Letters to the Editor


Refugee Camps for Scientists?

With bio-scientists like Dr. Thomas Butler convicted in a bookkeeping dispute and programmers like Dmitry Sklyarov put in jail for decoding eBooks, it is becoming very apparent that scientists are no longer free to research in the United States. Even if they are developing vaccines to protect Americans against plagues, they face centuries of imprisonment for the smallest deviation from new and draconian rules.

It's now time for US scientists who value freedom to look to other lands like Canada, Europe, India, and Japan to do and publish their research, and to hold conferences. The land of the free has moved.

Tom A. Trottier
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Terror Alert: American Tourists Are Not Allowed to Pee!

Returning from a peaceful vacation far away from CNN, imagine my shock when I got to the airport and discovered that America was on Code Orange terrorist alert--again.

"I thought the war on Iraq was supposed to keep us safe from terror yet here we are on high alert," I said to the person next to me as we warily boarded the plane. "Bush has failed yet again to keep America safe."

But the biggest shock was yet to come. As we took our seats and fastened our seat belts, the captain announced, "According to new Homeland Security procedures, passengers will not be allowed to congregate in groups aboard the aircraft. Anyone standing in line to use the lavatories will be sent back to their seats by the cabin staff."

What? American tourists are no longer allowed to pee? Unless we raise our hands in class?

Instead of our government supporting and protecting us from the world of international terrorism, Americans since 9-11 are being treated more and more like we ourselves are the enemy. For instance, the mother of a 10-year-old boy was recently interrogated because she tried to buy flight-simulator software at Staples for her son's Christmas present. This woman is a terrorist? Who will we be suspecting next? Santa Claus?

Anyway, after being frisked at the airport and kept from bathroom duties, I finally arrived home and there was an e-mail waiting for me from Joe Thompson of Tennessee. He said, "The local sheriff here is all ready, willing, and able to follow Code Orange procedures here exactly--just as soon as the feds send him the money to do it with."

Apparently, terror alerts are costing Americans one billion dollars a week. And where exactly is this money coming from? Apparently, it's not just coming from Washington, DC. It's coming out of the budgets of our local police and fire departments. That sucks eggs.

I immediately wrote Joe back. "Speaking of realistic budgets," I said, "it's obvious to anyone who has ever had to balance a checkbook that either America can continue to enjoy the lifestyle that we have grown accustomed to--or we can occupy Iraq. We cannot afford to do both." Not even if we juggle Visa, Mastercard AND American Express.

What is the answer to our national crisis? Let's start by trusting in the awesome power of democracy--followed by a chaser of truth and fiscal responsibility. To quote Presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich, "America has a higher destiny" than to just shot and loot. We must not match and raise terror by inflicting even greater terror, fear and death upon an already-fragile world. We must combat terror with hope. And with morality. And with our top secret weapon--democracy.

Jane Stillwater
California
Intrepid Insurance Exec Puts Professional Pundits in the Shade

"Why Bush Can't Win" is first rate! Isn't it amazing that an insurance executive is more penetrating in his analysis than our mainstream journalists. He is right on target about the president--and people who are scared usually try to hide their fear by bullying. Bush combines a ten-year-old mind with the greatest military arsenal in history. He has contempt for others--I tremble to think of the damage he will do if reelected. You are right, as well, that he gave answers that were much more damning than the way they were interpreted by most journalists. There is a virtual salvage operation on Bush to protect him from war crimes trials--which is why they and the Democratic candidates do not use the word "lie." The media has not really covered the two times Bush has publicly declared that we went to war because Iraq would not allow the inspectors in. These statements raise the question of whether Bush is non compos mentis or a psychopathic liar. Never in my lifetime have I seen such appalling journalism and such a horrific president. He dishonors the country with his lies and aggressive wars.

Keep up the good work!

Dorothy Hoobler
New York
...Or Does He?

J. Russell Tyldesley has an opinion about how Bush was feeling inside his own skin, and that opinion is based obviously on his own personal beliefs about the President: Ridiculous, not comfortable; Absurd, outside of his medium since it wasn't scripted.

I saw a man in control, not pushed by Diane Sawyer into the uncomfortable range, yet able to share his thoughts and concerns poignantly. And because he is the President, very powerfully. Which makes it hard to believe your writer's opener, that Bush is not going to win in 2004. I would like this same writer to publish this story on 11/06/04. That should give him time to pull himself together and retract the statements in the face of the truth. Call it journalistic responsibility. You will be held accountable.

Jim Brown
Tennessee Housewives for Tyldesley

Thank You, Mr. Tyldesley, for the most informative editorial I have ever read concerning the President. I have shared your view since he first debated Al Gore, and made the statement about God.

