To the Editor:
David Corn is right on point in "Bush's Little Secret" [News, May 23], but there's even more to the story about how Ashcroft's Justice Department has their priorities wrong.
The question remains, in spite of the federal bureaucracy's hollow attempts to spin their way out of this blunder: What did the Bush administration know and when did they know it?
Americans ask why the Justice Department failed to investigate the "20th hijacker" when informed of his capture in Minneapolis. But one area that clearly needs review is why, just one week prior to September 11, Ashcroft's FBI had deployed more than 50 agents and snipers to participate in a local asset forfeiture situation at the Rainbow Farm in Cass County, Michigan. Cass County is only hours away from where Zacarias Moussaoui was held by, you guessed it, the FBI. Apparently pot smokers somehow deserve more attention than terrorists in the Bush administration.
Two of America's sons lay dead on the ground, one shot through the forehead by a FBI sharpshooter. Meanwhile, the Minneapolis and Phoenix offices of the FBI begged for someone at headquarters to listen concerning an imminent terrorist threat that ultimately resulted in the death of over 3,000 innocent Americans.
I'd like to thank John Ashcroft and Michigan's Governor John Engler for saving America from those two potheads, who clearly deserved the undivided attention of the Justice Department, while terrorists moved freely among us. Protest against marijuana prohibition, you die; plot the biggest attack ever to occur on American soil, and you're largely ignored.
Hundreds of thousands of U.S. law enforcement and government agents are posted locally, nationally, and around the globe. Close to 1 trillion dollars in taxpayers' assets are spent annually, in one form or another, to protect the homeland from attack. So how are they doing?
In 2001, U.S. law enforcement arrested about 750,000 Americans for simple possession of marijuana and exactly two terrorists, while allowing possibly hundreds, maybe thousands, of our enemies to infiltrate our borders. Don't you feel safer or, are their priorities a little skewed? Maybe the entire government needs a makeover, starting at the top.
-- Mike Plylar
To the Editor:Live free or die! This state motto describes the critical choice all Americans face as the emotional debate on human cloning rages in our U.S. Senate.
Many Americans are unaware that if the bill proposed by Senator Sam Brownback, R-Kan., is passed, it could mean an eventual death sentence for some of us by taking away our freedom to use the benefits of medical research.
In addition to banning all human cloning in this country, Senate Bill 790 would criminalize the use of any cloning-derived therapies, imposing a $1 million fine and up to 10 years in jail for any person who imports a product made through cloning.
This means that even if other countries succeed in developing miraculous cures, Americans would be prohibited from importing those cures for use in our country. This is unconscionable! It goes against all our principles of freedom. Any senator who proposes such a thing is un-American, as are all those who vote for it.
Currently, our Colorado Senator Wayne Allard is a firm opponent of human cloning, period. He favors this bill. Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell's office says he hasn't yet made up his mind.
Demand your freedom -- tell your senators to oppose SB790. They can still ban reproductive cloning by supporting SB2439, a bill that would prohibit reproductive cloning but permit somatic cell nuclear transfer, a cloning technique which does not produce a child, but shows great promise for curing many life-threatening diseases. SB2439 would allow research in this country, stopping the present brain drain as our scientists flee to other parts of the world not so narrow-minded as here.
-- Janet Brazill
Editor's note: Sen. Allard's Colorado Springs phone number is 634-6071 and Sen. Campbell's local office phone number is 636-9092.
Show me the half-evolved
To the Editor:Regarding the Freethinkers ad that ran in the May 16 issue ("Creationism is Make Believe"): Dr. Webb says creationism is based on wishful thinking and requires "self-centered magic" to make it come true, while he paints evolution as "science" based on honesty "and only requires the testing of reality."
I would submit that evolution is also based on wishful thinking -- wishing and hoping there's not a God who created us all. It also requires its own brand of self-centered magic to make it come true -- what is more self-centered than the dogma that "we" are all there is?
