Coastal Post Online


October, 2002

Letters To The Editor Part 2

America Would Lose War With Iraq

We would lose a war with Iraq because the war would be fought on our soil. Without world support we would be the aggressor and it would cause Americans to become terrorist targets everywhere. The Arab world would unite against us and attack America from the inside. This would create an excuse for Bush to further curtail freedom for safety and we would become a closed society with Homeland Security forces turning America into a giant prison camp where the very essence of what it is to be an American is gone.

Bin Laden succeeded in taking away much of our liberties and freedoms with a single attack. But it wasn't actually Bin Laden who took our freedom-it was our own government who decided that safety was more important than freedom. We took our own freedom away because we are a nation of cowards. What's the point in being an American if it no longer stands for anything? This war is just and excuse to allow Homeland Security to enslave us.

On another subject - here's a link to a new freedom song about the Carnivore software the FBI uses to spy on our email. It's a woman singing about how she doesn't want the FBI to know how her boyfriend feels about her. Very good song - you'll enjoy it. And it's decriminalized music so you can legally pass it around.

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Marc Perkel

San Francisco, CA.

Beware The Leader

"Beware the leader who bangs the drums of war in order to whip the citizenry into a patriotic fervor, for patriotism is indeed a double-edged sword. It both emboldens the blood, just as it narrows the mind. And when the drums of war have reached a fever pitch and the blood boils with hate and the mind has closed, the leader will have no need in seizing the rights of the citizenry. Rather, the citizenry, infused with fear and blinded by patriotism, will offer up all of their rights unto the leader and gladly so. How do I know? For this is what I have done. And I am Caesar."

-- Julius Caesar

I ask you to read these words from long ago, so pertinent now. The so-called "Patriot Act" has been passed, shredding our Constitution, and not even read by most of our legislators before voting. According to the Constitution, only the legislative branch of government can declare war, not the executive.

None the less, the executive branch is "banging the drums of war" loudly in order to take power unto themselves and divert the citizenry from their own complicity in the violence and failure to protect the people economically or physically.

Where do YOU stand on the United States Constitution? If you support the Constitution and the right of citizens to be free according to its precepts, please contact your elected representatives at (202) 224-3121. Further, speak out in support of the American way...the Constitution. Without it, the people will be as dust before the power of the multinational corporations who now control our government. Make noise now or be forever silenced, along with the American Dream.

Phil Arnot


(Arnot is a combat veteran, B-17 co-pilot in WWII, Serial

No. 0-778691, 306th Bomb Group, 367th Bomb Squadron, 8th Air Force)

Our Oil Baron Politicians

There are plenty of terrorists out there, and our policies create more daily, but few of them can be traced to Iraq.

What can be traced to Iraq is the overwhelming smell of oil.

A great tragedy is unfolding by our oil baron politicians pushing us into a war unsubstantiated by valid justification.

Keith McFarland

Los Altos Hills

3-Part Plan for Peace

First, I thank you for the Coastal Post!

Second, I'd like to offer a 3-part plan for world peace - that the US:

1. Discontinue manufacturing land mines immediately;

2. Drop all sanctions, world wide, and

3. Move Israel to Texas.

Third, where are the voices of our fundamentalist leaders with quotes of "Love your enemies," and "Father forgive them, for they know not what they do"?

Barbara Zrnich

Los Altos Hills

National ID Card

For generations, millions of Americans in the military, both active and retired, and their dependents, have had national ID cards without detriment to either privacy or safety. The benefits of a national ID card with digitally included biometric data far outweigh any imagined harms.

Such biometric ID cards would be much more difficult to counterfeit. Thus, it could sharply reduce identity theft, significantly cut costs related to identity theft, provide more reliable identity of accident, natural disaster and crime victims, help protect both financial institutions and the public from con artists, and make it far more difficult to obtain or create fake ID

Fielding Greaves

Lt. Col., US Army, Retired

San Rafael

Injustice Builds Rage

It was recently reported in the news that the Inglewood, California police who beat a handcuffed juvenile were granted a change of venue for their trial. Hmmmm, the LAPD cops who beat Rodney King were also afforded a change of venue when they were tried. In addition to the change of venue, the cops in the Rodney King case were able to shop for a corrupt prosecutor who pulled his punches and the average dishonest judge who helped facilitate their acquittal. After the ensuing riots, they also should have been prosecuted and put behind bars.

