Letter To The Editor
Learn From History!
Like others who support a pre-emptive war against Iraq (or any other nation that a supremely bellicose administrations tells us, with little proof offered, is an imminent threat to our safety), Lt. Col. Fielding Greaves insists that we must learn from history.
I couldn't agree more. But in addition to the examples of appeasement he cited, I would add the lessons to be learned from the rise of Mussolini and Hitler in nations notable for their civilized achievements.
In 1935, Sinclair Lewis published "It Can't Happen Here." In 2002, it can and it is.
If You Want To Make Peace...
"If you want to make peace, you don't talk to your friends. You talk to your enemies..."
Michael Kelly's piece this week in the Washington Post, "A Prize for Peace", wherein he argues, "Either of the two Bushes would have been more deserving of the Nobel award than Carter", is really beyond comprehension and credibility. What has happened to one of the paragons of intelligent and thoughtful journalism, The Washington Post?
Obviously I am in direct opposition to Mr. Kelly's view. I can not recall a more militaristic and violent leader of the United States than George W. Bush. In fact, as a leader who tolerates and promotes violence Bush has few equals. Possible exceptions being Ariel Sharon of Israel, President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, and, perhaps, Saddam Hussein.
Mr. Kelly snipes at Jimmy Carter's record and efforts toward peace. Admittedly Carter was not an effective President. However it is difficult to fault Carter's tireless efforts "working toward peace" both as President and in the years following his departure. In addition to the considerable efforts and the political capital he expended brokering a peace deal between Egypt and Israel in 1979, the Carter Center he started after leaving the White House has been a leading institution promoting peace and democracy around the world for many years. Further, the Carter Center embraces compassion and democracy consistent with an inclusive foreign policy and directly at odds with the imperialistic and isolationist policies of GW Bush and his advisors.
Mr. Kelly (and the two Presidents Bush) appear to be oblivious of the sacrifices and efforts inherent working towards peace. Peace is not a short-term result; it is an ongoing endeavor. Anwar Sadat and Menachem Begin understood the political and personal risks; Sadat paid with his life.
Mr. Kelly cites statistics in support of his view that are used in a incomprehensible and most illogical way: "And in these terms, what, exactly, has Carter done? His great achievement as president, in this regard, was to broker a peace agreement in 1979 between Egypt and Israel. This was a good thing, but it did not - 617 Israelis dead these past two years, 1,909 Palestinians - actually result in peace."
This statistic actually supports my assertion that peace requires an ongoing commitment. Bush and his current crop of "Allies" (e.g., Sharon) are not seeking peace; they are seeking domination. I believe it is quite clear that Ariel Sharon is directly responsible for the carnage Israel has experienced during the last two years under his "leadership". I would argue, Mr. Kelly, that the better and more logical statistical argument is to compare the number of Israelis and Palestinians killed under the leadership of Ehud Barak, Sharon's moderate predecessor (who actively worked toward an agreement with the Palestinians), with the numbers generated these last two years under Sharon. Further, Barak's efforts toward peace were purposely destroyed by Sharon's ill-intentioned visit to the Temple Mount in September of 2000 in the company of hundreds of armed policeman. A visit that was designed to solidify his support with the ultra-right wing of the Likud Party and prevent the rise of Benjamin Netanyahu.
If Bush is truly interested in peace he has got to ally himself and this country with leaders genuinely committed to peace; not just powerful military governments. While Carter has dedicated his post-presidency to working peacefully with the International community, Bush, an imperialist and isolationist, has asked that the US be excluded and protected from the "World Court", and has determined that war in Iraq is unavoidable.
The peace process flourishes only when an atmosphere of trust, tolerance and respect are present.
I think it is quite clear that the Nobel committee got it rightÉ
Jeffrey E. Miller
Blatantly Erroneous Claim
Ellen Laferty Wright of the Marin United Taxpayers Association argues against rail service along Highway 101 in the Sept. Coastal Post ("Nation's Train Bill a Bust") and in so doing makes a blatantly erroneous claim that "two-thirds of Marin residents live south of San Rafael," therefore giving them no use for a train beginning in Sonoma County and ending in San Rafael.
In fact, only one-third of Marin residents live south of San Rafael, which the following population figures from the 2002 World Almanac, along with some math, bear out.
San Rafael with 56,063 people, Lucas Valley-Marinwood with 6,357, and Novato with 47,630 add up to 110,050, then adding an additional 15,000 for the unincorporated areas of Santa Venetia, Black Point, Green Point, Bel Marin Keys and Novato gives a total of 125,050 for San Rafael and north.
