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June, 2003

Letters To The Editor

Thanks for Free Speech!
          Thanks for still believing in free speech!
          Two books I thought you (and your staff) might find of interest: Them: Adventures with Extremists by Jon Ronson (2001), (Picador, Pan Macmillan, 20 New Wharf Road, London NI9RR) and Harry S. Truman & the War Scare of 1948 by Frank Kofsky (1993) (St. Martin's Press, NYC).
          They just seemed kinda interesting in light of current events.
J.E. Baylie
Berkeley

New Ordinance No Accomplishment
          On April 15, the Marin County Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 in favor of an ordinance banning possession of firearms and ammunition on county property effective May 15.
          Aside from putting an end to gun shows on county property, this ordinance will not accomplish what it set out to do, is discriminatory against lawful free trade, and may be illegal.
          If the intention of this ordinance is to curtail the availability of guns, then supervisor Cynthia Murray, who cast the dissenting vote, is right when she said, "I don't think this ordinance addresses or solves the problem." Limiting availability of guns is a good idea but, as we learned from prohibition days, not a workable one.
          This ordinance is discriminatory to lawful free trade because if both guns and knives have a connection with violence, and both are lethal when misused, then it follows we are discriminating against one and not the other.
          This ordinance may become illegal, depending on how the US Supreme Court rules. Although the California Supreme Court recently upheld (6-1) a similar ordinance at Alameda County Fairgrounds, the US Supreme Court will be faced with making a decision very soon on this question: does a California Supreme Court have the final authority to take away the federally protected constitutional 2nd amendment right to carry a gun anywhere. Federally protected rights vs. state rights have never been litigated.
          If this ordinance has percolated on the desks of supervisors Brown and Rose since 1999, why the rush to pass it now? In this time of fiscal crisis, the county does not need lawsuits stemming from an ordinance ruled illegal by the US Supreme Court and subsidized by taxpayer money.
          Our new supervisor, Susan Adams, heartened by her emails running 2-1 in favor of this ordinance, voted for it. We don't know how many she received by this is hardly a true indicator that the majority in her district support it, and I am hoping that she doesn't use polling by emails as her basis for making future decisions for our county.
Basia Crane, Director
Marin United Taxpayers

SARS And Live Animal Food Markets
          Well, it seems the chickens have finally come home to roost. The BBC news and others reported on 4/30/03 that pet dogs and cats of SARS patients are being confiscated and killed in China, despite no evidence linking the disease to domestic pets.
          Chinese police have raided 15,000 animal fairs and 70,000 hotels and restaurants, confiscating more than 825,000 endangered animals destined for the cooking pots. (I presume all have been destroyed.) The list sounds like a Noah's Ark gone made: anteaters, pangolins, songbirds, turtles, lizards, frogs, snakes (some poisonous), badgers, porcupines, deer, flying squirrels, along with the usual mix of dogs, cats, rats and guinea pigs ("Chinese Viagra").
          Some in the World Health Organization believe SARS may have emerged in humans by jumping the species barrier, from either wild or domestic animals. The disease originated in China's Guansdong Province, where endangered/wild animal markets are common, often crowded together with humans in unsanitary conditions.
          Are we are risk here in California, where similar live animal food markets are found? An Oakland seafood wholesaler testified before the State Fish & Game Commission that she imported four tons of bullfrogs every week from Taiwan for resale throughout California. That's about a million animals annually!
          Six years ago the San Francisco SPCA had 19 necropsies performed on market frogs and turtles. They routinely found salmonella, E coli, pasturella (all of which can kill you), giardia and various blood parasites, even one case of malaria. In the recent past, raccoon meat has been sold in these markets. Last year I saw illegal Asian softshell turtles in the SF markets. Last week I found whole, frozen armadillos in an Oakland market, a species known to carry the leprosy bacillus, which is believed to be transmitted to humans via nasal droplets, much like SARS. It is illegal to sell diseased or parasitized animals for food, yet the practice continues unabated. Is anyone minding the store?
          Hopefully, local health authorities are taking the necessary preventive measures to see that the frightening situation in China is not repeated here in the US. The public and the animals deserve better.
Eric Mills, coordinator
Action for Animals, Oakland

