Letters to the Editor

Merry Holidays

To the Editor:

The conservatives' fight to "save Merry Christmas" makes an amusing spectacle, and it does so off the streets and in the sewer called talk radio, where it belongs. However, it has absolutely nothing to do with the real meaning of Christmas.

Irony may be lost on the far right, but the rest of us can certainly enjoy a holiday chuckle when the usually well-meaning local talk-show host Andrew Clark concludes a tirade about those evil "liberals" who are supposedly trying to eliminate references to Christmas by stating that "if they don't want to celebrate Christmas the way we do, the hell with them!"

During the same cheery Christmas segment, a boy called in to read a statement advocating a sort of American gulag in which "liberals" and "other ACLU types" would be imprisoned and fed bread and water. This struck me as an example of a bizarre "Celebrate Christmas or Else!" doctrine, but, in fairness to the youngster, he may have thought that the station was holding auditions for the next Mike Fleming.

People of many religious backgrounds have found much to admire in the life and teachings of Jesus Christ, whose selfless love for others changed the world. Hating your neighbor (in this case, the "liberal") mocks everything that Jesus stood for.

B. Keith English


Oil for Food

To the Editor:

As the investigation into the UN oil-for-food program kickbacks continues, it may be politically expedient to blame the appalling reports of children dying during the 1990s on Iraqi propaganda, but it is also the worst kind of lazy and irresponsible journalism. The cruel effects of the economic embargo are well documented from its earliest days -- when a team of Harvard-sponsored physicians visited Iraq just after the first Gulf War -- to the 1999 UNICEF statistical analysis that reported that a half-million Iraqi children had died unnecessarily as a direct result of economic sanctions. Add to this the sharp rise in chronic and severe malnutrition among Iraqi children during that time and the inability of Iraqi hospitals to obtain sufficient medication and equipment, and a truer picture of the embargo begins to emerge. The dead and the living in Iraq demand that we tell their story truthfully, despite the inconvenient political consequences.

Gerald Bettice


Merry Christmas

To the Editor:

As 2004 ends, President Bush is sticking to his guns about providing the United States with an error-prone, multibillion-dollar ballistic missile system. Never mind that modern-day terrorists won't use missiles to attack America.

"Intelligent design" is being trotted out by religious right-wingers as a strategy to introduce creationism into the classroom.

And now Bush wants to "fix" the unbroken Social Security system. Let's ask the 50 million Americans who receive their checks on time each month if they want George W. tinkering with their Social Security funds.

Seniors are in for a surprise when the Republican Prescription Drug Bill sham takes effect in 2006. The Republican-dominated Congress is spending like there is no tomorrow while lowering revenues coming into the Treasury's coffers by devising new tax cuts for the rich.

But not to worry. The White House spin machine has done a marvelous job of brainwashing its core constituency -- two-thirds of whom still believe the U.S. found weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and that Saddam Hussein and 9/11 were connected.

Merry Christmas all.

Ron Lowe

Nevada City, California

Waters Under the Bridge

To the Editor:

I really enjoyed Chris Davis' interview with John Waters ("The Man Who Hated Musicals," December 16th issue). It was so refreshing to read the opinions of an openly gay man who has a sense of irony about today's political correctness regarding gay marriage and the military. Waters hit the nail on the head when he said being gay used to mean you didn't have to get married or serve in the military.

Sometimes you get what you wish for, unfortunately.

Leo Banks


Well, Thanks

To the Editor:

The December 16th issue was great. The Editorial, the Viewpoint, and City Beat, as well as the two News Analyses were forceful. It's great to have the Flyer's perspective. Hope you have a great holiday.

Chris Stahl


Editor's note: Same to all y'all.


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