Thursday, December 23, 2004

From the op-ed pages.

An illuminative exchange from an underground Vancouver newspaper's letters to the editor section.


Blogger Management said...

EDITORIAL: Letter to the Editor

The following letter was received by the Vanguard last week. As promised in the latest issue, I am posting it here in it's entirety with my comments interlaced. It is rather long, but - I think - worth the read, as it points up a wide range of fundamental differences between "liberals" and "conservatives" (convenient labels) in the current political climate.

Dear Editor --

I was having the grime washed away from my car at a local car wash. Being from the mid-west, I've found the definition of rain quite a bit different up here in the Northwest. It rarely comes down hard enough to clean the windshield, but often enough to keep it from staying clear. I've found this to be true of few things in my new home as I'm coming upon my first year of residence in the Vancouver area. To provide a little diversion, I picked up a paper called Vanguard. It looks similar to a paper I'm familiar with in the Kansas City area called The Pitch that covered local stuff regarding businesses, music, theater, etc. I figured it would be a very Left leaning publication and I wasn't proved wrong.

I myself am a conservative Libertarian. I also like to consider myself pragmatic. Some are unfamiliar with the term Libertarian, but to conserve space I suggest one look at the website Better known Libertarians would be Neal Boortz and Larry Elder. The definition and policy positions are stated clearly (unlike any Democrat or Republican site). I would like to present the definition of conservative since this year's election and subsequent analysis has brought about many such references, most wrong. In America, a conservative is someone who wants to preserve those institutions and ideals enshrined in the Constitution. For example, a "conservative" at a liberal university would be someone who wants to preserve what they love about that university. Similarly, this is why philosophers like Friedrich Hayek argued that America might be the only place in the world where conservatives were the real defenders of liberty because they wanted to preserve our classical-liberal institutions. [Odd that you would quote Hayek, who argued strongly in favor of liberalism, and had some harsh things to say (albeit couched in arcane academic tones) about conservatives:

In general, it can probably be said that the conservative does not object to coercion or arbitrary power so long as it is used for what he regards as the right purposes. He believes that if government is in the hands of decent men, it ought not to be too much restricted by rigid rules. Since he is essentially opportunist and lacks principles, his main hope must be that the wise and the good will rule - not merely by example, as we all must wish, but by authority given to them and enforced by them. Like the socialist, he is less concerned with the problem of how the powers of government should be limited than with that of who wields them; and, like the socialist, he regards himself as entitled to force the value he holds on other people.

In a sense, it would be easier if progressives and other leftists never co-opted the word "liberal," which historically means someone in favor of a limited government and maximized economic and political freedom. I doubt that the media or academia will ever lift a finger to clarify the confusion over all of this. [would anyone read it?] It's just too easy for liberals to describe the bad guys as conservatives and the conservatives as bad guys. [although you fail to mention it, the conservatives use the "L-word" as the brush to paint everyone who disagrees with them as well. If you want to debate, let's set the ground rules with a modicum of balance and intellectual honesty.] Anyway, I'm fine with reading a liberal publication as long as we're all open about the facts. What troubled me was the typical Left rantings that all liberal media purport (do any of you have any independent thought?) when I read the definition provided in the paper for the name of the paper.

Vanguard: dialectic, n.

1. The art or practice of arriving at the truth by exchange of logical arguments.
2. The process especially associated with Hegel of arriving at the truth by stating a thesis, developing a contradictory antithesis, and combining and resolving them into a coherent synthesis.

[the definition provided is for the term dialectic, and is boxed in a quarter page subscription promotion; dialetic is not a synonym for vanguard.] Hey, I won't claim to be the sharpest pencil in the box but this publication fails miserably at living up to this definition. [I don't claim that the Vanguard is the point of synthesis. I would hope that the reader sees it as either a thesis or antithesis, depending on their point of view, and then apply their own intellect to resolve or synthesize it; I don't tell the reader what to think, just give them something to think about. There are hundreds of media outlets providing counterpoint to the Vanguard's editorial stance, probably all of them actually.] I DO like to research things pretty thoroughly before I form an opinion so I went to the website. I then read the following from the editor:

"And one small plug for the Do-It-Yourself operation known as The Vanguard: if there is anything I can do for you, regardless of what side of the aisle you're on, let me know; we can find the middle ground together, no matter what the issue. And, if you value the free exchange of ideas, and the words you read here, please subscribe, or advertise or patronize the merchants that do. It's all about helping you help me to help you."

