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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

July, 2006

 

letters by readers

Don't Blame Bush
A lot of people are saying that the 24 civilians killed in the Haditha cover up is the worst scandal of the Bush presidency. People are saying this one is worse than Abu Ghraib. I don't agree. This scandal isn't really Bush's fault. In contrast Abu Ghraib was an operation that had it's roots at the top. Bush wanted people tortured, but not murdered. In fact, I think there are a number of scandals that are worse than Haditha.
For example, the secret offshore prison scandal is far worse because it's something that Bush was involved with. The same is true for other failures like the trade deficit, the failed Medicare drug program, the $9 trillion debt, the high price of gas, 2,500 dead soldiers, hurricane Karina, the failed wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, his failed Social Security plan, the two stolen elections, immigration issues, troops on the border with Mexico, outsourcing jobs, high interest rates, insurgents, terrorism, the election of Hammas, bankruptcies, America's damaged reputation, NSA spying, CIA leaks, Halliburton, Stem Cells, drilling in Alaska, Mission Accomplished, no WMDs, Gitmo, 9-11, Osama bin Laden still free, tax cuts for the rich, FEMA, the high price of housing, Harriet Woods, all children left behind, record oil company profits, the nuclear crisis in Korean and Iran, and turning peace and prosperity into war and poverty.
Bush can't be blamed for everything. I say that global warming, bird flu, Cheney shooting, and Haditha are not his fault. Let's not blame Bush for the things he had nothing to do with.
Marc Perkel
San Francisco

All Taxpayers Deserve A Break
Dear Editor: The taxpayers of California deserve real tax reform, no matter who we are or where we're from! Can you imagine no more federal income taxes or April 15th deadline? Can real tax reforms actually happen? You bet they can! Just think of government keeping hands off your investment income! No more taxes on interest, dividends and capital gains. In fact, no more payroll tax, individual income tax, Social Security tax, Medicare tax, alternative minimum tax, estate tax, gift tax, self-employment tax, and corporate and business income tax. It is called the Fair Tax Bill (H.R.25 & S.25), a broadly supported legislation now before both houses of Congress. Questions can be answered by visiting www.fairtax.org. Also, "The FairTax Book" should be available at local bookstores or via the internet. I urge taxpayers to write their congressman and senators requesting their support for the Fair Tax Bill. It takes real people-power to encourage Congress to make the Fair Tax Bill a federal law and a reality!
Robert J. Ransom, Jr., ChFC
Chartered Financial Consultant (Retired)
Petaluma

Wrong Way To Save Fish
Statement from Lee Crockett, Executive Director of the Marine Fish Conservation Network on the Mark-Up of "The American Fisheries Management and Marine Life Enhancement Act," H.R. 5018
When it comes to preventing overfishing and rebuilding depleted fish populations, US Representative Richard Pombo is heading in the wrong direction. Rep. Pombo's bill does not include measures to hold fishermen accountable if they exceed their annual catch limits. Without such accountability measures, catch limits are far less effective in preventing overfishing of our marine fish in US federal ocean waters. His bill also creates several loopholes for allowing fishery managers to extend rebuilding timelines on already overfished populations. Allowing fish populations to slide further downhill instead of restoring them to healthy levels as quickly as possible ultimately jeopardizes the livelihoods of fishermen and the fishing communities in which they live.
Additionally, his bill exempts federal fishery management from compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act, which ensures that fisheries managers consider a broad list of alternatives and that the public has an opportunity to weigh in on management decisions. The bill also does not ensure that members of the public have greater representation on the regional fishery management councils, and Rep. Pombo does not take any initiative to create a funding source, such as a trust fund, to finance crucial fisheries research and data collection. Finally, the bill's provisions to privatize publicly-owned marine resources do not contain safeguards to ensure healthy fish populations or fishing communities. Without such safeguards, America's fish populations and family fishermen may become the next victims of global privatization.
At today's meeting, Rep. Pombo made some minor improvements to his original bill, but not enough to turn this bill around. The Network is looking for true ocean champions in the House to oppose this bill's harmful provisions and to offer an alternative that better protects the future of America's oceans and fishing communities around the country.
The Marine Fish Conservation Network is a coalition of more than 175 national and regional environmental organizations, commercial and recreational fishing groups, aquariums, and marine science groups dedicated to conserving marine fish and to promoting their long-term sustainability. For more information, please visit www.conservefish.org.
Tony DeFalco
West Coast Organizer
Marine Fish Conservation Network
[email protected]
www.conservefish.org
The Marine Fish Conservation Network is coalition of 175 conservation groups, commercial and recreational fishing associations and marine science organization dedicated to the long-term sustainability of marine fish populations.