With the Inglewood Police now going to trial, it is easily predictable that they too have shopped for a police-friendly prosecutor and another scumbag judge who will play ball to either get them off completely or with a slap on the wrist. If, once again, there is rioting and violence as the result of the brand of justice being pimped off these days, nobody should be surprised. It will be no mystery. "When peaceful protest is made impossible, violent protest is made inevitable." -- John F. Kennedy.

The public needs to wake up to the fact that there are consequences, sooner or later, for judges allowing police and prosecutors to get away with violating people's rights. Rage builds within people subjected to injustice and it inevitably explodes upon the citizens who pay the salaries of the facilitators involved. They need to be judged ten times as severely because without their rubber stamp endorsements of illegalities by police and prosecutors, there would not be near the scale of hate being generated within the ever growing numbers of poor people. They are (judges) causing crime and you are paying for it coming and going.

Don't be deceived by the black robes they wear or by how polite and civilized or humanly decent they expertly pretend to be -- they are the worst of the worst.

"A deceiver about beauty or goodness of justice, as in the matter of laws, is the worst of criminals." -- Plato, 400 B.C.

"You will have nothing to do with corrupt judges who make injustice legal." -- Psalm 94:20

James Kor, Jr.


MGH November Election

For voters in the Marin Healthcare District (all of Marin except Novato) there is the opportunity this November to elect three strong pro-consumer directors. Why is a pro-consumer board important? To undo an incompetent act of the 1985 elected board.

Marin General Hospital belongs to the people of the district who taxed themselves to build it. The 1985 board leased MGH to a shell corporation and millions of dollars of public assets were then transferred to the privatized MGH. The lopsided lease was written by the lessees, CEO Henry J. Buhrmann and the hospital lawyer, Quentin Cook. A Marin County supervisor back then, Gary Giacomini described the 30 year lease as the "biggest theft of public property in Marin's history." Buhrmann and Cook assumed equivalent positions in the privatized MGH. The hospital since privatization operates behind closed doors. Early 1996, the lease fell into the hands of Sutter Health, the Sacramento-based hospital chain.

The composition of the elected board changed dramatically in November 1996. For the first time ever, pro-consumer directors were in the majority. In 1997, the board sued in Sacramento Superior Court to void the lease based on law violation by Buhrmann and Cook. With the lease voided, MGH could return to community control. It is a violation of California Government code, Section 1090, for government employees, which Buhrmann and Cook were, to make contracts to benefit themselves. The suit still is in the courts.

The three pro-consumer candidates are Dr. Lawrence Arnstein, Jennifer Rienks and Dr. John Severinghaus. Drs. Arnstein and Severinghaus are incumbents who deserve re-election. Ms. Rienks is a distinguished patient advocate who also deserves your vote.

If Sutter Health is more appealing than local hospital control, there is the Sutter darling, Suzanna Coxhead, who asks to be re-elected. Early 1996, Ms. Coxhead's vote, with that of Dr. Larry Bedard and Valerie Bergmann, made is possible for the privatized MGH to join Sutter's "obligated group." What are the obligations? First of all, Sutter can sweep excess hospital cash which is defined as any amount in excess of that needed for 14 days operation. The other obligation is worse. MGH is one of the guarantors of Sutter's $1 billion plus aggregate debt. Coxhead found nothing wrong with that agreement in early 1996 and still doesn't. She deserves retirement by informed voters.

Norman Carrigg, M.D.

San Rafael

Loved Child Or Spoiled Brat

A truly loved child is raised to harmonize his needs and desires with those of other people. He learns to be polite and respectful, to pay attention to his own mistakes (to be avoided and rectified) and to carry out his responsibilities. His loving parents teach him that frequently his own wishes must take a back seat for the harmony of the whole. As years pass and he follows these teachings he becomes widely respected and loved.

The parents of the brat have little concern for the future of their child. Their idea of love is to please him immediately, regardless of all else. Any restrictions that displease the child they are quick to rescind when tears appear.

Their child can do no wrong. The slightest criticism from anyone is taken as a hateful attack. Used to having his own way, he takes to bullying those around him.

When others respond angrily and hurtfully to his bullying, his doting but unwise parents treat him as an innocent victim and make a great fuss over his black eye and bloody nose. They urge their darling to redouble his bullying (they call it "getting even").