Biased, Slanted & One-Sided
          Terri Alvillar, the widow of Fairfax Police Officer Ric Alvillar, could not have written the story on her late husband's death any better than Jim Scanlon did in the May edition of the Coastal Post.
          I have never seen a story so biased, so slanted, so one-sided as that story was.
          I am a retired reporter from a major San Francisco newspaper where for more than 50 years I covered and wrote many, many controversial subjects pertaining to the police departments around the Bay Area.
          Many of my stories were based on material supplied by the police themselves, many from other parties involved, and many from what I actually observed.
          Unlike Jim Scanlon's story, my stories were based on facts and truth, not innuendoes or based on one person's version.
          If an officer, or more than one officer as it occasionally was, deserved to be raked over the coals, then it was done, regardless of their rank.
          There has already been two independent investigations conducted-plus one supposedly done by the FBI- as ordered by the Fairfax City Council and presumably at the insistence of the widow-and neither of these investigations has sustained any of the charges that she has leveled against any of her late husband's colleagues.
          It is true that these investigations were done by former police officers from other departments-but ask what, if anything, they would gain by reporting anything but the truth in their reports? The probability that these investigators knew any of the officers involved in the Alvillar case is remote, but wouldn't they have also known Officer Alvillar?
          What made Officer Alvillar "the nicest cop in Fairfax" and who, besides his widow, called him that? What did he do that other officers didn't do to deserve that title?
          All of the stories in both the Coastal Post and the Marin Independent Journal have originated from one source-Terri Alvillar. No one else, including any lawyer or any citizen of the town of Fairfax, has been quoted in any of the stories as saying anything relating to the charges against Ric Alvillar.
          Neither Police Chief Ken Hughes or the Town Administrator can discuss the case because it involves a "personnel matter" but from what I have read in your own paper, based upon a number of charges that were being considered as the basis for the firing of Officer Alvillar-as reported by Terri Alvillar-they included "lying" to his superiors and to the investigators.
          A police chief must have the confidence and be able to trust his officers.
          If an officer lies to his superiors, how can he be trusted to testify in court where he is under oath to tell the truth? A defense attorney would have a field day and the district attorney would have to review every case the officer worked on to see if the evidence and testimony may have been tainted.
          No, I'm sorry but if Ric Alvillar lied then he should have been terminated, no matter how "nice of a cop" he was.
          Mrs. Alvillar is accusing Police Chief Hughes and Sgt. Providenza of being responsible for her husband's death. Her version of what happened reminds me of another reporter in San Francisco who in years gone by had a reputation of "never letting the facts interfere with a good story."
          If my memory serves me correctly, the Marin County Coroner determined that Officer Alvillar had a history of a bad heart condition and died as a result of that ailment, coupled with the fact that he had consumed considerable alcohol prior to his death, and that the charges that were pending against him had nothing to do with his death.
          I believe that Chief Hughes and Sgt. Providenza-both veteran and professional officers-only had one thing in mind when these charges were drafted and that was to improve the Fairfax Police Department.
          I doubt whether you will print this letter but I'm getting tired of reading so much biased reporting regarding this particular case.
          I realize that Terri Alvillar is a member of your news staff but I do believe that that too should be mentioned in any articles so that people can judge for themselves as to veracity of the story.
Malcolm Glover
San Rafael

Proposed GG Bus Curtailment
          Last night I attended the San Rafael Public Hearing on bus curtailment. I expected to see someone else from Sausalito, but was disappointed. As a bus rider, I am depressed and angry that Sausalito is being isolated by these transit cuts. Routes 50 and 20, the lines to The City, are being discontinued. Since I do not have a car, I can no longer go into The City for evening functions. All buses going directly into San Francisco are cut except for the Number 2 Line (6-8 a.m. and 4-6 p.m.). In order to get to San Francisco, one will have to take a Number 10 to either Marin City or to the Bridge. At the Bridge, you get a 70 or an 80; and it is a cold place to wait. Many buses will be cut from half-hourly to hourly; and I can tell you that after working 8 hours, waiting in the cold and dark for an hour is not doable. I worked at the San Rafael Library; and, as the Library closes at 9 p.m., I was unable to work an evening shift due to the bus schedule as it is now.
          There will be many of us who will not be able to get to their jobs at all if the foregoing changes go through. Furthermore, the District does not care at all about such results.
          In my view, the major cities in Marin need to have a joint meeting to discuss the adverse affects of such schedule changes on Fairfax, San Anselmo, Kentfield, Tiburon, Belvedere, San Rafael and Sausalito, All tourism will be adversely affected: restaurants and other businesses which depend on bus service will suffer. The effect will fall mainly on the elderly and the young. I am reminded of Marie Antoinette's famous, "Let them eat cake!" Well, "Let them drive cars." Many people said last night that they would drive, since commute time would increase by 36% with the changes. For night workers and the carless, there is no alternative. I do not have to have a car. I would rather travel farther and take longer.
          I have just returned from Australia-Melbourne, my favorite city, is voted The Most Livable City in the World, or one of them. Why? One reason is efficient transit: Trains, Trams and Buses. Riders there complain if they have to wait ten minutes! Another reason is public toilets-spotless, always with paper-everywhere. An excellent Visitors' Center, friendly people. No homeless and excellent health care.
          Here in Marin, I step over the homeless to get to a bus which comes no more than every hour or even two hours at night. The bus stop in Corte Madera across from the town center smells like a urinal: which it is! It has become a Third World Country here. Even Mexico has better buses with new Mercedes in La Paz.
          There is such a thing as Quality of Life. To live in a fortress and never get out of a car is not my idea of living. To have wealth and see others in misery is not good. I hate to see this county so abused.
          To curtail the already limited public transportation system will cut deeply into the Quality of Life here.
Charlotte Bertran
Sausalito (18 year resident)

