The Vast City Paper Conspiracy Against Ron Paul
Why was Ron Paul excluded from the Jan. 30 cover and "They Have Issues" article? Despite popularity, he is a candidate for the GOP primary. In fact, two candidates featured were obsolete the day the paper was released, yet Ron Paul is in the debates and on the ballot. I am more of a Ron Paul sympathizer than I am a full-fledged supporter. I don't share many of his views, but he has raised important issues that rarely receive attention. For example, until Ron Paul's presidential run I had never considered monetary policy and the Federal Reserve System as controversial. I am now very interested in peering into this Pandora's box he kicked open, and encourage others to as well. The Ron Paul campaign has been a massive (and free) political education for me and many others, and he excited many people that were once politically apathetic. This should be embraced.
I've been following the campaign trail obsessively this year and noticed that major news outlets began to blatantly ignore the only GOP anti-war candidate after a few state primaries. I have grown to expect this kind of irresponsible behavior from corporate news outlets . . . but our local City Paper!? Most of these corporate-sponsored corporate-news outlets are affiliated with major "defense" contractors--why they haven't been more aptly renamed "offense" contractors eludes me. These corporate interests have been making a killing in profitable war contracts (bad pun intended). Is City Paper connected to this network of special interests somehow? Why not objectively educate us about his campaign? It doesn't matter how much of a long shot he is at nomination--he is an intriguing contender.
My reason for writing City Paper is this: I do not believe it is the role of news distributors to weed out candidates--in a democratic republic, that is the responsibility of voting citizens. Ron Paul is the only GOP candidate who does not support pre-emptive war, and if that's not newsworthy, what is?! He is the only candidate not funded by massive corporate interests, and the only still-standing candidate (from either party) who dares to bring into public debate tough issues such as the ever-blundering war on (some) drugs, the insistent erosion of our civil liberties, and the disturbing accruement of power into the executive branch. I disagree with many of Ron Paul's political positions, but I have thoroughly appreciated his voice. And whom are you to quiet it? Thanks to you, many people who don't have the stomach to follow this circuslike electoral process may not even know his name. His personal positions aside, the issues he has raised are intriguing and worthy of consideration.
In fact, that gaudy stamp on the printed cover obscured his face. As an artist, I noticed the composition of the image didn't make sense. That seems like blatant censorship to me. If readers of this letter care to know the truth, they can take a look at the online edition. The answer may surprise, frighten, and disgust you, too.
Michel P. Anderson
Art Director Joe MacLeod responds: Sorry, had to put those words someplace. In the spirit of Democracy, please enjoy this image of Rep. Paul.
Another Plea For Paul
After reading your interesting and informative piece on the presidential race while visiting town on Feb. 2, I must express my confusion and irritation at your glaring omission of U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, who is seeking the Republican nomination.
Unlike the majority of the candidates in the race, Congressman Paul is the only contender who has sought to have a detailed discussion of foreign, domestic, and monetary policies. He is the only candidate calling for the protection of our privacy and our civil liberties, and is the only remaining candidate who did not vote for the Bush administration's efforts last summer to allow the executive branch to subvert the judiciary by easing FISA laws. He also has stood against the illegal Third World invasion coming across our porous Southern border.
Congressman Paul is unequivocally committed to reducing the size, scope, and authoritarianism of the federal government. He seeks not to expand presidential power and authority, but wishes to honor the 10th Amendment and return powers to the states. Instead of planning to increase federal authority, he will eliminate unneeded, unwanted federal bureaucracies like the departments of Education and of Homeland Security.
Ron Paul believes that the best solution to our foreign policy problems is to abandon the ill-conceived notion of "nation building" by acknowledging that it is not America's obligation to be the police of the world.
Not only does Congressman Paul believe in defending the physical boundaries of the United States, he also knows that it is our duty to defend the philosophical boundaries of the nation as well--which include the rights to life, liberty, and economic freedom--from a big, wasteful government.
I hope that City Paper will please consider running this missive prior to the Feb. 12 primary so that voters who read your paper will at least have a minimal exposure to Dr. Paul and his principles.
Nathan R. Shrader
North Huntingdon, Pa.
Where's the Anti-War Mikulski?
I agree with Brian Morton about Sen. Barbara Mikulski's vote to grant immunity to the phone companies that have spied on us (Political Animal, Jan. 30). But what bothers me even more is the senator's stance on the Iraq War in general. In the lead-up to the war she was on the fence. Yes, she ended up voting against giving Bush the go-ahead to invade. However, this was only after huge feedback against the war from her constituents (phone calls and petitions and anti-war rallies outside her office in Fells Point). While her aides admitted to protesters that calls to her office had been 9-to-1 against going to war, she still waffled (in fact, we protesters presented her staff with an award from the National Waffle Association). How she was still considering the question of supporting a war so heavily pressed by conservatives is beyond me.
OK, so she ended up voting against the war on the first round. What has she done since then? The senator's been essentially mute. Worse yet, she keeps voting for war funding.
What happened to the once-liberal--some might even say "progressive" and frequently outspoken--Mikulski? Have the trappings of power taken hold? One thing's for sure. She certainly has insufficient mistrust of George W. Bush and company, or if the mistrust is there, she's certainly not acting on it. Why?
