Letters to the Editor

(September 8, 2008)


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Muzzling President Carter's Voice at the Democratic National Convention in Denver, CO

To the Editor:

In watching and listening to the recent Democratic Party convention activities I could not help but be struck but an astonishing fact. I was hours listening by radio and television. I saw a brief clip showing the arrival at the convention of former President and Mrs. Jimmy Carter. But as to a speaking opportunity for Carter at the convention: Nada, zilch, zero! Imagine: unless I missed something somewhere along the way, a former Democratic Party president of the United States not even been given a moment to address the convention of his own party!

Here is a man who after leaving office busied himself with building houses for poor people around the world and inserting his peacemaking and charitable activities into every corner of the globe. These activities have been fully equivalent in my opinion to the activities which won Al Gore his well-deserved Nobel Prize. I'm even a contributor to Carter's present organization which I find highly worthy. And for him to be treated so shabbily by his own party I find disgraceful.

Of course I well suspect the reasons for this neglect. First of all, he lost the 1980 election to Ronald Reagan in the midst of our previous energy crisis. But more important I suspect has been his recent book on the Middle East in which he attempted to level up the playing field between the Palestinians and the Israelis. Heaven forbid that the Democratic Party should risk offending its possible Jewish supporters by featuring prominently in prime or any other time a celebrated politician of its own party who has sought to put into a more equitable perspective the problems besetting a sore spot of world politics.

(If there was a moment during the convention which I simply missed during which Carter spoke then I take it all back. But did he?)

Isidor Saslav
Overton, Texas, USA - August 29, 2008

[ed. President Carter's speech was indeed canceled by the organizers.]


Comrade Joe Biden: Gilles d'Aymery's Could I Support Obama Instead Of Nader?

To the Editor:

Further to Gilles d'Aymery's commentary about Obama and Biden, not only is Biden a war hawk but he was instrumental in backing the infamous bankruptcy bill. Please note the following piece by Jackson Williams on Huffingtonpost.com:

"Joe Biden: No True Friend of Working Men and Women."

Ivana Edwards
New York City, NY, USA - August 25, 2008


Better with the Democrats? Michael Doliner's The Situation In Georgia As I See It

To the Editor:

I'd like to respond to Michael Doliner's commentary. Doliner writes:

"The dithering and blustering and absolute idiocy of the Bush administration is dangerous because the Bushies are too stupid to notice that the Russians are talking seriously, like adults, and mean what they say. They are not going to talk to Saakashvili. If we continue to shore him up there will be no peace. If there is no peace the U.S. cannot rearm Georgia, for that would be an act of war against Russia."

Those of us who, like him, are exasperated by the foreign policy decisions of the Bush Administration may be looking for some improvement in the event that the Democrats take over in January; but the best clue we have as to how a President Obama would respond to international flare-ups is signaled by his choice for a running mate. Check out Joe Biden's statement after returning from Georgia on August 18th:

"I left the country convinced that Russia's invasion of Georgia may be the one of the most significant event to occur in Europe since the end of communism. The claims of Georgian atrocities that provided the pretext for Russia's invasion are rapidly being disproved by international observers, and the continuing presence of Russian forces in the country has severe implications for the broader region. The war that began in Georgia is no longer about that country alone. It has become a question of whether and how the West will stand up for the rights of free people throughout the region. The outcome there will determine whether we realize the grand ambition of a Europe that is whole, free, and at peace."

Biden went to Georgia and, during his visit, he met with Georgia President Mikheil Saakashvili; Georgian Prime Minister Lado Gurgenidze; Georgian Parliamentary Speaker David Bakradze; U.S. Ambassador to Georgia John Tefft and spoke via phone with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. (According to a report in TIME.) Did he meet with South Ossetia's president Eduard Kokoity or Abkazian's president Sergei Bagapsh? He most certainly did not and this neglect signifies a fumbled chance for a diplomatic solution with input from the USA. Of course in order to effect such a solution we would have to do something other than demonize the Russians.

Add Biden's Georgia comments to the speech he made on August 27th when he accepted the Democratic nomination for Vice President:

"As we gather here tonight, our country is less secure and more isolated than at any time in recent history. The Bush-McCain foreign policy has dug us into a very deep hole with very few friends to help us climb out. For the last seven years, this administration has failed to face the biggest forces shaping this century: the emergence of Russia, China and India as great powers; the spread of lethal weapons; the shortage of secure supplies of energy, food and water; the challenge of climate change; and the resurgence of fundamentalism in Afghanistan and Pakistan, the real central front against terrorism. In recent days, we've once again seen the consequences of this neglect with Russia's challenge to the free and democratic country of Georgia. Barack Obama and I will end this neglect. We will hold Russia accountable for its actions, and we'll help the people of Georgia rebuild.

"I've been on the ground in Georgia, Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan, and I can tell you in no uncertain terms: this administration's policy has been an abject failure. America cannot afford four more years of this."

Biden's critique of the Bush administration is that they're not tough enough on Russia! Biden's 'tough talk' made him the man Obama wanted for a running mate. The Republicans and Democrats are striving against each other to demonstrate which ones have a more simplistic grasp of the situation. Professor Doliner wrote a nice piece -- but if a candidate for office had written it, s/he wouldn't have a chance to win an election in today's political climate.

Paul Bradford
Belmont, Massachusetts, USA - August 25, 2008


Magistral Screw-up: Gilles d'Aymery's Blips #72

To the Editor:

As an unwitting American, (I'm stuck with it), how many times do we have to go down this road? We have had numerous financial crises since the establishment of this nation and they have all been caused by the quest for easy money. Don't misunderstand my attitude, but we're running out of time, excuses, and patience. Most financial crises have been cured with the economic remedy of war, (which corporations have profited from, every time), but war is a failed policy for the public, not corporations. The populace in this country are manipulated by most things new and shiny, and are diverted from the more serious issues of fouling our nest, desecration of our home, let's face it folks, there is nowhere to run when we screw this environment up (no matter what the space agencies say), so let's start paying attention to idealists, like Ralph Nader, and take control of our planet and culture and provide an environment suitable for the survival of future generations.

We're pissing it away, folks.

Tim Matthews
Planetary Citizen
Blue Lake, California, USA - August 25, 2008


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Published September 8, 2008
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