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October 29, 2003 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2003-10-29

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4 -The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, October 29, 2003


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SINCE 1890

Editor in Chief
Editorial Page Editors

Unless otherwise noted, unsigned editorials reflect the opinion of the majority of
the Daily's editorial board. All other articles, letters and cartoons do not
necessarily reflect the opinion of The Michigan Daily.

quitting smoking
within six months.
I'll just move to
eatin' brownies."
- Antwan Patton, aka Big Boi, of
the hip-hop group OutKast, on his
intention to stop smoking marijuana,
as reported by Rolling Stone.


Suburban heroes


have a confession to
make. I have a soft
spot for the fire-start-
ing anarchists in the Earth
Liberation Front. Shock-
ing how a beef-eating,
leather-coat-sporting chap
like myself can giggle
approvingly at ELF
antics, but hey, revolution
makes for strange bedfellows.
Some raise their fists in support, some cry
on about ecoterrorism and some need an
explanation. The ELF is a loose network of
militant environmentalists that has been
known to set fire to under-construction high-
income houses and vandalize and incinerate
SUVs whose gas consumption is rapidly
destroying our environment as well as fund-
ing the Saudi terrorist regime, a loyal ally of
the Bush-Cheney junta.
Most recently, the ELF claimed responsi-
bility for incendiaries found at the Ice Moun-
tain bottled water plant in Mecosta County.
The Ice Mountain Plant has come under con-
troversy from environmentalists because of
its alleged illegal and detrimental ecological
Now I can't argue that members of the
ELF didn't break the law, and if caught,
shouldn't be jailed. But are the actions of the
ELF an appropriate reaction to what is sys-
tematically being done to our nation's land-
scape by the marriage of our civil authority
and mega-corporations?
Right now, pollution from SUVs is killing
us faster than al-Qaida. In the summer
months, orange alerts for toxic smog are
more prevalent than orange alerts for terror-
ism, and the impact of pollution is mounting

daily. Acclaimed journalist Ted Rall reported
that in neighboring Ohio, "2002 was the most
toxic summer on record in 14 years."
It's coming to the point that we all have
to climb up to the smoking section of Ren-
dezvous Cafe just to get a breath of fresh air.
And it's not just tree huggers who want
clean air. Rall also reported that a "Los
Angeles Times survey found that, even
among conservative Republicans, two out of
three people believe that the environment is
more important than property rights, corpo-
rate profits or even creating jobs."
Mainstream environmentalism doesn't
work. Greenpeace and the Public Interest
Research Group do a great job asking folks
for spare change, but industrial polluters still
get their way, with the government turning a
blind eye to the devastating affects.
The big auto companies will go on to pro-
duce the gas guzzlers because that's what
people think they need to become better peo-
ple. And people will encourage sprawl for
the same reasons. All this goes on with the
government's blessings, through subsidies on
suburban development and the failure of the
state to put some kind of regulation on these
automotive killers.
What I hope the ELF can do is make SUV
drivers feel as if they have been vilified, as if
their precious Ford Explorer is in itself a
criminal waiting to be executed by the vigi-
lante squad because of its lethal effect on the
rest of us. Ditto for the developers; their
actions not only kill the landscape, but their
conformist dreams are killing our nation's
middle class.
Perhaps it's unfair that SUV owners
would have to live in fear of the ELF. Well,
when I owned a car, I had to live in fear

because I was constantly flanked by these
tanks that could kill me with one soft colli-
sion, because I couldn't afford an SUV's
high cost. SUV drivers don't like the taste of
fear? Neither do I.
It's near impossible to reverse the
killing of our earth through legal means
when the polluters monopolize the system.
For example, Ann Arbor Mayor John
Hieftje's Greenbelt proposal to preserve a
modest stretch of land from the wolves of
suburban development is being slammed
by the patently biased Ann Arbor News,
leaving out half the story and leading vot-
ers to incorrectly believe that Hieftje's
environmentalism is somehow illegal.
Liberal media my foot.
Environmentalists don't have a voice in
the media and the government couldn't care
less about what these environmental terrorists
- by that I mean industrialists who terrorize
the environment - are doing to this country.
Throughout history, when the side of justice
is marginalized, it takes an extremist to get
the point across.
So to all you kids with your fists full of
daddy's dollars and the SUV he bestowed
upon you, you have a choice to do the moral
thing and give up that monster truck in order
to make a better world for the rest of us. The
burden is on you, the upper-middle class.
But if you choose not to and find your
prized possession ablaze you'd have every
right to charge the ELF culprits, but your
inaction to do your part for the rest of us
would be an enormous disservice to your fel-
low man.
Paul can be reached at


