MEMO OF THE WEEK: THE FAMILY BUSINESS
Date: May 8, 2013, 11:59:17 AM PDT
To: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
Cc: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
Marti & JR,
I had a troubling incident @ school yesterday. I know that Robert talked to JR about this and was able to give him a more complete story. I also know that I really can't protect myself, let alone, a staff member, but I hope this will be addressed.
ESL Instructor and Softball Coach, Amber Mesa, came to me yesterday, very concerned about her firsthand witnessing of Board Member, Ben Anderson's inappropriate, loud, rude, public behavior and his screaming/yelling at Athletic Director, Robert Pinoli in front of staff & kids, outside, in the front of the gym/cafeteria area.
She said that Ben was very insulting to Robert about Robert's disability after his(Robert's) surgery and was literally mocking him publicly. She thought Ben was very agitated and also heard Ben scream @ Robert that he(Robert) was a "liar", even though Robert kept saying he(Robert) would like to talk to Ben.
One of our student office aides, who also personally witnessed this public and loud confrontation by Ben , came to the office, a bit upset, & gave the exact same account to a front office staff member.
I went out to ask Robert what was up. I had less than 2 minutes with him (Robert), as he was teaching a class. Hopefully, he(Robert) gave a more complete story to JR(who was subbing for me) yesterday afternoon.
The factual account is that several baseball players, who earn credit as aides/supervisors in one of Robert's Junior High classes weren't at a class at the appropriate time. Robert found out they were helping another staff member, and though they hadn't asked Robert's permission ahead of time, he felt that this was a very productive & helpful use of their time. He said that several Junior High students might have cut class & would have to do some lunch detention with him(Robert).
He also said that Ben mocked his disability and screamed at him(Robert) that he was a "liar." Robert literally did not know what Ben was screaming about.
I do not have Ben's "side", if there is one, of this story. JR has counseled me to not communicate w/Ben.
There appear to be several issues here:
1.)Though there were NO consequences to any Baseball Players, staff must NOT be affected in their issuance of behavioral/discipline consequences, by whether someone is on a sport's team. I did not allow Hank Logan, our former All-League" pitcher, to play in a home playoff game(which we lost), because of his failure to serve detentions that he owed. This is the #1 stipulation in the Student Handbook's Athletic Policy under "Conduct." It is totally inappropriate, and against policy, for any coach(or Board Member) to try to pressure staff to change a behavior consequence.
2.)Because of his irrational actions, if this had been a stranger on campus, instead of a Board Member, who should know better, talking to a staff member this way, I would have called the police. This public behavior is inappropriate on this campus, at least until June 30th. Ben should be asked to resign from both coaching and the Board after his incredible, clownish display of being out of control in front of both staff and children.
3.)As seems to often be the case in Boonville(where gossip & rumor seem to trump facts), instead of Ben just calling Robert to see if anything was up with his(Ben's) ballplayers, he(Ben) instead believed a thrice told tale that was a lie, and then screamed publicly, in front of numerous witnesses that Robert was the liar. I have worked with Robert for over 2 decades, and we have disagreed on many issues. If anything Robert is brutally honest to me, staff, coaches, parents, community members, students, etc. I may not like what he says, but I can ALWAYS count on it to be accurate.
4.)I'm not sure what the process is for filing a grievance against a sitting Board Member, but I have suggested that Robert follow up on this. JR might have gotten the ball rolling on this after his conference with Robert yesterday.
PS. The irony of Ben Anderson calling anyone a "liar" is fascinating, given the fact that his family's business has been based on and built on lies. Perhaps being raised in that culture, he assumes, in his strange and tiny world of make-believe, the rest of us also just "make it up" as we go along.
