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March, 2008



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Letters to the Editor

Andronicos Drops Cigarettes At Markets
I am writing to commend Andronico's CEO, Bill Andronico, for his leadership and courage in dropping tobacco sales from his eight bay area markets on February 4 despite the potential loss of revenue stemming from this decision. Personally, I am planning to increase my patronage of Andronico's and encourage others to do likewise. I hope other grocery stores will follow Andronico's lead, telling the tobacco industry "no thanks" to offering shelf space for their addictive and dangerous product. For smokers who might object, I encourage them to get help to quit from the American Cancer Society at 1.800.ACS.2345. Andronico's philosophy of healthy and organic foods, sustainable products, and environmentalism is clearly inconsistent with sales of a cancer-causing product. I applaud them for recognizing this and taking action.
Janna Katz
American Cancer Society

Getting To Know Her
Bill and Hillary Clinton have always been a team. When Bill ran for president in 1992 he made a point that they were a team saying, "Buy one, get one free!" The Clintons accomplished a lot starting their job with a huge deficit and leaving with a huge surplus.

In these rocky economic times we sure could use some Clintonomics to fix this broken economy. The way I see it, if you like Bill and Hillary then you'll love Hillary and Bill. He always said that she was the smarter of the two. I say let's find out. If she's not smarter at least she'll be less trouble.

Hillary is a very likable person once you get to know her. America can look forward to getting to know Hillary.

Marc Perkel
San Bruno

The Pols And Chino's Slaughterhouse Atrocities

In response to the recent atrocities at the Chino, CA Hallmark slaughterhouse, the Senate Select Committee on Food-borne Illness held a special hearing in Sacramento on February 25. Inexcusably, only the chairman of the five-member committee, Senator Dean Florez (D-Bakersfield), deemed this matter important enough to appear. And he did a great job.

The others need to hear from us: Senators Carole Migden (D-San Francisco); Edward Vincent (D-Inglewood); Jeff Denham (R-Modesto); and Abel Maldonado (R-San Luis Obispo). Excuses given ranged from "s/he's in the district office," to "he's getting physical therapy," to "he missed his plane." Not acceptable for a problem of this magnitude.

It should also be noted that the USDA did not testify, nor did either the State Dairy or Cattlemen's Associations, or the PRCA, though their representatives were present. Shame on them all! Nor should anyone think that the Chino horrors are an anomaly. Such abuses are routine at slaughterhouses, meatpacking facilities and "factory farms" across the country, as has been well documented for decades. No one has a RIGHT to be surprised. And all in the name of profit, of course.

And consider this: the current meatpacking workforce is made up largely of immigrants, many illegal, many illiterate, from Mexico, Central America, and Southeast Asia. They are a short-term, often migrant workforce (the average worker quits or is fired after three months), and they are performing the most dangerous job in the U.S., with a rate of injury and job-related illness three times greater than that of the average factory worker.

Recommended reading: Upton Sinclair's 1906 novel, THE JUNGLE; Gail Eisnitz's 1997 expose, SLAUGHTERHOUSE; and Eric Schlosser's 2001 FAST FOOD NATION.

Bon appetite.
Eric Mills,

COM Fiscally Raping Taxpayers
A recent study of the 2005-06 costs of community college education in each of the 72 community colleges statewide has revealed that the people running College of Marin are ripping off Marin taxpayers Big Time.

Main is one of the smallest counties in the state, with a COM student body numbering near bottom, 63rd out of 72, yet COM is by far the Biggest Spender of them all in seven of thirteen cost categories, and near the top in four more. Measured against number of Full Time Equivalent Students (FTES), COM was Number One in spending per FTES for the following: instructional salaries and benefits, $4,252 (vs. statewide average $2,243); _ non-instructional salaries and benefits, $3,724 (vs. average $2,049); _ current cost of education, $9,013 (vs. average $4,972); instructional academic salaries, $2,972 (vs. average $1,675); _ employee benefits, $1,789 (vs. average $880); _ education before exclusions, $8,174 (vs. average $4,426); _ education after exclusions, $8,044 (vs. average $4,235). In four other cost categories, COM ranked second, third, fifth and ninth. Thus in eleven of thirteen spending categories per FTES, Marin taxpayers are being fiscally raped."