Subtracting that figure from Marin County's 2000 total of 247,289 leaves 122,239 for the rest of Marin; then subtracting 15,000 for the West Marin communities, 7,319 for Fairfax, 12,378 for San Anselmo and 4,000 for Sleepy Hollow (which are all west of San Rafael) leaves 83,542 for the county south of San Rafael, 33.8 percent of Marin's 2000 Census population of 247,289.
Trash Rip Off Continues
I have read with interest the involvement of Susanne N. Lindelli and a Louisa Matthews in the local Marin IJ paper regarding trash service in San Anselmo. It is interesting that they have circulated a petition on behalf of the North Bay Corporation to attempt to secure from them trash service, when the City Council had approved another service. By their actions, it is very evident that they are either greatly misinformed or in a conspiracy with North Bay Corporation and the owner Jim Ratto. So, which is it ladies? Are you on the take or just plain dumb?
Did you know that the James Ratto corporation is to get someone to support his position and bids very low, making up his loss from revenues by increased rates in other areas. His lower bid excludes services contained in other franchised bids. So the lower bid by him will be a sham and eventually residential rates will increase anyway.
Mr. Ratto reportedly buys businesses with cash and has property and garbage interest scattered throughout California. He has a record that runs from New Jersey across to California. A good example is that when in a bid for garbage services for Santa Rosa, his bid contained "Free Street Sweeping," free service for Santa Rosa Junior College, all city schools, 30 percent discount for senior citizens, plus a $30,000 contribution to the City. He locked this in for a 10-year contract. He then can raise the rates any time. He increases rates in other areas that he has trash service to make up for the loss.
I bet you didn't know that in Sonoma County he violated his franchise and paid a $120,000 fine. He also paid a $400,000 fine in Mendocino County. All this information is public record and many articles covering this, plus conflict of interest against a North County Council member, was in print in the Coastal Post.
So in closing I have sent a package of documents covering all of the above to San Anselmo Council informing them of the above with copies to the Marin IJ. Hopefully these ladies will educate themselves as to true facts before they meddle, or are they on the payroll of North Bay Corporation and act in their behalf?
Johnny Q. Citizen
"Peace Accord Broken"
Showing me the headline, he exclaimed, "What is going on there?!" My young Japanese friend is a physicist but the conflict between Israel and Palestine upset him.
What could I say? I knew he didn't want a long winded description of the history of the present conflict; all I could say was, "People have been fighting over that land for 10,000 years!"
"It's a crossroads for trade and migration between the three continents of Africa, Asia and Europe."
But many of us who are not interested in the discoveries of archeology shake our heads in despair. I could have mentioned that people of rival groups in that area have been massacring, enslaving, deporting and assassinating each other ever since the New Stone Age, if not before. The Jewish people themselves have been forced to leave that land three times at least, not counting the many times they were conquered and dominated. About 4000 BC they were enslaved in Egypt. In 586 BC, the rising empire of Babylonia deported the people of Judea and Israel to Babylon in what is known as "The Babylonian Captivity." Then, under the Romans, in "The Diaspora," they were dispersed and fled in all directions. Perhaps now it is the Palestinians' turn?
"What are you saying? This is the 21st century! The Diaspora was 2000 years ago... we have come a long way on the road to civilization since then, haven't we? Come on, let's have an answer! Aren't we more civilized now?"
The behavior of the Jews in Israel and the Arabs of Palestine give us the answer. Besides, there are also all the other nations who have a finger in the pie, egging both people on, for their own national or business interests.
Two thousand years ago, the people of Europe, Africa and Asia found room for the Jewish people among themselves. Now it is the Muslim nations' turn to take the Palestinians in. And to make room for the Jewish people to expand to their proper homeland: Mesopotamia, now called Iraq.
Nothing To Do With Peace
The fact that someone like Jimmy Carter gets the Nobel "Peace" Prize shows that the prize has nothing to do with peace and everything to do with supporting, excusing and coddling dictators throughout the world. Jimmy Carter's record as President speaks for itself. We're still living with the consequence of his many disastrous policies, particularly his refusal to keep Iran from falling into fundamentalist terrorist hands. It's rare that a one-term President can do as much lasting damage as this one did to both the morale and safety of a great nation.
What about the Israeli-Egyptian peace accords with which Carter is credited? Thank Anwar Sadat who, relative to the brutes, fascists and dictators throughout the rest of the Muslim world, was a man of relative reason. There would have been no peace had it not been for Sadat; Jimmy Carter merely exploited, to his credit, this unusual opening. However, his otherwise consistent attacks on peace, through his pacifistic and generally anti-military, anti-American philosophy, far outweigh any temporary good which came from that one action.
Political leaders who advocate peace through weakness and pacifism should not be honored. They should be condemned, voted out of office, and then forgotten. The people who honor Jimmy Carter given his fervent opposition to the War Against Terrorism betray their true convictions-which are anything but peaceful.
