Eugene Weekly : Letters : 12.20.07


If you don’t read another book in the next five years, this is the one to read:

We don’t have to be vague anymore about suspecting that a planned misery is sweeping the globe. In Naomi Klein’s brilliant masterpiece The Shock Doctrine, she supplies us with an uncommon clarity about the evolution and scope of the corporate oligarchy that has overtaken American economics and intends to reorder the whole world. Haven’t you had the feeling all along that this is an organized plan? It is, and how!

There are two bibles used in this world economics coup, Klein points out, and neither of them have anything to do with Jesus. The first is the fundamentalist bible of the so-called neo-liberal economics of Milton Friedman. In the 1950s, Milton was a famed “free market” professor of economics at the University of Chicago. His status as a Nobel laureate of theoretical economics enabled him to mentor four decades of devotees (from the CIA, Kissinger, Pinochet, right-wing think tanks; Reaganomics is Miltonomics and so is the Republican Revolution), on up to and foremost — the current White House MBA team.

Since Milton was a theorist, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil, Indonesia and now the U.S. and beyond have all been seemingly donated as laboratories for Milton’s free market experiment, to see if his theories work. They work all right. They transfer huge wealth from public to private hands, over and over again.

The most effective tools used to make this happen, country by country, have been fear, torture and terror. It is a planned worldwide economic venture that first renders the society unstable and dangerous. When the vast population is sufficiently numbed with fear and the society has quickly undergone the three-fold transformation of privatization, deregulation and severe cuts to social spending, then the huge wealth grabs can ensue! Sound familiar?

The second bible in the economic reordering of the world is the Kubark manual. That’s the step-by-step torture manual written by CIA authors that follows the “regression techniques” discovered by the CIA-sponsored experiments based in Canada with psychiatrist Dr. Ewen Cameron, another ’50s theorist prize winner. In his experiments with unsuspecting human participants, Cameron used excessive electric shock, extreme drugging, sense depravation, isolation and recorded messages played endlessly into the ears of the subject. This “therapy” went on for a month or more until the subject lost all sense of self. Cameron’s assumption was that only when all of the subject’s previous patterning had been destroyed was it then possible to remake their minds “with a clean slate to write upon.”

All of Cameron’s patients suffered great harm. The CIA insists this effective torture is not sadism, but science, and put it into their Kubark manual that is still used today as the how-to guide to render a human being into severe regression. It is the torture manual used in Iraq and in Guantánamo and other unknown places. This is the doctrine of shock, to render one person or a movement or a whole population senseless and completely vulnerable by overwhelming them with “shock and awe.” It works the same on a nation as it does on one individual. Sound familiar?

The two bibles work hand in hand. But, “I don’t think I was ever regarded as evil,” writes Friedman, in The Wall Street Journal, July 22, 2006. Could that be because the truth was covered-up? Until now, that is …

Deb Huntley, Eugene



For the New Year here in our lovely community of Eugene, I wish for continued passion for our downtown area. I would like to sincerely thank all who worked passionately in the recent election for their view of a better downtown. I am asking all who worked for and against the urban renewal ballot measure to please not give up seeking new possibilities!

I do in my heart believe that all who worked so hard in both directions all dream of a wonderful downtown. We all dream of a town center with something for everyone and a great place to gather together for celebrations.

I am asking all to step back, take a deep breath and try to look at everything in a fresh New Year’s light. To all the business owners who are taking a chance downtown now, I say thank you as well as thanks and kudos to all those who frequent and support these businesses. To everyone else, I would ask you to go downtown and check it out; there is much good actively working down there now. Try a First Friday ARTWalk or go for dinner and a walkabout. For, in the end, anything at all could be built downtown, and it still would only work if we, the people, come!

We Eugeneans who make our way downtown on our bicycles, by foot, by bus and by auto will create a lively, vibrant, fun downtown!

So, once again, I ask for continued passion mixed with compassion and optimism in the New Year.

Tim Boyden, Eugene



The board of directors of the South University Neighborhood Association (SUNA) is still getting used to the fact that seven stories of student housing will be built in our neighborhood — and we can’t do a thing about it.

The developer seems to be creating a high quality building, for which we are grateful. But it will tower over the homes and two- and three-level apartments around it. The building is not compatible with our neighborhood. It’s a dormitory that the UO should have built on campus.

Parking is as big of a problem as the size of the building. Planning rules require only 40 parking places for the 212 tenants. Most of the students who can afford the rent will have cars, but they’ll have to park them on our neighborhood’s streets. We’ll become a parking lot. Ironically, the builder is nearly as concerned as we are; the lack of parking may keep some potential renters away.

The developer, builder and neighbors cannot take corrective steps because the code is rigid. However, you may be sure our board, as well as many individuals, will be participating in the infill siting process and urging the City Council and Planning Commission to change their misguided policies.

