Letters To The Editor

by AVA News Service, January 12, 2012

POLITICAL MATH

Dear Bruce,

In these tremulous times it is difficult to see the whole picture. We are bombarded with information adnauseam, most of which is either worthless or disinformation or spin, or a cover for a covert agenda. The whole picture gets lost in the fog of those things. I’m taking a step back to view the big picture.

Put in your mind a vertical scale from one to ten, with ten being “to promote the general welfare” and one being “one for me and all for me.” On this indices, we are at about 3, moving toward one. Now put in your mind a scale from one to ten with ten being a political theocracy and one being a science-based secular government. World-wide we are now at about 7 moving rapidly toward ten.

Now, put in your mind a ten to one scale with ten being a full-on holy war, and one being peace on earth. We are now at about five, moving rapidly toward ten. Further, put at ten an oligarchial, plutocratic ruled entire world , and at one a socially and economically egalitarian world. We are now at about 7, moving toward ten. Then, on top of all this, put at ten a world environment totally unsustainable and at one a much diminished population entirely green. We are now at 8 moving toward 10.

Wait! There’s more. At ten put males subjugating women socially, economically, and politically, and at one put equal status and treatment of both sexes. World-wide we are now at 7, moving toward one very slowly. Go on, put at ten a world in which children are free from indoctrination, be it religious or political, and at one put a world in which children are taught to think for themselves and respected for doing so. We are now at 10.

Given all of the above, the key question is multi-faceted. One aspect of it is whether those numbers are reasonably accurate. Another facet is how to move all of them toward one on the scales. Another facet is whether or not it is futile to attempt to do so. It all boils down to a scale of hope versus despair. There isn’t a lot of room for hope these days. The 18th Century Enlightenment is fast disappearing from the minds of mankind, pushed aside by religious fundamentalism, global economic rapaciousness, profit as a rationale for war, and the purposeful dumbing-down of the masses.

In our United States (and that unity is now called into question more and more) the rich get richer, the poor get poorer, the kids get indoctrinated in state schools or home schools, there is virtually no reasonableness left in politics, and the military/industrial/religious/financial complex cabal is well organized, well financed, and hell-bent to move the entire scale to one. There isn’t a single social institution in the USA that is doing well. From the family, to the schools, to the criminal justice system, to the economy, to the medical system, to you name it, each and all of them are so far from what a progressive view would have them be it beggars the mind.

Oh, say some, that’s way too negative a view. Let’s keep a positive point of view, and not get sucked into despair. That, my friends, is so Panglossian, so polyanish, as to border on the insane, if putting one’s head in the sand is insane. My advice, based o the concept that it is going to get much worse, not better, is, “Don’t despair, plan for it!” Existentially do what you can, without any hope of succeeding, and position yourself on the planet as best you can to not go off of the cliff with the lemmings. When there are no answers (and Gertrude Stein said, when asked what is the answer, “There have never been any answers-there are no answers-and there aren’t going to be any answers-that is the answer”) it is easy to delude oneself that either you or somebody has the answer. Forget it. All of the answers that mankind have come up with are just answers. What we need is the right questions.

Lee Simon

Far ‘n Away Farm

Virginia

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UKIAH, NOT WALMART

To the Editor,

Either at its January 11 meeting or one subsequent to that, the Ukiah Planning Commission will be deciding on whether to reject Walmart’s proposed expansion of its present store in the Airport Boulevard shopping complex by 52,000 feet and become a 24/7 full service grocery or approve it with a Statement of Overriding Considerations as required by the California Environmental Quality Act.

In order to approve it in the face of what even the Final Environmental Impact Report acknowledges will be increased traffic at the 101-Talmage-Airport Blvd interchange with no funding in the pipeline to mitigate it, the Commission would have to make a determination that, in effect, says to the people of Ukiah that the benefits of letting Walmart have yet another supermarket in our town outweighs the potential life threatening dangers of a greatly increased traffic flow that will extend traffic jams into Highway 101 (and that will also, consequently, have a negative effect on all the other currently existing businesses in the Airport shopping complex, which is not a negligible economic factor).

Should the project be approved by the Commission under those circumstances and later by the Ukiah City Council, this city would be facing the prospect of major lawsuits occurring in the wake of the fatal or injurious accidents that will surely be caused by the increased traffic on Highway 1091.

