Letters for January 12, 2017

Looking for answers

Dear Rep. LaMalfa: You stand at a pivot point. Indisputably. And your constituents deserve to know what direction you will turn. Millions of people who have received life-saving health care are now in danger of losing their lifeline to hope. Legislation is being formulated that would gut or repeal or “privatize” its services. You will be among the first to decide the question of keeping or killing this fundamental necessity of the American people. Now. Within days.

I believe that your constituents immediately deserve to know how you intend to vote with regards to their health care, which is why I am forwarding this to several local news outlets. Pre-existing conditions would once again be death sentences for those no longer able to get health care. Will you allow that to happen to your constituents? If so, we deserve to know our fate. I am expecting a specific and comprehensive reply, and I imagine a few others are as well. What bills will you vote for, and what bills will you vote against?

Paul R. Switzer


Editor’s note: Despite CN&R’s multiple attempts to arrange an interview with Mr. LaMalfa through his local and Washington offices and via Facebook over the course of the last four weeks, he did not comment in time for this week’s cover story (see page 20).

Speaking of Congress

“You can’t fix stupid!” This saying, previously popularized by comedian Ron White, seemed funny. But I believed you actually could fix stupid through education. Then we got the 214th Congress and the (sort of) election of Donald Trump.

I used to consider “stupid” to be synonymous with “uneducated.” Obviously, that was a poorly examined belief, and if I had gone back through history, I’d have found that many pillars of science, society and politics were “uneducated” in the sense that they had no formal schooling. In contrast, the education level in Congress is relatively high, where only 5 percent have less than a bachelor’s degree. So, I must also concede that “smart” and “educated” are two cats of a different color.

Therefore, I must fall back on “common sense” being the “basic ability to perceive, understand and judge things that is shared by nearly all people and can reasonably be expected of nearly everyone without need for debate.” The key here is “perceive, understand and judge,” three elements many elected officials and almost all Trump supporters lack.

The leadership of our country is moving toward an educated cadre of people with no common sense and a total unwillingness to even consider facts. Welcome to a new era.

Dean Carrier


Trump talk

“T” party Trump hasn’t even taken the oath of office yet and disaster strikes in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. How many times did this blowhard (Trump) play the terror card during his P.T. Barnham-like campaign? The same campaign that was hacked by Trump’s puppetmaster comrade Vladimar Putin. “T” party Trump swears to be damned that his fellow comrade Putin had nothing to do with the meddling of the presidential election, and yet his idol “Bad Vlad” boasts of his accomplishment and the entire Russian parliament stands in ovation when comrade Trump steals the election through the obsolete and racist Electoral College.

“T” party Trump is a liar’s liar. How many times did he tell his uneducated white mobster crowds that Mexico would pay for his great wall? Now small-hands Don informs us that even the 3 million of us voters who didn’t vote for this belligerent bully will pay for his supposed wall through our hard-earned taxes. “T” party members justify Trump’s existence by telling themselves he’s no Billy Graham or Pope Francis—they got that one right.

Ray Estes


After a century of hardline anticommunism, during which our government ruined the lives of many American citizens on the mere accusation of belonging to communist organizations; destroyed entire nations, causing the violent deaths of millions of men, women and children; threw away the lives of 58,000 American soldiers in Vietnam, and then turned away while an equal number of veterans of that war committed suicide; and—the list goes on—now, the same people are complicit in accepting a president who has been installed through the machinations of a Russian dictator. Really and truly, you couldn’t make this stuff up.

Nelson Kaiser


‘Don’t vilify peacemakers’

Re “Dunces” (Letters, by Norman Beecher, Jan. 5):

I loved Norman’s Beecher’s quote from Jonathan Swift and the general message of his letter. I was disappointed, though, with him calling Vladimir Putin the “most dangerous tyrant in the world.” I urge you to get information from sources other than U.S. mainstream media.

Please notice Syria isn’t in the news anymore. A ceasefire, with no U.S. involvement, has been agreed to among Turkey, Syria, Russia and the Syrian rebels—even the rebels the U.S. backed. Rebels agreed to lay down their arms and go home.

It was that tyrant Putin who called those countries together to work out the ceasefire. The spirit of the ceasefire and evacuation of east Aleppo those same countries worked out three weeks ago has spread throughout Syria.

The gruesome Syrian war, largely fueled by the U.S., England, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, is over. Don’t vilify peacemakers.

Linda Furr


Pooh-pooh parade

Re “Favoritism” (Second & Flume, by Melissa Daugherty, Dec. 29):

I’m not sure why you would question a community’s desire to celebrate PV winning a state championship. This is a big deal, we should take time out of our busy schedules; you have a parade, you have speeches, mayors give out the keys to the city.

