Reader reaction to East Timor coverage
Dear Mother Jones:
I just voted on the latest snap poll (on committing US forces to peacekeeping in East Timor) and was horrified to see the early results: With less than 200 votes the tally was 63% yes and 37% no. If this trend continues may I suggest a snap poll for next week.
If racial tensions or rioting were present in some U.S. cities should international peace keeping forces be deployed?
Thank you for your consideration
There is much that is faulty with Brooke Shelby Biggs’ analysis of the situation regarding East Timor. For one thing, she makes a false analogy. While Democrats are contestants in US elections, the UN is not a contestant in the East Timor vote. Furthermore, it is odious to use the term “rabid” to describe the efforts of the UN in stopping the genocide. Joseph Goebbels (and the State Department) would be impressed.
Biggs also confuses the Western imperialist powers (the patrons of the Indonesian government and military) with the international community. And she never mentions from whom the Indonesian military gets its weapons, torture training, etc. (i.e., from the West, specifically the US). If the West were serious about not wanting a wave of terror, there would be no wave of terror. The Indonesian military is not going to commit suicide by disobeying.
What about Whitehall Pharmaceuticals for dumping their date-expired unsaleable products onto refugees from Kosovo killing fields? It’s a win-win situation: Clear out the shelves of their warehouses and get huge tax credits. I’m sure this is not one lonely little American company dba usual — there must be hundreds of others.
I’ve spent a lifetime in business, big and small.
It is easy to point out the big guys because they are so visible. I’ve seen small guys just as crooked or more so. The car wash operator who takes the cash change and never reports it as income. The small store operator who doesn’t provide benefits and then closes and never tells his help … who are left standing at a closed door when they report for work — as I saw one day on the streets of Chicago.
There are two other factors at play: Firstly, the excessive rules and regulations created by our society make it so that nearly everyone can be found guilty of breaking one law or another. And, the fact that any business, in the very act of BEING, pushes the limits to some degree. In so doing, sometimes one goes beyond the boundaries.
I think that by JUST pissing on the big guys, and in excessive detail, you at Mother Jones lose credibility and some of the important impact you could be making.
For example, 100 years ago Republican Teddy Roosevelt did trust-busting, as clearly outrageous economic power was being held by too few, and hurting little guys. This is the kind of imbalance that needs your attention because giant mergers are going on at a frenzied pace.
Another example: Our food supply. We have Monsanto developing “suicide seeds” and doing cross-species genetic engineering that is “safety unproven”. Our food supply being in the hands of the likes of Monsanto and ADM is a REAL cause for concern and your concentrated attention.
Robert (Bob) F. Heltman
I enjoyed the article on corporate criminals. Unfortunately, I am all-too familiar with these facts; I am currently gathering many similar and more outrageous facts for a report and possibly a book I am working on. I started out researching the incredible story of the criminal enterprise known as Allstate Insurance after becoming one of their many victims. (I notice they weren’t on the list, even though they’ve paid larger fines than many on the list in just the past few years.)
In order to come to an understanding of corporate crime, one must understand the sad state of mainstream media corruption. With every mega-merger the situation gets worse, and as of late the mergers seem to be coming faster and larger, almost daily.
As these mega-corporations become larger than most nations on this earth, their power to corrupt becomes an almost irresistible force — no match for the tiny regulators who are supposed to be keeping them honest.
One of the tragic truths about your report is the fact that most of these corporations continue in the same types of criminal conduct. Why would they not, when often these actions increase their profits by BILLIONS? I see no end to such behavior until the criminal is made to actually “pay” for the crime. How can we do this, one may ask. A good start would be to make such actions unprofitable. Perhaps fines should be based on 200% or more of the profits gained by the criminal conduct, if that could be determined. And surely, companies who are convicted of crimes such as fraud against the government should certainly NOT be able to place further bids on government contracts. Think about it — would you hire a contractor who had already been convicted of defrauding you? And if you did, would you expect any shock or sympathy if it happened again? Those convicted of poisoning the environment should be banned from doing business in the area they poisoned, at least for a time.
As long as our politicians are supported by donations (bribes) from these gangsters, they are not likely to change the rules for the better. Indeed, to the contrary, it seems they are very busy changing the rules to benefit their big-business benefactors!
Keep up the good work. Thank God there still exist a few voices of truth and reason in this world. I must say that the more I look around at this world, the more difficult I find it to conceive of a Sodom and Gomorrah that could have been worse!
Dr. Rick Rheinhart
Reader: Focus on substantive issues, not gay marraige
OK, I am missing something here. I am heterosexual and have been married. Why not let same-sex folks get married? The state’s conception of marriage is not about sex, per se, it is about property — who inherits, who shares resources, who has financial responsibility for another person, etc. Nothing is legislated regarding how often, when or where married couples have intercourse (except the usual rules regarding not-for-public display). There are entire practices of law dedicated to probate, real estate and sharing of assets…nothing about sharing of bodies. So, who cares?
If same-sex people are able to obtain health insurance, isn’t that far preferable to having them go bankrupt from medical expenses and end up living on the streets or becoming state-dependent? If same-sex people wish to share their wordly goods with one another, it’s their decision….not mine. So, can you please explain the problem with it? I truly hate the thought that we are wasting all that time, money and effort on a non-issue when we could be working with our school system, employment training, eldercare and affordable housing issues.
Shell ads not free speech
I am quite bothered by the Shell ads. I understand that free speech is important, but I just don’t see how the ads are speech of any kind: Speech implies an attempt at discourse, not a small box encouraging people to consume gasoline.
Encouraging free speech, I would think, would be to encourage Shell to respond to some of the articles that have been published. Running their ads does not necessarily mean free speech; it means that Mother Jones is being manipulated by one of the most notoriously uncaring corporations in the world. The only side that gains is Shell, because, after all, their ads are being placed in Mother Jones simply to acknowledge that there are has been condemnation in the past, but it has been overcome. The advertisements are ultimately a force aimed at legitimizing Shell in the eyes of your readers.