As time passes the brat becomes increasingly scorned by his schoolmates.

In the case of nations there is a clear parallel. Those who truly love their country want it to be a responsible and respected member of the school yard of nations.

They want their nation to join with others in protecting the global environment from harmful effluents in air and water, promoting world law and judiciary, participating in agreements to limit and reduce land mines, nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons, sharing great wealth with needy peoples, and setting an example of an open and caring society.

Those who truly love their country are constantly alert for flaws in their own government, flaws that hurt and alienate their neighbors, flaws to be corrected. They want their nation to be respected and loved worldwide.

Then there are the "superpatriots" (doting parents) who could care less what outsiders may think or feel. The regard their nation as sacred, more sacred than human life, flawless, innocent of any wrongdoing, above all criticism. They see Earth's resources as the rightful property of their nation, to plunder and pollute as they see fit. They want their nation to have its own way in all important matters, never to be restricted as to armaments, potential criminal charges, or right of entry into the internal affairs of other nations.

They are in constant fear of terrorist retaliations for their own terrorist acts against others. "Security" is their excuse for letting their nation become a closed, authoritarian society.

When retaliated against for their bullying, they wallow in maudlin self-pity, injured innocence. "Remember Pearl Harbor!" "Remember 9/11!"

Parents of the truly loved child, concerned for his character and his future well-being might ask, "What did you do to deserve this. Perhaps you owe an apology."

Those who truly love their country ask, "Why do they hate us so? Can we so act as to win their respect, not their hatred?"

Are we parenting a nation admired and cared for worldwide, or are we creating a spoiled brat and bully in the world's school yard?

Guy W. Meyer

[email protected]

P.O. BOX 568 Inverness CA 94937

Preemptive War

Those who oppose preemptive war against Iraq are ignoring the lessons of history.

Thucydides, in his history of the Peloponnesian War, reported the speech of the Corinthian ambassadors criticizing Sparta for inaction against the growing aggression of Athens:

"...You alone wait till the power of an enemy is becoming twice its original size, instead of crushing it in its infancy... The true author of the subjugation of a people is not so much the immediate agent, as the power which permits it, having the means to prevent it... The Mede (Persians) had time to come from the ends of the earth, without any force of yours worthy of the name advancing to meet him..."

Sparta's failure to take preemptive action as its allies were gobbled up by Athens ultimately led to 27 years of war (431-404 B.C.) between those two powers.

Failure of League of Nations members to take preemptive action when Hitler reoccupied the Rhineland, seized the Sudetenland and annexed Austria, resulted in World War II and the deaths and maimings of countless millions in that war.

Those who refuse to learn from mistakes of history are doomed to repeat them. If Iraq war nay-sayers have their way, will we be next?

Fielding Greaves, Secretary

Lt. Col., US Army, Retired

San Rafael

B of A's "Privilege" Fee

Letter to: Ms. Celia Kupersmith, General Manager, Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District.

Please find enclosed an Invoice for the amount of $5 which represents the balance owed to me by the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District for my salary covering the pay period of 07/31/02-08/14/02. The reason for this invoice is provided below.

On August 21, 2002, the day I received my paycheck, I attempted to cash it at the Greenbrae branch of the Bank of America and became extremely irate to learn that I was to be assessed a $5.00 Service Fee for the "privilege" of doing so. This new fee is apparently being assessed without prior public notice on every Bank of America check issued by a business in the States of California, Arizona, Florida, Nevada, New Mexico, North and South Carolina and Texas. Further, it appears that this new fee is being assessed only on those individuals who do not already have a Bank of America account in an attempt to coerce individuals into opening an account.

For your information, I am lodging a formal complaint on this issue with the United States Comptroller of the Currency's office on what I believe to be fraudulent banking practices and, by way of this letter, I am also serving Notice on the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District that I will be naming it as a tacit supporter of this questionable banking practice in my complaint.

By adhering to these practices, Bank of America is drawing into question the solvency of every business account it manages in the above mentioned states, including the account of the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District. Does the District enjoy the possibility of having its credit rating tarnished?

In light of these circumstances, I strongly urge the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District to consider using a bank that does not employ these punitive practices. It seems to me that an individual should be able to cash a check without penalty at the bank which maintains the account of the issued check unless there is something financially wrong with the account holder. Don't you agree?

