Letters To The Editor
by AVA News Service, October 13, 2011
If it came down to a choice between a cannabis dispensary and a church next door, I would choose the cannabis dispensary in an instant. Cannabis is much less dangerous. If we tote up the score over the arc of history, it's abundantly clear which should be banned.
Deaths due to cannabis: 0
Deaths due to religion: countless millions.
Churches should definitely be kept a thousand feet (minimum) from schools, playgrounds and anywhere innocent children tend to congregate. No proselytizing, no propaganda allowed. Keep our children safe from the Jim Joneses, the Osama bin Ladens and the Church of the Holy Pedophile.
for fear of holy retribution
FAR OUT SOURCING
A mechanism more subtle than fraud or theft is doing more to widen the gap between rich and poor. Better technologies improve productivity, helping labor produce more goods and services within the same time frame. But, labor is not often compensated commensurate with the extra wealth it creates. The extra wealth instead adds to profits, which enhance the income of the rich. Plus, if the market for a particular commodity remains stable, and if fewer workers are required for the same output, then redundant labor can be laid off. Over the next three years, a million assemblers of popular electronic devices in the Far East will be replaced by a million new robots that can work 24/7, do not need lunch breaks or vacations, and can better tolerate toxic environments. As a result, jobs will have to be sought elsewhere (but, where?), and increased competition between job-seekers will make it more likely that lower wages and fewer benefits will be accepted. Where might this process end up? It's not inconceivable that all repetitive low-skill labor could be mostly abolished by a generation from now, leaving billions of would-be workers with little to do, thereby destabilizing society.
So far, Americans show little inclination to confront this exponentially encroaching phenomenon, and seem lemming-like doomed to keep losing this rat race while competing with one another for the very last opportunity to make the rich richer than their wildest dreams. Sharing what little labor that remains for humans to do would solve that problem, but that solution is hardly ever discussed in the USA due to its negative impact on profits. Will a wise course of action eventually be taken? Will the natural right to participate in the economy and make a living be recognized? Or, will the upper-class politics of exclusion prevail for eternity? Stay tuned, as tech progress eventually makes a political contest inevitable, which could become one of the better shows in town.
New Bedford, Massachussetts
SAVE SNAIL MAIL
Save the mail.
How many of you love to receive a personal letter in the mail? When was the last time you got one? How did it make you feel? I'm guessing — good.
I'm going to help the Postal Service. I am going to hand-write, in my best writing, and send 23 personal letters to 23 friends — that's only $10. If every taxpayer did this, that would amount to $1.4 billion that would go toward keeping a valuable service open.
If we did this every year, think about the fun of actually getting something written by hand and touched by hand. Those letters contain the DNA of the person who sent them. E-mail can't do that. Surely we can all afford to spend $10 per year on the Postal Service. In fact, I'm going to have my daughter write 23 letters, too.
Tear Down This Wall
While Money’s playing dumb,
Bankruptcy chants, class war;
Bring it on, say some
(The hungry even up the score)
Open gates; tear down the Wall.
PS. I was first thinking about calling this rhyme “Bankruptcy War.” Then I thought of, “Mr. President, Tear Down This Wall” but figured Obama gets red-baited enough and for a while I settled on Reagan’s exact words to Gorbachev, “Open the gate....Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.” Gorbachev has relevance today, I thought, so I left it with that title for a while. If you read his book, Perestroika, you’ll learn the probable reason he was fired by the Communist Party. It because he wanted to introduce democracy into the workplace as he states in his book. He thought that the workers should have the right to elect the managers of industry by those who worked in it. Some in the Communist Party thought that was a bad idea since they were running the show and liked it that way. The split that developed in the Party further weakened a near-spent system. It kept the soviet system from moving forward but by standing still, it was brought down by the dog-eat-dog world of capitalism. But by leaving “Mr. Gorbachev...” as the title to the rhyme, it might suggest that I support a Soviet type of revolution and I don’t even know what that means. So, the ellipses. The movement to occupy downtown somewhere to bring attention to a terrible situation might change things for now. But it's not going to change anything in a fundamental way. We are reminded that every time these crises happen again.
Clever of you to list “catholic” on the form during your unplugging trials at the local hospice. You’d be dead meat otherwise… Avé, Avé!
I’m cheered by the Turkey Vulture’s call for school uniforms, since I have designed several and am prepared to help gratis. I suggest fuschia full Zoot for the males, anti-bellum crinolines for the females and thong-with-pasties for the undecided. Superintendent Smith used to wear a little codpiece that could be a contender, too. What fun! The Vulture deserves an award for “right-think” and “good-vibe.” Count on me if you’ve got the nerve. Otherwise, go back to sleep.
