Sunday, September 21, 2014

Another UVP LTE response to Muslim hate

Not as portrayed
THURSDAY, SEPT. 22, 2011
To the Editor:
Please allow me to comment on Robin Sunbeam’s letter to the editor posted 9/2/11 titled “Hating Muslims doesn’t help.” I would first like to tell readers who I am and how we conduct Ukiah Valley Patriot meetings. I am the “MC” Ms. Sunbeam refers to in her letter, although I am more correctly called a facilitator.
The purpose of the Ukiah Valley Patriots is to inform and educate the public, empowering people to make better decisions in electing our city, state, and federal leaders. I conduct meetings in an open and orderly manner. We start every meeting with the Pledge of Allegiance to our flag followed by a short prayer (not unlike the prayer that opens each session of Congress). I allow everyone in attendance to speak their mind as long as it is done in a respectful manner and time permits.
Contrary to information presented by the mainstream media, we are not an extension of the Republican Party, although some of our members are Republicans. We welcome people of all parties who share our core values of fiscal responsibility, limited government, and free markets.
The speaker at our last meeting has been studying Islam for over 40 years and boasts knowing the Qur’an better than most Muslims. He does not hate Muslims nor does he promote hatred of Muslims; his fears for our country drive him to research and present facts most of us would never discover on our own. Everything presented at the meeting was either taken from Muslim documents, web sites, or straight out of the Qur’an; he even quoted the book and line number so if anyone so desired, they could find a Qur’an and verify the truth for themselves (Qur’ans have been translated into English and can be found online).
After our meeting, I approached Ms. Sunbeam to ask her why she continues to come to our meetings when she does not appear to share our values and in fact has written many falsehoods about us in the UDJ. I asked her if her purpose for coming to our meetings was to ‘try and find dirt on us.’ It didn’t occur to me at the time that Ms. Sunbeam would construe this as a guilt reaction as our group has never tried to hide anything. It seemed clear to me that her purpose for being there was to try to discredit us with the lies she writes to the newspaper in order to eventually destroy our message and influence. She has stated in a previous letter to the editor that her progressive organization can only draw seven people whereas the patriot group generally has 30 or more in attendance. Does she think that heckling our group is going to help her cause in any way?
Neither our ‘chaplain’ nor our ‘prayer man’ ever said anything that would indicate hatred of Muslims or wishing revenge against them. They were merely showing kindness to Ms. Sunbeam and trying to answer any questions she may have had regarding our group or our values. I’m sure they were not expecting what they got in return.
Duane Grilli

The UVP response to my Letter to the Editor UDJ 4/27/11

Not dupes


To the Editor:

The Ukiah Valley Patriots sponsored a 12-week course on the U.S. Constitution this winter, from January 18 to April 5, using the Constitution and The Federalist [Papers] as texts. Ron Cannon was our instructor and class attendance varied from 39 to a hard core of 20 participants. Some of us were frankly amazed at the willingness of so many to grapple with a not so easy to read 18th Century Founding American text: it was a group of mostly middle aged to elderly Americans, many of them with jobs and families to support who took time out from their busy lives to take a class for no credits other than to have a better understanding of their country’s founding documents. Many interesting and stimulating discussions ensued and despite a recent disparaging Letter to the Editor from Robin Sunbeam (March 7, 2011, “Feeling Powerless”) there was a lot less spin in that class than there generally is from our so-called Mainstream Media.

Although a majority of the participants were either tea party members or conservatives, several progressives also participated and always felt welcome to contribute their point of view. To say the least, they were always cordial but never shy about expressing their differences of opinion. One can only hope that one day American institutions of “higher learning” could be as respectful of diverging points of view.

