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Troubled Times

Bad electoral choice? Moore’s not so hot. What happened to that strip club? Anti-drug war author responds. Plus much more.

6.29.04

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TIME OF TROUBLES
Re: David Hogberg's Bush in Trouble:

As one of those disgruntled Republicans, this spring after 40 GOP years -- I changed my registration from Republican to independent. The Bush administration has tried to out-promise the Democrats and is guilty of both poor administration and poor policy in immigration. I can forgive him Iraq, but not so many other mis-steps. These policy changes suggested by Hogberg won't get me to vote for Bush. I won't vote for Kerry, but can Kerry really be that much worse than George W. Bush? I am not convinced. I suspect that if enough of us old Republicans refuse to endorse Bush on election day 2004, we will either have clout again in the Republican Party or all is lost anyway. Faced with a bad electoral choice in his retirement, Thomas Jefferson wrote a friend, "I intend to be sick that day."
-- Jim McM

David Hogberg set a good test for Bush but left unsaid the clear corollary: If Bush does not do at least this much, Conservatives must vote for someone else or refuse to give their consent altogether.
-- Mike Rizzo

Amazing. If the poll is using flawed and suspect date, why the definitive headline of "Bush In Trouble?" We all know, of course, it's for those too stupid or lazy (liberals, naturally) to go beyond a headline. The never-ending desire of you writers (and that's all you are...writers!) to create the news vs. simply report it is numbing. Your deception is a load despite deception being your primary job duty.
-- CRD
Dallas, Texas

The scenario laid out in David Hogberg's article, "Bush in Trouble," describes a difficult, but workable, solution to the president's re-election bid. The president, Hogberg declares, is in some trouble with his base, but with a veto here, a reform there, things will improve, and although the re-election is not certain, the president's chances are, on the whole, reasonably good. Was it Nixon who said: when the going gets tough, the tough get going? Granted, this article deals only with financial/economic issues, and not the full range of discontent within the party, but the trouble is, I suspect, far more pervasive than Hogberg indicates.

Curiously absent from the piece is the growing belief that job displacement and unemployment are the result of disastrous immigration policy. In areas of the Midwest, the job loss at former industrial centers, caused by industries moving overseas, is staggering. Bush's policies are not wholly responsible for the baleful state of U.S. industrial production, but the situation has deteriorated even further on his watch. U.S. computer engineers, replaced by an Asian workforce, face serious problems finding new jobs. Further, the employment of contract labor, usually Mexican, into the meat cutting and processing centers in Nebraska and Virginia continues apace. There are countless more examples, but the point is that the administration's failure to resolve this problem is further eroding that Republican base. Hogberg mentions the president's inability to rise above the 90% mark with the GOP faithful since late last year. I believe the president's serious decline occurred in January, when he raised the specter of another amnesty for illegal aliens, which did not endear him to many of his (formerly) loyal supporters, especially in the Southwest. Will the president provide the "coattail effect" and aid Republicans running in the House and Senate to win a GOP majority in the legislature? It is far too early to tell, but it would not surprise me if the Democrats regain control of the Senate.

In mid-June, for the first and only time in my life, I walked a picket line to call attention to the problem of illegal immigration's negative impact on the economy and the administration's apparent unwillingness to confront the issue. There were 33 marchers there, all of whom are registered Republicans, several of whom worked in his campaign in 2000 as well. What is instructive is that, rather than vote for President Bush in November, these former stalwarts will stay home. Yes, Mr. Hogberg is right: the president is in trouble.
-- Vincent Chiarello

TOY EMPEROR
Re: John Tabin's Fahrenheit's Facts:

Michael Moore! The spokesman of choice for the Dems. This could not make me happier. I must be happy, because that is what I, as a dumb, stupid, ignorant uninformed, uneducated, worker-bee/peon American, am instructed to do. Hail King Michael. We should appoint him Emperor!