Michael J. Hurd Ph.D.
Forfeiture Endangers American Rights
I spoke to you a couple of months ago when I came to your office to retrieve my credit card which I had left at Smiley's the night before. I promised you a review copy of my book, FEAR's Asset Forfeiture Defense Manual, which I am enclosing. I am also enclosing a copy of Tom Daley's review of the book. Tom was the former publisher of the Georgetown Gazette (El Dorado County, California), a political newspaper which was very much like the Coastal Post when he was publisher.
Our book retails for $119, plus $12 shipping and handling and $8.63 California sales tax (for orders shipped to California addresses). Currently the book is sold only through FEAR (mail orders should be sent to 265 Miller Avenue, Mill Valley, CA 94941); secure credit card orders may be placed from the FEAR website (www.fear.org)
Profits from the book benefit FEAR in its efforts to educate the public about the evils of the asset forfeiture laws. FEAR Foundation is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, and the only nonprofit we know of that focuses solely on forfeiture reform. The sister organization, FEAR Inc., is a lobbying organization, and although it has never had any money to speak of, its 10 years of grass-roots lobbying for forfeiture reform earned the praise of Rep. Henry Hyde, who stated in his speech before Congress on April 11, 2000, the day the Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act of 2000 passed: "I also must thank our former colleague Bob Bauman and Brenda Grantland of Forfeiture Endangers American Rights for their long and dedicated work on behalf of forfeiture reform."
We can use all of the promotional help we can get.
FEAR Board of Directors
A Personal Ad
40-ish, funny, interesting, rehabilitated bad boy in prison seeks pen-pal, friend. Drop a line. Richard Deeds #14946, P.O. Box #7000, Carson City, NV 89702.
Carson City, NV
America Is A Nation Gone Mad
We used to be the beacon of freedom and democracy but now we are a threat to the rest of the world. In 2000 America was overthrown by a right wing coup which stole the election and installed a drunken moron into power. The first thing he did was to destroy the economy and shut down anti-terrorism efforts leaving us vulnerable to attack. Then Bush and Congress, in a bipartisan effort to destroy freedom, tore up the Constitution with the Patriot Act and are trying to implement a Nazi era style form of "Homeland Security" to keep us under this government's thumb.
After having failed this summer to overthrow the government of Venezuela and install an oil man as president, Bush now turns to overthrowing Iraq without world support, to initiate a war where America is clearly the aggressor. We do not have the support of the United Nations and we are the object of ridicule and are now feared by our allies. Our friends don't trust us and we are an isolated rogue nation that has gone mad.
This government is not America and we are a threat to humanity and we should do everything in our powers to rise up against our illegitimate government and let the President and members of Congress know that this is a government of the People. If they forget that then the People of America will rise up and install a new government that understands the our government exists for the sole purpose of serving the people and not the self interests of our (un)elected officials.
San Francisco, CA.
Better Off Than Two Years Ago?
"Are you better off that you were two years ago?", is a common question asked just before an election. Usually it's the theme of presidential elections, but so much has happened in the last two years that it's time to ask the question now.
Two years ago we had peace and prosperity. Now we have war and poverty. They say the rich get richer and the poor get poorer, but in the last two years even the rich got poorer. People's life savings wiped out due to corporate thieves who now control the government. The Patriot Act stripped us of our civil liberties and we now vote to provoke a war with Iraq when virtually ignoring the terrorist groups that blew up the world trade towers. America now has secret courts and spends its time spying on our own people. Our government is lawless and out of control.
So - when you go to the polls ask yourself if you are better off that you were two years ago. Do you want to continue to support the people in office who vote for war, poverty and oppression, or people who support peace prosperity and freedom.
Bullied By Communication Companies
You have a very powerful job in society, and the American people need your help. We are all being bullied by the faceless giant communications companies(SBC). We need to make it clear to them, and to those in Washington D.C. the we the people cannot stand for this. America was built upon a free enterprise. We live in a Capitalist country, so why can't we have freedom of choice? Thank you for you time, and please publish an article in the news about this. Thank you.
Alameda CA 94501
Dear Jerry Falwell
Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God's Law. I have learned a great deal from your show, and try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination.
I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some of the other specific laws and how to follow them.
1. When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates
a pleasing odor for the Lord - Lev. 1:9. The problem is my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?
2. I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what to you think would be a fair price for her?
3. I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of menstrual uncleanliness - Lev. 15:19-24. The problem is, how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offense.
4. Lev. 25:44 states that I may indeed possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can't I own Canadians?
5. I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself?
6. A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination (Lev. 11:10), it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don't agree. Can you settle this?
7. Lev. 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle room here?
8. Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden in Lev. 19:27. How should they die?
