Web Letters | The Nation


The Daffodil Delusion: Sensationalizing Global Warming

The phenomena of global warming, imagined or otherwise, is not the real problem, I believe. The real problem is overpopulation as it relates to the use and abuse of our worlds dwindling resources. Articles such as this are just fluff. Greenhouse gasses, interurban growth problems, urban sprawl, deforestation, the pollution of our oceans and the loss of fish species are all related to the number of people on this planet. Global warming is just one of the results of our fascination with unfettered procreation.

Of course this is the untouchable subject, the one that all topics will dance around until the bitter end. I offer that there is a system of ailments affecting our planet, and that the only way to understand them all is to relate them to the basic concept of "growth" and the management of this fundamental issue. I'm not against family or technology, but the consequences of unchecked expansion create a conundrum that can be more easily understood if we stop obfuscating around this "global warming" issue and get right to the point: overpopulation.

Dennis Hastings

Olympia, Washington

Feb 14 2007 - 4:35pm

Killer Weather Ahead

I fully accept that there is global warming, but my question is that of relative cause. NASA and others point to parallel global warming on Mars, with some evidence for Jupiter and Saturn also.

If true, then the human contribution is relatively likely to be quite small. We need more data, not hysteria from either side.

I hope that The Nation will provide some balanced reporting on the unknowns.

John D. Froelich

Upper Darby, PA

Feb 14 2007 - 3:54pm

Feith-Libby Lies Exposed

Both Feith and Libby are trained lawyers and annointed esquires in the legal trade. Therefore, it is inescapably significant to emphasize the trained lawyer connection in Mr. Dreyfuss's powerful article. Feith learned about what to do with the evidence at Georgetown Law School. Libby crafted his legal skullduggery at Columbia Law.

May I suggest a more on point and scientifically precise title; "Feith-Libby LAWYER Lies exposed." Another appropriate title emphasizing the trained lawyer lobbyist ethic (lack of ethics?) so rampant in Washington; "Feith and Libby expose themselves in public."

Lest we forget that 21 of the 23 convicted Watergate conspirators were trained lawyers. President Nixon, esquire, learned all about lawyering and evidence at Duke Law School.

The pregnant potential to expose lawyering as a pre-eminent variable in all this lawyerly doubletalk cannot be passed over as a "sketchy interpretation." Feith cannot blow off his blatent lawyering and lying as mere literary interpretation. It most surely was a major part of what lead to the outright murder of hundreds of thousands of innocent people. When the coroner says "dead," it isn't an interpretation, Mr. Feith! Whether one calls it distorting the data, plain old lawyering, or outright lying, it is impossible to miss.

Trained lawyerman Feith's linquistic buffoonery need only be quoted. "I mean, evidence is a legal term not really appropriate here." If the evidence isn't "appropriate here," where, pray tell, is evidence appropriate? Any semblance of human society not to mention sacred science, of course, would be finished--kaput. Since Feith is now a "distinguished professor" at Georgetown School of Foreign Service, he must be teaching his dutiful students to dispense with irritating evidence. As many scientists would endorse and emphasize, law professors routinely muddle the contradictory terms science and law.

According to trained lobbyist/lawyerman Feith, we can and should cavalierly abandon evidence-based inquiry and evidence-based confirmation, at least in the lawyer/lobby trade. Especially if you want to engineer mayhem and murder on the Muslim Untermenschen for your ethnic Zionist clients. A shining confirmation of the Whorehouse Theory of Law, in both message and dirty deed--indeed. Both Feith and Libby should be called what they are: lawyerwhores and Israel- firsters.

There are more lawyers and in Washington, DC, than any other place on the planet.

Gerald A. Spezio

Willits, CAlifornia

Feb 14 2007 - 3:41pm

Mirror, Mirror On the Web

While it's easy to appreciate Lakshmi Chaudhry's sentiment that the tendencies of our young narcissists are exacerbated by new media, I wonder if this article really serves any purpose other than to gratify a sense of superiority over pop culture that is so common in the left. No doubt the human tendency to show off is enhanced by the number of outlets available to create opportunities for bloated egos to wend their way to audiences though the Web 2.0, but to paint such a picture only tells one part of the story and unfortunately promotes a subtext that is shocking to see in The Nation: The demonic matrix of youth and media strike once again! These are the same tropes you'll see cycled repeatedly through the conservative press, and it is one of the many curious commonalities that left and eight share these days.

