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Letters To The Editor


Editor --

Back in the early 1940s a troop ship left the East Coast bound for Britain. As the ship cleared the harbor and entered the open sea, a crewman made an announcement over the loudspeaker:

"Four bells."

Navy time.

There were different groups aboard: Navy, of course. And Army, the Air Corps, some Marines and a few civilians.

The announcement was clarified: "For the Air Corps people, it's 1400 hours."

A moment later: "For you civilians, that's 2 PM."

Another pause, "For Marines, the big hand is on 12, the little hand is…"

Marines have a long history, but it's not a history of intellectual achievement.

I recently became aware (AVA letters) of a soldier -- a Marine named Smedley Butler. He was a general. He retired in 1931 after 33 years of service.

The medal of honor is not awarded casually and it's frequently a posthumous tribute. Butler had two. At the time of his death (natural causes) he was the most decorated Marine in US history. But upon his retirement he became an outspoken critic of US military adventurism. This from Wikipedia:

In his 1935 book, War Is A Racket, he described the workings of the military-industrial complex and, after retiring from service, became a popular speaker at meetings organized by veterans, pacifists, and church groups in the 1930s.

Following is an excerpt from a speech he delivered in 1933. It's typical.

"War is just a racket. A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of people. Only a small inside group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few at the expense of the masses.

"I believe in adequate defense at the coastline and nothing else. If a nation comes over here to fight, then we will fight. The trouble with America is that when the dollar only earns 6% over here, then it gets restless and goes overseas to get 100%. Then the flag follows the dollar and the soldiers follow the flag.

"I wouldn't go to war again as I have done to protect some lousy investment of the bankers. There are only two things we should fight for. One is the defense of our homes and the other is the Bill of Rights. War for any other reason is simply a racket.

"There isn't a trick in the racketeering bag that the military gang is blind to. It has its 'finger men' to point out enemies, its 'muscle men' to destroy enemies, its 'brain men' to plan war preparations, and a 'big boss' super nationalistic capitalism.

It may seem odd for me, a military man, to adopt such a comparison. Truthfulness compels me to. I spent 33 years and four months in active military service as a member of this country's most agile military force, the Marine Corps. I served in all commissioned ranks from Second Lieutenant to Major General. And during that period I spent most of my time being a high-class muscle man for big business, for Wall Street, and for the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism.

I suspected I was just part of a racket at the time. Now I am sure of it. Like all the members of the military profession, I never had a thought of my own until I left the service. My mental faculties remained in suspended animation while I obeyed the orders of higher-ups. This is typical with everyone in the military service.

"I helped make Mexico, especially Tampico, safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of a half a dozen Central American republics for the benefits of Wall Street. The record of racketeering is long. I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1909-1912. (Where have I heard that name before?) I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916. In China I helped to see to it that Standard Oil went its way unmolested.

"During those years, I had, as the boys in the back room would say, a swell racket. Looking back on it, I feel that I could have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents."

People who speak of American values are usually thinking virtuously -- of freedom, of democratic rule, of peace, justice and equality -- noble stuff like that -- not warmongering. But a few months ago I discovered (again, the AVA) that America's military had been engaged in armed conflict for most of our 237 year history. An internet search will make most anyone cringe. (Anyone but a moron or a Republican.) One site lists but 23 years of peace and backs this assertion with a comprehensive list of US military operations.

We dress our boys and girls in spiffy uniforms, call them patriots and send them off to make war on America's enemies. But these enemies are mostly impediments to big business and Wall Street. Some of these kids lose hands, arms, legs, feet, eyes, faces, ears, parts of their brain, etc. Many lose their lives. Geez, that's too bad. But, whattaya gonna do when there's money to be made? Sacrifices are necessary.

And now we have drones carrying out remote assassinations -- murdering unsuspecting enemies.

Clever computer gamers working at US-based playstation like consoles guide and fire missiles from pilotless warplanes -- high-tech engines of death. The victims have no rights. No legal defense, no trials and no juries -- just an execution. And more often than not, these playstation defenders of our freedom are barbecuing innocent women and children. It's called -- collateral damage.

Gosh. Good work guys -- admirable. Our brave warriors. We're so proud of you. Yep.