Hey, A Miracle Would Be Nice Right About Now; Wouldn't It!?
Beautifully stated.
As we grow up, we learn that even the one person that wasn't supposed to ever let you down probably will. You will have your heart broken probably more than once and it's harder every time. You'll break hearts too, so remember how it felt when yours was broken. You'll fight with your best friend. You'll blame a new love for things an old one did.
You'll cry because time is passing too fast, and you'll eventually lose someone you love. So take too many pictures, laugh too much, and love like you've never been hurt because every sixty seconds you spend upset is a minute of happiness you'll never get back. So send this to all of your friends (and me) in the next 5 minutes and a miracle will happen tonight
Don't be afraid that your life will end, be afraid that it will never begin.
anonymous
submitted by Emmeline Craig

Bring 'Em Home-Now!
American troops are more than targets for Iraqi insurgents-their very presence encourages ever-escalating violence and civil war. Remember the definition of insanity? Continue to repeat the same action believing the outcome next time will be different.
After three years of death and destruction, the lunatics want to "stay the course" with no plan to end the madness in Iraq and Afghanistan-which is spreading like wildfire all over the world. Had enough? Tell your congressional representative and your senators. And vote to replace Republocrats November 7th!
Eileen Siedman
Mill Valley

Bush Throws A Bone
By designating the archipelago northwest of Hawaii as a national monument in an election year, the Bush team throws another bone to appease concerns regarding their destructive environmental betrayals. These tiny remote islands have already been protected for years, and have no apparent commercial value except for a few fisherman.

Unfortunately such diversion tactics have enabled this arrogant and unlearned president, and his supporters, to block essential environmental reforms while and manipulating science.
These unprecedented tactics have already damaged our planet beyond measure--with only token interference from a negligent legislature and apathetic citizenry.

Robert Settgast
San Rafael

The Rise of Corporate Fascism
In 1960, in Florence, Italy, I had the opportunity to interview a man who had been the Minister of Education for Mussolini during WWII. Barred from holding any further political office after the war, he was making a living as a shoemaker. The interview took place because an Italian doctor who had been treating my wife discovered that I had studied John Dewey's philosophy at university.

The former education minister had also studied John Dewey, although under John Dewey himself at Columbia University. I then discovered how American pragmatism made its way to Italy to serve the fascist cause. I was told that Italian fascism was just an attempt to put Dewey's ideas into practice, not only in education, but also in the relationship between corporations and the state. That's all fascism is, I was told; government working hand in hand with big business to rule the country more efficiently. At the time I marveled at how Dewey's political philosophy, with its emphasis on human liberty and the scientific method, could have been twisted into such a shape; but now I can see how this has actually come to pass in our own country.

More and more frequently, corporations in the United States, in concert with our government and our legal system, have been negatively affecting our lives. Not only can they contribute large amounts to political candidates who will support legislation they favor, but they can influence public opinion with false advertising, prevent environmental agencies from monitoring safety hazards, quash being retried in criminal cases, invalidate Federal regulations, and amass great quantities of wealth without working for it.

Thomas Hobbes wrote of that great Leviathan, the State, having absolute control over the individual. Our Constitution demurred in saying that "We the People" controlled our government. But now Leviathan seems to have spawned other great beasts that vie with us for control. And, since these beasts are more powerful than mere human individuals, they have put "We the People" at a disadvantage. Mussolini's dream of corporate fascism seems to be taking shape on our own shores.

