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April, 2004

Letters To The Editor

Housing Commission Asked Why Racial Profiling In Marin City?

To The Marin County Housing Commission:

I am Royce McLemore and I am a resident of Marin City Golden Gate Village, which is one of the complexes that you own.

I am writing this letter because of the disturbing conversations that I had with Lt. Campbell of the Marin County Sheriff's Department and Lavetta Duhe, a carpetbagger-(an outsider who seeks power or success presumptuously) manager of Golden Gate Village. Lt. Campbell told me that under the direction of the Marin County Housing Authority that the Sheriff's Department are stopping African Americans and demanding that they properly identify themselves. Failure to do so with "respect" can result with a letter from the Marin County Housing Authority to the resident.

Here are the problems with this "racial profiling" that the Marin County Housing Authority has ordered.

A former resident had cleaned a resident's yard and was talking to a neighbor and two deputies made him show his ID, even through he was talking to the Resident Commissioner!

New deputies that are in the Sheriff's Dept. do not know who is who, so a person may have to identify themselves more than once for the different shifts.

There are many nationalities that live on the complex and they are unknown, however only African Americans are being "profiled." The Lt. said that other nationalities are not "hanging out", however the manager told me that she saw a group of Hispanics hanging, but the officers only approached the African Americans.

I was told by the Marin County Housing Authority's current manager that the Housing Authority has a right to know all visitors who come on the property. I told her that it was none of the Housing Authority's business who comes to my home unless they violate the lease in some way.

I told that the manager that I know that we have problems, such as drug dealing, gambling and hanging of non-residents, in certain areas of the complex. However, if residents are not giving the Sheriff's Dept. any "probable" cause other than being African American then we should not be harassed by the Sheriff Dept. because they do not know who you are!

THE "Profiling of African Americans" is RACIST, CRIMINAL AND HUMILIATING!

This is frightening to think about the possibility of losing your housing because you or others in your household may get annoyed by continuously telling the Sheriff Dept. who you are. Marin County Housing Authority can not continue this racist act of aggression against African Americans who are residents on this complex!

This policy is at the direction of the Housing Authority's legal staff, Barbara Sherrill with the sanction of Executive Director Jan Schoder.

It is your "legal" obligation to stop the "profiling" of African Americans immediately!

On a different note, the two Resident Commissioners are receiving money in the positions of Resident Manager and Micro Manager. They are financially benefiting from the Housing Authority; therefore it creates a "conflict of interest" because their decisions may be biased, based on receiving Housing Authority stipends for their jobs. Since the Executive Director is aware of this issue and has not done anything to resolve it, I am requesting that the Commission resolve this issue.

I am requesting that these two issues be placed on the next Housing Authority Commission meeting for discussion and action.

Royce McLemore

Marin City

The Horror In Spain Was The Election More Than The Attack

Many intelligent Americans, including Democrats like myself, can clearly see how the cowardly vote in Spain on Sunday confirmed (in a largely unprecedented way) that terror can be highly efficient and effective in achieving its ends. We can now expect a major terror attack in the USA, committed with hopes that Americans will shift far left and vote for John Kerry in anguish over their "mistaken adventure in Iraq". The childish socialist rants of the new Spanish government are like an advertisement AGAINST democracy and in favor of those who would want to avoid such instability in the future. But Bush and Co have to hold their tongues because our policy in the Middle East is to give the Arabs precisely this kind of unstable institution!!

Note that most of us Democrats would have been fine with a socialist victory in Spain if the polls had been forewarning such.

Meanwhile we can chalk up 1 quick regime change for Al Qaeda in what had been 2-0 at half time.

Allen MacDonald

Walnut Creek

Editor's note: Democrat?

Cut What, Who!?

Greenspan says we need to cut Social Security so that rich Republicans can keep their tax cuts. I remember 4 years ago when Clinton was president that Social Security was in good shape-we had a surplus-and everyone was making lots of money. I say getting rid of Bush is the best solution to fixing Social Security. Lets go back to taxing the rich rather than throwing old people out on the street.

Marco Perkel

San Francisco, CA.