PS. I’d really like to petition Congress for a writ of marquee and reprisal.
PPS. To err is human, to “Aaaarrrrgh” is pirate.
WE’RE ALL DRONES?
Not all drones are manufactured.
We have many of them right here in Mendocino County.
We follow orders and seldom ask serious questions.
We accept Pentagon morality — after all, they have all that money.
We never look back — we just fly along day after day.
We never talk back — we don't want to be grounded or ostracized.
We watch the innocent and the poor suffer without a second thought.
If only we were bionic, then we would never have a sleepless night!
THE ANSWER GUY
Being an “editorial flack from out of town,” I thought I would take a stab at answering Chris “the Questioning Guy” Campbell's many (easily addressed) questions to Lauren Sinnott, the recently recalled Mayor of Point Arena.
During the summer and fall months of 2009 there sure seemed to be a lot of people curious about rumors of an affair circulated by the new Mayor’s wife. I even had an elderly resident ask me if I knew anything about that! By the time the recall rolled around, I was amazed at how many of the elderly folks who adore Bill Hay were unaware that the then-Mayor was the first city leader in a good 25 years to give Hay an ear. They saw her as a naughty girl, but then managed to forget who she was supposed to be naughty with, since they elected him in the recall.
In any event, Sinnott clearly stated in her letter here that this highly charged rationale for the recall shifted to issues like the remaking of the subdivision ordinance, upgrading the wastewater system, and senior housing. Let's make this PERFECTLY CLEAR: the Point Arena City Council was recalled because the old back-to-the-landers, engaged in an eternal feud with Hay, freaked out because the Council was in their eyes upgrading the sewers and looking favorably on the affordable senior housing and senior center in order to enrich Bill Hay who they thought the past Council was in secret league with. And in league with his presumed agenda of getting even more rich and importing Republicans to Point Arena. It was an extremely simple matter to collect the signatures needed for the recall. Voters were made to be scared about sewer rates going up despite the fact the council had completed the steps that enabled them to qualify for federal money (I.e., the supposedly unnecessary and wasteful wastewater engineering report/study).
Campbell also “asks” if the former Mayor remembered subverting the electoral process through a technocratic loophole. In fact, the completely legal options were a write-in election or appointments “in-lieu-of-election,” the latter being the less expensive and less silly course suggested by County officials and legal advice. Councils and boards frequently make use of this process when there are as many or fewer candidates than seats in an election. In fact, the Redwood Coast Fire Department just this month appointed three new board members “in-lieu-of-election.”
On another of his topics, Campbell again misunderstands the dismissal of the “valued community member” (the previous city clerk) fired supposedly without cause. The former employee was in fact fired in a legally required closed hearing, following the practice of all public employers of “At Will” staff. The council may have been harming themselves politically in knowingly exposing themselves to wide scale outrage, but they did the right thing here.
Campbell's last sentence, “Perhaps it's time to move back to Texas,” is a perfect expression of the dynamics I personally started to see unfold back in 2009, which moved me to become “an editorial flack from out of town.” My ties to the area are to back-to–the-landers who are close to the recallers. I didn't know Lauren when this started.
It’s also notable that such malicious verbiage has consistently come from the recallers and not from the former Council. Is anyone suggesting that Campbell, a non-Point Arena resident, move back to the Bay Area? Surely political disagreement can take place without trying to run someone out of town.
As far as former Mayor Sinnott “getting over it,” I would say from the amused tone of her reply to the Keipp fantasy, that at this point she’s having fun with it.
So, the latest hallucinations to be described from PA (mind you, only really affecting a small number of people there, coalesced in a little cult-like clique) are that I am a flack for Lauren and, as once suggested on the MCN discussion list, A PAID LOBBYIST for Bill Hay!
1/3 Point Arena / 2/3 Ukiah
To the good people at the Anderson Valley Advertiser,
I discovered your weekly paper two summers ago when a friend came by for a visit after a visit from his mom's house in Boonville. He let me read his paper that summer day and I have been hooked ever since! Seriously!
Your paper is as informative, serious and funny as any other national paper. Maybe moreso. It is small but packed full of stuff that boggles even my mind sometimes.
Who knew these small towns that surround me were so full of BIG CITY CRAP!
The problem at the beginning of my addiction to your paper was locating a place to buy it. That was quickly solved when I was told I could get it at the “Natural Food Co-op” right here in Ukiah! I have to have my AVA every single week or I'm just irritated! (Ha ha ha!)
So please keep up your honest good work and know you have a huge fan over here in Ukiah, California, who appreciates you and the staff at your paper.
