As long as I am writing this, there are three subjects. First concerns the enclosed pages copied from the Internet (for "Freedom's Watch," featuring a nifty eagle). I have been seeing these ads on the local NBC affiliate TV station. They are incredibly misleading, e.g., stating that Congress authorized and promoted the invasion of Iraq, among other lies. The ads use widows, mothers and wounded to imply that the lives and limbs lost would be desecrated if we "gave in" the the "questionably patriotic citizens who see the occupation as a blot on our nation and our people and would end it by bringing our troops (and Blackwater Guards) home". In words, visuals and background, the ads are very slick and loaded with implications of treason on the part of those who oppose the conflict. Judging by the content and the frequency, there seems to be a very well financed group of public relations people (professional liars) generating this. Can you determine how this campaign is funded and financed? I would be fascinated to know.
Second, about Karl Rove. I do not believe that he is gone, he has simply submerged. (Do I correctly sense his pudgy fingers in the ads mentioned above?) Seriously, I believe that Rove will stay submerged until 2008 starts, and then he will be assembling his vicious and vindictive staff members to smear all presidential candidates except the one selected to run. Judging by the many ads presented here by Mitt Romney, I believe that he will be the one selected. In looks, he is very close to Mr. Reagan, and his views are those which he is told to hold, again like Reagan. So, being presentable and pliable (and a friend of Bechtel Corp.), Romney will probably be the Republican candidate for president. Of course, Rove will be in the background manipulating things until someone notices. Remember, you read it here first.
Third, is opportunism on my part. For years, the term, "neoconservative" has bugged me. It is an oxymoron; one is either conservative in maintaining the status quo or one is "neo", which implies a desire to change the status quo (which seems to be raining on the heads of those of us who are at the bottom of the political food chain). Basically, most people of that ilk seem to be promoting a sort of Machiavellian Fascism as described in Heinberg's book Powerdown. A better term to describe these people would be "NeoFaecses" (pun intended).
In a 1950 edition of Life's Picture History of WW II, I found a draft of the Atlantic Charter drawn up by Roosevelt and Churchill. Four years old when it was presented in August 1941, I still believe that this document represents the US I loved and believed in and the country I risked my life for as a Navy carrier pilot. With the Iraq war as a background, publishing this document now would provide a telling counterpoint to the currently prevailing views. This was my country ... what happened?
Thanks for your hard work.
D. Gardner Hill
Editor's Note: According to the Associated Press, Freedom's Watch was organized as a nonprofit organization under IRS rules and planned a $15 million, five-week advertising campaign putting pressure on lawmakers whose backing of President Bush's Iraq war strategy may be wavering. But the group is not required to identify its donors or the amounts they give. Among those publicly supporting the effort are billionaire Sheldon Adelson, a fundraiser for Bush and chairman and CEO of the Las Vegas Sands Corp., and conservative philanthropist John M. Templeton Jr. of Bryn Mawr, Pa. Both men have been major contributors to conservative causes. Also backing Freedom's Watch are top Republican donors Anthony Gioia, Mel Sembler and Howard Leach, all former ambassadors in the Bush administration. Former White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer is a founding member of the group.
In the aftermath of Karl Rove's resignation, diverse members of the "chattering classes" have gone positively ape crazy filling column after column either hailing "Turd Blossom" for his political "acumen", or damning him with faint praise for his masterful use of campaign "dirty tricks." All seem to ignore the obvious.
Rove was a liar and a cheat and nothing more than a "snake oil" charlatan peddling an intoxicating potion meant to incapacitate its users just long enough for him to pick their pockets, then skip town before the besotted (can you say rightwing evangelicals?) woke up complaining of an "angry bees in the brain" hangover!
What I find appalling is that some in the so-called Democratic party are busy analyzing the makeup of Karl's toxic rotgut hoping they can reflavor, rebottle, relabel, and sell it to US, their constituents, as the latest in trendy new and improved brews!
Let's face it, once a political operative, be it Karl Rove or Rahm Emanuel, succeeds in convincing their party that "winning at any cost" means "framing the message" to fit what they think we want to hear, and not what the country actually needs, is it any wonder that "We, The People" always end up losing?
I'm with Garrison Keillor -- goodbye and good riddance to Karl Rove. And to hell with his "political acumen"!
When it comes to Rove's legacy (along with Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Gonzales and the rest), I suggest the following dime-store bon mot: "Don't feel worthless, you can always be used as a bad example."
Laceys Spring, Ala.
My friend Mick Finn (his real name), a disabled Vietnam vet, has an idea that seems well worth sharing with as many others as possible. He notes that a certain percentage of us knew with considerable certainty that Bush's War on Iraq was a lousy idea from the beginning. Let's be conservative and say we were 15% of the country. The polls now tell us that around 70% agree with us.
Mick's idea is that the 55% or so who have finally gotten the message should acknowledge that they were wrong and then offer their humble apologies for questioning our patriotism at the time. Ok, we know a couple of the Democratic candidates for president have done so already, but that still leaves a lot of folks with egg on their faces. Why not emulate South Africa and begin the process of reconciliation with heartfelt apologies?
While we're at it, maybe we could get the same consideration from those who bought Reagan's Social Darwinist scheme a quarter century ago and bequeathed us a horrifically dysfunctional society. Many of us were immediately crying "wolf" at the prospect of trashing the progressive tax laws, deregulation, cowboy militarism and shredding the social safety net. By now, anyone who thinks any of that was ever a good idea is either mentally challenged or consciously evil. These so-called "Conservative" ideas were and are both impractical and immoral. The unregulated marketplace will always yield the worst kind of Social Darwinism, by maximizing its rewards to those who need and deserve them least. The result is nothing less than a Eugenics scheme, designed to give an insensitive and uncaring minority an enormous advantage over the rest of us through as many generations as possible. Their attempt to repeal the inheritance tax speaks for itself.
