Viewpoint: Continuous Presence -- Jews have walked the land for 3,300 years.
Viewpoint: The New Schools -- An open discussion is needed on evolving public education.
Viewpoint: Of Course Not -- Should we trust scientific conclusions based on half-truths?
Natural Resistance: Pledging to the Light -- Matching our words and our values.
Living Out: Getting There: No longer half the fun.
Letters: EW readers sound off.

Continuous Presence

Jews have walked the land for 3,300 years.

I love the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which grants us a free press and allows newspapers, such as Eugene Weekly, to publish without government interference. However, with this freedom newspapers assume the responsibility of accuracy and fairness.

When EW published "Families in Bethlehem" (4/11) they let us down. This article, with it's unsubstantiated photos and inaccurate account of the war in the Middle East, could foster misunderstandings within the community. We don't want Eugene to become another France where Jewish houses of worship were firebombed recently.

There has been an active peace lobby within Eugene's Jewish community that has worked for years towards the development a Palestinian state and a cessation of hostilities in that part of the world, and the right for Israel to exist.

Much history of Israel is misunderstood. Accurate historical knowledge will allow
your readers to better understand the situation.

-- Israel became a nation in 1312 BCE, 2,000 years before the rise of Islam. Arab refugees in Israel began identifying themselves as a part of a Palestinian people in 1967, two decades after the establishment of the modern state of Israel. The Jews have had a continuous presence in the land for the past 3,300 years. One Israeli, living in Eugene and attending the UO, has a family who has lived in the Galilee area of Israel for 500 years. Even if your family came over on the Mayflower, you would be a couple of hundred years short compared to her lovely family.

-- Arabs hold elected positions in the Israeli parliament and some even serve in the Israeli Army. Israel is the only democracy in the region.

-- Jerusalem is mentioned over 700 times in Tanach, the Jewish Holy Scriptures. King David founded the city of Jerusalem.

-- The Arabs are represented by eight separate nations, not including the Palestinians. There is only one Jewish nation. The Arab nations initiated five wars and lost. The PLO's Charter still calls for the destruction of the state of Israel.

-- In 1947 a U.N. resolution created an Israeli state and an Arab state. On May 14, 1948, the state of Israel was proclaimed and a Declaration of Independence was signed. On May 15, 1948, the armies of Egypt, Transjordan, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Saudi Arabia attacked Israel. Eight months of warfare ensued. Pakistan was also created in 1948 by a similar U.N. resolution, however, most people do not question Pakistan's right to sovereignty.

-- If the Palestinians had a Ghandi, King or Mandella to lead them to a modern state, the citizens of Israel would not be in constant fear of being blowup at the local pizza parlor and would return to a more liberal government.

-- There are Palestinians who see Israel's point of view. However, these Palestinians are at risk of being labeled as collaborators and murdered on the spot, as was the case two weeks ago when 10 of them were summarily executed by the Palestinian Authority (PA). There were no visible protests from the world's humanitarian community.

-- After the Gulf War, the leader of the Democracy movement inside Saudi Arabia was decapitated. I believe that if peace activists were to protest the activities of any of the surrounding Arab military dictatorships, or protest any activity within the PA jurisdiction, they would most likely be killed.

-- There is a lot of confusion regarding civilian casualties. German television recently concluded that the child who was killed in the territories during a firefight was actually killed by Palestinian gunmen. It is ironic that as part of the Oslo accords, the Israelis were required to supply the PA with weapons, which are now being used against them.

I would like to see the peace-loving Eugene family, the subject of the EW article,
mount a campaign of nonviolence in the tradition of Martin Luther King Jr. and campaign to stop Palestinian children from being trained as suicide bombers as an effort to further a political view.

Land for peace was the agreement from the Oslo accords, and maybe the solution isn't even 90 percent perfect, but it is a hell of a lot better than what is going on now.

Bob Kholos has lived in Eugene for 15 years. He is former press secretary to Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley and U.S. Senator Frank Church.

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The New Schools

An open discussion is needed on evolving public education.

