Thanks To The Coastal Post And Its Readers
As you probably know by now, my bid to become a Director of the Marin Health Care District has succeeded. Marin voted overwhelmingly for me (Linda Remy) and Diana Parnell to serve four-year terms on the District Board, to recall conflicted Directors Larry Bedard and Paul Lofholm, and to replace them with Larry Rose (who will serve until I take office on December 5) and Sylvia Siegel who will serve the remaining two years of Lofholm's term. The Marin Safe Healthcare Coalition has been completely victorious in achieving its first round of objectives.
I want to thank the Coastal Post and all its readers for their role in helping achieve this on behalf of Marin residents. We all have participated in an astounding exercise of grassroots organizing and small-d democracy.
The Marin Health Care District leases Marin General Hospital to a corporation which is now a member of Sutter/CHS, northern California's second largest health care conglomerate. For years, the Coastal Post has provided a vital open forum for bringing to the public the unvarnished story of that lease. The Post deserves much credit for its unswerving willingness to publish positions challenging those MGH churns out in other papers. I urge Post readers to log onto the paper's Web Page (https://www.coastalpost.com) and review the many articles and letters they have published over the last several years on this subject. Thank you, Don Deane.
When I assume office in December, my initial goal will be to secure mainly symbolic items reflecting the new independent thinking on the Board. These symbols of independence include obtaining (1) an easily accessible, fully equipped District Office, located on the ground floor of our hospital, with adequate public and private meeting space so District Directors may meet with their constituents; (2) modern computers with up-to-date software so District staff and Directors may prepare District documents independently of MGH administrators; (3) support staff supervised directly by the District rather than by MGH administrators; (4) a secure place to store District files which is inaccessible to MGH administrators; (5) a listed telephone number so constituents may call Directors forthrightly, rather than leaving messages in the MGH administrator's office; (6) a direct dial fax number, with a fax machine located in the District office rather than in the MGH administrator's office; (7) voice mail, email, and a web site so that any member of the public may contact any District Director without leaving a message in the MGH administrator's office.
You might think these steps are small, even insignificant. I do have a larger agenda, but I think we must begin by asserting symbolically the District's independence from the corporation which leases our hospital. Given the terms in the original tenant-friendly lease, its subsequent tenant-friendly amendment, other tenant-friendly side agreements over the years, and the changing Board composition, I suspect even simple symbols of independence will be rather hard won.
We have a lot of work to do and extremely limited financial resources. Under the tenant-friendly terms to which previous Board members consented, the District receives only about $150,000 a year in cash from the corporation leasing our hospital. As I currently understand it, most of that income is earmarked for three things: District legal counsel, election costs, and a contracted part-time staff position filled by a former MGH staff member who now is an MGH consultant.
To be successful, Sylvia and I need all the help you can give, and this probably will involve our continued reliance on volunteer help until we straighten things out. We will not be able to effect meaningful change without ongoing support from the people who voted us into office. Sylvia and I do not make a Board majority. But we think other Directors will be responsive if District residents maintain their current level of interest in District governance and hospital services. We cannot succeed without your continued help. Let ALL the District Directors know your ideas and thoughts.
I plan to keep the Coastal Post readership up to date on issues and events that impact the Marin Health Care District. Weather permitting, I hope be going to the San Rafael Farmers Market on the first Sunday of every month to talk with Marin residents. I look forward to seeing you there. For now, until District Directors have their own email accounts, I can be reached directly at the following address: [email protected]
Thank you for your help and confidence in me. I will do my best.
INS Is Enforcing The Law
Alan Barnett's tirade against the INS officers who arrested 58 illegal aliens in San Rafael was irresponsible.
Would that Alan spent as much time calling for lawfulness from the immigrants invading our country illegally as he does harassing our law enforcement officers just trying to do their jobs. We'd all be better off. Seems Alan is trying to kill US with HIS kindness.
What's The Fuss Over INS Raids?
Excuse me, but it's crazy time once again in Marin County, and I am very confused about all the fuss regarding the INS raids in San Rafael last September.
First, what is this Human Rights Commission, what is its charter and jurisdiction, under whose authority does it operate, and most, importantly, who is paying for it? Who are these people?
Second, isn't it one of the many thankless jobs of the INS to ferret out illegal aliens, arrest them, and have them deported? What is the problem here?
Chairman Dennis Sato is wrong when he claims that the Human Rights Commission has to "educate the public" in San Rafael. The public knows only too well that we are being overrun by illegal aliens, and that only people who believe that the U.S. is a racist country, that all the actions of law-enforcement agencies are automatically suspect, and that criminals are always the victims of society, would object to these innocuous INS raids.
Mr. Sato, however, is right when he says that the community is divided. Indeed it is. The community is divided between the many of us who love America, its culture, and its people, and the few who hate America, but sure enough want to live here in Marin County and take advantage of all of this great country's blessings!
I am talking about Marin's affluent Third World aficionados, professional activists, congenital dissidents, and frustrated revolutionaries who conspire every day to destroy the United States of America in the name of silly and dangerous notions of global justice and, purportedly, for the sake of their supposedly oppressed clients.
It is time to end the confusion and bring clarity back to American politics.
It is time for the great American majority-all of us who are proud to be plain Americans, regardless of who we are or where we came from-to rise, to take back our institutions from the liberal left, to put the Misery Industry out of business, and to rule the Republic again!
* * *
Big Business vs. Misery Industry
Someone once said that in a democracy people have a government as bad as they are willing to tolerate, and the 1996 presidential election sure proves it!
