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‘Ruin nava Ruta Maya Coffee Is grown by a cooperative of Mayan farmers in the highlands of Chiapas. Ruta Maya Coffee is 10096 shadegrown, organic coffee, certified by the OCIA. 218 Writ Fourth Street Austin 1X 78701 512 472 9637 / BOO S I0 CUBA / rutxnayanet “Dialogue,” from page 2 completely exposed the criminal justice system’s unscrupulous methods including using an undercover agent who himself deserves to be behind bars. Now this same undercover agent is on the loose somewhere in East Texas preying on new victims. The jails and prisons of our nation are full of folks like the poor blacks of Tulia whom our society treats as expendables. They don’t have a shot at justice. The deck is totally stacked against them. If we continue to ignore the injustices of our criminal justice system we all become accomplices. New prisons are being built about . as fast as McDonald’s restaurants. The U.S. just passed the two million mark for the number of people incarcerated. I hope some media group out there has enough sense to give Blakeslee an award for this article. Richard Boren Tucson, Arizona Just wanted to say that your “Color of Justice” story in the June 23 issue is a great example of the kind of perceptive, hard-hitting reporting that proves, once again, why the Observer still is needed in Texas. And, as that issue’s “Drug Hysteria” editorial mentioned, the Tulia episode is far from an isolated case of injustices perpej trated by the “war on drugs,” although it may be one of the most extreme: Anyway, as a twenty five-year subscriber, I thought your Tulia story was one of the best I’ve read in the Observer. Travis Brown Elgin Keep up the fine work \(“Drug Hysteria,” by ued honesty of the media is one of the few counterbalances to what has become the most insidious threat to American civil liberties since the Salem witchcraft trials. Peter Byrne Via e-mail THE EVIL OF TWO LESSERS I thank Darby Riley for giving unexpected mileage to Ralph Nader and the Green Party with the letter titled “Seduced by Nader” \(DiaThe Houston Chronicle, San Antonio Express-News, and The Dallas Morning News. Great answers appear every time. Here’s mine. Both major parties have become paired organs of the corporate state. Take your pick, the pro-choice big bucks party, or the anti-abortion bigger bucks party. Both apparently favor spending more on prisons than on education. Both take bundles of money from lobbyists who say our economy depends on importing cheaper goods at the expense of human rights overseas and jobs at home. The list goes on and on. It’s not seduction by Nader, but philandering by Democrats. Besides, what kind of party doesn’t even field candidates for Texas Railroad Commissioner or Texas Supreme Court? For U.S. Senate, do Democrats really expect me to vote for their candidate? How dare you talk about spoiler votes? When races don’t have choices, the system is spoiled. Even given choices, I’ve held my nose and voted for “one of the above” one too many elections. It’s time to build a new foundation, one that will allow folks seven generations down the road to live well. The Green Party isn’t only about the environment; the key values run deeper Ecological Wisdom, Social Justice, Grassroots Democracy, and Non-violence. And it isn’t only about politics, it’s also about coali tion building, direct action, education adding to and multiplying efforts of many, many public citizens busy making things better for all of us. I’ll bet most Greens could cooperate with Democrats and, my goodness, even Republicans when we share values. And if Darby Riley, Texas Environmental Democrat, can get past partisanship, we may save the world together. Arthur W. Browning Cypress With all due respect to conventional wisdom and letter writer Darby Riley, Ralph Nader’s candidacy could as easily be a windfall in disguise for Al Gore as not. For example, we know that Gore shines brightest when the pressure is greatest. With Nader in the race, Gore will be simultaneously energized to triangulate \(i.e:, of the Progressives that’s enough pressure, to cross a juggler’s eyes! Our advice to Al Gore is to welcome the Nader challenge, and trump , it. However, Citizen Ralph Nader, a genuine folk hero, has by any measure earned the right to debate the major party candidates on national television. Given a chance, the real winner in November would be American Democracy. Ted and Georgia Corin Austin “West Texas Law,” from page 26 the relief plain in his voice. “I find the April 11 election void and order a new election.” Brown, naturally, fled without comment on the judge’s order; Spurgin, naturally, held court for anyone who would listen. Though the judge had yet to set an election date, Spurgin was wasting no time. “The campaign begins today,” he said. Indeed, within days, Spurgin flooded the Big Bend airwaves with a series of blisteringly negative radio spots concerning his opponent’s record as a criminal lawyer. “It’s time for you to know the truth about Frank Brown,” Spurgin told listeners of KVLF-AM in Brown’s stronghold of Alpine. “He makes money from drug dealers, child molesters, and drunk drivers who run over our children. In our first election, Brown represented a scumbag that murdered a fireman in cold blood. His newest project is trying to get off a child pornographer [sic] in Presidio County….” Brown countered with his own ads, but none that reeked so strongly you could smell the odor through the antenna. One quarter-page print ad, “Election Survival Kit,” portrayed a smiling little girl clad in foul-weather gear an umbrella, raincoat and rubber boots. I missed it the first time I scanned the paper for political ads; the graphic and type resembled a life insurance company’s. “In the race for District Attorney, you practically need a survival kit to make it to the polling booth. That’s because candidate Steve Spurgin has soaked this election with mud slinging and name-calling.” It’s cute, I recall thinking, but cute won’t cut the toxic stench of Spurgin’s unrelenting and slimy attacks. isking carpal tunnel syndrome, vot ers in Far West Texas returned to the polls for a third time in five months on August 12 in an attempt to elect a district attorney. This time Brown won, by a margin of forty-one votes. No challenge has been filed. So far. 0 Bill Adler, a former proofreader for the Alpine Avalanche, is the Observer’s Big Bend bureau chief and author of Mollie’s Job: A Story of Life and Work on the Global Assembly Line THE TEXAS OBSERVER 15 AUGUST 25, 2000