LETTERS for January 14 issue
Shame on Maui police
Illegal fireworks have been going off all over West Maui. Where are the boys in blue?
Illegal trucks with extra wide tires and illegal tinted windows; where are the boys in blue?
Speeders have an open raceway right in front of the Police Department. The limit is 40 mph – really more like 60 or 70 mph.
A double speed trap should be set up to ticket speeders. Maui Police, enforce the laws that you were sworn to uphold.
This has been written about too many times with still no action.
RON TATE, Lahaina
Country must work to overcome problems
I used to think everything wrong with this mess we are living in was our government’s fault. After years of thought, I am sure the problems are the people’s, doing their own thing.
Government can’t babysit us anymore, and the curses are just starting to set in to our freedom-loving society: prescription drugs, prostitution, foreign freedom of Sharia law, rape, same-sex marriages, illegal drugs, murder, all kinds of theft (including white collar), abuse of women and children, racial discrimination, homeless citizens, sleeping with our enemies, gun control, and 11 million-plus illegal immigrants in our country.
We must help refugees to settle in their own land and teach them to defend it. We can help each other to overcome some of these concerns listed, and most important: “You shall have no other Gods before me.” (Exodus: 20, King James Bible). “Allah is not Jehovah.” (John 14:6).
We don’t need to know our military strategies in any war we have. Let’s take the stick out of our own eye first.
ENRIQUE GUZMAN, Lahaina
Mahalo to Sheraton workers for cleaning Kaanapali Beach
This is a shout-out to the group of Sheraton employees who on the morning of Jan. 2 woke up early and cleaned Kaanapali Beach. They not only cleaned the beach area in front of the Sheraton but continued down the entire beach. You are awesome! Mahalo!
IWA HARTMAN, Makai Adventures
Hate speech vs. free speech
When drawing Mohammad contests come up, the conversation sometimes turns to “that might be hate speech.”
Under the laws of the U.S. Constitution, Americans can sketch what they want or nothing at all. Our Founding Fathers gave us this right, as they knew that freedom of speech is the foundation of a free society.
Freedom of speech provides for the free-flowing of ideas among people, allowing for the best ideas to win. If we lose freedom of speech, it allows a group to quash dissent and criticism, thus not allowing the best ideas to win. Ultimately, the group that quashes freedom of speech becomes a tyrant over the people.
Sketches/cartoons are the quickest way to convey an idea to someone. A picture (or sketch) is worth a thousand words. Sketches are valuable in conveying ideas, often political ideas, in the fastest way possible.
The ongoing tension between power and morality
American Exceptionalism is the belief that even when the U.S. is flawed in its policies, those politics are justifiable because there is something innately morally superior about being an American. This alleged moral high ground comes from our international commitment to promote and enforce democracy and free-market capitalism – even when it boils down to supporting dictatorships and economic exploitation.
This view has deep historical roots. We can go back 2,400 years to Plato’s dialogues to find the belief that it is better to act unjustly than to suffer unjustly. In the dialogue, Gorgias, Callicles challenges Socrates (Plato’s stalking-horse) by asserting that there is no good in being a victim, so it is morally better to be the victimizer. In my memory, there was an interesting contemporary parallel to this view when I saw a female gang member being interviewed to explain how she was tired of being a victim; that it was time to be the victimizer.
Even though Socrates appears to defeat Callicles’ argument, we find ourselves ensnared on Callicles’ belief today. American Exceptionalism is the legacy of Callicles, where the victimizer can create and maintain power, security and riches (aided by lawyers, accountants and publicists, who are conveniently for sale).
Key to the success of the modern Callicles is the use of dishonesty to make the politics of ruthless power appear to be moral. One of the most crazy-making victimizations is the ability to lie with impunity. We were lied to about Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction, about the alleged Vietnamese attack on the U.S.S. Maddox in the Gulf of Tonkin, about the R.M.S. Lusitania off Britain, about the U.S.S. Maine in Cuba, and on and on, to make wars appear to be the moral mission of self-defense, when they have too often been instruments for the maintenance of world dominance, justified by American Exceptionalism.