Fielding Greaves
Past President, MUTA

Israeli Support Letters
Three letters by Israeli supporters graced the February Coastal Post. Michael Uman of Vallejo complained that Palestinian-made rockets were killing Israelis, despite Israeli's giving up additional land to the Palestinians. I don't know what paper Uman reads but even the Israeli press disagrees with him.

After Hamas won the election March 2006, Israel identified Hamas as a "terrorist organization" and is supporting the Abbas-lead government to divide the Palestinians. While Arafat was leader of the PLO, Israeli played the same division game, secretly arming Hamas factions to undermine Arafat. Today Israel has Gaza under virtual siege, repeatedly closing crossing points between Gaza and Israel for people and goods, and, until international pressure intervened, even suspended the transfer of tax monies it collects on behalf of the PA, which accounts for about 50 percent of the PA's monthly budget. Now Israel has cut off power, denied these captive Palestinians heating and cooking oil and food and is daily killing Gazans on their streets with F-16s, helicopter gunships and tanks.

A report on 31 Dec. 2007 says 131 Palestinians citizens were killed by Israel's security forces in 2007, in contrast to only 13 Israelis killed by Palestinan's home-made rockets. As for human rights in the Occupied Territories, the situation in the Gaza Strip has declined to an all time low. In 2007, there was an increase of 13 percent in the number of Palestinians held by Israel in administrative detention without trial, which averaged 830 people, while several hundred checkpoints and physical roadblocks controlled movement inside the West Bank Uman's statement that Israel was giving land to the Palestinians is completely false.

Leslie Sachs of Granada is even farther off the track. Israel did not "give up Gaza for peace." She simply found the expense of maintaining her brutal military and economic control over more than a million and a half subjugated Gazans too expensive. As for Israel's "humility in lifting sanctions," this is pure baloney. Israel is intent on genocidal warfare against the Gazans.

Sheldon-Vile isn't much better. The book: THE ISRAELI LOBBY AND US FOREIGN POLICY, by professors' Mearscheimer and Walt, despite Vile's criticism, has garnered praise from academicians and politicians around the world.

English-born Thomas Paine, pamphleteer, and revolutionary, who migrated to the American colonies just in time to take part in the American Revolution, insisted that the prime duty of a patriot was to "protect his fellow citizens from their own government." Today American patriots, who are fighting against Washington's increasing threats to our political and personal rights, have had to open a second front against Israel whose lobby not only got us into this war with Iraq, but also is threatening Mideast stability.

In 2003 a pole of over 7000 citizens in 15 EU countries, Israel was voted the greatest threat to world peace, with the US running a close second. If Doctor Vile wants further proof of Israel's control in Washington, let him read Representative Paul Findley's book THEY DARE TO SPEAK OUT, which chronicles the repeated use of Jewish campaign money to defeat and so remove from office any politician who won't vote the Zionist line.

Vile's calling names such as "anti-Semitic " or "Jew hater" is child's play. If he and other American Jews really cared about Israel's future they would lobby to stop American taxpayer's funding Israel's illegal settlements, illegal wall and land seizures, and illegal "extrajudicial assassinations of Palestinian leaders." Till then Vile should shut up.

Edward W. Miller, MD
San Rafael

EPA Tool Of Special Interests
The EPA was characterized by Richard Nixon as a non-political agency to protect and improve our environment. It functioned as was intended (even during the Regan years) until this administration converted it to another tool for the special interests.

Blame for the recent blockage of California's pollution and efficiency standards, as well as other outrages, by this administration falls on: The moron voters who helped this administration steal the elections; The five Supreme Court justices who betrayed principal for politics and planted this unfit person in office; and our legislators for tolerating these unprecedented abuses.

Robert Settgast
Mill Valley/San Rafael

Five Dead In The Classroom This Time
Another classroom shooting last week. Five dead in Illinois this time. Folks just like guns to settle grudges or blow away bullies. It seems guns are part of our culture. We are fascinated by war movies, westerns, and shootouts at high noon. Kids grow up watching TV shows where the weapon of choice is a gun that's used to settle jealousies and arguments.

