A shot in the dark: What were you people thinking? Eric Dexheimer's "Let Freedom and Gunshots Ring," in the September 20 issue, gave way too much space to a bunch of blowhards shooting off not just their big guns, but their big mouths.
What brave patriots! Not one (except for their spokesman, Dudley Brown) was willing to let his last name be used.
Wasn't there a more uplifting story deserving of Westword's attention last week?
via the Internet
On target: A friend sent me Eric Dexheimer's story about shooting cannons and machine guns, and I must congratulate you. It was the most accurate coverage of this subject that I have ever seen. I found not one mistake.
You got it right. How rare and pleasant.
Let freedom -- and free speech -- ring: Last week's Message, "As the Smoke Clears," was a keeper, and Michael Roberts gave a lot of kudos where due.
One item bothers me, though. Although Clear Channel raised some money for the people who really need it, I'm saddened that once again they just don't "get it." They raise money, and their DJs kick ass in terms of how they handle the situation, yet Clear Channel issues an edict not to play hundreds of songs, many of which are classics, and no songs at all by Rage Against the Machine. Isn't this exactly what the terrorists want, in the same way that Bill Maher was recently chastised for comments taken out of context?
Last I heard, Radio Free Taliban was not playing RATM -- or any other Western music, for that matter. The curtailing of free speech in a free country is the first step on the road toward becoming less than what we once were.
Editor's note: For more on the Clear Channel list, see Michael Roberts's "Stop Imagining".
Mass confusion: "The terrible truth is the truth that we should not deny folks," states Denver Post editor Glenn Guzzo. But the real purpose behind the Post and all of the mass media is to cultivate public stupidity and conformity in order to protect the capitalist upper class from interference by the masses. It is one of the most awesome and effective propaganda systems that has ever existed in world history.
There are still those in our society who are not aware of the fact that the global corporate capitalist empire is carrying on a war against poor and working people, both here and around the world. As a matter of fact, the corporate capitalist views working-class democracy as the main enemy of profits and has set out to destroy it. This is the primary reason the United States has so many enemies abroad.
The corporate capitalist attack strategy is simple: Say and do anything to weaken and destroy the opposition; confuse opponents as to the real capitalist intentions. By this method, corporate capitalists have been able to set worker against worker, city against city, nation against nation.
The corporate capitalists are fighting the U.S. and everything we stand for. We are being challenged to defend our most fundamental beliefs, those upon which our institutions, our free society and our way of life depend. If we are to win this struggle, we must develop programs and organizations to defeat the corporate capitalist terrorists. We must copy those who founded the United States in revolution by making ourselves revolutionaries for freedom and democracy.
Of rations, and rational thought: Regarding Jonathan Shikes's "Forward Into the Past," in the September 13 issue: One of the most heroic figures of World War II was Colorado Governor Ralph Carr, who opposed Executive Order 9066 because the WRA lacked proof or evidence of espionage, arson, treason or sabotage by the California Nisei. Innocent people could not be imprisoned in the state of Colorado because of the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863, which all Western governors had to swear to uphold. Colorado Nisei were not interned; they were drafted or allowed to farm. The troops needed food.
Carr's opposition to Executive Order 9066 cost him re-election, but he won the hearts of thousands of people.
Executive Order 9066 is a complex issue. It made California governor Earl Warren, a Norwegian-American, a superior authority to President Franklin D. Roosevelt. (Governor Warren became chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, but he was kicked out of California by a Nisei class-action lawsuit.) The scandal around the camps in Arkansas made Senator Harry S. Truman a star and gave him the vice-presidency. Four hundred billion dollars (1939 gold/silver standard) was the estimated cost of the relocation of 120,000 people. Governors of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Utah, Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, Arkansas and Wyoming all had to submit to King Warren's authority and build prison camps for populations of 10,000 each. The civilian populations were on short rations of gasoline, sugar, meat, rubber, etc. No furniture was built in those war years. Why were these camps not a violation of the Geneva Convention?
Psychologist Stanley Millgram once did an "Obedience to Authority" study that was designed to test the presence of Nazism in U.S. populations. Could Auschwitz happen here? Camp Granada was named after the fallen Muslim capital of Spain in 1492.
September 11, 2001, has changed history. Does the United States of America go to war because of the actions of seventeen men, or do we rebuild? Will there be an all-out draft of both men and women, eighteen years old and over? Seventy percent of all local teens do not go to college. Will the U.S. Congress allow Mr. Bush to declare war without an Act of Congress? No one has claimed responsibility. World War II cost the U.S. six million lives. Thirty-nine million Russians and thirty-nine million Germans died on the Russian front.
Is King Oil worth the human sacrifice, or can 300 million Americans learn to walk to work? (Eighty percent of all oil is used by single-driver cars in a Monday-Friday commute.) A nuclear holocaust would mean the end of this modern age. Did China do it? Who wants World War III?
Spanks for the memories: Someone goofed, and you not only let a letter into your September 20 issue that was all wrong, but you made it prominent.
First, Big Ed Johnson was not governor in 1942, Ralph Carr was governor. Second, Big Ed Johnson did not stand up for the Japanese in 1942. He opposed giving them sanctuary, inflaming the public in news stories. It was Governor Carr who offered sanctuary.
In 1942, Republican Carr opposed Democrat Johnson for the U.S. Senate seat and lost when Johnson used the issue of Governor Carr's position of sanctuary for the refugee citizens to defeat him.
These are Carr's public words: "To American-born citizens of Japanese parentage, we look for example and guidance. To those who have not been so fortunate as to have been born in this country, we offer the hand of friendship, secure in the knowledge that they will be as truly American as the rest of us. We must work together for the preservation of our American system and the continuance of our theory of universal brotherhood."
If Carr had done the "political thing," as Johnson so easily did, he could have become a U.S. senator and ended up like so many who followed him as governor: names on a list, gathering dust in the state archives, doomed to obscurity for always playing up to the latest frenzy. But Carr went against the grain and showed enormous courage. That is why those who can still write about him.
Boy, when you make a mistake, you sure make a doozy.
Life in the fact lane: I was utterly amazed to see such a gross factual error in Westword's letters column. Certainly, David M. Abbott Jr. stated accurately that Japanese internment during World War II was a shameful act, and that we should avoid stereotyping and scapegoating Muslims for the terrible actions of a few fanatics. However, it was Governor Ralph Carr, not Governor Big Ed Johnson, who defied popular opinion and hysteria, not to mention being in opposition to government policy. Reluctantly, he presided over the internment, but labored, sometimes successfully, for fair treatment of the internees. For his courage, he was subsequently defeated in the next election, never to serve as an elected official again.
It is sloppy journalism to report such an inaccuracy. A reporter's or editor's responsibility is attribution. Facts should be checked and, as in this instance, the editor should publish a correction of the letter writer's incorrect factual assertion.
Editor's note: Will this public pillorying do? Our apologies for not catching the error.
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The folks she left behind: I want to thank Steve Jackson and the editorial staff for taking a chance on the four-part "Penalty Zone" series that concluded in the June 28 issue.
My best friend was Peyton Tuthill, who was murdered by Donta Page. It's not often that coverage of her murder is as in-depth and accurate as it was in this series of articles. She was such a wonderful person, and I am glad that Steve had the ability to bring that across. My heart goes out to the other families who have lost their loved ones. Hopefully, stories such as this will change the way these three-judge panels do business.
Editor's note: In this issue, Steve Jackson profiles another player in the death penalty debate: Father Jim Sunderland. See "War and Remembrance."