Cohn And Me

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Chapter 7.6


Cohn,
What I remember of the Korean War was that the north invaded the south and nearly took over the entire peninsula. McArthur came in with US troops and eventually won back the south’s land and invaded the north closing in on the Chinese border. Then a cease fire was declared putting the separation line between the two countries at roughly where the old border was. I was only in the 9th grade at the time, but to me it seemed like a lot of fighting over nothing.

In the 1980’s PG County tried to one up the metro area counties by enticing DC residents to move there. They offered low cost housing and cheap apartments. It was a good idea on paper, as housing inside the city was scarce, and of poor quality with a few exceptions. The exodus was so large that the highway infrastructure could not handle it, so PG county destroyed many nice older homes and communities to lay down roads. It wrecked much of the nicer upper scale homes left in the area. Today PG county much resembles SE DC in crime rates, poor schools, and traffic congestion.

Many corporations put matching funds into their employees buying the company stock. The own stock myself from Lowe’s Hardware with matching funds contributed by the company to encourage the purchase of the stock. It doesn’t mean that the stock is only part mine. You could easily use your argument if it was referring to Enron’s workers paychecks. The inflation of the stock price was the result of energy deregulation and fixing the books to include profits on sales in the company to the company itself. I’m not sure what Clinton’s market had to do with it, but we might know if Cheney had released the papers concerning his meetings with the energy giant. Of course Cheney too apparently was a victim of a “Clinton runaway market”, as when he was CEO of Halliburtion they overstated their profits by 234 million dollars.

I’m not sure what gave you the impression of my lack of knowledge of centrally planned economies (or coordinator controlled economies), but there were input from the consumers (on paper anyway). It was supposed to include information from various production industries (such as farmers for instance) about the level of production and cross reference that data with consumption boards who were designed to collect data on the public’s needs. The Soviet leadership discarded this as soon as power was seized in order to benefit themselves. As for your description of the profit system you are correct, except it frequently does give consumers what they want, but instead what they are likely to sell. Furthermore, only a market system requires capital in order to build an infrastructure. You are correct in that consumers had no voice in the Soviet Union, however every centrally planned economy must make frequent adjustments, just as our own economy does. The key problem is who’s making the adjustments and for whom are they making them for. Capitalist elites make major decisions in a market system to benefit capitalist elites. Central planner elites make major economic decisions to benefit central planners. What does a stock price have to do with overproduction? I was referring to overproduction leading to waste, not older technologies. Market systems create overproduction because the loss of profits from underproduction is usually greater. It doesn’t have anything to do with what the public’s needs are and everything to do with making the most money. If markets produced things that people wanted then why are there advertising on radio and television? If markets produced things that people wanted then why do record companies produce fewer and lousy records when the public wants more records? Music consumers overwhelmingly want free file sharing of songs, does the market produce it? No. You have to hook up the file sharing sources based in The Netherlands in order to do so, and you can only do with the risk of getting sued. The public overwhelmingly wants more choice on the radio (from music, news, and other programs), including local voices. What does the market produce? Fewer choices and limiting local voices. Suppose you visit a prison commissary. How much of the stuff on their menu would you like to eat? Most people would pass. Now suppose then you get arrested, and you’re in the prison. Now how does the commissary’s menu look? The market doesn’t produce things that the public wants so much as the public reshapes their desires to what the market produces. Centrally planned economies aren’t the answer and neither are market based economies.

Sometimes union participation is voluntary, and but usually union participation only happens with great risk to the workers. It’s true that there are unions that are corrupt, too many in the 1980’s became friends of management. The average living space of people in various countries have more to do with population density then income levels when comparing England to the United States. On average German workers make almost 60% more in income then Americans do, and English workers make 20% more. It is true that it’s not what you make, but what you keep. However, German and English workers also enjoy free higher education as well as free health care. I’m not sure what Canadians make, but their high taxes which creates a free health care system enables Canadians to live longer then Americans, as well as supply many in the United States with cheap subsidized drugs. Another failure of the market.

I’m not a journalist true, but considering I have to go to independent media to know the effects of poverty in this country to me doesn’t seem to put a feather in Wallace’s hat. As for Dan Rather he’s no Walter Croncike. AFDC was eliminated under Clinton. As for welfare, it doesn’t allow for many to apply. Welfare to work programs don’t help many families and only acts to bring down wages of other workers. If you think you can get medical services without insurance, you’re sadly mistaken. I’ve known people who have had to rob pharmacies in order to get prescription drugs because they could not afford to see a doctor or pay for the prescription. It’s a major crime, but that doesn’t seem to matter when you are facing death. It’s true that “if you teach a man to start a fire he’s warm for a day, set a man on fire and he’s warm for the rest of his life.” As for the fish, maybe the market can produce some in the Hudson river that isn’t filled with mercury. Don’t hold your breath though. When did I say that you didn’t put in your time for the GI Bill? The GI Bill was one of the best ideas this country ever had, and was responsible in part for creating the modern American middle class. Many people have benefited from it, including myself. My father bought a home with a VA loan (he was drafted by Kennedy during the Cuban missile crisis), and because of that I will one day own a home. Nevertheless, it’s still a government hand out.

Ah, Pete Seegar’s old group. Never liked his stuff much. I preferred Credence Clearwater Revival. Bach has survived 300 years, but it doesn’t mean he wasn’t a hack. He couldn’t hold a match to Strauss or Vivaldi. Maybe to Andrew Lloyd Webber. Tchaikovsky’s work was a century ahead of his time, whose sense of melody rivals that of Mozart and his intricate sense of crescendo is better then anyone I’ve ever heard. Check out his “Capriccio Italien”.

I don’t know where you got it that Barak excepted 95% of Arafat’s demands. I would suspect that Jews aren’t welcomed in Arabic states partially because of Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians and partially because many Arabs live in oppressive states. I’d also remind you that there are over a million Jews in Israel who want violence against the Palestinians to end. I’m not sure what you mean that I stated that the US doesn’t allow Jews to live in Arabic countries. I don’t consider any act of terrorism “heroic”, whether its engaged by Palestinians, Israelis, or Americans. Calling these people “monsters who need to be destroyed” only shows that you see no humanity in the Palestinian people. Many people use such a representativeness heuristic in order to justify the boots they place on others’ faces.

Who cares what language Chinese pilots and Russian air controllers use?

You have to use fossil fuels to utilize hydrogen power? I don’t remember using any gasoline when making hydrogen gas in chemistry class. Environmentalists fight the building of roads in forests because one, they pollute the local habitat, and two, they are used by companies to cut down the forests. If you think unregulated logging is a good thing, try to get some Brazilian rosewood. It’s one of the most beautiful and finest woods on earth, but is now nearly impossible to get because the market somehow couldn’t foresee that some things are limited. Strange enough, the market also see the planet as an infinite trash can as well. Wind power would likely be most utilized on the sea or on the plains. It couldn’t supply the entire nation of course, but neither does nuclear power. Oil is cheaper only because it is highly subsidized and the public pays the costs of the effects of using such a power source. Using 12% of US farmland, and utilizing biomass from hemp you could supply this country’s entire fuel needs. Hemp provides 4 times the energy as the most popular biomass source, corn. Diesel fuel can be made out of used vegetable oil (the kind they use to cook french fries in at McDonalds) without any conversion of the engine. Hemp also has the advantage of growing faster then corn, and year round in the right climates, growing as high as 7 feet in as little as 2 months. Also hemp would help reduce global warming from excess CO2 production because an acre of hemp produces 5 times more oxygen then an acre of trees. Fuel from biomass can also be made into high octane fuel, without the side effect of sulfur emissions, which would eliminate issues with acid rain. We could stop importing all oil from the Middle East and other places in the world in a year this country did this, with little (maybe no) engine transformation in our automobiles. This isn’t a new idea. In the 1920’s some automobiles and farm equipment ran off of biomass fuels instead of fossil fuels. This would also have a benefit in stopping the flow to US dollars to the Middle East, supplying the funds for terrorists to blow up our buildings. Apparently the market in its infinite wisdom couldn’t deliver that either.

Apparently you seem to think one week that no one knows what Kerry believes, and then another week seem to think that Kerry still believes what his former colleagues believe. Don’t tell the RNC, they might label you a flip-flopper.

I’m not sure what you want from me as to describing what “controlling the production in factories” means. Maybe I’m defining it, but it means that the workers make production decisions instead of the bosses. There’s dozens of ways to organize this, and it works just fine structurally. As I mentioned before there are dozens of co-ops that use this method all over the United States and Canada who enjoy a faster growth rate then the US economy is currently experiencing. If you wish for me to go into details on how this is done let me know.

Anarcho-syndicalism didn’t fail in Spain because it was a failed idea. The fall of Barcelona happened because the fascists overtook the country by force, they had the entire Third Reich behind them. Like I just said in the last paragraph, anarchosyndicalist principles are still used in many co-ops all over the United States and Canada. When Nixon dismantled the Bretton Woods system it deregulated capital and no longer fixed the American dollar to the gold standard. This has led to an explosion in financial speculation, which makes various economies around the world unstable, as those south of the Rio Grande have learned. This in turn makes our own economy less stable, while the financial speculation doesn’t produce anything. I wasn’t aware a MBA was needed to find a small town in New Hampshire.

I’m not sure what creditable people have called into question Kerry’s war record. I don’t know about you, but I don’t consider Karl Rove very credible. You seem to repeat a lot of the GOP’s mantra, that the Democratic party has abandoned their principles. The GOP is about a decade too late, it was Bob Dole who complained in the 1996 election that Clinton kept stealing his ideas. I’m not sure that moving the Democratic party to the center, as Clinton did, was an essential part of their principles. Perhaps the principles that the Democratic party abandoned that the GOP is bemoaning were the ideas of the Dixiecrats (as Zell Miller once was). If they want to go that far back in time maybe Republicans should embrace federalism over state sovereignty as Lincoln once did.

