Letters for February 6, 2003

Law clubbing
[Re: “Placing blame where it belongs,” Guest comment, Jan. 23.] Yeah, Felice, the “people who live in the [Klamath] basin need to opt out of the blame game and join together to demand that federal and state officials properly manage the river under federal and state law.”

They’ll do it, as soon as the agencies are cleansed of bureaucratic PEER [Publid Employees for Environmental Responsibility] guerrillas like Kelly (PEER actually has a guidebook posted on their site: “The Art of Anonymous Activism: Serving the Public While Surviving Public Service") and our land use laws, most specifically the Endangered Species Act, are changed to the point where you and your monomaniacal cadre are no longer able to beat decent Americans over the head with mindless litigation.

Dave Skinner
Whitefish, Mont.

Gas and priorities
The vast majority of drivers who fill up their tanks have no clue on how much a gallon of gas really costs [“Gas pains,” Everybody’s business, Jan. 30]. Gas is not on average $1.63 a gallon. What if I told you that gasoline is, in fact, anywhere from $5.60 to $15.14 a gallon? Would you then think twice about filling up your gas guzzling car?

According to The International Center for Technology Assessment, when you take into account the external costs of tax subsidies for the oil industry—program subsidies to maintain transportation infrastructure, environmental, health, social and other external costs—we pay more than just the small sum of $1.63 a gallon.

When people know the true cost of driving, maybe they will wake up and think about their driving habits. Probably the best way to fix the problem of ignorant, self-absorbed drivers is to force them to pay the full real cost of gas up front. This would allow us to fully eliminate all the tax breaks, program subsidies and other protection subsidies that help protect the petroleum companies.

By internalizing the external costs of paying for roads, war, urban sprawl and national security, maybe then we would question the consequences of what we consider important in life. Until we pay the real price of gas at the pumps, we will continue to drive blind behind the wheel of our personal street cars called desire.

Glen Mckenzie

George’s Teddy
History repeats itself. One hundred years ago people of ill intentions labeled another Republican president a reckless cowboy. That president stood against evil and tyranny and made the world a better place. President Bush has a lot in common with Teddy Roosevelt. They both stood for a more secure nation, and they were both criticized by people who stood to gain from their failure.

President Bush has it right. There are countries of evil holding the world back from peace and prosperity. It’s time to put an end to these communist dictators who like to torture and starve their subjects. If the Democratic and Green parties want to align themselves with butchers like Saddam Hussein, let them. We’ll know them by the company they keep.

As for Nelson Mandela insulting our president and our country last week, I’m glad he exposed himself, too. Mandela will certainly want his cut of the $15 billion Bush is sending to Africa for the AIDS racketeers. Bush should bar Mandela from the States and cut the funding of any group he’s associated with. Hitting liberals in the pocketbook is what always makes them scream the loudest.

Dane Langston

Danger of Bush’s war
This is a response to Jo Danehy, whose Marine son recently departed to the Middle East [“The danger of anti-war protests,” Guest comment, Jan. 30]. I am so very sorry for your grief, your fear for your son’s survival and your anger at those who question the validity of the military mission in these times. However, if the war protests are successful in helping to stop this insane war, they may very well save your son’s life, along with those of hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of people.

Bush’s war would cause untold suffering to millions of innocent Iraqi people. Bush’s war would strengthen the terrorists, not weaken them. Bush’s war could cause Saddam Hussein to use whatever weapons of mass destruction he may have hidden away. Bush’s war would use weapons of mass destruction against the Iraqi people in the name of ridding Iraq of weapons of mass destruction.

Bush’s war has nothing to do with protecting our right to protest. Under Bush’s regime, civil liberties have undergone the greatest abuse since the writing of the Bill of Rights. Ostensibly in the name of fighting terrorism, the federal government may now legally pry into citizens’ private business and medical records, librarians must hand over the names of people who have borrowed books from their library, and high schools must furnish to military recruiters the personal information of their students or lose their federal funding.

Jo Danehy, if you once identified with this movement, what has changed your mind? So far this anti-war movement has been joyous with a strong determination not to let this thing happen. But it has not been disrespectful. Yes, we encourage young men to avoid military service. Yes, we encourage military personnel to disobey orders to deploy. These are acts of courage in the face of a government gone mad with power. We are not disrespecting your son, but expressing our opposition to the insanity of our country acting unilaterally and waging an unprovoked war that would cause great destruction, suffering and loss of life.

Emily Alma

Drug war prisoner
My 8-year-old daughter, Ashley Epis, is currently on billboards throughout the state urging compassion, not 10 years in federal prison, for medical-marijuana patients and growers. I would like to ask readers of the Chico News & Review to please write Congress and ask it to pass the “States Medical Marijuana Rights Act.” You can do this at www.stopthedrugwar.org/medicalmarijuana and it takes only five minutes.

This act will allow people following state medical marijuana laws to avoid being incarcerated in federal prison for 10 years. It will also stop vindictive district attorneys and sheriffs from conspiring with federal agents to circumvent state law by prosecuting medical-marijuana cases federally, where prosecutors can manipulate the evidence, the defense can’t rebut and defendants can’t present evidence to show what they did was legal. I would never have been convicted in a Butte County Superior Court, and that is precisely why local authorities had my case transferred to federal court.

According to a recent Time/CNN poll, 80 percent of Americans believe that an adult should be able to use marijuana legally for medicinal purposes, and 83 percent of Americans believe the federal government should stop raiding medical cannabis dispensaries and leave regulation to the state. I was recently sentenced to 10 years in federal prison for the “crime” of “following California’s medical cannabis law and rulings of California judges.” I’m currently housed with bank robbers with three-year sentences and child molesters also serving three-year sentences.

I can be reached at: Prisoner of War, Brian Epis, 09636-097, 3600 Guard Road, Lompoc, CA 93436. I will write anyone who writes me. Please spend five minutes to help me, my 8-year-old daughter, and thousands of other citizens who are being terrorized by the federal government.

Brian Epis