“I didn’t know Mother Jones was controlled by corporate America…”

Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: How Long Will Failed Ways Persist?

What a pleasure to see an Arab name pop up in an American publication. It happens so rarely that it really is quite a treat. I very much agree with Rami G. Khouri’s belief that if left to go on as it has, the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict will become “a civilizational one,” the likes of which simply can not be fully comprehended. This is a very dangerous situation indeed.

However I disagree with Khouri ‘s assertion that a two-state solution will bring peace to anyone. Millions of displaced and impoverished Palestinian refugees, harassed and attacked daily by Israeli troops, are fully aware that international law has clearly spelled out and respected their inalienable right of return for Israel’s entire existence. And yet, thanks to worldwide funding and support for politicized Zionism, Israel’s homewrecking polices continue.

Now is not the time to be scattering dots in an effort to protect Israel. Sadly, most of our American media has been doing exactly that. Get to the heart and soul of the matter. Don’t help empower stupidity and Israeli apartheid by bulldozing and burying the Palestinian refugees right of return, as well as all real hope for a just and lasting peace.

ANNE SELDEN ANNAB
Mechanicsburg PA

Donald Rumsfeld: Genius or Hero?

Art Levine’s article is at once deeply amusing and downright depressing. It’s almost comical in retrospect to think that so many top officials thought that this is exactly how the invasion would turn out.

I’d like to bring up one glaring omission in Mr. Levine’s article. Government documents obtained through FOIA show that the real hope of the war planners went beyond merely increasing Iraq’s oil production. Mr. Levine’s story involves a 300 percent increase in oil production from pre-war levels, but Iraq would of course not be allowed to do that as a member of OPEC without permission from the cartel. The FOIA documents show that the U.S. hoped to encourage the privatization of the Iraqi oil sector, as well as over-pumping in order to undermine OPEC. As world oil prices dropped, the theory went, other OPEC nations would jump ship and increase pumping as well, and OPEC would soon crumble, releasing their decades-long stranglehold on world oil prices.

I would amend Mr. Levine’s article to say “With the dissolution of OPEC, oil-producing nations around the world increased pumping, and oil prices dropped to all-time lows. The economies of the U.S., China, and India soared, while interest in alternative energy and conservation plummeted. Major airlines were able to write off fuel costs, opening air travel to a new tier of people around the world. This prompted massive production of greenhouse gases and the quick spread of pandemic disease. Oil fields were over-exploited and rendered useless, while global warming positive feedback loops intensified, sending a wave of massive storms and species extinctions across the globe. With the rapid melting of Siberian permafrost and the release of methane from the sea floor, the final nail in the coffin was driven in. By 2150, sea level had risen 150 feet and the world of 13 billion people was without the fuel they’d come to rely on, all in the name of democracy.”

NATHAN BLOMGREN

After reading your pro-Rumsfeld article, this bit raised an eyebrow:

“For Mr. Rumsfeld, though, perhaps the sweetest victory is the reversal of longstanding hostility to him and the Iraq war in the capitals of the “Old Europe” he once famously derided. With the war’s success and the new Iraq’s role as a key oil supplier to Europe, Mr. Rumsfeld’s standing has soared. In fact, the U.S. Defense Secretary has become so popular in France that when, last October, President Jaques Chirac rejected the French Senate’s resolution that Rumsfeld be awarded the Legion of Honor, a wave of youth riots broke out in France protesting the French leader’s decision. The boom in trade with Iraq has boosted France’s economy, and led to a hiring wave of once-alienated young people, native-born and Muslim alike. Chanting “Vive Le Rumsfeld!” and “Chirac est merde,” their political protests weakened Chirac and led to calls for a new election.”

I tried to find some evidence of it, do you have any?

BILL MARQUIS

Our Indefensible Tax System

Add to the scandal of the tax system the fact that if you are laid off, “right-sized”, “downsized,” the government collects taxes on your unemployment insurance benefits! In some states those benefits are so low as to be laughable and definitely not enough to live on. But regardless, they still collect federal income taxes on the benefits.

As the article points out, they go after the little people, especially the working poor. There is a tax penalty for not having children. There is a tax penalty for not being married. There is a penalty for not owning real estate. There is a penalty for not having enough money to be able to shelter your income, especially under the newly revised bankruptcy laws. And then we have the corporations — how much tax will the oil companies pay on their windfalls of this past year? I bet they’ll find more excuses to keep raising prices, again hurting the working poor, who are paying taxes while the corporations aren’t.

MINDY MACHANIC
Paducah, KY

What Does the Public Want on Immigration?

Neither you nor the poll takers asked the right questions:

Should employers who hire illegal immigrants be held financially and legally accountable for the costs (hearings, detention, monitoring with an ID, or deportation) and fines involved; or should they fall on the tax payers?

I know that the mainstream media is under corporate control, and that ‘they’ are the ones who profit from paying lower wages. However, I didn’t know Mother Jones is controlled by corporate America as well.

I love Sen. Kennedy, and his bill has many good points. But, this ID program and all the monitoring is going to be very expensive. Why should taxpayers pay for it if we don’t profit from workers who enter the country illegally? Illegal immigrants wouldn’t come here if they didn’t think they could get hired. Many of them now have strong ties in America, immediate family members, American born children, and homes. You can’t just “send them all back.” We do have to make it clear, however, that the companies who hire them will pay, severely, for breaking the law.

ANDREA GUDAT
Welaka FL