Letters for September 18, 2014

Speak up

Re “Appetite for interruption” (Cover feature, by Chris Parker, Sept. 11):

This article provided an excellent backdrop for how our American political system works. Regardless of which party you support, this type of conflict between what is best for the “common good” vs. what is best for the “wealthy elite” is going to continue on just about every issue that affects our nation.

We can no longer bury our heads in the sand. Speak up against this issue as the article suggests. We need to get into the habit because many, many issues are going to come up where the “common good” is subverted for the elite minority. This is how our country works—get the masses hooked on a service and then hold them hostage. Don’t believe me? Just wait for your insurance premiums next year!

We have voices, we have votes, and believe it or not we can cancel our cable service in mass protest before we are taken hostage. As a matter of fact, there are many more productive things to do than watch TV. This includes discussing politics and human-rights issues, writing protest letters, organizing small family/community awareness meetings, and allowing your children to witness how you actually “fought” to make the world a better place for them.

Carla Mezo

‘Mass murder for money’

Re “The cancer of ISIS” (Editorial, Sept. 11):

Let’s all acknowledge that the U.S. has created the situation in Iraq and the rest of the Middle East. We have dumped more than $3 trillion into this mess; we the people must require an accounting for every dollar, and if those responsible cannot or will not render it, they must be removed from power, tried and imprisoned.

President Obama recently restated the Carter Doctrine, saying that the U.S. will intervene with any necessary force to protect American economic interests in the Middle East. Given that since 1991 we have caused the deaths of upward of a million men, women and children, driven hundreds of thousands of families to become refugees, and physically destroyed that entire nation (Iraq) so that people there will be suffering for a century to come; given that oil is the foundation of the global economy, so that we may say that oil is money, we may render this direct translation of this doctrine: Official American policy in the Middle East is mass murder for money.

If y’all are OK with that, just remember that the unalterable law is that, in the reality of which we are a part, something for nothing does not occur. What goes around comes around.

Nelson Kaiser

Leave the cat alone

I am pretty worried for the mountain lion currently inhabiting Lower Bidwell Park. I really hope the city considers temporarily closing the gates and asking citizens to please stay clear of the park’s road and paths until the mountain lion is able to be found and peacefully/humanely transported back to a safer location.

We have the option to stay safe in its presence and avoid its current territory, but it is not graced with the same choice when it comes to dealing with humans. By allowing people to continue going deep into the park it is upping the chances of the cat acting on instinct or out of desperation, which will result in “cat-astrophe” for all involved.

The mountain lion that attacked the boy just recently in Cupertino was hunted and killed. I just hope we can learn from what just happened and change the course for this sacred wild animal before it’s too late. It is our job as humans to protect our parks and wildlife.

Zoë Hungate

Misdirected scorn

I noticed that quite frequently someone is writing into the CN&R with outrage that a high-ranking public official makes a salary of over a hundred grand. Why is it that these same people aren’t outraged at the salaries paid to the individuals who own our local Walmart, Target, etc? We are upset about six-figure salaries while accepting that the job-outsourcing, competition-killing, government-lobbying corporate executives are making seven- and eight-figure salaries.

Maybe if our jobs weren’t being outsourced in the name of capitalism and the right to make a profit, we could afford to hire police, fire and municipal service workers. To the local tea party: Next time you get pissed off, try pointing your scorn at the individuals wrecking this country rather than the people trying to manage the mess.

Luke Pyle

About those columns

Re “LaMalfa’s fanboy” and “Unfriended” (Second & Flume, by Melissa Daugherty, Sept. 4 and Sept. 11):

I’d say it’s even money the Saintly Susan is dropping F-bombs on Melissa Daugherty over her criticism of Chico E-R Editor David Little. That’s too bad because Daugherty’s criticisms provide a rare window into the workings and failings of the E-R editorial page. Climate change, farmers’ market, whatever the topic, too many editorials tend toward personal anecdote, speculation and conjecture.

There’s been a fair amount of ax grinding by any of the three editorial board members under the guise of editorial opinion. Worse, the editorial page is greatly diminished by a conflict of interest that arises from the business editor doubling as a member of the editorial board. While I don’t think Little would tolerate a conflict of interest in his own shop, he does seem to have a blind spot to it.