The middle ground of what? Liberalism? There isn't a shred of effort in this paper to look at things from "across the aisle" or any other perspective [except, I guess, the ones you state below]. The pieces written are based on references (usually one) that is of the same bias. Even this letter from the Editor is about as one-sided as it can be as stated in this section:

"In this fractious nation, about half of you are going to be disappointed (and maybe that's not a strong enough word) at the results of the election. Especially those of you who have worked so hard, have come this far, only to have your hopes dashed."

[The piece you reference was written before the votes were counted. I didn't know as I was writing it who was going to win. I only knew it was going to be close. Either result would have resulted in the other half being disappointed by the outcome.]

And the other half? If Democrats really want to know why "they" didn't win, this would be a good place to start. [Again, only in retrospect do you assume I was directing my comments to the Dems. As I said in that Editor's note, the message for either "side" is essentially the same.] I also was encouraged by the piece at AlterNet News regarding The Problem(s) with Democrats. It looks to be really making an attempt to take a critical reflection rather than the popular, "They were misinformed" or "They are stupid hicks" or "They are just a bunch of Jesus Freaks". [So are you recanting your "shred of effort" position from earlier in your letter?] All of which will go far to "heal the divide" and rally people to your way of thinking. [I frankly don't care if they rally to my way of thinking, I just hope they think.]

I did vote for George W. Bush. I'm not a Republican or a Christian and I don't think Pres. Bush is a great man or a great president. [Hey look, there's some common ground right there! I don't know enough about him to know whether he is a great man; I think history will judge his presidency.] Without going into a full blown explanation, the Democrats chose a candidate poorly to run against him. John Kerry admitted to war crimes and committed treason (all part of the congressional record, no need to forge documents); both disqualify him from the job (how he got to be a Senator would be a good investigation) and could be put to death if you follow the letter of the law in the Constitution. [If you are referring to his testimony before Congress regarding Vietnam, he was testifying on behalf of an organization and quoting it's members as to what they had seen. If you are referring to something else, cite your references. Is the death penalty part of the Constitution that the conservative in you would seek to preserve as something to cherish? Do you espouse death penalty in general, or just for Liberal Senators?] This aside, he showed he had no plan and was swayed every time a new poll came out. He also admitted he preferred to give our sovereignty over to a corrupt U.N. [What is your basis for this assertion?] to make our foreign policy. [you, along with most of the rightwing asshat talking heads of the mainstream media (my opinion), have mischaracterized his statements. John Kerry hoped to rebuild relations with our historic allies to make our foreign policy palatable to them.] He is a far left politician that has spent 20 years in the Senate that tried to portray himself as a moderate and had nothing to show for his 20 years. [Do your homework, and stop listening to the b.s. perpetrated on you by the talking heads. A chronological list of various bills and resolutions sponsored by Kerry follows:

* A concurrent resolution condemning North Korea's support for terrorist activities.
* A resolution relating to declassification of Documents, Files, and other materials pertaining to POWs and MIAs.
* A bill to authorize appropriations to carry out the National Sea Grant College Program Act, and for other purposes.
* A bill to amend the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 to prohibit certain transactions with respect to managed accounts.
* A bill to authorize appropriations for the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 and to improve the program to reduce the incidental taking of marine mammals during the course of commercial fishing operations, and for other purposes.
* A bill to amend the Small Business Act to enhance the business development opportunities of small business concerns owned and controlled by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals, and for other purposes.
* A bill to designate a portion of the Sudbury, Assabet, and Concord Rivers as a component of the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System.
* A bill to amend the Small Business Act with respect to the women's business center program.
* A bill to authorize the Small Business Administration to provide financial and business development assistance to military reservists' small businesses, and for other purposes.
* A bill to amend the Small Business Act with respect to the microloan program, and for other purposes.
* A bill to reauthorize the Small Business Technology Transfer Program, and for other purposes.
* A bill to provide assistance to small business concerns adversely impacted by the terrorist attacks against the United States on September 11, 2001, and for other purposes.
* A bill to provide emergency assistance to nonfarm-related small business concerns that have suffered substantial economic harm from drought.