The Most Destructive Addictions
          After moving from West Marin to Novato, I missed many things. The Coastal Post stands in the top of the list. I recently renewed my subscription. Happily, the feelings of isolation and doubt as to whether I know what I know have lessened since my first issue arrived.
          Addiction! The mass media comes up with a new addiction on a regular basis. One of the most recent being cosmetic surgery. Media also tells us endlessly that "scientists" have discovered another food, drink or activity that is bad for us. If we believed all of it, we would be afraid to get out of bed in the morning. We are awash in opinions of dubious experts giving us advice on every facet of life.
          How strange that the most serious destructive addiction on planet earth gets no mention in the media. The twin evils of greed and power and the addiction of so many to them puts life itself at risk. That so many of our fellow citizens workshop at the shrine of these evils making heroes of those who have the most power and the most money is a testimony to the state of the nation.
          The truth of the old clichˇ "power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely," has never been more apparent. The president, in cahoots with corporate and military establishments as well as right-wing Christian fundamentalists, has stolen the minds and spirit of the people. Tell a lie 1,000 times and it becomes truth. I see George Bush as a pathetic figurehead so addicted to the perception of his own power that he does not see himself as a puppet. The true power lies behind the throne, pulling the strings while George dances to the tune. If we read the history of countries drunk with the perception of their power busily empire building, it's clear where the course of our ship of state is taking us.
          The public will remain lost and asleep swimming in the propaganda and brain washing until reality begins hitting them personally. We can be certain much of the legislation he pushes through are debts he owes to those who put him where he sits. Mr. Bush makes the devastating mistake made by other leaders in the past. He buys his own B.S. (bullshit). Money and power, power and money-the most destructive, immoral addictions on the planet.
          My heartfelt thanks to Don Deane, owner and publisher of the Coastal Post for his courage. For being a voice for reason and sanity crying in the wilderness of a country that no longer knows it ever had a soul, and hey, whatever happened to Jesus, the Prince of Peace? Apparently, only God speaks to George. My hope and prayer is that I live long enough to see the corruption take us to a place where the consequences will wake us from the trance. It will happen for we are prisoners of a pattern other countries have followed. The cost of maintaining an empire inevitably bankrupts the country who walks the path we now walk. Keep the faith.
Shirley Inman
Novato

The Tax Cut Question
    I have not seen the Republicans' explanation as to just how a huge tax cut would stimulate the economy.  Did I just miss it?
   This is the picture I see.  Millions of dollars go back to the millionaires, who appropriately pay the highest taxes. Do these wealthy run to spend these new funds on much needed consumer items from neighborhood retail stores selling hardware, televisions, computers, books, and shoes?   Or, being wealthy, do they have these needs already filled?  Then what? They may well invest the tax-returned money in stocks and bonds, real estate, political donations. Do these create more jobs? I was under the impression  that employers hire new help only when needed to effectively conduct their business, not as a philanthropic gesture to the economy
   If the same billions, intended for tax cuts and rebates, were to be spent for the well-being of the American people's transportation, education, health care, environmental protection and restoration, homes for the homeless, and medical research, then millions of new consumers would emerge.
   From the millions of formerly unemployed would sprout the badly needed teachers, constructors of new schools and laboratories, park rangers, doctors, nurses, producers and operators of rapid transit and planes. With new money in their pockets these ordinary folk would hurry to the retailers to fill waiting needs.  Retailers would boost their orders to distributors, on to wholesalers, on to manufacturers. All the wheels of the economy would begin to turn and pick up speed.
Guy Meyer
Inverness

Back In The USSR
     The history of the twentieth century might be characterized as the universal imposition of the central planks of the Communist Manifesto on a sleeping population under the guise of "democracy."  A central bank (Federal Reserve) with the power of fiat money creation, a graduated income tax, state controlled education, government intervention in the economy (transportation/labor/industry/medicine/agriculture), a standing army,  elimination of religion from public life,  etc., etc., are straight out of Karl Marx and are ideas that when fully exposed have traditionally been revolting to the American public, and certainly  to the Founding Fathers. To those who think that the United States government at the highest level has always been the sworn enemy of  communism, and that such a form of government couldn't happen here, be not deceived, it can and to a great extent it already has. Sure, things could be  a lot worse and, yes, it is (fortunately) still better here than anywhere else, but consider the following:

