May 1 2009

Letters to the Editor

Palestine’s Right to Exist

I was drawn to the headline of the article “The ‘Right to Exist’ as an Arab Israeli” in your March 2009 issue. But a much larger issue is Palestine’s right to exist. Look on any map and try to find a country of Palestine. It doesn’t exist in any contemporary atlas or land map I have found. Not only is it being physically cut up and destroyed, it is already conceptually destroyed.

The Israel lobby has successfully managed the media to believe that Israel, a nuclear-armed nation with lots of power and resources, is somehow threatened with extinction. Whether this is a paranoid delusion, a cynical ploy or conscious manipulation, the tables are astoundingly turned. The country that has been disappeared is the one that has to answer the demand that they “admit” that Israel “has a right” to exist. Go figure.

Mary Ellen Croteau

Chicago, Ill.

NBC Should Be Ashamed of ‘Predator’

I love FAIR and have been a contributor for many years. But I especially appreciated Steve Rendall’s piece, “The Online Predator Scare,” in the April 2009 Extra!.

When I happen to accidentally tune in the NBC show To Catch a Predator, I watch in disbelief. Some of it has to do with Hansen’s insipid behavior. But more important is the obvious exploitative nature of the program, as Rendall pointed out. NBC should be ashamed of itself for putting this program on the air.

I was elated to read that it’s no longer in production, but reruns are doing their dirty work. The show that aired on February 2, 2009, was particularly disturbing. Hansen confronted an obviously mentally challenged man who had no clue how to protect himself and needed professional help.

The show is repulsive on so many levels. What right does Hansen have to question these people? What is the purpose of his presence? Obviously, the whole premise is to make money by appealing to the voyeuristic viewer, which is why Hansen and NBC are way sicker than their victims.

David Hughes

Pittsburgh, Penn.

Media Tax Misinformation

There is a topic that is being missed by the media that I listen to. I do hear interviews in which people are discussing a small increase in the tax rate for those in the top bracket—a rise from 35 percent to 37 percent, approximately. On the radio I heard someone ask if we have ever redistributed wealth through taxes. The host said we had never used the tax system to redistribute wealth.

This is not true. For 29 years, from 1936 to 1964, the top marginal tax rate was over 75 percent, and for 16 of those years, the top rate was over 90 percent. That constituted a major redistribution of wealth. I think journalists should somehow be bringing up this history so that Americans don’t think this is “something Americans never do.” We need to have a national discussion on this.

Heloise Rathbone

Brooklyn, N.Y.

Exposing Administration Secrets

I am still outraged by the secretiveness of the Bush/Cheney administration. Such totalitarian secrecy can only have one motive: the concealment of gross criminality. If investigative journalists are not digging in that filthy dung heap, they are participants in the crimes. I hope that Extra! will keep an eye open to stories exposing secrets of the Republican criminal network. The operatives have not gone away, and they are probably looking for any opportunity to continue their dirty work.

Dale L. Berry

Grants, N.M.