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November, 2003

Letters To The Editor

People the Product
   We the people are now the/product/of oppressor's nonsense!/If anyone must begin/to conform/It must be them!/We will move/No more!
Willie Bogerworm
Santa Rosa

Sutter Health Spin Masters
   Arguably no organization is more adept at spin than Sutter Health of Sacramento. Sutter operates Marin General Hospital under a 30 year lease from the 1985 elected Healthcare District board which expires in 2015. Hopefully, the hospital will revert to community control twelve years from now.
   In the September 18 Insights, a Sutter publication, MGH CEO Margaret Sabin said, "It is simply not feasible to make a major capital investment in a modernized facility beyond retrofit if we would turn back the hospital to the District (our landlords) in just 12 years."
   What Sabin refers to is the possibility of building a new wing instead of seismic upgrades required by law, Sabin misleads about the capital investment. That would come, as it always has, from MGH patient revenue. In fact, Sutter is not investing in MGH. Since Sutter acquired the lease over seven years ago millions of MGH revenue dollars have made one-way trips to Sacramento. Sutter's operation of MGH behind closed doors is hardly distinguished.
   The plain fact is that the elected board can finance any rebuilding actually required and with revenue bonds. Twelve more years of Sutter is enough.
Norman Carrigg, M.D.
San Rafael

Who's in Charge
   The illegitimacy of George W. Bush's presidency is finally catching up with him and his wealthy promoters. He has been running the country without the people's mandate, drawing his energy and clout, simply from the fear that the 9/11 diseaster has instilled in the hearts and minds of the American people. He rose to popularity as a war president and managed to do pretty well until lately when his performance rating is going back to the pre-September 11 days. He has been riding the proverbial tiger's back and the beast is getting angrier and hungrier everyday. How long can he stay on its back, particularly now that he will be compelled to alight for a moment, in his inevitable need to win the mandate that the American people refused to give him back in 2000. His efforts to do so are currently being greeted with snarling growls from the angry tiger. It is getting clearer that he either stays on top of the tiger or face the prospects of getting consumed by it.
   Informed observers have from the very start known that Dubya was a mere puppet of the vested interests that had the power and resources to use the US Supreme in installing their man in the White House. The incumbent, in other words, is in power by a shear technicality of the law, crafted by the supposed guardians of our rule of law. Can anyone accuse the US Supreme Court Justices as violators of the Constitution? As Vincent Bugliosi has succinctly put it in his best seller book, The Betrayal of America: "That an election for an American president can be stolen by the highest court in the land under the deliberate pretext of an applicable constitutional provision has got to be one of the most frightening and dangerous events ever to have occurred in this country. Until this act -- which is treasonous, though again not technically, in its sweeping implications -- is somehow rectified (and I do not know how this can be done), can we be serene about continuing to place the adjective 'great' before the name of this country."
   As a consequence, the real brains behind the power grab have all along been calling the shots. They decide and Dubya implements, no matter what the consequences. The pattern has gotten to be too obvious that the truly loyal lieutenants of the president since he was a governor of Texas, started to wake their boss up to the nightmare that he could not seem to wake up from. His top confidant and official adviser, from whom he has drawn a lot of wisdom and direction could not take anymore of the aggravation and therefore quit at a time when he needed her most. Recently, his reputable Secretary of State, the only member of his cabinet to resist the pressure coming from the oil greedy war mongers, made no secret of his desire to bail-out as well.
   With his performance rating dropping below the pre 9/11 level, essentially as a result of the country's worsening economic situation and string of US foreign affairs debacles such as the Afghanistan and Iraq fiascoes, Dubya currently finds the need to at least appear like he is calling the shots even if he cannot necessarily do much to change them. He is noticeably taking steps to appear like distancing himself from the Cheny, Rumsfield, Woolf, Ashcroft gang by letting his National Security Adviser sound like she is the "Iraq Liberation Czar" but no one is falling for it. This president has gotten so used to being the puppet in his show that he could not imagine, even for a moment, to be the puppeteer, for a change. Senator Biden of Delaware was recently asked in a TV interview what is the single advise that he can give the President if asked for one? Without batting an eyelash, the senator cried out loudly: "Take Charge!!" The conclusion of serious minded Americans on what is wrong with our current government is that no one seems to be in charge. It is even getting to be more apparent when the incumbent who is holding on to his very tenuous office on the strength of being a war president is not in charge. How can we expect to win in our war against terrorism when our Commander-in-Chief is not in charge? If the president is not in charge, who then is? There are more reasons for the Americans to recall this president than for the Californians to recall their governor and look who is now the governor of California? This is food for thought not only for all Americans but even more so for their president who seems to draw strength from not being in charge.
Antonio R. Serna
Rohnert Park

