Web Letters to the editor
(While web letters do not appear in the print version of the they are placed here as a courtesy to our readers in order to provide an opportunity for greater and more frequent dialogue amongst members of our community. Web letters follow the same rules of polite speech as letters appearing in our paper, but receive a lesser degree of editing. The ' editors reserve the right to remove or discontinue any thread in this forum that oversteps the boundaries of polite discourse.)
A lot of cruelty in meat production
March 20, the first day of spring, is the day of the annual Meatout observance, when people are encouraged to kick the meat habit for the day, or far better, for the rest of their lives. While there are other persuasive reasons to go vegetarian, I would like to offer examples of the institutionalized cruelties inflicted on animals in modern meat production, all performed without anesthetic or analgesics. (Milk and egg-producing breeds also undergo the same procedures, so the best solution is to eliminate all animal products from one&
Branding: A brand is a third-degree burn. Animals may be branded several times as they pass from one owner to another.
Castration: There are several painful methods. One involves using a clamp, held in place for about a minute, to crush the spermatic cords.
Disbudding: To prevent horns from growing, the hide is gouged out down to the skull, or burned with a hot iron or a caustic paste.
Debeaking: This is not at all like cutting fingernails. It&
s a painful procedure done to sensitive tissue, slicing through the beak with a hot knife.
Amputations: Wattles, combs (chickens) snoods (turkeys), and the tips of toes, not just the toenails, are cut off.
Suffocation: Fish (and the male chicks of egg-laying chicken breeds) die of suffocation, or worse.
or organic animals products is no guarantee that these procedures are not used.
For more information, visit www.meatout.org, www.goveg.com, and www.choosevegetarian.com.
Great American Meatout
For the last 20 years, Farm Animal Reform Movement (FARM) has recognized March 20th as the celebration of the Great American Meatout. On this day, all humans are asked to give up meat for the day, and hopefully a lifetime! There are many reasons to adopt a vegetarian or vegan diet, but I&
m going to focus on the environmental reasons to &
Of all the agricultural land in the US, 80% is used to raise animals or grow the grain to feed them. The factory farm is the primary consumer of half the water use in the US. Factory farms produce billions of pounds of manure, which ends up in lakes and rivers and eventually your drinking water. Farmed animals produce 130 times the excrement as does the entire
human population of the US!
The number one eliminating factor of Latin America&
s tropical rain forests is cattle grazing. Each day, numerous species of plants, birds, reptiles and
amphibians are threatened with extinction due to the destruction of the rainforest for raising cattle.
Do yourself and the environment a favor, go vegetarian or better yet, vegan!
Meatless meals the way to go
One way to join the many Americans who will celebrate Great American Meat-Out Day, March 20, is to check out two web sites. One is www.meatoutmondays.org that gives a tasty new recipe each week and other tidbits of information as a way of encouraging people to try meat-less meals at least one day a week. The other web site is www.Engine2.org. Here you can read about the firefighters at a fire station in Texas where they fix only meatless meals as their way to fight fat while they are fighting fires. Click on their Recipes link and you&
ll get &
I can vouch for the enchiladas &
they are delicious.
From truth to "truthiness"
Having made a point of accusing Gerald Cavanaugh of "distorting the truth" about Israel, Gary Acheatel might have been expected to take special pains in his letter of March 3toset the record straight.
Instead, the best we get from Mr. Acheatel is "truthiness"--junk-truth, truthso twisted and spun, mangled and mutilated, thata DNA testwould benecessary toestablish its connectionwith anyknown fact.
Here are some examplesof "TRUTHINESS" fromMr. Acheatel's letter, with my comments following:
1) In citing factual data from Israel's history, Mr. Cavanaugh isaccusedof"manipulating attitudes toward Israel through the process of demonization." --Of course, if thefactsare "manipulating and demonizing," away with them!
2) Israelis have had to endure "genocidal attacks from Palestinian Arabs for 85 years."--Hold it, how did this basic fact get turned180 degrees? Who is it, exactly, who has stolen whose land for 85 years, and is still stealing it and "ethnically cleansing" it?
3) "The majority of Israelis support a two-state solution." --Maybe they do, but their leaders, whatever their rhetoric of the moment, support, through their actions, only one real state--a rich, highly-armed onebankrolled by US taxpayers, bordered by an open-air prison of a state,a walled-off compoundcrowded with desperately poor, helpless, hopelesspeople.
4) Most Israelis support the "road map" to peace. --Again, whatever the Israeli people may support, their leaders have consistently rejected major elements of this peace plan, which even Hamas accepts.
In an age in which"truth" has become too bitter a pill for zealots to swallow and too radioactivefor politicians to touch, "TRUTHINESS" clearly fills a dialectical void: Thus the ease with whichthis distant cousin of truth--whose synonym,of course,has to be "falsiness"--has oozed intoand polluted much of our discourse.