Like I said earlier Rather is no Walter Kronkite. I find it surprising that the White House didn’t jump all over the memo issue, and instead let their lap dogs in the media spin it. Perhaps they’re afraid of having to answer questions as to what information the memo contains. So lets review shall we? In 2000 the Bush team said they released all the information on Bush’s military record. They lied. Then in February 2004 the Bush team again said they released all the information on Bush’s military record. They lied. Then Russart asks Bush a straight question and asks him if he will release his military records. “Yes”, Bush lied. Then the Pentagon says “Opps. We lost the microfiche.” They lied. Mysteriously they find the microfiche a few weeks later. Do they release Bush’s records? No. Can we say “flip-flop”? I noticed that none of the White House lap dogs criticized the Boston Globe with their article on the topic. Now the AP has had to sue in order for them to release the records, and we’ll see what happens next week. For right now, it seems the best information on the topic can be found at The AWOL Project.

http://www.glcq.com/

I’m not sure what liberal media bias you’re talking about. As a journalist, you should know better then I that the media has a bigger bias over not insulting the advertiser and keeping investigations cheap. You might want to check out the radio program “Counter Punch” about the media’s various biases. You can find them on the FAIR website (http://www.fair.org/). I don’t know how much cement factories go for, but the Iraqis seemed to think it went for $800,000. Both Condi Rice and Colon Powell have said publicly they will be leaving at the end of the year. Wolfowitz and Rumsfield have mentioned the same thing, and before the RNC convention many in the Republican leadership was trying to knock Cheney off the ticket. I’m not sure who they’d replace Powell with for Secretary of State. Arnold maybe?

Take care,
Derek.

Additional: It seems a great deal has happened today (Monday). So here’s a few more points: There’s an L.A. Times article you ought to read. Here’s the internet address for it:

The LA Times

It seems that yes, CBS did report on forged documents. But something struck me funny two weeks ago on Friday when the media began to report on this.. The very next day it was all over the news that the documents were forged. Strange. Somehow the entire media knew that the memos were forged in 24 hours. Then within days the right wing media seemed convinced that it was the DNC that forged the documents and passed them to Rather. That’s strange, why would the DNC do such a thing, when there’s enough of Bush’s record that is already public to raise questions about Bush’s record? The LA Times identified that it was Harry MacDougald who within HOURS of the CBS broadcast identified the memos as forged. So who is this Harry MacDougald? It seems he’s a Republican operative, who among other things led the way for getting Bill Clinton disbarred. Newsweek is reporting that the documents may have been forged by Republican operatives and passed anonymously to former Texas National Guardsman (and Bush critic) Bill Burkett, who then shared the documents with 60 Minutes. If this is true, and the media reports it, then the Bush camp is in some serious trouble.

More bad news from Iraq. Violence there is getting worse, 1,032 troops are now dead, and over 7,000 wounded. A report on Iraq’s future makes the situation look even bleaker, and a Civil War may break out. Meanwhile Bush continues to tell the American public that things are rosy in Iraq while two REPUBLICAN senators (McCain and I believe Lugar) express concerns that things are seriously going wrong. Meanwhile it seems that British lawyer Phil Shiner has uncovered more Iraqi prison abuses, this time in Mosul. The prison there was dubbed “The Disco” for using western music played at deafening levels as a torture technique. Apparently other abuses occurred at the Disco such as prisoners being hooded, stripped naked, beaten unconscious, and doused with cold water. One prison was said to have been found on the floor with his rectum bleeding from the sexual assault that took place.

Now we get to anarcho-syndicalism. Where? Argentina. Argentina a few years back were one of the wealthiest Latin American countries, but in 2001 their economy collapsed. Argentina was so privatized that even street signs had sponsors. After the economic collapse over 60 percent of the country were unemployed. Capital flight was a real problem as tens of billions of dollars left the country. Enter Zanon Ceramics: The company had received millions of dollars in government subsidies and still somehow couldn’t manage to turn over a profit. Finally the bosses decided to up and leave and find someplace cheaper to do business. What did the workers do? They took over the plant. The Zanon workers opened the shop back up and have been running the factory themselves for the last two years. The workers have created a work system where all decisions are made democratically, each worker has one vote, and every worker gets the same salary. What are the results? Today Zanon Ceramics is the largest ceramics producer in all of Latin America. The tile is cheaper, and the workers make more money. The company is receiving zero subsidies from the government and they still turn out a huge profit. They even donate tile to local hospitals. The owners have attempted to evict them 6 times and have failed. Every time the police come so does huge crowds of Argentines who put up fences and put their bodies between the factory and the police to allow them to keep the shop open. Because of the threat of the police the factory is guarded by the workers 24/7, with each worker armed with a simple sling shot and some marbles. Their motto is “Occupy! Resist! Produce!” This is happening in some other Argentine factories as well, and is proof that an anarcho-syndicalist, hell, a DEMOCRATIC workplace can work, and quite possibly work better and more efficient then a capitalist based one.

* * * * *

Chapter 7.5


Derek,
I don't know what you learned in grade school, but in brief the history of the Korean War is this: In 1950 the North Koreans invaded the South to "unite" the country. The fact is that those two had been separate countries for nearly a thousand years. The Russians and Chinese at that point were friends and it was the Russian prodding, advisors and weapons that started the incursion. It was when the UN and the US decided to resist that the war got hot. The North Koreans were beaten (Inchon and McArthur) and driven out when the Chinese opted to add their million troops in hope of salvaging a lost cause. Truman fired McArthur for being "too aggressive" and the stalemate was sealed in 1953. We lost 53,000 men, the North Koreans won't say, and the Chinese lost half a million and the confidence of Moscow. Soon after the Chinese and Russians had their falling out over that war, but they blamed the confrontation on a disputed tiny island in the Yusari River.

I know nothing of Prince George County or their economic woes, but I am curious as to how the law of Eminent Domain has had that effect.

As you may recall, some of the Enron workers claimed to have lost "millions" in their 401Ks. The plain truth is that most of the "losses" were money that Enron put up as matching funds, AND the inflation of that stocks price by a hundred fold in a runaway Clinton market, . In short, it was "paper profits" that they lost, and little of their own money.

I don't think you have a clue as to how a centrally planned economy works. First there is no input from consumers as to their needs or wants. The government decides and I am sure you are aware just how poor their concept of what people want or need is. Around 1936 the Soviets decided on a 5 year plan for mining. Specifically the "gold" plan was to produce gold in quantities sufficient to fuel the rest of the economy. Hence we had the slave labor camps in Siberia. It turned out that the plan was deficient and the only time the project ever produced hard cash was in the mid 1970s when gold hit 800 dollars an ounce. Try guessing at how many Russian lives that cost. In 1932, the five year plan for the Ukraine began a new collectivization that became one of the worst disaster in Russian history. That area had been known as the "breadbasket of EUROPE" and very shortly it became the scene of mass starvation (10 million died in the Ukraine alone). In the 30s Armand Hammer (Occidental Petroleum) and many others, rushed in with fists full of capital to try to prop up a failing economic system. The Soviets told them what to build, how to build it, and what to produce, and at what price, so Hammer and others took their toys and went home and more millions died. It is the profit system that creates capital. It is capital that creates new factories and industries. It is those industries which employ workers and give consumers the products and services they want. If they don't do that, then they fail and the entrepreneur takes the hit. In a centrally planned economy no one is responsible for the collective decisions and so when they fail there might be some finger pointing, but nobody suffers, except the consumers, and they have no voice. We spoke of newspapers. Until recently there were just two in the USSR, Pravda and Isvestia. Both took government handouts and they had no voice of their own. In 1956 Khrushev gave permission for the printing of a book, One Day In The Life Of Ivan Dennisovitch. It told of life in the Gulag and immediately became a best seller around the world, including the USSR. A few weeks later Khrushev banned the book (I guess by then he read it) and had all copies confiscated and burned. But Pandora's box had been opened and central planning had failed once more. Then you speak of overproduction. I paid the price for that when Lucent had overproduced an older technology and had to sell it off at a huge loss. My stock took a hit, but it is coming back as Lucent was FORCED to make adjustments. On the other hand Avis when they started in business, made a mistake of having advertising that was so good that they nearly failed because at first they couldn't meet the demand. A company named Haloid was ready for bankruptcy when a new idea walked in their front door, and they changed the entire company to fit, and even changed the company name to... Xerox. Central planners never admit mistakes, and rarely ever make adjustments.

Profits are the mothers milk of business. What other reason would I have to postpone consumption and use my savings to support, to invest in or start a business. Bill Gates is not an altruist. The fact that his company has made it possible for millions around the world to share and gain access to information, at reasonable cost, was done to make a profit. The Soviets built a consumer system without a profit motive, and it was a system that couldn't deliver either goods or services to anyone's satisfaction.

I don't know where the final blame for the Firestone debacle really belongs. Sure scabs workers are an easy target, but the union workers apparently had great resentments to unload, and some believe that they may not have performed properly at the Decatur plant. The fact is that Bridgestone/Firestone is still in business but that union, the Rubber Workers closed down several years ago. I should remind you that union participation is voluntary in the sense that many states have "Right to Work" laws and that unions have to win the right to collective bargaining by vote. In the last 20 years they have lost more than they have won, and additionally many workers have also voted to decertify unions, (they wanted out). And so many unions have been led by corrupt bosses (often from jail) who have only union dues in their minds, not the workers welfare. The best measure of a workers share of the wealth he produces is the ability to enjoy the fruits of his labor. The average American living space is 850 square feet per person. In England the target for 2005 is 600 square feet. In Russia the average is less than half of ours. In Sweden they collect a better hourly wage on average than American workers, but their tax rate STARTS at 50%. It is not what you make, but what you get to keep.