I think Little cedes control of the editorial page too often. The result is an opinion page that lacks credibility and suffers from a serious inability to drive the discussion of community affairs. David Little is a good newspaperman. I know. I worked for him for a few years. I know he can change course for the editorial page, and I hope he does so. Sometimes a prod, even a barbed one from your cross-town rival, can be a good thing.

John Drzal

Doug LaMalfa is not “one of us.” Unless you were fortunate enough to receive over $5 million in taxpayer-paid farm subsidies since 1998 and are the beneficiary of the new farm bill, which replaces subsidies with “crop insurance” that doles out over $14 billion a year to large corporate farming operations like his.

At the same time he voted in favor of this bill, LaMalfa voted to cut billions in food stamp aid to the poorest of children, who, I might add, are not responsible for the hardship of their parents. LaMalfa claims to be a good Christian man, yet he votes against feeding needy children and for lining his own, already stuffed-full-of-taxpayer-money pockets? Is that what Jesus would do?

Men like LaMalfa are a part of a cycle of corruption that has turned “our” government into a regular smorgasbord of politicians for sale to the highest special-interest bidders. LaMalfa and other members of Congress have long ago sold us out and will continue to do so unless we end this cycle. It’s time for real change! Vote them out!

Sherri Quammen

The government should not be involved in the crop insurance program for farmers in any way, shape or form. The prices that farmers are getting for their crops are at all-time highs and the real estate that they own, which is massive, has appreciated decadently in the last few years. Many commodity prices have shot up several hundred percent in just a few years.

Face it, these farmers are thousands of times more wealthy than most of the working-class heroes that would have to chip in to cover their losses in a bad year. Farmers should be required to establish and fund their own industry insurance program entirely independent of the taxpayers. They can spread the risk over others in the industry, like the rest of us do with home insurance and car insurance. If someone doesn’t participate and they have a crop failure, let them sell their land or find other financing, as not putting away for a rainy day isn’t John Q. Public’s burden to carry. This goes for banks and other industries as well.

Garry Cooper

The price of barbarism

Re “Prison view” (Newslines, by Tom Gascoyne, Sept. 4):

In the third paragraph of the Mumia worship article, Tom Gascoyne neglected to mention the murdered policeman’s name: Daniel Faulkner. Mumia Abu-Jamal was fairly prosecuted and justifiably incarcerated for the murder of Officer Faulkner. Abu-Jamal started the unfortunate event by courageously shooting the officer in the back. Abu-Jamal took one round from Faulkner’s service weapon, then sportingly emptied his final four rounds into the man, one of them in the face.

I’m not distressed in the least that Abu-Jamal is “emotionally crushed.” It’s his own damn fault, and a long sequestration from society is the penalty for choosing barbarism over civility. As for an audience willing to view Mumia the movie? Of course there is one; humanity has always had a soulless segment ready to celebrate depravity.

My cousin, James Michael Lewis, was a deputy sheriff for Mojave County, Ariz. He was gunned down by one of Abu-Jamal’s philosophical brothers-in-arms on July 22, 1974. I doubt the widows of Faulkner and Lewis believe anything these thug losers have to say might be important.

John Henry Lyons

More advice for CHAT

Re “Everyone needs shelter” (Letters, by Crystal A. Mourad, Sept. 4)

I have been, what some have called, a prolific homeless advocate and visual journalist providing direct assistance and a face and voice for homelessness. I have been under the bridges and involved in all aspects of homelessness. My treatment of disenfranchised people with kindness and respect is nearly always reciprocated. The path I walk finds Mr. Mourad’s letter offensive in the way it propagates the horribly miscast stereotype that homeless people are dangerous and that anyone helping them is naive. I haven’t found this premise to be a truthful and honest representation, nor is coloring the CHAT group as buffoons anything but disrespectful and unproductive.

The other theme in her letter—that CHAT isn’t prone to taking advice or accepting offers of help—is something I have experienced and have had people within both the homeless and houseless community express. These people don’t feel valued, or that their time is well spent by getting involved. This lack of communication savvy is something CHAT needs to remedy as they move their efforts from concept into results—results that will require everyone, particularly the homeless, to be working side-by-side with confidence, respect and dignity.

Bill Mash