Almost everyone will agree that public education needs as many public partnerships as possible to meet its potential. One exemplary example of this is the integration of the community's nonprofits in public education. They have successfully partnered with Oregon public schools for decades to expand educational choices to meet the interests and needs of our youth. It is time to more closely examine their role and potential in creating essential changes in public education as a whole. In Central Lane County, there are 16 of these unique programs and schools that currently provide a vast array of educational choices. Ten of them are Private Alternative Education Providers (a status created by law in the 1970's) and three are Charter Schools (a status created by law two years ago). They are publicly funded and are distinct from public alternative schools. At these schools, the average class size is 12 students per teacher and the educational services provided have been eliminated in many district schools. Parent and community involvement plays a very strong role in the success of these schools. The children who go to these schools come from families that range the spectrum in their politics, their income status and just about every other possible criterion. All children are welcome.

You have probably heard of them or know someone whose child goes to one of these programs or schools. They include, among others, Wellsprings Friends School, Impact! Arts, Home Source, Pioneer Youth Corp, Northwest Youth Corp, the Village School and the Center for Appropriate Transport. As a top administrator in the 4J school district has stated, "they are pioneers in education."

These programs don't proclaim to have all the answers for education. However, they are an integral part of the statewide educational goal that is specified in the Oregon Charter School Law. It states that "new types of schools -- be created as a legitimate avenue for parents, educators and community members to take responsible risks to create innovative and more flexible ways of educating children within the public school system." Despite what some may think, these organizations support public education. They are public education. Many of them work very closely with school districts and assist them by providing educational services to the most challenged youth in our community.

Both the federal and state departments of education support this sector of public education. Democrats and Republicans nationwide support charter schools, albeit for sometimes different reasons. For some, school choice is a right-wing issue. Interestingly enough however, in central Lane County there is a strong involvement by progressives in these programs and schools. This is important because these new schools aren't going away. In fact, in Eugene there are two new groups planning to start up in 2003.

Some folks think that these programs and schools are against public
schools. To the contrary, these programs are trying to ease the polarization that has sometimes emerged. One of the new groups, the Network Charter School, is actively looking for a 4J school partner to join its board in order to add to its diverse program offerings. For three of the partners (presently private alternative education providers) this step is an easy evolution as they already work within the school system. Two of the others have worked with schools and youth for years. Six local nonprofits working in partnership with the public schools to provide a diverse and rich educational curriculum!

These 16 programs have been meeting together monthly for over two years and have organized as the Lane Educational Alternatives Resource Network. The second edition of the Choices Catalog, which has detailed information on the LEARN programs, is presently available throughout the city or by calling the LEARN office. There is also a Spanish version available. The phone number for LEARN is 344-1229.

Public education as we know it is changing. How it will change is open to discussion. The public is invited to expand the much needed discussion by attending a free forum series at 7 pm April 30 and May 8 at the Eugene Hilton.

Jan VanderTuin is executive director of the Center for Appropriate Transport where he also teaches bicycle framebuilding. He is a co-founder of LEARN.

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Of Course Not

Should we trust scientific conclusions based on half-truths?

Gordon Kaswell wrote an article for this paper (4/11) in which he stated "the HIV theory of AIDS is wrong" and argued that HIV does not cause AIDS and that people don't die of AIDS. Kaswell may be an award-winning musician, but I'm not sure how that makes him qualified to write about health and/or science-related issues.    

His many assertions seem simple and logical but, in fact, are quite dangerous. True hard science requires one to look at all the information and not just a few bits. Anyone can, with good intention, look at lone bits of scientific fact and mistakenly come up with the wrong conclusion. It is only when we can look at all the facts and studies that we can begin to make
science-based judgments.

Case in point: Previously, people believed
that condoms were not effective in the fight against HIV/AIDS because HIV on a microscopic level is so small that it could pass though the microscopic holes in latex condoms. Anyone reading this might understandably think that condoms are not effective. Here's why this is so dangerous: What's missing is the information that HIV cannot travel on its own and must bond itself to a water molecule to travel. When joined, it cannot possibly slip though a microscopic hole in a latex condom.