If you don't think Mike Wallace would take on reporting on children dying in the streets all over this country, you don't know journalists. Take a good look at the topics he has covered in some 50 years in the business. And if you still don't think he would touch it, then call Dan Rather. He will cover anything and whether it is true or not doesn't seem to faze him. Which part of the "safety net" has been shredded? Surely not food stamps (oh, ... you now have to prove your identity?), not welfare, (oh,...you have to at least TRY to work?), not medical services, (no insurance,... no sweat). Charities are beginning to catch on to the idea that they have been empowering many of the poor to stay that way instead of bootstrapping it. "Give a man a fish and he eats for a day...." Many charities today are switching to the ideas of "teaching a man to fish, and he will eat for a lifetime." Some poor would rather not have to work and be "cared for." Once upon a time we thought the "poor" were also hopeless and helpless, we were wrong. I beg your pardon, I put in my time in the military and part of that deal was the GI Bill. I worked for it as part of the agreement, it was NOT a handout, and to say it was is an insult to every veteran who put in his time.

I am not surprised that you dislike Bach, (whose music has survived for nearly 300 years), I could have just as easily asked about Verdi. The Kingston Trio was and is a "folk group" that was largely overshadowed by Pete Seegar. But for sheer fun they were far better, check out their MTA song, great fun. I did see Network years ago, but it like many other fads, it faded too quickly. Message films don't last long. The Fountainhead didn't either.

You may believe Arafat's excuse for turning down Barak. But that excuse was nothing more than a technicality. Most deals are give and take, but Arafat could not give up the excuse he needed for waging terroristic war. Question: You ask your boss for a ten dollar raise and he offers 9.50. what do you do? If you are offered a deal that you have been struggling to achieve for 35 years, has caused tens of thousands of your people to die, and it is 95% of your demands, you would have to be a madman to turn it down. Oh,... right, so Arafat IS a madman. I know that Jews aren't welcome in Arab states, but I asked WHY? Over a million Arabs live in Israel with full citizenship and are represented in the Knesset. The Jewish refugees from those Arab states were welcomed in Israel. Arabs who left Israel are being held hostage by other Arabs to be used as suicide bombers and "homeless peoples." Can't you visualize the stupidity of this? I think you have to explain how or why the U.S. insists that no Jews are permitted to live in Arab countries and exactly how you come to this conclusion which defies all logic. I guess you don't consider Palestinian girls strapping bombs to their bodies and bombing Israeli school buses filled with children as anything but "freedom fighters." And when these brave Palestinian "heroes" raid a village looking for pregnant women to murder, they are also performing "heroic acts." I ask you, what is your assessment of the kinds of people who can strap a bomb to the chest of an Arab 13 year old mentally deficient boy and send him into a crowded civilian bus stop. These are hideous deformed monsters and nothing short of destroying them will do.

And yes, I have seen captured Chinese maps when I was in Korea and Taiwan was shown in a different color from the mainland and the names were printed in Chinese, Russian and English. You may not know this, but a Chinese pilot landing in Moscow converses with the Russian air controller in ENGLISH.

I may be the first to tell you this, but in order to make hydrogen for use as in hydrogen power, you must use fossil fuels. Clearing the underbrush and building roads in forests has been a prime target of environmentalists, supposedly to prevent timber interests from farming. The unintended consequence has been more forest fires of an uncontrollable nature. What makes you think that forest management is beyond the ability or the desire of these companies? You ought to take a better look at wind generated power. Kerry doesn't want it in his home town and I would presume that most Americans don't want forests of windmills dotting their landscape either. And the simple mathematics of it should tell you that oil at 200 dollars a barrel would be cheaper. I have no clue as to where you got that nonsense about biomass from, but it is baloney.

Kerry has never repudiated the people he was aligned with, because he still believes as they do. He told that committee that American citizen soldiers committed atrocities and it is that cowardly attack on folks like me and my neighbors, is what he used as his ticket into politics and he is using it still by not telling the truth.

I wish you would explain to me just what "controlling the production in factories" means. Marx never explained it, can you? And I don't mean defining by slogan.

I really don't know how to answer this business of anarchosyndicalism since it isn't around anymore much like "know-nothingism." I can only assume that it failed because it was a failed idea. No crime in that, Christianity failed in the USSR for many years, but returned once the system that repressed it had vanished. I haven't seen anarchosyndicalism returning with any great new promise since fascism vanished from the Spanish scene. By "Brenton Woods" I assume you mean Bretton Woods which is also a small town in New Hampshire. That system failed when gold was abandoned as an international standard and due to the overburdening caused by an explosion in global trade. The IMF survived as did many of the ideas central to that system. I once did some consulting for Manufacturers Hanover Bank which handled much of the money exchanges on a world wide basis, doing about 16 BILLION dollars a day in trades. Speculation by any of the traders was prohibited by both law and by the internal setup of the bank which triggered automatic external audits if margins were exceeded. Chomsky is way off base when he suggests that institutional arbitrage is speculation. Financial speculation of the kind that Chomsky speaks of, is largely a private matter wherein the trader assumes all the risks inherent in that field. Bretton Woods may be dead, but many of its basic tenets have survived, albeit in other forms and under other guidelines. Chomsky is wrong, financial speculation is quite healthy for any economy since it drives the market to accept realities which otherwise might be ignored. I cannot trade against the Russian Ruble if that currency lacks the faith of the market. The speculator assumes the risk of knowing what products and services will be worth and to whom. That is the is the short version of why currencies are devalued or simply revalued and usually every day, and sometimes hourly. The noon time report of the London gold fix does much the same thing for commodities. Get that MBA.

Koch is afraid of Kerrys lies, his 20 years wasted in the Senate doing absolutely nothing, Kerrys inability to hold on a course, his lack of vision, and his indecisiveness (we call it flip flopping). Kerry is running on his record as a war hero which has been called into question by very creditable people whom he has chosen to slander rather than answer. The last time I looked, Miller as a loyal Democrat support Al Gore, so I don't see how that produced votes for Nader. Hitchens was a well respected journalist even when he supported Clinton and Gore. Now that they have switched sides Koch, Miller and Hitchens are all bums? Has it not occurred to you that the Democrat party may be the guilty ones, since they have abandoned their principles? Many of the military gave their verdict this week when they gave Bush standing ovations and many walked out or sat on their hands when Kerry spoke. Now we have Memogate which will surely lay CBS and Rather low, and will reflect badly on the Kerry effort to slander Bush.

There are many Liberals who have not gotten on the "Bush lied" bandwagon. They get no media coverage since that would go against the media's built in bias. And just how is it that you can say that the cement factory should have cost 800,000 dollars? Have you seen the costs associated with that construction? And please name the half of the Bush team that is jumping ship at the end of the year, and how do you know that? Some wag once said, "I know many things, and some of them are even true. The problem is, .... which ones."

Regards,
Cohn

* * * * *

Chapter 7.4


Cohn,
That’s perfectly understandable, I figured there was a reason for the shortness of your recent emails. I’ve been too busy myself. My girlfriend’s father is having his kitchen redone, and I got suckered into doing all the plumbing work. Pain in the rear, let me tell you....

The reason for my surprise with your experiences in the Korean War is that it one of the few time periods of US history in the 20th century that I have very little knowledge of. In fact, it’s limited to what I learned in my 9th grade history class.

Also the right of “eminent domain” varies in different states. Maryland has fairly egregious laws pertaining to it, and has been the cause, in part, to the horrible economic state that Prince George’s county is in.

Workers in SOME industries enjoy stock ownership, and whatnot. For some, this hasn’t been much for the workers to enjoy as the nice folks from Enron, Global Crossing, and WorldCom has come to find out. The investment in their labor is largely imaginary, in the same way that paying for social security in an investment is imaginary. Furthermore, as I said earlier, these workers don’t control their labor or production, which is hardly a recipe for enjoying the fruits of their labor.

Your understanding of centrally planned economies is a bit off. Centrally planned systems generally don’t use market systems (China is recently one exception) and thus have zero profits. Not because the structure of the system is shoddy, but because profit isn’t built into the economic system itself. The system is still structured to some extent by supply and demand, but with the idea to allocate goods to serve the public (not profits). The unfortunate thing is that the coordinators of a centrally planned system were brutal dictators, and had no financial or any other desire to serve the public well. When capitalists make major decisions in our economy, they do it to serve profit, not the public, and the result is mixed. Markets also don’t entirely work off of a strict supply and demand. There’s a basic selling concept to always overproduce in a market system (for various reasons, one being that no one wants the last twinkie or gallon of milk on the shelf). Talk to any worker at a grocery store and they show you exactly what I mean. My mom is retired, but works part time for a greeting card company in grocery stores. When you go to pick up a happy birthday card at a grocery store, chances are you pass by some of cards manufactured and distributed by her company. In any case, these cards also come with envelops. In the last month since she has been working there her car (as well as mine) has been filled with hundreds of envelops, that would have otherwise been thrown away. If you were to actually measure the overproduction in our society and the cost of doing so the figure would be astounding. Personally I don’t think a market system, or a centrally planned coordinator system is an ideal way to produce, consume, or allocate goods in any economy.

I agree that WWII wasn’t entirely necessary for us to fight, and there were isolationists who didn’t want to get involved in it. It cost us over a half a million good men, but it was a war worth fighting.

As for the daughter of your friend, I would say good for her. The airline industry in the US has proven time and time again not to be very profitable. It’s only survived with massive government bailouts and subsidies. Such a trend has been true throughout the history of the United States when it comes to transportation. Union workers, like managers, are often aware of their profit margins for the business they work for. If the profit margins go negative, the company is at risk of folding. This fact doesn’t change that laborers in a market system is paid by their bargaining power, whether you’re John Doe on a loading dock for UPS, or if your Michael Jordon on the basketball court.