This list excludes the hundreds of bills co-sponsored by Kerry. Both lists can be found at bandwidth/issues/legislation.html]

The DNC's campaign plan [not a DNC plan] to scare the youth with a Draft [as opposed to Bush's backdoor draft: stop-loss orders, extended rotations, Ready Reserve recalls, etc?] (only Democrats have done anything about trying to bring it back) [if you followed the news, you would know that it was with the stated intent that if Barbara and Jenna were eligible for tours in Iraq, the administration might take a more moderate view of their middle-East crusade], seniors about Social Security, which is going to collapse in about 10 years if changes aren't made soon [disputed; cite references] and the disenfranchisement of minorities in voting [they are disenfranchised; Alabama still has a Poll Tax law on the books]. Social Security is not a "lock box". It's not a retirement program. It's a pyramid scheme tax that has no personal ownership or guarantees. It was never intended to support us in our retirement. It was supposed to be a "safety net". [It is one of the most successful programs of it's kind in that it does exactly what it is intended to do: provide a safety net and supplement other retirement programs including personal investment accounts] The "voter intimidation" issue was left over from 2000 where the only questions were in Democrat run precincts and after six months of investigations, not one case was found. [From the 2004 election process: In Kentucky, county Republican party chairman Jack Richardson said he wanted to put "voter challengers" - people who check that voters are who they say they are and are eligible to vote - in predominantly Democratic precincts which have a large African-American population. Other Republicans called the plan "rogue and racist behaviour".

In Detroit, John Pappageorge, a Republican member of the House of Representatives, said: "If we do not suppress the Detroit vote, we're going to have a tough time in this election." Black people make up 83% of Detroit's population.

In Texas, students at a mainly black college called Prairie View A&M University were told by the district attorney that they were not allowed to vote as the college wasn't a voting address.

According to the NAACP, in 2003, in Philadelphia, "men with clipboards bearing official-looking insignias" were reportedly dispatched to African-American neighbourhoods.

"There were 300 cars with the decals [logos] resembling those of federal agencies and the men were asking prospective voters for identification. In a post- election poll of 1000 African-American voters, 7% had encountered such efforts."

In Louisiana flyers were distributed in black neighbourhoods telling voters that if it was rainy they could vote the day after the election. In Maryland, flyers went up listing the wrong date for the election.

Other irregularities noted by the NAACP included Son Kinon, a South Carolina Republican in the House of Representatives, issuing a brochure to black voters which said the FBI would be checking to see if wanted felons were among voters. Kinon wrote: "This election is not worth going to jail [for]."

The NAACP also says that poll workers have been seen "helping" voters fill in their ballots and telling them how to vote.] There WAS an attempt to make the military absentee ballots disappear. [you cite this, I think, as an attempt by the Dems to thwart the democratic rights of the military overseas. Your accusation is completely false and without merit; I reject it thus. Regardless, there is evidence to suggest that the votes of the military overseas were just as polarized as everywhere else. And it is unlikely that the absentee ballots of the military would have come down heavily in favor of George Bush. What did happen, is that in some cases, absentee ballots for overseas military and more than two million Americans residing overseas were delivered to voters so late that they were unable to return their ballots in time. This failure to provide voting rights to these individuals rest solely and squarely with the Bush Administration.] Then there were all of the attacks on Bush/Cheney campaign centers around the country. I could go on and on and since it was apparent early in this letter that I'm not following the Left mantra, I'm probably typing this for myself as it probably has been ceased to be read long ago. [No, if you were going to get me to stop reading it would be the part (below) where you call me un-American.] I already know what my research has turned up. Conclusion was I'm not comfortable with the Democrat party and their actions. I was a liberal in my youth. It has been this kind of activity over the years that I decided to seek out where my ideology really lied. There's a saying, "If you're 20 and not a liberal, you have no heart. If you're 40 and still a liberal, you have no brain." [In my Editor's Note, which you have attempted to pick through to support your questionable conclusions, I define Liberalism as it applies to me:

