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Letters (May 13, 2020)

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To the Editor:

What if you came down with COVID-19, and significant information about you as victim was shared in the newspaper and on the radio? Your age, where you live, your weight, how much you drink or smoke, your sexual orientation . . . .

When Mendocino County’s first case was described as a 20 year old woman in Gualala, I wondered how many 20 year old women live in Gualala. I wondered if anyone was offended to learn through the media that their friend was sick. Someone must’ve thought, “She probably caught it from one of those darn tourists. At least I don’t have any tourists hanging around me.”

The fifth official Mendocino County case was described as a man released early from prison. Already distressed that this detail of his identity had been revealed publicly, within a week I heard a rumor that he’d been on the loose for five days, infecting people all over the place, before being taken in by his sister. Recently I learned he’d been tracked by an ankle bracelet, with orders to quarantine himself, but it had taken some time before he was placed in a motel.

Actually, I should know nothing of this man’s lifestyle or location or lack thereof.

This virus does not care if you’re a criminal or an attorney or a nurse or the richest political figure or what sort of home you have. You can catch it from the buff and beautiful friend you ran into at the grocery store. You can pass it on when you have no symptoms. Knowing our fifth case was a former prisoner doesn’t help you stay safe from this virus.

Revealing this information to the public only increases our division and fear. Every one of us, celebrated or marginalized, needs and offers love. Let’s find our commonality and do our best to keep each other safe.

P.S. I want to take this opportunity to thank the workers who are keeping the food and supplies flowing, from farm hands to truck drivers to store clerks, and also the folks who sell fuel or repair vehicles. Much gratitude to those who are caring for the sick and to everyone who shows love and consideration, even from behind our masks.

Kay Lieberknecht


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Freddy Gardner’s retelling of the story behind the Presidio Mutiny (Apr. 29) should be read in every American classroom but as it is, what students learn today about the Vietnam War and the protests against it falls more into the category of propaganda which, in essence, is what the teaching of history in US schools long ago came to be.

I can’t give high marks, however, to Larry Bensky whose “Journal of the Plague Year #6 (Apr. 29) for that week contained two extraordinary distortions history, first of the history of the polio vaccine, early in the article, and then, at the end, a positive appraisal of one of modern history’s great war criminals, Pres. Harry Truman, displaying bewildering ignorance as to how he replaced then vice-president, Henry Wallace, as Pres. Roosevelt’s vice-presidential candidate in 1944.

With regard to the polio vaccine, he wrote that the Salk vaccine, developed by Dr. Jonas Salk, “was eventually combined with another vaccine, created in the Soviet Union by an American exile, Dr. Albert Sabin.” I am not sure where Bensky came up with that reading of history because it simply wasn’t true. Nor was there any evidence that when Sabin was working with Soviet doctors that he considered himself in exile.

Salk’s vaccine was based on “killed” virus whereas Sabin’s was based on using a live virus to counter the three strains of the polio virus all of which appeared to be physically identical when the virus struck but had to be countered individually.

When the Salk vaccine first appeared, requiring three injections over several weeks in a doctor’s office, the good doctor was hailed and is still considered to be a hero, a title which, it turned out, was never warranted. Some years afterward, people who had taken numerous Salk vaccine injections were bewildered and angered when they started coming down with polio while the Sabin oral vaccine administered nationally and later in the early Sixties wiped out polio to the point where there has not been a new case in the US since 1979.

The history of polio I learned when I was employed as the Executive Secretary of the Marin Medical Society in the early Sixties was that it arrived and departed in cycles. The Salk vaccine came on the market during a down cycle which meant that even had there been no vaccine, the number of polio cases, then a frightening virus that produced infantile paralysis, would have declined anyway.

What doctors couldn't explain was why when there was an uptake in the number of polio cases, people who had multiple Salk shots started coming down with polio. There was an easy explanation that the public never learned. It was that the Type 3 vaccine produced by Berkeley’s Cutter Labs., was too “hot” and after someone who had received it came down soon after with the disease, Cutter replaced their vaccine with what amounted to a placebo for Type 3 which seemed to work when polio was in the down cycle. That deception, never reported in the media, should have been a national scandal but the March of Times was in on the con, as well.

