Letters for January 19, 2017
Two on the cover
Re “House of cards” (cover story, by Evan Tuchinsky, Jan. 12):
Dear Republicans: Instead of criticizing the intent of [the Affordable Care Act], refine the vision. If it’s too expensive, figure out how to make it more affordable. If there’s too much red tape slowing things down, cut through it. Hire eager millenials to speed up the pace.
Let’s not go backward to a more ruthless Darwinian approach to the health of our people. Rather, embrace an earnest attempt to mend what needs fixing. And give us concrete, practical alternatives to achieve this honorable goal: saving American lives against the ravages of disease right here on our own soil.
You completely failed to mention the reason for repeal of the Affordable Care Act—the simple fact that it would profit the very rich to the tune of billions and billions of dollars. It’s true that the exceedingly rich pay a large amount into ACA. It’s also true that they’re still exceedingly rich—with people like Rep. Doug LaMalfa to do their work.
The rich want that money back. Health care be damned. The nation be damned.
Republicans want to repeal a Republican-originated plan—first presented by Bob Dole, implemented by Mitt Romney, and market-based—which only became objectionable when it was presented by a Democratic black man.
Another glaringly simple fact is that Butte County residents will be robbed of what citizens of every advanced nation now enjoy—the simple presence of affordable health care, free of preconditions.
The real story is that none of our local elected leaders are doing anything to protect us from this impending disaster. LaMalfa publicly supports repeal.
Back to wondering if illness means death or bankruptcy for 32,000 souls in Butte County alone, in the richest nation on Earth.
That’s the story. Tell it in proper context.
Editor’s note: That repealing the law would provide a tax cut to the nation’s wealthiest residents was the topic of last week’s Second & Flume column (see “High stakes,” Jan. 12).
A little history
Re “Shelter from the storm” (Newslines, by Meredith J. Cooper, Jan. 14):
Ostensibly lending heft to Councilman Randall Stone’s opinion of a new homeless camp, the CN&R notes that Stone “chairs the Greater Chico Homeless Task Force ….” Lest we misapprehend the nature of the task force: A little over a year ago, the former chair, Pastor Ted Sandberg (presumably a follower of the homeless Jesus of the Gospels) spoke in favor of homeless criminalization laws. That was the same night Stone delivered one of his screwball soliloquies and voted for a crazy quilt of anti-homeless statutes known as the Offenses Against Waterways Ordinance. Stone has a decidedly patchy record, going back to his 2013 recommendation that we turn sprinklers on the homeless.
In view of Stone’s history, I’m not surprised by his characterization of Joel Castle’s heroic attempt to establish a homeless camp as: “Flagrantly disregarding the law, appearing to deviate from lease terms, and straining efforts to find solutions doesn’t do anybody any good.” Grossly underappreciated is Castle’s kinship with Thoreau, Gandhi, King and anyone who practices civil disobedience in response to injustice.
Lastly, there is some irony in the fact that Stone, now chair of the task force, made federal homeless “dollars disappear” [see that story by Howard Hardee in the Jan. 12 issue] by voting for homeless criminalization.
Editor’s note: Councilman Stone did originally vote in favor of the ordinance. However, he dissented when the law came back for an expansion.
All about the EC
Re “Millions of meaningless votes” (Guest comment, by Dan Johnson, Jan. 12):
Dan Johnson’s guest comment displays a complete ignorance of the need for the Electoral College unless he believes in rule by selfishness and bribery and that every state deserves to live by his liberal beliefs.
If we did not use the Electoral College and went by popular vote, just five cities would dictate who our president would be due to their massive populations. Every state, including those very conservative ones in the Bible Belt, would have to live under liberal rule imposed on them by New York, LA, Chicago, Dallas and Miami. Why not, they have the popular vote!
California alone has as many in population as nearly half the other states in our country and with Texas, New York and Florida own the controlling number of votes. Why not just poll those states and tell the rest to go pound sand as Johnson suggests because he wanted Hillary Clinton to win like every other liberal on the government dole!
How about promise the half of Americans who already don’t pay taxes $100,000 each and get the popular vote that way? Or maybe just promise those five states huge pork projects to enrich those people to get votes! Make any sense?
I agree with Dan Johnson that the Electoral College “is antithetical to the ‘one person, one vote’ vision of democracy.” But, I would not encourage folks to hold their breath if they expect the Electoral College (EC) to disappear. It remains a key part of the Founding Fathers’ structural design to protect their plutocratic system (rule by and for the rich). As Michael Parenti writes in his classic Democracy for the Few: “For the founders, liberty meant something different from democracy. It meant liberty to invest, speculate, trade, and accumulate wealth without encroachment by the common populace.”
Despite being democratic in form (Electoral College an exception), the U.S. government remains plutocratic in substance. This means absent a pro-democracy revolution from the bottom, plutocratic interests are the only people with the power to reform the system (i.e., eliminate the EC).