Open to new ideas for progress, and tolerant of the ideas and behavior of others; broad-minded; a defender of liberty.

As you state, I've extended an offer to seek the middle ground. By your statement are you saying that as you've grown older (not to be confused with matured) you've given up your heart in favor of your brain? Why are the two mutually exclusive? Your research is as limited as your reading of the Vanguard, and as limited as your thought process. It's this sort of fractious, either-or mentality that is so prevalent and so problematic in our country right now.]

The party that has done the most screaming about a country divided has done as much as it can to get it this way and keep it this way. If John Kerry did win the election, those of us "across the aisle" would have put the country first and supported him until it was time for the next election [like the witch hunt perpetrated on Bill Clinton over White Water? Way to stand behind your president.] Liberals on the other hand will continue to be uncooperative and anti-American. [Don't assume to know the heart and mind of the people you call Liberal. It's intellectually dishonest at best, and bigoted, ignorant and grotesque at worst.] The Left's answer to bring the country together is to leave? [both gross generalizations. I'm unaware of any mass exodus by any group or even anecdotal evidence to suggest anyone has left the country as a result of the election.] Then go. Like all team efforts, we're better without you. [No team is better off with half it's players off the field. I think our team (the US) is inadequately prepared to adjust our strategy to compensate for gains by the opposing team, but really that's a coaching/management defect, not the fault of the players.] The only way the Left will get along with Bush is if he became a liberal. [On the contrary, I think most liberals would be satisfied if he lived up to his promise of compassionate conservatism.] I am constantly amazed (which I shouldn't be by now) at how the self professed party of tolerance and diversity is so intolerant. The foundation of the Left's diversity is that you have to be in total agreement with them first [that is a gross generalization with no basis in fact. It's prejudicial. ]. Just as college campuses around the country have debates regarding Gay marriage or feminism or whatever, with one speaker, this publication seeks the truth with one point of view. [except the other viewpoints you cite herein, and the letters we publish like this one. Let's just do away with free speech, that'll solve the problem.]

To me, the Democrats are teenagers that want to have all of the perks of being an adult but none of the responsibility. They are driven by emotions rather than logic and prefer to avoid self-discipline. They want to have sex at any age without the fear of any consequences so they want abortion-on-demand [No, they don't want to legislate morality and want women to have the right to choose] and no parental notification if a minor [there are circumstances where parental notification would be inappropriate, as in the case of incest, but I won't argue this point with you]. They want to be able to go to college but have someone else pay for it [No, they want access to student loans and a quality education, as mandated by "No Child Left Behind" Act] and if it's too tough, they want the standards to be lowered [no, they want the standards to be fair and equal and want the education and training for teachers the standards mandate to be paid for] . They want to spend their money on drugs and alcohol [Democrats are substance abusers?] but have the health care paid for [45 million Americans have no access to health care, I'm sure not all of them are drug abusers, just as I'm sure that not all of them are registered Democrats]. They want to be artists but if they aren't good enough, they want the government, i.e. taxpayers to subsidize their income. [Presumably, you're talking about NEA grants. As of 1995, NEA grant recipients have gone on to receive a combined 42 Pulitzer Prizes, 47 MacArthur "genius awards," 28 National Book Awards, 11 Obie Awards for Theater, and countless other distinctions, so how do you define not good enough?] I consider myself a basketball player; can I get race-based preferences and a government subsidy to guarantee I can be one? [No, but if you show promise, you can probably get a university or private subsidy, e.g. an athletic scholarship, or corporate grant. And if we're comparing apples to apples, to my knowledge NEA grants are not raced based.]