Hearing only the first part of this would make anyone believe that condoms are ineffective and need not be used -- an awful and mistaken conclusion. But that's exactly what happens if we look at bits of information and make sweeping conclusions about fields we have no expertise in. We should not blindly believe in everything that scientists, or anyone else, tells us, but we should intelligently look at "converging evidence." Converging evidence means that many different paths and facts point to the same conclusion. When studying HIV, converging evidence indicates:

-- The virus exists -- it has been isolated.

-- When we treat it, people usually don't get sick.

-- When we stop treating it or we don't treat it at all, people usually do get sick.

Kaswell states "more than 50 different medical conditions, including pregnancy, can produce a positive HIV test, making the AIDS statistics in the U.S. questionable, at best." Once again, without all the information, this half-correct statement can dangerously mislead the public to erroneous conclusions that will affect their health and the public's health.

What facts are missing
from Kaswell's sweeping conclusion? It is true that the first test is done at the lab may be affected by other medical conditions. What is not mentioned is that all positive HIV test results are immediately retested before this result ever leaves the lab with an altogether different HIV antibody test. This second test is more accurate and is one way labs ensure that false positive results don't happen. This information is not obscure and is widely known and available at any testing site in the state. A responsible writer would know this information. Maybe this might help all of us see how dangerous Kaswell's assumptions and conclusions are.

Would you believe me if I told you that the Earth didn't revolve around the sun, that I learned this from the Internet, by studying quotes that other folks have already pulled out of context from famous astronomers?

Of course not.

Curtis Borloglou-Boyd is gay-bi outreach director at the HIV Alliance in Eugene.

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Natural Resistance by Mary O'Brien
Pledging to the Light
Matching our words and our values.

A Gary Larsen cartoon shows astronomer Carl Sagan as a young child. He's looking up at the night sky, saying something like, "Wow! There must be HUNDREDS of stars!"

Perhaps the following could be a similar picture of someone who was destined to be a biologist: At school as a child, I remember reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. What thrilled me was the heartbeat under my hand. There it was, every morning, beating, just as it had been when I last checked, the morning before. It had a quiet, pulsing rhythm. It was me, alive, inside there. Very mysterious.

I haven't stood up for or saluted any flag, or recited any pledge of allegiance since grade school, and likely never will, but it's not because I'm trying to make some political point or be obstinate. It's just that if I ask myself whether I really give my allegiance to a flag or a nation (or even any person, right or wrong), I have to admit the answer is "no."

Which leads to the question of what I do give allegiance to. I suppose to Earth, the only home I know. Also to open democracy, the best form of government I've heard of (and the U.S. is not the only democracy in the world). And to personal integrity.

Two Saturdays ago, friends and family gathered
in Whittier, Calif., for the memorial service of my 90-year-old mother-in-law, Helen O'Brien. At one time a member of the Communist Party, she ceased that allegiance once she learned how Stalin was behaving. During the '30s in the South, she helped organize the Southern Tenant Farmers Union, an early integrated organization of blacks and whites. During World War II, she and her husband, University of Washington sociology Prof. Robert O'Brien, worked to find inland college openings for Japanese-American students who were incarcerated in the West Coast's "relocation" camps. They were able to get more than 5,000 young Japanese-Americans out of the camps and into college during the war years.

With a masters degree in social work, Helen first worked in a Seattle orphanage; and then for 23 years taught in and headed a public school unit for cerebral palsy children in Whittier. She finished her last teaching stint with these children, at age 80, filling in for one teacher for three months.

A Quaker, Helen participated in and chaired numerous committees for the American Friends Service Committee, the social action organization that reflects the spirit, goals, and processes of the Quaker religion. When she died this February, she was serving on the Executive Committee for the Southwest and the Mideast Peace Committee.

I think of intelligent, capable, wise Helen. I never saw a flag around her home. As she was a traditional Quaker, I doubt she pledged allegiance to any flag, because Quakers' allegiance goes to the light that exists in each person, no matter what religion or nation. (Quakers don't stand up for judges, either; it would imply that judges are more important than other humans.) And yet, I doubt anybody who ever met Helen during her 90 years would question that she was one of those great citizens and humans who, when they see problems, work in positive, effective ways to solve them.

