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January, 2004

Letters To The Editor

 

One-half Story Is A Whole Lie

   For many years you have provided your trusting listeners with honest and complete reporting. It is painfully obvious that you have succumbed to the powers, suppressed your journalistic ethics and have assumed the role of White House Public Relations Spokesman. History will reflect the role you are playing in the deception of the American people

   Cable news is a lost cause all together. They have never practiced true journalism, therefore we have grown to expect less from them. They have become the professional wrestling of the journalism world. You, however, were there before CNN's high ratings forced the rest of the TV News industry to abandon journalism in lieu of propaganda propagation. TV News is now nothing more than an infomercial for the Bush administration and for the corporate sponsors. If they approve, you report. That is the only standard by which the news is now reported.

   It is your fault that 50% of the American public believes that Iraq was responsible for the attacks on 9/11. You have permitted and encourage the President to lie to our troops about the reasons that they have been asked to kill other human beings. Is this how you "Support the Troops"? Is this patriotism? It is the job of the journalist to ask questions when the President spews his daily lies.

   Think about the impact the press had in uncovering corruption in the past. Think of how the Watergate scandal came to light. Think of the respect the American Journalist gained around the world during that time. Think of Daniel Ellsberg, a great American hero who risked all to uncover the truth and expose a corrupt administration. That is patriotism. Protecting a President as he lies to the troops and to the world is not patriotism. It is treason. It is disgraceful. It is a sin.

   Last year Reporters Without Borders ranked the American Press 17th in the world for freedom of the press. Imagine what this years ranking will be. Picture your name and face placed along side that ranking, etched in history. This is the legacy you are creating for yourself.

   Stand up. Regain control of your soul, and speak the truth. Admit to what has been going on and blow the whistle. It is your patriotic responsibility. Continuing this deception is an injustice to all of humanity.

An American

 

Arab Brutality Against Arab

    Today's story of the Egyptian Foreign Minister Maher getting roughed up by Arabs in the Al Aksar Mosque should provide ample proof of the serious  antagonistic nature of a large segment of the Arab population in the PA. If one of theirs is attacked for trying to make peace just think of what the Arabs are capable of doing if they ever get control over Jews. Who can forget the brutality of the Israeli service men being dumped out of a window of the Ramallah police station. Arabs killed Sadat, Gemayel and others who thought there was a way to peace. But since we hear no outrage from around the Arab world condemning this attack no one should believe that the hearts and minds of the Arabs really want peace with Israel.

Dr. Norman Mann

San Diego

 

Electronic Voting

   Remember Florida governor Jeb Bush saying we'll do what it takes to win during the last presidential election. The 2004 presidential election is less than a year away and it becomes daily more evident that electronic voting systems as they are at present can be easily tampered with and election results shifted in the desired direction. University researchers, system analysts, and investigative journalists are all warning that American democracy is under threat.

   Add to this, Walden O'Dell, chief executive of Diebold Inc., a major player in electronic voting machines, saying he is committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to President Bush next year. And with an archaic and easily gamed Electoral College you have the perfect recipe for another stolen presidential election.

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And In Georgia...

   In the 2002 midterm election in Georgia, Diebold Inc. was the electronic ballot of choice. This was the first election using a paperless, unverifiable, electronic vote system in Georgia. A state that had not elected a Republican governor in 120 years suddenly defies the polls at the time, and elects a Republican governor. Unfortunately we will never know if this was a fluke or a scam because of Diebold's paperless voting system.

   The 2004 presidential election is less than a year away and it becomes daily more evident that electronic voting systems can be easily tampered with and election results shifted in the desired direction. University researchers, system analysts, and investigative journalists are all warning that American democracy is under threat.

Ron Lowe           

Nevada City

 

Stealing Old Growth Forests

   If 100 million old-growth trees fall in the Alaskan forest, and no one is there to see them, did they really fall? Like most Americans, I have never seen the Tongass National Forest in person, but I know it is real, I know it is beautiful, and I know it gives me a deep feeling of peace knowing there are some wild places that yet go untouched by the hand of mankind.  As Americans, we each "own" part the largest remaining American rain forest. This Christmas eve, like the Grinch who stole Christmas, George W. Bush has sneaked in and is stuffing our Christmas trees up the chimney while we sleep.  He has today sanctioned the building of roads, and the killing of the ancient trees in this sacred place.

   Merry Christmas everyone. After stealing our treasury and giving it to weapons manufacturers and oil companies, he now is now stealing the irreplaceable national heritage of our last great rainforest, and giving it to the timber industry. Your a mean one Mr. Grinch. As our children dream the dreams of innocence, you are stealing their last wild places. Wake up parents... wake up America.