$50 Million Is Not Enough
In an article titled "No Place to Call Home" (The Nose, Jan. 30), the author vastly oversimplified funding for homeless services in Baltimore.
Housing is a key component, but not the sole component, to ending homelessness. Funding to Baltimore supports permanent housing for more than 1,500 units per year. But many homeless individuals, particularly those who have experienced homelessness frequently, often have a myriad of needs that housing alone cannot address. Critical supportive services, access to health care, and linkages to public benefits and employment are also needed. Thus, rental assistance alone is not enough to end homelessness.
The city's initiative to provide temporary hotel stays for people living on the streets in the bitter cold was a necessary death-prevention strategy. These men and women are now moving into their own apartments, many for the first time, and will have access to supportive services to help them live independently. The cost of the motel stay, rental assistance, and ongoing services is less expensive than the cost of having people remain in encampments and continue to use costly emergency services, hospitals and jails.
President, Baltimore Homeless Services
The termination of Marc Steiner's lively and informative show on WYPR-FM represents a huge loss for Baltimore ("WYPR Drops Marc Steiner," Newshole, Feb. 1). For many years Marc has given the community access to guests, issues, and alternative viewpoints that are inadequately represented elsewhere. In this age of corporate-controlled media and right-wing radio "journalism," another independent voice has been silenced. WYPR dubs itself "Your Public Radio" station. If so, now is the time for "we" all to raise an outcry.
Your initial blurb about Marc Steiner's dismissal from WYPR is disappointing in that you felt it necessary to include an uncharitable critique of his interviewing skills. However, this comment--"as an interviewer, paid his audience the ultimate compliment by not demeaning them or his guests"--rings true.
Marc, it's clear, had a real compassion for his listeners and for Baltimore. He was willing to shoulder the heavy lifting of trying to make lively, balanced discussion of opaque (though important) topics like school budgets, bail bonds, taxes, zoning. I'd have to call that something akin to courage.
He may have had a personality that could fill a six-county listening area, but he never gave attitude (like some glib local news sources I might name). He had a palpable, wide-ranging curiosity, and he was one of few voices on-air who made a serious effort to present multiple views. WYPR, and Baltimore, will be poorer for his absence.
Maybe before undertaking such a big change, the station should have solicited a wider body of opinion--wider than the board of directors, at least. Somewhere, I thought I had heard that WYPR is public radio.
Thank you for Anna Ditkoff's excellent article ("Bloodletting," Feature, Jan. 23). The photographs by Jefferson Jackson Steele were real narrative art and a disclosure of transparency in characterized portraits. Can photographs hide dishonorable elected officials?
As I see it, the answer to the question "Can anything be done to bring Baltimore's homicide rate down?" is found in the days when the founding white fathers and other greedy white folks wanted to make money only for squire-minded white folks who use slavery as an economic tool to build a country's democracy for free with human animals.
I am a black woman who was born during apartheid segregation in America, Oct. 29, 1941. Under Eurocentric racism (invisible still in America today) and female-hating phallocentric sexism, I learned the harsh reality that other people would define and confine my black skin. Their laws made me less than a human being. My black skin was a biblical sin, and the white Christianity cross of white supremacy would nail my psyche to their oppression of meanness.
Sometimes, I felt as a child, and later as a young adult, that I wanted to yell at all white folks: "All of you white folks have lost your minds."
Our working-class black poor family lived paycheck to paycheck. We had no shame in being without. Polk greens grew in fields that made many dinners for a lot of poor folks in our neighborhood. And I remember my unworthy state of mind when I want "good clothes" to wear, but I felt uncomfortable seeking a job as a teenager. Could I get a college scholarship with less than average grades?
As I grew older I disliked black consciousness. I hated other educated blacks (black teachers, doctors, preachers and business individuals) who felt that poor uneducated or unemployed blacks were "a damn shame and a disgrace" to the black race. I resented moneyed blacks who had the attitude that my poor grades in school would keep me in the "nigger status" in America for the rest of my life. Go Google "Larnell Custis Butler" on your computer. It's no excuse to hate people gifted with no money or no job, including myself.
This Afrocentric sistah and feminist knows that poverty is a fixed entity in the political system of white supremacy.
I believe that poverty is a planned condition devised by moneyed white folks to stay on top of the game of economic greed. It is the result of a hereditary pattern that extends back to the days of slavery in America into the DNA and mental psyche of slave owners. Blacks are not mature enough to understand money or the vote.
Still, we blacks have made much progress because of the sincere kindness of many decent white folks from slavery to freedom. It is sad that we just do not have enough decent white folks living in the South willing to change the lives of poor black folks. That's the only formula to bring down the homicide rate in Baltimore and every place in America.
America is not going to waste money helping a "problem people" (the homeless, the uneducated, the jobless, the drug addicts, the working poor, and the incarcerated/mentally ill in prisons).
Here is the reason that there is a "lock-and-load" mentality on our streets in the black community: "If I am not going to succeed in life, you will not either." If you don't give a "fuck" about nothing, nothing is going to give a fuck about you.
Larnell Custis Butler
812 Park Ave.
Baltimore, MD 21201