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MARIN COUNTY'S NEWS MONTHLY - FREE PRESS
(415)868-1600 - (415)868-0502(fax) - P.O. Box 31, Bolinas, CA, 94924

Letters To The Editor

Chevron-Texaco Are Doing Just One Thing

The article Hydrogen leaves the lab (SF Chronicle, Monday Nov. 24th, 2004, page C1) makes ChevronTexaco appear, by creating hydrogen to power fuel cell vehicles, to have a true interest in green technologies. In fact this is far from the truth. ChevronTexaco has only one incentive, to make money.

This is obvious by the way they took control of & stifled the Electric Vehicle (EV) industry. EV's are not fuel cell cars hybrids, but vehicles that run on batteries. To be light & efficient (the Toyota RAV4 SUV EV gets 120 miles to a charge), EVs use Nickel Metal Hydride Batteries and the company Ovonic (now Texaco-Ovonic) has the patent and controls the manufacturing and charging systems for these batteries. Toyota, Ford & Saturn all came out with EVs. Only Toyota allowed you to purchase one, Ford & Saturn you could only lease one. They were on the market in 2001 & 2002. In 2002 Texaco bought Ovonic from Energy Conversion Devices, pulled the patents and sued Toyota to stop production of the RAV4 EVs, which they did. Ford & Saturn followed suit and canceled their leases on their EVs. It didn't help that around the same time, California dropped the mandate for 10% of a vehicles sold here to be zero emission vehicles.

The beauty behind EVs is that you can used solar cells on the roof of your house to charge your car. 99% of the time you don't drive more than 120 miles a day. Even if you did, it still only takes 4 hours to recharge your RAV4 for another 120 miles. A friend of mine in Mill Valley has 2 RAV4 EVs and enough solar cells to not only keep his car charged, but also power his 3,000 square foot house, and by pumping his excess electricity into the grid, he powers the houses around him during the peak electricity usage times which is also the same time of day when the solar cells produce the most electricity.

Texaco does not like this. They want you to go to the Texaco Hydrogen filling station and do what they do best, make as much money off you as possible. Even Vice President Cheney derided the "Sissy Californians that think the can charge their EVs of their solar cells as living in a fantasy land". Not only would Texaco loose money, but the gas tax you pay at the pump would be lost to the government, though they would figure out another way to tax you, and they should. Somebody has to pay for the highways and it should be the drivers. It is a coincidence that the largest manufacturer of solar cells, Shell Oil, is also a competitor of Texaco. I am certain Shell also has long term plans similar to Texaco. Eventually, as our oil supply runs dry, we will find out.

Jim Fox
San Anselmo

Senior Judiciary Committee Democrats Request

Investigation of Voting Irregularities

November 8, 2004

The Honorable David M. Walker

Comptroller General of the United States

US General Accountability Office

441 G Street, NW

Washington, DC 20548

Dear Mr. Walker:

We write to follow-up on our urgent November 5 request that the Government Accountability Office immediately undertake an investigation of the efficacy of voting machines and new technologies used in the 2004 election, how election officials responded to difficulties they encountered and what we can do in the future to improve our election systems and administration.

In that letter, we indicated we would follow up with additional information as it becomes available. To that end, we would also request that you review and evaluate the following: More than 30,000 complaints have been noted on one website: http://voteprotect.org/index.php?display=EIRMapNation. We request that you evaluate a sampling of these incidents. Enclosed are more than 265 specific complaints. These can also be found at: http://www.votersunite.org/electionproblems.asp? offset=240&catid=&showall=&sort=date.

These include the following:

In Sarper County, Nebraska, a computer problem doubled the votes in half the county's precincts, adding 3000 phantom votes to the totals.

In Guilford County, North Carolina vote totals were so large that the tabulation computer threw numbers away. Retallying changed two outcomes and awarded an additional 22,000 to John Kerry.

