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Letters to the Editor


Dean’s Stance on Medical Marijuana

     Your story on the presidential candidacy of former Vermont Governor Howard Dean failed to note an issue on which Dean stands shoulder-to-shoulder with the most reactionary Republicans: Medical marijuana.
      Eighty percent of American voters support legal protection for patients with cancer, AIDS and other serious illness who use medical marijuana with their physicians’ approval. Even Maryland’s conservative Republican Governor Robert Ehrlich signed a medical marijuana bill this spring. But as governor, Dean killed a medical marijuana bill that was on the verge of passing in Vermont last year.
     Does “the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party” really believe it is okay to jail sick people for trying to relieve their suffering?

Bruce Mirken
Mr. Mirken is Director of Communications,
Marijuana Policy Project.



Thanks for the “New Glasses”

Re: Richard Behan’s article “The Free-Market Al-Qaeda,” published on June 4, 2003. Thank you very much for publishing this excellent article. Reading it has helped me understand the philosophy behind the actions of the current administration, which I previously saw as random, destructive, unjustifiable and inexplicable. From now on I will read news and editorials with the new pair of glasses that you’ve given me.
      I don’t live in Baltimore, so I have never read your paper. I am grateful to the friend who emailed this extremely important article to me. From now on I will read your paper.

Mary Anne McCarthy, Ph.D.
Manhattan Beach, CA


Why Pick on Section 8?

“You should see some of the homes that people live in around here,” wrote my friend Richard in reference to Florida examples of ostentatious real estate wealth equal to one of the palaces of Saddam Hussein. The neo-cons live well.
      But what about us? Gazing into my crystal ball, I see shanty towns and hobo jungles for the rest of us.
      All that money for neo-con palaces has got to come from somewhere. Their latest target is Section 8.
      “Section 8!” the taxpayers cry. “We hate Section 8! That’s welfare!” No. Welfare is giving 44.2 trillion dollars of our hard-earned money to the neo-cons. Section 8 is set design.
      Section 8 buys us the illusion that we are not living in the Great Depression; that the United States is not just another Third World country. Section 8 keeps America’s vast army of poor people quiet and out of sight. Section 8 washes out our laundry and blow-dries our hair— Section 8 keeps us well-dressed. Section 8 keeps us looking good.
      What should we do? Let’s keep Section 8, lower the unemployment rate, rebuild America’s infrastructure and throw the neo-cons in jail for embezzlement, racketeering and tax fraud. Works for me.

Jane Stillwater
Berkeley, CA


Wondering Why

I read with concern about the administration of Iraq by the United States government. The article came from the Los Angeles Times. Both Singapore and US were once colonised by United Kingdom. Is history repeating itself? To avert the possible repeating of history, [we should study it]. Below are the details.
      Iraq is an independent country. It is a member of the United Nations. The leaders and the people of Iraq do not, and did not, threaten or plan to invade another country after the disposal of Saddam Hussein. Iraq is trying to rebuild its infrastructure, its system of government and its way of life. Iraq is totally different from the United States of America in its history, its culture, its religion and its way of life.
      The government of the United States should hand over the administration of Iraq to the United Nations. The United Nations has experience in playing the role of the transitional administration authority. The most recent experience is East Timor.
      Oil is a very sensitive issue. Oil belongs to the people of Iraq because they own the land where it was found. It is the only source of revenue for the people to rebuild the country and live a normal life. This sensitive issue should be handled by an impartial organisation.
      This impartial organisation should be the United Nations. The government of the United States and its public sector organisations are not suitable to plan for the future regarding the revenue of oil of Iraq. To take full control of the oil revenue is deemed as interfering in the internal affairs of the country and denying the future government of its rightful role.
      Why is the United States seeking to control the oil revenue of Iraq? Is there any hidden agenda? Is the United States of America trying to be a colonial power? Is Paul Bremer a civilian administrator or a colonial administrator?  Is he trying to arrange the new government that will be obliged to the interests—in terms of economic, trade and military—of the United States government?

Matthew Levi Lim
Singapore


Martha Stewart Indicted

Even the crime she chooses is vintage. An ancient Latin proverb has survived which attests to its antiquity: “Fraus est celare fraudem”—It is fraud to conceal a fraud.

Daniel P. Quinn Saint Petersburg, Florida


Get rid of the filibuster after Bush

Timothy Noah argues that the Democrats should support the elimination of the filibuster because it promotes “good government.” Generally, the device is almost always used to block some positive or necessary reform wanted by the people. Very rarely has it been used, as it is now, to stop something really bad from happening.
      Therefore, I agree with Noah…in principle. But it wouldn’t be a good Idea to agree to get rid of it now.
      I suggest this ground-breaking, Earth-shattering compromise.
      The Democrats should agree to eliminate the filibuster…but they should condition this rule change on it taking effect in the Presidency of George W. Bush’s successor. [Who, I predict, will either be a Democrat, or a much more moderate, competent, and mainstream Republican such as Colin Powell or George Pataki].
      This will do two things.
  1. It will protect the ability of the Democrats to prevent Dubyah from screwing up the country any more than he already has [particularly by packing the Supreme Court with more rightwing/partisan hackeologues], and…
  2. It will put the Republicans in the position of either admitting that the only reason they want to eliminate the filibuster is for narrow partisan advantage, or give up the effort. After all…if they truly believe it’s for the sake of “good government,” then they should readily agree to wait out President Bush’s presidency [and the possibility that they may not hold onto a majority in the Senate] to see the reform go into effect.
My guess is that they will balk at this.

