I'm writing in response to Kathy Berry's and Dana Silvernale's letters ("Jolly Greens," Oct. 11) urging people to vote for Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate for president. I believe in Stein's platform and if we had ranked choice voting, she would be my first choice. The Green Party is circulating a petition to adopt this voting format because, as its website states, it can "eliminate the ‘spoiler effect' in which candidates with similar views split their vote, thus electing someone who doesn't represent any of their views." I eagerly signed the petition. But we don't operate under that system yet. Thus my concern that progressives in this country will help elect Romney/Ryan by voting for a third-party candidate or sitting out the election entirely.
Two venerable progressives share my concern. Daniel Ellsberg, although profoundly disappointed in Obama (as I am) warns that a Romney/Ryan administration "would be much worse, even catastrophically worse" on crucial issues like "attacking Iran, Supreme Court appointments, the economy, women's reproductive rights, health coverage, safety net, climate change, green energy, the environment."
It's a facile and dangerous oversimplification to say there's no real difference between Romney and Obama or Republicans and Democrats. Ellsberg calls this thinking "absurd." He quotes Noam Chomsky: "The Republican organization today is extremely dangerous, not just to this country, but the world." Both men have told interviewers that if they lived in a swing state, they'd vote against Romney/Ryan, "which means voting for Obama."
We've been down this road before. In 2000, Ralph Nader was "the spoiler." Green Party members then were saying there was no difference between Bush and Gore. After the Iraq war was well under way, a Green Party member asked me if I could guarantee that Gore would not have invaded Iraq. My answer was yes.
Margy Emerson, Arcata
Thanks for the coverage of Prop. 37 ("The $38 Million Label," Oct. 11). It's an extremely important subject that gets too little attention from the press.
Unfortunately, the coverage genetic engineering does get in the media is often riddled with factual errors and misinterpretations of the science. It's not unique in this. Most press reports on scientific subjects are pretty bad, because it's hard to convey real science in the simple language and few words that a newspaper article or TV news report require.
I thought your article was pretty good overall. There's a deeper and much more insidious problem with the body of scientific research on GE products. Even if all studies involving GE seeds, organisms or foods were accurately reported in the popular press, we would still have this problem. The problem is that the companies that own GE seeds refuse to allow any independent scientists to study their products without their express permission. Needless to say, permission is never given for studies the companies think might make them look bad! Only a few, scattered studies by regulators (outside the U.S.) and scientists willing to take serious legal and career-related risks have been truly independent. This means that the body of research that currently exists on GE products is thoroughly biased in a way that's unlike any other area of science today.
If you're like me, you don't put too much stock in this industry-controlled research, and you'd rather make your own decisions and control your own risks. In other words, you support labeling!
Colin Fiske, McKinleyville
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