Ed reply: Granted, the family business isn't exactly a fourth generation furniture store, but it's a living. Seriously though, Jimbo, if you're going to accuse us all when you're talking about me you should at least cite a lie so we can group on it to see if it's a lie or simply an opinion you and the rest of the cringing faculty at AV Unified don't like. One might assume that “educators” are capable of distinguishing fact from opinion, but after years in this business I think that ability is increasingly rare generally among “educated” Americans. And, of course, it's easier to whine privately about “lies” than have a public argument about them, and easier yet to simply make the assertion without identifying the “lie.” As for the episode you describe here, assuming it's accurate, which I doubt because we haven't heard the other side of it, it doesn't sound like much, and at a minimum it entertained the student witnesses at a venue not offering much in the way of intentional humor. Anderson, of course, was one of three votes not to renew your lush contract, and Pinoli lives in fear that adult authority, should it ever occur at AV Unified, might wonder why every year some kid asks, “Yo, Pinoli! Do we have to sand this same block of wood the whole semester?” We can all understand the unhappiness you and Pinoli have with Anderson, but he was only one of three votes to sack you and, frankly, I don't understand why Mrs. Bradford hasn't asked you to re-apply for the position. You were a natch! By the way, Pinoli's “disability” is in fact knee surgery he chose to have in the middle of the school year, which meant the district had to pay a sub and him. It's not as if he's The Little Match Girl forever hobbling around campus on a broken crutch. The traumatized hot house rose who coaches girl's softball? We're all praying for a speedy recovery. But look on the bright side, Tomlin; with you outta there, there's now at least a long shot — a very long shot given the usual insider hiring process under way to find your clone — that Mrs. Bradford, ol' Shep, JR, Donna The Inevitable, the usual pair of stooge parents, and the high school's reliably supine faculty reps — Boonville Unified's version of an open hiring process — might accidentally settle on a smart, honest person as high school principal. Highly unlikely in the present context of school management, but mathematically possible. Heck, a smart, honest person at the top, replace the five or six teachers at the high school who never should have been hired in the first place, and we might have a pretty good little school again.
BYPASS MAKES NO SENSE
A sad and unnecessary chapter is unfolding before us in Little Lake Valley. [Mendocino Council of Governments Manager] Phil Dow's attempt to fulfill his lifelong dream of a Caltrans bypass around Willits is grinding slowly ahead, slashing, mutilating and destroying a once glorious old-growth oak and madrone woodland. This first phase onslaught on the environment is almost complete at the south end of the proposed by bypass. Nesting birds, amphibians, reptiles and mammals have already been sacrificed.
A commonsense approach to solving a minor traffic backup in Willits, created by Caltrans in 1994, would be to restripe Highway 101 from the hospital to the Highway 20 intersection. Caltrans said they would do this, but not until "next year." They arranged a 20-year bottleneck and now offer to uncork it after they garnered public support for their bypass.
The next step of a commonsense approach is to connect Baechtel Road and Railroad Avenue so that locals can use the side streets, then, if necessary, put back on the table the railroad right-of-way truck route. Just the restriping and the Baechtel/Railroad Avenue connection would alleviate traffic backups considerably.
In a dialogue with Phil Frisbie, spokesperson for Caltrans, he acknowledged that if he were advising on this project 10 years ago he would recommend the above-listed steps be taken. He then said that this project is too far along with the environmental approvals and permits to stop it. I disagree. It is not too late to stop a huge waste of taxpayer dollars on a project that will forever destroy the character and ecosystem of Little Lake Valley. A 200-foot wide dead zone, swelling massively at both ends and consuming one quarter of the Valley's arable farmland is not a good solution to a minor slow down of traffic.
An 8% decline in traffic volume at the Muir Mill Road intersection over the last four years is an indication that the Caltrans projections of a 59% increase in traffic volumes over 20 years is not likely to materialize. Stagnant growth, a weakening economy, localization, rising fuel costs, a timber industry in decline, and the legalization progress in the marijuana industry seem to point to lower traffic increases rather than a doubling of traffic over 40 years.
The $210 million figure for the first phase of the bypass is incorrect. The bulk of the funding for this project is $135.5 million in transportation bonds authorized by voters under Proposition 1B. These bonds carry a hefty price: depending on the interest rate at the time of the bond sale, the end cost of borrowing money through issuing bonds can be nearly double, according to the state legislative analyst's office. Coupled with the standard 20% cost overruns that are usual for a project of this size, plus unknown millions in mitigation costs and the real figure will be closer to a half a billion, just for the first phase.
The waste of taxpayer money for this destructive swath through Little Lake Valley cannot be justified. Currently a mere 7400 vehicles a day (8% of them trucks) would use this two lane bypass which only reaches capacity at 40,000 vehicles a day.
SIGNS OF EDU-INCOMPETENCE
An open letter to Social Security Administration Representative Ms. Martha Sanchez, 521 South Orchard Avenue, Ukiah
Dear Ms. Sanchez,
This letter expresses my outrage at the reported refusal of Mendocino County Schools Superintendent Paul Tichinin's refusal to move the sign showing that the Social Security office is behind the Board of Education's new office. Construction of the new building has made it difficult for anyone driving by to discover where Social Security is located. In addition there is no building number outside. Apparently, the Board of Education's bureaucratic structure is so stodgy that repeated requests to make the sign visible have been ignored.
