasion and War, What's in it for me?" seems to be death, dearth of social services, and poverty. (Which is kind of what Saddam's war has brought to the Iraqi people.) All of which leads to the overwhelming question of the moment. Is there a better way to solve this problem?

Looking at the Bush track record in Washington. When there was an energy crisis in California, fostered in large part by Enron and Enron sponsored so called "Federal Regulators" and policies, Cheney and Bush's answer was, "It seems like you got a problem out there in California maybe you should solve it yourselves." Of course it is hard to solve interstate problems when you are only one state.

On the international scene when Israel and Palestine had problems again Bush's response was to do nothing and stay disengaged. Today we can see every day in the news the result of this disengagement and indifference as ignorant, arrogant and ultimately ineffective. And on the domestic side the affection for deregulation as being fed by self-interest and self dealing.

Yet paradoxically Bush is now hot to take the entire nation into the quagmire of war amongst a billion Muslims and Arabs. His small cadre of advisors are beating the war drums and propose invading and bombing another country to end a potential terrorist threat. The same threat they failed to extinguish in Tora Bora, Afghanistan (or who is Osama bin Laden?). The search for bin Laden in Bush's advisers view gives the US the Carte Blanche to invade and preemptively attack any country Bush advisors think Osama or al-Qaeda might be in without any consultation with the legislature or the people of America. Bush had backing from the American people after 911 to do whatever was necessary, but that crisis has passed and reaction needs to be replaced with reason.

Is there a viable middle ground between doing nothing and smirking and starting a full blown war? Yes, it's called diplomacy, politics, negotiation. Although it does require engagement, and the long attention span and ability to work with people you don't like but when balanced against the butchery and brutality and death and destruction of war it may well be the better course for everyone involved.

Have we forgotten the lessons of Vietnam so soon? Dan Rather was questioning Senator Kerry about the killing of women and children in a remote village just recently on network TV. Kerry's a good man I am sureâ but in war time horrible things happen to the best of men and women and children and grandparents-no matter which side of the gun they are on.

The Vietnamese were quick to forgive. I don't think this will be the case in the mid-east. How many terrorists will our little military search and destroy exercise create? How will we feel when those chickens come home to roost? As they will.

How will the American people love those that led them into the war with trumpets and banners then?

If the Bush boys want to settle some old scores and start a $60 billion plus war on America's credit card, better we should talk about this first. It's called democracy governed by a Constitution and right now is the time we need to start practicing it. Once the war starts it will be as we saw in Vietnam beyond our power to put an end to it.

Mike Burns

Tiburon

[email protected]

cc: OtherConcerned Americans

More Lies Per Inch

I read Miller's article about Israel's war of aggression in 1967. Either he was sleeping in the spring of '67 or he was not yet born. Anyone who was alive and alert then, and anyone with an ounce of knowledge knows the truth.

Your rag prints ore lies per inch than any I have yet to read.

letter not signed

[email protected]

Saudi Arabia beheads Pakistani for drug smuggling

Reuters. Riyadh, August 20

This headline tells it all. Just think, from our staunchest ally smuggling a capital crime, no public hearing, no allowable appeal, no mass protest allowed, no worldpress condemning harsh punishment and the world going on as though this heinous act of our best ally was a "ho hum" affair. Now just think if Israel exactedthe same punishment from the Arab who orchestrated the brutal massacre at the Hebrew University and was killed by beheading, firing squad or hanging therewould be a massive out crying of condemnation with no holds barred. Israel all should know is and has been judged at some higher standards a standard higherthan many western societies live by. I am proud to say that Israel lives to a higher standard of human relations than all Arab countries which are nothing morethan oppressive dictatorships. Please world remember this when you are ready to condemn Israel for acting as a western world in dealing with the brutality of itsArab adversaries. Saudi's represent the worst of the Arab culture. They get away with it with the threat of stopping their oil. Better we let them stop their oil andprove to them that we have the guts to cut our oil umbilical cord to them. The Saudis and terrorist Islamists are remnants of the dark ages. The Israelis whilenot perfect represent the best of what an enlightened humanity could be.

Dr. Norman E. Mann

[email protected]

Stoned On Marijuana

Mr. Miller,

Obviously, you appear to be starving and stoned on marijuana, editor in order to publish such nonsense. Stop smoking and start reading history of the region that dates back to 2000 B.C. before you accuse the Israelis in being greedy, AND THEN PERHAPS YOU WILL UNDERSTAND that it's evil doers such as yourself that extract only one point of view to suit their gains and in your case it appears to be a steady supply of

marijuana.

