Letters to the Editor

(April 21, 2008)


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The Unrepresented American People: Gilles d'Aymery's Blips #68

Monsieur d'Aymery,

Thank you for mentioning "Thirty-Thousand.org" in your recent commentary (on the state of our "democracy," in your Blips #68).

Thirty-Thousand.org ( "TTO" ) presents a complicated topic that is not easy to explain and is difficult to understand! Very few people think about the size of the US House of Representatives and the consequences of maintaining an oligarchy. Moreover, people frequently do not recognize that this is a non-partisan cause.

The size of the US House of Representatives has been fixed at 435 Representatives ever since 1913 (except for a four-year period when it was temporarily increased to 437).

In 1929, this number (435) was made permanent by an act of Congress. During the debates preceding that act, Missouri Representative Ralph Lozier stated:
I am unalterably opposed to limiting the membership of the House to the arbitrary number of 435. Why 435? Why not 400? Why not 300? Why not 250, 450, 535, or 600? Why is this number 435 sacred? What merit is there in having a membership of 435 that we would not have if the membership were 335 or 535? There is no sanctity in the number 435 ... There is absolutely no reason, philosophy, or common sense in arbitrarily fixing the membership of the House at 435 or at any other number.
The challenge posed by Representative Lozier in 1928 is still valid: is 435 a sacrosanct number or should it be subject to debate?

The historical record shows that the Founding Fathers intended that the population of congressional districts never exceed 50,000. Today their average size is 700,000; by 2100 their average size will be 1.3 million. As a result, we no longer have federal Representatives that faithfully and honorably represent the interests of their constituents. We believe this to be the root cause of why our government has become "broken." This goes right to the heart of the principle "That to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed" (from the Declaration of Independence).

Moreover, as a result of "fixing" the size of our House of Representatives, some congressional districts are nearly twice as large as others and, consequently, our federal House is in egregious violation of the Constitutional principle of "one person one vote."

Related to this matter is the little-known fact that the very first amendment proposed in the U.S. Bill of Rights was never ratified. What was the purpose of that amendment? Why was it completely forgotten after being ratified by all but one state? Why does it contain an inexplicable mathematical defect? To learn more about this interesting subject, please read this story:
http://enlargethehouse.blogtownhall.com/default.aspx (note the links provided within the article).

A list of relevant articles is also provided at the bottom of this Web page:

An overview of this subject is also provided on the home page of http://www.thirty-thousand.org.

Feel free to contact me at quidamATthirty-thousand.org if you have any questions.

Jeff E. Quidam
Thirty-Thousand.org, Inc.
Dunwoody, Georgia, USA - April 7, 2008

[Ed. Readers should also look at the project Change Congress, created by Lawrence Lessig, a professor at Stanford Law School.]


Trust Congress to set up an Article V Convention and to obey the Constitution? Carol Warner Christen's Power, Profits, Propaganda Unbound

To the Editor:

My initial reaction to this heart-wrenching confession of a deeply saddened American was that I too was born in 1939 and I think that those of us who have a half century or more of witnessing first-hand the decline of America see so many ugly truths that the vast majority of Americans block from their consciousness -- because they are just too painful.

It is extremely difficult to maintain any optimism about fixing our nation. I urge Carol and other similarly saddened people to examine our effort at foavc.org to get Congress to obey the Constitution and give us our first Article V convention to consider constitutional amendments -- that the Founders anticipated would be needed when citizens lost trust in the federal government. We old folks know that that day has surely arrived, as the recent national poll that found 81 percent of Americans believing the nation is on the wrong track surely supports.

Further, we cannot elect our way out of our mess. Obama with all his fancy rhetoric never informs and educates the public that only through a number of constitutional amendments can we achieve truly fundamental political reforms.

Joel S. Hirschhorn
Chevy Chase, Maryland, USA - April 7, 2008


Both Kurt Vonnegut and Philip Greenspan had it Right!

To the Editor:

A reader keeps asking me what the message is in my writing. I tell him that I don't mess with those things. He looks unhappy. I think of telling him the old joke about Western Union delivering such stuff. But I decide not to. Too old, it will date me.

Messages pestages, I tell him instead. He looks insulted. I say to read our Phil Greenspan in Swans: "Terrorists, shmerrorists, it's all part of the rhetoric bullshit." (See " Rhetoric And Reality: Democracy And Hypocrisy," March 13, 2006.)

Kurt Vonnegut said in Timequake, "We are here on Earth to fart around. Don't let anybody tell you any different."

But he wrote Slaughterhouse-Five, the best American antiwar book ever.

Peter Byrne
Lecce, Italy - April 8, 2008


American Exceptionalism: Carol Warner Christen's Power, Profits, Propaganda Unbound

To the Editor:

The American people are just fine with this because they believe in American Exceptionalism: the very best people who came up with the very best society -- government -- economic system that ever existed on the face of this planet.

Well let me tell you something: unless we DROP this LIE entirely and EXTREMELY SOON, we, after the end of WW3, or the 2nd Coming of Christ, take your pick, we will be known as the very WORST people who created the very WORST society -- government -- economic system that ever existed on the face of this planet!

