I was struck upon reading your October lead article ("Farm Bureau: Storm Troopers of Agribusiness") how dependent the Farm Bureau is on the Defenders of Wildlife (from which this article was lifted) and vice versa, how dependent the Defenders of Wildlife is on the Farm Bureau. It is no surprise to me or any one else who has worked for progressive and sane agricultural policy that the Farm Bureau is a formidable force promoting agribusiness domination. Time and again they disregard their own membership's interest and lobby for policies guaranteed to destroy family farms. NAFTA, GATT, WTO, and Freedom to Farm are just a few of the recent and grosser example of Farm Bureau's treachery.
How then does the Farm Bureau maintain its membership and influence in rural areas? They do it by exploiting rural anger over wolves, buffalos, wild horses, prairie dogs, etc ... Anger breeds polarization, and polarization gives the Farm Bureau the power to stop all manner of important issues such as development planning, mining reclamation, watershed protection, wild life habitat, sustainable farming, food security, and food safety.
What does the Defenders of Wildlife get out of the rural/urban polarization over such an intrinsically trivial issue such as wolves in Yellowstone Park? They get power too: the power to build their organization, more money, and more influence within the environmental and conservation community. When I characterize wolves as an intrinsically trivial issue I do so from the point of view of society in general. From a personal point of view, one that has suffered considerable economic loss to the predation of coyotes and golden eagles (and expects wolf predation in the future), the issue is far from trivial. So let's get real here! What really important benefit is there to society if a few tourists get the thrill of hearing wolves howl. The argument that wolves are needed to restore the natural balance and control over population of elk and buffalo doesn't hold too much water. They will never be sufficiently numerous within the park to reduce the elk and buffalo to appropriate numbers. Nor are wolves endangered -- there are plenty of them in Canada, Alaska, and Minnesota. Perhaps the one place we need them are in New York's Central Park.
Don't get me wrong, wolves are fine if they stay within their boundaries -- but they don't. They are incorrigible wanderers. What benefit does society get from wolves beyond fantasy -- not much. What liabilities come with the wolf polarization? Well, as I wrote above a virtual deadlock on important social and environmental issues such as planning for development, mining reclamation, watershed protection, wildlife habitat, sustainable farming, food security, and food safety. After the Farm Bureau finishes its mission to vertically integrate and subjugate production agriculture into a seamless web under the centralized control of a global food oligopoly, the concept of "wolf" will take on a whole new meaning.
Grass Range, Montana
Years ago, when Dutch Reagan was broadcasting from WOC at Palmer College on top of the Brady Street hill, I lived at the bottom of the hill. I never dreamed of how much I would come to dislike him in later years.
Watching his movies never gave a clue about the kind of person he really was. In later years, when I became a union man, Ronnie became president of the Screen Actors Guild and at the same time was putting the finger on a number of people as "communists." Many of those people were later blacklisted and some became known as the Hollywood 10.
About 30 years ago, I got acquainted with a very good union man who was my neighbor and had been in the Auto Workers' sitdown strikes. He told me of an incident when there was a national meeting of the CIO affiliates and Reagan, as president of the Actors guild, came in later and said he couldn't stay long because he had to get back to some other task. He was given the chance to give his report and left immediately.
My friend said, "That guy is a big bullsh---er," and he said that old John Lewis gave out with a big guffaw.
A few days ago, Edmund Morris, the author of Reagan's recently published biography, was interviewed on 60 Minutes and said Reagan was hard to understand because he kept his personal feelings to himself. The next day, Reagan's former associates took exception to the book.
Reagan's union busting that set the stage for the monopoly corporations' anti-labor drive came when he, as president, fired the air controllers with no negotiations or discussions, just fired.
Previously, when George Bush was running against Reagan for president, he called Reagan's economic ideas "voodoo economics," but readily followed the practice when he became president. I liked Jesse Jackson's comparison of the trickle-down idea as that of a dog to a fire hydrant.
Personally, when I see the notches cut on a board in Tampico, Ill., that represented all the people Ron saved while lifeguarding there, it makes me think of an outlaw with notches on his gun that represents people he killed.
I'm afraid that all the people who are trying to get into the real Reagan personality and make it a good one will find it hard to make a good guy out of such an egotistical, self-centered person who has the compassion of a robot.
The one thing that drives too many men into a frenzy of irrational disinformation disguised as critical thinking is the appearance of a strong woman on the verge of further downsizing the image of male superiority. Oh, how those poor endangered men seek a return of the '50s, when a woman's place was confined to the kitchen, the laundry, the nursery, and, of course, the bedroom.
For example, Hillary Clinton is on the scene with name-recognition status that is the envy of every conservative political hopeful. On top of that, she has a politician's flair for being at ease with the public and the inherent ability to sidestep criticism or turn it around.
In an emotional tizzy, the male conservative critics have repeatedly denounced her as just an ambitious carpetbagger who can't even spell Schenectady. The truth is that America is so homogenized today that weather and earthquakes are about the only things that distinguish the states from one another. The economic and social problems are interchangeable among the states, just as it should be for the citizens of this country.
If the conservative Republicans wanted to honestly criticize her they would attack her support for the death penalty, bombing the Serbs back to the Stone Age, boycotting the children of Cuba, locking up the Puerto Rican nationalists, NAFTA, welfare "reform" and practically everything else Bill has stolen from the Republican agenda.
In my opinion there's only one decent reason to vote for her and that's to keep Rudy G and his NYPD storm trooper mentality from infiltrating the Senate. So if that's the way the candidates are going to be, she will get my reluctant vote.
Guffin Bay, NY
I resent your Mexico lobby of Gonzales and Rodriguez. Immigrants have driven down the wages of low-income taxpayers such as myself by 12 percent. That's why the Wall Street Journal wants to flood the country with Latin Americans and Asians.
My advice to the huddled masses yearning to be free is: Stay home and stop breeding.
Editor Replies: We think your complaint should be addressed to the corporations that use immigrants to drive down wages and who call in the INS only when the immigrants start joining unions, as a Minneapolis hotel recently did. Also don't forget the government officials who not only allow union-busting activity but want to make it easier for corporations to move manufacturing jobs south of the border and overseas. And sorry, but as Gonzales and Rodriguez would be quick to remind you, the indigenous people were here first.