Letters to the Editor, May 14, 2003

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Letters to the Editor, May 14, 2003

You Can Take My Papers And...

Dear Ari,

Great article about the folks at Macaroni going paranoid and "checking eye-dees" after being busted. I long ago implemented a policy for dealing with this sort of thing: I simply, absolutely refuse to display government documents of any kind to make any purchase of any kind. No exceptions. Period.

If this happens at a restaurant (and, of course, it hasn't actually happened to _me_ for many, many years), I _also_ immediately cancel my _entire_ intended order (unless the demand for papers is totally withdrawn), and walk out. Inconvenient? Very possibly. But consider these two points:

1) There is _nothing_ else that I can think of which the common people can do, without an actual revolution, which will act as even a slight counterweight to the trend of the police doing exactly what you detail: terrorizing the business establishments into being their affirmative agents. If you go along with it, no matter how much you grumble, it only keeps pushing for process forward.

2) The businesses knuckle under to this kind of intimidation because they fear losing the ability to do business, and therefore, their business revenue. The expect that the customers will just knuckle under, too. OTOH, if the customers all (or even mostly) said "no," then they would be just as bad off, in terms of revenue, if they lost all their customers' business, as if they had lost their government-issued "license."

Now, I know, this seems sort of harsh and unfair to the businesses, as it puts them squarely on the spot, forced to choose between a rock and a hard place. But that's just the point: It's a way for the customer to put the restaurant on the spot, for their foolish acceptance of a government "license" to do business in the first place, _instead_ of allowing the coercion to be passed on down to _him._ This is how the individual _fights back._

Well, you get the point, Thanks again for a good article


Patrick, April 25

Don't Outlaw Self-Defense

I find it interesting that these anti-gun women cannot seem to understand the correlation between the removal of guns from the citizenry and the upsurge of crime. England, Australia and now our major cities are all in the depths of crime sprees as citizens have been deprived of the right to bear arms. None are more restrictive than Denver and New York, they nonetheless these cities have had startling new spurts of criminal activity. These women foolishly think that they can corner and destroy every gun in existence and thereby eliminate crime. What is next? Every pointy object imaginable (might kill someone), ropes, piano wire, baseball bats, rocks? Never underestimate the power of propaganda induced fear, right? I guess it is hard to hear the truth when your quivering body has buried its head in the sand.

I have heard liberals spout about removing everything that could possibly cause bodily harm so we will have a "nice" society in which there is no crime. What a crock! They tried that in Korea and guess what? The Koreans invented Karate. Human nature will prevail as long as there are two people left on earth.

Marilyn Sue Adamson, May 9

[See 'Guns & Mothers' Premieres on PBS.]

Potty Break? Papers Please!


Allow, me add my two cents worth.

Are you kidding? Demands of state issued ID for liquor purchases going on your nerves? Its a Brave New World out There! I get to deal with that, and then some regularly on the East-Coast here while rapidly approaching 40 and looking almost 10 years older than actual age. Once a friend of mine visiting from Europe was denied the case of beer he was about to buy in a Liquor store because for obvious reasons he was unable to produce a New Jersey state issued ID. All he had was a foreign passport and a very high-tech US Visa in it to prove his age and identity. Typically, the dumbfounded clerk did not know what to make of those so she rather denied the purchase. I had to grab the case and produce my ID and buy it for him. He was by the way 29 years old at the time.

Another friend had to make a special trip back to New York City JFK to exchange his cash in German Marks to US$ (year circa 1998) as both the bank teller and the Manager at my bank in New Jersey was about to make a several-day-long special investigation out of the transaction. Notwithstanding the fact that I had called the Manager of the branch beforehand to make sure that they could and would do the exchange. Obviously, my friend rather needed the US cash the same day. Make sense to some people unless you are born and proudly raised in the US and you are a bureaucrat.


...Last September in West-Springfield Mass. I actually had to surrender a state ID at the receptionist in a public library, in order to be able to use the Mens Room, to attend to some urgent business of mine caused by a grande-size regular coffee that I had been sipping while web-surfing at the library on a public use computer. I actually, although without malicious or aggressive intent gave a piece of my mind afterwards to the otherwise frightened looking lady-librarian, who quite obviously was eyeing the distance how far a leap she had to make for the telephone on the far side of the desk. I told her that where I come from I had had lived 30 years of my life under communism under a communist tyrannical government. But never ever during those thirty years did I ever have to show "My Papers" in order to use a bathroom in any place, heightened security alert, post 9/11, sacred-war-on-the-actual-politically-correct-causes-of the-day notwithstanding.

