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Letters to the editor

Even in ancient Rome they had political corruption

Donald Trump’s political troubles resemble those of Coriolanus in ancient Rome. Coriolanus was held to account with three articles of impeachment: subversion of the constitution; refusing a summons to appear before the people’s representatives; and provoking the citizenry to resort to arms and stoking fears of civil war.

In democratic Athens and/or Rome there are also examples of impeachment for voter fraud and voter suppression, financial corruption, military mismanagement, skirting the laws of the land, private gain while in office, inviting foreign influence into government decision-making, inciting division in the society, and even unkept political promises and promoting an anti-impeachment movement.

Penalties ranged from fines, to removal from office, loss of right to run for office again, expulsion from society, loss of personal property, and loss of all civil rights.

Public servants can make or break democracy. What’s all the fuss about holding them accountable?

Sincerely,

Kimball Shinkoskey

Being a progressive has a different meaning today

The word “progressive” itself has positive connotations today, maybe much of it due to the clever and successful advertising of General Electric in the 50’s campaign of “Progress is our most important product”. But in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, it was the label many politically active people proudly claimed. Many of the things they strived for and accomplished were positive, like the women’s suffrage movement, but there were some very dark progressive accomplishments too. For example, Margret Sanger’s strong movement, which is still with us today, to reduce the population growth, in particular, what she called “undesirables”, especially “dark-skinned people”.

Then there were presidents like Wilson, who may have done more to set back race relations in the country since the Civil War, with things like segregating, things he controlled in the federal government, as the U.S. military, while encouraging segregation in individual states in areas they controlled like education. As an interesting fact, he was the first president to view a movie in the White House, which was written by a friend of his, as he praised, that was named “The Birth of a Nation”, that glorified and portrayed the Ku Klux Klan as heroes and saviors of the country.

These and other things started getting rejected by more and more people after they were becoming known, so many realized the label “progressive” needed changing. Advertising really grew in the ’20s and ’30s and many of those involved in politics changed the word from “progressives” to “liberals”, which had historical value because our nation’s founding fathers were labeled with that word, due to the root of that word, which is “liberty” which also means “freedom”.

Today there isn’t anyone alive who remembers the ‘dark’ side of the original progressive movement in this country and due to the libertarian movement growing for years.

Those words are becoming less and less applicable to segments of a growing and more controlling part of those having and or seeking office. Many of us are guilty of being influenced by well-tested words, bumper stickers, and statements that can change with different contexts.

I just hope there are enough people to still ask the right people the right probing questions (especially younger people) to get to the truth and be aware that those who we give power to realize they need to get back to the original meaning of “public service” not “self-service”, even if most of our “watchdogs” turn into “lapdogs” at various times and that includes the ever-growing and more powerful ‘high tech’ world.

I truly believe the more hard, probing, thoughtful questions to the policymakers the better. That can openly display all the “plus and minuses” to all existing and proposed policies, not just standard well-rehearsed and repeated declarations using deceptive “political speak.”

David Jaronik

Unlikely Nevada will have enough vaccine for near future

On Jan 11, 2021, governor Sisolak gave a news conference, aired on Channel 5, about the COVID-19 vaccination program in Nevada. It emerged that the state of Nevada had received 170,000 doses of vaccine since Dec 14, 2020, and that 61,000 have been used, leaving 109,000 in storage.

There are about 3 million residents in Nevada. If all residents were vaccinated twice, then 6 million doses would be needed. At 60,000 shots in the arm per month it would take about 100 months, or more than eight years to complete the vaccination program (or four years if we went with one dose)!

Now, that length of time is not likely because our health care system is currently under a terrible strain from the surge in COVID-19 cases. We will likely be able to devote more resources to vaccination when the surge abates. Also, we will learn how to be more efficient.

However, that being said, it seems highly unlikely that Nevada will be able to boost its vaccination rate to over half a million per month. This would be about ten times the current rate, and needed to complete a one-dose program by end of June this year (HHS secretary Azar on Dec. 23 claimed this would be done). Even if we could do a half million per month we might be limited by supply from the manufacturers. Let’s hope that as more vaccine manufacturers come online, and existing ramp-up production, supply will not be limiting.

