Regarding "Privatized Government" by Ralph Calkins [Letters, 5/1/04 TPP]: Benito Mussolini said that fascism should be called "corporatism" for it is the marriage of government and corporate power. Privatization of food service to the military failed. The food is so bad the military eats at fast food joints whenever it can. A kitchen in Iraq had to be reprimanded for blood in the refrigerator.
The president of the United States is paid $400,000 a year. The average CEO of a defense contractor gets $11 million a year. This does not make sense. The famous amateur golfer, Bobby Jones, once said, "You can only eat two eggs a day, you can only wear one suit at a time. All you need is enough to live on and to be decent to your friends." We must cap defense contractor CEO compensation: No more than the president of the United States; other executives reduced accordingly.
When America had an ethical government in World War II, the top 1% of taxpayers were taxed at 90% of what they got. The dollar was backed by gold then at $35 an ounce, and this in limited supply. It was imperative that this money went to the people who were working in the war effort, that it not just sit in bank accounts. This rate won World War II, paid for the GI Bill of Rights, the Korean Conflict and the start of the interstate highway system. ...
By the late 1970s America had the largest middle class of any developed nation. Today we have the smallest middle class.
Technically a private firm is still bound by the US Constitution. They are performing an office or public trust. To consider otherwise would raise the specter of the SS in Germany. Its allegiance was to the Nazi Party, not the German government, and would not comply with the Geneva Convention. I wonder who the private security firms in Iraq pledge their allegiance to: the United States of America, as they should, or the Republican Party, as they should not?
Joseph J. Kuciejczyk
St. Louis, Mo.
I am ashamed to call myself an American. When Bush took the presidency, he had one thing on his mind. It was to attack Iraq to get Saddam Hussein. I think his reason was to look good in his father's eyes.
Bush realized he was the head of the last superpower on the face of the planet. He started to think pretty much like Hitler. He could say anything or do anything. He told the UN to stay out; the USA would run the war. He and his staff started talking up big-time "preemptive attack." This is when I became ashamed. I, being a naval veteran of WWII, thought the whole world learned and realized that "preemptive attack" is worse than war itself. When one thinks about it, "preemptive attack" is what terrorists do, and two wrongs do not make a right.
Now for anger: on Dec. 15, 1791, the first ten amendments to the Constitution -- the Bill of Rights -- became law. These articles have survived until the current presidency. The Bush-Ashcroft so-called PATRIOT Act violates the Fourth Article, and Bush himself continually violates Article I -- keep separation of church and state. Bush, being a member of the state, is forever bringing God into play. He makes statements as if God is doing the directing.
I feel very, very sorry for our men and women in our armed services today. They have to take orders from the likes of Bush,
Clare J. Crowley
I note "Liberals Get Cross-Wise" by Rev. Allan Brill in the 5/15/04 TPP. It is implied that, somehow, the processes of reason can determine right from wrong -- even unto abortion. Howsoever, the processes of reason require that we deal either in tautologies or else in error -- either of which gets us exactly nowhere. (If there are other options, this writer is not aware of them.) Enter religion versus ideology, the former, by definition, from a supernatural source, the latter man-made -- thereby being arbitrary and capricious. (Thus, in Genesis 2, the admonishment is to beware the tree of knowledge -- read reason -- of good and evil.)
As to inconsistencies that appear in the Bible, say as per H.L. Mencken's Treatise on the Gods, consider what philosopher/historian Will Durant had to say about the Gospels on p. 557 of Caesar and Christ. "The contradictions are of minutiae, not substance; in essentials the synoptic gospels agree remarkably well, and form a consistent portrait of Christ. In the enthusiasm of its discoveries the Higher Criticism has applied to the New Testament tests of authenticity so severe that by them a hundred ancient worthies -- e.g., Hammurabi, David, Socrates -- would fade into legend." Durant further quotes Jewish scholar J. Klausner to the effect that, "If we had ancient sources like those in the Gospels for the history of Alexander or Caesar, we should not cast any doubt upon them whatsoever."
As to Rev. Brill's Lutheranism, and faith versus works, Luther wrote that we could "commit a thousand fornications a day, or as many murders" -- but if one has faith, all is well (e.g., in Durant, The Reformation, p. 374). And as to this writer, I consider myself a reprobate -- utterly unredeemable.
The trouble with lying is that in order to preserve the story you have established you must lie again and again and again. The current American government's costly and catastrophic pre-emptive war and reckless adventurism in Iraq and Afghanistan was based on the lies of WMDs, chemical weapons, etc. We are being lied to by pathetic men whose greedy quest for personal gain at the expense of their fellow man precludes them from being the Christians they claim to be. War, waged by fundamentalist extremists in the name of God and righteousness, whose purpose includes the enrichment of their corporate friends and political backers, is a true enemy of the people. This war, waged with the complicity of both parties who benefit from the huge campaign contributions from these multinational war profiteers, is steering America toward the cesspool of history. The good will of the world for America that was evident after the events of 9/11 has, not surprisingly, turned to contempt. Those responsible should be held accountable. We cannot afford the massive debt the "conservatives" are amassing and we should no longer send our sons and daughters to the other side of the world to die for a lie.
