May 14-20, 2003

Were talking about four more years of Bush-appointed judges deciding cases brought by John Ashcrofts Justice Department. . . .

Were talking about four more years of Bush-appointed judges deciding cases brought by John Ashcrofts Justice Department. . . .


The idea of missile defense systems was ridiculous when Reagan proposed it. The notion is even more dumb-ass podunk now with Bush raising its specter again ["Missile Defense: The Northwest Front," May 7]. I guess Republicans are just nostalgic and miss the days of the Cold War.

The only way we will ever be safe from nuclear destruction is if all of these weapons are destroyed. But we all know the United States will never give up the "right" to subconsciously rule the world with the metaphorical gun we've held to its head since we dropped the bomb on Japan.

Eric Jarvis



For an "alternative" paper, Seattle Weekly sure does a great USA Today impersonation. Case in point: Knute Berger's Mossback column ["ACLU, Meet the NRA," May 7], which parrots Big Media's conventional political wisdom almost word for word. Let's see: A presidential poll taken nine months before the start of the presidential campaign (and a year-plus before anyone besides political junkies is paying any attention) shows President Bush far ahead of all challengers. Conclusion: Our fearless leader is untouchable, and his would-be opponents are doomed in '04.

I wouldn't mind this sailing with the prevailing winds of opinion, except for Berger's touching faith that we can slow the erosion of civil liberties without changing the current regime. We're talking about four more years of Bush-appointed judges deciding cases brought by John Ashcroft's Justice Department and pursued by god knows what combination of Nixon-style domestic intelligence agencies. These judges will also decide the constitutionality of any new laws (on abortion, flag burning, school prayer, maybe sodomy) the current Republican Congress dreams up to please the hard-right Republican base. Much as I'd like to count Bob Barr and Charlton Heston as allies for civil liberties, I'm afraid such an alliance is much more likely to preserve the right to own guns than the other freedoms those guns are supposed to defend.

Mark Horowitz



I'm writing in response to Knute Berger's Mossback column on May 7 ["ACLU, Meet the NRA"]. In it, he dismisses Howard Dean as a "New England outsider." And he states that we need leaders with the willingness to speak truth to power.

Howard Dean may be an outsider, but his grassroots support is spreading like wildfire thanks to the Internet. He's not unlike another former governor from a small state who came from behind to win the presidential election in 1992, even though he was running against an incumbent president who had also "won" a war against Saddam Hussein. Dean has a strong following among the same young, urban voters that got Clinton elected.

Dean is not afraid to say what he really thinks and do what is right, rather than what is politically expedient. He is not afraid to speak out against the war and Bush's disastrous environmental policies, and as a doctor, he has a real answer to the health care problems that are plaguing this country. He values the rights of all Americans and will bring responsible government back to the White House.

Sandy Campbell



Knute Berger says the Democrats, to have a prayer, must stop their habit of surrendering before a shot is fired, yet he advocates planning for inevitable loss in 2004 [Mossback, "ACLU, Meet the NRA," May 7]. Is he not surrendering before a shot is fired?

One candidate on Berger's list has the ability to overcome the perceived weaknesses he sees in the field of Democratic presidential contendersHoward Dean. When people learn of him (and they will), they hear his message and know they've found a leader. The other candidates, worthy though they may be, do not have this pivotal quality. Dean inspires people.

Berger mentions NRA liberals. While labeled an ultraliberal by conservatives, Dean has an "A" rating from the NRA. Combine this type of inspiration with an ability to really cross party lines to achieve goalssomething George W. Bush has failed to do in any wayand Berger has the bulwark presidency he seeks.

Ray Minchew



Geov Parrish's article "Paranoia Seminar" [May 7] is very disappointing. The problem is, half of his article critiques his comrades and fellow activists, instead of using the space to critique the U.S. National Security State.

Parrish posits that the Law Enforcement Intelligence Unit (LEIU) "might be very ordinary . . . or sinister or both, and there's no way to tell." Well, there are ways to know about the LEIU. For example, one of the keynote speakers they originally invited was John Ashcroft (who has since been removed from the speakers list), the mouthpiece and figurehead for the Patriot Act. The Patriot Act is straight-up fascismlegalized. It is probably the most sweeping and significant government power grab in our lifetimeand it's inextricably tied to the LEIU.

The LEIU networks law enforcement agencies across the United Stateswithout any formal accountability. Parrish calls for "transparency"; I call for abolition. Nothing short of cutting the heads off of these institutions will make us safe.

Furthermore, the simple fact that the LEIU is a private organization that maintains "secret" files is deserving of a public protest. After the post-9/11 power grab of the Bush administration, we cannot let the government take one more inch of our privacy and civil liberties.

Brady McGarry



To answer Philip Dawdy's question from the May 7 Buzz column, "What is going on at KUOW-FM?"I would say lots, and for the good.

For longtime listeners of Talk of the Nation, the slow decrepitude and drift to the right from Ray Suarez to Juan Williams to the current, insufferable Neil Conan has been hard to take. Thank god program director Jeff Hansen took advantage of the change in listening habits during the war to take flight from a program that is obviously beholden to inside-the-Beltway hacks and flacks and protects guests from rigorous questioning. (The butt-kissing given to Bill O'Reilly and the continuous programs propping up the notion of "Empire" serve as examples.)

In case Dawdy missed the boat, the BBC saw a huge jump in American viewer- and listenership because large numbers of citizens here do not believe what is coming out of our monopoly media. And National Public Radio has scarcely been better.

Along with the addition of the Tavis Smiley Show during the afternoon slot, I am very happy with these changes in the programming schedule.

Hugh Geenen



When I first became interested in wine, I knew absolutely nothing about it. So I joined a wine club [Sips, "Buying Blind," May 7]. I received two bottles of wine every month selected by a third party. The agreement was that each shipment would not exceed $50. Most of the wines were from smaller California winemakers, and the quality was always good.

For my money, I gained experience in a large number of wineries, learned how important the winemaker is, and enjoyed far more varietals than I would have if I had tried it on my own.

I no longer belong to that wine club, and I'm comfortable now walking into a wine shop and talking to the clerk. I do, however, belong to a wine club at a small California winery. He's my favorite winemaker, and I enjoy tasting his latest releases before I order more.

So, you see, wine clubs have their place.

Paul Jacroux


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