Alaska's Ocean Ecosystems!
   Richly complex and diverse, Alaska's ocean ecosystems support some of the world's largest populations of marine birds, mammals, fishes and invertebrates. They also support the largest United States commercial fisheries. Pioneered by factory ships in the 1960's and under US management since the 1980s, these fisheries have continued to produce phenomenal amounts of seafood. However, steep declines in Steller sea lions, northern fur seals, harbor seals, seabird species, as well as numerous exploited populations of crab and fish have accompanied the commercial fisheries' explosive growth. While government and industry proudly point to continuing large catches of targeted species as evidence of sustainable management, widespread ecosystem changes warn that the limits of sustainability may have been exceeded. 
   NOAA Fisheries (formerly the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and part of the US Dept. of Commerce) is now working on a "Programmatic Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement" (EIS) for the Alaska groundfish fishery to comply with a federal court order. This EIS, once completed, will be the first such evaluation of the environmental impacts associated with this fishery in nearly 25 years and offers the public the best chance to reform fisheries management so that it considers effects on the entire marine ecosystem (an approach known as "ecosystem-based management.") Once finalized, this EIS will shape fishery management practices in the North Pacific for years to come. 
   Please let NOAA Fisheries (NOAA Fisheries, 1315 East West Highway, SSMC3,  Silver Spring, MD  20910) know you support strong ecosystem-based management for  Alaska groundfish fisheries!
Peter Bauer
San Rafael

Appalled At Identical Letters
   I am appalled that identical form letters came back from Iraq to brainwash Americans. The truth is young men are being killed everyday over there, the people of Iraq are in a state of unrest with life- threatening, unstable conditions, and S.H. is now thought to be alive... sounds like a Mideast Vietnam. I am concerned also that it is a war over greed, including corporate contracts without competing bids etc.-that are making certain people very rich-it is called war profiteering. Just like in Vietnam. When will people stop rushing into war and start seeking peace instead?  Do we really have to put up with the continued loss of life and drain on our economy? Why shouldn't we have universal health care, education, and jobs instead??? Let's face it, since Bush got in (How I don't know)...our great nation has fallen.
K. Barnes
Sherwood, Mi

Schwartzenneger Alert
   The Arnold Schwartzenegger  governorship poses concerns that eclipse those which were used to recall Gray Davis.
   After pledging  to receive no campaign contributions and claiming to be an environmentalist, he accepted major funding from the same special interests who support George Bush, including oil & gas, timber, developers, and even Hummer & SUV dealers.
   Arnold's affiliations with the Bush team are strong indicators of his future assistance to them in forcing extension of his destructive environmental and social sell-outs to California, which had  met resistance from the current administration.    His unrealistic scheme to implement a "hydrogen highway" mimics the hydrogen power  ploy used by Bush to forestall essential fuel efficiency and alternative energy development measures.
   He used the California energy crisis as a focal point for the recall, even though it resulted from deregulation that had been approved by the previous governor (who assisted in the recall), while there was little Davis could do to thwart it.   Only after the recall did Arnold disclose his plan to deregulate energy again.  We now know that he had affiliations with member(s) of Texas energy cartel, who implemented and profiteered from this crisis--and might succeed again with a new deregulation.
   Arnold has pledged to reduce taxes without cutting essential programs, but would never explain his methodology or debate this issue echoes Bush's  reckless tax policies.  His recruitment of an accountant from Florida under Bush's brother (Governor Jed  Bush) to audit the California books, rather an non-affiliated impartial investigator, renders his motives highly suspect.
   The outlook appears grim unless the citizenry responds in a  pro-active manner to prevent an extension of the disastrous Bush policies to California.
Robert H Settgast
San Rafael

