If wars were things of the past

We in America celebrated Memorial Day a few weeks ago. It is a day to barbecue, shop for good sales and remember the men who served our country. Yes, we should remember all the soldiers in all the wars we have fought, but more than that we should remember the poor unfortunates who have gotten in the way of our wars, innocent people who have been marginalized because they are so far away from this land of ours, this beacon of freedom. It might be hard for some people to look at our part in useless acts of violence but they are there if one takes the time to uncover them.

The term collateral damage sounds kind of harmless, right? It is easy to ignore that this means innocent people were killed who just happened to be in the proximity when that drone dropped a bomb trying to kill — take your pick — any one of a number of our enemies trying to take away our freedom. I’m sorry, but a group of men in some Third World country using weapons that probably came from us in the first place doesn’t seem to me like it constitutes much of a national security threat. What does, though, is our over-aggressive military doing everything it can to wipe out the “war on terror” against goat herders and clerics. It would sure make me hate France, for example, if they decided to come over here and wipe out born-again Christians because they’re overzealous fanatics. (Just an example; I’m against neither here.)

It is too early to know the true figures and casualties in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars but here are some sobering statistics of past casualties just to give us some perspective: in World War II we lost 295,000 servicemen; France had 340,000 military deaths and 470,000 civilian deaths; Great Britain had 326,000 military casualties and 62,000 civilian; Russia had 13.6 million total casualties — more than 13 million people died there! The Vietnam War caused 5.56 million Vietnamese deaths; we lost 211,471 soldiers. America has had a total of more than 2.75 million casualties since the Revolutionary War, that total, many fewer than what the Vietnamese lost in one war with us.

We are in a unique position as a world power, our distance gives us an edge, and we have never had, nor do I hope we ever will have, a military invasion. We have certainly been the invaders, all in the name of freedom and democracy. The cynic in me rather believes it’s more in the name of the big three — money, power and control. It is up to us as Americans to decide what’s worth fighting for, to use our intelligence to come up with peaceful solutions to problems and not sign up to wage war on some innocent country at the first wave of a flag and the words “We don’t want THEM to take away our freedom.” Wouldn’t it be lovely if Memorial Day stood for just exactly that — a memorial of wars PAST because war was a thing of the past? I could get used to that!

Robin Riley

Continue to keep an eye on Oxnard

Once again you have provided a down-to-earth explanation of the facts in the search warrants (Oxnard’s tangled webs unravel in tumult, News, 6/7). Your reporting provides the Oxnard citizens the facts about what their local officials are doing with our tax dollars.

You and the VC Reporter provide the required supporting column of democracy by taking on the powerful Oxnard city officials. That there are so many facts in your reporting scares me, upsets me, and makes me realize the need for Oxnard citizens to act for change if we want to have a government we can trust and be proud of.

I believe that there are many more good citizens in Oxnard than are represented by those few who are listed in the search warrants you have reported on.

Please continue to provide us with the facts that we need to know.

Phillip Molina, CPA MBA
Past award-winning finance director

Too much scientific jargon

To: Michael Collins

Re: A radioactive nightmare, June 7 VCReporter

Comments: great technical article.

53 times normal, cesium-137, plutonium-239? With half-life of 24,400 years, 40,000 trillion becquerels?

What does the above mean to me? — Not much! Will it cause my skin to flake? Lose my eyes in five years? My blood to clot excessively and cause death? Color my lungs? Affect my nervous system? Plug up my lymph nodes? What diseases will this cause?

I need an article to cause me to send it to Sacramento or legislators in Washington, D.C., to ask for action. Spit out the effect as above, along with damaged foods eaten.

Do a [Nikita] Kruschev — pound the table with your shoe!

A scientific dissertation only gets you zero.

Good luck.

John M. Dunn
P.S. Front page color layout is great.