Edwards' style can't hide lack of substance

f Sunday night's
Democratic presiden-
tial candidate debate
is any indication, George
W. Bush is going to be a
two-term president.
Instead of offering any-
thing of substance to vot-
ers, the candidates
typically responded to the questions by
attacking the president. Democratic National
Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe tried
to spin the debate as well as he could to
reporters after it ended, but under his watch,
the party's future looks bleaker and bleaker
the more its candidates speak. It's still possi-
ble that one of the candidates will hit his
stride, but next Nov. 3 could be an ugly day
for Democrats.
The candidacy that best exemplifies these
faults is that of Sen. John Edwards of North
Carolina. He is an attractive, charismatic,
moderate Southern Democrat in his first
term. In many ways, he represents the future
of the party. The problem is that his candida-
cy is tanking. When he first announced he
was going to run for president, polls showed
Edwards at the front of the pack. Now he is
in the single digits, running behind former
Sen. Carol Moseley Braun in a recent
Newsweek poll. What happened?
A number of factors have contributed to
Edwards's downward slide. The conventional
wisdom is that during such a serious time in
the country's history, voters will not look
favorably upon an inexperienced candidate

such as Edwards. It's just not the right time
for him to be running. This may have some
truth to it, but more likely, the Edwards cam-
paign is not clicking with voters for other
For one, he is trying to run his campaign
right out of the Bill Clinton playbook. He
talks-about feeling people's pain and making
a personal connection with voters. The prob-
lem is that John Edwards acts like Bill Clin-
ton without any substance. Bill Clinton had
style, but he also presented voters with a uni-
fied set of ideas and proposals. Edwards has
policy booklets that you can download on his
website, such as the 64-page "Real Solutions
for America" and his "Cities Rising" initia-
tive. I looked at the section of "Real Solu-
tions for America" that deals with job
creation. It looked to me like something a
college-age political volunteer wrote between
classes. Then, during the debate in Detroit,
volunteers passed around a sheet of paper
explaining that "Edwards has always
opposed (the North American Free Trade
Agreement)." That doesn't sound like Bill
Clinton to me. It takes only a quick glance at
Edwards's website to realize that his eco-
nomic program is a nonsensical mess.
Edwards also begins every statement he
makes by saying that his father was a mill
worker and his mother worked for the U.S.
Postal Service. He talks about working his
way through college and how that makes
him a better candidate than old money
types like Howard Dean and John Kerry.
There may be some truth to this, but
Edwards is a multimillionaire being funded

by large campaign donations, not the $75
contributions going to Dean. According to
Edwards' logic, his own children would
not make good presidential candidates
because they grew up wealthy. Besides, the
president who helped out the average man
more than any other was Franklin Roo-
sevelt, no man of the people.
There's an inconsistency on the Act as
well. When asked by questioner Huel Perkins
during the debate if it is inconsistent for him
to be such a vocal opponent of the Patriot Act
when he not only voted for it but helped to
write it, Edwards responded, "The attorney
general of the United States (John Ashcroft)
came before us and told us that he would not
abuse his discretion. He has abused his dis-
cretion." I hope if he were elected president
he would be a little more skeptical.
His Iraq policy makes even less sense.
Edwards voted in favor of the Iraqi war
resolution, but then voted against the $87
billion to fund it. After railing against the
president for trying to enrich his cronies
during the reconstruction process, Edwards
supported loans, not grants for Iraq. He
demanded to be paid back by the Iraqis
after criticizing the president for trying to
make money off the war.
Some may say voters don't focus on these
types of inconsistencies, but Edwards's
declining poll numbers show that, at the very
least, pandering is not working, neither for
him nor his party.


Pesick can be reached at


Divesment from Israel
justified, 'the logical
course of action'
Is there the least bit of irony in Sol
Adelsky's reference to Avraham Burg's
reprimand of Israel as "proof of Israel's
democracy" (Divestment from Israel not a
hrflrtvoctrhtay n ce oroin the Middle

South African apartheid. If they wanted to
discuss the conflict, they would compre-
hensively analyze the overwhelmingly
complex and deep-rooted problem in South
Africa instead of conjuring up a simplistic
solution based on false or misleading facts.
Do they support peace or do they support
divestment - which would effectively
strip the South African military of the abil-
ity to defend itself against countless terror-
ist attacks by the African National
Congress and cause more South Africans
to lose their inh not to mention a niethora

attests to such a campaign's potential
effectiveness. The moral equivalence of
Israel's rule over the Palestinians to South
African apartheid is not in question, as
those South Africans that lived under that
structure have repeatedly noted the struc-
tural similarity. Moreover, under the Unit-
ed Nations 1973 convention, Israel's
occupation of the Palestinians legally fits
the label of apartheid. Thus, divestment
would seem to be the logical course of
action to take.


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