Venezuela offers discount oil over Bush administration objections
I see on the news that the President of Venezuela is selling heating oil at a 40% discount to Americans who are economically disadvantaged so they can heat their homes. This sounds like one of the most charitable actions I have ever heard of. Citgo is being criticized for promoting this offer through a charitable program in several states. Our president reportedly criticized the President of Venezuela for creating a &
on oil prices.
Even if there are &
for offering these discounts; is our administration so callous that it is willing to put &
ahead of the welfare of poor Americans? When the Democrats have criticized the administration for neglecting the poor and the working class; they were accused of &
. Excuse me, but I am outraged that the rich and powerful have been getting away with lining their own pockets for years with seeming immunity. Tax cuts for the rich. Corporate welfare. A federal minimum wage that hasn&
t changed since the current administration has seized power. Taxing the tips of single mothers trying to feed their children on food service wages. Enough is enough!
May I humbly suggest we vote out the politicians who support the corporate agendas and accept campaign contributions from rich special interests? Furthermore, I urge all citizens, regardless of political affiliation, to get politically active.
Our Constitution clearly states our government&
s responsibility to &
promote the general welfare.&
is a government By the people For the people. If you are as sick as I am of the bogus rhetoric of rich politicians and so-called conservative pundits; please write your representatives and express your opinion publicly. Citizens who fail to get involved in our political process not only deserve the government they get, but forfeit their right to complain about the current state of affairs.
Logging in Bisuit area is harmful
It been almost — 1/2 years since the fires died out in the Biscuit fire. In those three and a half years we've watched old-growth reserves get clear-cut, seen nation-wide protests, learned about agency corruption and illegal logging violations, and found out about a recent scientific study telling us yet again that post-fire logging does nothing to help forests recover. With the news that the Forest Service plans on moving forward with two new timber sales (called Mike's Gulch and Blackberry) within the north and south Kalmiopsis Inventoried Roadless Areas, it looks like its going to be deja vu all over again.
Is the Forest Service so out of touch with reality that they'd turn a blind eye to the recent OSU study about the harmful effects of logging in the Biscuit area? Not to mention the more than 2.5 million people who have asked them to protect Roadless areas? One of those 2.5 million people was our governor, Ted Kulongoski, who wrote a letter last summer to Mark Rey, head of the Forest Service, asking him to halt his plans to log inside the Kalmiopsis Inventoried Roadless Area. After all this, the Forest Service is still planning on clearcutting these forests and converting them to tree farms.
Please take the time to contact Sen. Ron Wyden (202-224-5244) and Rep. Peter DeFazio (1-800-944-9603) and ask them to publicly oppose these sales!
Exhorbitant fees at Ashland Community Hospital
Thinking I may need orthoscopic surgery on my knee, I gathered some information on what it would cost. I found out that the surgeon and anesthetist fees would be about the same throughout the Valley. There would definitely be a difference in the total cost based on where the operation were to be performed. There are surgery centers, operating rooms not connected to a hospital, in both Grants Pass and Medford and there charges would be less than $1,000, $832 in Grants Pass. The charge for having the same procedure done at Ashland Community Hospital would be $8,000.
With this information in mind, I was driving up Maple Street the other day and couldn&
t help but see the large addition being built on to Ashland Community Hospital. This is a large addition to a hospital that recently announced the termination of 25 jobs. I assume this is in part due to under utilization.
Our health care system is very complicated and difficult to understand &
partially due to the fact that it appears to be irrational. My research and subsequent drive up Maple Street has added more confusion to my understanding of the system. Could this be the AFN business model being applied to another of our community services?
I just located your online newspaper and happened to read a short letter from Katie Ortlip. I could not agree more with Katie and her opinion on the damage being done by George W. as our president. I can only ask, with a powerful sense of outrage, the following question: What has happened to good old fashioned "COMMON SENSE" around here?? Are we to sit still and watch as everything we have worked for and taught our children about falls to pieces behind a group of idiots who run this country?? How is it that one man can be impeached for a sexual affair, whilst another can Lie, cheat and scare a country into an illegal war, and NO ONE in power has the political balls to stand against him?? I have no words to convey how poorly I feel about watching the reputation of the United States go down the drain! This man in the White House seems to be illiterate to me, in both education and in Life Sciences in general.
I thank you for your attention.
Joseph W.Walsh Santa Barbara, CA
In defense of Israel
This is in partial response to Mr. Cavanaugh&
s letter. Ignore for the moment his disregard of history and misstatement of facts and his basic argument boils down to this: Israel was very, very bad to the poor suffering &
and therefore as punishment Israeldeserves to have as a &
a murderous terrorist gang sworn to eternal enmity and inalterably set on the utter destruction of Israel and Jews (infidels) everywhere. A foundational tenet of Hamas is its religious ideology which, when it comes to vanquishing infidels, is absolutely non-negotiable.
This rationale seems similar in reasoning to: The allies were very, very bad to the losing Germans in World War I, so as punishment they got Adolph Hitler to deal with.