This failure to respond to a reasonable request properly indicates the incompetence on the part of Mr. Tichinin and of his staff. Since so many bureaucracies are top-heavy with administrative staff and understaffed at the hard-working level, this failure to respond to a reasonable request indicates that administrative staff is overpaid and underqualified.
Dorotheya M. Dorman
FEES ARE FEES
Recently, I got a copy of the new Anderson Valley Community Serivces District’s new schedual of revised and additional fees. There is a state law called the Brown Act. Though it is hard to understand, in essence it was enacted to make all California agencies from top to bottom more open about all their activities. This new ordinance does just the opposite. It raises all kinds of new and old fees, according to our Fire Chief only to those who travel through and not to our citizens which is a lie. It’s for these various services that we pay our taxes and a highly debatable benefit assessment for. First of all the tourists that travel through our valley and spend money here are entitled to the same government services of this Valley. Our local CSD gets their funds from the taxes of all the valley businesses, the wineries and all the beautiful vineyards, the restaurants, the lodging, all the food establishmemts, yes, and even the local hardware stores. It would be a pretty bland and dull valley without all this business. I am sure our local volunteer firefighters do their jobs to support the Valley, not hinder it and they have to pay these taxes and fees which have literally exploded from all governments. A fire department, like all government services, is essential, but like all of us they have to live within the funds they receive. I am sure our local CSD is swimming in debt but it’s all undercover and anything they put out is not understandable which to me is fraud. This ordinance is just another way to raise more money because of debt. But more money only makes it worse because instead of paying off the debt they only use it to create bigger government and bigger debt. If I am wrong don’t just tell me, put it here in this paper so everyone can see it. Like the Brown Act was really created for the money spent to publish the CSD finances would be small and well spent.
A CLIP & 2 LOOSE ROUNDS…
Just saw your newspaper for the first time.
On December 19, 2012 some moron in an op-ed had several very imbecilic suggestions on guns. Registration is illegal under the Second Amendment. Gun ownership is an individual right like free speech under the First Amendment. We don't need no monkey ass official permit. Even Joe Biden said registration is wrong and a step into Nazi Germany. The only purpose is to confiscate guns.
No rational reason can be given for limits on carrying capacity. Only a dozen or two dozen people are killed by so-called assault rifles in the United States every year. 27 in 2012.
Of the 30,000 deaths by guns, 20,000 are suicides and they have as much right to kill themselves as women do to abort. That leaves a little over 9000 murders compared to an estimated 2.1 million to 3 million defensive uses of firearms every year in the United States. See 'More guns, less crime' (1998) and 'The Bias Against Guns' (2003) by John R. Lott, University of Chicago. 98% of the time in these 3 million incidents the mere brandishing a firearm was enough to scare away a potential criminal.
"Any" felony? 99% of felonies it don't involve crimes with guns, but things like income tax fraud, etc.. They are to lose their rights because some crackhead in Mendo so decrees? In Louisiana we have a saying, suck my duke! The Communist Nazi moron who wrote that up and can suck my duke! Capise [sic]?
Registration of ammo is as illegal as gun registration and required firearm identification. Same with your Taliban like penalties.
Finally, the only reason for the Second Amendment was fear of government tyranny, not shooting ducks. And personal self protection was taken for granted and not an issue. Your proposals are DOA, dead on arrival.
January 3, 2013, the same moron's column misrepresents Marilyn Monroe's strong ties with the with the Communist Party USA which were quoted in the story which the anonymous writer quotes. Monroe supported MLK, a communist party stooge AND Mao Zedong at a time when Mao's policies were killing 50 million Chinese in three years, 1958-1961. Monroe was a bubble brain who couldn't pronounce Marxism Leninism but who was guided by Frederick Vanderbilt Field, a scion of two wealthy US families and a major contributor to the Communist Party USA. If that's good Americanism then I'm Michelle Obama's black behind. So the asswipe who wrote this left out Mao's mass murders and Monroe's admiration of him, "Dr." King's CPUSA ties and Monroe's ties with the CPUSA through Field.
Did the anonymous coward who wrote this think everyone else is too stupid to look up the original story?
You can publish this if you want to or or do the anatomically impossible, all the same to me.
