Monday’s Letters to the Editor
Aug 29, 2016

War, what’s it good for?

EDITOR: I like to feed squirrels in my backyard these days of my elderhood. They’re cute and love the nuts I supply in two feeders, five feet apart. Every year the parents that remain have babies they bring to our feeders. This spring and summer, everything went well until the sole teenage male squirrel came of fighting age. Even though there is plenty of food for his parents and sisters, he can’t seem to help himself. He becomes very upset, kuking loudly and chases off the others until he has had his fill.

As I reflect on our lives recently, and human behavior over the past 3,000 years, there seems to be a pattern of fighting, be it for food or land or our right to pray, that is as natural to our nature as life itself, be it in a squirrel or a human being. We just can’t seem to help ourselves. We are primordially driven to be defensive and attack others to take what we feel is ours in the name of justice and honor. We are disposed to fight and go to war.

But what is war good for in the end? It seems like absolutely nothing.



The ‘silly season’

EDITOR: Presidential election years are often called the silly season. It’s been suggested the Obama administration has done so poorly that we must elect a failed businessman to get our economy going again. This flies in the face of logic when you consider Barack Obama’s policies brought our economy back from the brink of collapse, created a robust stock market, brought unemployment under 5 percent and saved the auto industry.

To do that while the Republican Congress obstructed him at every turn is remarkable. It could have gone much better had the GOP been willing to compromise even a little bit. Now the right is calling for Hillary Clinton to be locked up in relation to scandals that seem more ethereal than substantive. As usual, the over-reach is stunning.

Here are some facts to ponder. Donald Trump’s campaign CEO is a man who peddles in conspiracy theories, character assassination and white supremacy. Trump’s military adviser is a former general who has been paid to speak in Russia and is friendly toward Vladimir Putin, and his for-mer campaign manager took millions from Russian-leaning oligarchs in Ukraine.

As for why Trump refuses to reveal his tax returns, I will leave that to readers’ imaginations. And Clinton is the one we can’t trust?



Booming bird bombs

EDITOR: Are we under attack? For the past week or so, we’ve been asking one another at our house in Sebastopol, “Did you hear that?” It’s the sound of distant explosions: boom, boom, boom. Finally we realized, after observing plump ripening wine grapes in nearby vineyards that the boom booms are for the birds. You got that right. Boom, booms, part of our Wine Country lifestyle.



The GOP’s choice

EDITOR: So, let me get this straight. The Republicans are going to try to “reset,” for president of The United States, a 70-year-old man acting mostly as a petulant child, who has demonstrated no emotional or verbal control throughout a year-long campaign, and whose idea of debate is name calling, using words like “bigly,” and disjointed and incoherent sentences and outright lies like calling the president “the founder of ISIS.”

This is the man this party feels confident is qualified to command the full force and power of America’s armed forces, and its nuclear codes, and to have meaningful dialog and relationships with our allies and the rest of the world. Republicans believe he will, with proper deliberation, respond to “the 3 a.m. phone call.”

I think this says as much about the Republican Party as it does its candidate. I hope America has had enough of this type of radical nonsense from this group. Let’s take care of the problem this November. For our country. Make the patriotic choice and vote “D” down the ballot.



Freitas’ discretion

EDITOR: Your brief article about the arrest of an armed man in Sonoma (“Armed man Tasered, arrested outside Safeway,” Aug. 18) should be enough to convince any doubters that the killing of Andy Lopez by Deputy Erick Gelhaus was totally unnecessary, unforgivable and wrong.

A man with a loaded shotgun was taken into custody and not killed. Has the Sheriff’s Office done a better job training deputies since the killing of Andy? I don’t know, but I hope so. Or was Gelhaus’ judgment messed up by time in a war zone?

And have the policies around law enforcement behavior been written so leniently that almost anything goes, including the killing of an innocent boy walking casually by an open field? Definitely. All of us would like to get home safely at night, but it is not a job description, as much as they’d like you to believe it.

In the meantime, Sheriff Steve Freitas says it was the law that required him to promote Gelhaus, despite this killing and other reports of erratic behavior. But then he said he wouldn’t be promoting Gelhaus if he didn’t feel Gelhaus was qualified. It’s the law? He has discretion? Which is it? Some of us want to know.


Santa Rosa