   FACT: 1913. Passage (virtually in secret) of the Federal Reserve Act, which removed the constitutional restraints on monetary creation, allowing for unlimited proliferation of government spending and growth of the war-making power. Soon followed by the 16th Amendment authorizing a first-ever direct Income Tax, starting Americans on the road to serfdom. (How did this country ever survive (and thrive) without it for its first 130 years?)
   FACT: 1915. American International Corporation was formed to fund the Russian Revolution. Its directors represented interests of the Rockefellers, Rothschilds, DuPonts, Kuhn, Loeb, Harriman, and the Federal Reserve.
   FACT: 1917. Kuhn Loeb deposits $50 million in Swedish bank for Lenin and Trotsky. Woodrow Wilson arranges passport for Trotsky, who trained revolutionaries at Standard Oil plant in New Jersey. Lenin given safe passage through Germany on private railroad car arranged by banker Max Warburg, Rothschild front man in Germany and brother of Paul Warburg, who coincidentally had arranged for the creation of the Federal Reserve. (Warburg's son James worked with William Donovan in the O.S.S., forerunner to the C.I.A., and is credited with saying, "we shall have a world government whether or not you like it-the question is whether it will be by conquest or consent."). Funny how the same families seemed to be involved in everything dark.
   FACT: 1919. Elihu Root takes $20 million in cash to prop up the collapsing Bolshevik regime. The money is taken from a $100 million Special War Fund appropriated to President Wilson by Congress (as stated in the congressional record).
   FACT: 1945. Mass murderer  "uncle" Joseph Stalin (killed 20,000,000 of his own people) is allowed by FDR to take over eastern Europe; unbelievably, he also presides over the Nuremberg "show" trials, passing judgment on war criminals.
   FACT: 1954. Congressional Reece Committee investigates tax-exempt foundations and finds their  purpose is  to favorably massage public opinion to promote war (Carnage International Endowment for "Peace")  and support a socialist/communist coalition working towards global centralized control. Committee head Norman Dodd interviewed H. Rowan Gaither  of the Ford Foundation who said his organization was under directions from the White House to "make every effort to alter life in the United States to ensure a comfortable merger with the Soviet Union."
   FACT: 1991. George H. W. Bush publicly mentions "New World Order" for the first time. Repeatedly uses the term "democracy,"  which is the now the politically correct code word for "global socialism." (Whatever happened to  "constitutional republic?" Anyone heard that mentioned lately? Didn't think so. Constitutional republics are founded on the supremacy of individual rights and not the supreme power of the state or media manipulated majority rule).
   FACT: 1990's Joint training sessions held between US and Soviet police forces. Why?
   FACT: 2003. Gen. Yevgeni Primakov, former head of the KBG, has been hired as a consultant by the Dept. of Homeland Security for a new program called CAPPS II to prepare US citizens for domestic "internal passports," supposedly under the guise of fighting the war on terrorism (Primakov admitting when interviewed, however, that terrorism had nothing to do with it). Also hired was Gen. Karpov, foreign KBG chief at the Washington embassy and first director of the Russian Federal Security Service. Under CAPPS II citizens will routinely have  their "credit history" accessed,  secretly revealing an SS CTF, or State Security Citizen Threat File, stored in an Office of Internal Security database and  containing credit, medical, and military history, political and religious affiliation, and potentially other information such as attendance at anti-government rallies, politically incorrect exercise of free speech, etc.  Apparently a National Identity Card Act (NICA) along with new identity features on driver's licenses are in the works. According to an  article in the American Free Press (April 21, 2003), Gen. Primakov reportedly laughed when saying that once these measures were passed the White House would have more control over the American people than the Kremlin had over the Russian people under Stalin. He further stated that he had been hired  to consult with various offices of government that HAVEN'T EVEN BEEN CREATED YET to further restrict the rights of the citizen and expand the powers of  government.
      It seems we have truly come full circle now, with formerly anti-Communist conservatives being duped by a neo-con "born-again" administration powered by an Orwellian media campaign into supporting a state policy of internal passports/national registration, ever-increasing surveillance and narrowing of the freedom of the American citizenry. Will the United States end its proud history with this grim vision of a "jackboot in the face," or will its people wake up in time and say "enough?"
Peter Holleran
San Rafael     