I believe in God, but I have never believed that George Bush was, or is, sincere about this. He used God for an answer when he could not think of any one by name he admired. Maybe it was because that was the only one he could pronounce. Thank You for putting everything in context, as what you wrote is the very exact truth about this man.

If the Democrats let him by with the lies and bloodshed the American soldiers have endured, I feel that I am the only Democrat left in Tennessee that can see through this guy. He has done so much damage, and you have spelled it out for them.

I HOPE JOHN KERRY READS your article.....

Thanks Again from "just a housewife/democrat/disgusted with GWB in TN."

Betty Bell
Presidential Corruption, Summarized

Bush's policy of so-called "Preemptive Wars" diminishes our moral authority and causes many, especially in other countries, to consider Bush along with Osama bin Laden as a terrorist.

While advocating a policy of disarmament for other countries, we continue to develop more devastating nuclear and conventional weapons of mass destruction. We are quickly becoming an industrial military nation. Big corporations, while getting huge noncompetitive contracts through political contacts, are giving large political donations and funding to lobbyists in order to select and elect their choice for the president and members of Congress and pass bills in their favor.

Under George Bush's leadership, we are saddling our kids with massive debt and air, water, and nuclear pollution.

The cities are becoming armed playgrounds because of the influence of the National Rifle Association. Guns are as easy to get as gum! Kids shoot other kids, even on school buses! As a result of this lawlessness, politicians and the affluent are increasingly moving to fenced and protected locations.

Bush preaches of spreading "freedom" as the so-called "PATRIOT Acts" erodes many of our civil rights. Political dissent is attacked as non-patriotic. Little by little, military tribunals may replace the judicial system for more and more charges of crimes. Persons charged as "Enemy Combatants" are being held for extended periods of time without being charged or allowed access to an attorney.

The percentage of the "Middle Class" is decreasing. We are becoming a two-tier society: rich and poor. Corporations are doing their best to curtail employee unions. Bush seems to advocate religious and sexual morality, but ignores business ethics.

Frank Kielian
San Francisco, CA
Australian Wants Bush Arrested

My view from Australia is... You are talking the wrong talk on whether Bush gets reelected or not. The debate needs to move on to whether he (and his fellow conspirators) get ARRESTED or not. That alone will decide what kind of country America has become. Really, you could say the same for England, Australia, Spain and the other fools who followed him into Iraq. (We all know Italy's Berlusconi is so corrupt he even picks his own pockets!).

Paul Berryman
Australia
Republicans Perfect Election-Stealing

The California election, like the past Florida elections under Jeb Bush, was a another trial run on how to make "elections" look real in America while at the same time disregarding the constitutionality of our government. From here on in, the neo-cons will have perfected their techniques--from Diebold software manipulation to precinct violations to weird ballots to millions of dollars in misleading ads. They have it down pat now. California was a sneak preview of 2004.

Any suggestions on how to get back to fair and democratic elections?

Jane Stillwater
Berkeley, CA (Diebold Country!)
Does Author Know What Freedom Is?

Professor Hickman may need to have freedom defined for him but literally everyone I ask, including my three young children, understands what it means. The fact that he is permitted the "freedom" to write such criticism about arguably the most powerful man on the earth should give him a hint. This is much too trite but I have to say it. Had he been a professor in Iraq just twelve months ago and wrote such comments about Hussein, we would most likely find his remains among the thousands discovered in the mass graves there.

I was taught very early in life that with "freedom" comes responsibility. That credo was accentuated several times during my pursuit of a liberal arts degree in the late 'sixties--you remember, "peace, love, dove". I enjoyed the "freedom" to sleep late and miss an early class but I was "responsible" for the lesson or lecture material. I was "free" to protest the war in Vietnam but at the same time had to respect the property and privileges of others with different opinions. My wife and I have the right in this country to have as many children as we desire but we are also responsible for their well-being and protection--especially from misinformation. Professor Hickman should abandon his search for the definition of "freedom" and earnestly pursue the meaning of "truth." I "live and breathe" freedom everyday - just like him. What I, my children and those in his charge need so desperately is truth. I am afraid he has failed us all in writing this article.

Tom Sawyer
More to "More to the Story"

Sadly, there is YET MORE to the Home Depot story. We have been boycotting Home Depot for awhile now, ever since we found out it was largely an Israeli-owned company. It's NOT Jews we're against, it's the Israelis' odious occupation and brutalization of the Palestinian People we despise! Learning that they are fundraising shills for Bush is, therefore, no surprise!