CP Recognizes Excellence

I was fascinated and excited about your article in the March issue called Harlem Physicians Help Rescue Workers Escape the Toxic Legacy, where you mentioned the detoxification program, for rescue workers who are still suffering from their exposures from 9/11, that is based on the best selling book Clear Body Clear Mind by L. Ron Hubbard.

Your readers may be interested to know that this program (called The Purification Rundown) is delivered right here in Marin County at Dianetics and Scientology Mission of Marin, 1930 4th Street, 415-459-0150.

The same benefits can be experienced by all in the same way as those heroic folks in NYC.

Thank you for recognizing excellence.

Sandra Figone

Novato

"Bridge Directorgate"

A wandering minstrel, I relate/Some factors you should contemplate,/Of things you should investigate/And on them deeply cogitate.

Just as sharks will congregate/Around the lure of charming bait,/So politicians gravitate/To pile donations on their plate,/While voters fume and grow irate/As pols ignore their vote mandate/And boost our tolls at Golden Gate.

Drivers storm and curse their fate/Of traffic jams that make them late,/And bus schedules that don't relate/To needs of our electorate./Bridge directors of Golden Gate,/Clearly in a mindless state,/Do their damnedest to frustrate/Those they should ingratiate,/But instead they preach and prate/And often even obfuscate/How ferry and bus can operate,/How higher fares alleviate/Dangers of an earthquake fate/At the bridge's deep substrate,/

So they cut services and inflate/The cost of every transport rate,/And all of us must pay the freight/For their mismanagement to date/Of resources they should conservate.

I say we must not hesitate:/It's time those rascals whom we hate/Be given summarily the gate./When that in truth becomes their fate,/Then all Marin will jubilate.

Fielding Greaves

San Rafael

Facing A Felony!!

Dear North Bay Family: Attention: Chrome Johnson Band, Fans and Crew. This is Texas Tad Adams. All the shows from Fourth Street Tavern from November 5 to 19. Danny Uzilefsky, Denise, Cathryn/Catherine (of Good Earth), Andrew the Roadie, Josh the Bass Player (especially), Nicole (the prettiest) with the wheelchair, CoCo the audio mixer lady/former singer for Flannel Head, her boyfriend Dan Daniels, Buddy Craig: All you folks, please contact my old lady, Suzy Q at 415-302-5094 or 300 Napa St., #36, Sausalito, CA 94965. She might answer my ranch number 415-899-9840.

I am facing a felony!! That night I had my cheap guitar, I was singing the song "Celebrity" by Brad Paisley to anyone or/and everyone who would listen!

"Someday I'm gonna be famous,/Do I have talent?/ Well, No! -- /These days you don't really need it,/ Thanks to reality shows,/Can't wait to date a supermodel,/Can't wait to sue my dad,/Can't wait to wreck a Ferrari,/On my way to rehab,/Cause when you're a celebrity, it's audio's reality/You can act just like a fool/People think you're cool/Just cause you're on TV/etc.

Anybody out there? Go to launch.yahoo.com and see the video. Do you know you can see almost any song on there. P.S. If anybody knows where Walt the Dog is? I love you all.

A benefit to raise my $51,000 bail? Are there some guitar players out there? Or what? Call my old lady little Suzi Q Olson from Mill Valley (old Mill Valley).

Marc Texas Tad Adams

[email protected]

Congratulations CP

Congratulations on the best article to be published on the subject of hiding, by the government, of US casualties in Iraq.

However, the lying by the government has been so extraordinary that investigative reporters who detail figures of wounded (and dead) are clearly minimizing the actual numbers.

Note that in your quoting from the October report on Fort Stewart, aside from "treating reservists like dogs," it was reported that 20,000 severely injured and ill troops were already at that base being treated by the medical personnel and that was the reason for the poor treatment of the reservists who were not SEVERELY injured or ill. And that was in October.

It has been reported that Fort Bragg, N.C. and Fort Lewis in Washington have been similarly overcrowded with severely injured and ill troops.

Walter Reed Hospital in Washington and the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda have also been overwhelmed.

It has been reported that one out of nine of the severely injured or severely ill, die.

