Letters to the Editor
Media: Increasing Public Vulnerability
Robert Kuttner, in a July 16, 2003 Boston Globe column entitled "The Press Gives Bush a Free Ride on His Lies," asserts that "The press holds back [from exposing Bush's lies] partly because of America's vulnerability to terrorism, which Bush's handlers exploit shamelessly." I suspect that the press touts Bush's plan for perpetual war because it enjoys the mediagenic excitement of a "nice little war" as much as Bush does.
To the extent that Kuttner is correct, the media should know that it is actually increasing our vulnerability to terrorism by failing to expose Bush's lies. Bush's wars divert resources from effective means of fighting terrorism, further inflame and encourage terrorists, and distract us from examining the real issues that surround anti-American terrorism.
At this point in time, the best thing Americans can do to suppress terrorism is to remove Bush and his circle of lying cronies from power.
Peter D. Molan, Ph.D.
Dr. Molan, of Baltimore, is active with Veterans for Peace.
Polls Show Bush Supporters are Clueless
There's a very interesting correlation here. In a February 2001 poll, 45% of Americans expressed a belief that "God created human beings pretty much in their present form at one time within the last 10,000 years or so.”
In a January 2003 poll, 44% of Americans reported that either "some" or "most" of the Sept. 11 hijackers were Iraqi citizens.
In a July 2003 poll, 46% of Americans said that G. W. Bush deserves to be re-elected.
It seems like the same 45% of Americans are terminally clueless. Hopefully they will get their heads straight by 2004 and put someone new in office!
And if you haven't seen it yet, check out the "News Flash" at wmdgate.com.
I hope that you will take special notice of the demented diatribe that Ann Coulter is putting out on the major cable channels. It is time to take special note of her and her terrible oratory.
The Epitome of Corruption: Bush Administration
The Bush Administration knowingly misled the nation into war. 10,000 innocent Iraqi civilians have been killed, and the Iraqi environment has been contaminated with depleted uranium and unexploded cluster bombs.
The Administration rained down an unprovoked blitz of over 14,000 Tomahawk missiles alone--at a cost of a million dollars each--on one of the poorest countries in the world, whose population is comprised largely of children.
The administration ignored international law, the voices of 40 Nobel Peace Prize winners, the pleas of heads of all the world's main religions, and the leaders of 90% of the planet's countries. It failed to heed tens of millions of world citizens who marched against the war, or the UN and a roster of prominent international, environmental, and humanitarian organizations who predicted the quagmire that the US faces today. The administration bragged, "It'll be a cakewalk...."
The Administration has bankrupted the US treasury and hijacked the US Constitution, the US Bill of Rights, and the government "of, by, and for the people." Meanwhile, it has also consolidated under the control of a few large corporations the "free press" necessary maintain democracy.
The Administration is the ground zero of corruption. It must go, now.
San Francisco, CA
Ends do not Always Justify Means
My thoughts about the justification of war with Iraq lead me to believe that President Bush knowingly exaggerated the danger to the US from Iraq in order to start a war most believe would be a pushover for the U.S. The result: Republicans control the Presidency, the House, and the Senate!
I also believe that the U.S. had adequate intelligence prior to 9-11 which could have prevented this tragedy. It appears to me that this was allowed to happen in order to further the establishment of an Industrial Military Complex and to silence any opposition to vast expenditures on weapon systems and the military.
Many may silently agree with my observations but refuse to object since they agree with the results: a popular Republican President, the reduction or end of many social programs, less environmental controls, tax breaks--especially for the rich--and enormous profits for large corporations.
Another observation is the response from spineless Democrats. They were afraid to oppose a popular president and sat silently while this deception occurred.
This is the type of world we will leave for the grandchildren of this generation!
San Francisco, CA
Springer: Better Than What We've Got Now!
"Jerry Springer is running for Senator," my daughter told me yesterday. Wow. Jerry Springer. "And he's a Democrat too." Some senators do work for a better world. I salute those ones! However...
Jerry Springer couldn't do worse than some of the current sold-to-the-highest-bidder, get-us-in-debt-up-to-our-necks, never-practice-what-you-preach, kill-our-sons-and-daughters-for-fun-and-profit bozos we now have on Capitol Hill. He might actually do a lot better! Plus, he would feel right at home with all the scandals hidden in the Senate cloakroom—although I have to admit that the GOP's voyeuristic obsession with Clinton's sex life might make even Jerry blush.
I myself was shocked to read the other day that Clinton's sex life is 97% more important to the GOP than 9-11 (Kenneth Starr's investigation was funded for $100 million. The 9-11 Commission only got $3 million). Jerry, Jerry!
The GOP will be a lot better off with our Jerry there to instruct and advise them. He'll get their minds out of the gutter, their hands out of corporate checkbooks, and turn their hearts and focus back to governing America with justice and freedom! I can just see the titles on Jerry's committee reports now: "Helping Senators to stop lying to voters," "Recovery programs for Senators who can't resist taking bribes from large corporations," "Teaching GOP Senators the basics: `It's the economy, Stupid'," and "How to stop drooling over human reproductive functions and start restoring the Bill or Rights." Go Jerry! It would truly be a breath of fresh air.