No name signed

[email protected]

The USS Liberty

June 1, 2002

The USS Liberty

President George W. Bush

Commander in Chief, White House, Washington DC

Dear Mr. President,

Saturday, June 8, 2002 marks the 35th anniversary of probably the most shameful day in American history. That day America's banner and honor was treacherously trashed by our so-called ally, Israel. Thirty four Americans were brutally slaughtered, 172 wounded, including myself, and America's most sophisticated intelligence ship was so badly damaged it had to be scrapped. Israel deliberately attacked America's virtually unarmed USS LIBERTY in international waters, knowing full well our identity, in an assault that lasted as long as the attack on Pearl Harbor.

On that bright, sunny infamous day, the LIBERTY had a large American flag flapping in the wind and 10' high I.D. markings on her hull which were clearly visible during the full six hours (6:00 A.M. to 12:00 Noon) that low flying, slow moving, propeller recons distinctly marked with Star of Davids reconnoitered our ship. Overheard radio transmission of the pilots confirmed that the Israel had positively identified the LIBERTY as American.

Suddenly at 2:00 p.m., the government of Israel put a knife in the back of America. In a diabolic attempt at deception, the Israelis began the attack with unmarked jet fighters using rockets, cannons, and napalm on our unprotected ship. Then three motor torpedo boats arrived on the scene and fired 6 torpedoes at us, one hitting its mark, midship's on the starboard side, instantly blowing to bits 25 of America's finest young men. The torpedo gunmen shot at our firefighters and stretcher bearers, using us as target practice, maiming and murdering as many of America's sons as they could.

The captain ordered us to prepare to abandon ship as the ship was in grave danger of sinking from a torpedo hit that left a 40' x 40' hole in her. There were only 3 life rafts left that they hadn't already destroyed. We put them over the side to put as many wounded in as possible. The torpedo boats machine gunned the life rafts and sank two of them and took one aboard their boat -- no survivors were to be taken! Helicopters were overhead to board our ship with Israeli commandos at the ready to finish us off.

Responding to a SOS from the LIBERTY, the USS SARATOGA launched their jets approximately 15 minutes into the vicious Israeli attack. Within minutes after the launch, incredibly and inexplicably, Washington shamefully and unconscionably recalled the jets, abandoning helpless American sailors under fire, and subjecting them to an additional two hours of barbaric Israeli bombardment and butchery.

Fortuitously when the Israelis picked up an invalid message that US help was on the way, Israeli reluctantly was forced to terminate its ongoing assault. Without that break, I would not be alive writing this letter.

Ironically help did not arrive until 18 hours after the attack when it was only 15 minutes away. When an American rescue ship finally arrived, what they found was shocking, the LIBERTY was in shambles, death on the water. There were 821 rocket and cannon holes in her hull, thousands of 50 caliber armor piercing bullets riddling her skin, a tunnel size torpedo cavity in her broad side, and the residue of napalm that had been dropped to burn us up. Blood and body parts were strewn across the deck. A sad, outrageous story, but unfortunately true.

The crew of the most decorated naval ship in American history was ordered to remain silent under threat of court martial, imprisonment or worse, and we all knew what worst meant. The US government has never challenged the obviously phony Israeli excuse of "mistaken identity" nor have they attempted to expose the dishonorable cover up that continues to date. Truth and America's honor were ignominiously sacrificed to provide cover for Israel's transparent lies and despicable act of perfidy.

Israel's premeditated, sneak attack on the USS LIBERTY was a direct attack on America.

The disgraceful refusal of unpatriotic American governmental officials of dubious allegiance to defend America and come to the aid of brave Americans under attack can only be characterized as treasonous.

Mr. President, on behalf of the courageous crew of the USS LIBERTY, dead and alive, I respectfully request that you commission a presidential panel to finally investigate the attack and cover-up of the USS LIBERTY, and report the truth to American people.

Thank you, Mr. President. God bless you! God bless America!

Phillip F. Tourney

President USS LIBERTY

Veterans Association

[email protected]

http://ussliberty.org/index.html

Then I Weep

When I think of September 11th, I recall the shameless exploitation of tragic events by an unpopular "president" who could suddenly justify his tax cut, a huge military buildup and a looming war in Iraq, and the suppression of information and documents in the name of "security." Oh, plus restrictions on the 1st, 4th, and 6th Amendments of our Constitution, a Justice Department being granted spying powers rivaling those of Communist Russia, and an oil pipeline (!) being OK'd through Afghanistan.