San Francisco, Calif.
Helen Campbell's "Ten Commandments for Government," [8/15/07 TPP], should be posted in every civics classroom coast to coast. Might I offer one addition.
11. No political party operators, corporate chief executives or their attorneys should be permitted to head a federal or state regulatory agency. Only qualified professionals should be eligible for these positions, and their major shareholdings must be made public. The same goes for the high courts.
Ruth S. Epperson
Re: "Running on Empty: $3 a Day for Food Stamps," 10/1/07 TPP, "According to the Los Angeles Times, 'For $3 a day -- which is what you get when you divide 30 days into the $155 monthly food stamp allowance for one person ..." IDIOTS! [$155 divided by 30 is $5.16.]
Rock Island, Ill.
Editor Responds: There's no telling how many editors that faulty math slipped through, but the L.A. Times published this correction: "Patt Morrison's May 24 column about taking the California Assn. of Food Banks' 'food stamp challenge' used the wrong figure as the basis for the challenge's $3-a-day food allowance. The allowance is not based on a monthly food stamp allotment of $155, as the column indicated, but on a monthly allotment of $86. The maximum monthly food stamp allowance for an individual is $155; the average allotment for an individual is $86," which amounts to nearly $3 a day.
I just spent a month in the West Bank, living with a Palestinian family. I walked around in Bethlehem, Jerusalem, Jenin, Ramallah, Hebron, Nablus and Jericho. I felt entirely safe the whole time.
An extreme Zionist faction within Israel has brought hundreds of thousands of people -- primarily from Russia and the US -- to settle on arid hilltops in the West Bank. These settlers live like the folks in green-grass suburbs of California. Our US tax dollars are used to protect the settlers from resentful Palestinians, from whom much of this land has been taken.
If you want to be able to speak confidently on these topics based on your own experience, I suggest you visit the area. There are several non-touristy ways to do this. The method I used is explained in www.sirajcenter.org.
Mr. Gene Lyons in his article ("Sicko Joke," 9/15/07 TPP) has pointed out the deplorable state of the nation's health plan (or lack thereof) and how efforts to improve upon it has met with resistance from groups holding vested interest (a.k.a. Conservative Republicans). The often used term of "socialized medicine" was made popular by president Reagan, who in his obsession with Capitalism, could not see the difference between Scandinavian-type socialized medicine and USSR's system and termed them both evil. For Giuliani to "mouth" this same simplistic objection is nothing but an attempt to please the "base" of the party. He knows that a society can never operate on a completely free-enterprise system and government supervision is vital specially in the business world. A tiny example is banking which has all sorts of operational control without which Mr. Giuliani would dare not write or accept a single check. Why stop here, Mr. Giuliani? How about contracting out (to private enterprise) the entire Secret Service Operations -- right now it is nothing but a socialized protection service. Would you agree if you are the next president? I do not think so!
In re the article by Thomas F. Schaller ["How Strong is the Democratic Presidential Field, 9/15/07 TPP], I beg to differ with him about the experiences of Barack Obama. Not only was he quite important in the Illinois Legislature but he was the protege of the late Paul Simon, senator from Illinois.
Downers Grove, Ill
(Alas, a Democrat in Republican DuPage County, but we Democrats can be counted.)
I find it hard to believe you're continuing to publish nonsense from politician Ralph Nader. While he is concerned about cruise ships ["Law Chases Cruise Ships," 9/15/07 TPP], the rest of us are concerned about restoring democracy to this once-great country. [He will probably join Cindy Sheehan in her naive effort to destroy Pelosi and Democrats.] I'm sick of his pseudo progressive nonsense! Nader's ship docked permanently in 2000! The only practical way to retard our rightwing rulers is to Elect Democrats [Imperfect as they appear!] We need a level-headed president and/or a liberal veto-proof Congress before we can correct the horrendous laws inflicted upon cruise ships, their food, their workers, their environment and their passengers! I urge your progressive readers to vote and to be practical. Remember the Maine and, especially, the 2000 election!
Preston P. Birenbaum
Woodland Hills, Calif.
Our leaders should continue to hug and kiss the foreigners, only have them send us money.
Bill Mexico for the costs of the wall and for education, medical, crime and policing of the illegal immigrants. We can call it Reverse Lend-Lease.
Let's give the taxpayers and future generations a break.
Another idea is to have the foreigners pay for our representatives' salaries, benefits and pensions. Make them pay taxes.
Let's restore fiscal responsibility and respect for America.
John F. Sisson
Editor Notes: Immigrants, whether they're undocumented or not, pay the same taxes as the general public. In 2004, the IRS got 7.9 million W-2s with names that didn't match a Social Security number. They likely represent illegal aliens whose income taxes were deducted from their paychecks. Undocumented immigrants also contribute an estimated $7 billion annually to Social Security and $1.5 billion to Medicare, although they cannot receive benefits under these programs. Immigrants also pay sales and use taxes, as well as real estate taxes through rents or mortgages, if they are able to buy houses.
Re: Letter, "Stop War Money for Israel", 9/15/07, by Carl Greeley claiming that the US "invaded Iraq for Israel" and that the US Congress is held in captivity by AIPAC.
As former Secretary of State George P. Shultz, after a review of the facts, unequivocally sums up "So, on every level, those who blame Israel and its Jewish supporters for US policies they do not support are wrong. They are wrong because, to begin with, support for Israel is in our best interests" The Israel Lobby Myth in US News & World Report, 9/17/07, p.76.
Joseph Robert Cowen
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