In Broward County, Florida at least 21 voting machines malfunctioned and were replaced. Most of them had already been used by voters. Citing concerns about potential terrorism, Warren County, Ohio officials locked down the county administration building on election night and blocked anyone from observing the vote count. Warren County was apparently the only one of 88 counties to opt for such measures.

This move may also violate Ohio law. "Warren's Vote Tally Walled Off," Erica Solvig, Cincinnati Enquirer, November 5, 2004.

Our offices continue to receive additional reports of election irregularities, including the following:

In Palm Beach County, Florida results for a County Commissioner race was plagued by malfunctioning voting machine cassettes in several precincts, including 03112 and 03116. While this race remained to close to call, elections officials announced the race for the incumbent with a margin of 580 votes.

Poll workers in Broward County, Florida expressed concern that boxes of absentee ballots remained uncounted in the central storage facilities and were promptly escorted out of the Supervisor's office by security after raising that concern.

In addition, the additional Members listed below, Congressman Scott, Congressman Watt and Congressman Holt, request to sign on to our November 5 request.

We continue to receive additional reports every minute and will transmit additional information as it comes available. There is substantial concern that much of the primary evidence needed to evaluate these allegations will not be preserved without immediate action. We would greatly appreciate any steps you could take to ensure the preservation of this important information. Thank you for your prompt attention to this inquiry.

Sincerely,

John Conyers, Jr.

Ranking Member, House Judiciary Committee

Jerrold Nadler

Ranking Member, Subcommittee on the Constitution

Robert Wexler

Member of Congress

Robert C. Scott

Ranking Member Subcommittee on Crime Terrorism, and Homeland Security

Melvin Watt

Ranking Member, Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law

Rush Holt

Member of Congress

Likes The Coastal Post...

Since 1997 I've been a reader and now I'm reminded by your "Like the Coastal Post? Send a buck!"

It was for me an effective reminder so I got past my procrastination to send you this gift of six bucks in return for your gift of persistence in putting out this journalist.

For me you represent the vanguard of the folks who are willing to ask the hard questions and probe for the answers. Asking the right questions-the method of Socrates.

I feel prosperous enough to send you this now, because a couple of days ago I received a payment of $28 (through a PayPal account [email protected]) for a "packaged" chess lesson in the form of files I can send out without limitations of paper, ink or distribution costs.

An I am giving you this, Don, as a sample of the entrepreneurism for this new age-where success is measured by service delivered, and one is willing to be acknowledged by a payment of a fee in some form.

So, to wind this up, I am now delivering a copy of the November CP to a dear friend who is also an engineer with contracts with your government with an arrow to the article, "Gaza Sinks In A Sea Of Blood." I wrote a note on the paper: "John, I believe this article will interest you also. It is about what results after brilliantly engineered American 'systems' are put to use."

At the end of the article, page 13, I appended: "God's Will?"

We can only do what we see to do, moment to moment, to raise our own confidence and consciousness.

James Howell

Sonoma County

Scared Union

Want to see how a union suspended a member because his looks scared union staff? See how unaccountable members dues money was spent. Look at the union officials letter, saying "All" members letters between members is union property and the members cannot write each other on matters. See how they discriminated against a family member with a disability. See how they overstepped their bounds in non-union matters. See how the union does not guard the work gate. Look at 8,600 days of lost work by union members to non union. See, read and pass along: www.ascreenactorsgrief.com

Walter Schivo

Novato

Raise The Money Bar

Your publication is excellent and appeals to humane, compassionate, peace conscious, justice seekers. If you wish to generate more funding, I encourage you to raise your funding visions from asking $1 per person to visions of generating thousands of dollars.