As a youth media educator who has worked with thousands of kids across the United States, I have found maybe 5 percent fitting the description of the raving narcissists described in the story. I found it particularly troubling this notion that feel-good messages from the '70s are the culprit. Many kids of color I work come from broken homes and could use TLC to build self-esteem. The anger towards this parenting approach is unfathomable to me.

The underlying motive of all children (adults too!) is to connect with others and to be loved. Media education programs help build esteem because they enable kids who normally have few venues for expression to have a voice and learn the tools of a system that is so regularly derided on these pages. This has great benefit to the society. Sure some kids want be famous. Don't we all? This is America, darn it! (After all why do we write and produce media anyway?)

Once, again, stop blaming the messenger, and really folks, "leave us kids alone!"

Antonio Lopez

New York City, NY

Feb 14 2007 - 2:42pm

Impeachment: The Case Against

At the time the constitution was written, was the term "high crimes" synonymous with felonies? If so, why not just use the word 'crimes' and cover felonies and misdemeanors instead of the more cumbersome "high crimes and misdemeanors"?

On the other hand, could the word "high" modify both crimes and misdemeanors and refer to offences special to the business of state from acceptance of petty bribes to treason (and by extension to torture and not to lying about an affair)? I am not a constitutional scholar. I would like to hear the opinions of Mr. Lardner, the authors of your recent impeachment articles and anyone else who has thought about the question.

Tom Garvey, MD

Lexington, MA

Feb 14 2007 - 2:34pm

Bush's Somalia Strategy Enables an Ethiopian Despot

Good job, Mr. Wachter!

I follow current events pertaining to Ethiopia every day and you are by far the only foreigner I have seen writing about the missing $600 million-$800 million from state budget. It is beyond mind-boggling that the so-called aid partners haven't said a word about it publicly. It just shows that the West is only with Meles to do their dirty work, and don't necessarily care much whether the money they pour to his hands has reached the people it was meant for. And I think they are specifically attracted to dictators because they know it is easier to have them doing whatever they want because they have a leverage over them, and they know the dictator will have nowhere else to go since he doesn't have support from inside.

I live in the United States and everyday I meet people who seem to care and sympathize as to what is happening in my country. I know that there are many Americans who care because I live here and interact with them everyday. But those outside America only see America through its government. And what the American government does out there in the name of Americans is not fair at all.

The United States government is aiding and providing financial and moral support to a dictator that sent out his security forces on a shooting spree of protesting civilians and even those who were peacefully minding their businesses in their homes, walking home from school, etc. He imprisoned a father, fatally shot a mother and left children without parents. He sent out the military on a revenge operation in Gambella, southwestern Ethiopia, killing hundreds of indigenous people, raping the women, destroying properties, etc. (Read Harvard Law School's Human Rights Program report.) As you reported, 193 civilians were killed in June and November of 2005. But that is not the only one. In 2002, 128 civilian protesters were shot dead in the same manner in Awassa, in the southern part of the country. In a protest initiated by Addis Ababa University students in 2001, tens of protesters were killed and many students were expelled from school. Today, opposition leaders, journalists, human rights activists etc. have been in a rat-infested prison for over a year, on trial with fabricated charges of treason and genocide (later reduced to attemped genocide). People still continue to be arrested arbitrarly and tortured on the basis of being opposition supporters.

This government has lost the support of Ethiopians; the only thing keeping him standing is the support of the US--financially and morally. The US goes further in its support for the government when its diplomats justify what is happening in Ethiopia as "just part of an emerging democracy." Meles himself says that; he currently told Chanel 4 news of England that democracy is going to take time and told the interviewer to think about how it took centuries in England. Isn't it funny?! Yes, today's matured democracies of the world went through rough stages, however, we are in the twenty-first century when we are more enlightened, and most of all, the experiences of our friends in the west is for us to learn from, not to repeat it! Besides, does Meles Zenawi even have the moral ground to tell people to be "patient" with him because this is how "emerging democracies are"?! Isn't that like asking for a license to kill and imprison as he likes in the name of our country being an "emerging democracy"? When Western countries were going through the process of democratizing, the people leading and participating in the revolutions certainly did not have someone telling them to be "patient," which is really to say complacent. Had they had settled for injustice, as Meles Zenawi and American diplomats have been suggesting to us, maybe we wouldn't have the picture we have today!

