Letters to The Editor, Week of Dec. 8, 2016

Letters to The Editor, Week of Jan. 3, 2018

Was Castro great, too?

To The Editor:

Re “Some presidents who really did make America great” (talking point, by Harry Pincus, Dec. 1):

Castro was a brutal dictator — wasn’t he?

Margot Hentoff


Harry Pincus responds: “I am neither a communist nor a capitalist. I’m an artist. I don’t believe in government, I believe in pigment. As far as I’m concerned, the voters have been ‘herd.’

“Castro was certainly a brutal dictator to his opponents, and in that, I am no supporter. How can an artist, particularly someone as strident as myself, ever support a ‘leader’ who takes away the freedom to criticize and, moreover, the freedom to think? These are exactly the things I fear in our new president-elect when he criticizes artists, denounces the press and reviles immigrants. We cannot build a wall around our minds!

“Yet, Castro offered hope to millions of people who had no property, no voice and no hope. He fought racism in South Africa and injustice in Angola. He created inroads in medicine and education for his people. These things need to be recognized, as they were by President Obama in his balanced and diplomatic statement.”



Poor Kushner tenants! 

To The Editor:

Re “Peace in Middle East? How about fixing the heat? Kushner tenants skeptical” (news article, Dec. 1):

This is such a disgrace. Those poor tenants in Kushner’s buildings just have to make do with no heat or gas….unacceptable! This is a warning. Imagine what else this man is capable of.

Joanne Milazzo



It’s no time to mellow out

To The Editor:

Re “Yuuge wins for legal and medical marijuana at the polls” (news article, Nov. 23):

Certainly, a silver lining in this election was that four states passed total legalization. I do wonder how the allowance will go into effect in each state. The Department of Justice has had a pesky history of meddling with states that have been progressive with marijuana laws in the past. In its early days, Obama’s D.O.J. would constantly shut down medical dispensaries in California because marijuana was still illegal federally. But after his re-election, an edict was issued saying D.O.J. would no longer pursue closures.

Who knows how Trump will act? Part of me is hopeful; he has certainly expressed a Libertarian bend on social issues, and certainly a “live and let live philosophy.”

But Donald Trump’s intention to nominate Jeff Sessions for U.S. attorney general alarms me. As a federal prosecutor, Sessions was fully supportive of Nancy Reagan’s War on Drugs. More recently, he decried Obama’s efforts to lighten sentences for nonviolent drug offenders. Far back in his past, during hearings in the ’80s, Sessions said he opposed the KKK after he “found out they smoked pot.” He also disputed Obama’s claims that marijuana is less dangerous than alcohol, countering (I painfully quote) that, “Lady Gaga is addicted to it.”

I hope civil liberties activists, on both the Democratic and G.O.P. side, come together and make sure these states can go full-speed ahead with legalization. This is a far bigger issue than just enjoyment of a recreational plant. For far too long, police officers have used marijuana arrests as an excuse to fill their quotas, while judges wanting to appear “tough” for re-election, institute harsh penalties that disproportionately affect minority communities. Many states have a “three strikes and you’re out” rule. Those three strikes could all be recreational marijuana use.

This won’t solve every issue the Black Lives Matter activists are striving for, but it will certainly help.

Finally, I hope Democratic activists force Governor Cuomo to move the ball here. New York has the strictest medical marijuana laws in the country. You almost have to be dying to receive treatment, which comes in an almost inconsequential dose. Glaucoma, arthritis and mental anguish from post-traumatic stress disorder are not qualifiers to receive treatment.

Dodge Landesman



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