The moral lesson to be learned from this letter is that two wrongs do, in fact, make a right. What will be the outcome? More suffering, more blood, perhaps even igniting a world war. But, as long as we can sip lattes in our insulated little valley of peace, who cares?
Logging is priority on BLM lands
The Bureau of Land Management is about to revise its land-use policies, as directed by the Department of Interior. It appears the plan is to permit logging to be the dominant interest on BLM land. Why?
Theplanseems to bedriven by unethical behavior andinfluence peddling. Recenttrends incrooked behavior in government seemlinked to theBLM's revision policy.Specifically:
1) Lobbyist Jack Abramhoff plead guilty to corruption, fraud conspiracy, and tax evasion. (Dept. of Justice News Release , 1/3/06)
2) Abramhoff served as an adviser to the Bush Administration Interior Department transition. (Wall Street Journal, 3/19/06)
3) Abramhoff directed the contributions of various American Indian tribes to a foundation that was CO-founded by Department of Interior Secretary Gail Norton. The foundation is the Council for Republicans for Environmental Advocacy (CREA). Those donations were reported as at least $225,000. (Washington Post 3/13/05)
4) The Republicans for Environmental Protection labeled CREA a "greenscam" when it was revealed that the group received significant funding from mining, logging, chemical and coal industries. (The Hill, 3/11/06)
Concerned citizens should weigh-in on this issue. Elaine Brong, State Director of BLM is taking input on this issue until March 17, at <mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org>email@example.com. Americans are increasingly disgusted withlegislators and government agencies that are willingly driven by special interests. I just hope it is not to late for Oregon's BLM lands.
I urgeMs. Brong totake a strong position for honesty and transparency. Do not permit logging interests to dominate BLM land usage.
Josephine County Land Owner Dream Hill Drive, Williams, OR and Kingwood, TX
Though I currently live in Texas, I own five acres of land in Josephine County and plan to move there upon retirement. My house is in Texas, but my heart is in Oregon.
Showing dead infants is key to ending abortion
I have come to believe that showing pictures of dead, dismembered, unborn babies will be the key to ending the abortion holocaust.
I did not come to this realization at first. For years I believed I had to be nice in my protests. After all, violent photos offend people, especially women who suffer from a past abortion. But abortion represents an evil so inexpressible that words fail when attempting to describe its horror.
Until abortion is seen, it will never be understood. Pictures make it impossible for anyone with a shred of honesty to maintain the pretense that &
it's not a baby&
abortion is not an act of violence.&
Pictures also make clear to people that abortion is an evil whose magnitude is comparable to genocide. The pictures create tension which is needed to awaken the nation to the horrible injustice of abortion. What about children seeing the photos? Children see more violence on TV on any given day.
What would Jesus say? I think his public crucifixion was pretty gruesome. Only a few small organizations use these photos such as AbortionNo.org and the Missionaries to the Preborn. When the Abortion Holocaust is over, I believe these small groups will have made the difference.
Censure, Impeachment, or Nothing?
Most of us like to think of ourselves as fair-minded individuals who attempt to evaluate information with rationality rather than prejudice. If we are parents and have to deal with misbehaving children, we try to make our punishments appropriate and proportionate to whatever wrong our kids have done. As good citizens who cherish our constitutional rule of law, we should do no less with our presidents.
Senator Russ Feingold has introduced a declaration of censure against President Bush, urging that he be reprimanded by Congress for violating the rule of law with his secret electronic eavesdropping program. While many feel Feingold&
s censure move attacking the president is politically motivated and inappropriately harsh, others feel it doesn&
t go far enough, believing that only impeachment and removal from office can adequately punish Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney.
Before considering the possibly impeachable crimes of the present administration, however, we should remind ourselves of the judgment issued recently against his predecessor, Mr. Clinton. We shouldn&
t forget that in 1998 with a nearly unanimous vote, the Republican members of Congress, most of whom still hold office, determined that Bill Clinton&
s deceptive denials about a private sexual relationship warranted impeachment. Let us now, in the shadow of that decisive judgment, consider the transgressions of Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney.
The Republican members of Congress, especially all those who voted to impeach Clinton, need to take a soulful look in the mirror and reflect on their deepest loyalties. Even in the Nixon Watergate era, support among his fellow Republicans melted once enough evidence from key tape recordings dramatically exposed the President&
s repeated lies. Similarly, members of Congress today, not blinded by political prejudice, should be formulating a three-point document to impeach Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney.
The first count of impeachment should be for lying us into a war. More specifically, that would involve the deliberate manipulating of intelligence in order to win support among the public and the Congress for the decision to invade Iraq. The President and Vice President repeatedly assert that they and Congress shared the exact same intelligence assessments about Iraqi WMD capabilities, but that simply isn&
t true. Bush and Cheney knew that the fear-inducing accusations about Iraq were being made by people who were thought to be lying, and documents (such as the one on Niger uranium) that were thought to be forged. Not sharing the grave doubts about the accuracy of the horrific accusations against Iraq amounts to deliberate distortion and manipulation on a level far more heinous and mortally consequential than anything Clinton ever did.
