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Home · Articles · News · Letters · Letters 5/8/03
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Letters 5/8/03

Various - May 8th, 2003
The French Connection

There’s something sinister in the way France, old long time ally, suddenly became a villain. Jaques Chirac, prime minister of France, disagreed with George Bush on unilaterally waging a so-called preemptive war on Iraq and overnight the airways were full of jokes disparaging everything French. French fries suddenly became Patriot Fries. French toast became Texas toast. The makers of French dressing were in despair and French’s mustard was swept down in a whirlpool of ridicule and hatred. When long time friends have a disagreement, it’s not grounds for this kind of vilification. So, you wonder, what’s going on?
This sudden manipulation of public opinion to vilify a country, nationality, and even a mustard because of its name hearkens back to the days of Joseph Goebbels, Hitler’s propagandist. In his day the objects of scorn, ridicule, hatred, and ultimately extermination were Communists and innocent Jews. What if, instead of making nasty remarks about the French, the objects of this sudden American derision were Moslems, Arabs, Blacks, Jews, or Finns?
There was nothing humorous about the anti-French jokes. Behind the artificial snickers was a genuine maliciousness and hatred growing out of George Bush’s intolerance for opposition. It was reflected in attempts to crush anti-war speech in schools and on the streets. That the entire nation could fall so rapidly into lock step does not speak well for a country that claims to pride itself as a defender of freedom.
French Americans were suddenly on the defensive. We all have minority roots, whether as descendants of immigrants or as native Americans. What if the next target of deliberate, national vilification were you?

Harley L. Sachs • Houghton

TC-8 member’s personal statement

I have been charged and fined for breaking a law--a ‘civil infraction’.
I am one of eight who participated in the March 17 symbolic blockade of the deployment of the 182nd Army Reserve Tanker Unit, having been fully cognizant of possible legal consequences.
First, I feel the need to say that I have the utmost respect and compassion for our troops, their famillies, and their collective sacrifices. I also feel a tremendous frustration that they were sent into the dangerous horror of war, unnecessarily; placed in harm’s way by their inept, Commander-in-Chief-puppet-boy, directed by DC corporate, profiteering mafia-type thugs, seeking domination of the Iraqi (and other) oil fields. The administration’s billion dollar brain-wash, lie-infested, public relations campaign to justify the invasion, bombing and subsequent decimation of a small, militarily weak nation was unconscionable.
Murdering tens of thousands of innocent civilians, including at least 5,000 children, (not reported by CNN & FOX), killing and maiming our own young troops, subjecting them all to a life of toxic health consequences in the process, under the phony guise of “liberation“ and “democracy“ is an insult to any thinking person on this planet. I would most certainly be complicit in this illicit, immoral, unconstitutional war if I had not used my first amendment right to express my outrage.
There are NO WMD in Iraq! There have been none for years. Getting the bloody evil dictator could have been accomplished in the same simple manner as the administration is using to capture Saddam’s cronies -- by utilizing his enemies right there in the country and not by using our kids as pawns. Think of the billions of dollars unjustly misdirected from badly needed domestic relief, schools, healthcare, not to mention the squandered good will that our country enjoyed just prior to this mindless, insane arrogance.
I am further dismayed by the numbers of people who have totally bought the administration’s jingoistic war-sell, con job. And by the fact that dissent is considered unpatriotic by the unquestioning sheep. Dissent is Democratic! Our pro-war detractors have been brainwashed to believe that war is patriotic and pursuit of peace is not! Figure that one. They tell the anti war folks that our troops are over there fighting for our continued right to speak out. Yet, all the time, our “support-the-troops“ president was cutting veterans’ benefits -- already a disgrace.
Numerous military families are struggling, forced into welfare situations because of their measly salaries. This is “supporting“ our troops? The pro-war exhibitionists’ anger is misdirected. CNN and FOX, with offices in the Pentagon, are the administration’s war cheerleading section, doing an imitation of news reporters. Well-meaning, but non-discerning people have unfortunately swallowed their erroneous party line. The corporate-dominated administration and media continue to lie to you, using billions of your tax dollars to do it. What an insult! Our troops are essentially clearing the way for the Halliburton, Bechtel, Exxon-Mobil greedsters to move in and profiteer at the expense of the Iraqi people.
How ‘bout thinking outside the TV box... reading intelligent, alternative, non-corporate, thoughtful opinion such as found online everywhere: commondreams.org, alternet.org, nrec.org, wearetraversecity.com, traversepeacealerts.org, guerrillanewsnetwork.com...
Civil Disobedience has a valid and significant role in our country’s democratic and political process, dating back to the Boston Tea Party, and I am therefore appreciative of the prosecutor’s decision in this case; it exhibited a respect for that constitutionally protected civil right.

Sally MacFarlane Neal • Northport

Tax cuts and the rich

Look at Iraq. See the bare wall? Even in the hospitals, they strip them. What happened there is happening here. Greed is good -- that is what the actor says. Now look at the USA and the bare wall in this country. The schools are in trouble, some are closing. The hospitals are in trouble, some are closing. The rich are stripping our poor, sick, old, workers and putting the money in their pockets. Taking taxes from the people and giving it to the rich is stripping the schools, police force, fire departments, hospital, Social Security and so many more things. The schools are closing but (we) give the money to the rich. We get less policemen and give the money to the rich. The people that were down and out needed the money that was on welfare (but) cannot get help so the rich can be richer. GREED IS GOOD.
The TV, radio and papers talk about unemployment but do not talk about the people that are no longer able to get unemployment benefits. What is the true unemployment? The soup lines are long and getting longer, yet we talk about giving the rich our taxes. The rich over charge -- look at the price of gas, propane, insurance, drugs, lights, cars, planes -- and yet the minimum wage is still $5. Do the President and Congress care about anything but the rich and themselves? GREED IS GOOD.
You talk about the palace in Iraq -- what about the ones here in this country? Look at the White House, Camp David and all the capitals in each state. Then the ranches and many private palaces. But help the children, schooling, the retired live a little after working all the years, the sick get help, even the police force? There is no money. GREED IS GOOD.
Reagan‘s trickle-down has worked so well, that the leak is plugged. This president has taken the trickle down in to a new line that goes up to the rich.
When is this government going to start working for the people not just the rich? Stop the deductions and let the rich pay their taxes.

Smokin‘ Joe Simone • Fife Lake

Wetlands disaster

Last year, as I viewed the unspeakable degradation of wetlands in Elk Rapids perpetrated by Eastwood Custom Homes, I wondered how any human being could consciously plan and carry out such a desecration of the environment. Still wondering. This time the wetlands are (were) in East Bay Township with the same corporate connection, and the same lack of proper permits which these people obviously do not consider necessary. So the news that the Grand Traverse County Prosecutor’s office has issued a soil erosioin violation charge, perhaps motivated in part by citizen complaints, is encouaging.
According to reports, Governor Granholm’s office, the state attorney general and the DEQ are all closely monitoring this situation and one hopes that further significant action will come soon. Eastwood Custom Homes and developer Bill Clous must not be let off the hook!
John E. Lewis • TC
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