I do not intend to acquiesce to the demands of Bank of America in this instance, nor any other bank for that matter, which follows similar practices. I expect to receive full, not partial, compensation for my labor and any other services I may render to the District.

Therefore, I intend to continue billing the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District for this, and all future service fees assessed by Bank of America for the "privilege" of cashing my paycheck. If the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District is happy with its current arrangements with Bank of America and supports this new banking practice, then so be it; however, it will need to find some means of guaranteeing full payment to its employees and creditors as Bank of America's current practices do not insure that full payment will be provided to anyone other than Bank of America account holders.

Payment of the attached, and of any future Invoices, as well as any future Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District payroll obligations, must be made to me by Cashier's Check or Money Order since apparently the funds on deposit with Bank of America are not sufficient to assure that the District's financial obligations can be met. Failure to respond to this demand for payment in the manner described above could result in future legal action.

Linda Dorris

San Rafael

Supervisors Questioned About AIDS Program Cuts

Dear Chairman Annette Rose And Supervisors,

Recently cuts were made in Marin County's HIV/AIDS funded programs. I believe that the methodology used by the Marin County AIDS Office in determining how the cuts would be implemented was flawed, and less than impartial.

Staff from the Marin County AIDS Office made the decisions. The Marin AIDS Commission was not asked to participate in the internal discussions that led to the decisions. The Marin AIDS Commission, advises the Marin County Board of Supervisors on issues related to AIDS/HIV in Marin County. Why was this valuable resource not directly involved in the decision making ?

What really stands out in this matter is that no cuts whatsoever were made to the category of Case Management! Many members of the Commission, as well as the larger HIV/AIDS community, have concerns regarding the seemingly ill-conceived distribution of the budget cuts. For instance, while significant reductions were made in most of the direct HIV client services programs, no reductions were made in the areas of Case Management. There are approximately 8 funded Case Management positions HIV/AIDS service providers. Many members of the HIV/AIDS community in Marin strongly feel that Case Management is vastly over funded and that fewer Case Managers are needed, in accordance with client need. And that fewer Case Managers are needed, in accordance with client need, etc.

It is wrong to not even consider "de-funding" some of these case management positions, and reallocating the funds to direct client services.

The "Wellness Program," which is a weekly educational series presents timely topics for people living with HIV/AIDS. These include diet, exercise, stress reduction, Medical information, all important components to help preserve and improve the quality of life for people living with HIV/AIDS. This important program was cut by almost 50 percent! Additionally the Acupuncture/Vitamin program was slashed in its funding! Many people living with HIV/AIDS, rely on alternative/natural treatments to combat the nasty side effects of RX Aids treatments. Others, rely on the program as "Primary Medical Care" since they can no longer tolerate the highly toxic nature of HIV/AIDS drugs. The cuts in the Acupuncture/Vitamin program mean that many patients will no longer be able to be seen as treatment slots have been greatly reduced. This will have a negative impact on many peoples quality of life.

The Mental Health program at Family Services was completely eliminated, leaving many with mental illness to seek alternate providers and care.

I believe that the process of decision making for implementing the budget cuts was highly flawed. Three county staff people along with Dr. Meradith's office, do not constitute an impartial, or representational body of the community. I believe that the only proper solution to this situation is to impanel a new "Funding Cuts Group" that will be comprised of members of the AIDS Commission, community representatives, person(s) from outside Marin to lend an impartial outside voice and county staff.

The Marin County AIDS Office must learn to include "real" community input in its ongoing decision making, not simply provide "lip service," and then make their decisions behind closed doors. The members of the Marin HIV/AIDS community can no longer continue without proper representation or true consideration of our real needs. It is the goal of community to work with the Marin AIDS Office to improve programs and services, especially in this time of hardship due to funding cuts. Funding must be restored to direct services, while appropriate cuts should be made to Case Management services.

In closing, it is interesting to note that in most other communities, service providers took cuts to the administrative component of the grants, as well as to the direct service component. Why does it appear that none of Marin County's service providers has taken any administrative cuts? Why were the programs only cut on the service end that affects what consumers get in the program/service? It is strongly felt that cuts need to be made to both the administrative as well as to the direct service components to make the situation equitable and fair to all.

Please note that while I Co-Chair The Marin AIDS Commission, I want to make it very clear that this letter contains my own personal thoughts/feelings regarding the issues presented. And that in no way am I representing the AIDS Commission, or its members.

