Letters to the editor

Open letter to Council member Carl Mumpower

I am very, very concerned about you. I want to state that at the beginning, so that you will hopefully understand that I’m writing this letter because I care, Carl. I care about you, and I care about Asheville — and frankly, Carl, I don’t think the relationship we’ve established here is healthy for anyone involved. It makes me very angry sometimes, Carl. I have a need and a right to express that anger, but the main reason I’m writing is because I care. You’re crying out for help, Carl. I hear your cry.

After reading your most recent diatribe castigating our outstanding local print media [“Council coverage biased” letter, Xpress Oct. 29], I could postpone this intervention no longer. Clearly, Carl, you’ve hit bottom. In a nutshell, you suffer a pervasive, infantile narcissism that manifests through both obsessive-compulsive behavior and a disordered, grandiose thought process. You also present with acute paranoia.

Many would argue that this just makes you a typical politician, Carl, but it’s much worse than that. I’m sure that you did work hard to resist the temptation towards “reciprocation of ill will.” I’m sure you washed your hands 17, 18, 23 times or more before you gave in to your irresistible inner compulsions to reply to every criticism, no matter how slight. You can’t let anything pass, Carl. I understand that.

It’s important to acknowledge that your mental instability does have a source in reality, Carl. Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean we’re not out to get you. We are watching you. We are judging you. We’ve got lists, Carl, so we don’t forget anything — like your hatchet job on the Flynn Home, and all the recovering veterans and homeless that it serves. Thought you got away with that one, didn’t you?

The tendency in these situations is to blame the messenger, Carl. You’ve probably already begun composing your extravagantly loquacious reply to my letter. But nobody else made you run for Council, Carl. You made that decision. Nobody else made you write all those commentaries and letters, Carl. You made that decision. You have to live with the consequences of those decisions yourself.

The problem is that Asheville has to live with the consequences of all your other bad decisions. Get help, Carl, for all our sakes.

— Bill Wilson

I soy take exception to that!

I feel I must respond on behalf of vegetarian males to the slanderous letter (“It seems soy obvious”) by Jennifer Hutcheson in the Oct. 22 Mountain Xpress.

In her letter, Ms. Hutcheson claims that a vegetarian diet is leading to “a world of infertility, degenerative diseases and general malaise.” She states that soybeans have “estrogenic properties” that lead to “infertility” and other ailments of the reproductive system. Because Ms. Hutcheson quotes no scientific evidence for her claims, I will not bother with any for my rebuttal. I will simply speak from personal experience.

I have been a vegetarian for over 30 years. In that time, I fathered two quite-normal children who have grown into two quite-healthy and normal adults. I had a vasectomy after the second child, so I can’t speak to fertility after that point. I will say, however, that any “estrogenic properties” of my diet have not been a problem for me or my romantic partners. References are available on request.

Furthermore, I lived for several years in a large vegetarian community [that], contrary to the assertions of Ms Hutcheson, was so fertile that we needed a team of midwives to handle the output. Many of the children born in that community have gone on to produce offspring of their own. I have noticed among them no evidence of infertility or “general malaise.” Some of them live here in Asheville and are, in fact, quite the hell-raisers.

Ms. Hutcheson may prefer T-bone to tofu, and that is her right. But when she calls into question the sexual fitness of myself, and my vegetarian brethren, that is hitting below the belt.

— Jeff Hersk

White House needs more than just a good dusting

It now appears that the Bush administration’s five-month hunt for Iraqi weapons has come up empty. And the $87 billion is just a down payment from future-generation U.S. taxpayers for rebuilding Iraq. Who will be held accountable for this mess?

The U.S. rushed to war on Iraq — alienating much of the rest of the world, and squandering the lives of our troops, because the president claimed there was “no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to possess some of the most lethal weapons ever devised.” No weapons of mass destruction have been found, or are likely to be found. Either Mr. Bush was misleading the public, or someone was misleading him.

Someone should be held accountable for the tragedy unfolding in Iraq and the draining of our resources at home. The president should dismiss his national-security team. And in November of 2004, the country should clean house: the White House.

— Lewis E. Patrie

My enemy is my … business partner?

What [are we] to think when we learn that the grandfather of the president of the United States managed the funds of a Nazi industrialist well into World War II?

In the early 1920s, Fritz Thyssen, [later] author of I Paid Hitler, contributed some $25,000 to the National Socialist German Workers’ Party (aka Nazi), becoming the prime and most important financier of the fuehrer during his ascent to power. Thyssen and others worked with American interests as the Nazis searched the world for material and fuel for their crime-, war- and murder-machine.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the San Francisco Chronicle and other national and international newspapers ran an Associated Press story on this murky area of U.S. history recently. Other accounts indicate Karl Rove’s grandfather allegedly helped run the Nazi Party and helped build the Birkenau death camp. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Austrian father volunteered for the infamous Nazi SA [Sturm Abteilung, or storm troopers] and became a ranking officer and later a Schutzstaffel (SS) member (one who oaths [that] the Aryan model is supreme, and [swears] eternal allegiance to Hitler and the Reich).