Once again we have to choose between a candidate from the party of greed, the Republicans, and another one from the party of graft, the Democrats. Some choice, eh?
A Dole presidency would mean more giveaways for Big Business, and a second term for Clinton will mean more handouts for the Misery Industry.
And as long as we, the citizens and taxpayers of this nation, put up with the situation, politicians and bureaucrats will continue to squander our national resources, give away our taxes, and help themselves, all at our expense.
The War Against Iraq: An Ongoing Cruel Farce
Why did President Clinton order the bombing of Iraq in September?
Newbar Upsepian, a writer on Middle Eastern affairs, declared in an interview on Radio Thai that it was to keep Iraqi oil off the market in order to please oil-rich Saudi Arabia. President Clinton declared that it was punishment for Iraq's violating the no-fly area by going to the aid of Iraqi Kurds in Northern Iraq. The media takes the tone that it was to punish Saddam Hussein for being the worst dictator in the Middle East.
Isn't it time for a few facts?
First, the "no fly" zones in North and South Iraq were not a U.N. Security Council international decree, but a rule that the U.S. alone made. The U.S. decreed that the government of Iraq had no right to enter its own sovereign territory in either North or South Iraq! Did the U.S. have the legal right to make such a unilateral decision about another nation? No.
Why did Iraq enter the northern no-fly area?
At a plea from Iraqi Kurds that they were defenseless against Iranian soldiers who had entered Iraq to join a group of dissident Kurds who were fighting them. What happened when U.S. forces entered that area? Three CIA agents are reported to have hastily fled.
Want to guess what was going on up there?
It sounds like the traditional CIA incite-to-civil-war ploy to me. The CIA has a long history of that sort, going all the way back to its baptism in 1948 in Guatemala under the Truman administration. Another case of our boys stirring up trouble for a nation out of favor with the USA and the corporate community economists declare the CIA serves?
How did the Iraqi mess begin?
In 1990, with the encouragement of the U.S. State Department, Iraq invaded Kuwait because for a number of years Kuwait had been stealing Iraqi oil with slanted drilling across the border. Even those whose knowledge comes only from the corporate press know that, as details were in our newspapers.
Why did the U.S. encourage Iraq to attack Kuwait?
Was it because Saddam Hussein refused to sign the GATT Agreement that was offered to him for signature just before the U.S. and the U.N. Security Council began the blockage against Iraq? Or does the U.S. Army offer the best clue?
According to the textbook on Iraq, the U.S. Army published in 1990 for the use of foreign service trainees at the American University at Georgetown, Iraq-the most prosperous and modern nation in the Middle East-was leader of the Arab Union Movement, an organization similar to the European Economic Community, an alliance of all-Arabic states that was in the process of forming its own all-Arabic Army. This indeed would worry the Western nations dependent on oil for the manufacture of gasoline, motor oil and plastics to keep the great machines of our technological society running smoothly. The corporations need this oil most of all.
Why did Saddam Hussein refuse to sign the GATT Agreement?
Because not only does the GATT circumvent the laws of a nation, but it includes a clause that promises to furnish to international corporations 50% of any natural products from the land of any nation that signs it. Those who know of this clause may suspect it has something to do with the loss of forests worldwide, the willingness of nations to have their forests shaved away-this applies to us as GATT signers, too. The rule applies, of course, to minerals in the soil. Iraq is mineral rich as well as oil rich.
What did George Bush give as the reason for the war against Iraq?
President Bush, who began the war against Iraq through the U.N. Security Council of only five major nations-U.S., England, France, China, Russia-when asked for the reason for the Iraq war declared the New World Order as the reason. That had little meaning at the time as no one knew what the new world order was. Now we begin to see the picture: It is world control by international corporations. Ralph Nader calls it corporatism. Mussolini called it fascism. Hitler called it the new world order.
What did Saddam Hussein do to gain the title we give him of deep-dyed villain?
According to Iraq: The Country, published by the U.S. Army, he created a modern nation out of a typical Arab state. He liberated women, gave them equal rights, gave free medical care and education to all Iraqis, liberal pensions to the families of soldiers killed in war, installed electricity throughout the nation and furnished electricity to other Arab nations.
Sounds really rotten of him, doesn't it? He also created food and mineral industries to prevent Iraq from being a one-product state, instituted oil refineries with a fleet of ships to carry the refined oil, plus an agreement with Kuwait to use their port on the Indian Ocean, and was building a pipeline across the desert for Saudi Arabia.
Before the war with Iran, the citizens of Iraq were the most prosperous in the Middle East. The war in 1980 with U.S.-backed Iran over a long-lasting border disagreement piled heavy debt on Iraq. When the U.S. sprang to the rescue and bought the Iraqi debt, Iraq became a U.S. client state. Rumor has it that the war was part of a U.S. "containment" policy copied from British Empire techniques. Cut down any nation that rises above the others, and keep all power for yourself.
Why was the U.N. Security Council willing to break the rules to war with a U.N. member?
Perusal of their sessions shows that for some time it was dominated by the U.S. and Britain; the power players won the game.
Why did the Arab states join the war against their own ally?
Threats, promises and bribery. IMF debts were cancelled and threats of one of our CIA-created civil wars issued to "Refusniks." Algeria and Yemen were Refusniks, and immediately after the Iraq military war was completed they did in fact have civil wars. It is also quite possible that despite the alliance between Iraq and the other Arab states, the conservative Arab states did not approve of Iraq's modernization. Especially the freedom for women and government money lavished on social services for the people.
