The authors of "Wordnapping Wreaks Havoc Upon Politics" in your 9/15/00 issue [Patrisia Gonzales and Roberto Rodriguez] are on the right track when they retake their terms from the opponent by labeling themselves "passionate conservatives." Instead of bemoaning wordnapping by the right, we need to work harder to co-opt our language right back, with just that same kind of witty twist. In fact, it might be good if we tried to create more vivid and metaphorically memorable terms ourselves, since they are a lot less easy to kidnap than abstract language like "special interests" or "collateral damage." We need to learn how to embed the kidnap prevention poison pill into the language to begin with, as did the inventor of "frankenfood." Then we'll be cooking, so to speak. For a few general rules of thumb on tweaking metaphors, check out the The Metaphor Project website: www.metaphorproject.org
SUSAN C. STRONG
May I suggest that if the Nader campaign would endorse and incorporate the Instant Runoff Voting system as part of its campaign they would assure many voters that they can vote their choice for Nader without giving the victory to Bush. Gore would win and the Green Party would get more than the 5% they seek.
The Progressive Populist should editorialize this fact and coalesce the voice of it's many columnists now individually extolling the IRV. I know we couldn't get IRV for this election, but the groundswell could carry over to a future success.
Better late than never,
Spring Valley, NY
Instant Runoff Voting is a majority system which does not solve the primary problem of American elections: the two-party duopoly. America needs a multiparty system which exists throughout the world where proportional representation (PR) is used. Under this system seats in the legislature are awarded in accord with the votes a party receives. Therefore if the Greens or the Reform party won 15% of the US House votes, for example, they would elect 65 members. The PR system not only results in minority party representation (as well as the majority), it also results in greater ethnic and women's representation.
The author of this letter is co-editor of Electoral Systems in Comparative Perspective: Their Impact on Women and Minorities and is adjunct professor of political science at the University of Nevada, Reno.
Editor's Note: the Green Party does support instant runoff voting, as well as proportional representation. For more on instant runoff voting and proportional representation, see page 20.
I largely agreed with what Ted Glick wrote in his article, "The Weakness of the Left" [9/15/00 PP]. But he leaves out, in my opinion, some of the most important factors for the "weakness of the Left."
He doesn't mention the gross empiricism which permeates the "Left" which leads so-called "Marxists" to vote for Gore (and before him Clinton) as a "lesser evil." This empiricism leads radicals to taking appointed positions in the labor bureaucracy -- the result is that they become part of the bureaucracy. These "practical" radicals are not educating anyone or organizing the rank and file. Their "radicalism" is an excuse to pursue political careers within the system.
There is also a huge theoretical weakness within the American "Left". (The "Left" in other countries actually discusses ideas ... ) But here the "Left" is stuck in some kind of time warp; for some it's 1917, for others its 1968. Rosa Luxemburg and Bukharin debated the nature of Imperialism and fought theoretically against Bernstein and Kautsky. Today, the "Left" denounces "neo-liberalism" because it is afraid to use the word "Imperialism" and Bernstein and Kautsky would, no doubt, be considered "ultra-left" by the current crop of opportunists.
Glick in his article advocates "serious study", which I agree with, but it's not enough. There's a daily class struggle always going on, which sometimes does not lead to strikes. But if we are not part of it, all "our study" will be monastic abstractions.
Most of the American "Left" sees that they can only do two things: vote or protest. In either case the system has the initiative and we try to respond. I suggest a Third Alternative: ORGANIZE . That's the only way out of the "Crisis of the "Left".
San Francisco, Calif.
In 1998, Americans paid $829 billion in personal income tax to the federal government of which $243 billion (30%) went to pay interest on the national debt.
Additionally, in that same year, Americans paid over one trillion dollars to insurers for health care coverage.
For their federal income tax dollars, our citizens received funds for a national defense; veterans and foreign affairs; physical, human and community development; law enforcement; and general government.
In contrast, for their health care dollars, they receive insurance that may or may not cover them in a system that ranks 37th in the world and which leaves over 44 million individuals uninsured and millions more underinsured.
Obviously, the most prudent and wise tax break would come from the reduction and elimination of the debt. However, George W. Bush and the Republicans continuously push for liberal tax breaks that will drain the treasury of surpluses.
Perhaps the Republicans want to save Americans money in taxes so they will have enough to pay for their ever-increasing health care costs.
Miami Springs, Fla.
CEOs of Firestone and Ford have apologized for the hundreds of people killed or wounded by insufficiently trustworthy tires mounted on insufficiently stable SUVs. Will apologies bring the dead back to life?
The US Supreme Court has, since a contrived 1886 decision, artificially adjudged such corporations to be "natural persons," eligible for all benefits and protections owed natural persons under the law.
However, when you and I (real natural persons) kill other (real natural persons), we are held responsible for the deaths; liable, at the very least, for manslaughter, even if the crime was accidental. This is how the above-named corporations, natural persons only in the eyes of the US Supreme Court, might have pleaded if they had acknowledged responsibility at the time of the first death and immediately recalled the defective tires.
Premeditated murder, for gain, is punishable by death in some states. The extreme penalty is more often awarded to those of least economic status. CEOs who knowingly allowed defective tires to be sold and mounted (both parties at fault) to avoid economic loss (which is economic gain), are guilty of murder, and need to be punished accordingly. CEOs receive enormous salaries and benefits and take the credit when their companies earn money. They deserve, no less, to receive proper punishment when their decisions, or decisions of employees under their charge, injure and kill the unwary purchasers of products they tacitly claim to be safe.
