Letters for December 19, 2013

Militia musings

Re “Cottonwood constitutionalists” (Cover feature, by Ken Smith, Dec. 12):

It’s said that a picture is worth a thousand words.

The cover shot of the “militia man” on the Dec. 13 issue of CN&R, along with the picture of “community watch” leader Jim Haagenson proudly sporting the NRA patch, pretty much describes what the “Cottonwood militia” is all about.

Based on this alone, Cottonwood is certainly not on the list of towns I would want to live in or even stop in for lunch.

Floyd Stearns

Ranting and vigilantism

Re “A homeless encounter” (Guest comment, by Michele French, Dec. 12) and “Cottonwood constitutionalists” (Cover feature, by Ken Smith, Dec. 12):

Your Dec. 12 issue was interesting. In the guest commentary, we get a rant against all homeless folks based on one event. Her solution is to basically put them on a forced march to somewhere (just not in her neighborhood) as though there is a “security fix” to being poor.

Then we get the militia story (I don’t know why downtown property owners don’t hire them, they seem so nice) that ends noting that communities around the nation are turning to vigilantism (my word) as public services diminish. Again, the “security fix” to social ills.

My bet is the political allies (if not champions) of both Ms. French and militia types are those in state government and Washington, D.C., who have no use for public services at all and have cut them deep into the bone in their celebration of the private sector and so-called “limited government.” Ain’t fascism great?

Beau Grosscup

More rebuttals to commentary

Re “A homeless encounter” (Guest comment, by Michele French, Dec. 12):

Michele French’s guest commentary is so contrary to the excellent piece she anonymously wrote about supplementing her Social Security income by collecting recyclables (see “Canning Way of Life,” Cover feature, June 13). Her understandably emotional tirade based on specific unpleasant encounters with homeless citizens only feeds the stereotypes and hate that all of us bums endure.

Would she be in favor of enforcement of laws prohibiting her canning way of life?

Further, the Chico Peace and Justice Center’s grab at the homeless limelight through its formation of Chico Homeless Action Team (see “Out of the cold,” Newslines, Dec. 12) is entirely premature. CPJC’s opening its doors to some homeless on below-freezing nights is noble, if not ill-advised on many levels.

For months, I was involved in dialogue with the CPJC on homeless issues, agreeing to participate formally only if its efforts were not largely duplicative (they are) and if its primary goal was to empower homeless individuals (it isn’t).

Fortunately, CPJC Director Chris Moore-Backman (who was unaware of CHAT’s alienating many of us bums) demonstrates qualities consistent with an organization whose name contains the word “peace” and “justice” as opposed to the condescension from many of those who want to chat about homelessness.

Don Regis-Bilar

It was cruelly prophetic to read the guest commentary that was so against the homeless citizens (yes, they are citizens) and the death of Nelson Mandela in the same week. Mandela was a man who was able to forgive and embrace the individuals who had virtually taken his life away, yet the author [of the guest commentary] could only condemn the homeless who said a few words to her.

Maybe it’s because I’m old, but the homeless never have been unkind or impolite to me.

Has she ever wondered why they are homeless and on the street? Could there be mental problems, drug problems, or other choices? I have often wondered how many of these homeless people were foster children who have no family support. Perhaps help, not criticism, would go further.

Sandy Boyd

Michele French has a point. Sometimes homeless people are a pain in the ass. Very often, people in general are a pain in the ass. Sartre said it best: “Hell is other people.” OK, now what?

We can have a tantrum and bellow stuff like this: “The homeless don’t want to behave. They don’t get along with others; they don’t want to.” Or, we can recognize how easily “homeless” becomes a label, like gypsy or faggot or nigger or … well, one of those people.

It always makes a good story, that one about how that homeless punk said this or that. Our lives aren’t that exciting, and who doesn’t appreciate a little drama? But, having recognized that “hell is other people,” life is still better if we try to love them. Just don’t expect to succeed; that only leads to frustration.

Patrick Newman

If Michele French were in fact “delicately threading her way through” the homeless and their gear, she might well have gone around the homeless person’s dog-food bowl or at least civilly excused herself when she stepped over it.

It is strange that you chose to publish her diatribe against the homeless in this season dedicated by most Americans to love and forgiveness. She is obviously full of hate, evidenced by her description of the homeless: “I meet stringy [whatever that means], weather-beaten men of indeterminate age with matted hair and beards, and women who look like troglodytes.” It is this type of class hatred that initiated the Holocaust and the encounter between Mark Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin who was killed by George Zimmerman.

