In what way was Alinsky anti-American?

Regarding a recent letter-writer's view of Saul Alinsky, the writer may want to know that Alinsky:

  • Was "very close to being an organizational genius," said William F. Buckley

  • Had aims that "most faithfully reflect our ideals of brotherhood, tolerance, charity and dignity of the individual," said Adlai Stevenson.

    If Alinsky's work was such a danger to America, why then would his book "Rules for Radicals," according to Adam Brandon (spokesman for Freedom Works) be given to top leadership members of the tea party? Former Republican House Majority Leader Dick Armey provides copies to top tea party leaders. Do these actions then brand Brandon and Armey as having an un-American agenda?

    "A people's organization in the banding together of large numbers of men and women to fight for those rights which insure a decent way of life" from Alinsky's "Reveille for Radicals" reads more like what America should aspire to and not an anti-American manifesto.

    Peter Swift

    Pleasanton

    Pitts' racism seems deemed acceptable

    A recent column (Nov. 12) by Leonard Pitts declares that the Republicans' "party of angry white men has lots of damage to fix." Other columnists and letter writers to the Times have expressed views in a similar vein.

    Such rhetoric, ignoring issues, is nothing more than (apparently politically correct) racist trash talk that reduces serious discussion of viewpoints down to party demographics, not to mention the divisiveness and double standard it carries with it. Welcome to more dumbing-down of America.

    After years of white-on-black oppression, followed by decades of progress to rectify real racial and ethnic disparities, institutional discrimination and demagoguery still exist, now with new "co-managers" who need to get the beam out of their own eye while urging others to remove the speck.

    Ring out the old, ring in the old!

    Chip Ungermann

    Livermore

    D.C. may as well fly flag of hammer, sickle

    The election has brought the socialists out of the cellars; they have finally won the battle for the future of this country.

    Some of us remember fighting off the red masses -- now they're in the White House. Nikita Khrushchev said it would be accomplished through the schools -- has anyone met up with a conservative teacher lately?

    It's unsettling that the public now considers those who want the budget balanced and the constitution to be honored as radicals. This is total loss of rational thinking, but now the concept is as normal as socialist politicians buying your vote, and if we think it's wrong, then we are extremist. Where will the money come from to pay the debt? Just print it up and pay the bills? If that works why not print us all a million dollars? Consider that the government could steal all of the money from the successful plus the money from all of your paychecks for a full year, and there will still be debt. Teachers don't teach economics; it might hurt their candidate.

    Edward Magoon

    Pleasanton

    Keep Sowell; attacks unfair

    Several letters have been published lately criticizing Thomas Sowell for his articles.

    Sowell is a well credentialed, highly educated and well-informed author and columnist. These writers may not agree with his opinions, but it is unrealistic to denigrate him for those opinions simply because they are generally conservative in nature.

    I suspect they are like many of my liberal acquaintances who are not even interested in conservative views, so it is difficult to understand why they would be troubled by them.

    Please continue to carry Thomas Sowell's articles (and Mallard Fillmore). After all, there are other liberal op-ed pieces, such as Leonard Pitts (and Doonesbury) to offer balance.

    Glen D. Polzin

    Livermore

    Obama proving Khrushchev was on money

    No one would be prouder of Barack Obama than Nikita Khrushchev, the Soviet leader in the 1950s and '60s.

    If only he were alive today to see how far the United States has swung to the left. In 1959 he said, "We cannot expect the Americans to jump from capitalism to communism, but we can assist their elected leaders in giving Americans small doses of socialism until they suddenly awake to find they have communism." In 1962 Khrushchev said, "The United States will eventually fly the communist red flag. The American people will hoist it themselves."

    Four years of eroding freedom under the Obama regime and four more to come, is it that far-fetched to say that Nikita Khrushchev's prediction is coming true?

    Mark Marcotte

    Danville

    Volunteers not the way to staff our fire stations

    As a retired volunteer fire chief, I find Yan Pawlak's letter to be offensive and insulting to paid and volunteer firefighters.

    Volunteer firefighters have many purposes, their main one being to provide additional manpower and resources to a paid fire department. In today's world they cannot take the place of paid firefighters, and at the same time provide the high level of skills and services that the paid firefighter provides and the public expects. The training and education required to perform the job of a full-time firefighter prohibits the job from being performed on a volunteer basis day-in and day-out. I know -- I have been there and seen what it takes.

    Being a firefighter is not a part-time job, nor is it just about fighting fires. It's about quick response times, having and performing basic and advanced medical skills and services; hazmat response, cliff and high rise rescue, water rescue and much more. In time of need, a person's life depends on the firefighter to get him to a hospital quickly and alive. In addition to all the education and training necessary to become a full-time paid firefighter, the firefighter also has to accept the fact that his life expectancy is going to be about 10 years less than the average person. That's right: his desire to help a fellow person will cost him 10 years off his life.

    A firefighter's job is 24 hours a day, 365 days a year -- there is no part time here. Pawlak needs to be reminded that these six-figure pensions were negotiated and that it was his elected officials who negotiated and signed off on the contracts. These elected officials thought at the time it was a great deal. No one held a gun to their heads and made them sign it. At one time the pension investments where doing well, and some were even self-funding.

    The question should be how the taxes collected during these "good" times were allocated and spent. Pension reform and budget reform are going to be necessary to make this work in the future. Replacing paid firefighters with volunteers is not the answer. By the way, only an uninformed half-wit could remark on how a firefighter spends his day. Be safe.

    Terry Givens

    Livermore