Is Saddam Hussein a dictator?
Of course, all Mid-East leaders are dictators. Hussein was, however, an elected dictator, like our own dictators in the Americas and elsewhere. We call this "democracy."
The blockage that started before armed conflict and continues to this day.
Former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark and others declare that the blockade of Iraq-preventing food, medical supplies and machine parts to restore the damaged infrastructure of Iraq-has caused more deaths than even the bombing did, and the number of bombs dropped on Iraq was declared at the time to exceed the total of bombs dropped in all previous 20th century wars. Yet the blockade has caused greater carnage, deaths from starvation and disease among the people of Iraq. The lack of medicine and anaesthetics to render patients unconscious for surgery was even more horrifying. Iraqi doctors reported having to operate without clean water to wash their hands between operations on the wounded, antiseptics to prevent infection, and worst of all, the necessity to operate on children without anesthetics.
For some time now, our allies have pleaded that the cruel blockage of over six years be lifted. Only the U.S. is adamant that it remain.
Why did Clinton begin hostilities against Iraq?
To get more votes in the coming election because Americans love a war-like president? To garnish added campaign funds from international corporations that hate Saddam Hussein because he may not have yet signed the GATT Agreement that gives them power over nations? To please Saudi Arabia (and get more campaign funds) by preventing the recent agreement that Iraq can sell its oil to buy food and medicine for its people and machine parts to repair its damaged infrastructure. According to reports, it is not Iraq's violation of the U.S.-declared no-fly zone, as this restriction has largely been ignored.
Does the blockade break the human rights of the U.N. charter?
Of course it does, and it breaks every other known law of moral behavior. In fact, it is unprecedented.
Why does the U.S. and the media say it is fighting Saddam Hussein instead of admitting it is fighting the nation of Iraq?
Playing the Hitler card, perhaps, by demonizing one person instead of admitting the truth? Or is it that old black magic of an unsigned GATT Agreement? Who knows? When Herr Hitler became the boogie man for the whole Nazi movement, it may have started a trend.
Does anybody care?
We hear that Clinton had planned further bombing forays in Iraq but that objections by our European allies and the anger of the Arab nationals forced him to curtail his plans, at least for the moment. However, the buildup of armaments in the Gulf suggest that our boy may hope to become a war hero president at last my means of further attacks of some sort on Iraq, a nation already on its knees.
One thing is certain: No Arab nation will dare thwart us after the example of what our military, the greatest in the world, has proved it can do to dissident nations.
Did the Iraq war cost the U.S. and its allies much money?
Not at all, not anything. In fact, according to Radio Canada, the U.S. made a profit of over 55 million on the Iraq war. How? Every U.N. nation was told to contribute an army for that "U.N. war" or pay a fine to those that did. So the troops that fought the war were freebies. Like the Hessians of the American Revolution, soldiers for hire-mercenaries!
Ed Salz (October letter) displays all the usual erudition of the typical anti-gun Clinton disciple. Unable to rebut facts presented by his opponent, he resorts, Clinton-fashion, to ad hominem attacks and mindless bluster. He's following the patter of acolytes of Handgun Control and similar groups who promptly denounced the University of Chicago report without bothering to take time to read it.
If such nitwits really were interested in reducing gun violence, one would think they might at least be willing to read the report to see if it has, as reported by the anti-gun press, any useful data on curbing crime-which it does. If they wanted to refute it, they should at least read it to pick out what they consider its vulnerable points. But no, unwilling to face the probability of being found wanting in intellect, or found in error as to their cherished mindless mantra, they simply close their minds up tight, slap on a padlock, and throw away the key.
It could be stimulating to discourse on the subject with an intelligent person, but since Mr. Salz can say nothing but "Nyeh, nyeh, it ain't so," and cite that thoroughly absurd "three times more likely" figure from Dr. Kellerman's spurious and long-discredited "research," there's no point in answering beyond letting readers know that Mr. Salz has no idea of the facts of this issue.
Confessions Of A Lonely Bag Lady
I hid on the patio alone
thinking of happier times
of being a young wife and mother.
People cared about me.
I was someone special to somebody.
Now, age fifty, husband dead, child
grown, this awful feeling of isolation
No evening news on TV
with my cat on my lap and a cup of tea
I cried for times long past
NO TIME THE MINE
Campaign Hangover Affects Community Spirit
The recent elections in West Marin have given me reason to pause and reflect on the nature of our Democracy and how it is practiced. As a recognized progressive stronghold, West Marin has the reputation as a place of staunch independent thinking and environmental stewardship. So it can be no surprise that the two persons competing to represent our district were bright and driven. It should also be no surprise that the more charismatically molded of the two, Steve Kinsey, had a strong "cult of personality" following.
The Kinsey campaign team was assembled from an inner circle of these followers. This group considered themselves personally bonded to the candidate, hence the "cult" element, and as such had unfortunately lost their objectivity and emotional control early on in the race. Although objectivity may not be a requirement in a political campaign, it certainly becomes relevant in later associations and community activities.
The tactics developed by this team were unique in their aggressive qualities. In particular, the technique of personally attacking the activists of the opposition (not the candidate) through name-calling and other slurs, much like the Wendi Kallins attack on me in the November Post, and the persistent Machiavellian reference to our raising public information as "negative campaigning" and "mud-slinging," has been quite successful. This approach also strongly supports the contention that a deep personal association and involvement with a candidate tends to make one feel that any suggestion of how the candidate may not be the caliber advertised is somehow an attack on them. This is why any criticism of Kinsey was met with vitriolic and pejorative slurs against those raising the issues.
