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December, 2003

Letters To The Editor

 

Bill Holds Fate Of Democratic Elections
The implementation, in 30 states, of electronic voting machines may spell the end of what is left of democracy in the United States. The purview of the vote tally recorded by these machines is the exclusive right of the corporations that produce them. Precinct, county, or state officials are barred from inspecting the machines for malfunctions or for possible fraud! Thus, in 30 states and how many more to come, we will all be voting in what will amount to machines that are the sole property of corporations and therefore beyond the reach of the public. Some of the corporations have made substantial contributions to the Bush campaign in 2000. Obviously the opportunity for fraud will be rampant. A hint of things to come: Wally O'Dell of Diebolt Inc. has already placed over 30,000 of these electronic voting machines throughout the country and is "committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the President next year." O'Dell is a fund raiser for the Bush campaign. The opportunity for fraud created by the privatization of voting machines would, of course, be just as great even if the Democrats or any other power became the majority party in America.
A bill before the House (HR 2239) proposes, in effect, to provide local election officials the authority to scrutinize the vote tally recorded out by these electronic machines. The future of democratic elections, imperfect as they have been heretofore, hangs on the fate of this bill. Congress must pass it even over a possible veto by President Bush. If this bill fails, and no provision is made for the citizenry to supervise these electronic voting machines, we will probably have a national tally in 2004 close to 50 times that of Florida 2000.
Phil Arnot
Lagunitas

Urgent Message
To: Islamic Fundamentalists
From: Infidels of the World
Subject: "We surrender, you win"
We now realize we cannot win a war against your religious inspired terrorism.
Clearly the courageous demonstrations of your belief in the superiority of life in Heaven over life on Earth are evidence of the truth of your, and now our, Religion.
Henceforth be assured we now believe that Allah is Number One, the great God of all. Sorry it took so long for us to come around to this realization.
Hopefully you can conjure of some compassionate understanding for our misguided naivetŽ in thinking that our beliefs were true and the best.
So now that we're finally all Muslims, as our beloved Mohammed prophesied, let's roll out our prayer mats and all get down together.
Let's thank Allah and pray to be released from this miserable physical existence of life on Earth.
In fact, let's really show him our faith and love and blow up this entire God forsaken planet and join Him and all those Virgins in heaven.
Allah Akbar
P.S. By the way, are you pretty sure there will be enough virgins to go around?
David Miles
Point Reyes

Who's Thinking
The mentors of the current governor of California should counsel their protŽgŽ to stop beginning his sentences with the words, "I think." The habit could have developed during his formative years when his parents and tutors must have kept reminding young Arnold to think. As a result, the boy's thought process has gotten used to being triggered by the word "think" so that every time he needs to engage in the process, he needs to say "I think."
But he is now all grown up, and by a twist of fate, the governor of California. It sounds funny and embarrassing for a man in his position to start his sentences with, "I think." His detractors are having a field's day ridiculing his speech skills and the "I think" habit does not help a bit to counter-act it. Now that the new governor is surrounding himself with former Governor Wilson's people, who appear to be ready and raring to call the shots in Arnold's administration, it may be a good idea for him to start his sentences with "Wilson thinks." He will at least sound more forthright and honest with the people who voted him in office.
Antonio Serna
Rohnert Park

Sutter MGH's Pimp
On Nov. 10, Marin General Hospital CEO Margaret Sabin held a special employee forum. Sabin confessed during the free pizza and pop lunch that the "visionary" president of Sutter Health, Van Johnson, was a chief reason for moving from Colorado to Marin County to work for Sutter.
Sabin's chief forum message was that Sutter wanted to rebuild MGH and wanted a ten year extension of the hospital lease which expires in 2015. A Van Johnson vision? The 1985 lease and subsequent agreements could be more beneficial to the Sacramento-based Sutter health hospital chain. For example, any time there is more money than needed for 14 days of hospital operation in the MGH checking account, Sutter can siphon the "excess". Sutter decides. Since Sutter acquired the hospital lease in early 1996, millions of patient revenue dollars have made one-way trips to Sacramento.
How are required seismic upgrades paid? Patient revenue. If the hospital is rebuilt, how will it be financed? Patient revenue will pay off the necessary bonds. Who will be responsible for the bonds? The elected Marin Healthcare District board is willing to assume this responsibility. This would relieve Sutter Health of any anxiety and void any excuse to prolong a bad (except to Sutter) lease.
Norman Carrigg, M.D.
San Rafael

