End Class Distinctions

I agree with practically everything you say except for your lukewarm support of Bill Clinton and Al Gore. America in my view has two major problems:

1. A total free market system that fosters hedonism and greed. 2. A competitive meritocracy that is undemocratic and allows select people to compete at assigned levels within the free market.

I am grateful that at least some people (populists) are taking on the mega corporations, but no one is addressing the corrupt notion of meritocracy. The four-year college degree has done just as much damage to the egalitarian ideal as cooperate control has ever done. We the people are going to have to quit promising prestige and power based on supposed merit through flawed psychometric testing (SAT scores) that in reality measure the economic class and culture of the person taking the test. I work in a relatively high tech field and make ten thousand dollars less a year than the two coworkers who sit next to me and do the same exact job (from out of state, of course)! Is this fair? Who made these rules? Democrats have been supporters of this de-facto class system.

Today, universities are little more than giant personnel departments for mega corporations. The meritocracy feeds the free market and visa versa. The Democratic party always talks in terms of race while the real problem today for most white and black people is class discrimination.

Why doesn't the Democratic party ever talk about the white working class?


Columbia, S.C.

PS: If you get a chance read The Big Test: The Secret History of the American Meritocracy by Nicholas Lemann. His arguments are mostly focused on black culture -- but since working class white culture and black culture are so similar, his arguments should also apply to Southerners and working class white and black people alike.

Plutocracy Must Go

I'm reading Vol. 6 No. 3 "Ben & Jerry's Melting" [2/15/00 PP] and the apology for Green presidential campaign. In New Hampshire Greens, we wanted to run either Jim Hightower or Angela Davis (Davis declined). ... Only corporate candidates get elected, so running any presidential candidate is futile or/and feudal.

When I joined the New England Greens in 1985 I pushed the idea of local Green Economy, not electoral politics. I wanted to see local green groups buy land and city real estate, form green community land trusts, etc. as a basis for any kind of life-enhancing co-op. But Greens are too in-corporated and comfortable with corporate culture (which we call "corpocracy). So no go.

Co-creating third party independent politics in a corporate electoral system is like giving aspirin to a patient with terminal cancer. Maybe bleeding heart liberal, say what? So let's talk about a fourth tier to American politics, e.g. People's Referendum. Imagine a system where the people make the final decision on major issues and can overturn legislation, presidential veto, Supreme Court decisions and corporate-financed policies. After all, real democracy is where the people have the final say. Currently that's such a joke. Don't tell me local to county, to state, to all states referendum can't work. All you can say is that plutocracy, government for the elite, is destroying nations, poor people, the environment, the constitution, etc. and Ralph Nader won't get much time in the media, let alone change those conditions.

I'm a Green because I embrace the 10 Key Values. I refuse to vote in a pre-determined outcome. However, I know big changes are coming as the elite aren't smart enough to keep devastation from eventually falling. When 1 percent of Americans control 95 percent of the wealth, then that system must be impeached. We don't need the permission of the plutocrats to co-create on-line democracy via our Social Security numbers (which are no longer secret anyway). Come on Ralph, let's create a system that works, based on values people endorse (beyond power and profit). Why waste your time running for office? Promote concentric circles as the new political pattern -- from local referendum to global referendum. When the people speak and vote that becomes LAW. Plutocracy must go!

Barnstead, N.H.

Corporate Choices

The presidential campaign is underway now. New Hampshire is behind us, and the candidates have been weeded out to the top four corporate puppets (McCain, Bush, Gore and Bradley). Of course these candidates were already decided on before the first vote was cast. Yes, Wall Street (corporate America) has already, with their money, selected THEIR slate of viable candidates and "we the people" will get to elect one of them to the Presidency. Isn't "Democracy" GRAND?

Let us take a look at how Wall Street, as usual, accomplished their goal.

Topping the list was the Wall Street investment firm of Goldman, Sachs & Co., whose executives and their families gave $209,500 to Democrat Bill Bradley, $84,500 to George W. Bush, $63,250 to Al Gore, and $41,383 to Sen. John McCain. All figures include contributions collected between January 1 and September 30, 1999.

How much money did you contribute to your candidate of choice? Oh, you say, not too much. Well, my friend, if you can't give at least several thousand dollars how can you expect the next president to listen to your problems? Mark Twain said, "An honest politician is one who stays bought when he is paid for." No doubt about it, the above named individuals are "honest" politicians. They're going to "dance with the ones what brung 'em."

From Jan 1st through Sep 30th 1999 the $1000+ high rollers donated about $80,000,000 to the above four "honest" politicians. The amount is much larger by now. From these four, the Democrat and Republican nominees will be chosen.

So next November when you go into the voting booth to play democracy for a few minutes, you will get to elect one of them as PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES. Then all the media pundits and the politicians will say, "The people have spoken." WOW!

Lebanon, Tenn.
E-mail: dsweeton@aol.com

Miners Care About Mountain Removal

As for the miners that are for mountaintop removal ["Mountaintop removal pits miners vs. towns," 12/15/99 PP], ask them where they are from. I will bet that most are from another state. The certain ones that are from our state probably have brown noses. The decent miners that do work get the gofer jobs even if they worked that job ( running equipment ) for quite a few years. It's given to the out of state worker. I'm from Raleigh Co., WV and it's not Va., Penn., Ky., Md., or Ill.

Raleigh County, West Virginia

Say It Ain't So, Molly

Re: Molly Ivins' "Bill Bradley, A Class Act" [2/1/00 PP]: Molly! What happened to your cojones? Bill Bradley a "Class Act?" Are you thinking about the same Bill Bradley who, as a senator from New Jersey, consistently voted pro-big business? Is it the same Bill Bradley who refuses to call for National Health Care? Bill Bradley, who fully supports Jesse Helms and Dan Burton in their murderous policy of the illegal blockade of Cuba? Not to mention his full support for the other illegal and immoral blockades of Iraq, (200 innocent dead each month with total now approaching 2 million), North Korea, Libya, and all the other "rogue nations."

Is it the same Bill Bradley who fully supports the phoney drug war in Columbia? (Last August the former drug czar's wife, Leslie Hiett was busted smuggling heroin out of the US Embassy in Bogota into the U.S.) We know why Al Gore supports the phoney war ... he has $500,000 invested in Occidental Petroleum, which uses the US Army and trained Columbian military to wipe out the indigenous people from their oil-rich territory. Why isn't the "Class Act" speaking out against that genocide? Perhaps his Big Business bankrollers wouldn't approve, or perhaps the "Class Act" has a piece of "Oxy" himself.

Bill Bradley, a "Class Act?" Molly, say it isn't so!

North Palm Beach, Fla.

Bugging Big Brother

It is interesting that the mass media has suddenly picked up on the Echelon story. ["Watching Big Brother Watching Us," 3/1/00 PP.] The threat of privacy invasion seems to have struck a chord. While we are waiting for government agencies to correct this abuse I have a modest proposal. What if we all included key words in all of our electronic communications and encouraged our friends to do likewise. Would a million transmissions a day that included words like bomb-drugs-smuggle throw an appropriate monkeywrench? I wonder what other words are flagged. Of course participants are inviting some level of scrutiny so act accordingly.


Evanston, Ill.

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