Opinion » Rhetoric & Reason

Myth busting II



The first and likely last Trump-Biden debate was a washout, due in part to the opening shot of the moderator, resurrecting the old charge of racist sympathies by the president. Donald Trump denounced racists and racism repeatedly since his first public appearance in his campaign. It's recorded and easily discovered by any who search. Trump denounced the racists and Nazi sympathizers at Charlottesville but the media continuously repeats only half of his statement where he says "there were many fine people on both sides" but leave off his emphatic denunciation of perpetrators of violence. No matter, as the national media have decided that if they continuously repeat the smear often enough the public will eventually believe it to be true, using the "big lie" to persuade public opinion.

To the subject at hand and in response to "Busting the myth-buster" (Sept. 17), I submit the following: Sorry, you didn't address the issue of Roosevelt's racial bias. He treated Black Americans just fine, as long as they kept their place. He did nothing to improve their lot, not even for the White House staff, and permitted legal discrimination to be written into New Deal programs. Truman's private conversations revealed similar attitudes toward Blacks, and Johnson was even worse. Johnson was coarse in the extreme, a bigot toward Blacks, Jews, and other ethnic groups.

As for the Democrats passing the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act, sorry, but a majority of Democrats voted against that legislation. A majority of Republicans voted for them, which is why they passed through Congress. The Democrat "solid-South" remained a bulwark against civil rights and kept Ku Klux Klansman Robert Byrd in the Senate long after that legislation passed. Byrd was a high-ranking member of the KKK until it was unfashionable to be so, and VP Biden, your candidate for president, gave him a glowing eulogy at his funeral.

As for Roosevelt and his New Deal accomplishments: The economy collapsed back into a deep recession on Aug. 27, 1937. Unemployment soared to 13.5 percent (it had been as high as 25 percent in 1932, recovering slowly) and August 1937 had seen the steepest drop in industrial production ever recorded. Jobs disappeared, the stock market lost a third of its value, and unemployment levels returned to the levels of 1931. Federal taxes took an 83 percent bite out of high earners/investors, and New Deal government regulations stifled incentives to invest, making recovery sluggish. Obama saw a similar sluggish recovery after the collapse of 2008. In September of 2012 with no pandemic or economic restrictions, unemployment remained at 7.8 percent. Obama-Biden said this was the new normal. Even with a pandemic and economic restrictions, Trump's unemployment numbers for September 2020 are 7.9 percent, a tenth of a point's difference. If the pandemic hadn't occurred, imagine how much better off we might have been.

Next myth: Mr. Floyd. The autopsy report cited came out before the toxicology report. The toxicology report and additional state/federal analysis indicated Floyd had 11 nanograms of fentanyl in his system: 3 nanograms is normally fatal although a regular user might survive with as much as 9 nanograms. Floyd had 11, and the complete video-record and radio calls show Floyd complaining of respiratory distress (expected with a cocktail of fentanyl and methamphetamine) before being seated in the patrol car, during his time in the car and continuing while being restrained. And, yes, the officers made at least two calls for medical assistance. The upcoming trials should indicate that, and the officers should have more closely monitored Floyd's condition. That should come out too, although I doubt many on the left will care.

More myths: "It's proven our terrible wildfire season is a result of climate change." It's not. We've had extremely hot temperatures before, really hot temperatures. The archives of the San Francisco Chronicle reported temperatures of 130 degrees east of Los Angeles and Santa Barbara counties in 1859. Actual current temperatures have been 3 to 8 degrees lower than temperatures in the 1910 "Big Burn" and during the 1930s, according to Northern California meteorologist Anthony Watts who submitted his findings to the California Globe.

Foresters have been warning us for decades about the fuel buildup on the West Coast. We have six times the normal ground cover/fuel in the wildlands with homes intruding into the wildland-urban interface. With drought, seasonal wind, and high temperatures, we're now paying the piper in extreme wildfire. We've lost 4 million acres to wildfire, but fire ecologists say we need to burn 20 million acres to balance the system.

Geological records indicate mega-droughts lasting decades in California, and in one case a drought that may have lasted 200 years. We live in a hot Mediterranean climate with bursts of rain, drought, and occasional cold and wet seasons that sometimes massively flood our communities. SLO County experienced extreme drought followed by severe flooding in the 1860s, and we've had more recent experiences, like in early January 1973. In a week we received 12 inches of rainfall and on Jan. 18, 1973, we received 3 inches of rain in 45 minutes, flooding most of downtown SLO, the 101 freeway, Madonna Plaza, and Laguna Lake. Sadly, facts matter little to political agendas. Δ

Al Fonzi had a 35-year military career, serving in both the Vietnam and Iraq wars. Respond with a letter to the editor emailed to letters@newtimesslo.com.

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