Letters for December 20, 2007

Could it happen here?

Re “Muzzle off!” by R.V. Scheide (SN&R News, December 13):

Delighted to see this story. We Jews are a diverse group. Diversity is good; it used to be the source of America’s strength. It is part of Jewish strength.

Certainly, The Jewish Voice could have announced Alice Rothschild without any problem. If they had been thinking, they could have used it as a forum.

In my opinion, the Jewish establishment thinks that Palestinians are less than human, but that is OK. I believe in diversity and in discussing differences. I think that Palestinians and Muslims in general love family, goodness and life fully as much as we Jews. I think that they are fully human. I’m happy to talk to anyone who disagrees.

The Jewish establishment, at least in the form of my family, thinks that the best way to ensure our survival is to be loved by America’s powerful. The problem is that we overlook history. Pre-Holocaust Germany was the leader of Jewish culture in the world; the father of Einstein, Freud and even Marx. Jews did well in pre-Holocaust Germany.

Musician and composer Norton Gingold (one of my music teachers) fled from France to Germany in order to escape French anti-Semitism.

I have too many dead relatives to want to try this policy again.

In the ’60s, I hitchhiked across the country, and most people I met did not think of me as Jewish, and simply believed as a fact of life, that Jews controlled America’s wealth. With that foundation, I believe that America is capable of turning on us.

I would not bet my daughter’s life that America will not turn on us. Would you bet your child’s life that what happened once will not happen again?

Jim Harris

Pot, meet kettle

Re “Muzzle off!” by R.V. Scheide (SN&R News, December 13):

Just when you think you’ve seen the limit of hypocrisy, along comes the SN&R to take it to a whole new level.

Not only does SN&R condemn The Jewish Voice for claiming the same right it and every other publication holds—namely to choose its own content—it does this in an article so one-sided that it might well have been cut and pasted off an anti-Israel Web site. Thus we hear about the evil Israelis prepared “for a major push into Gaza” without one mention of the rockets that daily rain down from Gaza on Israeli towns. But then again, what can one expect in an article laced with anti-Semitic hallmarks such as assertions of “an excess of Jewish power” or describing “Israel’s war against Hezbollah” without mentioning Hezbollah’s murderous attack on Israel, or referring to Lebanese casualties without a word of the Israelis killed in that Arab-instigated war?

How odd that SN&R condemns others for bias while so closely hewing to a propagandist party line.

Jordan Magill

Don’t call him a pacifist!

Re “Jesus bombs … Hitler!” (SN&R Letters, December 13):

Where does Dennis McMurray get off calling me a pacifist? Is he a “closet” mind reader?

Mr. McMurray says I have an anti-Christian complex. Nothing could be further from the truth. What I do disdain are pseudo-Christians, i.e., evangelicals and fundamentalists, who make a mockery of Christ’s teachings and who seem to have a different Bible than the rest of us.

Isn’t it always like the religious right-wingers to label anyone who doesn’t walk in lockstep with their mind-set as anti-American, anti-patriotic, anti-whatever?

Ron Lowe
Grass Valley

Reform prisons or waste lives

Re “Lockdown blues” by Eugene Alexander Dey (SN&R Essay, December 13):

Eugene Alexander Dey’s essay is a powerful testament to the need for serious prison reform.

Although the bloated California Department of Corrections gives lip service to the notion of rehabilitation, they offer little more than warehousing. Aside from the high cost in taxpayer dollars, this strategy is too expensive, in terms of societal ills and wasted lives.

Linda Stewart-Oaten
via e-mail

Unsigned prisoner bashing

Re “Lockdown blues” by Eugene Alexander Dey (SN&R Essay, December 13):

Almost every issue of SN&R has the obligatory bleeding-heart article from either an innocent inmate or some Birkenstock-wearing naive soul about the horrors of incarceration. Yes, prison is bad. No, inmates do not have the same freedoms, rights or privileges as law-abiding citizens. Duh! They and their advocates would have us believe society is to blame for their actions and they are just hapless victims of circumstance.

As someone with more than 30 years experience in corrections, I can tell you that inmates that have been in the system since youth or those serving long sentences due to “three strikes” are not like average citizens. Most are cruel, brutal, selfish human beings incapable of change or self-discipline. They are predators that prey on the weak. They are incapable of doing “the hard work of daily life” like the rest of us. They do the easy thing: criminal activity. If they really hated prison so much, one time inside would do the trick for anyone with a brain.

Instead, criminals are willfully part of a subculture that has its own convoluted rules and philosophies, all of which are anti-societal. They continue to engage in criminal activity with no thought given to the consequences of such activity. They only think of themselves, not even their so-called (abused) loved ones, and certainly not the rest of us victims.