From the web:

A political travesty

I believe that this will be the most defining issue this country has faced since WWII. SCOTUS (Supreme Court of the United States) handed our election process over to only those with vast wealth, and took away the power of “one man, one vote.” (“Inc. is not flesh and blood,” Editorial, 6/14) Even that pithy saying is fundamentally flawed. Without equality in the voting booth, why even bother with elections? Without accountability and transparency in the ads which will flood our lives this fall, ads which will be vague, threatening and full of lies, why bother even having a Federal Elections Commission? It is just a sham right now. Dred Scott was wrong and Citizens United is wrong. It is the most dangerous ruling this unbalanced and unethical court has ever made. Roberts and Alito should both be censured for lying to Congress during their testimony when they both said that they would respectfully follow precedent, when, as they were saying it, they knew they were lying. Under oath. When will this Bush/Cheney-driven coup d’état be stopped? Can it be stopped? Will the voice of the people ever again be heard? Certainly not at the ballot box. That has the appearance of a pair of loaded dice.

A pox on both houses of Congress and SCOTUS. You have all taken the low road of cowardice and failed to stand up and be counted as servants of the people. It is sad and scary and shameful.

— msjetbn

Re: A radioactive nightmare, feature, 6/7)

Keeping radiation detectors handy

Many thanks to Michael Collins for hanging onto this story, and other similar stories, like a starving pit bull. The best journalism is demonstrated by his deep and knowledgeable research, his double-sourcing the facts, his analysis of those facts, and his talent at turning science issues into readable articles. Kudos to Collins and the VCR.
So, should I bring my Cold War-era radiation detector with me to the sushi bar?

— msjetbn


A Chicken Little scenario

Such polite commentary, and even some humor, but what you have just stated, MC, if we can accept the bulk of your assessments, is that life as we know it is now in rapid decay.

The shovel that is headed directly for the faces of life forms that live on the West Coast seems like a mirage at this point, but the inevitable collision is only a few short months away. If the level of radioactivity is as bad as you suggest, nothing should escape contamination within those few hundred inland miles.

People, animals, trees and insects. Why wait for the onset of cancers and a slow painful death?

I guess I’ll just drive my car off a cliff into the ocean, meeting death head-on. Unless you have another suggestion, of course.

— Toby565

Keep up the good work

Congratulations to Ventura County Reporter for publishing the important review by Michael Collins on how the ongoing disaster at Fukushima is impacting the West Coast of North America. Kudos to Michael Collins, who goes far beyond simply reporting the story. This is investigative reporting at its finest.

Every newspaper in the country should be following this story and warning Americans. Sadly, government and the nuclear industry have deep power over the media. Glad to know that Michael Collins and Ventura County Reporter are truly independent and willing to report the biggest news story on this planet.

— Pacific NuclearAwareness Group




Solomon and the Republican mentality

Two women came before Solomon, both claiming to be the mother of a certain baby.

Solomon proposed cutting the baby in half and giving each woman half of a dead baby.

Woman 1 said, “That works.”

Woman 2 said, “No, don’t hurt the baby. Give it to her.”

Solomon ordered that the baby be given to woman 1, obviously the rightful mother.

Woman 1 had shown a devotion to principle. She had shown a willingness to make the tough choices. She understood that rigidity, even to absurd extremes, is the proof of virtue. She knew you have to break a few eggs to make an omelet. She knew that when you think you are in the right, you never back down, even if the whole world burns. She understood that cutting your baby in half is a small price to pay to prevent anyone, anywhere, from getting a hand out. And she understood that if she did not get her way that it really doesn’t matter what happens to some damn baby … getting your way is the only thing that matters.

Obviously a good woman.

