Sunday, March 29, 2015

U.S. in the Middle East

Ross Douthat (NYT March 29)  gives a good analysis of what the U.S. is doing in the Middle East. What we do not debate or even discuss is the basic assumption that the U.S. must be the dominant power in this area. But why should we dominate an area so far from our borders? It is well known that the reason is the oil companies’ desire to make big profits there. How would we feel if Syrian or Iranian companies got big profits from the wheat and corn farms in the Midwest?

Sunday, March 22, 2015


            There is controversy about Moslem women and girls wearing  headscarves, Although they live in western countries where it is an unusual custom.  They believe they do it to show that they are devout Moslems.

            Unfortunately, the headscarves  have a deeper meaning.  A tradition in the Mid East that is much older than Islam, but which was taken over by Islam and made a key element of its structure was that women are a lower grade of human being than men and that every woman must  be owned by a man.  The owner of course wants to keep his property for his own enjoyment and does not want anybody else to see her.  Hence in Moslem countries women are totally covered up from head to toe.

            It is absurd for an American woman or teen aged girl to be dressed just like the others but with a headscarf.  I don’t see why any woman or girl would want to proclaim to the world:  “I am an inferior being and am owned by a man.”


Saturday, February 28, 2015

Arab anger

Secy.of State John Foster Dulles

Sunday, February 15, 2015


A large area of Pakistan is suffering from a severe drought, an insufficient source of water. Meanwhile, the U.S. continues to give weapons worth millions of dollars to the Pakistan military. I wish the U.S. would reduce the amount of military gifts, and help them develop a sustainable system. Our policy for each "allied country" is to give them more military aid than what the people really needed. --

Saturday, February 07, 2015

Friendly Nations

Syria, Iran and Saudi Arabia are neighboring countries with totalitarian governments, two of them dictatorships and the third an absolute monarchy. Syria and Iran are considered enemies of the U.S., with strong sanctions on one and near warfare with the other. But Saudi Arabia is a "friendly nation" and a close partner of the U.S. Its total lack of what we consider basic "freedom" is ignored. Why the difference? What is different is that Saudi Arabia is a close ally of the U.S., and its policies permit U.S. businesses, especially the oil companies, to make big profits there. So its absence of "freedom" is ignored, while in the other two the lack of freedom is claimed to be the reason for our opposition.

Military Aid for Peace

It is said that the U.S. should give military aid to the rebels in Syria, because this will help bring about peace. But military aid never brings peace -- it always leads to more destruction and bloodshed.

Thursday, November 27, 2014


When some politicians are asked a question about, for instance, global warning, they answer: "I am not a scientist". This can have either of two meanings, and the speaker should specify which he means. (A) I am not a scientist, so I listen carefully to what science tells us, and act in accordance with it. (B). I am not a scientist, so I feel no responsibility to be guided by what science tells us. Anyway, "scientists" seem to be mainly trying to destroy the economy and reduce business profits.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011


The Great Depression of the 1930’s was cured by the Government preparing for and then waging World War II. Millions of unemployed people got jobs and had money in their pockets to buy things that they hadn’t been able to pay for. Money flowing in all directions created prosperity.

The Government itself did not hire the millions of people --- it contracted with corporations and entrepreneurs to provide the goods and services. Those businesses then hired the workers. It was not the war itself that created the jobs, but the fact that Government was buying things.

This could be done now ---- not buying war supplies, but the things the country needs like improvements to the transportation system, increasing the capacity of the electrical grid and building many more renewable energy facilities.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

"Paying for Medical Insurance and Paying for Military Protection"
Dec. 24, 2009

All Americans need military protection from our country's enemies and this protection costs many billions of dollars per year. To pay for what we get, individual citizens do not choose a defense plan that seems to suit their needs, and negociate individually with defense contractors for the premium.

Instead the government computes the total cost for the entire country, and with the income tax system charges each taxpayer his or her share of that cost. So individuals do not pay for the protection they receive individually; they each pay according to their income to make up the total.

All Americans also need medical care and insurance against catastrophic medical expenses. This should be paid for in the same way as our military protection: by taxing eveybody (according to their incomes) to raise the total amount needed.

There will surely be the objection that military and medical expenses are not comparable because we REALLY NEED the military! However, any family with a member who is very sick will agree that we REALLY NEED medical care also. There is no reason for these needs to be paid for in very diferent ways.

Sunday, December 13, 2009


Humans originated in Africa, but many thousands of years ago some of them wandered out to other continents. Those who came to northern areas encountered something new to them: seasons of the year, and in particular fall and winter. It was alarming to see plants die, and leaves fall off the trees, as well as some animals and birds going into hibernation or migrating south.

Meanwhile the Sun was sinking lower and lower in the sky, with the daily temperature dropping. Would the Sun disappear forever, leaving us to freeze and starve? In that dark, cold time, it became the custom in some societies to bring a green branch or tree into the home or community center, to remind people of Spring and the next growing season that they hoped would come. Also, a fire or lamp, which were specially needed anyway when the nights were so long, symbolized the Sun that they hoped would once again rise high and warm.