Thanks for your time. Should you wish to use these stories above for your website or any other purpose you are welcome to use them whatever way you feel appropriate, or even get these personal experiences in more detail, even in the form of an affidavit if you prefer.


Otto Farago, April 29

[See Prelude to an American Police State.]

Santorum and the Constitution

In regard to your article "Send In the Sex Police," I thought the article was well written for the most part. I was puzzled, however, as to why you did not expound on Santorum's ignorance of the Constitution.

Santorum was quoted as saying:

"It all comes from, I would argue, this right to privacy that doesn't exist in my opinion in the United States Constitution, this right that was created, it was created in Griswold - Griswold was the contraceptive case - and abortion."

Now, both you and I know that the original US Constitution had a Bill of Rights, which included Amendments IX and X. These Amendments were put in place to overrule puritanical hypocrites like Santorum who claim that the enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights SHALL be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people, such as the right to privacy.

Perhaps you will do a follow-up article that clarifies the doctrine of enumerated powers and that most of what the federal government legislates and enforces today is unconstitutional.

I believe the Constitution ceased to exist as it was originally founded starting back when Lincoln destroyed the Constitution in order to save the Union. That is why I refer to the present government as a representative democratic police state empire, and to the Court-selected "President" as Emperor Bush II.

Anyway, I enjoy your writing. Keep up the good work!

Tom Barrus, April 27

P.S. You may want to do a story on my efforts to start a conversation with the members of the Colorado House and Senate in an effort to repeal all the current State drug "laws" and enact new drug laws based on scientific principles, honesty, and integrity that are applied equally to ALL drugs, including tobacco and alcohol.

I have had 5-6 positive responses from the 65 House members to the letter I sent them in March. None of the 35 Senate members have yet responded to a similar letter I sent them at the first of this month.

No one at the Denver Post or Rocky Mountain News will respond to my repeated communications to various reporters and editors asking them to write a story about my efforts to bring honesty and integrity to the drug laws.

Entrench This


Your headline, "Vouchers May Entrench the Welfare State," gave me a bit of a chuckle. Isn't the Welfare State already entrenched?

By the way, I support separation of school and state. I support privately funded vouchers too.

Chuck Wright, March 27

Of Moores and Whores

Hi Ari

Always enjoy getting your emails. Keep 'em coming.

I want to succinctly say a couple things:

Though I often disagree with Moore, and his choice of venue was awful, I do admire him for standing up for what he believes. Especially when he disses that preppy pussy Bush.

Also, Debbie Schlussel? Come on, I used to catch her periodic act on Bill Maher's show (my hero) and this is a woman with selective perception if I ever saw one. She's a whore for the right wing and has far less credibility than Moore. Having said that, yes Moore must be taken with several grains of salt.

I hope you've read Maher's book. If not, please do. I'd love to hear or read some comments from you on him and his work.

Thanks, David Buchanan, March 27

Iraq War Necessary

As I watched the first pictures of Iraqi citizens celebrating the end of Saddam Hussein's murderous regime I was overwhelmed by emotion. I wept, first for joy at their liberation.

Moments later I wept for the tragic losses of recent weeks. I wept for our soldiers who were killed and their families. I wept for our soldiers who were maimed with injuries and images of death they will be forever burdened with. I wept for the innocent Iraqis who have perished and their families.

Then I wept for the moral losses of recent years. I wept for those who did not live under the tyranny and oppression of Saddam who chose to wear a big "P" on their chests proclaiming they protested for "peace". I wept because in their rose-colored view of the world they actually believed "peace" at all costs was moral. I wept that they believed President Bush was immoral. I wept that so many in our nation and so many in the world so willingly turned their backs on a country wth as great and proud a heritage as Iraq.

For a moment, I wept for the future. I wept for the loss of life still to come.

But with thoughts of the future, hope came quickly for me. I hope Iraqis seize this moment in history to become a beacon of hope in a very troubled region of the world. I hope they understand the losses they have suffered were for their liberation. I hope their own Patrick Henrys are able to step forward and fight the remnants of Saddam's regime in the coming months. I don't know how to write "give me liberty or give me death" in Arabic, but I hope the people of Iraq put it on their new currency and in their hearts.

And I hope our fellow Americans and global partners who opposed the courage and conviction of President Bush will remember what America has stood for since Henry, now that the truth about Saddam has been revealed in the liberated faces of the Baghdadis.

