A Casualty of War

Another casualty of war -- the city of New Orleans! Two years ago, federal funds were taken from the maintenance and repair of the levees in New Orleans -- to go to funding the needless war in Iraq, Bush and Cheney's war, for their profit!

Will Bush accept any blame for any of it? No -- but he sure will take all the credit for his so-called "compassion" on TV, and for asking two former presidents to spearhead the relief funds -- after the fact.

We can't have any helpful social programs without tax money and the billions which the needless war has swallowed up.

Bush should have been impeached the minute the 9/11 report was published! The US is fast becoming a third-world country and all the blame belongs to our worst president -- EVER! No more Bushes, please.

Marian Winton
Menomonie, Wis.


Government Neglect

A few years ago I read an article in The Nation that told what would happen when the big hurricane hit New Orleans. It happened. The federal government let it happen. I have been sickened by what has been done to my brothers and sisters.

I read another article in The Nation that told how the nation's public health system was being degraded and what a national disaster would occur in the event of a major epidemic. Now, increasingly, we are hearing about the virulent avian flu spreading in Asia. It is only a matter of time before that disease reaches this continent. Must we see another hideous prediction fulfilled, or is there someone, anyone, in the federal government with enough elementary human decency to start providing the funding to rebuild the public health system now?

Will they play their stupid games until our death toll is in the millions?

Katharine W. Rylaarsdam
Baltimore Md.


Plains Hospitality

Rural areas of the United States from Texas to Minnesota experiencing depopulation could both help, and be helped by, victims of Katrina from the Gulf Coast and New Orleans. If each of 25 localities in each of 20 states offered housing -- perhaps in the form of rented RVs or mobile homes -- to 25 families, then 12,500 families could fashion new dreams for living. If just a fifth of them decide to stay, each locality will have five new families as permanent residents and will have made good friends of the other 20.

Jim Thunder
McLean, Va.


NIMBY Propaganda

Regarding the proposed Brooklyn Atlantic Yards Project, Nathan Newman should stop repeating developer propaganda and look at the primary sources. Newman states, "over 11,000 permanent office and retail jobs will be created in the new commercial space" ("Housing and Progressive NIMBYism," 9/1/05 TPP). In fact, the developer is now claiming the project would create 6,000 permanent jobs. According to the developer's own consultant, only 3,600 or 60% of the 6,000 jobs would be new to New York State (most will relocate from Manhattan). Furthermore, even this figure depends on strong demand for commercial space, which is oversupplied in the area.

Newman praises the plan's affordable housing component. But in fact, of the 2,250 "affordable housing" units (now only 31% of the housing in the recently enlarged project), more than half are earmarked for families with a median income of $75,000. Not quite what we think of as "moderate-income families."

Newman characterizes project opponents as NIMBYs concerned mainly about density, rather than civic-minded citizens concerned about the level of public subsidies involved. Is he aware of the real cost of the project? In 2004, the BAY project's own estimate totalled more than $1 billion in subsidies over 30 years.

Finally, project opponents do not necessarily oppose increased density. If Mr. Newman would go to the web site www.dddb.net and click on "The UNITY plan", he will see a project that is dense but not wildly out of scale with the surrounding area, does not rely on eminent domain, and would not consume nearly the amount of city subsidies the BAY plan demands. Indeed, a competing bid by the Extell Development Company (see www.nolandgrab.org) meets the principles of the UNITY plan.

Mr. Newman should first have consulted fellow progressives at Good Jobs New York to learn why they oppose the BAY project.

Danila Oder
Los Angeles, Calif.


Nathan Newman responds: My figures in the article were not taken from the developer but from the Pratt Institute Center for Community and Environmental Development, a moderate critic of the development project. The project agreement promises 800 units for families making less than $31,400, far better than most affordable housing agreements negotiated in other projects. And in an area like Brooklyn, which the Pratt Institute study notes has seen far more rapidly rising family incomes than the rest of the City, reserving slots for middle class families will prevent those kinds of families themselves being rapidly priced out by the wealthy buying up all the property.

As I mentioned, I have greater sympathy to concerns about public subsidies than the overall opposition to the density of the project, but the reality is that we aren't seeing large bucks allocated for affordable housing, so unless there are alternative plans to create a similar amount of housing on the table with the same resources, I'll support this project as the best way to get people housed in a city desperate for new housing.


Oil Companies Slime US

Why did the price of gasoline in Ohio increase by 40 to 50 cents per gallon from this morning to this afternoon? Exxon just reported record quarterly profits of $7.6 billion, and all the other majors have reported disgustingly exorbitant profits. The oil companies are despicably taking advantage of the Gulf Coast disaster to gouge America's helpless and hapless. While Americans from all across the country are pouring out their hearts and sending their donations to help those victimized by nature's wrath, the oil companies are busy helping themselves by picking our pockets.

Every public servant ought to be outraged by these slimy tactics.

Tom Austin
Cleveland, Ohio


Spank 'Patriots'

The article "Spanking the CAFTA 15" in the 9/1/05 TPP did a good job highlighting the sellout Democrats that voted for CAFTA. One might also include these Democrats that voted to renew the so-called PATRIOT Act (a real oxymoron). Among them was the self-serving congressman from my district, Brian Higgins, who emailed several persons that he would oppose the PATRIOT Act and then promptly went back on his word and voted for it. This action by members of Congress in ignoring the best interests of their constituents shows the need for a new political party that represents the American people rather than the big-money interests that now control our government at all levels.

Phillip Colligan
Buffalo, N.Y.


