Letters to the editor: Jan. 3, 2020

Our democracy in peril

Mr. Henderson’s column, citing Upton Sinclair’s “It Can’t Happen Here,” was a stark reminder of the perils of this presidency and the lessons history and literature impart in understanding why our country now finds itself in an existential crisis.

Yet anyone with a modicum of historical literacy long since understood this. If one had relatives living in the 1930s, they should have recalled the demagogues that emerged then and the catastrophic denouements of their regimes.

The president’s racist screed at his campaign’s inception should have sent a shudder down the spine of any half-educated citizen. If you read ancient classics, perhaps you already knew what this creature was. The tyrant is easily recognizable from the works of Plato, Cicero, or, most vividly, the Roman historian Tacitus.

Readers of Elizabethan tragedy will think of Iago, who delighted in evil for evil’s sake, or Faustus, who struck an infamous devil’s bargain.

If you read philosophy, Hannah Arendt’s study, “The Origins of Totalitarianism,” highlights our peril. She noted that shocking vulgarity, cruelty, corruption, constant lies and chaos are instrumental in establishing authoritarian governments, and warned of the danger of nuclear annihilation should authoritarianism ever destabilize the American republic.

Contemporary scholars of authoritarianism note it simply takes a demagogue and a compromised and corrupt political party to deprive a country of its freedom. When one party believes the interference of a hostile foreign power in our electoral process is acceptable to suppress the will of fellow citizens — a crime in progress — we are facing the founders’ worst nightmare.

Ominously, there are no assurances concerning democratic republicanism’s survival. Once Greek democracy and Roman republicanism died, it took eighteen centuries to reassert even an imperfect government expressing the people’s popular will.

Most shamefully, ours might be the generation to surrender over two centuries of republican government to a monstrosity.

Steve Rutledge



Courage and wisdom

I just want to say how much I appreciate the wise words of your editorial, “Library’s not safe; but then, what is?” You addressed the issue accurately and thoroughly.

I especially appreciated the section where you observed that “modern life seems exponentially more menacing,” and pointed out that part of it is reality and part of it just a function of our instantaneous global communication. That is so true!

As you said in the final paragraph, “Being less free doesn’t make us more safe.” So let’s refrain from being quick to place blame and continue to live our daily lives with courage and wisdom.

Nancy Heins



Eat, drink and be wary

The end-of-year holidays seem to whiplash us from one extreme to the other — eat, drink and be merry vs. the customary New Year’s resolutions, such as limiting social media involvement, reducing weight and embracing a plant-based diet.

One-third of consumers already report reducing their consumption of animal foods. Hundreds of school, college, hospital, and corporate cafeterias have embraced Meatless Monday, and even fast-food chains such as Chipotle, Denny’s, Panera, Subway, Taco Bell and White Castle are rolling out plant-based options.

A dozen start-ups, led by Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods, are creating healthy, eco-friendly, compassionate, convenient and delicious plant-based meat and dairy alternatives. The meat industry giants Tyson Foods, Cargill and Maple Leaf Foods are investing heavily in plant-based meat development.

According to the Plant-Based Foods Association, sales have grown by 20% in recent years, compared to 2% for food products as a whole. Sales of plant-based cheese, creamer, butter, yogurt and ice cream are growing at an even more explosive 50% clip. And plant-based milk now accounts for 15% of the milk market.

The plant-based New Year’s resolution requires no sweat or deprivation — just some fun exploration of your favorite supermarket, restaurant and food websites.

Milo Nakamura



Wolves on the prowl

What is occurring in our nation is akin to a pack of wolves chasing after an innocent target. 

The legislators have a lot of gall, as they themselves are guilty of potential obstruction of justice, treason, violation of the oath of office and violation of the Constitution.

Two legislators wanted to bring charges of treason against Obama. None of the others cooperated, and to this day, no charges have been pursued. This represents dereliction of duty, in addition to the aforementioned charges.

We ourselves bear a lot of guilt for permitting this behavior. We have a duty to make sure laws are enforced and our nation is protected. Don’t you enjoy the privilege of freedom, or would you relish being a serf or slave?

Mary Novak



Lucky break

We were both lucky: I didn’t hit you and you didn’t get hit.

It was 6 p.m. on New Year’s Eve, in front of the community center. It was raining.

You were standing in the street beside your car, dressed all in black. I was blinded by the lights of the car coming toward me. If I hadn’t noticed you open your car door, I wouldn’t have seen you until we made contact.

Happy New Year!

Darrell King



Evil form of torture

The letter from Deborah Schwartzkopff, founder of ECT Justice, was right on the money. I commend her for her blowing the whistle on a barbaric practice. Unless the purpose is just evil torture, electroshock convulsive treatment can serve no end other than generating big profits for psychiatrists and mental health practitioners.

ECT is, pure and simple, torture. It has no medical value according to outspoken, truth-speaking psychiatrists such as the late, much-renowned Dr. Thomas Szasz.

If the public at large knew the truth about ECT, it would already be banned. It would be viewed as a criminal act.

ECT is used to produce a grand mal seizure in the victim. Most people know that grand mal seizures are terribly damaging.

They are known to cause irreversible brain damage. That’s why mitigating drugs are administered to those suffering from epilepsy.

ECT also puts the victim at risk of suicide, despite psychiatry’s claims to the contrary. Studies have shown the suicide rate is 13 times higher for ECT victims.

So why isn’t ECT illegal? Because it’s immensely profitable.

The average ECT session costs $2,500, and a typical round of treatment consists of six to 12 sessions. Adding the in-patient charges can push the total cost as high as $120,000.

If you think you have nothing to worry about, that you can simply refuse ECT if it’s offered, think again. A psychiatrist can get a court order to administer ECT involuntarily, despite the fact the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture has labeled such imposition a form of torture.

Fortunately, a group I am associated with, the Citizens Commission on Human Rights, is exposing this barbaric practice. To get all the facts, here’s a link to a full-length documentary: www.cchr.org/ban-ect/watch/therapy-or-torture-the-truth-about-electroshock.html.

Robert Lippmann





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