Zero Tolerance
   I'm having zero tolerance for cannabis (marijuana) prohibitionists, and was pleased to read, "LEGALIZING MARIJUANA TO BENEFIT SOCIETY: AN IDEA WHOSE TIME HAS COME", (Oct. 1, 2003) exposing how America needs credible drug law reform, which means re-legalizing cannabis. 
   Caging humans for using cannabis (marijuana) is so anti-Christian, dysfunctional and uncivilized, that it should be asked if cannabis prohibitionists, really even comprehend, they're admitting a desire to cage humans for using a plant? 
Truthfully,
Stan White
Dillon, Co

Fundamental Illegitimacy
   Fundamentalists have no political legitimacy. Their occupation of our national government is an affront to human decency. Disobedience is a moral imperative.
Jay Taber
Mill Valley

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Get Tough On Indians?
     I was sad but not surprised to see Dick Spotswood's Oct. 14 Mill Valley Herald column encouraging Schwarzenegger to get tough on the "Indian casino racket" by subjecting them to "rules that apply to everyone else." It just goes to show that when it comes to first nations, racism is still bipartisan.
     For a more nuanced understanding of Indian gaming, I encourage your readers to check out an article at <http://www.indiancountry.com/?1066412116>     
   For a broader understanding of rights and obligations of indigenous inhabitants of our country, I recommend contacting the First American Education Project at <http://www.first-americans.net/first americanHome.htm>
     When people get cranky, it's tempting to forget our federal government made treaties with these people so we could have clear title to most of their land and resources. That title, however, comes with liens into perpetuity. Wishing they would go away does nothing to extinguish their legality.
Jay Taber
Mill Valley


The Wall
   I just don't get it. Before 1967-68 the people today known as Palestinians were Jordanians, at least since 1948. Before the recent violence the economic situation of almost everyone was pretty good for the middle east. The militants have destroyed any semblance of normality. The violence came about as Israel and the "Palestinians" were talking about Palestinian statehood. So I guess the "Palestinian" militants don't really want a state, under any conditions or only if they get the whole area that is now "Israel?" A big question is, would they really settle for what is now Israel or would they then go on the claim the surrounding areas?
   The worlds history is littered with wars. After each war countries and people settle into the new political reality. The US certainly has a long history of taking over territory. But when the fighting ended, everyone turned to make the best of what they had. Are you suggesting that Mexicans now begin an uprising to "reclaim" their land? What about the American Indians, should they sit idly by? What is the difference really. Almost every country in the world has either "claimed" or "lost" land. Why is the Israel / Palestinian situation so different?
   The whole of Israel is about the size of New Jersey. So how much land are we really talking about? The Jordan river of my youth and by the songs we sung was like the Mississippi. But I got a chance to really see it. It is a tiny bit if a stream, nothing much to talk about and even less to jump across. The Rio Grande near El Paso is huge by comparison.
   The news media, by writing or angled photography can make the area seem huge. But in reality we are talking about a very small geographical region. So what is the conflict really about, a bunch of mostly Jews and some Christians living on a sliver of land surrounded by vast expanses of Muslim controlled territory? Islam like all religions thinks theirs is the right one. But that is no reason for intolerance of other religions. Maybe in today's version of Islam it is?
   In any event, the "poor Palestinians" are so much worse off today because of the militants, and no one recognizes that world politics has created the situation we have today. There is no bad or good guy to point the finger at other than those who can't make the best of the deal they have been dealt.
"Dorron B"
<[email protected]>