David Singelyn

Warner Springs

 

Promulgating Hate

    Love your stories, most of which unfortunately are extremely one sided and lack objectivity. The article on the "bitter Harvest of Palestine" is close to being a story meant to promulgate hate. It is an incredible work of fiction. Whoever wrote that piece of rubbish has no knowledge about the history of the region and didn't feel it necessary to fully report on the history of the area.

   I am stunned that the word Genocide was in the article against the State of Israel.

   I would have thought that the stated goal in the Palestinian constitution of the Annihilation of Israel would be somewhat closer to the definition of that word.

   In my humble opinion, reading this and other articles show your paper to be fascist in outlook and border on sedition when reporting about our troops in Iraq.

Stewart R Reubens

 

Environmentalists, Meet the Terrorists

   Our government reports that bin Laden's terrorist network might be planning to strike oil tankers with hijacked planes in Valdez, Alaska, resulting in an environmental catastrophe.

   This would create an interesting dilemma for liberals. Liberals, on the one hand, despise oil producers. They associate oil production with capitalism and man's mastery of the environment, two things which -- although they personally benefit from them -- they heartily despise.

   At the same time, liberals counsel going easy on terrorists. They demand that we give them due process under the American justice system, rather than treating them as war criminals. They insist on calling Islam a religion of "peace" and they refuse to attack dictatorships that support terrorists, such as Saddam Hussein's dictatorship in Iraq. Although a few liberals supported attacking al Qaeda in Afghanistan in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, most were reluctant to do so and even then only with the stipulation that we drop more bread than bombs on those who would seek to destroy our cities and civilization.

   So what would liberals do if an anti-American terrorist created an environmental catastrophe in Alaska by hijacking a plane and crashing it into an oil tanker? Who would they blame then?

Michael J. Hurd Ph.D.

Author GROW UP AMERICA

Chevy Chase, MD

 

A Web Find

   Found this on the web and thought it may be of interest:

Subject:  Stanier 8F in Baghdad

   "Heritage Railway" .... Iraq Rly No 1429 - LMS No 8262 has been discovered languishing in the undergrowth of Baghdad Station, derelict and far from home with a good chance there are dozens more, maybe hundreds. They went out there looking for "weapons of mass destruction" and found a lovely old Stanier 8F - how appropriate!

Peter Bauer

San Rafael

 

Mercury In The Mouth

   I want to say thanks to Carol for writing about mercury in the mouth.  Tuna, coal fired power plants may be a source of mercury but the mercury in our mouths is a very serious threat to our health.  Mercury may be a contributing cause of the high cancer rates in Marin.  I have just had 15 removed some of them are over forty years old.  And some recently installed by a dentist here in Marin.  I am now chelating the mercury out of my body.  I do urinalysis for my patients who want to know how burden their bodies are with heavy metals.  The origin of the name quack comes from Germany in the 1800's when dentist installed quicksilver in patients mouths.  Quicksilver is pronounced quacksilver in the German language.

    I wish Carol would research who owns the patent on the mercury fillings.  Or, just follow the money.  My dentist's wife had breast cancer in the early 70's.  When he removed the mercury, she went into remission.  She's still alive today.  I'm sure it was just coincidental. Right?   He now uses laser to vaporize the decay without destroying good tissue. Laser's to clean the teeth, no blood involved. His name is DR. Richard Hansen in Fullerton, CA.    

Jay English

Chiropractor

Marin County

 

An Energy Bill To Encourage Consumption

   The Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003 allows significant tax reductions to small businesses for purchasing vehicles over 6,000 regardless of their need.  Not satisfied  with this sell out to the energy cartel, the Bush Administration  now proposes additional complex fuel efficiency standard  for select heavier vehicles to increase consumption--but disguised as efficiency measures.

   These environmental destructive acts not only add to our trade deficit; but increase our dependency on middle East oil, thus rendering our goals there more suspect. Bush's impairment of global warming mitigation efforts, his blockage of California's efforts to mandate mileage and air pollution standards, his promotion of fossil fuel energy over renewable energy development, and his opposition to fuel efficiency standards are some examples.

   Bush justifies his policies on fabricated logic from his supporters, while dismissing the findings of the dedicated international scientific community as irrelevant. His  intimidation tactics against legislators who legitimately question his policies--using his ill deserved glory from 9/11 and Iraq war--are not only despicable but also undermine our system.

   Bush's policies have already caused damage that will affect the world for years--even if the reforms were reinstated now. His goals are reflected in his  Sept. 23, 2002 Trenton N J speech "We need an energy bill that encourages consumption" ( www. bushgreenwatch.org).