The concern I have revolves around the carry-over phenomenon which is a result of becoming so immersed in a project that it spills over into a person's more regular daily routine. Some of these carry-over elements are their personal attack tactics, the use of exaggerated slurs, and a belief of conspiracies where none exist.
However common, it fascinates me when a group of normally rational people lose all critical thinking skills and become permanently enmeshed in a state of political contention. This aggressive posture seems to have replaced a previously held amiable social paradigm that, for better of worse, has kept a lid on some old animosities. These animosities have, interestingly enough, focused on one person over the years. The primary target of the resentment, Jean Berensmeier, has the reputation of a tough fighter and a person with solid convictions, and it seems that the so-called "community rift" is due to others being jealous of her strength of will.
Unsatisfied with their election win, Richard Grey, Wendi Kallins, and Bill Noble have used the Kinsey election machine to orchestrate the removal of their opponents (Jean Berensmeier and three others) from the local Planning Group's governing board. The four persons ousted from the Steering Committee were also the members with all the experience in dealing with planning issues. This secretive and unethical plan was not only intended to punish people for supporting Dotty LeMieux, but also intended to reduce the overview of Steve Kinsey's local building projects.
Surprisingly, the perpetrators of this divisive act have arrogantly admitted their involvement without any concern for the well being of the community. This one fact continues to ring in my head. How could a group of so-called "community activists" to be self-absorbed as to ignore the damage they have done to our community?
More than anything else, I would like to move on with my life and seek other avenues of activism, but with the manipulative events taking place around me, I keep finding myself being pulled back into this never-ending divisiveness.
As I see it, the lessons to be learned lie in observing the psychological mindsets formed in this clique which were accentuated through their personal agendas and biases. Hopefully, we can use this abuse of process as an example of what to avoid in the future as we begin to rebuild a community relationship on trust and not on unfounded fears and hate.
I appreciate that the Coastal Post prints so many letters in each issue, and that it doesn't "require" a name, address, phone number like mainstream papers.
Otherwise, I would probably never write letters to editors. My experience in the American System, especially in this decade, is that non-mainstream ideas, viewpoints, attitudes are met with hostile and disdainful replies; therefore, there is no way I would want to expose my name, address, phone number in a letter to an editor and take the risk, even if small, of being "blacklisted" at some level.
Freedom of expression? Only if what one expresses does not ruffle the mainstream consciousness. Otherwise, duck and cover.
War On Drugs Is War On People
As an American Veteran, I am very concerned about the current state of the on War on Drugs. Although the title suggests that it is a war on some evil inanimate substance, I feel that it is actually a war on the people who use drugs -- fellow Americans to be precise. And, shouldn't a war between the people of the same country be called a civil War?
The war on Drugs has become the longest running war in American history and perhaps the most expensive. It has blemished the history of America with: Armies of secret police; midnight raids by troops with attack dogs and tommy guns; illegal search and property seizures; enormously broad search warrants; routine denial of human rights; the largest per capita incarceration rate in the world; numerous collateral deaths and injuries; etc. The list is nearly endless and none of it is complementary to this country's tradition of personal freedoms and responsibilities.
The war on Drugs has become a symbol of a war in America that is not about drugs. It is about a fascist attempt to reduce and eliminate human rights along with the powers of the left and the minorities in America. The fascists dishonestly attempt to maintain legitimacy for their aggression by using misinformation campaigns, massive government funding, the resources of the military, and huge armies of rightist agents and police. If you don't think it is a civil war then how do you account for a few strung out dope heads who can finance a drug establishment so powerful it can for 30 years continue to grow in the face of a trillion dollar multi-national, multi-agency, American war machine?
The resilience of the world drug trade, against fascist attack, represents the voice of the people against fascism. It is not a silent voice. The people of America and the world are just saying NO to fascist control and aggression. And as a veteran who comes from a family of veterans who have fought fascists in nearly every war since the American Revolution, I have to say that I did not put my butt on the line to make America safe for fascism.
If the fascists in America will not relent in their war against human rights and individual freedoms then I suggest you either join the rest of us in the trenches or just buy drugs, lots of them, and buy them frequently. Throw them in the toilet if you wish, but buy them! Uncle Sam needs you to finance the civil war against the fascist takeover of America.
San Geronimo Valley Planning Group Election Awful
It is always interesting to see the ways that those in power rewrite history to justify their actions to others and to salve their guilty consciences.
Regarding the recent Planning Group election Wendy Kallins writes in her Pt. Reyes Light column about trying "to heal the rift that exists in this community" and in favor of "an open process for the free flow of ideas". She then claims that "this election was not meant as a vendetta or a payback." Well Wendy, you can't have it both ways. You don't attempt to heal a rift by attacking and purging those on one side of the rift. You don't promote the free flow of ideas by attacking those whose opinions you disagree with. Promoting a hand-picked slate for the Steering Committee against independent candidates does not promote "a Steering Committee that broadly represents our community".
Wendy attacks Anita Rui Olds as a member of what she calls "the old guard". Well, Bill Noble and Richard Gray thought highly enough of Anita to include her, without her permission, in their "slate". I guess she's OK as long as she keeps in line, is that it?