Albert Sabin's oral vaccine, that came along in the Sixties to resolve the problem, required taking three sugar cubes topped with 2 cc. of the solution over several weeks, one for each strain, and did not require a doctor to administer it. When campaigns to distribute the Sabin vaccine began across the country, they were met with an avalanche of warnings by the March of Dimes. Like most such charities, for the heart, cancer, etc., it had been scamming Americans for decades in what it claimed was its determination to wipe out polio.Its vastly overpaid president, Basil O'Connor, whose annual salary was $750,000, (the equivalent of more than $6 million in today’s dollars!) began issuing warnings to the public that the live virus in the Sabin vaccine would cause those who took it to come down with polio but the public wasn’t buying it (We can imagine what would have happened if the internet or social media had been around at the time to reinforce his message.) When the national campaigns turned out to be successful, O'Connor then had the audacity to demand that the money collected (usually a quarter per person) be turned over to the March of Dimes. He didn't get it and then began hunting for new diseases to pimp since polio had been wiped out.

Bensky’s whitewashing of Truman was far more serious. Let’s begin with his telling us that “Truman had become so popular after conducting Senate hearings on the collaboration of US corporate America and Nazi Germany “that Roosevelt €¦.chose him as his running mate in 1944. Already ill, FDR barely was able to campaign” and died three months after the inauguration putting Truman in the White House. A nice scenario but not a word is true except for the fact that Roosevelt was indeed deathly ill but it was the fear of the Democrat Party hierarchy and corporate America was if that were to happen and they didn’t act, his vice-president, Henry Wallace, who was viewed as a socialist and soft on the Soviet Union would become president. They were determined to prevent it.

Here is how Wikipedia described what happened:

The fundamental issue was that Roosevelt's health was seriously declining, and everyone who saw Roosevelt, including the leaders of the Democratic Party, realized it. If he died during his next term, the Vice President would become President, making the vice presidential nomination very important. Truman's predecessor as Vice President, the incumbent Henry A. Wallace, was unpopular with some of the leaders of the Democratic Party, who disliked his liberal politics and considered him unreliable and eccentric in general. Wallace was, however, the popular candidate, and favored by the Convention delegates. As the Convention began, Wallace had more than half the votes necessary to secure his re-nomination

By contrast, the Gallup poll said that 2% of those surveyed wanted then-Senator Truman to become the Vice President.

To overcome this initial deficit, the leaders of the Democratic Party worked to influence the Convention delegates, such that Truman received the nomination

What is even more extraordinary than Bensky’s misinterpretation of the choice of Truman as FDR’s veep is the total absence of ANY reference that I could find to Truman’s Committee having exposed what Bensky claimed was “Collaboration between corporate America and Nazi Germany” and I was examining the same Senate entry online that he did. That there was pre-war collaboration between certain US corporations and the Nazis, most notably by Standard Oil, is a fact, but Truman’s committee was not looking into that. Rather, the committee’s focus was on wasteful spending by US corporations in pursuing war profits, a worthy goal but it was nothing like what Bensky described. 

Bensky’s concluding line, “Will there be a Harry Truman in the room?,” presumably in a gathering of political “notables” to plan America’s post-Covid 19 future, makes me wonder if he is really that ignorant of Truman’s history? Truman’s criminal record is, arguably, without parallel in US history: his ordering the dropping of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, his unquestioned approval of the firebombing of Tokyo, five months earlier, killing over 100,000 people a month before FDR’s death, his launching a war against No.Korea, five years later, almost obliterating that country, his initiation of the loyalty oaths that plagued American society for more than two decades and led to the Congressional witch hunts of that period, and finally, his pronouncing of what became known as the Truman Doctrine which established the principle that the US should give military support to countries or peoples “threatened by Soviet forces or Communist insurrection.” This was expressed in 1947 by Truman in a speech to Congress seeking aid for Greece and Turkey which were facing insurrections. It has been viewed by historians as Washington’s open declaration of the Cold War against the USSR and we don’t need to recount what that led to. 

Jeffrey Blankfort


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As one of the naked hippies splashing around in the clear clean warm pond on Albion Ridge we remember a different view of the fair than Mr. Anderson. Booths of handmade items of wood, leather, clay — all sorts of clothing! Lots of tie-dyed t-shirts, bright face and body paint. Lots of music, dance and, yes, the aroma of the: ”Love drug.” The one thing that Catpain Fathom and Bruce Anderson agree on was the kids of Anderson’s group home and Albion Nation children loved the fair. The fun and fair ended when the event became a destination for bad ass motorcycle thugs. The locals stayed away. That ended it.

Alan Captain Fathom Graham


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I disagree with the reader who objects to the printing of Jerry PhullaBS’s rants in full. It's good to know what these right wing nuts are thinking. Plus, it’s mildly entertaining and even slightly amusing in small doses.

Fortunately, he's a talker not a doer. Besides, it's unlikely that his intended incitees are readers of the mighty AVA.