PS. You ain't getting my address because I've been warned by people more familiar with your paper that there are some graduates of modern chemistry affiliated with it.
DO THE RIGHT THING, TED
Hey Ted Nugent —
You said, broadcast, for a huge audience in that tirade berating the president that in a year you'd either be in jail or you'd be dead"!
Since you are neither, why don't you just do the honorable thing with any of your arsenal and commit suicide?
Fool on the Hill
PPS. If something misfires (drat), they can put you in jail for attempting it. See? Win-win!
SEVEN CARROTS OF LIGHT
I have a recurring dream where I'm running for president again, and no, I have not gone off my meds.
Longtime readers of this paper may recall previous campaigns dating back to 1982. What they don't know is that my 1982 effort wasn't the first time I ran for president of the United States. No, that would be my 1972 run as a member of Vietnam Veterans Against the War and student body president of Cañada Community College in Redwood City, California.
In that 1972 effort I simply borrowed Gary Snyder's "Chofu-Four Changes" as my platform. I ran again in 1976, and in 1980 I joined the Citizens Party and campaigned for Barry Commoner and LaDonna Harris. In 1990 I was back at it changing my 1982 seven-point program to the "seven points of light" ala George H.W. Bush.
I want to keep this short but I would be remiss if I didn't include the seven points for the edification of readers to whom this is all new, so here they are in their original form:
1. End all nuclear development and dismantle all existing weapons and clients. 2. Withdraw all support from military dictatorships. 3. Honor all treaties to which we are a party. 4. Provide jobs for all willing to work to solarize and re-green our land. 5. Cooperate in the decentralization of power and hold corporations responsible for their acts. 6. Turn the South Lawn of the White House into a community garden. 7. Ask God/ess for daily guidance.
When I say original form, I'm referring to what came out of my mouth in an interview with a reporter from the Willits News published in their July 28, 1982 edition under the heading "Willits' first presidential candidate."
So here we are in 2013 where I'll turn 73 in November and I will be 76 by the time I take office in January 2017.
Dreaming? Of course. I told you that back in the first sentence.
I'm married now and I live on an acre north of Fort Bragg where with the help the couple of previously homeless friends I maintain two small vegetable gardens and a greenhouse which has been producing sugar snap peas and salad greens since March.
You want to do something revolutionary? Plant carrots and watch them grow.
I have absolutely no plans to leave his acre except to shop or keep appointments.
LOVE IN TINYTOWN
It was a beautiful, warm sunny day, not too long ago and I was totally lost in the hills south of Not So TinyTown looking for a friend's house. Finally I turned around. I was heading back down the hill slowly when, to my relief, there was a pickup heading up the road. I waved my hands and stopped my car. I saw a very attractive guy quickly come to a stop and say, "Yes ma'am." For couple of seconds, I was distracted. What were the chances of meeting a young attractive guy in the middle of the hills, far from anyone else? Let's just say it's been a while.
I started explaining that I was lost and he helped direct me back down the hill as best he could. He asked me where I was coming from and I said TinyTown. He said he knew one person from TinyTown, some guy named Leonard with a bunch of sheep dogs. He also said he lived up the road a ways with his family. We made small talk for a few more minutes and then as the conversation ended we let our eyes linger for a few seconds and he asked me if he could give me his number and maybe we'd hang out sometime. I got his number and that was that. It was a great story even if it was just that; after all, I never got a guy's number while lost on a dirt road before.
So I wound up calling him and we set up a date. It turned out that he was nine years younger than me,. Red flags went up, but I wanted to give him a chance anyway. He met me for dinner. We had lots of introductory conversation — family, work, that kind of thing. I talked about living with siblings so much older than me, and he said he had two twin brothers 20 years older than him who lived in Oregon with their families. He also talked about owning his own business. At this point, red flags should have started to go off, but they didn't. I remember him talking about living in the area for seven years. Before that, he said, he lived in Reno, Oregon, Alaska, and Hawaii. I remember saying, "Your parents moved around a lot, huh?" He answered, "Yeah, and my mom wants to take me back to visit Hawaii."
I talked about my travels around the country after college, how I loved Oregon, hated Reno, and that I'd never been to Alaska or Hawaii yet. After dinner we went to a lookout point on a curvy mountain road and talked more. I remember him asking me what I hated most. I said, "Well, good question. Dishonesty and noncommunication, I guess." He seemed to give a nod to that. At end of the night we both said we had a good night (and had a hot kiss) and I said that I'd give him a call soon. So the next week we set up a date and a few days later he canceled. He had a story about issues surrounding his job. Whatever. We set up another day for a date. He never confirmed and never called.