Tom Becham

The wrong message

I am disturbed about the American Apparel ad on the back page of the May 24 Reporter. It’s disturbing for several reasons: first of all, it is plainly pornography; and secondly, it shows a very young-looking woman in the pornographic pose. In looking on the American Apparel website, I see similar poses. These ads show just how far pornography and sex have pervaded our culture. You recently had an article about pornography and teenagers, and here you are now promoting it — making it seem normal, OK. What message are you sending young men and women? Are young girls being taught that they have to dress in a sexually provocative way to be accepted and successful? By putting the American Apparel ads in your newspaper, you are selling out to the sex industry and you are doing great harm to young people. I’ve always enjoyed reading your publication, but this is offensive to me and I am reluctant to continue reading it.

Elise DePuydt

Taxing what hurt us

New York City Mayor Bloomberg’s decision to ban supersized sugary sodas has resurrected the age-old debate over the role of the state in protecting the public health.  In recent years, this debate involved bicycle helmets, car seat belts, tobacco, trans fats, saturated fats in meat and dairy products, and sugar (or more aptly, high-fructose corn syrup).  Public subsidies for tobacco, meat and dairy, and corn production added fuel to the debate.

I would argue that society has a right to regulate activities that impose a heavy burden on the public treasury.  National medical costs of dealing with our obesity epidemic, associated with consumption of meat, dairy and sugars, are estimated at $190 billion. Eliminating subsidies for these products, as well as judicious taxation to reduce their use and recoup public costs, should be supported by health advocates and fiscal conservatives alike.  

Benjamin Franklin claimed that nothing is certain except death and taxes.  Ironically, death can be deferred substantially by taxing products that make us sick.

Chris Giordano




Evil in the world

Just saw your story about the Faria Beach murders, and the oral sex component to this is just unreal. (News, May 10) This reminds me of the Sharon Tate murders — people just sitting around in what you would assume to be the comfort and safety of their own home, then an intruder comes in and slashes them to death … and a pregnant woman. And the kids were left alone, right?

Wow. Being forced to give oral sex at knifepoint then being killed?? And this killer gets off on that?? That is pure evil. That sounds like what Tex Watson said before the murders at Tate’s house, “I’m the Devil and I’m here to do the Devil’s business.”

This is why I am atheist. There is no God looking down and protecting us … no one deserved to be protected more than Davina. This world can be disgusting … and beautiful. We just have to navigate through the darkness … because as Joshua Packer has shown, it’s there.

Santa Barbara

Local heroes

Thank you for your kind article in the May 24th issue, re: Local Hero and Free Medical Clinic at the Salvation Army in Oxnard.

Hero is somewhat of a misnomer, in that there would be no hero were it not for the 17 other doctor volunteers at the clinic. Their names need mentioning: Drs. Harry Drummond — current director, Charles Fletcher, David Stegman, Art Simpson, Chuck Montague, David Perlmutter, Andrea Parmelee, Royal Dean, Jack Halpin, Larry Hartley, Gerared Diesfield, Tom McGillis, Bruce Woodlin and Steven Glinka. Others who participated but are no longer active: Charles Cho, Becky Argo, Harvey Harris, Sam Abul-Haj, Joel Ellenzweig, Gordon Johnston (deceased), Dinko Rosic and Henry Stoutz. Dentists: Don Arstein, Ken Anderson, Luz Cubillos, Robert Valdez and longtime pharmacist John Bailey. Other volunteer pharmacists include Mike Clifford, Nancy Hanson and Ron Arragg.

Other unsung heroes include nurses Lori Hart — charge nurse, Bianca Drummond — diabetic educator nurse. Former nurse helpers include Evelyn Burge, Louise Davis and Pauline Hinds. These ladies are truly dedicated. The Salvation Army needs to be included, without which there would be no free clinic. Thanks for Major Eric Lo and Major Cheryl Lo.

Jack Broms

Crisis centers for rape victims in peril

I saw that an article was written in the VC Reporter regarding Assembly Bill 2441. (New bill may tax strip clubs to pay for rape services, News, 05/24) It is important to raise awareness about this particular issue and how it might affect Ventura County residents.  The Coalition for Family Harmony is the only Rape Crisis center in Ventura County.  Our sexual assault crisis counselors are available 24/7, 365 days a year, and provide support for victims of sexual assault. We accompany victims to forensic exams and forensic interviews as well as provide them continuous follow-ups throughout this process to ensure that they have the support and help they need during the healing process.