Less Motors-More Safety
People of Northern Minnesota wilderness canoe country needed to go to court about losing the lakes to hotels and motor boats. They had a negative reply. I am hopeful Northern Minnesota has the wilderness canoe country they wish. I am hopeful more cities would have more safety and less motors.
Dakar
Bolinas

Nuyens Erroneous Re: Rail
Louis Nuyens, candidate for Marin County's Fourth District Supervisor, makes some erroneous assertions about a possible Sonoma-Marin passenger rail line (SMART) in the Oct. Coastal Post article and an interview in the November Coastal Post.
In the Nov. interview, Mr. Nuyens asserts that, "Our Board of Supervisors is quietly working to make Marin-Sonoma rail a done deal." The truth is that only a two-thirds majority of both Marin and Sonoma County voters has the power to make SMART a "done deal." All the Board of Supervisors can do is devise a ballot measure and put it on the ballot.
Second, when Mr. Nuyens asserts in his Oct. article that Sonoma-Marin rail "may be the first step in bringing East Bay style sprawl to the North Bay," he is overlooking the fact that automobile-based sprawl already has been occurring in the North Bay. The Santa Rosa metropolitan area had one of the highest metropolitan area population increases in the entire nation in the 1980s and that growth has been based on the current automobile and bus based transportation system.
Nothing promotes suburban sprawl as much as an automobile-dominated system such as ours, even with adequate bus service. Historically, any development spurred by passenger rail happens near the rail line itself, a linear type of development as opposed to the much more expansive, spreading-outwards type of sprawl encouraged by auto dependence.
Keith Bramstedt
San Anselmo

Disgraceful Filibusters
The Senate Democrats' disgraceful filibustering against the president's judicial nominations is a blatant perversion of their constitutional duty to "advise and consent," and has been a continual disgusting display of petulant political obstructionism ever since they blocked appointment of highly qualified legal scholar Judge Robert Bork many years ago.
See what astounding hypocrites they are! Here's what they are saying about the Senate's duty back in the days when their hero, Philandering Bill Clinton, was in the White House:
Democrat Sen. Dick Durbin: "Vote the person, up or down." (Congressional Record, 9/28/1998)
Democrat San. Ted Kennedy: "It is true that some senators voice concern about these nominations. But that should not prevent a roll call vote which gives every senator the opportunity to vote 'yes' or 'no.' ...Parties with cases, waiting to be heard by the federal courts, deserve a decision by the Senate." (Congressional Record, 9/21/1999).
Democrat Sen. Dianne Feinstein: "Our institutional integrity requires an up-or-down vote." (Congressional Record, 10/4/1999).
When will Senate Democrats decide to restore their integrity?
Fielding Greaves,
Lt. Col US Army, Retired
San Rafael