Perhaps a week after that, I was walking through town and saw someone who looked like him walking out of the hotel. He was looking at his phone, then he put it in his pocket and crossed the road. It was him! Somehow he didn't notice me until he got to the other side of the road. We nearly walked right into each other. I really just wanted to tell him off, but also I knew he wasn't worth it. He looked up, saw me, and said, "Hi, how are you?" and just kept walking.
Wow. I was lost again somewhere between repulsion and mysterty as I saw him walk behind the pub and grub restaurant in TinyTown. For someone who knows one person in the hills outside of TinyTown, he seemed to be pretty familiar with it. Next, I saw him at two local social gatherings with some chick. He got up, got her drinks, opened doors for her… She reminded me of the stereotypical rich girl: made up like a Barbie doll, and paired with a butler boy. He told me he was single, and he just met this girl? Maybe she lives here in TinyTown, I never saw her before though. She also wore a long white coat which made me think she was not familiar with the dust and mud of Mendocino County.
The final place I saw him at the social hub-health food store in TinyTown. As he was walking out, I whispered to a friend, "That's the guy who stood me up," and my friend went into hysterics. He had known the doofus since he was little, not only had the guy lied about knowing one person in TinyTown, he lied about the fact that he was a local, born here to a well-known family who had roots here. He lied about his name and he never owned his own business. He did have a girlfriend and he was actually 11 years younger than me, not nine years younger than me. He didn't have two twin brothers 20 years older than him who live in Oregon, nor did he ever live in Oregon, Reno, Hawaii or Alaska. Does he know a guy named Leonard with a bunch of sheep dogs? Probably not. (Leonard, if you're out there, I stand corrected.) My friend's take on the whole fiasco was that he was bored, nothing much going on in his life. I feel bad for Barbie.
How could someone just go on a date with someone else, disrespect them so significantly with lies, live in the same TinyLittleTown and expect the other person not to find out the truth? Well, like many negative situations, there is a silver lining: this experience made a good story to write. Just a note of advice to Clueless Joe Blo: The TinyTown you've grown up in is a great place to find the truth, not a great place to hide it.
What's a good woman got to do to find a good man to go on a date with around here?
THE HAZARDS OF AB DIVING
I thought I'd take a stab at trying to explain why ab divers die abalone diving.
I've been abalone diving for over 50 years in both Southern California and here on the north coast. It can be a very dangerous sport if not done with proper training, conditioning and knowledge of the ocean. Let me explain why.
From what I have observed most of the deaths come as a result of what the newspapers call a "medical emergency." In other words, the deaths occurred not directly from drowning, but from some other medical problem (usually a heart problem) that may lead to drowning.
Think about it this way: a person who dives once or twice a year comes to the coast with his/her family and friends for a little diving and a lot of fun. If they have dived before, they begin to get excited about the prospects of diving and getting abalone for a meal or to take home.
If they haven't dived in a while or have not kept swimming over the winter, they may not be in very good condition — many divers are older, over 50 years old. In any case, anyone will have anxiety and apprehension on their first dive of the season. (It still happens to me and every diver I know.) They look at the ocean, but they don't have enough experience to know if the conditions are within their personal capabilities and they see other people and their friends diving so they think it must be okay. It's difficult to say you don't feel comfortable going into the water when your dive buddies all say they want to go. Who is going to be the one who backs out first? Ten years ago it was not going to be me. Anxiety probably causes most of the so-called "medical emergencies."
Here's what happens. You put on a wetsuit that may have gotten a little smaller over the years and it is very constricted. It's tight on your chest and gives you that claustrophobic feeling of confinement. As you start to suit up, you start thinking about sharks. Even though the chances of being bitten are extremely rare, you can't stop thinking about how it would be to be attacked by an 800-pound great white shark.
Once you've struggled to get into your wetsuit, you put a 20-30 pound weight belt around your waist, grab all your other gear (float tube, mask, fins, snorkel, ab iron, etc.) and start walking to the beach (maybe down a cliff with a rope). By the time you get to the water you are sweating profusely from hiking in your wetsuit. After putting on the rest of your gear you jump into 47-degree water and all of a sudden the cold water starts to seep into your wetsuit and you begin to swim, hard, to get out beyond the breakers.