Here are my ideas:

1) Hold an ongoing raffle-solicit local establishments, readers and advertisers for professional services and goods (am maintaining a 75 lb. weight loss without dieting for 20 years now and offer workshops. (www.nomoreweighting.com) and would offer a service as a raffle contribution); 2) solicit book stores for politically relevant books; (3) ask for "Coastal Angel Sponsors" for $250, $500, $1,000, $5,000 individual or company donations; (4) seek in-kind professional advice from a marketing or PR specialist to create a marketing plan; (5) create a community or advisory board to brainstorm development ideas; (6) hold a silent auction or hold a fundraiser show for local artists (to sell reasonably priced work which the average Jane and Joe can afford), work out a deal with the artists-artists gain exposure, wine and cheese can likely be donated; 7)offer a prize for a story with a small entrance fee; 8) have a table at pertinent local events and offer a donated gift basket for a $1 raffle and ask for subscriptions for $12, it is quite a value to me to have your paper delivered to my door.

I did not see any information in your paper regarding advertising rates aside from the little print indicating that deadlines are the 20th of the month. If you want to encourage people to advertise, it is important to make this information easily accessible. Perhaps I missed it.

Perhaps this letter will also generate some contributions or creative fundraising ideas from your other appreciative readers.

Gena Galenski

Mill Valley

More Democracy Needed At Audubon Canyon Ranch

On Friday November 12, I traveled to Bolinas Lagoon Preserve (commonly known as Audubon Canyon Ranch, ACR) for my scheduled volunteer commitment to help guide children visiting from Marin Country Day School. I've served as a volunteer nature guide (docent) at the preserve since 1999. When I pulled into the entrance around 10 am, I saw a sheriff's deputy's car pulling out.

After I parked, put on my backpack and started walking over to greet my fellow docents, ACR executive director Skip Schwartz bolted out of an adjacent building and told me, "You're no longer a volunteer -- you're trespassing on the premises. If you don't get out, I'll call the police to remove you." I argued with Skip for several minutes, pointing out that he and his management cronies had subjected me to an unfair disciplinary process. The squad car returned, an armed policeman got out and told me to leave, or else he'd arrest me. I protested that I was a long-time volunteer at the preserve, and asked what legal basis there was for removing me. The officer said: "This is private property, and he's the boss" (referring to Schwartz).

This incident stemmed from the ACR bureaucrats' hostile response to a document I wrote and circulated to the group's over 600 volunteers and 14 paid staff members, titled "ACR needs democratic renewal." (ACR is a non-profit organization that encompasses three nature preserves, including Bolinas Lagoon Preserve). In the document, I criticized the ACR directors for their ecological mismanagement (by neglect) of the preserves, their lack of transparency, and their lack of accountability to the volunteers who make up the vast majority of the organization.

At Bolinas Lagoon Preserve, Douglas-fir trees have invaded the chaparral (coastal scrubland), a trend noticeable for well over a decade. West Marin in general is becoming woodier and woodier, as Doug-firs encroach into the chaparral and coyote bushes encroach into grasslands. Human suppression of natural fire cycles has facilitated this "natural" development of growing domination by woody plants. The woody trend probably reduces biodiversity and increases the danger of an eventual fire raging out of control.

The ACR bureaucrats have failed to tackle this problem head-on; they have not focused any systematic research efforts to study the competition between Doug-firs and chaparral plants, nor have they developed a plan to stem the Doug-fir invasion. Worse still, they have not even informed the ACR volunteers that the problem exists-even though most of the volunteers have the responsibility to inform and educate children and the general public about ecological aspects of the preserve.

Instead of responding to my critique, the ACR bureaucrats mobilized their elaborate machinery of repression against me. Four days after I issued my document, an unnamed ACR volunteer filed a grievance against me, claiming I had violated the organization's confidentiality and disrespected staff members in my document. Two days later, executive director Skip Schwartz sent me official notice of the grievance and summoned me to a meeting of the "grievance resolution panel" to be presided over by four individuals-including the ACR education director and associate director, members of the ruling clique whose policies I had criticized in my document.

