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Letters (May 20, 2020)

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To the Editor:

It’s obvious we need to take this virus seriously and I certainly am taking all prudent precautions like wearing a mask, washing hands, social distancing and much more. But it’s also obvious this near complete business shutdown is causing much more then just a little personal inconvenience along with all the economic damage. When figuring the cost/benefit of the shutdown I think we also need to take into account the many personal tragedies that it brings with it. The longer the present situation goes on there will be an ever increasing rate of suicides, alcoholism, depression, domestic violence and many more effects no one wants to see. As an example according to the CDC there has been an 800 percent increase in the calls to the “Suicide Crisis Hotline”. In the end, like many people, this current situation will cost me nothing. My SSI checks will keep coming and my investments will certainly come back better then ever. If you are one of the lucky ones and have a secure income and situation it’s easy to say “Stay home, watch Netflix, be happy”. But unfortunately this is not the case for many people who will lose everything they have worked their entire life to build, jobs, businesses, homes, savings, families even their sanity. Many of them see no way out and no future. I believe these people deserve more of our consideration.

Kevin Smith


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Can anyone tell me just when MSNBC became the media outlet of the DNC? It is a very remarkable, if unremarked, event. I tune in to Rachel Maddow some nights and watch her to the point of tolerance, which admittedly is only a few minutes some nights, as she preens and struts like a self-righteous hen, decrying the daily incompetence and malfeasance of the T-rump administration as she immolates herself in self-righteous superiority. She will carry on like that for a full hour during which the viewer learns absolutely nothing. every night is just an endless string of repeats of the nights before.

Remember #where’s Joe? When Biden just completely disappeared from the health crisis stage and he could not even get the technology right to broadcast something from his basement? MSNBC came to his rescue and had him host a CV Town Hall. So far the ONLY consistent reason we’ve been given to vote for Biden is that he’s not Trump. Yes, and neither is a pile of dog poop.

Let me veer slightly and say my hat is off to Laura Cooskey for her excellent essay on the "Stealthy Suicide of the Self Styled Left”—incredible writing. I share her consternation on how easy it has been for our technological shepherds to direct the direction of the smart phone using social media sheep.

Chris Skyhawk


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I was listening to the Coast to Coast AM radio program recently and a guest made an interesting observation about social distancing, but of a more metaphorical type. He said that people in public spaces being engaged with their laptops and/or smartphones rather than people immediately around them is a form of social distancing.

That makes sense to me. I normally spend a fair amount of time in coffeehouses where many people are engaged with their laptops and phones and appear unapproachable.

About four years ago I was in an independent cafe where there are usually fewer people absorbed with their devices than other cafes. I was sitting next to a woman who was engrossed with her phone and I deliberated whether to attempt to start a conversation with her. But knowing I would be ticked off if she chose her phone over me, I let it go. (I admittedly have a low tolerance for rejection.)

Several months ago I was in a Starbucks and there was a woman sitting about eight feet away from me off to my left who I seemingly found attractive but I was not able to see her face from my angle. She was staring down at her phone and every two or three minutes I would glance her way hoping to get a look at her face. But every time her head was facing straight down at her phone. She left after about 15 minutes without me ever getting a look at her face. Clearly her body language was saying, "I'm unavailable for conversation."

I am not part of the masses’ tech obsession. Right now I don't own a PC or laptop and I've never owned a smartphone. I gave up my PC in the fall of 2017 and I am definitely happier without owning a computer. Normally when I want to use a computer I go to a local library. But of course that option isn't available right now for the foreseeable future.

I suppose I am simply wondering if the old-fashioned way of meeting people -- that is, in person -- is dying off.

Keith Bramstedt

San Anselmo

PS. Regarding the stimulus checks item in the May 6 Valley people section. I was not expecting to receive a stimulus check because I had seen a youtube video by a financial planner type guy and read an article in the Chronicle business section saying that Social Security disability recipients who are listed as a dependent on someone else's tax return (my mother lists me as a dependent) would not be eligible for the stimulus checks.

That made sense to me since a Social Security disability recipient like me is not as needy as other disability recipients because my mother pays my rent.

Then on Wednesday, April 29, $1200 showed up in my checking account! I was a bit peeved because I had resigned myself to not receiving it. But it certainly helps.

My guess is that the U.S. Treasury or whoever is making the rules for the stimulus checks changed its mind about Social Security disability recipients who are tax dependents after I had seen the youtube video and read the Chronicle article.

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The Gringa Grandota was buttoning up the Pearl Harbor show starring the Japanese Rachel Maddow because the star had just thrown her neck out of joint during a breaking news story.