This from my wife:

"Always, war and peace, war and peace.

Are we really like this?

Red for blood, white for the dove.

The stars glittering.

Joan Boyer

Happy new year?

Bart Boyer

San Diego




The American Nightmare --

Functionality gave way to fashion, quality to image control, success measured by the mediocrity, profit by how much you stole.

Never has so much wealth been used to destroy the very source of itself. This obscene empire has gone so insane on force and dominance that it has in its lust for power ruined the societies of labor, industry and innovation and the earth itself. If suicide is illegal then let's arrest the Pentagon system and a bigger is better consumer dead end vanity makers. Arrest the greed and power junkies who have turned our country into a wasteland of flaccid politicians and hideous citizens. Who have littered America and the world with their ugly brand name logo supremacy. If suicide is a crime, where does that leave Monsanto and weather modification, automobiles and the bloated military. Unless I've missed something, the major trajectory of our civilization which is so grossly uncivilized is self-destruction, largely due to the psychotic disposition of most of the people running the show. The realm of power and control apparently requires sick minds in order to excel. And excel the sick minds have with terrible success.

Have humans become degenerate? Maybe we have just outsmarted ourselves with all our miraculous discoveries and inventions. Maybe our tools have left us behind. Looks like we are the same basic lazy warring stupid beast we have always been but now we have super tools to speed up our demise. Was the discovery of and splitting of the atom really such a great thing after all?

Looks to me like the Earth fucked herself over by giving us too much too fast. Rotten spoiled brats wrapping their dad's Lincoln around an oak tree on graduation night. Too much too fast. Too impressed with our own artifacts. Too afraid of death and diluted by our own religions.

The Age of Aquarius, my ass! Same old BS with more memory and a flatscreen!

Happy 2013 and good luck!

Marvin Blake


PS. Blowback -- Welcome to Ghetto America.

So sorry. So so sad. More killing of innocents. Another lonely nut emotional cripple timebomb gone off. How many more programmed monsters are waiting in the back alleys of this ill society?

"We only sold them what they wanted.: Gamers from hell. Suicider from bad apples homicidals gone off on the ugly facts of what hope in what future disposable you in fat cat heaven welcome to the rest of us hell -- oops -- oh well!

Ghetto America. Divide and conquer. Conquer and divide. Here in audiovisual gulagland where the prick assholes who have gutted our country to the scrap iron slag heap of offshore winds from Moloch's greedy mouth use conmanfusion to make sure the hapless serfs don't dare storm the castles when they reach the end of rope end of times end of reason last days no hope can't cope phase of life becoming death for profit no less. What a mess!

Ghetto America. Feed the rabble on Frankenfood Frankenpop Frankenpop-culture, Frankenprosports, Franken entertainment, Frankenschools and healthcarelessness and Frankenational unpoli-politics. Drive them fucking crazy for shopping but then oops, no jobs -- oops destroyed economy -- oops lashing out not hope in consumeristic future blam blam bbblam biddy blam!

Ghetto America where illiterate ahistorical cornfed slobs wallow in electronic vicarious loop tape precarious SUV'd civil liberties to render themselves idiotic, ridiculous, absurd, shattered and torn living unborn!

Welcome to tantrum America where Frankenpeople from business as usual run amok because they can't afford a new hog SUV or the next cyber pacifier from high-tech heaven. Boo-hoo hoo. Blam! Good luck!




Your reminiscences of the 80s Mendocino hotel demo in the December 19 AVA (“Madam Breit”) brought back fond memories of the good old days when demos were fun and effective.

The main force demo was assembled at the hotel's entry but a squad of savvy veterans deployed to cover the rear assuming that the Gollum-like contingent would try to sneak out the back to avoid the ragtag gauntlet upfront.

Sure enough, Breit, Hauser, Willie Brown and their local kiss-ass entourage attempted to sneak out the back and escape through the alley. They were genuinely shocked to be directly taunted and did a crab-like shuffle down the dark alley to avoid us.

Hauser and Breit displayed their patented chimp-like shit-eating grins, but Brown was furious, scowling and shooting dagger-like glances our way as if to say, "Who the fuck do you lowlife hippies think you are, challenging me?" Too bad he didn't confront us directly. There were several Agent Orange-dusted vets who would have enjoyed a tussle.

