I went to Cozmic Pizza Saturday afternoon to hear L.A. Times editor Dean Kuipers promote his book, Operation Bite Back: Rod Coronado’s War to Save American Wilderness. Only a few attended because many folks were out at the Oregon Country Fair.
Kuipers’ talk was informative and interesting. He read one passage out of Operation Bite Back, and I felt extreme sadness and anger toward the mink “farmer” and the entire animal exploitation industry. Cheers for Rod Coronado and others who are committed to effective activism.
Coronado is currently on probation after serving time for his brave activism, among other things. Most recently, he was imprisoned for exercising his constitutional right to freedom of speech when he responded to an audience member’s question. The question related to how he’d constructed a non-explosive incendiary device out of a plastic jug filled with gas to commit a past arson, for which he had long since been sentenced and done his time.
Coronado’s terms of probation are equal to being under house arrest, with heavy restrictions, including the requirement to notify the appropriate “authority” in order to leave home, unless going to his workplace for his shift. He is not allowed to use a computer unless it’s equipped with a federal monitoring device.
Sherry Franzen, Eugene
FOR HEALTH’S SAKE
Is America the land of the “free” as defined by insurance companies?
We as Americans can easily forget who has all the power in this great country, and it’s not the government or corporations. We the people are in charge and can have the last word. This country was founded on liberty and having the freedom to choose our own way to live.
Mandatory health insurance will benefit only the private insurance companies. I understand mandatory auto insurance, the option being only if you own an auto.
If insurance companies have their way the law will be this: If you have a body, you will have to pay a monthly premium for it. How’s this sound?
Email your congressmen now!
Possible alternatives include socialized medicine. This system of medicine works very well, and private interest companies influence all the negative press. Yes, the free press isn’t free. Only in the press does socialized medicine look like a bad way to provide coverage. The reality, however, is that it works very well and is a hundred times more efficient than private company coverage and less expensive. The private companies would lose millions with socialized medicine in place, and this is why there is all of the negative press about socialized medicine.
More proof of the efficiencies of socialized medicine is Medicare. Sure, it isn’t perfect, but compared to private company coverage, it is light years ahead in how it works and cost.
This is your country. If insurance companies get there way, the words “your choice” won’t be your option.
Your freedom is up to you to nurture. Do it for YOU or me or anyone. Just do it! Write, email, walk, run and get involved in your medical future now, please, for all of us!
“Yon” Jan Gardner, Eugene
After reading Eve Cienfuegos’ letter last week about how much she hates the Oregon Country Fair, I had two thoughts. Why does EW print these kind of letters? And Eve, I think the only diaper you’re tripping on is your own.
Scott Kirkpatrick, Eugene
OREGON COUNTRY FAIR
This is a letter in response to Eve Cienfuegos (7/16). I am glad that you didn't go to the OCF, Eve. However, I did. I joyfully volunteered many hours of my time to assist this wonderful festival in its manifestation, and I am proud to be a part of the Fair Family. I can only speak to my experience, and it is nothing like what you described in your letter (the only letter mentioning the OCF during this issue). I saw many people having a wonderful time with their friends and family, including small children. If your preference is to camp with few, if any, people around you, then your not attending this event would have pleased you and your family. The music this year was wonderful. I listened to Conjugal Visitors, Reeble Jar, rock, folk, junk-yard band, violins, flutes played by children. I watched fire dancers and much more. But if you don't like this, it is a good thing that you didn't attend.
As far as the garbage on the ground you speak of, I didn't see ANY of this, pre-fair or during fair. OCF has a state-of-the-art recycling program, and many people that gladly spend their Fair time helping to keep the Fair clean. Maybe your camp host needs to speak to your camp; you could lead the way in no-trace camping. It sounds like you work in a really cool place since so many people at your job do find it interesting enough to ask for time off to either attend or volunteer their own precious free time during the Fair.
As far as the illegal activities of drug and alcohol, I believe it is no more out of control than a day in town, and the sexual inappropriateness should be addressed immediately! But since you aren't attending, I can see that the Fair will be without your conscious care for children in this area as well. Now for your whole family getting FREE passes and passing up on this, next year I will pay the $130 for the gift that you turned down, because I know many who would have loved to have been given such a miracle. Since you won't be there, be a kind hippie sister.
Cami Pray, Veneta
UNIONS AND HEALTHCARE
Alan Pittman lays out an impressive argument for single-payer health care. And he assails the usual bogeyman, the insurance companies. Without doubt, they're investing millions in lobbying efforts to protect their stake in the status quo.
Numerous letters to the editor in this and other publications question why Democrats acknowledge the benefits of single-payer yet can't get behind it. Frustrated progressives, and Pittman, would do well to cycle back to Journalism 101. That is, follow the money.
Public employee unions have zero interest in joining us in a truly universal health care system. They're perfectly happy with their excellent, taxpayer-funded insurance. And, it's these same unions that stuff Democrat campaign coffers with hundreds of millions of dollars every election cycle.
