Letters for March 17, 2016

Or just give it back

President Obama could close the Guantanamo Bay prison with an executive order because the drone warfare program seems to operate on some sort of executive order. Guantanamo Bay has been detrimental to national security because it has only added fuel to the fire and allowed various non state actors, like Al Qaeda and ISIS, to use Guantanamo Bay as a recruitment tool. Drone warfare endangers national security because, again, it acts as recruitment tool for our adversaries.

Earl Ammerman IV


That analogy, again

I perceive a resemblance between Donald Trump’s behavior in campaigning for president and what I understand Hitler did while acquiring power during the 1930s.

Don Schreiber

Incline Village

Say, what?

Re “Bernie Sanders, fascist” (Let Freedom Ring, March 10):

Brendan Trainor has mastered the spin, hyperbole, and half truths by which progressive ideals are regularly slandered. Bravo! Whatever he’s paid, it’s not enough. Such a stupendous effort deserves proper analysis, and I hope I am equal to the task. He begins by providing a textbook definition of socialism. But that definition isn’t Sanders’ platform. I suppose I could’ve stopped reading right there, but there were still more words in his article. We learn that Sanders visited the Soviet Union! And he got out alive? Obviously he’s either the Brooklyn James Bond or some Soviet agent. Trainor then expresses his concern for an entire class of Americans, “the wealthy,” and writes that Sanders wants to “generally make their lives miserable because they rigged the economy” and “restrict their rights to be involved in the political process.”

Unwrap that for a second. All these aggrieved wealthy folks did was rig the economy and political process so that millions of people lost homes, freedoms, savings, jobs, livelihoods, and even lives, and for expressing their American freedom in this way, Sanders wants to prevent them from doing it again, restore the siphoned off wealth to the people, and—Heaven forfend!—hurt their feelings? …

No attack on socialism is complete without the list of “free stuff.” Health care, tuition, food, rent—wait! They get free food? What, do they think food grows on trees? We should put those moochers in prison, so the government can pay some corporation for their health care, food and rent—you know, job creation! We’re told Sanders would double the minimum wage, and no business owner would make more than four times the lowest paid worker. Let’s do math. New minimum wage times four yada yada—all wealth would be confiscated over $132,000.00 per year? What maniac proposes such a policy? I’ll tell you. His name is Brandon Trainor, and he writes for RN&R. How did we get here from a 52 percent tax on income over $10 million? Easy—Trainor is lying.

If a poor man could afford to go to school, perhaps he could start a business and not be poor anymore, and not end up at the free food/rent place. If he were really clever, he could make $133,000 per year and pay his employees $17+ an hour. That actually sounds nice. And, under the Sanders plan, their taxes would be less. When you’re a liar, words don’t have to mean things anymore. Let’s make a new definition for fascism. What fun! “Fascism replaces free [sic] market production for consumption with production for state dictated outcomes.” But we already established that Sanders doesn’t intend to seize the means of production, he just wants to hurt rich people’s feelings and build roads and schools and stuff. …

According to Trainor, these Fascists coerce people by disingenuously promoting equality of race, gender and sexual orientation. Say what? How clever to redefine the defense of the liberty of disenfranchised groups as an affront to the liberties of someone else. When the government steps in to help underrepresented, disenfranchised Americans, the victimized wealthy cry foul, but when some white guy punches a gay hippie in the face, shoots a black kid in the back, or steals a fortune from millions of taxpayers, that’s just a damn shame. …

Next, a quick tour of Europe, where we can ponder which countries are more or less socialist, and decide without much evidence that the ones flourishing are more capitalist while those languishing are socialist. None of them are socialist, as Trainor so thoughtfully defined for us, but why quibble. It’s interesting that the four countries with “debt, high unemployment and social unrest” all have better health outcomes than the U.S., according to the W.T.O.

Then, the obligatory jab at the socialist states in our own backyard, Cuba and Venezuela. Venezuelan socialists must squander all the wealth they get from the “billions of barrels of oil” the US buys from them, right? That sounds great, except it was only 280,000 barrels in 2014, down 50 percent from 10 years before. Oil represents 95 percent of the country’s export income, and oil prices have dropped sharply in part because of expanded US production. Voila! You have a depression. Words and facts don’t matter when you just feel you are right. Strangely, not a word about the reasonably stable economy in democratic socialist Evo Morales’ Bolivia.

Trainor would have us ignore again that Sanders is not proposing to nationalize the means of production in the United States of America. Sanders is not stripping you of your rights. He is not coming with suede-denim secret police for your uncool niece. Sanders is talking about raising taxes on the wealthiest individuals and corporations, who will still be stinking rich, and whose wealth is ultimately derived from the resources of our planet and the efforts of us all, in order to alleviate the suffering among the most vulnerable Americans. The beneficiaries will be our children and our child care providers, our veterans and our elderly, our neighbors and friends—and ultimately, all of us. The truth matters.

Matthew Ebert