George Bush's Courageous Leadership
   In his Inaugural Address, President Bush called on Americans to be citizens, not spectators-to work together to improve their communities and touch the lives of their neighbors. He has followed through on his commitment and citizens in our community are responding. President Bush's compassion agenda begins at home by ensuring that every child in America learns the basic skills of reading and math. His work is also ensuring that Faith-based organizations are not discriminated against.
   The President's compassion agenda is touching lives across the globe. His unprecedented commitment to combating the AIDS pandemic in Africa and third world nations is what the world needs to finally turn the tide in the fight against HIV/AIDS.
   Under his leadership, America is leading the world in feeding the hungry. 60% of international food aid comes as a gift from the people of the United States. The leadership of President Bush is unleashing the armies of compassion across our nation. I am grateful for his leadership and his call to greater civic duty. This issue is just one more example of how our President is providing the courageous leadership America needs.
Ms. Tracey Cutler
Saratoga

Open Letter to KQED CEO On Airing Palestinian Film
Dear Mr. Clarke:
   On October 17, 2003, I received a letter from Mr. Canales, Jr., Chairman of the Board, in which he stated that "we delegate individual programming  decisions to the management of KQED." By management, did he mean you?  As President and CEO of KQED, I would hope that you will accept that responsibility instead of passing the buck back to those who already have demonstrated extreme bias and prejudice toward the film.  Their answer may have been determined before the film arrived for screening at KQED this past June!
   If you have reviewed the information that we have provided, a "YES" decision to airing the film is the equitable choice and it would be responsive to your viewing audience.  As you have seen in the documentation that we have sent to you and others, there is overwhelming proof that supports the integrity of this film and its qualifications.  You may recall that the documentary "Palestine Is Still The Issue" had an 83% approval rating when shown in England.  If you elect to prevent this documentary from being shown by KQED, I would hope that you will provide ample justification for such a decision.
   Whose Interest is Being Served?
   1. Is it the majority of the Bay Area community?  Let's hope so!  Thousands of residents in the Bay Area who are KQED members and viewers have requested the airing of "Palestine Is Still The Issue." The community has spoken.  Is KQED listening?  Let's hope so.
   2. Is it just one person?  Let's hope not.  Is it Scott Dwyer, Program Director, whose bias and prejudice have been demonstrated, and has, through his statements, indicated that he will block the broadcast of "Palestine Is Still The Issue?" Let's hope not.
   3. Is it two or three people?  Let's hope not.  Would two of them be John Boland and DeAnne Hamilton?
   4. Is it the 6 to 22 major contributors to KQED?  Let's hope not. Information from KQED's 2002 annual report: In the year 2002, 48% of KQED's revenue came from contributions and membership fees.  For the year 2003, approximately 60% to 70% of KQED's total revenues will come from contributions.  Contributions pledged as of March 1, 2003 from just 22 contributors amounted to approximately $55,000.000.00.  Of the 22 pledges, 6 contributors pledged a total of approximately $38,000,000.00 Total pledges from everyone amounted to approximately $70,000,000.00.  Approximately 55% of all pledges are from 6 contributors.  One would hope that all of the contributors support the freedom of access to widely acclaimed films that the community has requested.   5. Is it a combination of 2 to 22?  Let's hope not!
   Once again I ask that you consider all of the facts before you and approve the broadcast of "Palestine Is Still The Issue" soon and at prime time. 
Fred Shepherd
Executive Director
Altencon & Global Information Services
San Anselmo

One Nation Under Mammon
   God who once inspired America to greatness is slowly being pushed out on the junk heap. It appears as though the Supreme Court is going to pass  judgment on the Pledge of Allegiance as being too Godly. Can it be that  Supreme Court which opens each session with a moment of dedication to "God" may throw "IT" out?
   After it rewrites the Pledge it can get US currency to wipe out "In God We Trust" and don't  argue that we couldn't afford that. What's more important $87 billion for Iraq construction or currency rewrite? Perhaps we could allow those who don't like "In God We trust to" demand that they be paid in Euros. Coming to think of it let's get rid of congressional Chaplains while we are thrashing God and ITS historical attachment to our nation.
Dr. Norman Mann
San Diego