[You forgot to bash gays, maybe you could focus on that next letter.]

The Republicans are over protective parents. If they think it's not in your best interest, they ban it. They want to tell you what to do and how to do it. I think everyone should be able to make their own choices, but they also are accountable for them.

I could touch on every subject I read about in the issue. The "Blame America First" piece [I'm not blaming America first, I'm trying to hold the greatest nation in the history of the planet to a higher standard.] entitled Reaping What We Have Sown. Teaching the Afghans to fight the Russians created Islamic Terrorism? Has the US always done things the right way? No, but let's get a broader picture here. Yasser Arafat is credited for being the father of modern terrorism. [By whom? I'm not saying I agree or disagree, I'd just like you to cite your references, so I can systematically dismantle your arguments.] Islamic teachings in some countries, have taught students for years that infidels are dealt with only with death. [The article you mention agrees with you, but adds that in some Islamic countries those teachings were supplied by the American CIA]. The greatest issues leading up to 9/11 were the lack of response to all of the terrorist acts during the nineties and the change in the communications structure of the FBI and CIA set forth by Jamie Gorlick. There are books going into great detail about these things including the Middle East involvement in the Oklahoma City bombing. I know because I'm from Junction City. I went to school with the owner of the body shop that rented the Ryder truck. [Proximity does not confer expertise.] The two Middle Eastern men involved just vanished from the news after the investigations started. Of course this did happen during an election year. [A Reuters story this week reported that Terry Nichols, convicted co-conspirator in the Oklahoma City bombing admitted that he helped build the bomb, and went on to state that he knew of no other individuals involved in the bombing. But maybe he's lying to protect the identity of the middle easterners. It's probably part of a vast left-wing conspiracy.] The Trade Center bombings, Embassy bombings, Achille Lauro incident, TWA 800 attack, etc. Osama himself stated it was when Clinton pulled out of Mogadishu, that he then had confidence that American soldiers were paper tigers and Americans had no stomach for bloodshed. That's what set things in motion for Sept. 11th. [Wrong again. What "set things in motion for September 11th" is the US situating a military base in Saudi Arabia-the holiest site in all of Islam during the first Gulf War. Despite then Defense Secretary Richard Cheney's promise to remove the troops after the war, they are still there. To quote from The Council on Foreign Relations:

The presence of about 5,000 U.S. troops in Saudi Arabia, home to Islam's two holiest sites, is one of Osama bin Laden's bitterest grievances against America]

Not [to] mention he was offered Bin Laden three times and turned him down. [Him who? You reference the 9-11 Commission later in this letter (we'll get to that), let me cite it also. From the Executive Summary:

After launching cruise missile strikes against al Qaeda targets in Afghanistan and Sudan in retaliation for the embassy bombings, the Clinton administration applied diplomatic pressure to try to persuade the Taliban regime in Afghanistan to expel Bin Ladin. The administration also devised covert operations to use CIA-paid foreign agents to capture or kill Bin Ladin and his chief lieutenants.]

