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Speaking Spoiler

On Sunday, Aug. 3, Ralph Nader spoke at the Sebastopol Community Center, among other venues in Sonoma and Marin counties.  I had a long exchange with him about the 2000 election and his role as the spoiler.  Of course, he denies this and has his obscure sources to support a not very coherent defense.

The fact is Nader ignored a letter by 25 of his most trusted and oldest advisers pleading with him to capitulate and to back Gore.  Further, he reneged on  his own promise not to compete in any state that was close. Nader was campaigning in Florida days before the election with the help of Republican money. Ninety-two thousand votes went to Nader in that election, to say nothing of the drag his constant attacks put on Gore's campaign.

As his aide was prodding me to finish because, he said, "We're running out of time," Nader glibly recounted an obviously polished story about meeting Al Gore in Washington six months after the election. "I said," Nader recounted, "'Isn't it a relief, Al?' and he just smiled." Well Ralph, maybe it was a relief for Al, but how about the rest of us? How about the 500,000 dead Iraqis? How about the festering environmental issues that have been ignored and suppressed for the last eight years? How about the Supreme Court that, as a lawyer, you should be keenly concerned about?

If you want to blunt Nader's impact on the current election, make a point of attending his fundraisers and take advantage of the question-and-answer period  by confronting him on these issues. It's very therapeutic.

Bruce Kranzler


Faster, Pussycat!

I find it highly ironic that your paper did a story on credit card debt among Generations X and Y ("Generation Debt," July 30) and yet on page 3 of that issue, there is a whole page devoted to advertising for a Visa credit card! Advertising is also part of the problem! Our generation's demand for bigger and faster products and the rise of an elite class keeps these new products on the market. It is no longer about keeping up with the Joneses; now, it is about keeping up with a forever changing technology that gets faster and smaller and more powerful with each phase of the techno evolution. Face it, today things have become more expensive with each passing day. Food, gas and living are at an all-time high and could hit an all-time record high. We live for now and deal with tomorrow when tomorrow comes.

Nicole Generation X

Santa Rosa

Pursuit of Empire

Regarding John Sakowicz's "To America, with Shame" (Aug. 6), the premise of most U.S. writers is that the United States was once a great nation and promoter of liberty for all, but that has never been true. There were the Indian wars and the maintenance of slavery long after most of the rest of the world had abolished it.

There is still the widespread use of capital punishment, long after most other countries have abolished that.

There is the fact that the United States has been involved in foreign wars—in pursuit of empire—for well over a century, whilst other (former) imperial powers have largely given up on trying to have global economic and military dominance.

It is sad that U.S. critics of the U.S.A. do not recognize their own history, but instead believe that the current state of affairs is an aberration, whereas it is actually the norm and just winding out in much the same way that the Roman Empire wound out, due to overreach, overambition, corruption and whatever else accounts for the end of any empire.

Gerry Hiles

South Australia

Calling Bob Canard

I enjoyed your articles about local farmers, community gardens and the new trend toward growing more food locally ("Arcadia," July 23). I've been wondering aloud recently if Sonoma County could strategize effectively and become totally self-sufficient for food and perhaps other things like fuel and energy, as well.

I remember that Bob Canard used to teach organic agriculture at SRJC.  Perhaps he could be a valuable resource for starting such a large-scale project. Sonoma County could be a model community for the world, especially if a comprehensive, compassionate population-control program was included.

How about it?

Barbara Dougherty


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