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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

October, 2006

 

Letters To The Editor

Bush's War With America
You can tell that President Bush is not doing well in the war in Iraq when he has to send out Rummy, Cheney and Rove, the attack dogs, to snarl at their countrymen again.
The only war they seem to think that they can win when in trouble in Iraq is the "war against their fellow Americans." No one dare oppose or criticize Bush's illegal and inept incursion into Iraq or you are "swiftboated" by his illustrious cohorts as they did in 2004 when they scuttled Senator Kerry's presidential candidacy.

In his latest speech before the American Legion annual convention, Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld, and VP Cheney speaking before the VFW, treated their fellow Americans as if they were Nazis and Fascists. "Trust us or you're an appeaser of terror, similar to those in the 1930s who advocated appeasing Nazi Germany." Outrageous.

Terrorism is a noun not a country. The 19 terrorists who brought down the Twin Towers were not a nation, 15 of whom were Saudi Arabians. Their ringleader, Osma bin Laden, a Saudi Arabian, is supposedly hiding out in Afghanistan. Bush started out pursuing Osama's terrorists in Afghanistan then switched his bomb sights to Iraq, killing innocent people that had nothing to do with Twin Towers. To capture Al Capone the FBI didn't bomb Canada.

Osama bin Laden was no friend of Saddam Hussein anyway and I don't believe Saddam was hiding him in the basement of one of his palaces. So Bush and his aides have really got themselves and the US in a quagmire and they are having a hard time justifying the war and getting out of it victoriously.

If the war is so important for Bush and freedom loving countries to win, why didn't he and his generals fight it right in the first place with sufficient troops, armored vehicles, chest protectors, a large contingent of International troops et cetera instead of blaming their 3 1/2 years of failure on their opponents?

David A. Whelan
Forest Knolls, CA 94933

Bush The Weasel
Bush uses weasel words to conceal what he really means. When Bush talks about "The Program" he means secret torture camps. When he says that he doesn't understand what the Geneva Conventions mean, it mean he does understand them and that torture is illegal. When has asks for "clarification" he really means redefinition of the word torture so as to pretend that torture is somehow legal. He says that he doesn't want CIA professionals to be tried as international war criminals, but I think that he is the one who is worried about being tried as a war criminal because he clearly understands that secret torture camps violate international law.

Last time Bush tried to redefine torture it lead to Abu Ghraib prison where Americans were torturing people and got caught. As a result they started chopping people heads off. Now Bush wants us to make the same mistake again. Bush wants America to become barbarians. You don't defeat barbarians by becoming one yourself. But that's not who we are and I urge people to call their Republican representatives and tell them that Colin Powell and John McCain are right, torture camps are wrong.

I'm Marc Perkel - And I approved this message!

* * *
Caving In To Bush
John McCain has caved into Bush yet again on the only issue that people thought still had meaning for him. McCain who was a prisoner of war has now caved into Bush's plan to allow the CIA to torture prisoners in secret prisons in countries that allow torture.

The Republicans think that if you tamper with the definition of torture then it makes it not torture. However - if Bush doesn't intend to torture then why do you need secret prisons in countries that allow torture in order to do it?

I don't know about anyone else but I am more troubled by Americans lowering our standards to the same level as Islamic Terrorists. There is now no moral difference between us and them. We are both a society of barbarians who practice the methods of Hitler in the way we treat people. This isn't going to save any American lives. It's going to cost American lives because more people around the world will hate Americans for our barbarism. This is so outrageous that it will even cause Americans to hate Americans.

This is no longer my country anymore. The America I remember would never legalize torture.

I'm Marc Perkel - And I approved this message!

Marc Perkel
San Bruno

Stop Cheney's Violating The Constitutional

It's true. Dick Cheney is pushing Congress to allow the government to access Americans' conversations and emails without getting an individualized warrant.

The ACLU has been fighting in the courts and on Capitol Hill to halt the Bush administration's secret program of warrantless domestic spying. Just last month, we won a tremendous victory when the US District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan declared the National Security Agency program unconstitutional and called for an immediate halt to this abuse of presidential power.