The highlight of the demo was when the demure Sequoia, togged in one of her outlandish costumes, crashed the affair, getting in faces and stomping on toes until she was ejected yelling and screaming.

A disgusting aspect of this important demo was that only the true hard-core showed up. The nice people who were so vociferous during the herbicide ordinance campaign deliberately boycotted the event because they didn't want to alienate the powerful Democrat establishment and "lose access." Access to jackasses who kick you in the teeth and stab you in the back? Who needs it?

The same chickenshit rationale prevailed during the Clinton administration and is totally operative during the Obama administration.

The good old days are gone, but hope springs eternal. Lucky 13 is going to be a good year — the dawning of the Aquarian Age.

Cheers for the new year,

Don Morris


PS. According to Gary Giddings in his 1987 book, "Celebrating Bird: The Triumph of Charlie Parker," Parker told David Amram, "If you want to understand my music, listen to the Clovers."




My case is going up in front of Judge Alsup. I need letters of support, asking him to free me and give me a new trial where the jury could hear the whole truth. Please write to Judge Alsup at 450 Golden Gate Ave., San Francisco, CA 94102. He must receive the letter(s) by March 3rd, 2013. Thank you very much!

Eddy Lepp c/o 90157011

FCI La Tuna

PO Box 3000

Anthony, TX 88021



Mighty AVA,

Ferrellgas is to be avoided! Count me as another former victim of their brazen price gouging and perpetual money-grubbing fees. If I had to describe that company in a couple words I'd say Greedy Dissemblers.

My advice to propane users is to switch to ER Energy (Eel River Fuels) as quickly as possible. Locally owned and straight shooters, you'll get no pricing shenanigans from them. Highly recommended: or 707-462-5554.

And while you're at it, do try and minimize your use of all fossil fuels. We love using our woodstove as a cooktop whenever possible. It heats the house and cooks the soup at the same time. Burning wood is carbon neutral -- part of earth's natural carbon cycle -- and a much better use of all that hardwood that MRC currently poisons.

Mike Kalantarian

Beyond the Deep End (Navarro)




I am bothered and bewildered that you disregarded my obvious wish to remain anonymous and outed me as “Howard Belkamp Jr.” anyway (Down With PG, AVA, 12-12-12). What a spoilsport! I was just trying to have a little fun with our friend Jeff Costelo and nudge him enough to resurrect the one and only, inimitable “real” Howard Belkamp. His “Road Notes” and other offerings lately just aren’t up to ol’ Belkamp’s lower standards and I miss the old guy. What a shame it will be if you have scared him off by busting me.

Long Live Belkamp! Tsu Doh Nym

Bill Brundage, French Polynesia

Kurtistown, Hawaii




Greatly appreciate the weekly space you give Cannabis Cards. It makes AVA readers privy to obscure nuggets of marijuana history, an alternative information network with local artists and writers telling it like it is.

The clerk at the Albion Grocery told me this story about their customers, a family of 3 who stopped at the cannabis cards kubby hole to read some of the cards. The young boy, 8 or 9, was intrigued by Lincoln "smoking his sweet hemp pipe" and wearing hemp pants his family wove and grew. The mother scolded the boy for reading such poppycock and tried to get the family to move along but the father told her "No, this was true American history that is kept from us and it's good that our son know the truth." That conversation shows the cards are working... the kid got the intended education.

Fast forward to the Headroom in Willits last week when one of your longtime AVA readers dropped in and found me at the counter making an arrangement with the manager. He had not known how to order the cards but finally found us by email --

All cards = $1 each, individually wrapped & sealed. We pay postage for $10 or more. The full set of 22 in a plastic box = $20.

Contact us at Cannabis Cards PO Box 743 Mendocino CA 95460 and

Coming soon: Cheech & Chong, Pancho Villa, Tony Serra, all out front legendary lovers of the herb.

Cheech & Chong were beloved stoner comics who laughed their way into the Grammy mainstream.

Pancho Villa & his ragtag army of revolutionaries sang a motivational marching song 'La Cucaracha' about having no marijuana par fumar; it is believed to be the popular origin of the word marijuana.