Winning a state championship is a great achievement, and we needed to celebrate the players, staff, parents, Chico and the North State. I’m not sure why you want to turn it into something ugly? I choose to celebrate the good and to ignore people like you.

Kathie Moloney


There are things we could get upset about. For example, we’ll pump another 40 billion tons of CO2 into the atmosphere this year, as sea ice continues to crumble into the Arctic Ocean. But what kind of issue generates a flurry of angry letters to the editor? Well, Melissa Daugherty dared to critique a parade.

The parade was held in honor of the Pleasant Valley High football team. In Daugherty’s view, Mayor Sean Morgan exploited the event for political purposes. It’s a courageous and interesting charge, but none of the letter writers addressed it convincingly. Instead, we see the rhetoric of outrage; someone messed with a sacred, mom-and-apple-pie ritual!

What’s at the center of many American rituals ought to disturb us. The Thanksgiving centerpiece is a tortured bird. Christmas is swamped in grotesque consumerism. And football—from the high school field to Super Bowl wardrobe malfunctions—is played in the shadow of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE. The science is in: Football causes permanent brain injuries, beginning in childhood. NFL coaches and players are taking their kids off the field.

High school football programs are institutionalized child abuse. Let’s get mad about that.

Patrick Newman


Just wanted to say I enjoyed Melissa’s criticism in the article about the PV parade. Alongside her many other excellent articles, that particular one contained valid points and another point of view I’m sure others had as well. Thanks, Melissa. Keep it up!

Brineé Irving


Thanks, rebels

Re “Rebellion” (Second & Flume, by Melissa Daugherty, Jan. 5):

After reading the CN&R as of late, I learned that you, Melissa, deal with a hefty amount of berating and name-calling; I felt it high time I show my appreciation for your work sent out each week.

I don’t always agree with opinions expressed in the CN&R, but I certainly look forward to Thursday mornings when I can get my hands on the next issue. In fact, the first column I read every week is Second & Flume. I, among many Chicoans, value the CN&R and whether or not every word is agreed with, I find it a great connection to local arts, politics and events. Chico benefits greatly from the CN&R, especially on the occasion it brings healthy conversation as a result of differing opinions.

So, here is a heartfelt thank you, not only for you, but the entire CN&R staff. Thank you all for your hard work, week after week.

Tyler Evaro


Complacent is complicit

North State progressives won big in the state delegate vote Sunday, and a better Democratic Party may be possible.

But the gaping black hole in the Democratic Party is that it does not consider foreign policy an issue worthy of attention, at a time when the U.S. has gone trillions of dollars into debt for a very militarized U.S. foreign policy that has killed hundreds of thousands, and left unimaginable pain, destruction and environmental degradation behind, as well as and more refugees since World War II, and made the world more unstable and the U.S. less safe.

The Democratic Party is oblivious or scared that having an opinion might lose votes. Right now, the Democrats are going after the Russians with McCarthy-like zeal. It is embarrassing. While the Russians may be responsible for hacking the DNC, it was the DNC and establishment Democrats who rigged the primary.

The U.S. routinely influences elections and attempts to overthrow governments.

Domestic issues are extremely important! But careless militaristic foreign policy may disembowel the future by creating so much hate, instability, debt, destruction and environmental damage that the world can’t recover.

Being complacent is being complicit. The Democrats have really bloody hands.

Lucy Cooke

Butte Valley

RIP, orca

Tilikum, the orca who died at SeaWorld on Friday, was torn from his ocean home when he was only about 2 years old. Little could he know that he would never see his family again and would spend the next three decades in tiny tanks and enclosures. He found himself in a world in which he barely had room to move, much less dive deeply and swim at fast speeds for long distances, as he would have done in the ocean.

The stress of his deprivation drove him to kill three people. With no meaningful way to pass the interminable hours, Tilikum chewed on metal gates and the sides of his tank—nearly destroying most of his teeth. He often floated listlessly for hours at a time—an entirely atypical state for these naturally active animals. His dorsal fin was collapsed—a condition that’s infinitesimally rare in free-roaming orcas.

Yet SeaWorld, unmoved by his obvious anguish, continued to use him as a sperm bank to churn out more orcas, who will also spend every day of their lives in a swimming pool. Tilikum fathered 21 calves—11 of his calves died before he did.

With Tilikum’s passing, nearly 40 orcas have died on SeaWorld’s watch. He must be the last. SeaWorld needs to release the remaining orcas who are still languishing in its tanks to coastal sanctuaries where they can experience a semblance of the life that they’ve been denied.

Jennifer O’Connor, PETA

Norfolk, Va.