As one of those close-to-the-border foreigners Wayne O'Leary writes about ["Mean and Ugly at the Border," 11/15/06 TPP], I find my experience in recent months has been that only a minority -- say, one third -- of the US custom agents hired during the Cheney administration express that Gestapo attitude and conduct he describes in "Two-gun Alice." The rest are relatively courteous. The neo-fascist trend in US governance since the 2000 "Election" has, however, given many souls like myself reason to consider discontinuing cross-border travel; for half a century, I've poured numerous thousands of dollars into your country's economy while taking zilch out. That, of course, is how the USA invariably operates regarding neighbors near and far: take, never give. My generosity toward you and yours may be about to change.
Forcing Canucks and Yankees to obtain passports or equally forgeable cards, as O'Leary observes, hardly solves our mutual insecurity problem. The powers-that-be have already demonstrated their total incapacity to cope with real emergencies in 9/11 and Katrina and the London bombing. These bungling leaders have not taken -- surely cannot take -- effective precautions to prevent a major terrorist attack (biological or nuclear) in North America. Only a radical transformation in foreign policies by our corporate rulers -- which presently seems inconceivable -- can forestall some such calamity. And, quite aside from terrorism, our government's ignoring (if not ignorance) of global warming and its catastrophic potential may well do us all in sooner than any bomber (Muslim or Pentagon) can. Was Timothy McVeigh not a Homeland product? That term, "Homeland," smacks to me of Motherland and Fatherland, those xenophobic phantoms the Bolsheviks and Nazis sang the praises of; you Yanks now need to ponder over that. The time for essential corrective actions rapidly is running out.
Sirdar, B.C., Canada
Thank you for publishing Kevin Tillman's letter ["After Pat's Birthday," 11/15/06 TPP].
Somehow, the wailing and crying of thousands of Iraqi women is beginning to be heard by the international community.
Somehow, the right-wing media will no longer be able to down play the American dead soldiers and say "what is the big deal -- more Americans die in road accidents."
Somehow, the realization that all the death and destruction in Iraq had nothing whatsoever to do with the defense of our nation and followed by asking the real question -- then why?
Somehow, it will shame the three recipients of the "Presidential Medal of Honor" in publicly returning the medals.
Somehow, our lawmakers in Washington will understand that you need a visible enemy to defeat -- you cannot have victory over people who are under your subjugation.
Somehow, the day after Pat Tillman's birthday, Americans did wake up. The results of the mid-term elections is a hopeful sign that we are getting over the effects of the "soma pill" that was so generously fed to us by this Administration.
Happy birthday, Pat.
Re: 11/15/06 editor's note in the "Letters" section expressing skepticism about a 9/11 conspiracy: Don't be such a sucker for this administration's lies. People who believe the government lied over Iraq turn around and believe the government's lies on 9/11. Wake up! The website you listed, debunking911.com, has been thoroughly debunked itself. Go to the best 9/11 website, scholarsfor911truth.org, and I feel it will be impossible to hold to your mistaken opinion.
You generally have a good newspaper. Your avoiding the truth on 9/11 is its great defect. ...
Editor Replies: We've received a number of letters along this line. We think the 9/11 Commission's report was flawed due to conflicts of interest and obstruction by the administration and the Democratic Congress ought to reopen the investigation of events leading up to the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, but after reviewing the websites and the reports of independent civil engineers and other experts who studied the wreckage, we find no reason to doubt the findings that airliners crashing into the buildings, combined with the subsequent fires, were sufficient to induce the collapse of both structures, and the collapse of those buildings brought down the nearby Building 7.
We believe the Bush administration was negligent in failing to respond to warnings about the 9/11 attacks (for which al Qaeda has claimed credit, by the way). We believe the Bush administration misused the attacks for domestic political gain and blundered in its military response to the attacks. We have not seen persuasive evidence that the US government staged the 9/11 attacks. However, readers are welcome to their own beliefs.
An article by Nicholas Von Hoffman in the 11/1/06 TPP asks the question that if the Democrats win, "Will they screw it up?" I for one do not think so. I have a great deal of confidence in Nancy Pelosi, who is one hell of a tough cookie. She is currently planning for that eventuality and has made clear to pursue the following changes: no pay raises for House members until the minimum wage is increased; allow Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices for seniors; expand Pell grants and lower interest rates on loans for tuition; push for exit from Iraq; implement security measures that the 9/11 commission recommended and ignored by Bush; and roll back subsidies and royalties granted Big Oil while oil prices and profits soared. I think many Democrats as well as Republicans will be greatly influenced when the shift in congressional power occurs, and pressure on the Bush administration to compromise will increase dramatically.
Carroll O. David
San Marcos, Texas
Robert Rodriguez's article, "The 15th Characteristic of Fascism" [11/15/06 TPP] might have more impact if it were not so disingenuous. If a person is promoting a worthy cause he should at least be honest about it. Rodriguez implies that to become a US citizen one should only need to cross the border. Either that or that the notion of citizenship should be tossed aside. He does not address the problem of assimilation, the burden which the influx of non-citizens places upon the education and health-care facilities in this country. He does not address the effect upon wages, the fact that employers take advantage of the people who have come here looking for work, and the way in which that affects employment opportunities for citizens.
