Perilous Times

It just doesn’t seem fair; the nation that was built and nourished by the wisdom of Thomas Jefferson, Ben Franklin and countless others of great reasoning and intelligence could now be governed and maintained by arrogant incompetence, electorally sustained by the most ignorant of reactionaries, religious fanaticism run rampant and fraudulent election practices! It is held hostage by a vast, powerful military, industrial, media complex hell-bent on allowing a fascist dictatorship to emerge.

This Banana Republic regime continues a war of private industry aggression at the severe expense of desperately needed funds for national maintenance, has taken the lives of the best and finest men and women and has critically destroyed our national image around the world. Have we learned anything at all from this dangerous situation? Some people have, and they are screaming and yelling about it as loudly as they can. Both the Republican and Democratic candidates should also be screaming and yelling too because the dictatorship in Washington bears no resemblance to true conservatism or democracy. There is a lockstep mentality among the loyalist Republican legislators that has made that important body of government virtually impotent and nothing progressive can get through the muck and mire of that incredible deadlocking, one-sided political force.

Measures have been taken during this holiday season to guard the sanctity of the legislature by preventing el presidente, the “decider” from sneaking in any more recess appointments or further restrictions on liberty and justice. We can be grateful that somebody is minding the store. Some people may be happy in this new year but I’m sure there are many who realize that if we don’t get off our butts and do some really hard work getting an administration that can slow that train wreck down and change the direction it’s going in as soon as humanly possible, the years ahead will be really tough and unbearable.

Helen McKinney
Sapphire, N.C.

Resist Bad Decisions

Now that the NIE has disclosed that Iran stopped its nuclear weapons program back in 2003, one would think that the Bush administration would seize the chance to pursue diplomatic efforts to solve the disputes with that country. But no, Bush repeats the same old tired clichés. “We will hold firm in isolating Iran and in not ruling out preemptive military action against that country.” What chutzpah, what arrogance, what stupidity. How long will the American people put up with this nonsense?

We can’t wait until the ’08 presidential elections because most of the Democratic party presidential candidates are simply going along with the Bush policy towards Iran in part or in full (except for Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio), who voted against the Iraq war from the get-go, and strongly opposes military action against Iran.

We really cannot trust the administration to hold off on a military attack on Iran. Don’t forget the two US warships conveniently parked in the harbor nearby, or a missile attack from inside of Iraq. And there is also the possibility of a fake incident to justify an invasion of Iran. Remember the so-called “Bay of Tonkin” resolution used by LBJ to launch the Vietnam war, which was later proved to be rigged? We’re known for doing this sort of thing before.

Why can’t an organized nationwide resistance to both wars (in Iraq and Iran) be started at the beginning of the New Year, a day when nobody works, shops or uses their car. This will get the attention this situation deserves and have a real influence on the coming elections. Come on peace groups, unions, environmental and community organizations.

Let’s start to act together now!

Esther Nason
Kingston, N.Y.

Obama’s Blind Spot

Barack Obama’s book, The Audacity of Hope, is a well-reasoned book, but reveals a major flaw in his thinking. There is a chapter for each subject he covers ... but nothing about the environment or global warming. After eight years with a president who was anti-environment, we do not need a president who thinks that race relations is more important than global warming. In all fairness, none of the other candidates seem to think that global warming is an issue either. My hope is that Gore will have President Clinton’s ear since they worked together. Gore would be my first choice, but since that is not an option, I think Clinton would be the best hope for the environment.

David Caccia
Honokaa, Hawaii

Editor Notes: Obama has extensive positions on energy and the environment at barackobama.com. See populist.com for links to Democratic and Republican presidential candidates.

Coalition Party

The lack of sincere effort on the part of Democrats to end the war or reverse the trend towards establishment of a police state at home has brought me to a familiar impasse — the same one that I faced seven years ago when Gore seemed to offer no real hope for change. The painful dilemma for many of the 2.7% of us who voted for Nader in 2000 was that although we knew he had no chance to win, we could not stomach voting only for the lesser of two evils.

