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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

December, 2008


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LETTERS To THE EDITOR

Change Means Dysfunction Left Behind
This is what the Obama election and "change" mean to me-ten long years of Republican and Democrat dysfunctional government, corporate corruption, mismanagement, and misrule are finally coming to an end.
Yes we can!
Art Llebrez
Portland, OR


Letter Sent To Congress
This past summer, congress approved the stimulus rebate package which was distributed to about 138 million tax payers. This measly sum was to stimulate the economy. You so called leaders are now giving $700 billion to unscrupulous executives that filled their pockets while dragging their companies down and cheating their own stock holders. I wander how much of this money will be used for bonuses or golden parachutes.

If you really cared about your constituents, and boost the economy, you could have taken $138 billion and sent $1 million to each taxpayer. This would have saved $562 billion and solved our economic problems. This money would have been spread out to every industry in this country. Maybe your only concerned about getting contributions from these white collar thieves in order to get re-elected.

I heard on National News, that the G20 Economic Summit meeting enjoyed a dinner which included wine at $500 a bottle. Now why am I not shocked! Self-indulgence is not only a trait of our career politicians, but that of other world leaders.

Maybe we need to vote out every career politician in Washington, Republican and Democrat!!!! Any words of defense?

C. A. Frees
Rainsville, Al.

Message
Stop nuclear Iran now!!
Sincerely
Hagar Suskind
Los Altos

Intimidation Undemocratic
I belatedly read the Nov., '08 Coastal Post recently and saw your front page announcement that, due to the pressure from "Israeli sympathizers," the Coastal Post may have to quit its print edition.

Intimidation tactics like you described are undemocratic and un American. Freedom of the press is guaranteed in both the American constitution and in the Constitution for the Federation of Earth.

What is happening to the Coastal Post is similar to an experience of Democratic World Federalists (San Francisco) when it published in its Quarterly an article by our president which was critical of Israel's actions against the Palestinians.

I have come to believe that the "Israeli lobby" has more concern for Israeli Zionist expansionism than for a truly democratic world. Their bully tactics give a bad name to the whole Jewish community, most of whom are good, loving, democratic people.

If possible, I'd like to meet with you to discuss this situation.** I live in Novato.**

Roger Kotila
Novato, California

Help The Songbirds
West Marin is coming to the realization that organic food is beneficial to humans and pets. This raises the important question of what we are feeding to wild birds, and whether we are unwittingly poisoning them. Songbird populations are decreasing alarmingly and loss of habitat is cited as the main cause, but we wonder what the additional effects of pesticide-laden bird seed might be on our beloved feathered friends. Parrot and parakeet owners are already seeing an increase in cancers in their pets and many are being more careful about their feed.

We have spoken with some local biologists and they had not considered the effects of conventional birdseed. John Kelly and Skip Schwartz of Audubon Canyon Ranch (ACR) agree that ACR has no policy or recommendation on questions about pesticides and bird feeders, because they "have not looked for... scientific evidence to support [these] particular concerns". They found it "very interesting" but "ACR is not prepared to provide an endorsement or launch an outreach effort." (ACR also happens to be currently advertising a job vacancy at their preserves on Bolinas Lagoon and Tomales Bay that requires qualifications in Pesticide Application!)

Barbara Salzman, president of the Marin chapter of National Audubon Society, which licenses its name to various non-organic seed mixes, concurred with ACR. Which leaves it up to all the rest of us unscientific, untenured folks.

Since our local stores do not sell organic birdseed, we would like to suggest, in the spirit of the Precautionary Principle, that West Marin's bird lovers cease to feed birds with conventional seed and make the effort to obtain organic seed. In the meantime bulk organic seeds for human consumption, such as millet and sunflower, from supermarkets would be an improvement. Or, to save money and resources and to keep birds coming around without getting addicted to human-supplied food, how about just a birdbath with fresh water?

In the spirit of change that most of us are espousing this month, let's make this one and take one less load off our fellow species.

Donna Sheehan & Paul Reffell
Mow&Sow;
Marshall

Nuclearized Middle East
Time is almost expired for a peaceful resolution to the Iranian nuclear crisis. Sanctions must be racheted up while the hand of friendship remains extended to the Iranian people. If Iran acquires nuclear weapons, the rest of the Middle East-the most unstable region of the world and home to most of its energy supplies-will feel compelled to acquire their own nukes in self-defense. A nuclearized Middle East is a prospect the free world will tolerate only at its grave peril.