   Congress has defaulted their constitutional duties by allowing such contemptuous policies. Unless they act now,  they will be rightfully judged with the same disdain that this administration has earned.

Robert H Settgast

c/o GEOENGINEERING INC.

San Rafael

 

Vote No On College Of Marin bond!

   I have worked and taken classes at College Of Marin  for over 20 years. The college has been going down hill for a long time.  College Of Marin's transfer class's reputation used to be excellent, it is not any more. Engineering, Computer programming have virtually disappeared in College Of Marin .  Electronics department is gone! This is due to lack of enrollment.  Some of the reasons for the lack of enrollment and the poor reputation the college has developed over the years, more competition and the College Districts attempt to force students to take classes "way up" at IVC.

    Students and instructors and people I have talked to outside of the College Of Marin overwhelmingly are upset over the College Board support of IVC, everyone except Novato, sees it as a waste of money. IVC has destroyed College Of Marin! IVC is one of the main reasons for College Of Marin financial problems and some of the reasons for the enrollment decline.  Southern Marin students cannot go to IVC, it is too far away, they find alternatives. Middle Marin students find IVC too far away.   I have no doubt that if all classes not offered at Kentfield are moved from IVC to Kentfield these classes will have greater enrollment.   Every semester classes are closed in IVC and Kentfield for lack of enrollment every semester.  Identical classes are closed in both campuses the same semester for lack of enrollment.  If just Kentfield were open then these classes would stay open (even if some Novato residents did not enroll.)  I would like to see a printout of classes that closed for lack of enrollment in both campuses in the last 5 years and compare them.  Students will only try so many times before going somewhere else.  I have talked to many students very upset for being forced to take classes at IVC, many would not and found other options. 

   I will remind Novato people that many more classes have been offered at IVC over the years, they did not get enough students enrolled in them to keep them open.  If a class has closed a few semesters for lack of enrollment, it will not be offered again.  

   There is no chance anyone is going to get the college population of Marin to waste all that time computing to IVC for a couple of classes they can take closer to their homes.  Money for students is not the concern, it is time!  IVC can never be viable since Novato cannot provide thousands of students it needs. 

   College Of Marin's enrollment has been going down for years but administration jobs have increased by over 100%, this cannot be justified.  Most of the jobs and staff eliminated have been non-administrators.  This college is over administered.  If compared to other colleges it is grossly over administered.   Remember the old saying "Too Many Cooks Spoil the Broth?"?  This is actually the problem at College Of Marin .  Too many bosses, they do not know what the other bosses are doing, plus they all cover for each others mistakes.  In addition, it is confusing for the staff having so many bosses contradicting and duplicating one another.

   The ex-president needs to answer about the untruths he said to the State that College Of Marin  District could not separate the expenses of IVC and Kentfield campuses.   This is nonsense, every work order, purchase order etc., lists either IVC or Kentfield.  In addition, most instructors at IVC work only there and most full-time staff work only there.  The rest of the staff could give an educated guess on how much time they spend at IVC, since some get mileage.  So, it would be easy to separate the expenses.  The President and the Board knew what the numbers would show and did not want the State to find out, so they lied!  The ex-president also needs to answer for his multi millions dollar software for the College that was abandoned more waste of money they expect the people of Marin to pay for.

   College Of Marin's financial problems stem from serious to possible criminal mismanagement of the College and it's FUNDS.  

   I would like to see is a class action suite brought on by the People Of Marin against the College Of Marin Board and administrators for mismanagement and misappropriating of funds and a total lack of accountability among administrators not to mention lying to the State Of California. 

   What the College Board is saying to the voters of Marin with this bond issue is "We have missed managed the College Of Marin  district and missed used moneys, but give us $250,000 so we can cover up our mistakes and start over doing the same things!

   Vote No on the College Of Marin bond, recall all Board members, stop the layoffs, (except administrators.)  It is time to make real management changes at College Of Marin.

Name Withheld

Please do not use my name, I want to keep my job.

 

Really Amazing People!

