Swans Commentary: Letters to the Editor - letter184



Letters to the Editor

(February 8, 2010)


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In Search of Michael Doliner's Articles

To the Editor:

I have been trying to bring up some of Michael Doliner's older articles without success. Don't you have an archive that we can access?


Bill Halton
Ithaca, New York, USA - January 26, 2010

[ed. Michael Doliner's pieces can be found in the archives by author and by date. The archives by author should be the easiest way to find him. His first article was published in 2003, as an occasional contributor. In 2004, he is listed as another columnist. From 2005 on, he his listed under his own name.]


FDR Free Ride? Gilles d'Aymery's Beginnings With No Known End

To the Editor:

Intriguing piece Gilles d'Aymery wrote. May I ask him if he thinks FDR gets a free ride for being progressive and sensitive to the little guy, even though the Japanese-American internment camps operated on his watch? I mean, did he have the authority to stop them? Was this method of internment someone else's baby in the American 1940s?


Steve Shay
Seattle, Washington - January 24, 2010
Gilles d'Aymery responds:

a) Whether "FDR gets a free ride for being progressive and sensitive to the little guy" has been discussed and analyzed by many historians. Some say FDR was looking after the little people, others assert that he was essentially uncaring beside saving the order of the day, capitalism, and his own wealthy class. I'll let you choose. My take is that he was somewhat in between two hard rocks. He meant well for the little guys and wanted to keep the system going -- the alternative was socialism...a system he loathed.

b) The Japanese-American internment camps were a decision he signed on to. I do not know whether he ordered it, but he definitely signed on to the policy.

c) "Did [FDR] have the authority to stop them? Was this method of internment someone else's baby in the American 1940s?" FDR had the obvious power to stop the policy. US presidents have gathered enormous powers ever since the birth of the nation. For this, please read the latest on the subject:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/24/books/review/Isaacson-t.html ("Who Declares War?" by Walter Isaacson, Sunday Book Review, The New York Times, January 21, 2010.)

The method of internment chosen by the FDR administration was nothing new. Please go back to the internment of native peoples. The trends are unmistakable. There was -- and there is -- no other culprit ("someone else's baby"). Power reigned, as it does today. Whether FDR or Obama, the end result is how to control the masses and how to divert home attention by directing hoi poloi to the dangers abroad.

FDR did a good job to save the status quo.

All the best.
Gilles d'Aymery


Jean-Claude Seine, Art Shay, Obama, and the coming French Tea Partiers

Hey Monsieur d'Aymery,

Jean-Claude Seine's photo journal is a keeper -- magnificent and sensitive depictions of an era long gone. Whether your American audience can appreciate the genius of Seine is another story. Perhaps you could translate the text accompanying the superb photos that rival those of Art Shay, the other excellent photojournalist whose pics grace the pages of Swans. While Shay has often chronicled a more notorious crowd with rich and colorful details, Seine's focus is the working class and its long struggle for a better world -- a struggle increasingly under siege, a class decimated by the forces of reaction... The contrast between the two photographers could not be more obvious. I hardly imagine Art Shay ending a piece with Prolétaire réveille toi !

Which make me think that your 2009 Year-End Review, The First Obama Year, should be required reading in all classrooms in America and elsewhere. It's the most concise and eloquent contextual aperçu of the mess 40 years of neolib/neocon reactionary politics have bequeathed to the world. No surprise that Marx is becoming kosher again, at least on my side of the pond -- no Tea Partiers in France, at least as yet...though I'm sure Sarko is working hard to create such a nutty movement here too. Marine Le Pen, our modern-day Pierre Poujade en jupons! Schiller was right, "Against human stupidity, the gods themselves fight in vain."

Allez, bon vent.

Alouette Arouet
Paris, France - January 31, 2010


2010 Census Survey: Is the Census Senseless? Real Need or Imagined? Accurate or Riddled With Bigotry and Privacy Issues?

To the Editor:

Every 10 years we are told by our leadership that the census survey is on the way and that we must fill it out and return it post haste because it will improve government spending on various programs. The 2010 Census Survey will be sent out to Americans in March.

But, do these census surveys actually do what they are supposed to? Are they truly needed by our government to improve services and curb needless or wasteful expenditures?

In reality, survey questions seem intrusive, discriminatory and may do little for the proposed/supposed reasons they were created. Bottom-line, census surveys have privacy issues.

If REAL census surveys actually are required, the current ones should be revised and updated to reflect REAL needs by government for more honest determination of projected programs and other miscellaneous issues.

Make your own determination. To review the survey questions and other survey information online, go to:


Peter Stern
Driftwood, Texas, USA - February 5, 2010


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Published February 8, 2010
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