9. I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?
10. My uncle has a farm. He violated Lev. 19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them (Lev. 24:10-16)? Couldn't we just burn them to death at a private family affair like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws (Lev. 20:14)?
A true Christian
Dr. Dean Shackelford
Associate Professor of English
Southeast Missouri State University
Cape Girardeau, MO 63701
Dissent Or Distraction
It is said that tyrants inevitably set the agenda for their opponents. Imperialism begets a peace movement, slavery, abolition; white supremacy, civil rights; and so on. Astute rebels like Mandela rise above the often reactionary politics of paid activism not only by their firm stance on behalf of human dignity, but also by their ability to discern issues essential to the building of effective movement so those that challenge the legitimacy and power of tyrants, not just the agenda de jeure. Authentic democratic activists, focused on fundamental conflicts between public health and private wealth for instance, can not afford to be accommodationist or sporadic. They must prepare for the day when they can force tyrants like Bush/Cheney to either resign or face the wrath of a people willing to hang them for treason and crimes against humanity.
NEWS FLASH! Edward R. Morrow rolls over in his grave!
Sounds of pounding, kicking, and bones splintering against pine were reported today, coming from beneath the startled feet of visitors to the gravesite of the world famous and beloved newsman Edward R. Morrow, known for his integrity and courage in reporting to the American people. Also heard filtering up from below, muffled and lispy yet clearly audible, were impassioned shouts of..."ASK THE REAL QUESTIONS!!!" ... "CORPORATE CRIMINALS!!", and "DON'T LET THEM LIE...DIG YOU SLACKERS" ....and, more quietly, as if with a final effort... "your world is at stake"....then silence......
The flabbergasted gravesite visitors immediately fled and called the media out to investigate, however they were otherwise occupied, dutifully distributing the latest press releases from the White House...
San Diego, Ca.
909 529 3825
Homeland Security... Duh
In the aftermath of 9/11, President Bush was very successful in convincing the American people that with his creation of a Homeland Security Agency, coupled with his concept of pre-emptively attacking any external threat to the safety and security of the American people, he will ensure the security of our homeland. It is for this reason that his performance rating shot up from a dismal 41% (as an illegitimate president) to the current 85% (as a war president). He will continue to enjoy this kind of support from the American people provided the war he is so anxious to engage in is not waged in our own homeland. It is perfectly acceptable to see the Palestinians and Afghans get blown to bits, but no American blood should be shed in the process. But wait - someone is messing up with the president's homeland security scenario. There is a seemingly invisible maniac or maniacs systematically killing Americans right under the very nose of our war president. He has shot a total of twelve innocent victims in a very short time of fifteen days and the new super agency of the president cannot seem to do anything to stop it.
Isn't Washington D. C. and its suburbs a part of our homeland? Just wanted to make sure, because no mention is made of our homeland security Czar in the futile but frantic efforts of our government to live up to our president's security commitment. It is only natural to expect Mr. Tom Ridge to be on top of the fray, whether his organization, which is already in existence has been officially sanctioned by Congress or not. While the president's super security agency appears to be detached from and indifferent to its first major challenge, one would think that the sniper, killing Americans in Washington D. C., will be of the belief that what he is doing does not fall in the category of being a breach to our homeland security. When will the president's security mechanism kick in? When another 9/11 occurs? Is there any magic number of Americans that need to be killed and an amount of property destroyed before we can consider the event within the purview of this super agency?
Is the agency designed to prevent death and destruction in our homeland from internal or external attacks? Or is it merely designed to offer us a false sense of security? If the agency cannot handle a sniper using a 223 caliber rifle, picking innocent civilians in their own backyards, how can we expect them to protect us from well trained, well equipped suicidal fanatics? Before we spend a single dollar in a very expensive war effort to bring Saddam Hussein down and justify such an adventure as a part of the Bush administration's attempt to ensure our homeland security, we should first put in more of our resources into saving the lives of the American taxpayers from an apparently unstoppable pea-shooting maniac who specializes in wasting away people, rather than rabbits. If our homeland security organization will continue operating with the same old officials whose bungling ways brought us 9/11, how can we feel adequately protected with the president's current efforts on the matter? President Bush should first overhaul the leadership of agencies such as the CIA and FBI and get rid of the proven incompetent bunglers before he can prove his seriousness in addressing our homeland security concerns. The creation of a new agency composed of the same people who cannot recognize simple dots, much less connect them, is an exercise in futility and an insult to our intelligence. It is really nothing more than a window dressing designed to make those of us (who have abdicated our ability to think in the name of misguided patriotism), approve of the president's saber rattling tactics. We will have adequate homeland security only when we get smart enough to tell the difference between fantasy and reality in so far as our government's avowed commitment to protect us is concerned.