Since by its own admission the commission has acknowledged the likelihood of the traffic situation at that interchange getting out of control, the city would have no defense against the charge that it acted with willful negligence in approving the Walmart expansion.

How they will vote on the Walmart application will, I suspect, be the most serious decision they will ever make as a public official and, as I reminded the Commission members in my public comments at its December 14th meeting, their overriding consideration is not the aspirations of a private company, no matter how large and powerful, but the welfare of the people of Ukiah.

I am hoping they will keep that in mind.

Jeffrey Blankfort

Ukiah

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SELF-DEFENSE

To the Editor:

Most of what you’ve heard regarding the Rey Reyes case is inaccurate and untrue.

My husband, Rey, was protecting me and himself from my son Colin. Colin had been shooting up Oxycontin and whatever else he could get. Rey and I did everything we could to help Colin; we loved him. In the end though, we also had to tell Colin to leave our home because of his dangerous, self-destructive behavior.

Instead of moving out, Colin threatened, bullied and abused us; then he brought a gun into our home demanding to stay and give him a place to grow pot. My son was the one with malicious intent, not Rey; I was just trying to keep my child from going to prison. This is the truth. I am not saying mean things about my son, I am telling the truth.

My husband, Rey, has always pleaded not guilty by reason of self-defense, and did not want to plead to manslaughter.

I have a copy of the Sheriff’s Inventory Report and it disputes evidence the prosecution presented, such as where the loaded gun and two fully loaded cartridges were on my son’s person. It also disproves pictures produced at trial and statements made about those pictures. Proof in the form of two journals my son left but were never presented. My son had a voice (a very disturbed, sad and sick voice, but a voice all the same) and it was never heard. The evidence never produced during trial disproves what the prosecution said about all three of us.

Finally, when the so-called “trial” was over, Judge Henderson actually thanked the prosecution and defense for “working together to resolve difficult issues.” That is the judge’s job. Professional courtesy between the two is one thing, but isn’t it unethical for prosecutors and defense attorneys to “”work together” with regard to a defendant?

This is a travesty of justice and Rey and I will fight it to the end.

Rev. Misty Champlin

Laytonville

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FLUSHED & DEBUNKED

Editor,

1. You are sailing south without instruments. How do you know when you have crossed the equator? The answer says the water in a flushing toilet will reverse its circular motion.

a. This has been debunked at MIT.

b. But in the context of the question, circular flow of water in a toilet is irrelevant. Marine toilets work by pumping the contents out, straight down. They might have “conventional” toilets on mega-yachts or cruise liners, but that isn't “sailing."

Stan Boule

San Francisco

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NO CENSOR’S MERCY HERE

Editor,

I have an idea for a special feature you could deploy someday if you find you can't sell all those T-shirts to the large and extra-large leftists of America. (What do you mean, “teensy people can wear it as a nightshirt”? You mean, 90% of the world's population could wear it as a nightshirt?) Use the T-shirts as prizes for the “connect the outburst” contest. You could have a bunch of names on one side of the page and a bunch of memorable fulminations floating around on the other. Readers attribute them and mail it in to enter a lottery. I say this mostly because I'd like to know how the majority of readers who might have missed the Dec. 28th issue would attribute “Thanks for taking the time to read this piece. Unfortunately I find your characterization — which fades into an ad hominem attack against me — quite off putting, and it makes it hard to respond in a constructive way.”

“Unfortunately!” We all have deadlines, but this passage, and much of what follows, is more worthy of a put-upon, entitled supervisor or councilperson than of Darwin Bond-Graham. It's disappointing. Unfortunately. But then again, one of my favorite things about the AVA has always been its refusal to save letterwriters from themselves. I'm pleased to see that you have the integrity to withhold the censor's mercy from your own journalists, when they lash out at their critics, just as you would withhold it from Captain Fathom.

Now. New year, new contributor? How can we induce Flynn Washburne to write a memoir?

Wolfgang Rougle

Cottonwood

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WE NEED SOLOMON

Dear Editor,

The new California Northcoast Second Congressional District covers the entire coast and ocean from the Oregonborder to the Golden Gate Bridge. This poses great opportunity and danger for the future of our wild, clean Northcoast ocean.

We need a congressional representative who will organize fishers, tribal people, environmentalists, and all of us who are an integral part of an ocean and coastal ecosystem of life.