The reason we’re writing this letter is to counter certain misrepresentations in Ms. Sunbeam’s letter about both the Constitution Class and the tea party movement. First of all, although Ms. Sunbeam did attend one tea party meeting, ostensibly to check us out, she never attended a single Constitution Class meeting. Therefore, she has no evidence whatsoever to conclude that “[t]hey are teaching a class on the Constitution that spins it into a charter for free enterprise rather than a charter to protect individual and collective rights.” We might add that while the Bill of Rights was added to protect individual rights, there was very little in the Constitution to promote free enterprise or collective rights, unless by that term, Ms. Sunbeam means State’s Rights. The Constitution was mainly a founding document to increase the power of the central government after the Articles of Confederation had failed to produce a viable national government, according to the logic of the Founders. But the Constitution also limited and dispersed power in a tripartite Federalist system; or in other words, it was a document that limited the power of a central government to ride rough shod over the rights of individual Americans and the several states. Of course, it was a far from perfect document, but with seventeen Amendments since the original Bill of Rights, it has withstood the test of time.

As to Ms. Sunbeam’s misrepresentations of the tea party movement: it appears that she gets all of her information from far left blogs or news programs. There has been a concerted effort on the part of the left to portray the tea party as a bunch of wild eyed radicals or “extremists,” as the recent gaffe made by Senator Schumer makes abundantly clear, when in reality they are mostly like our local tea party group of middle and working class Americans. While Ms. Sunbeam claims that tea party participants “eat up the twisted lies being told to them by the Koch-trained liars,” most members of the tea party have never heard of the Koch Brothers and certainly aren’t trained by them (the last I heard, the Koch’s were funding the libertarian Cato Institute). It may be disconcerting to Ms. Sunbeam that the tea party is not a monolithic organization that can be summed up in talking point catch phrases like “trained by the Koch brothers” or “neocon fascists.” (I’ve generally assumed that when people run out of coherent arguments they resort to name-calling, misrepresentations, and distortions.) No, the tea party is not even one organization, but rather a loose consortium of grass roots organizations made up mostly of middle and working class Americans. One thing we share in common is a love for our country as well as a generally shared belief that our country has gone off the rails under the leadership of both political parties, as well as the business and media elites that think they know what's best for us while they bankrupt the country. Quite frankly, if that’s the best they can do, we’d be better off without them.

While numerous Republican operatives and perennial candidates have jumped aboard the tea party bandwagon, the tea party is not the Republican Party. Even so, it has been a leftist tactic to conflate the tea party with the Republican Party, one day blaming the tea party “extremists” for forcing the Republicans into holding the line on the debt limit, while on the next day, blaming the tea party for all the fiscal irresponsibility of the Bush Administration. The truth of the matter is that the Republican Party establishment is not all that thrilled about the challenges from the tea party as anyone who keeps track of current events is sure to know. Both the Republican and Democratic parties have been feckless and fiscally irresponsible, but the fact of the matter is, there has been a lot more willingness on the part of disgruntled conservatives and libertarians to tackle the problem of deficit spending and our monstrous national debt, which made it tactically more feasible for the tea party to challenge the status quo in the Republican primaries, rather than the Democratic majority in 2010. As an example of why this is so, just look at the current budget battles in Congress. The tea party movement has pressured Boehner into proposing $61 billion in cuts from a budget of $3.7 trillion: That comes out to about 1.6 percent, not enough to make much of a dent, but about double what the Congressional Democrats are proposing, and as for Obama’s “tough cuts,” one would need a microscope to find them. When will the political leadership in this country finally become serious about dealing with our debt and budget woes? Before the nation goes bankrupt and the dollar is worthless, or are they waiting for an even bigger crash than 2008? Finally, we might add, most tea party members did not favor bail outs for the Wall Street scoundrels that got us into the current financial mess, unlike the political establishments for both major parties, so one might ask, who really is beholden to those Ms. Sunbeam calls the “filthy rich”?

P.S. Ms. Sunbeam finally attended the last Constitution Class meeting. We think she enjoyed the intellectual give and take, and hopefully, she now has a more accurate perspective about the class, and the fact that we’re not all a bunch of “Koch-trained” dupes, whatever that means.