Ed Miessner
New Orleans, Louisiana, USA - April 17, 2008


Remember Peter Handke and Serbia? Gilles d'Aymery's The Peter Handke Controversy (May 2006)

To the Editor:

I wanted to thank Gilles d'Aymery for the article about Peter Handke. I had been surfing the Web for something about him, and had started to despair, seeing that most articles pro and con seemed to accept the idea that his support of the "Serbian Hitler" was some sort of artistic, or eccentric aberration. I remember back to those dark days corporate media demonisation of the Serbs; back before the declaration of the newly minted NATO narco-state, Kosovo, along with today's story of starving Haitians protesting in Port au Prince and being beaten back by UN troops protecting another US/UN installed narco state, not to mention the Afghan one, etc... I'd read this article in Global Research by Marjaleena Repo about the PR firm that was paid to sell the bombing campaign, the "hostile takeover" of a sovereign state by triumphant capitalism. I don't want to try your patience, but I'd like to attach this portion of the article at the end. Myself, living in North America, I had to suffer through the breast beating of the caviar left, the likes of Susan Sontag bleating about "rape camps" and other apologists of empire like Ignatieff, the Orwellian constructs like "humanitarian bombing," Yugoslav plants bombed to make way for Mercedes, Frankfort School philosophers mugged by Heidegerean nihilists in the universities, along with the return of pop sociobiology and the other intellectual trappings of soft totalitarianism. From the article in Global Research:
The pack-journalism over the last ten years has also succeeded in hoodwinking many Canadians into thinking that what is at stake is the good-riddance of a Serbian Hitler who has attempted a "final solution" of sorts on assorted ethnic groups in Yugoslavia. A lot of well-intentioned people are cheering the bombing of yet another pariah nation into the Stone Age. With the accumulated effects of media rumour-mongering and willful disinformation, who can blame these folks for their barely controlled blood thirst? After all, because Hitler wasn't stopped in time, millions perished in concentration camps, goes the heart-felt argument.

Yet the labelling of Yugoslavia's Serb leaders as Hitlers -- and the Serbs themselves as brutal, subhuman monsters -- is a familiar trick from recent history. It has been perpetuated by the various hired hands, PR firms, who have worked overtime for the various ethnic groups pushing for secession which would utterly destroy the once well-functioning, multi-ethnic Yugoslavian federation and replace it with small nation-states which ethnically cleansed themselves (Croatia, for instance, expelled between 500,000 and a million Serbs from its territory.) The media has merely carried the message of these "hidden hands" of the Balkan conflict.

The world was shocked to find out that a PR firm, Hill and Knowlton, had manufactured the "incubator babies" incident in Kuwait which precipitated the Gulf War: Iraqi soldiers ripping Kuwaiti babies out of incubators in a genocidal fashion. Phony eyewitnesses to this atrocity tearfully testified in front of US politicians and the media, adding to public support for the subsequent bombing of Iraq and contributing hugely to the demonization of the Iraqis, leaders and citizens alike. Even Amnesty International was taken in by the falsehood, which was later exposed as such, but only after the military damage was done.

Yet the shock of being duped soon wore off and gullibility returned. In no time another American PR firm, Ruder Finn, working for the Croatian and Bosnian separatists, publicly bragged that it had been able to turn world opinion against the Serbs. In April 1993 on French television, James Harff, the director of Ruder Finn, described his proudest public relations effort as having "managed to put Jewish opinion on our [Croatian and Bosnian] side." This was a "sensitive matter," he added, as "the Croatian and Bosnian past was marked by real and cruel anti-Semitism. Tens of thousands of Jews perished in Croatian camps... Our challenge was to reverse this attitude and we succeeded masterfully. At the beginning of July 1992, New York Newsday came out with the article on Serb camps. We jumped at the opportunity immediately. We outwitted three big Jewish organizations.... That was a tremendous coup. When the Jewish organizations entered the game on the side of the [Muslim] Bosnians we could promptly equate the Serbs with the Nazis in the public mind. Nobody understood what was happening in Yugoslavia.... By a single move, we were able to present a simple story of good guys and bad guys which would hereafter play itself. We won by targeting the Jewish audience. Almost immediately there was a clear change of language in the press, with the use of words with high emotional content such as ethnic cleansing, concentration camps, etc, which evoke images of Nazi Germany and the gas chambers of Auschwitz."

The PR firm was piling hoax upon hoax. The famous story of Serb concentration camps was built on a photo of a gaunt man surrounded by others, staring at the viewer from behind barbed wire; surely an image to chill one to the bones. It took years before a German journalist Thomas Deichman, in an article titled "The picture that fooled the world," described how the famous photo was staged by its takers, British journalists, who were photographing the inhabitants from inside barbed wire which was protecting agricultural products and machinery from theft in a refugee and transit camp; the men stood outside of it; and at no time was there a barbed-wire fence surrounding the camp. But by that time the image had done its deed, terminally slamming the Serbs as genocidal mass murderers.

Douglas Winspear
Montreal, Quebec - April 9, 2008

Gilles d'Aymery responds:

Thank you, Mr. Winspear, to remind me and our readership of the latest example (before Iraq) of a world gone awry for the benefits of the oligarchy. I have written a lot about Handke and Yugoslavia. On Handke, please check "The Hanging Of Peter Handke From The Orthodox Gallows" and "Three Faces Of Ostracism." On Yugoslavia, you will need to peruse our archives. There are so many articles and essays that I cannot cite them all in this space. But one can write at his or her heart's content thanks to the First Amendment of the US Constitution; it does not mean that it is being read by the masses or acknowledged in the corporate media. Hence, Main Street, utterly uninformed and disinformed, remains clueless as the game keeps going unabated.

Thank you again for your input. It's a satisfying experience, emotionally at least, to see a tiny, tiny few people, walk the same untraveled path. Keep in touch, if you will.


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Published April 21, 2008
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