Letters to the Editor

(August 11, 2008)


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Criticizing the Electorate: Gilles d'Aymery's Blips #71

To the Editor:

I can only hope that our divided, distracted, diverted populace does something other than electing one of the corporate shills currently running. We've had over 200 years to create a truly representative government, and still we remain stuck with a corporate power structure that has run us -- the People -- into the ditch YET AGAIN! Let's do something different this time...

Vote Sanity, Vote Nader!

In these uncertain times our culture, both nationally and globally, yearns for security. In the global relationships that have been evolving through manipulation of power and economics, no one with influence has included the ethical standards that should guide, either individually or collectively, the path of our species. I am not expecting a savior. I expect the species to evolve past individual pursuits of fame and fortune, to a point of working together for the benefit of our collective existence, of both the species and planet.

The best way I can think of it is to display an example that can be shown to the world, an example of fair and just consideration of people and planet, which should start with the most influential nation, the United States, settling on standards and ethics that embody the core values we should all share. We need to stop the competition for riches, power, control, and strive to make this environment suitable for future generations to thrive and grow. No quest for power, corporate control, no competition to be greater than another. We need to hold ourselves to a higher standard.

One way to avoid living in this corporate controlled culture is to vote for someone who rails against that control. Ralph Nader has ALWAYS pursued that end for the benefit of the Constitution, and all of the people in this country. I'm not proud to be an American, but I'm shocked by how this country has ignored the transformation to ignorance. Dwight Eisenhower tried to warn us: control of this country is no longer the People's -- if we don't vote our conscience now, when will we? We, as a people, should display a society that believes in and promotes fairness and justice in this country as an example for other governments to emulate.

This is America's responsibility.

Beware the military-industrial-corporate complex.

Once again, Vote Sanity, Vote Nader!

Tim Matthews
Blue Lake, California, USA - July 28, 2008


Incrementalism at Work

To the Editor:

The consensus of my few smart friends I dare to share your Naderism with is that you may be able to beat a dead horse but you can't get breathe life into him. They feel, as you must have heard from others you regard as imbeciles, that Nader cost the Dems the victories in Florida, leading to lots of bodies, billions and worse. In the greater scheme of things we face the same to you unfair dilemma today. If Nader prevails in any significant way he will be responsible for another White House idiocy and Supreme Court meltdown. The name of the political game, as Adlai Stevenson once opined to me, is triage. That is why the road to hell is paved with righteous ineffectuals, why some captains would rather go down with their ships than on their stewardesses. As an old activist who took on McCarthy and the movement to let blacks buy houses in this area, I know how it is to fight for seemingly lost causes, so all I can do is wish you luck but agree with my friends that you are spinning your wheels and if you get any traction, will further fuck up the next 4 years... This is not, alas, the best of all possible worlds. Indignation is admirable, but suicide sucks. Suicide while dragging others along for the final ride, is worse. Woulda, shoulda is not Hume Hegel. Other voices deserve a hearing, of course. Mine, my friends', yours.

Art Shay
Chicago, Illinois, USA - July 28, 2008


Wrong Names! Gilles d'Aymery's Blips #71

Hey Monsieur d'Aymery,

Sorry to have to tell you that your choice of Katrina vanden Heuvel and Stephen Zunes as examples of Lib-Labs to be ignored was rather poor. The Nation's publisher and editor has a pure-bred lineage from the East Coast Establishment. Her daddy was an executive assistant of William Joseph Donovan, a Republican known as the "father" of the CIA. He later became an assistant to Robert Kennedy and also worked in the Carter administration, none of the above lib-lab paragons to say the least. Furthermore, he is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, that repository of the Establishment's greatest minds!!! Daughter Katrina is also a member of the CFR, as well as a jester on various TeeVee shows. Not exactly what you had in mind, I suppose. (By the way, I did not invent these facts. Just go and browse Wikipedia.)

As to poor Stephen...you're going to hurt his genteel feelings. He's written dozens of articles criticizing Kerry in 2004 and more recently Nancy Pelosi and the shameful democrats in Congress. I'd be very surprised if he were to advocate openly a vote for Obama -- though I suspect that he may end up voting for the lesser-evil. But he's not really a Lib-Lab as you define that muddy species.

Would you happen to have some other names in mind?

Allez, bon vent. Give 'em hell.

Alouette Arouet
Paris, France - August 3, 2008
Gilles d'Aymery responds: I'd agree on the second account. Zunes has actually written to me that he was not advocating voting for Barack Obama. My bad. But The Nation's lady, while certainly a member of the Establishment, does fit my definition of a Lib-Lab -- someone who believes that "capitalism can be changed by using capitalism." Or, maybe like Barney Frank, she considers herself a capitalist too. She seems to have little regard for the flagrant inequalities and poverty that besieged the country.

Other names? Try en vrac: Amy Goodman, Michael Moore, Bill Moyers, Amiri Baraka, Bill Greider, Greg Palast, Jim Hightower, Bob Kuttner, Tim Robbins, Eric Alterman, Todd Gitlin, Susan Sarandon, Markos Moulitsas Zúniga, Doug Ireland, Harry Levine, Tom Hayden, Leo Casey, Paul Loeb, James Ridgeway, Norman Solomon, Ted Glick, Ronnie Dugger, David Corn, Marc Cooper, Nathan Newman, Bill Fletcher, Carl Davidson, and the execrable Katha Pollitt. Is this enough? I could easily add a few more!


Considerably amused by "Critical Scholar": Michael Barker's The Soros Media "Empire": The Power of Philanthropy to Engineer Consent

Dear Editor:

It is with considerable amusement that I read the paper by Michael Barker on George Soros's "media empire."

I was particularly enlightened to note Mr. Barker's views on the role of my own organization, the International Relations and Security Network, as a magnet for "democracy manipulators" such as the Council on Foreign Relations and the International Crisis Group.

Mr. Barker would do well to learn a few writing basics before penning nonsense of this nature. In the first instance, I would advise him to observe the principle of academic objectivity. It's a simple rule, really; one that can make or break a budding academic career.

A call to my office asking for my take on his opinions would have been a sensible place to start. I note, however, that none of the institutes or individuals slurred in his article were approached for a comment or a quote.

Had he made the effort, I would have been happy to let him know that a growing percentage of the traffic to our Web site comes from developing countries where democracy is weak, threatened or non-existent -- an argument that would probably have been lost on Mr. Barker as the theory of "false consciousness" remains the preferred opiate of left-wing academics.

Alas, it would appear that vitriol against the amorphous "global power elite" is a far greater catalyst to Mr. Barker's academic ambitions than the truth. No surprise there. His brand of activism is symptomatic of much that is wrong with academia in the 21st century.

I suspect that Mr. Barker won't be doing much to grow the "genuinely alternative media systems" he speaks of, but rather continue to play the part of the "critical scholar." It's much easier to be sure, and requires far less effort or sacrifice. No surprises there either.


Chris Pallaris
Executive Editor
International Relations and Security Network (ISN)
Center for Security Studies (CSS)
Zurich, Switzerland - August 7, 2008


American Friendly Police

To the Editor:

"The Heat," Kenneth Rexroth's penetrating examination of the American police, has just been added to the BPS Web site -- http://www.bopsecrets.org/rexroth/essays/police.htm

The original publication of this article (in the July 1967 Playboy) apparently caused Rexroth to be fired from three different jobs, including his position as columnist for the San Francisco Examiner.

Ken Knabb
"Making petrified conditions dance by singing them their own tune."
Berkeley, California, USA - July 29, 2008


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Published August 11, 2008
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