What's Wrong With This Picture?

During this presidential campaign the Republicans and Democrats spent over a billion dollars.

In Ohio, Pennsylvania and other states, people waited seven hours or longer to vote.

Is it just me, or does anyone else see something wrong with that?

For months, many pundits, politicians and people in general were predicting a bigger-than-average turnout at the polls. They had plenty of time to prepare, put more booths in polling stations, have more polling stations in more populous areas. Would have made sense, right? So, what did they do to prepare for that?

They spent more money than ever on negative TV ads.

I can't imagine it would have taken much money out of the huge vault of both parties to increase the number of polling stations -- you'd think the parties would have wanted that, as much as they told people to "get out and vote." If nothing else, think of the good publicity they'd have gotten from donating some of their money to build or rent more stations, have more booths put in. What better way could there be to show you really care about the populace and that you want them to vote?

Yeah, right! The less of us that vote and the more divided we are, the happier the powers-that-be.

By virtue of the amount of money raised and wasted on this campaign, among other things it shows that the McCain-Feingold "campaign reform" is a joke. (Then again, you can't expect much from McCain -- one of the Keating Five and more wishy-washy in this past year than Kerry has been in his whole career.) More money than ever was raised, and it came from the same source -- the wealthy, who really run this country. They simply had to become more creative to keep the Democrats and Republicans in their pockets, which they certainly did.

How much more money will they raise in '08? Maybe they can close down some of the existing voting stations and use that money for more ads so we can stand in line even longer next time.

John Hoffert
Baltimore, Md.

Never Again?

Yesterday [Nov. 3] while listening to the two-hour wrapup on KPFA/KFCF closing the books on the '04 campaign I was SHOCKED to hear Davey D and Larry Bensky wringing their hands about "missing the point" on the fundamentalist right and their power over the '04 campaign.

I must admit that about the only reporter that I heard ask a significant question in your media was Davey D while he was interviewing someone back in September and booom he asked the "D" question, "how much does what is going on in the Republican party have to do with 'end-time theology?'" Whoever was being interviewed acted like a deer caught in the head lights and I NEVER heard the question again on either Davey's programs or anywhere else. Thanks Davey, although I never heard you follow up on the question with other people you were reporting on, at least I knew that there was someone out there who know what he was doing.

During the wrapup yesterday, Davey DID say that he had interviewed lots of people at the Republican national convention and "almost to a person" the people there talked about "fundamentalist Christian" subjects and why they were for "George the lesser" based on his views on such things. WAKE UP FOLKS! IT WAS RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOU AND YOU NEVER PAID ATTENTION! ...

The power structure in Germany in the 1930s thought they could "control" the crazy painter and his rag tag band of nut cases ... only to find out that with a religious movement behind him, the painter was controlling them! Could it happen here? Hold on to your blue booties!

Jim Compton-Schmidt
Fresno, Calif.

Corporate Charade

I enjoyed Professor LaFrance's letter ["Fascists are Here," 11/1/04 TPP]. I thought I was the only one who realized the Fascist coup had already arrived! My wife thinks I'm paranoid. Like LaFrance, I think my wife and most everyone else in this country are in denial.

I disagree, however, that it happened in 2000. From my readings -- specifically Cross of Iron by Michael Hogan -- the "bloodless coup" seems to have occurred in 1947 with the passage of the National Security Act. It's fairly obvious that the Pentagon and its corporate cronies at that time had more power than the presidency, and have had ever since.

I tend to think "corporatism" (a.k.a. fascism) goes back to the Gilded Age, before the Sherman Antitrust Act. In my estimation, this country was corporatist many years before Mussolini hit the world stage, and I would not be a bit surprised to learn that Il Duce had borrowed a few pages from our own book, as Hitler himself said he did.

The first modern example I can find of an "official" state-corporate partnership would be in England in 1914, when the British government bought a 51% interest in Anglo-Persion Oil Company (Daniel Yergin, The Prize, p. 164).

But, come to think of it, would not the great "licensed" royal partnerships in England and the Netherlands, such as the East India Company, etc., constitute "corporatism"? So this trend seems to me a bit of a throwback to -- or at least modeled after -- the old feudal order, minus the monarchical element.

In the US, which supposedly has no feudal tradition, this had to be done slowly and subtly. I surmise the imposition of corporatism in the US was interrupted by several serious depressions, when public opinion united against big business. Obviously, the Great Depression was not a good time for corporatism. So it waited until 1947.

At that point, I see an analogy to Roman times when the army silently seized power and proffered its own puppet emperors. I tend to see all US presidents since Roosevelt as puppets of the military-industrial complex.

I see the election of Cheney -- er, I mean Bush -- as the grand finale of the charade: military contractors will henceforth feel free to install their own executives as emperors. They won't even bother making it look good anymore.


