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ENJOYING HIS PIPE DREAM
I appreciate your articles on climate change and war. Let us contemplate, however, that for every calorie of food energy we eat, we put in nine calories of petroleum energy producing it. It seems we’re almost literally eating Iraqis — in the corn syrup in my jelly and ketchup.
Even if the petroleum were enthusiastically gushing forth into our filling stations and acres of plastic products, it would still run out eventually, no matter whom we vote for! Will there be a Ballot Boxer Rebellion? The next time we vote, will everything change?
Perhaps it would be wise to nurture community gardens rather than strip malls (no matter how elite), neighborhood gardens instead of backyard fences.
I’m enjoying this pipe dream, but in the end, it seems, every city must become a garden. Can it be any other way?
Don Smith Moorman
NEXT YEAR, LET’S FILL THE PLACE
On March 8, Tuscany Italian Restaurant participated in the Share a Meal program. This program asks a selected restaurant to give 30 percent of the day’s receipts to the Community Shares program to be distributed to various local charitable organizations such as Habitat for Humanity, the Springfield Project, Prevention First, and the Lincoln Memorial Garden.
As a small-business owner bent on making profits, I must confess that this was one day I actually enjoyed losing money. Everyone who works at Tuscany, from the kitchen staff to the servers and bartenders, did an excellent job for the patrons of this event and enjoyed providing the service for a successful event.
The only regret that I have is that we should have done better. In a time of declining government funding for things that make all our lives better, we need to support the organizations right here in this area that do things such as educate kids about the dangers of drugs and alcohol before these kids are victims or cause our society a problem, put people in decent housing, beautify our city, and, in general, make the Springfield area a better place to live.
Next year we would be happy to participate again, if we are selected. But next year, let’s fill the place and turn the 150 patrons who supported the event this year into 300 and give these organizations some serious support.
Tuscany Italian Restaurant
NAACP SAYS THANKS TO SPRINGFIELD
The Springfield Branch of the NAACP would like to thank the Springfield community for 84 years of prayers and support. On Feb. 13, the Springfield NAACP celebrated its 84th annual Lincoln-Douglass Freedom Fund Banquet. This banquet brings the community together to show solidarity in the promotion of justice and equality.
The Springfield NAACP is humbled by all the years of support that this community has given. This support has crossed all racial boundaries and ethnicities, a true testament to humankind. There are more people in Springfield who believe in the principle of justice and equality for all than there are people who do not believe in this principle.
After 84 years in the struggle and with your support, the Springfield NAACP will continue to promote all the principles of social justice and fight for justice and equality in this land.
Kenneth L. Page
NAACP Springfield Branch
A REASON TO SWITCH CHANNELS
The story “Canned news” by Todd Spivak in the March 17 issue of Illinois Times accurately describes the blatant propaganda purveyed as “news” by Springfield’s Channel 20 and its owner, Sinclair Broadcast. If viewers are looking for an ethical perspective on the news, they have only one sure option: don’t view Channel 20. Confide in a reputable news source. Remove Sinclair’s news perversion from your life. Relegate Channel 20 and Sinclair to the darkest recesses of the universe.
Tom and Darlene Noreuil
WE ARE THE MAJORITY
On Saturday, March 19, the second anniversary of the war’s start, we rallied — 30 strong — at the statue of Abraham Lincoln, on the grounds of the Capitol, to act as witnesses for dignity, justice, and peace in a time of daily belligerence and criminality perpetrated against Iraq and the peoples of the world. We joined many hundreds of thousands around the world marching and rallying for the cultivation of a just, peaceful global order based on people and stewardship, not the perverse accumulation of profits and power. At the same time the Bush administration calls for Syrian troops to quit Lebanon, we agitate for an end to our own occupation and the immediate withdrawal of troops from Iraq.
However, because it is not in their interest to do so, the mainstream media, controlled as they are by powerfully profit-oriented conservative corporations, refuse to cover the growing public outcry against this war and the moral bankruptcy of this administration. Don’t forget that the largest-ever public demonstrations were conducted by involved citizens of the antiwar movement in February 2003.
That does not change the fact that we are the majority! We are told that peace is un-American, that dissent is treason, and that we are too few to effect change. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Last year, shortly before the election, the Program on International Policy Attitudes and the Chicago Council on Foreign Relations, prestigious organizations that monitor public attitudes, published underreported studies finding that the two dominant political parties and the “liberal” media are actually further to the right than the American public. Put another way, the public is further left than the establishment. The CCFR report, Global Views 2004, may be found at ccfr.org/globalviews2004/index.htm.
For example, the reports show that a majority of Americans think global economic policy is not fair to developing states and that America should support multilateralism and cooperation in dealing with the great threats of our day, including terrorism and environmental devastation. This means accepting key treaties (Kyoto) and working with international institutions (the International Criminal Court) while opposing pre-emptive warfare except under the aegis of the United Nations.
Yet we are told by the pundits and political hacks that our ideas and goals are unreasonable, too imaginative, and hardly practical. In other words, the business and political elites — those who control the channels of disinformation — oppose the public’s agenda. In their utter contempt for democracy, these same elites and know-it-alls then use the dominant media to consistently air their right-of-center social philosophy, whipping up fear of gays, fear of terrorism, fear of phantoms to bring society around to their line of thinking.
We have allowed ourselves to become victims, our ideas degraded: health care, peace, a living wage, social responsibility for the poorest and neediest. On March 19, 2003, George W. Bush went to war against Saddam Hussein. However, he continued an elitist battle against the people of Iraq, the United States, and the world. Our national wealth and resources have been used for enrichment of the few, depriving us of decent and dignified education, health care, wages, and cities.
Another world is possible. Let’s build it. In the March 17 issue of Illinois Times, Diane Hughes’ commentary “Why we speak out” was a perfect starting point for involvement.
NOT EVERYTHING IS ON THE TABLE
All possibilities supposedly “are on the table” in the discussion of Social Security repair — except the things President George W. Bush and other ultraconservatives don’t want on the table, such as raising the assessed-wages cap or formulating a reasonable test to determine actual need for benefits. Yet progressives, historically and unarguably the champion of the vast majority of American citizenry, somehow are cast as obstructionists if we say that private accounts should not be on the table because they don’t address, much less solve, the basic funding issues for Social Security.
Speaking of the possibility of massive Social Security borrowing in the future, Bush said recently: “This is a debt to future generations of Americans and unless we do something about it we’re not going to be able to pay for it without wrecking the economy.” It seems not to occur to him that the same can be said of the massive deficits generated by his unending string of tax cuts for the wealthy.