With a pocket full of yen she was on sound financial footing and was ready for her next adventure which was to be her greatest, just wait and see! Meanwhile Marques, perched atop "Nuestra Barca"" was being towed into Cadiz Harbor under the cover of darkness.

In a cunning act learned from the Editor, he tossed several bars of silver overboard ala Hansel and Gretel. Picking up his mail which consisted of five back issues of Bon Appetite Magazine, after bouncing along half way across the Atlantic surviving on beans and rice, he attacked a large plate of paella, a favorite dish in Cadiz with gamba (large shrimp) piled three inches on top.

Spain, one of the best tourist countries in the world, encouraged Mark S. to visit some of the best looking cities in Europe. They reminded him of colonial cities in Mexico and the rest of the Western Hemisphere -- and why not? They were built at about the same time. He wanted to visit the Prado in Madrid, home to El Greco, Velasquez and Goya, plus one of the most famous paintings in the world, "A Dog's Burial," which hangs in the Prado. Not to forget the Florida hotel where Hemingway lived during the war. When Francisco Franco was alive every radio station in Spain was required to play the recorded voice of Franco on the hour "Espana Arriba."

On the other side of the world Ms. F., sponsored by the Anderson Valley Grape Association, ducked into a non-descript coffee shop and proclaimed "Gimme a cuppa Joe." Out came a white tablecloth, a slender vase containing a long stemmed flower. Next two slices of toast, crusts removed and cut diagonally, two kinds of jam, a medium boiled egg, salt and pepper, a cup of dark brown coffee served in a thin ceramic cup plus a carafe of coffee on the side. Now, in Japan, this is what is called "Coffee And."

Proceeding to her chief interest, Japanese cuisine, Ms. F. was introduced to many strange examples of unrecognizable foods including something called "Japanese seafood." It took some time to figure out what it really was -- whale meat. The Gringo Grandota air freighted frozen whale meat to the Mosswood restaurant and the monarch of the weeklies for their perusal.

Ms. Fashauer decided it would be prudent to cut that long round-trip to the Southern Ocean by shipping frozen whale steaks directly after being harpooned. After a long voyage on the Japanese whaling ships she arranged to freeze the whale steaks and send them from the closest port in Australia, Melbourne, to a central location in Europe, Madrid, where Mark S. would market them to the rest of Europe. Or so she thought.

It was fairly easy to travel to northern Australia. After leaving the South Sea whale business in charge of B. Sanders who was soon to be appointed ambassador to the Falkland Islands, she made her way to Brisbane where many boats were available to travel to Bali. For over 400 years explorers made it a point to spend some time in Bali — Drake, Magellan, Cook, Shackleton and even Bligh. Just as today, popular destinations are due to the abundance of "accommodating" girls.

Once the Gringa Grandota saw Bali she decided to stay. If family and friends wanted to see her they could move to Bali too. It wasn't long before half the population of Philo and Boonville moved to Bali to escape the frost fans.

Back to Spain the Mella Fella viewed the original Zimmerman Note which was preserved under glass at the Prado Museum, workers annex. His confederate had located two of the silver bars dumped overboard in the Cadiz Channel so the Marques had plenty of spending money for the rest of Europe. He had decided to take the scenic route in France over the Pyranees mountains. Since no public transportation was available, he hired a taxi to take him through the mountains. At 3 AM the taxi was abducted and the S’mella was kidnapped by Kurdish separatists. When the Kurds learned of his military background they put him in charge of one of the territorial regions they hoped to fold into a Kurdish state, Tabriz, Iran — along with a slice of Iran, Iraq and Syria and a large portion of eastern Turkey. One day a frozen package arrived in Tabriz. It was from Australia. 

Looks like the round the world race is over.

Ralph Bostrom


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Retired general, Michael Flynn, Trump’s first national security adviser, who denied to the FBI about his perfectly legal conversations with Russian ambassador, Sergey Kislyak about the US sanctions against Russia before Trump took office, was also reported, at the urging of Jared Kushner, to have tried to persuade Russia and other members of the UN Security Council to oppose a UNSC resolution introduced by Egypt and New Zealand condemning Israel’s illegal Jewish West Bank settlements, in January 2017, at the end of Obama’s term, an effort that was ultimately unsuccessful.