America's Non-Altruistic Sports Industry Ignores Africa
I am the president and founder of a non-profit organization working to make Africa a better place. I am writing you because of my disappointing experience in the past few months. Actually, this has been an experience gained over the years but it came to a head-on in the past three months.
I have been trying to raise money for the work our organization is doing in Africa and I have been disappointed and saddened by what is happening in the sports industry in America. It is very disappointing that absolutely nothing is being done altruistically anymore by anybody or any team or any of the big organizations in the sports industry. This statement may seem ridiculous to you, but examine it and think about it before discarding it.
Let me explain. We have been trying to get a player in the three major sports industry in this country (baseball, basketball, and football), to come and help us raise funds for Africa. We have even called on a well-known retired basketball player who came from Africa to no avail. The sports teams have all decided to work only in their area (of course, these are the places where they make their huge money)... believe me, we have written all the teams, even the teams in our area... the San Francisco Bay Area. The answer has been NO. Many players do not want to help organizations that are non-profit anymore. Yes, I know some of their arguments. I have seen some of their commercials. But these are not Altruistic community outreach. They make money from these communities, that is the MAIN reason why they do the work there. That is the main reason why they have all decided to stay in their communities. Let them show that they care by working in communities where their sports mega industry is not located.
We wrote some well known players and we have been disappointed that 99% of these players do not even have the decency to give a reply to our letters. Do you know that the autograph industry has created a very large group of greedy and non-caring athlete-millionaires? They should be ashamed of themselves. I write this letter to shame the industry: NFL, NBA, MLB, ESPN, NBC, ABC, FOX, FLEER, UPPER DECK, TOPPS, BOWMAN, BECKETT PUBLICATIONS, DONRUSS, all teams and team owners and individual athletes. We are trying to help Africa. It was not too long ago that people were stolen and sold for nothing from this continent. February is Black History Month. Most of these organizations should be ashamed that they cannot honor the great continent of Africa by helping an organization that is doing more than they can ever do... they do not have the heart to do it. Why is it that they only help where they make money. It is not even about Better Africa Foundation, let them help any organization doing work in Africa... This will be a good way to celebrate black history month! Of all the players in all major professional sports, we are aware of only Dikembe Mutombo who is doing great work in Africa! What are all these organizations (NBA, NFL, etc.) doing for Africa? Let them speak up. Even in the year that president Bush has called for a support for Africa... the silent response is deafening!
Let them shame me by responding to this letter. Let the athletes who know they are not greedy respond to this letter. Let the teams that have done anything in Africa, except from going there and recruiting players, respond to this letter. Let the League that has done anything in Africa respond to this letter. Let any of the companies and organizations mentioned above respond to this letter if they have done anything in Africa. We live in a greedy society. America is the most generous country in the world, but its generous spirit is shown by the poor and the middle class.
Just in case you decide to print this letter, we want everyone to know that our organization is holding a national convention in February 2004 in Las Vegas, Nevada. All proceeds from the convention will be used to support our work in Africa. People can reach us through our website.
May God continue to bless America!
Rev. Dr. Emmanuel Akognon, CEO
Better African Foundation
www.betterafrica.org

False Recovery
We are hearing in the news that we are in an economic recovery and that we have strong economic growth. Is this true? I really doubt it. I think that the Bush controlled media is trying to pull yet another illusion and create a recovery where there is none.
First - the Christmas season is not a recovery. Stores hire more people temporarily for Christmas.
Second - the spending of another 87 billion dollars on Iraq is not a recovery. That borrowed money that is being wasted. Spending money on Iraq is the economic equivalent of buying Crack Cocaine with a Credit Card. It does not add to the economy.
What is the real test for recovery? We have nearly a 1/2 trillion dollar deficit and the deficit has almost doubled since last year. The economy has lot 3 million jobs since Bush took office. Get past that and we'll talk about economic recovery.
Marc Perkel
San Francisco, CA.

Stop Free Trade Agreements
I wish to urge all citizens concerned about the continuing decline of America to contact their congressman and senators and demand they oppose all so-called free trade agreements (FTA's) now being negotiated, including the biggest one of all, the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA). The reason we should oppose all FTA's is that America is obviously being maneuvered by the Bush administration and like - minded globalists in congress into a merger with the rest of the western hemisphere (read that as third world governments) via 'free trade' agreements.
The goal of these conspiratorial big-money boys is obviously to further drag us down as a nation into the abyss and economic slavery of parasitic third world governments already corrupted by our foreign aid money propping up brutal tin-pot dictators of every stripe and further erasing our borders in the process of establishing a world dictatorship.
Let's stop the conversion of our country into just another regional government with no borders, fewer jobs and industry, and no constitutional independence . As so-called free trade agreements with Singapore and Chile were steamrolled through congress recently and our congressmen reportedly are supporting these sell-outs, shipping even more jobs and industry overseas, we should call our congressmen and senators (at 1- 877- 762- 8762 toll-free) and demand that ALL of these so- called Free Trade Agreements be stopped before our country is destroyed (see: www.thenewamerican.com--or--call 1-800-JBS-USA-1 for free information packet ).
Brett Kahn
Victorville, Ca.