Wendy misquotes and distorts what another candidate said. Wendy complained about the candidates "advising us to listen to our elders, meaning Jean Berensmeier". Well I was right in front of the candidates' table and Debbie Hubsmith did not tell us to listen to our elders. She suggested that we not throw away the Steering Committee experience of the older Steering Committee members. That is a big difference. Debbie didn't mean just Jean Berensmeier, she also meant Planning Group co-founder Marshall Krause. Wendy then
generalized her distortion to be a statement from the entire Steering Committee, and not just one candidate. Why did Wendy leave out Marshall, isn't he controversial enough? Was Marshall targeted for removal from the Steering Committee just as a smoke-screen? And again, Debbie was also included in Bill and Richard's "slate" without her permission. I guess that she too is OK until she decides to speak her mind.
Until recently, I don't think most people in the Valley thought there was any "rift" in this community at all, let alone one due to the Planning Group. This summer a number of people in the Valley chose to oppose Steve Kinsey's candidacy and openly campaign for Dotty LeMieux. An immediate result was that Bill Noble, Wendy Kallins and Steve's political machine lashed out against them. Bill Noble made threatening phone calls to people who had written letters critical of Steve, Wendy used her column to denounce them, and the Light published letters vilifying them for daring to question Steve's candidacy. That is when most people in this community thought a rift began.
In fact, Bill Noble and Richard Gray were planning their takeover of the Planning Group for more than a year and a half, long before the Supervisor's race. There was another older rift, a personal one between Bill and Richard and the other people on the Steering Committee. Remember, Bill was a member of the Steering Committee he so loudly denounces.
This was not a popular revolt. This was a coup orchestrated and led from a position of power within the Planning Group leadership. Bill was the Steering Committee member in charge of Planning Group membership. Rather than put their energy into healing the painful division resulting from the Supervisor's race, Bill and Richard took advantage of it and made it worse. They manipulated this division in the Valley in their lust for more power.
Of course there was a "conspiracy". Bill and Richard admitted that at the Steering Committee election. Of course their behavior was unethical. They tried to deceive everyone regarding their motives and goals. Almost one-half of their slate of candidates were people who did not want to be on the slate and who were not even asked if their names could be publicly used. Bill abused his Steering Committee position in charge of membership by organizing and orchestrating all the new memberships to arrive at the last possible moment
-too late for anybody else to have time for an equal chance. If this was the "popular revolt" Wendy claims it is, then why the deceptions and lies necessary? I should think that a mid-summer membership drive would have been sufficient. And there should have been no need for the deceptive "slate". Bill and everyone else could have run individually, but that would not have given him enough power, or revenge.
Bill and Richard could have taken the time and effort they poured into taking over the Planning Group to help heal the Supervisor's race rift. Or they could have tried to solve their personal problems with the Steering Committee by focusing their energies into working within the Steering Committee and the rest of the Planning Group. Instead, they cruelly toyed with the community's divisions to further their own ambitions. In their grab for more power they have widened and deepened the divisions in this community.
DAVID S. REICH
Are Farm Fed Salmon Killing The Fishery
John Churchman seems to have an accurate view of the problems facing our local salmon fisherman. I would like to know more about the problems he addresses in the article. Would you please help with: 1. Who is John and how does he seem to know so much about the subject? 2. Is there research, and or, additional research he may have done regarding the health concerns of eating farmed raised fish? 3. Is it possible to contact John directly as I am interested in the supply of healthy, fresh, fish.
JOHN W. WARD
Hospital Board: A Relief And A Blessing
The people of the hospital district won the Marin General election. What a relief to be shed of the most abrasive medical politician ever-Dr. Larry Bedard. Paul Lofholm should be peddling drugs and not be running hospitals. So he's back in the pharmacy where he belongs.
We have three lively ones on the hospital board now to look out for the residents of the hospital district. What a blessing to have Dr. Diana Parnell, Linda Remy and Syliva Siegel representing us.
Letters II Dec 96
Erratum: Omissions were inadvertently made when setting the following letter which appeared in the September issue. The words in bold were left out.
Human Rights For Minors
Re. Media and Media-ocracy, July
I picked up a copy of Mother Jones recently, and I think it about tripled my appreciation of the Coastal Post. It must be tough being a "liberal" these days. Both the cute rhetorical tone and the incongruous, disjoined nature of the opinions show that critical thought congealed some time ago, and "progressive" now refers to an odd array of notions still cabalistically recited by the faithful.
You know: We're supposed to love the First Amendment and hate the Second, protect "war toys" and quietly bankroll Israel's traditional slaughter of Palestinian children, honor a woman's right to become a physician but deny to the death a growing girl's "childish," or not-yet-adulterated, right to choose a physician of her own gender, live in terror of big corporations and leap naked into the protective arms of big government, revile any alternative to "public education" and sociably stop our "activism" there, lest we should rupture the code of smarmy silence, the petty cronyism, the actual default of interest and quality-control that's likely to rule in any school district where an ethnic minority presence makes white liberals feel like saints, while providing ready, unspoken excuses for endless "troubles."
Surely these days, as we confront the limits of our planet's resources, and as the input of perspectives widens, it becomes harder to prop up the old factions. As comprehension grows more global, we must find terms that hold together within the requirements of a sustainable, planetary ecology. With no geographic "frontiers" left to plunder and re-populate, progress must now turn inside; we must, at last, find internal stability, as we ride out our sudden collision with the perimeter of the Earth. Deep ecology must, at last, address the psychological roots of our time-honored military and environmental spending binges. In fact, we can already begin to discern a set of ideas that hold together "organically," and the new test of this "holistic" coherence leaves a scattering of archaic notions still chattering in the air, like cartoon characters that run off cliffs but remain briefly suspended, too self-absorbed to realize what has happened.