Benjamin Pollock
San Francisco

Obama Now Saying Maybe
Obama has indicated that he MAY (rather than WILL) revoke Bush's ban on stem cell research; which not only deprived hope from thousands of victims with incurable or terminal disorders, but also defied the will of the majorities of the populace and congress.

In view of urgent needs to reverse the immeasurable destruction from so many of Bush's unprecedented environmental and social abuses, such ambiguity is not a good sign and cannot be tolerated. Obama was propelled to the presidency because of the gravity of these abuses--and his promises to nullify them. He must be made to understand that his voters will rebel against him if this is a prelude to his mode of operation.

Robert Settgast
San Rafael

Red, White, Black & Blue
In the midst of celebrating the uniqueness of Barack Obama's election to the Oval Office and hailing him as our first black President, we seem to be forgetting one thing.

Our President-elect is biracial. His mother was a white woman from Kansas and his father a black man from Kenya.

Like so many Americans, Obama is of mixed race. The 2000 census showed that 7.3 million Americans identified themselves as members of two or more races. That's 3 percent of the population. That number is on the rise as interracial marriages, currently accounting for about 6 percent of marriages, increase.

African-Americans claim Obama as one of their own, but I am reminded of a similar desire some years ago to call Tiger Woods an African-American. But that proved to be a little too simple. It turned out that Woods' exact ethnic background is as follows: Mother: 1/2 Thai, 1/4 Caucasian, 1/4 Chinese. Father: 1/2 Black, 1/4 American Indian, 1/4 Chinese. Add it all up and it becomes apparent that Woods is actually 1/2 Asian, 1/4 Black, and 1/4 Caucasian and Native American.

What does that make him, an Asian-African-American? Even that doesn't cover every aspect of his ethnic background.

No, Tiger Woods is an American. Isn't that simpler, and just as true? He is a U.S. citizen; he carries an American passport. He identifies as an American.

And isn't that true of Barack Obama also? He has a mixed racial heritage, but he is first and foremost an American. That's why we elected him. His ethnic identity is secondary to his perceived ability to lead all Americans as one nation.

The issue has a personal significance for me. My wife is originally from the Philippines and is now an American citizen. We have a daughter, but we do not want her to identify her racial makeup as Fil-Am, as such biracial people are sometimes known. She is an American, just as we are.

When we identify Barack Obama as an African-American, we forget that one of the biggest influences on his early life was his white grandmother, Madelyn Dunham, who died only a few days ago.

Obama has chosen to identify as a black man, and this played a role in his strategy to win the presidency. But let's hope that he also remembers his biracial roots.

I would prefer to see everyone stop using the hyphenated term, African-American, as well as Asian-American and Latino-American. We are all Americans, and identifying as such can bring us all together as one nation. This is surely what we need in these times of crisis.

As Americans, almost all of us have something exotic in our racial or ethnic backgrounds. Me? My father was Italian and my mother Irish, but I am not an Italian-Irish-American. I'm an American.

We don't refer to former Presidents Bill Clinton, Ronald Reagan and John F. Kennedy as Irish-American, although they all have Irish ancestry, so why should we speak about Barack Obama as African-American?

He has frequently said that he does not want to be president of Red state America or Blue state America, but of the United States of America.

I would like to hear him say also that he does not want to be president of a hyphenated America, of African-Americans or Asian-Americans or any other group, but of all Americans identifying as Americans.

This is what our society is supposed to be, a melting pot in which we pour our separate identities and emerge as Americans-one nation, one people, under God.

It is time to reassert our common identity and our common goals in language that unites us rather than divides us.

Steve Mozena
Carson

Unrepentant Sinners
Anti-abortion groups, harbored in the Republican Party, are going to continue protests, intimidation and harassment of women seeking abortions, even though the abortion foes suffered stinging defeats at almost every level in the recent election.

The American Taliban, evangelical and fundamentalist anti-abortionists, have never been satisfied with just being able to practice their beliefs, they want to force these beliefs onto the rest of us under the guise of saving society.

These religious radicals in America are much like the fundamentalists who stalk the rest of the world. They are like unrepentant sinners who practice idolatry, intolerance and hypocrisy.