There is a lot of evidence that the true number of active duty soldiers in Iraq, who have died since the war began, is more than 5000. That is, if you count the wounded who died after the day they were injured, those that died of sickness, of accidents, etc.

The only tally we get from the government is of those who were killed by enemy fire on the day they were attacked.

Newspaper sources: May 21, 2003 -- Americans Heroes of Freedom Operation Life Line, www.americasheroes.us

Sept. 2, 2003 -- Number of Wounded in Action On Rise, Washington Post Staff Writer by Vernon Loeb.

Sept. 4, 2003 by the Observer/uk -- America's Hidden Battlefield Toll by Jason Burke in London and Paul Harris in NY.

Oct. 7, 2003 -- Mystery Blood Clots Kill Troop, United Press International.

Oct. 22, 2003 -- The State.com, Fort Stewart Reservists Decry Treatment Delays by Russ Bynum, Associated Press.

Oct. 26, 2003 -- San Francisco Chronicle, Reservists at Fort Stewart Going to Better Quarters.

And that is just up to November! Check it out!

Bernice Turoff

Stockton

Letter to Gov. Arnold

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger,

I have always admired your strength, vibrancy and healthy appearance. I realize you have devoted a great deal of time and effort to perfect such an outstanding body, image and bearing. I know that you are an intelligent and thoughtful man. In addition, you have a wonderful smile and you can be utterly charming. You also have a lovely family. In short, you have what it takes to be a wonderful role model for boys and young men, in particular, and people in general.

As such a role model and as the governor, you have the responsibility to be as good as you can be. It is to this end that I write this letter.

Earlier in my career as a social worker, I had the very sad and upsetting task of visiting terminally ill patients in Los Angeles hospitals. Many of these people had lung cancer, mouth cancer and other terrible conditions caused by tobacco smoke and chewing tobacco. Unless you have actually seen such patients and heard the stories of tenacious addiction, the history of their illness, their inability to work, their suffering and gasping for air, their excruciating pain, their impoverishment due to loss of income, their spouses and/or children developing asthma and even cancer from second hand smoke, you cannot fully appreciate how terrible tobacco is. Yes, you probably know the statistics. Well, over a thousand people died yesterday here in the US alone and then again today and tomorrow and the next day and the next, on and on with the suffering. That data doesn't even address the deaths, injury and loss of property from fires started by smoking.

The issue of second hand smoke is being dealt with in some sectors of this country but unfortunately a lot of damage has already been done and is being done where smoke is permitted. Non smokers, even healthy adults, can become ill from exposure to other peoples' smoke. I would like to see an investigation into how many non smokers have developed sufficient sensitivity to smoke that they have become disabled but don't necessarily have cancer. From all the information I can gather, the number has to be substantial.

On top of that, we are exporting death with our tobacco to other countries where people are not as aware of as educated as we are here in the US. Jesse Helms, a strong advocate for the southern tobacco market, has been reported as describing a meeting with two men from Viet Nam who were each smoking two cigarettes at once. His comment was, "Now that's the kind of customers we need. I, I mean, uh, uh..."

It appears that in some countries that the governments don't care if their people die off early as long as their youthful energy can contribute to the economy and their illnesses, for which there is only minimal treatment, are not a drain on the economy.

Here the illnesses are a drain on the economy. Witness the huge judgments which have been made against the tobacco companies for medical care, loss of earnings and life.

Returning to my original point which is you are a role model -- the idea of your making a patio at the capital a place for smoking cigars is pitiful and saddening that a man of your stature would allow his image to be tarnished in this fashion and that you would even smoke at all (think of your wife and children if you won't think of yourself).

I urge you to read important books and journals instead of smoking and given the death by tobacco industry the boot it deserves. If you publicly declared you were quitting smoking, you would certainly be one up on Clinton, another cigar smoker, and you would at least be even with Castro. (It must have taken a lot of humility for him, the head of state of a country of so few resources, to publicly reject smoking and urge the people to follow suit when Cuban cigars constitute a significant source of income. Imagine what strength it took and what it did to his image, self and public, for him to perpetrate this understandable but colossal hypocrisy for the sake of Cuba's own health and medical system. I wonder what the triggering forces were and how he was emotionally able to do it.)

