Coastal Post Online


March, 2003

Letters To The Editor

CP Written In Arab Country?

Part of the article relating to Israel, "2002 -- Not a Good Year To Review" by Karen Nakamura sounds like it would be written in an Arab country hostile to Israel (do you get some funds from them?).

Nowhere do you mention the terrorist activities of Hamas, El Aksa etc., and the daily killings of Israelis. Terrorism directed to men, women and children alike; the teaching of Arab children of hate towards the Israel population. The picture you present is completely biased when you cite the Palestinian casualties without hinting at the amount of deaths and wounded of Israelis suffered by Palestinian terrorism. As of present, 220 Israelis have been killed by terrorist activity.

While the Palestinian Authority is ruled by dictatorship, Israel -- a democratic nation -- has an obligation to protect its population regardless of nationalities.

I cannot help but think that you would rather see Israel being destroyed, erased from the map, the same goal Yasser Arafat has.
Samuel Sonnenblick
San Francisco

Massacre In Iraq

The US invasion of Iraq is going to be a massacre ... of the ragtag ensemble called the Iraqi army, of untold numbers of civilians, and the country known as Iraq. The proud, the mighty, the U. S. war machine will chop up Iraq into little pieces. This episode can be likened to the US army's massacre of the American Indians, men, women and children. Does Saddam Hussein care what happens to his own people; does Bush care? George W. has already shown that he doesn't even care what millions of Americans are saying about his rush-rush war. This is not going to be a war, it's going to be genocide. Does anyone now wonder why George W. Bush withdrew from the World Criminal Court?

And when it's all over, Saddam will whisked away and be playing the Iraqi version of "Where's Waldo." Ron Lowe
Nevada City

Greaves' Statement to MGH Board

Statement of Fielding Greaves at MGH District Board meeting of February 11, 2003:

I am Fielding Greaves, a MUTA Board member for a quarter century.

MUTA and I have a long history of supporting local control and quality health care at Marin General. But we've had no local control and no oversight since 1985.

We opposed the 1985 theft of our hospital and we still do. Poll after poll of our membership shows continuing opposition to that theft-but now the concern has shifted from taxpayer rip-off to demise of quality care.

We supported this Board, thinking you would demand accountability and provide detailed information to the public on medical care issues. We were very disturbed when Dr. Linda Remy left the Board some years ago because she'd had a hard time getting this Board to put quality care issues on the Agenda-in particular, her problems with Dr. Parnell in this regard.

We are disturbed that this Board has not taken a proactive role in obtaining information about quality of care failures, and getting this information to the public, so we would be informed and could act, to pressure for better care, or decide to go elsewhere for care.

We are disappointed that this Board does not even appear to follow up quality care issues brought to your attention-and about which you had finally agreed to write the Sutter Corporation managers, namely the unsterile conditions found with regard to recent C-sections at Marin General. To my knowledge, nothing has come of your letter, and you've publicized no outrage at Sutter's ignoring your communications. Instead, you swoon over Power-Point presentations put together by high paid Sutter executives and consultants about "future plans" for buildings and satellites.

Most of all, we are shocked that Dr. Severinghaus and Dr. Parnell seem to support a "cover-up" of Sutter's medical shortcomings-saying the public should not know about quality of care disasters at Marin General because they could become "angry," or that these are things that should be hidden from public view.

The public should be angry about third world medical conditions in our hospital. Who are you to deny them this knowledge? With whom is your allegiance? Sutter Corporation-or your patients and your electorate? What kind of doctors do not put their patient's right to know, right to the best medicine, right to quality care, above all else?

Is there some sort of "doctor's code of silence" that causes you to feel you should not let the public know the facts -- and let them decide? If that is the case, then you should reconsider whether your professional code of ethics allows you to sit on this Board as public officials, allegedly to guard the public's interest and right to know.