Anti-abortionists would have it so that untold numbers of women suffer the devastating effects of an unwanted pregnancy just so that they could revel in their self righteous religious doctrine.

Ron Lowe
Nevada City

Landslide In A Time Of Deep Despair
Wednesday, November 5th, 2008
Friends,
Who among us is not at a loss for words? Tears pour out. Tears of joy. Tears of relief. A stunning, whopping landslide of hope in a time of deep despair.

In a nation that was founded on genocide and then built on the backs of slaves, it was an unexpected moment, shocking in its simplicity: Barack Obama, a good man, a black man, said he would bring change to Washington, and the majority of the country liked that idea. The racists were present throughout the campaign and in the voting booth. But they are no longer the majority, and we will see their flame of hate fizzle out in our lifetime.

There was another important "first" last night. Never before in our history has an avowed anti-war candidate been elected president during a time of war. I hope President-elect Obama remembers that as he considers expanding the war in Afghanistan. The faith we now have will be lost if he forgets the main issue on which he beat his fellow Dems in the primaries and then a great war hero in the general election: The people of America are tired of war. Sick and tired. And their voice was loud and clear yesterday.

It's been an inexcusable 44 years since a Democrat running for president has received even just 51% of the vote. That's because most Americans haven't really liked the Democrats. They see them as rarely having the guts to get the job done or stand up for the working people they say they support. Well, here's their chance. It has been handed to them, via the voting public, in the form of a man who is not a party hack, not a set-for-life Beltway bureaucrat. Will he now become one of them, or will he force them to be more like him? We pray for the latter.

But today we celebrate this triumph of decency over personal attack, of peace over war, of intelligence over a belief that Adam and Eve rode around on dinosaurs just 6,000 years ago. What will it be like to have a smart president? Science, banished for eight years, will return. Imagine supporting our country's greatest minds as they seek to cure illness, discover new forms of energy, and work to save the planet. I know, pinch me.

We may, just possibly, also see a time of refreshing openness, enlightenment and creativity. The arts and the artists will not be seen as the enemy. Perhaps art will be explored in order to discover the greater truths. When FDR was ushered in with his landslide in 1932, what followed was Frank Capra and Preston Sturgis, Woody Guthrie and John Steinbeck, Dorothea Lange and Orson Welles. All week long I have been inundated with media asking me, "gee, Mike, what will you do now that Bush is gone?" Are they kidding? What will it be like to work and create in an environment that nurtures and supports film and the arts, science and invention, and the freedom to be whatever you want to be? Watch a thousand flowers bloom! We've entered a new era, and if I could sum up our collective first thought of this new era, it is this: Anything Is Possible.

An African American has been elected President of the United States! Anything is possible! We can wrestle our economy out of the hands of the reckless rich and return it to the people. Anything is possible! Every citizen can be guaranteed health care. Anything is possible! We can stop melting the polar ice caps. Anything is possible! Those who have committed war crimes will be brought to justice. Anything is possible.

We really don't have much time. There is big work to do. But this is the week for all of us to revel in this great moment. Be humble about it. Do not treat the Republicans in your life the way they have treated you the past eight years. Show them the grace and goodness that Barack Obama exuded throughout the campaign. Though called every name in the book, he refused to lower himself to the gutter and sling the mud back. Can we follow his example? I know, it will be hard.

I want to thank everyone who gave of their time and resources to make this victory happen. It's been a long road, and huge damage has been done to this great country, not to mention to many of you who have lost your jobs, gone bankrupt from medical bills, or suffered through a loved one being shipped off to Iraq. We will now work to repair this damage, and it won't be easy.

But what a way to start! Barack Hussein Obama, the 44th President of the United States. Wow. Seriously, wow.

Yours,
Michael Moore

Congratulations America!
Now you have chance for change folks. We're so happy here in Finland that the nightmare of Bush years is over. Now is the time for building. See you soon.

Peace
Timo
Finland

Vile Vituperation
Intemperate rants by Prop. 8 foes falsely charged that Prop. 8 was intolerant, hateful, a violation of constitutional right, inspired by hate and lies, and designed from inception to discriminate, exclude and punish, and called its supporters hateful, mean spirited, homophobic, intolerant, segregationist, and no better than slave traders. Such vile vituperation has no place in civilized discourse.