The dilemma created by Callicles is brought into bold relief when we think about Socrates’ counterargument: that people should work together, honestly, with justice and moderation; honesty, not lies, nor corruption; justice, not oppression; moderation, not inequality and exploitation. This dilemma finds its parallel today in the proclamations of Donald Trump, in the Callicles role, and Bernie Sanders, in the Socrates role. How the election turns out will speak volumes about how Plato’s dilemma plays out in the drama of American Exceptionalism going forward.
ROBERT J. GOULD, PeaceVoice
Gearing up for the big fight
Crop insurance is an important and necessary component of an effective farm safety net. However, it is a very complex program that will work more effectively with much-needed, commonsense reforms.
Under current law, we are subsidizing crop insurance at an average rate of 62 percent on every acre without limit regardless of farm size or wealth. We have an issue with that. Our tax dollars – the public trust – subsidize the largest operators, no matter how big they get.
To be certain, crop insurance is a valuable and necessary tool for farmers. Fundamentally, we believe in government helping family-scale farmers manage risk. But, we think there ought to be a limit.
One federal study points to a single farming corporation that insured crops across eight counties and raked in $1.3 million in taxpayer subsidies in just one year. In turn, the largest and wealthiest farms use their premium subsidies to bid land away from smaller farmers and beginning farmers.
We are working to develop policy reforms that cap subsidies, create opportunity for beginners and diversified farmers, and link meaningful stewardship practices to enrollment in the program. The nation’s largest farms must carry their fair share of the cost of doing business, like any other economic sector.
This will be a tough fight. We don’t expect to win easily. But for over 42 years, we’ve been fighting for family farmers and ranchers. We’re not backing down when it comes to crop insurance reform.
TRACI BRUCKNER, Center for Rural Affairs
North Korea’s nuclear ambition and the U.S. presidential campaign
With the news of North Korea testing another nuclear weapon, its leadership continues the fallacy of nuclear deterrence promoted by the nuclear powers of the world.
This action by North Korea must be condemned just as the continued possession of nuclear weapons by all of the nuclear states. This action is against the growing international consensus for a universal treaty banning all nuclear weapons and making their possession illegal, just as chemical and biological weapons have been prohibited.
In a year of U.S. presidential elections, where is the voice of reason? Who among the candidates or media has spoken to the legal obligations of the United States and all nuclear powers to work in good faith for the elimination of nuclear weapons?
Keep in mind the current climate science confirming that a small, regional, limited nuclear war using only one-half of one percent of the global nuclear arsenals has the potential to cause the deaths of more than two billion people from the ensuing climate change following such a war. Who has the courage to speak the truth and put forth a plan to eliminate these weapons?
Where is the media in its investigative obligation and engagement of dialogue on this issue in the campaign? Outlets like PBS continue to cover the arms race and modernization of our Trident submarines, each with the potential for the above scenario many times over, as though it is an acceptable outcome of global doomsday if they are activated. This is accepted without question as a fait accompli.
We must ask the candidates if they are actually aware of this science, and if so, under what circumstance they are ready to end life as we know it – an act of ultimate state terrorism, as they become de facto suicide bombers. For it would be only a matter of time before the global climatic effects of such a use would result in our own deaths. There can be no doublespeak in this response. You are either in favor of the status quo with existing arsenals that drive the arms race and push nations like North Korea to develop their own capabilities, or you work in earnest to eliminate these weapons.
Time is not on our side. The chance of accidental or intentional nuclear war is placed by probability theorists at one percent per year or more. A child born today is not likely to reach his/her 30th birthday without some nuclear event occurring in the world. Is this the world we want for our children and grandchildren?
The candidates and the media must overcome their cowardice in addressing this issue at this critical time. We must demand answers to these questions about the greatest imminent existential threat to our world.
We cannot rely on the hope that someone else will take care of this, or the notion that I cannot make a difference. In our democracy, each of us has a duty and responsibility to be informed and to take action.
ROBERT DODGE, Nuclear Age Peace Foundation.