Discourse

To the Editor:

On the surface, much of today’s divided political argument boils down to a disagreement over a preferred order of virtues. Should frugality and self-reliance or generosity and community be first in people’s hearts? All in all a sort of a silly question, but virtues carried to extremes do become vices and, with our penchant for projecting negativity onto “others”, the argument becomes pig-headed selfishness versus enabling airheadedness and everyone ends up yelling at one another. Perhaps better discourse would result if both sides were to admit both the positive and the negative we all have within ourselves and work then for the good of all, but isn’t it really about our confused and convoluted relationship with the concept of having power?

RP

From the cabin in Meredith, CO

2012

To the Editor:
    While President Obama has yet to emerge as a strong leader against the plutocratic drift of the country, a drift fully embraced by the Republican Party, the 2012 elections still present a critical pivot point determining the public future of the nation.  Will we have a government (and Supreme Court) that supports the well-being of the majority of Americans or one that caters to the extravagance and thirst for power of a wealthy elite?  Recent Supreme Court rulings have effectively further forced elected officials into a virtual serfdom of dependence on deep-pocketed interests to fund their campaigns, resulting in a corporate takeover of government and the enactment of law.  Ideally, capitalism (or any economic system) is supposed to facilitate well-being for everyone, not just for a small wealthy class. Today, here and all around the world, people are awakening to the loss of that ideal under the rise of the power of global and corporate financial institutions that have only their profits in mind.  Wresting power from these behemoths is a Herculean task, but now is the time to begin the effort.
RP

CO2

To the Editor:
    The leap in the level of carbon dioxide in the air, with its implications of an ever increasing rise of global temperatures, is indeed a major concern.  Not to be forgotten though are the other parts of the equation from the burning of fossil fuels, water and energy released into the interaction of the oceans and the atmosphere.  Carbon dioxide is the trigger, but water and highly energized weather patterns are having the most immediate impact upon us here in what Buckminster Fuller termed “Spaceship Earth”.  Somewhere along the line, our stewardship of life on the planet seems to have taken a decidedly wrong turn.
RP

Economic Interests

To the Editor:
    Research and development for the Gerald R. Ford, the first of the Navy’s next generation aircraft carriers, is projected to be 5 billion dollars.  Construction is estimated at 9 billion, with commissioning set for 2015.  A second ship is scheduled for 2019 and a total of ten by 2058.  Skipping past the sheer impact on our federal deficit and and our assumption of the role of international cop, these new carriers are, primarily, attack weapons of war, capable of both missle and air strikes.  An argument against carriers is that fully outfitted and armed each would constitute upward from 20 billion dollars worth of floating investment and equipment, a most tempting target.  Also somewhat discomfitting is that the Navy is reestablishing its 4th Fleet, headed by just such an aircraft carrier, for operations in the Caribbean “to support counter-terrorism efforts and to protect our national interests” in Central and South America, regions in which our “economic interests” have frequently run counter to sovereign governments.  Given our penchant lately for attacking prickly, independent rulers of oil-rich nations, one may question if perhaps Hugo Chavez and the oil fields of Venezuela might be next in our “counter-terrorism” sights.
RP

Proper Austerity

To the Editor:
    Seeing that the economic collapse was caused by the questionable dealings of high finance, it is completely irrational that average citizens, be they American, Greek, Italian, Spanish, Irish, Portuguese, or Icelandic, be facing austeriy measures when none are being placed on institutions of high finance.  What would make sense, in a spirit of “shared sacrifice”, are outside regulation and oversight of the banking industry, a tax on Wall Street transactions, including especially computer trading, renewed tariffs on imported products, and tax breaks for companies bringing jobs back to America, not taking them away.  In simple words, put the penalties where they belong.
RP

More Fossil Fuels

To the Editor:
    The tar sands of Canada and the pipeline proposed to carry them to refineries in Texas are being touted as a continuing source of “cheap” energy equal to that of the oil fields of Saudi Arabia.  This unabashed proposal to prolong our use and dependence upon fossil fuels flies directly in the face of the fact that the burning of coal, oil, and natural gas and the resulting release of long-dormant CO2, water, and energy is the driving force behind climate change and severe weather patterns and events.  Despite record industry profits and the likelihood that not all this oil is destined for domestic use, this project will nonetheless receive federal (taxpayer) subsidies and, once again, the pursuit of the God Almighty Dollar will trump the well-being of the world.
RP