Alibi V.26 No.27 • July 6-12, 2017 

Letters

Books > Sports

Dear Alibi,

In the smoke filled haze of the summer or the UNM investigations into illegal tax money spending, be aware that UNM is quietly downsizing or taking apart UNM Press. We don't know which because UNM won't say—even to UNM Press.

We have heard rumors that what is left of UNM Press will be moved to the basement of Zimmerman Library—already eight UNM Press staffers have gone including the UNM Press Director. We have heard that all the UNM Press books will be moved out of state at considerable expense and without telling the distributed presses that UNM Press handles. Why? Because the UNM Libraries want the UNM Press warehouse. At considerable expense also, they want to renovate the warehouse to make it climate controlled. UNM has been told again and again in reports from leaders in the book field not to do what they are doing, but they don’t listen. After all, the leaders of UNM have no experience in the book world so their ideas are better. Forget that anyone has talked to bookstores that moving books out-of-state will be a hardship.

It is far more important to push athletics than books at UNM. After all, UNM Athletics has lost millions of dollars yearly when they get billions. What about that is good economics? You need to join the New Mexico book community to say enough! Contact Interim President Abdallah, and say you want to have UNM Press remain as-is, not downsized. Spend time on your investigations and audits, not UNM Press. Students go to college for books and reading, not athletics! We need to put a spotlight on this quiet chaos.

B. Awalt

Broad Insults Don’t Serve Anyone

Dear Alibi,

Just read the latest issue of Alibi. My comment is about the response to “Ask a Mexican” to Wally Wall. Granted Wally's opinion of how to handle the large illegal alien population is ridiculous, but Gustavo’s broad brush insult of all conservatives being lovers of the Confederacy and being racist was uncalled for and extremely racist as well. Shameful.

J. Partain

Give Trump a Chance

Dear Alibi,

Someone dear to me reported a conversation with someone who said, “Give Trump a chance.” I couldn’t help thinking, Chance for what? After over 100 days in office what have we observed?

He was initially and continually obsessed with the size of the crowd at the inauguration. While it may seem normal to be impressed with the Americans who have come from near and far to watch the new president being sworn in, his repeated comments were very unusual for any president. His consistent pathologic narcissism has raised concern all over. This is just one small example.

He is extremely sensitive to any perceived criticism. Every president from Washington on has experienced criticism from opposition and even friendly press. It is unprecedented for a president to attack any news outlet that he disagrees with as being “fake.” This is even the case when what he has previously stated has been proven to be false.

Trump is determined to benefit financially from holding public office. The White House has promoted his daughter Ivanka's brand of products. His properties around the world will benefit him from parties wanting to curry favor with the president and his family. No past president has refused to disclose his income taxes and his financial holding in the past.

His style is authoritarian, and he has friendly communications with authoritarian leaders. He has for a long time expressed admiration for Russia’s Putin. He contacted the leader of Turkey to express admiration after that leader was able to assume more power. He had as his guest at the White House Duterte from the Philippines who is proud of his extra-judicial killings. The kind words that he expressed for the young dictator of North Korea were surprising considering our relationship with that country. He has frosty relations with democratic leaders such as Angela Merkel of Germany. Trump seems to have little or no knowledge of history and no respect for democratic process.

The recent firing of the FBI Director James Comey demonstrates his lack of respect for the rule of law. This followed the firing of acting AG Sally Yates who dared to defy his executive order that she considered illegal. The common thread between them was, for one thing, they failed to demonstrate loyalty to Trump.

To quote historian Timothy Snyder:

“Trump has threatened violence against his political enemies. He has made clear he does not believe in the norms and traditions of American democracy—unless they serve his interests. Trump and his advisers consider a free press to be enemies of his regime. Trump repeatedly lies and has a profoundly estranged relationship with empirical reality. He uses obvious and naked racism, nativism and bigotry to mobilize his voters and to disparage entire groups of people such as Latinos and Muslims.

Trump is threatening to eliminate an independent judiciary and wants to punish judges who dare to stand against his illegal and unconstitutional mandates. In what appears to be a violation of the emoluments clause of the Constitution, Trump is using the office of the presidency to enrich himself, his family and his inner circle by peddling influence and access to corporations, foreign countries and wealthy individuals. Trump and his representatives also believe that he is above the law and cannot be prosecuted for any crimes while in office.”

John Dean writes extensively about right-wing authoritarian tendencies clearly possessed by Trump and the current Republican Party.

This is from a book review of a book published in 2006. The book Conservatives without Conscience by John Dean draws heavily on the work of the social psychologist Bob Altemeyer, the creator of a scale for measuring “right-wing authoritarian” (R.W.A.) tendencies. Dean writes that Altemeyer is “not given to hyperbole in his scholarly work,” yet quotes him as saying that many “High R.W.A.’s” would “attack France, Massachusetts or the moon if the president said it was necessary ‘for freedom.’” Altemeyer says it’s “a scientifically established fact” that political, religious and economic conservatives are high R.W.A.s, and Dean concludes that our government “is run by an array of authoritarian personalities” who are “dominating, opposed to equality, desirous of personal power, amoral, intimidating ... vengeful, pitiless, exploitive, manipulative, dishonest, cheaters, prejudiced, mean-spirited, militant, nationalistic and two-faced.” The estimated 20-25 percent of high R.W.A.s among us, he warns, “will take American democracy where no freedom-loving person would want it to go.”

There were millions of “values conservative” voters who voted for Trump. While many would confess that they found him repulsive, they voted for him anyway. They felt that he would make the Supreme Court appointments that they would approve of. These appointments would restrict women’s reproductive rights and choices. They would further allow states to restrict the voting rights of minority voters, and continue to allow corporations and billionaires to buy elections and elected representatives with unlimited secret spending. Corporations would be unaccountable for causing pollution that poisons air and water and products that kill and maim consumers. Of course workers’ rights and wages would continue on a downward slope.

In short, these conservatives with Trump and the Republican Party are enemies of democracy. The majority of Americans must band together and resist these authoritarian forces.

J. Scott, DOM

Letters should be sent with the writer’s name, address and daytime phone number via email to letters@alibi.com. They can also be faxed to (505) 256-9651. Letters may be edited for length and clarity, and may be published in any medium; we regret that owing to the volume of correspondence we cannot reply to every letter. Word count limit for letters is 300 words.