The former American chargé d'affaires in Ethiopia, Vicki Huddleston, had even gone further in her rescue efforts of Meles's government, when she personally lead an effort and took part in creating a party to replace the popular party led by the leaders in prison. Her shamelessness was beyond comprehension when she went to prison and asked the imprisoned leaders to authorize the formation of this party. What is even more troubling is what this means about her opinion of the level of intelligence of the Ethiopian public. Who exactly did she think she was fooling trying to replace the people's favorite party with a fake one?! Do these diplomats even have a clue as to what kind of people the country they work in will have?!

Again, thank you, Mr. Paul Wachter, for your truthful article. In the light of the fact that information is suppressed in Ethiopia and those who speak out are targeted, it is great to find people like yourself contributing to bringing the truth to light.

Links: Harvard Law School's Human Rights Program on Gambella; 2002 killing of 128 civilians in Awassa; Recent Amnesty report on people being held incommunicado and at risk of torture.

M. M. Sibhat

Los Angeles, California

Feb 14 2007 - 2:34pm

Killer Weather Ahead

The best thing you can do about global warming is next time there is a candidate who clearly understands the issue, do not snub him for a guy who says there is no difference between the two major candidates.

Hot enough for you?

Michael Szanyi

Chicago, Illinois

Feb 14 2007 - 11:12am

The Daffodil Delusion: Sensationalizing Global Warming

Please take a closer look at the studies you reference. Fast warming is not only possible, it has occurred in the past, including a nearly ten-degree Fahrenheit increase during the Middle Ages. This increase took place in less than ten years.El Niño is affected by warming and many scientists believe we could experience a permanent El Niño as oceans warm.It is important to consider the so-called feedback loop effects when makng projections of how fast we are warming--the right combination of seemingly unrelated effects can accelerate change.

Martin Edic

Rochester, NY

Feb 14 2007 - 10:38am

Lockdown in Greeley

I'm going to be honest here, I didn't read the article. 'Cuz I done!Done with the issue, done with the debate. And here's why;) Immagration is NOT the problem! It's just a very serious consequense. NAFTA, CAFTA, and any future FTA is the problem.(yes, the FTA pun is intended all you childern of the sixties). There has always been a flow of workers back and forth across the USA/Mexician border. As long as there has been a border there. The huge influx only started after NAFTA. Let's see how low the corporate bosses can drive wages in both countries. I don't think the workers should be penalized nearly so hard as the employers.However I have little sympathy. They knew the risks when they chose whatever covert and supremly dangerous method to get here.Last word, If you're going to come here to feed your family, whatever, just LEARN THE LANGUAGE.

Alex R. Thomas

Omaha, NE

Feb 14 2007 - 1:29am

The Worst President Ever

"Misled the nation into a disastrous war, fumbled a horrific national disaster, authorized secret wiretaps on civilians, and pissed off the rest of the world."

We have had Presidents who done all of these things before. America was misled into the Spanish-American War and we have invaded lots of countries that never threatened us, going back to our invasion of Mexico. Our little intervention in the Philippines at the beginning of the twentieth century certainly did not turn out quite as well as the country was led to believe it would. As bad as New Orleans was, can anyone really think to compare it to the Dust Bowl? And at least Bush eventually did something. Hoover completely ignored the Great Depression and hoped it would go away. Wilson was probably our worst President when it comes to ignoring the Bill of Rights. He practically declared martial law when the First World War started, and arrested anti-war advocates simply for stating their opinions. Wilson also used his power to control the press to keep the influenza epidemic of 1918 out of the press. This undoubtedly led to thousands of avoidable deaths.

As bad as Bush is, the country has had his type before. Hoover prepared the country for the policies of FDR. Perhaps we can hope that Bush will prepare the country for a great leader with progressive policies.

Thomas Paul

Plainview, NY

Feb 13 2007 - 6:04pm