Stand with us today to protect your privacy and the rule of law. Visit http://www.alternet.org/aclu today! Even as this important civil liberties victory works its way through the courts, the White House is playing politics with our privacy to bolster their numbers and appear "tough on terrorism." And now the Bush administration's allies in Congress are scrambling to find ways to keep their illegal activities moving forward with two bills drafted under Dick Cheney's supervision.

The Cheney legislation is characterized by some as "surveillance we can live with," but if these bills pass, our homes, cell phone records and email inboxes will be vulnerable to new kinds of government spying that are currently completely illegal. But we have a chance to stop these bills this week, before White House pressure drives them to a speedy vote.

Now is the time to tell Congress to protect your privacy and the rule of law. Visit http://www.alternet.org/aclu now! The same dangerous pattern of sanctioning abuses of power is at work in the aftermath of the Supreme Court's Hamdan decision declaring illegal the Bush administration's military commissions, which were set up to try and convict detainees held indefinitely without basic due process protections.

The Cheney bills are worse than the powers ceded to the government by the Patriot Act, and would write into law what is now the administration's belief that the president can wiretap any American he wants without any check required by the Fourth Amendment or without any meaningful check to protect individual rights. If these bills pass, nothing will prevent government agents from unilaterally targeting Americans for indefinite secret surveillance without cause. That's not America; with your help, we will ensure these bills do not pass.

The Bush administration and its allies are actively using fear to undermine our fundamental freedoms, and the time to stop them is right now.

Please take action at http://www.alternet.org/aclu today to protect your privacy and the rule of law.

Anthony D. Romero
Executive Director
American Civil Liberties Union
PS Don't be deceived by claims that these bills will protect your privacy and restore judicial review. To learn more, visit our website -- http://www.alternet.org/aclu -- today.


Correction On Dr. Amy Neustein
In your September, 2006, online edition of the Coastal Post, I erroneously stated that Dr. Amy Neustein was featured in the production of "Breaking the Silence". I stand corrected. I extend my apologies to Dr. Neustein for this oversight.

Robin Denison
[email protected]
http://www.parental-alienation-awareness.com

Miami, FL

Danger, Danger!!!
Anthrax, anthrax! Everybody quake in your boots! Perhaps eighteen people died, of which maybe 13 were Democrats! Terrorism is on the rise: We'd better wage nuclear war with Iran and start WW III ! In fact, we're so tough on terrorism, that more than 800 of the Guantanamo detainees have been proven innocent, yet none are released! (www.aclu.org)

What's more is that, to show how serious we are about fighting terrorism, we forgot to send out fighter jets on 9/11! Oh yeah, the London plot...that was brilliant! We foiled it! Look at how many terrorists were caught! But shhhh....it's a secret. Not one of the London terrorists owned a plane ticket, and many didn't even own passports. See, the plot was announced in Afghanistan, and somehow no evidence turned up for a full year! Yet WE managed to foil the plot based on intelligence BEFORE it even existed! THAT's how brilliant we are!! ( Craig Murray August 14, 2006, "The UK Terror Plot: What's Really Going On?"

So please everybody, sit back and be comfy: We will be sure to fight it out to the death just for your sakes, with a war declared based on a lie. We will never turn back. We will always stay the course. We care sooo much about you and your safety, that we will even wiretap a country of innocent people and DUB them terrorists---you know, like the 800 innocent Guantanamo detainees----just to keep you safe! That's why we set up the Patriot Act and the wiretapping combined, didn't you know? Ohhhh yessssss....those poor Katrina victims. We are sooooo truly sorry that we abandoned them and left them to die.

DOES EVERYBODY FEEL REALLY SAFE NOW??? Please vote Charles Manson for president and put nuclear weapons into his hands. Have we learned the lesson of blind partisan loyalty yet? Vote Republican this November?? Better yet, how about lock 'em ALL up and throw away the key!

Drina Brooke
San Rafael

Don't Let the President Legalize Torture

The Bush Administration is pushing for legislation that will officially sanction the use of evidence obtained through torture. This is un-American -- and unacceptable.