D's Ask Wrong Questions

I'd like to find out whether other readers of TPP feel the same way I do about the Democratic Party (DP) and its outreach methods.

I receive an occasional mailing from them with a survey and a request for a monetary contribution. The survey is exactly the same each time; for example, they will ask about my view on Social Security -- whether I want to keep it me as it is or convert it to private accounts. The simplistic questions insult my intelligence because they don't elicit the gathering of valuable information to effect real change. The survey is simply a way to make me think that my opinion on an issue will influence the national leadership, while making their request for money appear less pandering. To add further insult, I get this exact same mailing every few months. Is the DP leadership that hard up for money that they would risk appearing so inept to their base?

If the DP really cared to know what I thought, why don't they ask questions about promoting instant runoff voting or support for the use of the filibuster, all WITHOUT initially asking for money? That would be a good start. In the meantime, before we revolt against the Republicans, whaddya say we revolt against the clueless Democratic leadership first?

Memo to the DP: I happily and loyally contribute to Bernie Sanders. He earns every penny of it.

Bob Smet
Springfield, Ill.


Tell People the Truth

James M. Cullen's editorial Cowardly Lyin' [9/15/05 TPP] provides much food for thought.

Briefly, precisely, he has defined the cowardly Bush for the con man he is and the opportunism afforded by the 9/11 terrorist attacks that were trumped up to pad the '02 Republican election. While Cullen believes Bush and his aides lied to Congress and the public on his reasons for going to war, nowhere in media is there a word about what happened at the World Tribunal in Iraq (WTI) held in Istanbul in June 2005, nor are the findings of the Preliminary Declaration of the Jury of Conscience covered.

The WTI's findings closely spell out the administration's rash thoughtlessness in rushing into a pre-emptive unnecessary war. If the public could read the WTI's findings, they might be able to get off their knees. Surely after 4 years (with time out for the selected president's vacations and escapes) of the fraudulent, opportunist, profiteering, destructive administration, which is no longer a Democracy nor even a Republic, but resembles Fascism, the public's gluteus must be achin' from all that salaaming to our bully boy, irresponsible, unaccountable quagmire creator, who never can admit to making a mistake when what little time he has spent in office has been administering nothing but mistakes.

Isn't it time for the public to be let in on a modicum of truth in reporting?

With Arundhati Roy as spokesperson at the WTI, there's a modest chance we will get to the truth of the long-plotted reasons for this administration's thoughtless mad dash to war, with no thought to what the future with its unpredictable aftermath would bring. The big question remains why Iraq? WHY? Though they were no part in the 9/11 attacks, they were not a threat to the US -- the big secret is Iraq has been their goal for decades -- It's the 0-I-L!

It would surely be a revelation to the public to read of the WTI's findings, which only Z Magazine, 7-8/05, has covered.

R. V. Witt
Jamaica Plain, Mass.


Use Earthly Facts

I just read Kenneth Emerick's letter in your great publication [7/15/05 TPP]. Just in case anyone else hasn't caught Ken's mistake ["Nowhere in the Bible does it say ... to beat ploughshares into swords."], I would like to point out that the Bible does indeed say that ploughshares should be beaten into swords. The verse is found in the inspired word of Joel 3:10: "Beat your ploughshares into swords and your pruning hooks into spears; let the weakling say, I am a warrior."

In my godless opinion, we need to base our "liberal arguments" upon earthly facts. If we need to project our political perspectives upon the gods, then maybe it is time to rethink our politics. I am proud to call myself an evangelical atheist. I am wondering why liberal Christians insist upon claiming rights to the god who created hell.

Gary Walker
Campton, N.H.

Editor's Note: Isaiah 2:4 says "They shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning-hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more."


Immigration Problem

Art Cullen [in "Free Trade, Except Labor," 9/1/05 TPP] doesn't use the usual "racist" and "xenophobic" rhetoric, so it may seem as if he has something sensible to say about his topic: not so. In contrast to your editorial and other writers, Mr. Cullen says, in effect, don't worry about a continuing influx of cheap labor. There are several reasons why wages in this country have been stagnant for three decades or so, but foremost among them is surplus labor at the low end.

Wages/labor, however, is just one aspect of this country's greatest problem: i.e., over-population. The attrition of our air, water, open space, transportation systems, etc. have one common determinative. The diversity-driven Democrats don't want to say the obvious; same with the cheap labor, right-to-work Republicans. Carl Pope and the Sierra Club slandered environmentalists who were responsible enough to say the obvious.

A disinterested, apolitical analysis would validate the claim [that over-population a greater threat to this country than terrorism]. A cover, "TOO MANY PEOPLE: What is the optimum population of the US?" in the Aug/Sept '04 Free Inquiry featured 10 articles on the problem. The one "no problem" piece didn't mention water.

Jerome Bronk
San Francisco, Calif.


Puppet Master

Because of his role in leaking the name of the lady CIA agent, many say President Bush should fire Karl Rove. One question. How does a puppet fire it's master?

James Wray
Eupora, Miss.


Opposition Needed

I voted for John Kerry, but next time I will not vote for anyone who is not for ending the war and repealing the PATRIOT Act. So my vote is not available for Hillary Clinton or Joe Biden at this point. However, it is not automatically against fiscal conservative, anti-abortion or gun rights candidates. Not all issues are of equal value.

But it should be citizens, not politicians, who provide the opposition. God bless Cindy Sheehan!

David Price
Austin, Texas

From The Progressive Populist, Oct. 1, 2005

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