In our country there are alternatives for tobacco growers. We subsidized tobacco for years. We could subsidize changing crops.

As for you, I could see you as the Health Governor (in contrast to the "war president"). What terrific political mileage you could get out of that. You already have this wonderful dynamic image but add health advocacy, keeping fit, and eating intelligently as a political statement to the whole package and some of the pressing health problems could be alleviated through your modeling.

In short, Governor Schwarzenegger (possibly a future senator), I hope that you will publicly reject smoking and put forth a campaign to use yourself and your image to inspire people to be as healthy and as good and intelligent as they can be. I know that you could triumph as no other political leader could if it is your goal.

Marilyn E. Leigh, M.S.W.

Licensed Clinical Social Worker

Marin

Gay Divorce?

President Bush wants a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. What will that do? Gay couples have lived together since the dawn of time. A piece of paper that says "Marriage" on it, is not the experience of marriage, is not going to change things. Will codifying marriage change or make it better for the 50 or 60% of straight Americans who now get divorced from marriage. No, this smacks of the first salvo of the Bush/Rove gay bashing 're-election campaign' that has been whispered about. This is the Bush divisive nature in play guaranteed to further polarize America and deflect attention from his failure as a president.

I have been married twice, and married gays would not have affected the experience one iota. San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom has it right: President Bush is trying to write discrimination into the US Constitution.

Ron Lowe

Nevada City

Over The Edge, George

Well, George, you've finally pushed me over the edge. I don't really call myself a Republican, but I voted for you because I fear for my economic life under the tax and spend Democrats.

Early on, all your talk of "faith-based" this-and-that began to make me nervous, but I tolerantly wrote it off as rhetoric. I stood behind you, and tried to argue for your good points, as I waited in shame for three weeks while the most sophisticated military in the world politely cooled their heels in Tora-Bora as Osama was spirited to safety under the guise of "negotiations." I began to hang my head in ignominy, but still defended you, as my liberal friends gloated over one of the biggest rapes of the American taxpayer ever: your prescription drug plan. I watched quietly, but in increasing horror, as you spoke strong and brave words at the podium, but then proceeded to pussyfoot around our "allies" and the impotent UN (none of whom would exist as they are without the hard-earned money of United States' citizens).

But, George, this rude incursion into the private lives of over ten percent of our population; this insult to anyone who believes in the separation of church and state; this imposition of your own personal "morality" onto millions of hard-working taxpayers; this transparent, shameless pandering to the self-important extremists of the religious right (in an election year, yetÉsurprise, surprise!); it's just too much. Your desperate need for a constitutional amendment to legislate the "sanctity" of marriage (the "sanctity" of Brittany Spears' 24-hour marriage in Vegas? The "sanctity" the huge percentage of marriages that end in divorce? The "sanctity" of reality-show arranged marriages?); it's a cheap shot, George. I'm not voting for you. I probably won't vote for the Democrat either, but I can't make excuses for you any longer.

As Iran, North Korea and the fundamentalist extremists of the Taliban quietly plot to incinerate thousands of people on American soil, you trot around, high and mighty, preaching your own brand of extremism. Both the change in the New York City skyline, and the hatred and rancor you are stirring up with your sanctimonious incursion into peoples' private lives, are equal testament to what happens when "religious" beliefs are forced onto others.

I hope this little crusade of yours brings you down, like your father's "read my lips" blunder ended his political career. I promise to do my best to see that happen.

I thought, in this supposedly enlightened age, that you would rise above this sort of bigotry and intolerance. You pushed me over the edge and I'm ashamed of you.

Bob Yesbek

Personal Coach/Consultant

Columbia, Maryland

Helping CP

Hello. My name is Jeff Parkin. I live in Cambridge Springs Pennsylvania. Several years ago I wrote a book about a little London Ontario Canada boy named Mitchell Thompson. The book is called Mitchell's Story, Living With Cerebral Palsy. You can access the web site at www.trafford.com/robots/03-0512.html.