Imagine how relieved our ancestors were when they were sure the Sun was really rising higher again! This realization was the cause for joyful celebration, and over the years several customs developed in various cultures, of which the Roman “Carnival” and Viennese “Fasching” are examples. After many thousands of years, people came to take for granted that the Sun would certainly come back, and they were no longer worried about it. But we never like to abandon a familiar ritual: that is, why give up a good party? So the customs continued even though there was no longer a reason for them.

Another detail was that the Sun doesn’t get lower and lower until it suddenly rises higher than the previous day. There is a period when the naked eye and primitive measuring methods can’t tell whether it is getting higher or lower. Therefore the people had to wait and see. Of course this waiting period was retained as a tradition, and different waiting periods became customary in various cultures. One tradition called for a 12 day wait, and this is preserved in the “12 Days of Christmas”. Another was for 8 days, and in the Hanukkah tradition the lamp burned for 8 days. Incidentally, both Carnival and Fasching began not at the Solstice but after the waiting period.

In the earliest centuries of the Christian religion nothing was said about the date of Jesus’ birth. (Since the shepherds were spending the night out in the fields with their flocks, it must have been between May and September.) But the Church later decreed that it be celebrated in December, at the time of the Solstice. Was this a coincidence? I suspect that the Church had tried unsuccessfully to stamp out pagan celebrations of the Solstice, but since the people would be celebrating anyway it told them the celebration was for the Birth of Jesus.

Judaism has a celebration of “Hanukkah” commemorating the rededication of the Temple in 165 BCE, after their victory over the Hellenist Syrians. At some point it was decided to set this festival at the period of the Solstice. So both Christianity and Judaism have placed important events in their calendars at this time that had been important for another reason for tens of thousands of years.

Through all the many traditions and rituals we should remember what are the basic essential elements: Something green and living to represent the world of nature, and a fire, lamp or candle whose light represents the Sun.

Notice the importance of candles in the Christian tradition, and the lamp that burned for 8 days in the Hanukkah story.

---Andrew Linn, 1010 Waltham St., Lexington, MA 02421
(781) 863-0954

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Dear Editor, 3 August 2009
Our Armed Forces are risking their lives and limbs in Iraq and Afghanistan to protect all of us from terrorism. However, citizens are not told that military protection for them is “available”, or that they are “eligible” for it; we do not choose the level of protection that we want and then pay for it individually. It has been decided that all Americans need this protection, so our Armed Forces provide it for all of us, and it is paid for by our income taxes. The amount that a certain person pays is determined not according to the protection he himself receives, but according to his income.
Similarly, all Americans need medical care. So it also should be provided for all and paid for by taxes just as military protection is. Of course, some people need a great deal more expensive medical care than others do. And it is also true that some people benefit much more than others from our military actions in the mid east.
For instance, a U. S. Navy fleet is permanently stationed in the Persian Gulf, to prevent any nation in that region from nationalizing its oil. It costs a great deal to maintain this fleet, and big stockholders in major oil companies benefit much more from it than the rest of us do. But the expense of the Persian Gulf fleet is paid for not just by those who benefit most, but by all of us in proportion to our incomes.
Protection from our enemies is not an optional luxury, it is something we all need and deserve to have. And protection of our health is not an optional luxury either. A civilized nation like the U. S. should provide both these things to all its citizens, and pay for both in the same way.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

We are told that the big car makers must be “bailed out” because otherwise millions of workers and their families would lose their incomes. Since it is the workers’ incomes that are in question I propose the following measures:
(1) Every worker who loses a job because the company has gone bankrupt should be given, by the government, the salary that was previously received, until he or she finds another job, or for at most one year.
(2) The government should take over some of the car factories and convert them to making trolley cars. And other factories could produce passenger cars for railroads. (Note that all this would require not only hiring assembly line workers, but administrative personnel at all levels.)
(3) In cities where trolley transportation is to be set up or enlarged, tracks must be laid and other facilities provided. These activities would require something like the Public Works Administration of the 1930’s and would provide many more jobs at all levels.
(4) Manufacturing facilities for such things as solar panels and wind-turbines should be set up, preferably in areas where there is much unemployment.
(5) These much-needed measures, most or all of which involve the use of electrical power, would require major improvements in our electrical transmission system. Here again, jobs would be created at all levels.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _
All of this would require an enormous effort. But our country showed what it could do in the way we waged World War II and by the success, in just eight years, of the project to put a man on the moon. Those achievements did not involve simply handing $25 billion to three corporations.
Andrew Linn Dec. 1, 2008

Friday, July 04, 2008


The government no longer refuses to license new solar power plants. My question is: which members of Congress voted to not license them in the first place and now have opposed lifting the ban? Second question: How much have those members of Congress received as "campaign contributions" from the oil companies? Your paper would render a great public service by publicizing the anwers to those two questions.

