This Is The Time

If ever there was a time for progressives to unite behind a single cause, surely this is it. We must work with total commitment to end the disastrous illegitimate presidency of George Bush.

While John Kerry was not the first choice of many of us, he is now our best valid chance within the constraints of America's two-party system. He is strengthened by the selection of John Edwards, and by uniting and organizing as never before, we progressives have a decent chance under this ticket of moving forward our hopes and dreams.

I was a big Dennis Kucinich supporter during this year's primary season and continue to admire his purity and courage. He is the highest standard against which others can be measured. In 2000, I voted for Nader -- a safe vote that year here in Bush's Texas. But this is not the year for all or nothing. If we take that route, nothing is what we will get. In fact, it will be much worse than nothing. It will be four more years of George Bush. FOUR MORE YEARS OF GEORGE BUSH. And this time he would be a lame duck with nothing to lose, no need to temper his radical policies in order to be reelected. So, if you think he's arrogant and dangerous now …

We must all work as if our lives depend (they may) on electing Kerry-Edwards and removing Bush. This is the year to temper our ideals of political perfection. Before we can heal the body politic, we must first stop the bleeding. We should talk to everyone who will listen, barrage local newspapers with letters and columns, never miss an opportunity to call in to talk radio programs, participate with organizations such as moveon.org and join with local Democratic campaigns. Those of us who can should volunteer to help in the battleground states. We must take no vote for granted.

It is a miracle that one or more Supreme Court justices have not retired, allowing Bush his extreme rightwing appointments. We must not give him another four years of opportunity. As Michael Moore has said, it is as if God has given us one last chance.

FOUR MORE YEARS OF GEORGE BUSH. It could quite possibly give the radical Republicans enough time to secure their abuse of power for the rest of our lives. Think about that if you dare.

We are truly at the midnight hour.

Jim Bush
Waxahachie, Texas

Robots Not Wanted

It is very discouraging to be a young voter in America today. For example, in my congressional district, it seems the candidates are just looking for a retirement seat. Granted, I am glad to see the disgraceful Cass Ballinger go, but it appears that no one is available to make a difference. Are we electing a congressman or a robot? I don't want to vote for someone who simply sounds like a spokesman for their party. I guess I'm just naive to the system and believe that government is intended to work for me. I don't want someone who is going to work for their party first and the people second. I'm sure a Republican will win the seat, but they should distance themselves from Bush on many issues. Even though this is a Republican district there are not many people touting Mr. Bush. All I ask for is a little representation, after all we are electing them, they are not appointed!

Kevin Anthony
Conover, N.C.

Asterisk Yourself

For a time after the vice president's resort to colorful language as an aid to political discourse I was just baffled. But having meditated on the subject for several weeks, I finally see the light. Before, I assumed that the very pious Republicans were against ****ing. Now I realize that they are only against ****ing other people whereas ****ing ourselves is perfectly all right. And so we may imagine the vice president earnestly doing unto himself as he would have others to do unto themselves.

Wendell Berry
Port Royal, Ky.


President Bush appoints a director of his faith-based giveaway. Director resigns after a short time. Declares to the public, "Bush and his administration are Mayberry Machiavellians."

Machiavellian -- one who places expediency above political morality, the use of craft and deceit to effect the purpose of the leader, subtle, unscrupulous, cunning, wily (American College Encyclopedic Dictionary).

Nowhere is heard a discouraging word from the protectors of the office.

A comedian refers to this leader as an insignificant puff of air, at a private affair, and the entire radical right goes into rigor. Heads roll, jobs are lost ... reminds me of Trent Lott's hissy fit because he was not at the center of Sen. Paul Wellstone's wake.

Are these the "waterless clouds blown about by winds" (Epistle of Jude 12, New American Bible, St. Joseph Edition)?

Katherine Frinks
Weatherford, Texas

Save Vets' Benefits

Are you aware Bush's budget office announced that it would cut a billion dollars out of existing veteran's health care programs next year if Bush gets elected this fall.

These programs have already been so shortchanged by Bush, his secretary of veterans affairs has criticized their insufficiency. Currently nearly 350,000 injured and ill veterans are having to wait in line to get admitted for health care because the VA is so backed up. The average wait is more than 6 months!

Instead of cutting the backlog, as Bush promised to do when he took office, he now plans to cut 540 VA staffers who review disability claims to speed up the line and help veterans get the care they need.

This billion-dollar cut comes on top of Bush's ongoing attempt to close veterans hospitals across the country, his $5O million cut in medical research on new prosthetic [artificial arms, legs, etc.] technologies for veterans -- and he's cutting off 164,000 vets from their existing prescription drug coverage.

Once again this information comes from Jim Hightower ...

Mark Shields on CNN Capital Gang 5/29/04: "On memorial day presidents remind us of the debt the nation owes to the veterans whose sacrifices we honor, just how much do we honor these veterans? ... This nation will honor vets and their health care at least $1 billion dollars LESS than we do today. That's all so the administration can preserve its free tax cuts which disappropriately reward the wealthiest and most privileged."

On this same program Al Hunt said, "The White House is making plans for a second Bush term and it's not good news for education, medical research or, as Mark Shields suggests, veterans' benefits. The Washington Post reviewed a private Bush document outlining sweeping budget cuts for fiscal 2006 -- the infants and children's nutritional programs, Head Start, environmental protection -- all cut. Of course, none of this is designed to become public until AFTER the elections. This document would be a good starting point for a debate with John Kerry and George Bush before the election."