The book contains a lot of helpful information for those parents who are just now finding out that their son or daughter has CP. Inside the cover are helpful hints that can provide help for those CP parents looking for funding for the various programs that are available through out the world. The Thompson's tell their story on how they came to realize they loved their son no matter what.

Inside the book is the touching story of how Grant and Lynda Thompson cope with trying to raise their son so that he has a normal of a life as humanly possible. The story also tells how it affected the Thompson's other two children, Brandy and Brittany. It is a must read for anyone with a child who has a neuroligical illness.

Lynda and myself are hoping to get as many newspapers world wide to run a brief article to help inform the handicap members of our society that the book is out there and for sale on line. It can be purchased at any on line book store or directly from Trafford.com.

If you need any additional information on specific things for an article you can email me at [email protected] or you can call me at 814-398-9620. We are sincerely hoping your newspaper can help us out. On behalf of Lynda, Grant, Mitchell and myself, thank you!

Jeff Parkin

Cambridge Springs, Penn.

Why Tolerate Incompetence?

Your March 1st issue, on the front page at the top of the left column, has an article entitled "Infinite Money, Infinite Debt!" beginning with the quote "A billion here and a billion there and pretty soon you're talking real money!" which Jim Scanlon attributes to former Representative Tip O'Neil.

This well-known comment was made by former Senator Everett Dirksen.

At the bottom of the second column, Mr. Scanlon continues his quality journalism with the sentence "Nature Biotechnology, one of the most prominent and prestigious scientific journal..."

Why do you tolerate this incompetence?

Eppa Hite

Coastal Post Reader

Scanlon Responds:

I blame my editor for the mission "s".

And here take this: -The Dirksen Center-"A billion here, a billion there . . ."

Did Dirksen ever say, " A billion here, a billion there, and pretty soon you're talking real money"? (or anything very close to that?)

Perhaps not. Based on an exhaustive search of the paper and audio records of The Dirksen Congressional Center, staffers there have found no evidence that Dirksen ever uttered the phrase popularly attributed to him.

Archivists undertook the search after studying research statistics showing that more than 25 percent of inquiries have to do with the quote or its variations.

Here is what they examined: all of the existing audio tapes of the famed "Ev and Charlie" and "Ev and Jerry" shows, newspaper clippings in the Dirksen Papers, about 12,500 pages of Dirksen's own speech notes, transcripts of his speeches and media appearances, transcripts of Republican leadership press conferences, and Dirksen's statements on the Senate floor as documented in the Congressional Record.

Although Dirksen rarely prepared the text of a speech, preferring to rely on notes, he would jot down a few words to remind him of a particular turn of phrase. For example, in referring to the public debt or excessive government spending, Dirksen would write the word "pothole" to remind him to tell the following story, on this occasion in reference to the debt ceiling:

"As I think of this bill, and the fact that the more progress we make the deeper we go into the hole, I am reminded of a group of men who were working on a street. They had dug quite a number of holes. When they got through, they failed to puddle or tamp the earth when it was returned to the hole, and they had a nice little mound, which was quite a traffic hazard.

"Not knowing what to do with it, they sat down on the curb and had a conference. After a while, one of the fellows snapped his fingers and said, 'I have it. I know how we will get rid of that overriding earth and remove the hazard. We will just dig the hole deeper.'" [Congressional Record, June 16, 1965, p. 13884].

On the same occasion, Dirksen relied on yet another "spending" story, one he labeled "cat in the well":

"One time in the House of Representatives [a colleague] told me a story about a proposition that a teacher put to a boy. He said, 'Johnny, a cat fell in a well 100 feet deep. Suppose that cat climbed up 1 foot and then fell back 2 feet. How long would it take the cat to get out of the well?'

"Johnny worked assiduously with his slate and slate pencil for quite a while, and then when the teacher came down and said, 'How are you getting along?' Johnny said, 'Teacher, if you give me another slate and a couple of slate pencils, I am pretty sure that in the next 30 minutes I can land that cat in hell.'

"If some people get any cheer our of a $328 billion debt ceiling, I do not find much to cheer about concerning it." [Congressional Record, June 16, 1965, p. 13884].

