Letters for July 18, 2019
Two on the cover
Re “Why aren’t we discussing population?” (Cover story, by Alastair Bland, July 11):
Even some of our most vocal and active international environmental organizations seem loath to address the culprit that underlies most of our planetary woes.
In 2009, I was a freshman member of the board of directors for Audubon California. At a meeting to set that group’s conservation agenda for coming years, I naively asked the question: “Almost all of the issues we’re discussing relate to habitat loss due to human population increase—shouldn’t population growth be an issue that Audubon takes a position on?”
The room went silent, board members looked at each other or at the ceiling, the conservation director curtly answered “no,” and the meeting moved on. The fear of conservation actions being seen as “too political” or “too radical” is a reality I’ve observed at many levels and within many otherwise dedicated green organizations; in fact, I’ve been guilty of it myself.
Each successive generation inherits a planet less rich and wondrous than the last. Are we going to prioritize having the hard conversations and taking on the difficult actions, or are we satisfied that our children’s children will only know monarchs, meadowfoam and white-tailed kites from the images on their iPads?
I was shocked to read that population control is a “taboo” subject. In fact, it’s a loud and constant refrain of racists (“white world” especially) and eugenicists within the plutocratic class.
It is a taboo subject with certain religions (Catholicism comes to mind) and patriarchs whose “preference” for male babies requires that systemic female infanticide be kept secret. But the biggest taboo (politically incorrect) subject on population issues (witness the article) is the structural maldistribution of resources and income inherent in capitalism.
A significant segment of the earth’s 7.6 billion population are starving not because enough food isn’t produced, but because the capitalist class system denies them access to food (clothing, affordable and “fire safe” housing, drinkable water, life-sustaining work, etc.) while the privileged class lives in wasteful abundance. It’s why thousands of people are at the border.
Re “Pay attention” (Letters, by Loretta Ann Torres, July 11):
Loretta Ann Torres’ response to an excellent letter from Rich Meyers regarding U.S. (and we can add British) involvement in Iran over the decades seemed to have missed his point entirely.
Instead, we were given a lot of hysterical twaddle about religious nuts. Actually, we have a few of our own. Vice President Pence is one example. Our citizens who believe that the solar system was formed a few thousand years ago are another example.
As for the reference to the coming of the 12th Imam, we have our own factions who believe in the second coming of Jesus Christ. Same sort of thing, actually. Also, a good many people will agree that our current president is as dangerous as Iran’s.
In Iran and here in the U.S. there are tens of millions of ordinary Iranians going about their daily business who would not want a war anymore than we would. As for the remainder of her letter, it was a nonissue. No, Ms. Torres, when our drone was shot down because it was in Iranian air space, I was not scared. No, when we waste time trying to see the president’s tax returns, I am not scared; Trump may be, though, because he is not nearly as rich as he boasts.
Valerie Shaw Flynn
To continue the “history lesson” mentioned, the U.S. “mistakes” in the region go beyond 1914 and the British/U.S. “spoils of war” unilateral decision on borders after World War I, splitting up the Turkish Empire and forming Israel. Let’s not forget our blunder of ousting Iran’s democratically elected prime minister and installing and supporting the infamous despot Mohammad Reza Pahlavi (brutal dictator from 1941-1979).
Further back came the Crusades, the armed invasion by a European cult on a people whose religion, though based on the same origin myths, failed to believe in this new prophet Jesus. What scares me is the misappropriation of U.S. government policies by this cult. Their view of a second coming and the ignorant belief that they have the one true answer from their “one true god,” though allegedly held by a “radical few,” seems to be our president’s. Through him this cult has gained access to the largest, already existing nuclear weapons stockpile in the world.
I do pay attention, Ms. Torres, and the less Mr. Trump concentrates on events, other than his golf game, the better for the world. In my opinion, he is the biggest threat to world peace today. As-salaam alaikum.
Ms. Torres is right about one thing: Iran isn’t like any country. Two facts distinguish Iran from others. 1) Iran hasn’t attacked any country for two centuries. 2) Iran long ago chose not to possess nuclear weapons. Iran’s leaders spend their time maintaining their country, not meddling with others.
Meanwhile, Trump breaks the modest deal with Iran, threatens them continuously, flies drones into their airspace repeatedly, and spreads endless lies for endless wars—like, Iran killed U.S. soldiers in Iraq and that they funded 9/11 attacking tankers transporting their oil.
Turn on your B.S. detector already. The entire “crisis” is American made.
The real terrorists, CIA, and media create a completely false narrative, then act on it in true Hegelian dialectic fashion. Remember when we sabotaged Iran’s nuclear power facility with Stuxnet? If Iran didn’t stop it, a meltdown would have poisoned Iran and the world! This Stuxnet virus migrated to other nuclear power plants, allegedly including Fukushima. Nonsense statements like “Iran would destroy their own country for a caliphate” are pure projection from people who do want to destroy Iran.
Anti-American and cruel
MS-13, an international criminal gang, represents to President Trump the scourge of the brown cultures and countries he is waging war against, people he feels threatened by.
Those gang members who have been duly arrested, convicted and imprisoned have living conditions far superior than the thousands of brown immigrant children being held in U.S.-sponsored internment camps, living in squalor: It has been documented in court the Trump administration argued that they should not be required to supply the children with toothpaste.
Following a tour of the camps by congressional Democrats, members of Congress spoke of shocking, unacceptable and inhumane conditions. Some described it as a prison—then again, one needs to remember that in prison each prisoner has a bed.