Maybe there's a current. Maybe there are waves. Maybe you start getting sucked out to sea and try to swim against the current. Or, maybe you just get knocked down by a wave and are washed into the beach or the rocks. But, let's assume you are successful in getting out to the area where you want to dive and the visibility is only two or three feet underwater.
You can't see the bottom, so you get out your underwater light. Since you can't see the bottom from the surface, you dive down 15 or 20 feet and finally see the bottom, but it is covered with palm kelp so you have to go another 2-3 feet and get under the palm kelp.
Once there it is even darker, so you shine your light to go into the rocky crevices and under the rocky ledges where the abalones live. Now you've successfully gotten to the bottom and have looked for abalone — maybe even found one — and you want to go back to the surface. You can't use any type of underwater breathing apparatus, so you have to be constantly going down and up as you look for abalone.
When you decide to return to the surface, you look up and the surface is covered with matted bull kelp, so you look for the light shining through the kelp and head for a clearing, hoping not to get tangled in the long strands on your way to the surface. Let's say you dive for 45 minutes to an hour. You're getting tired and now it's time to head back to shore, but the wind has picked up during that hour and there is a current running in the opposite direction from the direction you want to swim.
Maybe the waves have picked up too. Maybe the tide is lower and the exit is more rocky. What do you do? Hopefully you are in good enough shape that you can swim against the current, or you have a "bailout" location down current where you can safely get out of the water. If you're lucky or experienced and have planned right, you will get back to shore safely.
I am trying not to exaggerate, but I have had all of these things happen to me at one time or another. Now imagine thousands of divers, many of whom are not very knowledgeable or experienced and you can understand how some of them become overly anxious and why three or four people die every year.
If you are lucky or if you are well trained and experienced, you can avoid these hazards of abalone diving and get safely back to the beach with an abalone or two to enjoy with your friends and family. If not, from what I have described, you can understand how the sport can be deadly. Personally, I would not want to stake my life on luck. I'd rather base my life on knowledge and experience.
My advice: the best way to prevent these hazards is to avoid them altogether. In other words, don't dive if you don't feel comfortable with the ocean conditions, even if your dive buddies want to dive. If you dive or have friends who dive, the best advice you can give them is: "Don't go into the water when the conditions are beyond your capabilities." To be able to judge ocean conditions, you must have the knowledge to "read" the ocean and the experience to understand your own capabilities. To me, this is what the buddy system is all about. If you are a new or inexperienced diver, find an experienced buddy who can help you gain the knowledge and experience, both in and out of the water, and one who won't push you beyond your comfort level.
Having said all this, if you pick the right day with the right conditions and don't push beyond your ability, conditioning and knowledge, then abalone diving can be a wonderful, eye-opening experience.
Most of the time when I go abalone diving, I don't even take an abalone, although I see hundreds of them. What's most rewarding to me is the experience and the wonders of the ocean that I see every time I dive. More often than not, I will see something that I've never seen before. The ocean is an amazing environment and one that has only begun to be explored and understood by man.
UKIAH V. INTERVENTION
(For Wed, May 15th, first item of Ukiah City Council new business.)
At a time when Ukiah struggles to fund critical local services and many Ukiahans still lack health insurance and economic security, our national government has spent several trillion dollars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya, leaving behind in all three little more than devastation, chaos, and sectarian violence. Today, America’s top officials are on the verge of initiating another war, this one aimed at Syria. Are they kidding us? If this likelihood were not so sad and scary it would be a bad joke. While Ukiah’s voice in American foreign policy may not be heard, the ethics taught to us by our parents, teachers, and every good book tell us we must resist this move to another American war.
As Lloyd Green notes in an attached article “How many Middle East quagmires does America want? How many can it afford? After our so-called triumphs in Iraq and Libya — and our not-so-triumphant 12-year experience in Afghanistan- the siren song of Syria now beckons. Mr. President, resist that call. We are not wanted there; America has no need to go there.”
Ninety-nine years ago, Senator Robert LaFollette (R-Wisconsin) challenged Woodrow Wilson’s call for war on Germany, but he might have been speaking to President Obama about war on Syria when he asked: “Will the President and the supporters of this war bill submit it to a vote of the people before the declaration of war goes into effect?” Of course not then and not now.
We know some Ukiahans will argue that war is not a local issue and that any discussion about national foreign policy at this level is a “waste of time” and “none of our business.” These critics will imply that those in Washington are the experts and that Ukiahans lack the awareness to weigh in on the threat of a new war. Ironically, many who will lambast us for discussing an issue of war and peace hate big government, yet they so quickly about face and applaud massive new spending for war.