I suggest there needs to be some serious soul searching on this District Board, and you need to decide to whom you are accountable: Sutter Corp. or the patients, taxpayers and citizens of this District -- because those two choices are very, very different, and you cannot serve both of those masters.
Fielding Greaves
San Rafael

Peace My Ass

Peace, apparently always just out of our grasp, now seems all but impossible. My heart retches at the poppycock that passes for peace talks here and all over our country. How many great ones from among us have explained in readily understandable and usable conceptualizations the way to peace. Peace is not the absence of conflict! Peace is a state of being which accords with the quelling of the usurpation of leadership by our own hatred and disrespect for the other. Peace is when we are whole in love. Peace is the fragrance of mature love. Peace shuns our juvenile finger pointing and self-righteous damnations of the other -- any other.

The part of each of us that wishes to hurt, humiliate, overpower, frustrate, disenfranchise or disrespect the other murders peace. When he is not your brother and she is not your sister in your evaluations, what do you mean when you speak of peace? This is true intra-psychically and within collective psyches. The scapegoat is instead f peace.

Please forgive my poor wordsmithing and now my poor poetics; but catch and hold the thought I ask.

"Peace My Ass/When?!"

When I dis you and you dis me: war

When I can not befriend my other: war

When you will not befriend your other: war

When I makes peace with others: No war/

More civilians suffer and die by war than soldiers

More inclusion, less exclusion paves the path to whole

More on top posits more on the bottom give no orders

More hot air puffing us up overamping takes our toll/

Peace costs us our enemies, our loathing, our hatreds

Peace fights against no one, none, but for our

Peace like our sun shines on all or none at all

Peace my ass, who will pay the prices; we can, we should
E.J. Pearcy

A Courageous Doctor

There are courageous doctors, but not enough of them, who are willing to go public for their patients' welfare. Dr. Archimedes Ramirez, Chief of Neurosurgery at Marin General Hospital, took on the CEO of Sutter Health Marin Operations, Margaret Sabin. Whistleblowers risk being demonized. Ms. Sabin accused Dr. Ramirez of lying. We believe Dr. Ramirez whose letter to Sabin is printed in its entirety as follows: Norman Carrigg

Dear Margaret:

I came back from my Christmas vacation after being one week off and not being on call for neurosurgery call from 12/2003. When I started admitting patients to the Intensive Care Unit, I discovered great changes in the nursing staff and the supporting staff in the Intensive Care Unit.

The nursing staff was cut to two patients per ICU nurse with no nursing support. I discovered that the intensive care nurse was overworked and could not follow all the nursing orders because of lack of staffing. The nurses were not turning my patients. Simply daily weights were not being done. Orders for CT scan were not being done in a timely fashion because of lack of personnel to transport the patients. For example, a nurse would be taken away from the other patient because one had to help transport patients to the CT scanner and frequently the second patient may be unstable. Medical management orders in ICU are sometimes overlooked and/or neglected.

Lab results were not being called to me or faxed to my office, unless I specifically wrote it down on the order, this includes S.T.A.T. Lab orders on unstable patients not been carried in a timely manner.

Today, I found that the ICU was full. The nurses were overworked. There was no cardiac monitor technician from 2300 to 0700. Mark Kobe had to come in to assist. There seem to be some problems with planning of adequate nursing staff of the Intensive Care unit since I had been gone.

I have a great sense that the current Intensive Care Unit nurses we have are very good, but are being overworked especially during this current weekend situation. If the current intensive care nursing staff continues to work under these circumstances, Marin General Hospital will lose the intensive care nurses we have because of the inadequate support to the intensive care staff. It seems to me that the current situation is frustrating many of our critical care nurses.

This lack of nursing support at Marin General Hospital Intensive Care Unit will jeopardize the trauma system that is being instituted, jeopardize the postop care for patients requiring intensive care for one to two days or more because of the complexity of the surgical procedures, age of the patient, and complicating medical problems, and will jeopardize the care of medical patients requiring ventilator care and medical critical care.

The other issue that I would like to discuss with you is the operating room. Maintenance of the surgical equipment for the surgeon who operates is a must. First of all, I have always demanded that all my instruments be sharpened and all my instruments accountable. I have two sets of Kerrison rongeurs to make sure that one of the sets is always sharpened at my expense. Many of my instruments that I had purchased at my expense have been lost and frequently misplaced (requiring the staff to find and delays my surgical procedure).