I have a few questions. I know that I am not allowed to ask questions and am opening myself to immediate evisceration, but here goes anyway. Where is the boundary between free speech and giving aid and comfort to the enemy? Question two: how has our new Emperor escaped treason charges for giving said aid and comfort to our enemies? Are we as INFORMED, EDUCATED, and INTELLIGENT Americans becoming so lax as to let this bile go by unchallenged? I do not consider this or any other display of displeasure with Emperor Michael as a challenge. A real challenge would be to have Emperor Michael charged with treason. It's not because Michael is ugly or fat or lies for a living or is full of hate and rage for PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH (there are plenty of other people that fit that description). No, it is because he and his movie are giving impetus to the very people who have vowed to kill all of us. This is not freedom of speech, it is treason. Our freedoms would not be challenged if a charge of treason were levied against Mr. Moore. Our continued existence on planet Earth is in jeopardy if these and other acts of treason and left unchecked.
-- Darrel Denham
Baton Rouge, Louisiana

John Tabin writes that Michael Moore's fiction has a "record breaking box office." That is true only if you concede that Moore's film is a "documentary" and even then $22 million is pretty paltry for a weekend gross.

But I don't believe it to be a documentary since it's mostly pure fiction. And given it's made up drivel, it's not even good fiction. I have more faith in there being a real Peter Parker spinning webs in New York.

And we can thank the super hero Spider-Man for again saving the day -- Wednesday June 30th to be exact. I'm pretty sure that movie will gross more than $22 million in it's first hour and will, by next weekend, have probably shattered all box office records. Doc Oc will be getting more press than Moore by then!
-- Greg Barnard
Franklin, Tennessee

TERRIBLE WASTE
Re: Lawrence Henry's Naked Politics Is Local, Too:

A while ago Lawrence Henry wrote about his town having to choose between a strip club and a waste transfer station.

For some reason it popped into my head this morning.

Could you have Lawrence tell me which his town chose?

Thanks.
-- Rich Corcoran

Lawrence Henry replies:
The fight still drags on, and the town still hasn't chosen. Eight years and running now, I believe.

If Mr. Corcoran want to keep track of the brawl, he can find a story most weeks in the Lawrence Eagle-Tribune, posted a day late on their website.

BETTER TRIP
Re: Eric Anest's Cutting Your Profits:

Eric Anest's review of my new book, Bad Trip: How the War Against Drugs Is Destroying America, really excited me at first. He deftly summarizes the arguments of the book and deals with the subject matter seriously. Considering that I often feel like Rodney Dangerfield when presenting the case against the drug war to fellow conservatives, I was pleased.

But that was only the first half of the review. In the second half, Anest trips on his shoelaces.

He questions whether the problem of police corruption can be addressed without legalization. Sure. We can summarily execute lawmen who dabble in the dark. Such a disincentive might arguably prove helpful. I'm not going to suggest it, but Anest doesn't either. Instead, he dodges the central issue by recommending the change or repeal forfeiture laws (which allow the police to perversely profit from seized property and funds).

OK. I'm all for it. Forfeiture laws are terrible and often abused. I wrote a whole chapter on it. But the real issue with corruption, as I explain in Bad Trip is that prohibition creates tremendously tempting profits for police who break the law. Fixing forfeiture is beautiful but does nothing to cut the profits associated with the drug trade. Only legalization does that. After all, cops don't shake down suspects for watermelons or charge thousands of dollars of under-the-table money to protect midnight shipments of grapes.

Next, Anest questions whether drug war abuses are really representative. "Miller relies, for the most part, on published, credible sources," writes Anest, "but journalists can be spun." Oy vey, man. It's not like I swallow it all whole, but casting aspersions on the BS meters of journalists as a group is ludicrous. The point of citing published, credible sources is precisely because they're largely credible.

But, says Anest, "Sometimes the 'victims' of the war on drugs are less innocent than they make out." True, but I never maintain that all victims of drug-war abuse are innocent of drug-war crimes. Some are guilty as sin. But the point of the book is that the laws are unjust in the first place. I'd say that makes them victims even if they are guilty. Being shot and killed in a no-knock drug raid made after a sloppy investigation -- even if you do have a bag of pot under your pillow -- is crazy.

"Third," queries Anest, "would legalizing really deprive terrorists of funds? Or would they simply move on to supplying other restricted goods, the list of which is nearly endless?" Nearly endless? Come on; give me twenty such readily-available, easily-produced items. There are so many types of restricted, highly profitable goods going around that terrorists in Colombia, as I point out in the book, resort to, all of things, kidnapping tourists to raise funds, and Osama bin Laden's other source of money is the family oil piggybank. There's a reason these people turn to drugs, so let's get real: Only illicit drug markets created by prohibition can compare with illicit drug markets created by prohibition.

