Feedback from the Issue of Thursday, October 1, 2009
UNDER THE WEATHER
Time to nail Ayers and Dohrn: I almost fainted when I read a story advocating the arrest of members of the former Weather Underground in New Times.
Finally, you guys got something right! Please, give us more stories about how members of left-wing organizations should be brought down, then and now.
Also, the story was exceptionally well researched and written. I am old enough to remember those radical organizations and the havoc they wreaked on our nation. The writer accurately portrayed their violent lies.
I hope Bernardine Dohrn and Bill Ayers — no matter how upstanding they are nowadays — get nailed in the Officer Brian McDonald killing. As you pointed out, there is no statute of limitations on murder.
John Owens, Phoenix
Story was "non-news" tripe: You have got to be kidding me. This [is a] tepid rehash of the whole Bill Ayers business from last year's election.
I was a newspaperman for almost 30 years (now, thank God, I write books and plays), and it's this type of mindless sludge that makes me glad I left the business. You've disgraced anyone who carries a press card with this "non-news" tripe and contributed to the dumbing-down of this culture. (I wasn't sure it could go much lower.)
"The only reason for journalism to exist is to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable." That's a quote from H. L. Mencken. This story did neither.
Chris Dickerson, Los Angeles
Reactionaries may have a point after all: After reading the published statements of Bernardine Dohrn, how could President Barack Obama have associated with her and her husband? As your story points out, the Weather Underground's claims of non-violence (that it went only after unoccupied buildings) are bogus.
I wasn't prone to believing all the right-wing howling that Obama's a Commie sympathizer from the Lush Limbaugh crowd, but this story of the cop killing has me wondering whether the reactionaries might be on the right track.
Steve Meyer, Phoenix
Caught in the nut-bags' net: Most of the Obama-linked-to-Weathermen operations are controlled by Cliff Kincaid, a leader of the Birther movement and of Accuracy in Media, a right-wing fringe group.
[Kincaid offers] videos featuring Larry Grathwohl, alleging "that in exchange for a glowing review of Bill Ayers' book, A Kind and Just Parent, Barack Obama received help in writing his own semi-fictional autobiographies from [Bill] Ayers."
In addition, Grathwohl goes on to say that "scientific comparative analysis of Ayers' books with Obama's clearly demonstrate common authorship."
The group also includes Jim Pera, a San Francisco cop featured in Peter Jamison's article. It is kind of a traveling nut-bag circus that has apparently gotten a naive Jamison caught in its net.
Mark Groubert, Los Angeles
There's no credible connection: [Your story] makes no credible connection to either Bill Ayers or Barack Obama. The writer is either just ignorant or a kid or both.
His description of America in the 1960s is absolutely wrong. There was no two-sided guerrilla war in American cities. COINTELPRO and other law-enforcement rogue operations were not "unfortunate." They were unconstitutional and criminal.
Michael Stinson, Long Beach, California
Simply, it's cheap journalism: Your "Time Bomb" cover is a wonderful hook for an article that it is embarrassingly insignificant.
After several pages summarizing what has already been established about the Weather Underground's unverifiable involvement in the Park Station bombing of 1970, Peter Jamison concludes with the rousing revelation that "as time passes, a conviction seems more improbable."
This is cheap journalism that substitutes catchy taglines for thoughtful political discussion. At a time when America is fighting two imperial wars of aggression in the Middle East and has assumed an extra-judicial power of global sovereignty, you have chosen to devote your resources to tabloid-worthy speculations.
If [you] would like to interrogate the merits of revolutionary politics, then perhaps [you] should spend some time investigating how we can stop a government run by two parties intent on perpetuating a system whose brutality needs no more evidence to warrant a conviction.
Spencer Jackson, via the Internet
Party-pooping Weathermen: One thing to bear in mind, foremost, is the operations of COINTELPRO at the time. Its activities continually muddied the waters concerning who was who and who did what.
During that time, I was in Ann Arbor, Michigan, home to the White Panther Party (among other groups). I recall that, then, several of the WPP people were either incarcerated or wanted for various radical activities, including a small bombing alleged to have been perpetrated by them. They always asserted that COINTELPRO was behind a lot of it.