Bia Winter
Maine
Regarding W.R.McDougall's, "OPEN LETTER FROM CANADA":

What a fantastic, honest, and open piece of journalism. No doubt it will generate many responses from Americans attacking the letter.

I'm NOT American, nor Canadian, but AUSTRALIAN, and whilst our P.M. may dance to Bush's tune, it does NOT mean that our country follows suit, as our anti-war protesters made abundantly clear in the lead up to the Iraq War.

Americans' inability to see this illegal act for what it is, and the illegal war they are prosecuting within Iraq, without doing anything to prevent it, basically says it's OK with them to kill murder and maim thousands of people as long as the OIL KEEPS FLOWING and the status quo of Americans' lives remain the same.

As long as this situation is acceptable and allowed by the citizens of America, they should not complain when similar acts of violence are enacted upon them by the oppressed they are oppressing.

W.R.McDougall, my hat's off to you for your honesty, though I strongly suspect that in the future, entry to the US may not be a piece of cake for you.

Well done, mate.

E. Schmid
Israel's Wall

US aid to Israel is a hole in the wall.

If we would repair this wall, talk of building other walls would be moot.

Specifically, the United States' support of Israel has always been an egregious violation of US constitutional law concerning "separation of church and state." The very existence of the state of Israel, from its inception, has been based "entirely" upon a (single) peculiar religious belief of only a segment of Jews--specifically, that God gave them a particular parcel of real estate.

I have NEVER seen any such legal instrument conveying any land by (grantor) "God" to (grantees) "the Jews."

They should never have been building with our bricks in the first place.

Daniel P. Quinn
Saint Petersburg, Florida
Why There Is War

Nations govern behaviour. Women and men have different perceptions, reason, and behaviour. Without distinction between women and men, nations govern commodity. Only nations comprising a women's senate and a men's assembly presided over by an executive of elders accompanied by courts of women's and men's jurisdiction should govern people. Failing that, this is why there is war.

Philip McKeon
Australia
Mel Gibson's "Passion"

Jews who want to crucify Mel Gibson (producer/director of the new movie "The Passion of Christ") for remarks putting the Holocaust in context are wrong.

The Nazis killed 6 million Jews in concentration camps and rural ditches. The Nazis also killed 6 million disabled persons, gays, Roma (gypsies), and political opponents. They worked slave labourers from the East to death. These are no less crimes than killing Jews.

In the 20th century, more millions of civilians died in the USSR, Cambodia, China, Ruanda-Burundi, India, Pakistan, the Balkans, and many other places, deliberately killed because of their religion, race, class, caste, tribe or political leanings.

In millennia past, many more victims were massacred by conquerors. Jews have no monopoly on suffering, Nazis no monopoly on terror.

It is wrong everywhere whenever people are suspected and persecuted because of their religion, race, class, caste, tribe or political leanings. We must recognise and fight any such tendency in other countries, and especially in our own country and our own heart.

Tom Trottier
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
The "Other" Prostitution

Referred to as the world's oldest "profession," prostitution is defined as the act or practice of selling oneself for sexual purposes. It is also defined as any unworthy use of a talent, quality, or the like, especially for personal gain. What's interesting is that the former is illegal in all states except Nevada while the latter has been morally and culturally accepted since the beginning of time.

This begs the question: is there any difference between a street walker/escort and a person who uses their physical beauty to attain a lifestyle that others labor very hard to attain?

Too often in our society we see evidence of the "trophy spouse"; a reward received by those who achieve success in business or entertainment. The marriage consists of a person who sees a beautiful spouse as something to obtain and a person who deliberately shops lifestyle by any sexual means necessary.

Some would argue that prostitution should be made legal so that (just as with drugs) it can be regulated by the state and become a source of revenue enhancement. Furthermore, sex between strangers would be safer since the government (as in Nevada) would require regular medical examinations to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases.

The problem facing this country is that we haven't reconciled these two definitions, thus creating the existence of a double standard. We are quick to arrest and condemn the street walker/escort, but would never think to shun a sexual opportunist. In many ways, prostitution already is legal in our society. People pay to watch two people have sex with each other, but yet cannot pay each other for sex.

I recall two people comparing their lifestyles while waiting in line at the airport. One person told the other "the difference between you and me is that you pay for your sex with cash and I pay for it with dinners, clothing and jewelry." The problem with this country today is not that we are a nation of laws, but rather a nation that continually contradicts itself when it comes to morality.

Joe Bialek
Cleveland, Ohio
Fighting the Draft

Would you be willing to spread the word about (or link to) www.draftresistance.org? When it comes to the draft, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!

Thanks!

Scott Kohlhaas
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This story was published on February 20, 2004.