Public Comment

Letters to the Editor

Tuesday August 24, 2010 - 02:51:00 PM

November, November, November is the siren song so many Republicans and Tea Partiers are singing. But the road to this year's midterm elections is not a cakewalk for anyone who voted against health care for all Americans, against the stimulus bill that has turned around a faltering economy and those who voted against unemployment benefits for American workers. Republicans voted no on all of them. 

"The trouble with the Republican Party is that it has not had a new idea for thirty years" - Woodrow Wilson.  

This statement is just as true today as it was then. Many conservatives and Republicans are actually flirting with the Tea Party as an alternative to the Republican Party. Republicans are no longer the only game in town. This election season Republicans and Tea Partiers are fielding many one issue, far -Far to the right candidates.  

From a purely partisan perspective, early election victories have improved Democrats prospects for November. Democrats have chosen stronger candidates and Republicans weaker ones in the midterm elections. This bodes ill for Republicans and bodes well for Democrats. 

Ron Lowe  


Dorothy Snodgrass made an egregious error in suggesting that I at any time have blamed the Berkeley City Council for the arson which took down the old Berkeley Inn on Telegraph avenue.  

The fire was deliberately started by persons who were never charged, but who woke the residents in the wing in which the fire was set so as to at least minimize loss of life. I am happy to introduce Ms. Snodgrass or anyone interested to the tenants who were witnesses, and who escaped the flames. 

Please, Ms. Snodgrass, read more carefully. 

Carol Denney 


Corporations run the show. Primarily that’s going to come from the people who own and run our big corporations. So the G8 is this group of countries that represent the biggest multinational corporations in the world and really serve at their behest.It doesn’t really matter whether we have a Democrat or a Republican in the White House or running Congress; the empire goes on, because it’s really run by what I call the corporatocracy, which is a group of men who run our biggest corporations. 

They really are the equivalent of the emperor, because they do not serve at the wish of the people, they’re not democratically elected, they don’t serve any limited term. They essentially answer to no one, except their own boards. They are the power behind this. Today, corporations exist for the primary purpose of making large profits, making a few very rich people a lot richer. That shouldn’t be. 

Ted Rudow III,MA 


This week the last combat convoy left Iraq. By the end of the month, the remaining combat forces will also leave the country. This puts the Obama administration on track to reduce the U.S. troop level to 50,000 by August 31. 

This is an important step, but does not by itself end the occupation of Iraq. The Administration vowed to complete Iraq's occupation by December 31, 2011. That is a deadline we must meet. The last 20 years of war, sanctions, and occupation have broken Iraq. Millions of Iraqis have been killed, injured, traumatized, displaced or forced to flee and live as refugees. Breaking our promises and prolonging the occupation will not help solve any of the challenges the war-worn country is facing. In fact, our continued presence would exacerbate the Iraqis' woes. 

V. Pellizzer 


Unbelievably, 1 in 5 Americans believe President Obama is a Muslim. Guess we should never underestimate the power of ignorant people in large groups. By the way, he is a practicing Christian. Of course, Republicans know this, but they don't mind a bit of public ignorance if it advances their cause. 

Ralph E. Stone 


Several hundred people have come down with Salmonella enteritides poisoning, leading to the recall of 380 million eggs from 17 states by the Wright County Egg Company of Galt, Iowa). According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than 100,000 Americans suffer from egg-borne Salmonella infections each year. Common symptoms include diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever. 

Salmonella infection is only the most publicized health effect of egg consumption. An average egg contains loads of fat and 213 mg of cholesterol, key factors in the incidence of heart disease, stroke, cancer, and diabetes. 

Incidentally, those 380 million eggs were the product of nearly 1,500,000 birds suffering for a year in tiny wire-mesh cages that cut their feet and tore out their feathers. Their waste was dumped into a nearby stream, contributing to massive pollution of the Mississippi River, and eventually, to a “dead zone” in the Gulf of Mexico three times the size of the BP oil spill. 

The good news is that our local supermarket offers a number of healthful, eco-friendly, delicious egg replacers. More details are available at

Harold Kunitz 


It's like David Duke has taken over and is directing the election year strategy of the Republican Party. What you hear coming from the GOP about the mosque controversy in New York City are Muslim hate screeds and anti-Islamic rhetoric. Aren't there two billion Muslims around the world - are they all bad? 

Each election Republicans open up 9/11 wounds to whip up fear and loathing among its base and the inattentive American public. The GOP spin machine never ceases to amaze. 

Prior elections it was marriage used as a Republican "wedge issue"; This election a proposed Islamic community center in NYC has become the GOP's political football as they sweep the real issues, economy, jobs and war under the rug.  

Ron Lowe 


Recently, White House press Secretary Robert Gibbs criticized the “professional Left” for its constant anti-Obama rhetoric. Of course, left-wing blogs were unhappy at the characterization. But the shoe fits. 

There’s a syndicate of journalists who make a living preaching that the President hasn’t created very many jobs or done enough to help the uninsured, and hasn’t delivered much relief to society’s most marginalized citizens. To which the President responds, “Well, duh.” 

Who’s claiming that he has? Obama himself certainly isn’t. How could even the most well-meaning legislation, chopped to bits by Republicans bent on sabotage, undo the damage done by the Cheney Administration? But the professional Left works from the notion that Obama is so dense he can’t grasp how limited his successes have been. 

The Left assumes that only they, with their heart-wrenching accounts of working-class misery, truly get it. They paint a portrait of Obama as an apologist for the status quo, as if he’s unaware that the legislation he sponsored was severely watered down. 

They tell us again and again that everything Obama does is too little, too late, and school him with constant object lessons in how poorly regular people are faring these days. Their goal is to draw the most radical distinction between Obama’s sad, piecemeal efforts and their own bold ideas. 

Like Republican obstructionists, these writers are professionally obligated to disparage everything emanating from the White House, and assume that every time Obama takes a hit, their ideas will appear wiser. They don’t write in order to make life better for people right now, but write with the goal to be the only voice in the wilderness. 

Like Republican obstructionists, they believe that moderate solutions are bad, because they muddy up the stark choices that voters must make. The “professional Left” would happily live in a Republicanized America locked in a nuclear stand-off with Iran, because they could position themselves as the lone warriors of truth. 

Apparently, by then, we’ll all have seen the folly of compromise, and be won over to their ideas. In such a Bush-on-Steroids world, these writers would have real enemies, genuinely nasty people to scream about, and blog themselves silly in a rush of self-importance. 

For now, however, they must be content to denigrate the best efforts of a well-meaning President, a man trying to get some good done before his curtain falls. And if the curtain falls on Obama, it will be because of the professional Left. They do him more harm than any tea-partying Friend of Sarah ever could. 

Simon Max