Mark Amagi, Redwood Valley
Lou and Betty Morgan, Ukiah
Dave and Kathy Lowe, Redwood Valley
Mike and Brenda Smith, Willits
Ron and Katherine Cannon, Ukiah
Duane and Deborah Grilli, Ukiah
Dave Olson, Philo

Saturday, September 13, 2014

What happened with my run for office?

Although the group that first tapped me to run for office, the Mendocino Women's Political Coalition, didn't endorse me, nor did my own political party, the Democrats, I garnered 25% of the vote.  And although I was still in debt the day of the election, by the end of the month, donations rolled in that paid all the campaign $8000 monetary expenses and enough left over for postage stamps for the thank you notes.  The final cost to me was in stress, a touch of PTSD, and the return of my childhood bruxism habit that I once again must train myself to quit!  My gain was in "political capital."  I'm not sure what that is or in which bank it is kept, but people look at me in a new way, now. 

I used to be a vocal citizen that the politicians pandered to by smiling, listening and nodding.  Now I see the politicians glance at me from the corner of their eye and start calculating, what's my next move? are they for or against?  The faces of ordinary people shine when they look at me.  I've developed some new friendships.  For sure, although I seem to know an astounding number of people all over the county, and in 3 counties, and I am sought after for radio interviews, I'm not sure I have a woman friend, someone I could be totally myself and disclose my inner secrets.  But through this social justice work, I am happy to say that I may now have several new female friends with whom I maintain a close relationship.  I used to be such a solitary rhino in the wild, and now people are massing up beside me.  I guess that may be part of the political capital.  I'm not sure....

Anyway, I didn't get the $100,000+/yr job as County Assessor-Clerk-Recorder.  If I had, I could have afforded all the dental transplants after I had ground my teeth down from the stress of the political office.  Instead, I have returned to being a plump old school nurse eking out a tiny impoverished living supporting myself and my adult son and feeling blessed each day that I have one more precious day of life to make this world a better place.

Thursday, September 04, 2014

The Udall "Democracy for All" amendment is a Red Herring

The "Democracy for All" (Udall) amendment is a Red Herring and I am surprised that Bernie Sanders is said to be promoting it. Even Bernie's "Saving American Democracy" Amendment proposal is far superior to this tiny bone. It fails to bar corporations or other artificial entities from having rights protected under the Constitution. And it returns us to a century of failed campaign regulation.  It uses the word "may" instead of "shall." 

In other words, this amendment proposal is getting LOTS of press because it fails to mandate a ban on corporate personhood rights while promoting the false hope that regulatory boards protect people over industry profits. Unfortunately, is is too often the opposite. 

Free Speech for People apologizes about supporting this bill saying that they are also promoting a separate bill to ban corporate rights.  Unfortunately, that bill has no momentum. 

I recommend when our California Senators debate the Udall bill this coming month, that they bring up the following issues:

1) The campaign finance regulations in Arizona will be VERY different than those in Vermont. 

2) Do regulations really work?  Industry insiders tend to be the "experts" staffing regulatory boards and they habitually regulate loopholes in favor of their industry rather than protect the People. 

3) Ultimately, as long as large donations can buy politicians, Democracy is an impossible sham.  When campaigns will be publicly financed and limited to just a couple of months with private money prohibited, then public servants will bend in favor of those that pay for their campaigns, the public.  This will hopefully be the next constitutional amendment to get all big money out of politics once and for all! 

4) Regulations didn't work for most of the 20th century, what makes you think an amendment will make failed regulations any better?  Do we have to wait for another century of failed regulations before elections are publicly financed?

5) The root cause of this perversity of Democracy is the implication by the Supreme Court in 1886 that fictional persons get the due process of law promised to "all persons" in the 14th Amendment.  Any amendment proposal that doesn't pluck out the root by clarifying the status of fictional persons under the Constitution will ultimately miss the mark.  The Udall Amendment bypasses this question by saying that artificial entities "may" be distinguished from natural persons...  Its failure to clearly mandate that the protection of constitutional rights are for natural persons only makes it a waste of political capital. 