When I attended the "grievance resolution" meeting in Mill Valley on Nov. 9, ACR associate director John Petersen presided and acted like a prosecuting attorney, insisting I had violated a rule that volunteers must "demonstrate a respectful, flexible and confident presence working with volunteers, staff and visitors." At the start of the meeting, I asked the panelists: "What's the presumption here: Am I presumed innocent until proven guilty, or guilty until proven innocent?" They brushed that question aside by saying, "This is not a court of law." I protested the unfairness of the process, pointing out that Petersen had a conflict of interest, and that the panelists had given me no right to confront and cross-examine my accuser. The next day, Dan Murphy, ACR board-of-directors president who had served as a panelist, called me and said: "We decided to suspend your participation as a docent...while we work on resolving the dispute."

Skip Schwartz and his executive colleagues, with their repressive response to my exercise of free speech, have exposed themselves as run of-the-mill corporate tyrants. They could not long survive in office if ACR were structured as a democratic, self-governing organization.

Daniel Jacobs

Marin County

Red States, Blue States

Even though I live in a Red state, New Mexico, (voter fraud not withstanding) I would like to propose a solution to these right-wing bigots who are trying to shove their neo-Nazi agenda down our throats. VOTE WITH YOUR MONEY! I say do not visit Red States as a tourist or purchase any products that are made there. This a tactic that the American Taliban (Christian Right) has used for some time. I remember an example a few years back when the Right was upset with Disney. Pastors urged their flock not to travel to Disney World or purchase products from Disney. Well, we, the opposition, should do the same. If 52 million people refuse to buy products from or travel to RED States as tourists or visitors this is a message that business can understand. Corporate America will not stand for this and the power elite in business will force a change.

I would be strongly interested in participating or organizing a movement such as this. Is anybody with me?

Avery Causey

Rio Rancho, New Mexico

No Mountain Bikes

No amount of money can replace or compensate for natural areas and wildlife habitat destroyed by the Olympics, such as the mountain biking area proposed for Staten Island. We are long past a time when the Olympics was environmentally benign, if it EVER was. Mountain biking, for example, accelerates erosion, creates V-shaped ruts, kills small animals and plants, and drives wildlife and other park users out of the parks. That's to say nothing of all the air- and other motorized travel required to get the athletes and spectators to the venue. It's time to start boycotting this childish spectacle, and replace it with something that will actually BENEFIT the environment and the cause of peace.

Mike Vandeman

Hayward

PS I am working on creating wildlife habitat that is off-limits to humans ("pure habitat"). Want to help? (I spent the previous 8 years fighting auto dependence and road construction.)

http://home.pacbell.net/mjvande

Why did the exit polls show Kerry winning the election, but the vote

showed Bush winning?

The apologia by the exit poll system architects reported in the New York Times Nov. 5 sounds like post-facto reasoning which assumed that the vote is correct, and therefore the exit polls must be wrong. In its own words, it then "theorized" reasons why the exit poll could have been wrong.

Why did these problems occur now and not in previous elections? Didn't the poll architects plan for them? The wrong-exit-poll theories should be tested. At the polls where the reasons occurred, how are the results different from the vote at those polls? If those results are thrown out, do the remaining results still show a difference between the exit poll and the vote, at that polling station?

'"The last wave of national exit polls we received, along with many other subscribers, showed Kerry winning the popular vote by 51 percent to 48 percent, if true, surely enough to carry the Electoral College,'' Steve Coll, managing editor of The Washington Post, wrote in an online chat with readers Wednesday.' Assuming that the "last" exit poll covered the last voters, then the last exit poll should have been very accurate if there were sufficient numbers.

It's very scary to think that George Bush & co. created or suppressed 4,000,000 or more American votes. It implies widespread conspiracy, and also implies that many other close races have been fraudulently won by Republicans. Is it a coincidence that Walden O'Dell, CEO of Diebold, the maker of electronic voting machines, told Republicans in a recent fund-raising letter that he is "committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the president next year."

It cannot be assumed that the vote is correct and the exit polls flawed when the leadership of the US and the world is at stake.

This has to be investigated in a non-partisan manner.

tOM Trottier

Canada

"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little

temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."