Union membership in the media industry has declined because the number of companies that control the media has declined. We are now down to what? six major companies that control 90+% of everything Americans see on televisions, in movies, in magazines, and newspapers. Often union workers make a better product. The Firestone tire company laid off their union employees and brought in scabs, who went on to make tires that shredded and fell apart, killing a few people in their tipsy-topsy SUVs. I believe Firestone is out of business as a result. Union membership is down in this country because the US has had long and vicious history of attacking unions and fighting against worker’s rights. The US has consistently been behind the rest of the industrialized world in this aspect. In the 1850’s English laborers won many of the working conditions that it took Americans nearly a hundred year more and a great depression to win. Union membership is much higher in Europe and Japan than the US, and they don’t seem to have many problems with progress. Europeans also enjoy better working conditions, the average German worker gets 6 weeks paid vacation, French and English workers get 4 weeks. Americans get 2 weeks on average (and that is declining). Last week Alan Greenspan stated that our “jobless recovery” has been due to a higher output. What does that mean? It means that companies are not replacing many of the workers who leave and are having the other workings pick up the slack. That means Americans are working longer and harder, and in many cases for lower wages. I would hardly call this progress.

The major media outlets don’t report on US poverty, as the figures would be disturbing. I know about it from independent media, human rights reports, foreign media, and various other sources. One small example, the US is by far the richest country in the world, but is 28th in infant morality (in close comparison to Cuba). I have my doubts that Wallace’s editors would take kindly to him reporting on the issue. The poor don’t have anything close to the safety net they once did, as many have been finding out in the last few years. One’s access to various charities are limited directly to the individual’s circumstances. The GI Bill was (and still is) a good thing, but nevertheless it is a government handout, just like a food stamp. Many folks try all the time, not just to better themselves, but to just survive. For many of them, it just isn’t working. Given that poverty rates are twice as high in the US as in Europe, that should be clear.

As I’ve said before, I know much more about music then I do anything else. I am a classically trained musician, having played violin, viola, cello, and bass in various orchestras in and out of school. I can also play guitar, drums, banjo, mandolin, lute, and the bouzouki. Personally I think Bach is extremely over rated. Most of his pieces are crap. His most famous pieces are his Toccata & Fugue which is a piece reserved now a days for bad horror movies. His other famous piece is the Brandenburg Concerto #3 which is horrible and boring. My friend Debra (who played cello) left the orchestra so she would never have to hear that song again. I personally prefer Verdi, Wagner, Mozart, and particularly Tchaikovsky. I’ve never heard of the Kingston Trio, but I enjoyed the Rocky Horror Picture Show a great deal. They brought musicals into the age of rock n’ roll which was never done before, to my knowledge. Rap is sometimes unintelligible, but Polarity One, Run DMC, and Public Enemy are all great rap groups that express uplifting and positive messages. I’ll check out that movie if I can find it. I recently saw a great movie called Network (it was made in ‘70’s I believe) that if you haven’t seen I would recommend as well.

Arafat couldn’t accept the Barak offer because it separated a Palestinian state into 16 cantons, dividing the cultural and economic centers of Palestinians. Israel wouldn’t suffer a death sentence for upholding the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, just as the Soviet Union didn’t crumble from radical Muslims when they left Afghanistan. Jews aren’t welcomed in Arabic states, but neither is democracy, often at the insistence of the U.S. The only genocide happening in the Middle East is that of the Iraqis and Palestinians, as they are enjoying to fruits of liberty that the U.S. weapons of mass destruction deploys. The UN charter gives a nation the right to self defense, not the right to engage in international terrorism and to violate human rights. Do you think Chinese maps show Taiwan as an independent nation or a renegade Chinese state? Perhaps you shouldn’t question Arabs about their maps, but the printers of said maps.

Earth First! has not been fighting the clearing of underbrush, but the destruction some of the last virgin forests left in the United States. Greenpeace has been fighting the use of fossil fuels, not hydrogen power. Power plants (whether coal, natural gas, or nuclear) has generally been used to supply the local area in which they operate. Wind power could supply the Midwest, and biomass could supply our entire country’s energy needs using 12% of US farmland.

Who cares if Kerry’s has never repudiated the people he was once aligned with? What would he have to gain from doing so?

I’ll correct your memory of Marx’s writings. Marx said that laborers should control the production in the factories. Some of Marx’s followers believed in that, other self-serving individuals did not, and they were the ones who came to power in Russia, China, Cuba, and other places.

I’m not sure how anarchosyndicalism has ever failed or been discredited. The closest thing to such a fact was the Spanish revolution, and that didn’t fail because of its structure, but because it was smashed by force by the fascists. Lyndon LaRouche is a nutcase who I assume is suffering from paranoid schizophrenia. Apparently, he assumes that the government is monitoring its citizens bowel movements. I won’t be buying a tin foil hat anytime soon. I suppose you would criticize Chomsky’s view that financial speculation is unhealthy for the economy since the dismantling of the Brenton Woods system. There’s nothing in anarchosyndicalist economic theory that I’ve read that suggests we do away with wages. The barter system however is nothing more then low level capitalism.

Koch is apparently off his rocker if he thinks Kerry is the left of all lefties. If he thinks terrorism is the only issue, then perhaps he should take a look around. American civil liberties are under attack, and even Bob Barr, the former republican Congressman who championed the impeachment of Clinton, has come out against the PATRIOT act. I could care less what the ADA gave a rating to anyone. Zell Miller is the one of the reasons millions voted for Nader instead of the milk toast Gore in 2000. Christopher Hitchens father might have been a decent fella (I wouldn’t really know) but he is a dishonest and lousy journalist. The difference between how the military votes in past election cycles and how they will vote in this election is their abuse by the Bush administration which will sway them to Kerry. Considering Bush deserted his post, and the rest of his administration largely being draft dodgers, I don’t think Bush has chance in hell of winning the military vote.

I didn’t write the article so I don’t feel any real need to defend it. I simply forwarded to you because I figured you might find it interesting. If you look at the point the writer was making, it is quite clear that the ones who are fighting in Iraq and the ones who are directing the fighting are two different groups. I find it interesting that what any liberal politician says such as Henry Waxman is by default wrong or misleading according to you. Are there any liberals out there who don’t support Bush that you would suggest don’t regularly lie? I am outraged if they spent 15 million of US taxpayer money to build a cement factory that would have cost $800,000. I wonder how much of that 14 million 200 plus thousand could have gone to provide some body armor for American troops. Starting with beginners will apparently happen should Bush wins the election, considering half his administration is planning on jumping ship at the end of the year.

Some of the conclusions I got from the article is just how unimportant terrorism is to the Bush administration. They are more interested in global domination by force. Why else would have the Bush administration fought the creation of the 9-11 commission every step of the way? The worst crime in American history apparently wasn’t very important to these folks considering they gave more than 16 times more money to investigate a space shuttle that went “boom”. And THEN when the commission report comes out the Bush administration doesn’t allow the public to see 28 pages pertaining to Saudi Arabia’s role in the 9-11 attacks. It also looks as if the wife of the Saudi ambassador Bandar “Bush”, Princess Haifa has been helping to finance terrorists for years including two of the 9-11 hijackers. I suppose Bandar and Haifa won’t be spending any time at Guantanamo anytime soon. It must be make the innocents who are rounded up into the Bush administration’s concentration camp in Cuba very proud to be sitting in their own excrement. I’m sure they will be waving American flags in no time. Or maybe not. Most of them had nothing to do with Al Queda before they came into that hell hole, but they certainly will be the first to sign up for bin Laden when they get out.

Take care,
Derek

* * * * *

Chapter 7.3


Derek,
Right now I am in the midst of helping a friend with a legal problem in Russia. Very time consuming and detailed.

I am not sure what it is that you find surprising about my Korean War experiences. It is a well known fact that Russians were flying Russian MIGs and that they were badly beaten in the air war, losing almost 8 planes to our 1 shot down.

The right of "eminent domain" belongs to the various governments and in short says, for the public good (highways, etc.) they can take private property while paying the owners due compensation. That last varies as states really get to decide.

As I lately pointed out, workers under the capitalist system have enjoyed the rights of ownership of the companies that they work for through the ability to buy shares at discounts. Additionally they enjoy the profits of their labors via profit sharing and other perks. This system allows anyone to invest in themselves and enjoy the fruits of their labors with the understanding that they also risk losing their investment. Centrally operated governmental market systems say that profits (if any) belong to the government and businesses cannot fail since the full faith and credit of that government is behind them. That market place is not driven by demand, but rather by a central planning system that dictates what the supply of any commodity should be. Thus, if they decide to build a million trucks that are more expensive, less efficient, liable to breakdown and nobody wants to buy, they will continue to build them until the central plan is fulfilled. My friend told me of a warehouse in Smolensk that contained 2 million guitars that nobody wanted and were rotting on the shelves. They wouldn't clear the space for him since the factory was still building more guitars. Conversely, if the public is looking for more living space and that is not on the agenda.... well then you have Minsk. If you haven't seen the slums of Kiev, you have never seen a true slum. Today in Russia private ownership is being encouraged, since the other way was a dismal failure and workers got very little because there were no PROFITS to share from.

In a strict sense W.W.II was not necessary for us. Hitler never threatened us directly. Yamamotos plan was to stalemate us in the Pacific and then get favorable peace terms. He warned the Imperial government that they could not win any war longer than six months. We could have been out of that war in three months by making concessions. Hitler would have dominated Europe, Tojo would have dominated Asia, and we would have had the Americas.

What is wrong with that picture? In the world of real politics you often have to deal with nut cases like Stalin, but we didn't. The French have a Napoleonic complex and had they won the war on their own and stood astride Europe... well, there would be an Arc de Triomphe in the centers of Berlin, and Oslo and maybe even Moscow.

The daughter of a friend of mine worked in a coffee shop and as a file clerk while going to NYU law school. She gave up her social life, but she had her goals and they were most important. Today she is one of the lead litigators for the City of New York. In coffee shops she is a generous tipper. Bargaining power has not much relation to real wages as we now see in the Airline industry. Carriers are asking for cut backs and failing that, are filling for chapter 11. In 1960 in NY there were 22 daily newspapers. The typesetters went on strike for higher wages and a curtailment of computerized typesetting. They won on both counts and 20 years later there were three dallies in NY and the typesetters union had one-tenth the members. Today the union brags about the efficiency and labor savings from computerization and the high wages of their members. Unfortunately the other 90% of their former members often spent years finding other work or getting reeducated. Mike Quill struck the NY subways for 12 days and Mayor Lindsey caved and gave them everything they asked for, everything. Three million other workers paid for that raise by having their fares doubled and getting worse service. Unions have generally stood in the path of progress for the wrong reasons. That is why their membership is down. I guess being out of work at a high union wage is an honor for some people.