Friday, August 22, 2014

Sexual abuse and bullying, a School Nurse standpoint

Play Video
  • From a nursing point of view, Scott's story is quite typical among drug abusers.  I researched perinatal substance abuse in my university education.  I found of those women who did not take the window of opportunity to quit drugs when discovering that they were pregnant, 98% of them were sexually abused as children.  You will find that the sluts and the bullies at school often are carrying a dirty secret.  Also, the morbidly obese girls at school.  They all have dirty secrets like Scott's that they are covering up with obesity, sexual promiscuity, drugs and bullying.  Some people wonder what school nurses do since they aren't doing bandaids and ice packs in the "nurse's office" anymore?  We research ways to reach out to these students and try to help them succeed at school.
  • The other part of this equation are the parents of these children.  In Scott's case, his parents never betrayed his trust and the perpetrator was a semi-stranger.  More often, it is your mother's boyfriend, or your uncle.  And occasionally, it is your father.  And perpetrators of sexual abuse of children most often themselves have a history of childhood sexual abuse.  It is unfortunately a generational disease.

  • Most often, the mother is totally dependent on the perpetrator and refuses to believe anything so horrible could be true.  In Scott's case, when his behavior changed after the incident, didn't his parents notice?  I would certainly know if my son's personality had changed and I would definitely intervene, and have several times already.  Where were Scott's parents?  Those children who have reached out for help and were heard, and the perpetrator was immediately removed from the situation, can recover and hope to live a productive and fulfilling life.  Those children who have reached out and been called a liar and punished, and weren't heard, are drug abusers, sluts, bullies or morbidly obese, all self-destructive acting-out behaviors.

  • And how does the school nurse intervene? What does anybody's private family business have anything to do with the School Nurse who is paid by the state government? It is very challenging!  If there is current suspicion of abuse going on at home, like if the student shows up at school with a black eye and a bruised face and says he fell off his bike, then we at school are "mandated reporters" and we have to file a report with CPS.  Child Protective Services might investigate, but are understaffed, underpaid, and overworked.   Once the file of reports thickens, then they will intervene.  Eventually the parent will find out it was the School Nurse who wrote the report and will hate the nurse forever.

  • If the child is old enough, the school nurse can try to reach out directly to the student. We never want to use shame or blame when interacting with problem families.   That makes it very tricky to come straight to the point without causing an upheaval that might cause the parent to pull their child out of school and disappear.  Sometimes, it needs to be approached very delicately over several meetings of getting acquainted and gaining trust.  It is advisable to collaborate with the school psychologist.

  • But what injuries do we see at school from a child who is being sexually abused?  We can't assume every morbidly obese 1st grader, or 6th grader, are being abused.   They might have hypothyroid or their family eats a heavy lard and processed food diet.  We can meet with the family and teach them nutrition and exercise.   Educate them about the many health risks of obesity that can be avoided by reducing their weight.  And the advantages of good health.   We are keen to detect clues of self-destructive behaviors.  In kindergarten, that child might be sexually provocative to a classmate not realizing at 5yrs old that it is contrary to social mores because it is so normal at home. 

  • We can't assume every slut or bully has been sexually abused. It could be that her mother and sisters all look like sluts, too, and that is the family norm.  There are plenty of other reasons to bully, often just modeling your parent's behavior.  It might be the family norm for men.  Or, it might be an acting-out behavior to cover up any number of other family or personal secrets besides childhood sexual abuse.  We need to meet with the family, and even do a home visit, always looking for clues of dysfunction or abuse.  The sooner we can intervene in an abusive situation, the sooner that student will mitigate their self-destructive behavior.

  • The ideal student to school nurse ratio (excluding the severely handicapped) is 750:1.  
    The California average is 2500:1.  
    In my jobs at Windsor Unified School District and Santa Rosa City Schools, I had 5000:1.  