Any crowd reciting any pledge of allegiance to anything is faintly    
frightening to me, because people acting as part of a group to which they are "loyal" have often been willing to undertake inhumane, destructive, or shameful acts that they never would have approved if they were thinking individually. However, throughout the years, no one has ever acted belligerently toward me as I sit while they stand to pledge allegiance to the flag; I am grateful for that. It is a testament to their tolerance. I return their graciousness by thinking about fine things other than nations to which I do offer my allegiance.

We can only believe what we truly believe. And we can only strive to utter words that truly reflect what we love, and what we believe will help the world that holds us all.

Mary O'Brien has worked as a public interest scientist for the past 20 years. She can be reached at

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Getting There
No longer half the fun.

Just thinking about travel overwhelms me.

Used to be I could load up my guitar and backpack and stand on the freeway ramp with my dog until a van with a "Sisters Pick Up Sisters" bumper sticker would pull over. Off I'd go, open to whatever adventure the universe would provide. I have a lot of sweet memories from those days, many of which involve pubic lice.

But now that I'm happily nesting, traveling is much more of a hassle -- all the planning, schlepping, paying a housesitter to take care of our pets and plants and eat up our Haagen Dasz. But this summer, our friends Kathy and Marilyn, who have been together since the Pleistocene, are finally getting married. This is one wedding Sweetie and I wouldn't miss for the world, so we are packing our bags and flying to Vermont.

I dread getting on an airplane. I worry about the hijacking thing and whether the captain has missed any AA meetings. I'm scared that the space where you can see through to the tarmac between the ramp and the plane door might suddenly widen mid-stride, like that moment at the end of the escalator when even though you're almost positive you'll make it off in one well-timed, nonchalant step, you still picture your toe getting caught and the unstoppable force sucking you under.

But hesitating at the aircraft doorway is dangerous because the rest of the passengers are in a big hurry to elbow their way to an available overhead bin into which they will stuff their enormous carry-on bags. I always seem to get stuck in the aisle behind some guy trying to stow a huge army duffel bag containing a live manatee. It would take a snow plow to cram that bag into the bin. But, as everyone knows, as of Sept. 11th we can no longer carry snow plows on board.

No way that bag passed the carry-on measurement test on the sign back in the terminal. That is the problem with the honor system. Even though the size limit is very specifically illustrated and passengers are instructed -- in writing -- to check bags that don't comply, anyone with a diploma can tell you: People cheat. Some passengers will do anything to avoid checking their oversized bags. They have their reasons. Maybe they don't want the baggage crew handling their manatees.

Even though the plane is listing dramatically to the manatee side, everyone is glad when we are finally ready for takeoff. You're wedged into a seat so narrow that part of your butt squishes up along the armrests, proving that humans actually have a lot in common with water balloons. When the plane is taxiing on the runway all the oxygen is sucked out of the cabin and replaced by jet fuel fumes mixed with re-circulated air that sick people have sneezed out. Everyone sits tight, all buckled in, praying that the manatees don't come crashing down.

I am willing to endure this hassle because attending a lesbian wedding is a profound spiritual experience. It is also an important opportunity to unload a lot of money. Wedding guests spend big bucks on transportation, room taxes, restaurants, wedding gifts and souvenirs and generally stimulate the state's economy -- not to mention each other. The betrothed couple shells it out for rings, flowers, music, food and photographers. If you live in a state that doesn't have a law recognizing same-sex unions, you might want to remind your legislators that these weddings bring wads of cash into their host states, which, as of 2002, include: Vermont. Right on, Vermont!

When you consider that 36 states have recently passed laws against gay marriage, the task ahead is pretty daunting. It takes chutzpah to do all that calling and writing letters to lawmakers and sending checks to gay rights organizations. Fighting for equality is a huge hassle. But hey, if I can get on an airplane ...

Sally Sheklow has been a part of the Eugene community since 1972 and is a member of the WYMPROV! comedy troupe. Her column, which began at EW, also runs in several other newspapers and magazines around the country.

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It was unethical, because it might result in somebody's death, to print Gordon Kaswell's Viewpoint (4/11) that "HIV doesn't cause AIDS," without also providing a link to the rebuttal.

