Letters for October 30, 2014

America’s tiny empire

Re “Age of Empire” (Feature story, Oct. 9):

It’s hard to take seriously anything that Jake Highton has to say when the very first sentence of his “Age of Empire” article is wrong. And not just by a little bit. The largest empire the world has ever seen in terms of land area is the Mongol Empire, which dwarfs anything seen in the last 500 years. The largest in terms of people and land under one leader is easily the Victorian era British Empire, the one famously commemorated by the phrase “the Sun never sets on the British Empire.” It controlled Australia, New Zealand, Canada, India, huge tracts of Africa. Yes, the U.S. has “bases” all over the place. They don’t hold a candle to countries, though. It is interesting to see his progressive dogma come to the fore. His assertion that the effort to stifle the Soviet and Chinese revolutions were “thankfully” foiled. I submit the 20 to 40 million people murdered under Stalin’s rule, and the 60 to 80 million murdered under Mao’s rule would not agree.

Gary Cain

Carson City

American war machine

Re “Age of Empire” (Feature story, Oct. 9):

It seems that the author of this article left out the European wars against Germany.

In 1914 the U.S. found it profitable to sell war material to England and France on credit. When it seemed that Germany could win, the U.S. had to send in American troops to make sure the alliance—U.S., England and France—would win. After the investments were secure the U.S. troops left Europe. The peace treaty was left to England and France. The following Polish Corridor, which isolated East Prussia, became the cause for the war of 1939 because Poland would not grant access to that province. As for the damage done to Germany in the two wars, we count 10 million dead, including 4 million noncombatants, and the loss of one third of territory, which crippled German industry and left the German state dependent on U.S. politics. The Second World War was more devastating then the Hun-Mongol invasions and the Thirty Years War.

Ekkehart Grundmann

via email

Not all Boomers

Re “Your generation” (Editorial, Oct. 9):

As a member of the so called “boomer” generation, I take issue with the editorial “Your generation.” Maybe the editorial board should consider that for the past 30 years, wages have been stagnant for 99 percent of our citizens, with almost all of the economic gains of the country going to the top 1 percent. The vast majority of boomers are not 1-percenters. The 99 percent, including both boomers and millennials, are pretty much in the same boat. When Congress and the media have been, for the most part, bought by the power brokers of the U.S., the system is rigged. The guiding principle of the economic elites as been “A rising economic tide lifts all yachts.” Internecine conflict, one generation pitted against another, is being used as a tool by the 1-percenters to divide voters and deflect hostility from themselves; Don’t drink their Kool-aid. The boomer generation is not the enemy. As a country we’re all in this together.

Terry Day


The problem with tenure

Re “Age of Empire” (Feature story, Oct. 9):

I enjoy reading the Reno News & Review and appreciate the variety of opinions it presents. However, I was shocked and appalled by the anti-American, pro-communist article “The Age of Empire.” I looked at the end of the piece to see who the author was, and was even more horrified to see it was by a professor emeritus of journalism at the University of Nevada, Reno. Clearly, he has no expertise in history or international relations. So my tax dollars have gone to support someone who loathes our country and its history and has been spewing that venom for decades to hapless students. It is a shame that he was allowed to poison young people’s minds against their own country and was given space in your normally sane publication.

Ruth Ifversen


Lying liars

Re “Just say yes” (Editorial, Oct. 23):

There is a critical flaw in the sample ballot concerning Question 3, the Education Initiative. The opponents’ argument against the Initiative includes a quote, “This 2% ’Margin Tax’ would be on gross revenues.”

This is not true. Section 22.1 of the Initiative refers to “2 percent of the taxable margin.” No business would pay 2 percent of its gross revenue.

The taxable margin is the amount remaining after subtracting generous exemptions and deductions from gross revenues.

The opponents’ consultant, Applied Analysis, estimates that average tax liability would be 0.35 percent of gross revenue, considering exemptions, deductions and the Modified Business Tax credit. Opponents’ language overstates the impact of the tax by a factor of six (2/0.35).

The erroneous language has caused businesses and voters to unjustly fear the measure. One relieved Nevada business owner says, “I now support Q3, knowing that the tax is 2 percent on taxable margin, and not on gross revenue.”

Q3’s opponents have used this erroneous language in their debates, on their website, and in their literature. Voters should consider the correct amount of the tax and the lack of truthfulness in the opponents’ campaign.

Megan Queral

via email

War’s bottom line

Re “Age of Empire” (Feature story, Oct. 9):

While “Age of Empire” will probably get all the crazies’ panties in a bunch, the reality is that Professor Jake Highton politely understated his thesis. For example, he identifies World War II as the sole example of a 20th century war in which U.S. leadership was on the right side. The reality is a lot less clear-cut than most of us would wish.

In the interval between the world wars, most of the powerful capitalists here and abroad openly sympathized with the European fascist movements, due to fascist suppression of labor unionism. In the 1930s, there was an attempt to engineer a coup that would have replaced FDR with a business-friendly dictator. Another capitalist effort was far more successful. In the immediate aftermath of World War I, Wall Street founded and bankrolled the American Legion. Legionnaires were told that union organizers threatened “the American way of life,” were issued baseball bats, and sent out to beat—and on occasion, lynch—striking workers. As late as 1930, the Legion invited Benito Mussolini to speak at the Legion’s annual convention. Tellingly, when the Legion was founded there, was already a legitimate organization of veterans—the Veterans of Foreign Wars. It is important not to confuse the two organizations. The 1918 Legion was what we today would recognize as an “astroturf” movement. Currently, there are efforts to rehabilitate its image—and Legionnaires no longer attack strikers—but the historical record is quite clear.

As the possibility of massive U.S. involvement in a Second World War loomed, well-connected businessmen realized that involvement on this scale would offer enormous profits from immense government military contracting and other spending. With the prospect of reaping these enormous “cost-plus” contracts, on the eve of war the large capitalists changed their tune and became strident anti-Nazis—at least publicly.

As for the war in the Pacific, it was never about anything more profound than a contest for the “right” to dominate Pacific and East Asian trade. Certainly the U.S. had no interest in promoting democracy or self-determination in the region, as the hapless citizens of Hawaii or the Philippines had already learned the hard way—Hawaii in 1893, the Phillippines in 1902.

Mark Montague

via email