We admire our guns so much that we build museums to display them. Ornamental guns. Pretty pistols and Winchester rifles. Antique guns. Guns of the Wild West. We love to look at guns, touch them, stroke them, feel their power. We hang them in the back window of pickup trucks and over the fireplace, always at the ready in case of attack.

The NRA says guns don't kill people. People kill people. Well, it's nice to know that guns have nothing to do with it?

David A. Whelan
Forest Knolls

Gross Animal Abuse
In the heart-rending video secretly taped at a slaughterhouse in Chino, a forklift driver pushes a weak, moaning cow-even carelessly backing over her leg. Imagine a cherished pet dog or cat in her place. While we unite to condemn Michael Vick's sadistic abuse of pit bulls, such horrors occur to cows every day. This is not an isolated problem solved by the shutdown of one meat packer-nor by the arrest of a hired hand following orders.

It's no surprise that slaughterhouses see perpetual turnover of their minimum- wage employees. Surely this gruesome work robs a piece of the soul. The tragedy of farmed animals belongs not just to them, but also to the invisible laborers who make our steaks and hamburgers possible.

Raising cows, pigs and chickens humanely requires the space they once enjoyed on family farms and ranches. Obviously, that translates into higher prices at the supermarket-but at what price low prices?

I propose a slogan regarding all meats: Pay double, eat half, and break even. When it comes to our health, less meat is more, anyway.

Susan Christian Goulding
Seal Beach

Gun Law Struck Down
Another blow was struck for Liberty and our Second Amendment right to arms when the California State Court of Appeals on Jan. 9 announced their 3-0 ruling that the San Francisco gun ban is unconstitutional, thus upholding the lower court decision.

Once again dyslexic politicians of San Francisco and Brady Gang and its vastly exaggerated Million Mom sycophants, unable to understand the plain words of the Constitution, have been knocked onto their collective posteriors by the thoughtful and well-reasoned opinion of a seasoned and intelligent court.

Fielding Greaves
San Rafael

Killing Deer Makes No Sense
West Marin beautiful white dear Deer being killed, I remember seeing them when I walked the loop on Hwy 1, they had been neutered, tagged and collared. Why then would they be then massacred, neutering means they would die off in old age? What is the justification that this extinction has anything to do with science?

The argument that this breed of deer are not native doesn't hold much these days with global trade, all sorts of animals, bugs and birds have been unintentionally redistributed from continent to continent. The science of breeding is intentional mixing Brahmans with Guernsey, Brahmans roam the green hills of Marin and they aren't native!

This train of thought is my reaction to what little I know about these deer and it would take a lot more argument to convince me that this extinction has any justification.

The people who are responsible have turned a deaf ear on humane alternatives to mass killing, which has been actively going on this week especially.

Suki Diamond

Loving Guns
Reading the daily headlines it seems like gun violence and its attendant mass killings are becoming a more common occurrence. The rest of the free world has pretty well solved this dilemma through a stringent control of guns in their countries. There are only a few hundred murders each year attributed to guns in countries that have taken on an enlightened gun strategy. American remains locked into a gun fantasy reminiscent of the Wild West.

Gun advocates keep talking about more laws, or laws already on the books, as the solution to this evolving problem. Gun laws already existing will not stop the carnage in a nation awash in a flood of guns.

Exasperating the murderous rampage are cowboys in the Republican Party and NRA who want to arm more Americans (crimes wouldn't occur if everyone has a gun in their pocket), allow more people to carry concealed guns into churches, schools and malls.

Bigotry And Intolerance
There goes another bogus claim of the anti-immigration crowd. A report just released says that immigrants are far less likely to commit crimes than are native born citizens. People born in the United States are 10 times more likely than immigrants to be incarcerated.

Go to any cosmopolitan city, New York, Miami, San Francisco, and you will hear a wide diversity of languages from around the world being spoken. So much for the "speak English" only spiel of talk radio hosts.

As far as the assimilation argument goes, I see multitudes of Mexicans and Latinos and their children and they're working, speaking English and assimilating quite well, thank you.

Every day the bigotry, intolerance and prejudice that drives the anti-immigration movement becomes more apparent.

Ron Lowe
Grass Valley

Needing To Say It
I have much to say, and from reading your writings. I believe you and I will think alike for most of it. I'd just like for American's to be getting a fair shake, instead of a shake down.

