By On the occasion of our 20th anniversary
By Gustavo Arellano
By R. Scott Moxley
By Alfonso Delgado
By Courtney Hamilton
By Joel Beers
By Peter Maguire
By Charles Lam
Letters may be edited for clarity and length. E-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org, or send to Letters to the Editor, c/o OC Weekly, 1666 N. Main St., Ste. 500, Santa Ana, CA 92701. Or fax to (714) 550-5908.
The following letter is in response to Nick Schou's June 14 article "Hero or Heroin?"—discussing alleged coup-plotter Vang Pao's involvement in the Southeast Asian heroin trade. The article made reference to Alfred W. McCoy's book on the subject titled,The Politics of Heroin: CIA Complicity in the Global Drug Trade.
First of all, let's get the titles straight on McCoy's books: The original 1972 book was titled The Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia (New York; HarperCollins). I have a copy I Xeroxed on my lunch hour at work from a library (circa 1988!). The expanded and revised book he published in 1991 is titled The Politics of Heroin: CIA Complicity in the Global Drug Trade (Brooklyn; Lawrence Hill Books).
Secondly, in response to the "Talking Smack About Vang Pao" letter from June 22, McCoy never claimed to have personally visited the heroin labs at Long Tieng. To quote him from an interview with David Barsamian titled "The CIA and the Politics of Narcotics" on Feb. 17, 1990: "Long Tieng was closed to any American other than somebody that had top security classification."
For more on Long Tieng from eyewitnesses from U.S. Aid workers, Air America pilots and foreign corespondents, see the 1988 Frontline video "Guns, Drugs and the CIA" (air date May 17, 1988). It's highly amusing watching William Colby and Richard Secord lie on camera about their ignorance of Vang Pao's complicity in the heroin trafficking. Good luck finding a copy of that video as well as the 1972 original McCoy book. Both are long out of print but worth digging for.
The following letters are in regard to R. Scott Moxley's June 22 article "The Case of the Traveling Semen," which outlines Patrick Daniel Piceno's effort to explain how his sperm landed inside a beaten 73-year-old woman's vagina.
That story was amazing. I cannot believe that someone could actually be desperate enough to do something like that. The fact that it was an elderly woman is bad, but even if it were a 20- or 30-year-old, does it really matter? This man should get the maximum punishment. Hopefully, he will become a victim of his same doings while he's in jail. I hope some big, badass dude messes this guy's head all up. Thanks again for the article.
I've been a cop for about 27 years, and this elder-rape story of yours just about takes the cake. That kid is getting 15 years? It should have been 150 years. Thanks for a terrific piece of journalism, laying this story out as you did.
Steve Spernak, executive director
OC Traffic Officers Association
BORDERLINE PISSED OFF
The letters keep on coming regarding Derek Olson's June 21 article, "On the Borderline," about the Tom Tancredo rally at the Nixon Library. A correction about the story ran in last week's issue.
It's left-wing, lying journalists like Derek Olson who should be barred from ever writing another article. Derek's coverage of the Tom Tancredo event at the Nixon Library was filled with nothing but lies, false quotes and statements. It's clear his point of view sympathizes with illegal aliens, and it shows. A journalist's writing should be factual, NOT his point of view.
I am making a complaint and offering my support in legal action against you and OC Weekly for printing such crap.
I am e-mailing you about the article written by your staff writer Derek Olson. I did not know he was even there, and what was written did not surprise me at all. I have been lied about so much I always expect the worst and always hope for the best. I stand by my speech.
It did bother me that Mr. Olson wrote I was Mexican-born. I was born in Redding, California, to a Mexican father and an American mother, born in Texas. She was born to an American father, also born in Texas, who was born to another American father, born in Arizona. I might look like my ancestors, which include Apache Indians and Spaniards, but no matter my color, I am an American. Sorry to bother you; I have never written to rebut before. I just hate to live with the lies. Like I tell my grandchildren, "The world is not going to end because . . ."