With a large apartment building literally looming over us, our Jan. 8 general meeting will focus on planning and infill. We will meet at 7 pm at Edison School.

Bob Peters, SUNA President, Eugene


I see in your article “Painful Humor” (12/6) that EW saw Arellano’s column “as a way of combating racism and stereotyping.” I applaud your intention, and I share that value. However, I think your approach is not serving its intended purpose.

Your article mentions about half a dozen leaders in the local Latino community, many of whom are dedicating their lives to the wellbeing of Latinos in Oregon. When they say the column is causing harm, reinforcing racist stereotypes and should be discontinued, guess what? They know what they are talking about.

Thinking that you know better than local Latinos about what is good for them is an example of racism right there. Is the column reinforcing bigotry? Should it be discontinued? You don’t need to “¡Ask a Mexican!” from Orange County, nor the white owners, board or staff of EW. You’ve already heard from the experts: local Latino/a leaders and community.

Please show respect and cancel the column. In addition, I request that you sponsor some “unlearning racism” events for your board and staff as well as for the rest of us who sometimes do more harm than good despite our positive intentions.

Sharon Guinee, Eugene



I moved from Orange County, Calif., to Eugene in September 2006. To my very pleasant surprise, I discovered that Eugene had its version of my favorite weekly independent newspaper, the OC Weekly. The Weekly, wherever you are blessed to receive the paper, is one of the few remaining sources of truly free speech in this nation. The majority of print, radio and television broadcasting are controlled by a select few corporations that tend to keep dissent and opinions that may offend their sponsorship in the shadows.

Call me a conspiracy theorist, but I feel the mainstream media is a very significant reason why there is not outright revolution in this country caused by the blatant human rights and constitutional violations by our current presidential administration. Revolution has resulted from far less in other countries, but those countries didn’t have billions of media dollars fighting to subdue the masses with cover-up, redirection and outright misinformation as is the case in this country. Free media is a right and a privilege that we should fight for and embrace with gusto.

It is for this reason that I address all of the readers who would like to remove “¡Ask a Mexican!” this week, “Savage Love” last week and whatever other column to come next week. These are outstanding columns that both entertain and inform, although sometimes employing language with which we are uncomfortable. Gustavo Arellano brings stereotypes out in the open and discusses why those stereotypes exist through humor aimed at Latinos and Caucasians alike.

“¡Ask a Mexican!” is not mean-spirited by any means, so please allow yourself to feel uncomfortable with this column long enough to learn something new. Yes, EW could run stories written by the Latinos in our community, and I am confident that their stories would be entertaining, informative and probably uncomfortable as well. Their voices, along with others from the Vietnamese, Korean, Native American and other communities deserve to be heard, and certainly more often than National fill-in-the-blank Week. Maybe a forum for these voices could be the focus of a future EW column. If enough readers requested such a column, I’m sure EW would be open to the idea.

Thank you, EW, for bringing us “¡Ask a Mexican!” and maintaining a forum for free speech. And thank you, Eugene, for being so passionate and vocal about so many issues. Just please be careful not to close your mind too quickly!

Chris Sprague, Eugene



I was delighted when the Weekly decided to run Gustavo Arellano’s “¡Ask a Mexican!” column. I thought, “Finally, a Weekly columnist who looks like my family, and who isn’t afraid to take on issues I find important in a fresh, well-researched and humorous way.”

Then, I began reading the letters to the editor. I was struck by how many were written “on behalf of” local Latinos. Many letter-writers had impressive Latino-loving credentials, and one even offered to send in names of local Latinos who would be willing to write a column of their own (I bet some of his or her best friends are Latino). What I noticed, too, was the dearth of letters from actual Latinos. Maybe it’s because, like me, they were alternately jumping for joy that “¡Ask a Mexican!” was running in the Weekly and shaking their heads wondering if the gabachos would ever “get it.”

I am one Mexican who doesn’t need anyone to speak on her behalf. I have enjoyed the “¡Ask a Mexican!” column online for some time and am glad it’s running in the Weekly.

Progressive, liberal, well-meaning, paternalistic, gabacho racism is still racism.

Racquel-María Yamada, Eugene



Your look at Kyoto 10 years on (cover story, 12/6) served as a stark reminder not only of how quickly time passes, but of how squandering time when facing urgent matters has the almost inevitable tendency of both worsening them and narrowing the options available to address them.

There is no more urgent matter facing us than that of global climate change. The efforts of the apocalyptically fervent and of well-paid corporate charlatans to deflect concern to the contrary, the role of human beings in causing our planetary fever has been established scientifically with about the same degree of certainty as the role of alcohol in drunk-driving. We are altering the climate and toxifying the air, water, and soil to such degree that the present and future health of humans and of all earthly life is at growing risk.