Additionally, we provide all victims of sexual assault unlimited crisis counseling and 10 free individual therapy sessions.
The funding for our program is received from federal grants, and the overall funding allocated for victims services has been cut 12.5 percent. The funding specifically for the Coalition has been cut 10 percent, which translates to a decrease of more than $20,000.  Because of this cut in funding, our program will have to decrease the number of staff available to respond to victims. In turn, these staff reductions mean that there will be a dramatic decrease in our ability to help victims and provide them much needed services.  Subsequently, there will be a significant increase in wait times for victims to receive services that are critical to helping them cope with and heal from the trauma they have experienced. Additionally, the number of victims we have responded to over the past six months is significantly higher than in previous years, and the number of calls we respond to continues to grow. This cut in funding has come when it is apparent that our services are needed the most. Assembly Bill 2441, which did not pass, would have aided in closing the gap left by the cuts but additional assistance from the community is still needed.

Our program, that services all Ventura County victims, is one of a kind and is irreplaceable. It is important to raise awareness of this cut in funding and get the community involved as we need to raise more than $20,000 by Sept. 1, 2012, to make up the difference in what was cut so that we can continue to provide the same exceptional service.

Janine Ivy, M.A., MFTI
Crisis Response Intervention Coordinator
Coalition for Family Harmony

I stand to correct you, Paul Moomjean

I found Paul Moomjean’s Right Persuasion on President Obama and gay marriage almost beyond belief (5/24). Citing Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, a Louisiana state representative who got his mailing lists from the KKK guy, David Duke; a guy who applauded withholding financial aid to African nations to fight AIDS; the guy who thought his worldview should supersede her husband and her own stated wishes in the Terri Schiavo case. This is your ethical guide?

I recall fondly Paul Moomjean, the same Right Persuasion guy, who announced after the 2010 election that the Republican culture wars were over, it would be Jobs, Jobs, Jobs. And what was the first action of the new Republican majority? An anti-abortion bill. What about all this contraception nonsense? Levittown was one of thousands of post-war subdivisions in the late 40s and early 50s, 1,200 square feet, three bedroom, two bath. Mom, Pop and two kids. Contraception was a settled issue 70 years ago. Your hero, Ronald Reagan, signed California’s abortion legalization law in 1970, two years before Roe vs. Wade. Abortion has been settled law for more than 40 years.

Can’t the right wing actually stop breaking their lances on social-issue windmills? Really, Paul, why don’t you talk about something of substance? Like the fact that Mitt Romney has not identified a single tax or regulatory change he would have made from the policies of George W. Bush, which resulted in the greatest financial catastrophe since the Great Republican Depression. Like Mitt Romney’s foreign policy advisers are almost all neo-cons from the Bush administration, ready to go to war against the Soviet Union, a country that hasn’t been in existence for more than 20 years. Like Mitt Romney’s education advisers are Bush appointees, including Ron Page. You know, the guy from the Houston School District that did so well on their state mandated testing. Turns out, they did well by having the poorer-performing students stay home on test day. Come on, Paul, tell us something worth a tree dying over instead of this drivel.

Norm Rodewald

Got it backwards

On 5/24 Paul Moomjean writes: “Government needs realize marriage is religious not secular.” Besides different tax status “married couples” enjoy different LEGAL rights, i.e., end of life rights, inheritance, etc. And, Paul, are you sure you wish to “keep the government out of marriage?” I would prefer to keep the church out of government … as our forefathers intended.