Charade On The Flight Deck
   It is inconceivable that the flagrant and costly photo-op of Bushes carrier landing in full flight suit, actually impressed some people, His apathetic abandonment of his military duties alone should have been sufficient to disqualify him from such theatrics.
   The faux credibility gained from this charade will surely now be used to assist him further his adverse agenda, along with the secrecy & misinformation that he has used to foster it--just as he had used 9/11 and the Iraqi war.  It may even enhance his egregious accusations of non-patriotism against those who raised legitimate concerns regarding administration policies.  Sadly such tactics have succeeded--even unseating an honorable  triple amputee Vietnam veteran senator for another draft dodger
   GWB's unethical (if not illegal) dealings before being wrongly dealt the presidency by the Supreme Court are a matter of record.  He  has sold out to big oil, tobacco, industrial polluters, auto makers and other special interests on crucial environmental, conservation, family planning, health issues, and corporate reform, often in secretive manners on scales I have not  found for any past presidency.
   His destruction of worldwide environmental, health, and social reforms have caused damage that will prevail for years, even if corrective measures were now to commence.  His bellicosity and disregard for treaties have generated an unprecedented international distrust for the USA, even despite the apparent victory in Iraq (which still requires much explanation).
   Far too few of our legislators have acted to curtail these contemptuous policies. Those who continue inaction must know that they will be replaced if they continue to neglect these essential duties that are prescribed in the constitution, and entrusted to them by us.
Robert H Settgast
San Rafael
  
Dangerous Abuses Of Judicial Selection Process
   If Americans really understand the long term dangers stemming from the Bush team's intimidation  tactics, against senators who voice legitimate concerns regarding their judicial selections, this national complacency would be reversed.
   Clearly Bush has been stacking the courts with those who not only are tolerant to his unprecedented & clandestine sellouts against environmental, health, and social reforms-but also back his theocratic right wing agenda.
   With so many outstanding candidates,  such inferior selections are indefensible. 
   Only two Bush nominations are now being held up, while over 100 have been approved, despite their conspicuous tolerances to his contemptuous policies and their unbalanced right wing agenda. Our senators have not only the right, but a sworn duty, to counteract such abuses.  Had the entire senate  placed principles over partisanship, they would  have rejected most of these appointments, rather than succumb to flagrant accusations of non-patriotism from one who had himself shunned the military.
   Our constitutional framers feared such presidential abuses in judicial selections, and understood their long term consequences.  This is precisely why they required  the senate's advice and consent.
Robert Settgast
San Rafael

Anyone Deserve To Be Fired?
   If it is true that US says that the Saudis ignored requests for heightened security than whoever was in charge after the first ignored request should have ordered all the American personnel out. I would be ashamed to report this fact. This is tantamount to the ignored warnings of impending disaster of 911. Some one must be responsible for the bungled operations which put Americans at risk or it will just keep happening over and over again.
Dr. Norman Mann
San Diego

Where Are The WMD
   So far no weapons of mass destruction have been found in Iraq. This is troubling enough given that George Bush assured us we were in imminent danger from such weapons. This was his justification for preemptive military action. 
   More disturbing is the slow pace of searching for these weapons since the fall of Baghdad. According to Stephen Cambone, the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence at the Pentagon, only about 70 of 600 suspected sites have been visited so far. At the same time, know nuclear facilities where radioactive materials are stored were left unguarded for weeks.
 According to a Washington Post report, the Pentagon failed to secure Iraq's nuclear facilities at Kut and al Tuwaitha. As a result these facilities have been looted.
 Dangerous radioactive materials such as cesium, cobalt and partially enriched uranium appear to have been taken. 
   How is it that we could successfully implement a complex plan to save the vast oil fields of Iraq from destruction yet fail to conduct a quick search and seizure operation of suspected locations of weapons of mass destruction?
 How could we fail to secure known nuclear facilities?  Perhaps the administration doesn't believe its own hype.

 It would be a hollow victory to topple Saddam Hussein only to speed up the spread of deadly weapons to our terrorist enemies.  
Brian Lynch
Mine Hill, New Jersey

Can Justice In Marin Only Be Obtained In San Francisco?
    If our case is a sordid indicator of the way judicial business is conducted in Marin, justice cannot be obtained without appealing a Marin judge's decision to the State Appellate Court in San Francisco. 
   The short version of our case against the Town of San Anselmo reads thus: We opposed a single-family development next door to us at 24 Knoll Road. The project clearly violated two of San Anselmo's ordinances (based on California law).
   The Town ignored our issues -- principally, its violations of its slope ordinance and merger ordinance-and left us with no recourse but to sue if we wanted justice. We sued and got Lynn O'Malley Taylor as the judge. 
   Ironically, at first, things looked bright, perhaps too much so. Taylor continued the initial court date of March 5 until March 20, presumably to give herself more time to consider all the evidence in the administrative record. Taylor's tentative ruling, issued March 19, 2003, granted our petition for writ of mandate -- that the project should be stopped because it violated laws. The judge overwhelmingly agreed with us on all key issues.
   Taylor's opening sentence read: "Slope Density Limitations: The Town Council's decision not to apply section 10-3.409 of the San Anselmo Municipal Code (SAMC), specifically the slope density/lot area table was not supported by the evidence." 
   Then, Taylor wrote that re: Merger Requirements, "The Town Council did not address the evidence indicating that section 10-3.2703 of the San Anselmo Municipal Code would require the merger of 24 Knoll into 75 Jordan.?
   Taylor's three-page tentative ruling used the phrase "nothing in the administrative record" six times. 
   Ironically, and to our chagrin and utter bafflement, Taylor reversed herself two weeks later after an oral hearing in which nothing new was introduced or could have been introduced BY LAW. Bizarrely, Taylor did an 180-degree flip on her tentative ruling -- basing her judgment, or so it seems to us, on the erroneous opinions of San Anselmo's Town Attorney, while she acknowledged that "opinions by counsel" are "not part of the administrative record."
   Go figure.  
Lujza and Herman Mehling
San Anselmo, 415-456-5225
    