Antonio R. Serna
How To Get "HIV Is Not Dangerous!" Lethally
In the October 2002 issue of The Coastal Post, news staff reporter Steve Simac used one of the cheapest, most manipulative high school debate team tactics known -- in order to support his personal belief that HIV does not cause AIDS.
Mr. Simac followed six plausible and rational conspiratorial postulates (from no "lone nut" having killed JFK -- to intentionally-addictive junk fast food), with his private assertion that all AIDS drugs are "lethal poison" - and that HIV is harmless.
Yes Mr. Simac. We, "the brainwashed" -- do understand that promiscuous sexual activity is a "very difficult" recreational addiction -- and social power-over-others -- to drop.
It is -- yet more -- difficult to live with personal genital responsibly in an age of sexually-transmitted slow viral death -- yes Steve?
South Africa's President Thabo Mbeki seems convinced that HIV is not the cause of AIDS; and that current treatments cause rather than effectively treat AIDS.
Mr. Simac points out that President Mbeki refuses to provide the anti-AIDS drug AZT to HIV-positive pregnant women. President Mbeki in fact declared the drug too dangerous to use, even though it has been proven that AZT drastically cuts the chances of newborns contracting the HIV virus.
At a recent conference in Pretoria, Mbeki invited U.S.-based researcher Peter Duesberg, a scientific outcast for his theory that AIDS is caused not by the human immunodeficiency virus but by illegal drugs and AZT.
That's interesting, Steve. I didn't know extremely expensive AZT -- and costly illegal street drugs -- were THAT popular in traditionally sexually promiscuous, horrific poverty-ravaged sub-Saharan Africa.
Two more "inductive" high school debate rationality-'knee-cappers' -- from Christine Maggiore's now worldwide-published, Peter Duesberg "research"-based book "What If Everything You Thought You Knew About AIDS Was Wrong?," in which she declares "there is no proof that HIV causes AIDS, (these "facts" are not expressed as mere alternative postulates -- or mere personal opinion):
1) "If HIV were contagious, it would have to be multiplying exponentially, which it is not."
This -- completely ignores the physically limited sexual manner of transmission - this is not T.B. people!
2) "Bottom line? No one knows what causes AIDS. We know it cannot be the virus called HIV. We know it isn't contagious."
This is MEASURABLY LETHAL -- destructive pseudoscience authority abuse. Look.
Take Art Bell for example. He is constantly presenting pseudoscientific unsolvable doom "experts" to a -- now worldwide audience.
He then, very publicly chastises his audience for "..not being thinking adults -- it is just information folks!" - when unscreened on-air callers angrily raise the -unchallenged- unsolvable doom-"expert" question.
A classic mindless guilt-spraying dogma-bully control tactic.
"Credible" authoritative-sounding speech has very real impact -- on busy adults without extra free time for complete research.
Especially -- already frightened -- adult human beings with potential -- positive HIV test results.
At the official Center For Disease Control And Prevention website see:
"Why do some people make statements that HIV does not cause AIDS?" http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/pubs/cause.htm
For further credible reading before deciding to "fashionably reject" modern, neo-conservative, medically-sane, personal sexual boundaries -- why not visit:
The National Library Of Medicine at http://sis.nlm.nih.gov/HIV/HIVMain.html
And believe it or not Mother Jones Magazine's recent article about dangerous unthinking HIV deniers: http://www.motherjones.com/news_wire/foo.html
Iraq, Israel, Hypocrisy And Endless War
Hearing a few minutes of rhetoric by Mr. Bush's congressmen is a sharp glimpse of hypocrisy, running deeper than most progressives would like to admit.
The most glaring absurdity of proposing war on Iraq is the counter-posed horror of Israeli behavior, right nearby, and totally supported by the US. In fact, Israel's pathology is largely CAUSED by countless billions in unchecked US tax-dollars, which give a deciding advantage to those who gain quick political prominence, through policies that depend on lack of scrutiny. Proposing war on Iraq requires unbelievable blindness toward the openly racist atrocities of its neighbor Israel, atrocities inherent in the forced creation, in broad daylight, of an officially "Jewish" settler-state in multi-ethnic Palestine.
Ending Israel's ethnic aggression would bring the quickest and widest change to the Middle East, far more profound than any "change of regime" in Iraq, and toward peace, justice, and global sustainability, instead of fatal to them. Nor do we see Saddam Hussein enacting upon anyone the daily, precedent-setting ethnic violence imposed on Palestinian school-children, for example, by Israel and its racist international constituency. The specific statements of politicians who support Bush's warmongering make the linkage between Iraq and Israel grossly obvious, as the hypocrisy and hollowness of all the "patriotic" blather is most conspicuous in its contrast to the silence about Israel.
