(September 22, 2008)
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Wishing the Fed and Treasury Would Bail Swans Out Too!
The Swans donations page says Swans got $5,090 in donations last year, and $120 so far in 2008. Have you not updated that page for a while or are donations that much off last year? I guess everyone is sending their checks to Obama, ha ha.
In a week or two I am paying a medical bill that is larger than two thirds of what you received in donations last year. I will then file a health insurance claim and see if they fight tooth and nail to give me back a fraction of that like they have done sometimes in the past. At my company we have an HMO. We also have another company which is a "health advocate." The health advocate knows the ins and outs of HMOs, and will deal with paperwork and BS from the HMO -- the last time the HMO didn't want to pay for a bill the health advocate straightened it out. Which I was happy about, but it has gotten to the point where my company had to hire a company just to deal with the red tape and bureaucracy of the HMO. And the Republicans (and almost all Democrats) talk about the bureaucracy of single payer where as Gramm said in Sicko "You might wind up talking to a bureaucrat instead of a doctor." Which is what I am spending time doing now anyhow.
I'm in New York City. Bear Stearns just collapsed, Lehman Brothers filed bankruptcy a few hours ago and other banks and so on are collapsing left and right. I don't work in the financial sector any more thankfully but hopefully I won't be laid off in the next week either.
You have a lot of stuff on Yugoslavia. You know what I'd like to know about -- the left, liberal/left, left/left infighting about Yugoslavia during the NATO thing. Michael Parenti was knocking Chomsky a while ago on C-SPAN in 2003 because he said Chomsky was too hard on Serbia. Parenti also knocked Cockburn about this as well in writing. Chomsky has knocked liberal interventionists about this. I'd love to read a summary about the various factions on the "left" (or so-called left for some of them) and what their positions were. I wouldn't even mind writing it, but I don't have the time, right now anyhow. Maybe if I were laid off! But then I would be broke.
So anyhow, how have donations been this year? I am anticipating a health insurance check in the weeks ahead, and if it actually comes and I am still employed, I can probably send a small piece of it to Swans and some other worthy publications and organizations. So how have donations been so far this year?
Oh also, I get busy and my check isn't coming for some weeks, so I might not respond right away if you reply. If you reply and don't hear back for several weeks, just send another e-mail out as I can miss it as well -- this e-mail account gets Proyect's list, the Progressive Economists list, and a bunch of other mailing lists sent to it; so mails can get lost in the flood sometimes.
New York, New York, USA - September 15, 2008
[ed. Sadly, we do keep the donation page updated. What the result demonstrates is that few people care about Swans and our work -- or they appreciate getting it for free... Want to donate and help us? Pretty simple: Here it is. You do as you ought to do so long as you are a reader.]
Am I Wasting my Vote? Vote for Sanity!
To the Editor:
If you ask yourself this question, as I have, then an examination of the reasons for our involvement in the political process is in order. Like most Americans, I matured during the past thirty years being a protester against unjust wars, being aware of the military-industrial complex Dwight Eisenhower warned of in his farewell address in 1961. But his warnings were and are overshadowed by our current and evolving crises. The combined weight of these concerns has distracted us from the true calling of "The Will of the People," drawing our attention from the intended purpose of our Constitution, our "inalienable rights," the blind pursuit of the good life, which has diverted our collective attention from the basic duty of stewards of our environment, the succeeding generations, the comfort and survival of our home, of our planet. The argument continues, but don't kid yourself, global warming is real -- it is at the very least, influenced by man.
We need to consider the path being followed, the price of distraction, the consequence we are being faced with. I realize the tone of this comment is supposed to be primarily political, but it is much broader than that. We are approaching the point that if we allow business as usual to continue, we are rolling the dice, and risking our future.
The political process of our country is one place to start, our involvement in world affairs, the corporate influence and control that seems to be directing our path, which I hope will change. The pursuit of individual fame and fortune can't continue, the millions of dollars that it takes to gain political office are funded by corporate means, and if corporate funds are accepted, strings ARE attached.
My point is this; when we truly tire of manipulation, political or corporate, tire of our faux democracy, tire of the two-party lock on our choices, tire of the wallet gouging by greedy businesses, tire of the relentless bickering by a public in denial that searches for a scapegoat, achieve enlightenment and then vote our conscience, act on our sense of just and fair social behavior, then we will be voters, not politicians.