Doubt me? Look what happened when Democrats proposed taxing individuals' health care benefits as income, which would have hit union members hard. That trial balloon was shot down faster than a cheesy pick-up line.
When advocating ANY health care plan, legislators should be forced to answer to whether they and public employee unions will be joining it.
Bruce Mackey, Eugene
How can we Americans be so unconcerned?
Take one look on the Internet at the vast sums of money our congressional members are receiving from pharmaceutical and medical organizations to defeat single payer health plans, and we ignore their corruption! When 70 percent of Americans need and want a single-payer health
system, our congressional representatives, the already rich, get richer by voting against our wishes.
How times have changed our country. Many of us can remember when presidential candidate Dwight Eisenhower dumped Sherman Adams as vice presidential running mate for accepting a vicuna coat for his wife from a lobbyist! Now our elected leaders accept millions of dollars from lobbyists, and we do nothing!
Call or write your senators: U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, 516 Hart Office Building, Washington D.C. 20510, phone (541) 431-0229. Sen. Jeff Merkley, SDB-40B Dirksen Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C. 20510, phone (541) 465-6750. And your U.S. Rep. Peter DeFazio, 2134 Rayburn H.O.B. Washington, D.C., 20510, phone (800) 944-9603. Let them know your wishes and that you are aware of massive congressional corruption.
Jerry Copeland, Florence
STOP CLOWNING AROUND
Do you know what high-wire artists and politicians have in common? They both perform balancing acts. The balancing act for high-wire artists is between glory and injury or death. For politicians it is more mundane: the will of the people vs. the money of the special interests.
Politicians need the people for their votes, and they need the special interests to fund their campaigns.
This balancing act is currently playing out under the Washington Big Top as, afraid to offend their corporate benefactors, all Republicans and some Democrats refuse to support a strong public option in a health care reform bill. Their hedging comes despite 72 percent of the American people favoring “offering everyone a government administered health insurance plan like Medicare that would compete with private health plans,” according to a recent New York Times/CBS poll.
Do you want your elected representatives to represent you or the medical/industrial complex? Now is the time to write or call President Obama, Sens. Wyden and Merkley, and Congressman DeFazio and tell them to stop clowning around and enact real health care reform with a strong public option. And if they don't stop their foolishness, then show them you are serious at the next election.
Do you know the difference between high-wire artists and politicians? High-wire artists have courage.
CULTURE OF HATE
The recent hearings of Sonia Sotomayor are showing an unprecedented reaction by the radical, extreme right wing of the Republican Party who are exhibiting classic misogynist and racist behavior. Why are so many upset about the promotion of a Latina who brings equality to the white, male dominated Supreme Court? Don’t you think it is about time that the old, white male steps down from his lofty perch, a position he has had since the beginning of our dear nation?
Women are the now the majority of the population and within less than 10 years the Latino population will be the majority. And yes, Sotomayor will bring a new perspective to the Supreme Court. I consider it a refreshing change to the status quo.
What are some American men so afraid of? Is it the fear that the new majority will treat them badly? A new America was born when Barrack Obama was elected. The radical, right wing is a dinosaur that will have to be taken down kicking and screaming because they have had the advantage and control for so long.
The Newt Gingrich's, Rush Limbaugh's, and Fox News are showing the rage and frustration of a party that has not opened up to include everyone. Many of our citizens are hoping our president and others fail. This a disgrace to the American people.
There is a culture of hate building in this country. Crimes against women and children has never been higher.
We finally have a president we can be proud of. He is representing people who want equality and compassion for all.
Stop the hating of someone who isn't you. We can allow more people into the circle.
THE BAD OLD DAYS
The coup in Honduras marks an eerie return to the bad old days in Latin America. Obama has condemned it but Secretary of State Clinton is waffling about returning legitimate president Manuel Zelaya to office.
The U.S. exercises great control over the Honduran military. Proposed military assistance for 2010 has been increased 50 PERCENT over 2009 aid.
Zelaya recently fired the leader of the coup —General Romeo Vasquez —for refusing to help circulate ballots for a non-binding plebiscite scheduled the day of the coup. Vasquez arrested Zelaya and flew him out of the country in his pajamas so that the plebiscite could not take place. Vasquez and Air Force General Suazo were both trained at the infamous U.S. military School of the Americas. The Honduran coup follows closely the model of the failed Venezuelan coup against President Hugo Chavez, which President Bush was quick to support. Is Obama's government any different?
The plebiscite could not have extended Zelaya's term of office, as it would not have led to constitutional changes until after Zelaya leaves office. It asked only whether Honduras should vote whether to convene a National Constitutional Assembly, such has been held in Venezuela and Bolivia to re-write the neoliberal constitutions written in the 1980s, when the U.S. held a stranglehold on Latin American politics. This was a coup to prevent a popular election.
Even were the Supreme Court opinion that the plebiscite was illegal correct, the constitutional political course would have been the impeachment of the president by congress, not the seizure of power, wholesale arrests, and imposition of total curfew and information blackout by the military.
Alexander Cockburn's CounterPunch website is a good source of alternative viewpoints on Honduras, Iran, and other ventures of the Obama presidency.