In The Name of God
Evangelicals in their upside down world carrying signs that God Hates Gays. No, it is bigoted and prejudiced pseudo-Christians who hate gays. God is love. God loves gays; God even loves evangelicals who spew out hate in the name of God.
Ron Lowe
Nevada City, CA

Veteran's Day
To those who serve and have served, I salute you.
To those who have taken the pledge to defend our constitution, I salute
you.
To those who have completed the rigorous training, who have stayed the
course and made the grade, I salute you.
To those who stood lonely nights on watch, I salute you.
To those who have received the "call out order," who bid farewell to
families and friends, I salute you.
To those who have faced that which needs no repeating, I salute you.
To those who have mourned the loss of comrades, and have yet endured, I
salute you.
To those who a nation owes so much, our very freedom, I salute you.
To those who serve and have served, I salute you.
Dorian J. Cougias
one among many who have served

I Was Wrong About Hydrogen Power
Months ago, I both:
Published articles "exposing" Paul Hawken's recentastounding claims about the future of automotivehydrogen power;
and
Spoke on U.C. Berkeley (Emeritus) Physics Professor,Dr. Bill Wattenberg's KGO 810 AM San Francisco radioprogram, strongly reinforcing same.
Last week, Rocky Mountain Institute founder, Amory Lovins and an old Colorado associate (now R.M.I.Research Consultant) Bill Browning came to dinner.
Yikes.
In reading accredited white papers and other documenting materials they left us, I had my "hard facts" inescapably corrected about Hydrogen power.
20 Hydrogen Myths, by Amory Lovins:
http://www.rmi.org/sitepages/art7516.php
As my father used to fire back in profound Phi Beta Kappa frustration: "You don't know!"
Steve Brooks,
Mill Valley, CA

Voting Machines Could Destroy Democracy
The close elections in my New Jersey town this month lead some to call for a recount. That's understandable. If your candidate looses his seat on the Council by one vote you might question the accuracy of the count. Honest mistakes happen and, in politics especially, dishonest mistakes have also been known to occur. But the touch screen voting machines used here don't print a physical record of each vote. This begs the question, "what is there to re-count?"
A recount here can only involve a relatively small number of absentee ballots and perhaps a few provisional ballots. The rest of our votes are literally invisible. They exist as patterns of electrons contained within small black boxes inside the voting machines. These little black boxes were picked up on Election night by "deputized couriers" and taken to the County Clerks office where they were inserted into another computer, known as a "reader." The "reader" interprets these patterns of electrons and tallies up the votes.
If a few stray electrons created something equivalent to hanging chads, we might never know it. If there were a small glitch in the programming or even a few lines of malious computer code inserted to tip the vote in favor of a candidate, we might also never know. The same erroneous vote totals would print out each time the cartridges were read.
I'm not saying the electronic vote in my town got it wrong this year. It was probably accurate, but we can't be sure. And that's the point in a growing controversy over the new voting machines. As long as they don't print out a voter verified paper ballot, we can never be certain.
The Help America Vote Act (HAVA) passed by the Bush Administration following the Florida fiasco of 2000 is pressing states to install modern electronic voting machines all around the country. States like Maryland are purchasing thousands of these machines despite growing doubts and warnings that they provide no way to verify the accuracy of the vote. At least three corporations who make the machines that count most of America's votes have questionable partisan political ties. They keep the software used to record our votes a proprietary secret. When Diebold, one of the largest vote counting companies, left some of its sensitive software on an public internet web site (a major security breech), it was examined by computer experts at John Hopkins and Rice Universities who found it to be extremely vulnerable to electronic tampering.
And electronic voting machine errors are in the news. Just this month the Election Enforcement Commission in Conneticut impounded 15 machines that incorrectly recorded votes. A few weeks earlier, in Fairfax County Virgina, a judge ordered inspections of electron voting machines after it was discovered that every 100th vote for a school board candidate seemed to disappeared.
Nothing is more important to our democracy than an open and accurate vote count. Government has no power to tax, regulate, make or enforce any laws except by the power conveyed through our votes. The ballot is too critical a document to be invisible and subject to cosmic rays. Invisible votes invite corruption and fraud. We should demand to see our votes in writing. We need national legislation to require that electronic voting machines print voter verified paper ballots.
Brian Lynch
Mine Hill, NJ