Separating children from their parents should happen only in the direst of situations. To do it as a warning to others, to imprison children as examples in conditions that violate human rights, is just plain cruel and is being done without any extended compassion for the thousands of families damaged.
Shame on you, President Trump, and to those that suck up to you and write your racist immigration policies that are anti-American to their core.
Roger S. Beadle
Moon landing memories
On July 20, 1969, I was in the Air Force at King Salmon, Alaska. We had been following the flight of Apollo 11, and I was on duty, watching C-141s on the scope as they shuttled to Southeast Asia. Someone said, “They landed,” and we went out for a quick look at the moon and to say a few profound, profane or prophetic things and then back to watch for Russian surveillance planes at the edges of our radar.
Twenty years later I was a pilot flying with Cal Worthington. With a store in Federal Way, Wash., he saw a business trip with an educational opportunity because the Hornet was at Bremerton Naval Base and Buzz Aldrin was going to speak. Cal’s kids and two World War II buddies came along. We followed Buzz to a bookstore for a book-signing.
I overheard him say he needed to go to San Jose. I said, “Hey, Cal …” and he chatted with Buzz. I went to the airport to get things ready, Buzz and Cal showed up, and off we went. People at Cal’s Sacramento store told a TV station in San Jose, who arranged an interview and a limo. He gave us copies of Men From Earth.
Taxes and independence
Re “Rethink your votes” (Letters, by Loretta Ann Torres, July 4):
I don’t recall that deplorable roads and freeways and necessary gas taxes were issues back in 1776.
‘A choice, a job’
Re “Check your letters” (Letters, by Gary McHargue and Mike Guzzi, July 11):
Being in today’s military is a choice, a job. Being a teacher, a first responder, a parole officer, a social worker or a nurse are among the many jobs that generally make a reliably positive difference to life in the U.S., without harming the world.
Having a military is necessary, and the U.S. military played a very important role in bringing the Liberian Ebola epidemic to an end. Also, the National Guard does needed and useful work helping in national disasters, such as after the Camp Fire. Sadly, most of what the military has been doing in the past two decades has made the U.S. less safe, the world more unstable and unsustainable.
Those drafted to fight in Vietnam should never have been blamed for that war. But those choosing to be a part of the military are responsible for their actions, and should not blindly trust that their military actions have any real value.
Citizens need to respect the military less and respect other life-affirming professions such as teaching more.
I would have liked the county to offer funds available to cover Camp Fire rebuilding permit costs on the basis of need.
The ponds, part II
Re “The ponds are fine” (Letters, by Dick Cory, July 11):
In my previous letter, I was too subtle in my criticism of the Teichert Ponds. I was trying to make a point that the city is willing to accept free labor to eradicate what they want, while ignoring the bigger problem that lies beneath in the water.
The ponds are being contaminated by inflow of stormwater draining from developments and the Chico Mall to the east. The pond ecosystem is in trouble and doesn’t need further contamination from human “squatters.”
Paul Maslin and his students were mentioned as being different from me in their knowledge of the ponds. I worked with Paul and the city for about 10 years in convincing the city to take ownership of this treasure. I am a biology teacher who has emphasized ecology in my classes, which included a five-week field biology class at the ponds for Chico Unified School District and National Science Foundation summer classes at UC Davis.
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to explain my viewpoint. The questions you raise are all-encompassing. I’d like to say “yes,” but that would be an exaggeration of my knowledge. I hope you will continue your interest in the ponds.
Time to move forward
Megan Rapinoe—you’re fired! The American women’s soccer team, led by co-captain Megan Rapinoe (a lesbian and native of Redding), won the World Cup. Megan talks a lot about improving people’s lives. She is an excellent role model for that, as one of the world’s best soccer players.
In 29 states, it is legal to fire a person for being gay. Fortunately, the soccer world, like most of sports, hires the best players it can get.
America’s first woman to go into space was Sally Ride (June 18, 1983). I helped put together a big rally for Ride on our state Capitol steps (Aug. 15, 1983), where Gov. George Deukmejian and Assemblyman Tom Hayden were the speakers. It was a big thrill for me and Jane Dolan to spend some private time with Ride. Ride passed away from cancer in 2012 at the age of 61. Her sister then disclosed that Ride was a lesbian and had a female partner for 25 years. Ride understood that if she had come out, as an astronaut, she would have been fired.
This country, including the 50 states, needs to update laws from the 19th century to the 21st century.
A sign of progress
Infighting in the Democrat party—Nancy Pelosi vs. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez—is, I hope, indicative of a transition to more aggressive challenges to the corporate-corrupted political games (Joe Biden? Really?) that are inadequate to address the profound problems that our country faces. Think climate change, income inequality, health care, endless warfare, student debt, racism, etc.
In 2016, only Bernie Sanders had the integrity to forgo corporate campaign finance bribery and speak clearly about problems, which, he pointed out, result primarily from many years of unregulated capitalism and a corporate-dominated society that values only profit regardless of the long-term costs to be paid by future generations.
Bernie’s clarity about democratic socialism has opened the door for others to join the transition to government, economic and social justice systems that will serve all of us, not just wealthy white men.
Our country has become “exceptional” in its disregard for the natural systems that sustain all life. It took a long time to reach this point, and it will no doubt take a long time to get back on a sustainable track, but I feel some hope that the new speakers of truth to power are the beginning of a brighter future.
Robert C. Van Fleet
Last week’s Arts DEVO column (by Jason Cassidy) incorrectly listed the Blue Room Theatre as one of the places Legacy Stage co-founder Erin Horst taught theater. Horst teaches theater only at Inspire School of Arts & Sciences and Chico State. –ed.