So many lies, so little time…

October 8, 1998

Presidential Lies and Consequences

Too bad you started in 1945. If you had started in 1940, you would have made public one of the most brazen lies ever perpetuated by a president. In the fall of 1939 the Congress passed the Neutrality Act, prohibiting any U.S. ships from entering the war zone around Great Britain because of danger from submarines.

President Franklin Roosevelt in May of 1940, approximately 6 months after the legislation became the law of the land, sent the U.S.S. Manhattan (a ship that I once worked on in 1936) to Halifax, Nova Scotia to pick up 4,000 Canadian troops and transport them to and through the war zone to England, in direct violation of the Neutrality Act.

That move by the president turned out to be fortunate and correct for the future prosecution of our entry into the war; however, we are discussing the act of lying and violating the law of the land by the president.

John O’Donnell, a political columnist for the New York Daily News in those years, broke the story of Roosevelt’s violating the Neutrality Act. The president’s remark to the news media upon being asked whether he authorized the voyage was that “John O’Donnell deserved the Iron Cross” for disclosing the information.

Al Goldberg

October 8, 1998

Great article, but I thought that Ronald Reagan’s excuse for invading Grenada [that U.S. medical students were in danger from Marxist guerrillas], and the “300 babies removed from their incubators” lie that George Bush used to inflame folks against Iraq, at least deserved honorable mention.

Michael Lutz

Statist, control-hungry, right-wing polemicist?

Five Fat Cats and a Flip Flop

October 6, 1998

I just finished reading your article on school vouchers, “Five Fat Cats and a Flip-Flop,” by John Zebrowski. It is terribly flawed; but not, however, because it is incorrect in its facts.

It is flawed because it is internally inconsistent. It is built upon a glaring double standard. While Mr. Zebrowski objects on the one hand to the idea of having a single group controlling the actions of the rest of society (e.g., as in his comments about Rushdoony and the Chalcedon Foundation), he makes an exception to his principles when the controlling group is one with which he personally agrees. In this case, his exception is for the public education lobby. In case you’re not aware of it, this group has a coherent worldview and evangelistic mission. This is easily seen from the Web site of the National Education Association (NEA), as well as historic comments of the founders of public education.

I’m not commenting here on the validity of their beliefs, only stating that these beliefs are often strongly differentiated from and controversial to other major segments of our society. Since few people have enough personal wealth to both fund their local public school system with their compulsory tax payments, and also pay for their children’s education at private schools, the typical American is now forced to submit their children to the teachings of the public education lobby. And the teaching of children is the ultimate societal control mechanism.

Mr. Zebrowski obviously feels that those with whom he agrees are much better able to choose what will become the values and beliefs of everybody else’s children. This narrow-minded bigotry is no better than that of the conservative Christian groups which he abhors. The author comes off as trying to sound like a libertarian, but he is just as statist and control-hungry as any right-wing polemicist. I’m surprised that Mother Jones didn’t catch Mr. Zebrowski on such a glaring contradiction to the magazine’s ideals.

Jim Sutton

Link it baby

October 4, 1998

Think of yourselves as more than a magazine. In the age of the Internet, after every horror story you should have contact information for the organizations and people involved, otherwise you just add to the long list of utterly discouraging snapshots of a world in turmoil. Just a link or three would suffice. Bridge the gap between thought and action.

Elizabeth McLellan

Bad, bad Ollie!

Total Coverage

October 3, 1998

The right wing has the temerity to allow Oliver North to voice his opinion of the President’s folly as though he is now the great statesman. In reality he is a dangerous man and should be further exposed for his role in the Iran/Contra affair. Thanks for the article.

Rod Miller