A Safer World?

George Bush said Osama bin Laden was the target and was "Wanted, Dead or Alive." Was he captured? No, George Bush said he was no longer important.

But Iraq had to be invaded since they had weapons of mass destruction. Were weapons of mass destruction found? No, but we were protecting Iraq's oil fields.

Anthrax-laced letters were sent to ranking Democrat senators and to the news media and the letters accidentally killed several postal workers. The letters were mailed from New Jersey. Was anyone brought to justice? No arrests have been made. Maybe like the search for Osama bin Laden, it is no longer important.

Afghanistan was invaded first. Is that under control? No, the Taliban have moved back in and crops of heroin poppies have doubled, which will give them many millions of dollars for their terrorism efforts.

How about Iraq? In May 2003 George Bush proclaimed "Mission Accomplished." Was that accurate? No, it was George Bush's refusal to listen to his generals if their opinions differed from his.

Four and a half years have passed since "Mission Accomplished" and more than 3,000 service men and women have died in Afghanistan and Iraq. For every death of our service men and women about eight service people are injured. A large portion of these injuries are very severe and involve loss of limbs or head injuries. This is because the injuries were often caused by roadside bombs. Also many deaths and injuries are related to vehicle accidents due to a policy of driving vehicles as fast as possible to avoid ambushes.

Moreover on Oct. 12 most major news sources reported that 655,000 Iraqis have been killed since the war began. Some say that number is exaggerated. I sincerely hope it is, because each one of those deaths could represent future terrorists avenging the death of a loved one. The bipartisan National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States authored the 9/11 Report. The same commission also states that we are now less safe from terrorist attacks.

Within a couple of weeks voters will decide on the direction of the country. Remember the criterion of what is insane is doing the same thing when it is not working.

Jim Neuhaus
Weathersfield, Vt.


Dems Have a Plan

Arianna Huffington wrote that "if Democrats don't stand up and counter with a compelling 'we will keep you safer' argument the Bush scare strategy will once again prove effective." [10/1/06 TPP]

Sens. Reid (D-Nev.) and Durbin (D-Ill.) submitted the Real Security Act of 2006 (S. 3875) on Sept. 7. ... S. 3875 point-blank addresses the War On Terror and is a thoroughly comprehensive Senate Democratic plan for national security targeting the War on Terror. It's the genuine "no fear" antidote to "stay the course" or "cut and run" and is heavy on "congressional oversight."

This legislative initiative has been ignored (suppressed?) by all media -- making its public disclosure, review and debate practically impossible. ... This plan (S. 3875) has been muffled in the crib (Sudden Infant Death?) by the Republican Senate leadership with the assistance of audacious media neglect.

Philip Nolan
Waupaca, Wis.
Email waupacacpr@hotmail.com


Question Authority

Alexander Cockburn's article in the 10/15/06 issue has prompted me to write. According to Mr. Cockburn anyone who doesn't believe the "official" story of 9/11 is either a self-styled "truther," a member of conspiracy cult, illogical, contemptible or just plain nuts.

First I want to state that I believe I am none of the above, just an American who has watched her rights under the Constitution and the Bill of Rights be taken away one by one by a president who has said that our Constitution is "nothing but a god-damned piece of paper" and all being done to fight Islamo-fascists since the "terrorists" attacked us on 9/11.

Perhaps, if Mr. Cockburn were not so intent on vilifying those who disagree with him, he too, would be questioning the "official" version.

Dianne Pindral
Painesdale, Mich.


Al Qaeda Framed

I usually agree with Alexander Cockburn but I've read his columns in The Nation and The Progressive Populist on conspiracy nuts and I must confess I am one. Interestingly enough, it is his quoting of Michael Neumann that inspires me to write a letter of protest.

I find it incredible that neither Cockburn nor Neumann can find a "single serious question about 9/11." How about the excessive Wall Street speculations on the airliners involved just days before the incident? Furthermore, only a dumbed-down population steeped in the fantasy of our pop culture could or would believe that this sophisticated enterprise was conceived in the caves of Kandahar and executed by middle-class Muslims with box cutters. Not that middle-class Muslims aren't capable, because of course they are, but suicide -- not likely. The box-cutter thing is ridiculous and the target is way off.

The World Trade Center is highly symbolic for New Yorkers, less so for those of us in the midwest and of little note to the people of the Middle East before 9/11. Contrary to popular myth here in the States, suicide is not an Islamic tradition, nor is it condoned, particularly by the middle class. Consequently, I don't believe that Egyptair went down over the Atlantic because its co-pilot was committing suicide either. I don't believe that car and truck bombs are ever anything other than state sponsored (the trick is to identify which state). I don't believe that "suicide bombers" ever target their own innocent countrymen. In short, I don't believe anything that doesn't make sense and none of the above is logical nor beneficial in any way to the Muslim world.

So the only explanation that is touted to us day in and day out by the media is that Islam is defective and produces monsters that must be bombed back to the Stone Age, or controlled to preserve our Western Civilization. This view is ignorant, pathological and absurd. It serves the purpose of the psychopathic neo-cons surrounding our moronic president, but does nothing to preserve our Western Civilization, or I should say what's left of it.

Karen Amin
Lake City, Mich.