How did this happen? It goes back to an obscure Supreme Court ruling in 1886 that seemed to assume that corporations are persons. In 1889 another justice cited the 1886 ruling as definitive, and declared the personhood of corporations. It is on this tenuous basis that corporations have now been demanding rights under the Constitution that are reserved for living, flesh-and-blood people.

They can get away with false advertising by claiming First Amendment rights. They can wriggle out of criminal cases by citing the Fifth Amendment. They can block investigations of their environmental practices by citing Fourth Amendment protections of privacy. In short, they can use Constitutional protections that were designed for human individuals to further their own ends; and these ends are amoral ends, not designed for the public good, but for the further wealth and power of the corporation itself.

On the face of it, the notion that corporations are people is absurd. Nowhere in the Constitution does it say corporations are persons. Our Bill of Rights was fashioned out of a concern for human dignity, liberty, and equality. Corporations, being artificial contrivances, are not fit entities for the granting of such rights. To say that they are is a case of colossal judicial activism. What is needed to stop this modern-day march of corporate fascism in its tracks is a presumption that people take precedence over corporations. Our Supreme Court could take a stand on the next case in which a corporation, speaking through its attorneys, pleads a human right and say, "Your client is not a person, and so it has no standing in our court." That would settle their hash.

Leonard S. Carrier
Asheville, NC

Thanks For "The Screaming Mute"
Thank you so much for the wonderful article: DEPLETED URANIUM: THE SCREAMING MUTE By Marie Siegenthaler June, 2006.

Shamefully, our Australian Government is also participating in this horror and many of us have been trying to make the issue more well-known.

One of Australia's top documentary makers has produced BLOWIN' IN THE WIND which is a most powerful film and subsequently almost impossible to get shown on Australian ABC or SBS TV.

He has been reduced to farming it out to Green and other activist groups where DVDs are sold for $20A. I'm sure your community would find this film amazing.


You could contact these guys as follows:

David Bradbury and Frontline Films
Wilsons Creek Rd Wilsons Creek
NSW Australia 2482
Telephone: +61 2 6684 0015 Fax: +612 6684 0015

Frontline Film Foundation: +61 2 9533 3379

[email protected]
www.frontlinefilms.com.au
Contact Peter Scott and B#SHARP Productions

B#Sharp Productions PO Box 722 Byron Bay 2481 Australia.

Carlo

Essential Immigration Reform Measures
Our immigration problems can never be resolved until we override politics and stop ignoring their root causes--which are the unsuitable conditions in their home countries that drive them here. They can only worsen, hence fueling more incentives for illegal immigration unless, some essential mitigation measures are taken.

In view of this, we should provide economic assistance to home countries that is not influenced by special interests as was NAFTA, but instead directed toward sound long term and environmental policies. This technique was used with success by the European Union when they admitted ten lessor developed countries.

This cannot be achieved without unimpaired assistance for family planning and women's education in the home countries--despite the unconscionable opposition from this administration and their radical religious right

supporters.
Otherwise the high birth rates, which drain their economies, and are the driving force for illegal immigration as well as poverty and related problems, can only worsen.

Other necessary internal measures include:

¥ Requiring all employers here to retain withholding tax, and pay workmen's comp and full health coverage for all aliens. Impose severe fines on violators. They now benefit from low wages while passing health and social costs to the general populace.

¥ Halting citizenship for offspring of illegal aliens born in the USA, which many abuse to obtain residence. This not only encourages illegal immigration, but also augments their already unsustainable birth rates and resulting drain on our economy and health services. Our 14th constitutional amendment was added to assure citizenship rights to freed slaves, not illegal aliens which were then not an issue--hence this measure would not violate our constitution.

¥ Increasing our minimum wage so all Americans can enjoy decent living standards with jobs that are now being held by illegals.

