Letters for March 18, 2004

Had to be there
It could be that Celeste Worden’s already wishing she’d gone over her submission somewhat more carefully [“The lesson from Haiti,” Guest comment, March 11]. If so—our sympathy. If not—how many of us in the real world can envision being held at gunpoint concurrently with being handed a telephone and invited to call whomever we wished? It might also help to know how strongly Ms. Worden can vouch for each “friend and ally” in question.

Then again, she relates with such firmness what took place in Haiti as if to indicate that she was there as an eyewitness. Seems like she’d have dispensed with the friends and allies in such a case but if that’s what happened, well … never mind.

Mel Dodge

Outing the truth
“The lesson form Haiti” is so deceiving. This retired U.S. Marine has to respond. Guest comments are conjecture (lacking validity). Exception: John Donne quote. Should the guest statements be taught as facts, may our Lord Jesus Christ, Lord God Almighty lead our local students to do research—thus “Truth will out.”

Robert I. Heitger

Radio plug
This morning the Enterprise-Record headline read “Haiti’s Aristide resigns, flees into exile.” A radio broadcast by President Bush claimed that Jean-Bertrand Aristide had “resigned.” Aristide says otherwise, telling Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-Los Angeles) this morning on a smuggled cell phone that he did not resign but was kidnapped at gunpoint by U.S. Marines. He wanted the world to know that he didn’t leave Haiti by his own free will but was forced out under the threat that “he and many Haitian people would be killed if he didn’t leave at once.”

The democratically elected Haitian president described his ouster as “a coup led by U.S. forces.”

Had I depended this morning on Fox News, CNN, the Enterprise-Record or even NPR to tell me the truth, I might still be thinking that Aristide had left voluntarily. But I’ve learned that corporations will tell me nothing but what suits their purpose. Instead I listened to the live interview of Congresswoman Waters, conducted by Amy Goodman on Democracy Now and broadcast by KZFR.

Unless you seek alternative news sources, you’ll never get past the lies being fed to us regarding “weapons of mass destruction” and a Haitian president’s “resignation.”

You won’t get the truth from either the corporate-owned media or the corporate-owned government that acts on the corporations’ behalf to protect their sweatshop “business interests” in poor countries such as Haiti.

Listen to Democracy Now, Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. and Free Speech Radio News, Monday-Friday, 5 p.m., on KZFR 90.1, Chico’s only local, publicly supported, community radio station.

Karen Laslo

Strip job
Like most rubberneckers in the county, I was grabbed by the “sex trade” article in your last issue. I accept everyone’s right to do what they want within the boundaries of legality. Those that seem to skirt along the outer edges are interesting. Your article showed that the women profiled are good people who simply have non-mainstream jobs. I have no doubt that this is true.

What troubles me is the leap the author made over neutrality to enthusiastic endorsement. Yes, women have always done this and men (and sometimes their dates) will pay to watch. And maybe I can suspend logic long enough to accept that it’s not exploitation if you’re compensated for it. The outcome of Michael Jackson’s first child molest investigation supports that theory.

Pornography and stripping are rather sad, sad things when you sit and contemplate someone exposing their genitals for others to look at because they need to make a living. Sure it’s a well-paid job. But a totally cool one?

Barbara Tanner

Lately Bush and his right-wing echo chamber have been trying to get traction on the idea that John Kerry flip-flops on the issues and his leadership ability is suspect as a result. Well, if doing flip-flops is a sign of poor leadership, then the “steady leadership” part of Bush’s campaign slogan is the biggest joke of the election year.

First he opposes the 9/11 commission, then he flips; then he’s against the intelligence investigation, then he flops. In the last four years he’s flipped and flopped more than an IHOP fry cook. Steady leadership indeed! Shady leadership is more like it.

I take heart in the prospect that the tin-eared Bushrove machine is going to run out of rocks before they even realize they’re living in a glass house.

Dan Carter

Stitch in time
Twenty years ago I graduated in accounting from Chico State University and hoped to get a job auditing defense contractors for the U.S. government. That means that I would check the books of companies that sell things to our military. I still have the job application that said for every $1 spent on auditors there would be $48 saved for taxpayers. The job meant commuting to Beale Air Force Base, but I thought it perfect for me. Unfortunately, the government had a freeze on these positions and they weren’t hiring anymore.

I’ve always wondered, if hiring one more person to look over the books would return $48, why not hire piles of accountants and save mountains of dollars? And I’m still wondering why it seems that the mistakes auditors usually find are overcharges to the government. If it were 100 percent honest mistakes, wouldn’t there be as many undercharging errors?

It seems that not a lot has changed since then. I read that in Iraq a subsidiary of Halliburton has been billing the taxpayers for 42,000 meals a day while serving only 14,000. That was at camp Arifjan. Caught in the passing spotlight of public attention, the Pentagon has decided to audit 50 other dining facilities in Kuwait and Iraq. So far the guess is that the taxpayers have paid for 4 million meals that were never served.

So I’m still wondering if paying an auditor $1 will save $48, why not hire row after row of them? And I guess I should ask Halliburton why, if they’re 100 percent honest mistakes, it almost always ends up the taxpayer gets the bill?

Marvin Wiseley

Same-sex shuffle
I don’t understand all the turmoil over “same-sex” marriages. Marriages have always been about “same sex.” It’s the same sex night after night after night. …

Ron and Thorn

We know what you’re thinking
It is ironic that a poster at a rally in the Free Speech Area of Chico State proclaimed “We will not tolerate racism * sexism * homophobia * prejudice * sexual assault * hate.” Graffiti, vandalism, and sexual assault are criminal actions. Prejudice and hate are feelings. Racism, sexism, and homophobia may be injurious actions, such as gratuitous verbal insults, or they may be thoughts expressed among those assumed to share them, i.e., not intended to offend the listener.

Are Chico State students and the administration thought police? Hardly the role of a university or free speech area. Behavior is the proper concern of society, not thoughts, private or public.

Bill McCord