I also remember how in the 90's, the GOP voted against freezing terrorists' assets (as it would be too "onerous" for the banking industry and those offshore business accounts), and against Al Gore's proposals for tightening airline security and screenings. I contemplate Bush and Cheney sitting on the Hart-Ruddman report, as well as information from outgoing Clinton staffers warning of a potential terrorist threat, for nine months.

Then, I weep.

Dean Backus

San Jose

[email protected]

This Is Patriotism?

Bush and his corporate swindlers are taking us all for a ride, a ride about extremist right wing republican style greed. Bush dumps Harken stock for a huge profit right before it collapses, Cheney sets up off shore tax havens while head of Haliburton, these swindlers are just as bad as the rest of their criminal corporate buddies.

With this administration in office we now have; war without end (military contractors drowning in tax dollars), nuclear waste shipments through our neighborhoods (supporting the failing nuclear energy industry), tax cuts (the wealthy get the most), rolling back clean air laws (allowing greater utility profits), RECESSION, a nose diving stock market (and they still want to privatize social security), multi- billion dollar giveaways to large corporations and the destruction of the very liberties that made this country great. Patriots? I don't think so.

Let's vote all these flag waving, fat cat, trust fund baby, Republican vultures out of office now.

Michael Lind

Ojai

What I Believe

1. The budget must be balanced.

2. Individuals and corporations must pay their fair share of the tax burden. (See #1).

3. Keep Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid going concerns (see 1 & 2).

4. A strong Military (see 1 & 2).

5. Active duty military should never be used for domestic law enforcement. That is why we have domestic law enforcement.

6. A proactive agricultural policy that keeps farmers on the land and corporations off.

7. Insure the medically uninsured - one way or another we pay for those costs and the associated problems anyway.

8. Pre-marriage classes.

9. Blood test couples before they get married.

10. Make Children Safe - pass a Children's Bill-of-Rights.

11. I believe in the Death Penalty for:

a. Treason

b. Crimes against children to include kidnapping and/or molestation by strangers, and anyone killing a child.

c. Killing a Law Enforcement Official in the commission of a crime.

d. Serial killers

12. I am pro-choice.

13. Reduce teen pregnancy through strong educational programs that highly recommend and emphasize abstinence.

14. Cloning is OK.

15. Assisted suicide is wrong.

16. A bilingual nation is a nation divided.

17. Environmentally safe decision making.

18. Same sex couples should not be allowed to adopt children.

19. Either legalize and control the current illegal drugs or triple the efforts (see 1 & 2) to get them off the streets.

20. Our prisons have too many prisoners; and too many of those are the wrong ones.

21. EDUCATION: Day-cares should be led by PhD's that specialize in child development. Pay should reflect that, and day-cares would need to be subsidized so it would be affordable. K-6 taught by PhDs that, again, specialize in child development. Teachers in junior high and high school hold a masters degree in the subject being taught. Hold teachers accountable. (See 1 & 2).

22. Space Exploration and Advancement.

23. The five food groups and exercise - I have lost 25 pounds.

24. The three branches of government.

25. Separation of Church and State.

26. I believe in the Individual Right to Keep and Bear Arms.

27. Single, working low income parents should be helped with medical insurance, education and day-care.

28. I believe in keeping our civil liberties completely intact.

29. The American Citizen is the first and the last line of defense for our country.

30. Jobs should have all or a portion of health insurance paid for and a good enough retirement (that includes a healthcare component) so that prescription drugs are affordable.

31. Voting, good roads and bridges, garbage collection, dependable electricity, clean air and water, cheap gas, good hospitals, affordable and abundant food, railroads, public service, airports,

military duty, national parks, police and firefighters, creativity, ingenuity, hard work and paying my taxes. (See 1 & 2)

32. I believe a large, strong middle class equals a healthy and vibrant America.

Mark J. Solem

Fargo, ND

[email protected]

mailto:[email protected]

Catch Bin Laden First

Saddam Hussein is a bad man. We should have taken him out 10 years ago when we had the chance. And it would be nice if he were gone now. But - should we go to war with Iraq to attempt to take him out? I'm not sure it's a good idea.

What makes us think we can win? Bin Laden blew up the World Trade Center and he's just one guy without a country and we can't catch him. The Anthrax terrorist remains at large and we really don't have a clue who did that. So what makes us think we can take out Saddam?

America has to face the reality that we are a crippled nation with an incompetent president. If we went to war Iraq with Bush as President we would probably lose. I think Bush is using this as an election year gimmick to distract attention away from Bin Laden and the recession. Let's get Bin Laden first.

Marc Perkel

San Francisco, California

 

 

 

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