Sunday, February 23, 2020

All in for Bernie letter

I have emailed to the News-Press the following letter to the editor. I'll update this post when/if it's published.

To the editor:

What's the appropriate phrase? Biting the bullet? Going all in? Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead? This election, I've decided to do all three. I'm voting in the California primary and, hopefully, in the general election, for Bernie Sanders.

Yes, I worry about his "electability" and his heart attack and advanced age (same as mine, BTW) but damn it, there's another apt phrase: A man's gotta do what a man's gotta do.

We elders recall presidential elections where a popular chant, bemoaning the similarity of the major candidates' views, was "A choice not an echo." Well, with a Sanders/Trump choice in November, that's not likely to be heard, and that's important.

But to me it's deeper, grander, than that: My vote feels like a profound exercise, a true and liberating act, an act that in small measure atones to my offspring for allowing the state of our nation to become what America has become and Trump exemplifies: an imperialist, consumerist, capitalist monster.

Should we provide universal health care? Of course. Free advanced education? Of course. Economic equity, certainly. And to the opposing refrain, We can't afford it, I reply, Oh puhleeze. We support 700 worldwide military bases; we subsidize multinational corporations and foreign governments; we throw money at a Space Force and a border wall; we send pallets of dollars to corrupt regimes.

So, I'm all in for Bernie Sanders. I owe it to those who come after me – and to myself.

Wednesday, January 01, 2020

The Long Con letter to the editor

I wrote this letter to the editor of the Santa Barbara News-Press. I'll update this post if/when it's published.

It was published on Sunday, January 5, 2020.

To the editor:

Remember the movie "The Sting," with Newman and Redford, as "grifters," swindling their "mark," gangster Doyle Lonnegan, out of a half million dollars? It wasn't a quick job: It was a "long con," involving a hook, a bite, a switch and, pertinent to this letter, the mark's ignorance he'd been swindled.

As presently relevant, the hook was Trump's 2016 campaign promises and television appearances, spewed ceaselessly by an uncritical media to a feckless public. The bite was the electoral college count. The switch has been three years of trickery and lies, presidentially tweeted, spewed by faithful Internet sources and broadcast daily by an allied television channel.

Some of Trump's most egregious switches: (1) Tax reform. Did middle-class Americans see a break? Not one whit and certainly nothing near the $4,000 tax reduction Trump promised. Meanwhile, stock market investors and major corporations got rich and richer. (2) Withdrawal of US forces. Not one whit, with forces still in Iraq and Afghanistan and being attacked there daily; with new involvements in Africa and elsewhere; and – fueled by huge increases in Pentagon spending – with a new theater, a Space Force. (3) A great again America. Not at all. Indeed, Trump's made us a rogue nation, alienating traditional allies, with its president a laughing-stock, viewed globally as a charlatan, a swindler – which, at base, he is.

By November, will enough voters have awakened to the swindle or will our grifter president succeed with his long con?