Nothing To Gloat About
   Mr. Bush's fly-boy suit republiganda on the deck of the Abraham Lincoln pays dividends as the May 1st "victory" in the Iraqi sands turns to quagmire in the Iraqi quicksand.  Americans are now asked to pay $87 billion for a war we're still waiting to fight. The enemy was always supposed to be Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) and never the Iraqi people but where are the WMD's? The rich irony is that the million dollar set up fee to spotlight GWB landing on the A Lincoln featuring the National Guard evader turned Air Foist War Zero is campaign footage for the opposition.
Jay Lustgarten
San Anselmo

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Don't Get Fooled Again
   GWB will falsely embrace some token moderate positions as his right gutter ball  administration strains to gather moderates for another 4 year ride into hell. As GWB's regime sells our future away by weakening environmental laws for corporate gain, you'd expect better results than a net loss of 3.1 million jobs, a $455 billion deficit, a leave no millionaire behind fiscal plan and a world that loves American markets but despises American unilateralist, diplomacy by decree foreign policy.  What can be worse than a GWB '00-'04 White House?  An '04-'08 GWB lame-duck administration.
Jay Lustgarten
San Anselmo

Post Mortem On Schwarzenegger
   I  am in despair and disbelief. I don't even know what to think anymore. People I know and work with voted for this guy (Schwarzenegger) for God knows what reason-some just appallingly disingenuous like... "He's a body builder. he has a lot of personal discipline." Or "The Republicans are appealing to the Clinton factor" (i.e., sexual misconduct, never mind that Clinton's escapades were consensual when Herr Schwarzenegger's was not).
   I couldn't listen to any major media today after I heard all the usual analysis of "this is sending a strong message to the democrats to get it together" or "progressives have to do this or that."
   I am convinced that the electorate no longer distinguishes between reality and fantasy-Hollywood and real life. There was a news item on KRON about a fire that consumed someone's house. The neighbors were standing around saying "This is just like reality TV".  It's supposed to be the other way around isn't it? Or does it matter anymore?
   I do not believe that people who go to the polls these days have much more than a very superficial Clearchannelled understanding of what the real issues are and what is really going on in the world. To talk about a "mandate" or any kind of "signal" or "message" sent by the "people" in these election results is trying to assign some rhyme, reason or logic to why people can vote Scwarzeneggar in but bring prop 54 to a flaming defeat. I don't believe people know WHAT THE HELL THEY'RE VOTING FOR- and we can thank our dumbed down state on FOX, CNN, MSNBC, etc. Infotainment, pablum to the masses.
   Why has there been no mention in the press that Herr Schwarzenegger came to this country illegally? Worked as a bricklayer illegally? Where was the Prop 187 supporters hue and cry over this?  Where did you read anything about our new governor's (I can barely say the words) meeting with Enron's Ken Lay and Michael Milken in 2001? Why on earth would these 3 people meet at all?  Would it have been consider "puke politics" had it been mentioned in the press? Well, did it happen or didn't it? People can't POSSIBLY be this stupid. When you're fed a diet of junk food, candy, sweets and Coca Cola, you lose your taste for what your body really needs. When you are fed a diet of nutritious, life giving food, you develop  a complete distaste for the garbage diet we have been fed for years in the major media.
   Time to revisit the "food pyramid" folks. Coca Cola Uber Alles!
Meg Brizzolara
San Rafael