Anyway, what I conclude is that the state will not be able to vaccinate enough people to provide a general immunity anytime soon. Maybe by the end of 2021. We are sensibly prioritizing health care workers, the elderly in nursing homes, and other essential workers for shots which should reduce the death rate faster than a ‘first come-first served’ program.

George Tucker

Mail-in voting does not prove there was voter fraud

David Perlman in the PV Times on Jan 27, took the position that mail-in voting constituted “the theft of the election.” Yet, like Trump and others, he did not present one shred of evidence to prove his assertion.

At least 34 states, many of them like Florida, Ohio, Alabama, Kentucky, and Utah, states that Trump won, allowed mail-in voting. The Democrats, if they wanted to use the same tactics like Trump and Mr. Perlman, could assert that Trump lost these states because they allowed mail-in voting. Fortunately, our legal system does not allow assertions without evidence to rule our representative republic.

That is why Trump, in his 61 attempts to get a court hearing, many of the courts presided over by Republican judges, failed to even get a hearing on voter fraud.

Task Mr. Perlman to consider this hypothetical example. Suppose you were the Republican secretary of state in Georgia, a state that Biden narrowly won. The local prosecutor has just indicted you for aiding and abetting voter fraud. Wouldn’t you demand the prosecutor to present proof,, which our legal system requires before a verdict could be considered, instead of unfounded hearsay?

No government has ever been perfect. Ours is no exception. But it is certainly much better than one that would be instituted by an angry, and in many cases, an ignorant mass of mobsters. Please, Mr. Perlman, let’s keep what we have., Albeit, it is not perfect, many have died for it. Let’s try to make changes through our peaceful democratic process..

I remember my college professor in history when he stated, “throughout the ages it has been proven, time and again, that revolutions, seldom if ever make life better for the people at large. More often than not, they amount to one power structure replacing another one, which is worse for most of them.”

Jim Ferrell

Fascism could come to America in the name of liberalism

“When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross”, is a quote that is dubiously attributed to Sinclair Lewis, author of “It Can’t Happen Here.” Written in 1935 at a time when fascist regimes were consolidating their power in Germany, Italy, and Spain. Lewis basically envisions a scenario where the United States becomes an authoritarian state through a president coming into power by embracing patriotism, traditional values, and economic and social transformation; and buttressed by a base of ultranationalist, religious fanatics, and xenophobes. He furthers his hold on power by suppressing a free and liberal press, and supporting a paramilitary that enforces the policies of the president and terrorizes all opposition. As prophetic aspects of this novel are in light of the January 6th attack on our Capitol and our democracy, we are not fully holding everybody who contributed to the big lie(s) accountable and reforming the infrastructure that breeds the big lies.

After challenges to the presidential election have been reviewed ad nauseum (repeated to the point of nausea) it would take a long stretch of the imagination to claim that the election was fraudulent, and all of our institutions and officials were complicit in a grand scheme. Thankfully, our courts, election officials and security experts did a remarkable job objectively calling the election. Either the adherers of fraud are choosing not to accept above any reasonable doubt the results because their man did not get enough votes and they are so distressed of the new administration that they will not accept the majority’s decision and jeopardize our democracy or they are mesmerized diehards that are completely entrenched in their beliefs and trust in Trump that nothing will enlighten them.

“If fascism ever comes to America, it will come in the name of liberalism” (“60 Minutes” – December 1975), is a quote that is attributed to President Ronald Reagan. Although by liberalism he did not mean to liberate as Trump and his supporters of “patriots” promoted in the “Save America” rally, he has ironically identified a key tenet of Trump’s supporters. It is a liberalism, under almost all circumstances that gives people the right to do whatever they chose, freedom without limits. Patriots apparently think it is alright to liberate states (by kidnapping governors), have freedom to not wear masks (as you endanger others), and now protest the steal (by violently attacking and murdering). Save America by destroying it is oxymoronic or just moronic if anything is.

President Ronald Reagan spent World War II as an Army captain in the first motion picture unit fighting fascism. In 1946 he began making speeches condemning fascism and communism. His speeches against fascism focused on the atrocities of World War II, America’s growing fascist movement, and the need to protect against racism and all forms of intolerance. President Reagan’s battle against communism coincided with the Cold War, his presentations exposed the oppressive character of communist regimes.

