Letters to the Editor

Bee readers respond to Elizabeth Heng’s op-ed on AOC

Elizabeth Heng of Fresno.
Elizabeth Heng of Fresno. Contributed

Bernie Sanders praised by vets

The Central Valley owes a huge debt of gratitude to Republican congressional candidate Elizabeth Heng for informing the public about her concerns over “socialism” and the presence of certain politicians — Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Sen. Bernie Sanders — who are supposedly dedicated to working against freedom.

Heng’s top priority should now be taking this message beyond the narrow confines of our Valley, and perhaps to a national stage. She could, for example, contact the American Legion to protest the fact that Sanders and another legislator were selected in 2014 to receive something called the Freedom Award. The Veterans of Foreign Wars is another organization that must be unaware of the dangers about which Ms. Heng is concerned. In 2015, the VFW gave Sanders, as the top legislator working on veterans’ issues, its Congressional Award.

About that Freedom Award by the American Legion — the group said that Sanders’ “dedication to those who have borne the battle and their families is unquestionable … When systemic problems plaguing the Veterans Health Administration were brought to your attention, you immediately ordered hearings and introduced legislation to improve the lives of patients and those trying to access care.”

And now, back to our regularly-scheduled propaganda.

Marlin Dick, Fowler

Socialism is system for the people

Failed congressional candidate Elizabeth Heng gets it upside-down in her piece in Wednesday’s Bee. Socialism is government of, by and for the people, in Lincoln’s phrase. As a Republican, she prefers our system: of, by, and for the corporations — which does diddly about climate change, homelessness and a hundred other ills. Corporate power is the essence of fascism — big biz financed Hitler to save them from communism. Santayana observed that “those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it,” unfortunately dragging the rest of us down with them.

Edd Dickerman, Fresno

AOC like dictators? That’s ridiculous

In response to Elizabeth’s Heng’s opinion piece on the controversy over the Grizzlies Memorial Day video, I am appalled with how ridiculous her arguments are. She sees no problem in comparing a United States congresswomen with a Korean dictator who has routinely ordered the execution of his own family and inner circle for trivial mistakes. That’s ridiculous.

She argues that Democratic socialism as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Bernie Sanders see it is in line with the Khmer Rouge and their murder of millions. That’s ridiculous.

She also claims the abandonment by sponsors of the Grizzlies is a byproduct of censorship. That’s ridiculous.

No one forced Heineken and Sun-Maid to end their sponsorships. They have a little something called economic freedom to run their businesses how they see fit and they determined that they didn’t want to be associated with a mistake that could damage their brand. Why? Because the comparison in the video was ridiculous. Even if you profoundly disagree with Congresswoman Cortez, anyone who argues that her politics are synonymous with North Korea and the Khmer Rouge is wrong, lacks historical understanding or is being disingenuous, and quite frankly is being ridiculous.

Jose Garza, Fresno

Even Trump in love with Kim Jong Un

Attempting to polish her apple with the latest “scandal du jour,” failed congressional candidate Elizabeth Heng (The Bee, June 5) defends the proposition that the now infamously tacky Memorial Day video tribute-gone-wrong had it right.

According to Heng, it is sensible to compare an American citizen and standing member of Congress with murderous foreign dictators, such as North Korean strongman Kim Jong Un, because she identifies all of them as “socialists.”

With similar “logic,” I remind Heng that the ‘R’ in ‘DPRK’ stands for ‘Republic.’ Thus, those who follow the Supreme Leader of that supposed worker’s paradise might well be identified as ‘Republicans’ where North Korea is concerned. A strange argument, I know, but it might well explain the curious fondness (“we fell in love”) of our own nation’s commander-in-chief for authoritarians — both foreign and domestic.

Scott Hatfield, Fresno

Heng brought a needed perspective

Congratulations to Elizabeth Heng (The Bee, June 5th) and your editorial staff for sharing her insightful and courageous opinion piece concerning the Grizzlie video incident. Well done!