I would appreciate receiving a timely written response, and would welcome the opportunity to meet with the Board of Supervisors to discuss the outlined matters in detail.

Gregory Giorgi


Depressing Anti-Americanism

I feel I must respond to the "nineleven" editorial by Jim Scanlon, a friend of mine and a very intelligent, articulate man.

Although I personally like Jim very much, I find his editorial to be emblematic of the depressing anti-Americanism that passes for "cutting edge" these days among the left-wing elites who run newsrooms across the country. Jim is just more upfront and honest about his stance than the editors of the New York Times or the Washington Post, who, of necessity borne from their large circulation and their need to please a broader group of readers, are reduced to making (not so) subtle hints at what Jim says outright.

It would be appropriate to respond to every point Jim makes, but perhaps retorting his basic themes would be a good start.

First, it's true that Americans are very ignorant of history and that, until 9-11, had not experienced warfare on their soil (in the lower 48) for 130+ years. Americans have been lucky. However, none of that should serve to downplay the significance of the 9-11 attacks. More people died on 9-11 than in the attacks on Pearl Harbor, which lead to the involvement of tens of millions of Americans (and several hundred thousand dead) in W.W.II, as Jim points out. Furthermore, the people who died on 9-11 were not combatants or soldiers, but civilians. Making war on civilians is fundamentally different than attacking combatants and every civilization in history has understood this obvious truth. Remember also that the Islamic fascists who attacked America on 9-11 were not trying to change our policy towards Israel or retaliate for our support for Pinochet. They attacked us because they hate us for who we are - because we are not Muslims; because we have not been subjugated to sharia law; because we are a successful civilization and they are not and they have an intense jealousy of us as a result.

Second, America the nation has done more good for more people in the last century BY FAR than any other nation or people in history. Just for starters, ask the South Koreans. Does that mean we're perfect? No. But show me an organization of thirty people that's perfect. Then explain to me why you expect a nation of three HUNDRED MILLION people to be perfect. The disgusting thing about the leftist viewpoint is that America, we are told, must meet some kind of ethereal standard of utopian perfection in its every act, but the vicious, murderous , hateful acts of other nations or people are simply ignored or explained away. Just as an aside, don't lecture us on American support for some bad guy in Chile in the 70's unless you are going to explain why it would have been better to have a Stalinist Allende dictatorship in power for several decades.

In fact, the extraordinary thing about America's response to the vicious hate crimes of 9-11 was that we could have opened the gates of hell on our enemies ...and we chose not to. We responded in a measured, careful way. There was only one "hate crime" perpetrated by an American since 9-11-in Arizona some nut murdered a Sikh thinking he was a Muslim. That's ONE in a nation of three hundred million people. That sounds pretty good to me, but if you are reflexively anti-American, anything less than perfection means we are an evil nation, right? The truth is that America is a far better place for Muslims to live in than ANY Muslim nation on Earth. If you don't believe me, just ask all those people lining up to get visas. How many Americans are lining up to move to Syria or Yemen?

Eric Salthe

Louisville, Kentucky

Selling The War

I saw a story on CNN where they are now trying to claim the Saddam Hussein and Iraq were behind the Oklahoma City bombing with Tim McVeigh in 1993. All this propaganda is being generated to justify starting a war with Iraq. What will they claim next? Saddam shot Kennedy from the Grassy Knoll? Saddam kidnapped the Lindburg baby?

I won't support a war when I know I'm being lied to by our own government. What concerns me is how far will Bush, Cheney, and the news media go to fabricate justification for this war. I expect a fabricated terrorist event in late October just before the midterm elections. Bush and the Republicans need a war to distract America from the economic depression, the corporate looting of the American people, and to help Bush politically when he runs for re-election in 2004. This is a war by the Bush administration against the freedom of the American people.

Marc Perkel

San Francisco

Take Control Over Middle East

Those who fear waging war against Iraq and Saddam Hussein fret that we're not really going after terrorism. Do we have evidence, they ask, that Hussein was involved in the 9/11/01 attacks against the United States?

It doesn't matter. The point is that the United States needs to establish control over this part of the world. If we don't, then we will continue to be attacked. Maybe it will be Saddam Hussein who next attacks us; maybe not. It doesn't matter. Each and every terrorizing regime -- especially in this part of the world -- qualifies as a worthy target. The United States, as a country respectful of individual rights, has always enjoyed the moral right to attack these countries, if we choose. The time of that choice has arrived.