Not content with having subdued nature, we are rapidly proceeding to beat it to a pulp. Such is the central conceit of our age: that the trees in the forest stand ready solely for us to cut them down, that the mountain peaks stand majestic solely for us to blast them flat, that the animals in the wild exist solely for us to put them in zoos. Is it too late to save us from ourselves?

No, it is not. But we must become every one of us good stewards of the environment upon which our lives ultimately depend. Ours is an interesting planet. It deserves all the attention we can give it.

Todd Huffman, M.D., Eugene



The recent cries of protest against “¡Ask a Mexican!” have been sadly unsurprising. I expect the reaction from the right: “Illegals are ruining our nation!” What makes me sad is how I was also unsurprised by the knee-jerk offense expressed by the liberal white “Latino/a friends.”

Arellano writes a smart, funny column and does not pull punches. He takes on the Minutemen in-your-face racism as well as the liberal “some of my best friends are Mexicans” racism, and he does it with humor. Please don’t let the humorless fringe groups convince you to drop this wonderful column.

Jeff Yamada, Eugene



So many Americans are desperate for a change in leadership, but in the frenzy of the upcoming presidential elections the issues are being bypassed by multi-million-dollar campaigns. We hear only rhetoric from those candidates who can buy the most media time, thus successfully imprinting themselves on the American psyche. But after all the hype, what we really want is a candidate who best represents our shared vision for our country.

I’ve decided to approach the elections the way I approach any major purchase. Using a car for example, I would not buy a car based on appearance or the biggest price tag or media blitzes, and I would definitely not buy from a dealership that received most of its funding from an auto repair shop. I would look for a car that has consistent quality, safety and dependability, that will save money; one designed for the driver. I would buy it from a dealership funded by the very drivers it hopes to sell to.

Using this common logic, my candidate is Dennis Kucinich. He has a consistent voting record on issues of peace, justice, environmental protection and human rights. He is funded by the people, not big corporations, and he has a plan for universal, single-payer, not-for-profit healthcare, a plan to get us out of Iraq immediately and keep us out of Iran, a plan for education, a plan for the economy, a plan for the environment moving away from dependence on foreign oil, a plan for immigration and, most importantly, a plan to restore the Constitution and the values it puts forth to the American people. Dennis Kucinich may not be flashy or receive any contributions from corporate giants (which means he has no strings attached to the oil, pharmaceutical or defense industries), but he does represent our hopes and dreams, and he has viable plans to achieve them.

On an Internet poll ( 197,000-plus people that asks solely about the issues and their importance, Dennis Kucinich consistently ranks number ONE with more than 85 percent of respondents. Try it, and you may be surprised to learn that you too are most in alignment with candidate Kucinich.

Gail Rhamy, Eugene



Greetings! It certainly is good news that a coalition composed of citizens concerned with green urban renewal is growing stronger, for we have many challenges occurring as the new year approaches like a riptide below the lights of this season:

Various politicians flit between Iowa and New Hampshire, shrieking like caffeinated blue jays as Bush/Cheney, busy with commanding the ghosts they create, wanting more oil, being unrestrained, eye the holy sites of Iran and spew their toxic stew of fear and loathing, their carving knives and nuclear buttons at the ready.

Impeachment would be one appropriate form of apology, not only for the war crime of attacking Iraq but also for criminally subverting the attempts of many, many nations to work together to reduce global warming and its effects. (What would an attack on Iran, a nation of 65 million people, spawn?)

The incoming year has another undertow; do you see it? It’s caused by worldwide droughts. For instance, Australia used to produce 60 percent of the world’s wheat. That entire nation is now beset with severe water shortages, droughts that are also causing food prices to rise alongside fuel prices. In developed nations, many more people, including children and elders, will go hungry. How many more African and Asians will starve? How unbearably hot and dry will Central American countries become next summer?

Droughts in the southeast and southwest U.S. have damaged several food crops as cities like Atlanta, Dallas, Phoenix and L.A. continue to sprawl and demand more fresh water. And, of course, the ongoing die-off of crop-pollinating honeybees will magnify crop losses. How do you spell DEEP SHIT ?

Yes, let’s build a Greener Eugene, planting vegetable gardens everywhere, including at City Hall, with raised-bed gardening on every flat rooftop. And lawns? Who can eat grass?

Let us Eugeneans stand up, step up and speak out, demanding that Bush & Cheney resign, as we work together to create peace, help reduce global warming, plant more gardens and help feed and shelter humans in desperate need.

Charles F. Thielman, Eugene



I don’t understand all the fuss. I’m sure the CIA made copies and gave them to their friends for Christmas, like the KGB and various friendly, at least to us, ruthless dictators. Not to worry; once all the proper negotiations have been made and their people talk to our people, the DVDs should be available sometime next year.

Vince Loving, Eugene

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