A second count of impeachment should accuse Bush and Cheney of Constitutional violations stemming from their detention and torture policies. Our Constitutional rule of law does not permit the creation of a separate category of humans (enemy combatants) whom we can imprison indefinitely or torture indiscriminately. When the Senate recently voted overwhelmingly to ban torture and inhumane treatment of prisoners, President Bush reluctantly signed the bill, but only with an explanatory statement asserting that, as President, he could ignore this law if he saw fit to do so and remain exempt from punishment. This signed statement would speak volumes at an impeachment trial.
The third count for the impeachment of Bush and Cheney should focus on the secret NSC spying program. The law requiring court permission for electronic spying on Americans is crystal clear. The Bush-Cheney defiance of this law appears equally clear. Should we really, as our leaders demand, allow our Constitutional right to privacy to be shredded with such Orwellian finality? Can we truly, in good conscience, capitulate to the idea that the President and Vice-president can ignore any laws they find inconvenient?
Imagine a parent who sends one son away to a severe reform school for lying about a girlfriend, while he or she completely ignores the far more brutal crimes of a second son. The arrogant crimes of Bush and Cheney are sufficiently brutal and blatant that our failure to respond powerfully to them would demonstrate that we, as a people, have lost our common sense, our nerve, and our understanding of our responsibilities as citizens of a democratic republic.
Anniversaries are forced remembrances of events our busy lives otherwise leave forgotten. Past events rush forward through time to spend one day with us in the present, incessantly tapping our shoulders and asking: Remember me? Remember what happened on my day, and what has happened since because of me? On some occasions we stop and consider; more often we simply walk on.
The third anniversary of the aerial &
shock and awe&
campaign that launched the U.S led war on Iraq will tap our shoulders this weekend. It will remind us that a fourth year of war stands raving and eager to follow the same terrible path down which this country has been misled for three. War, such as it is, always stands ready and willing, always prepared to gather up its victims from the land of the living, and set them down in their early graves.
War is an enduring if terrible fact of human existence. And it is always a defeat for humanity. It never creates the security or the harmony desired. Worst of all ishow war turns away no one, men, women, children, there&
s always room for one more.
Throughout history, leaders have glorified wars and given them justification. History is filled with such figures, and with nations that to their sorrow put their faith in them. Just such a figure is George Bush.
Three years ago George Bush started a war of choice against Iraq in the middle of a war of necessity against al-Qaeda. And all for what cause? All justifications for his war have proven vacuous, save that Saddam Hussein was a brutal tyrant. While you never want to say of brave young men and women that they died because of arrogance and willful ignorance, what else did they die for?
s war has been a war born of lies, sustained by lies, and productive of more lies every day it continues. His has been a war which in its origins and conduct was and remains a colossal and blood-drenched fraud. Were we even to be generous, and give George the benefit of the doubt by allowing that in his &
going to war was the right thing, the tragedy remains that many thousands have died for a war waged on little more than a hunch and a grudge.
This war was not thrust upon us, George Bush chose it for us. Rather than fighting the terrorists in the mountains of Afghanistan, George went looking for them in the sands of Iraq. Rather than finding the chief culprit of September 11, George rode off in search of windmills named &
. Rather than chasing bin Laden to the ends of the earth, George decided instead to chase our nation&
s fortune into the mouth of an omnivorous and never-ending war.
s war &
has produced far more terrorists than it has eliminated, to say nothing of the terror it has, in fact, caused millions of everyday Iraqis young and old. George&
s war has been a recruiting sergeant for the very forces he set out to destroy. George&
s war to &
fight them there, so we don&
t have to fight them here&
has, in fact, greatly increased the likelihood we&
ll someday fight them here.
s war has cost thousands of young Americans, and tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians, their lives and limbs. His war has sapped our military, our credibility, our economy, our morale, and our moral standing. George&
s war has alienated us from the world, and set our country on a path which continues to dismay our dwindling friends and delight our growing enemies.
Bad as all this, perhaps worse is that George&
s war has proven once again that force and right are not always on the same side. George&
s war to &
to the Muslim world on Abrams tanks has instead led a billion Muslims to believe that democracy and liberty are synonymous with invasion and occupation, and the abuse and death of prisoners. George&
s gift of democracy delivered by a gun has converted a people into enemies possessed of a hatred which may take centuries to erase.
This month, the third anniversary of the war on Iraq will tap us on the shoulder to remind us that for three years George Bush has beenrecklessly carelessof lives and country. It will remind us thatGeorge&
s war with no apparent endis itself the greatest threat to our nation's safety. We should stop and consider, andjoin the call to bring the troopshome.
Todd Huffman, M.D.
Honore hits target on &
Commendations to Chris Honore for his incisive critique of the so-called &
of hunting. Using 21st-century high technology to simulate what our hunter-gatherer forebears did 10,000 years ago is a horrible travesty, unnecessary and gratuitously cruel. As Honore says, it is all so very sad. But it is also quite understandable as we also unnecessarily slaughter, in viciously cruel manner, hundreds of millions of sentient animal beings every year as we continue on our predatory, destructive and self-destructive journey to extinction.
