In this issue...Some Reactions to: "Wiping Out the Middle Class" (CHRONICLES May 1998 column):
Some Reactions to "What If the Shoe Were on the Other Foot?" (TiM GW Bulletin 98/4-2, 4/24/98):
U.S.: n Good Parallel Between the U.S. and Albania Some Reactions to "US Senate Picks Up the NATO Hot Potato," (TiM GW Bulletin 98/4-2, 4/24/98):
Czech Rep.: n Most Czechs Don't Know Which End Is Up in NATO Debate
U.S.: WILL MY WIFE HAVE TO WORK?
PHOENIX - The following has got to rank as one of the most touching messages your crusty TiM editor, who has seen blood and gore, has ever received:
Jonathan, (location unknown)
TiM Ed.: Good question, Jonathan. Based on the present situation in our country, I am afraid it appears to be "just old fashioned dreaming." But what would we, humans, be without dreams like that? So keep on trying to make yours come true. Cream always rises to the top. Good luck!
U.S.: JANE FONDA STILL SHOOTING HER (FOUL) MOUTH OFF
TENNESSEE - Hi Bob! Another great article! Capitalism at its best, no doubt. But, the poor and the ignorant are kept at bay with pacifiers and easy credits that keep them indebted and quiet. Why do you think there is no organized labor in a country with such inequality? Because people don't feel oppressed! They are actually happy! Polls show a general upbeat mood, highest employment (albeit temporary), and in general a positive mood on which our illustrious president keeps scoring points instead of just scoring.
You have a bunch of half-litterates living from day to day and saying: "Life is good, man!" They watch their TV wrestling and believe it's real; they watch Hollywood's Potemkin Villages and believe they are true; they read their carefully filtered media and believe what they read; they know nothing of the world; they despise history; they believe we are the good guys, etc.
It is a sinister world, Bob. It is misleading, most of all. Misleading is the code word for everything. Don't lie, oh no, that's bad. Can't lie. But, you can mislead by saying half truths. No, I didn't have a long-lasting affair (read: I had an affair but it wasn't long-lasting). Every word, every comma, becomes a hook and a hole. It's everywhere and starts from top and right along the line of gravity down to the very bottom. Don't lie, just mislead.
History is another issue. People without history are people without memory. People without memory are amnesic. National amnesia is the best thing. America is not the best country in the world because it forgives so fast, but because it forgets so fast! Give it time and everything is forgotten.
Take, for instance, the recent death of Pol Pot. Who brought Pol Pot to power? Lon Nohl! Who was Lon Nohl? He was the Cambodian general whom we installed in our CIA-sponsored coup in Cambodia to depose Prince Nordom Sihanouk so we could freely invade Cambodia in our desparate attempt to slow down the defeat in Vietnam.
Then, when Lon Nohl fell, we threw our support to the victor -- Pol Pot and his Maoist Khmer Rouge (the Red Khmer), because it suited us, just as Noriega did in Panama or Papa Doc in Haiti, or Ballaguer in the Dominican Republic, etc. How many Americans really remember this or care about this? A few, maybe. That's all. It's gone, bygone and forgotten.
What about Jane Fonda-Turner and her recent U.N. speech comparing the (American) state of Georgia to a third world country? Then she turns around and says: "Oops, I'm sorry, I didn't mean it that way." But what did Jane do before? She manned the antiaircraft guns firing at American planes in Hanoi and wrote poems about the bravery of North Vietnamese women soldiers. Then, a few years later she tells Barbara Walters "Gee, I'm sorry, I didn't know what I was doing."
At 35 she didn't know what she was doing? And now at 60 or so, she doesn't know what she is doing? In most other countries, she would never even see more than the shores of this country again if she had done what she had done. But in America the memory and the attention span both have a life-time of about one millisecond or thereabouts. By all developmental standards, we then qualify as something of an either hyperactive or infantile nation or both!
Thanks for the excellent article; good to hear from you again.
formerly of U.S. Navy
U.S.: MIDDLE CLASS CAN NO LONGER AFFORD MANHATTAN
NEW YORK - Bob, thanks for passing this along. I, too, am very concerned about the widening gap between the rich and poor in this country. And as a New Yorker, I'm very worried about the fact that it's becoming nearly impossible for middle-class families to live in Manhattan. There was an interesting front-page story in the NY Times a couple of weeks ago about how tough it is to afford housing in the NY metro area -- something my husband I are painfully aware of! Thanks again.
Internet Correspondent, MSNBC
U.S.: "THE ARISTOCRACY OF PULL"
NEW HAMPSHIRE - Thanks. The trend is disturbing, and it results primarily from what Ayn Rand called "the aristocracy of pull," i.e., those insolent types whose wealth is obtained by force (governmental or otherwise) instead of production. Inequality as such is natural and normal, of course. It is a sign of justice.
