November 2012

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Letters to The Ethical Spectacle

Spectacle Letters Column Guidelines. Send your comments to me at I will assume the letter is for publication. If it is not, please tell me, and I will respect that. If you want the letter published, but without your name attached, I will do so. I will not include your email address unless you ask me to. Flames are an exception. They will be published in full, with name and email address. I have actually had people follow up on a published flame by complaining that they thought they were insulting my ancestry privately. Nope, sorry.

Dear Mr. Wallace:

Apropos of the quote you attributed to Mario Savio in the last Rags and Bones column.

I know US Presidential Candidate Bruce (U. Utah) Phillips used that quote in one of the albums recorded with Ani Difranco, not sure who it originates from, but I suspect that it is older than 1964.

It would seem to be a IWW (Wobbly) kind of quote...

You're about to be told you're Canada's most valuable natural resource. Have you seen what they do to valuable resources ?

(Also a Utah Phillips quote...)


Dear Mr. Wallace:

It is the responsibility of the U.S. Congress, "To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces"; U.S. Constitution, Article I, Section 8, Clause 14.

The Congressional Oath of Office:

"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God."

Ignored by the U.S. Congress and the Department of Justice (DOJ) in 1994 [3] and 2002 [2] and yet again by both in 2012 is the U.S. Senate's 1994, 50 years of "experiments that were designed to harm" "conducted on hundreds of thousands" of U.S. Military Personnel! Also overlooked is its', "The Feres Doctrine should not be applied for military personnel who are harmed by inappropriate human experimentation when informed consent has not been given." Then this "Is Military Research Hazardous to Veterans' Health?” REPORT’S: "III. Findings and conclusions", "K. DOD and DVA have repeatedly failed to provide information and medical followup to those who participate in military research..." plus "N. Participation in military research is rarely included in military medical records, making it impossible to support a veteran’s claim for service-connected disabilities from military research."[3] The "Veterans Right to Know Act" [1] has been rejected by the U.S. Congress EIGHT (8) times from 1999 through 2007 and to-date.

In 2012 shouldn't U.S. Service Personnel have the same U.S. Constitutional Rights that convicted rapists and murderers keep, i.e., “...Freedom from Torture, or Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment."?[5] PLEASE HELP by asking your members in the U.S. Congress to provide U.S. Military Personnel with the same protection from "experiments that were designed to harm" as rapists and murderers keep? Your ideas on how to accomplish what 68 years (1944 to 2012) of U.S. Congressional, "...Regulation of the land and naval Forces" has not, would be appreciated.

In 6 months I'll be 80. Accordingly, how much longer this veteran can pursue this experimentation issue is any-ones guess. All [X] References are part of an available "U.S. Military Personnel left behind" document. The four (4) cited of nine (9) total References are: [1] The "Veterans Right to Know Act" was proposed by H.R. 3256, 1999; S. 2953, 2000; H.R. 511, 2001; S. 405, 2001; H.R. 5060, 2002; S. 2704, 2002; H.R. 4259, 2005 and H.R. 2434, 2007.>>>[2] "THE FERES DOCTRINE: AN EXAMINATION OF THIS MILITARY EXCEPTION TO THE FEDERAL TORT CLAIMS ACT OCTOBER 8, 2002. " >>>[3] December 8, 1994 REPORT 103-97 "Is Military Research Hazardous to Veterans' Health?...." Hearings Before the U.S. Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs, 103rd Congress 2ND Session.>>>[5] U.S. State Dept., "U.S. Report under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights July 1994, Article 7 - Freedom from Torture, or Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment." "1994 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights" Index of "Treaties and Legal Issues" || Electronic Research Collections Index || ERC Homepage.

Thank you for your consideration.


Hi Jonathan!

After reading Why I Am Not a Libertarian: I love your site. I find it to be very reasoned and balanced.


It has often been said {and written} that a person's vote for a incumbent should be based on what he or she believes that candidate has done to benefit them personally. Well, for the first time in my 49 years on this planet I can honestly state that I personally benefited from the actions of President Barack Obama. Because of him I am a official HAMPster. It may have taken two and one-half years along with a lot of blood, sweat and tears {well maybe not blood unless you include paper cuts} but the effort required to jump through every financial hoop possible proved to be more than worth it in the end. The interest rate on my mortgage is now the same or similar to what is being offered on the refinance market today. In full disclosure I supported Hilary Clinton for the Democratic Nomination back in 2008 and became somewhat disillusioned and embittered by her defeat. Still in all President Obama has done very well in staying the course of our economy all the while being gridlocked by a party that offers no alternative ideas of it's own.

As for Mr. Romney; he appears to be the "Dagwood Bumstead" of American politics. One pratfall after another leads me to believe that this is the last person we need in the White House. As the old adage instructs "think before you speak." Mr. Romney’s over reactive quips demonstrate a pattern of someone who clearly has not thought the issues through but rather views public service as a business; something to be tinkered with until the right outcome is achieved and then on to the next issue at hand. I can recall Nixon admonishing Reagan’s “war on the poor” as too severe even for his standards. Mr. Romney’s policies will be far worse and drive this country even deeper into division than even the rich are willing to risk.

This election is about a definite choice between someone who represents the few who have never had it so good and someone who represents the many that know we can {and will} do better. His name is Barack Obama and he deserves another four years.

Joe Bialek

Hi Jonathan.

I am a Republican...

What I have found interesting on your blog is not only your post about Game Theory, but also your comments about capitalism, IPOs (where the P represents 'ponzi'), and Romney and his 47% remark. Your comments in support of Elizabeth Warren - and against Scott Brown - lead me to believe that you are a democrat. But maybe you are not, as I hate to assume. Ms. Warren seems to be of such poor character as one who would lie about her heritage for personal gain. I'm confident that there are others on both sides of the aisle who have lied for personal gain. Those individuals do not deserve to serve in such a place of high esteem. As I said, I am a Republican, but I wonder if I am, or if maybe I am only a conservative. And in some cases maybe a liberal or libertarian. Or maybe there is another classification? And that's why I wanted to reach out to you, with the hope that you are not a partisan, but maybe someone principled such as those whom you highlight in your blog.

Would you care to share with me a little about your political philosophy, if you have one? I do not wish to argue with you, but only wish to answer some questions of my own. I prefer discussing such issues with articulate, thoughtful people who will sharpen my own thinking. It's important to me because I have had many amazing experiences in my that have shaped me, but I am just now reflecting as to the effects of those experiences. I'm writing to you, because many of the comments you share in your blog are comments that I would once find partisan and objectionable, but I now see some measure of wisdom and insight in your comments. For that reason, I'd like to know a little more about you and what makes you think as you do. I'm quite exhausted by partisanship, including that found on both sides of the aisle in the current political campaigns. I agree with you that the nation has become more divided, but would add that both sides are predator-like in their pursuits, whether capitalism, idealism or socialism.

Best regards,