Chris Jensen

Graduation frustration

Thank you, students and parents who attended the May 23 meeting for Oxnard Union High School District concerning the last-minute decision requiring tickets for Graduation 2012. Originally, blame was placed upon the Fire Department requiring tickets due to crowd control issues. Once inquiries were made, we find the Fire Department just wanted the District to take appropriate measures to ensure the safety and welfare within the bleacher areas. The Fire Department never directed the District to require tickets.  Yes, graduation is crowded. But this issue should have been addressed last July, August, etc.  Not two weeks before graduation.

Solution: Have adequate staffing to control the number of people in the bleachers. Once full, you go to the overflow area. No saving of seats. First come, first served. It’s that simple.

What was most disturbing at this meeting was Trustee John Alamillo stepping down from his role to address the students/parents during public comments. He didn’t address the board while speaking. Instead, he explained why tickets were required to the audience. No doubt, the trustee compromised his position since he spoke before hearing the issue and concerns of his constituency. I’ve been to many meetings of various governments. I never witnessed an elected official stepping down to speak in such a manner. This trustee was lucky the board president didn’t find him out of order — you always address the chair during comments. Government 101.

I urge the District to reverse this last-second decision. Provide the adequate staffing for the safety, health and welfare for those attending. Announce today: Families, no balloons/air horns to the ceremony. And I urge ALL not happy with this poor decision to contact Trustee John Alamillo at 385-5241, e-mail: john.alamillo@ouhsd.k12.ca.us (district website info.) and demand reversal of the decision. “Democracy is not a Spectator Sport.”

Edward M. Castillo, Oxnard
Class of ’83, Oxnard High School
Father of twin daughters at Oxnard High




Re: Slapshot: Linda Parks’ rocky road by Shane Cohn (May 17, 2012)

 Mr. Cohn seems to have missed the point altogether. It’s PRECISELY because Linda Parks won’t state where she stands on anything that she cannot get my vote. I understand your concern about the “ugly politics” being carried on by both parties and I hate it as much as you do, but my concern with her is that I don’t care what party she is registered with as long as I know where she stands on issues. You say that her decision to register “no party preference” is all the more laudable, and that would be true if she took some kind of position on some of the issues. But, as you say, she declines to state who she supports, where she stands on public policy issues, etc. How is this a “touch of class”? As far as I can tell, it’s a “touch of cowardice.” She’s not in the middle of the road, she’s driven off of it and over a cliff. And she is NO Thelma or Louise, either!  Just somebody who hopes that by not declaring where she stands on anything, she can’t be “caught” — she stands for nothing. My vote is too important to cast it for nothing.

Jan Richman Schulman   

No endorsement interviews?

I was rather surprised to see you endorsed Jason Hodge without interviewing all the candidates first. In your endorsement, you talk about how important working in a bipartisan way is. I agree. I think you would be surprised and impressed with the endorsements I have received from currently elected and formerly elected registered Democrats and independents. I received their endorsements because of the reputation I earned as a county supervisor in Santa Barbara County to always work in a bipartisan manner. Your preface to the endorsements mentioned the open primary being a positive for democracy.  Again, I couldn’t agree more, which is why I have spoken out in favor of open primaries much to the dismay of my party leaders as I have never really cared what the party position is. Unfortunately, I know Hannah-Beth Jackson, who never goes against her party leaders and is as partisan as they come, has always opposed the open primary system. I’ve been told Hodge was opposed as well but haven’t been able to confirm. On the campaign trail I’ve come to know and like Hodge. We are clearly much more aligned in our ways of thinking than either of us is to the way Jackson thinks. With that in mind, should Hodge not make it through the primary, I hope you would give me the opportunity to have an editorial board meeting with you before you make an endorsement for the general election. And I do appreciate you wanting a representative with connections to Ventura County. For the record I grew up in Camarillo, went to Camarillo H.S., went to Moorpark J.C., and my parents still live in the house I grew up.