Ragan and Gerald Cavanaugh
Re: Case in Point Article dated 2/27
"Firing a state-of-the-art 12- or 28-gauge shotgun, loaded with cartridges that contain some three hundred 7/8-ounce pellets,"
Correct me if I am wrong here, I mean, I am not a mathematics major, but isn't the writer&
s proposed battery of 300x7/8ths Oz pellets several hundred oz of lead? Obviously this "writer" hasn&
t been doing his homework.
"A 535-570 gram bullet striking a prairie dog or deer does massive damage to muscle.&
d Hope so, I mean, It is well over half a Kilogram. (Over A Pound of lead).I wonder how the writer proposes to get over a pound of lead through a hole the diameter of a rifle barrel, I am not sure I could get a pound of lead through a hole the size of a garden hose, so this guy must be under a lot of pressure or have supernatural powers... the power to push lead balls in excess of a pound (LB) through a tiny hole... Amazing.
Too bad he doesn't have the ability to push lead on paper very well.
As a writer, It is common practice to research the information being presented in the article prior to its presentation, otherwise, the written work produced becomes what this writers opinion is, a
n uneducated spouting of information that is incorrect and completely misunderstood.
Todd Duncan Tennyson Vancouver, WA
The ramifications of gossip
Said a wise man: "FIRE AND SWORD ARE BUT SLOW ENGINES OF DESTRUCTION." Yes, and talebearers have done more
harm in this world than the bullets of assassins.
1. Good old Mrs. Jones - her facial makeup is all
smeared. "Get a load of that," whispers one gossip.
"I bet she drinks!" THAT IS WHAT THEY SAY. BUT WHAT
DON'T THEY KNOW? That her mirror reflects but a blur
due to her poor eyesight. Glasses she can't afford.
2. In the library, a man passes a note to an
eight-year old. "Aha," sneers the busybody, "a
pedophile on the prowl." That's what they say. BUT
WHAT THEY DON'T KNOW: That this boy, a chess
learner, saw the man playing chess on the Internet.
"Would you give me the address of that website?" he
asked. Glad to oblige. The man wrote it down on a
piece of paper and handed it to the young lad.
3. "That poor girl," wagged another tongue, "Her mom
should be jailed for child neglect." THAT'S WHAT THEY
SAY. BUT WHAT DO THEY KNOW? That every night the
mother weeps on her pillow, grieving because she had
to relocate her daughter &
protecting the girl from an
Not much to see in small towns, but oh, what you hear.
Blabbermouths abound who rely on hearsay, smear, and
talkshow hosts who thrive on innuendo, the ruin of
many a victim, getting their kicks from calumny.
Truth is too tame for these gasbags.
On and on it rolls &
this gossip engine of
destruction. If you, too, are appalled, close your
ears, deflect it, nip it in the bud, tell those
cowards "STOP, and M.Y.O.B."
Four hundred years ago, Francis Quarles exclaimed:
LET THE GREATEST PART OF WHAT THOU HEAREST BE THE
LEAST OF WHAT THOU BELIEVEST ... LEST THE GREATEST PART
OF WHAT THOU BELIEVEST BE THE LEAST OF WHAT IS TRUE."
And then it was Will Rogers who quipped: SO LIVE THAT
YOU WOULD NEVER BE ASHAMED TO SELL THE FAMILY PARROT
TO THE TOWN GOSSIP!"
Nancy L. Fox
Riding in a handbasket on a road to disaster
Our United (?) States is in serious trouble. Over the last five years we have gone from a generous surplus in our economy to an alarming deficit. From being generally respected around the world, we now get very negative ratings by large majorities overseas where our credibility has all but vanished.
Three years ago we embarked on an illegal and unjustified war. Tens of thousands of innocents have been killed or maimed, including almost 20,000 young American men and women. We are now learning an untold number of Iraqi vets and their families are suffering from post traumatic stress disorder.
The Bush Administration deserves enormous blame for this, but others must also be found guilty. First and foremost are the senators and representatives, Republican and Democrat, that supported this administration&
s disastrous policies. Next are political commentators behaving as accomplices to help deceive the American people. And last, but certainly by no means least, are these same American people that were so willing to believe the propaganda fed to them.
It is time for a radical change of course. We must get rid of every politician, Republican and Democrat, that supported these policies that have us in so much trouble. In Oregon&
s 2nd District that means replacing Greg Walden. There are six candidates (Republican and Democrats) seeking this seat. Most would be better, some very much better.
I urge you to consider Scott Silver from Bend. Visit his web site (www.silverforcongress.org) to learn more about him. In particular, note and enjoy his list of quotes that have impressed him. You can tell a lot about people by the quotes they like, especially when you have had a chance to observe, as I have, that they have formed a set of principles for Scott Silver to live by.