Drugs Small Part of Limbaugh's Problem
   Rush Limbaugh's drug use is the least of his problems. Rush is an enigma of hate who has almost single handedly polarized the nation. He characterizes his banal banter as entertainment but to my mind it sounds like fascist vitriol. If you're a Democrat, liberal, progressive, environmentalist, you've incurred the wrath of this vicious attack dog and his legion of supporters.
   Rush plays on and to the fears and hates of people and is a bastion for Republican intellectual dishonesty and a god to right-wing storm troopers. Only a mother could love his type of hypocrisy.
Ron Lowe       
Nevada City

Squeeze One For The Groper
   Think of the Democratic Party as a witch with big tits. She has milked California dry. Now it's her turn. May the other states in the Union take the hint.
   Arnold gets a landslide victory and the LA Times only loses 1,000 subscriptions? Their pompous paps ought to dry up. Arnold's injun ad was effective. Less paps for the papooses.
   If you've noticed Arnold, Planned Parenthood was against you because you didn't go all the way with them. Maybe someone can change your mind about the pro-murder of pre-natals like Reagan changed Bush the Elder's mind.
   The chi chi's didn't cha cha with you on Prop 187 and they didn't tango with you on driver's licenses for illegal aliens. Turn all those little brown silver dollars with nipples on them towards the south and give them a good swat on the behind.
   The environmental streaking lassies of the landscape need to be reigned in with jock bras. But feminist breasts are carte blanche as a bonus to you Arnold, if you can find any.
   Only 7% of the bare-breasted black natives voted for you according to one poll. Have you ever noticed all the fat black babes on welfare, Arnold? They need breast-lessening operations.
   I'm sure you have plans for the bitches in the lawyer lobby, the union lobby and the education lobby. Radical mastectomies are due.
Harold Reimann 
Lucerne Valley

Not A Good Sign For Republicans
   One would normally think that Arnold Schwarzenegger's victory would be a good sign for Bush and Republicans. But that may not be the case. Voters in California are fed up with business as usual and politicians who are under performers. The time has come to throw the bums out and that applies to all incumbents of both parties. 
   America it tired of crap and are willing to vote for the "anyone else" candidate. Bush and Congress better figure out the reason we are in Iraq and why the economy has gone from record surpluses to record deficits before they face the voters in 2004.
Marc Perkel
San Francisco, CA

Bay Trail Disaster For Wildlife
   Emory Menefee ("Bay Trail is OK for wildlife") thinks that if an animal happens to walk on a trail, it proves that the trail provides a net benefit to wildlife. If so, it's quite a miracle that wildlife have managed to survive for 3.8 billion years, without the benefit of human-constructed trails! If Mr. Menefee is correct, scientists and conservationists are all wrong to try to preserve habitat -- we should immediately start bulldozing a network of hiking and biking trails throughout all wildlife habitat!
   Bruce Beyaert asked "Are these 51 non-profits and public agencies misguided, including the Trust for Public Land, Nature Conservancy, Audubon Society, Greenbelt Alliance, US Fish and Wildlife Service and 20 local open space districts and land trusts?"   
   Yes! Not only they, but most of mankind have put shortsighted human desires above wildlife protection for far too long. That is exactly why the Earth is in the midst of an extinction epidemic. In all of those groups are many intelligent, dedicated people who care deeply about wildlife and don't approve of the compromises their leaders have made. Of the 10 emails I received about my editorial, 9 were supportive. Instead of maintaining the status quo, and wiping out one quarter of the world's species, let's reverse that frightening, suicidal trend, and stop destroying our finite store of wildlife habitat.
   As I said, the goals of the Bay Trail are wonderful (enhancing knowledge, respect, and protection for wildlife). But destroying habitat or flooding it with humans has exactly the opposite effect. Are we so selfish that we won't help wildlife unless we get something in return? I hope not...
Mike Vandeman
Hayward