¥ Deporting all aliens in our prisons to their home countries, even if this requires our financial assistance to incarcerate them there.

¥ Disallowing aliens from bringing family members here to receive free social security and medical benefits, especially when many have adequate financial means to pay. If they are already here, we should send them home for treatment--even if this requires our financial assistance there.

Robert Settgast
San Rafael

We Were All Trained To Kill
I just read his article here on your pages while looking for a stance on Veteran's Benefits (if any)? His accounting of the war or wars is accurate. We were all trained to kill, and take it personally when one of your own got killed.

You can not make a man a killer then just say, OK now you're out and back to normal. This is PTSD, easy to understand by anyone, if told about it. My intention was not to come here and tell you about all the atrocities we Veterans did, but I did things that nobody would believe, and if we did those same things now in the women wars we have, we would all be condemned murderers.

You can not blame a soldier for being a bad mother fucker! And people should know not to mess with these people because they fear nothing!

I am registered Republican, and think Arnold is doing well and has good intentions. But they are few, and I personally want better treatment of Veterans and facilities added to the list of anyone I support.

Arnold will win, and I will vote for him just because he is obviously using the input from the people as his agendas. Gray Davis was a disgrace equal to Bill Clinton or Carter! I never heard of such a negative slugfest as the last California Governor's Democratic race! The main reason Arnold won, was because he was well known. Phil's big win for the Democratic candidate was all negative shit! They were both stupid! Nobody!!! gives a shit about a disabled veteran that can't get the VA to give him a ride to the VA for critical care! That is me!

Regards:
Mac Maynard Jr.
(Veteran Activist above all)

Al-Zarqawi's Death
Regarding the death of Al-Zarqawi, I keep an open mind whether or not an alleged terrorist actually is as accused. Because of the Patriot Act, lacking burden of proof or access to a judge, it is entirely possible that the Administration is simply dubbing an individual as "terrorist" and going on a masquerade to "prove" to the American public that they really are effectively fighting "the war on terror" (otherwise known as the war OF terror).

At the same time, I believe the threat of terrorism is real. And I heartily disagree with people who assert that if we had not done such-and-such (like illegally invade Iraq, which I agree is heinous!) that the terrorists would not have gone on their spree of decapitating American soldiers. In so stating, we are almost backing the designs of evil-minded people. Acts of terrorism are NEVER to be excused.

The same statement holds true for the terrorist acts of this Administration and for the members of Congress who have backed it. Voting for the Patriot Act twice in a row, Congress is actively participating in the conversion of America to a fascist country, randomly and criminally dubbing innocent Americans as terrorists. Lacking due process or burden of proof, I suggest that Americans NEVER assume that just because somebody's photograph appears in a newspaper, is proof of their terrorist status. It COULD be just a smear campaign, supporting the Government's own acts of terrorism against innocents dubbed as terrorists. And that dynamic will NOT stop with "terrorists" alone. It WILL affect Us, the People. Aren't we a bit thick not to realize that?

We've got to get up and shout. We've got to get the Patriot Act overturned. Sometimes, the greatest evils are committed by the silence of good people.

Drina Brooke
Novato

Just A Handful of Nuts In San Anselmo
That is all that is needed to continue to build a community of strong-willed and thoughtful advocates for fiscal responsibility and government integrity.

Where is this utopia being developed?

San Anselmo, a small town north of San Francisco and just south of fiscal ruin due to a defined-benefit pension plan run amuck and inferior town management

Each community has some but needs to have more people that will look independently at the operations of policy makers and local government officials.

The future of the community in which you live is directed by the course of actions mandated by the Town Council.

JUST A HANDFUL Of what?
Nuts. What? Nuts. The Town Council has referred to these people as nuts. Nuts are what San Anselmo needs.