Finally, on what narrow-minded grounds does one make the claim that evolution is honest science? He says it requires the testing of reality -- all right, when in your reality have you seen something evolve? Where in the reality of our recorded history is their evidence for such?
Why are there no "half-evolved" forms in our current reality? That is a huge, gaping hole in the theory of evolution that is clear to the youngest grade-school student.
Evolution is not "true science"; it is a scientific theory, with many faults, gaps and problems. And here is the worst logical leap made by Dr. Webb. If this theory requires the passage of billions of years to prove it, then by definition it cannot be proven, now, can it?
It is insulting to your fellow humans, Dr. Webb, to denigrate their beliefs as "make-believe" when yours is no more based in reality. This is not "reason" or free-thinking -- it's just following the crowd. Crowds have been wrong before.
-- Diane Schrader
Editor's note: The Freethinkers column is a paid advertisement and does not reflect the editorial opinions of the Independent.
Plea for peace
To the Editor: I would like to commend your publication for offering dissenting viewpoints to the public. There is obviously more than one side to all issues, and anyone who helps point that out deserves respect. Thank you. The following is a poem I wrote. It is about peace.
It's a generally accepted fact
That there is strength in unity
And it's common knowledge that
All men desire to be free
And so it seems to me
That we're on the wrong track
If we foster differences between
This country and that
Does not an Afghani bleed
In blood red just like me?
And don't his children scream
At the horrors of war they've seen?
This, my friend is a plea for peace
That we might all live in harmony
Put aside our difference and see
Our common love and humanity
If it's united that we stand
And divided that we fall
Stop and think for a second
Doesn't that apply to us all?
-- Ben Milano
To the Editor:A recent report published by the Izaak Walton League highlights the need for the makers of all-terrain vehicles (ATV) to do a better job in promoting a responsible land-use ethic in their advertising campaigns.
The BlueRibbon Coalition (BRC), a national recreation group, agrees with the League's "Caught in the Treads" expos that irresponsible advertising by the manufacturers of off-highway vehicles and four-wheel drives is something that must be changed to reflect the need to respect our environment while having fun.
When irresponsible ads are produced, it makes our job more difficult in promoting responsible use of our public lands. We live in the 21st century where recreationists of all persuasions should tread lightly on trails and in designated areas. OHV advertising should champion that concept.
We have been aware of the effects of irresponsible off-road-vehicle advertising for some time. We have made repeated efforts to call this to the attention of our industry contacts. Obviously our message has not reached some of the advertising departments.
Most OHV recreationists care about the environment and practice Tread Lightly, but the kind of advertising illustrated by the report encourages the irresponsible few who think they can tear up the landscape. It is a slap in the face to all of our clubs and volunteers who work so hard with land managers on the local level to be environmentally responsible.
The BlueRibbon Coalition appreciates the efforts of the Isaac Walton League in exposing irresponsible advertising, contrary to the Tread Lightly guidelines and message. The organization hopes that the article will become the impetus for real change in industry advertising.
For additional information on this issue see the BlueRibbon Coalition Web site at www.sharetrails.org. The BlueRibbon Coalition is a national nonprofit recreation group that champions responsible multiple-use access to public lands. It represents over 1000 businesses and organizations with 600,000 members.
-- Clark Collins and Adena Cook
Idaho Falls, Idaho
Reflecting on life
To the Editor:Recently I attended a memorial service for someone who died way too young.
I, not being a member of the person's religious community, did not know most of those present, including family members. I went to honor the life of this person and for a while the speakers at the service did just that. What happened next was very upsetting to me and went against what I perceived was the purpose of the service.
Instead of reflecting on the life of the departed one, a minister and a family member spent close to an hour between them proselytizing to the captive audience.
While I respect their right to their beliefs, I am appalled that they did not have any respect for those of us outside their community and took advantage of the occasion to pursue their agendas. People like this do more harm to their communities than they are willing to admit.
No wonder there is such religious turmoil on this planet when every sect has its own answer to the meaning of life and excludes all others. I just hope that this will be read by all those who attended the service and [they will] reflect on my words.
-- John DeRuntz
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