Until then, I hope we don't turn a blind eye and vote for McPalin or O'Biden, and Vote Sanity, Vote Nader.
Blue Lake, California, USA - September 16, 2008
Objective Reporting on Tibet
To the Editor:
Thank you very much for your article about Tibet. I grew up in China and I certainly have my earful of my government's version. The current media reports are also biased. Your report gives me a more factual understanding. I am glad China has lifted that cruel system and hope that we (the Chinese government, Tibet people, and Chinese people) will make Tibet a better place. As for the Dalai Lama, he can stay in America and enjoy the luxuries paid by American taxpayers.
Laguna Niguel, California, USA - September 9, 2008
From Meyerhold to Jimmy Carter, and GWB's Guantánamo
To the Editor:
In reading Charles Marowitz's article on Meyerhold I couldn't help but notice the parallel between the Soviet stage directors' conference of 1939 at which the press was completely silent on Meyerhold's speech (to be followed by his execution) and the recent Democratic Party Convention that silenced Jimmy Carter. (See last letter.) It's a good thing that the series of concentration camps once advocated back in the 1960s by that other arch-Democrat Hubert Humphrey never got put in place. Otherwise they'd have had a place to send Carter. Come to think of it GWB has already got that series of Gulag locations started with Guantánamo. Where will they put the next one?
Overton, Texas, USA - September 12, 2008
A Diverse, Non-Sectarian Antiwar Coalition
To the Editor:
Someone just sent me Gilles d'Aymery's excellent article on the antiwar movement, "A Rudderless, Co-opted Antiwar 'Movement'" (June 2007). You might be interested in a new book I've just assembled with Murray Polner, We Who Dared to Say No to War: American Antiwar Writing from 1812 to Now (Basic Books, 2008). Murray's on the left and I'm on the right. Our contributors are all over the map. We're trying to foster precisely the kind of diversity the antiwar movement, such as it is, currently lacks.
Here's a little piece about it:
Auburn, Alabama, USA - September 18, 2008
LOVE is Pouring in! Gilles d'Aymery's Behind The Curtain Of Ron Paul's Disciples
To the Editor:
Without being too wordy, I wanted to comment on your article.
I regret you found the glass half empty rather than half full. From what I saw on C-SPAN I did not find the "Rally for the Republic" perfect either. However, I didn't find as much to criticize as you did.
No, the Ron Paul movement is not perfect, but it seems to me to be generally in favor of minimizing threats (laws), force (law enforcement) and confiscation (taxation) in our society, a worthy goal in my book. Am I to understand that you would favor more of those things rather than less? Do you support and sanction more, greater and more costly government as long as your faction (whatever that is) dominates it?
I'm a bit uncertain where you stand. You were certainly critical, but what do you favor and advocate?
I am a bit offended by your unkind descriptions such as "insipid" and "colorless" and "debased." You must know that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Perhaps you might consider a bit more kindness and developing some empathy. You may be a very nice person, but you certainly don't sound like one in your writing. Perhaps you're just unhappy you don't have the hammer of government in your hand. (I don't want it in mine OR ANYONE ELSE'S.)
By the way, would not "publicly funded health care" also be accurately characterized as "health care funded through involuntary confiscations?" Yes, or no? (For the record, I do not personally sanction involuntary confiscations for anything, in the event you were wondering. It certainly sounds as if you do, along with most Americans who live under the illusion that "might makes right" and "the end justifies the means" are moral and effective in achieving goals.)
By the way, you might want to reconsider bashing the 18th century as compared with the 21st. You may be wearing rose colored glasses and/or perhaps you just don't consider pain and loss that you don't feel personally. Human nature has not advanced or even changed from that time to this. Whenever government (a societal monopoly upon the initiation of force) is greater and more consolidated and able, mankind suffers. I see force and threats, whether institutional or individual, as the problem not the solution, as you seem to do.
The most curious claim you make is that you view Ron Paul as a demagogue who would love to become the American Petain? You must not leap to such slander without some kind of explanation. That was totally uncalled for and inaccurate. What have I missed? How, how, how is he a demagogue? He seems to me to be a bottom up rather than a top down sorta guy, a guy in favor or no one having coercive power. What do you know that I don't? Or were you just ranting?