Nowhere is the organic, unpretentious nature of reason more apparent than in the Coastal Post, along with the fundamental importance of truly open and genuine debate, in lieu of which our mainstream "civil-libertarians" preside over a sterile-and, in the key moments, brutally censorious-charade. So Mark Van Proyen's uninformed praise for the Time magazine/Marion Write Edelman version of child advocacy is, I trust, subject to re-consideration.
As a coherent world view finally starts falling into place, it's natural that the largest remaining hole in the puzzle has to do with the human rights of minors. The schism between adults and minors has always been the most extreme, most fundamental, and most universal, or global, social class power imbalance. While adult authority is necessary, it must be applied with great care; every failure in this utmost responsibility registers sooner or later as damage to the social fabric.
Every society that survived the test of history had to socialize its children in a way that "worked" for its own geographic situation: as with sexism, the question of fairness, or of ultimate psychological health, hardly arose-not when survival so often fell to the most compulsively dominant or aggressive. But the changes of the past century require us to start over completely. With the collapse of traditional child socialization guidelines, including some traditional protections, all that remains is the random authority of the adult class. With no external, unifying vent for our dysfunctions, we see them now burbling chaotically among the kids. No priority in the emerging "global village" is more immediate than the development of new child-socialization systems, sustainable systems, able to produce biologically fulfilled, psychologically stable, and functional citizens in a global society.
Bridging the age old schism between childhood and adulthood is the fog shrouded way to social sanity: it will require nothing less than genuine advocacy for the human rights of minors, as free as possible from adult notions-whether apparently well-meaning or openly demagogic. Yet our mainstream "child advocates" make no pretense of such objectivity. When Kathy Lee Gifford cried, "How dare you say I don't care about children?" she blurted out the entire philosophical basis of our "child advocacy" industry, Marion Wright Edelman included. In fact, the more funding or prominence a mainstream "child advocate" receives, the less likely she is to address the perfect lack of accountability that reigns when a social group has no political representation-or traditional protection-whatsoever. The real status of modern-day minors is seen in the fact that "advocacy," when it pertains to them, is one of those entirely presumed "liberal" notions with no meaning at all.
Our children grow up in a society that-without the least objection from anyone but "the Arabs"-has neglectfully voted for and funded the routine shooting of Palestinian children who throw stones at our pet Israeli troops, a society that has nothing but "liberated" applause for the increasing use of children in popular "R"-rated movie-scenes and "erotic" nude photography. The careful -and absurdly obvious-minors'-rights arguments against these popular horrors have been made available for a least a dozen years now, but they've been nicely deleted from the "public (i.e., talk show) debate" and conveniently "overlooked" by any "advocates" who wish to court mainstream and media rewards. Such inexcusable examples reveal a quality of adult world attention or "advocacy" that removes all mystery from the whole array of gruesome youth-related statistics. Real minor's rights activists, who do serious work in real schools and real communities, not only see, but are threatened daily by, local varieties of equally indefensible examples, lost in pervasive adult world "discretion" and denial.
Thus our most incisive newspaper analysis proves only that Kathy Lee's brand of child advocacy isn't quite the thing-and if that effort is worth so much print, the Edelman alternative must indeed seem nice. But isn't an endorsement by Time magazine cause for suspicion? Actually, Edelman's brand of "caring," being more carefully posed-and marketing the "admirable" illusion of real child advocacy proceeding nicely-is much more harmful in the long run. When the next generation of us is given the priority they require, child advocacy won't be used as a demagogic ploy and prop for adult liberal notions; it will genuinely guide us toward real progress.
The sources of all our societal dysfunctions, ancient of modern, are lost in the unchecked chaos of adult biases and interests that rule our current child socialization. The mess can be sorted out by nothing less than direct and objective advocacy for the human rights of minors. If we withhold that from each new generation, we really mustn't expect the world to get any better, despite our best post-adult remedies and "liberation."
Kids' Headquarters, Inc.
Letter From Julia
Thank you for continuing my subscription. The paper is my continued contact with a place that I will always love and thought would be my life home. But life has its own way of doing things, so now I am in Washington. I have not had many notes or letters from folks that I knew, but everyone is busy, right?
I seem to be the owner of a copy service/graphic design business in this little town of Winthrop, that kind of looks like a cross between Knott's Berry Farm and a Gene Autry movie set (if there is any difference). The local politics are funny and pathetic in a way and the dichotomy between the "Western" appearance and making a living is funny, too. We had to submit our sign design to the Westernization Committee for acceptance before we could build it. CopyWorks has a wide variety of customers, from those who need one black and white copy to those who see the possibilities of preserving their historic photographs for their children or creating albums, real estate agents who can copy an aerial map of the property they want to sell, and folks who just want to make reprints of their wonderful photographs. I don't compete with Kinko's because they are over on the "other side" and folks here, like Bolinas, do not like to go over the mountain unless they have to. Actually, we are on the east side of a mountain pass that closes just about now, so the other side is inaccessible for the winter months. Unless you go around. We have a Christmas celebration called "Christmas at the End of the Road" and the town folds up except for skiers, snow-mobilers and polar bears.