Decades later, though, the truth came out. COINTELPRO had been behind a lot of the grief that came their way. Paranoid or not, they had been correct about that much.
I never cared much for the SDS or the Weathermen. They were (aside from the violence) a bunch of jerks and party-poopers. The SDS always rambled on about Marxism, and who wanted to hear that crap?
WPP [members] were a lot more fun. Still, at the time, the government provoked people toward unreasonable measures.
Joe Curwin, via the Internet
Ayers and Dohrn — charge 'em with treason: Treason? The word imports a betraying, treachery, or breach of allegiance.
The Constitution of the United States, Article III, defines treason against the United States to consist [of] levying war against it, adhering to its enemies, or giving them aid or comfort.
This offense is punished with death. By the same article of the Constitution, no person shall be convicted of treason [except] on the testimony of two witnesses to the overt act or [with] a confession in open court.
Bill Ayers, Bernardine Dohrn, and others active in the Weather Underground should be brought up on charges of treason, pure and simple.
Allan Erickson, via the Internet
No point to this story: This is the most sensationalistic article I've seen in a long time — from the absurd headline connecting Obama, who was, as we all know by now, a child at the time of these events, to the suggestion that rumors, even in the complete absence of any new or significant evidence, should add up to a case simply because they persist.
Here's a story in which you have two different parties giving unconvincing confessions to the same crime — one because she wants something in exchange and the other because he was going to jail anyway — and no physical evidence worth prosecuting.
So . . . what exactly is the point? I'm really not sure it can be anything other than to try to use the names "Ayers" and "Obama" in the same sentence because they've been proven to whip up frenzy.
LEAVE 'EM ALONE
Why all the hate, indeed?: I don't know what sickens me more: a racist and moronic sheriff or Christians who endorse hate. Regarding the gay and Jewish protests . . . Dudes, don't you have anything else to do?
Here's a tip: If you don't like those folks, don't hang out with them. I was raised in a strict Protestant home and hate was never endorsed. In fact, we were taught to pray for and love our enemy.
Here's a question: If Adolf Hitler and the Nazis were tools of God, and murder is a sin, does that make God a sinner? Just wondering, because I don't remember the Ten Commandments qualifying sin according to [the ethnicity of] the victim.
One more question: Why all the hate? Hate is tired.
Hank Hill, Phoenix
Day of reckoning may be tough for Sara: Sara Phelps is correct [that people must answer for their actions on Earth]. On that day when she stands before the Almighty, I hope only that she has the foresight to bring along some fireproof drawers. God help you, Sara, because human reasoning can go only so far.
David R. Toto, Phoenix
Out of sight, out of mind: As an ex-Topekan, I'm proud to have received free tickets to the showing of The Laramie Project at Washburn University, for being one of the counter-protesters who got there early enough to take up all the corners within view of the university's performing arts center so that Fred Phelps & Co. could be relegated to being out of sight and out of mind.
Kenneth Jaeger, Phoenix
Weren't they mostly Jews, too?: The Bird wrote: "And all this time I thought it was the Romans who nailed the Man from Galilee to a cross. And wait a sec, wasn't Jesus a Jew? Sara [Phelps] reluctantly admitted that he was, but apparently that doesn't count because he was — you guessed it — the Messiah."
Weren't most of the apostles also Jews?
Emil Pulsifer, Phoenix
Bird a racist?: Bird, you are an ugly, nasty person. As a journalist you should not be using derogatory slang terminology. I don't know what your race is, but you sound very much like the racist in this article. May Bill O'Reilly smite you.
Do-gooders would make for a boring Bird: God forbid you ever talk about the 90 percent of Christians who are out there doing charity work, feeding the homeless, or taking care of orphans. We're not all like Fred Phelps, the abortion clinic bombers, or whatever other sensational fringe element of "Christians" you choose to focus on in your column.
How 'bout a little equal coverage, eh? You know, a little journalistic integrity? Or did you miss that day in college?
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