Take Action
The White House is currently pushing for a new law to allow torture of detainees in the "war on terror" -- a law that would violate the Geneva Conventions and contradict our United States Constitution.

The proposed law would allow evidence to be withheld from defendants in terrorism trials, and severely restrict the fundamental right of habeas corpus. It would apply retroactively to 2001 -- thus protecting Administration officials for illegal acts they may have committed. Most notably, it would allow the use of coerced testimony in military tribunals -- even though this information has been shown not to be reliable.

Tell your Senators NOT to let the President legalize torture.

,In contrast, Senators Graham, McCain and Warner have recently defied the White House and helped pass different legislation out of the Senate Armed Services Committee. This bill has very significant flaws - but is a great deal better than the Administration's proposal.

Their legislation would bar the US military from engaging in "cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment" of detainees, from hiding prisoners from the Red Cross, and from using interrogation methods not authorized by a new Army field manual. These principles should be taken as a bare minimum for any detainee policy that Congress passes into law.

Tell the Senate -- the President's torture proposals are simply unacceptable, and must never pass the Senate.

It's vitally important that this administration not be allowed to wipe out our constitutional freedoms and protections under the guise of protecting us from terrorism. So take action today!

Want to increase your impact? Share this message with friends and family who are concerned about, or simply unaware of, the President's new proposals to legalize torture.

Thank you for working to build a better world.

Will Easton
Manager, ActForChange.com
Working Assets

Get Your Flu Shot!
Getting the flu shot each year is the single best way to protect yourself and the ones you love from influenza and its complications. If you have Medicare, a flu shot is one of the many preventive benefits you receive. Staying healthy means getting your annual flu shot. Enjoy life. Stay active. Get your flu shot as early as October or anytime through January or February.

Peter Bauer
US Department of Health and Human Services.


Falwell Spewing
Rev. Jerry Falwell has been spewing xenophobic, homophobic, and religiously zealous rants for decades -- all wrapped in the flag of patriotism from atop his "Liberty Mountain" in Virginia.

This week, he's taking on South Dakota in his crusade to ban abortion throughout America. And he's doing it to the tune of $4 million dollars.

We can't let Jerry Falwell decide the fate of South Dakota's abortion law. Please give what you can to stand up for South Dakota:

http://www.standupsd.com/falwell
Attached below is Falwell's latest call-to-action to his massive network of followers. In it, he warns of a multi-million dollar pro-choice "war chest," and commands people to open their checkbooks right away as an act of faith.

The truth is, there is no war-chest for South Dakota. We don't have millions of dollars for TV commercials or glossy direct mail appeals.

Every penny raised for this urgent fight is being spent in an intense voter-to-voter effort to tell the truth about this dangerous law.

So while Falwell talks of deep pockets and millions of dollars, the reality is that $250,000 raised this week could make the difference on Election Day:

http://www.standupsd.com/falwell
According to Jerry Falwell, "What happens in South Dakota will literally affect the future of America."

We couldn't agree more.
The bottom line is -- upholding the abortion ban in South Dakota is the religious right's big chance to take on Roe vs. Wade. And it's our big chance to stop them.

Please act now:
http://www.standupsd.com/falwell
This email is being sent to thousands of people. Together, by clicking to donate $20, $35, or $50 today, we can deliver the votes that will stop the extremists in South Dakota -- and protect the rights of women and families across the country. But it can't wait. Please join us today.

Sarah Stoesz
President, Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, South

Dakota Action Fund
StandUpSD.com

LOWE LETTERS
Whatever Happened To The Anthrax Perps

An anthrax scare shut down the Nevada County courthouse (CA). Made me think back to the unsolved anthrax mailings to Democrats and Senators Tom Daschle and Patrick Leahy in 2001. Why no conclusion to this high profile crime?

No Democrats would try to off their own members. One can only wonder why Feds never pointed the investigation in the direction of radical Republicans and right-wingers. Seems like a logical conclusion seeing the sophistication of the crime.

Turns out the supposed anthrax in the Nevada City caper was talcum powder.

* * *

War Not Connected To Terrorism
Iraq 101: The war, invasion and occupation of Iraq is not connected with the larger war on terrorism. Only in the minds of the Bush administration and Republicans are the two related, and why not, they have a lot invested in this war.