Lupe Moreno, president
Latino Americans for Immigration Reform
You would dare print such a hit piece on Tom Tancredo? This article was nothing short of amazing—in its ability to sink to new journalistic lows. This hack lied multiple times. I don't know much about your publication other than to see all the elements of journalistic integrity thrown out the window in the tradition of Jason Blair and Stephen Glass. If you had any concern for your reputation, you would fire this hack and issue an apology to your readership.
I find it hard to believe that you actually pay Olson to write articles. His coverage of the Tom Tancredo event was uninformative, very biased and laughable at best.
It does not take a genius to figure out that most of the county hospital closings are due in large part to illegals using them for health care. Welfare is bankrupting the state due to all of the illegals getting freebies. Our schools are overcrowed because of children whose parents have no right to be here. Our super-high property taxes go to pay for those overcrowed schools. One-third of our prison inmates are illegals. How much does it cost to arrest them, defend them, and then house them?
Mr. Kissell, it probably doesn't matter to you, but it was American lives that fought and died in the Revolutionary War to make this a nation. American lives were sacrificed in the Civil War to keep this nation together, and even though Mr. Olson may not know it, American lives did make the difference in World Wars I and II. What part did these illegals play in the fight for democracy? Most of their countries were safe havens for Nazi war criminals, and now the American people are at war again, against our very own government.
The lawmakers that took an oath to defend the CONSTITUTION and protect our rights are trying to force us to legalize a group of people who didn't have the guts to stay in their own countries and fight to make them better. Freedom of the press is just as important to democracy as all of our military forces, but when the press is corporate-owned and uses its power to silence the American people and keep them uninformed, they are shirking their responsibility. Every American should be standing together on this very important issue, but corporate America has us divided, and everyone knows that a nation divided against itself cannot stand. If Rome could fall, then the United States can fall also. What role are you playing in our downfall?
HE LEFT HAPPILY
The following articles are in response to R. Scott Moxley's "Protesters Don't Rattle Vietnam's President," published June 29. The article chronicled Nguyen Minh Triet on his visit to Orange County and his hopes of healing "old wounds."
First of all, I would like to thank you for an excellent article that provided a different viewpoint on the Vietnamese president's first visit to the U.S. I read and really enjoyed it!
Mr. Triet's visit had been shadowed by the protesters and the noises they made. Although his visit was widely covered by the presses, it seemed the protesters got quite good coverage and readers sometimes missed the point of this important trip. Your article, however, showed the man behind the title, and it contrasted with the image the protesters presented to the world.
The Vietnam War ended 32 years ago, yet the lingering effect it has on the Vietnamese people is still here, especially in Orange County. Many Vietnamese-Americans, when they speak of Vietnam, speak of a country of the past, with the two sides still at war, and flying the old Saigon regime's flag is a perfect example. Not much has changed for them in the past three decades, except for the name of the cause based on which they protest. It used to be "anti-communist," but nowadays, it has a more appealing name—"the fight for freedom, democracy, and human rights"—which caught attention of people like Ed Royce and Loretta Sanchez. But under all that, it is just the bitterness of a war they lost 32 years ago and nothing more!
Fortunately, Mr. Triet expected these protests, and it seems that he was not at all bothered by them. Taking back with him $11 billion in contracts for Vietnam is what the Vietnamese people inside Vietnam care about, not what the protesters had to say. From your article, which provided the view from inside the resort at Monarch Beach, if what the protesters outside wanted to do was to rain on Mr. Triet's parade, it was only a sprinkle to cool down the weather—that's all!
WE DON'T NEED TO RATTLE THE PRESIDENT OF VIETNAM. WE NEED TO RATTLE OUR PRESIDENT. The recent article by R. Scott Moxley sounds like a romance novel or fairy tale: "He left happily." Yes, he was happy walking away with more American dollars, while our trade deficit with Vietnam continues to grow ($7.6 billion and now another $11 billion?). Yes, he was happy because he knows that "the spirit of friendship" arose out of the U.S.'s military strategic needs. The issues are not the yellow-and-red-striped flags and the angry crowd not knowing how pleasant and nice it was inside St. Regis. The issues are in Vietnam, and they should remain in Vietnam and not be a financial burden to the U.S. If anyone should take advantage of the "open and integrated" invitation to visit Vietnam, make sure you also visit the rural areas where there is much needed improvement in the standard of living and people are faced with much less than bare necessity.