Against tyrants and dictators, war is always morally justified. Now, given the unprecedented dangers we face, it's required.

Michael J. Hurd Ph.D.

Author, GROW UP AMERICA! (Washington DC: Living Resources Press, 2000)

Chevy Chase MD

Will It Be The War Of Thieves?

Today, El Pais (Spain) explains this very cynically : "EE.UU. will share Iraqi oil with the countries who will participate in the war".

If Paris and Moscow take part in the aggression, they will receive a (small) part of the cake, i.e. a few contracts with the new regime, "made in Washington." If not, they will be excluded. So everybody admits it is a colonial war, to plunder the raw materials.

It is also a war against "friends-rivals" : France and Europe, Russia... Because of the economic crisis, the rivalry will become deeper and deeper. Bush is openly blackmailing about the E.U. access to oil.

But the danger goes further. Actually, Washington fears to lose the control of Saudi Arabia (No. 1 oil reserves in the world). Anxious because of the growing dissatisfaction of the Arab world, Washington wants therefore to take complete control of the No. 2 in oil reserves.

This would allow the US multinationals to make the prices lower and declare economic war to OPEC (OPEP), i.e. a lot of "too independent" countries: Iran, Venezuela... If these countries lose their revenues, Washington hopes to bring them on their knees and impose its globalization.

War is also against the Palestinians. Because Iraq already proposed to boycott oil exports as a pressure against Sharon's policy. Venezuela and others are ready to accept.

But Rambush's war has another dimension: China also signed contracts with Baghdad. CIA asserts that China with its fantastic growth might reach the same economic level as the USA around 2015 or 2020. Blocking its access to the oil of Middle East, and also to the gas of Central Asia (war against Afghanistan), installing military bases everywhere is the preparation of economic, political and military blockade against China.

What a wonderful world, Mr. Bush!

Blackmailing so openly and cynically is not a sign of force but a sign of moral isolation and weakness. So everybody in Europe may now ask to his government: are you really going to march in this war of the thieves ?

Michel Collon

[email protected]

Why Do They Hate Us

On September 11, we mourn the 3,000 Americans, Canadian, Swiss, Japanese, Australians, New Zealanders, Chinese, Koreans, Indians, Irish, Mexicans and others who died. We see the images again, and again, and again, of the buildings bursting into flames, then collapsing.

Can we gain anything from this beyond a burning anger and a bitter sorrow? Why did dedicated teams of terrorists sacrifice themselves to deliver a blow to the US?

I think, on this day we should do three things.

Firstly, we should mourn not as Catholics or Protestants or Jews or Muslims. We should mourn all together and pray for understanding and peace.

Secondly, we should ask why do some people hate America so deeply? Is it envy? Is it anger at cultural or economic imperialism? Why? Americans need to understand. We need to live in peace with our neighbors, because we are all neighbors now.

Thirdly, we should be wary of dangers to our liberty and privacy with the excuse of security. However sincere the original motive, abuses for other motives and by other bureaucrats will appear. Benjamin Franklin said, long ago, "They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."

The meaning of September 11 does not lie in the horror. For the first time in more than a century, the continental United States has felt the scourge of war that so many other countries have suffered. We must learn from this how to prevent war, not how to wage it.

Tom Trottier

Ottawa, Canada

Partisan Sniping At Bush

I was visiting your fair region from Florida when I picked up the Coastal Post. There seemed to be a fair amount of partisan sniping at President Bush, likely because he won the Electoral College so narrowly. We all have that right and I take no issue with it. I do wish to comment on the insidious manner in which some used their gripe to actually exalt Saddam Hussein. He is a truly evil murdering tyrant and should get no quarter anywhere in this nation.

He has initiated 2 wars in the past 20 years, at enormous costs to both his people and others, and seems bent on causing a 3rd by ignoring the surrender terms he agreed to before the world. He has used diplomatic tactics to starve his own people, long after having dumped poison gas on them. When cornered in the last war, he opened oil valves into the eco-system of the Persian Gulf, and ignited hundreds of oil wells to poison the very air of the region. He is now hell-bent on developing nuclear bombs which he openly boasts will be used to incinerate the people, Arab and Jew, of Israel.

