Letters (Nov. 8, 2017)
by AVA News Service, November 8, 2017
When, after Trump was selected, I read in your Off the Record column that you thought this guy has made too many enemies to become dictator, I hoped you were right. Sure seemed so way back then. But now I wonder: are you still so sure? I'm sure your audience would like to hear a bit about what you see happening to him and we his captive audience.
ED REPLY: I don't think a dictatorship of the type we've seen and see in the rest of the world is likely in this country given our history and ongoing regional and ethnic balkanization. It's miraculous that a people as disparate as our population has hung together to the extent it has. I think the permanent bureaucracy or, as the paranoids call it, the "deep state," will soon remove Trump because he's too upsetting of them, too unpredictable, too independent of them. The president at least has to pretend the system is sensible and is run by responsible, respectable people, not the grifters who really call the shots. If Trump even suspects he's going down, he'll become a lot more dangerous, maybe nuke Rocket Man to try to rally the country behind him. But everything is coming apart so fast, who knows?
THE CIA DID IT?
I can’t believe that you believe the magic bullet theory. The CIA did it as payback for the Bay of Pigs fiasco. Watch Oliver Stone’s movie JFK again if you haven’t already seen it.
Take care of yourself.
HOW DID WE GET HERE?
To The Editor:
Our “pay to play” political process began to emerge in the 60's and early 70's as television was solidifying its position as the primary institution of American culture as well as becoming the effective but costly vector of choice for campaign advertising. As the party professing to be representative of the interests of the lower and less privileged end of the existing class strata, the Democrats at that historical moment could have and should have been the party to challenge and reject the legitimacy of a “pay to play” process in a republic founded on the principles of pluralistic participatory democracy. Instead, they chose to capitulate and engage the process, removing and isolating the ideals of liberal pluralism from the greater context of class struggle. Acquiescing to the “pay to play” format and thereby forced to directly court capital in order to keep pace with Republican fund-raising, the Dems had no choice but to abandon their commitment to any program of economic justice inimical to the needs and interests of capital. Leaving behind any authentic advocacy for a fair distribution of the nation's wealth, the party needed to become heavily invested in an identity politics that could still serve to differentiate them from Republicans without derailing their new partnership with corporate money. Isolating the needs of specific racial, ethnic, and gender groups from those of the greater group of working class citizens suffering under the predatory greed of the party's new business partners, they only succeeded in enhancing and magnifying the scapegoat status of those groups for the exploitation of a viciously ruthless wing of extremist right-wingers who were more than happy to move on from the restrained moderation of the “Southern Strategy” used by Nixon, Reagan, and the Bushes to a race-baiting Donald Trump openly pandering to and embracing a dangerously militant white supremacy movement. In the process of trying to win elections at any cost, the Democratic party's neo-liberal intramural power brokers have only managed to recast the party as a thoroughly weakened political organization serving no one not already better served by the Republicans and limited, going forward, to playing the role of the nominal opposition required to maintain the illusion of an electoral democracy.
So, where can we go now?
Although it would seem doubtful that a political process as entrenched and deeply corrupted as the one we currently suffer under could ever again be brought to bear in the service of reversing course, since any significant improvement would require it first to root out and dispose of the rot within itself, a couple of possible scenarios for escape come to mind. First, the neo-liberals at the head of the DNC might actually acknowledge the long term damages wrought by the consummate failure of their strategies and turn the reins of the party over to some of its less compromised leaders like Warren, Sanders, and Franken to try to rebuild it by pursuing policies a little more responsive to the needs of working people and a lot less deferential to the demands of the parasite class. But I'm not holding my breath. On the other hand, perhaps a more unified underclass will begin to recognize the final irrelevancy of the Democratic Party and then rally behind a renewed and united movement to fight for economic parity for all working people under some different banner. Even less likely, though, given that in 2016 only about four per cent of us were willing to vote outside the lines drawn by our army of well-compensated pundits, while in the very same election more than sixty per cent of us expressed extreme disgust for both media approved candidates. And unfortunately, of course, both of these rather improbable scenarios are contingent on the prospect of qualities like trust and hope becoming as readily marketable as the commodities of fear and hatred.
So maybe all we can do is just dig in and see if we can make it through the long dark night ahead of us to crawl out of the rubble left behind after the United States of Wall Street collapses beneath the weight of its own insatiable greed. Then, we start over.
Coal Creek Canyon, Colorado
BRING BACK ILLEGAL POT
Regarding a recent Chronicle article entitled “Pot proposal aims to help victims of ‘failed drug war’,” I read the article with my mouth hanging open. My conclusion is that between the plan being developed by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors and the exceedingly high taxes proposed on the sale of pot, that only in San Francisco could they manage to screw up something like selling marijuana. I predict it will be more diiffciult, expensive, unfair and crooked to sell marijuana legally than it ever was to sell it on the street.