Then there is the dishonest way in which Rodriguez brings in the racial issue, the use of hyperbole; writing about "scapegoats", "rabid hatred", "repressive legislation" (which is aimed at maintaining the integrity of the Constitution), "draconian immigration raids", "scoundrel politicians" who are "hyper-obsessed." Although these terms apply to a few people, they are a minority (and Lou Dobbs is not one of them). Rodriguez has taken a position which compared to that minority is equally irrational in the opposite direction.
Rodriguez talks about "brown hordes" and "indigenous peoples" in a way which is ridiculous and inflammatory. The US has a sorry record regarding treatment of minorities; however, allowing uncontrolled immigration will not make amends for that record.
Regarding M. Wuerker's cartoon [11/1/06 TPP] citing the incumbent president saying "I like to tell people when the final history is written on Iraq, it will look just like a comma." It gives free publicity to the United Church of Christ that has ads that are being rejected by the media as too controversial. The UCC has red signs with black commas from Gracie Allen's "Never place a period where God has placed a comma."
Actually, most Christian scripture is written in the Greek koine, coined by Aristotle, where the only punctuation looks like an apostrophe. Translators into other languages have to decide if this is a comma, semicolon, colon, period, question mark or exclamation point.
The movie, Flags of Our Fathers, about the flagraisings on Mount Suribachi during the battle for Iwo Jima, directed by Clint Eastwood and produced by Steven Spielberg, relate to another "comma" of the Iraq invasion: flashbacks from troops who have been mentally damaged by the horror of battle. They will be our wards until they die, if America has not lost its spirit.
Joseph J. Kuciejczyk
St. Louis, Mo.
Veterans Day again with all those speeches by Heads of State, those Sanctimonious Hypocrites!
If they really cared about veterans there wouldn't be any veterans because nations would stop using war as a solution to problems. Neighbors can't shoot each other when they disagree; why should nations be allowed to?
To me both Veterans Day and Memorial Day are a source of overwhelming sorrow and anger because they remind me of loved ones who suffered and died and also who lived and suffered. My first young husband was with the 96th Infantry Division in the liberation of the Philippine Islands and then was killed in the liberation of Okinawa Island during the last horrible battle of World War II. Frank was wounded three times, including suffering from pieces of his eyeglasses embedded in his eyes, but they kept sending him back into battle.
I remarried a veteran who had served with the 14th Air Corps Flying Tigers in China/Burma/India. Art was overseas three years and returned so traumatized by all he had seen and endured that flashback memories would cause him to suddenly vomit and also to immediately take cover upon hearing a loud noise. He was forever taking hot showers, sort of like Pontius Pilate washing his hands to rid himself of the contamination of violence.
Multitudes return home with missing limbs and brain damage and full of shrapnel. For many years the men tried to numb their memories with liquor. The liquor wore off but not the memories. Men who are totally traumatized return home as brutal and violent as the military has trained them to be. One mother said to her son's commanding officer, "I sent you a good boy and you sent me back a monster."
So swallow your stupid sanctimonious speeches and STOP USING WAR as a solution to problems!
I have always harbored a great respect for Bob Woodward as a reporter without parallel. Arianna Huffington ["Woodward as Hero: Real State of Denial," 11/1/06 TPP] has opened up a very disturbing "Pandora's Box" on Mr. Woodward's true colors.
By exploring every explanation, could be that Bob Woodward followed a Machiavellian strategy needed to get his foot inside Mr. Bush's palace, gave his two "flattering" recounts and thereby obtained the necessary access for a final coup de grace?
This is something we will never know.
We the People of the United States of America own the airwaves (frequencies).
Corporations and the rich have purchased our elected officials by providing money so they can air their campaign commercials (we have the best government money can buy). Radio and TV stations pay no rent for using our airwaves.
Taxpayers would rather spend tax dollars on other things -- although public financing of elections would beat what we have now. Why not require stations to give free air time for candidates to air their views? It would be more like public service than rent.
Oklahoma City, Okla.
Bush administration, after months of attempts, has given up on 'standard' interrogation techniques and has adopted a new and improved method to be known as "alternate" techniques. It seems that, in spite of spending millions, the old method did not work quite so well but of course they kept on telling us otherwise (substitute lied to us). The main reason that they failed to extract any useful "intel" from the suspected terrorists was that somehow they were trained to withstand "acid rock" music and other civilized techniques approved by The Geneva Convention used by us. How were they so trained and so conditioned is still not known to us -- the CIA has drawn up a separate commission to look into this training method but in the meanwhile they have moved ahead to adopt the "alternate" system. They do not want to give details as they are afraid the enemy will devise counter measures if it leaks out. Only item that was disclosed is that this time they will try classical symphonies instead of Rock music. Are we using our tax dollars for this? Good grief!
New York, N.Y.
Having just seen a highly intelligent film Bobby anent the last day of Robert Kennedy, brought to vivid life by a brilliant director and a stellar cast, I was reminded of the Gracchi of ancient Rome who attempted urgent reforms opposed by the Patrician ruling class. First Tiberius and then his brother Gaius, a decade later, were murdered.
History does appear to repeat itself as first Jack and then Robert Kennedy were murdered as they attempted to change domestic and foreign policy. They too, in common with the two former Roman aristocrats, opposed the policies of the ruling class thus embracing martyrdom.
In ancient Rome developments encompassing centuries take place today in decades. Our country, once so prominent and exalted, is now regrettably in decay and decline.
Subscribe to The Progressive Populist