Veterans Day Honor
In honor of Veteran's Day, being a veteran myself (U.S.A.F.- 1961-1965), I'm submitting this letter in memory of a friend killed in the Korean war for whom I've installed an inscription in the General Patton Memorial at Chiriaco Summit, California ( Butch Hallett from South Gate, California) who left his indelible heritage in the mists of time with The Carpenter of Nazareth when he died defending our country because of UN restrictions on General Douglas Mac Arthur.
Consequently it's hard to express my outrage having to endure the macabre spectacle of the War-Money-and Hatred debacle of the Bush administration bombing innocent people in foreign countries (carrying out UN directives) when the terrorist leaders should be taken out by a one shot - one kill method by existing capable private contracting counter-terrorist agents authorized by congress under the Marque and reprisal provisions of The Constitution (Article-1 , Section-8) thus insuring that the terrorist leaders are dead and innocents protected.
Bush's bombing of cities and countries to supposedly stop terrorist leaders can be compared to bombing Chicago to get rid of Al Capone in the 1920's which of course would have been absurd. Bush's oil and construction company cronies are being given the contracts, on a no-bid basis of course, to rebuild the destruction Bush's criminal war has caused. I cannot imagine a con-game more evil than this.
Concerned citizens should contact their congressmen at 1-877-762-8762 (toll-free) and demand that congress investigate our intelligence agencies and executive level of government for complicity in the 9-11 attacks, invoke Marque & Reprisal instead of war, stop all foreign aid and intervention, seal our borders(the terrorists are coming in), and Get US out of the U.N.(call: 1-800-JBS-USA-1 for free U.N. information packet or (see:www.getusout.org).
Ed Nemechek
Landers, Ca.

Revolution Of Flowers
So there's another "Velvet Revolution", this timein Georgia.
Shervardnadze was overthrown after being peltedwith books and pens in Parliament! Not a shotfired.
Now there's weapons of mass destruction!
We ought to try it here! It indeed shows that thepen (and books) is mightier than the sword.
Meg Brizzolara
San Rafael CA

Congressional Candidate Speaks on Marijuana Laws
I have heard all of the discussion on the marijuana problems in the past 40 years and it is time to put this dog to rest. The current Federal laws prohibit the possession and use of marijuana and anyone found guilty loose their federal benefits, such as Medicare, Medicaid, Student Assistance such as PELL grants,
Public Housing, and voting rights, just to name a few.
I demand that all persons over the age of 18 be tested for marijuana, and if they are found to have
"possession" that they endure the torturous penalties already enacted by the zero tolerance crowd. For every person who gets knocked from programs will mean more money to test which is so inexpensive anyway. This is a simple solution. Then we would know exactly who smokes pot.
We have already given up the rights to privacy through the new anti terrorism laws, so there is no legal challenge for this, just let the President sign it because "marijuana supports terrorism" according to the White House.
Let us stop the war on pot, and concentrate e on more pressing issues. Actually it could include all illegal and legal drugs, if you are not currently prescribed that is illegal also. The national pay out could be tremendously reduced, and the savings could be used for more prisons, and incarcerations. Just seize the assets of the person who is in possession and use that to pay for the enforcement. Just think Rush Limbaugh's assets alone could be used to build a medium sized prison. Then the jobless, but "drug free could work for the government."
Sound good? Well lets just do it and stop talking about it!
Or if you think that the war on marijuana is a farce, and too costly and without merit, then re-legalize it.
Funny, sounds so easy doesn't it. Tax the pot, use the tax dollars for education instead of eradication.
Alcohol and cigarette are far more dangerous to the American public, but the are taxed and of course are "big business." Stop the folly and get on the trolley. Apply the laws equally or get rid of them.
Brian K. Meyer
Belleville, IL
Meyer for Congress 2004
www.ilmjp.com

Bolinas' Laudable Standards
Just wanted to say what a blast it was to hear you interviewed on Radio Scotland this morning on the recent 'socially acknowledged nature-loving' ordinance that means Bolinas has not changed one jot from the quirky place I used to visit when I lived in Palo Alto. Though I still have friends on the Mesa, I returned home to Scotland a decade ago after a Silicon Valley stint of some years and realise that I have been trying to create my own Bolinas here in North Berwick (small town on the coast that stands in about the same geographic relationship to Edinburgh as B does to SF).
I stall dabble in technology but am now a local (i.e. city/county) councillor and a member of the board on SEPA (Scottish EPA). But until your interview, I had not realized what a long-lasting impact Bolinas had on me and how much I still live by its laudable standards.
Keep reporting--but don't tell anyone!
Dave Berry
Scotland