Others who in their youth sought any forum to oppose the war in Vietnam or who marched in the streets when Republican Presidents waged war on Iraq remain unbearably quiet today about U.S. military interventions, destabilizations, and proxy wars abroad. Is it that these, like those who faced The Plague of Camus, have decided “there was nothing to be done about it and we should bow to the inevitable.”
If nothing can be done about endless war, so much for American ideals, so much for American democracy. Let’s pack it up. If war is inevitable, no need to care about its victims and its cost.
$2 trillion to date for our Mideast wars since 9/11 — imagine investing that at home or providing a corresponding reduction in our taxes. We simply cannot afford another war. We cannot allow ourselves to be bamboozled by national officials and the mainstream media as we were with Iraq ten years ago and with Libya in 2011.
George Orwell would appreciate that Wall Street funded think tanks, media pundits, and federal government insiders now refer to our regime change wars as “humanitarian” military intervention. Those planning to bombard Syria and remove or kill its current president tell us that national sovereignty is overridden by the “humanitarian” need to defend civilians from evil despots. When the Syrian armed rebellion is financed by American allies and when all mainstream media reports of atrocities come from unsubstantiated claims of anonymous “activists” and the rebels themselves, let’s admit that the maxim “Right To Protect” brings us ever closer to Orwell’s “War is Peace.”
Ukiah can resist the drums of war pounded at us daily by the CNN, FOX, NBC, Washington Post, New York Times, and Wall Street Journal. We can demand that our mainstream media begin to provide verification of accusations and sincere public debate including viewpoints questioning the push toward another cruel war counterproductive for all except arms dealers. We can let others know that U.S. allies - despotic monarchies of Qatar and Saudi Arabia - have instigated, financed, and fanned the ever worsening flames of sectarian war in Syria since 2011. We can support international law respecting the sovereignty of nations and that mandate for peaceful, negotiated settlement of crises. We can lead sensibly.
In facing The Plague “Tarrou, Rieux, and their friends might give one answer or another, but its conclusion was always the same, their certitude that a fight must be put up, in this way or that, and there must be no bowing down... There was nothing admirable about this attitude; it was merely logical.”
Let’s put the Ukiah City Council on record opposing U.S. military intervention in Syria. The attached resolution, whose wording you may want to amend, is one way to do that. A letter of war opposition addressed to federal officials and neighboring cities is another option. Our unified voice might gain the attention of other local leaders wondering how to challenge America’s endless wars. And just possibly this City Council’s unified voice will encourage our new Representative in Congress to stand up against a new Mideast war.
Thank you for considering this issue.
Phil Baldwin, Councilman
City of Ukiah
WILL THE REAL TERRORIST PLEASE STAND UP?
Some Reflexions on “Terrorism”:
The word is bogus — like “obligated” instead of “obliged”, or “scientism” as used by defenders of obscurantism against the science that exposes religion, astrology, spiritualism, or homeopathy as the nonsense they are.
“Terror” is a tool used by governments, empires, and armies to oblige compliance from rebellious citizens, subjects, slaves, and soldiers; the colonized, and the involuntarily converted, who are governed and controlled without their consent.
The Romans employed terror in the vast areas they conquered. One is not likely to read about their abominations in Latin class translations of Caesar’s diaries; however, the late Alexander Cockburn informs us in Corruptions of Empire,
“Wilding left it in no doubt, in his simplified and polite version of Tacitus, that the Roman victory at Mons Graupius was a good thing. Ten thousand Scots fell that day, the blood of kerns flowing in the heather near Inverness, not so far from where I was born. The Romans slaughtered till their arms were tired. Night, as Tacitus put it, was jubilant with triumph and plunder.”
The Catholic Church used the ritual burnings of books and people, torture, and murder to impose their bizarre belief system. In the case of the Cathars, Pope Innocent III murdered half of the population of France during the Albigensian Crusade for daring to challenge the hierarchy of Rome. According to Leonard George in his book, The Encyclopedia of Heresies and Heretics, when someone asked how the soldiers of Pope Innocent and the King could distinguish between the Cathars and the citizens of southern France loyal to the Catholic Church, the Pope’s representative responded, “Kill them all and let God sort them out.”
