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From The Editor

By Paul Wright

Welcome to the December issue of PLN . When you receive this issue the whole commercialized Christmas season will be in full swing. So in the spirit of giving, if you haven't donated to PLN yet this is a great time to do so. If you have donated in the past this is a good time to renew your support for PLN. PLN is supported entirely by donations from its readers, it is that money that makes it possible for us to print and mail each issue of PLN. We need your support to continue publishing PLN and keep up our work.

We are still looking for someone in the Seattle area that has access to a photocopier that can copy about 300 issues of PLN a month at cost or less. If you or anyone you know is able to help us out with this please contact either Ed or myself as this would be a big help in cutting our printing costs (our basic expenditures are printing and postage as everyone involved in PLN' s production is an unpaid volunteer).

A number of readers have written and asked why PLN didn't publish any articles or positions concerning the nomination of Clarence Thomas for the Supreme Court. There were several reasons for this. One is that with our production schedule we can't comment on every issue of the day because by the time it gets to our readers it has become yesterdays issue of the day. We see PLN 's role to be that of an alternative media, to cover the news and issues important to prisoners and their friends and families that are not covered by the mainstream media. Given the virtual saturation coverage of the Senate hearings by the TV and print media there is little that we could add to this either in terms of analysis or information.

Part of this view comes from the fact that even if Thomas hadn't been confirmed for the position another right-wing hack would have been. The trend to the wing reaction is firmly entrenched on the Supreme Court and I don't think that individual personalities will make much of a difference one way or the other.

The hearings concerning the sexual harassment allegations by Anita Hill did a lot to expose the sham nature of the whole process. It is sad that it takes an allegation of sexual harassment to raise any serious questions about a nominees qualifications or temperament to hold the position of Supreme Court Justice. Ignored in the titillating details of the Hill allegations were the fact that Thomas, as a mediocre law student, a career as a political hack in the Washington bureaucracy and only 18 months as a federal appeals court judge, is unqualified to hold the position. There is the question of his lack of integrity when, after being questioned by senator, he claimed to have no views or opinions on subjects such as abortion. Incredibly claiming he has never discussed, with anyone, his views on abortion.

More disturbing, and ignored by the Senate, is the fact that Thomas is a big supporter of Oliver North. North's actions of lying to Congress and subverting the will and intent of Congress in prohibiting aid to the Nicaraguan Contra's is of an enemy of the U.S. Constitution. The Constitution that Thomas is supposedly sworn to uphold.

I found it quite ironic that Thomas admitted having smoked marijuana and his friends recounted his taste for pornography in order to "relax." Neither Bush nor long time racist right wing senators like Strom Thurmond and Orrin Hatch found this questionable.

There was the blatant use of race and racism in the whole process. The cynicism of Bush, the "anti-quota" president, in nominating the unqualified Thomas by saying in this land of 600,000 attorneys that he is the most qualified for the job and it was just a coincidence that he happens to be black, has to be viewed for what it is: an opportunistic racist ploy. With the highly respected Thurgood Marshall, the only black justice in history, stepping down, it was a further coincidence that Bush would choose another black person to replace him.

But we think that all of this is pretty much self evident to our readers. With our space limited to 10 pages due to postage considerations and to printing costs we need to prioritize the articles and contents of PLN to include that material and information that can assist our readers. Whining about Bush's choices for the federal judiciary is of little help to anyone. Now if Bush really surprises us and nominates someone like Lawrence Tribe (a progressive Harvard professor specializing in Constitutional law) we might have something to say.

Enjoy this copy of PLN and pass it on to others to read when you are finished with it. We remind our readers that our institutional rate for libraries and organizations is $25.00 a year. Prisoners please try to encourage your library to subscribe as this will help us broaden our base of readers and help us meet our publishing costs.

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