Since corporations receive special dispensations under the guise of being "natural persons," it is logical and just that they also accrue the penalties due natural persons who commit a crime. The guilty have publicly acknowledged responsibility for the crimes, by their apologies. The only relevant question now is, which jurisdiction will try, and punish, them?
If not held liable for these crimes, corporations are, ipso facto, not natural persons and must be ordered, by US Supreme Court reversal of precedent, to relinquish all benefits now claimed under that shield.
Prescott, Ariz., is an example of the true Republican inclusion of minorities. A month ago the city Human Resource Manager and City Attorney got a complaint from a supposedly gay man about two homophobic library employees expressing their hatred of him. The man was never contacted by the city regarding the matter. These two professionals ignored the man. As though he did not exist at all. A type of behavior taught to members of the conservative Christian movement. Those pro-life Christians treat gay adults as though they were dead, non-existent. God knows they are alive.
The City of Prescott, Ariz., is not concerned that conservative Christian library employees are demonstrating gay hatred.
It's but one of many, very successful activities, by our business and professional people to prevent blacks, gays and other minorities from settling here. Another scripted, rehearsed, and refined activity.
In this area of 70,000 people only two blacks are employed. Both at McDonald's in Prescott. Not likely that any "out" gays are employed anywhere.
All the national retail chain stores are here. All restaurant chains too. Wherever you shop, or eat, you won't be rubbing elbows with a black. Blacks and gays can't rent any business space. Nor space at the swap-meet.
A son of a black and white couple enrolled in our high school. After school he found the tires on his car were slashed. They moved to another city.
There are patriotic men of valor in our American Legion Post whose lives were saved on the battlefield by pasty faced effeminate medics, who can't get a job at our large modern hospital.
People from every state are moving here because they like the "atmosphere". At 5,100 feet our temperature is 20 degrees cooler than Phoenix, 95 in summer, 15 in winter. We don't have earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes or floods. We do have lots of wind, dust, pollen, mold spores, and hard clay soil. It's not a cheap place to live as everything is trucked up from Phoenix. There are twice as many Republicans as Democrats. Few jobs, low wages and an abundance of retirees like me, age 70. I am NOT a Homosexual, believe it. And, I treasure those friends of mine who are black.
Prescott Valley, Ariz.
Democratic vice-presidential "wannabe" Joseph Lieberman apparently believes that the sleaze of Monicagate, President Clinton's jesuitical manipulation of the "truth," and his murderous, criminal and unconstitutional war against the sovereign nation of Yugoslavia can be washed way with his pseudo-rabbinical mouthings of piety and religious display.
Not only is his incessant religious babbling an insult to the intelligence of the American people, it reveals a mind that is incredibly shallow and empty of any appreciation of the basis for American religious liberty, the separation of government from matters that are private to the individual conscience, especially that which belongs exclusively in the home, church synagogue, mosque and temple, viz., religion.
Religion is a matter too serious to be irresponsibly exploited in what is an obviously Machiavellian effort on the part of Senator Lieberman to identify himself and the Democratic Party with "God.."
His remarks at Fellowship Chapel in Detroit on August 27 is a case in point:.
''We know that the Constitution wisely separates church from state, but remember: the Constitution guarantees freedom of religion, not freedom from religion."
So, according to this pseudo rabbi, Americans are constitutionally NOT permitted to reject ALL religion and form an ethic on the basis of reason and human need instead of accepting the dogmatic irrationalisms that accompany so many religious faiths. This is pure and absolute nonsense.
We are electing a president of the most powerful nation in the world, a secular republic. His duties do NOT include the office of minister, priest or rabbi.
Senator Lieberman has given this American citizen another reason to vote for Ralph Nader.
The Commission on Presidential Debates is channeling Jack Nicholson in A Few Good Men -- snapping at anyone who dares to ask for another viewpoint, "You can't handle the truth!"
One candidate knows we can -- he's been telling us hidden truths for years: Ralph Nader.
Recently on Meet the Press, Jesse Ventura -- who knows how important debates are -- praised Nader for targeting campaign-finance reform in his first TV ad. "I believe Ralph should be included in the debates, because Ralph will bring up subjects these other two parties won't touch with a ten-foot pole."
You can see the ad at voteNader.org:
Grilled tenderloin for fundraiser: $1,000 a plate.
Campaign ads filled with half-truths: $10,000,000.
Promises to special-interest groups: $10,000,000,000.
Finding out the truth: Priceless.
MasterCard's suing Ralph for $5,000,000. But the truth is priceless. Democracy should be, too.
We the people CAN handle the truth. Open the debates. Include Ralph Nader.
JOHN ANTHONY La PIETRA
"We are known by the company we keep", and "Birds of a feather flock together", and, " It's not what you say, but what you do, that really matters", are all cliches that are familiar to a vast majority of Americans, including young people. It is inevitable then, given the inordinate attention awarded candidates during election campaigns, that we begin to view them accordingly.
A candidate for president verbally condemns producers of movie sex and violence, then within a few days attends a cozy Hollywood fund-raising party with them (3rd week of September). Then he gratefully receives endorsements from Internet and movie producers of pornography in New Orleans (4th week of September). Given the above, all these cliches might be reconsidered as truisms as they relate to such a candidate. He might even be labeled "ambiguous".
Another, and more pithy cliche', "He lies like a dog", doesn't indicate a supine position of the body, but denotes untrue statements of substance. One such statement might be; "I didn't know the Buddhist Temple event was a fund-raiser", or another; "I invented the Internet", and "I just can't remember". Only space restraints prevent further interesting development of the convincing evidence of character flaws that disqualify Mr. Gore as the best choice for the office of President of the United States.
DON W. VEATCH
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