The cartoon "The Codependent" is really a joke. Would you please try to compensate for your poor (liberally run), government education and learn economics and the process of government? No wonder the left hates capitalism and big business, you don't understand it. Again, I'm no expert but I'm not trying to pass myself off in a publication either and if your excuse is "satire" as Mr. Moore would say, this is just boldface fiction. First, the president can't spend any money. The House of Representatives has the purse strings. [The Republicans control both houses of Congress and the White House, I think they share - through cooperation - the purse-strings. The actions of this administration, and the republican-led Congress are responsible for the current budget deficit.]Second, their was a recession that started at the end of 2000, [according to most experts - including the National Policy Institute, the National Bureau of Economic Research, and many, many others - the current recession began in March 2001.] the dot com bust, the Telecom fallout and 9/11 that removed even more jobs from the shrinking economy, thus lowering tax revenues. Democrats have a problem understanding the difference between tax rates and tax revenue, e.g. that a lower increase in spending is called a "cut". The tax cuts were introduced to make it possible to create more jobs and give people more money to invest and spend that requires businesses to expand which also creates more jobs which means more people are paying taxes. The lame old "To help the rich" spiel is "misinformed". First, everyone got to keep some money, even those who didn't pay in, i.e. the earned income tax credit. Second, with a progressive tax code, the rich pay in most of the tax, so duh!, they would get a bigger break and third, how many jobs have you gotten from a poor person? [Bush's tax cuts have had 4 years to work, and they don't work. Saying it is so, hoping it is so, doesn't make it so; trickle-down economics doesn't work any better now than it did during the Reagan administration.] Tell Janean Garafalo and Al Franken to quit complaining about keeping their own money and spend it so businesses make money and can hire people, hire someone themselves (maybe filling out a payroll would teach them something) or give it to charity where more of each dollar actually gets to someone versus government entitlement programs (real Codependents!) that steal money from paychecks and then eats 65 to 70% of the dollar before it is given to anyone. [Finally, some things we can agree on: 1) Government is too big in the wrong places, and the money that is rightly spent on programs doesn't always reach those the program intends to help. The Bush Administration has done nothing to fix this problem. 2) I think Janeane Garafalo is a shrill nincompoop. I think however that you are overlooking the fact that Jane and Al are satirists who make their living by stating their positions in a satirical manner in order to make their point. I don't have access to Janeane or Al (in fact, I don't even listen to their programs), but if I ever do meet them, I'll be sure to pass along your concerns. I'm not sure about Janeane, but I believe Al Franken is in the top one percent of wage earners in the country who would have been impacted by Kerry's promise to recind the tax break for that rarified group, in an effort to stem the flow from our bleeding economy; the worst economy, in fact, in the history of the republic.] Even if they don't spend it, the institution where their money is kept will loan it out to invest anyway (that's how you receive interest on your money, by the way).

As more jobs are created, 200,000 this month, more tax revenue is coming in. The deficit number is a snapshot of the revenue vs. spending at that moment. Already, the projected deficit for this year has shrunk more than $100 billion because of the increase in tax revenue. Bush and congresses' problem is controlling spending. It is mentioned in one of the articles that GW under funded "No Child Left Behind". I think you should do some more research. Bush increased education spending 35%. [Despite the increase, which is likely disputable, the sweeping changes The No Child Left Behind Act demands are underfunded]. More than Clinton did in his eight years. The education budget never goes down or stays flat. The issue is how the federal money is being spent and the decrease in state revenues. During the boom of the nineties, state budgets kept increasing with the increase in tax revenues. No one seemed to think or care what would happen when the inevitable slow down would come. The economy functions in cycles. There can never be a growth only period and history shows this. States ignored this and spent everything they had for whatever reason, to pay back constituents, help get re-elected, [If you have evidence that candidates in state government races spent their state's budgets on re-election campaigns, I would like to hear about it. That's the kind of reporting that would put The Vanguard on the fast-track to a Pulitzer.] whatever. The shortfall in school funding is the states fault. Try checking all of the superintendents pay stubs over the last ten years. I bet they got unprecedented increases. I know a lot of college Deans and Presidents got up to 50% raises. [I agree with you, I think: I wish that the same compensation which attracts (and retains) highly-qualified deans, presidents and superintendents to the much-needed positions required by situation we find ourselves in - holding the bits of a broken system together - was available to teachers, aides, tutors and others on the lower tiers of the educational system.]