But there are no such reminders for the "A billion here, a billion there . . . " tag line as there surely should have been given Dirksen's note-making tendencies. He spoke often and passionately about the debt ceiling, federal spending, and the growth of government. Yet there is no authoritative reference to the "billion" phrase.

The chief evidence in support of Dirksen making the statement comes from people who claim to have heard him. The Library of Congress, for example, cites someone's personal observation on the campaign trail as evidence. The Dirksen Center has received calls from people who heard Dirksen say those words, some even providing the date of the event. But cross-checking that information with the records has, so far, turned up nothing in the way of confirmation.

The closest documented statement came at a joint Senate-House Republican leadership press conference on March 8, 1962, when Dirksen said, "The favorite sum of money is $1 billion-a billion a year for a fatter federal payroll, a billion here, a billion there." [EMD Papers, Republican Congressional Leadership File, f. 25] But the "and pretty soon you're talking real money" is missing.

In another close call, the New York Times, January 23, 1961, quoted Dirksen: "Look at education-two-and-one-half billion-a billion for this, a billion for that, a billion for something else. Three to five billion for public works. You haven't got any budget balance left. You'll be deeply in the red." [Cited in Byron Hulsey's "Everett Dirksen and the Modern Presidents," Ph.D. dissertation (May 1998, University of Texas, p. 226]

Of course, the Dirksen Papers do not document completely the late Senator's comments. For example, The Center that bears his name does not have his testimony before committees. Their collection of Congressional Records ends in 1965, omitting the last four years of Dirksen's life and career-he might have employed the phrase only late, although witnesses claim he said it throughout his career. Dirksen's campaign speeches tended not to produce transcripts, only sketchy notes or abbreviated newspaper accounts. Dirksen also held center stage before the video age, meaning that many remarks, particularly those in campaigns, escaped capture.

Bottom line: the late Senate Minority Leader certainly would have endorsed the meaning behind the phrase, but it is questionable that he ever coined it.

Jim Scanlon

Coastal Post

Bush Is Hurting The American Worker With Overtime Rollback

I am surprised at the lack of media coverage given to the Department of Labor's new rules that are set to go into effect, which will reduce overtime pay for American workers. The president has made the issues of job creation and economic growth cornerstones of his re-election campaign. The following is an excerpt from the president's speech in Bakersfield from 3/4/04:

"A lot of times we talk about the strength of the country in terms of our military. Make no mistake about it, we're going to keep our military strong in order to keep the peace. But we're going to talk here today about people working and people being able to have savings and wealth. But the true strength of the country lies in the hearts and souls of our citizens. That's what makes America really strong, the fact that we've got loving and decent and honorable citizens willing to help out at the local level, willing to take responsibility, willing to love a neighbor just like you'd like to be loved yourself.

In light of the President's recent statements in Bakersfield, I wonder how cutting overtime pay will help strengthen our nation and improve the lot of American workers? Does cutting overtime pay help workers to have savings and wealth? Is the Bush administration rewarding our " loving decent and honorable citizens," by cutting their wages? That doesn't sound very neighborly to me.

I have attached two links (see below) to studies conducted by the Economic Policy Institute. EPI estimates that, contrary to DOL figures, new overtime policies will affect over EIGHT MILLION workers. In the interests of journalistic standards and objectivity, on which our democracy depends, I hope that you will consider this information in your coverage of the 2004 campaign. Thank you for you time and consideration.

http://www.epinet.org/content.cfm/briefingpapers_flsa_jun03

http://www.epinet.org/content.cfm/ot_numbers

Michael Pearce

Eugene OR, 97401

Bush Sold Us Out At Kyoto

Evidence linking carbon pollution to global warming, and its potential consequences, is as close to certain as science can get. Still, Bush denounces the consensus of the international scientific community concerning the urgency of this matter, while using misinformation and fabricated reasons to justify his trashing the Kyoto Agreement.

Although imperfect, the Kyoto agreement is an essential first step toward stemming the potential disasters from global warming, pollution, and over-consumption--which will dramatically worsen if unabated as the large populations of China and India modernize. Since we contribute disproportionally to carbon pollution, we are morally bound to support Kyoto. With our participation, China and India could then be compelled to join the rest of the industrialized world. The resulting reduction in fuel consumption would lower our trade deficit, which would benefit rather than damage our economy as Bush alleges. Morever, it would restore some of our lost worldwide respect and trust.

