Alibi V.26 No.45 • Nov 9-15, 2017 

Letters

Republicans Don’t Care

Dear Alibi,

More and more we hear serious discussion regarding the impeachment of President Donald Trump. What we don’t hear is serious discussion on just how dangerous all the Republican policies are.

If Trump is impeached, the two men most likely to assume the presidency are Mike Pence, the vice president, or Paul Ryan, the speaker of the house.

Now these two men are just as dangerous to America. Unlike Trump, they appear to be sane adults and are both hard ore Republicans with the political experience to push the Republican agenda. They would likely be more able to pass the dangerous Republican policies into law.

If taken apart and seriously considered, these Republican policies are designed to literally kill Americans. Healthcare is a transparent example of this. The attempt to “repeal and replace” Obamacare was said to deny care to some 30 million Americans currently covered. Some percentage of these people will die without access to health care. Republicans don’t care.

Healthcare is pretty obvious; less clear are the hidden policies you don’t often think about and which receive less coverage by the media. Trump and some of his fellow Republicans are bragging about lifting regulations. And yes, lifting government regulations for industry does make it more profitable for those industries, but at what cost to human beings and the planet?

When I lived in Los Angeles I was appalled at the air pollution. It was hard to see the big green interstate signs. That was smog. We all breathed three packs a day worth before government regulated the sources of air pollution: industry and automobiles.

The city of Flint, Michigan under a Republican appointed city manager had the city’s water source switched to the Flint River, resulting in lead contaminated water for the residents of that city. It’s now years later and many residents still can’t drink the water they are forced to pay for. You don’t necessarily die from lead poisoning, but you are mentally impaired for life. None of us want to have to drink polluted water, so yes, here government regulations are needed.

And what about the food you buy from your local grocery store? I want what I buy to feed my family to be safe to eat. I want the chicken farms and packaging plants to be inspected. I want to know that the pesticides being dumped on the fields are not getting to the table or to the rivers. We need impartial government inspector and government issued, restrictions and regulations. Food-related disease outbreaks have killed people. Without sensible regulations industry will profit and Americans will die.

Most people are finally getting it that climate change is real. Yet Trump pulled the United States out of the Paris Accord. The totally Republican-controlled Congress could have done something. For example, they could have put together a bill holding the US to the Accord’s mandates or maybe even something more meaningful. Unfortunately they didn’t do this, didn’t even talk about doing something like this. This withdrawal from the Accord and Congressional inaction will eventually kill people and maybe even destroy the ability of the planet to host life. Maybe not you, and possibly not your children, but most assuredly without action your grandchildren will bear the burden. The world population will start to die.

It’s Republican policies that are keeping the US from sensible gun control legislation–keeping weapons out of the hands of the mentally unfit, limiting magazines to a reasonable size and restricting the military grade automatic weapons to the military. Can anybody question that these Republican policies aren’t killing people? Remember Sandy Hook, the Orlando night club shooting, the Las Vegas massacre and the latest in Sutherland Springs, Texas where 26 are dead.

Trump’s loose words have moved the world closer to war, even nuclear war. Where is the Republican controlled Congress? They can pass a simple resolution saying that war—especially a nuclear war—cannot be started without Congressional approval. It’s already law, but a resolution naming Trump and reminding him of that just might keep millions and millions from dying—especially while he’s on a trip to Asia. We all know he can’t keep his blustering mouth shut.

It’s not just Trump who is destroying America, it’s the Republican policies.They are killing Americans. We all need to read, listen, learn and fight to preserve us–that’s both US (the United States) and us (we the people).

Ann Ruhnka

Moriarty

Commissioners Our of Touch

Dear Alibi,

I moved to Albuquerque and Bernalillo County one year ago. Rapidly I’m learning why this city and county have so many problems. Last year I read about the very extensive raise the County Commissioners gave themselves. This year they can’t even all agree to fund a 15 cent per hour raise for the employees in the county, excluding ABQ. The Commissioners might spend the same amount picking up the check for one evening at a nice restaurant that these minimum wage workers take home, having worked a 40 hour week, at the typical low-wage job in this city and county. Commissioners, you can’t even agree to raise this wage 15 cents an hour?

