Letters for September 22, 2011

Letter of the week

‘Blind’ is the right word

Re “9/11 blind” by Tom Hayden (SN&R Feature, September 8):

Tom Hayden couldn’t have used a more accurate word to describe our mentality regarding 9/11. After serving as an Army infantry team leader in Iraq and Afghanistan, I can say, with all certainty, that we simply have no idea what we are pursuing.

After watching a fellow team leader and close friend succumb to friendly fire, I began to seriously lose hope in our leaders’ ability to do just that—lead. After September 11, we were so overcome with emotion, that we lost our ability to reason. Upon saying this, I wonder how many of the article’s readers were physically affected by that day, either by losing a loved one or participating in the rescue operations or spending time in combat overseas? I feel anyone without those “certifications” should not say much beyond their feelings, because to observe is to not participate, and to participate is to understand and affect a greater change in the outcome.

We have not changed our way of life; we are still overly indulgent and all the more pompous and naive. We never consider the effects on our country of two ongoing wars, as though they are necessary evils which ensure our safety. We are just as vulnerable as ever. How many more must fall before we can say we have defeated terrorism?

Occupying a nation for as long as we have yields no benefits, as was the case with the Vietnam War. If we are to act, those actions should be swift and calculated, absent of propaganda and ideologies.

Mourn those we have lost, swallow our pride and vow not to allow our egos to grow disproportionately alongside our experiences.

Zachary Pierce
via email

Insensitive anti-war message

Re “9/11 blind” by Tom Hayden (SN&R Feature, September 8):

I thought it was rather insensitive to have an anti-war message and article when we just lost 35 innocent defenders in Afghanistan, some with young children, only a few days before.

This is an unfortunate situation made more complicated by the propaganda and distrust that’s been spreading as a result of the terrorism itself. I don’t believe it was an inside job. We haven’t had any internal terrorism since the war began.

Chances are we are never leaving Afghanistan; we staying until it’s ours. If someone had been on the ground to intercept this last bomber, it might have not happened. What they need is support, and better tactics, not criticism.

Theresa Munich

What college paper is this?

Re “9/11 blind” by Tom Hayden (SN&R Feature, September 8):

So in the last few weeks SN&R has run cover stories on Charles Bukowski (this despite the equally alcoholic and infinitely more talented Raymond Carver actually having lived in Sacramento), why Facebook sucks (no kidding) and now a 9/11 issue. Is a feature on the 11-year anniversary of Kid A and its impact on Sacramento an inevitability? Perhaps an exposé on the inherent health benefits of American Spirits to Camel Lights?

Is this my local alternative media source or a community college’s student-run newspaper? I think all the weed advertisements are hotboxing the rest of your publication. I mean, as long you’re going to indulge your inner Pitchfork writer, at least use it for more worthwhile things, like interviewing Tom Scharpling or making fun of the people at Barwest.

Robby Biegler

Tax money, not people

Re “Taxing Wall Street to bail out Main Street” by Seth Sandronsky (SN&R Frontlines, September 8):

I, and the Howard Beale Memorial Society and many others, Democrats and Republicans alike, have been pushing this idea of a .25 percent transaction tax on all stock trades and most other financial transactions above subsistence level, first as a supplemental tax to get the U.S. solvent and replenish the Social Security [Trust] Funds that spendthrift politicians have been looting for generations, and then to replace entirely the universally detested income tax.

Tax money, not people. Tax the flow of money painlessly as it passes through the economy, much like a poker parlor finances games by drawing a few chips out of the pot. But remember, if the house or the government grabs too much, the game will stop, just as it is stopping now. Except for the financial sector, Wall Street, futures gamblers and the banking crowd—all of whom wax fat without paying any taxes at all.

Also remember we got the income tax back in the early 20th century because Wall Street wanted to get rid of the tax on stock trades in New York. And the still-with-us toxic assets debacle would not have been possible had such a tax been in existence—it’s too much transparency to make the insiders happy.

Lew Warden
Santa Maria

Blind sympathy

Re “A.B. 6? Yes!” (SN&R Editorial, September 8):

As a CalWORKS and CalFresh caseworker for Sacramento County, I feel compelled to respond to the senseless statements made by the editorial department in the 9/8 issue.

The “overabundance of bureaucratic barriers” that the author criticizes are in place to prevent fraud and demand a minor measure of responsibility for the hundreds of dollars per month that recipients of CalFresh are eligible for.

Filling out an application, reporting once per quarter and being fingerprinted is such an arduous process that otherwise eligible people don’t utilize food stamps? Really?

Though I am a social liberal, I do not think that this is asking too much in order to protect the tax dollars that are used to fund this program. Sure, it would be easier if we just went to the store, bought recipients their food, delivered it to their homes and made dinner for them. Maybe then, even more people would utilize this public-assistance program.

We can’t let our sympathy blind us to the fact that people abuse the system and that some responsibility should be placed on the recipients. If all I had to do to receive hundreds of dollars in groceries each month was to fill out a one page reporting document every three months, I’d be first in line.

Dan Bodon
via email

Editor’s response: The California State Auditor has twice shown that fingerprinting is ineffective as a tool to fight fraud. Also, the federal agency that administers CalFresh, the United States Department of Agriculture, has strongly urged California to eliminate this and other bureaucratic barriers to participation.

Go green!

Re “Fighting big oil” by Robert Gammon (SN&R Green Days, September 1):

It would be great to stop the pipeline, but an alternative might accelerate cheap green energy and begin to supersede all fossil fuels.

See the Aesop Institute’s website for details on an unrecognized threat more dangerous than a terror attack. Diesel can be produced from sunlight, water, CO2 and bacteria for a projected price of $20 per barrel. This is real technology in pilot plant production now.

Averting a much larger threat from a solar-induced geomagnetic storm can greatly accelerate replacement of fossil fuels. NOAA projects four such extreme events during this decade with the maximum peril in the next three to five years. NASA warns any such storm can collapse the power grid for months in the eastern and northwestern regions of the nation. A nuclear plant without grid power for a month is a meltdown candidate! Imagine multiple meltdowns! The same new solar diesel technology can be used to provide long-term standby fuel for nuclear plants and prevent that from happening.

Organizing to prevent this nightmare is a realistic and urgent alternative that can lead our leaders—and unify anyone in or out of politics with an ounce of uncommon sense. Done rapidly enough, it can revitalize the economy and generate millions of jobs.

Mark Goldes


Re “Cleaning up, with teeth” by Hugh Biggar (SN&R Frontlines, September 1):

Recent data regarding Denti-Cal enrollment in Sacramento Country indicates slightly better participation than was reported. According to Anthony Cava, spokesman for the state Department of Health Care Services, in June 2011, 20 percent of 133,000 eligible children were assisted. Also, the story reported that, in 2008 only 6 percent of children up to 3 years old see a dentist once a year. The 2009 numbers indicate the number is now close to 12 percent (though still below the statewide average).

Also, while managed care is mostly mandatory in Sacramento County, a small population, primarily foster children and the elderly, can choose fee for service if they complete an approval process. This arrangement is unique to Sacramento County.