In many European countries minority parties are empowered by organizing a coalition with a majority party. A similar system could provide populist/liberal voters with an alternative to casting their vote for a noble loser or for a majority party that offers only cautious platitudes.

A cooperative effort between well respected, relatively powerful groups (such as MoveOn) could organize the election of a presidential candidate. The votes cast in this “primary election” could be used as data to indicate the electoral power that was being (potentially) wielded. Instead of running independently, the elected candidate would endorse the major party that made clear public statements of support for specific agenda points. There would be no guarantee that participants in the “primary” election would actually vote for the endorsed major party candidate in the official election, or that the major party candidate would honor his or her promises. However, I believe that this strategy could have a significant impact on major party responsiveness to populist/liberal ideals. The number of voters that would support a set of broad-based, well conceived and honestly expressed populist positions might be much greater than is commonly assumed. Remember that Perot’s popularity soared to 40% merely because he offered an honest alternative to the standard major party platforms.

Peter Suci
Bozeman, Mont.

Don’t Forget Kucinich

The letter from Emily Gherity in the 12/15/07 issue expressed exactly how I (and many of those with whom I speak) feel about Hillary for President. It seems to me as well that she is being “crammed down our throats” by the Democratic Party, even though her policy stands appear to be more Republican-right than Democratic. I especially abhor her stand on the Iraq War and on health care. Like other elitists, she is too connected to the corporate interests to make me comfortable with her as a future president.

It is very irritating that in political news, we hear only about Obama, Edwards and Clinton as though they are the only three candidates. I am a supporter of Dennis Kucinich, who is so blessedly honest and forthright, especially about the occupation of Iraq. I am tired of hearing he is “unelectable” just because he doesn’t cater to the corporate interests and therefore doesn’t “deserve” air time or participation in the presidential “debates.” The media have a big responsibility here, and they are not living up to it!

Marliss Rogers
Port Washington, Wis..

Vote Your Heart

Thank you for John Buell’s article “Tilting at Windmills” [1/1-15/07 TPP] in which he expresses concern over the limited support given by Democrats to Dennis Kucinich. Dennis is the only running Democrat who from the beginning voted against the Iraq fiasco and he is the only one advocating an immediate withdrawal. The Conyers/Kucinich bill before Congress for a single-payer, universal system is the one sponsored by the Physicians for a National Health Plan. He would fight the continued NAFTA and similar corporate-focused trade agreements which have had disastrous consequences for poverty torn countries. As John Buell clearly points out, the views of Kucinich reflect those expressed, not only by Democrats but by citizens in general.

My own advanced age presages that the next presidential election may be the last in which I will be voting. When Dennis Kucinich said “Vote your heart and your conscience” I decided I will do just that, and only that.

Lila Nelson
Minneapolis, Minn.

Peer Review Goes Both Ways

Many people that refuse to consider the proposition that 9/11 was an inside job use the argument that “when a scientific, peer-reviewed paper is published in a scientific journal showing that the collapses were from some other cause besides fire then and only then will I even consider taking a look at the arguments.”

This is not an unreasonable position to take but it is a “guilty until proven innocent” position. But even if we accept this position as reasonable why are we so willing to then accept that the official version of the events of 9/11 are true without peer-reviewed analysis? Where are the peer-reviewed papers showing that it is even remotely possible that three steel-frame buildings, in which fires were burning for very short periods of time, could cause identical collapses, perfectly symmetrically and at free-fall speed directly through the path of highest resistance, leaving virtually all of the debris outside the footprint of the buildings (in the case of the two towers — where are the “pancakes”?), when never in the history of steel-frame buildings has one ever collapsed due to fire? Shouldn’t that outrageous proposition have to have peer-reviewed papers before being accepted as truth? If for no other reason than the safety of the world’s steel skyscrapers shouldn’t this be the most investigated event the world has ever seen?