I ask, why are the prominent scientists, who believe this theory, unwilling to prove it by infecting themselves with HIV? Why has their research been sponsored by tobacco industry money?

Unlike straight porno, professional gay videos have commendably used condoms since the 1980s when many performers died of AIDS. Condoms and drugs aimed at HIV have lowered the death rate. These gains are threatened by the recent popularity of bareback sex, as seen in amateur Internet videos.

The straight porn stars' ritual of pulling out for the "money shot" probably lowers their risk of HIV-1 infection. Unlike other sexually transmitted infections, HIV-1 is about 10 times harder to get from oral or vaginal sex than anal sex. Heterosexual HIV-1 infections have also been limited because most heterosexuals have few partners and infrequent sex.

HIV-2, which is common in Africa, is more easily spread heterosexually and it has been detected in America despite the U.S. government telling local health departments not to test for it. Without any HIV-2 testing it could be decades before a mass infection was noticed in America because of the long period before symptoms appear.

I agree that no medical journal has published a paper showing HIV causes AIDS, but I wouldn't bet my life.

Thomas Kraemer

Of course any humane person is pained by the violence in the Middle East. The complexities of the conflict are daunting, the tragedy deep, the solutions elusive. One looks for reporting that communicates all shades of opinion. Alas, I do not find it in your publication. Regarding your recent reports from the West Bank (4/11), it would be much easier to take the self-described international peace activists as truly committed to the cause they espouse if they would also act as "shields" and "observers" in Israel. Let them stand on Jaffa Street and Mahane Yehuda market in Jerusalem, ride the buses, eat at restaurants, party in cafes, or attend a seder in Netanya, all of which have been the murder victims (both Jew and Arab) of Palestinian suicide bombers.

There are stories on both sides. Let me share one from a friend in Haifa, where I teach and work as a visiting professor. "Dear friends and colleagues: Just to give you a clue what is going here, yesterday, Sunday, March 31, 14:45 on my street a Palestinian suicide bomber murdered 16 people in my local restaurant. Mr. Ron Aviel, one of the Israeli survey mangers, a colleague and childhood friend with two of his children are dead. A second family, our best friends in Haifa, the Ofir family, lost their daughter and the other members are wounded. In one event [there are more casualties in Israel] than [in] all the Gulf War-- During March, 120 civilian Israelis were killed by the Palestinian bombers. If you take it proportionally to the Israeli population, it is more then those who were killed Sept. 11. We continue to hope to see one day a political solution for all this situation. Yoram and Boli"

Let us hope that essential American political intervention will lead to a cessation of killing and the beginning of a lasting peace.

Kenneth Helphand

I would like to thank George Beres for putting the much-derided UFO issue in a serious light, where it should be ("Unlock the Files" 4/18). I have viewed much of the evidence at hand and attended the private Disclosure salon with many important figures in Eugene's progressive community. I would, however, like to clear up a few misconceptions.

First, the article states that the solutions to our looming energy crisis can be solved with free-energy technology derived from the study of ET craft. In actuality, human beings have already been advancing in the science behind this technology without any relation to UFO phenomena, though the fruit of their work has been largely suppressed in order to eliminate competition with the fossil fuel economy.

Mr. Beres states that Dr. Steven Greer, director of the Disclosure Project, "does not blame the CIA, the Pentagon, or major political figures," though this is definitively untrue. The CIA and Pentagon are deeply implicated in these matters by Dr. Greer, though it is clear from the nature of the secrecy that much of their staff are not involved. Consequently, many senior government officials who have been briefed by Dr. Greer have come forward to offer critical support to the disclosure effort.

The goal of Disclosure is to bring under public scrutiny and objective congressional investigation the voluminous evidence and firsthand witness testimony with regards to these matters. Dr. Greer will be speaking at 7 pm Thursday, April 25 at the Eugene Hilton.

David Caruso

Permit me to suggest that the conflict between those who advocate the use of violence to bring about social change and those who advocate nonviolence for the same reason is a distraction.

While we bicker among ourselves, those who possess the real power in this world are well pleased. It has always been their delight to foster deadly hatred among those who oppose them with the sure knowledge that -- to reverse a popular chant -- the people, divided, are easily defeated.