So Injured and Infuriated
The Washington Post, ( http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A522 2003Nov4.html ) describes "extraordinary renditions," where the CIA regularly hands terrorist suspects, innocent or guilty, over to third countries such as Syria for torture and interrogation. US officials describe this practice as very useful.
The most infamous of these "renditions" is now Maher Arar, a Canadian citizen. The FBI last year took him prisoner when he was changing planes in New York. The US took him in custody back to Jordan and Syria where he was jailed and tortured for the next year and forced to sign false confessions, now being leaked to smear him.
What is the human cost of these "renditions"? How many people, innocent of any crime, get sent by the US to places where they are tortured to improve US intelligence by some small fraction? Hundreds? Thousands? Tens of thousands? How many have already died? Sorry, it's Top Secret.
But the real cost of these "renditions" is not just borne by the victims.
US democracy is suffering. International law, which forbids deporting to countries which torture, is suffering. Human rights are suffering. The US reputation, its best tool to make friends, is suffering.
The world has become a more dangerous place since 9/11. There are more terrorist actions now than before the War on Terrorism. Unfortunately, many of these terrorist actions are being performed in the name of US National Security as innocents are imprisoned or tortured because of the colour of their skin, the place they were born, or because the brother of a friend witnessed a lease.
The United States, so injured and infuriated by 9/11, has to realise that it cannot spread democracy and freedom around the world by tactics which arraign it with the Gestapo.
tOM Trottier
Ottawa ON Canada K1R 7V8

Paying Off Your Friends
Mr. President:
I try to be tolerant but I just can't believe how you and your administration rushed to war with Iraq just so wealthy contributors could benefit from the reconstruction contracts.
C-SPAN, November 2, presented a program showing Charles Lewis, Center for Public Integrity, a non profit research organization, outlining the insidious, secretive and greedy contracts awarded Halliburton, Bechtel and a few other selected contractors.
Although his investigation has been thwarted at every turn, it revealed how exorbitant contracts were awarded to the wealthiest 1% that contribute the largest sums to your campaign funds.
You hear about war profiteering but when you learn of the ill-gotten gains by contractors eagerly lining up to profit from the bombed out rubble it is obscene.
American soldiers should not be sent to war to be killed and maimed and nations destroyed just so the war profiteers could be enriched in war contracts.
There must be a better way to acquire leisure racing boats, mountain homes and seaside chalets than from destroying nations and then rebuilding them from out of the rubble of war.
You should follow the example of your mentor Jesus Christ who coveted no material possessions whatsoever rather than associate with those who worship the golden calf.
David A. Whelan
Forest Knolls, CA 94933

$4.4 Million Per Soldier
Our president has just asked for $87 billion for the next installment on his war, $66 billion of which is "for the military action in Iraq". That comes to exactly 4 million, 4 hundred thousand of our tax dollars EACH for our 150,000 soldiers stationed there. That will buy a lot of bullets... where does the rest go? The funny math just never stops since big oil took the White House. Thing is, it isn't funny.
David Singelyn
Warner Springs Ca

About Osama's Family Leaving The Country
After 40 years of plain questions that went unasked about the Kennedy assassinations(like how Oswald could have shot Kennedy in the forehead from behind), I would like to know why not once in three years has anyone asked the current president directly to his face, "Mr. President, why did you OK the exodus of Osama bin Laden's entire family out of the United States, without questioning from the FBI, within two weeks of the destruction of the Twin Towers, and do you believe any of them might have had useful information about his whereabouts?"
Simple question... plain talk. The president likes plain talk. Americans like plain talk. Then I would ask a follow-up. It would be either, " Has the Bush oil business ever had dealings with the Bin Laden oil business?," or "Who arranged the September 2001 Bin Laden flights back to Saudi Arabia?"
The man or woman who asked this would not be unpatriotic, it's just a question.... the question carries no malice... it carries no bias.... it carries no hatred.... it's just a question. Plain talk. This president understands plain talk. Maybe someone will yet ask. 3 years and 2 wars later.... Someone give me a press pass. I will ask.
David Singelyn
Warner Springs, Ca

Reserves Should Not Be Called For Peacekeeping
If all is going along so well in Iraq as we are told by the White House there should be no need to call up any reserve units to fill any gaps in the army of occupation. Should any troops be needed they should be drawn from the Army units stationed in Germany, Japan and South Korea. It is unconscionable that those nations whom we are also told we are protecting from the ravages of Saddam manly the Gulf States, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait should be brought in to relieve American service men.
There is absolutely no reason to keep such large forces in Japan or Germany. Korea could easily send half again as many troops as US forces stationed there. By this time South Korea should be able to defend itself from the North unless some major nuclear force was used. In that case having troops on the ground would be a liability for our boys. Let's accept the President's optimism and bring a good number of he US forces home and if they have to be replaced consider the above suggestions.
Dr. Norman Mann
San Diego