Wishing you and yours and everyone else out there many blessings and peace.
I am so sad to hear of your illness. Thank you very much for sharing the experience with us.
You bravely wrote of human feelings and embarrassing situations we all encounter but cannot easily express.
The vulnerabilities felt in a hospital situation trigger such deep universal fears and childlike needs that we dare not speak truthfully of them. You had the courage to give us the words to speak of this scary and ego shattering place within us.
It is another example of your sensitive dedication to community goodwill and overall health.
Your truth telling is so important to this community.
Thanks for you and the AVA.
Greetings Mr. Anderson:
Alexander Cockburn has been one of my favorite journalists since he worked as a columnist for the Village Voice when the Village Voice was a real newspaper. But he exasperates me. I recently let my subscription to Counterpunch lapse. However, I weakened eventually and renewed because I was hurting myself more than I was turning Alex.
In the September 7 AVA he reiterates his tedious arguments against what he calls “conspiracy theories.” I would like to offer a brief rebuttal.
1. Global warming: There is overwhelming evidence for global climate change. Evidence that only someone whose head is far up his anus could ignore. This example from the Science News of 13 December 2007 sums things up well, although since then things have worsened:
“The University of East Anglia and the Met Office's Hadley Centre have released preliminary global temperature figures for 2007 which show the top 11 warmest years all occurring in the last 13 years. The provisional global figure for 2007 using data from January to November currently places the year as the seventh warmest on record dating back to 1850.
“Other remarkable global climactic events recorded so far in 2007 include record low Arctic Sea ice extent which led to first reported opening of the Canadian Northwest passage; the relatively small Antarctic ozone hole; the development of La Nina in the central and eastern equatorial Pacific; and devastating floods, drought and storms in many places around the world.”
2. Contrary to the Warren Commission and Alexander Cockburn, the United States House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) in 1979 concluded that President John F. Kennedy was probably assassinated as a result of a conspiracy. The HSCA found both the original FBI investigation and Warren Commission report to be seriously flawed.
I own and use guns. There are two comments based on personal experience I'd like to mention.
First, I own a bolt action .22 caliber rifle. Even when shooting at fixed objects after each shot one has to rearrange and re-aim because the act of ejecting one shell and loading another disrupts the position of a rifle. It is impossible to believe that anyone could have fired three or four shots from a bolt action rifle and hit a moving target, especially from where Oswald was positioned.
I have visited the so-called Book Depository and looked out from the window from which Oswald allegedly fired. A tree, since been removed, had partially his vision. If Oswald fired at all I doubt he hit anyone.
Kennedy's brain, bone and blood spattered the trunk of the Lincoln Continental limousine and the faces of the motorcycle cops behind the limousine. Jackie Kennedy reached out behind her to the trunk to recover a part of JFK's head. This wound must have been caused by a shot from the front on the limousine. A bullet makes a small hole going in but leaves a big hole and a lot of debris when it exits. A wound inflicted from behind by Oswald would have left a small entry wound in the back of Kennedy's head and would have splattered his face all over the car's interior.
3. There are many things that disturb me about the reporting of the 9/11 attacks. I will limit myself to three points.
First, the three WTC buildings did not “collapse.” They exploded or imploded. Look at the images in this video.
These buildings were pulverized. They did not collapse. And they dissolved from top to bottom at freefall velocity.
Second, I cannot believe that while no fewer than six F-16s intercepted Payne Stewart's small plane, no jets were able to protect the Pentagon. I cannot believe that anything would be allowed within five miles of this fortress which is reputed to have its own defensive missile system.
Third, I have friends who are pilots. Neither they nor I believe that an amateur pilot could have guided a 767 from Boston to the World Trade Center buildings without extensive training on this type of aircraft.
There is a lot more to talk about — destruction of forensic evidence, vanishing black boxes, and suspicious stories of cellphone calls from planes, but I did say only three points.
Alex's column is one of the first things I read when I received the AVA. But he can be more dogmatic than the bloody pope. And the Pope will change his opinion on abortion before Alex can see he has ever been wrong about anything.
All the best,
Roselle, New Jersey
The ICO (Independent Coast Observer newspaper) gave President Gerald W. Ward of Solid Waste of Willits an info commercial last week stating the recycle center in the center of town will be moved to the Fish Rock Transfer Station which is miles from town! EVERYONE wishing to recycle (the vast majority of Californians do in every poll) will have to use a lot of gas and time to recycle! Certainly Mr. Ward knows full well that no one has the time or gas money to get to the Fish Rock Transfer Station and so will have to dump recycle items in the trash, which directly puts even more money in Mr. Ward’s pocket.