   People keep on amazing me! See, when I arrived in Bolinas four years ago, I thought this was a nice place to be in a crazy world like ours. I thought there was a special quality attached to the love of the people for their town, a sense of relatively rebellious independence in a society overruled by uniformity with a false idea of individuality, a certain after-taste of the genuine "hippy" movement that was seemly surviving through a lot of Bolinasians... Not that this was the most perfect place in the world if you consider that to live here, a lot of folks of all ages, even working very hard, were reduced to survive in their vehicles on the street where the law doesn't even allow them the right to barely exist (which was, for me, something beyond conceivable, all fresh from Europe that I was), or to pay outrageous amounts of money (very often more than half of their income) to have the opportunity to be abused on a daily basis by anti-social roommates or owners too lazy or inept to pay their own mortgage and shamelessly renting 10' by 10' tool shacks or leaking obsolete trailers without power or bathrooms or anything that would justify a third of their price whatsoever.... No, this was not a perfect place for many reasons but there was a nice pace going on, there was a sense of community, a zest of rejoicing just about being alive and out of the frantic crowds... I actually fell in love with the town just after falling in love with the amazing musician who married me the same year, and I had to be in love, believe me, to stay here and live almost like a bum for a while after the comfortable life I had in France where I came from! But anyway, as I said, there was a lot here that I loved right away.

   And little by little I found my place here, I felt accepted, welcome, integrated and it felt good, thanks to all the people who made me feel that way! But today, I'm pissed and I have to tell you, some narrow minded spirits here have certainly a lot of spare time on their hands and not a lot of important stuff to take care of if their main worry is to get a private business owner to remove a sign advertising his business on his roof! "Are you kidding me?" I said when I heard about it the first time and I laughed it off. But there was no kidding and the sign must go now because of "somebody's call!" Well, what amazes me here is the importance given to a tiny, mundane detail when under our very eyes an unbelievable reality is going on in a country that is losing all pride in a shameful thing that resembles more and more the Vietnam "war" to me, a country whose education is abandoned to the benefit of a defense that looks more like an aggressor armament to me, a country that is ruled by people who definitely don't care about your well being, your health or your opinion and where kids take guns to school eventually, who may be so afraid to age here alone and neglected like their elders that they don't care about dying right now, or maybe just so numbed out by the years of electronic babysitter that they don't realize what they are doing!

   Yeah, I'm amazed to see how much fuss some people can do for nothing when meanwhile other people of the same town call on sheriffs to protect their parking lots from homeless (drunk or not) people... I'm amazed and I'm tempted to say to the fuss-for-nothing ones: why don't you go get a life? And to the others, maybe you should be careful to not become what you've been fighting when you were young and still dreamt of a better world...

Emmeline

Bolinas  

 

Activists Put The Public In Public TV

   Faced with attacks from right-wingers like Sen. Jesse Helms who accuse public television of having a left-wing agenda, PBS and its affiliates have tended to either cave in to the conservatives or else argue that public TV is balanced and doesn't need changing. But some PBS viewers are refusing to accept that limited spectrum of debate.

   These viewers reject the right's premise that a handful of progressive documentaries outweighs hundreds of hours of regular conservative or business-oriented programming. Concerned that the right-wing attacks have only encouraged the growing corporate influence on PBS, they have begun to organize themselves around their local affiliates, taking public TV into their own hands by demanding the kind of diverse programming public TV was set up to provide.

   One of the most successful locales for PBS activism is San Francisco. The Bay Area's main public TV station, KQED, was once a leader in producing local programming, but now has become better known for creating cooking programs. A coalition of groups-including FAIR/Bay Area, Paper Tiger Television, the Committee to Save KQED, several labor organizations and hundreds of concerned citizens-has rallied behind hard-hitting documentaries, called for more local programming and even elected reform candidates to the KQED board. During the Gulf War, KQED refused to run Deep Dish's Gulf Crisis TV Project to offset government-controlled information about the war. Activists used calls, letters, meetings with KQED personnel, a demonstration and audience-building community showings of the program to convince KQED to air the series on its sister station, KQEC. Similarly, local activists succeeded in getting KQED to air Deep Dish's Behind Censorship series, which included a program critical of corporate influence at PBS.

   When P.O.V., PBS's independent filmmakers' series, canceled plans to show Stop the Church, a documentary critical of the Catholic Church's policies toward the gay community, ongoing activism prompted KQED to be one of the few stations to air the program. Labor activists succeeded in getting the station to air the labor series We Do the Work, as well as a full day of worker-oriented programming on Labor Day.

   For nearly a year, KQED refused to air Deadly Deception, the Academy Award-winning expose of General Electric, produced by filmmaker Debra Chasnoff for Infact, the grassroots group leading the GE boycott. The station insisted that it couldn't show a program produced and funded by the same source-the station manager equated Infact's production of Deadly Deception with an environmental documentary produced by Exxon (SF Weekly, 9/30/92).

   Critics said KQED's rules favored those producers who are able to attract corporate sponsors, and punished public interest groups whose messages challenged business interests. (PBS executives don't object to Wall Street firms sponsoring Louis Rukeyser's Wall $treet Week.)