I am doing various graphic design jobs, including newspaper ads, newsletters, etc., as well as creating a line of cards and prints from a discovery I made on the color copier. We are also working toward doing on-line services with a Web page and are investigating the practicality of that technology. It would work for my father's photographs because the digital quality is improving all the time.
There are no other copy services within a hundred miles, so I might even be successful at this business. All those years at Ram Insta-print and the Coastal Post seem to be paying off. I am trying to upgrade my computer system to "keep abreast" of the technology, but it might be too expensive and I might explode financially. But right now I love what I am doing and I love the Methow Valley and my little shop next to the river where I can watch the seasons change dramatically.
John is teaching violin and music lessons and puts on concerts for people who say they want more music here, but it is a bit of a struggle, because they have other priorities, like building houses and skiing. Slowly, but surely, is the way. There are many naturalists who all seem to be working for the Department of Forestry, who is an employer of many. I don't keep too close to their politics because I get a lot of business from them.
At any rate, I am enclosing a check to continue my subscriptions and my support for the Coastal Post and those people who are fondly thought of in my heart.
Current state and federal efforts to reduce budget deficits will result in cutting programs critical to the well-being of millions of Americans in areas of social service, health, education and welfare. Such cuts will adversely and disproportionately impact lower middle class and poor individuals, particularly women and children. Today in America, one in three children lives in poverty.
Though Congress seems willing to reduce or eliminate welfare for poor and unemployed individuals, it is unwilling to address the other type of welfare: corporate, military and bureaucratic. Such welfare comes in the forms of tax breaks routinely given to corporations and wealthy individuals; cost over-runs for defense contractors; Star Wars research and development; new generation jet fighters, bombers and submarines; cost-ineffective roads and subsidized forest service operations. Such corporate and military welfare evidence misguided priorities and point to flagrant inequities which have gone unchecked for decades.
Corporate welfare is closely tied to the old paradigm economics of unlimited growth, which is short-sighted, environmentally destructive and not sustainable. The long-sacred economic standard of "growth for growth's sake" is based on rapid economic expansion, rapid resource extraction, rapid human population increases, rapid development of wild and open lands, and on moves to privatize/develop public lands. These are no longer acceptable in carrying humanity into the next century.
What countries should be focusing on is slow, careful development of their resources in order to maximize their benefits and use by local populations. Large-scale projects which sell raw materials to large out-of-state or foreign corporations have degraded the global environment, kept local economies from actualizing their potential and perpetuated a false system of unlimited growth driven by an unstable global market.
Elected leaders should be urged by the electorate to confront the contradictory and destructive policies and philosophies of old paradigm economics. This will not happen, however, until and unless citizens become active in shaping a sustainable, sane future. Citizens will need to press their governments to work for peace and nuclear disarmament; to make good on promises of "Peace Dividends"; to develop rational, progressive energy policies based on efficiency, conservation and alternative technologies. America's energy and foreign policies are dangerously interconnected such that future wars will be waged over cheap, unlimited supplies of fossil fuel, the very thing which is stressing the Global Environment with acid rain, global warming and ozone depletion.
Individuals must do whatever they can in their own lives and communities to work toward a responsible, sustainable and healthy future for themselves and for their children. The leaders of all sectors-business, religion, education, government and media-must be urged to join the hundreds of thousands of individuals around the globe who are calling and working for positive change in the area of sustainable economics.
JOHN D. LYLE
Measure A Wins, Marin Loses
Measure A, the community parks, open space and farms maintenance and protection initiative won a majority of 57% to 58% of the vote, a landslide of mandate scale in political terms. It lost due to the perversion of majority-rule brought about by Proposition 13, which was passed by a simple majority in 1978.
Proposition 13 (unlucky 13?) as most folks know, requires a two-thirds or super-majority vote for passage of tax measures to fund or maintain local or community programs and projects, a hurdle typically reserved for matters of Constitutional Amendment proportions.
Proposition 13 has taken California from first in education and transportation, to a position near the bottom nationally. Perhaps the only equality factor or benefit of Prop. 13 is that the Bentley and the Beetle, the Brahman and the beggar must negotiate the same pockmarked landscape of potholes in our crumbling physical, cultural and natural infrastructures.
Proposition 13 was the result of residual Reaganism, the prodigal scion of the non-government, big business Great Communicator (with blinders and earplugs) guru of the right. It was born of the imperative of conservative piety over the evils of do-gooder liberalism.
In Measure A, the majority of Marin voters saw a need to raise the County sales tax a mere 1/4 cent to maintain their parks, open space and farms-their natural and village values which have stood Marin in good stead for several decades. A super-minority prevented this from being done.
Some have scoffed at the reported threats to farms in West Marin if MALT isn't able to acquire more agricultural preservation easements. The real threat is that the culture in agriculture is very fragile, and especially so in West Marin, even with A-60 zoning, notwithstanding the dollar signs in the sky of unreal-estate speculators. The threat is from a potential piecemeal parcellation of viable farms into suburban boutique ranchettes with no agricultural purpose or intent. This has happened in the East Bay. If this should happen, look for the entire cultural infrastructure to change to serve the suburbanization of West Marin and away from the agri-cultures which support farms and the cultures of farming. This is the real threat which some pooh-pooh short-sightedly, not seeing the value of farms, which contribute $35 million annually to Marin's economy, for the dollar signs in their eyes. The public no longer buys the proposition that we can grow or develop ourselves out of the social, economic and environmental problems we've grown ourselves into.