Folks, my point is one need not approve of FDR's "New Deal" to detest Adolf Hitler. I implore the good people of Marin County to never embrace genocidal despotism to affirm legitimate domestic policy positions. It damns and demeans any good cause one may affirm. I thank you.

Tim O'Neill

Marco Island, Fla.

Bi-ignorant Bush

President George W. Bush's mocking statement of David Gregory's knowledge of French was a cheap shot from someone whose forte is clearly not languages. Bush, in his recent trip to Europe, made a derisive comment about Gregory, a White House correspondent for NBC, after the reporter asked President Jacques Chirac a question in French. Bush's remark was unfortunate because he has done much to make bilingualism and even multilingualism acceptable in the US with his use of Spanish in politics.

To be sure, Bush's Spanish, like his English, is limited. He himself has recognized his weakness by admitting to Latino audiences that he prefers to speak English because he does not want to butcher Spanish, which he considers "un idioma muy bonito" (a very beautiful language).

Bush learned his limited Spanish in high school and in college and honed it in the oil fields of Texas, but could probably not communicate at all in a debate completely in Spanish. Spanish wire service EFE reported that Bush speaks Spanish "poorly" but with great confidence. And Molly Ivins, no fan of George Bush, has written that his Spanish is pretty bad. The columnist went as far as saying that Bush is not bilingual/bicultural, but rather bi-ignorant.

In spite of his limited knowledge of Spanish, Bush used it during the presidential campaign of 2000 as he tried to connect with the Latino population. Recent data released by the US Census reveals that the Latino vote will be even more crucial in the next presidential election, particularly in key states like Florida where a few hundred votes could make the difference.

Bush's interest in Spanish spread to others at the Republican National Convention in Philadelphia. Unlike the 1996 Convention, where attacking languages and immigrants seemed to be de rigueur, at the 2000 Convention speeches in Spanish were given by Abel Maldonado, a California Assemblyman, and George Prescott Bush, the president's nephew.

Democrats accused Bush of pandering in his use of Spanish. Yet, the charge does not stick. Bush's links with Spanish go deep into his family. His brother Jeb, Governor of Florida, speaks Spanish much better than the President. Jeb married Columba Garnica Gallo, a native of Guanajuato, Mexico, whom, he met 1971 while he was teaching English in an exchange program for Phillips Academy.

Bush can also point to his policies on language-related issues, as a reflection of his serious concern with Latino needs. While he was governor of Texas, Bush never tried to get rid of bilingual education, always maintaining that if a program works, it should be kept. And Bush never came out in favor of declaring English the official language of the country, nor of the states that passed English-only laws.

Bush's best defense about moderation in language issues is reinforced by his sharply contrasting views with those of the extremist English-only groups. Their goal is not only to declare English the official language of the country and stamp out other languages from US soil but their views on immigration reflect the GOP platform of the 1996 convention. Bush irked English-only groups with his Spanish radio address last year in celebration of Cinco de Mayo. In his speech, in fact, he stated that when "immigrants come to America legally, their culture and language" must be treated with respect and that the American story has been written and told in "many languages."

Jim Boulet, executive director of an organization called English First was very displeased with Bush's Spanish speech. Boulet believes it embarked on "a dangerous road" since it puts the White House imprimatur "on a culture of multilingualism."

ProEnglish, another English-only group, has been so dissatisfied with the President that it filed a suit against his policies. The suit alleges that Bush has not revoked Bill Clinton's Executive Order 13166, which requires that any organization that receives federal funding provide services in languages other than English. According to ProEnglish, the order would impose huge new costs and burdens on states and local governments.Knowing Spanish is no guarantee of political success. It could not win Jimmy Carter reelection nor was it enough to elect Michael Dukakis president. Yet, Spanish does open the door to Latinos' hearts. In the final analysis, however, it's issues of substance, of which language is only one, that determine how Latinos will cast their ballots. And on that score, it's still the Democratic Party that speaks the language Latinos understand best.

Domenico Maceri

Santa Maria, CA

Conservative Like Me?

Greetings! I found your site via a search for American Pistol and Rifle Assn. Can you tell me if the group still exists and where to find it? Your site looks intriguing with it's healthy skepticism for the Permanent Regime and its various mind games. Are you conservative like me? Can't really tell!

Many thanks,

Nelson Waller

Anderson, SC




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