Loves the , hates article on Ruppert
I noticed an article today on Mike Rupperts "From The Wilderness" website whose subject is the Ashland Daily . Mike's articleis a response to a Daily story that casts Mike and his organization in a negative light.
After reading the article, I decided to take a look at your publication and I decided thatI like it. I like the website presentation and it's ease to navigate.I found that in addition to being concise,your stories appear to be well balanced between local, national, and international issues and culture. It's a breath of fresh air compared to larger national news sites.
And that's why I'm confused about your characterization of Mike Ruppert. After following Mike's work for several years I've found his work to be several things. At times shocking, occasionally revealing, and often seemingly mundane, if you don't look past the surface. But I've yet to find him to be inconsistent or wrong. In fact, time and again I've seen where a claim from Mikehas eventually been followed by revelations, investigations, or convictions emerging from other sources thatinclude Congress, law enforcement, or national news outlets. Often the delay between Mike's reports and eventual public disclosure is months or years in duration. Butfor those with the patience to wait, he is typically right on target.
I think the Daily story "A Voice From The Wilderness" by Robert Plain was a disservice to Mike Ruppert and to The Daily organization. Mike has a record of honesty and credibility that is supported by his sometimes highly influential subscriber base. His dedication to a successful future for America and for an honest, effective US government is entirely evident in his daily work. It would be an admirable act on the part of the Daily if you were to look further at Mike Rupperts work, talk! to his supporters, and present an honest and informed opinion of him and his organization, rather than rely on the work of one reporter who may not be armed with all of the facts.
"A Voice From The Wilderness" by Robert Plain does not reflect the work of Mike Ruppert that I have known and followed for nearly half a decade. Please correct your work and allow Mike to make a positive impact on your community.
AFN: the inside story
During his tenure at The Sneak Preview, Russ Silbiger rode the Ashland Fiber Network pretty hard, making unfounded allegation after unfounded allegation and regularly adding to the public perception that AFN was somehow evil. But as each allegation was investigated, and there was found no fire to go with all the smoke he was blowing, did we ever hear that side of the story? No!
Since then, Mr. Silbiger has been a participant on many of the committees that have had anything to say about how AFN is run, what programming will run on AFN Cable Television, what direction AFN should take at various junctures, and now even sits on the city council. I am a little curious about his claims that AFN has been mismanaged. It seems that every time he makes those types of statements, he&
s pointing down instead of in the mirror.
The Ashland Fiber Network takes its direction from the city council, not the other way around. When the Options Committee made its recommendations, they said that AFN in its current configuration, with its current management, would always be a money loser, and gave several recommendations to alleviate the problem. Their recommendations centered around either selling AFN or spinning it off as its own non-profit entity (they even submitted detailed recommendations for how the spin-off would work, and a sample agreement between the city and the new entity), but Mr. Silbiger and a couple of other councilors decided that the several months of work that the Options Committee had put in were wasted effort, because surely they must be confused, if they thought that the mismanagement of the AFN started at the top!
s (and others) complaints about AFN not making money is sort of odd, because the City of Ashland charges AFN half a million dollars, every year in &
central service fees&
! The Options Committee&
s proposal of spinning AFN off to be its own non-profit entity had mechanisms written into it to pay the city quite handsomely for the use of City of Ashland property and to pay half their profits to the City of Ashland to go towards the 15.5 million dollar debt, but expressly left out the juicy $500,000.00 central service fee, and expressly took control of the direction of AFN away from the council. No wonder they were ignored.
Not only did the council ignore the Options Committee&
s recommendations they decided instead to draft and enact a plan to soak the public for a $7.50 per month surcharge on their utility bills. There was an extraordinarily predictable outcry as this plan was announced, so it was scrapped.
s newest plan is the &
plan that is basically the same plan but with the amount of the surcharge nearly tripled (from $7.50 to $21.00) and the added &
of killing AFN Cable Television and the illusion that everyone in town will get free &
high speed Internet&
( 128kbps - to get what is now normal AFN service (3-5Mbps, you would still have to pay an ISP more money on top of your $21.00). This should be termed the &
Triple and Cripple Plan&
An article in the about the Open Carrier fiasco said, &
On Tuesday night [March 7, 2006], councilors voted 5-1 in favor of a motion that stated the council&
s intent is to implement the open carrier model. They directed city staff to work with the plan&
s drafters to work out details, including financial figures and legal aspects.&
Am I the only one that sees this as a terrifyingly reversed order of operations? Shouldn&
t staff have been tapped to explore the legal and financial ramifications of this scheme before the council voted to implement it?!? This is a stark contrast to the Options Committee&
s recommendations, which came with a very thoroughly thought out plan and even the aforementioned detailed sample agreement between the new AFN nonprofit entity and the City of Ashland. (Which by the way, readers can view for themselves at: http:www.ashland.or.us/Files/AFN-Options-Attachments.pdf ) At the very least, you&
d think that the council would have wanted to be sure of the legal and financial viability of this whole mess BEFORE THEY WENT ON TELEVISION AND PROMISED IT TO THE WHOLE CITY.
s reasoning is that we should focus on the Internet side of the business (where he has thus far been much less involved) and dump the cable television end (where he has served on the programming committee among others) which is losing money. Hmmm&
133;.? This plan sounds almost feasible if we lived in a vacuum, but this cable television market is not a vacuum. Wouldn&
t Charter swoop in and gobble up all those AFN cable television customers and then bundle their Internet service with the cable, and take all those customers from the council&
s proposed pool of &
Internet service customers? Once that happens, how excited are those voters going to be to pay the $21.00 surcharge on top of their Charter bill?? I would submit - Not Very Excited At All.
