Trickle Down

To the Editor:
Let’s call it Trickle Me Once, Trickle Me Twice.  The Trumpublican tax “reform” is a simple reaffirmation of Ronald Reagan’s supply-side, trickle down economic platform that has resulted in the wealth and income disparity we have today.  It is purely magical thinking to believe that the corporate world will share its tax windfall with the average working American whose own tax “relief”, unlike that for corporations, is set to expire.  Company bonuses are nice but, unlike pay raises, they are only temporary.  In other words, future deficits will fall squarely upon public rather than corporate income and Conservatives can amplify their disparagement of federal public well-being and safety net programs such as Medicare and Social Security.  The goal seems to be to continue the transformation of America into a Banana Republic ruled by a wealthy, oligarchical elite.  All “isms” have positive and negative aspects, but coupled with the deregulation of banking and the fossil fuel extraction industries, this is Capitalism at its worst.
Robert Porath

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Climax Molybdenum

To the Editor:

The Climax Molybdenum Mine between Copper Mountain and Leadville in Colorado has over the years eaten away an entire mountainside along the Continental Divide and its milling operation filled a once-pristine mountain valley with lifeless, chemical-laden tailings.  Downstream is Dillon Reservoir, a major source of Denver and Front Range water.  The mine is now asking the EPA to allow the acceptable level of molybdenum in water be increased.  Scott Pruitt is rapidly transforming the Environmental Protection Agency into the Industrial Production and Profit Protection Agency, but increasing the allowable level of molybdenum in water by a factor of 236 times is surely a step too far.  Then again public safety is not the issue.

Robert Porath

The Politics of Race

To the Editor:
It is becoming clear that Donald Trump and the Republican Party are continuing to count on the White backlash to the Obama years to ensure their political majority in 2018 and 2020, that and gerrymandering and voter suppression   Mike Pence’s media stunt of abruptly leaving the Indianapolis Colts game could have not been more blatant to that end, and the NFL  seems now so afraid of losing its fan base that it has joined in on the platform.  One has to wonder how Black athletes feel about being thrown under the bus and how might they react.  Steve Bannon may no longer have a position in the White House, but he is still dominating both the political narrative and the Republican agenda.

Robert Porath

Gun Rights

To the Editor:
Sigmund Freud is not the most popular voice of reason in today’s psycho-chemical approach to controlling mental illness but it is undeniable that his psychosexual theories of sublimation and extension of elemental sexual anxiety can be applied to America’s fascination with guns, dating even back to the passage of the 2nd Amendment and the taming of the frontier, essentially Mother Earth.  Applied to Donald Trump, with his succession of trophy wives, his long red ties, his sexual braggadocio, his quest for adulation, and fascination with wealth and glamour,  Freud’s insights shine a light on his concern about the size of his hands.  It is more than a bit disconcerting that those same hands do command America’s military might and that his finger hovers above the nuclear trigger.  Hopefully his fiery rhetoric is just that, only rhetoric.

                Robert Porath

The QB Who Kicked the Hornets Nest

To the Editor:

As someone coming of age in the times of the Civil Rights struggle, Viet Nam, Kent State, and the assassinations of John Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, and Robert Kennedy, I have frequently  wondered just what does it mean to be a “loyal American”?  What is it to “respect the Flag”?  What does “patriotism” entail?  In asking and addressing these same questions, Colin Kaepernick has become the Quarterback Who Kicked the Hornets Nest.  Any number of NFL teams could immediately use his skills, but the reason he is not playing is not a football decision.  It is a socio-political-economic decision based on the fear of teams and the league losing fan and advertising support.  Both Kaepernick and the owners have valid concerns, but the overriding question still is what does it mean to be an American? Or, for that matter, what is it to be a valid person in a still racially divided society?  In inserting himself into the fray, Donald Trump is that guy standing in a crowd surrounding what appears to be a fight about to break out who is yelling for the fighting to begin.  This is for his fan base, but it is utterly irresponsible behavior.

Robert Porath

Tierra Nueva

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Tierra Nueva

In this random pick-up-sticks, double helix

Melting pot amalgam and gene pool diaspora

Of multiracial physiognomy, skin color,

And multilingual saga, rhythm, and song

Of European, African, Asian, Semitic,

And Native Peoples world and voice

That is La Tierra Nueva, Las Americas,

What is it, here today, to be a person,

To be, certifiably, a human being,

And can we, that being, intervene

Upon our predisposed tribal fears,

Prejudice, and self judgement of value

And humanity based on heritage,

Wealth, gender, and skin tone?

Can or can’t we?  Are we, the People,

This mixed breed, capable or culpable?

Female Statuary

To the Editor:
A not entirely trivial bit of the history of female statuary is John Ashcroft’s covering of the breasts of the blindfolded, scale holding symbols of Justice during his tenure as Attorney General.  If Harriet Tubman is not a proper replacement for Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill, perhaps the Venus de Milo or Rodin’s The Kiss might serve to better reflect feminine beauty and mystery and deflect our tendencies to military engagement.  Similarly, lest the reality of Art upstage the surreality of ambition and war, the copy of Picasso’s “Guernica” portraying the anguish and suffering of a village being bombed and strafed during the Spanish Civil War was covered with a tarp as our intention to attack Iraq was being announced from the steps of the UN building in New York.  It seems we have but a tenuous grip on the realities of justice and life.
Robert Porath