Speaking of fresh air, let's also get Dennis Kucinich to be in a special segment on the Jerry Springer show. Call it "Presidential Candidates who don't sell America to the highest bidder, don't run the world like a prison camp, are not midnight cowboys, are truly patriotic, and are smart, honest, and capable of eating pretzels without choking." I'm up for that.
Use Charles Street to Make Charm City Charming
In his recent commentary ("How about Charles Street with no cars," The Sun, July 13, 2003), G. Jefferson Price III wistfully proposes that Charles Street be closed to automobile traffic from Saratoga Street to Read Street, just north of Mt. Vernon Place. He also recommends that a trolley shuttle run back and forth between the two streets, to which I say "Bravo!" I've been an advocate of this idea for years.
Imagine Charles Street during springtime, with block after block of sidewalk cafes and as much foot-traffic as one sees in European cities. It would revitalize that corridor and make Charm City, well, charming. I predict that businesses on Charles Street would thrive under such a plan. So too would the quality of life for local residents. With Baltimore's population steadily shrinking, these quality-of-life issues should not be dismissed.
Many of us who participate in Critical Mass demonstrations (i.e., slowly-ridden bicycle rides) are doing so because we see only reactionary solutions from city officials regarding they way in which public space is utilized. Certainly the Mayor's plan to turn Baltimore's most appealing street into a two-way thoroughfare can only have a deleterious effect upon Charles Street businesses. Who wants to stroll up and down a sidewalk adjacent to a narrow road where two lanes of frustrated motorists emit noxious fumes all day?
The Bold Truth Balles's terrific essay reminds me of Peter Finch's declaration in “Network”: "I'M MAD AS HELL AND I'M NOT GONNA TAKE IT ANY MORE."
It takes guts to tell it like it is!
Full name withheld on request.
An elderly man recently drove his automobile into a crowd of people in Santa Monica, California. It was a terrible accident which took several lives.
Something is taking place—it is a sad indictment of both the media, who thrive on innuendo and unpleasantness, and of every leader in our state.
The media has been ripping into senior driving like a bunch of sharks in a feeding frenzy, and not one politician has had the guts to speak out on behalf of those being attacked. I'm surprised that lynch mobs haven't yet been formed. When you're a senior, not only do you become the target for con-artists and swindlers, but also for every pseudo-intellectual talk show host around. Let's set the record straight for once.
Statistics do not lie. Most accidents and fatalities are caused by young drivers! This was stated quite clearly on national television by Russ Nader of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety on July 17. But who amongst you would declare that young people should not drive?
If urine tests were conducted, I would be willing to wager that traces of narcotics would be found in the systems of at least one-third of the applicants, preventing them from getting licenses. Also, how is it that someone from another country who can neither speak nor read English is still able to procure a driver's license without having auto insurance? Part of my insurance premium is allocated for that situation in which I'm hit by an uninsured motorist, who, according to California law, may not drive in the first place!
B. G. Noe
Question of the Month
President Bush often refers to the American occupation of Japan after WWII as a model for what we can expect in postwar Iraq. This could turn out to be unfortunate situation. During the US's seven-year occupation of Japan, General MacArthur restored the country's formerly imperial government and most of its pre-war bureaucracy, installed war criminals in key positions of political leadership, reconstituted the military, imposed vicious censorship upon all media, and reinstated the old monopolies of elite corporations. Meanwhile, millions of Japanese citizens were homeless and near starvation, were employed as virtual slaves, and had little right to organize or dissent while the country was mired in deep depression. As the de facto dictator, MacArthur ruled with an iron hand, establishing single-party rule and encouraging an apartheid system which worked against the substantial Korean minority.
For 30 years we kept hundreds of thousands of troops in Japan and Okinawa, all the while calling the shots for a series of Japanese puppet presidents. Japan became our collaborator in the race to gain colonial control over the Pacific rim countries—supremacy first in Korea and then in Vietnam. Democracy was only nominal in Japan, and we made sure no nationalistic movement of the peasantry or labor could gain a foothold anywhere in Asia. We reestablished the erstwhile "open door" policy to control resources, to create markets for our goods, and to obtain cheap exports from exploited labor. Iraq may give us a chance to repeat this successful strategy.
J. Russell Tyldesley
We would like to thank all of the children who visted our Art Car at Artscape. We know that it must have been tempting to touch the car, but still many of you were very understanding and cooperated with us when we asked you to stand a little away from it. You helped to make our first major test-run of the vehicle a success and made us feel most welcome in your city.
Best wishes for continued good health, happiness, and success.
Maintain and enjoy,
James D. Craig
The writers are, respectively, driver and navigator of The Mayfair '03 Art Car.