-- Benjamin Franklin

 

Alternatives

Composting toilet

It is a "dry" toilet that creates odorless humus that will go directly into your garden. It can nearly eliminate the need for a septic, just a grey water system, technically. The only other sources that need a septic are the kitchen sink and the clothes washer if baby's diapers are washed. There are large models that sit under the house and can be fed by "low flow" toilets, the manufactures have special toilets that flush with one pint of water, (kind of hard to believe). The problem with composting toilets is that county building codes usually do not count the number of toilets feeding a septic to determine the type or size of the septic. Some counties count the bathrooms, some count the bedrooms some just count the number of residents that can live in the home some even use the square footage of the house. I have searched the Web and found that there is no consistency across the US on how the size of a septic system is determined. Also I did not find any areas that consider the fact that the house uses composting toilets so there is no toilet feeding into the septic!

I do not know whether this is an oversight or some way to control building. Composting toilets have been around for decades. This "oversight" needs to be changed. Nothing is ever been mentioned about composting toilets by the supervisors when the county is expressing its concern for the old leaking septic systems in West Marin. If all the homes had composting toilets the bacteria count in Lagunitas creek from homes would be drastically lowered, and they cost around $1000 far less than the $40,000 for a dome septic. I have no doubt that Marin County does not change this policy so that they can control the West Marin building. Composting toilets are proven to be clean and are not a health hazard, despite what some counties or health departments claim. I believe that this claim is also simply trying to prevent their use to control new building.

Advantages: saves water, creates a rich humus, does not use the septic system or add to the treatment

plant.

Electric Stoves

These are fairly "new." They range from $200 to over $1000. The smaller ones only are about a thousand watts, enough to heat a small room. The stoves about $500 and over are said to provide heat for a 10 by 15 room. They look like wood stoves and are said to have a convincing looking fire. They do not need venting so no heat is lost. I do not know how efficient they are. But they probably are similar to an equivalent space heater. They have fireplace inserts so you can use your fireplace, but with electric. There also are kits that you can convert a gas or wood stove to electric. They use thermostats and also come with remote controls and some even come with sound effects.

The advantage of an electric fire place over an electric space heater is that it takes the place of your old woodstove or fireplace; of course you still have the atmosphere of a wood stove.

With the electric power prices flexing going electric it could be a "risk", but propane and oil prices are only going to rise since oil is not a renewable source, (oil is what propane is made from). The world oil is running out and it is said will last less than 30 years by independent sources I have read, not the oil companies or the US. Firewood is "renewable" but creates pollution; firewood is usually taken from fallen or dead trees.

Electric radiant heat

Heat is created by mats installed under your floor, fastened up to the sub floor from underneath. They can be installed under tile in the bathroom. Some manufactures claim that theirs can heat up homes and some say theirs are for floor heating

The advantage of electric radian heat is that each room is wired separately in zones so each room has a thermostat. They are safe for children and give them warm floors. Also for those with allergies you eliminate the moving air of a heating system.

Tankless or instant hot water heaters

We have a one made in France. It uses propane and about 1/4 the gas of a standard tank hot water heater. They are expensive (ours was $700) but can always be repaired. What usually causes a tank hot water tank to die is the rust sediment in the tank. The electric tankless hot water heater mounts on the wall and is about the size and weight of a PC, the gas one is a little larger and heavier. "Point of use" electric hot water heaters would mount under the sink. If a home was built with these hot water heaters in mind there would be less piping since the heaters would be located where they are needed.

Advantages: Never run out of hot water! Small, light and mounts on the wall. They do not have the limited life of a tank hot water heater.

Very efficient you only heat water when you need it. Saves water. Heats the water where you needed it so you do not have to wait for the hot water.