A Handful of Nuts Willing To:
¥ Protect the San Anselmo Avenue Business District from the establishment of a Redevelopment Agency

¥ Protect the Red Hill Shopping Center from a future flooding threat

¥ Protect the Red Hill Shopping Center from future traffic trespass

¥ Protect the residential districts from impact of bad planning decisions

¥ Protect the property owners from money raids by the Town through additional fees, taxes, and other costly monetary extractions

¥ Protect and defend free-speech
¥ Demand timely and accurate local government agency information is presented in a manner that does not restrict public review and public revision.

¥ Define the scope of other issues that will negatively impact our community, its residents, business owners, and those traveling through.

A Handful of Nuts may not enough.
Good thing for the community of San Anselmo that nuts grow on trees.

The Town Council is looking for a citizen group to direct a future tax measure since the Council's grassroots effort for Measure B failed in 2005.

It is good measure of Council leadership when they pose directions for action. Too bad the San Anselmo Town Council only has the leadership skills to work in one direction.

Louise L. Mathews
San Anselmo, Nut

LOWE LETTERS
Gravest Threat To World Stability
Showing up the Bush lies. George W. is leading America down the wrong road. Never in it's history has the United States had a fundamentalist, theocratic leadership. We do now.

Americans are getting the government they deserve. Spiraling budget deficits, voracious military spending that brings no real security or peace of mind, misplaced priorities and failed policies.

The Bush and Republican war in Iraq: There was no threat to Americans. There were no links to 9/11. Key assertions leading to war were false.

President Bush is miffed that Euopeans consider the U.S. under his administration the gravest threat to world stability. Who has the greatest arsenal of nuclear weapons on the planet and who has shown total disregard for international treaties over the last five years?

* * *
Voting Control
America now has a system of electronic unverifiable voting controlled by private corporations who are in league with the Bush administration and Republican Party. Does anybody care?

* * *
Flag Burning Amendment
Senator Bill Frist's amendment prohibiting flag burning will not affect our lives, will not affect the lives of 45 million uninsured Americans, will not affect the lives of 38 million Americans living below the poverty line but it sure will boost the egos of nationalistic spirits in the United States.

Flag burning is a non-issue being pushed by slumping Republicans to fire up their slumbering base. GOP muckrakers will pigeonhole Americans any which way they can in order to maintain control of the U.S. government.

Only a few flags have been burned in the last five years so why the all fire rush by Republicans to force the flag issue: To deflect attention away from the war, uncontrollable spending, high gas prices and huge deficits. A few flags burned will cost Americans tens of millions to ratify the amendment. But that's the Republican way!

Ron Lowe
Grass Valley

If I Were Bin Laden
"I don't know where bin Laden is. I have no idea and really don't care. It's not that important. It's not our priority." I am truly not that concerned about him."

- G.W. Bush, 3/13/02 (The New American, 4/8/02)

If I had just snuck into the most powerful nation on earth and flown airplanes into buildings, I'd have a few things on my mind. First of all, what about money for future attacks? The nation I attacked is powerful enough to get my funding cut off. Also, my crime is so heinous, how will I find allies? Thirdly, war unifies a nation. What if their leader makes a sincere case that I should be stopped at any price?

Well, luckily, that leader and I enjoy the same funding source. My relatives have funded his oil projects since the 1970's, so he won't go digging there. And lucky for me, after my attack, he invaded a nation that had nothing to do with me, creating such anger that it now functions as my training ground. What's more, he maintains a prison island full of people who also had nothing to do with me, except we share the same religion. I got worried in 2001 when he made that speech, "The terrorists didn't just hijack airplanes, they hijacked the true meaning of Islam." But these days, he doesn't praise Muslims. He buries them. Which is why I'm more popular than ever.

According to the New York Times, I quietly slipped back into Afghanistan in early 2006. The only Americans I saw were private contractors building oil infrastructure, and a few US servicemen functioning as their private militia. No wonder Condi Rice got an oil tanker named after her.

So I'm getting cozy and settling in. After all, President Bush said I'm no longer his concern. And I thought 9/11 number two was going to be hard.