I had performed three complex spinal procedures since I have been back. All my instruments in Marin General Hospital including all the rongeurs that were available were dull and had not been sharpened. Some of my instruments were misplaced and required time to find and added to the patient's operating time. Charge materials such as sutures, cottonoids, drains, and so forth now have to be retrieved through the Pyxis system. This requires time away from the operating room by the scrub nurse. I had one emergency case where the Pyxis number to get into the Pyxis system was not available to the person who was setting up the case.

Most surgeons use the same equipment and accountable durable equipment that are charged. They should be available in the operating room to avoid time spent by the scrub nurse to retrieve this equipment and durable materials.

Dull instruments are not designed for surgical procedures and only add time to the surgical procedure, sometimes tears tissue rather than cut tissue sharply. This is especially true if one has to remove bone. Many of the instruments have been repeatedly sharpened t the point that they have been very ineffective and dangerous instruments. I have asked to have them replaced. Until this date, many of them have not been replaced.

The x-ray technician is frequently tied up with other tasks and surgeons have to wait to continue their surgical procedure until the x-rays have been taken intraoperatively.

What I am trying to get at is that as a hospital administrator, it would seem to me that part of your duty and obligation is to make Marin General Hospital a safe environment for physicians to care for their patients, both for elective and critical care admission. This means providing and maintaining a proper facility, equipment, laboratory, imaging facility, and staffing to support the physicians so that they can treat their patient's illnesses with the best quality of care in a hospital environment.

I would appreciate it if measures be made by you and the hospital administrative staff to improve the nursing situation and the quality of the equipment in the operating room. I would be more than willing and be available to discuss this matter with you.
Archimedes Ramirez, M.D.

The Real Bush Environmental Policies And Hydrogen Power

Under duress from public opinion, GWB had presented himself as an environmental advocate in his State of the Union Speech. It was clearly crafted to shield and continue his unprecedented corporate sell-outs at the expense of our environment and resources--which he will surely continue if unabated.

His declared fundings for environmental and conservation are mainly token measures strung over several years. Most were already in place when he took office--some which he had earlier downsized or cut.

Hydrogen powered cars, for which he announced funding and advocated as solution to our energy needs, would probably not be available for two decades--if ever. Even if it were, hydrogen is not free energy as implied. It must be produced by one of two means:

When derived from fossil fuels, which is the current plan, hydrogen produces less energy than contained in its sources. Moreover this process itself requires energy and emits the same carbon dioxide released by fuel combustion. Clearly this benefits the oil industry while curtailing conservation measures for many years.

When obtained through electrolysis (separation from water with electric currents), hydrogen still requires more energy to produce than it develops, as do all energy systems. Hence hydrogen energy, even if perfected, presents no real conservation improvements until renewable energy sources are expanded to produce sufficient energy for electrolytic hydrogen production. This is contrary to the interests of the petroleum industry, which is why GWB has always countered renewable energy, often in clandestine manners.

His egregious impairment of California's efforts to mandate mileage and air pollution standards, and allotment of tax breaks for gas guzzling vehicles, just before his speech, underscore his intents and aloofness.

His cancellations and reversals of essential environmental and social reforms, with help from his unwarranted 9/11 popularity and Iraq distractions, have caused damage that will affect the world for years--even if these reforms were reinstated now.

If Congress continues to allow these contemptuous policies, they will surely be judged with the same disdain that this administration has earned.
Robert H Settgast
San Rafael

Depressed And Disgusted.

We the American people were once a proud nation, like the Indian Nations before us. We treated other nations with respect and others respected us, but now this has all changed. We are the only big boy on the street and like a low down bully, our government--- Bush and his goons --- wants to do it all by might, not right!

North Korea has the ability to send nuclear weapons to our West Coast but the bully doesn't care about real America. We are a proud nation, just like the Indians before us, but this bully is fleecing Americans! Social Security and Medicare are all but gone. No children were supposed to be left behind but the bully just left the whole United States behind --all of us. He doesn't care about us.