For the human experience, it is not enough to exist in peace without living in freedom. I hope future tyrants are confronted when they first appear by those who cherish liberty.

I know that if my hopes are realized, I will not have to weep again for horrors that could have been prevented.

Nate Gorman

Rosen Was Right


I disagree with a point you made in your article, and I tend to agree with Mike Rosen.

"Here's an analogy. Let us suppose that Rosen believes a relative is about to embark on a risky business venture. It would be perfectly reasonable for Rosen to say, "I don't think you're making a wise business decision. In fact, I think it could cause you a lot of problems. However, if you're set on doing it, I hope it works out for the best."

To generalize, it makes perfect sense to simultaneously believe a person's goal is unwise, yet support the person in achieving the goal once he or she sets out for it"

Using your analogy, the business venture would be the war. The goal of the war is to destroy the Iraqi regime, kill its leaders, temporarily occupy the country, and institute a new form of government. And like all war, the means used to achieve these goals are to kill people and break things.

For your analogy to be accurate, you would have to be espousing that the anti-war movement is saying, "No, I think it's a bad move, but since you're going to do it anyway, I truly hope that you destroy the regime, kill its leaders, occupy Iraq and institute a new form of government. I hope you kill many people and break many things."

In essence, they would have to be supporting the outcome that is desired by those undertaking the mission, based upon the guidelines of your analogy.

I do not think the members of the anti-war movement hope for any such thing. I think nothing would please them more than a total retreat from Iraq with none of these goals being reached. I think they would be thrilled to see Bush removed from office and the current administration in the States totally dismantled, replaced in the next election by Democrats.

Your analogy shows a person who only disagrees with the means, but agrees that the goal desired is, in fact, desirable, that being success in the business. The anti-war movement neither agrees with the means, nor the goal. A more accurate analogy would be: A man plans to kill his wife by poking her to death with a pencil. He tells his friend about it. His friend thinks the means is ridiculous, and the goal is horrible. There is no way on earth that he would ever say, "Well, that's the dumbest plan and most horrific thing I've ever heard, but since you're my buddy, I'll support you in your effort." That would be asinine. And that's exactly the situation the anti-war protestors are in. They think both the means and the goal are horrific. They cannot consistently state that they support any aspect of it.

What your analogy shows is a person supporting the goals, the hopes and desires of the person they feel is making a bad business decision. They are not merely using the blanket statement that anti-war protestors make; "I support the person" or "I support the troops". If you truly support a person, you support their goals.

I agree with Rosen. You cannot support a person without supporting their goals. From everything I've seen and heard, I do not feel that the goals of the troops, the commanders, and the United States are being supported in the least little way.

Again, using your analogy, the person against the business venture would be thrilled every time the person they support attains a new client. Under those guidelines, your analogy states that the "Against the War, Support the Troops" people should, likewise, be thrilled when we bomb out the Presidential Palace. They should be pleasantly surprised and quite happy for the States when we kill 300 Iraqi soldiers. However, as far as I can see from the anti-war people I know and see in the news, nothing displeases them more than when the United States attains any of its war objectives. Bombs dropping, troops moving, Iraqis dying only fuels their protests ever stronger. They do not hope we achieve our goals, and thereby, do not support the troops.

"I'm against the war, but I support the troops" is, most definitely, an inconsistent cop-out.

There is nothing wrong with being anti-war. It's the right of every American to hold and express their point of view. However, every point of view has negative realities that the holder of the opinion must come to terms with. If someone supports the war, they must come to terms with the fact that they support killing many people, dropping bombs on cities, etc. If someone is against the war, they must come to grips with the fact that there are thousands of men and women from their own country losing their lives without the support of the person against the war.

You can no sooner say "I'm for the war, but I'm against killing people" as you can say "I'm against the war, but I support the troops."

If I were completely against every aspect of the rule of law, it would be absolutely inconsistent to say "I'm against the law in every way, but I support the policemen and women who enforce it."

That's silly and, I daresay, simply cowardly. It's an obvious attempt to stay PC, to avoid criticism, and for the person who states these things, to feel good about themselves. I would personally look at a person who says "I'm against the war, I'm against the troops, I'm against everything about the action in Iraq," with much greater respect than those who run from the more negative realities of their position.

This is the same mentality that insists abortion is "choice". I, personally, am rabidly Pro-Abortion. I believe that keeping abortions legal and safe is incredibly important for our society. But I will never claim to be "Pro-Choice". That's a coward's approach. I know what abortion is, I know what the word means, and I'm confident enough in my position to state, unequivocally, that I am "Pro-Abortion".