Yet the real depth of this hypocrisy is seen when those who OPPOSE attacks on Iraq ALSO ignore Israel's directly counter-posed role in Middle East regional violence and instability.
Twenty years ago, when leftists and progressives demonstrated against Ariel Sharon's presence in San Francisco, shortly after Israel's massacres at Sabra and Shatila, and during the height of Israel's slaughters in Lebanon, the organizers of the demonstration BANNED any and all criticism of Israel and/or Zionism. We were supposed to pretend that Ariel Sharon was a "renegade," having nothing to do with Israel's real character. We were supposed to forget that Israel was conceived and founded on the principle of ethnic-cleansing, and that General Sharon's prime minister, Menachem Begin, had also launched himself into Israeli prominence and actualized Zionist principles, as a mass-murdering "renegade."
Ten years ago, when the Western "coalition" attacks against Iraq began, thousands of peaceniks seemed to pour out of nowhere: none had ever objected to their tax-support for Israeli ethnic-cleansing and genocide in Palestine. At those first "No Blood for Oil" rallies, the crucial issues were no longer banned, but the speakers mentioned Israel only to laud the genteel absence of "Israel-bashing." When real peace and justice activists pointed out that massive bursts of Middle East slaughter had been erupting, for decades, from the unprotested status-quo of US/Israeli ethnic violence in Palestine; when we pointed out that direct involvement of US troops did not change the fact that we had been killing Arabs, by the tens of thousands, for decades, with our support for Israel's ethnic-cleansing and its inevitable spin-off wars; and when we pointed out that protests must continue, not until "our boys come home," but until the US stops supporting atrocities against Palestine: virtually all the "leftists" and war-protestors we spoke with agreed heartily and promised to stay active until the basic problem was ended. Apparently they forgot.
Two years ago, when Israel began its current spree-killing of Palestinians, a simple, brutal eviction-campaign, those who tried to discuss the key problem of Israeli racism with Marin activists were thwarted by angry obscenities and impassioned threats by representatives of the Social Justice Center. During the first three months of Israel's atrocities, murdering eighty-four Palestinian children, before the first Israeli child was killed, efforts to meaningfully protest this brutality were ignored by nearly all the "progressives" in Marin County and San Francisco.
One year ago, after 9/11, as the latest spin-off war was being prepared, this time against Afghanistan, and as our decades of voluntary racist violence against Middle Eastern people were inevitably swelling into ethnic-profiling within OUR OWN borders; and as our long-standing horrors against the human rights of Palestinians were inevitably swelling into potential violations of OUR OWN civil rights; and as Osama bin Laden made the "linkage" with Palestine crystal-clear (as Saddam Hussein had done ten years earlier): local progressives still used every trick they could to keep the primary Israeli genocide off the agendas and picket-signs of the protests.
Only the final invasions, massacres, and lockdowns of Palestinian life, last March and April, finally broke through progressive censorship of the basic problem. Recognizing the most openly-vaunted, closely-observed ethnic-aggression in history was finally tolerated, a little, for a little while.
But now that a new fit of Middle East slaughter is being prepared, the next in the endless series, and general attention is being aroused again, this time toward Iraq again, we again find "progressives" discreetly avoiding the obvious linkage to the Israel-Palestine debacle. Finally, it is OK to talk about Israel's ethnic violence, but its essential role, directly counter-posed to the case against Iraq, is as absent from protest and analysis as Ariel Sharon could wish. The Israel-sympathizers, closet Zionists, feather-brained peaceniks, and 1930s "leftists" unwilling to correct their old fantasies of "socialist" Israel, are clinging to their hypocrisy as piously as any Republican politician.
It is folly for progressives to think we must bow to those "in the movement" who still demand Jewish supremacy in Palestine, avoiding any reference to that central problem, in order to get their racist bodies into the head-counts at watered-down demonstrations. A smaller number of people, getting straight to the truth, have far more immediate and long-term effect, while protests that avoid the kernel of the problem can only camouflage it, assuring an endless supply of spin-off wars and "anti-war" festivals. In reality, average peaceniks would readily take up the call for ethnic-equality, even in Israel's case, if progressive leaders, mimicking mainstream media and AIPAC-funded politicians, did not declare it "too radical" for their agendas.
The most direct alternative to war against Iraq is NOT a willingness to pay fair prices for oil. The most direct and fundamental alternative to war against Iraq and against the long series of such spin-off wars is ending US support for Israel's destabilizing genocide in Palestine. A perfectly moderate insistence on ethnic-equality and basic justice, even for Israel, would change the entire Middle East picture and open the POSSIBILITY of more decent foreign-policy and international business-practice. In that sense, the "No Blood for Oil" slogan is a perfect cover-up of the initial, ongoing, and most glaring problem, as hypocritical as anything said by the minions of Mr. Bush.