Jay Mayer for President 1996

Only One!
I have never had much use for political "pundits" but I have never seen them as worthless and damaging as they are in this election.

For the first time, in this year's historic election, we have diversity candidates running. So naturally the "pundits" are having a field day pointing out who votes for whom. There is even one person on CNN who has a "magic" white board that he uses to slice and dice the country and the people living in it.

He will show a close up of a state, then a county, then a city and then draw lines on it while saying things like, this is where all the well-educated white people live who will be voting for Obama then he will draw another line and say this is where all the blue collar white people live and they will be voting for Clinton. He continues this micro-break down to include all the races and both sexes. His discourse sounds less like that of political commentary and more like a tour of a city zoo. Not all "pundits" have a "magic" white board, but they essentially do the same.

It is time for all the "pundits" to put a sock in it, step back from their "magic" white boards or word processors, draw a circle around the entire country and say, "This is where American's live and they will be voting for the person of their choice."

This is the message that Barack Obama is so eloquently saying when he says we need a change in this country. We need to get away from all the fences that the Republican's have built in order to separate and segregate us like so many cattle. We have to be one people, one America, all working toward the good of the country and not just to the good of some politician's "base".

As much as I love and respect Hillary Clinton, I feel that she is too divisive to accomplish this and, of course, John McCain would be just more of the same.

No, only one person has the ability to bail us out of the consequences of eight years of incompetent leadership, only one person can bring us together as a nation to work for the common good.

That person is Barack Obama.
John Darling

Stolen Newspapers
I'm sorry to read in your February 2008 issue that your newspapers were stolen from news stands in Fairfax & San Anselmo. No matter the view point of the paper, that should never happen. However, your distribution manager, Craig Slater, should take another read through of the United States Constitution.

While the theft was illegal and immoral, it was not unconstitutional. Nowhere in the Constitution, including the First Amendment, is there a prohibition against the theft of newspapers by members of the general public. If the government stole them (I guess I'm making the assumption that that the government did not), then he may have a case.

Douglas J. Berg
St. Paul, MN

The Terrorist Label On You
FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover planned mass jailings, wanted to suspend habeas corpus and imprison 12,000 Americans in 1950; and 97% of the people on the lists were U.S. citizens who had irked Hoover over the years.

Following suit, Bush and Republicans in their six-year power surge passed legislation that seems to classify civil disobedience as terrorism. Most know of the Patriot Act and Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). Less publicized are amendments to the Insurrection Act, the Posse Comitatus Act authorizing the president to declare martial law using the United States military to repress domestic insurrection, conspiracy, disorderly citizens and other undesirables. Add to this the Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Act (VRHTPA) passed by the House in 2007. Since violence, radicalism, extremism and disasters are undefined almost anyone is at risk and at the mercy of the Bush administration.

Ron Lowe
Grass Valley

Then You Win
At this current zig in the zag on the 60 year old road back to Palestine truth, the Jewish 'Lobby' and it's power and influence are indisputable facts on the ground, but, on the run now thanks to their own mistakes, mistakes in timing, mistakes in logic, mistake in choosing the wrong people to colonize, for not foreseeing the internet and people like Jeff Blankford, Jim Emmott, Walt and Mearsheimer, Silvia Stolz, Zundel, Finklestein, President Carter, Edward Miller, deny that and you're just simply ousted as a ziocrazy around here. The Lobby's stranglehold can be easily felt and seen once you take a whiff of Palestine, man it's like the gateway to reality.

This whiff becoming a popular free substance, available at any health food store, is what Jane Harmon and her ziocrazy cronies in AIPAC and Congress are so fearful of and so deadly serious about because it's really about forgiveness and love and freedom.

Like psychedelic spores are a type of key to open your mind to a whole other duel reality going on, Palestine and what is happing there to the Palestinians is like a key too that tends to open your mind and eyes to the ziotheater playing the total infiltration, of Zionist agenda, within the infrastructure of Gentile American life and her Institutions, thus the very serious Bill SR 1955, Thought Police, and the absurd attack upon the internet as a weapon of terrorist.

Personally I wouldn't have any idea what in the hell is going on around here if it were not for the previous work of Jesus Christ. When I found out in 02 that Jesus was a Palestinian I realized he is key as well and returned after 20 years.