Jim Fraser 


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To the Editor:

Why I changed political parties:

I have served on the Democratic Central Committee, I was a political leader and an officer for my union. I have helped several Democratic people get elected. Mike Thompson being one of them. I have worked the halls of both the State Capitol and Congress.

I am 89 years old and I have seen many things happen including where people have overthrown the duly elected heads of state. I never thought it would happen here.

There were the Black Shirts, the Brown Shirts, the fascists, the Nazis, and now in the United States we have the White Blouses and Nancyism.

Just like Hitler she has her own gang of five yelling, I hate Israel, kill Jews. Their leader is a perfect fit. She comes from a religious group who likes to crash airplanes into buildings and set off bombs killing women, children and innocent men.

Maybe they should look in the Koran which I have read — the Hadith. It says in Jihad innocent women and children must be spared. I am not a racist. I have no problem with Muslims. I think the Koran is a beautiful book.

As far as hating Israel, that land was the land of the Jews long before Arabs and Bedouins moved in. Nancy, read the Bible. Jesus’s parents were Jews and the land has been conquered many times by other countries.

I can no longer support the Democratic Party. Their members spent three years trying to overthrow the president who was duly elected.

I did not vote for him. I do not like a lot of the things he has done. But I agree with and like a lot of things he has done.

I will find another party which will be hard because I think both parties are corrupt and only work for themselves.

The very old Union Bum,

Richard Hargreaves

Redding, formerly Fort Bragg

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To whom it might concern:

I have been asked by an acquaintance for my help in composing a letter about a serious situation that occurred here in Covelo.

Bridgette Frank explained to me that she wanted her side of what happened on that day of March 27, 2020 to be known.

After getting some basic facts about what went on, I began this document.

Bridgette and her seven-year-old son Isaiah had been living happily at their home since 2016 with no major difficulties. But all that soon took a dramatic turn for the worse.

There has been an ongoing conflict of some kind between Bridgette and certain members of the Round Valley Housing Board. It appears this disagreement has been simmering on the back burner for quite some time resulting in the very unnecessarily physical eviction of Bridgette. I saw her facebook post the unbelievable BS that was actually happening to her! Members of the Covelo tribal police and even the infamous sheriff's office had some input. (Trent, we still need to do breakfast.)

Give me a break! Does it take all of these men of so-called authority to verbally and physically force this one woman, kicking into screaming from her and son's own home?

It is a small wonder that the SWAT team didn't show up! I'm just glad that the her seven-year-old son Isaiah wasn't there to witness the shame and degradation his mom was put through in the name of justice. Screw these heartless bastards.

A few names have gone to my attention concerning the outcome of these outrageous acts: Laura Betts (sorry Laura) whom is a member of the Covelo Housing Board and also a clerk at the tribal police office. A couple of other names need to be recognized with his injustice: Bill Whipple and Carlos Robano who are also on the housing board.

The latter happens to be the director/dictator of the Covelo housing complex.

Mr. Robano used to be a tribal cop himself. At one time he lost that position because of issues concerning domestic violence against a spouse! And he is in the position to judge how someone should live? It's none of my business, but I'm just saying.

The dude who replaced him goes by the name of Michael Henry. This man is a piece of work along with his troubled life.

Anyway, back to the reason for this letter. I had never heard of anyone in the housing projects here in Covelo being manhandled in such a manner as what happened to Bridgette Frank. I guarantee this. One look at her facebook post in anyone with a sense of compassion can see who the bad guys are in this situation.

Why is she being singled out? Was all of this the result of the past personal vendetta against her? Did certain people who assume they have power and control over the residents of Covelo and the housing committee direct this? Did they somehow get themselves on the board to abuse their authority? Power and control to can sure screw some people up. Look at Trump.

It is a good thing I don't have to depend on these guys. I would have been kicked out a long time ago.

Here are some additional obstacles that crossed Bridgette’s path in order to get her house back.

As the tribal council meeting held on April 24 when it was Bridgette’s time to appear before the Board they chose to move to executive session. Three board members got up and walked out in the middle of the executive session!

They were asked to come back in and to help make a decision as to whether or not Bridgette could move back into her home. But these three men refused. Not only is their response highly unprofessional but also extremely childish. One can only come to the conclusion that there is some kind of personal vendetta against Bridgette Frank. What sort of pattycake crap is that? It reminds me of Donald Trump having government shutdowns until the Democrats bow to his demands for $5 billion to build his ego wall. I mean come on. That is some serious expensive racist crap right there.

