Letters for January 2, 2014
<fontsize=+1>‘Never give up’
Re “What we want for Christmas” (Cover feature, by Zu Vincent, Dec. 19):
This hits close to home, as I had a stroke two years ago this coming January. I am recovering quite nicely after inpatient and outpatient rehab. I remember my struggle like it was yesterday—and my success today. “Never Give Up” is my motto.
I personally wish each and every one of you a happy holiday season.
Answering the rabbi
Re “Stop the one-sided blame” (Letters, by Julie Hilton Danan, Dec. 19):
Rabbi Danan poses two questions in her letter: Why give such focus to Israel? And, why press for a boycott of SodaStream, a company with some admirable labor and “green” company practices?
Israel receives this focus because it stands in special relationship to the U.S., receiving political and financial support of unusual scale—consistent and unwavering support at the UN, even against a world consensus on the illegality of certain Israeli actions, and more annual U.S. foreign aid than any other country in the world, though its population is less than that of New Jersey. We Americans are “enablers” in active support of Israeli policies, and bear a special responsibility as a result.
The boycott of SodaStream has nothing to do with its internal policies or labor practices, but simply with the fact that the company established itself in one of the major Israeli settlements inside the West Bank, settlements judged in clear violation of international law by the great majority of countries in the world. Israel continues to expand these settlements even while the negotiations are underway, and the SodaStream boycott is designed to raise awareness of this unfair occupation.
Refusing to purchase products made there is one way of calling on Israel to cease this expansion.
Rabbi Danan objects to the international boycott of SodaStream because the manufacturer is a “green” company; the Chico protesters “ignore” issues such as the gassing of civilians in Syria; and it is “one-sided” to blame Israel for displacement of the Palestinians.
It is better, she says, to address the Mideast tragedies by promoting negotiation. Do the “Arab” employees of SodaStream enjoy the same benefits as their Jewish counterparts? As the manufacturing plant is located on occupied Palestinian land, does employment of the occupied justify this? Are the displaced landowners compensated for their loss?
The logic that a protest of a particular injustice necessarily ignores another injustice is simply uninformed. There is no “other side” to injustice and abuse. Missiles from Gaza do not justify confiscating land, property and livelihood in the West Bank.
Working for “dignity and self-determination for Palestinians, along with security and peace for the people of Israel” should be multifaceted, to create motivation to change.
The white South African government was motivated finally to end apartheid by years of protest and boycott. While negotiation is always necessary, fostering Mideast dialogue and reconciliation requires that the injustice ceases to exist.
Re “A homeless encounter” (Guest comment, by Michele French, Dec. 12):
My recent experience with homelessness shed a very different light on the subject than the one offered by Ms. French.
The man under the bridge down the street from my house prefers solitude away from downtown. He is very polite, humorous and friendly. He’s in post-surgery, recovering outside under his own terms. He chooses freezing nights and his own medicine.
The man is also an eight-year veteran of our military. While I was celebrating high-school graduation, he was bucking for gunnery sergeant in Vietnam. That particular job, at that particular time, was brutal. Today, nearly 40 years later, this is the outcome. This modest, humble man is homeless in the very same country he served.
Something tells me that Ms. French crossed paths with the entitled homeless. They do indeed demand attention to their plight because they are of the generation who got everything without working for it.
The author responds
Re “More rebuttals to commentary” (Letters, Dec. 19):
Oh, my gawd! I think I caused the Holocaust even though Mein Kampf was published long before I was born. And, apparently, I also steadied George Zimmerman’s hand.
I say the following totally without rancor: I am old, I have considered the causes of homelessness, the editorial staff of the CN&R and I weren’t prescient enough to know exactly when Nelson Mandela would pass on, and my “rant” was based not on one single incident, but a particularly egregious one of many. I wonder if those who wrote in have almost-daily encounters with the hopeless as I do. If I want to avoid the homeless completely, I have to stay in all day and, even then, they sort through my garbage.
I did apologize as I stepped over the food bowl, but evidently my demeanor wasn’t abject enough. I must have been under the erroneous impression that the sidewalk was for everyone, including the people trying to get in and out of the laundromat. I insist: A large percentage of the homeless have no concern for the rights of others.
One last thing: Canning is illegal. If you’re not discreet, you can get yourself arrested.
What about my rights?
For public-school students, Jan. 1 brings with it a new type of education system in the state. It’s one in which boys can’t be boys and girls can’t be girls—or that is at least the hope of the progressive left.
Earlier this year, Gov. Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 1266, the transgender students equal-rights bill, which proponents claim will help reduce discrimination. At the same time, in the opinion of [local Christian radio station] KKXX, AB 1266 will actually do harm to young and vulnerable students in the California school system.
Now, most all people believe in equal rights as a principle. But not when your rights are being taken away to give someone else rights that never existed before. My rights to have my children in a safe environment are considered unimportant, or as a noble and appropriate cost to giving others full control.
Specifically, K-12 children, as young as 5 years old, will be exposed to Jimmy coming to school as Janie and wanting to use the toilet like a girl, and even to exhibit him/herself as a girl in front of other young impressionable students, calling his/her obvious male parts a vagina, because “Mommy told me I can be a girl.”
How to outlaw bicycles
This idea is not original with me. A blogger called “Bike Snob” posted it some time ago. In Chico, it would work like this: We take the number of people who choose not to use the bike lane, even when it’s available, and then add the number who ignore stop lights and pedestrians, along with those who ride on sidewalks, as well as those who ride the wrong way on one-way streets or in the wrong lane of traffic. Each such rider could easily endanger, annoy or infuriate 20 people in an average day.
It will take only 100 of such riders, each fulfilling their daily quota of 20 people, to, within a month, create 60,000 voters ready and eager to outlaw bicycles entirely. We could then make the bike lanes into free parking and the bike shops into more bars, which we truly need. Too bad about the responsible bike riders, but the voters will have spoken. A modest proposal.
Hurray for Uruguay
Viva Uruguay! There, President José Mujica will soon sign legislation making his country the world’s first to re-legalize cannabis. But you ask: What about all those lovely children? The children in Uruguay will grow up knowing that their government is not lying to them about cannabis, as is the case here in El Norte. I’m so glad to finally see these crumblings in the wall of global cannabis prohibition. I love the herb, and I’m a good person.