The true inception of man-woman links is nature's evolutionary genetic imperative in all species, for millions of years, to propagate for species survival. Perhaps as early as cave dweller times, man-woman unions became recognized, acknowledged, and eventually solemnized and sanctified as a sacrament called marriage, officially established and universally honored by most societies and governments for millennia.

Those of other life styles are free to mate and to call it what they will except marriage Their attempt to usurp that term is akin to Boy Scouts demanding to join Girl Scout troops; indigent derelicts demanding entry into private millionaire clubs; or Democrat congressmen insisting on attending Republican caucuses.

Now homosexuals, damaging their own cause, outrageously surpassed all bounds of decency, publishing names of Prop. 8 donors, targeting them for possibly lethal attacks by the anti-8 lunatic fringe.

It's time for homosexuals to get on with their lives and end their vile vitriolic verbal assaults against heterosexuals defending their religion, history and fundamental beliefs.

Fielding Greaves
San Rafael

About Practical Grace
A brief contemporary history of plungers: Plungers were those rubber things on sticks, which worked for both sink and toilets. But they didn't work so well in toilets, so they added another lip on the inside, which folded up for sink use. For decades, the major plunger impediment has been that the one which worked for toilets didn't work so well for sinks. So when some smart guy made a plastic bellows, accordion-type plunger that works real good in toilets, I resisted, because it wouldn't work in sinks, and I was too tight to shell out ten dollars for a single-use plunger. Until a couple weeks ago, when I walked out of Home Depot with a $6.47 black plastic beauty, along with a two dollar (on sale) cute little yellow accordion-style school-bell-shaped sink drain model, with a narrow black rubber suction lip. And now I'm a fabulously happy plungerer. After not writing anything for about a year, I'm writing dumb little pieces about things which interest me.

Speaking of handy tools, I recently bought another good Chinese ten dollar bicycle pump (having given mine to my Santa Rosan son), which I love, and gives me a great deal of optimism for the future. I'm looking forward to using it on my left-front Honda Accord tire (getting gas station air doesn't happen that often these days).

The sock-shoe conundrum: Lately, after putting on one sock, I find myself undecided about what to do next: put the other sock on, or put on the first shoe. My mind processes it by thinking the problem would come when putting the second sock on after the first shoe, having to bend over half an inch further, to clear the other set of toes, thereby putting additional stress on my already squeezed abdominal area. We spend much of our lives attempting to maintain our gracefulness.

Harry Holdorf
Pacifica

A Chance For Change
Waking up this morning was like waking up to a new era. That's because many of us remember a time when activities were segregated by race, whether going to the movies or riding a bus.

21America elected Barack Obama the first African-American president of the United States.

Hope overcame fear. Ordinary citizens mobilized to change the future. This is the heart of Amnesty International. Since 1961, we've held out hope for those enduring injustice, when all hope was lost. And through the power of your collective actions, hundreds of thousands now enjoy greater freedom and a safer, more just world.

A record 131 million people cast their vote and exercised one of the most fundamental of human rights. But as Barack Obama said last night,

"This victory alone is not the change we seek--it is only the chance for us to make that change. And that cannot happen if we go back to the way things were. It cannot happen without you."

We have a great opportunity. The world faces overwhelming human rights crises. But with your help, we can turn this country's policies on human rights back in the direction of alleviating, and not contributing, to these crises.

President-elect Obama has promised to restore the rule of law, to repair America's damaged perception in the world, to close Guantanamo, and to renounce torture.

These promises bring hope. In the coming days, we will need you to help make those promises a reality.

Larry Cox
Executive Director
Amnesty International USA

Endangered Leatherback Sea Turtles Now Leaving West Coast

Will Encounter 5 Million More Hooks
Critically endangered sea turtles now leaving the safe harbor of California's coastal waters to migrate across the Pacific to nesting beaches could face a gauntlet of 5 million or more new longline hooks when returning to the West Coast in the future. A new report released today, "Death by a Thousand Hooks," details the huge escalation of sea turtles, seabirds, sharks and other marine life that would be caught and killed on longline hooks in ocean waters between California and Hawaii if a trio of deadly swordfish fisheries proposed by federal fishery managers is approved. See the report by Turtle Island Restoration Network (TIRN) of Forest Knolls, CA, northwest of San Francisco, at www.seaturtles.org.