   Activists worked to build public support for the program, organizing house parties where people were urged to write and phone KQED. When Paper Tiger and FAIR/Bay Area announced plans to project Deadly Deception onto a wall of KQED's offices, saying this was the only way the film would be "shown on KQED-literally," KQED announced it would show the program. The Deadly Deception projection became a victory celebration and a rally to voice a desire for more local programming and films made by independent producers.

    In addition to promoting particular programs and series, San Francisco activists have worked to change who makes policy decisions for public television. KQED is one of the few stations in the country that has an elected board of directors. In 1991, the Committee to Save KQED ran a slate of progressive candidates, one of whom won election. This year, the committee's New Priorities slate, including labor, environmental and media activists, won two additional seats on the board.

   The platform called for more of the budget to go to programming, more local programming that reflects the diversity of Northern California, increased representation of labor and working people and more independently produced shows. They convinced KQED to air statements from board candidates on both radio and television to make the process less stacked in favor of board-nominated candidates.

   At a time of growing corporate influence over PBS programming, when corporations can designate their money to specific programs and individuals cannot, public television needs to be reminded to fulfill its mandate to "provide a voice for groups in the community that may otherwise be unheard." San Francisco activists' efforts to hold KQED accountable to the community it serves demonstrate that victories in the battle for mainstream media access, though incremental and hard-fought, are possible.

Fred Shepherd

Global Information Services

Greenbrae

website: www.geocities.com/palkqed

 

Reconstruction Contracts Will Go To Cronies

   I continue to watch in amazement while the Bush Administration takes the public position that the Iraq reconstruction contracts will go only to those countries who supported the Iraq War, and not to Germany, France, Russia, and Canada who opposed it. And this is at the same time America is asking them to donate money and troops. America is going out of its way to insult those countries who they are also begging from.

   Besides-those countries aren't going to get the contracts anyway. Neither are the countries who did support the war. All the contracts are being given to American companies, like Halliburton,  who gave big campaign contributions to get Bush elected in the first place. Only Republican party insiders get government contracts. And I'm sure that France, Germany, Russia, and Canada already know that.

Marc Perkel

San Francisco

 

Not America

   Michelle Goldberg's "This Is Not America" * should be read and discussed in every high school social studies class in the US for one very important reason: the unprovoked Miami police riot in November IS America.

     Martial law and the suspension of the Constitution may have been episodic in our country's short history, but the marshaling of police, military, and vigilantes against universal freedom has been a constant aspect of the perpetual conflict between the rulers and the ruled of our land. Perhaps inconsistent with our broadly-held ideals, but certainly part of the reality faced by the many movements that have sought equal rights and protection under the law.

     As such, no student in our public schools can claim to have received an education until they've at least read "A People's History of the United States" by Howard Zinn and "Ready for Revolution" by Stokely Carmichael. Anything less leaves them unprepared for the brutal reality that awaits them.      The overt racism and violence of the privileged and corrupt in the Bush White House and the GOP may be especially repugnant, but the contempt they hold for democratic values is wholly representative of the overclass--not just the gangsters and fundamentalists the Republican National Committee now represents.

     The militarization of municipal police in the US is admittedly of serious concern, but we mustn't pretend that domestic terrorism will end with community policing. The rich have too much to lose.

Jay Taber

Mill Valley

 *<http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2003/12/16/miami_police/print.html>

 

Bye Bye, Land Of The Free

   With bio-scientists like Dr. Thomas Butler convicted in a bookkeeping dispute and programmers like Dmitry Sklyarov put in jail for decoding eBooks, it is becoming very apparent that scientists are no longer free to research in the United States. Even if they are developing vaccines to protect Americans against plagues, they face centuries of imprisonment for the smallest deviation from new and draconian rules.

   It's now time for US scientists who value freedom to look to other lands like Canada, Europe, India, and Japan to do and publish their research, and to hold conferences. The land of the free has moved.

tOM Trottier

Ottawa, Canada

 

Could Have Been Prevented

   I am writing to you because I believe that the media is not adequately covering what is most likely the story of the century.  Several days ago, the republican ex-governor of New Jersey, Thomas Kean, who was nominated by the Bush administration to uncover the facts of September 11th, has found that the Bush administration could have prevented September 11th.  It was disgusting to see how the bush administration has turned the terrible tragedy of the September 11th terrorist attacks and turned it into a political free-for-all but it is even more disgusting to know that it could have been prevented and the administration did not do what was needed to avoid this tragic loss of life. 

   The Bush administration has truly let the American people down and the media should let the American people know this and cover this story adequately.  The American people have a right to know about this story so that another terrorist attack of this magnitude will not happen again.

Bryan Thompson

Lisle, IL

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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