Letters for November 3, 2011

Letter of the week
We’re the population problem

Re “Welcome to Earth” by D. Brian Burghart (SN&R Feature, October 27):

I look forward to discussions on population/child-free/sustainability, but this one missed the mark. You guys made some nice zingers with the numbers and loosely tied them into some environmental topics (food, water, climate change and peak oil). That was pretty much it.

No heed to those contemplating replication or even mention of adoption. Sure, people won’t stop just because a demographer said so, but it would help if our media fostered an atmosphere where a different lifestyle was more palatable.

The article goes on to point out the “hot spots” of population growth: the under-developed countries. But let me ask you this, if an African has five kids to an American having one, which family will produce a larger environmental impact? To aid in making my point, I refer to this article in Grist magazine by Lisa Hymas, “I am the population problem” (www.grist.org/population/2011-09-27-i-am-the-population-problem).

To quote, “Population growth tends to get blamed on other people: Africans and Asians who have ‘more kids than they can feed,’ immigrants in our own country with their ‘large families,’ even single mothers in the ‘inner city.’ But actually the population problem is all about me: white, middle-class, American me. Steer the blame right over here.”

But even with all of that, my main issue with your article was your choice of pictures. As stated, you do a doom-and-gloom funny-with-the-numbers bit topped off with a dollop of underdeveloped countries and what are the main pictures that you use? A Hispanic kid and black kid. Yeah, they’re the problem. Yeeehaw! Go get ’em, boys!

Come on, guys. Go to any magazine stand and look at the covers. What do you find on most of them? Thin white women. Go to any bride mill/baby mill magazine or website, and they’re not putting huge pictures of the un-white.

SN&R generally does a good job of making people uncomfortable with a nice lesson in the end, but here you fell short. Afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted.

Reh Saikel

Right vs. wrong

Re “Occupy checkbook” by Nick Miller (SN&R Frontlines, October 27):

Just to clarify, the Occupy movement is more than protesting the divide between the rich and the poor. It is protesting a system to favors the 1 percent over the 99 percent—those poor that you speak of. The overreaching argument has been that the political and legal system allows financial organizations to commit “highway robbery” and which present themselves as “too big to fail.” In doing so, the government has committed billions of dollars, all while allowing the 99 percent to have their homes foreclosed on and their jobs taken away.

It is not about rich vs. poor: It is about right vs. wrong and democracy vs. oligarchy.

Ellie Jones
via email

It’s a marathon

Re “Occupy checkbook” by Nick Miller (SN&R Frontlines, October 27):

The so-called leaders of the city of Sacramento, including its cool Mayor Kevin Johnson, have lost their minds. We’ve got folks who are homeless in the streets at night, shelters are generally full and all this taxpayer money is being wasted. A violation of the public trust!

Support Occupy Sacramento and the Occupy Wall Street movement. This is going to be a marathon war!

Peter S. Lopez

Waste of money

Re “Occupy checkbook” by Nick Miller (SN&R Frontlines, October 27):

What a terrible waste of money! And the threat of a lawsuit looming? Won’t the city ever learn? Police dispatched against the First Amendment rights of protesters when the city hasn’t even contributed toward a winter shelter option? And still no safe ground? This is a humanitarian and public-health disgrace even the United Nations has condemned. I hate to say it, but it looks like the budget for law enforcement has already been spent!

Frank L. Topping

Time to get progressive

Re “Welcome to the occupation” by Rachel Leibrock (SN&R Popsmart, October 20):

I grew up in Chicago in the 1950s and ’60s. I made my first speech against the military draft when I was 14. Since then, I’ve participated in my share of protests, demonstrations and organizations, and even committed several felonious acts of civil disobedience.

Because of the draft and the scope of the Vietnam War, the war touched and politicized many more Americans than have our current wars. But what our current wars haven’t done, the recession has. The financial collapse of 2008, unemployment, foreclosures, government cutbacks, layoffs and Wall Street bonuses have made Americans look at the system and see its fundamental unfairness.

I’ve been saying for many years that if all the people in all the progressive organizations put our resources into direct political action, we just might elect the kind of government we want. But we’d have to go outside the two-party system to do that. Heck, the Progressive Caucus of the California Democratic Party feels so betrayed by the Obama administration that they passed a resolution “in support of a possible 2012 Democratic Party primary challenge.”

The Democrats are history’s second-most rabidly capitalist party. For example: When Bill Clinton became president, he adopted his Republican predecessor’s trade and economic policies in whole, including the myth of free markets and free trade. In 1998, Clinton’s economic team, headed by Alan Greenspan, the prophet of rational economics (and including Larry Summers, one of President [Barack] Obama’s current economic advisers), shot down an attempt to regulate Wall Street derivatives trading.

And we have seen the hypocrisy of the free marketeers: socialized risk (taxpayer bailouts) for the financial industry and corporations and “free market” fend-for-yourself capitalism for the rest of us. And yet the banks that were too big to fail in 2008 are now even bigger. We are now living with the downside of globalization and the failures of rational economics and the two-party system.

For the Occupy movement and the rest of the 99 percent, the time will come for more direct political action. If you vote for the two-party system, expect more of the same two-party policies. The Green Party already embodies the values and goals of the Occupy movement. The Democratic Party and the two-party system never will. In states like California that have the ballot initiative process, we have the opportunity to directly change the system. America and the world are hearing the voices of the Occupy movement. Let them hear our votes, too.

Jan Bergeron

No job? Protest.

Re “Why are you here?” (SN&R Streetalk, October 13):

These folks are there because they want something for nothing. As per the American average, 66 percent of those polled in this Streetalk have never had a job, never paid taxes and are currently on the public dole (taxpayer paid-for college).

They have to ask themselves one question: Have they ever been offered a job by poor man?

Lou Meyer