Letters to the editor

A veteran’s Memorial Day message

As we honor on Memorial Day our nation’s men and women who have died in military service to our country, let us also, as a nation, rededicate ourselves to resolving international disputes peacefully.

As a retired U.S. Army officer and a Vietnam vet, I call upon our government to redouble its efforts to find peaceful and constructive ways to carry out our foreign policy. We veterans know the folly of war. Our country must learn to use its military might with reluctance, wisdom and restraint.

— Paul Mitchell
Veterans for Peace, Asheville chapter

Rolling empowerment

Rolling Thunder was not a platform for socialism as one writer described in a recent letter [“Rolling Thunder = Creeping Socialism,” Xpress May 21]. What I saw and heard were people who told of empowering ways [that] anyone, regardless of political views, can care for their community.

Patch Adams described and showed how he helped young victims of war and abandonment through humor and without government backing. Although I do not agree with him, he is against universal health care, and has not received any government funds for the hospital he has been working on much of his life.

Jim Hightower told how individual communities can pass health-care requirements and minimum-wage increases. To say a living wage and health care equals socialism is an inaccurate generalization.

I did not get to hear all of the speakers, but I left feeling individually empowered. More government was not the agenda.

— Kathy Kyle

Last call

The current leadership of my government, your government, is a criminal one. The Republican Congressional and Senate majority build and support lies upon half-truths, hiding unequivocal structural criminality. The contrast against the Clinton administration, even with the Mysterious Case of the Stained Blue Dress, leaves Clinton looking like Mother Teresa. Sept. 11 would likely have never happened if Gore had been give fair trade by the Rehnquist Court, and the 12th Amendment and the Voters Rights Act upheld. The economy and environment would be more secure. Fewer of the least powerful would be living (or dying) in inequity now with President Gore. If the choice is between the Republican military-industrial-complex think-tank-generated platform and social democracy, choose social democracy. The Republican regime must end in 2004. That end requires the majority to act.

Please discuss politics and civic activism with your friends, family, colleagues and neighbors. While there’s time, we must call for stiff public electoral oversight. We must insist upon a prudent anti-terrorism infrastructure secure from political exploitation — exploitations the Bushians (and other past cultists) have sought. With minus 18 months until the next presidential and general elections, and a Republican majority in Congress, there’s no impeachment. Voting is it.

— Grant Millin

Closing the barn door too late

The U.S. ban on Canadian beef and cattle imports, following on the heels of a “mad cow” disease case in Canada, represents too little too late. The USDA claim that there has been no confirmed case in the U.S. rings hollow.

Too little, because U.S. authorities test 20,000 animals for “mad cow” disease each year — that’s only 0.05 percent of the cattle slaughtered, and Canadians do even less. Europeans test that many animals every day. Moreover, most cattle are slaughtered before the age of 4, before “mad cow” disease symptoms develop. The afflicted Canadian cow was 8 years old.

Too late, because, last year, the U.S. imported 1.7 million head of cattle and more than a billion pounds of beef from Canada. This accounts for 7 percent of U.S. beef consumption, and NAFTA regulations make sure that we don’t know which 7 percent. Consumption of infected beef leads to development of the fatal Creutzfeldt-Jakob dementia in humans.

It’s getting harder every day to trust the judgment of USDA officials to tell fact from fiction. If I were involved with the cattle industry, I would look for a more predictable and socially redeeming career. And, if I were a meat eater, I would try out some of the great new meatless food products that are widely available today.

— Anthony Taber

Dean candidacy gaining steam

He is a fiscal conservative whose goal is to balance the federal budget.

He supports enforcing current federal gun laws and leaving it to individual states to decide whether further regulation is needed. He supported our military intervention in Afghanistan. He is also a proponent of universal health care and environmental protection. His energy policy would focus on conservation and renewable fuel sources. He spoke out against the war in Iraq. In his home state [of Vermont], he signed civil unions into law against conventional advice.

He is Howard Dean, M.D., five-term governor, physician and unapologetic pragmatist.

Dean’s commonsense and straightforward approach is fueling a grassroots movement nationwide in support of his candidacy for the Democratic Party presidential nomination. In just three months, 400 supporters meeting in a few cities across the country have grown to over 25,000 active supporters meeting in over 250 U.S. cities. In Asheville, during the same period, five active supporters have grown to over 50. Dean’s use of the Internet helps local supporters organize monthly meetings at a local venue of their choice, develop agendas and post messages for one another (www.deanforamerica.com — click “Meetup”).

While I do not agree with his positions on each and every issue, he has earned my support for his honesty, integrity and candor when addressing the important issues which face our country.

— Terry Brown

Sitnick bashing bad form

In response to Rebecca Em Campbell’s letter [“Rolling Thunder With a Broken Wheel,” Xpress May 28] criticizing the Rolling Thunder Down-Home Democracy Tour and our former mayor Leni Sitnick:

Perhaps there would have been other ways to have facilitated the town meeting at the end of the Democracy Tour that Campbell would have found preferable. I’m not sure how the circle format she suggested would have worked in a facility like the [Civic Center] arena. The town meetings I have attended in Asheville or seen on C-SPAN have usually been done in the format Rolling Thunder followed.

What concerns me the most about her letter is her nasty comments about our former mayor. Ms. [Leni] Sitnick in no way set a precedent for the behavior of certain law-enforcement personnel toward anti-war protestors. I believe if Leni was still mayor, our local government would not tolerate such abusive behavior.

Former Mayor Sitnick’s administration was characterized by its openness to the public and citizens’ concerns. Ms. Sitnick’s love for her community, for her country and for the democratic principles of free speech, assembly and petitioning the government for a redress of grievances [has] always been crystal clear to me and to many others.

— Anne Craig

Hurrah for healthy food!

Three cheers for your recent article on Earth Fare [“Tempeh Fugit” cover story, May 28].

Earth Fare is to be applauded for being such a pioneer in Asheville and WNC in promoting wellness and good health. We live in a country saturated with greasy diners, fast-food restaurants and super-size portions on every street corner. It is no wonder that America is regarded as the “fattest” country in the world. With heart disease and [being] overweight/obesity reaching epidemic levels in America, it is refreshing to see a company such as Earth Fare flourishing and taking the lead in offering whole, natural foods that promote good health.

Earth Fare, you are a shining star among all the high-fat, processed and chemically laden foods we are surrounded by in our environment. Our community can benefit greatly by supporting businesses like Earth Fare and our local farmers who grow wholesome, fresh … produce. I know where my next dollar will be spent.

Keep up the good work, Earth Fare!

— Carol Shimberg

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