Stop drug war
Richard Emmel wrote a superb letter, published in the Oct. 2 issue, about stopping the drug war as a more humane and less expensive way to deal with those who have become addicted to drugs. Where are the lawmakers that have examined this issue rather than proposing to build additional prison facilities?
Once again, the Republican Party has seduced Arkansas voters with those sweet, meaningless words: "Trust me, we arent those other guys." And, truly, they arent. Never mind the details of who has done what or for whom, it has been enough merely to say that the grass is going to be greener on your side of the fence if you just open the gate and let me in. Maybe we forgot what it is that makes grass greener. If there is one thing our politicians have learned since that first group of runaways landed on our eastern shore its that selling tomorrow is a lot easier than actually doing some work today. The best pretenders got the most attention and now we have some slick sales people in jobs that arent designed for selling. They are designed for people with compassion, empathy, understanding, devotion to law and the wisdom to know when they are just faking it. If you werent paying attention before you voted, maybe its time to start looking to see just whose feet that green grass is growing under.
Why NRWC ad?
The editorial staff is to be congratulated for David Ramsey's article ("A third and fourth way," Oct. 30) on the vital, if unsung, role played by "third parties" in our electoral system. Kudos also to Ben Hardy for his piece on the corrosive influence of big money in state races ("Shadow parties," Oct. 30). Both articles are a needy corrective to intellectuals who lack faith in the democratic process by considering a vote for the Green Party to be a waste and who have fuzzy notions about free speech.
So imagine my shock and confusion when, in the very same issue, I saw a full-page spread sponsored by the Virginia-based National Right to Work Committee with warnings about "forced unionization." Inside the front cover to boot. For over 50 years now, this organization with an Orwellian-sounding name has been a major promoter of "union avoidance."
The NRWC ad correctly claims that Tom Cotton is among the sponsors of the National Right to Work Act in the House (the Senate version was introduced by "libertarian" Rand Raul). But certain trivial details are left unmentioned. Like guess who are among the main backers of the NRWC? None other than Koch and Walton money.
Was the Arkansas Times leadership aware of this jaw-dropping fact before taking in the NRWC's business? Of course, the canned response will be that all sides should get equal time. But there is no equality in this case. In fact, the term "right to work" is the result of a concentrated propaganda campaign (Arkansas's right to work law dates to 1944). Furthermore, Wall Street is sitting on trillions in cash. "Big Labor" has spent upward of $400 million lobbying since the late 1990s while big business has spent billions. A little over 10 percent of the U.S. workforce is unionized (in 2010, it was something like 4 percent in Arkansas).
There is an assault on all democratic institutions, including labor unions and the voting rights of people of color and the poor. Why isn't Mark Pryor showing up the paper tiger Tom Cotton for what he really is, point-by-point? Why are state Democrats not drawing greater attention to the fact that a Republican like Leslie Rutledge seems to be guilty of the very thing her colleagues rail on about these day vote-fraud?
In recent years, the Arkansas Times has been touting the notion that Arkansans should not think outside the two-party box. Which is fine for we all believe in free speech. But I resent attempts, intentional or not, to help powerful special interests undermine democracy. Organizations like the NRWC hurt working Arkansans. Which is one reason why I proudly vote as a Green.
North Little Rock
From the web
On the Arkansas Blog post on former Democratic state Sen. Tracy Steele's endorsement of Republican gubernatorial candidate Asa Hutchinson:
Mr. Steele is not alone. Annie Abrams has endorsed Asa as well, this past week (do a Facebook search).
This seems to be the mantra of some of the connected folks in the African-American community. That should not be interpreted to mean all connected individuals.
The struggle I have is that perceived trickle-down is not going to happen with the Republicans. We (because I'm African American) just are not their interest.
A party that seeks to limit voter access, demonizes minorities, seeks to end healthcare access and seeks to treat me as less than a citizen in not working in my best interests nor is it a friend.
Sadly Arkansas voters will get the government it will elect, the party of the Koch brothers and Stephens. Annie, Tracy, Richard, et al. will get their rewards.
The rest of us can just get in line and hope for the best.
In response to an article in the Oct. 30 issue about demagoguery, including Tom Cotton's statement that Islamic rebels were training Mexican drug thugs to attack the U.S. and come to Arkansas:
Years ago, Russell Baker wrote a column about the frustration of Soviet military leaders who had reports that there were missiles in a place called "Arkansas." They could not find "Arkansas" on any map, so the missiles were safe. I suspect ISIS would meet with the same frustration.