Letters From the February 8, 2016, Issue

Letters From the February 8, 2016, Issue

Letters From the February 8, 2016, Issue

Justice for Laquan—and Chicago… honoring the antiwar left… oh me, oh my, O’Malley… he who shall not be named… the Paris Agreement scam… we heard you!…


Justice for Laquan—and Chicago

Thank you for your editorial regarding Rahm Emanuel’s dishonest and incompetent cover-up of the murder of Laquan McDonald by a Chicago police officer [“Rahm Must Go,” Jan. 4]. I am also glad to see you calling for his resignation. This, along with the fact that a majority of Chicagoans favor his removal, tells me democracy is working. When Rahm goes, I will celebrate. Americans deserve better.
Hugh R. Hays
soldotna, alaska

Honoring the Antiwar Left

Thank you for honoring the documentary We Are Many [“The Progressive Honor Roll 2015,” Jan. 4]. I have asked our local progressive cinema to show it. Here in Rhode Island, East Bay Citizens for Peace still holds monthly antiwar vigils in Bristol. Founding members tell me they were mocked and insulted when they opposed the invasion of Iraq in 2003. Now, vigil participants are welcomed, and passersby accept antiwar handouts and invitations to monthly discussions. Our actions may have had an unseen impact when first performed, but they were appreciated later.
Beth Anterni
riverside, r.i.

Oh Me, Oh My, O’Malley

I just read The Nation’s interview with Martin O’Malley [Jan. 4]. Then I read it again. He actually answered the questions with thoughtful, reasoned responses. A 21st-century politician who really does want to solve some of this country’s pressing problems with sensible and fair actions? How refreshing. And, almost as important, nowhere did he refer to the political process as a war, fight, battle, or sporting event to be won or lost at any cost and with complete, unequivocal punishment for the losers (which is to say, almost the other half of the population). Let’s elect O’Malley. Restore capitalist democracy to the people.
Jack Richens
port charlotte, fla.

He Who Shall Not Be Named

Joseph J. Dalluge’s letter about the over-publicization of a certain Republican presidential candidate [Jan. 11/18] suggests: “If one were to take a quantum view of this man, it stands to reason that he would not exist if he were not observed (and reported on).” In the 38 pages of this same issue of The Nation, I note that “this man” is referred to 20 times (three times pictorially and twice in Dalluge’s own letter). In the same 38 pages, President Obama gets but three mentions and a drawing.
Maxwell W. Siegel
kennett square, penn.

The Paris Agreement Scam

The recent COP 21 United Nations Climate Summit is something of an existential Rorschach test. Opinion is as all over the place, as is true regarding any historic event I can think of. And make no mistake, Paris was historic.

Mark Hertsgaard is on the overly optimistic side [“Breakthrough in Paris,” Jan. 4], which surprises me, because he is such a good journalist. In a nutshell, my judgment is that nothing new was agreed on, except for a hollow promise to keep warming as far under 2 degrees Celsius as possible. In exchange, everything else of value was jettisoned. The can was kicked down the road. It’s a scandal.

Frankly, we have no advance on the Kyoto Protocol, with its legally binding emissions cuts for wealthy nations. Or on the Copenhagen accord, with its promise of channeling $100 million annually into a Green Climate Fund by 2020 for mitigation and adaptation efforts by the Global South. (In fact, there was regression from this pledge, since no countries have stepped up to make their contributions known.) And the whole Paris Agreement is an obscene regression from the founding documents of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, with their promise to deal adequately with the scale of the crisis and to make sure that those responsible for global warming pay their fair share of the costs of the effort. All that is out the window. And at the end of the day, of course, we’re as badly off as ever. Paris is a capitalist agreement to extend a capitalist crisis forever.

John Foran
santa barbara, calif.

Mark Hertsgaard Replies

I stand by my story. As stated in the opening paragraph (and therefore hard to miss), the Paris Agreement should have been much stronger—and would have been except for the intransigence of climate-science-denying Republicans back on Capitol Hill, who would have killed any agreement that included the mandatory emissions cuts and other measures whose absence Foran rightly condemns. Nevertheless, to have the entire international community now committed to decarbonizing the global economy and pursuing a 1.5°C temperature limit is no small victory. The climate-justice movement and civil society in general can invoke this commitment to rule out any new fossil-fuel projects and dismantle existing ones, and they are already doing so.

Foran’s assertion that “in exchange, everything else of value was jettisoned” is baffling. The Kyoto Protocol had already expired, and the $100 billion in climate aid promised at Copenhagen (inadequate as that sum is) remains agreed. In fact, Paris greatly improved upon Kyoto: China, India, and other emerging economies are now obliged to limit their greenhouse-gas emissions too, an imperative for avoiding climate catastrophe.

Bottom line: The imperfect Paris Agreement gives us a better chance to save civilization, but to seize that chance, civil society must exert even stronger pressure than it has to date. Joining that fight is what’s needed, not nay-saying from the sidelines.

Mark Hertsgaard
san francisco

We Heard You!

Dear Nation: When are you officially going to endorse Bernie Sanders [“A Renewal in Iowa?,” Jan. 4]? Finally, we have a candidate who reflects everything we’ve been talking about for all these years. The Nation should be vocal in its support. It is high time to endorse the only truly progressive.
Kari Siirala
ontario, canada


Peter E. Gordon’s “The Sounds of Another Planet” [Dec. 21/28, 2015] stated that composer George Perle discovered an annotated score of Alban Berg’s Lulu that revealed the work’s secret dedication to Hanna Fuchs-Robettin. In fact, the annotated score Perle discovered was of Berg’s Lyric Suite, not Lulu.

Katha Pollitt’s “’Tis the Season to Give” [Jan. 4] lists the Diaper Bank rather than the National Diaper Bank Network. While the former is a terrific New Haven–based group that serves central Connecticut, Pollitt meant to cite the network, a national organization.

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