Bud and Lorraine Stewart
Troy, Kan.

Had Enough?

George Soros is putting his fortune behind a new cause. the Hungarian-born billionaire says he is leaving the Republican ranks and is donating $15 million to the Democrat cause to defeat President Bush.

Asked why he has donated $15 million to the Kerry cause, he replied with one word: "Iraq." Few if any of us can do that, but we can defeat Bush for re-election by pointing to his record and his falsehoods.

Our soldiers killed and wounded in Iraq are not the result of the 9/11 horror or Saddam Hussein. George W. was convinced to go to war by his father, the first Bush president, and Vice President Cheney who gloated over Halliburton and the rich oil wells in that country. Halliburton is reportedly doing well, if anyone is interested, but as you know the price at the pump here has gone up.

And the wealthy in this country are enjoying their tax breaks and the unemployed are still looking. Haven't we had enough of George W?

Sydney Magill
Coconut Creek, Fla.

Challenge the Criminals

Being a veteran of World War II, I have some thoughts about King Bush and his pack of rabid and cowardly mongrels. I remember quite well the distaste I had for Hitler and the Japanese leaders. I also remember the great loss of lives we suffered. I was proud to have served in the great patriotic struggle. My distaste for the Nazi and Japanese war machines pales in comparison to my utter hate for what the present administration of traitors is doing to this country. Bush is detested throughout the world far more than Hitler will ever be. I challenge the homeland security lackeys to come after me. I believe in this nation's Constitution and our First Amendment. Do You? If so, speak up!

Jack Atkins
Roans Prairie, Texas

Editor Replies: Bush is no Hitler. He's not even a Mussolini. But he uses many of the same tools as they did to take and keep power.

Defense Spending

I need to put an issue to bed. Sens. Kerry and Edwards are continually accused of voting for the war but not voting for the money to fund it. Specifically they are faulted for not voting for the Emergency Supplemental Appropriations for Iraq and Afghanistan Security and Reconstruction Act of 2004 (HR 3289) that allocated $87 billion.

However, in October 2002, Congress passed the Department of Defense Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2003 (HR 5010). HR 5010 appropriated over $355 billion in military funding for fiscal year 2003, an increase of over $37 billion above the amount appropriated for fiscal year 2002. President Bush signed HR 5010 into law on Oct. 26, 2002. Sens. Kerry and Edwards voted for this bill. In addition, in April 2003, Congress passed the Emergency Wartime Supplemental Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2003 (HR 1559), which provided a total of $78.4 billion in emergency funding for various programs. Of the funds provided in HR 1559, $59.9 billion was designated for the Defense Department's Defense Emergency Response Fund to cover the costs associated with the war in Iraq. Both senators voted for this bill, too.

So Sens. Kerry and Edwards voted for $433.4 billion for defense in 2003 This is the largest amount for defense since the Vietnam war when in 1968 $449.3 billion and 1969 when $438.1 billion were spent. The war in Iraq is a much smaller war than the Vietnam war and, besides, President Bush appeared on that carrier announcing mission accomplished. The $87 billion request was excessive and the senators are right in voting against it. Yet I have never seen this argument made in the media. It should be.

Art Hambach
Aurora, Ill.

Crowther Over the Top

The article by Hal Crowther [9/1/04 TPP] entitled "In the realms of the unreal" is over the top.

It starts as a negative evaluation of Reagan, but then goes on to be a negative evaluation of the American population. "How hard can it be," Crowther asks, "to fool a population in such headlong flight from reality that it takes its movie heroes from comic books, science fiction and fantasy novels ...?"

Beware of anyone who knows "reality." The article is not even close to being "fair and balanced." Throughout, he selects data to make extreme points, ignoring facts that do not fit his jumped-to conclusions.

Movies, for example, ARE make-believe. Few are intended to be documentaries.

The portrait of Reagan is a caricature. What qualifications does Crowther bring to the task of psychiatric diagnosis? To say that Reagan was mentally ill (autistic), with the totally unfounded suggestion that this was a precursor to Alzheimer's, is the worst kind of name-calling. I am no fan of Reagan, but I feel for him under the onslaught of Crowther's unreal -- yes, that is the word -- critique. In passing, Crowther refers to Reagan's recently-published letters. Based on Crowther's inability to take a swipe at them, I now plan read them.

It is an exaggeration to say that the population (everyone? a majority?) is fooled. (Look up Abraham Lincoln on the question of fooling the people.) Polls and the last presidential election suggest that the population is pretty well divided. We are not a population of dimwits with only a few intellectuals able to grasp "reality."

That you published this article with no sort of editorial disclaimer makes me a more critical reader of your other articles. You should be above slanting facts, name-calling and exaggeration. Let your other readers beware.

L. Lieberman
Columbus, GA

Night and Day

We watched both conventions on television. What a difference between the parties. You can find no better example of the fundemental differences than by comparing the rousing, uplifting keynote address of Barak Obama to the hate-filled, deceitful screed of Zell Miller, a true Republican.

We much prefer Barak Obama and John Kerry over Zell Miller and George Bush.

Dan Lavielle and Dottie Smith
Seattle, Wash.

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