R. Scott Moxley replies: I did not write that Triet "left happily." Vietnam's president said in English that he was "very happy" with the success of his trip despite protesters. By the way, I have visited rural and urban Vietnam numerous times.
I was reading through the food section [Gustavo Arellano's This Hole-In-the-Wall Life, June 21], and I came across this restaurant in Santa Ana. This was hardly a restaurant—more like a Mexican-food truck. The name was El Rey de el Elote Azado, and it reminded me of Spring Break in Rosarito this past April. Only, the elotes on this truck in Santa Ana were so much more authentic, believe it or not! My friend Casey ordered the carne asada burrito, and I ordered nachos and a cheese quesadilla.
By command of OC Weekly, we had to try their elotes with the "works"! Me, being white and my buddy being Korean, we didn't quite fit in around downtown. But the Mexican guy who ran the truck was so personable. He gave my friend and I the "Cliffs Notes" version of his life, and it was crazy! Anyway, you gotta print this and get more people to check out El Rey's elotes!!! They also serve great munchies when you're sick of Taco Bell! The downside is they close at 9 p.m., so go before lunch or midevening. Just trying to get exposure for them.
HEY, YOU! HEY, YOU!
The following letter is in response to the June 29 Hey, You!—which spoke of a man's struggle to find some Coke to add to his Jack Daniels at a funeral and coming up empty-handed.
Tell the "Coke Jacker" that he has been done a favor by getting rid of the coke machine. How could anyone in their right mind fuck Jack up with Coke! It's a sin!!!! Jack must—and I say must—be enjoyed as GOD intended: with a little ice in a short glass and keep 'em coming!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
THE TRUTH WILL SET YOU FREE
This next group of letters are in response to Christine Buckley's article "From Hunter to Hunted," published June 29. The piece follows Aaron Cohen on his quest to stop human trafficking.
I have never written a magazine before, but I wanted to say thank you for the articles on human trafficking. We need so much more awareness on the issue. I don't feel the mainstream media gives it the play it deserves. Thanks again.
This is, bar none, the best article I've read in the Weekly in the past five years. If I had a 10th of the courage that Cohen has in his left arm, I'd be making a difference in the world as well. Unfortunately, like the vast majority of us, reading articles and daydreaming about activism is the best I've been able to achieve thus far.
ALL ABOUT LUKE
I just wanted to send an e-mail to Luke Y. Thompson to thank him for his write-up on Kabluey [on OC Weekly's staff blog, Navel Gazing, "LAFF 2007: Bluey, Da Ba Dee Da Ba Dah," June 29]. I thank you; my mother thanks you. I really liked how he described the plot and the movie. Thanks, thanks, thanks.
Luke Y. Thompson's writing is fine, but why is he writing about a film festival in Los Angeles ["Mad World," June 29]? Not even the LA Weekly covered the festival in this week's issue. I thought you New Times folks loved the local coverage—so what the fuck?
San Juan Capistrano
I'm still fairly new to Southern California (relocated here in '04), but already I've grown weary of the constant "brown-washing" I see around me. The OC Weekly's novelty °Ask a Mexican! column is another example of worthless anti-American propaganda promoting illegal immigration and glorifying everything people hate about the "Mexi-American" attitudes as of late. The premise of °Ask a Mexican! is funny, but the fact that Gustavo Arellano can't answer the really insightful and probing questions published with funny but informative responses shows that the OC Weekly strives for nothing better than snide anti-American slander and truly doesn't have any respect or concern for our country's laws or way of life. Jokes about illegal immigration can be funny from both angles, but promoting it is not funny to those of us whose family died fighting to uphold the laws and freedoms of the American people.
Well here is my challenge to the OC Weekly staff. Allow me to write a similar column to °Ask a Mexican! called "Ask an American," and let's see which column people like more. I promise to keep it light enough not to ruffle the feathers on the many chickens Gustavo keeps in the bathroom of his Santa Ana townhouse, but heavy enough to pique the interest of all readers, brown and white.
An editor responds: ŅMande?