Her hyperbole should be forgiven in the spirit of the season. She apparently knows not what she says.

Victor M. Corbett

Stop the one-sided blame

Re “Protesters target Target” (Newslines, by Ken Smith, Dec. 12):

If a group of Chico citizens takes the time to stand in a retail store’s parking lot and protest a company, which should they pick? Clothing and popular electronics produced in brutal sweatshop conditions? Conflict gems? Polluters?

Instead, the Chico Palestine Action Group has chosen to protest SodaStream, a company that employs 900 Arabs from the West Bank and Jerusalem. They protest a company known for offering fair wages, benefits and advancement opportunities, run by a CEO recognized for speaking out on behalf of the peace process and the dignity of all his workers. They protest a super “green” company that produces appliances for consumers to make their own soda water and drinks.

The logic that makes them choose SodaStream among all the world’s companies also motivates them to make Israel the focus of weekly vigils, while ignoring the gassing of civilians in Syria or the killing of protesters in Egypt.

Instead of engaging in one-sided blame, let’s work for dignity and self-determination for Palestinians, along with security and peace for the people of Israel, by supporting the peace negotiations led by our secretary of state and by promoting groups that foster Mideast dialogue and reconciliation.

Rabbi Julie Hilton Danan

Fox’s Xmas gaffe

It was enlightening that I learned that Fox News had put to rest the issue of Santa Claus’ ethnicity—that he is, without a doubt, Caucasian (Megyn Kelly’s comments on Fox News last week).

This is an important issue that had plagued the world for years, although the images posted on billboards, advertisements and television, or from department-store Santas, should have convinced us of this fact. Yet, there were still those misguided few who continued to question whether anyone other than those of Scandinavian descent had actually made it to the North Pole.

Given their history of providing “fair and balanced” commentary, I would hope Fox will continue with its revelations of the ethnicity of imaginary figures and settle the issues of the Tooth Fairy, the Sandman, and especially the Easter Bunny, who is known by most as a white rabbit. Following that, they can begin on the characters in Grimm’s fairy tales (what was the real color of the wolf in Little Red Riding Hood?). This is a service no other news agency has dared to address and I laud them for it.

Happily, I find there is one issue that Fox News has unequivocally settled, and that is that Fox newscasters are idiots!

W. Dean Carrier

What’s in the sky?

Re “Mystery overhead” (Greenways, by Evan Tuchinsky, Dec. 5):

Finally some media coverage. I have been witnessing this chemical aerosol spraying since I became aware of it in April 2013. Check out www.flightradar24.com when you see a jet plane blasting a big trail, and you’ll be surprised. If it is a commercial plane, flight radar will give you the details of what airline, destination, where it came from. It is great. Most of the really big trails are coming from European airlines (British Airways, Swissair, KLM, etc).

James Anthony

Re “About those trails” (Letters, by Mike Peters, Dec. 12):

It’s wonderful that you guys gave space to the chemtrail debate. Unfortunately, the response you printed by Mike Peters is quite uninformed.

Mr. Peters, have you ever heard of YouTube? I suggest you try it. There is a video of a KC 135 (NOT a C-130, and also not a civilian plane) which has only two engines, spraying no less than six lines of your “snow” behind it, and without changing altitudes, starts and stops your so-called “snow.” So unless David Blaine has begun working for the U.S. Air Force magically making C-130s look like KC-10s, I would suggest you do a little more research. Snow, by the way, actually melts and dissipates much faster than aluminum, barium and silver oxides.


Not long ago jet trails dissipated back into the atmosphere in just seconds. Not so much anymore. Many trails from jets are now a hundred miles long and stretch from Redding to Oroville! They don’t dissipate, but linger all day, spread out and butt up against other trails forming “clouds,” but eerie-looking clouds.

These are not condensation trails from a hot jet engine—these are aerosol trails purposely released into the air. Just observe the sky often and you will discover this. If you don’t have the time, watch the videos posted at www.geoengineeringwatch.org headed by North State researcher Dane Wigington.

Commercial jets run on daily schedules, like buses, and they travel the same routes. On some clear days you can see the jets; other days you don’t. Pilots can turn the spraying on or off. Observe this on free website: www.flightradar24.com. Jets seem to spray just before storm fronts, more morning spraying in the east, evening spraying in the west.

Maui citizens recognize the chemtrail problem on soil and crops and seek to pass an ordinance to stop it: www.mauiskywatch.org/the-maui-clean-sky-ordinance.

Byron Brace