We Got What We Deserve
   We here in California deserve Arnold. We deserve the woman groping, Enron connected, land developer-funded, violence-pushing actor for governor. Despite the truth that it was Enron stealing 9 billion dollars that caused our debt, we elect an Enron-connected Republican-It's laughable.
   We deserve what is to come. Americans likewise deserve the corporate shills that stole the White House in 2000. Republicans stopped the vote count, and we just sat there staring at the tube as if it were someone else's democratic process being hijacked. Therefore we deserve the multi-trillion dollar debt these oil-drenched, unelected usurpers have gleefully loaded on our backs.
   We deserve the worldwide disdain for their oil war. We deserve the "Patriot" Act.
   We deserve corrupt paperless Diebold touch screen voting machines which make further mockery of our vote. Vigilance is the price of freedom, and we are no longer willing to pay. Vigilance and desire for truth have been vaporized by the cunning of the corporate media giants-Republican-owned Fox, Republican owned Clearchannel, and of course the man paid 1/3 billion dollars to keep us voting Republican, Rush Limbaugh. We deserve him too, because even with the bottomless depths of his hypocrisy now exposed, his followers will continue to listen and believe every lie that oozes from his drug-addled orifice.
   We don't search for the truth anymore, and even when it hits us in the face, we look the other way. We deserve you Rush... We deserve you George... We deserve you Arnold.
David Singelyn
Warner Springs Ca

About Howard Dean And Dennis Kucinich
   I am writing to you about two Democratic candidates, Howard Dean and Dennis Kucinich, recently profiled in the Pacific Sun.  Kucinich was the only Democratic candidate with the courage to oppose the Patriot Act. Courageous and outspoken, Kucinich has won the endorsements of Ralph Nader, Granny D, Gandhi's grandson, Pete Seeger, Willie Nelson, to name only a few. How many Candidates attract a circle of humanists? How "un-pragmatic" a Candidate would attract the support of Ralph Nader?
   I believe the public needs to know some information about Dean which, widely publicized on the East Coast, is little known in the West. Dean backed the Vermont police/FBI cover-up of the police killing of Robert "Woody" Woodward. Significantly, Dean turned a deaf ear to massive public and legislative outcry. A member of the activist group, Justice for Woody, writes that "The state police investigation of the killing reveals gaping holes in standard procedure, such as a truncated re-enactment, a 'not to scale' diagram of the room, and a disturbing lack of forensic materials taken into evidence. (For complete details, see "http://www.justiceforwoody.org").
   Vermont was rocked by public outcry following this suspicious police killing: State legislators, editorial boards, the ACLU, and many concerned citizens petitioned Governor Howard Dean to order an independent investigation. Dean refused. Instead, he allowed his close friend of 25 years, and hand-picked attorney general, William Sorrell, to hand down a widely criticized exoneration." Sorrell claimed facts which were in direct conflict with the 18 Eyewitness testimonies to the killing. (Woody, who had no history of mental illness, sought political sanctuary at a Brattleboro church, claiming that the CIA had threatened his life.
   There was a church meeting at the time he entered, and 18 of those at the meeting ended up witness to the ensuing police killing). "A group of citizen activists, Justice For Woody (JFW) released an evidence-based investigative report which challenged Sorrell's exoneration, posing many urgent and still unanswered questions. This report was widely credited by newspapers across New England. JFW handed Dean a copy of this report, and Dean read and publicly praised it. However, Dean never ordered an independent investigation, stating instead that he was 'comfortable' with his friend Sorrell's findings. Vermont is still divided over this matter, and a civil lawsuit against Brattleboro is pending."
   A): A politician who turns a deaf ear to public outcry, to the ACLU and to Legislators, is taking inappropriate power into his own hands. This should raise concerns: If we elect Dean to office, do we stand to lose more of our freedoms? B) If Dean hand-picked a 25-year best friend, whose conscience permitted him to cover up a police murder, who will Dean pick to fill future posts? Another Rumsfeld type? C): Deceiving the public in a matter as serious as violent death, I believe, echoes Bush's nonchalance where mass violence is concerned.
   As we vote to oust Bush, do we really want to run into the arms of another's same mentality? Pragmatic, indeed.
Sabina Leicht
Novato
 

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