A BAD SITUATION
Sunday morning a man walked into a church in Texas and killed about 30 people and wounded maybe 25 more. It just shows how vulnerable the American people are and how they will continue to be vulnerable until they learn how to protect themselves. This is not the 1950s or 60s when we felt fairly safe wherever we went. But in 2017 there are a million anti-Americans that have infiltrated our borders wanting to kill Americans thanks to people like Jerry Brown who don’t believe in border control and want to make an immigration sanctuary state out of California. And it was great to see the two Texans outside that church chase the shooter down. There’s a tv program called One America News and they run a one-minute commercial on how bad California is and how bad its leadership is and how it’s being run into the ground by Jerry Brown and Diane Feinstein and I could go on and on about the Democratic leaders of California. California is a joke and if people don’t learn how to defend themselves all over the country there are going to be more mass killings here at home and all around the country. We don’t know who will be next. And here’s Jerry Brown trying to disarm the public so we can’t defend ourselves. Come on people, wake up! This is a bad situation we’re facing. Go ahead and cry for gun control you liberal Democrat assholes so that good citizens of the US can’t defend themselves. Think about that. What about that guy who ran down people with a truck? Are the Democrats going to ask for truck control? Bus control? Are they crazy?
Also, it’s sickening for our students in our schools in Mendocino County to kneel before the national anthem like the Mendocino kids. It’s pretty sorry when our schoolteachers and our parents allow kids to be that unpatriotic. It makes me sick to my stomach.
God Bless Donald Trump.
A MAN'S FIRST DUTY…
In response to Mr. Philbrick's letters. "A man's first duty is to his own conscience and honor; the party and country come second."
This Mark Twain quote should give you a clue. The NFL players have every right as US citizens to take a knee to peacefully protest the cops unjust killings and civil rights violations.
We do not worship the flag, as you stated, but instead follow our conscience. Blind obedience to a flag is found in totalitarian societies like North Korea, where they are forced to stand for the flag. It is a symbol, not a god.
My uncle was blown up by fascists at Pearl Harbor, and the family plantation burned in the civil war, but that doesn't really matter now.
Here in 2017-land, these men have the right to take a knee, and you have the right to keep bitching and moaning about it. But why keep whining to us smart AVA readers? Does no good.
I know that without brave actions, from good guiding conscience, we'd still be a British colony, probably most would agree.
Not one of your letters shows the slightest understanding of what I've just mentioned or the patriotic principles that are the true inspiration for the US flag. Sadly Philbrick sounds like a parroting of Fox or Limbaugh, while ignoring Twain or Paine.
You've also been conned by Trump, being he's one of the biggest lying swamp creatures ever. Trump University found guilty last year for lying and cheating kids out of their money is just one scam you ignore to worship Trump.
His approval rating is 32%, because most see he's a serial liar, who's unfit.
Finally, Antifa are mostly younger kids who are fighting against fascist ideology now. Why on earth did you write against them? Are you a Nazi sympathizer? Don't you understand that they are against fascism, and that the USA fought a war against that crap?
OPIOID CRISIS REAL
To the Editor:
I am a retired emergency physician. I practiced for over 20 years in Ukiah.
I clearly remember when signs were posted in the ER, mandated by the “progressive” Board of Medical Quality Assurance, that patients had a “right” to have their pain relieved. Physicians were at legal risk if they were accused of not doing so.
Predictably, opioid abuse has risen dramatically in the US since the 1990s, in large part, I believe, because of this policy.
Now, we have a related, much more deadly scandal, as has been reported recently by CBS and the Washington Post.
I am not surprised by the actions of the usual, despicable suspects: lobbyists, big Pharma, some chain drugstores, a few reprehensible physicians, and politicians on the take. What is mystifying is how the ordained “heroes” (Feinstein, Pelosi, Boxer, Obama, etc.) could allow this deadly legislation to pass without dissent.
They will claim that they were bamboozled. Maybe so. The best that can be said then is that they were inattentive and incompetent.
They owe it to the many dead and addicted to admit to, and rectify their mistake.
As the fool who currently occupies the oval office would say: “so sad.”
Jeffrey A. Rapp, MD
THANKS TO SHINDIG RAISERS
To the AV Community and beyond:
Anderson Valley Foodshed would like to give big thanks to the participants in the 3rd Annual ShinDig dinner, music, and pie auction in October during C’mon Home To Eat month. Together we raised $2,400 that will be divided equally between the AV School District Fresh (Local) Food in the Schools project and the Good Farm Fund to be distributed to food farms that suffered damage in the fires. Specifically we would like to thank donors: Rachel for poster printing; Paysanne for ice cream, Pennyroyal for cheese; Johnny, Marcus, and Melinda; for space; musicians Charlie, Juan, Carlos, Noaa, and Jeremy; Jeanne Eliades for apples; Ranch Kai Pomo for tomatillos; and Filigreen Farm, Yorkville Olive Ranch, and Bramble Farms for olive oil. And thanks to our volunteers and food and site prep; Lama, Jay, Rob, Tim, Abeja, Andy, Jen, Deanna, Lily, Linda, Barbara, Amanda, and Maria Elena for preparing the excellent cabbage salsa. All the local pies were delicious and creative and their donor-makers and winning bidders much appreciated. Keevan and Carolyn were fantastic auctioneers. And many thanks to all the farms/ranches that grew the farm-to-table ingredients for the dinner: Anderson Valley Community Farm, Brock Farm, Blue Meadow, Mendocino Meats, and Petit Teton.