Solar panels

I attended a conference at Solar Depot a year ago. I am a licensed electrician and was interested in installing solar panels in homes and businesses. It costs about $18,000 to do the average home, with about 20 panels. You get back about $8,000 from rebates and government credits. The rebates are getting smaller every year and will be eliminated in about 5 years. Solar Depot will arrange a mortgage broker to put the cost on a 2nd mortgage so you can deduct the interest and have a fixed monthly "energy bill." Because of the "deal" with PG&E on the California deregulation, the extra power is fed back into the grid, running your electric meter backwards! If on the average, you are generating more power than using, PG&E will bill you once a year. If at the end of the year you generated more power than used they will give you a check! One catch, you can not get more than $100 a year, that was also part of the deal. If you also have an electric car then you are driving for free! The advantages are obvious. Contrary to what the US Vice President said, energy independence is possible. It is that certain industries do not want alternative energy encouraged or even mentioned. So instead of keeping the solar rebates and encouraging alternative energy, the US is going to drill for oil in protected wilderness and allow more nuclear reactors to be built.

Electric cars

Gasoline engines have hundreds of moving parts; electric motors have a fraction of that. An electric motor will last considerably longer than a gasoline engine and is easier and less expensive to repair, requiring a fraction of the maintenance. Electric motors, when worn out would be simpler and less expensive to replace making purchasing a new car every 5 years unnecessary. Most people replace their car because of either problems with the engine or because they want to get rid of it before it has problems.

The oil, auto industries, repair and auto parts industry and labor organizations hate electric cars because if most people had them they would lose most of their current income. These are a lot of powerful enemies for the electric car industry to fight. That is why the US "push" for hydrogen cars. The hydrogen would be made from oil and from what I read would pollute more in the making of it then burning gasoline in cars! However it would still support the previous supporters of gasoline cars. One little tidbit of information, US companies wanted to get together with Europe in developing a hydrogen car. I read in the paper that Europe refused because US would make the hydrogen from oil and Europe wanted it to be made from non oil sources!

Advantages: no tune-ups, oil changes or coolant; no smog checks, longer life, they are quiet; No pollution; less maintenance.

Electric blowers, lawn mowers and chain saws, electric bikes etc.

I have a 16" 3 hp electric chain saw that will do anything a 3 hp gas one will do, within the limits of a power cord. Some have said that they are only for trimming, not so. I have cut 2 to 3 foot logs and stumps with no problem. The electric chain was smaller and lighter. Cordless and corded electric blowers, trimmers and lawn mowers are improving. Most electric lawn mowers I found are corded. I could not find seated electric lawn mowers.

Am I suggesting there is an energy conspiracy? Of course not! Why would the US Government and US corporations knowingly pollute, kill the oceans, deforest causing droughts and floods, cause the ozone to be depleted, create global warming and use up the last of the oil and coal, while wiping out millions of plant and animal species just for profit, when there were always alternatives? What a paranoid suggestion!

Sincerely

Kevin West

Forest Knolls

So Many Opportunities

Chill out! So what if the dark shadowy forces stole another election and the presidency again. How are you going to prove it? These are heavyweights.

Move on! Thanksgiving is coming and America has so much to be thankful for.

Let the past be just that; it only exists now, in your mind anyway. There are so many suspect areas in this administration that you won't have an idle moment for the next four years.

End Of Hate

Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins of the "Left Behind" series, (woe to you if you are not one of the fundamentalist and evangelical born again crowd), say that we are teetering on the precipice of death, destruction and burning in hell. Have you joined this group hateful and spiteful hypocrites who are castigating gays and abortion providers to secure a safe haven in heaven? Do you believe in President Bush's pontifications saying Saddam and 9/11 were connected? You need all the odds you can get.

It is hard to reconcile this end times message with Jesus' teaching of love and life. The Lord of Love preaches about caring, sharing, love, not hate, separation and destruction as do these end time doomsayers and purveyors. We can look forward to end times, but, it will be the end of hate and ignorance and religious dogma.

Ron Lowe

Nevada City

 

Great Christmas Gift For Elderly

A great Christmas present for the elderly would be an unbreakable magnifying glass.