Don't you recognize Satan when you see him. Open your eyes before it is too late. Everybody went out and bought duct tape and plastic. What are we now, a bunch of idiots? Use your brains! When the Indians found out it was too late!

Fairfax Civic League Is About Growth

To say the "new" Fairfax Civic League is not pro-growth and development insults the intelligence of Fairfax voters. Its members read as the Who's Who of high density housing advocacy.

Fairfax doesn't have a lot of developable land so the alternative to achieving higher density and intensity of development is to amend the general plan and Town ordinances to facilitate new kinds of construction on land already developed.

Fairfax Civic League leaders have recently proposed amendments to single family zoning regulations which include "opportunities to split single family residential units into flats, apartments, or other high density housing formats," second units over garages by right, and dividing lots into two or three parcels.

The League is a poorly disguised campaign machine to give council members Ghiringhelli and Brandborg a solid majority on the council this November. If anyone doubts league founders are pro-development, ask them how they voted on Measure C, an initiative to build 79 houses at the Marin Town and Country Club.
Terri Alvillar

Gulf War Veterans' Association Questions

For the past six years, the American Gulf War Veterans Association have received numerous reports from veterans stating that US forces were responsible for the setting of the oil well fires at the end of the Gulf War. These testimonies are now being taken very seriously in light of recent revelations of the events that occurred during the first Gulf War.

Joyce Riley, spokesperson for The American Gulf War Veterans Association is quoted as saying: "There was intentional misinformation given to the American people to generate support for Desert Storm often created by advertising agencies such as Hill and Knowlton."

Revelations regarding the "Incubator story," in which Republican Guard were reported to have thrown babies out of their incubators onto the cold floor turned out to be false and a "fraud on the American People." (S.R. 103-900).

The St. Petersburg Times disproved the report of satellite photos showing a thousand Iraqi tanks amassing on the Saudi border.

April Glaspie, US Ambassador, gave tacit approval to Saddam Hussein to invade Iraq by saying, "We have no opinion on your border dispute with Kuwait."

John Shalikashvilli, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and William Perry, Secretary of Defense wrote in a memo (obtained by the AGWVA) on May 25, 1994, "There is no information, classified or unclassified that indicates that chemical or biological weapons were used in the Persian Gulf." General Norman Schwartzkopf's NBC (nuclear, biological and chemical) logs (also obtained by the AGWVA) dated Feb. 27, 1991, and March 3, 1991, clearly disprove the above statement.

One veteran has now stepped forward and given a detailed account of how he and others in special teams, moved forward of the front, (behind enemy lines ahead of US forces) and then set charges on the well heads. "We were mustered into the briefing tent at which point a gentleman whom I first had thought to be an American began to brief us on the operation. I was concerned because he was not wearing a US uniform and insignias."

The information provided over a series of meetings with this veteran corroborates reports from other veterans who are totally unconnected with this individual. This testimony brings into serious question the integrity of the US government, as it provided information to the American public and military during the last Gulf War.

The American Gulf War Veterans Association is presently dissenting on the war and has been joined by The British Gulf War Veterans and Families Association. Riley states that: "Not only is it our opinion that the Department of Defense has not been forthcoming about the severity of our military's illnesses, significant concern is now being raised over the causation as well."
Gary Treece
American Gulf War Veterans Assoc.

Obesity Epidemic

We have all been hearing more and more news recently about the obesity epidemic in America: ever-increasing numbers of overweight Americans both young and old.

The cause is obvious: our dependence on technology that encourages sedentary lifestyles!

The private automobile allows personal mobility over long distances while spending hours sitting on our butts.

The personal computer allows for hours and hours of sitting on our butts at work and at home and on the road (laptops).

Then there's hours of sitting on our butts watching television to distract and/or entertain ourselves, or we can escape with a movie at home on a VCR while sitting on our butts, or go to movie theaters with their supremely comfortable seats for our pampered butts.

Hours and hours can be spent both at work and at home sitting on our butts talking on the telephone, but at least now we can actually be moving while talking on cell phones.