The only scientific study supporting the official version that I am aware of is the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) investigation of which the peer review has been rather scathing. In a letter dated 11/11/2004 to Dr. [Frank] Gayle, the head of the NIST investigation, Kevin Ryan, an executive at Underwriters Laboratory, which certified the steel in the towers, wrote, “If steel from those buildings did soften or melt, I’m sure we can all agree that this was certainly not due to jet fuel fires of any kind, let alone the briefly burning fires in those towers. That fact should be of great concern to all Americans.”

The Journal of 9/11 Studies is a peer-reviewed, open-access, electronic-only journal covering the whole of research related to 9/11/2001. All content is freely available online. Peer reviewed papers can be found at journalof911studies.com/.

A scientific theory or hypothesis of an event must explain ALL, or as many as possible, of the effects witnessed in that event. If a different hypotheses explains those effects better and more completely then the “official” theory does, then the new theory or hypothesis must be adopted no matter how counter intuitive it may seem.

Robert Broadbent
Jackson, Wyo.

Lay Off Preps

Donald Gutierrez’s piece on prep schools (“Prep Schools and America’s Ruling Class,” 1/1/08 TPP) is breathtaking in its ignorance of the realities of 21st-century independent schools. I strongly suggest that anyone who wants to know what is really happening in those admittedly elite, but not elitist, institutions take a few minutes to Google on four websites. A Better Chance is a nationwide organization that has directed many talented young people, including Deval Patrick, now the governor of Massachusetts, to schools they might not have considered otherwise. Similarly, Prep for Prep, in New York, undertakes to match qualified students with outstanding schools, and provides rigorous preparation for those students. Take a minute to look as the lists of schools that work with these organizations.

The Philips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire recently announced free tuition to any admitted student whose family income is less than $75,000. Milton Academy has for years made an active commitment to promoting ethnic and social diversity on its campus. This year 32% of its students are black, Hispanic, Asian or of mixed heritage. Professor Gutierrez should be embarrassed to have written an article with so much misinformation. Any 10th-grader at the schools he maligns would know better.

Connie Brown
Montpelier, Vt.

Dogs Are Barking

Norm Solomon’s Media Beat (1/1/08 TPP) quote “Wreak havoc and unleash the dogs of war,” which he attributed to Henry V, is actually “Cry ‘havoc’ and let slip the dogs of war,” and Antony says it in Julius Caesar. Otherwise, Norm is right on.

Peggy Corbin
Bend, Ore.

Dobbs Right More than Wrong

Lou Dobbs is taken to task for not getting his facts straight [“Dubious Mr. Dobbs” by Amy Goodman, 1/1/08 TPP]. Well, exaggerations aside, he goes on-and-on about that always-to-be-catered-to middle class. He says nothing about poor people. Those poor — many of which are Mexican Americans, Mexicans and blacks — are the primary victims of open borders. Cesar Chavez knew about that inflexible law of supply-and-demand when the United Farm Workers demonstrated with a “wet-line” against illegals. Lou Dobbs does a service to poor people (and, to his precious middle-class) when he rails against what amounts to a weakening of US sovereignty and, although he seems unaware of it, he aids the very weak opposition to imposed overpopulation/environmental problems.

And what of the “low unemployment, we need workers” argument? Low wages — e.g., San Francisco Chronicle ad: janitor, $9.50 per — for graveyard! — has something to do with those always malleable rates. Then, of course, all those guys congregating for day-labor aren’t counted.

Business gets the gelt and the scorn of liberals who say, paradoxically, that the “undocumented only want to work.” Those liberal commentators get to feel so-superior for their guilt. That’s how it works — except for the actual workers.

For brevity’s sake I’ll just say that I’m sure that Ms. Goodman and her readers/watchers are quite aware of our version of the “corn laws” which, among its serial dysfunctions, has, in effect, displaced three million Mexicans.

Jerome Bronk
San Francisco, Calif.

From The Progressive Populist, February 1, 2008

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