There is at least one factor common to the exodus of people of Central America to the U.S., the civil war in Syria, and the fleeing of residents of the Sahel in Africa to Europe. That factor is drought, which scientists report has been worsened by human caused climate change, resulting from the burning of fossil fuels: coal, oil, and natural gas.

For example, on April 2, the PBS Newshour reported that farmers in Honduras suffered significant loses of coffee and corn (maize), leaving them financially destitute and hungry. Many have chosen to travel north to the U.S. border and surrender to the U.S. Border Patrol.

Such migrations will surely increase, if we don’t reduce the emission of greenhouse gases (GHGs) into the atmosphere. Polling indicates voters are ready to do this. However, the deniers in the U.S. Congress, including our Congressman Mike Rogers, continue to resist legislative action. 

Rogers recently stated that the climate has always been changing. Apparently, he rejects the fact that humans have a role in increased levels of GHGs in the atmosphere. We have known for 150 years that carbon dioxide causes heat to be retained in our air. There is simply no significant source of the increasing amount of GHGs other than the burning of fossil fuels. 

Congressman Rogers and others who think like him must reverse course and help solve this serious problem. They should support H.R. 763, Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act of 2019. You can look it up at

David Newton,

Auburn resident

Two genera of socialism

I just got around to reading the column of Ralph Morris, titled "Bedtime for Bernie Sanders,” in the March 28 Villager.  

When I read "His brand of National Socialism ..." in the second paragraph, I expected the rest of the piece to be the kind of mendacious right-wing smear-from-another-planet that Republicans have had to resort to since Obama was sworn in in 2008.  But I was wrong.  

Columnist Morris later exhibits some of the gentler sentiments ("Democracy is about 'we'-the people. 'I' may be the most dangerous word in the English language.") that exist only rarely in the minds of the radical right. In fact, Bernie Sanders himself would sympathize with some of his views.      

I think the problem with Mr. Morris's views arise from his not realizing that the meaning of the word "socialism" has changed over the past 60 years. 

The "democratic socialism" expounded by Bernie Sanders is not the "socialism" of Venezuela, or the Soviet Union and its satellites, nor of the People's Republic of China, nor of Cuba, Vietnam, and Cambodia (yikes!). It is, rather, the socialism of Canada, most of northern and central Europe, and possibly Costa Rica, Japan, New Zealand, Australia, and Singapore. (I'm not that sure of these last 5.)  

Obviously, the family of "socialisms" has at least two distinct genera, and it does no good for the general discourse to ignore the distinction between them.

Peter Johnson,

Auburn resident

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