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Letters are posted as we receive them during the week, and before they are printed in the paper, so check back frequently to see new letters. If you'd like to send a letter to the editor, use this postmarks submission form, or email your letter directly to mail@austinchronicle.com. Thanks for your patience.
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When Fascism Comes, It Will Be Draped in a Flag

RECEIVED Wed., Dec. 31, 2008

Dear Editor,
    Fascism is defined as the tenets of a centralized, totalitarian, and nationalistic government that strictly controls finance, industry, and commerce; practices rigid censorship and racism; and eliminates opposition through secret police. The Republican Party screamed about “unrevealed small donors” who paid Barack Obama nearly $1 billion during the election. I am a donor, retired military, and currently a cop in Central Texas. Someone once stated that when fascism comes to America, it is coming draped in a flag carrying a cross. In all of history, most people never realize that they are at a historical turning point. Any semi-informed person knows that President Bush has broken the laws with torture, wiretapping, obstruction of justice, and on and on. This is the stuff a complacent media very reluctantly made a passing comment on. We have been in an economic recession for 11 months, and John McCain adviser Phil Gramm had the temerity to call us a nation of whiners. For the last eight years we have had a new national low point, seemingly weekly, and can you imagine what is going to be discovered when Bush and Cheney no longer hold the levers of power and what newly undiscovered national shame awaits us? I sent Obama my $500 because I wanted to see if we are a nation of laws or a nation of men. Some questions are, of course, too terrible to be asked, so people live out their lives trying to pretend that the obvious question is oblivious to see. But here on Jan. 20, 2009, at the steps of the Capitol, at around noon, we will have this question answered as our nation, if not the world, wonders if the tarnished shining city on the hill still exists or if it has been destroyed forever.
Ron Ruiz

Gloomy Outlook

RECEIVED Wed., Dec. 31, 2008

Dear Editor,
    Interesting turn of events that Rod Blagojevich nearly gave Jesse Jackson Jr. Barack Obama's Senate seat. Jackson was one of the major funders for anti-Clinton ads during Obama's presidential campaign. I continue wondering how corrupt Barack Obama is. He did come from that very same political circle in Chicago. Illinois politicians seem to be full of hot air. Now I know how the Windy City got its title. At first I thought Mike Ditka should be appointed. Then again, that governor's seat should open soon. Yet chances seem slim for former football players running, being Lynn Swann lost in Pennsylvania. With the current government stepping in to help out Wall Street, a mortgage and loan crisis, and the failing auto industry, the talk of a second stimulus package for taxpayers has died. The campaign promises made for health-care reform hit a back burner. We are officially in a recession, and those promises will remain a carrot dangling in front of us for the next election. This holiday season, sales even slumped 5.5%. How is it that this comes after the first raise of minimum wages in decades? It's likely going to get better after the Oval Office transition takes place. The economy usually slows during these periods, but not quite this much. It's our tax money, and they need it now, but at what interest rate? If Detroit were to resurrect the muscle car, they would save their own asses. If Wall Street wasn't so greedy, we wouldn't have to monitor them. If taxpayers were not so poor, we could help each other.
Thank you,
Mike Homa

Don't Blame the Unions

RECEIVED Mon., Dec. 29, 2008

Dear Editor,
    Anytime there is a crisis, such as the current big three automotive problems, some people will work to solve the crisis, and some will spend all their time trying to lay the blame on those they dislike while covering up for those they favor. Such is the case of those who are blaming the unions for the decline of Ford, General Motors, and Chrysler. American automakers built giant gas-guzzlers because a segment of society wanted them, but when the price of gas shot up, the automakers could not adjust quickly enough for the new demand of society. Now they have millions of SUVs and pickups sitting on lots that no one wants to buy. The current crisis in Detroit is a management crisis not a labor crisis. Trying to blame the unions for this mess is like trying to blame the engine room crew for the sinking of the Titanic ["Page Two," Dec. 26].
Clifton Smith

Internationally Known Teacher Who Won't Be Reading the 'Chronicle' Any More

RECEIVED Sat., Dec. 27, 2008

Dear Editor,
    I only look at your movie listings. I never read the Chronicle anymore, due to the philosophy the paper has that negativity and cynicism are equal to insight and wisdom. That if it's violent, disgustingly negative, and painful, it must be "real life." If it's harsh, it must be truly meaningful and representative of "reality."
    The Chronicle's philosophy appears to be that if it's uplifting or beautiful or funny, it's not "real life." It must be meaningless fluff.
    Sad, sad, sad.
    If everyone believed as you do, it would become a dark world indeed; for what we focus on, we create more of. We create it, then say, "See, it's real!" Then we create more of it and say, "See, more evidence that it's real!"
    Those of us who live happy lives subscribe to quite a different philosophy of seeking out what is uplifting.
    Most of the world has no recognition of the power of their attention, and the Chronicle is just another sheep following the herd in unexamined madness, right along with mainstream media.
    You are not different than the Statesman in that way, you're just putting the bad news in the spotlight in hipper terms and making it sexier.
    I came to your website today for movie times and happened to read a review (even though I know better). Your movie reviews pan anything positive, and so I take your reviews in reverse. If your reviewer pans it, I go see it. If your reviewer loved it, I don't go see it.
    I Googled further and saw nothing but positive 4½- to 5- star reviews of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. You gave it a 2 [Film Listings, Dec. 26].
    You have the right to champion your dark version of the world. No argument there. I just won't be a reader.
Best to you,
Lola Jones
Internationally known teacher based in Austin
   

p.s. I guess the title "critic" gets taken too literally. Anyone can criticize. It takes no creativity, heart, brains, or discernible talent. Everyone on the street does it constantly, and it's a waste of time, creative energy, and breath … and space in your paper.

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