Anyway, get this. While the tribal housing served Bridgette with the eviction notice they maliciously had the PG&E shut off her electricity. They are not supposed to shut off her electricity with her son Isaiah's breathing situation! That shows where their priorities stand. There are 13 homeowners in the housing projects and she for some reason is the only one being harassed to this extent. It has been mentioned that one reason was that she had a weed garden. To the best of my knowledge Bridgette is the only person living in the housing project who does not have a marijuana garden!

What is the real intention for these haters? Don't they know or even care that the coronavirus is in effect here in Covelo? The audacity of some people!

Concerned tribal member,

Eric Lincoln


Ed note: The version of this event we got struck us as a kind of musical houses, with the enterprising Ms. B renting her off-rez dwelling, moving into  another marginally habitable rez house, then going to her friend Mr. Lincoln to get her side of the story into print when the Tribal Council objected to Ms. B's residential sleight-of-hand.

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To the Editor,

There is so much injustice in the world. One of the most devastating examples in the world right now is the United States of America in collusion with the body-hacking Saudis, bombing the small country of Yemen. Yemen is also being attacked from within by rebels (thugs?).

This bombing buddy duo has bombed markets, schools, hospitals, etc.

"Oh beautiful for spacious skies."

What is it we want? What is it the Saudis want?

Yesterday, the news of another attack in Yemen: the coronavirus.

How heartless can we be?

Imagine, if we were being bombed in the midst of this epidemic!

Let's demand an immediate halt to this colossal abuse of power.

We have more time now theoretically.

Can we take some time to let our power structure know that this is unacceptable?

"America," "America, God shed his grace on thee.” “And crowned thy good with brotherhood…"

In this day and age, expanded to the world.

Susan Wertheimer


PS. The Arabs in Gaza, the Native Americans, and the Uyghurs of China (not currently our fault) — the list could be expanded.

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11 MILES, $60 MIL


I’m shocked — shocked and outraged — at the cost for paving 11 miles of apparently little-used freeway between Cloverdale and Healdsburg: $60,000,000. That’s 60 million. That’s equal to $5.45 million per mile. Gasp.

I’m also shocked that people are shocked at the cost of adding this many miles of railroad track in order to better serve portions of our county with the train service that they have been paying for all these years.

Both of these expenditures are our tax dollars at work for necessary infrastructure improvements that help maintain and improve our lives, our leisure time and our work.

Jack Jackson


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It’s terrible what they tried to do too Michael Flynn, a dedicated veteran of service to the United States, an upstanding and wonderfully good man. But he was close to President Trump and the liberals had to get him so they backed the rotten filthy crooked FBI to get him thrown out. These liberal far left bastards ruin people's lives like they tried to do with Judge Kavanaugh. And President Trump with the Russian probe, A filthy a witch hunt. It's sad that the American people allow this to happen. We used to have politics back in the 60s 50s or 40s or 30s, but they were simple politics. Democrats and Republicans could disagree but they would work it out. Now these politics are trying to ruin our country. The liberal left is trying to take over the United States in a coup! It will backfire on them. The liberal bastards out there involved with this better not turn your backs because you are guilty of treason. And when you ruin people's lives you are breaking the law to the point where we can break the law to come after you. So bad Democrats better stay out of sight. And you liberals better not turn your backs. People are going to fall like flies and bite the dirt or worse. Governor Newsom is so far out there, such a liberal rotten piece of.... Now San Francisco is giving free hotel rooms, free booze, free drugs, free cigarettes, free everything! It was on the liberal Channel 5 news. How far can all this go? 

God bless Donald Trump.

Jerry Philbrick


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Everyone of you pro vaccination people who are fudging on stay at home, social distancing, face mask and/or travel orders are hypocrites – the rest of you dissenters are just plain selfish. With ever increasing knowledge of the insidious health hazards of covid-19 there is every indication that it is truly a serious public health issue. From the Washington Post: “….. often it attacks the lungs, but it can also strike anywhere from the brain to the toes.” “ ….. clinicians around the world are seeing evidence that suggests the virus also may be causing heart inflammation, acute kidney disease, neurological malfunction, blood clots, intestinal damage and liver problems.”

Covid-19, itself, is novel but so is our contemporary social response to the pandemic. The powers that be relative to and responsible for public health are taking notes, not only for the current epidemic but for any future occurrence and you can be assured that any significant disregard on the part of us public has the possibility of triggering some form of marshal law in the future. To me that is scary as well.

We need to learn to share our wealth, hardships and concern for the common good without a gun in our backs - in other words, work together - which quite likely might be necessary for our own survival as a species that walks and plays on Earth. The problems within our current social order run very deep and much broader than just this stinking virus but it is giving us the opportunity to self-assess.

PS – And our President is a maniac.

David Severn


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