Those who believe that violence can result in positive change, or who see no alternative to it as a tool of resistance, have their reasons. So, likewise, do those who believe, as I do, that violence is counter-productive and that nonviolence provides a superior resistance tool.

Because those who align themselves in each of these camps hold their beliefs so passionately, it may be difficult to find ways to work together. But we don't necessarily have to work together (though it can be done). All we need to do is not trash each other. We need to acknowledge that others upholding different pieces of the truth can nonetheless be equally dedicated to seeking a more just world. A little respect for their viewpoints goes a long way. If we are firmly committed to our own beliefs, we need not be threatened by the beliefs of others. After all, if any of us actually knew how to bring about a better world, we would have done it by now.

Peter Bergel, executive director
Oregon PeaceWorks, Salem

Les Castle (4/18) expresses his disappointment that not all anarchists have been injured by the cops and/or imprisioned. In this sentiment he reveals his basic allegiance.

His repeated references to "leaders" also reveals a basic ignorance about the meaning of anarchy.

I do not own a house, and my guess is that my income is a tiny percentage of his. Others have regretted that I wasn't beaten or arrested at the June 1999 riot, in Seattle, etc. Sorry to disappoint them. Castle has no idea who does what, at night or otherwise, and he seems to have no clue as to why anyone is disgusted by this society. In my experience, those who opt out of the consumerist death machine do so because they grasp its nature, not because they "naively" consume others' opinions.

John Zerzan

Hart Williams uses the word "hate" seven times in his letter (4/11), yet he fails to provide us with a single example of what he considers hate speech by a talk radio personality. Evidently anyone who doesn't buy into the "progressive" doctrine can be dismissed as a "hatemeister." Some people seem to think that they can substitute inflammatory slogans and name calling for a logical, rational and mature discussion of the issues.

Obviously talk radio is mostly slanted to the right just as alternative newspapers are mostly slanted to the left. The talk jocks openly acknowledge their conservative ideology. Most of these shows encourage listeners to call in (or e-mail) if they disagree with the host. Unlike newspapers, talk radio doesn't operate with any pretense of objectivity.

It really isn't necessary to "rein in the rants." The majority of Americans are intelligent enough to recognize rhetoric, propaganda, or factual distortions when they hear or read them.

Douglas Newton

I've been a nonviolence trainer for 28 years. No one has yet provided me a good enough argument to throw aside my understanding of classical nonviolence -- the principles upon which Thoreau, Tolstoy, Gandhi, Day, King, Chavez, Walesa, Mandela, Deming, Esquivel, both Aquinos, and countless others less known, based their brilliant action and campaign strategies. But somehow their parts remain the lesser-known pieces of history, and thus we have frustrated, power-seeking (and ill-informed) activists who still think violence is more powerful and necessary.

Periodically throughout history, society-savers or planet rescuers fueled by urgency and a blinded by righteousness have drawn lines, named enemies, and justified both property violence and interpersonal violence in the name of their vision. But is it strange to anybody that after more than 50 years of escalating violence, things in the Middle East are less stable, and certainly more unjust, than ever? When interpersonal attack replaces respectful struggle in a common cause, it's always going to be a case of "Meet the new boss -- same as the old boss."

Comprehending the greater power of nonviolence entails first a personal paradigm shift, and then, ideally, a societal shift of similar dimensions. If an activist or politician hasn't made such a shift of understanding, their work will only perpetuate an endless revolution which guarantees further suffering and injustice, no matter the superiority of their cause. The way things are going in Eugene -- judging by recent pages in EW -- I am wondering if even Dubya might beat some of our local hotheaded activists to that shift.

Vip B. Short

Let us seek to break the downward spiral of de-humanization and attack words and relate to one another as human beings. Is it possible to have a civil exchange about whether violence is helping or hindering the achievement of social change goals?

My assertion that certain published materials are "rationalizing violence" can be evaluated by others who examine the source material. I have been referred to as an "authoritarian" (as if a column can do anything but persuade), an elitist armchair observer (after numerous arrests for nonviolent civil disobedience), and a "bleating" defender of corporate capitalism (after organizing two co-operatives and a precedent-setting initiative for democratic control over corporations). Discrediting character is incredibly easy when 50,000 people read about a person but only 100 actually know him/her.