The U.S. government [applied] the Trading With the Enemy Act against a financial company called Union Banking Corporation (UBC) in 1942, and seized its funds. (The funds were partially recovered by interested parties in the early 1950s, as America became preoccupied with communism and forgot about fascism.) Prescott Bush, our president’s grandfather, was the managing director of UBC (though he only owned one share of UBC stock). George Walker — Prescott’s father-in-law — was president of UBC. Samuel Bush, Prescott’s father, was involved in the German Steel Trust, which delivered much of the Nazi war materials. Also in 1942, an embargo was imposed on the Silesian-American Corporation — another firm headed by Bush and Walker — under the same Trading With the Enemy Act.

— Grant Millin

Downtown Halloween clash provokes revelers

[Ed. Note: Xpress received several angry letters commenting on events involving an informal Halloween-night parade on Lexington Avenue; the parade was reportedly broken up by officers of the Asheville Police Department. Below are excerpts of letters written by two observers; Xpress has not investigated this incident. For lengthier versions of these same letters, and further perspectives on the night’s events, check out the Nov. 6 Asheville Global Report


APD takes pointed steps to promote panic

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the Asheville Police Department has done it again. On Oct. 31, with the grace, agility and intelligence of a pack of wild hyenas, the APD turned an act of peacefully disobedient revelry and delight into an event of catastrophic disarray and panic. Very bad choices were made — and I suspect that those choices were not made by accident. While I understand how, in the face of a late-night spontaneous parade, the officers felt that they had to do something to assert their power, I am forced to wonder what exactly it was that they hoped to achieve by their following course of action: The officers pulled into the front lines of the parade and violently grabbed a person, seemingly at random.

However, I find it worthwhile to note that this person was a slender female — and, if we look at the history of botch-jobs the APD has performed during acts of civil disobedience, we will notice a similar pattern. This is an important point to remember.

Naturally, the specter of the large men violently handling the woman generated (and I choose that word with purpose) a strong reaction from the crowd, many of whom were her friends. This opened up an opportunity for the officers to channel their aggressiveness into a rain of mace and taser (!!) fire. By that point, the people on the receiving end of the officers’ violent actions really were being chosen at random. (I overheard one person calmly asking an officer why he had been tased for standing on the sidewalk … the officer did not respond.)

Being a completely sober participant and observer of that night’s events, I can attest that there were at least a dozen other courses of action the APD could have taken, had they wished to peacefully disperse the crowd in a calm and rational manner. I do not believe that this was ever their intention. In fact, it seems to me that the APD has taken very deliberate steps on multiple occasions to raise the tension to a point of panic, thus discrediting their opponents, and giving themselves an open license to live out a fantasy of violent domination and indulgent righteousness.

This behavior can no longer be tolerated, and we have a right, as the citizens who pay their checks, to demand better from these supposed “peacekeeping” officers.

— Elyse Manning

APD: Be ashamed of yourselves

It was about 1 a.m. on Halloween, and the most frightening thing lurking [on] the streets of our city was the Asheville Police Department. As occurred last year, a couple hundred masquerading celebrants — to the obvious delight of passersby and the few automobile drivers who happened to be on the road at so late an hour — took their holiday cheer to the streets of our city for a spontaneous and festive parade of ecstatic song and dance.

And as occurred last year, this joyful act of pure liberty offended the sensibilities of a local political culture of authoritarian banality. With even greater callousness than we have seen at previous encounters between lovers of freedom and the mechanized goons of the APD, the first officers arrived on the scene (Lexington Avenue, between College and Walnut streets) and immediately began pepper-spraying, firing tasers at, and tackling the peaceful revelers. This was, no doubt, a provocation, because moments later, about 20 police cars had filled the avenue, with the clumsy brutes ready to subdue with overwhelming force any attempts by citizens to defend themselves from this unwarranted assault.

The day after Halloween, I saw an escalation of APD presence and harassment on Lexington Avenue. People were detained on the street, [and] intimidated and questioned regarding their “connection” with all of the excitement; posters were ripped down from lampposts and “street kids” were shooed away and/or arrested. In a pathetic attempt to coerce “information” out of individuals, a few people were told that they “match the description” of someone who allegedly assaulted an officer. APD officers said they were hunting down the “ringleaders.” An officer went around to all of the business owners on Nov. 1 to let them know that APD is “at their service” as they try to shore up support from business owners for their heavy-handed bullying tactics.

APD claims that officers were assaulted on Halloween. I did not witness any such thing. I did witness officers assaulting people who love and are not afraid of freedom. …

— Shane Perlowin

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