The cancerous node of the Middle East is Israel's ethnic aggression and supremacy. It is obvious, hideous, and inexcusable. It guarantees endless mayhem throughout the region, and replacing it with the values of ethnic-equality and integration would serve the best interests of Israelis and Palestinians alike. Ethnic justice is essential to peace; let's stop being embarrassed to say so.
Not News, Not Factual
The Coastal Post lists Carol Sterritt as a member of the news staff and not a columnist. However, the far-ranging discourse of Oct. 1 is not factual news reporting with named sources. It is not a news article worthy of the front page, but an opinion column better suited for the editorial page.
That this "article" states "...George the Elder, has been implicated in... the assassination of John F. Kennedy" discredits both the "reporter" and your publication.
New Protections For Tenants And Landlords
I want to bring to the attention of both renters and landlords in Marin County the passage of AB 2330, the tenants' protection bill. This measure, authored by Assemblywoman Carole Migden, seeks to prevent disputes over the return of security deposits when tenants move out. This is good news for landlords and tenants because it should significantly reduce the number of cases ending up in our Courts.
Specifically, AB 2330 provides tenants with a "pre-move out" inspection up to two weeks prior to vacating the premises. Under AB 2330, a landlord must notify the tenant, in writing, of the tenant's right to initial inspection and the tenant's right to be present at the inspection. The inspection is intended to identify cleaning or minor repair work that can be resolved before the tenant moves out; this way, tenants can make small fixes and avoid losing all or part of their deposits.
Increases the maximum damages for landlords' bad faith failure to return security deposits, thereby providing low-income tenants some leverage when they move out. Under the new law, a landlord may be subject to statutory damages of twice the amount of the security, plus actual damages, for wrongfully withholding security after move out.
More than 35% of Marin's families are renters (almost half of California families are renters). While most of them have reputable law-abiding landlords, many low-income and vulnerable tenants fall prey to landlords who unfairly withhold all or a portion of their security deposit.
Migden's bill comes on the heels of Senator Sheila Kuehl's bill, SB 1403, which specifically:
Requires landlords to give tenants at least 60 days' notice of intent to terminate the tenancy if the tenant has resided in the dwelling for at least one year.
Requires landlords to provide reasonable written notice of 24 hours before entering a tenant's rental property, except in cases of emergency or when the tenant has abandoned the premises.
I want to commend Governor Gray Davis for signing these bills and putting the protection of renters in California ahead of politics. He was heavily lobbied by well-funded and powerful groups that want to protect landlords who profit from tenants' deposits, but he chose to serve the people who elected him. Also, thanks to local Assemblyman Joe Nation for supporting these important renters' bills in the State Legislature.
Assemblywoman Migden's and Senator Kuehl's bills help protect California's most vulnerable renters who may be ill equipped to fight for their rights as tenants. Being forced to move will always be a frustrating experience for tenants, but thanks to AB 2330 and SB 1403, tenants will have more time to find a new home and will no longer need to worry about the unjustified loss of their security deposits.
Legal Aid of Marin
Reply to: [email protected]
With all the attention on Gray Davis and Bill Simon, it's easy to forget other statewide offices are up for grabs, such as Controller and Secretary of State. In these lesser-known races it's easy for true extremists to slip by the voting public.
Case in point: the race for State Controller. Republican Tom McClintock is a true Birch-society nut and someone who hasn't worked a real job in his entire life. He's looking to climb the political ladder to decimate government services, oppose public education, and bring radical conservative positions to the Controller's office. On the Democratic side, moderate businessman Steve Westly is running a campaign about protecting California's finances, safeguarding the environment, and fighting for a woman's right to choose.
This race matters because the Controller is responsible for managing the state's finances and conducting audits to eliminate waste. The Controller also impacts policy decisions regarding every issue in the state. Steve Westly led economic development for the City of San Jose, taught public management at Stanford's Business School and helped turn eBay into the most successful Internet company ever, the perfect combination of experience for a fiscal position.
That's the kind of background we need to protect California's public pensions, cut government waste, and fight the bad corporations. On the broader issues, Steve Westly is a no-nonsense moderate dedicated to fighting pollution, improving public education and preserving a woman's right to choose.
Don't let Simon vs. Davis overshadow the other important races up and down the ballot. People need to know a true Republican extremist could seize power in this state if we don't elect Steve Westly State Controller.