I’ve lived in what the US considers third world countries. Commonalities of those countries: Many diversions in the form of entertainment, sporting events, holidays and ritual celebrations, media, a low level of literacy, a school system seeming to be based on educating people to “go along to get along without questioning authority,” a huge number of people who are so poor most of their energy goes to just keeping a roof over their heads (if they can even find one) and food for each day, a relatively small middle class, a few very wealthy people running things, and a tax system that continues to benefit the extremely wealthy year after year and drain the middle class because their wages are never raised. Money just keeps benefitting those who already have it and starves the lower middle income and the poor from ever making any headway. Any familiarity?

Why am I hearing, from students, that the schools in Albuquerque don’t have toilet paper and soap in the students’ bathrooms? Supplying those basic needs is a sign of respect for everyone and helps meet fundamental health needs. Why is there such over crowding in the classrooms? Why are the teachers’ salaries so low that the best and brightest cannot come to teach here because they cannot live here and repay student debt? What’s with the lab and tech supplies students need for 21st century prep?

The entrenched politics of “this is the way we have always done it” will not move this city and county forward. I hear lots of talk, from people who have lived here all their lives, about how they don’t remember when things have ever been this bad. We cannot lock up enough people to make ABQ and Bernalillo County safe. What will it take to turn things around and have a healthy place for everyone? One suggestion would be—the high schools need to get vocational training back at the high school level so teens see why school is relevant and stay in it. Business needs to partner with all the high schools to let students check out potential paths forward. Every student graduating from high school must know how to read, at least well enough to deal with the tech that is their future and our future. If necessary, innovative Special Education needs much greater funding to help make this happen. The friendliness and courtesy of our workforce is already a tremendous asset to attract new business and industry. We need to get the other qualifications up to speed.

The Commissioners voted to begin setting up a system to deal with behavioral health issues that are so basic to many of the challenges here. Currently it takes up to six months to get an appointment. We don’t need grand plans and solutions created by people who have been fortunate enough never to have experienced these difficulties. The research for effective solutions has been done here and in different locations. Get the people experiencing homelessness, addiction, joblessness, mental health issues, etc. around tables with some of the problem solvers with proven track records here. Let’s get moving on innovative new ideas for actually solving issues and moving things forward instead of just talking about old solutions that have dragged people down and ruined chances of hope.

There are positive things happening in my new community. Right now it takes serious digging to find them. Perhaps the media could highlight more positives. Could we do something really simple? How about an email, or actual letter writing campaign, to the dominant TV stations letting them know we want news that includes more positive activities and less sensationalism. Who knows? Some visiting, or current, CEO/CFO might get ideas about the great resources we already have here and decide to do a new startup, or increase the current size of their business, bringing along those new job opportunities. We have lots of people working now who would love to maximize their gifts and potential with some creative opportunities. Each of us citizens has a role to play to move our community forward. What is your role?

Pauline Cahalan

Drive Like a New Mexican

Dear Alibi,

My wife and I recently spent nine days in New Mexico, most of that in the Albuquerque and South Valley areas. We have traveled to the state many, many times–indeed, we spent our honeymoon in Santa Fe. Prior to that I had occasion to visit numerous places in New Mexico for my work with the mineral industry. I have changed, but so has driving here.

In the earliest times I dreaded the trip between Albuquerque and the state capital, for the road was hilly, a bit narrow, out of repair, and clearly did not meet federal interstate highway standards. The physical plant has improved, but the state’s drivers certainly have not.

No matter how fast I drove in the Land of Enchantment this month, I had tailgaters. I am sure I would not have shaken the practice at 140 mph. Driving five over the limit (that’s not a suggestion; it’s a roof, folks!), I was the last one to reach Espanola. Or Moriarty. Or Belen. Or Taos. In short, the problems I observe are pervasive and endemic. I have worked, traveled in, visited, and enjoyed nearly all the lower 48, and in no state are driving practices as I see them worse than they are in New Mexico. Without hubris I can state that my driving record is clean since 1980.

The drivers may all leave their points of origin late. Or perhaps they have unforeseen bathroom needs. But the experience of my last three trips to New Mexico have finally decided it: we won’t be back. Maybe our economic impact won’t be noticeable for its absence, but the absence of many vehicle operators could be. After all, there may be a correlation between the legion number of commemorative roadside crosses and the manner of driving here.

Gregory Iwan,

Longmont, CO.

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