Letters for June 23, 2016
Illogical on gun violence
Re “Prayer isn’t enough” (Editorial, June 16):
I applaud Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan’s having the intelligence and sobriety to proceed with scheduled House business Monday (June 13). That is, rather than accommodating the emotional outbursts of a few Democratic House representatives who lost their cool over the recent Orlando shooting to demand immediate revision of America’s gun laws.
After all, as tragic as the Orlando shooting was, it pales in comparison to the 1.2 million Americans that die every year from drinking, smoking and overeating. This includes 614,000 from heart disease, 157,000 from lung cancer, 76,000 from diabetes and 31,000 from drinking. In comparison, only 11,208 Americans are killed annually with guns (this does not include suicides).
Further adding to the absurdity of these House reps’ and even President Obama’s impassioned pursuit of gun control is its lack of logic. With over 357 million guns already in circulation, stricter gun control laws would have little effect. Truly reducing not just gun violence but also other forms of violence will require eliminating the factors that inspire it—not the means by which it’s executed.
Election reform would ensure officials acted logically and truly served the people and not special interests.
Re “Free speech and teeth-gritting” (Guest comment, by Michael Mulcahy, June 9):
Michael Mulcahy’s Guest comment may lead to misunderstanding of the BDS movement. Boycott, divestment and sanctions are actions used to pressure companies or governments to change illegal or dangerous policies. Most individuals, labor unions and religious and civic organizations who adopt one of these are trying to pressure Israel to change illegal policies—settlement expansion or building of a wall inside Palestinian territory—that the international court and the governments of the world recognize as violating international law.
What are the Palestinians’ choices? They cannot vote in Israeli elections and lack a democratic voice to change this policy; the international community stands by without acting; violent resistance is rejected by the vast majority of Palestinians.
BDS is a package of nonviolent strategies of choice in what to buy or invest in. Civic organizations in Palestine have asked for this as other methods have failed. If you refuse to buy products made in the illegal settlements, or refuse to invest in companies building tractors that destroy Palestinian homes or construct the wall, you are acting to make this illegal occupation more visible and expensive. The “guilt by association” references in Mulcahy’s comment should not distract us from what this is really about.
Michael Mulcahy states, “Israel is an island of sanity, a Western democracy surrounded by tribalism and terror.” The death toll tells a different story.
2014: Israel’s bombing of Gaza left 2,100 Palestinians dead; 71 Israelis dead from bombs launched into Israel.
2012: Israel’s bombing of Gaza left 167 Palestinians dead; zero Israeli deaths.
2009: Israel’s bombing of Gaza left 1,300 Palestinians dead; 13 Israelis dead.
2006: Israel’s invasion of Lebanon killed 1,100 Arabs, mostly Lebanese civilians, with 165 Israelis killed.
In the early 1970s, the PLO moved its primary base to Lebanon, following its expulsion from Jordan. Between 1978 and 1983, Israel invaded Lebanon several times, killing around 20,000 Arabs, mostly Lebanese civilians. American Marines were sent in as peacekeepers, but Lebanese fighters claim the Americans defended only the Israeli invaders. Hezbollah truck bombers killed 241 American Marines.
The 1967 Six-Day War saw 300,000 Palestinians expelled from their homes. In 1947-48, Israel’s “War of Independence” saw over 700,000 Palestinians expelled from their homes. In 1921, British military officers reported the main cause of clashes between Arabs and Jews was Arabs being driven off their land by the British-Zionist alliance.
A modest proposition
Bob Mulholland, as our local superdelegate, would you please have the Congressional Research Service paper from 2010 by Janemarie Mulvey—“Social Security: Raising or Eliminating the Taxable Earnings Base”—be required reading for every delegate and its conclusions part of the Democrats’ 2016 platform?
The seminal quote from this paper is: “If all earnings were subject to the payroll tax, but the base was retained for benefit calculations, the Social Security Trust Funds would remain solvent for the next 75 years.” Because of the 30-year stagnation of wages for average workers, the percentage of total wages subject to withholding has dropped from 90 percent in 1982 (the last time this was addressed by Congress) to approximately 83 percent.
It is past time to claw back some of the ill-gotten gains from the 1 percent. This would be one small way to do that. With the Democrats having a real possibility of gaining the majority in both houses, it is time to take Social Security out of the Republican crosshairs for good by adopting this common-sense solution.
Quote and confusion
Here is a suggestion for the controversial Common Core. This quote might be pasted to chapter one of all United States history literature: “Every two years the American politics industry fills the airwaves with the most virulent, scurrilous wall-to-wall character assassination of nearly every political practitioner in the country—and then declares itself puzzled that America has lost its trust in its politicians.” —Charles Krauthammer
Perhaps, had this been read and understood as a child, more than half a century of confusion could have been avoided.
Kenneth B. Keith
On behalf of Frack-Free Butte County and the Yes on Measure E committee, we want to thank CN&R for your endorsement of Measure E.
We believe the success of Measure E reflects the cautious approach all human beings take toward life-sustaining issues. In this case, clean water attracted support from voters of all political ideologies. We would also like to extend our gratitude to the hundreds of citizens who donated both time and money to ensure that Measure E passed. Without your vital support, the voters would not have had the opportunity or information to make this critical policy decision. Your commitment to the campaign confirmed that the protection of our water, farms and families is Butte County’s highest priority.
Frack-Free Butte County will continue to monitor and report on issues in Butte County resulting from the interface between mineral extraction and clean water. Also, the potential contamination of our Tuscan Aquifer by surrounding counties that still allow fracking is a serious concern. The success of Yes on Measure E to ban fracking in Butte County reminds us that “we are all in this together.”
Dave Garcia and Ken Fleming
Oroville and Chico