Outsourcing has been going on for a couple of decades (and so has in-sourcing). You want to get a personal insight to outsourcing, talk to Teresa Heinz; over half of the Heinz Corp. is overseas. [Again, do your homework. Teresa Heinz doesn't own or run the Heinz corporation, she's a stock holder, just like a whole bunch of other people (if you have a Mutual Fund where you work, maybe even you). Domestic production of Heinz' food products-both here and abroad-serve the local or regional markets where they are located. That's a supply-chain issue, not an outsourcing issue.] In some cases, outsourcing saved jobs or saved the company, which saved jobs. [Okay, the jobs have been saved, they're just being done in India now.] What's the difference between outsourcing and importing products or hiring foreigners to work here? You want to help raise the income levels of people around the world? Here's your roadmap to helping third world countries develop. [We do have foreign investment, we do outsource, we do import products, we do hire foreigners (your term) to work here; I don't understand your argument.] Are there business practices that may not be as ethical as we like. Probably, but getting the government involved is not the answer. Government regulations just burden all businesses and hamper growth. [A key function of government is to protect it's citizenry. Picture the United States without regulations: no Food and Drug Administration, no National Institutes of Health, no OSHA, no Air Quality Management, no Fish and Wildlife, no Police, no Building Inspectors, no Fire Marshals,; Ah, good times, good times.] Believe me, Sarbanes-Oxley is costing much more than Enron did. [I don't believe you: your track record so far is pretty poor.] Bottom line, the lower end work is being outsourced, the higher end work is being in-sourced. [Wrong. Ask a computer programmer or engineer whose job is now being done in India.]

George Bush doubled [the cost of] Health Care? I guess I missed that one. Was that legislation that got passed or what? Health care costs are an issue. [I'm glad we agree on something. See? There's the common ground I'm talking about.] We still have the best health care in the world and although not everyone is insured, they do get health care. [spend the night in the ER at Harborview/UCLA Medical Center on a Saturday night, and get back to me.] We need to increase competition in the health care industry and decrease lawsuits (thank John Edwards for his part in that) [so, you're saying that victims should not be allowed to seek adequate compensation for their injuries? It's likely that all the insurance companies that spent billions in campaigns trying to pass tort reform legislation would agree with you. It's not the trial lawyers that are the problem, it's the insurance companies. Or maybe we should eliminate all regulations except those that target trial lawyers.]. Increase competition between pharmaceutical companies as well. Competition always brings down the price and increases services. Also, let's clear up this Stem Cell BS. Bush did not ban stem cell research. He stopped funding for NEW lines of embryonic stem cells. There is research being funded for adult stem cells and current lines of embryonic stem cells. To date, only the adult stem cells have shown any hint of being promising. Hey, if there are benefits to these studies, why not have the private industries that would benefit financially invest in this research? [scientists working on stem cell research have stated that the current lines of stem cells available are inadequate to the successful fulfillment of their research, because the embryonic stem cells available are tainted. While I agree that there are ethically considerations in harvesting stem cells from fetuses, there are other sources of embryonic stem cells including umbilical cords from term pregnancies which would otherwise be discarded.] Maybe they know its flushing money away? [Part of government's function is to provide money to underwrite research and development of new technologies. Are you suggesting an end to this as well? You say you have an understanding of economics and the process of government that I, with my liberal, government-sponsored education don't have, but your viewpoint suggests otherwise. I'm not sure where you got your education, but given the evidence, I think I'll take my chances with public school.] John Edwards statement of Christopher Reeve being able to walk if he and John Kerry were elected was another sign of the character of these candidates. [I'd rather cast my vote with someone who says they'll get Superman to walk, than cast it with someone who says if you don't vote to re-elect Bush, the terrorists will attack again, as Dick Cheney did on more than one occasion.]

Yes, he did send the military to Iraq. Some think that's a good thing. Please stop touting the same old lines that have been proven wrong over and over. Instead of referencing a report that hasn't come out, yet, try reading one that has. Here's the first three paragraphs of page 66 of the 9/11 commission report that states:

[Your referencing of the 9-11 report is convenient to your argument, but incomplete. The NEXT TWO SENTENCES OF THE SAME PARAGRAPH YOU CITE READS:

But to date we have seen no evidence that these or the earlier contacts ever developed into a collaborative operational relationship. Nor have we seen evidence indicating that Iraq cooperated with Al Qaeda in developing or carrying out any attacks against the United States.]