Michael Fitzgerald
Email fitzrite@comcast.net

Kerry & DNC's Failure

John Kerry cried in his concession speech. How sad he didn't when he voted to send soldiers to war in Iraq to further his political ambitions. This is why 55% of Dems who voted for Kerry only did so because they disliked Bush. A minority of 45% who voted supported Kerry. That's pathetic. As I said in a letter back in March of last year, you cannot win an election with an anybody-but-Bush attitude and predicted if Kerry were the nominee, he would lose. There absolutely has to be passion for your candidate and not one Dem I knew had it for John Kerry.

Right now, the heads of the DNC need to be tossed to the curb. This "braintrust" submarined Howard Dean, the only Dem that would have created passion in the voters, especially amongst the 18-24-year-olds who were noticeably absent in this election. John F. (flip-flop) said when running against Dean that Dubya was doing a great job in Iraq while Dean had the guts to take on Bush. So when Kerry said in the debates that Iraq was a catastrophic failure, it was a joke. He voted for it, he supported it and licked Bush's boots on it. He even said that if he were president at the time of Bush, he would also have invaded Iraq, even if he knew there were no WMDs or links to Al Qaeda. Huh? I thought this was the Democratic nominee.

Because of this "strategy", other congressional Dems weren't able to criticize the war in Iraq since that would make Kerry look bad. What was the result? The Republicans gained. Duh? ... The new leadership of the DNC needs to realize that the core values of the party are what people are going to get passionate about. Just think, if only a couple million of those 18-24-year-olds had voted, the presidential race would have gone to the Dems. The DNC made their bed and not the rest of us have to pay for it by having four more years of Bush. Expletives deleted.

Paul Mickelson
Los Angeles, Calif.

Is 'Liberal' a Bad Word?

I consulted several dictionaries which gave various definitions such as: abundant, favorable to progress, open minded, generous and supporting individual liberty, freedom and social justice. Pertaining to a representative form of government generated by law and secured by governmental protection of civil rights. As I read down the list, I thought of our Founding Fathers. I thought of Abraham Lincoln, and then I thought of Jesus, who was undoubtedly the most liberal entity that ever walked on the face of the Earth.

Then I looked up Conservative and Conservatism. As I read the definitions with words like traditional, resisting change, I wondered why President Bush keeps gnawing at our Constitution and our Bill of Rights. Other words kept turning up like Aristocracy (government by a small privileged class) and Authoritarianism (relating to or favoring blind submission to authority), and the word Plutocracy (government by the wealthy). Then I thought of Adolph Hitler, Saddam Hussein and other dictators of central Asia and South America. Then I thought of King Henry the 8th of England and King Louis the 14th of France. Then I had the frightening thought that dictatorship could happen here in the USA.

Claudia May Hanson
Edmond, Okla.

Take On Electoral System

Ralph Nader is an enigma. He has long championed causes that liberal Democrats support, but he has declined to work within the Democratic party. His decision to run for president as an independent this year suggests either that he secretly favors Bush's policies or that he wants to punish Democrats for not giving him enough attention. He rightly complains about the two-party system, but if he really wants to change that system and give third and fourth parties a voice, he should launch a movement to abolish the electoral college and institute a direct popular election with instant runoff. Then, even I might cast my first vote for Ralph Nader.

Richard Coan
Tucson, Ariz.

Count Votes Equally

A far cry from the representative model of democracy US Constitutional forefathers envisioned, the Electoral College system has proven to be an outdated color-coded albatross. In 2000, Al Gore won 48.38% of votes cast nationwide compared to George Bush's 47.87%. Ralph Nader took 2.74%. Presidential campaign strategists have learned how to manipulate, spin and falsify statistics, so it's imperative that each and every vote becomes truly meaningful.

In states where the result is a foregone conclusion, the Electoral College acts as a disincentive for a minority party individual to bother voting. Presidential candidates are much less likely to campaign, spend promotional advertising funds or focus voter registration drives there. Campaign financing rules and true lie hateful ad distortions must be impartially reviewed, with honest televised debates continuing to be nurtured and encouraged.

It is necessary to pass a constitutional amendment to reform the obsolete system. The 12th Amendment expands voting rights, but does not adequately reflect new technology challenges in our ever-changing e-world. The only trustworthy, just solution is a direct nation-wide election of the People, by the People and for the People, where every vote is counted fairly and counts equally.

Dr. Charles Frederickson
Bangkok, Thailand
Email charles_frederickson@hotmail.com

Prophecy Fulfilled

H. L. Mencken said, "As democracy is perfected, the office represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. We move toward a lofty ideal. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron."

Well, by George (pun intended), they have reached that lofty ideal twice in a row now.

Dan Sweeton
Lebanon, Tenn.

Fix America First

We are being sold one bill of goods after another. Enough is enough!

We are paying for them with higher prices, taxes, deficits, debt and headaches.

We need leaders who are on the side of the workers, families, taxpayers, consumers and future generations.

They must have their priorities straight.

America first, or bankruptcy.

John F. Sisson
Arvada, Colo.

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