Stop Subsidizing Oil
   For a remote area closer to the Arctic Circle than Washington's Inner Circle, the Arctic National Wildlife  Refuge is on DC minds far too often. The Earth Day Crowd consumes its limited resources and is kept way too busy fighting this battle every few months.  Americans simply do not want to trade their Serengeti for six months of oil 10 years from now.  Can we stop subsidizing oil and start subsidizing non-polluting/non-global warming renewable energy?  It is scandalously shameless to commercialize this national treasure for corporate profits and future campaign contributions. The US has only 3% of the world's oil reserves but consumes 25% of the world's oil so the notion that we can drill our way to energy independence makes as much sense as driving 125 MPH for safety's sake since I'll be on the road for only half the time.
Jay Lustgarten
San Anselmo
  
Love It Or Lose It  
   I love this great country, I just don't like what is happening to her. We are allowing this to happen. Wake up America or we will lose it! I hang my American flag upside down. We are in great distress and if we don't act soon we will lose all we have.
   In four years it will all be gone. Let's get together and do something about it. How about you? We have it in us, but we are stagnant so let's get together and put a stop to it.
   When Clinton was president we wanted to know everything, with Bush nothing! It is that "nothing" that is so dangerous! What we can't see is what is so very sad. If it were good, Bush would tell everyone. Have you heard anything?
Willits

Mad Old Lady
   I hear a lot of people yelling for peace but I have not heard of a plan for peace. So, here's one plan:
   1) The US will apologize to the world for our "interference" in their affairs, past & present. We will promise never to "interfere" again.
   2) We will withdraw our troops from all over the world, starting with Germany, South Korea and the Philippines. They don't want us there. We would station troops at our borders. No more sneaking through holes in the fence.
   3) All illegal aliens have 90 days to get their affairs together and leave. We'll give them a free trip home. After 90 days the remainder will be gathered up and deported immediately, regardless of who or where they are. France should welcome them.
   4) All future visitors will be thoroughly checked and limited to 30 day visits. No one from a terrorist nation would be allowed in. If you don't like it there, change it yourself, don't hide here. Asylum would not ever  be available to anyone. We don't need any more cab drivers.
   5) No "students" over age 21. The older ones are the bombers. If they don't attend classes, they get a "D" and it's back home, baby.
   6) The US will make a strong effort to become self sufficient energy wise. This will include developing non-polluting sources of energy, but will require a temporary drilling of oil in the Alaskan wilderness. The caribou will have to cope for a while.
   7) Offer Saudi Arabia and other oil producing countries $10 a barrel for their oil. If they don't like it, we go someplace else.
   8) If there is a famine or other natural catastrophe in the world, we will not "interfere". They can pray to Allah or whomever, for seeds, rain, cement or whatever they need. Besides, most of what we give them gets "lost" or is taken by their army. The people who need it most get very little, anyway.
   9a) Ship the UN Headquarters to an island some place. We don't need the spies and fair weather friends here. Besides, it would make a good homeless shelter or lockup for illegal aliens.
   9b) Use the buildings as replacement for the twin towers.
   10) All Americans must go to charm and beauty school. That way, no one can call us "Ugly Americans" any longer.
   "The Statue of Liberty is no longer saying 'Give me your poor, your tired, your huddled masses. She's got a baseball bat and she's yelling, 'You want a piece of me? '
   Now, isn't that a winner of a plan?
   If EVERYONE who likes this plan would CUT IT OUT OF THE PAPER and MAIL IT to the president at:
 President Geo. Bush
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
Washington DC 20500
    We may get something done to correct the problem, but EVERYONE  must do it, for it to work. Lets cover them up with mail.
L.J. Hodgkinson
Orange, TX