The Role of Marriage
With all the debate about same-sex marriages, perhaps it is time to discuss the institution of marriage itself. Webster's dictionary defines marriage as the "institution whereby men and women are joined in a special kind of social and legal dependence for the purpose of founding and maintaining a family." Some would argue that the family is a microcosm of society, and, if this idea is extended further, that as the family goes so the society will go. Hence, the fragmentation of family may disrupt society.
The question that remains is whether or not marriage is necessarily the best institution upon which to found a family. We are constantly reminded that the divorce rate is approximately fifty percent in the United States; in other words, one out of every two couples gets divorced, or to put it in yet another way, you have a fifty-fifty chance of staying in the same marriage. Of the remaining fifty percent of married couples, only ten percent admits to being happy with their relationship.
Any statistician in the world would say that numbers of these kind indicate that something is seriously wrong with the institution of marriage. Countless children experience the brunt of their parents' bad marriages, and use that same experience as a guide to their own future relationships. People learn as little in our society about relationships as they do about child rearing. Therefore it is little wonder that, even though most enter relationships with the best of intentions, they flounder when it comes to communication and understanding.
It is not enough to expect that one will learn about relationships from their family, friends, and co-workers; rather, one must be willing to educate themselves in the disciplines of philosophy, psychology, sociology, spirituality, and economics. Another institution in our society, education, is supposed to help foster the growth and development of the individual and of the family; yet, the current public school curriculum does not serve this end. Marriage in the United States today has become an institutional burden on relationships, just as religion has weighed down spirituality.
Rules and regulations are given too much importance, while loving relationships are overlooked rather than fostered and developed. Consequently, cohabiting appears to be the natural evolutionary result of the breakdown of the marriage institution. Like marriage, proper provision and care for children also acts as a requirement which legally binds between couples. If we do not renew the conscious effort to cultivate a more serious approach to human relationships, the institution of marriage will cease to be taken seriously and will ultimately fade away.
Where’ve We Heard that Name Before?
John M. Poindexter is the highest-ranking member of the Reagan Administration (1981-1988) to have been found responsible for the Iran-Contra scandal. (The Administration secretly allowed Congress to convene, which then decided to give money to the terrorist Contras fighting in Nicaragua. The funds came from the sale of high-grade weapons to Iran after its fundamentalist rebels usurped Iran's government and captured and held the U.S. Embassy in Teheran for 444 days.)
The full story was never exposed, as the release of presidential papers from the Reagan and Bush Sr. administrations has been suppressed by current President Bush Jr.
Poindexter surfaced again last year as the Bush Administration's nominee to run the Total Information Awareness (TIA) database, which keeps track of all Americans in a supposed effort to locate possible terrorists. In response to objections raised by more reasonable advisors concerning the ethical foundation of this tracking system, the name of the database was changed to "Terrorist Information Awareness," still TIA. Now this criminal Poindexter has been linked to an equally criminal proposed government-sponsored internet gambling program, through which the American public can bet on terrorist activities. (The project reportedly has been cancelled, thanks to immense adverse publicity.)
The absurdity of this Administration matches its cynicism. There are few powers in the world that are more threatening to our liberty and democracy.
I read your Open Letter to America from a Canadian article. Yes, we have flaws. I will not deny that. Too bad everyone can't be as perfect as Canadians! While Americans are out defending the world against Arab terrorist thugs, Canadians and Europeans are whining! Perhaps Argentina and other third world countries might consider taking some responsibility for their situations. Of course if they did so they might better themselves. But, oh well, this might make too much sense better to take handouts from America then whine about it!
If Canada or a western European country, such as France or Germany, had been attacked on 9/11/01 the way the USA was, Saddam's government would have been history before 1/1/02. Canada and or the EU would have immediately invoked the NATO alliance and insisted that the USA do something about it. But when the USA gets attacked Canada, Canada's EU pals, and Russia insisted that we negotiate. Easy for you to say. Your citizens are not the ones being targeted by these thugs!! Canada's good buddies, the EU, the UN, and Russia tried to sacrifice the USA in order to appease the terrorists and protect their access to Iraqi oil. I have a novel idea. Why don't you try to help us fight the war against these crazed terrorist thugs instead of criticizing us. You have seen what they did to the USA and what they are currently doing to Israel. After all, Canada could be next!!
I am not sure the USA went wrong here. We have done such an outstanding job defending Canada, Europe and their interests around the world that you have become fat and happy off of American efforts and now you just don't appreciate us!! In other words, Canadian behavior is very similar to that of a spoiled brat!
Of course the USA supports Israel. The Israelis are in a war for their survival against murderous Arab thugs who are trying to annihilate them!! Apparently you cannot distinguish between actions carried out in self defense, such as those being engaged in by the USA and Israel and acts of naked aggression, such as those being carried out by the Arabs. Yet you are arrogant enough to lecture us about morality!! Americans and Israelis are not and have never been a threat to anyone. The USA and Israel do not start wars but God willing we will finish them!
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This story was published on August 15, 2003.