Bush's derailment of Kyoto and other vital environmental reform measures have already caused immeasurable damage to out planet. By tolerating these sellouts, congress is defaulting in one of their most essential duties.

Robert Settgast

San Rafael

Bush Lie Much Worse Than Martha's

A jury has convicted Martha Stewart of lying to the government and she will probably go to prison for it. However her lie isn't nearly as serious as the lie Bush told the nation to trick us into going to war with Iraq. Does the government go to prison when it lies to the people?

Marc Perkel

San Francisco, CA.

MediCal Omissions And Deletions

The Bush ads for the Medicare bill scream out for a response and de-obfuscation of the truth behind this horrible bill. Congress's General Accounting Office investigated the ads and found that while they are not technically illegal, they contain "omissions," overstatements, and have a "political tone." The GAO pointed to the ad's failure to mention that drug discount cards will cost up to $30 annually, and that savings will vary by drug.

The new Medicare law has fatal (I use that term deliberately) flaws. The government's ads call it "the same Medicare, more benefits." In fact, it's "the same Medicare, more benefits for the drug companies and HMOs--not for average Americans.

Most people will actually pay more under the new law. According to a Consumers' Union study, "Most beneficiaries will face higher out-of-pocket costs for prescription drugs after full implementation, despite the benefit."

People with drug costs of around $500 per month get no Medicare help for half the year. Each year, people on Medicare must pay 100% of their drug costs between $2251 and $5100.

Medicare is forbidden to negotiate lower prices with drug companies, despite the Veterans Administration's proven success of this approach.

Drug companies will get $139 billion in new profits under this law, and HMOs will receive billions to participate. The Wall Street Journal wrote, "Corporate lobbying groups are emerging as winners."

According to the Congressional Budget Office, 2.7 million seniors could lose more generous benefits from their former employers.

The media firm hired to run Medicare's TV ads, National Media Inc. of Arlington, Virginia, also works for the President's reelection campaign, the Republican Party and drug companies.

This is yet another part of GW Bush' agenda to eviscerate the poor and line the pockets of his friends.

How anyone could vote for this man, given everything we now know about him (despite major media's kid glove approach to him since he was first made President) is beyond human comprehension. At least mine.

Meg Brizzolara

San Rafael

More Coverage For Dennis Kucinich

I would like to see more coverage of Dennis Kucinich's campaign for the Democratic nomination in the media. He got 16% of the caucus votes in ME behind only Howard Dean and John Kerry and placed second in the HI caucuses with between 26 and 30% of the vote despite the lack of media attention to his candidacy. Imagine what he might be able to do if he actually got some favorable news coverage. I'm concerned for my country when it seems as though the actual will of the voters counts for less than the opinions of pundits and the biases of pollsters.

Tom Cooley

Middletown

You Should Worry About Vaccine Safety

Our son, Eric was born normal on January 17, 1985. He regressed into autism after receiving the MMR vaccine on April 28, 1986. We found out in 1995 to 2002 that Eric tested positive for myelin basic protein antibodies, has elevated measles antibody titers, has T-cell abnormalities, and colitis. Eric is over 6 feet tall and over 200 pounds and has aggressive tantrums that include biting, head-butting, kicking, scratching and pulling hair.

Ray Gallup

Founder, TAAP

Lake Hiwatha, NJ

Bush Making Huge Strides

As a patriotic American living in a dangerous corner of the world, I am heartened to observe the tremendous strides the Bush administration is making toward reforming the Middle East. President Bush's call for a democratic Middle East is a bold step forward that is badly needed. In this region where such basic American rights as freedom of worship, freedom of speech, and freedom of assembly are prohibited, it is a refreshing change of perspective for our President to speak of democracy in this region.

But Bush is not confining his steps to mere rhetoric. He is a man of decisive action. We Americans can be proud that he has liberated two oppressive countries-Afghanistan and Iraq-and has established democratic institutions in both of them. For example, the development of the recent Iraqi provisional constitution is an enormous achievement by the Bush administration in fostering the winds of freedom and democracy.