Even if we get significant amounts of exercise and have a decent diet, it's still hard to offset all the hours we spend sitting on our butts with our modern technology!
Keith Bramstedt
San Anselmo

Culture Shock

An impeachment bill to remove George W. Bush for felonies committed in acquiring the presidency--along with other high crimes perpetrated since occupying the Oval Office is expected to be introduced on the floor of Congress sometime this year. It will, of course, go nowhere. Not due to lack of grounds or evidence, but due to lack of will and lack of respect for the Constitution and the people it was meant to serve.

Threats to the survival of humanity from nuclear holocaust aside, this is a problem that can be solved at the ballot box, in the courts, and through campaign finance reform.

A more fundamental question, however, remains. Does George W. Bush possess the ability to discharge the powers and duties of his office? Is he mentally and emotionally competent to run our country? I would argue not.

If I am right, then Congress has the choice of Impeachment or Removal. I expect neither, but raising the subject allows us to begin discussing what constitutes sanity in a world of nuclear proliferation and collapsing public health. In the case of our President, I contend that a fiendish proclivity to violence revealed by his joyous execution of death-row inmates while Governor of Texas, as well as his tantrums over international restraints on state-organized mass murder suggests instability rooted in a severe lack of self-esteem.

While examining the psychological makeup of George W. Bush is worthy of our concern and the action of Congress, wallowing in the familial and social environment that created his condition is not unless we are ready and willing to open ourselves as a people to serious reflection on our culture of violence. For this is the tragedy of America, that like all tragedies cannot be undone, but can be understood. If that, and not revenge-- is our purpose, then the culture shock can be withstood. Like other shocks our society has suffered in fulfilling our ideals, from this too we can emerge stronger and more humane.

So I support the noble efforts to end our absurdity illustrated farce in the White House. May the downfall of the dauphin Bush hasten the rise of humanity in the birthplace of democracy. It is our final and most vital endeavor.
Jay Taber
Mill Valley

Environmental Jeopardy

Answer: The percentage increase in logging gwb proposes for Sierra Nevada.

Question: What is 400?

Note: Imagine if he weren't an environmentalist.
Jay Lustgarten
San Anselmo

A Message from Your Mentor Jesus Christ
Mr. President:
Your mentor Jesus Christ told me to tell you he is "losing patience" with you over your "impatience" with Saddam Hussein. He said for me to "remind you that the Iraqi people are included in his flock that are to be reunited with him in the Kingdom of Heaven on Judgment Day. You are admonished not to decimate or rip them asunder in your selfish quest to occupy their real estate for oil." This I witnessed. "Further instructions will follow thru David A. Whelan's email messages. Wait by your p.c.

Yours in Christ,
David A Whelan
Forest Knolls
[email protected]

Oil Profits And War

The Bush administration tells us that the war against Iraq is not about oil or profits. Their argument would be strengthened if they took effective action against war profiteers in the oil industry.
Steve Wallis

Proud To Live In Marin

It was an absolutely breathtaking experience to see the thousands of Marin County residents in their various contingents at the March Against War in Iraq. Marin Peace and Justice Coalition, The Marin Islamic Center, Dominican Sisters and many more were there en masse.

Once again, I am proud to live in Marin County.
Meg Brizzolara
San Rafael

Six-step Budget Fix For California

1. Repeal all the state laws against cannabis.

2. Enact new regulations, modeled on existing wine and beer regulation.

3. Have our congressional delegation push legislatively for repeal of federal cannabis prohibition.

4. Sue the federal government for injunctive relief from their anti cannabis enforcement.

5. On a secure 50 acre plot, say inside one of our central valley prisons, grow cannabis.

6. Sell the proceeds to lucky Californians at the price of 10 dollars per ounce.

This will raise 30 billion dollars, easily, and it could be repeated annually. We can continue to fund the golden state.
Jay Bergstrom

Uncertainties Of War

Though UN weapons inspectors have found no clear evidence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, the Bush Administration may attack anyway, claiming that Saddam Hussein is hiding them. But while President Bush cites the uncertainties of inspections, has he considered the uncertainties of war?

