Letters to the Editor

(March 26, 2007)


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Barrels of Oil or of Gasoline? Gilles d'Aymery's Deceitful Solutions To America's Energy Dependence

To the Editor:

Great article!

When Gilles d'Aymery wrote:

"Reducing the speed limit to 55 mph countrywide would save one million barrels of gasoline a day, which translates to about 15.3 billion gallons of gasoline per year."

Didn't he mean "Reducing the speed limit to 55 mph countrywide would save one million barrels of OIL a day, which translates to about 15.3 billion gallons of gasoline per year."?

Best regards,

Charlie Blum
Oak Brook, Illinois, USA - March 12, 2007

[ed. It is indeed one million barrels of gasoline a day, as the author and this reader agreed in a subsequent exchange of e-mails.]


Kucinich Does Talk About the Energy Issues, Sort of: Gilles d'Aymery's Deceitful Solutions To America's Energy Dependence

To the Editor:

I appreciated Gilles d'Aymery's article regarding Dennis Kucinich and oil, and fully agree that energy sources and use in general are not seriously addressed by candidates.

While I'd like to see more still from Kucinich, he does at least go beyond ethanol on his issues page:



Daniel Geery
Salt Lake City, Utah, USA - March 12, 2007

Gilles d'Aymery responds: Thank you for your e-mail and for reading Swans. What Kucinich does not do is to address the issues fully. Its short energy page is kind of wishy-washy -- lots of generalities and no details. And he does NOT peep a word about the negative effects of the ethanol route. I wish he would service the country more constructively and take the opportunity to be more specific on the issues.


Kucinich's awareness? Gilles d'Aymery's Deceitful Solutions To America's Energy Dependence

To the Editor:

Thank you for writing to us.

I did a google this morning. I am a volunteer working for Kucinich for President, 2008 and I also worked on the campaign in 2004.

I found the swans.com article and I read it before you sent it to us and a few other people have sent it to us as well.

I am happy to forward the link that you have sent to us to the campaign.

Again, thank you for writing to us.

Your feedback is very much appreciated.

In Hope and In Peace,

Linda Zoblotsky
Kucinich for President, 2008 - March 12, 2007


Do we ignore *class* on Swans? Michael Doliner's War And Oil

Dear Editor:

This is for Michael Doliner:

As a regular reader of swans.com, I found especially interesting your recent essay entitled "War And Oil." So much so that I've e-mailed the link to all my friends and associates. Something I rarely do.

However, as much as I find your essay interesting and insightful, I also have an objection that relates not only to your point of view but to the point of view of swans.com in general.

That is to say, there seems to be in most every swans.com essay an underlying cynicism and pessimism about the general population; if not "the human condition" itself. At the same time, there is also a lack of ideological structure to your essay as well as others at swans.com. For example, does the notion of organizing people along class and occupational lines have some merit? If so, it's not mentioned in your article, nor is it explored much at swans.com

When you write about "America" and "the American people," there seems to be a lack of recognition that CLASS WARFARE is what underlies virtually all political and economic realities in the U.S., as well as worldwide. Without a fundamental recognition of this dialectic, and with an undertone of pessimism and an insistence on how lazy, fearful, and ignorant the American public is ... well, there leaves very little room for hope, doesn't it?

As mentioned previously, I notice this with other regular contributors to swans.com as well. It's a sort of you've-made-a-mess-of-things-with-your-selfishness-and-short-sightedness-Americans-now-you-must-reap-the-consequences ... you-should-have-listened-to-what-we've-been-warning-you-about.

This point of view, this kind of cynicism, it seems to me, takes one so far and no further. As soon as one becomes critical of "the American public," harboring the notion that "they get what they deserve," then real progress is blocked.

Put another way: there has to be a fundamental optimism about the mass of people, or else all truly is lost.

I'd be very interested in an essay you might want to write, or perhaps one of the other Swans regulars might want to write, that focuses in on the incredible *power* the American public has if organized in an ideologically-positive, ideologically-specific way. Such a point of view taking in, of course, history, sociology, class divisions, and all that that entails.

It seems as though that sort of "thinking-it-through" is lacking in your article and at Swans in general. A lack of "thinking-it-through" in the sense that fundamentals need to be changed and those fundamentals must be examined with some sort of dialectic as a context.

I find it interesting that Swans is and has been a big supporter of Ralph Nader, and indeed I myself voted for him in 2000 and 2004. But he, too, does not criticize as *fundamentally* as he should, or as ideologically-specific.

I'm not expressing myself as well as I would like, but still I have the feeling that you know what I'm getting at. Hoping you do and, again, thanking you for an excellent essay,

Yours in solidarity,

Tony Ficociello
Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA - March 22, 2007


Independence First Rally will Demand a Referendum on Independence

To the Editor:

When the straight question is asked, and 'don't knows' are excluded most polls show that the majority of Scots support Scottish independence, in other words the normal powers that almost every other country enjoys. Polls also regularly show a large amount of Scots want significantly more powers for our devolved parliament, which can only be guaranteed with independence.

Return to direct rule from London is not a realistic possibility and therefore support for independence has soared. This trend was the main reason behind the formation of the non party-political referendum campaign, Independence First, which will be holding a March through Edinburgh on the 31st of March.

The fact that Scottish politics is now equally divided between Westminster elections and the Scottish elections has focused the media more on Scotland.

This increased focus on Scottish politics has undoubtedly helped the Scottish-based parties, and these Scottish-based parties all favour independence. Even at the last election, while the SNP's vote fell sharply, the overall level of independence support and the number of independence supporting members of the Scottish Parliament actually increased.

The smaller parties tend to be marginalised in UK-wide opinion polls and, even in Scottish polls, with a margin of error of plus or minus 3% it is pretty much impossible to determine exactly what the vote for the Greens or the SSP is likely to be.

What we do know is that these parties tend to poll higher than their opinion poll results, and we also know that the support for the SNP is much higher than ever before. The possibility is there then for a pro-independence coalition which could project Scotland to independence.

Beyond independence, Independence First has no policies whatsoever: we believe any decisions on the EU or the monarchy or anything else must be made by our national parliament after independence. This non-political position means we are flexible enough to include every single political group and individual who supports independence for Scotland.

Our ultimate task is a big one: it is to encourage a massive groundswell of people on the scale of Scotland United to demand a referendum as a matter of urgency. We have calculated that around a million Scots voters need to vote for independence in both the first and second ballots to win an election.

We recently ran an e-petition through the Scottish Parliament with over 1,300 signatures attached. Unfortunately, the Scottish Parliament's public petitions committee decided that there was no need to ask the people of Scotland their views on independence because they already have the opportunity to vote in elections.

In actual fact, people vote for political parties for a variety of different reasons. Independence is supported by individuals on the left and right of politics and some of those people support Labour, Tories, and Lib Dems as well as the parties based in Scotland.

The only way to get a clear idea of the Scottish public's desires on independence is to ask them directly. Independence First believes one million votes are well within the independence movement's grasp. We also believe that once the Scottish people realise just how close independence potentially is then they will vote for it en masse this year.

Independence First's march on Saturday the 31st of March has an outstanding set of entertainers in support including the legendary Dick Gaughan, Scots Rockers Mouse Eat Mouse, top Reggae Band Project Bona Fide and Ted Christopher.

We are assembling at 12.30 at East Market Street and marching to the Scottish Parliament from 1pm. Please join us if you support a democratic referendum on Scottish independence.

Joe Middleton
Press Officer of Independence First
Edinburgh, Scotland - March 22, 2007


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Published March 12, 2007
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