As the propertied class, it is not in their interest to “reform” a system in either form or substance that promotes and protects their capitalist interests so well from what the Founding Fathers feared most: the popular passions and misjudgments of the “have-not” majority.
I know who rigged the election. And I have their names, too. It was the Founding Fathers, those scalawags of the Enlightenment.
The Electoral College was constructed as a safeguard. The president was never meant to be elected by the popular vote. (We’ve all seen dictators elected by “popular vote.”) At first, the framers proposed at the Constitutional Convention that Congress should elect the president, but it was deemed that this would lead to cabals and intrigues. So it was decided that the states should elect the president. The Electoral College was formed to dilute influence among the states to prevent dictatorships. And it seems to have worked since 1776.
That’s no moon
Re “‘Don’t vilify peacemakers’” (Letters, by Linda Furr. Jan. 12):
I was initially motivated to write a detailed retort to Linda Furr’s praise of Vladmir Putin as a peacemaker in the Syrian conflict. I would have pointed out that the rebels were obviously convinced to “lay down their arms and go home” (wherever “home” might be since Aleppo was destroyed), but that the “convincing” was not so much by Putin’s altruism as it was by the continued bombing of schools, hospitals and sanctuaries for women and children who no longer had homes anymore.
But then I recalled a discussion many years ago with a woman who firmly believed the moon was a coin suspended in the sky and not a globe. She told me, “It looks just like a big penny hanging up there, and I will always believe that is what it is.” Case closed!
About that wall
The only wall I know of that has largely achieved its purpose is the one around San Quentin prison. Even that wall has been climbed over.
The Great Wall of China was certainly an engineering feat, but it did not keep anyone in or out. The Berlin Wall was a catastrophe. After World War I, the French spent millions on an “impenetrable wall” called the Maginot Line, which was supposed to keep the Germans out. Hitler laughed and sent his army around the wall.
I have lived near the Mexican border and saw how useless the walls and fences were. There were so many tunnels under it, the roads nearby were caving in.
Trump doesn’t have a clue of what he’s doing. I’m glad I no longer fly airplanes for Uncle Sam, because this man is going to get us in another stupid war. One of the greatest things that President Obama did was to get us out of the war in the Middle East and stop the daily flights of planes full of caskets of our deceased soldiers.
I’m sure Trump, who was a 4-F draft dodger (four times), will not volunteer his two sons to lead the charge for his “secret plan” to eliminate Isis.
Re “Pooh-pooh parade” (Letters, by Kathie Mononey, Jan. 12):
Like Vinny Barbarino used to say on Welcome Back, Kotter: “I’m so confused.” De La Salle High School in Concord has long been a football powerhouse. None of the northern athletic league teams would dare step on the field with them, even with Aaron Rodgers at the helm.
Guess what, folks? De La Salle got trounced in the state championship game against St. John Bosco of Bellflower, 56-33. Not to lessen the great accomplishment of Pleasant Valley High, but let’s put things in their proper perspective rather than jumping all over the editor, similar to how Electoral College/Vladimir Putin designate Trump did when he made a complete ass of himself by jumping down the throat of civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis.
De La Salle plays in Division I; our local yokels are in Division IV. Like the obsolete Electoral College, some zealous fans need to do like the late Paul Harvey, and tell the rest of the story. That’s also good advice for their standard bearer, grab-happy Don.
Thanks, Barack and Joe
Obama and Biden: Thank you! Your lives reflect pure class for almost all earthlings. After 2008, we were joyfully rescued. Without strategic disloyalty from the obstructionist “Party of No”—the faithless, deceitful Republicans who orchestrated in advance to smother every single progressive breath—our nation’s arduous ascent would have been more expedient and profound.
Your character, humanity and brilliance are lightyears beyond what is now defacing America. This overwhelming disillusionment manifests not from political affiliation or ideology but simply a personal distaste for such “deplorable” figures being entrusted to any leadership role whatsoever.
Citizens will now recompense the troubled tycoon’s trillions in arrears while sanctions lifted against Russia allow resumption of Exxon’s unbridled and reinvigorated exploitation. Therein pinpoints the precise source as to what this entire looming national nightmare is actually all about!
The noticeable surge at the gas pumps lately has folks missing you both already. Perhaps we normal humans might consider firmly securing our safety harness and breathing apparatus in preparation for another thrilling descent.
Kenneth B. Keith
Re “Speaking of Congress” (Letters, by Dean Carrier, Jan. 12):
There are a lot of “educated” fools in our midst.
J. Troy Chambers
Someone said that common sense is neither common nor makes much sense. After much thought, I conclude that those who resort to this platitude have run out of rational reasons to support their position.
The phrase represents an attempt to gain consensus from incomplete data.
Don’t you agree?