Tony Serra, lifelong legendary trial lawyer for the oppressed, came out in 1996 as the first toking lawyer in support of Prop 215; the card will have a portrait of Serra toking, pony tail and all.

Pebbles Trippet





Dearest Editor,

Wow, just when I’d thought I’d seen it all—an article on the FRONT PAGE about Bob Dorough. Only in the AVA! David Yearsley nailed it about the grimmest Xmas song of all time and many details of Bob’s life I didn’t know about. I’ve been a fan for probably 40 years and have a few memories I’d like to share with you all.

I’ve seen Bob at least four times on rare West Coast appearances (the GUY is after all a New York Jazz Cat) and he was always dynamite even with just his bass player, Bill Takas. My fondest memory has to be when Peter Lit brought Bob to The Caspar Inn (85? 86?). Bob, “I’ve been to some far out places in my time, but this is the farthest out I’ve ever been.” I’m not sure how Peter managed to snag him, but many thanks. Another gem was in Cotati in the 70s when he added two more rounds of verses to “Better Than Anything” (except for being in love). Probably my very favorite song penned by Bob. And just one more — With Blossom Dearie (now there is a rare bird) at Great American doing ultimate justice to “Baby, It’s Cold Outside.”

Also I contacted Bob, through his Laissez Faire Records, to play at Karen’s and my wedding back in ’78. He declined in a handwritten letter that I still have — somewhere. If he was touring the West Coast he would love to sing “A Hundred Years From Today” for us. Oh, well. Other songs not to be missed — Bob kills “Baltimore Oriole” and “Norwegian Wood.” I still laugh out loud to “I’m Hip” and “Because We’re Kids” (music put to a Dr. Seuss poem).

As for Blue Xmas (keep the X in Xmas!) my copy came from a Columbia issue of scattered Miles Davis recordings called “Facets,” 1977. Also contains another version of “Devil May Care” recorded two days after “Blue Xmas.” I had no idea that Miles was such a jerk. As David’s article points out Bob still loved the guy. Liner note from “Just About Everything” — “Miles Davis is one of Bob Dorough’s biggest champions.” Fifteens years after “Blue Xmas”!

Googling Bob shows that most of my collection is still out there in some form if you’re interested. Get “Devil May Care” at the least. Of course, the record on Laissez Faire did not show up (on my top 10 list of all time). It’s called “Beginning To See The Light.” Perhaps on E-Bay??

Thanks again David Yearsley and ye editors for front-paging Bob.

Tim Bates





To ring in the new year and celebrate the swearing in of

Congressman Jared Huffman and the transition from Supervisor Kendall Smith to Supervisor Dan Gjerde we are having an open house at our offices this Friday, January 4 from 5:00-8:00 pm in the Old Fort Building, 430 North Franklin St, Fort Bragg.

Hope you will drop by, share some cheer and conversation. We look forward to continuing to serve you.

Heidi Dickerson & Christine,

Dan Gjerde and Kendall Smith

Fort Bragg/Redwood Valley


  1. Peter Warner January 4, 2013

    Editor — How disappointing you couldn’t see fit to publish my request to have the local self-congratulating Democrats issue a challenge to Jarhead Huffman to hold Obama accountable for his constitutional betrayals and war crimes. Sure, you’ll print the same old tired laments about how messed up this country is, but issuing a direct challenge to yet another American terrorism apparatchik and facilitator must just be too much for the shrinking testicles of the AVA.

  2. Peter Warner January 4, 2013

    Really, just what is the point of continually printing your editorials and blogs about the dire errancy of the USA, but then when someone issues a direct, legitimate, if harsh. challenge to the newest pro-forma Democrat schlock, you won’t even indulge my righteous anger and indignation. Pantomime politics won’t change anything.

  3. Peter Warner January 4, 2013

    Moreover, are you aware that Huffman has already taken the craven, hypocritical position of supporting the “rights” of the Israeli government to defend itself from Hamas rocket attacks, this before he even took office? This piece of Democratic Party cardboard has already worn out his welcome, and he can take Nancy Pelosi with him on a one-way trip to Guantanamo, where he and her and all the other Obama-philic apologists for Israeli and American terrorism can rot in their corporate-fed vomit.

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