While there is some resistance here to change in the status quo, I sense that people in the Middle East are, down deep, receptive to the opportunity to consider the establishment of democracy and freedom. Being captives of oppressive regimes, they may not openly call for such change, but I feel they are amenable to it. This is the sense that I get from a street-level perspective of people in the Middle East.

Therefore, now is not the time for America to falter in its campaign to bring peace, freedom, democracy, and justice to the Middle East. I strongly encourage all my fellow Americans back home to continue to give your full support to our President at this time of critical change in the Middle East. Together we may very well see the institution of a more peaceful region and a more peaceful world. And for this, we can be grateful to the sagacious leadership of George W. Bush.

Kim Hester

Dhahran, Saudi Arabia

You Have To Wonder

You had to wonder last week as President Bush sat around like a bump on a log and Haiti was erupting in violence. He looked like a kid who was caught with his hand stuck in a cookie jar. What was up?

Bush and the CIA are responsible for the overthrow of Haiti's president, Jean-Bertrand Aristide. You can bet the house on it. Deception continues unabated in the White House.

Ron Lowe

Nevada City

President Cheney?

Why does Vice President Dick Cheney only come out from where he hides, to attend fund-raisers and news talkshows? We had better hope that nothing happens to Bush because that would mean President Cheney and that makes my skin crawl.

Ron Lowe

Nevada City

Happy Anniversary Mr. President:

In your 1 year anniversary speech this morning in the White House I was happy to hear that there are 84 countries in the coalition helping you in your war with Iraq. You listed more countries than I knew existed on this planet. I'm sure glad that they are helping us win the peace.

I never hear about any casualties other than those of our American soldiers so I didn't know they were part of our forces fighting the terrorists. I saw a list on CNN where it listed a dozen countries helping you but they were countries I hardly ever heard of before. And it showed that each country had sent 5 maybe 10 soldiers to augment our troops. That sounds like a big help?

With such a large number of countries helping us out do you suppose those 84 nations could replace our troops soon? My neighbor wants to know as his son has been fighting in Iraq for almost a year now. He was glad to hear the news of the 84. His son has never mentioned that there were so many foreign soldiers fighting alongside of him so his Dad is going to TELL HIM THE GOOD NEWS!

The war has cost $150 billion so far and still counting... and my neighbor was wondering also if those 84 countries are contributing billions of dollars to offset the cost to the American taxpayers? He thinks maybe some of the $150 billion is spent on bribes to the 84 to influence them to participate... and

I said no way.

Please advise when you have time. My neighbor says that may be difficult as you are always on the campaign trail raising money for your anticipated re-election. I told him only a democrat would say that.

David A. Whelan

Forest Knolls, CA 94933

Anomymous To Bolinas

The People's Republic of Bolinas, hello. OK, I grew up not far from your little haven, and cannot believe the extreme departure from reality this area, which was formerly conservative, has taken. And now you gullible folks are listening to "Chalmers Johnson"? What a total ass. Good luck in your little slice of fantasyland. If you're lucky the bastards who seek to murder your ilk will not find you.

A Reader

Garage Sale To Clean Out White House

A number of us in Marin want to clean out the White House in November. We are starting by cleaning out our house this spring. We are having a "Cleaning Out Our House to Clean Out the White House" garage sale and we hope others will do the same throughout the spring and summer. Because the Bay Area is already likely to support Kerry, all the money we raise will go to MoveOn.org or to the Kerry campaign in Florida, Illinois, Ohio or other key states. Have your own garage sale, and help build community, raise money, clean out your house, and help clean out the white house! One family we know in Pennsylvania is organizing her entire neighborhood to have garage sales on the same weekend. (To find Kerry offices in all 50 states, go to www.johnkerry.com/contact.) And if you want to come to our garage sale, it's on Saturday, April 17 at 130 Manor in Fairfax from 9 - 3. (Olema Road off Sir Francis Drake Blvd., and make the first left)

Alice Lucas & Patti Breitman

Fairfax

 

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