Now the federal National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is heavily influenced by corporations who want to eliminate independent commercial fishers and industrialize the ocean. To stop offshore oil drilling, protect tribal access to coastal areas, support independent ocean food providers, and preserve the ocean and coast for recreation, we need to organize.

We should insist that our congressional representative convene a planning conference of all of us who actually are a sustainable part of the Northcoast ocean and coastal ecosystem. We need fishing policies which encourage small, sustainable, local fishers. We need permanent protection from offshore oil drilling, and from military weapons testing in the local ocean. Tribes and tribal communities deserve full acknowledgment of rights to access coast and ocean.

The new Northcoast Second Congressional District deserves a representative who will stand up for the local coastal and ocean environment, and help local ocean food providers continue to be a harmonious part of the ecosystem.

John Lewallen

Philo

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IT WASN’T ALAN

Dear readers,

I am writing in regards to Alan Kiefer, whom was mentioned in a previous article. A friend brought it to our attention that Alan was falsely accused as being a “local informant.” I would like to inform you of the truth. This is pure speculation from Chris's parents. Alan is not a narc, nor would he ever have narced on anyone. Alan has lived in Mendocino for about 12 years, and has many friends and acquaintances who know him to be an honest and trustworthy person. It is true that Alan has had problems with Chris and his parents (as many others have), but he would never wish for ANYONE to go to jail over medical marijuana.

Alan's fiance,

Michelle

Mendocino

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OCCUPY OCCUPY MENDO

Dear Editor:

Please include these announcements on your weekly calendar this week for Occupy Mendocino.

Friday, Jan. 13th, 9-10am, Tim Nonn of Occupy Petaluma and C.J. Holmes, a Santa Rosa real estate expert on keeping people in their homes, will talk on The Foreclosure Prevention Zone on KZYX radio, 90.7FM, on ”The Truth About Money” program. Contact #964-3711

Sunday, Jan. 15th, 10:30 a.m., Evergreen Methodist Church, 200 N. Corry St., Fort Bragg. Tim Nonn, PhD, from Occupy Petaluma, will talk on ”Forgive Us Our Debts.” Contact #964-3711.

Sunday, Jan. 14th, 1pm, Martin Luther King Celebration at Caspar Community Center, 15051 Caspar Road, Caspar. Tim Nonn, PhD will talk on The Injustice of the Foreclosure Crisis.” Contact #964-3711.

AgnesWoolsey, Publicity,

Occupy Mendocino

Mendocino

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THE LIBERAL’S GAS METER

Esteemed Editeur,

A polite old timer from the gas company showed up to replace the gas meter, which routine chore is automatically performed every seven years or so. We got to talking, and when I found out that he originally hailed from Iowa, I asked how he felt about the contempt with which many of his conservative values were frowned upon by Massachusetts liberal Democrats, a breed which wished to wield political power on the national level, but were constantly stymied by hayseeds like our gas man, subtly influenced as people like him are by big companies such as Monsanto, Cargill, et al, and which influence our gas man to espouse a very conservative set of values, many of which drive liberals up the wall.

He answered that he felt sorry for commie-loving traitors to the flag, motherhood and apple pie, and that his ideology had served himself and so many other Iowans well for generations and wasn't about to change anytime soon, but by then he was done with his chore, no leaks were detected, and it was off to find yet another gas meter to replace, hopefully not at the home of another of those opinionated Massachusetts liberal Democrats.

Ken Ellis

New Bedford, Massachusetts

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ANTI-CORPORATE COBB

Editor,

National Move To Amend Spokesman Talks On Ending Corporate Rule—

“Creating Democracy and Challenging Corporate Rule” will be the topic of David Cobb's upcoming speaking tour through five Mendocino County communities. Cobb, an attorney, past Green Party presidential candidate and an inspiring speaker, will explain how corporate cash has captured our politics, and what citizens can do to reestablish real democracy.

David Cobb is the chief organizer for MoveToAmend.org — a nationwide coalition focused on abolishing ”Corporate Personhood” and reestablishing a government of, by, and for the people.

The US Supreme Court’s 2010 ruling in Citizens United v. FEC opened the floodgates to unlimited corporate spending on elections. The Court's five conservative justices declared that corporations are ”persons” and their spending in elections is ”free speech” that can not be limited.

