Letters to the Editor
I was amused reading of the upcoming protest against Wells Fargo and Bank of America (“https://alamedasun.com/news/anti-bank-protest-set-tuesday-march-21,” March 9). There are many good reasons for protesting these behemoths of American usury. Think of all the people who lost their homes during the 2008 collapse while the banks got bailed out. Think of the exorbitant credit card interest rates and fees. Think of massive funding of parasitical hedge funds while small and medium sized businesses are starved for credit. The fact that there has been so little outrage over the massive bailout of the banks, through “Quantitative Easing” and other schemes of the Fed, is a bit puzzling.
But to protest the banks' investment in fossil fuels? That's actually a bit strange. As opposed to the parasitical stuff, this is one of the more productive things the banks are actually investing in! Like it or not, we all use products of fossil fuels. They have enormously improved human life over the past 120 years. Think of fertilizers, paint, fabrics, as well as cheap energy. Nothing to apologize for. And if the sea level goes up a bit, (primarily due to changes in astronomical events, by the way), we will be able to handle it.
If you want to protest the banks, it's not a bad idea. I would protest against the Fed carrying out another decade plus of bailouts, which is where we may be headed after the failure of Silicon Valley Bank.
I agree with the author of a recent Alameda Sun letter to the editor (“https://alamedasun.com/letters/16681,” March 2), but when I speak with my family and friends, we have very different conversations.
I hear gratitude for the slow streets that allow us to ride bikes around town more safely and comfortably. I hear concerns about how drivers sometimes speed and ignore the “Road closed to thru traffic” signs. I hear about the need for more formal/permanent traffic calming that will fix conflict points and make people actually follow the rules. We wonder why the planned improvements that would accomplish this are taking so long to roll out.
We love the changes to Webster and Park streets and talk about how these streets are really becoming destinations in and of themselves, a great thing for Alameda and its businesses. We patronize the parklets that have been successful, and we enjoy the street energy, but wonder why the refinements proposed last year are taking so long. We love the reduced lanes on Park and Webster streets but wonder why the damaged bollards aren't being replaced with cement ones that will get more respect (and need less maintenance), and why in this day and age do we not have bike lanes on these streets.
Arnold Isaacs, a former war correspondent, said it best in his 1997 book, Vietnam Shadows: The War, Its Ghosts and Its Legacy: "It has been over a generation, and the Cold War that shaped U.S. policy has itself passed into history, but the Vietnam War still casts long shadows over American life. It lingers in the national memory, hovering over our politics, our culture, and our long, unfinished debate over who we are and what we believe."
By March 29, 1973, all U.S. combat troops had left Vietnam. U.S. military advisors to the South Vietnam Army and Marine guards at the U.S. Embassy in Saigon remained until the fall of that city in 1975.
I left Southeast Asia early in the war in 1967 having served 14 months in various combat zones. To the best of my knowledge, no accident in Vietnam was ever attributed to a radar weapons controller. The job was inherently dangerous; however, we were all well trained, worked exceptionally well together and saved countless air crew lives with our timely handling of air-to-air refueling, GCI/GCA handoff, quick dispatch of air/sea rescue units and weather-related flight following. Just knowing we were contributing to the safe recovery of all our aircrews made us proud of our military profession.
Editor’s note: Hauser is author of Inherently Dangerous - An Account of U.S. Air Force Weapons Controllers in Southeast Asia During the Vietnam War.