Daredevil President
Mr. President:
   I saw you today, you daredevil. What a thrill seeing you land on the carrier USS Abraham Lincoln, so daring and dashing, stepping out on to the deck in that aviator flightsuit.
   I got the chills just watching. A Cecil B. DeMille production worthy of an academy award for choreography and chutzpah. Kudos to Karl Rove.
   Thank you for justifying in your speech that the Iraq war was a "just war" and that we prevailed. I feel better about that but let's see if I got this right:
   You were going to capture Saddam Hussein...but you didn't.
   You knew he possessed weapons of mass destruction and where they could be located...but no one can find them.
   You said you liberated the Iraqi people...but they apparently disagree with their supposed imprisonment. The raucous demonstrators in Baghdad keep shouting, "Killers go home!"
   You said the war on terrorism isn't over: "Suit up again, George, we patrol at dawn..."
David A. Whelan
Forest Knolls, CA

Not So Unbelievable Beliefs
   There were some interesting statistics in a recent article by Jim Scanlon (a friend of mine) regarding the Christian beliefs of many Americans and, specifically, of the President and some members of his cabinet. Just for the record, I am not at all religious myself.  However, I wanted to make some comparisons of the religious beliefs Jim pointed out with some of the even nuttier orthodoxies of the political left.
   Is it any less crazy to believe that miracles actually happen than to believe that people who hate America and want to murder Americans will change their minds and stop being so mean if we are just more understanding of their views and are nicer to them?
   Is it any crazier to believe in the Devil than to believe that the entire American justice system is secretly organized and operated to incarcerate black men for crimes they did not commit-and the large army of reporters, bloggers and activists in the US is unable to find any evidence of this continent-wide conspiracy?
   Is it any crazier to believe in the virgin birth of Jesus than to believe that all human beings have precisely identical levels of intelligence, passion, ambition, energy and strength and that any differences in the material success of individual people must be attributed to another conspiracy hatched by corporate executives, the defense, tobacco, firearms and fast food industries, and white men?
   Is it any crazier to believe the world will end in an apocalyptic war between Jesus and the Antichrist than to believe that America is engaged in yet another secret conspiracy to impoverish people living in third world countries by trading with those countries and encouraging them to adopt open, rational economic systems governed by the rule of law instead of the whims of tyrants?
   One last point. Although it is certainly inflammatory to call Mohammed a "pedophile and terrorist", it's not wildly inaccurate. It is an historical fact that Mohammed took numerous wives (certainly with their uncoerced consent) and that one of them was nine years old when taken by him. Today, that would qualify as pedophilia and would land the prophet in jail. The term terrorist is a modern term that would have no application in seventh century Asia or Africa. Nevertheless, Mohammed was certainly violent and spread his rule (and religion) by the sword. Loosely speaking, he forced people to convert to a religion in which he was the central figure of worship by terrorizing them with violence. Not exactly the same as modern day terrorism, but not so terribly far off the mark.
Eric Salthe
Louisville, Kentucky
 
President Is No Authority On Science
The New York Times
229 West 43rd Street
New York, N.Y. 10036
Letters Editor
   In a speech to graduates of the US Coast Guard Academy, President George W. Bush pointedly criticized the European ban on genetically modified food produced in the US. (Bush Links Europe's Ban on Bio-Crops With Hunger, NYT May 21, 2003). He stated: "They [France and Germany] have blocked all new bio-crops because of unfounded, unscientific fears."
   It is manipulative, misleading and inconsistent for President Bush to dismiss European concerns about genetically modified plants and animals as "unscientific." when he himself does not accept the neo-Darwinian evolutionary synthesis, the foundation principle of the sciences that comprise biology.
   The science of genetics evolved during the 1930s and 1940s when dedicated investigators reliably demonstrated a mechanism by which variations are passed on naturally, and also with human intervention, to subsequent generations. "Darwinism" led to genetics and the knowledge generated supported and still supports the neo-Darwinian synthesis. This synthesis works for us now, even thought it will most likely change as our society changes and new insights are gained.
   I wonder what the president and his advisors think of the evolution of matter, nucleosynthesis, the belief that the atoms that we are composed of and which compose our world, originated during explosions of gigantic stars? And I wonder what they think of endosymbiosis, the belief that the cells of all multicellular organisms (including homosapiens) are made up of tiny ecosystems, communities of once free living bacteria that joined together eons ago?
   It has been upsetting and difficult for many religious people in the United States such as President Bush and Ronald Reagan, to accept biological evolution. They may reject it if they wish, but if they do, they would not have any authority to lecture others as to what is, or isn't, "scientific,"
   Please note that the crucially important science of Petrology which is at odds with most creation myths, is firmly based on a detailed understanding of organic evolution in operation over hundreds of millions of years.
James Scanlon

Rigging the Vote
   I'm including a copy of a letter I sent to Barbara Boxer and my other representatives with the evidence accumulated of a potential 'November surprise'-- the rigging of the next Presidential vote by private, inaccessible, untransparent voting machines that leave no paper trail. For a fuller discussion of the issue and links, please go to: CommonDreams.org Published on Friday, January 31, 2003.    
   I consider this a critical issue and if you agree urge you to disseminate this widely and write a personal letter to your representatives: NOT AN E-MAIL. If you need their address go to: http://www.house.gov/writerep/  and for the Senate go to: http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senatorscfm.cfm