If the media isn't reporting children falling dead in the gutters of America, how do you know about it? If you have hard evidence, call Mike Wallace. I am not sure that having a TV or a car actually lifts one from the ranks of the impoverished, Nader has neither. The "poor" have welfare, shelters, the Salvation Army, food stamps and a host of other charities that are keeping them from those gutters. Ambition and personal desire are among those qualities that prevent dire "circumstances." Fifty years ago most Americans had expanding opportunities in front of them since few had training or education. When I came back from the military service, the GI bill and assorted jobs took me through college and three degrees. I wasn't waiting on food stamps or other handouts. I earned it all the hard way and I say, damn those who refuse to try.

As to music, I would like to hear your take on Bach, The Kingston Trio and the score from The Rocky Horror Picture Show. To me all rap is unintelligible.

The Fountainhead was also made into a movie with Gary Cooper who at the films end recites the speech I recommended to you. Cooper is hardly the greatest monologist, but the words are real and moving. When my father came here at age 13, he was homeless and penniless. The Salvation Army took him in and saved his life. To this day I still write that check every year, now in his memory.

I guess then that the US media should have accepted the Barak offer. Arafat couldn't accept it even though it contained 95% of HIS demands for the simple reason that it would have put him out of the business of waging war against Israel. The "right of return" would be a death sentence for Israel, since that country would be swamped with Arabs who have the destruction of that state as their only motive. Where in all of the Arab states is that right given to Jews? The expropriation of Jews possessions and their expulsion is the only thing that they are certain of in any Arab country. The "right of return" would only serve to guarantee Israelis of another genocide, and the answer is NEVER AGAIN. UN resolution 194 is a General Assembly resolution and hence non binding and it has been superseded by section 2b of resolution 242 (1967), where the refugee problem is to be solved with a "just settlement" which is likely to include compensation, but unlikely the "right of return." When Israel made peace with Jordan in 1994, the control those countries had over the West Bank was relinquished to the Israelis. Israel therefore is not occupying the West Bank! Article 51 of the UN charter gives every nation the inherent right to self defense, why doesn't that apply to Israel? Prior to 1930, The USSR appeared on every American made map, as did China before 1973, even though the government had not recognized those countries. For the Arabs it is propaganda, a statement of their purpose to wipe out Israel.

The fight against fission power in this country was waged largely by environmentalists. They also don't like coal, drilling for oil and clearing underbrush to prevent forest fires. If there were windmills on every vacant acre of land in America, it might supply 10-15% of our energy needs. Doubling our cars mileage performance might cut our fuel needs by 15%. We now import 15 million barrels of oil a day. You do the math. And while you are at it try to figure out the cost of those innovations.

Kerry may have abandoned the radicals he was aligned with, but he has never repudiated them or their positions. Where is he today, no one knows.

It has been some time since I read Marx, but as I recall the word "coercion" was unknown to him, but not to his followers.

You are again citing this failed and discredited anarchosyndicalist system which is championed by such kooks as Lyndon La Rouche who in his "Dialectical Epistemology of Economics" writes, "The Physiocrats attribution of "surplus" to a biological epiphenomenon of the feudal ownership of rural property. The adoption of the Physiocrat Quesnay's dogma of "free trade" (laissez-faire)", and Noam Chomsky who wouldn't understand an economic principle if it smacked him in the face. The doing away with wages is a dead idea as I learned some years ago when I invested in a company that touted the barter system. I couldn't trade its stock today for half a loaf of bread.

Ed Koch was the two term Mayor of New York, a 20 year House member and a long time icon of the Liberal Party. Today he says he is still a Liberal but cannot vote for someone like Kerry who is "left of all lefties", but Bush is his choice since the war against terrorism is the only issue and Bush understand that. Zell Miller actually received a 55% rating from the ADA for his 30 year service as a Democrat. Christopher Hitchen;s father was a leading English Socialist for many years. Until recently Christopher was the leading Liberal writer for Vanity Fair. Since the Clinton scandals he has been turning right, but still considers himself a Liberal, and he supports Bush. Griffen Bell was Attorney General under Carter and a life long Democrat. Randy Kelly is the Democrat Mayor of St. Paul. As for the military vote, they traditionally been Republican and the flack over Kerrys service can push it up as high as 70%, the anecdotes notwithstanding.

I chose at random several of the "statistics' from your e-mail from the Independent and I wonder how or if you could verify these numbers. Also, please tell me what possible conclusion you draw from this stack of garbage.

0 Number of principal civilian or Pentagon staff members who planned the war who have immediate family members serving in uniform in Iraq. If I find just one......

237 Minimum number of misleading statements on Iraq made by top Bush administration officials between 2002 and January 2004, according to the California Representative Henry Waxman. Any quote from Henry Waxman is in and of itself, funny and usually wrong and always misleading.

$15m Amount of a contract awarded to an American firm to build a cement factory in Iraq. The BASTARDS !!!! I am outraged....79 Number of Bush's initial 189 appointees who also served in his father's administration. Imagine, hiring people with experience, some nerve, fire them all and lets get beginners like Clinton did.

Regards,
Cohn

* * * * *

Chapter 7.2


Cohn,
I was wondering where you went...I perfectly understand about the delay though. I’m frequently too busy to respond until 3 days later as well.

I find that very surprising about your experiences in the Korean War.

No, I haven’t had my home taken for a new highway, although a good friend of mine has. I’d rather not go into it as I would likely spend hours ranting about the Virginia Department of Transportation. You often find that due compensation, even in this country isn’t exactly completely due.

I don’t avoid using the term Marxist (or Marxism) if it accurately applies to such an individual or economic system. It is a matter of interpretation, of course, but how I read “Kritik der politischen Oekomonomie” Marx endorsed control of production and labor to the workers. Castro does not do this (and never has...not to mention Stalin, Lenin, Trotsky, and every “Communist” dictator I’ve looked at), and thus they aren’t Marxists. I personally disagree with Marx on the issue of how labor tasks are divided, and on the specifics of authority over the laborers, so I wouldn’t apply the term to myself as I don’t think it would be apt. I certainly am a capitalist, in so much as I participate in a capitalist economy, but I would also say that I am opposed to nearly every tenet of market capitalism.

Was the first WTC attack, 9-11, Oklahoma City, and the African embassy bombings terrorism in my view? Of course they were. However, the term “terrorism” does not apply only when it’s done to us and not when we do it to them.

As for the freedom gained by VE & VJ days, I afraid I just don’t follow you. We (Americans) didn’t win any freedoms from WWII. Europeans did, absolutely. Well, some of them did. I do think that we should have fought WWII as it was necessary to defend ourselves. At the end of WWII we did position ourselves to dominate the world, and we still do today, now with no Soviets to deter us. The Soviets would have likely used the bomb on us I believe under Stalin, but of course Stalin was a nut case. The French I seriously doubt would have used the bomb, except perhaps on Indochina.

There are many people who do work 2-3 jobs just to pay the bills. I’ve known many of them. They aren’t hard to find at a Walmart, Kmart, or many other retail outlets. And it isn’t limited to retail either. There are many companies that do other amazing benefits. Although, the squeeze is happening for the middle class, particularly with health care costs. Wages are also stagnate. My mother was able to give our entire family of four great health care when I was growing up, as she was part of a union. If she hadn’t been she would not be covered today, as the grocery store that she worked for has now gone under. There are many lousy unions, that I don’t deny. However, in an economic system where bargaining power determines wages, it is a necessity.

The media typically doesn’t report rampant poverty, although it still exists, at very scary rates. Some are worse off then others. Very many of them don’t have TVs or cars (unless they steal them). This even happens in the suburbs, and I know it from first hand experience from dozens of people I’ve come across. Access the our great economy is limited not by just ambition but also circumstances. The chances for achieving a higher standard of living 50 years ago were much higher then today.

I wouldn’t criticize rap unless you listen to quite a lot of it. Much of rap and hip hop is garbage (generally corporate hip-hop), but some of it is very emotional, powerful, and even uplifting. I personally have a huge distain for the music style, as for black music generally I prefer blues, Motown, and some early 70’s funk. All those music forms have been a great reference point for the black community to address their problems. I personally don’t feel that it is hopeless, I have great optimism for the future. Slums were also created by governments with not so good intensions.

I’ll take a look at that Ayn Rand book you mentioned if they have it at the library, but I’ll take my girlfriend’s word at face value. Her reading ability far pales mine (often to much resentment), as she reads 3 books a day most of the time. I perfectly understand the joy of doing charity work. I once volunteered at a soup kitchen in D.C., shortly after I had been homeless. I also knew quite a lot of homeless people in D.C. (and in my town in the suburbs) and spent time with them, gave them a place to stay for the night, and a little food to eat. I believe strongly in helping out people who have just had a run of bad luck. If it wasn’t for someone doing it for me, I would still be homeless some 8 years later.

If you can find it piece your friend wrote I would happy to read it. What was that saying? “The poor may not always be just, but if you ignore their woes there will never be any justice”. Something like that.

The US media has said over and over again how wonderful Barak’s offer was. Of course this was from the same media that also didn’t print any maps of the proposal, and I’ll leave it at that. The right of return was left out, again with Israel (and the US aiding) in the violation of the 14th article of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. I suppose Israel violating UN Resolution 194 wasn’t enough. Every party involved could have accepted the Palestinian proposal. They just chose not to. Israel isn’t on Arabic maps probably because many of their repressive state governments do not recognized Israel, in the same way that China doesn’t recognize Taiwan (and the US didn’t recognize China for years).

I’m all in favor of hydrogen power. Blaming energy policy (and the lack of hydrogen power) on environmentalists is just plain wrong. Much of western Europe has tougher environmental regulations then we do.