“Corporate Personhood” commonly refers to a court-created precedent that gives corporations constitutional rights intended solely for human beings. Cobb states, ”Corporate personhood is not an inconsequential legal technicality. The Supreme Court ruled that a corporation was a ‘legal person’ with 14th Amendment protections years before they granted full legal personhood to African-Americans, immigrants, natives, or women.”

“We are inspired by historic social movements that recognized the necessity of altering fundamental power relationships,” said Cobb. ”America has progressed when ordinary people joined together — from the Revolutionaries, Abolitionists, Suffragists, Trade Unionists and Civil Rights activists through today's Occupiers. Move to Amend proudly joins this tradition as it works to make the U.S. Constitution and our nation more democratic.”

Cities, counties and states across the nation are passing resolutions urging a Constitutional amendment to end corporate personhood. David Cobb's five local talks will provide information about the issue and describe how Mendocino County can join this national campaign to end Corporate Personhood and its corruption of our political system. Part history lesson and part heart-felt call to action, David’s presentation is not to be missed.

David Cobb will speak January 31st at the Boonville Fairgrounds at 6:30 PM; February 1st at the Point Arena Library at 6:30 PM; February 2nd at the Willits Grange at 7 PM; February 3rd at the Caspar Community Center at 7 PM, and February 13th at Ukiah's Saturday Afternoon Clubhouse at 7 PM.

More information can be obtained from

Tom Wodetzki,

tw@mcn.org  or 937-1113.

Albion

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REDUCTIVE MATERIALISM

Mr. Anderson:

I shudder when I come across obscurantist gobbledygook like Ted Dace’s letter, “All You Need Is Nature.”

1. What the hell is “collective unconsciousness”?

2. Where the hell is Hell, outside of the overstimulated imaginations of theologians and other deranged people?

3. In death, we cease to exist, period. The energy that flowed inside us, in accordance with The Law of the Conservation of Energy and Matter, flows somewhere else:

Dust to the dust! But the pure spirit shall flow

Back to the burning fountain from whence it came,

A portion of the Eternal, which must glow

Through time and change, unquenchably the same...

(— Percy Bysshe Shelley)

4. The trouble with Dace and his ilk is that they always point to the “trouble with science” while ignoring the trouble with their own nebulous, ill-conceived, and often looney ideas.

5. As a reductive materialist, I believe "only the mat-erial world is real. All processes and realities can be explained by breaking them down to their most basic scientific components–atoms, molecules, & other matter."

Or as Francis Harry Compton Crick observed,

You, your joys and your sorrows, your memories and your ambitions, your sense of personal identity and free will, are in fact no more than the behavior of a vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules

Love? A vague expression for a collection of needs, desires, and delusions. When someone comes up with a coherent definition of what “love” is, science will be able to explain it. Much of what we call “love” or "kindness" has to do with our wiring as mammals.

Carl Sagan said that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Science requires it before it accepts a theory. I demand it when people speak of “spirit,” “soul,” “love,” or “collective unconsciousness.”

Give me a break!

Louis S. Bedrock

Roselle, New Jersey

Ted Dace responds: Contrary to Mr. Bedrock, reductive materialism is not scientific. The laws according to which matter behaves are not themselves made of matter. The actual philosophy of science is physicalism, a dualistic belief that reduces the world to particles, on the one hand, and mathematical laws on the other. These laws are eternal and unchanging, much like the Forms of Plato's transcendent realm of pure geometry. The difference is that Plato believed every terrestrial form is determined by its ideal counterpart, implying huge numbers of Forms, while modern physics does the same job with only a few transcendent laws. Science is streamlined Platonism. Roger Penrose imparts the real workings of science in his book, The Road to Reality. Alas most scientists aren't as honest as Penrose and continue to regard themselves as materialists, which goes to show that a PhD is no barrier to cognitive dissonance.

In contrast to the mind, matter cannot disagree with itself. You can hold two contradictory thoughts, but your brain can't generate a pattern of neurotransmission that cancels itself out. The trouble with the brain is that it never occupies more than a single instant at once. Only over time can there be self-contradiction. A brain is a snapshot of a mind. Mind is not just momentary awareness but the living history of the organism. ____________________________________________________

WAITING FOR YES

Editor,

And loyal AVA fan D. Bullock and fellow AVA readers,

There is pleasure in the pathless woods.