Editor Notes: We find most alleged conspiracies connected with 9/11 to be unfounded distractions. For refutation of the best-known 9/11 conspiracy theories, see debunking911.com. The Web site has links to peer-reviewed research papers and reports by civil engineers and other experts from around the world on how the collapse of the World Trade Center towers and damage to the Pentagon are consistent with what you would expect from airliners exploding into them.

The site notes that at least one "real conspiracy" was connected with 9/11: "The evidence for a conspiracy to use 9/11 to invade Iraq is long. While there is not one shred of evidence the government blew up the World Trade Center, there is evidence they used the tragedy to remove Saddam Hussein using poor WMD evidence."


Right to Vote

Your editorial in the 10/15/06 issue says "The 2000 election hinged on a Supreme Court decision, along party lines, that there is no right to have your vote counted."

That sentence is erroneous. The US Constitution does protect the right to have a vote counted. The editorial confuses the right to vote, with the right to have one's vote counted. In other words, we have no constitutional right to vote for president. But if the law says that there will be an election for president (or any other office) then the US Constitution protects the right to have each vote counted.

The US Supreme Court said in Gray v Sanders, 372 US 368 (1964), "Every voter's vote is entitled to be counted once. It must be correctly counted and reported. As stated in United States v Classic, 'the right to have one's vote counted' has the same dignity as 'the right to put a ballot in a box."

In 1999, a US District Court judge in Washington, D.C., struck down a federal law that said D.C. Board of Elections was not permitted to count the votes on any initiative on the subject of legalizing marijuana. Turner v D.C. Bd. of Elections, 77 F Supp 2d 25. The judge relied on the US Supreme Court precedents above, that if an election is held, voters have the right to have their votes counted.

Richard Winger
San Francisco, Calif.

Editor replies: With all due respect, we stand by our statement. Whatever the precedents, as of the December 2000 decision of the Supreme Court, there is effectively no right to have your vote counted as long as a majority on the Supreme Court is willing to stop the count.


No Draft

I usually enjoy Jim Hightower's column. However, when I read his endorsement of Rep. [Charles] Rangel's so-called Universal Service Act ["Cut-and-Run Bushites," 10/15/06 TPP], my reaction was "what has this guy been smoking." The policy of the Bush administration of military aggression abroad has run into a very serious problem of recruiting enough military personnel to sustain it. The supporters of this policy know resorting to a military draft will be necessary to sustain it. They also realize they must have so-called liberal Democrats on board to put it through Congress. Rep. Rangel [D-N.Y.] came through with his Universal Service Act. He presents it for public consumption as requiring equal sacrifice for all. Being the slick professional politician he is, Rangel knows full well that legislation that doesn't provide loopholes for the privileged elite would have no chance of passing Congress.

This is a concerned citizen saying ... Jim Hightower, we don't need a Universal Service Act in a political democracy.

Phillip Colligan
Buffalo N.Y.


Who's a Moron?

Liberals keep going on about what a moron President Bush is. However, the real morons are the Yankee-Doodle-Dandy-Born-On-The-4th-Of-July Americans who let themselves be sent to foreign lands to fight and die for the purpose of keeping the world safe for the filthy rich.

George Bush, as well as Bill Clinton, knew better, and did everything they could to avoid military service.

But patriotic Americans can't be bothered educating themselves how the system works, even though articles such as: "War Is A Racket," by Medal Of Honor winner US Marine General Smedley Butler [1935] are readily available on the Internet.

Someday, the war will end, and while the bodies of thousands of young Americans lie rotting in their graves, that moron, George W. Bush, will be living the life of a retired president.

Gus Mirsalis
Richmond Heights, Ohio


What Religious Right?

It appears that the highest leadership of Republican Congress has been corrupted by improper approaches to Congressional pages by Congressman Foley, and the inaction/coverup by the offices of House Speaker Dennis Hastert and the House leadership; and the silence of the religious right is deafening

Where are the Dobsons, Robertsons, Falwells, Schlaflys, Grahams, Bauers and Norquists of this world, when we really need them?

Can it be they are silent because President Bush gave his support to Speaker Hastert and the House leadership after the scandal became public; and because his administration has diverted billions of public funds to the religious right, and gained their political support (influencing their congregations; voter registrations; indirect endorsements, etc.)?

Cynical religious involvement in partisan politics, and false denials, are exactly why moral and religious credibility is being lost, to the grave injury of both religion and the nation.

John Tomasin
West New York, N.J.


Don't Vote

"You Have No Right to Vote." Well, that provokes an idea whose time has come!

How about not voting? Unless, of course, you plutocrat pluckers have some ideas to solve the problems you describe.

Certainly the Democratic Party is not going to get rid of K Street and the unelected $ system they work for -- eh?

By boycotting elections we would rid ourselves of a system that does not represent us and uses fraudulent election machines.

If two-thirds (already one-half) of the voters would boycott elections, we could have a constitutional convention and arrange a system that would represent "we the people" who have not been represented, ever!

Of course we could apply the Declaration of Independence -- a good read, and it hasn't been corrupted by the Supremes.

Annie Balfour
Columbus, N.M.

Editor notes: If we could get the majority that now boycotts elections to vote for a reform agenda, we could enact the reforms that the monied interests stymie. Boycotting elections merely lets the minority rule.



Remember when: a) Our leadership promised to cut spending, waste, taxes, deficits and debt?

b) You had a good-paying job with benefits and a pension?

Many veterans and seniors should remember.

John F. Sisson
Arvada, Colo.


From The Progressive Populist, November 15, 2006

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