Osama also tried to buy the world's largest pearl, the Pearl of Allah, as a gift to Saddam to symbolize their partnership. Technically, we were still at war with Iraq from the first Gulf War. Hussein signed a cease fire agreement of which he violated somewhere in the neighborhood of 77 times. With the obvious impotency of the U.N. (which we now know why), we had to make good the terms of that agreement. Also, the Weapons of Mass Destruction that have been found. Yes, have been found. Not all by any means but more than enough to show he had them. The missile heads with Sarin and Mustard gas, the vials of Sarin, the 30 MiG jets buried in the sand, the missiles that went beyond the approved range, the chemical lab in Fallujah, [aside from what was catalogued by the UN weapons inspectors before combat operations commenced, there are no stockpiles of WMD in Iraq.] the chemical weapons found when Al Qaeda was thwarted in Jordan from killing tens of thousands, etc. [I thought we were talking about Iraq.] I really like how the definition changed it to "stockpiles" of WMD. Just what constitutes a stockpile so we know when we have one. [I think the 385 tons of C4 that the Pentagon war plan failed to safeguard and which is currently in use as roadside bombs would constitute a stockpile]. There's more, they'll be found [there's not, they won't]. Also, the attempted yellowcake purchase that Joseph Plame [He is a former US ambassador, and his name is Joseph C Wilson IV, he is the husband of Valerie Plame, whose identity as a covert operative was revealed in violation of federal law by someone in the Bush Adminstration. That story has yet to see the light of day; don't hold your breath.] lied about publicly but admitted to in his book. [a July 10, 2004 Washington Post article states: Yesterday's (Senate)report said that whether Iraq sought to buy lightly enriched "yellowcake" uranium from Niger is one of the few bits of prewar intelligence that remains an open question. Much of the rest of the intelligence suggesting a buildup of weapons of mass destruction was unfounded, the report said. ]

Funny, Richard Clarke did the same thing. Of course the death of hundreds of thousands wouldn't be any kind of human rights violation. [hyperbole. And don't get me started on human rights violations.]

Estranged us from our friends? The ones that have been aiding our enemy behind our backs? [No, the ones that refused to support an illegal war in Iraq. And our enemies are our friends until it no longer suits our purpose. How much aid, weapons and training did the US give to Afghanistan and/or Afghan rebels? How much to Iran, Libya and Iraq at time that it was politically expedient? How much to Honduras, El Salvador, Panama? Your memory is short, selective and self-serving.] The ones involved in corruption with the U.N. that help kill tens of thousands of starving children? Some friends…

Anyway, I could go on; global warming, affirmative action, etc. but the point is that if you truly want to get at the truth or represent most Americans, then get other view points. [Thank you for sharing yours.] How about Victoria Taft on KPAM? She's local and seems pretty level headed. There may be others to consider, I'm relatively new to the area so I'm still acquiring this information. If this is not something you choose to pursue, then let's drop the pretense and call yourself a liberal voice and leave it at that [I did, you either didn't read it, read it and chose to ignore it, or didn't cite it because it didn't fit in with your narrow viewpoint. I'm willing to listen to your opinion, and defend your right to it, but speaking of pretense, don't attempt to sway me of my opinions with vapid logic, innuendo, and half-truths.]. I just wonder if you truly believe in what you print or are just catering to your audience [if by catering to my audience you mean providing an alternative viewpoint and platform for discussion of the issues, then yes, I suppose I do.] Otherwise, you remind me of something Michael Moore would do. If George W. Bush is so bad, why does he have to lie and spin everything to make him look bad? [I don't know, you'll have to ask him.] Just present things as they truly are and let everyone else decide. [When the Bush administration, the right wing talking heads, and elements of the mainstream media presents things as they truly are, maybe we will be able to decide.] Don't decide yourself and then show your interpretation of the truth. [I will continue to present an alternative viewpoint as a basis for allowing my readers to interpret current events.] Otherwise, your actions speak so loud, I can't hear what you're saying. [ditto.]

Best regards,

P.S. Try to go easy on me. Remember, liberals are supposed to be the compassionate ones. [You ask for concessions you seem unwilling to extend to me.]

12:08 AM  

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