Bartholomé de las Casas graphically portrays the use of terror by the Conquistadors in his Brevísima relación de la destruición de las Indias. Indians were roasted alive, fed to dogs, tortured on the rack, hung, drawn and quartered, or cut to pieces.
The Nazi destruction of the entire Czech town of Lidice has been immortalized in at least three films. Malicious mischief by the French is depicted in The Battle of Algiers. Good movies and books about the British treatment of rebellious populations abound, but one must make detours around bad ones that paint as villains the Mau-Mau, the IRA, and the entire population of India.
And as for the American government, my discovery of what the word “terror” means came when I read John Hershey’s Hiroshima. My understanding was expanded and refined by the Vietnam War — I was too young to follow the devastation of North Korea by American air power. The support of the Contras, and of the brutal governments in Guatemala, El Salvador, Chile, and Indonesia refined my understanding of “terror”. Yugoslavia and Iraq were graduate school.
Forgive my omission of small matters like the African Slave Trade and the treatment of slaves in the United States.
What the government and the MSM call “terrorism” are often the desperate, futile efforts of the oppressed to strike back at those who use terror to keep them in their place. Deliberately excluded from the official definition is state sanctioned violence —destruction of public education, support of the insurance industry instead of health care, the subsidy of the private prison industry, and the construction of a security state that is more intrusive every day.
The threat of “Terrorism” is one more weapon in the arsenal of terror to keep us in line.
Roselle, New Jersey
BOB SIMON! MAY HIS PUCKER NEVER FAIL HIM
Dear Comrade Anderson,
I’ll bet you a nickel that I’m not the only one who likes the AVA and NPR for the same reason: both are like when you are invited to dinner by a good cook you don’t have to worry about what’s on the menu because whatever it is you know it will be good. Heck, make it a dime. I’ll also bet that on most days of the week you listen to those “twits” on NPR too.
PS. A good recent example of the eye-opening fare to be found in the AVA is Jeff Costello’s “Law Abiding Citizen” in the 4/24/13 edition. I had never thought of the legislative/insurance industry/law enforcement complex as a “protection racket” before, but that is exactly what it is. Automobile insurance is mandatory precisely to protect the public from impecunious fellows like me who, if at fault for an accident, would otherwise be unable to pay damages the victims would otherwise deserve. And we wouldn’t want the taxpayers or anyone else to have to pay for our mistakes, would we? Law-abiding, socially responsible citizens complain about the high cost of insurance too, but they know that, just like in poker, if you don’t ante up like everybody else, you’re cheating.
Ed note: Jonathan Winters said once that he never went on the Carson Show because he couldn’t stand that ass-kisser Ed McMahon. We don’t have celebs like him any more. Yeah, NPR is ass-kissing developed to a high art. Painful as it is, I listen to it more than is healthy, but it’s a convenient means of keeping up with what The Enemy is thinking.
BULLYING AT MENDOCINO K-8
Stand Up and Speak Out.
I can't bear to hold this in any longer! The Mendocino K-8 school is not just heartless, but also vindictive! My child was bullied so badly for three years (3rd through 5th grade) that we took her from the school and began homeschooling. This, despite going through the school’s “zero tolerance for bullying” and getting zero results. My daughter began therapy because the damage to her self-esteem was so dangerously low.
A year into homeschooling she built up enough courage to attend a school dance. I contacted the principal at the time, Jason Morse, and he gave permission for my daughter to attend dances. She went with her head held high. Her bravery brought me to tears. Fast forward two years and, having attended eight dances, my daughter now has the desire to go back to a brick and mortar school — High School!
Let me just get to the point: At the April 26th, 2013, dance, my daughter was assaulted by another student due to my daughter’s religious views. I felt it necessary to make an incident report with the Mendocino K-8 Principal Kim Humrichouse. I spoke with Kim on May 10th 2013. Instead of responding with “Is she OK? … I?m sorry this happened?” — to my surprise, Kim responded with “Your daughter can no longer come to school dances because she is home schooled.”
What?! I told her that this call was regarding an assault on my daughter. Kim’s response was to ban my daughter from her 8th grade Graduation Dance — the last dance at Mendocino K-8.
Hoping to have Kim’s decision reversed, we made phone calls to Jason Morse (now the Superintendent of the K-8 school) pleading for permission. I was told by Mr. Morse that he spoke with their “Legal Department” and their decision was that my daughter could not attend the Graduation Dance!!! I'm not sure about you, but my heart hurts!
I stand with my daughter in the fight against bullying.