Who is responsible for the unimaginable violence in prison? If inmates would learn to act like the diverse society on the outside, maybe they could enjoy more peace, security, freedom and privileges. Instead, they are driven by their codes of perceived respect, physical dominance, racism and unimaginable violence.

It should be mandatory for every ninth grade class, and all liberals, to spend a full day at a penitentiary. If kids could see the type of people that correctional officers have to deal with on a daily basis and see how easy it is to end up there, and how it really is inside, they would learn more of a real life lesson than most of the worthless curriculum they will forget. Maybe then we would have fewer inmates and fewer wrong-minded people who feel sorry for them!

Anonymous correctional lieutenant
Regional Community Policing Institute, Sacramento

Another (unsigned) voice of reason

Re “Kyoto: 10 years later” (SN&R Feature Story, December 6):

Leave it to the idiotic liberals at SN&R to drag out the phony issue of global warming when most of the country is under a deep freeze. It’s even fucking cold here in Sacramento! Meanwhile, your stupid leader Al Gore is flying around in his private jet when he isn’t at his huge mansion with its huge carbon imprint. Oh, but you say, Gore is entitled to spread his alarmist message and can always buy fake carbon offsets!

Countries like China, India and the rest of the corrupt, left-leaning developing world that produce almost everything weren’t even included in that stupid Kyoto Protocol. Take your Kyoto Protocol and shove it up you communist asses!

via e-mail

It’s not warmer, just wealthier

Re “The ice man” by Joel Warner (SN&R Web Feature, December 6):

When I read your article on global warming I became convinced more than ever that the alarm created by Konrad Steffen of the University of Colorado is nothing more than a ploy to raise research money to keep his $50-million-a-year kingdom in continuous operation. With his 500-odd researchers he has created a research center that has no parallel in the country. Some power-hungry individuals will sell their souls for a mess of pottage, whether it ruins the economy of the country or not.

Al Gore and his crowd speak with forked tongues. If these same people are so concerned for the people of New Orleans, why have they screamed for the rebuilding of that city, which is below sea level, when they are so afraid that the sea level will rise several feet? Does this not put New Orleans in danger? Why expend so much money on a doomed city? It all boils down to patronage money: “You pat my back and I will pat yours.”

Don Smith
Pullman, Wash.

Bites’ brilliance …

Re “Long ago, in a galaxy far, far away …” (SN&R Bites, December 6):

Brilliant! With your usual load of irony and outright knee-slappers, you’ve correctly captured the sorry state into which American politics have sunk. For more than two decades now, the Christian right—as opposed to left, not wrong—has managed to drive our political machinery into a ditch, which seems filled with all sorts of absurd and possibly unconstitutional (whatever that may now mean what with the president’s Supreme Court) notions like the apparent 2008 litmus test for candidacy that one must profess a profound faith. But faith in what? Our born-again Christian president’s faith in preemptive (that is, without valid provocation) war that directly results in the death and dislocation of millions of innocents? Some faith.

And of course, it’s not just the Christian right butting its ugly head into politics; progressive evangelicals like Jim Wallis and C. Welton Gaddy are doing the same. Gaddy, for instance, works from the premise that “as religion and the United States government become increasingly entangled, faith is being manipulated to influence policy and advance political strategy.” Or is it the reverse? Despite his possibly well-meaning effort, what role does Gaddy play in this “self-fulfilling premise”?

Remembering not to use the term “faith-based” (severely discredited by the hypocritical domestic actions of George W. Bush), Mitt Romney assured us he is a Christian. Does he mean like a Baptist, Catholic or Methodist? Doubtful those folks spend a lot of time talking about the legacy (polygamy, among other practices) of Joseph Smith. The real question is why does it even matter? Will some otherwise-qualified Jew have to say that well, even though Jesus was not God incarnate, just an itinerant preacher, the candidate believes in the same God as do Christians? How is this relevant 2,000 years later?

Our young, incredibly enlightened, founders had the foresight to stipulate that a necessary condition for real social justice was freedom of religion (or no-religion, as the case might be). These folks had escaped religious persecution. Separation of church and state—what a novel and ingenious concept! The puritanical bent to proselytize others by some of our early immigrants met an even more sudden end than did some of them. Now their descendents are getting “religion”—not spirituality or serious faith—shoved down their down their throats in the guise of political discourse.

Having humorously and brilliantly identified the problem in its infinite wisdom, does Bites now have a serious prescription to get us out of this ditch or parallel universe of wrong-thinking in which we find ourselves?

Chuck McIntyre

… shines for all to see

Re “Long ago, in a galaxy far, far away …” (SN&R Bites, December 6):

I’ve never seen it said better: “who trace their core beliefs back 3, 500 years to the hallucinations of a potentially schizophrenic Hebrew sheepherder.”

Now, God help us all … heh heh heh. Thanks for sharing.

Jay Averill