Sincerely,
Joan Calloway

Gita's Death
Gita's death is a heartbreaking end to a situation already seeped in tragedy. This poor elephant languished in virtual isolation at the Los Angeles Zoo and brings to 47 the number of elephants who have died prematurely at accredited zoos since 2000.

In her natural homeland, Gita would have spent her days exploring, foraging, meeting up with old friends, seeking out extended family members and mud bath opportunities, and paying her respects at elephant graveyards. In captivity, she knew nothing but the pain brought on by her poor living conditions, her world reduced to the endless monopoly of sameness.

When will zoos recognize that keeping these exceedingly intelligent and complex animals in captivity is a profound injustice? Rest in peace, Gita.

Jennifer O'Connor
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals

Norfolk, VA 23510

Thanks For The Support
Dear Coastal Post friends,
I'm one of this three journalists from Switzerland in your online-story (Three Journalists Face Prison For Revealing Secret CIA Prisons).

It's a big surprise for me and my colleagues to see, that we have also support from the other side of the world...

Thank you very much and all the best for you and your project!

Sandro Brotz
Redaktion SonntagsBlick
ZŸrich-Switzerland

A Reply to Jimmy Carter Piece
In recent years, former President Jimmy Carter has shown a growing animosity toward Israel. Just this past January, at the Herzliya Conference, President Carter must have astounded his audience when he declared that "you can't have a Palestinian state living in peace and dignity if it is filled with Israeli settlements." Doesn't he know that Israeli Jews have been trying to live in peace and dignity in their state even though their country is filled with over a million Arabs?

Ignorance of the facts or mischievous assertions? Three months later, in an article published jointly in Pakistan's Daily Times and Israel's Haaretz, President Carter made another blunder, most likely intentional: "The unwavering US position since Dwight Eisenhower's administration has been that Israel's borders coincide with those established in 1949, and, since 1967, the universally adopted UN Resolution 242 has mandated Israel's withdrawal from the occupied territories."

No one in his right mind would read UN Resolution 242 in those terms, implying a return to the 1949 armistice line. But Jimmy Carter's latest article -published in USA Today on May 15, 2006, with the provocative title "Israel's new Plan: a Land Grab"-is definitely a tour de force of innuendoes, half-truths, distortions and blatant lies. It is said that putting someone to shame, especially a world-renowned individual, is neither fair nor elegant. But when a former President of the United States manages to include two major errors in his introductory paragraph and then goes on with a crescendo of distortions, perhaps we should dispense with the usual niceties accorded to his rank. President Carter either doesn't know what he is talking about or, worse, is knowingly and shamelessly peddling falsehoods. He introduces his article with phrases like "the Palestinian West Bank" and the "the internationally recognized boundary between Israel and Palestine."

When did the "West Bank" become Palestinian? Even UN Resolution 338, written as late as 1973, and all the preceding UN Resolutions, never mention the word "Palestinian". No such international recognition was ever granted, as clearly shown in UN Resolution 242. These allegations by President Carter are nothing short of deceitful since they imply, wrongly, that Israel took over territory rightfully belonging to another nation. He then goes on to further mislead the uninformed by saying that "the only division of territory between Israel and the Palestinians that is recognized by the United States or the international community awarded 77% of the land to the nation of Israel."

This, from a former US president, who should know (and probably knows) that no such ratio was ever recognized and that, in fact, the international community allocated in 1922 the entire territory between the Jordan River and the sea to the future Jewish State. It is also ironic that President Carter views the Gaza Strip (where there have been no Jews since August 2005) as a "politically and economically non-viable region." Gaza may be considered an experiment in Palestinian self-government which is failing owing to strife within the Palestinian community, but there is no inherent reason why small populous territories cannot be viable. Look at the success of Singapore.

Perhaps the former president could explain how "Palestine" could be made more viable when the same Jew-free status is extended to the West Bank. President Carter is obviously against the Olmert Plan of partial disengagement from the "West Bank." He is not the only one to oppose this plan. But if Carter finds it unacceptable, Probably it is because he still clings to the widely discredited Oslo-type paradigm which has only brought bloodshed since its inception.

