Jul 1 2006

Letters to the Editor

Don’t Shut Down Dobbs

Regarding the CNN TV program Lou Dobbs Tonight (“CNN’s Immigration Problem,” Extra!, 5-6/06), I watch this program and wish to tell you what I learned from it. Lou Dobbs:

1. Does not talk against legal immigrants or legal immigration.

2. Often has people speak in favor of illegals; presents many sides of this issue.

3. Has firmly pushed for “securing our borders” before any amnesty programs.

4. Is critical of our government which does not enforce laws against hiring illegals.

5. Points out that large corporations (and small) exploit poor people who enter this country illegally.

I could go on about how important I find this program. Lou Dobbs is the only voice poor and middle-class people have in this unregulated capitalist society run amuck. Don’t shut him down!

Norma Bailing

Golden Valley, Minn.

Ortega Is a Strongman

Bravo, Jim Naureckas, for smacking the New York Times’ blinkered reporting on Nicaragua (“Retro Reporting on Nicaragua,” Extra! Update, 6/05). But there’s something that you should know, which we who have worked for decades to further the goals of the Sandinista revolution have come to understand: The faction of the Sandinista Front controlled by Daniel Ortega is in fact undemocratic, and it has made an unholy pact with the forces around the scoundrel kleptocrat former President Arnoldo Alemán to subvert reforms, each ex-president protecting the other’s butt.

Jim should prepare himself to follow the reporting on next year’s presidential election, when Sandinista maverick and former mayor of Managua, Herty Lewites, will be challenging both Ortega and forces on the right for the presidency. Lewites has impeccable Sandinista credentials, but he was ousted from the party by Ortega and his people. Independent polls show Lewites to be the most popular politician in Nicaragua, and his Movement to Rescue Sandinismo represents a left alternative to the (yes, let’s use the word) strongman tactics and vision of Ortega.

Important Nicaraguans on the left, like poet Ernesto Cardenal, novelists Sergio Ramirez (Ortega’s VP) and Gioconda Belli, and the singer/songwriter brothers Carlos and Luis Enrique Mejía Godoy are all Lewites supporters.

The “supporter of a Sandinista rival to Ortega,” that is, the supporter of Lewites, could easily have pointed to polls showing Ortega and Alemán are the two most disliked politicians in the country. Nicaraguans don’t need U.S. interference to keep Ortega from being reelected.

The real question is, will the United States allow a Sandinista who is not Ortega to become president? (Lewites would also, coincidentally, be the first Jewish president in the Americas.) To stay abreast of developments in this field, read the Nicaragua Network Hotline, which has also come out against Ortega.

—David Gullette

Newton/San Juan del Sur

Sister City Project

Newton, Mass.

“Bush-Hating”? Bor-r-ring!

Well, well, the right-wingers have invented another bit of negative-charged language (“Bush-Hating Nation,” Extra!, 5-6/06). Why am I not surprised? They are very good at writing it and slinging it. It’s just so much trash that it can’t even be glamorized by calling it organic fertilizer. (Pick your favorite producer. I like the pig poop myself.) At least the latter can be used to make one’s rose bushes grow better. If I were you, I wouldn’t give them any space for this. It is bor-r-ring.

Ann Ewalt

Hamilton, Md.

Another Will Rogers

Re: “That’s Not Funny!” (Extra! Update, 6/06):

When Stephen Colbert’s accurate but acerbic barbs at the administration and the elite press (during the White House Correspondents’ banquet) crossed the line into perceived rudeness, it gave some of the right-wing folks, who traditionally find political correctness absurd, a taste of their own medicine.

The objects of the barbs must have recognized some truth else they wouldn’t have felt so wounded! We’ve got another Will Rogers who’s not afraid to shove a few burrs under the saddles of those who believe they can fool all the people all the time. Way to go, Stephen!

Janet Reed Pettit

Palatka, Fla.

The Courage to Complain

I read one of the letters to Extra! in the recent issue (5-6/06) and the letter seemed to be a complaint about how you don’t focus enough on the positive and focus too much on the negative—at least that’s what the letter seemed to be about. However, I just wanted to respond to that reader, and others like him: The most positive attitude a person can have is the belief that problems can be solved. But of course the only way to solve problems is to recognize them first. Extra! magazine has the courage to do that, and the world needs more people brave enough to speak honestly about problems the way that Extra! does.

Thanks, and don’t ever stop!

Harriet Greco

Seattle, Wash.