If you're pro-abortion, you are for allowing doctors to remove a human fetus from its mother and letting it die. If you are pro-war, you're for killing Iraqis by the thousands, if need be. And if you are anti-war, you're against those who are executing the war, planning the war, and undertaking the war.

Every opinion holds within it a negative reality. I think we would all be better served to accept the negative truths of our convictions, rather than hiding from them in a fog of wordsmithing.

Thank you,
Paul Humbeutel, April 3

Iraq War Unlawful Aggression

Dear Mr. Armstrong;

I recently read an article you posted purporting to lay out the respective cases for and against the US/Iraq war. Frankly, I was moved by your apparent sincerity in maintaining a neutral and objective tone. It reminds me of a time when I was much less cynical and had greater faith in rational discourse.

Notwithstanding, I feel that the "case" against war you framed was deficient in several important particulars. With respect to international law, the US invasion and occupation of Iraq is an unlawful and unjustified aggression against a sovereign state without the express authorization of the Security Council. It is also a violation of the Charter of the United Nations which authorizes unilateral military action only to repel an invasion of a sovereign state. It is also a violation of the Nuremberg Charter which outlaws aggressive war and conspiracy to commit aggressive war.

More importantly, the attack on Iraq is unlawful under U.S. law because Congress has not declared war on Iraq.

I have block copied and attached a "test" which might interest you [not included], and which you may have already seen in Freedom Page. Since you appear to sincerely seek objective truth, I will close with what are for me a number of rhetorical (and some of them leading) questions:

1)How can reasonable people with differing opinions on the U.S./Iraq war even find a common language when the "war" has really been going on since 1991, and in the form of a bombing campaign (the so called "no-fly" zones) and murderous economic sanctions which have been "war" in all but name?

2)How can reasonable people with differing opinions on the U.S./Iraq war even find a common language when the U.S. government has declared an all-inclusive largely secret "war" on or against "terror" which may or may not have already been going on in Afghanistan and other places, including Iraq?

3)How can reasonable people with differing opinions on the U.S./Iraq war argue to any purpose about the justification for the war when both the U.S. and Iraq have acted in bad faith in relation to the U.N.S.C.O.M inspections? The Iraqi's have tried to conceal and keep as much proscribed weapons and weapons system components as they could. Any sovereign state would. The U.S. has used the U.N.S.C.O.M inspectors and the information they have provided to target Saddam Hussein for attempted assassination (1998) and as a pretext for continued, devastating sanctions. I mean, how does one define "success?" That most of the proscribed weapons and weapons systems are accounted for? Success achieved by December 1998 when the U.S. ORDERED U.N.S.C.O.M. inspectors out of Iraq. On the other hand, if success means that no proscribed weapon or weapon system component, no matter how small or common must exist in a country the size of California - that's absurd. Similarly, to expect that any sovereign state would not "cheat and retreat" to avoid the equally unappealing alternatives of annihilation or disarmament is unrealistic and hypocritical.

4) How can reasonable people with differing opinions even keep track of the case "for" war when it is so meretricious and ad hoc? First the hawks evoked 9/11, even though it was perpetrated by religious Saudi's, not secular Iraqi's and even though the supposed criminal master mind, Osama Bin Laden, is a long standing mortal enemy of Saddam Hussein, and even though professional U.S. intelligence agencies have denied that such a connection apparently exists. Anyway, then the hawks evoked the "weapons of mass destruction" mantra, even though A) most of the weapons in question were sold or provided to Iraq in the '80's by western Europe and the U.S.; B)most of them have already been destroyed or accounted for; C) other nations have more and the U.S. has the greatest arsenal of weapons in the history of the planet. Finally, the hawks ended up shouting "liberation" and "freedom" as though it were theirs to give, and the purpose of the war was to "free" Iraq. The shifting line of pretexts for war should not be mistaken for a list of solid reasons, each reinforcing the other. Rather it is a pile of lies and hypocrisy which insults the intelligence.

5)How can reasonable people with differing opinions on the U.S./Iraq war argue in good faith where truth is itself a target in war? If it is true that the first casualty of war is truth, it is reasonable to infer that in this new era of pre-emptive or preventative war, the government is going to start lying well before the shooting starts.

6)How can reasonable people with differing opinions on the U.S./Iraq war argue dispassionately when it is seldom the case that all but the most abject tyrannies go to war or not, not as a matter of cold calculation, but based upon passions, prejudices and entirely emotional and subjective reasons?

Good luck with finding objective truth.

David Graham, April 10

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