Snakebit
Elena Belsky, in your Nov. 1 issue, expends considerable venom on the approval of the Pritzker family project, but glares our way, as usual lumping our ranch project in with the shadowy "trophy home" cabal. In fact, we know very little about either the Moritz or the Pritzker projects. Our ranch project contains more acreage than the Moritz project, and, in concept is completely different. The Pritzker project is far larger and different in concept than our ranch.
Let me be clear, our proposed ranch is NOT a residential -only trophy home, as Ms. Belsky incorrectly states. It was conceived nearly five years ago as a ranch, and remains such. We have considerable support for our project in the West Marin Community, mostly from people, who unlike Ms. Belsky, have not objectified us as "trophy-homers," but have actually met us and learned of our intentions firsthand. That is how things should be when real community spirit prevails. Again I wonder is Ms. Belsky a rancher? Since she has appointed herself a spokesperson for those who wish to preserve agriculture in our community. I suspect she is not because every rancher I know supports Supervisor Steve Kinsey's efforts to preserve agriculture in our community, not as an elitist landscape, but as a place where real people live AND work.
Perhaps the reason that Ms. Belsky is baring her fangs so menacingly is because she suspects the truth. Supervisor Steve Kinsey will be re-elected because he is the one doing the real work, not the editorializing, toward preserving the West Marin way of life.
Future West Marin rancher,
Joe Brubaker


Trying To Reach Patricia Geiger
Please insert in the letters section, if possible, just a request to Patricia Geiger to contact me by email, referring to her January 2003 story of Lucas Kipp. My email address may be added to the request.
Hopefully she may read it and will react.
Thank you very much for your cooperation.
Richard van de Wouw
Krommenie (approx. 10 miles from Amsterdam)
The Netherlands
<[email protected]

Please Slow Down On Panoramic
This is an open letter to all of our West Marin neighbors and anyone else who use Panoramic Highway. As residents at both ends of Panoramic Highway who use this roadway every day, we have observed that the 30 miles per hour speed limit along the residential part of Panoramic (Four Corners to the Mountain Home Inn) is being ignored by at least half of all drivers.
The speed limit along this stretch was reduced from 35 to 30 MPH in response to a formally studied increase in all kinds of traffic (motor vehicles, pedestrians, wildlife, bicyclists, etc.). Last year, a motorcyclist was killed when he swerved to avoid a bicyclist around one of the many blind curves, driveways and intersections along this stretch of Panoramic. In order to avoid future tragedies, we ask that you consider the following points the next time you drive Panoramic between Four Corners and the Mountain Home Inn:
At 30 miles per hour, it takes only 3 to 4 minutes to safely drive through the Panoramic residential area, so why tailgate those who are doing the limit? Speeding up and braking on every curve and cutting curves is dangerous to everyone on the road, especially those you cannot see until it is too late. This is also wearing to everyone's nerves, not to mention your car's engine, tires and brakes.
Although the speed limit varies at the Stinson Beach end of Panoramic Hwy., the same cautions apply. This too, is a residential area with blind curves and driveways. Speeding is not tolerated in other residential and high public use areas. It cannot be tolerated along Panoramic either. We would be grateful for your observance of the speed limit in our neighborhoods.
Denize Springer
Mill Valley