The question with the passage of Proposition 13, and its recent twin, and the rot these have wrought us, is how long will we permit our natural and cultural infrastructures to wither on the vine before we find a way to recommit ourselves to their value and their upkeep?
Military Class Privilege
In your October issue, under the heading "Ailing Society," our yahoo-in-residence, Fielding Greaves, complains of us in Marin being the "most oppressed Americans on the planet." He cites, naturally, Big Government Pusher Hypocrite Senator Feinstein, the One Big Spender Senator Boxer, the clone Congresswoman Woolsey, and of course, Draft-Dodging, Pot-Smoking, Cocaine-Snorting Bill Clinton.
Greaves says "our situation couldn't be worse," but finds solace in the Book of Daniel and some gibberish I don't understand.
Greaves is a Lt. Colonel, Retired, and Director of NRA. He belongs to the elite, most affluent class in the world-the U.S. Military Officers Retirement Club. These guys can retire after only 20 years, at about the same pay as the rank they held, but the military usually kicks them up a rank just before discharge to squeeze taxpayers even more. They get free the best medical care for themselves and family, PX privileges, which amount to thousands. They even have the privilege of being allowed to hitch a ride on military airplanes anywhere in the world, special insurance rates, reduced or free green fees, and many other goodies.
The Congress forever discusses the need to cut social programs, "entitlements," social security and medicare and school lunch programs to reduce debt. But has anyone ever .heard of cutting the huge military retirement benefits? Nary a peep. Politicians don't dare!
This hypocrite has been on government payroll most if not all of his adult life. And he complains of Big Government, and Big Spenders...
Some oppression. Some ailing society.
Buck Fund's Multiculturalist Meddling
I, and many other "non-hyphenated Americans," take societal and cultural offense at the recent creation by the Marin Community Foundation/Marin Education Fund of yet another ethnically exclusive education project, the Asian Scholarship Endowment Fund. The brainchild of Jean Bee Chan, board member of the Marin Education Fund, this newly-created Scholarship Fund is an "effort to unite different Asian groups, which traditionally have followed separate ways. Common bonds of simple humanity and strong tradition unite us today..." (Marin Voice, 11/6).
Excuse me, Ms. Chan-it all sounds so well and good, but this nation does not need more divisive multicultural charades that only lead to increased racial and ethnic group polarization. Rather, we should be minimizing our cultural and ethnic differences, and celebrate those "common bonds of simple humanity and strong tradition" that unite American citizens of all colors. For too long, it has been standard societal wisdom to give the tacit nod of approval to well-placed radical ethnic extremists, such as Chan.
Not surprisingly, it seems all 11 recent scholarships went to students of Asian extraction. Noting that current enrollment of students of Asian ethnicity in the UC system (fully 40% at UC Berkeley alone) is much higher than Asians as a proportion of our overall California population (13.2% U.S. Census), than why does this racial group need such special recognition and help? This being so, why not allow white, black and brown Americans to equally participate in this educational windfall-or must other competing ethnicities create their own special scholarship programs? In fact, they do, and nothing satisfies self-serving radical multiculturalist educators more.
Chan goes on to say that the Asian Scholarship Endowment Fund allows Asians to work together to promote common ideals. I would ask, what ideals are so peculiar to Asian-Americans that are not shared by all Americans! But alas, the simple concept of pursuing educational programs stressing all-inclusive racial and ethnic commonality, which of course, would ultimately lead to unity for Americans of all persuasions-is too alien a proposition for the prevailing multiculturalist agenda of Chan.
In this post-Prop. 209 age of enlightenment, whereas the common citizenry has made known its wisdom and will, we must take every opportunity to fight back against the failed multiculturist ideology that permeates our educational establishment. Those wayward elitist educators who continue to push for divisive educational programs such as the ethnically discriminating Asian Scholarship Endowment Fund must be publicly exposed for what they really represent to our nation's future.
GARY E. JORDAN
No Peace In The Valley
The rape of the Valley Planning Group is now complete! Last night I witnessed the final coupe de grace to all those who dared to stand up and vote their conscience and oppose Steve Kinsey in the recent election. How dare Jean Berensmeier and Debra Dadd-Readlia oppose Steve, let alone work for Dotty Le Mieux's campaign! How dare they point out that Steve Kinsey, in their view, was not the best person for the job!
Done with a barely-suppressed rage and a vengeance I have not seen in a long time, the sacking, rape and pillage of the village peasants was total and complete. Those who had the temerity to stand up and speak out against the Gestapo tactics used by a few people in the Kinsey campaign needed to be taught a lesson! Flush with success, Kinsey supporters were not satisfied with the Supervisorial victory, but needed the total annihilation of their political enemies. The rape was horrifying to watch. The strategy used for its success, the time-tested battle tactic of surprise.
Inspired by Bill Noble, the incumbent membership chairman, and carried out by his trusty lieutenant, Richard Gray, the dirty deed was planned (as most rapes are) in secret, to go hopefully unnoticed by their political enemies until it was too late. A blitzkrieg of phone calls at the 11th hour to Kinsey supporters was used to inflate the membership of the Valley Planning Group, thus stacking the vote against the incumbents and ensuring Bill Noble's victory as the new Chairman. Just in case, membership was told who to vote for (in case they forgot) with a "position" paper passed out at the election. I don't think the victim will ever forget or forgive this grave injustice and the Valley is not likely to ever heal until the cycle of violence is stopped. Or shall the perpetrators be vanquished in the next civil war? Hitler would be proud!
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