The important thing, Silbiger said, is that the debt would be paid. &
When we talked about charging $7.50 a month to make our debt payments, a lot of people went crazy. The reality is that we&
re all going to have to pay $7.50 to $12.50 a month eventually. That debt has to be paid off. With this plan, at least people will be getting something. They&
ll have Internet hookup and free basic TV, and the debt will get paid.&
--Sneak Preview March 9, 2006
If you think the Not Very Excited At All crowd went crazy before, wait until you tell them that you are taking their ESPN, and Comedy Central away from them, and reducing their Internet service to 1/24th of what they get now, unless they sign up with Charter or pay extra to an ISP on top of that surcharge. Oh. And by the way, now that you have to get all these services at the levels you&
re used to, from The Opposition, we&
ve decided to TRIPLE the charge that sent you through the roof the first time! Have a good day.
I could be convinced that Russ Silbiger is an intelligent person with the best interests of the City of Ashland at heart, but I have completely lost faith in his abilities as a Cable Television and Internet Executive.
s time to thank Mr. Silbiger very sincerely for his interest in AFN and politely request that he find another way to spend his time. The City of Ashland has many issues that he could busy himself with and hopefully not have quite such disastrous results.
Since most of the voters in Ashland have probably not read the AFN Options Committee&
s report, I will close with a couple of snippets from their final report:
It is the opinion of the Committee that the Status Quo, Immediate Shutdown, and Purchase options are either financially untenable, entail significant controversy or both. It is also the opinion of the Committee that significant controversy will lead to substantial delay which will cause a substantial decrease in AFN&
s value. Moreover, although the Committee was intrigued by the Common Carrier alternative, we concluded that this option is not germane to the fundamental organizational and debt service issues, and possesses so many unknowns that we did not adequately analyze this option to make a recommendation. Instead, this option should be explored further under the Maintain and Enhance, or Spin-off options, should either of those be chosen.&
-- AFN Options Committee Report Nov. 17, 2005
In contrast to the likely outcome of the City retaining ownership of AFN and seeking to improve its products and services, the Spin-off option provides the community with a higher, but not necessarily quantifiable, probability of success. Not only would the community retain local control over content, but the problems associated with being a public entity subject to public meeting law requirements and financial disclosures would be eliminated. As a result, the Committee believes that this option, unlike the Maintain and Enhance Option should be seriously considered by the City Council.&
-- AFN Options Committee Report Nov. 17, 2005
Spin AFN off as recommended by the Options Committee, and let it sink or swim on its own merits, not on the &
of Russ Silbiger and the city council. It has the capacity to succeed and thrive on its own. Don&
t saddle it with a new set of hassles by dropping the JPRA into place instead of the Council, and don&
t allow the Council to erode its value any further than they already have. Let it be &
The Ashland Fiber Network, A Nonprofit Telecommunications Provider to the Citizens of the Rogue Valley&
and watch it soar!
Elementary student seeks assistance in class project
Hi! My name is Matt S. and I am a fifth grade student at West Ridge Elementary School in Harlan, IA. My class is studying the geography and the history of the United States.
I would appreciate it if you would send me postcards, souvenirs, or other information about Oregon so my classmates and I can learn more about our country. My teacher would like to have a car license plate for our school project if possible. I appreciate your time. Thank you.
West Ridge Elementary
1401 19th Street
Harlan, IA 51537
A year ago, I submitted a letterto the R-G mailbag in support of Pete Sorenson's then announced bid for Governor. It was not published, yet now, after a year, I wouldn't change one word of that earlier letter.Itreferred to themain points of Pete's candidacy: Strong support for education at all levels; advocacy for veterans; support for human services; civil rights; protection for farm and forest lands; environmental awareness and good works; public service that is accessible and understandable to Oregonians. Pete has practiced what he preaches. If you haven't heard Pete speak in public youmight be surprised at theanticipation that is building toward a debate duringwhich Pete Sorenson and the sitting Governor are both present together for public debate. With all the reality shows going strong, it's clear to me that political and non-political people are clamoring for some real action, and a bit of fire in the upcoming debates. SORENSONFOR GOVERNOR 2006!