Gilles, I hope I've not been ugly or unkind here. I did not mean to be. I apologize is you felt I have been. I just found your article to be unfair and inaccurate and, if you truly believe Ron Paul and his movement are so awful and counterproductive, what would you consider positive and good...seriously!
Richmond, Virginia, USA - September 8, 2008
Deep, Profound LOVE... Gilles d'Aymery's Behind The Curtain Of Ron Paul's Disciples
To the Editor:
You have made a critical error!!! You have labeled all these people as right-wing conservative wackos without even considering the truth. These people have assembled for a true cause. But you have no idea what that cause is. Your opinion comes from the Mainstream Media and I do not think that you have the ability to think for yourself. You are too concerned with being politically correct a concept only found in brainwashed writers/editors as yourself. If you knew how millions of Americans have supported Ron Paul you may not have put him and all his supporters down with your nonsense of Mainstream Media Political Correctness. Ron Paul is a true Statesman that stands up for the American people and turns down big money from lobbyists. Why don't you give Ron Paul a chance to save the Republic? You are naive to think Obama even has a chance, McCain is going to be the next president and Ron Paul was our only hope. May God Bless you, you piece of shit.
Kent Alexander Davis
San Diego, California, USA - September 8, 2008
Doom on the Horizon: Gilles d'Aymery's Behind The Curtain Of Ron Paul's Disciples
To the Editor:
You Totally Missed The Idea Of The Event.
As Long As Ron Paul Is Allowed To Speak The RE-Education OF America Will Continue.
Why Would Anyone Advocate That Someone Speaking Truth To Issue Be Silenced And Want Them To "Go Away."
Fools And Their Rights Are Soon Parted.
To Assume Benevolence IS Foolish.
Debate Is The Distillation OF Reality.
The Only Difference Between The Dems And The Repubs Is What They Say Not In What They Do. They Are Both Members Of The Money Party.
Current Events Reek Of Police State And Destruction Of The Fiat Money System.
Only Fools Keep Doing The Same Thing Expecting Different Results.
Choose Substance Over Symbolism. There Are Many Fronts And Many Battle Fields. Anyone Working For A Return Toward The Constitution Is An Ally.
There Is Doom On The Horizon. Choose To Look And Confront It Or Look The Other Way And Enjoy The Last Days.
There Is No Hope In Inaction.
War With Iran IS Coming And With It The Slippery Slope To War With Russia. Do Not Be So Foolish As To Expect Russia To Let The US Control Over 60% Of The Worlds Oil Interests.
When Your Cities Are Glassed Remember Those Who Cried Out; Those That You Chastised For Their Vocal Dissention.
Apache Junction, Arizona, USA - September 8, 2008
Polite Discourse at Long Last: Gilles d'Aymery's Behind The Curtain Of Ron Paul's Disciples
Dear Mr. d'Aymery,
I would think that the diversity profile at the Rally for the Republic speaks to the *inclusive* nature of the Ron Paul Revolution, rather than to an "exclusive" nature.
Was the American Revolution "negative" and "exclusive"? Certainly for many it was...
Many "white supremacists" like the idea of small government for a variety of reasons. It is illogical to denigrate Ron Paul because his small government platform appeals to some of these unsavory people. For example, just because Adolf Hitler believed in a strong military does not make one wicked by association for also believing in a strong military. A strong military can be used for good by moral people. The fact that some unsavory people like Ron Paul does not make his platform and philosophy illegitimate.
Ron Paul is not "anti-immigrant." He has said publicly that these people are political "scapegoats." He believes in legal immigration and border security.
It seems very difficult for people who have not studied a little economics to comprehend how governments meddling in markets and taxing-and-spending through corrupt and inefficient bureaucracies undermine the social welfare of so many lower and middle class citizens, at the expense of large corporations and ruthless politicians.
It seems very difficult by people that are so conditioned to the presence of a behemoth self-serving government to imagine that property rights enforced by moral courts through civil litigation is an elegant and powerful solution to restoration and prevention of environmental damages, rather than to expect bureaucrats to solve the problems.