The provisions of the Oslo Accords and the later Roadmap routinely have been breached by the Palestinians, who have shown time and time again that their real objective is not to create a viable state but to destroy Israel in whatever number of phases it would take following successive territorial concessions. The present situation in Gaza, with its simmering chaos and the rocket attacks against Israel, is a corroborating proof of the Palestinian strategy. President Carter would make us believe that "the nation of Israel was founded [by] UN Security Council resolutions." This assertion is simply astounding. Like many of his Arab supporters, President Carter's historical horizon seems to be conveniently limited to 1967 or, at best, to 1948. It is hard to believe that a former world leader of this stature would be so ignorant of history. For President Carter, any partial withdrawal from the "West Bank" is tantamount to "confiscation and colonization." Of course, having established at the outset that "Palestine's internationally recognized boundaries" would be violated by such a partial withdrawal, why is he talking about "colonization"-like the Belgians in Congo, the British in India, or the French in Indochina?

How could anyone expect truth resulting from a wrong premise? I cannot understand how President Carter can lower himself to the same scurrilous abyss as Israel's worst detractors. The proposal put forward by President Carter is to engage in "good-faith negotiations" with Mahmud Abbas, even though the "recently elected Hamas legislators will never recognize nor negotiate with Israel while Palestinian land is being occupied."

Negotiating in "good-faith" with a democratically elected terrorist government that is neither prepared to "recognize" Israel nor to "negotiate" with it? Only in President Carter's mind can such a contradiction in terms thrive. And he then tells us that Hamas would be prepared to "recognize and negotiate" when "Palestinian land is no longer occupied". What is there to negotiate, then?

President Carter apparently never reads the Arab press. Less than a month ago, Moussa Abu Marzuk, deputy-head of Hamas declared:

"One of Hamas' founding principles is that it does not recognize Israel. We [participated in] the elections and the people voted for us based on this platform. Therefore, the question of recognizing Israel is definitely not on the table unless it withdraws from ALL the Palestinian lands, not only to the 1967 borders."

The will of the Palestinian people who elected Hamas is clear; Hamas' objectives are clear; their statements in Arabic are clear; their actions on the ground are clear; only President Carter is deluded, consciously or not. Deluded, indeed, when he assures us that "a substantial number of Israeli settlers [could be] undisturbed on Palestinian land." The last time "settlers" (read "Jews", since illegal Arab settlers in far greater numbers are never mentioned) were living in so-called "Palestinian land" was before 1948, and they were certainly not undisturbed. Up to 1967, every Jew living there had been either murdered or expelled. Even their graves were not left undisturbed. Why should we expect anything different now or in the foreseeable future?

It is also interesting to note how this statement squarely contradicts his own earlier warning against "settlers" at the Herzliya Conference (see above). In his closing remarks, President Carter ominously parrots a well known piece of Arab propaganda. The Israeli-Palestinian situation, he tells us, is "one of the major causes of international terrorism. that could precipitate a regional or even global conflict."

In that, he is unison with Amr Moussa, Hugo Chavez, Fidel Castro, Noam Chomsky and other luminaries of the far left, not to mention those enlightened Europeans who believe that Israel is the predominant threat to world peace, as shown in a 2003 poll. But the onus is on President Carter to demonstrate that Israel is directly or indirectly responsible for the Islamic terrorism that has been rampant for the past decade. Let us not forget: Paris subway, 1995; Nairobi and Dar-es-Salam US embassies, 1998; Manhattan Twin Towers, 2001; Bali nightclub, 2002; Istanbul synagogues, 2003; Riyadh western compound, 2003; Casablanca hotel and Spanish club, 2003; Madrid train, 2004; London subway, 2005; Iraq kidnappings, beheadings and internecine bloodshed since 2003; Amman wedding party, 2005, and the multiple bombings and bloody terror attacks in India.