Margulis is an intellectual macadamia
Judge not, that ye be not judged&
(Matthew 7:1). Jennifer Margulis is a smart cookie. As a writer she knows that the best way to get read is to stir up a controversy. It hasn&
t worked with me. I didn&
t read her now infamous article. However, I have been closely following the firestorm of letters it has generated. I am deeply disturbed by the judgmental elitism I have witnessed in some of the subsequent responses.
The writer from Menlo Park, a very affluent Bay Area community, stopped just short of promoting eugenics when she stated that, &
·if these women choose . . . kids, they should make the commitment to spend time at home with them.&
The implication here is clear, only the affluent or self-employed should have children. What about those who are neither? Are they not entitled to have children? The Menlo Park mother has clearly overlooked parents who are not as fortunate as herself. This is not only absurd but it is gruesomely elitist. Some of the finest human beings I know come from large poor families who needed all the help they could get. Some of the most misguided and confused children I have ever known come from affluent families who provided all the time, money, and attention a child could possibly need. The real problem with most of the responses to this complex issue is that they are painfully over-simplified.
In order to put bread on the table my wife and I both have full time jobs. Not by choice, but rather by necessity. The economy we face is far more brutal than the one our parents knew. I have known both good and bad daycare. The greatest blessing of my job at SOU is the Schneider Children&
s Center, the only fully accredited children&
s center in Southern Oregon. Schneider offers the best care I have ever known. They love, support, encourage, teach, feed and nurture my four-year-old in ways his parents never could. Where does this self-aggrandizing attitude of exclusive home nurturing come from? Are the mother and father the only ones enlightened enough to love, guide, and educate their children? Home schooled kids are not nearly as well prepared for the rigors of real life as pre-school kids can be. Ideal parents play fair. The rest of the world doesn&
t. Until a child is forced to socialize with problematic kids he will never know how to cope with peers, colleagues or employers in the real world. I don&
t agree with Hillary Clinton on much, however, I think she hit the nail on the head when she quoted the ancient African proverb that states, &
It takes a village to raise a child.&
As Sara Simon so ably pointed out in her letter, the problem is not negligent parents; the real problem is the societal priorities of a culture that sends billions of dollars to Baghdad while leaving all their own children behind. Tillie Olsen&
s famous short story, &
I Stand Here Ironing,&
strikes a nerve for all single and working class parents. &
She was a miracle to me, but when she was eight months old I had to leave her daytimes with the woman downstairs, to whom she was no miracle at all, for I worked or looked for work. . .&
(8). We must work to feed our children because we can&
t all afford to live in Menlo Park. Olsen also utters an agonizing truth when she expresses the &
. . . lacerations of group life in the kinds of nurseries that are only parking places for children&
(12). Regrettably, those kinds of centers exist because our society won&
t pay competitive wages to attract and keep the best.
I know that I am privileged to have the Schneider Center to help me raise my son. Let us all give thanks for the help we receive from our friends, neighbors, teachers, and schools for the vital socialization, education and love they provide our miracles.
Will there be peace in the Middle East during the Israeli elections?
Peace and Justice activists can expect little from the March 28th Israeli elections.
The Government of Israel flatly rejects the establishment of a Palestinian Arab state west of the Jordan river.&
Such is the platform under which the Likud Party has won control of the Government of Israel in three of four post-Oslo elections. The 2006 Likud platform has been softened a bit to allow the Palestinians to &
run their lives freely in the framework of self-rule, but not as an independent and sovereign state.&
Control of security, immigration and ecology are to be denied them.
Likud is running behind in polls to former Likudnik Ariel Sharon&
s Kadima Party.
The Kadima platform states, &
The Israeli nation has a national and historic right to the whole of Israel.&
Kadima, however, recognizes that &
in order to maintain a Jewish majority, territorial concessions must be made to Palestinians.&
Kadima is even willing to call these territories a &
The platform calls for &
Jerusalem and large settlement blocks&
to remain under Israeli control. Statements by Kadima leaders show that they consider the Jordan Valley to be a &
large settlement block.&
Indeed, with the platform limitations on Palestinian sovereignty, there is little difference between the Kadima &
and the Likud &
both are &
that will not pass international muster as independent states.
The third power in Israeli elections is the Labor Party which led Israel during the Oslo Accords.
The first article of the Oslo Accords twice referenced UN Resolution 242, which called for &
Withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict.&
The 2006 Labor platform retreats from this promise. It &
Does not rule out the establishment of a Palestinian state with limited sovereignty.&
It refers to Jerusalem as &
the undivided capital of Israel&
and retains settlements by &
them from Palestinians. Labeled the &
Hong Kong principle&
, it would be more appropriately called the &
The British did not expel the native population from the territory they coerced the Chinese to &
Several lesser parties are likely to win seats in the 2006. Only three support full implementation of the Oslo Accords, Balad, Hadash and the United Arab List. Their combined representation in the Knesset is not expected to increase over their current 5 percent.
From the 2006 Israeli Government expect more of the same rhetoric and dead Palestinian civilians that has long defined the Jewish ethnocracy.