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Letters to the Editor

Sunday March 25, 2001

KPFA provides  

a much-needed civic service 


Letters that call for the sale of KPFA puzzle me. Who would get the money? But more, what about the absence without KPFA?  

Who else covers labor news as thoroughly, or even covers it?  

Who else provides such thorough and critical opinion on U.S. foreign involvement and on what’s going on in the nature of (or lack of) human rights in all parts of the world? (You don’t have to agree with Denis Bernstein from 5 - 6 p.m. weekdays, but where else are you going to hear it?)  

What other station is so comprehensive and distinctly different, and has no advertising?  

I turn the dial. 740 AM has news repeated out of a can. There are a couple of classical music stations that do what KPFA doesn’t do. A good jazz station in San Mateo. A bunch of sports/sports talk stations. And then they all begin to blur. PBS is listenable, and limited to viewpoint: Edward Said or Norm Chomsky, two of the most alive public intellectuals, are air-brushed out. KPFA is the only media, print or air, that gives a thorough hearing to the Palestinians — otherwise I need European publications. No one else has the range of mission — or the attention to less-heard voices — than does KPFA.  

Sure, I’m white and older, and dismissed by the parent Pacifica organizations, but let me tell you, what Pacifica and others don’t realize is how lonely one can get intellectually and culturally in some place KPFA reaches that are distant from the sophisticated Bay Area. In the isolated places KPFA provides sustenance, as I know from 30 years living at the edge of the KPFA signal area.  

And even as a kid, living in the ‘50s, what a godsend to hear poetry on a radio station, and know that there were people out there who weren’t rapid anti-Communists. I’ll bet there are young people right now with very different tastes from mine or yours whose souls are nourished by KPFA. And maybe even offended by it, and by ideas they were taught not to have.  


Stephen Petty 



Society’s ills are to blame for school shootings 


When shootings in schools become an almost daily occurrence in this enchanted land, we can only hope to understand this phenomenon by placing our hearts in the hearts of these children, by seeing the world through their eyes. 

What are they doing in these schools? What surroundings do they come from as they, with a thousand other kids they do not know, float around these prison-like buildings and playgrounds? What future do they hope for? Do these girls wish to become like their mothers? Do these boys aspire to live the life they see their fathers living?  

The hope that still lived in our hearts in the ‘60s is no more. All the new possessions acquired by their baby-boomer parents, which gave an aura of success to their life, are already accepted as natural human rights. The new world of the Internet allows each of us to live behind earphones, to listen only to the music we want to hear again and again, to talk only to people who talk and think like us. Where do we go from here?  

This evangelistic country is one big advertising fraud, and the kids know it. They have no future other than as government employees or as labor fodder for our large, globally operating corporations. These homeless enterprises roam the world looking for the cheapest unprotected workers they can find to make these products they sell, at a huge profit, at the other end of the world, to affluent consumers.  

Except for the few who will join the ranks of the rich, the many will live in poverty degraded by unemployment and deprived of any possibility of ever doing anything with their lives.  

Growing populations and urban sprawl will destroy the remaining forests and trees we need to produce the oxygen we breathe and the remaining arable soil we need to grow our food. Fertilizers and pesticides necessary to extract more food from less land accumulate and are now present in the food we eat and the water we drink and debilitate all living organisms. If this population growth and the inherent destruction of our natural environment can not be stopped and reversed, we have no future. Also, more people crammed together in a limited space means more stress, more irritation, more aggression. If this is the kind of life that these religious-right, pro-life, anti-abortion people want for their children, I don’t know, I really don’t know.  

There has been a growing tough-on-crime movement. The reasoning is simple: We are good people, hardworking, idealistic, upstanding family-oriented Americans and our life, our society is threatened by a rising horde of evil people, criminals who want to destroy all of this. These evil people, don’t ask us how they come to be here, must be exterminated, put behind bars, somehow done away with. From this mythological framework, these school killings are approached. These evil kids must be tried as adults and put to death.  

The reality is somewhat different. The American family has fallen apart. When parents and children still live together they are little connected and live in different worlds. The big schools which these children are forced to attend are not a friendly environment. Kids can be very cruel to each other. The big bullies take out their own frustrations on the smaller kids and may beat them up and make them live in constant fear. Girls may torture each other in different, vicious ways. Eventually these unhappy kids at the bottom of the heap may not be able to take it anymore and they snap, killing themselves or others.  

The life of these tormented, unwanted, unloved children in hell. And, if these children finally snap and strike back at the world, the guilt of society and parents is not alleviated by adding these children to our ever growing prison population. These kids are no criminals.  


Jan H. Visser 



On the Marx 


Since you can’t talk on two cellular phones at the same time... 

Since you can’t wear two pairs of Levi’s at the same time... 

Since you can’t work two laptops at the same time... 

Since you can get free music via Napster anytime... 

Since computers can now talk with each other “without commands from another person”... 

Please be informed that “the anarchy of the market place” (Karl Marx, 1846) is in full bloom. 


George Kauffman 



Protestors are ‘welfare junkies’ 


Those greedy “gimme-gimme” demonstrators recently so active in Berkeley and Los Angeles, “demanding” that the University of California regents violate the law and reverse the UC policy banning illegal racial (and racist) quotas in UC admissions, are a disgrace — just another breed of “welfare junkies.”  

They seem to believe that their skin color somehow entitles them to special consideration, preferential benefits and exclusive advantages that they are unwilling to work for and to earn through their own efforts.  

Casting themselves as “victims,” they are disgusting, sniveling brats, already too long carried by unearned handouts of the Great Society and the fruits of our liberal welfare state. Let them earn their way into UC.  


Fielding Greaves 

San Rafael