I'm also reminded of a line from Waugh's great "Brideshead Revisited." Lady Marchmain, a member of the English Catholic landed gentry, is explaining her wealth vis-a-vis her faith: "Now I realize it is possible for the rich to sin by coveting the privileges of the poor. The poor have always been the favourites of God and His saints, but I believe that it is one of the special achievements of grace to sanctify the whole of life, riches included. Wealth in pagan Rome was necessarily something cruel; it's not anymore."
The 20th century is exhibiting a cruelty worse than that of Rome: a swinish aristocracy crusading for universal, egalitarian poverty.
S. Michael McMillen
AUSTRALIA: AN "AUSTRALIAN REVOLUTION" IN THE WORKS?
ADELEIDE, South Australia - Thank you for your continuing contributions to truth... (but) I don't think it is going to take 20 years to begin to unravel in Australia... Keep up the good work, and as we say down under: 'Onya, Bob!'"
S.D., a writer
Adelaide, South Australia
U.S.: GALVANIZING THE NATION?
WASHINGTON (state) - I continue to be in awe of your writing skills. You make important stuff (sound) so interesting. I always look forward to it. I just wish every citizen in the country could be exposed to it in the national media, a la Walter Winchel.. You would galvanize the nation.
Gerald C. Adkins, human resources director
Saint Martin's College, Lacey, Washington (state)
U.S.: RIGHT ON TARGET!
CALIFORNIA - Bob, As always, you are right on target... As a member of the media who went from a job with benefits and protections, I now am one of those who have been put into what they called "being in business for yourself." Now I'm allowed to do all the work I used to do but I don't get paid for vacations, I don't get sick pay, I don't have any recourse if I have a bad day and they decide not to use me any more, and I also have no retirement benefits. I'm scratching my head here, trying to see what it is about this that is so great. Everyone says it is, so it must be so. No one remembers how hard our fathers fought for basic rights in the workplace. We've allowed corporate PR to blind us to reality.
What is reality? Simply that we have returned to the days of the robber barons.
Time to go... I have to be ready in case they call me in... Of course, while I wait I don't get paid. But I have to be ready...
John Bruni, a TV reporter/producer
U.S.: GOOD PARALLELS BETWEEN U.S. AND ALBANIA
CALIFORNIA - Good parallel between US and Albania. Great article about the American interference in Kosovo. The depth is that since WWII, America has appointed itself the mother superior of the world in the quest of world supremacy and it has exhibited time and time again that they are the dominant beast. And will go to any lengths to maintain mastery. Bribes, appeasement, war, coups, assassinations - whatever it takes. It respects nobody's borders not even its own.
No country in the history of the world has matched the American long- standing military power which it uses to intimidate the rest of the world. It makes no difference whether it's an internal problem or not. Power is power. And if innocent people are killed because of this, so what.
And who appointed them the "mother superior" of the world? Nobody. When you have muscle, you can appoint yourself. And if their own people are wanting, that's tough. Our government has no "own people"; the world is their people and they aren't to let the Americans think they have some special privilege because it just isn't so. The Mexicans, Bosnians, Hmongs, Moslem Albanians, etc. are just as important and they have greater needs.
San Rafael, Ca.
CZECHS AND NATO: MOST CZECHS DON'T KNOW WHICH END IS UP
PRAGUE - An IntelliTech Media (http://www.intellitech-media.com), survey conducted via face-to-face interviews of 150 subjects in Prague on May 18, 1997, shows that a large portion of the Czech population lacks knowledge and interest in NATO and national defense issues. Men tend to be much better informed and opinionated than woman regarding NATO and InfoWar but, for the most part, Czechs are lacking deeper understanding of just what NATO is and is becoming, knowledge of the changing face of warfare and the effects that NATO membership would have on various spheres of life outside of historic wartime scenarios.
When asked whether they were for it or against it, the responses summed to for it, 62.7% (94/150); against it, 10.0% (15/150) and not well enough informed, 27.3% (41/150). Interesting might also be that the women were much less informed and opinionated than men.
Just this week the Republicans political party billboard campaign has started. With pictures of Mr. Sladek on the image of the Czech flag, several theme messages are presented on separate billboard including the following: "Refuse entrance to NATO", "Stop rewarding the Gypsies," "Deny the Sudeten Germans," "For lowering the crime rate," "For the death penalty," "For senior citizens."
Outside of Prague, to the east in Moravia, the Republicans' posters are much more prevalent. The big yellow poster with a skull in a helmet and the message "NATO ne" ("NATO no") have been visible everywhere for many months.
More current country-wide public opinion statistics may less of a support for NATO than many Americans might believe (Factum produces such opinion surveys).
CEE CrimiScope talks about crime in Central & Eastern Europe in detail but it is surprising that Americans and other westerners don't take so much interest in what is really happening in these countries, the depth of the problems and the trends. Opinions seem way to scarce. Does anybody really care enough to stop and listen, look and learn just who they're getting into bed with?
Steven Slatem, Central & East European CrimiScope, Prague, Czech Republic
Also, check out other TiM READERS' FORUMS... April 1998, May 1998, Part I, May 1998, Part II, June 1998, July 1998, August 1998, September 1998, October 1998, November 1998, December 1998, Part I, December 1998, Part II