Letters for December 3, 2015

How useful?

Re “The Rusians are coming!” (“Let Freedom Ring,” Nov. 19):

Brendan Trainor recited arguments in support of Vladimir Putin’s actions in Syria and elsewhere. Similar thoughts have been expressed by Ron Paul and his retinue regarding Putin’s actions in Ukraine, and by Donald Trump.

Vlad Putin seems a strange object for libertarian admiration—he has reduced the Russian Parliament to a rubber stamp, Russian press and media to cheerleaders, set up puppet “people’s republics” in bits of three neighboring countries, fomented a war that has killed 9,000 people in Ukraine and counting, and has befriended and encouraged assorted crypto-fascists and neo-Nazis throughout Europe. Overall, Freedom Wrung Out rather than Ringing.

Odd, but there is historical precedent. In decades past, people who preached freedom, equality, brotherhood and peace praised and defended a regime worse than Putin’s Russia, because “the Soviet Union abolished capitalist exploitation” and “The Soviet People want Peace!”

That Left Foot Backward contingent were sometimes called “communist dupes.” That label won’t do today, because Putin is no communist and neither are most of his admirers. Putin’s predecessor Vladimir Ilyich Lenin admired and recognized the value of such people as Vladimir Putin surely does today. Lenin coined a more flattering, less restrictive term that seems equally appropriate today: “Useful idiots.”

Oleh Weres

Reno

One side

Re “Leave your echo chamber” (editorial, Nov. 25):

Sadly, asking most anyone on the “right” to start listening to all sides of every issue is wasting your breath—or ink. I’ve tried time and again to reason with some of my GOP friends to just, please fact check something they heard on FOX news which I knew to be complete BS. It was like talking to the proverbial wall. When asked in downtown some local views of Syrian refugees coming to America, one view in particular was telling: “Don’t let them in, because they might be terrorists.” He continued as if reading from a Fox script, “You saw Paris. Those attackers came from Syria.”

True enough, but Faux news conveniently left out the part about the vetting process (at least two years of scrutiny) any refugee must endure before entering our country to begin a new life. Most of these unfortunate people would rather stay in Syria, but they are escaping a war-torn country besieged by a loony dictator and terrorists. It really is a shame so many folks will simply refuse to see another side of an argument just because it’s too easy to believe something your favorite talk show host or TV personality said.

I am not holding myself up as a shining example of a “fact checker” but I seldom agree with anything I’ve heard on air, regardless of the source, until I verify its content. Nothing could be more true—leave your echo chamber.

JR Reynolds

Reno

Bipartisan?

When we talk about health care, it’s important to remember that even though more Americans have health insurance coverage these days, millions of people still struggle to find a place to go for regular preventative care. A key part of the solution lies in our nation’s Community Health Centers, which have provided quality, affordable care for 50 years. In 2014, the Silver State’s Community Health Centers saved Nevada’s health care system $98.2 million in reduced overall costs from preventable hospitalizations and avoidable emergency room visits. Sustained federal investment is critical to our success and survival.

Earlier this year, health centers barely averted a massive funding cut. Were it not for the broad bipartisanship support from Congress, 15,000 to 18,000 Nevadans would have lost access to care. This would have affected hundreds of families in our community. All too often we have been cynical about government and our leaders in office. We are grateful because there are working families in our health center waiting rooms getting affordable healthcare thanks to their vote.

Nancy Hook

Carson City

Another idea

Re “Editor’s picks” (Best of Northern Nevada, Aug. 5):

I agree that the old Park Lane Mall property is a missed opportunity for developers. Instead of a casino or an amusement park, I would like to see a massive housing and shopping complex built on the site. It would probably have to be rezoned for mixed residential and commercial use.

I envision medium-rise apartment buildings with shops, restaurants, and services such as dry cleaning on the ground floor of each building. Parking would be underground and there would be green spaces with trees, benches, picnic tables, and playgrounds between the buildings.

They could even add a child-friendly fountain, like the one in front of the Sparks 14 Cinema. The rents should be affordable for working families. A shuttle bus that takes residents to their job sites would be a nice touch.

Karen Inda

Sparks