Finally, Anest wonders, "what role should government play in private lives? Should it ever step in and say 'enough'? Purists may say no but most would admit that the answer to the question is not self-evident." It doesn't have to be self-evident. It can be proved -- as I think I've done somewhat successfully in Bad Trip -- that whatever role it should play in our private lives, trying to keep Americans from doing drugs isn't one. It's costly, riddled with abuse, eats away traditional American liberties, and works even worse than most other things the government attempts.
-- Joel Miller
Senior editor, WND Books, and author of Bad Trip: How the War Against Drugs Is Destroying America

INQUISITION
Re: Unsigned's letter (under "Bloody Sanger") in Reader Mail's Funny Business:

To the unsigned correspondent who compared Margaret Sanger to Fray Tomas de Torquemada:

Margaret Sanger's primary goal was to weed the undesirables out of the human race. Torquemada's primary goal was to save souls. I agree that no amount of paper can wash the blood off the hands of Sanger or any of her Planned Parenthood progeny. Modern Catholic "apologies" for Torquemada are also off the mark, but not because they excuse the inexcusable, but because they apologize for a myth. No doubt there were abuses during the time of Torquemada. In fact, his work was instituted to mitigate those abuses and to ensure that those accused of heresy were fairly investigated. In this task he did remarkably and admirably well. To compare the historical defenses of those who slaughter unborn children with the well-meaning, but misguided, modern Catholic apologies for Torquemada is perverse. PPA advocates defend their bloody present by lying about their bloody origins. Catholics should not apologize, in the modern sense, for Torquemada, but should defend much of what he accomplished; apologia, in the traditional sense.
-- Bill Murphy
San Jose, California

P.S. I don't blame you for not signing your name.

YOU JANE
Re: Jane's letter ("Saturday Morning Cartoons") in Reader Mail's Funny Business:

I cannot at all agree with Jane (from Connecticut) in her applause of Vice President Cheney's use of the profanity on the Senate floor. While I can certainly empathize with the VP's emotions at the time, his choice of words was 100% regrettable. In my mind, the particular word, starting with "F", that VP Cheney used is the sign of a person who is either ill-mannered, uneducated, or both. To me, it is a "Democratic word", more fitting for a Michael Moore or Hillary Clinton. I strongly urge Vice President Cheney to apologize. The President, and to some degree the Vice President, is a position that should be worthy of respect and emulation for all Americans, particularly our children. Would any decent parents want their children to act like Mr. Cheney did on the Senate floor? (Please note that I say all of this, despite being a big supporter of VP Cheney).
-- Allen Nyhuis

PUZZLEMENT
Re: Claude Coiffard's letter ("Un Ami Ecrit") in Reader Mail's Funny Business:

I'm a little puzzled. If M. Coiffard considers boycotting French products and services mean, then what does he consider the deliberate burning down of McDonald's restaurants by his countrymen? Anyone, I'm sure, will attest that France is different, but I'm not gullible enough to believe that France is now an ally after the duplicity and contempt shown by his government, and their collaboration in oil deals with Saddam.

With friends like this, who needs enemas?
-- Ken Lizotte
Bristol, Vermont

DELAYED COMEBACK
Re: George Neumayr's Avant-Ghraib, Dan Guenzel's letter (under "Up for Ghraib") in Reader Mail's Friendly and Persuaded, and letters under "Rightist Right" in Reader Mail's Quiet Car Noises:

My letter to the Editor regarding Mr. Neumayr's article on the Abu Ghraib scandal appears to have provoked from some of your readers an orgy of name-calling and amateur psychoanalysis that did surprise me a little. So, in the interests of clarity, let me make one final point.

My irritation with Mr. Neumayr's approach to the subject was his bringing in the abortion issue to cynically deflect attention away from the goings-on in Iraq. My horror of abortion (and I mean all abortions, by the way, even those allowed in cases of rape and incest. After all, what difference does it make in what manner the poor child is conceived. Rape, incest or convenience, the baby is still murdered) does not change just because I am sickened by what our government is doing in Iraq. Can't I deplore them both? And can't I point out that a country that bombs innocent people (Hiroshima, Dresden, Baghdad, etc.), that tolerates the killing of innocent unborn human beings, that encourages sodomy, that elects venal politicians time after time, that makes the producers of American Beauty multimillionaires is a country that is in serious spiritual trouble?

And I won't hold my breath for Mr. Bush to do anything meaningful to halt the evil of abortion.

Cordially
-- Dan Guenzel

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