I don’t know too many Vietnam vets (I’m a bit too young to hang out with those folks), but like I said, the atrocities that I mentioned didn’t come from Kerry. Actually, Kerry belonged to a very radical leftist group (as many activists did in those days), and abandoned them before he ran for office.

Alan Colmes and Michael Kinsley are about as liberal as Al Gore in the 2000 election. For some reason I always seem to confuse Milton Friedman for Thomas, I’m not sure why. I’m not too good with names I suppose. Actually Marx agreed with Adam Smith that to work under coercion is “to make man as stupid as they can possibly be”, but I digress.

I do think that the collapse of the Soviet system is a good thing. I don’t think that the US won the cold war in so much as Trotskyism failed. Communism didn’t fail as it was never tried. I wouldn’t consider Albania any more a paradise then the north pole. I think the best example so far tried for an anarchosyndicalist system was Spain before it was taken over by force by the fascists in WWII (although northern Italy had a great system in place for a syndicalist system before the US smashed it shortly after getting rid of Mussolini).

I don’t recognize any of the Democratic supporters of Bush you mentioned except Koch, Miller, and Hitchens. Wasn’t Ed Koch the CEO of McDonalds? Maybe I’m confusing names again, I think that guy’s dead. Zell Miller is a democrat in name only, voting 100% of the time with the GOP. Christopher Hitchens is best known to me by screwing up an article he wrote trashing Fahrenheit 9-11, by confusing the Rubensteins, not to mention a few other facts. I find it interesting that the Bush people couldn’t get Nancy to speak for them, but Kerry could get Ron. As for conservative Kerry supporters, have you seen the ads that Move-on has put together? I believe that the military vote (with the exception of the higher ups) will overwhelmingly be for Kerry. There’s a guy who was interviewed in F9-11, he was in Iraq, and came home with some nerve damage. At first glance he looked perfectly fine. When he spoke however, he had to struggle through his jerky spasms, that were so severe as he had trouble uttering syllables. He said he was a Republican his whole life and voted for Bush in 2000. He said when he got home he was going to work as hard as he could for the Democratic party.

Take care,
Derek

* * * * *

“Occupy! Resist! Produce!”

Chapter 7

Derek,
Sorry about the delay in answering, but I have been swamped with other business. I have said, I am retired with nothing to do, but I am always three days behind.

I spent part of my time in the military at Misawa Airforce base in Northern Japan in 1952-3 We had fighter jets sitting on the runways, engines running, 24 hours a day since we expected attacks at any time. The aircraft we expected and fought against over Korea were MIG15s and MIG 17s, and most of their pilots were Russian. I flew L1s and L14s (artillery spotters) and the artillery that the North Koreans and the Chinese were employing were all Russian. I suspect that in calling in strikes, I was at least indirectly responsible for some Russians buying the farm. I could clearly see, (we flew at 500 feet or less), that the cadre and commanders were not Orientals. Their trumpets and the caps they wore were Chinese. Have you ever had your home taken by government for say, a new highway or bridge? In generic terms, that is expropriation. In our system it is done with consultation and due compensation. Castro only recognized the first of these, as do all Marxists. By the way, why do you avoid the term "Marxist" as though it were a dirty word? I am a CAPITALIST and proud to say so. As for the first attack on the WTC, you can call it jaywalking for all anyone cares. But just like that calling a dogs ear a foot, it does not make it so. If you cannot recognize terrorism when it stares you in the face, then you have a much bigger problem than I can help you solve.

At first you said that there were no freedoms gained by VE and VJ days, now you say they are gone. Which freedoms did we gain and how were they lost? If it were in the American determination to dominate the world we could have done so at the end of W.W.II with no opposition. The Axis powers were done, the USSR was exhausted and we had 12 million men under arms around the world, and for anyone who might think of resisting, we had the Bomb. Reverse those conditions and do you seriously believe the Soviets would have hesitated one minute? Or even the French?

Sure there are people that work three jobs, I went to school full time and worked two jobs. But that was when I was in my twenties and struggling. Hooray for the folks that have that gumption. There are literally thousands of companies today that use profit sharing and employee ownership as incentives. When I lived in Rochester, Kodak had incentives, profit sharing and other perks and no union. When they got a union the good stuff went away and the employees had union cadre to support and less income.

I really find it hard to believe that children are falling dead from starvation in any number anywhere in this country. The "lower classes" here are better fed and have color TVs, cars, and access to the greatest economy that the world has ever seen. They have only to apply themselves and have the ambition. I grew up in the South Bronx where poverty was the rule. My friends have all done well, and most were non whites. One started the most successful ad agency in NY, another sits on the second circuit court, and another is Joses Torres. We all had one thing in common, we had drive, ambition and never felt beaten down. Today's ghetto youth listen to the doom and gloom sayers, they listen to rap garbage and believe that they cannot do it. When folks who have your philosophy tell them that it is hopeless, they believe it and they fail. Slums were created largely by well intended governments who by such things as rent control, forced landlords to walk away and businesses to abandon those areas by hog-tying police and other services.

Your girlfriend has misread Ayn Rand. It is exactly the opposite, there is no such thing as altruism. Anyone who demands someone to sacrifice himself for another is a fraud. Those who do charity work get a measure of satisfaction that ordinary work may not provide. Sure they help the less fortunate, but the satisfaction of doing that work gives them a lift and a sense of completion that is unavailable elsewhere. I spent 12 years working in Little League as a volunteer. You couldn't have more fun and a feeling of accomplishment anywhere else.

I did it as much for me as for the kids. A friend of mine once wrote a piece entitled; " No Welfare For The Rich, The Poor Or The Corrupt". It was a brilliant article and was read into the Congressional Record, if I can find it I will send it to you.

Barak offered the Palestinians 95% of what they has asked for. Only the "right of return" was left out for the obvious reasons. Arafat walked away from it because he wanted all or nothing. If that is negotiations the Palistinian way, would you accept it? The only solution that these terrorists see is the total elimination of the Jewish State. Are those terms that you would even consider? And speaking of maps, have you ever seen an Arab Atlas of the area, there is NO State of Israel on nay of their maps, WHY?

The difference between fusion and fission is that one uses Uranium and produces radioactive wastes and the other uses Hydrogen and produces water as a byproduct. Also fusion cannot runaway, cannot explode, needs no exotic fuels and is limitless in it potential. France is using fission to produce 45% of its energy and Japan 40%. We are the only laggards in the industrial world and that is because of environment alarmists. And so you now pay for their extremist positions on your fuel bills.

I am sympathetic to your uncles condition and for all those who suffered injuries or losses. I have known many Viet Nam veterans through the years and none have ever described the atrocities that Kerry says we all committed as American soldiers. Kerrys testimony was a tissue of lies in order to prepare for his own political career. At the time there was great anti war sentiment and Kerry decided to ride that wave into political office. If there ever was a man more cynical and debasing, I have yet to meet him.

Mora Liason was never a leftist, but she worked for an organization that definitely was. Michael Kinsley has described himself as a Liberal and was the counterpoint to Bill Buckley on Firing Line for many years. You would be insulting Alan Colmes unless you modified "moderate" with Liberal. There is quite a difference between Milton and Thomas Friedman. Almost like that between Marx and Adam Smith.

Reagan's goal of "rollback" was a complete departure from a 40 year old system of containment that was a total failure. But then, from what I gather from your stands, perhaps our winning the cold war and the collapse of communism around the world (except for Cuba, Albania and Harvard) is not the desired outcome you were looking for. Albanians are not free to leave that paradise so easily as you can leave here to go there. Not that I would suggest that as your course.

Bush also has many Democrat supporters. Such as Rodney Alexander, Ed Koch, Zell Miller, James Wasser, Ralph Hall, Douglas Barnard, Griffen Bell, Chris Hitchens, Randy Kelly the Georgia State Democrat Caucus and many others. And Kerry has Ron Reagan, who I suspect never even supported his father.

Regards,
Cohn

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Chapter 6.7


Cohn,
I agree that whether Sandino was a Marxist or not is pretty much a mute point. It’s ancient history, even more so then the 2000 election 4 ice ages ago. You might be right that they were Marxists, I’m sure they could have recited the Trinity theory verbatim. As for La Prensa, there were many radio and television stations that the Contras blew up as well, not to mention several members of the Catholic church. Apparently the Vatican was getting its marching orders from the Kremlin as well. I would also suggest you re-read that first paragraph I sent you in my previous email. I said: “The Sandinistas had good reason to fear opposition media as those who run it were often members of the ruling class who often conspired to overthrow democratic rule [one thing] for military dictatorships and US corporate servitude [another thing].”

I agree that when a government nationalizes (or redistributes) something without compensation it is stealing. In Arbenz’s case he would have then been stealing from himself. I suppose you would conclude that the 3% of Guatemalans who owned 70% of the land had a natural right to that land since it had been that way since the dawn of time? I didn’t know that Truman nationalized the railroads (even great fans of US history forget some things), but remember the railroads got built because the US gave the railroad companies huge amounts of acreage for little money (in some case no money).

When the Soviet Union nationalized the unions it was to prevent worker control of their labors. Not a very Marxist notion.

