Opinion » Mail

December 15, 2004


First of all, let me set two things straight: I am not a U.S. Citizen, and I like Mr. Bill Cope's column very much. These being said, I found Mr. Rod Burt's letter (BW, Opinion, Dec. 8) on Mr. Cope's column (BW, "A Small Culture War: Cope Thinks Globally, Acts Like a Jerk Dad," Dec. 1) utterly wrong, very rude and personally quite offensive. I have been a foreign resident for over two years, and I certainly know a few things about immigration in the U.S. and overpopulation (two separate things, thank you very much). I can only say that Mr. Burt is tremendoulsy wrong if he thinks that the immigration issue is an overpopulation issue. What's more, it could be implied by his letter that he finds it a high-priority problem, and for me, the worst problem is always ours; and by "ours" I mean the foreigners. Immigration problems are mainly, and basically, ours. Mr. Burt probably ignores that each and every one of us immigrants have very different reasons to find ourselves in the U.S. And that for some of us, even when we cannot find a job, do not have a Social Security number and can hardly manage to have a driver's license issued, there's still the will to volunteer and to help with a positive attitude. Immigration, legal or illegal, is (ironically) usually related to the fact that some foreigners tend to idealize the U.S. as the land of opportunity, of tolerance, of hope. For a few of us, those can hopefully be achieved. But for others, unfortunately, there are way too many Mr. Burts outside, impregnated with intolerance, always a close friend to ignorance. If Mr. Burt thinks that there are "too many people in America," and if the Spanish or Asian accent of some residents of West Boise makes his life unbearable, maybe he could do well by settling his soul in some underpopulated part of the country (just refer to stats and facts, because there are way too many empty places in the U.S.), and leave the rest of us, U.S. Citizens and foreign residents, working to find solutions to the real problems, and relishing in the pleasures of the "foreign" influences. French fries included.

--Diana Arbiser,


it's da dems

In regards to George Ochenski's column (BW, "Kill the Rat," Dec. 8,) the Democrats and the Sierra Club are the true rats. It's nice to know that you have a column in the Communist Boise Weekly. There might be a few bad Republicans out there, but the Democrats take the cake. I lived in a Democrat state. It cost $14 a night for a campsite, with a campground host constantly watching your every move, fees for everything. Democrats are the biggest "stay off the land, taxes, regulations, fees and rules." Ask the Sierra Club, the only thing you can do on public land is to take a picture.

--Jim Curtis,


And speaking of communism

Are we adopting Communism in America? It appears that we are! In 1848, Karl Marx, in his Communist Manifesto, outlined steps necessary for a socialized country. Some of these adopted steps include:

1) Abolish or control private property through endangered species, wetlands, wilderness areas, etc.

2) A heavy graduated income tax.

3) A huge inheritance tax.

4) Centralization of credit into the hands of the Federal Reserve.

5) Control the means of communication and transportation.

6) Start government-run businesses that compete unfairly with private businesses and make the people dependent on government for their very survival.

7) Established free public education controlled by the Federal Department of Education, a socialist curriculum and taking education out of the hands of the parents and state governments.

We must get back to the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights that made this country free and independent. Get out of the United Nations and do not join the Free Trade Area of the Americas!

--Adrian L. Arp, Twin falls


Where are you getting your death count for Iraqis killed? I believe it is in the 100,000-plus range and 300,000 homeless in Fallujah--another Christian miracle. Do we ever learn? Read the European and Arab news networks to get the full picture and don't fear the Patriot Act. This is still America and with wonderful prospects. Bring the boys home for Christmas or soon thereafter.

--R.Friel, Melrose, MA via comments online at www.boiseweekly.com

Editor's Note:

The figures we publish come from www.iraqbodycount.net, a worldwide update of reported civilian deaths in Iraq from confirmed reports in the media and official sources such as hospitals and morgues. It does not include possible or probable deaths as estimated in other studies, such as the Lancet study which has estimated Iraqi civilian deaths at over 100,000--numbers that rival civilian deaths in Hiroshima. Iraq Body Count conceeds that the numbers they publish may be below the actual numbers of civilian deaths.

Class Privilege in Idaho

Class privilege is alive and well in Idaho. A small group of predominantly white males dictate many of the decisions that affect our lives. The members of this class are linked by income and status, but more importantly, they share close relationships of power. Their privilege is to make decisions without consulting those most affected by their decisions.

In June, the Boise State administration signed a contract with Taco Bell to brand the university with the Taco Bell logo. Taco Bell and its parent corporation, Yum Brands, Inc., represent the largest restaurant corporation in the world. Yum has refused to address the working conditions of Latino farm workers in the supply chain in spite of Yum's tremendous buying power that sets the prices for grower and farm laborer alike. Because of this monopoly, farm workers are currently working for 1970s-era wages in horrible living and working conditions. The decision to accept the $4 million deal with Taco Bell did not involve the students, staff, faculty or representatives of the Latino community. This decision was made by university administrators with corporate franchisees who themselves must answer to decision makers in the Yum, Inc. hierarchy.

At a student senate meeting, Boise State University President Bob Kustra stated that corporate support like the Taco Bell contract was the only way that the university can generate needed income and by questioning it, students and faculty were jeopardizing the future of the institution. Kustra also stated that the naming of future buildings might include consultation with students and faculty, but negotiations between donors and the university would remain behind closed doors. That is class privilege.

At a recent immigration forum, Canyon Country Commissioner Robert Vasquez articulated a racist view of farm workers. He bemoaned the amount of money farm workers cost the county health system and used this issue to argue that undocumented workers had no right to be in our country. Ironically, many of the largest agricultural entities in the state and region that benefit from the labor of these farm workers appear to be absolved from any responsibility for their health, safety and well-being. During the period from 1995 to 2002, a small number of the largest businesses in our state garnered 90 percent of the $1.4 billion in agricultural support paid to them through the USDA. (www.ewg.org) Where are these agricultural employers of farm workers during the debate on immigration? They are silent. That is class privilege.

Finally, the legislature and congress are supporting the hate-filled legislation of the religious right concerning the "evils" of gay marriage. This is one of the oldest forms of class privilege--male privilege. The obsession of heterosexual males with homosexuality returns us to historical control by the male-dominated structure of the Christian church. The leaders of this theocratic movement seek to control human sexuality, outlaw stem cell research and deny women the right to make reproductive choices on their own. The denial of a basic human right to choose a lifestyle and a mate is guaranteed in our constitution. This is class privilege posing as a religious ethic.

Increasingly a small segment of upper class males (and a few females) are making unilateral decisions that affect every aspect of our lives. The next time the legislature locks its doors to make a decision, or the mayor and the city council decide that they know better than city workers if they can even vote on representation, you will be witnessing class privilege. We can kick back, watch the bowl games and let the plutocrats make our decisions for us, or we can reclaim our democratic right to participate in the decisions that affect us all.

--Robert McCarl, Associate Professor, Anthropology, Boise State University