Senator Barbara Boxer
112 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Barbara,
   I'm writing to you about a situation of the greatest urgency. Last year, I narrated a film called "Unprecedented" by American journalist Greg Palast (currently writing for the London Guardian). This film documents the illegal expunging of 54,000 black and overwhelmingly Democratic voters from the Florida rolls just before the presidential election. We interviewed the computer company that did the work, filmed their explanations of the instructions they received and their admissions that they knew that their instructions would produce massive error. That figure has now been revised to 91,000. 
  Jeb Bush was sued, and was supposed to have returned these voters to the rolls, and did not, which explains his last re-election. The Republicans have something far worse in mind for the next presidential election and Democrats need to be prepared.
   The recent elections of Nebraska Republican Chuck Hagel, the loss in Georgia of Max Cleland, wildly popular Vietnam vet, and the victory of Alabama Governor Bob Riley, along with a handful of other Republican victories, (all predicted to have been losers by straw polls which our nation has refined to a high-art) points to an ominous source: corporate-programmed, computer-controlled, modem-capable voting machines, recording and  tabulating ballots.
   You'd think in an open democracy that the government---answerable to all its citizens, rather than a handful of corporate officers and stockholders---would program, repair, and control the voting machines. You'd think the computers that handle our cherished ballots would be open and their software and programming available for public scrutiny. You'd think there would be a paper trail of the vote, which could be followed and audited if a there was evidence of voting fraud or if exit polls disagreed with computerized vote counts. You'd be wrong.
   The Washington, DC publication The Hill  (www.thehill.com/news/012903/hagel.aspx) has confirmed that former  conservative radio talk-show host and now Republican US Senator  Chuck Hagel was the head of, and continues to own part interest in, the company that owns the company that installed, programmed, and largely ran the voting machines that were used by most of the citizens of Nebraska. When Democrat Charlie Matulka requested a hand count of the vote in the election he lost to Hagel, his request was denied because Nebraska had a just-passed law that prohibits government-employee election workers from looking at the ballots, even in a recount. The only machines permitted to count votes in Nebraska, he said, are those made and programmed by the corporation formerly run by Hagel.  When Bev Harris and The Hill's Alexander Bolton pressed the Chief Counsel and Director of the Senate Ethics Committee, (the man responsible for ensuring that FEC disclosures are complete), asking him why he'd not questioned Hagel's 1995, 1996, and 2001 failures to disclose the details of his ownership in the company that owned the voting machine company when he ran for the Senate, the Director reportedly met with Hagel's office on Friday, January 25, 2003 and Monday, January 27, 2003.  After the second meeting, on the afternoon of January 27th, the Director of the Senate Ethics Committee resigned his job.    Hagel's surprise victory is a trial-run for the presidential  election.  Election 'reform' laws are now prohibiting paper ballots (no trail) and exit polls, effectively removing all trace and record of votes, making prosecution of voter fraud virtually impossible.
   For whatever reasons, the Democrats decided not to pursue the  issue of fraudulence in the last Presidential election. The three Supreme Court Justices who should  have recused themselves (Scalia, Thomas, and O'Connor) were allowed  to stand unchallenged and pass a bizarre one-time-only ruling. That  they were in place long before the election, demonstrates how clearly  the end-game of such moves was thought out. 
  Unless the issue of voter fraud is elevated to an issue of  national importance, not only is it highly probable that Democrats will lose again and again, but eventually voters will "sense" even if they cannot prove, that elections are rigged, and the current 50% of those boycotting elections will swell to the majority.   Privatization of the vote is tantamount to turning over the control of democracy to the corporate sector.   I urge you to use your considerable powers and influence to address this issue.
Peter Coyote

WTC Built Lacking
   Not only were the twin towers of the Port Authority's World Trade Center built without adequate testing of their novel structural steel elements, but, I believe a simple investigation will show they were built without sprinkler systems, which were added only after occupancy, and after several fires. There should be ample confirmation in the records of the Fire Department and in the memories of retired firemen and employees of the WTC.
   The sprinkler system which was installed, was, of course, rendered useless by the tremendous damage caused by the impact of heavy jets fully loaded with combustible fuel, and perhaps nothing could have saved the towers and the men and women on the upper floors, but nevertheless, the failure to install such a basic component of fire protection as a sprinkler system illustrates an unimaginable failure on the part of everyone involved in the design, construction and oversight of those buildings.
Jim Scanlon
cc: Dr. Glen Corbett. Mark S Moller, Skyscraper Safety Campaign, Dr. Sivaraj Shyam-Sunder

 

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