Isn't it wonderful to see gas prices inching down as midterm elections approach, and to have two oil guys in the White House who are closely connected with the oil industry.

Immigrants have always struggled to assimilate within society; the newly arrived Latino immigrants are no different and are assimilating as all past immigrants have done.

* * *

Grave Mistake
The invasion and occupation of Iraq by Bush-Cheney neoconservatives was a grave mistake and has made Iraq a breeding ground for a new generation of terrorists. It's in the news everyday. The US military is bogged down in an unwinnable war, and yet, Bush and Cheney are talking up a new war in Iran. It boggles the mind.

The Bush administration strategy of bombs and bullets will not eliminate terrorists and end terrorism. The global war on terror needs to be won by dealing with the root cause of terrorism. The Bush contingent continues to deal in aftereffects.

What causes terrorism, creates terrorists? Massive inequality of wealth and resources around the world. Greed and selfishness stalk the world as the top one percent of the population has as much as the bottom 80%.

Immediate emphasis must be put on economic reform, sharing and distribution of goods for the billions without, if there is any hope of derailing terrorism around the world. Otherwise no one will be exempt from the onslaught.

Ron Lowe
Grass Valley

Oh, Yeah!?
I'm a third generation native of Marin County who has been living in Sacramento for the past 15 years. I recently returned to Marin to do some consulting for the County and, despite the Eagle-strewn masthead, picked up a copy of your news monthly in the Civic Center lobby. I've been back about five months and

now I have found the Marin I left behind, a community of individuals in touch with what matters, not distracted by pop culture, rampant consumerism or spirit-free "spirituality". The Coastal Post is phenomenal. I learned more about what is going on in Marin by reading a single edition of your monthly than I have by reading the Independent Journal daily and the Pacific Sun weekly since my return. How refreshing to find an alternative newspaper that is honest, accurate, complete, and intelligent and that does not feel the need to fill its back pages with advertising that disrespects women and civility. My thanks to you and your staff. You are appreciated.

William Campagna
[email protected]
Ed. Note: Thank you!

Give Student Activists A Break On Election Day

Every year high schools students in California volunteer to work at the polls on election day. In order to work at the polls they have to miss a day of school. As a result the school's ADA (average daily attendance) drops and they loose hundreds and even thousands of dollars of funding.

Working at the polls on election day is a very unique experience. Students get to have a hands on participation in democracy, which is easily as valuable or more valuable than teacher's lecture or reading a chapter out of a text book. When their time comes to vote they are well prepared. Students in schools which cannot afford to loose any funding miss out on this important, educational experience.

In 2004 a group of students in Larry Freeman's government class at Acalanes high school in Lafayette took the initiative to write and advocate a bill (AB 1944 (Hancock) that would allow students to miss a day of school to work at the polls without the school's ADA being affected. The bill passed through senate and legislature and got to Governor Schwartzenegger's desk. The governor vetoed this bill with for the following reason:

"While civic and other volunteer activities can offer many educational opportunities to students, these activities should be in addition to, and not in place of, valuable classroom learning time with a teacher."

Volunteer opportunities, like working at the polls, are just as valuable as school sponsored field trips and independent study programs.

Last year some more students of Freeman's government class decided to give this bill another shot. They found a senator to write and fund it and got it all the way through senate and legislature, and now it is again on the governor's desk waiting for him to sign it into law or veto it.

We are running short on time and need to get as much support as we can as fast as possible. So far it has been a straight party line vote, i.e. every republican that has voted on it has voted no. We still believe we can get it passed because of the upcoming elections. In order to accomplish this we must make the bill as well known as possible to the CA population. If we get this publicized enough then vetoing it will cause the Governor to loose a lot of votes and if he passes it well then we succeeded.

Katie
Acalanes High School
Lafayette

Preemptive War
In my opinion, the war in Iraq was a monumental blunder. We are less safe today as a result of invading and occupying a Muslim nation. The war in Iraq became nothing but a recruitment poster for radical groups wishing to kill American soldiers.