Mr. Ward states the current set up makes a mess, yet in 20 years here I have always seen your crew near spotless and better then any other shop here. If the containers staying for Redemption are presumably lockable and do not leak, than doesn't it make the bins the answer to the “mess” problem? In my mind when your answer is thousands of individuals driving long miles merely to get recycle items to the recycle bins then your reasoning has nothing to do with operations and everything to do with maximizing your profits on the backs of thousands who have voted for a true option of recycling.
I hope our elected official will step in and get us a true recyling program that doesn't cost time and money for the person trying to do the right thing for all of us. People not profits!
Dear President Obama:
The recent extrajudicial assassinations of two American citizens is extremely alarming. Never before, to my knowledge, has any American president ordered or condoned this.
You are open to the charge of using utilitarian “ethics” for reelection purposes. But even if a reelection agenda was not in play, your decision was made from the perspective of utilitarian consequences — i.e., the alleged protection of the country. Yet instead of protecting the country you have gravely endangered it. You set in motion a threat to all Americans. No longer will the Constitution be there to protect them when targeted by the government.
The assassinations cannot be morally justified. To assassinate American citizens without the benefit of legal protections granted by the Constitution is not only wrong but as noted above extraordinarily dangerous. You have set a precedent. Even if you do not engage in this activity again, the danger that other presidents will do so (I have in mind those in Dick Cheney's ilk) by pointing out that even a “liberal” president like Barack Obama did the same is predictable.
Utilitarianism, though the standard measure of moral conduct in the United States, is always subject to the objection that besides being immoral it is irrational. Utilitarianism negates universal principles of justice. It attempts to deduce ethical values from empirical analysis — what is useful, what is practical, what is one's personal preference, what is of value “to me.” It never rises above the particular. It is the epitome of subjectivity and relativity. For example, it accounted most recently for the United States use of torture. Though rarely thought about, utilitarianism constitutes an ongoing danger to the United States because it is the driving force behind its economic and political ideology. Your decision to assassinate two American citizens is a prime example.
Inactive Member, California State Bar
Why do you say Aaron Bassler was a methamphetamine user? Jim Bassler says Aaron was a sporadic alcohol and drug abuser.
Schizophrenia is a neurobiological brain disorder that can occur at any age. One cannot assume that schizophrenia is caused by meth. Aaron started showing symptoms of schizophrenia 16 years ago. His symptoms were persistent and grew worse over the years.
Please correct the false idea in the AVA about Aaron and meth use.
Sonya Nesch, author of Advocating for Someone with a Mental Illness
Ed reply: None of us, including Jim Bassler, know with any certainty which drugs, if any, precipitated the shootings. Most of Aaron Bassler's arrests occurred when he was under the influence of one mind-altering substance or another. Mr. Bassler has convinced me that Aaron had been mentally ill for many years, but all any of us can do is speculate as to what it was that made him into a killer. The mental health people I talked to said they assumed that Aaron was bingeing on methamphetamine which, as we all know, often induces psychotic breaks. But then they too are speculating. In a long conversation I had with Jim Bassler on Monday, much of which appears in this week's paper, it is obvious that Aaron's mental illness, on or off drugs, was severe. But short of lock-up hospitalization, mostly unavailable in this country to people of ordinary means, but where treatment can be compelled, nothing in the way of help was available to Aaron Bassler.
DOING THE MOST!
My name is Mickey Hill. I am currently locked up in Mendocino County Jail. I am an avid reader of your newspaper and I also have a subscription that is being sent to my home.
Down here at the jail my two friends Jerry Bailey and Roger Branch and I are doing the most. Every day we feed 240 inmates. We work from 9am to 6:30pm seven days a week preparing breakfast, lunch and dinner for the whole jail while maintaining organization and cleanliness of the kitchen. Doing the most is not an easy task. In between work and sleep we have also managed to find time to attend a program called Life Skills which has been very beneficial in readying us for the outside world and our transformation back into the community. Also the three of us have successfully completed the necessary pretest to obtain our GED to the point that we are confident our diplomas will be awarded.
As you can see, doing the most is not an easy task, but a task well worth doing the most for.
I myself have a family waiting for my return. My wife Jessica Hill and my two kids Kylie Hill, 5, and Mickey Hill Jr., 11 months, have been victims for the last three years of a husband-father who has been doing the least. I have no money for phone calls or transportation to communicate with them. But I hope that this letter with my home subscription can relay my message that their Daddy wants them to know he loves them and is doing the most to change his life while in here so he can and will be doing the most for them when he gets home.