Charles B. Carr
New Boston, N.H.
John Buell's arguments on same-sex marriage ["Civic Equality and Same-Sex Marriage," 4/15/04 TPP] make sense until his last paragraph -- then they fall apart because he doesn't understand the Massachusetts situation. The Supreme Judicial Court quite properly interpreted current state law in response to a case brought before it -- it did not "impose same-sex marriage." The case had been brought before the court as a last resort because the state House of Representatives had for years consistently stonewalled any effort to bring civil-union bills before the house -- at least three such bills had passed the state Senate but none was allowed to come to the floor of the house for consideration. What were individuals heading same-sex families, many with children, to do? Quietly wait until the House was ready to act to allow them to protect their families?
As for Alexander Cockburn's article ["Gay Marriage: A Step Back in Freedom's March," 4/15/04 TPP], it is just plain silly. Of course marriage as an institution can be criticized. Sure, the issue would be clearer if we used different terms for the legal/civil and religious/social recognition of new primary family units. But we don't. Only civil/legal recognition of marriage is at issue. No couple, same- or different sex, is being urged or forced to marry, but they all should be accorded the right as long as they are adult, single and unattached. Surely, even gay rights movements don't want to restrict individual liberties.
Esther K. Weil
I've always considered myself a moderate independent when it came to politics. I have made some knee-jerk mistakes in the past (such as voting for Reagan in 1980), but I did my best after that to choose based on the candidate him(her)self and the issues rather than the political party.
In accordance with this line of thought, I voted for John McCain in the 2000 Illinois Republican Party primary. I believed he was the better Republican candidate and would have made a better president than Bush.
That's why I'm somewhat perplexed when McCain was asked on recent occasions if he would consider switching parties and becoming Kerry's running mate. His response was that he would never leave the the "Party of Lincoln"! GIMME A BREAK! This neo-con outfit running the country is not the "PARTY OF LINCOLN"!
I sometimes wish Mr. McCain would take a deep, reflective look the next time he stands in front of a mirror, and ask himself if the "Party of Lincoln" would have spread such vicious lies when he was campaigning in the south for the Republican presidential nomination. The neocons were getting nervous that John might just take it away from Dubya, so Karl reached into his bag of dirty tricks and scattered derogatory, racial insinuations, destroying McCain's campaign.
C'mon, John. Would the "Party of Lincoln" stoop to that?
Wait, I think I can hear Abe turning in his grave!
I'm sure I'm not the only one who wonders what kind of control the "GOPstoppo" has over John and also Colin Powell.
Yeah, yeah, I know -- "Don't go there, just don't go there."
George J. Kazda
On ABC's This Week Dr. [Condi] Rice made a startling statement. She said that the recent violence by the the insurgents was "predictable" because of the upcoming June 30th transfer of power. If this spurt of fighting was so predictable the question would be why our forces weren't better prepared. Why didn't Bush send more troops before this happened? This administration failed to increase our troop strength when such an action may have stopped or curtailed the insurgency. Faced with an overwhelming force the insurgents would have thought twice before acting. One can now maintain that many of the deaths of our soldiers were caused by the incompetence or outright negligence of this administration. Along with the inaction in the face of the August 6  briefing [warning of al Qaeda activity], it becomes obvious that Bush and his people are not on the ball in protecting this country.
In the 5/1/04 issue, if some of what is printed on what, under oath, Ms. Condoleezza Rice stated is not truth, will she be charged and taken to trial for perjury? Or due to the fact of very powerful backers, will it just slip by?
Mount Pleasant, N.C.
An excellent manner in which to slow down our entry into a war would be to pass legislation stating that the first people to be drafted to serve in the war would be the eligible children of our elected officials in Washington.
Knowing that their own sons and daughters would be exposed to death would certainly give legislators pause before making the final, fatal decision. At present, there are only a few members of Congress who have sons and daughters in the armed forces.
George W. Bush would certainly hesitate about invading Iraq if he knew that his two daughters were to be stationed in the front lines.
There should be a citizen's movement to pass this legislation.
Lake Hill, N.Y.
From my somewhat limited following of the 9/11 Commission proceedings, it seems that the commission has not devoted any significant amount of time or attention to exploring the money trail of the 9/11 terrorists, or of the al-Qaeda organization. In view of the commission's charge for preventing a recurrence of 9/11, isn't it imperative that the commission know what the CIA and FBI knew, what they didn't know and what financial dots weren't connected?
Immediately following the attack, there were reports of unusual market activities on the day before the devastation of 9/11. As I recall, the Chicago Board of Trade was supposedly conducting an investigation of those suspicious activities, but I don't remember that the board has ever reported the results of their investigation. Shouldn't the commission follow up on this action as well as what the FBI and CIA knew, and when they knew it, about the financial dealings of the known hijackers? Draining the financial swamp that funds worldwide terrorism must become a key battle front if we are ever to win the war against terrorism. The commission's job cannot possibly be complete until Americans are assured that all of the blood-money lessons of 9/11 have been learned -- and preventive actions taken.
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