Letters to the Editor, January 13, 2021

Constitutionally speaking...

It will come as no surprise, to many of you, that I attended UC Berkeley in the 1960s. There I studied History, English, Philosophy, Comparative Religion and Political Science. I only mention this to explain why I have, in my bookcase, a copy of the Declaration of Independence, Articles of Confederation and the Constitution of the United States. I have had occasion to refer to this book quite often, lately.

January 6, 2021… what a day. We had rallies, protests, marches, riots, insurrection, domestic terrorism and yes, treason. All of these things were promoted and sanctioned by the sitting President of the United States. People died, four by last count, all of them in the commission of felonious acts. How stupid do you have to be to climb through a destroyed security window in the U.S. Capitol Building and not expect to get shot? What did these people think would be the results of their actions? So now we can add felony murder charges to the above crimes. If you do not know the “Felony Murder” rule, look it up.

 So many things went wrong yesterday, so many that it will take weeks to sort out the charges and yet as of this writing only 26 people had been arrested. You all know, the world knows, if these had been people of color, hundreds would be dead and many more incarcerated. 

If these were people of color they would not have been taking “selfies” with Capitol Police or in the offices of the leadership or on the floor of the Senate. Most of these people flunked protest rule number 1, they showed their faces. They were proud of what they had done and had no fear of reprisals. One idiot woman, interviewed by a reporter said they did not go far enough “We should have dragged the senators out of the building by their hair” and then what lady? Public beatings, Public hangings?

There have been incidents in the U.S. chambers before, but none as bad as this. The Congress reconvened and finished their work. But there are 121 Congressmen and seven Senators that still don’t get it… words have consequences! Less than 20 days from now there will be a new and different administration. There will be new sheriffs in town, in the Justice Department and in the FBI. Those guys in suits sighted yesterday milling among the rioters, were FBI taking close-up pictures of the perps.

Let there be consequences. Let there be justice. And for God’s sake get those people out of Washington, D.C.

Thank you for listening,
Jan Phelps

KMUD has become a hive of crackpots

As a longtime listener of Southern Humboldt’s KMUD Redwood Community Radio, I am earnestly encouraging the residents of Northern Humboldt County to stop donating to KMUD and begin raising money for the collective creation of a true community radio station in Northern Humboldt worth listening to, unlike the former NPR knockoff KHSU (R.I.P.).

Problem No. 1 at KMUD is the apparent lack of quality control by station management in regards to their often unhinged, delusional, fact-free conspiracy theory garbage barely passing as public affairs and political programming.  Yes, as you may have heard, KMUD is in fact crazy.

Don’t get me wrong.  There are numerous non-conspiratorial shows on KMUD that are compelling and well-crafted, but there is no question that KMUD is in desperate need of a programming overhaul and a generational reboot.  (Or as young folks say, OK Boomer.)

KMUD should kick its mentally feeble, overly paranoid people to the curb for the station’s sake and revise its lineup which now unnecessarily and inexplicably includes multiple hosts obsessed with a crockpot of craziness like QAnon and 5G conspiracies, anti-vaxxer nonsense, baseless GMO-phobia, black helicopter sightings, anti-Semitic racist ramblings about international bankers, and calls for moronic militant mob violence against businesses and government employees and against anyone else who doesn’t toe their laughable lunatic line.

For some strange reason, the lunatics are running the asylum at KMUD, and this sad situation has only become worse in recent years (except for their still excellent news department). Speaking of their news department, former two-term Humboldt County Supervisor Estelle Fennell successfully ran KMUD’s news department for 17 years.  And how did KMUD reward Democrat Estelle Fennell for her many years of service to the little pot-funded radio station in Redway?

In 2016, perhaps the most irrational, idiotic host on KMUD’s airwaves – Bud Rogers, chem trail enthusiast - ran against Estelle Fennell for Second District Supervisor and thankfully Rogers lost to Fennell by over 50 percent.  And while Rogers was a declared political candidate running against Fennell, Rogers was misusing KMUD’s airwaves to promote his own political candidacy in direct violation of station policy against hosts using their shows to endorse political candidates.  Rogers was endorsing himself. 

I contacted KMUD management at the time and suggested Bud Rogers take a temporary break from the airwaves while he was actively campaigning for office, which Rogers eventually did involuntarily.  Still though, the idea that it took a phone call from a lowly listener like me to get KMUD management to pay attention to its own policies was less than encouraging.

Then in 2020, a kooky KMUD engineer named Michael McKaskle challenged Estelle Fennell in the primary election and McKaskle was rejected by the voters even more harshly than Bud Rogers was!  

Crackpot McKaskle is fond of using the station’s airwaves to angrily insist upon the innocence of former KGB Lieutenant Colonel Vladimir Putin and his murderous Russian dictatorship as supposedly blameless for any of America’s recent Trump troubles.

Now in large part because of KMUD giving so much free air time to greedy local yokels bizarrely blaming Estelle Fennel personally for marijuana legalization decreasing their drug-dealing profits, Fennell narrowly lost her re-election bid in November to a Chamber of Commerce Republican named Michelle Bushnell who is now your new Second District county supervisor, Southern Humboldt.  

 Jake Pickering

Letters policy

Wise words for Biden

I was recently drawn to PBS News commentator Mark Shields’s response when asked for the basis of his political philosophy. He cited the 2nd sentence of this excerpt from FDR’s 1937 inauguration speech.

“We are determined to make every American citizen the subject of his country’s interest and concern; and we will never regard any faithful law-abiding group within our borders as superfluous. The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.”

Together, I find these two lines express a philosophy totally unlike President Trump’s. Trump favors exclusion. He has consistently fought against protections for “Dreamers,” undocumented migrants who arrived in the U.S. as children. And he has often spoken out against Mexican and Moslem immigrants as well as those from countries he deems less than desirable.

Trump’s domestic policies favor the “haves” over the “have nots.” His Tax Reform Bill disproportionately benefits the very rich and large corporations. And he has an obsession with killing the ACA (Obamacare) which provides health care coverage for otherwise uninsured millions.

Soon President-elect Joe Biden will give his inauguration speech. He will get an opportunity to present a new direction for leadership. 

When it comes to the government’s treatment of all of us as individuals, citizens or not, I think Biden would be hard pressed to improve on the wise old words of FDR.

Sherman Schapiro



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