We cannot as a nation tolerate preemptive war-a war of choice. The cost in lives lost is unacceptable. Our brave men and women in uniform deserve better from their leaders. An ill conceived war with no plan, no exit strategy and failure to adequately equip our soldiers was a monstrous crime.

The discussion over how to exit Iraq is crucial to our democracy. Our brave soldiers did everything asked of them. It is time to bring our soldiers home. The Republicans prefer as causations slogans over serious debate on a strategy for the war in Iraq.

Those who dare to speak out against this administrations' polices, in my mind, are true patriots who believe in a democracy and honest political discourse.

No more slogans! No more lies and obfuscation! Serious debate is needed on how we end this war in Iraq and strengthen our foundering democracy.

Fred Flanagan
Rohnert Park

www.USAjudges.com-PBS for judges.
Or, as one businessman quipped, "A Dun and Bradstreet on judges. I like it!"

USAjudges.com is the first public supported, data driven collection mechanism available to create and/or purchase reports on judges.

USAjudges.com is the answer to state officials protecting bad judges, and the public not knowing enough about Good ones; and functions as follows:

The public makes Two Types of Reports, and can purchase a Third.

1. Individuals make a short, free report on a particular judge. (For the financially devastated). These reports are not verified and as such, may or may not be included in later reports purchased on a judge.

2. Individuals make a Detailed report on a judge for a low $45.00 administrative fee. These reports will be verified and included in later reports available for purchase on a particular judge.

3. Purchase a report on a judge, commissioner, judge pro tem or magistrate. $150.00

USAjudges.com became necessary after state Commissions on Judicial Performance consistently failed to protect the public, (especially in elder abuse cases by court ordered care givers), answering a public need for accountability through transparency.

USAjudges.com bypasses state governing boards evolved to protect judges by insisting on "confidential" investigations and later, private "reprimands."

(While the occasion exists for some confidential investigations, USAjudges.com

does not support "private" reprimands for public servants.)

Transparency means the Public benefits.

Public participation, people who care enough about their government and others, now have a voice. People who care enough about their government are now act to protect it by making a public report on an officer of the court. Just like PBS, the public is what makes USAjudges.com great.

USAjudges.com believes public input and Transparency "is" the American way.

Act now, and thanks.
Most sincerely,
Bonnie Russell
www.1st-pick.com

Right To Protect Children
Ms. Zender did not breach national security, nor spill secrets to topple industrial empires. Annette Zender is a mother who has the right to tell readers what REALLY goes on in courts during custody cases that due to rampant corruption, Mother Theresa could never have kept custody of her children, if she had any.

The gag order placed on Ms Zender makes her case louder and clearer, Judge Waldeck has something to hide. Judges are no longer servants to the public but rather modern day arrogant, omnipotent Gods, that have immunity and answer to no one. Judge Waldeck seems to have become a dictator who has been enabled to violate anyone's rights in plain sight.

Our rights are being stripped from us randomly. Do we no longer have a right to protect our children? Have judges the power to make our constitutional rights disposable and frivolous?

Perhaps its time the Chief Judge of Illinois make it easier to take the job from an inferior judge, than it is for an inferior judge to take the rights of its citizens.

I hope to read more about this....unless Judge Waldeck rips away the rights from this newspaper.

Tracy Simmons
Mother/Advocate

San Anselmo's Huge Distraction
Former San Anselmo Town Council member Ian Roth is correct. The flood lawsuit is "a huge distraction."

Unfortunately, I can't give Ian Roth any gold star because of his lack of accomplishments while he was taking up space at the council dais for ten months. What was Ian doing at the SA council level while Fairfax was hiring and firing its Finance Manager? Was Ian just acting as a placeholder for the return of a former council member to be appointed by king-maker Peter Breen?

When Ian Roth was on the San Anselmo Fiscal and Advisory Committee he had access to the Town finance information and along with former council member Carla Overberger declared the Town's only recourse toward fiscal black was a tax.

In order to provide Ian Roth one more opportunity to gain a gold star, he can answer the following questions. It is not a complex or difficult assignment, but neither the San Anselmo Town Manager Debra Stutsman nor Mayor Barbara Thornton would accept the challenge.