    These ratios reflect the low importance our government places on school nurses.  Not just the state governments which seem to cut the education budget first every time there's a deficit, and blame teachers when students can't achieve.  But also school districts, which put a low priority on their school nurse budget.  We compassionate idealists in school nursing think it is because the school board has no idea what school nurses do, an "information deficit" that can be solved with updates to the School Board.  

    But I think it is far more sinister.  I think it is a power trip.  Disrespect!  First, because school nurses, CPS workers, and public health nurses are mainly women.  Second, because they would rather blame and punish educators than proactively fund prevention, which is categorized by neo-liberals as "waste."  Ultimately, the whole system is designed for public schools to fail and the futureless products of that failed system to become the cannon fodder of the perpetual wars of the rich war-profiteers. 

Thursday, August 21, 2014

What bothers me most about the NSA invasion of privacy

This is what really bothers me about the NSA's invasion into my privacy. 

Taxpayers pay for the NSA to spy on us!  In the name of "security."  We, the taxpayers, pay for great warehouses full of servers that eat electricity and give off a lot of heat.  Instead of using that heat to run turbines and produce secondary electricity, No! they burn more electricity running air conditioners on our dime to keep those giant warehouses cool enough so that they can store every last little bit of data about all of us.  Not in my name! 

The first automated data system "was the IBM punch card and card sorting system-a precursor to the computer. IBM, primarily through its German subsidiary, made Hitler's program of Jewish destruction a technologic mission the company pursued with chilling success. IBM Germany, using its own staff and equipment, designed, executed, and supplied the indispensable technologic assistance Hitler's Third Reich needed to accomplish what had never been done before-the automation of human destruction." 

Although the German subsidiary used their own equipment, IBM USA retained the patent on the punch card.  IBM violated the prohibition of trade with Germany by supplying Hitler with punch cards throughout the Holocaust.

The Nazi Party: IBM & "Death's Calculator" by Edwin Black

For those who thirst for power and control, information is key.  I presume the only reason the NSA wants all that information is for power and control.  And they charge us for it! 

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Athena Melville has never been to an Occupy Ukiah meeting

Athena Melville, the co-administrator of this site, has never been to an Occupy Ukiah meeting and doesn't know what what issues we are working on or what issues we are fighting.  She wants to prohibit the other co-administrators from posting the local news, events and opinions of the group.  She erases the posts of the other administrators if they post anything original saying that we are only allowed to re-post from other sources, like she does. 

Occupy Ukiah wants to make it very clear that we are opposed to corporate personhood rights.  We are non-partisan and believe that both the Democrats and the Republicans are corrupt and violating the Constitution.  We believe that the members of Congress, most of whom are millionaires, are bought and paid for by big corporations like the petroleum industry, the arms industry, the private bank industry, the insurance industry, the firearms industry, the high-tech security industry, and the drug industry.  We don't trust them to act in the best interests of We the People or Democracy. 

Occupy Ukiah opposes the "Democracy for All Amendment," which Athena has posted 3 times to this page.  We oppose it because it gives permission to regulate campaign spending, but doesn't mandate it.  It also retains all corporate personhood rights which makes this amendment proposal a toxic misadventure and waste of the People's time and money.  Democrats are seizing it as an issue that they think will energize the base in the midterm elections.  Most members of Congress don't honestly want to limit their campaign contributions.  We at Occupy Ukiah want to cut private contributions completely out of elections and make all elections publicly financed and limited to just a few weeks of campaigning. 

Occupy Ukiah is very concerned about invasive toxins spewed by both our government and industrial wastes which pollutes the soil, the water, and the air we breathe.  We are concerned about the 3000 lbs of Roundup that is sprayed every year on our Mendocino County school campuses where our children play all day.  We are offended that our air is being polluted by industrial waste gases and particles that invade our bodies against our will.  We are in favor of banning fracking and promoting alternative non-polluting energy.  The sun emits enough energy in 1 hour  to power the whole world for a year. 