This glass is round, about one inch high, smooth on the bottom and with part of a ball on top. (There is no writing on it, so the manufacturer is unknown.)

It is excellent for reading the telephone book and the fine print of package inserts with prescription drugs. It slides along the paper very easily.

We inherited one when my wife's elderly aunt died recently.

Charles L. Smith,

age 79,

information expediter

Berkeley

Kill The Earmarks

Once again our reprehensibles in both houses of Congress-GOP and Demo alike-in blind and total disregard of current economic circumstances, have outdone themselves, this year proposing to steal from taxpayers the all-time high of $16 billion of their all-time high of 14,000 "earmarks"-those wholly unnecessary handout gifts to their constituencies, given to pad their own political resumes in preparation for their next election.

What we desperately need is the presidential line item veto.

President Bush should refuse to sign the budget until it has been deporked by the joint House-Senate conference committee.

Fielding Greaves

Secretary, MUTA

(Marin United Taxpayers Association)

San Rafael

Moral Values? Don't Think So

"Moral values"? Which "moral values"? I for one am getting sick and tired of the so-called "liberal" media repeating the absurd contention that people voted for Bush because of his supposed "moral values." Just what exactly are these moral values? Are they the values of helping the poor, weak, sick, elderly, and needy in our own society and abroad? The rights of workers to fair treatment, safe working conditions, and decent pay? Protection of the environment for the health of present and future Americans? Concern for basic freedoms and civil rights for all Americans? Tolerance for those who are different from you? Honesty, integrity, and compassion? These are MY moral values, moral values I share with many liberals.

It is because of THESE moral values that I and millions of other Americans enthusiastically supported John Kerry for President. Bush has turned a deaf ear and a blind eye to them, publicly supporting these values and then turning around and undermining the policies that support them at every opportunity. Please stop calling Bush's values "moral" values. They are nothing of the kind. They are the values of a coalition of sanctimonious, hypocritical fundamentalist Christians and the radical right. These values have nothing to do with moral values nor the principles upon which this nation was founded, and the people who espouse them are not patriots but treacherous betrayers of everything that makes this nation great.

Valerie Sacks

Los Angeles

No Kidding?

The victory of President Bush in the recently concluded presidential election confirms what most political pundits have known all along-that Democracy has been replaced by Oligarchy in this great country of ours. The two party system we have, representing the people (Democrats) and capital (Republicans) are divided in principle only but are essentially operating as one. The Republicans (capital) have however, totally taken over control and are currently calling all the shots. Our elections have turned into a big joke and their exercise-an expensive charade These are clear signs of Democracy's demise.

We are still patting ourselves on the back over the alleged success of Democracy for having defeated Communism in the world's political arena. The communists are however still communists. They have not embraced Democracy as a form of government. The victory we are celebrating, in fact, is the victory of capitalism over communism. Russia and China are still communist societies, but the lure of capitalistic material gains have somehow opened in these bastions of Communism, windows for compromise. Capitalism is such a powerful force that if and ever it is challenged by another ideology, such as, for instance, the power of the people in a democracy, it always prevails.

If capitalism was able to vanquish communism, why would it not be able to do the same with Democracy? And when it does, Democracy changes to Oligarchy, where a wealthy few-not the majority, rules. With this in mind, we can now understand why our own popular governor is calling the Democrats, "losers." His being a Republican governor in a decidedly Democratic state, proves his point. It is indeed a sad state of affairs, but what makes it worse is that the American people do not seem to know what is going on. If the Russians and the Chinese can take it in their stride, we Americans, should too. They are not kidding themselves-neither should we.

Antonio R. Serna

Rohnert Park

Throwing In The Towel

I GIVE UP. I no longer wish to be an outsider as a liberal person desiring to promote those issues that will benefit society at large. President Bush's re-selection has convinced me in giving up these worthy goals for those valued by so many in the RED STATES.

It will be difficult at first to embrace Bush's agenda but I admit it is the only way to overcome the despondency here in the BLUE STATES. We will give up our tolerance of others' views that challenge tradition and established institutions.