Ron Paul has said a number of times that "the freedom message brings us together, it doesn't divide us." I think it is a profound and beautiful thing that diverse individuals have a common passion for the Law of the Land that is disregarded and destroyed on a daily basis by a government that is no longer answerable to the People and the politicians who enable and participate.
The U.S. Constitution was intended to provide a level playing field, a right to one's liberty and a method to suppress the rise of tyrannies. Not to be a charter for an encroaching nanny or police state.
Most people who believe strongly in Ron Paul are not extremists or weirdoes. They are not typically wealthy. But they are willing to accept the encumbrance of self-reliance for the right to be free from government. 1.2 million people voted for him in the primaries. Voter turnout is much lower in primaries than general elections. There must be many more like-minded individuals.
Thank you for taking the time to write an article about Ron Paul and the movement of his legions.
Oakland, California, USA - September 9, 2008
Friendly Dissent: Gilles d'Aymery's Behind The Curtain Of Ron Paul's Disciples
To the Editor:
Hi Gilles and Jan. I know it's been forever since I wrote you, but I am not a writer. I read Gilles's article about the Ron Paul Campaign for Liberty and I'm worried about Gilles. I have supported Ralph Nader in 1996, Y2K, and was a registered electoral voter for Nader in 2004. I have met Nader many, many times. I not only was a Road Warrior for Nader, I hosted one of the first Meetup groups for Nader. It was free back then! I have contributed to Nader this election and thanks to both of you, I have a Nader-Gonzalez bumper sticker on my car. Nader is on the ballot and I plan to vote for him, but I would have preferred to vote for Ron Paul. Like Ralph Nader, Ron Paul is an "Unreasonable Man." Come to think of it, maybe you too Gilles, are an unreasonable man? You see no LOVE in the Ron Paul Campaign For Liberty, Gilles? What you saw was a conservative collective OPPOSED to Bush and the Neocon agenda for a New World Order. You want to call it conspiracy theory. Fine. But that doesn't mean you are correct. These conservatives cut down Bush better than YOU do. What does that tell me Gilles? You are supporting Nader for what reason? Nader has joined the rEVOLution. The LOVE, Gilles, is what YOU bring to the table!!! OPEN YOUR HEART. OPEN YOUR MIND. That's where the LOVE is Gilles. I do LOVE you. I think you're wonderful, and I LOVE Jan -- you're too lucky to have her, she's beautiful, witty, open, honest... What pleasure I had the day we met. A Beautiful day! Let's do it again with the LOVE our leaders, Ron Paul for me, Nader for you and me, have united with. In case you didn't know, today Ron Paul took the rest of the money he had from his campaign and had a press conference inviting Cynthia McKinney (Green Party), Chuck Baldwin (Constitution Party), and Ralph Nader (Independent). Ralph was great!
Love, because there's NO rEVOLution without it.
Fort Bragg, California, USA - September 10, 2008
Poujadistas: Gilles d'Aymery's Behind The Curtain Of Ron Paul's Disciples
Hey Monsieur d'Aymery,
Rather than the Maréchal it seems to me that a better analogy would be to compare Dr. No to Pierre Poujade. Poujadists, Paulists, même combat!
Allez, bon vent. Give 'em hell.
Paris, France - September 15, 2008
Conflating What Cannot be Conflated: Gilles d'Aymery's Behind The Curtain Of Ron Paul's Disciples
To the Editor:
As for your take on the Ron Paul rally, I don't know much about it and don't care, but the federal government is the cancer that's killing this country. Anybody, and I mean ANYBODY, who would vote for candidates for federal office, including Nader, is a contemptible a**hole who is helping to pound the last nails into this country's coffin. I defy you or anybody else to point out one malady seriously impacting this country that can't be traced back to the federal government, including 9/11. Give me some evidence that this country even needs this pestilence in DC.
You call Jessie Ventura's talk about 9/11 a "conspiracy rant." You would obviously refer to him as spouting "conspiracy theories." Well, Mr. Mental Battleship, for starters, what would you call a story about people with boxcutters (!) plotting to fly hijacked airliners into buildings - hmm?
After 7 years, any person who still believes this idiotic, physically impossible mountain of fairy tales about Arabs who don't even show up on boarding videos is dumber than an ocean of s***.
Bozeman, Montana, USA - September 17, 2008
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