Really Rocky Roads
Two recent articles on the state of roads interested me in some of the implications the information they contained had for Marin's, and especially Fairfax's, taxpayers and drivers. The first appeared in the Sunday, Feb. 24 2002 edition of the Marin IJ. This was an article by Jennifer Upshaw, titled "Rocky Roads." In the article, there was a chart which is from "Public Works Departments" so I assume the IJ created the chart from information supplied them. On the left are the towns with a number in the first column of the miles of roadway in each town. Then there is a column with "road budget" for 2001-02 for each town to fix the roads, then a column titled "dollars per mile," then one titled "percent of total budget" and lastly a column listing money still needed to repair the roads.
I assumed that the column "dollars per mile" was derived by dividing the budget for 2001-02 by the miles of roadway. This seemed to work except for Corte Madera, where I get 51,852. I then divided the per mile costs by the population of each town. This resulted in the figures I have included in my version of the chart below. What I wanted to know is does the amount vary because the roadways differ in how bad the condition the roads are in? Does this reflect deferred maintenance?
On this chart, Fairfax spends the least on roads of any town in the county. As a percentage of the Town's budget, however, Fairfax is not doing so bad as 8th out of 12 towns and better than the County. However, we have the highest deficit in money needed: $18 million, with only Corte Madera near us with $15 million. Looking at the chart and then adding a computation for per capita liability for putting the roads into proper condition results in my chart. Here I have used the information provided by the County of Marin's Development Agency to divide the needed funds for road repair by the population of each town. The result is astounding. On a per capita basis, each of Fairfax's residents have a $2,400 debt, with the only close second that of Larkspur with $1,260. I asked Fairfax's Department of Public Works Director Bill Whitney if he could illuminate this problem. Bill's answer was that the roads of Fairfax were poorly produced and most not engineered and that we are paying the price now of years of deferred maintenance.
This situation becomes even more serious when one refers to an article in the SF Chronicle by Pamela J. Podger, who has compiled data on road conditions in the Greater Bay Area. Citing data from a new Metropolitan Transportation Commission, Podger produced a chart showing Fairfax in the bottom of towns rated on conditions or road. Petaluma was the worst. Out of 51, Fairfax was 45th. One has to ask, how did we get to this situation? I tried to get information from the County Tax Assessor's office on the relative tax burden on Fairfax's taxpayers compared with other towns in the county. Unfortunately, this information is not readily available and I was told to use their online system to compute by parcel and town for myself the tax liability of each municipality. While I could not randomize the parcels and it was difficult to tell if properties were subject to equal taxation (e.g., Prop 13, etc.) a brief survey indicated that Fairfax was neither higher nor lower than the average. Therefore, one must ask why are our roads in such bad shape? If deferred maintenance alone is the cause, then where was he rest of the tax money spent? Of course, it is not so simple. Discussing the past history of Marin's towns in the wake of Prop 13 with former town council members, town administrators and public works employees, it appears that some towns have been more aggressive at winning grants from Federal and State agencies. Fairfax has had a very poor record in this competition. On the positive side, our new Public Works Directors has had an excellent record in this regard and we can hope for an improvement. He is also developing a figure which will reflect how much we need to raise our yearly expenditure on road o try and make up for as much as two decades of under funding. This will be necessary to protect the current expenditures going into Measure K street repairs, so that these new streets can be properly maintained.
Some recent critics of town budgets have asserted that the Town has failed to use gas tax money for road repair. Our Finance Director has assured the Council that this is not true, at least for the past five years. Taxpayers should understand, however, that gas taxes do not pay for the entire cost of roads. Certainly taxes on other commodities are not used to offset the product use -- e.g., a tax on soft drinks was attempted to offset the cost of container disposal in trash and litter. Perhaps this is a direction we should go, but sales taxes on commodities generally go to the general fund. In some states and in Europe, tolls on roads and high gas taxes pay a greater proportion of the cost of roads. But in Europe this year I noticed that roads in France have few potholes. I asked Bill Whitney why this was so and he said that European roads are manufactured to last 100 percent longer and cost 50 percent more to build. This statement was borne out by references in the XXI World Road Congress General Report and other road building related publications. It seems to me that the County Congestion Management Agency could partner with the towns in Marin and develop a road production process to provide us with road that last longer and give the taxpayer more value for our money.
Another note from Europe is that my research there this spring showed that more cars continue to be used for more trips. The enclosed photo is of the town square of Creon in a rural area outside of Bordeaux which has now become a parking lot. Another photo I have provided is from Barcelona and is typical of European choices for transportation. It shows a street lined with motorbikes. People are increasingly turning to motorized personal transportation which is dirtier than cars in many example. A recent study produced by the British government shows British drivers use of cars is up 80 percent in the past 20 years. Governments n Europe are trying to deal with the increased traffic by increasing the cost of driving. I have supplied a chart from the British Commission for Integrated Transport which compares costs across Europe.
Coastal Post Home Page