On behalf of my two friends we would like the community to know that upon our release and returned home, we also will be doing the most to give back and rebuild our community with these positive changes and rehabilitation we have all gained through doing the most while in jail. Jerry and Roger just hope that doing the most out there will get them a little warmth in return!
The three of us thank you for your time and for doing the most providing the best damned paper in the county!
Mendocino County Jail, Ukiah
SHOOT ON SIGHT
As one of the few conservatives in Mendocino County, I find myself in an odd position. Like everyone, I am glad that the Bassler saga is over. The outcome was probably inevitable. However, I was very disturbed by Sheriff Allman’s account of the incident and don’t feel he was pressed enough.
According to Allman, the Sacramento deputies were in a position of advantage and concealment when they saw Bassler walking down the road. They never identified themselves or offered him the option of surrender. He stated that Bassler raised his weapon as he fell to the ground after being shot.
That by definition is an execution.
It seems Sacramento deputies went into the woods with a license to kill on sight and didn’t even have to purchase a tag. Even the worst of us has the right to a trial should we choose that option. Allowing cops to be jury and executioner in the field is dangerous for us all.
I have never been shy about standing up for right and wrong, even against popular opinion. I did so as a police officer when fellow cops were wrong and I am doing so now. I have contacted the FBI and asked them to look into this use of deadly force as it seems to violate the due process rights in our constitution. While the outcome may have been the same, allowing police to act as “hit men” endangers us all and makes them no better than Bassler.
According to petroleum expert Alexander Cockburn we have an oil surplus. This surplus is caused by excessive production from fields in North Dakota.
If we're suffering such a surplus, how come (according to the CIA website) more than half the oil we use is imported?
Seems like this glut problem is easy to fix.
Alexander Cockburn replies: Yes, these days the US consumes about 19 million barrels of oil every 24 hours, about half of them imported. At 25%, Canada is the lead supplier. Second comes Saudi Arabia with 12%. Third comes Mexico. But supply of crude oil to the US is only half the story. Saudi Arabia controls OPEC’s oil price and adjusts it carefully with US priorities in the front of their minds. If Alaska oil was not exported to the Far East, contrary to the US Congress's original mandate for the North Slope oil only to be used in the Lower 48, and if US oil companies weren't exporting diesel to Europe and Latin America because they can make more money that way, the US would be floating in even more than a glut than it is now. The amazing feature of the subdivision of moronic humanity known as the Peak Oilers is that they dwell in a moral stratosphere so pure that they forget entirely that oil companies, now and always, want to make money, as much as possible, and to this end rig supply, markets and prices to that end. It's sad that some of the best journalism on this theme ever produced in America, right down to James Blair and Robert Sherrill, is too coarse for the P.O.'s delicate sensibilities.
MENDOGROWN, NOT SF-GROWN
In the September 29 AVA you reported that “Some people privately speculate that if Ms. Hamburg doesn't operate a dispensary in Boonville, one of the bigger dispensary chains, such as San Francisco-based Northstone Organics, will find a place to open here as soon as the new dispensary ordinance is in place.”
This is the section that is off mark.
1. We are not a chain.
2. We are not San Francisco based.
3. We are not “big.”
In fact we were the pilot for the Sheriff’s Deptartment's cooperative farm program (Ordinance 9.31) and I personally worked closely with Supervisor McCowen and other community members to draft the ordinance and continue to do so now that we (MendoGrown, a medical trade association for Mendocino County) are on to the dispensary side of things (Ordinance 9.32) which is what Laura was planning to be operating under. We are California's first farm-direct cooperative cultivating 100% of our medicine. We operate no dispensaries. We have 1500 members.
Matt Cohen, Mendogrown
A GREAT IDEA
Well, here's a good idea to settle the confusion. Investigate 9/11! And report it in the AVA.
Ed reply: Right, Gordy. We'll get all one of our reporters right on it. McEwen! Front and center. I want you to get to the bottom of this 9/11 thing the paranoids are squawking about. And while you're at it check out the Grassy Knoll and Monsanto.
THANKS FROM SHORTY & FAMILY
Dear Anderson Valley Community,
The family of Betty Sue Adams — Shorty and family — would like to express much thanks for everyone's kindness — flowers, cards, food, visits — through the sad time of the loss of our loved one whom so many of you loved as she loved you.
We truly appreciate the kindness — memories shared — of my precious wife for 60 years — and our mother, our grandmother (MaMa), great grandma, aunt and cousin. And a good friend.
We will keep her alive with the wonderful memories of our love for her and for her husband Shorty and her family and friends and older kids.
A special thanks to Jan Wasson-Smith for her kindness and comfort during the night of Betty's passing. We love her and will miss her.
Shorty Adams & Families