"We must halt the deadly sweep of longline fishing hooks across the ocean," said Teri Shore, TIRN Program Director. "Otherwise the swordfish we eat will be tainted with the blood of sea turtles."

To help stop a new swordfish fishery from opening within 200 miles of the California coast, the California Ocean Protection Council is forwarding a resolution supporting longstanding state policy to protect marine life from such a fishery at its meeting in San Pedro on Nov. 20 and 21. See http://www.resources.ca.gov/copc/meetings.html

Combined, the three new or expanded swordfish fisheries proposed for 2009 and later would allow more than 5 million deadly longline hooks per year and multiply by three to six times per year the number of critically endangered Pacific leatherback and threatened Pacific loggerheads harmed or killed as bycatch. Both species are headed toward extinction unless they can be protected from death in fisheries and at nesting beaches. Endangered black-footed albatross, blue sharks, dolphins, whales and tuna would also be caught and killed by the larger fisheries even with modified fishing gear and special bait is used.


The Deadly Trio
Federal fishery managers are fast-tracking three new longline swordfish fishing proposals to:

1. Open up the California coast within 200 miles including the Leatherback Conservation Area where gillnetting has been prohibited and longline never allowed-the same bad fishery permit defeated in 2007;

2. Re-start a harmful high seas fishery 200 miles off the California coast that was closed in 2004 after too many sea turtles were captured; and

3. Allow unlimited fishing and triple the number of allowable captures of imperiled sea the Hawaiian longline swordfish fishery, which overlaps with the high seas fishery 200 miles off the California coast - a fishery which has been closed twice in the past eight years for threatening the survival of endangered sea turtles.

Teri Shore
Program Director
TURTLE ISLAND RESTORATION NETWORK
Check out our blog http://blog.seaturtles.org/

[email protected]; [email protected]


Dear President Obama: Preserve The Wildlife

I doubt that you will hear this from anyone else, but it is the truth, anyway.

Your (and our) top priority MUST be the preservation of wildlife (all species of living things other than humans and domesticated species) and their habitat. They obviously can't protect themselves from us. And just about everything that we value depends on them. They provide oxygen, clean air, clean water, food, medicines, and essential services, such as pollination, pest control, and the recycling of wastes. And places to relax (i.e., parks)! The "dumb and dumber" conservative majority of the Supreme Court -- the people who just determined that Navy exercises are more important than whales (!) MUST be overridden.

Second, we need to stop drilling for and burning fossil fuels. An electrical engineer, Robert Godes, has developed a process for (relatively) cold fusion (see http://profusionenergy.com/), which requires only nickel or palladium and converts water to oxygen and helium, releasing enormous quantities of cheap energy. It will replace the consumption of fossil fuel.

Michael J. Vandeman, Ph.D.
San Ramon

A Letter to President Obama: World Does Not Need Change

Last month you said that if elected President you would ``change the world.`` Sorry to disillusion you but the rest of us in the world outside of the USA don`t want the world being changed, we want America to change.

In fact I can safely say that we've had enough of America's changes to the world, the illegal invasions undertook for solely economic motives, the death and destruction the USA has brought to millions of innocent civilians in your quest for world hegemony.

We've had enough of your concentration camps dotted throughout the world from Guantanamo to Abu Ghraib where America suffered their greatest humiliation since 1776.

We've had enough of your blind support for the Apartheid regime in Israel with their policies of ethnic cleansing and in turning Gaza into the world's largest prison camp, slowly starving the occupants into submission or flight.

We've had enough of America disregarding International Laws when it suits you and then falling back them when it's to your advantage.

We've had enough of your threats against Iran on the basis of their non-existant nuclear weapons program or your violations of sovereignty in places such as Pakistan and Syria.

We've had enough of the USA being the sole opposition to United Nations resolutions intended to improve human rights.

In short Mr Obama get the troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan and get used to the idea of buying your oil and gas on the open market instead occupying and threatening oil producers.

It's not as though you don't have enough problems at home, the Bush administration has been busy printing new money to pay your way in the world, your Treasury deficit is exceeding half a trillion dollars a year, your trade deficit is around $60 billion a month and that is partially because "made in the USA" is not a favourable trade mark to billions of people around the world.

We need action not words and change is certainly necessary, if you can change the USA you will truly change the world.

Michael,
England

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