The story, reported widely in the US media, reflects not a failing on Flynn’s part but the extent of Zionist censorship over what Americans are allowed to read when it comes to Israel. The fact of the matter, as reported in the Israeli press, is that the Russia’s UN ambassador, Vitaly Churkin, on the directions of Vladimir Putin, was trying to get the other ambassadors to postpone the vote until Trump took office (which none were willing to do) as the return of a favor to Netanyahu who in 2014 had ordered Israel's UN ambassador to absent himself from the vote on US sponsored sanctions on Russia following its annexation of Crimea, a move that enraged the Obama White House, according to an Associated Press story that was released but, apparently, never published.

Hence, Netanyahu, having learned that the US would break its long standing policy of vetoing any resolution against Israel and would abstain when the resolution came to a vote, was so desperate. While he was able to get the Egyptian dictator El-Sisi, one of the resolution’s two co-sponsors to pull it from the Security Council docket, he ran up against a stone wall when, after a stormy conversation with the foreign minister of New Zealand, the other co-sponsor,  Netanyahu was was told to fuck off, or so, the Israeli press, in so many words, reported.

Netanyahu then appealed to anyone who could help him, which included his friend, Jared Kushner who told Flynn to try and block the vote. The Russian ambassador, Churkin, did vote for it, because it would have been politically embarrassing for Putin to have publicly been seen as defending Israel's settlements (and the next month Churkin ended up dead, at the age of 64, from no clear cause.)

One of Flynn’s great crimes in the eyes of the Democrats, that Americans will never hear mentioned, is that after leaving his job as head of the Defense Intelligence Agency under Obama, he agreed to be interviewed on Al-Jazeera.  There he introduced a copy of a memo he had sent to the White House and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, warning them against the possible outcome of their efforts to stir an Islamic Jihadist uprising against Syria’s Bashar al-Assad and we have seen how successfully that turned out. Madame Clinton would claim in another memo, released under the Freedom of Information Act to Judicial Watch, that the US was doing it “for Israel.” Had she been elected president, of course, the resolution condemning the Jewish settlements would have been vetoed.

Jeff Blankfort


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Thanks to Tom Madden for his excellent letter recently. The coronavirus was probably started by the Liberal Democrats who realized they couldn't impeach President Trump so they colluded with China and said, Come on, let's spread a pandemic over here so it will make Trump look bad because there were several hundred Chinese between December 15 and January 15 who came into Seattle and spread around in the western states causing the problem off the bat, and then 400,000 of them came into the New York. You know what happened there. 

But it got away from them and it spread out in Europe also. I wouldn't put this past the Liberal Democrats like Pelosi and Schumer and Schiff one bit. They don't care about human lives as long as they can get Trump out of office. They are that terrible. 

So the liberal left is responsible for the pandemic.They probably told China they could have their way with the United States if they make from Trump look bad, and China jumped right on that. I know they would do that. Look at the blue states that will not let go of the lockdown. They want the economy to go down the drain so President Trump looks bad when the election comes. They want the coronavirus to work and wreck the economy and they will not give up their power. Sickening. 

God bless Donald Trump.

Jerry Philbrick


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Removing Scott Dam to improve the habitat for the North Coast salmon makes sense (“Plan filed to remove dam,” Thursday). Removing the nine megawatts of clean renewable power that is generated by the existing dam doesn’t make sense.

Municipal planners are requiring new homes to be constructed with all-electric heating, cooling, water heating and appliances. Electric vehicle charging is increasing. The consensus is the utility companies are striving to produce electricity using renewable sources to lessen the reliance on fossil fuels such as natural gas and coal.

It seems prudent to offset an equal or greater amount of clean renewable power prior to removing Scott Dam or any dam.

Norman Vachon



  1. John Sakowicz May 20, 2020

    Chris Skyhawk writes: “I tune in to Rachel Maddow some nights and watch her to the point of tolerance, which admittedly is only a few minutes some nights, as she preens and struts like a self-righteous hen, decrying the daily incompetence and malfeasance of the T-rump administration as she immolates herself in self-righteous superiority. She will carry on like that for a full hour during which the viewer learns absolutely nothing. every night is just an endless string of repeats of the nights before.”

    To which I add, Rachel Maddow is neither a journalist nor a news anchor. She is a performance artist.

    Rachel Maddow is not about content. She is about style — ranting and raving, and foaming at the mouth, much like her counterpart, Alex Jones.

  2. JD May 20, 2020

    Chris, you thought that was good writing? I didn’t realize yelling at low hanging fruit was so valued. Ok, I’m done here. So much criticism of the obviously useless and zero self-awareness. Maybe do some rigorous self-reflection and more of your writing will be useful and good.

  3. Kathy May 21, 2020

    Scott Dam needs to be seismically retrofitted. If that were an economically viable situation, you can bet your last dollar PGE would not have walked away from the project.

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