To those who oppose unjust and illegal wars and media manipulation, John Pilger offered these words of Mahatma Gandhi: "First they ignore you,'' he said. "Then they laugh at you. Then they fight you. Then you win".

Kate Hart
Forest Knolls

Tom Lantos Loss
With the death of Rep. Tom Lantos (D-Calif.), animals have lost one of their greatest advocates and the world has lost a great man. We at PETA came to know Rep. Lantos when he offered to help us with the Silver Spring monkeys, a group of animals that had been terribly abused in a Maryland laboratory.

I had the honor of interviewing Rep. Lantos and his wife, Annette, about their efforts to send these animals to a sanctuary. They showed me a photograph of themselves from 1939, when they were happy childhood friends in Budapest, Hungary. But they were Jewish, and not long after the picture was taken, Annette went into hiding and Tom was sent to a forced labor camp. Their families were killed in the Holocaust. These traumatizing experiences, they told me, helped them understand what it was like to be victimized simply because they weren't like others.

When they came to this country, in the late 1940s, scarred but eager for a new life, they decided that they wanted to work for a new world in which no one-regardless of race, religion, or species-could be treated as an object rather than as a living being. Rep. Lantos did exactly this, founding the Congressional Friends of Animals Caucus and sponsoring or supporting dozens of pieces of legislation aimed at ending the suffering of humans and other animals. Even as we mourn his loss, we celebrate his amazing work for all beings.

Kathy Guillermo
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals

Norfolk, VA

Who Opposes Illegal Immigration?
Have you had anyone else try to make you feel guilty for opposing illegal immigration?

Don't let anyone do that to you.
Did You Know that Cesar Chavez Fought against Illegal Immigration?

Cesar Chavez fought against illegal immigration because of what he knew it did to our wage base and quality of life.

The truth is that the billionaire class in Mexico uses illegal immigration as a pressure-escape valve to keep the social/political control that they have over the Mexican people.

Those that posses the fortitude and determination to fight their way into our country are those most feared by the Mexican billionaire class. Were these illegal immigrants to stay home, they would be the most revolutionary Mexican citizens.

The very best way to fight the wage devastation that illegal immigration delivers to America's poor is to back sanctions against US employers of illegal immigrants and NOT attack or jail the illegal immigrants, themselves.

With enforced sanctions against US employers, illegal immigrants will return to Mexico and other countries of their own accord, without coercion.

Wages and Poverty
Because immigration increases the supply of U.S. labor, it reduces wages or makes jobs more scarce for natives. Job competition between immigrants and natives is especially fierce at the bottom of the labor market, because so many immigrants are employed in the low-skilled/low-wage segments of the economy. When the average American wage exceeds the average Mexican wage by a factor of ten, even the most menial American job can be a forceful inducement to emigrate.

The large number of immigrants with low levels of education means that immigration policy has dramatically increased the supply of workers with less than a high school degree. Although immigrants comprise about 12 percent of America's workforce, they account for 31 percent of high school dropouts in the workforce. This means that any effects on the wages or job opportunities of natives will disproportionately affect less-skilled workers. Immigrants are 60 percent more likely to be employed in low-skilled occupations than are native-born workers.

As a consequence, poverty in the U.S. is increasingly being driven by immigration policy. Between 1979 and 1997, immigrant households increased their representation in the U.S. population by 68 percent, but over that same period their share of the total poor population increased 123 percent. And the gap between the immigrant and native poverty rates is widening - this gap tripled between 1979 and 1997.

One of the factors that is thought to mitigate the consequences of immigrant poverty is entrepreneurship, with immigrant small businessmen supposedly recharging our nation's creative spirit. Unfortunately, research shows that while immigrants were once significantly more entrepreneurial than natives, that is no longer true.more

It is essential that we each put maximum pressure on the US Congress when any NEW bill comes up that will help flood big business with even more cheap, wage lowering labor.

A way to do this at zero cost is to call the Capital switchboard toll free and ask for the office of the US Senator or Representative of your choice and demand that they reject any proposed legislation that supports illegal immigration.

US Capital Switchboard Toll Free: 1(800) 826-3688

Stephen Black
Mill Valley

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