Consider this a practice test: it is also applicable to Town Fairfax because both Town's have a 100% taxpayer-paid, defined benefit pension plan.

What is the amount, as of June 30, 2006, of the CalPers Unfunded Pension Liability for Town of San Anselmo?

The last reporting was as of June 30, 2003, which stated the Unfunded Liability: $1,753,655 Miscellaneous Plan $2,060,002 Safety Plan $no amount released Ross Valley Fire Service (excluding the amount repaid from SHFPD)

The 2005 OUM Audit Note states: The actuarial value of assets, liabilities and covered payroll are obtained from the Town of San Anselmo.

When will the Town be able to provide to the taxpayers the CalPERS Pension liability information?

If the Town is unable to increase from the existing 5.9 cents per $100 assessed valuation for the Pension Override Tax, how is the Town going to pay off its multi-million dollar deficit for its 100%-taxpayer paid defined benefit plan?

The CalPERS modification for new hires is not going to be able to reduce the impact of multiple senior level retirements that will occur in the next five years, or less.

Before Ian Roth joined the list of San Anselmo council members that abandoned their duties, he could have had the decency to advise the Town Manager to make pension reform of the existing defined benefit plan one of Town's three goals for 2006-2007 when the council approved the 2006-2007 Town Budget.

Ian Roth declared his abandonment the day after the Sept. council meeting. The San Anselmo council is now deciding if it wants to appoint a replacement or hold an election that it cannot afford.

The council members have an opportunity to appoint from the three candidates that ran for office in November 2005. Ford Green, Tom Fallon, and Luisa Mehling. All three received a vote of the people and that vote must not be neglected.

Contact Mayor Barbara Thornton, Vice Mayor Wayne Cooper and Council members Ted Freeman and Peter Breen and encourage them to work with the people's choice.

The council has repeatedly appointed like-minded and/or weak thinking persons to council. It is time for the voters to take back their council representation.

The repeated appointment of council cronies indicates an unhealthy local government.

The appointment pool should begin with the November 2005 council candidates. If other interested persons apply, then their credible appointment could follow; if all three of the voter's candidates choose not to be appointed.

San Anselmo taxpayers have an opportunity to begin to realize the potential of their Town. Sadly, that opportunity will only occur through council representation of strong-willed, ethical, and unbiased persons. Lack of integrity, need not apply.

Louise L. Mathews
San Anselmo

Being Gagged
My name is Shari Andree & I live in Livonia, MI. My phone # is 734-516-1345. I am writing to you in response to Lake County Family Court, 19th Judicial District, Waukegan, IL, GAG order on Annette Zender in regards to her Custody Case involving her daughter. I firmly believe her First Amendment Rights to Freedom of Speech are being striped from her without tangible evidence or due cause to warrant such action being taken. The Lake County Courthouse is retaliating because she, thru numerous media sources, has shined a public spotlight on the many injustices occurring in the Lake County Courthouse.

I am one voice, but hopefully my "one" voice will be combined with Annette & many others who feel the same way about the freedom of speech.

Shari A. Andree
Livonia, Michigan

Prevailer's Thanks
Dear Don, thank you for the great article on the verdict and outcome of my trial in your September issue. I really appreciate it. The article did not include the writer's name. Please thank the person for me or if possible I'd like to send an e-mail thanking him/her. Your September issue is very enlightening, especially the articles on the Middle East. I read it from front to back! Please keep up the articles on the Family Courts.

Also, you should check out our new organization The Center For Judicial Excellence. Our website is www.centerforjudicialexcellence.org.

Sincerely,
Jonea Rogers

SMART Train
"Another working day has ended,
only the Rush Hour Hell to face.
Packed like lemmings into shiny metal boxes,

contestants in a suicidal race."
"Synchronicity II", The Police, 1983; lyrics by Sting

The proposed North Bay commuter train, SMART, sounds like a pleasant alternative to Sting's portrayal of the modern Rush Hour, unless the "lemmings" are committed to "going over the cliff en masse" in any number of fashions.

Keith Bramstedt
San Anselmo



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