Carolyn Kay
Ms. Kay is a principal contributor of MakeThemAccountable.com.


Where Are Those Iraqi Weapons?

Consider these possibilities.
      First, that Iraq’s most lethal weapons were actually all destroyed by the UNSCOM teams before they were kicked out of Iraq in 1998, and Saddam has never re-armed with them. Much of the early intelligence information about Iraq’s bioweapons came from defectors, like General Hussein al-Kamal, Saddam’s own son-in-law. In 1995, he revealed where BWs were made and where they were stored. The following year, some were destroyed. But Kamal and others raised the suspicion that there were many more to be uncovered.
      But why, if he didn’t have them, has Saddam accepted the loss—for the past five years—of billions of dollars in oil revenues due to the UN sanctions imposed under Resolution 687? Why block the inspectors if he had no biological weapons?
      The second possibility is that Saddam destroyed his BW just before the US invaded Iraq in March, 2003. But once again, why would he risk his fortune, his political power—his very life—for non-existent weapons? Why not, if he had destroyed them, call off the dogs of war by permitting inspections again?
      A third possibility is that Saddam smuggled his BW out of the country just before Gulf War II. Satellite surveillance showed especially heavy traffic on the main Baghdad-to-Syria highway at that time. Did some of those trucks carry stores of BW and other WMDs on their way to places like Libya, China, North Korea, Iran or Cuba? Or to terrorist organizations like Al-Qaeda? In 1998, Saddam reportedly sent some of his BW scientists to Libya to teach them how to develop their own BW program. Which the Libyans did, in an abandoned building in Tripoli. Did they recently get more germs from Saddam?
      This scenario, that Saddam’s biological weapons and other WMDs have fallen into the hands of rogue nations or terrorist organizations, is the scariest one of all.
      The final possibility—and the one I think most likely—is that these weapons are still in Iraq, but well hidden; U.S. teams searching the country’s arid wastes simply have not discovered them yet. Two bioweapons trailers have been found, as have large caches of BW protective suits, masks, gloves and boots.
      If this is the smoke, the fire must be out there somewhere.

Chris Holmes, M.D., M.S.P.H.
Escondido, CA


No More Corporate Control

The efforts to get our government to create a “U.S. Department of Peace” makes about as much sense as the German people in the late ’30s or ’40s trying to get Hitler’s government to create a “Nazi Department of Humanism”!
      In either case, it’s simply not in the nature of the beast.
      The only way the German people could have prevented the start of World War II and the Holocaust, would have been for the German people to have united and taken political and economic power away from the German ruling class—which turned state power over to Hitler, in order to guarantee its profits through austerity (for the working people) at home and a military looting operation of Europe and Western Asia!
      The only way the American people will ever be able to prevent appointed presidents from looting the Third World and warring on anyone who stands in the way of such looting operations (thus creating suicide bombers to terrorize us!)—while lowering our standard of living at home and limiting our legal redress—is for the American people to unite and to take our country back and run America of—by—and for the American People—not the corporations.

A. Robert Kaufman
Baltimore, MD


Let Nature Take Its Course

The recent Supreme Court ruling striking down a Texas anti-sodomy law brings into question what factors were considered when the law was originally passed.
      A homosexual person is one who is sexually attracted to others of the same sex. Except for a genetic variation of nature, they are virtually identical to their heterosexual counterparts.  They feel the very same kind of attraction to the same sex as heterosexuals feel about the opposite sex....
      Some would argue that the Bible condemns homosexuality, but I believe (through the persistence of science) this behavior will be proven to result from natural genetic variation.  One can draw on the example of retarded people who by no action of their own are born comparatively slow or deficient in mental, physical, or emotional growth.
      Homosexual people are therefore entitled to engage in sexual behavior consistent with their genetic makeup so long as it is between consenting adults. To deny them this right would be the same as denying heterosexuals their right to consensual sex.
      Some would argue that sexuality is strictly for the purpose of reproduction, but yet the animal kingdom has many variations of species who also cannot reproduce.
      Human beings are sexual beings, as was intended by their creator, and to suggest that a genetic variation of nature somehow makes homosexuals less human is indeed an inhuman concept.

Joe Bialek
Cleveland, Ohio


Wants Wesley Clark to Run

The ONLY candidate who can debate and BEAT the resident of the White House, I believe, is Wesley Clark. His credentials WOULD impress the electorate if they were allowed to hear them. What should people do to accomplish a mission as great as this is?

Norma Hosea




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This story was published on July 12, 2003.
  
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