Scholars view fascism as capitalism run amok and communism as socialism run amok. Both are dictatorial, both engage in a high degree of propaganda, falsely elevating their leaders as saviors and protectors from an enemy that is not part of their group or an enemy that is foreign or an enemy that has opposite political views. Consensus among economists is that a mixed economy where capitalism plays its part and socialism plays its part is best, but neither has dictatorial power and both exist within the confines of a democratic state.

The Trump brand of fascism fits Sinclair Lewis’ characterization to a large degree. He is viewed as larger than life leader who for some has been sent by God, he is a strong man who is protecting his followers from non-Christian cultures, socialists, fake news, government intrusion, Second Amendment restrictions, satanical Democrats, and the list goes on. Fear-mongering and scapegoating are classic tools of fascists. Lies and exaggerations are basic.

On August 22 (1939), Adolf Hitler told his generals: “I will provide a propagandistic casus belli (provocation used to justify war). Its credibility doesn’t matter. The victor will not be asked whether he told the truth.” (Wikipedia – Propaganda in Nazi Germany) Thereby, justifying the invasion of Poland that led to the Second World War.

Trump’s lies and exaggerations have led to our present state of pandemic denial and violent mobs.

Trump is no Rambo, no strong man or has he been sent by God. Inciting a mob, promising (a promise unfulfilled) to lead it to Congress and then condemning its action as heinous is duplicitous to say the least.

Media personalities, equivocal and unscrupulous politicians, and a biased mindset contribute to the Big Lies. Solutions to complex problems are made simple, or better yet, problems are denied that they exist. Willingness to propagate and accept unsubstantiated and false narratives, obviously, magnifies their existence. A proportion of the populace distressed economically and one that perceives to be threatened unrealistically by multiculturalism, socialism, government, mainstream media, poor immigrants etc. are easily swayed to scapegoat, demonize and accept conspiracies promoted by biased media and self-serving politicians.

Freedom of speech has a responsibility to be truthful. Just as it is illegal to create panic by falsely yelling fire in a theater, it should be illegal to stoke chaos and political polarity by spewing lies. Genuine policy disagreements are essential in our democracy and should be encouraged. Unfortunately, Hitler’s view that credibility doesn’t matter has taken hold in the American political and media spheres. Unfortunately, the only remedy to this, is restricting and regulating, coupled with litigation (Dominion threatening to sue Fox News for false stories) In England, a regulatory entity enforces rules on impartiality and accuracy. We may need something similar to assure that we do not radicalize but inform, to give us an unbiased and comprehensive presentation of news and issues.

The attack on Congress and our democracy has revealed a better insight and appreciation of what motivated Union soldiers, especially immigrants during the American Civil War after the siege of Fort Sumter. They had left tyrannical systems of government, fought against these systems and were not going to let attacks by insurrectionists on democracy and self-government be unanswered.

In a Times article history professor Don H. Doyle, author of “The Cause of All Nations: An International History of the American Civil War” writes: So it was civil war, but for many foreign-born soldiers and citizens, this was much more than America’s war. It was an epic contest for the future of free labor against slavery, for equal opportunity against privilege and aristocracy, for freedom of thought and expression against oppressive government, and for democratic self-government against dynastic rule. Foreigners joined the war to wage the same battles that had been lost in the Old World. Theirs was the cause not only of America, but of all nations. (Times magazine-The Civil War Was Won by Immigrant Soldiers Doyle, Don H, Dec. 23, 2019)

Those of us that came here as refugees because of repressive and totalitarian states and those of who inherited this democracy will not concede and have our vote discounted. We will defend the decision of our court system, and the majority of voters.

To quote President Reagan: “Peace is not absence of conflict, it is the ability to handle conflict by peaceful means.” (Brainy Quotes, Quotes of Ronald Reagan online).

The opposite of that is: War is not absence of conflict, it is the inability to handle conflict by peaceful means.

War has casualties. Those who support violence and armed insurrection need to assess the risk and benefit of their actions. We are all mortal, our lives are tenuous and war against the majority is likely to be futile and the consequences catastrophic.

Our vote, whether we are in the majority or in the minority, is sacrosanct, and is our connectedness to self-government. It is the majority vote that makes the final decision, and we, if are in the minority, are obliged to respect and defend.

George Peretsky

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