Blaming Israel for these events certainly takes a twisted mind intent on perverting reality in a most despicable way. President Carter's many interventions in the world scene since the end of his presidency have not been free of controversy. He has been often criticized by both sides of the political spectrum. But on the Arab-Israeli conflict his positions have been routinely against Israel for the past few years and in favor of its enemies, in spite of glaring evidence.

Rachel Neuwirth

Protecting Property Rights Or Subverting Public Interest?

C/o Editor, Coastal Post
cc: Steve Kinsey. Board of Supervisors

Marin County Community Development

Dear Ms. Salah and David Mease,
With all due respect, it is difficult to support your current attempts to subvert the public interest, to your own, by suggesting that the people of Marin County are attempting to take a portion of your property. I am more concerned by your attempts to subvert the process by framing the debate outside of the appropriate forum, planning and the affected parties, by taking your dispute to the Moos Town News.

Can any informed party deny that the fire protection road serves a greater need than an additional 30 bottles of Zinfandel from your proposed vineyard?

Although the "trail" appears as proposed on the county map, it has in fact been used for decades by hikers, equestrians and school children to access the valley, their homes, barns, and the public beaches. At no point did you dispute this historic use.

Further, based on your estimate that the road is but 2,000 feet long and typically measures 10 feet in width, your "loss" would be less than 20,000 square feet and 1/80th of your parcel. In fact, the land would not be lost, but simply maintained as a public easement. This is common on public trails throughout Marin, Sonoma and Napa counties.

The only point of agreement I have with you is that the 20 foot proposed width is extreme. A multi- use trail does not require a two lane road. However, there should be pull outs every 150 feet to allow for safe passage of emergency vehicles, and a turn-around to accommodate fire trucks in the event of a fire.

It is highly suspect that the Planning Department misled you to believe that they cannot "require" you to comply, or to dedicate the easement for public use. Of course they can, and moreÉby simply denying your building permit until you agree to their approval standards, which may include an access easement for public use.

They might even request an additional 2 acres for a soccer and polo field (sic) if they thought that to be in the public interest. Planning department often require far more sever set asides as a balance for the adverse traffic, air quality, water use, or view degradations caused by real estate developers. Since you intend to triple the number of vines, a relatively intense and thirsty grape and introduce commercial agriculture on this parcel, there are real environmental consequences to your plans.

However, you have continued to lament the 50 outdoor enthusiasts who feel strongly enough about the trail to take their positions to the Planning Commission. In fact, the Countywide Plan, which has been carefully crafted over the past 20 years, has a well defined trails element and the county is not abandoning trail and park dedications without a hearing, even though they were sometimes abandoned in the past, to private property owners.

Going forward you suggest that the county should now expend public funds to build another trail around your property, disturbing the flora even further, and to no additional public benefitÉ

What effect will all the irrigation, pesticide and fungicide use have on the immediate area? Your new neighbors are already wondering why you have not been able to prevent your dogs from giving chase to horseback rides; how well will you manage the poisons and toxic substances needed to grow non-native crops that require irrigation 5-6 months per year, where potable water is already scarce.

Eminent domain is the policy enforcement right of local, state and Federal governments. Frequently is used for everything from highway and airport expansion to protecting coastal access (Seadrift, Stinson Beach, Malibu) and wetland (Silvestri Ranch, St. Vincent's and the Everglades National Park)

Your final salvo suggesting that "all property in Marin is at risk" is spurious, at best. This issue is not the consequence of the county trying to take a private easement and make it public. It is the result of your attempts to privatize what has become a public easement, by historic use, overriding public benefit, emergency fire protection, and access of landlocked public recreation areas. No legal action will be required. The county must simply decide to do the right thing by requiring the dedication of the historic trail and fire road.

If you find this too distasteful, perhaps Chileno Valley, Napa, or Sonoma would be better suiting to realizing your vintner dream. The hikers, bikers, equestrians and naturalists have their own dreams. And they have been in use of this trail and never dreamed that you would challenge them for a cellar full of Zinfandel. Happy Trails

Scott Wilmore
Director
The Trust for Public Trails




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