Of course, the most important aspect of her comments was the unmasking of socialism. Socialism is the sister of communism, but pretends to be unrelated to that big brother, which was responsible for killing millions of their own citizens in Cambodia, Russia, China and North Korea. Under the guise of protecting the people, communism imprisons, persecutes or annihilates all who disagree with its policies.

Socialism also claims to care about the people, the little ones, who are being persecuted by the evil wealthy. The dogma claims to establish a utopian equality for all, by taking from the rich and giving to the poor. What they don’t tell you is the new socialist leaders, like Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, will assume the power to decide who may live and who must go. Yes, you might get a small apartment and a menial job, but you will exchange your freedoms for that.

The choice is between a degree of security, for the party faithful, or your freedom to decide how you want to live (determinism or free will). Those who have lived under socialism/communism and have been able to escape are the ones, like Ms. Heng, who know the difference. We need their perspective.

Rodney J. Nidever, Fresno

Op-ed spun an alternative reality

The Republican quest to build an alternative reality was most evident in Ms. Heng’s diatribe about socialism.

I am not a socialist. My grandfather was. He knew many of the American socialist greats —Eugene Debs, J. Stitt Wilson, Norman Thomas and, yes, even Jack London. She should study the exemplary examples of socialist city governments — Berkeley, Milwaukee, Reading Pennsylvania. She should also know the difference between democratic socialists, such as Bernie Sanders and Nicolas Maduro, and hard-core communists. She should also study the impacts of the many democratic socialist governments in western Europe. Where does she think the idea of Medicare came from — Medicare for all with age limits.

She is basically following blindly her leader, who is probably the most ignorant man ever to occupy the White House. She uses obvious demagogic tricks —using only extreme examples, writing lies and half truths (I mean, demeaning Sanders for going to Russia, that’s really offensive).

I could go on and on about how this was certainly not a balanced comment. I will say that evidently Fresno voters must have caught on to how unbalanced she is — they didn’t vote her in.

Stephen Pendleton, Visalia

Heng offered voice of reason

Finally the voice of experience, finally the voice of reason, finally the voice of courage. Kudos to Elizabeth Heng on her article (The Bee, June 5). I sense many who may be more “reserved”, “timid”, or God forbid “fearful” would like to respond “ditto, John/Jane Doe.”

As an alumnus of UC Berkeley, when the Free Speech Movement was being championed by the liberals to allow socialists to speak on campus, to now, 50 years later, be confronted with the liberals demonizing conservative speech on campus leads one to ponder whether the greatest nation on Earth created by a predominately conservative people will continue to prosper. B.C.W.Y.W.4.

As for the Grizzlies, is that the “clippity-clop” of Clydesdales I hear in the background and are those “Halos” on the horizon?

Len Baker, Hanford

Understanding what socialism means

I have to comment about two recent items in The Bee concerning socialism: a letter by Bill Hoffrage of Madera (June 6) and an op-ed piece by Elizabeth Heng of Fresno (June 5).

Actually Mr. Hoffrage’s rambling nonsense about socialists, “stupid” Fresno State students, and “idiot professors” needs little comment.

As to Ms. Heng’s essay, she makes a lot of misstatements about socialism (“socialists are the enemies of freedom”). Like many others, she confuses socialism with communism. Her examples are Venezuela, Cuba and the Soviet Union. Communist countries are authoritarian dictatorships. On the other hand, many countries are largely socialist and are functioning democracies.

America is neither a wholly capitalist nor wholly socialist system. The United States may be said to have a mixed economy. The stock exchanges list hundreds of corporations and there are hundreds of thousands of privately owned businesses: i.e. capitalism. At the same time there hundreds of examples of government owned and controlled entities: national parks, veterans’ hospitals, public hospitals, highways and airports, public beaches, farm subsidies, the U.S. Post Office, public libraries and museums, Social Security and Medicare, Amtrak, the U.S. Weather Service ... the list could go on and on. These are government owned and operated in the public interest, but few would call them socialist.

Conrad Gaunt, Chowchilla