Letters for October 27, 2011
Letter to Barry
Re “Dear President Barack Obama” (Guest Comment, Oct. 13):
Kudos to publisher Jeff vonKaenel for his outstanding letter to President Obama. I’d like to share with the readers a short letter I wrote to President Obama:
Like millions of other voters, I voted for you in 2008, campaigned for you, and donated to your campaign for two basic reasons:
1. Candidate Obama said that the war on drugs was an utter failure.
2. Candidate Obama said he would not go after medical marijuana users or their caregivers.
Obviously, I was duped.
As a result I will vote for and campaign for your opponent in 2012.
One final question: Why do you want marijuana to remain completely unregulated, untaxed and controlled by criminal gangs?
Re “On the chopping block” (Green, Oct. 20):
Somehow I missed the news about the possibility of Wolf Pack Meats closing. I started buying products there last year, precisely because they’re a local resource. I hope RN&R continues to report on the future of WPM, including specific ways we can support the program.
Eyes wide shut
Re “A new generation of class warfare” (Right to Your Head, Oct. 20):
With all due respect to Sean Cary, I myself do see very clearly what the 99 percent are mad about. He knows, too. I believe he may be drinking the Kool-Aid and watching too much TV to just really be a compassionate human being and see what he himself wrote in this article: “Any way you slice it, Americans are angry. Huge swaths of the population aren’t working. We are losing our jobs and our homes, yet many in power still bumble about, choosing to believe that the proletariat is content with the status quo.”
Well, they aren’t, and the Occupy Wall Street movement is proof of this. People who have worked hard for their entire lives and have done everything right now find themselves unemployed, unable to pay their bills and have every reason to be frustrated and angry. It’s no surprise their anger is directed at Wall Street; after all, the financial institutions got bailed out, and we got stuck with the check. Come on!
Holly Goodhead is next
Re “Pussy galore” (Arts & Culture, Sept. 29):
Someone needs to remind the lady who was all riled up about the “Pussy Galore” article of two simple facts:
1) A formidable chunk of Nevada’s K-12 students and high school graduates can’t even read to begin with. They just liked looking at the picture of the big cat.
2) Most of Nevada’s K-12 student populace were completely unaware that the word “pussy” is another word for “cat,” at least until your article ran. They’re well aware of the primary definition, as evidenced by our astronomical teen pregnancy rate. For this reason, your educational efforts in that regard are to be lauded, not demeaned.
On the market
Re “A new generation of class warfare” (Right to Your Head, Oct. 20):
It is my impression that if Americans are asked the question, “what is the line of reasoning from freedom of speech to good governance in a democracy?” many would not be able to make the connection. That is, I believe many people have a very problematic understanding of how democracy functions. For example, Sean Cary writes that the Occupiers “need to understand that they have the right to participate in the debate, but they do not have the right to define it.” What an incredible misunderstanding of the basic principles of democratic thought. The basic premise of democracy is that by participating you gain the right to potentially define the debate. That brings me back to my original question, “What is the line of reasoning from freedom of speech to good governance?” I think most people think that freedom of speech is pretty much an unalienable right, but do not fully understand its function in a democracy.
Freedom of speech works to increase the amount of information or understanding, like brainstorming in some meetings. Those that hear or get the information then evaluate it individually or in groups and then they decide by voting or by consensus. The process of evaluating is often called the “marketplace of ideas.” The line of premises is that by having a free and large flow of information people can educate themselves and then in the process of deciding what the situation is or what to do, again by voting or by consensus, their decisions are more likely to be of quality because it was tested by the democratic process. Because it is a quality idea we end up governing ourselves wisely. Democracy is not a goal; it is the means to an end: good governance. I would posit that the misunderstanding of basic democratic theory is a bad sign for a democracy.
Re “The Greatest” (Feature story, Oct. 6):
Jake Highton’s brilliantly written expose on America’s “Junque Fuud” journalism is one of the better “short” versions of what’s wrong with our profession. Journalists are a reflection of the culture they work for. I’ve never read a more concise indictment of America’s news hegemony. Clearly, we need a comparative international news media to “keep us all honest.” But I am, none the less, optimistic about the news business, as it were, in that there is emerging a new structure of internet-linked websites around the world and even around neighborhoods. I run two of them in Oregon, and there is an eruption of similar “hyperlocal” sites in the Seattle area. There are many more I’m told. It is the perfect “news underground” breaking through to the surface. I have found local businesses very supportive of “hyperlocal” news, which I would expect to be the case on the national stage as well. Why shouldn’t it be? It may be well nigh impossible to expect ad revenue from the likes of GE or the health care industry, but there is plenty of revenue from small-to-medium-level companies, who although they’ve had their brains soaked in Junque Fuud marinade, they still long for the real secret sauce of clear thinking. Another aspect that buoys my optimism is that the internet news model is dirt cheap to run since the distribution system is nearly free. However, ensuring “internet neutrality” will require eternal vigilance.
Re “Slow start” (News, Oct. 13):
I just recently started following the news about the local Occupy Together gatherings. I haven’t been to one yet, but plan to go and support them when I am able to. I do have a full-time job, but am very disappointed with the state of the union. There are many things that I would like to see changed, among them: corporate personhood, the entirely unreasonable difference between CEO pay and worker pay, war profiteering, monopolization, outsourcing of jobs, and the influence of large amounts of cash on our elections.
The important thing about the consensus process of decision-making is that although it takes more time than other methods, there is a majority buy-in of the participants to the decisions made.
I am curious about the last paragraph in the article, which talks about someone vandalizing the meeting site and disabling the power supply. What was the message in the graffiti? Who did it, and why? What type of mask was worn? Was this an attempt by some sector of our own government to sabotage the local effort? Government agent provocateurs and anarchists are not unknown in the disruption of otherwise peaceful protest gatherings.
Editor’s note: As far as we know, no one has taken responsibility for the vandalism, and no one has been prosecuted.