A request to have the anarchist video series include the movie Gandhi was answered with a smashed videotape. Why is another perspective so threatening? On April 10, the "Cascadia Alive" TV program broadcast footage of Jesus being forced to drag the crucifixion cross. Superimposed over his face was mine. Does anyone see the downward spiral?

In an age when technology has magnified exponentially the capacity to wreak destruction, has it not become incontrovertibly clear that the willingness to inflict violence has itself become the pre-eminent threat to humanity's survival? As we stand on the precipice of nuclear/biological horrors and ecosystem breakdown, will humanity finally see -- along with Martin Luther King -- that our choice has become "nonviolence or non-existence"?

Abundant historical examples of the power of nonviolence can be seen in the excellent documentary A Force More Powerful at 7:30 pm Monday, April 29 at the Wesley Center,1236 Kincaid.

Spruce Houser

The line that jumped out at me when I read Leon Czolgosz's rebuttal to Spruce Houser (4/11), was "[Green Anarchy's] expressed lack of care at the lives lost of capitalist and law enforcement pigs on Sept. 11th." Apparently, despite the anarchy movement's declaration that it is directed at property and not at people, Mr. Czolgosz and his cohorts at Green Anarchy feel that the deaths of some subhumans (literally, "pigs") are acceptable if they happen to draw their paychecks from the wrong source.

With this in mind, I'd like to know what exactly Green Anarchy's position is on the thousands of capitalist sellouts who died that day, burned or suffocated or crushed beneath the weight of those giant towers of corporate greed. I also wonder what they think of the hundreds of firefighters killed while trying to save the lives of the Man's workers. I invite them to travel to New York and express their opinions directly to the families of those worthless consumer drones. Heck, I'll even pay for the bus tickets -- one-way, of course.

Kelly St.Clair

I am writing in response to the news item "Bonner is Back" (4/11) in which Mike Bonner launches an attack on Bev Stein. It is first of all ironic that he uses something so benign as Re-evaluation Counseling as the object of his criticism. What I find truly disturbing, however, is his use of this type of attack itself. Bonner is certainly not the first to fall prey to this temptation, but he focuses on one aspect of Stein's past and uses it to try to discredit everything she has to say. This strategy is not only political suicide, but undermines everything progressives are struggling to preserve.

As an example, it is fairly well known that George W. Bush is descended from at least one active Ku Klux Klan member. Yet, of all the things to criticize Bush for, this is not one that I am willing to use. It might make sense to be extra vigilant in this area, or to ask him to explain his position on the issue, but to use it to jump to a foregone conclusion is neither fair nor helpful.

Our Bill of Rights and Constitution guarantee an individual's freedom to explore any social, political, or spiritual affiliations they choose, even if others find them odd or distasteful. It is a crucial time in history for all of us (from anywhere on the political spectrum) to vehemently stand up for these rights, for ourselves and each other. In any case, whether Bev Stein was once (or still is) a Re-evaluation counselor, Grateful Dead fan, Jehova's Witness, lesbian, Scientologist, or aikido master has much less bearing on her fitness to serve as governor than her actual ideas, stance on the issues, and effectiveness as a leader.

It saddens me to see progressives using this tactic at all, but to see them use it on other progressives is heartbreaking. This is the time for cooperative coalition-building if ever there was one. That which unites us truly is far more important than that which divides us.

Art Peck

The convenience of late post office hours at the main office on Willamette for those of us taxpayers trying to make the midnight deadline was a stressor for many.

I, along with dozens of others, arrived to locked doors, not a soul inside, and no signs indicating that the 9 pm posted pickup on the outside boxes would be extended to midnight. Not trusting that our returns would get the promised April 15th postmark, a group of us, to no avail, ended up going around the building trying to raise anyone who could affirm that the pickup was indeed going to happen at the street drop. Many of us made a frenzied drive out to the Gateway office. I would simply hope that after stating the extended hours on local television and radio news and on the post office voicemail, that someone could in some way have directed us weary taxpayers.

Andrew Vertal

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