I know about the 4 1/2 million dollar fax machine because I wrote an article on the topic of DOD waste for the ‘zine I used to help write and publish when I was in high school. A lot of the info I got on the topic came from a book called “The Pentagon Catalog” by Christopher Cerf and Henry Beard. I few highlights: The Air Force bought $880,000 of ammo for $333 Million. 13 billion the Pentagon allocated to weapon contractors between ‘85-‘95 were “lost”, with another 15 billion being someplace but they didn’t know where. The GAO reported that 80% of the Navy’s purchase orders are inaccurate. The Navy bought metal nuts (the kind you find in hardware stores, usually sitting next to the bolts and screws) for $2,043 each. $898 for a bolt. $748 for a pair of pliers. $469 for a wrench. $504 for a half-inch socket. $660 for an ashtray. $7,622 for a coffee maker. $1118 for a plastic cap to go on the leg of a stool. Those neat-o B-2 invisible to radar bombers were supposed to cost $550 million each. Instead we pay 2.2 billion for them, more dough then their weight in gold. Yay. I don’t know about you, but the last time I saw a self flushing toilet it had to do with the flushing mechanism, not the toilet seat. I know a little bit about plumbing, as well as some minimal knowledge of electronics (I wire my electric guitars together from scratch. Actually I do rewiring, setups, intonations, and modifications on electric instruments as a hobby and as a small, very small, business). The automatic flush systems on those toilets (the Sloan company makes most of them that I’ve seen) uses an electric “eye” which catches a set amount of light from the lighting source in the room. When you stand in front of the it you reduce the amount of light coming into this “eye”. When the light returns to a normal level it receives an electronic signal to flush. If you’re a dare devil you can try one of these things out in the dark and see what happens. These same electronic “eyes” are also used in many lighting applications and can be found in any decent hardware store. The toilet seat however is a different mechanism altogether. They don’t require any NASA technology to perform their function of moving up and down on a hinge. Usually made of a wood composite, solid wood, or a plastic polymer, they typically range from 5-30 bucks.

Not many lessons can be learned from Trotsky’s and Lenin’s vision except that ruling by brutal force often leads to endless tragedy for everyone else. However, I wasn’t referring to that. I was speaking of the lessons mankind would have learned from a commu-syndicalist example of Russia, which goes to basic tenets of what Marx discussed in Das Kapital.

Drug dealers tend to stay away from school yards, as it often tends to attract attention to themselves. The county police here are horrible, for many complex reasons, one of which is that they are not as well paid as other counties in the area. The firefighters have it even worse. It’s so bad for them that turnover is a serious problem. I’ll answer the question of who I’ll call if I’m in trouble with a short anecdote: Several years ago, when I was 18 I used to work as a night clerk at a 7-11. My co-worker June had clocked in an hour before me. When June had come in she found on the ground outside what she thought was rock-candy. A customer had to inform her that it was actually an 8-ball of crack cocaine, with a street value of well...a lot of money. I told her to go lock herself in the back and call the police while I man the registers. The kid who dropped it (a black male probably about 16-17 years old) came back into the store looking for it. He asked me if I found any baggies laying around. I played it off like I was very tired and told him that I hadn’t seen anything and that I had just come into work. At this point I noticed that he had a gun with him tucked in his pants. He eventually left, without making any kind of fuss, still looking for the crack. All while this was happening June had continued to call the police. 20 minutes passed, and still they didn’t show. We both were wondering when this kid was going to come back put a few slugs in us. After calling the county police 8 times June gave up and called the State police instead. In less then 5 minutes they had the entire store locked down. The county police showed up 5 minutes later, with the State troopers screaming in their faces. We were asked not to talk about it so they could investigate. And the kid who dropped the crack? He got away...on foot.

It’s true that we have some campaign finance reform. I hardly think that it is worse then it used to be. Conservatives are just upset that they didn’t get their 527s up and running first. I would prefer for all 527s to disappear and give each candidate an equal amount of money and an equal amount of free air time on TV. I think it also might make sense to use the British model and not allow campaigning until just a few months before the election. It’s true that many of the people who criticize Bush don’t have much to say about Kerry. So what? Most people will not be voting for Kerry, but against Bush. Getting Bush out is step 1 to fixing the mess the radical right has made in the last few years. As for Bush being a fascist I think that’s quite clear. Fascism is the merging of state and corporate power with a bellicose militarism. Benito Mussolini noted that “Fascism should rightly be called corporatism as it is the merger of state and corporate power”. Considering Bush’s team it’s quite clear that is the case. Government agencies who regulate national forests are run by former logging lobbyists. You could write a book on this topic with these people. As for the bellicose militarism do I really have to explain that? Hitler had his death camps Bush has Abu Gharib and Guantanomo Bay. Hitler had the Jews to scapegoat, Bush has the Arabic Muslims. Kerry on the other hand I doubt would call for the elimination of private property.

If the tax payers party got 1% of the vote then sure, they should get the same amount of money as the Democrats. I’m perfectly ok with that. As for the 80 million bucks, that’s another story.
Republicans don’t have a lock on voluntarily leaving office. Democrats don’t have a lock on apparent conflicts of interest.

Unless I missed something, and the firing in Najaf has started again, then the talks with that Iraqi cleric who just had heart surgery in England (his name escapes me) is the one that produced the cease fire. The cease fires never held up because you can’t win against terrorists by blowing them up, it just creates more angry people who want to fight. As for “not for attribution” I know what they mean, like most people I consult a dictionary when I need to. I blame Bush as well, but for leaking an important double agent to the NY Times. So does the UK and Pakistan.

Truman won’t get my vote either. But true we sent “advisors” there after the French gave up on Indochina.

As for the estate tax, did you wonder why the Republicans wanted to keep it in the tax code to save “family farms”. When the Democrats offered several amendments to the bill to cut the estate tax at a higher rate (up to a million dollars, and then higher) so family farms wouldn’t be effected, it was the Republicans who voted down the amendment, each and every time. Do you wonder why?

As for the anybody but Bush vote, I think everyone would rather vote for Clinton’s cat Socks then Bush. I know I would.

I wonder if the woman Clinton “raped” was also the same woman who was raped by Kobe Bryant.

As for drug dealers operating out of school yards, that’s largely a Republican myth. Movie makers do use sex and violence, sometimes to attract youth, sometimes not. It can be used in a tasteful way, it can be used in an untasteful way. Sometimes while used in an untasteful way it’s still a good quality movie, such as the case with Pulp Fiction for example. My view has always been if the kid’s parents can’t be bothered with parenting then they get their just desserts.

Nader’s arrogant and wants people who disagree with him to die? I suppose Patti Smith, Chuck D, Danny Glover, and Phil Donahue also want those who disagree with him to die. I agree Nader hasn’t accomplished much, except of course the Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act, making automobiles safer, with higher gas mileage, and giving birth to the modern consumer movement. No big feat there. Actually when I think of it Nader’s been responsible for saving thousands of lives, who would have otherwise been a crispy critter on the interstate. As for the “I am right and you are wrong...do die” ideology there’s been over 13,000 crispy critters killed in Iraq (not even mentioning our own) who have tasted “freedom” by getting their arms, legs, and feet burned off. Go USA.

Are you to have me believe that Kerry said that Bush lied about WMDs in 1998? As for his flip flops its largely imaginary. The same weapons programs that Zell Miller criticized Kerry for not funding at the convention were frequently the same ones that Cheney as Defense Secretary wanted to cut as well. As for voting for the second Gulf War and not the 87 billion I already explained that. Kerry voted to give Bush the authority to uphold UN resolution 1441. He didn’t give him the authority to overthrow the country. Congress had already funded the war, and the Bush people came back to ask for AN ADDITIONAL 87 Billion. Where did that money go? Who knows. As for the troops many of them, and their vehicles don’t have armor, but for some reason there’s been reports of Haliburtion workers abandoning trucks when they’ve gotten flat tires. Considering our defense spending alone is nearly double that of Clinton’s of 400 billion, with over an additional 200 billion already allocated for the war, you have to ask, as Kerry did, where in the bloody hell is all this money going to? To put it in perspective that is HALF of the ENTIRE US FEDERAL BUDGET in 1996. The Arkansas National Guard was shipped to Iraq, along with their vehicles. Apparently the vehicles that the ANG are using are so old as to be dated from the Vietnam era. I repeat, where the hell is this money going? Apparently it isn’t going to the troops to fight the war. As for the gasoline taxes Kerry and others should have made them much higher. It might have given us hydrogen powers cars sooner. As for the abortion issue, I’m sure that Kerry is the only person on the planet who is Catholic and pro-choice. Perhaps you should assume that if the government can’t get the war on drugs or poverty right, they would likely fail in a “war against abortion”. If you don’t like abortion, don’t have one. As for Kerry’s absences on the floor of the Senate, I wonder if Kerry was absent 42% of the time in the months leading up the 9-11. Well one of the candidates WERE, can you guess which one? As for Kerry’s friends maybe you should ask John McCain about it. Kerry uses focus groups and other wise men who are experts on certain topics because he knows the value of making good decisions. Every executive in any position, private or public should employ such procedures in order to make good decisions. I’d also would remind you that FDR originally ran as a conservative democrat, and do to his flippy-flopping become the best president of the 20th century.

Of course you can dictate to poorer folks about cheaper cars. The WTO does it everyday. The problem is that the “free trade system” of NAFTA, GATT, etc. creates a economic system of a race to the bottom. Who will except the lowest wages and the worse working conditions? So for the winner is China and that’s where the jobs are going. Such an unstable and uncontrollable economic system is not desirable for 80% of the population. It’s self evident that a better system is needed. The “free market” is not free. If it were, we’d be in pretty bad shape. Actually if you want to buy an American car these days you have to buy a BMW, since Alabama is apparently Germany’s source for cheap exploitable labor. Go USA. MBA or no, I wouldn’t acquire a capitalistic attitude. I’m more likely to start a business (building guitars) using innovative ideas to cut down on 80% of wood consumption in order to save some forests, as well as applying the economic principles of Parecon in order to get the best decision-making, increase efficiency, and a labor environment that is so positive as to create the highest possible output per working hour.

Beyond Sharron and possibly Blair I have no doubt that the rest of the world leaders believe strongly that Bush is a tyrant. When one ignores international law so blatantly as Bush one is hard put to come to any other conclusion. Did the recession start while Bush was in office. No. However, I would point out that in 4 years this administration hasn’t created a single new job. The best they could hope for is to somehow manage to create another million plus jobs to get where they were on inauguration day. Of course the jobs they did create averaged $9,000 less in pay per year, but that’s no biggie considering these people got $300 tax cut checks. Bush’s economic plan seems to have created plenty of supply, but no demand. It seems that the unemployed are learning (again) that trickle down economics is more like trickled-on economics. You have to go back to Hoover to find such economic failures of a president.