"How strange that nature does not knock and yet does not intrude.” Death is a ferryboat and I'm on my way; I who have sung you many songs. In war, he kills the thief and the owner of the stolen goods. The soldier who has water washes with blood. The landlords and the landladies accept me, but not my subsidy.

Diana Vance awaits a Yes! from her new address.

Cardboard boxes,

Diana Vance

Mendocino

PS. Hooray for 2012 and the AVA! And when there were no forks in London, the Irish didn't wear shoes.

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STRESSED OUT

Ye Editor,

I found “The Best And Worst Of 2011” fun and spot on as usual.

I happen to be acquainted with Mr. Joel Humecky — “the Stoner of the Year” — as well as with most of his family, known in some circles as “those loudmouth Humeckys” (except for his mother, who is perfectly lovely and seldom raises her voice or ever ingests chemicals for that matter). Admittedly Mr. Humecky does chemicalize to some extent, but a more pleasant fellow does not live, as his picture goes far to illustrate. You know how stress can be.

Let me take this opportunity to thank you for helping out my eyes and making “Odd Bodkins” bigger; thank God, I was about to go blind.

Hope all at the AVA have a great year and the paper proceeds to even more excellent heights. Bonne chance in 2012!

Carol Pankovits

Fort Bragg

PS. And speaking of 2011, “Peanutbutter crank and the Possumbaby” has to be the grossest thing I've read since the “Odd Bodkins” strip about Reagan and the Booger. But if you can make it to the end it's worth it (sort of Joanna's position as she stiffs them for the room). Darren Delmore certainly is a versatile writer.

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JOHN 3:16

AVA,

Tim Tebow, love him or hate him.

Well what I love is the fact that Tim Tebow has sighted the most mainstream and accepted faith in America and still it confounds so many when he credits his faith. Why is his faith so difficult for Americans to handle? Is it because we live such a materialistic Un-Godly existence? Maybe its because we are all talk and we don't observe Christian values anymore; we only pay lip service to Christianity while we engage in the worst forms of religious warfare and ethnic genocide.

To me the absolute slide of society is inevitable and good because it will be then and only then when things like faith in Christ will be potent and revolutionary again. The real Christ, the anti-imperialist pacifist who nonetheless flipped over the moneylenders’ tables.

This Christ will have to come because the Anti-Christ is here now in this economic war machine.

When faith in Christ is powerful and revolutionary again…

Much of what is anticipated about, the Christ figure.

The reincarnation of His Kingly character in the flesh.

The day when faith has power again, as a potent revolutionary force that day will come — when we see the wicked man in the fire getting burned.

Go Broncos!!!!!!! Go Tim Tebow!!!!!!!!

Nate Collins

Berkeley/Oakland

Ed note: Next time you see the lame-brained Denver quarterback, which won't be until next year because he's about to be knocked out of the playoffs, tell him that God probably didn't donate His one and only Son so Tebow could eternally miss wide-open receivers. Suggest to him that he tattoo Matthew 6 on the wide-open spaces of his empty skull: “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others…”

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NO MORE MR. NICE CORP.

Dear Editor and Readers;

Many of our neighbors are suffering. Household income in Mendocino County has declined 14% from 2007 to 2010, based on personal income tax filings. That has produced a $227 million loss in our economies, 3,900 jobs lost locally, and a 79% increase in food stamp recipients.

Meanwhile, our Congress members have greatly increased their wealth; nearly half are millionaires. They are the 1%, have their election campaigns funded by the 1%, and serve the 1%.

How can we get Congress to serve the needs of the 99%? We've tried to limit corporate spending in elections, but the conservative majority on the Supreme Court declared that we can't limit corporate spending because corporations are “persons” with full “free speech” rights, and that spending millions on attack ads is “free speech.”

So we're now seeing obscene amounts of Big Biz dollars thrown at corporate-friendly candidates. That's not democracy. And that's why citizens across the nation are working to pass an amendment to the US Constitution that clarifies that corporations are not people and money is not speech. That’s the only way to break money’s hold on politicians.

Locals are now working to pass a countywide initiative urging our representatives to support a similar End Corporate Personhood amendment. If you would like to help gather petition signatures to put this on the November ballot, please contact me (937-1113, tw@mcn.org ).

Tom Wodetzki

Albion

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