In the 1960's our nation was heavily involved in the "space race" and in particular the effort to go to the moon. We succeeded in the latter because a great deal of money and effort were put into the program. At the present time our need is to find an energy source that does not involve fossil fuels and costs no more than oil and coal do now. What fraction of Gross National Product is being spent in this efflort? And what fraction of GNP in the 1960's was spent for the space race?

The present expenditure is very small in comparison, and those same members of Congress consistently vote to keep it so small that it cannot soon succeed, and thus guarantee at least another hundred years of high profits for the oil companies.

Sunday, June 29, 2008


In 1961 John Kennedy announced: "We will go to the moon." Eight years later, we DID go to the moon, because during those years a great deal of money and effort were devoted to this purpose.

(1) What per cent of GNP was spent per year for the Space Initiative in that period?

(2) What per cent of GNP is being spent during 2008 to develop an energy source that does not involve folssil fuels and does not cause environmental damage, either in its production or in its use?

By comparing the answers to (1) and (2) we see that a very small amount is being spent in our present program. The reason is that the oil companies pay large sums in "campaign contributions" to certain members of Congress, in return for those legislators making sure that the amount of money spent will be too small to accomplish anything, and thus guarantee at least another 100 years of high profits for the oil companies.

Sunday, April 13, 2008


It is commonly believed that the U. S. has 140,000 soldiers in Iraq because of the war there. It would be more accurate to say that the war was contrived in order to give us an excuse to send the troops.

Those who really manage the U. S. government are determined that our country must be the dominant power in the Middle East. Therefore, when Iran threw out its corrupt Shah, our C.I.A. took over its government and restored the Shah to power, besides incidentally securing the profits American oil companies were making from Iran's oil.

The greatest fear of the U. S. ruling clique is that the Saudi regime might be overthrown and a popular government installed that would nationalize their oil. If that should happen, the American forces, conveniently ready next door in Iraq, can quickly move in and take over the country, as we tell the world we are protecting our faithful Saudi allies from their insurgents.

And the American oil companies will continue to receive their large share of Saudi oil profits. To achieve all this, the U. S. rulers feel that 4,000 dead young Americans is not too high a price.

--- Andrew Linn

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Wasteful Military Expenditures

The lead editorial in the New York Times for April, 2008 explains how Congress approves spending vast sums to buy weapon systems from military contractors; the final bill is usually far higher than was agreed on, and quite often the weapons don't work as promised. But the contractors to not hesitate to pocket their enormous profits and pay generous "campaign contributions" to the obliging congressmen who put over the deal. Everybody has reason to be pleased except the U. S. taxpayers who provided the hundreds of billion dollars.

Finally, the principal argument to justify all this is "Do you know how many jobs would be lost if this contract is cancelled?" And if a member of Congress should object the response is "Do you know how many jobs would be lost in your district? We will tell all those voters that you voted to put them out of a job." Therefore, the appropriations are almost never denied.

Andrew Linn

Thursday, March 27, 2008


The presidential candidates are arguing about a "precipitous withdrawal" from Iraq.
I agree that we should not withdraw precipitately, because the Iraqi people would feel that the U.S., after doing so much harm to them and their country, was walking away and making no effort to clean up the mess we have created.

Instead, the U.S. should start, now, to do things for those people such as seeeing up water and electrical systems, and health services. Any such measure should be in conjunction with Iraqi individuals and groups. It should be made clear that once an electrical system, for instance, is operating, the U.S. will turn over more and more of the management and labor to Iraqis, and meanwhile reduce our partication.

Bringing home our soldiers and weapons should begin as various projects for the improvement of Iraqi living conditions become operative.

Some people will say that it is a waste of money for us to do these things for the Iraqis ---- that our money should be used only for the benefit of the U.S. But we must realize that it WILL BE to the benefit of the U.S. to improve their lives --- It is the only way to combat the insurgency.
--- Andrew Linn

Sunday, March 09, 2008


Peace in the Middle East is the last thing the imperialist U. S. government wants.

If real peace were to begin there would be a great demand, from U. S. citizens as well as from other countries, for American troops to be brought home and our military installations in that area closed down. If the various nations develop friendly, cooperativwe relationships for their mutul benefit (including something like the European Union), the result would be stability and prosperity that does not depend on U. S. dominance and control.

What the managers of the U. S. empire fear most is that really independent countries will nationalize their oil, and exclude the foreign corporations that derive so much profit from it.

It is for this reason that the U . S. contrived to fight a war in Iraq that required having more than 100,000 soldiers there. (It is commonly believed that the troops are there because of the war. In fact, the opposite is true -- the war was arranged in order to have an excuse to send troops to the Middle East.)

Those troops are available, at a moment's notice, to take over Saudi Arabia when a revolution finally throws out the Saudi family and nationalizes their oil. Of course this will be
announced as our generous effort to "protect" the Arabian peoople from the revolutionaries.

--- Julien Sorel