We will join Bush now in coaxing Congress to cut taxes for the top 1% despite it adding almost 1/2 trillion dollars annually to the national debt. The next generation can pay the $300 billion annual interest to the fiddler while we dance.

We will also abandon our morals for that of Bush's and those living in the RED STATES in order to support his war with Iraq although it is very uncomfortable to watch on TV the maimed and wounded American soldiers and Iraqi civilians writhe in pain from their suffering.

By joining Bush's crusade and supporting his agenda I feel that we too will be FREE AT LAST from our futile journey in trying to help those less fortunate than ourselves.

We too will do the END ZONE DANCE and live happily ever after, ignoring the war and down trodden. We too will gather happily around the fireplace with our loving families like the Bushes and Cheneys, basking in the glow from the comfort and warmth of the fire.

I realize now how lucky we are to have them both chosen by God to be our protector in this time of terror.

David A. Whelan

Forest Knolls

Proving The Point

Ohh, really? Bush won the 2004 election by 3%? Isn't that just too close to be credible? How gullible are we?

Okay, let's prove the point.

Just weeks prior to the election, Ohio's governor asks for a recall of voter registrations. Apparently, Ohio is above the law, even if the State Government itself is guilty. That is, of printing out voter registrations on paper which does not meet the specifications of the US Constitution. According to the legal penmanship of 200 years ago (and now outdated by the same two centuries), the paper was the wrong thickness. Hmmmm. Sounds fishy to me. Sort of like a pre-planned event. Who organized this?

Then, Kerry e-mails us to let us know that, when driving through Ohio, he was mobbed by crowds of 20,000 people-in fact, possibly the largest turn-out known in presidential election history. Yet, we are told that the votes in Ohio were just slightly less than the margin needed to tip the scales in Kerry's direction. Hmmm, again.

Isn't it a bit odd, that Florida was fudged (given its large number of electoral votes) and now, the same thing happens in Ohio (ditto) ? Doesn't that seem a bit suspicious to us? If not to make an accusation, isn't it at least reasonable to assert that there needs to be an investigation?

With trade secret computer codes marketed by each election machine manufacturer, as read by a precious few computer programmers in our country, voting secrecy is guaranteed. If we, the people, cannot read the computerized numbers, in plain numerical language... if the whopping majority of computer programmers in the country, themselves cannot read the trade secret codes.... if in fact, only a very small-a minuscule-handful of programmers CAN read the computerized election figures... then why do we, the people, so quickly and easily believe that it was indeed we, the people, who really did vote Bush into office?

Doesn't this computerized election system defeat its own purpose, need to be replaced with something better and, above all, more trustworthy? Ahhhh then, my friends, isn't the very purpose of polls intended to rig the election itself? That is, to enter figures to the top-secret computers, which closely resemble the polled percentages?? Ohh ho, we need to be suspicious of that, too. Especially when the figures outstrip an opponent by a close 3%. Highly suspicious, indeed. But alas, we cannot prove it. Such is the computerized straitjacket we so willingly-gleefully, in the name of modern efficiency-fit ourselves into.

I suggest strongly, that there needs to be an investigation into the Ohio mess. It is right under our noses--and we sit back quietly, complaining! Oooh no, my friends, we are not powerless. We, the people, have the power to step forward, and demand that such an investigation take place. Please write your Congressman, your representative, editorial boards, political groups, and demand that there be an investigation. Group pressure works. There is a strength in numbers when we, the people, stand united!

Drina Brooke

Novato, California

IRS Focus On NAACP?

So now the IRS is focusing it's attention on The NAACP after a speech by it's chair, Julian Bond who denounced GWBush's policies. It stated in it's letter to the organization that "Tax exempt organizations are legally barred from supporting or opposing any candidate for elective office". Strange-have they been to any Evangelical churches in the south lately?

Meg Brizzolara

San Quentin Village

 

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