Mike Stoker
Primary candidate for California Senate
District 19
Santa Barbara

Shane Solano needs to STFU

He’s at it again. (Letters, 5/17)

Because he can’t say anything constructive or offer any practical solutions for America (other than his anarcho-capitalist Randian fantasies, which dissolve upon contact with reality), Shane Solano once again castigates both major political parties and their followers as being no different from one another.

Such a cynical point of view is ALWAYS a cover for ignorance and the kind of intellectual laziness that doesn’t want to bother to become INFORMED about politics.

Does Mr. Solano mean to suggest that a Gore Presidency would have been no different for America than the Bush years? REALLY? Does he dare suggest that Gore would’ve taken the nation to war in Iraq based on lies, that he would’ve expanded presidential prerogatives at the expense of constitutional rights, or expanded the federal government in the same spectacular fashion as Bush did? If so, then Mr. Solano is either lying or just plain stupid.

And as far as suggesting that Democrats want to eliminate the Republican Party, that is simply ludicrous. The thing about liberals, Mr. Solano, is that we value all reasonable input during debates. Which is why it grieves me to see what an extreme, insane party the Republicans have become. America actually NEEDS some debate over basic issues of what government should and shouldn’t do. What it doesn’t need is several angry rants per month from misanthropes who want to completely dismantle government and bring on even more of the bloodshed, cronyism and tyranny that they CLAIM to hate.

Tom Becham

Why partisan politics must end

We live in a time of political insanity that threatens to destroy the American way of life that the Greatest Generation fought to defend.

Inheriting a budget surplus from Clinton, Bush lowered taxes in 2001. Fine, except that he engaged American troops in the war in Afghanistan the same year. In 2003, Bush again cut taxes, and then started an unnecessary war in Iraq. That combination was insanity.

If we are a nation bent on being perpetually at war, then the generation that wages the war has the responsibility to pay for it — taxation. Instead, we have saddled our grandchildren with a spiraling debt that they may never be able to repay.

Now we are approaching the limits of our debt ceiling. If the Tea Partiers in Congress succeed in preventing an increase in the debt ceiling for political gain, they will bring about another reduction in the credit rating of the U.S., which will force the Treasury to increase the interest rate on the notes that China is buying. And guess what — the politicos will have again increased the debt burden of our grandchildren.

The hyperpartisan extremes of both parties have become a danger to our republic. The final blow was the Supreme Court making it possible for corporations and PACs to throw unlimited funds, anonymously, into buying political offices for their minions. That destroys the democracy given us by our founding fathers!
We are at a crossroads, and I hope it is not too late save the rights of each American to think and act freely. The first step is to throw the political extremists of both parties out of office. We have a chance in Ventura County to lead the way and send that message to our nation.

Donald E. Rowland

From the web:

The scaremongers need to stop

Re: Pro-choice about smart meters, Power to speak, 5/24

It would help to make some noise AFTER checking with scientists instead of scaremongers OR corporate shills.

Understandably, we have occasion to question soothing reassurances from authorities who are still telling us fables about the safety of, say, deep water drilling or the wonderfulness of the free market to regulate itself, but this issue is a bogus one.

The amount of radiation from smart meters singly or in the aggregate is inadequate to cause tissue or DNA damage to humans even if one parked oneself in front of the thing the livelong day. It just is.

—  cassandra 2

It lacked credibility

Re: New bill may tax strip clubs to pay for rape services, News, 5/24

AB 2441 failed passage in the Assembly Committee on Appropriations today. Lawmakers met with and carefully reviewed and considered all materials presented by all stakeholders, and apparently found the false claims of AB 2441 to be both uncompelling and without merit. While all of us support finding funding for these valuable programs, there is no credible nexus between adult venues and crimes against women, and the bill was seen as an unfair attack against an industry that has made great efforts to provide safe and secure working environments as well as access for consumers. AB 2441 attempted to play upon baseless stereotypes for financial gain of the authors and supporters, and quickly lost credibility in the Capitol.

—  mattgray








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