Occupy Ukiah is also extremely concerned with the overreach of the Wall Street banks, their corruption, and their conspiracy to milk the wealth of the nation into fewer and fewer hands.  We have been working for over 3 years on a solution to illegal foreclosures.  We are delighted that issue came to the public's attention for a while, but right now the public thinks the illegal foreclosure issue is over.  The only law that changed here in California was the Homeowner's Bill of Rights which curbed the worst foreclosure practices, but it will expire in 2018.  We are rushing to establish our county public bank before 2018 when we predict the next illegal foreclosure debacle will begin. 

We are also very concerned about the MERS (Mortgage Electronic Recording System) database which bypasses the role of the County Recorder robbing our county of $53,000 every year, and clouds the titles of every property that has been financed or refinanced in the last decade.  Occupy Ukiah believes that the chain of assignments on property titles should be clear.  We want to make the MERS database illegal and return the job of recording assignments to county recorders, which is where it belongs. 

Occupy Ukiah is extremely concerned about the 3 reactors melting down in Fukushima.  We keep a Geiger Counter going and note every time there is a spike in the radioactivity.  Fukushima is being managed by the Yakuza, which is making a ton of profit while not just the residents of Japan are being toxified.  The winds and ocean currents are driving the radioactive particles here to California. 

Occupy Ukiah wants to localize the economy.  We understand that the big box stores like Wal-Mart put local stores out of business while paying such low wages the the majority of their employees depend upon public assistance to survive.  We oppose that the Walton Family gets richer and richer based on public assistance.  We succeeded at preventing our local Wal-Mart from expanding into a 24 hour superstore.  Athena Melville had nothing to do with this success. 

Occupy Ukiah ran a candidate in the last election to replace our County Recorder who refuses to demand an Affidavit of Authority when recording robo-signed foreclosures.  She is enabling the corrupt banks from continuing their illegal practices rather than defend the public.  The Recorder says it is not her job to investigate crime.  Athena Melville did absolutely nothing to support the Occupy candidate. 

Occupy Ukiah is opposed to the Willits Bypass and many members have been working to oppose CalTrans' plans to destroy the wetlands and aquifer in Little Lake Valley. 

There are many more social injustices that Occupy Ukiah could support like racism, sexism, LGBT rights, the legalization of marijuana, Smart Meters, save the Redwoods, stop the Navy from killing marine mammals with sonar, GMO's, a free and open internet, the privatization of the public airwaves, and many more.  But we have decided to focus on just these 6 issues: eliminating corporate personhood rights under the Constitution, toxins from agricultural and fracking chemicals, mortgage fraud & big bank corruption, Fukushima, opposing big box stores to localize the economy, and opposing the Willits Bypass.  Only these 6 issues are germane to Occupy Ukiah.  Everything else are the opinion of Athena Melville and not supported by Occupy Ukiah. 

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Under the Microscope

Doug Losak, the interim County Council, showed up Monday morning to talk to my boss at work.  It seems that 3 years ago, I applied to the County for a temporary property tax reduction, part of the 2009 American Recovery & Reinvestment Act.  It required COMPS attached to assist the Assessor in deciding how much to reduce my taxes during the economic recession.  They kept the application for a year, and then phoned me to say that they denied it based on that there were no COMPS to compare it with. 

The problem Doug brought up was that my application was printed on used paper.  The reverse side were student report cards that had been misprinted, which I mined out of the recycle bin.  I save a ton of money on paper by mining recycle bins for clean flat, uncrumpled pages.  Occasionally, I hit the jackpot and find 1/2 ream of misprints all in a nice clean pile! 

Although I had scribbled over every name or other identifiable info, you could still make out the names when held up to the light.  Over 2 years ago, I brought up the issue of confidential info in the recycle bin to my boss.  She has since inserviced everyone on FERPA privacy laws, and confidential info is now consistently shredded. 

But someone in the Assessor's Office is scrutinizing my records to try to get me into trouble.  They probably figure, everyone's got some dirt on them and they are set out to find it.