What will be the cost in human life? Unlike the 1991 war, this war would be fought in Iraq's densely populated cities. A secret United Nations study warns of 500,000 serious injuries if the US attacks. The London-based physicians' group Medact estimates that three months of conflict could bring between 48,000 and 260,000 deaths, the majority of them civilians. The aftermath-including famine, epidemics, millions of refugees and displaced people-could bring the toll to half a million. If as likely the US uses depleted uranium shells, cancer and birth defects will afflict Iraqis for generations, and US troops will suffer from a new "Gulf War Syndrome."

The second risk is escalation. If Saddam Hussein does have weapons of mass destruction, he will have every incentive to use them, as CIA Director George Tenet warned Congress. President Bush has threatened to retaliate to Iraqi chemical or biological weapons use with a nuclear strike on Iraq.

Indeed, the Pentagon has drawn up contingency plans to use nuclear weapons on Iraq even if Iraq doesn't use chemical or biological weapons. Israel also has 200 nuclear weapons. Medact estimates that a nuclear war would bring the deaths into the millions. It would also create an explosion of shock and hate that would recruit a new generation of anti-American terrorists. And by breaking the post-Hiroshima taboo on nuclear attack, it would encourage other nuclear wars, such as one between India and Pakistan.

What would be the future of Iraq and its neighbors? No one knows whether Iraq would descend into civil war, with Kurds, Sunni and Shiite Muslims, and numerous tribes fighting along confessional and ethnic lines. Such chaos would make occupation a nightmare for US forces, not to mention Iraqis. Moreover, war could extend beyond Iraq's borders. A group of 187 Israeli academics has issued an "Urgent Warning" that Prime Minister Ariel Sharon might take advantage of the fog of war to conduct forced transfer (ethnic cleansing) of the Palestinians, a proposal that has gained currency with suicide bombings and Mr. Sharon's refusal to negotiate. Even without such a step, US war on Iraq could ignite revolution in Jordan and Egypt. Before attacking Iraq, President Bush should ask incoming Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist to remind him of the Hippocratic Oath: "First, do no harm."
Michael Lind

How I Would Stop The War
By Jann burner

Here's a solution to The War!

Since France and Germany are intent on really increasing the weapons inspectors program here's what we do. We Announce World Wide on CNN that THE WAR IS OVER! WE WON. IRAQ LOST. And then tomorrow we show up with THOUSANDS of troops from many different countries (called weapons inspectors) and FOOD and AID for the citizens of that land and we just proceed to "rebuild" the country as if there had been a war and we had won. We bring lots of chocolate and tea and good bread! And free short wave radios for everyone and free television with Dish satellite installations (for free) with America's top 150 programming package. And money! Every working class person and every unemployed person immediately gets $5,000 cash US dollars! Certainly a bargain. You know how much a few thousand Smart Bombs cost?

I mean, if we do have a war we will still have to step in and occupy and rebuild the country after the carnage so lets just skip the carnage part and go directly to the rebuilding stage. No one seriously doubts that we would win so let's celebrate ON BOTH sides that the Conflict is OVER and move on to some serious nation building and we'll just IGNORE Saddam. I mean, Saddam totally ignores us? Bush gets in front of a camera every time a baby burps but if you notice Saddam almost NEVER responds or even comments. So when we move in and "rescue" his country we'll just ignore him. Oh sure, he'll come knocking, "Hey, remember me? I RULE THIS COUNTRY." We'll just ignore him. "Yeah, yeah, buddy. We've heard that before. No, afraid you name isn't on the list. Come back tomorrow and try again."

His people will be happy, the world will be happy and eventually Saddam will gather up a truck load of gold and slink away to the Caribbean. We'll just let him go. We'll just ignore him. He'll show up at the airport and there won't even be anyone to carry his bags. This would truly bring a smile to the face of the entire world. America would immediately regain its rightful place as the home of "really cool concepts" and all would be balanced once again. And the stock market would go up and we could get on with the serious business of inventing The Future!
Jann Burner
[email protected]



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