Syria Out Of Lebanon
Lebanese have marked Lebanon's 60th independence anniversary with protest demonstrations and sits-in in Beirut and Paris, chanting slogans against Syria's dominance.
"The truth is, we don't stand Syria," was one of the chants Aoun's Free Patriotic Movement demonstrators, estimated at 2,000, shouted in a protest march at Beirut's mid-city museum district. Another was "we don't want a parliament that serves as a doorman for Syria." The Aounist lamentation of Lebanon's independence under Syria's tutelage coincided with an official celebration and a token army parade headed by Syrian backed President Lahoud at downtown Beirut to mark Independence Day on Saturday. The two events were three kilometers apart in the Lebanese capital. Army troops watched from distance student activists of the FPM as they demonstrated in the city's center, waving "Syria Out" posters and brandishing Aoun portraits. No violence was reported this time.
"This time they did not beat us and arrest us because USA is putting a pressure on them (Syrian)," one student said. The military parade took place in the Downtown district straddling Beirut's seaport. The area, which was heavily ravaged during the Lebanese war, was rebuilt into a miniature Manhattan but cost ten times more than it should because of the corruption. The sit-in of the LF activists, Aounists and National Liberal Party activists at the rocks of Nahr El-Kalb, widely known from war days as Dog River, was not that peaceful. Riot police backed by troops seized the LF flags the protesters waved at the spot where "all occupiers passed in and out of ever-independent Lebanon." This touched off a shouting match that spiraled into brief clash before flaring tempers were cooled off, Annahar newspaper reported on Monday. In Paris, some 900 FPM activists staged a demonstration at Chatelet Square to demand the withdrawal of the Syrian army from Lebanon in conformity with UN resolution 520, which stipulates for the pullout of all foreign armies. In France also, 110 French parliament members have already signed a petition which asks the government to put pressure on Syria to make it comply with the UN resolution number 520 and make it withdraw its 35,000 troops from Lebanon.
Joseph Khoury
San Antonio, TX

Thanksgiving
Today is Eid al-Fitr, the day after Ramadan, 1.3 billion Muslim's Thanksgiving Day. Thursday is America's Thanksgiving Day. Both are thanking the same god. The President knows its the same god. What he doesn't know is that the god is Satan.
So thank you god for jihad. Thanks for the Medicare overhaul and prescriptions for old folks that will cost $800,000,000. Thanks for the trillion you collect every year in America through your agents the doctors. And we're sicker than ever. Thanks for the 40+ million abortions they have performed over the last 30 years. Thanks for the 400 billion dollar defense budget. I know we can trust you to protect us.
Thanks for Boston, the NY and LA Times, the Supreme Court, the Democratic Party, sodomites, abortionists, feminists, blacks, Hispanics, teachers, lawyers and judges, unions and mainstream so-called Christianity. Oh, and thanks for the evangelicals, Mormons, 7th Day Adventists, Christian Scientists, Jehovah Witnesses and the new Worldwide Church of God.
One more thing. Thanks for being a useful idiot for the real Almighty God.
Harold Reimann
Lucerne Valley

What Do These Leaders Have In Common?
President George W. Bush
Attorney General John Ashcroft
House Leader Tom DeLay
Senate Leader Bill Frist
Supreme Court judge Antonin Scalia
Health and Human Services Sec. Tommy Thompson
Undersecretary of Homeland Security Asa Hutchinson
They're all fundamentalists. Did this important fact escape your attention?
The GOP today is not your father's party. It is not even Bush's father's party. It is a party of right wing conservatives and religious right intent on rearranging democracy to suit their ideological bent. The Bush fundamentalists have hijacked the Republican Party and the US government. What's next in line for these theocrats? Imposing and installing their ideology on America much like the fundamentalist Taliban did in Afghanistan?
Ron Lowe
Nevada City

Contemptuous EPA Appointment
President Nixon chartered the EPA in 1971 as a special non-political agency focused toward mitigating the alarming rate of environmental degradation and resource depletion that had become recognized as a worldwide threat . He selected environmentally conscious personnel with sufficient knowledge and dedication to pursue the necessary reforms, and resist interference from special interest groups--and this staffing policy was to have been continued.
Now, in flagrant violation of its charter, Bush uses the EPA to perpetuate his unprecedented sell-out of our environment and heritage to special interest groups and roll backs of essential reforms. His censorship of crucial global warming concerns from the EPA's annual report, is only one example.
Bush's appointment of Governor Leavit, as EPA director--with so many dedicated and qualified personnel available to guide the essential agency-- underscores his contempt for the EPA charter. As for most Bush appointees, he masquerades as an environmentalist but sides with anti-environmental policies for special interests.
The senate has now defaulted in their constitutional duties by withdrawing their opposition to another hideous Bush appointment. (albeit under duress from accusations of politicizing and non-patriotism)--thus removing more obstacles from Bush's unrelenting attack on our health and environment.
Bush's policies have already caused immeasurable damage to our environment, and it will only worsen if he is not stopped.
Robert H Settgast
San Rafael









 

 

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