Was it Worth It?
Bin Laden is dead. Saddam is dead. Our invasions have caused tens of thousands of deaths and trillions of dollars to get rid of these two bad guys. 9/11 is avenged. Yay, U.S.A. Was it worth it? There are more terrorists in the world today thanks to our killing and maiming their families. Our great-great-great-great children’s credit cards are maxed out—a debt that can never be paid back. Social programs are closed down. Veterans, scarred for life, come back to the good old USA to gasoline over $4.00 a gallon, to no jobs. We brag and brag and wave the flag and shout “We did it.” Yes, we did. We got rid of two demons (who, incidentally once worked for us). May I borrow your flag to wave? Mine has bloodstains on it. Mine cost a billion dollars per square inch. Was it worth it?
California Revenue Solutions
Among the most crucial revenue solutions that could easily help generate billions of dollars for California’s Economic and Family Recovery are enacting an oil severance fee, eliminating secret corporate tax loopholes and applying a “jobs test” to unsuccessful tax breaks that don’t produce jobs.
Enact an Oil Severance Fee: California is the only oil-producing state in the world that does not tax oil production. Furthermore, an oil severance fee is imposed on the process of extracting oil from the ground and is not passed on to the producers or consumers.
Eliminate Secret Corporate Tax Loopholes: In 2009, the legislature passed a series of secret corporate tax loopholes that go into effect this year. Not only do these loopholes unfairly benefit some of the wealthiest corporations operating in California, but they also destabilize our state budget and force the state to make steep cuts to essential healthcare and social services programs—many which do have a proven track record of creating and maintaining public and private-sector jobs for Californians.
Apply a Jobs Test to Unsuccessful and Costly Corporate Tax Breaks: Enterprise zones and other corporate subsidies have demonstrated absolutely no impact on job creation/retention in California. By eliminating widely discredited enterprise zones, favorable treatment for like-kind exchanges, water’s edge tax havens and other unjustified tax expenditures, California could generate an additional $1 billion in revenues.
California can recover without additional taxation by closing tax loopholes and corporate breaks when Proposition 13 was passed and are still in place. This was the other part of Prop 13 that citizens’ were unaware of at the time.
Bring the Troops Home
I reference the warm and fuzzy front page photo and ensuing article in Parade magazine on April 24, 2011, depicting Michelle Obama and Jill Biden as they attempt to entice us to embrace their campaign to “provide support and pro-bono services” for the families of U.S. troops fighting overseas. Instead, these two should use their collective will to “get our troops home” to be with their families where they belong and not deploy maneuvers to “keep the war going.”
They can refocus their campaign to rally support “on the home front” and build housing for our long-suffering homeless people. Additional outreach also needs to be extended to all the manufactured abuse of rodeo, circus, farm animals, etc., that is masquerading as entertainment.
This will be a “win-win” situation for all of the abovementioned disenfranchised groups and will be in keeping with the biblical passage of “do unto others as you would want them to do unto you.”
A Voice for the Voiceless
A fellow inmate receives your newspaper and I really enjoyed it. I’m into progressive action and want my voice to be heard because not only do I speak for myself, I also speak for the voiceless. I’d like to be a regular contributor to your great paper and bring to the people’s attention what really goes on behind these walls. The torture, the scams, the racketeering. I speak the real facts based on what I’ve seen, know and understand. So, I come with the truth.
It will be a blessing if you allow me to contribute to your newspaper. I thank you for your time, consideration and hope to become a regular contributor to your paper.
Pelican Bay State Prison
(Editor’s note: You can read Daniel’s first contribution to the Community Alliance in the Opinion and Analysis section)
Tonee Mello ¡Presente!
Recently, while doing my Jazz with Jim program on KFCF (88.1 FM), Annie came into the studio with tears in her eyes. She had been reading the Community Alliance more carefully than I had, and she gave me the article about the tragic death of Tonee Mello in his home in Mexico.
We both had difficulty sleeping last evening. To call Tonee a close friend would be a stretch. His coming to Fresno and starting the Food Not Bombs work, needle exchange and the ill-fated KFRF radio station were very important for both Annie’s and my coming into the peace and social justice community here in Fresno.
We had recently moved from the Midwest to Reedley and then on to Fresno, but we didn’t know lots of people in the peace community outside of our church connections. Meeting Tonee and watching him work across so many diverse communities was like a breath of fresh air to us.
We were part of the first group of volunteers with Food Not Bombs (fixing, transporting and serving the food to hungry souls at the park).
When Tonee did the legwork of setting up the low-power radio station in central Fresno, Annie and I decided to spend our time with that project and did shifts on the air and were at every meeting of the “staff” (unpaid, of course) until—after having one of our transmitters stolen and losing three locations for placing the antenna and the second transmitter—the energy went out of that process.
I am sad to say that we never got involved in the needle exchange program. I don’t think either Annie or I had the guts to do that important work.
Since moving to Fresno I have been arrested once and have been involved in a number of protests and street corner demonstrations. In some real sense, I can thank Tonee and his gentle approach to peace and social justice issues for those experiences.
I know his many friends here in Fresno are feeling the anger and the depression around the loss of this great soul. Annie and I send our thoughts and prayers to Tonee’s family and to his very close friends here and in all parts of the world where Tonee landed to do his work. He will be so missed.
Thank you Mike [Rhodes] for bringing us the bad news that I am sure won’t show up in any other media here in Fresno. This community will miss Tonee’s gentle presence.
Jim and Annie Compton-Schmidt