As for Russia they seem to have been enjoying the fruits of capitalism. Apparently people still starve and have no food, but this time they have the mob. The Soviet economy was unsuccessful because it created apathy of the workers and consumers, and did not promote solidarity or empathy, let alone the elimination of class. Marx would have been rolling in his grave.

I suppose that’s all the ACLU does. Remove pesky plagues from the Grand Canyon. Perhaps you should ask the 1,700 protesters arrested in NYC what the ACLU does.

Of course labor is superior, and prior to capital. That’s self evident. Government can do the same thing, and so can other non capital, non governmental organizations. They often make great products as well. Twin Oaks is one, an anarchist commune that supplies hammocks to various outlets such as Pier 1. What you fail to realize is that Government supplied products falter for the same reason as capitalist products. It’s not a question of whether or not the Government or the Capitalist is hold the purse strings, but rather design and structure as to how these products are produced.

The Khmer Rouge weren’t Marxist is the lease bit. Also the Khmer Rouge would unlikely have come to power if we hadn’t wiped out so many of them from US bombing from70-75. In any case, I got the numbers of Cambodian atrocities not from just the CIA, as I stated in my last email, but from Michael Vickery and others. And again you make the same claim about Chomsky, only slightly rewording your accusation with absolutely zero evidence to back up your claim. Again, I’ll make it easy for you. www.zmag.org has nearly every article and many of his books.

Apparently you also don’t understand the difference is philosophy between anarchy, anarchosyndicalism, communism, and Marxism. I’ll give you a clue, they aren’t the same thing. That’s like saying socialist-based market system is the same as a Laissez Faire market system.
I don’t know much about law, but if silence means assent then I suppose we can throw the 5th amendment out the window. I also wasn’t aware that Moore should have gotten his movie approved in the court of law in order to criticize US foreign policy. Perhaps the next time Bush makes a campaign speech the Supreme Court should check it over for mistakes.

Instead of scaring Muslims into moving to Canada perhaps it would be more fruitful to put them behind barbed wire like we did the Japanese...wait...we’re already doing that. Never mind.

I have my doubts that my dad played with Capablanca as well since he was 2 years old at the time. However my father did have several chess books, a room full of them, and he did play in chess tournaments, at events and via the mail by postcard.

When it speaks of curing a leprosy infection of a house what do you think they were referring to? Small pox?

Apparently you missed something in your history teachings. Cuba fought a war against Spain for independence. We interfered so we could take over Spain’s empire. We also fought a very bloody war in the Philippines for years, as it made for a grand Navy depot, that would be nearly identical to the war we fought years later in Vietnam. Apparently we had to slaughter thousands of Filipinos in order to make them free so they could enjoy US imperialism. We did liberate them from Japan, who also tortured the Filipinos endlessly, and I’m sure the Filipino poor are happy for their freedom we gave them as their primary food sources are eating bugs out of the trucks of trees, and if they’re lucky to catch one, munch of a stray dog.

Lithuania, Estonia, and Latvia were primarily annexed by the Soviets, although part of the territory was won from the Prussian empire left over at the end of the first World War. Again, the Soviet Union did have elections. Just one candidate elections (much like the US). I have my doubts that the Czech resistance could have gotten the US Bill of Rights smuggled in, and it would have been more risky then worth the effort. Before the Velvet Underground reunion in 1993 Lou Reed (lead singer for the band) went to Czechoslovakia with members of Havel’s government playing as Reed’s band. Reed later told Rolling Stone that “I had to keep looking over my shoulders because they sounding exactly like Maureen, Sterling, and John.” [other members of VU] Havel I’m sure hadn’t heard “Yankee Doodle” or read Tom Paine either.

As for Clinton’s retaliations against Al Qaeda, maybe you should ask Newt Gingrich about that. He praised Clinton’s attack on Sudan for the Kenya embassy bombing. If what you’re are saying is true that Al Qaeda behaves as children who don’t get spankings, then how would you explain that Al Qaeda attacks have quadrupled world wide under Bush? Another question...how is it that Clinton is responsible for the recession, and not Bush (as it started on Clinton’s watch) but Clinton is responsible for 9-11 (as it happened on Bush’s watch)?

Mother Jones is hardly an anarchist magazine. I don’t know if they ever printed an article on how to kill police officers, but I’ll look and see if they did. Mother Jones a few years ago were key in breaking the story leading into the 2nd Iraq war of the dangers associated with using dU weapons. Books such as “The Anarchist Cookbook” and “The Poor Man’s James Bond” aren’t frequently used or read by anarchists. Typically that’s reserved for bored teenagers who have nothing better to do then to blow things up. I ended up learning the most famous “recipes” from those two books not from anarchists, but from former Marines. If you’d like to know about the values anarchists stand for I’d suggest you read some Alexander Berkman.

I’ve been for the legalization of drugs as well because it only creates a dangerous unregulated black market. I’ve had the misfortune of knowing a few addicts in my day, and I know this to be a fact. There’s currently a huge influx of addicts attempting to steal or somehow get prescription drugs to get high off of. The weaker potency makes little difference in exchange for 100% purity. Also evidence states that the percentage of the general population who use drugs are not effected by the drug’s prohibition, minus periodic shifts in popular culture (such as the late 60’s with marijuana, the early 90’s with heroin, the late 80’s with crack cocaine, and the late 90’s with MDMA). That aside the prohibition of marijuana hemp is just plain stupid as it has over 40,000 industrial uses (including fiberglass, biomass fuel, engine oil, paper, textiles, cloth, rope, and concrete! --a French company made concrete out of hemp that is durable but absorbs shock and vibration and is used in some parts of the world for earthquake resistant housing).

Arundhati Roy is hardly nuts, she is a well respected writer, speaker, and philosopher who is world renown. She spoke with the NYC Indymedia Center and Paficia radio during the Republican convention and said, “I was terrified. It was so blond and blue eyed that it was like masses of Barbie dolls all sharing the same brain.” See, I told you she was funny.

You’re definition of terrorism doesn’t match what’s in the US Code. I’d suggest you look it up. We do have a first amendment that allows for the freedom of speech, religion, press, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances. Apparently Bush didn’t realize this when last week his people arrested 1,700 protesters and locked them into a toxic dungeon on the Hudson. It was one of the largest mass arrests in US history (THE largest in NYC history). What the corporate media also didn’t tell you is that the protests where the largest at a political convention in US history as well. The support from New Yorkers were amazing, and it prevented the police from using violence (although the Republican Mayor of NYC not giving the cops raise certainly didn’t help, but we were supporting that too.)

I don’t know where you got it that I thought that Cuba was a peace loving democratic nation. Perhaps you could explain that one.

The disadvantage of the polls with your plan would be minimal. I still would prefer to block all media reporting of the results until all the polls are closed and would prefer the times to be uniform and be open all day on election day. I don’t have a big issue with your idea, I just personally would rather have a system that I described. As for Kerry or Nader anyone would be better than Bush. I’ll put it another way. Stalin would be better then Bush. Mussolini would be better then Bush. My cat would be better then Bush.

Onto corporations....I don’t know much about CPB, (do they run PBS?) but I would hardly expect that they are a bigger governmental teat sucker then General Motors, General Electric, or General Dynamic. Am I in favor of eliminating the corporations that produce pasta, that distribute music and pay artists royalties (most recording studios aren’t corporate), that build the bus (or van) that take musicians on tour, the corporations that build the road and produce the fuel? In one word, YES! Does this mean that I am in favor of eliminating from our lives the joy for pasta and music and vans? Of course not. I don’t wish to eliminate this institutions so much as I would like to replace them with new system that values empathy, solidarity, and compassion as opposed to greed and apathy. The music industry is fairly deplorable. The major music conglomerate produce watered-down easily digested music for the average nitwit. It pushes out as many artists as possible in order to prop up the latest corporate dictated trend. In the mid 70’s masses of people ran to the independent music scene to create a music free from corporate control. It produced the DIY concept, influencing countless musicians, writers, magazines, film producers, photographers, and others (the MP3 file sharing also has its roots in this). This underground music has come full circle and is pretty much mainstream despite that the major music industry largely ignores it. Massive outdoor concerts happen every year, to sold out shows of thousands, even though almost none of the bands enjoy any radio airplay. The digital age of music production has made it extremely easy to reproduce top quality of music. By the way, to give you an idea of just how deep the music industry’s greed is, it costs record companies less then one dollar to make a Compact Disc. When you purchase a CD it is anywhere between 10 and 20 dollars. The artists who played the music on the CD are likely to get about 1 dollar in royalties for it. As for your Texaco stock, buy some Lowe’s Hardware stock, it’s a better buy (I have a few shares). In the last 5 years the value of the company has doubled with 4 or 5 stock splits.

I’ve noticed that you seem to have issues with quotes. Clinton did not say “I did not have sex with that woman”. I’ll except that Kerry was a war hero (although I have issues with using the term “war hero” for anybody) not because of his ’71 speech, but for what he did in combat, and what the record clearly shows he did in combat. By the way, were you aware that John McCain was a homosexual, and crazy? Are you aware that John McCain fathered an illegitimate child from a black prostitute and that his wife is a junkie? Sorry if I’m not as susceptible to Karl Rove’s deceptions as you seem to be, but that’s just how I am.

Cleland was “rejected” by his constituents by a campaign ad that questioned his promise to uphold and defend the Constitution with images of Osama bin Laden next to him. Enough said, unless you’d like to commit your own integrity to these depths.

The UN has also found Israel in violation of it resolutions. Perhaps it should apply to Iraq and not Israel. Bush’s favorite philosopher, Jesus Christ, had a word for people like this. Hypocrite. Israel can be easily charged with war crimes that other Arabic nations can not, because most of the Arabic countries don’t use their state power in violence, but instead use outside 3rd parties. Because of this, they are not technically guilty of war crimes or acts of aggression. As for Hollywood’s prejudices being served, you can say the same thing about the US corporate media, except they enjoy a louder blow horn.

Take care,
Derek.

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