"GOP sidetracks Bush's $700 billion bailout" (Mail Tribune: Friday, Sept. 26) is further scrutinized at "Government Bailout" by Brian Farmer (no relation to me) via the Sept. 29 New American magazine. Simply access www.thenewamerican.com. So much for Republicans being fiscal conservatives. — James A. Farmer, Ashland

"GOP sidetracks Bush's $700 billion bailout" (Mail Tribune: Friday, Sept. 26) is further scrutinized at "Government Bailout" by Brian Farmer (no relation to me) via the Sept. 29 New American magazine. Simply access www.thenewamerican.com. So much for Republicans being fiscal conservatives. — James A. Farmer, Ashland

So, Sen. Biden fancies paying higher taxes to be "patriotic?" How kind of him to offer America guidance in how we might demonstrate our national pride. I would simply brush off his foolish comment, yet, knowing how serious Biden is, I cannot afford to ... literally.

Should Obama become president, this deluded notion of patriotism will no longer be a "bright idea" but, rather, a mandatory "Financial Pledge of Allegiance" required of the masses ... not simply the "rich." Obama will gladly play "Robin Hood" with our wallets as he steers us into his socialist dream world. There will be enough "progressive," government-sponsored programs to ensure that all of us can feel an overwhelming "patriotism," .. through taxation.

I think I'd rather take my patriotism directly to the ballot box. I'll be voting for McCain/Palin. — Ellen Panfil, Medford

History is repeating itself. In the 1920s three Republican presidential administrations gave Wall Street and the big banks free reign and no regulation. Greed proliferated and chaos ensued in the form of the Great Depression. Since 2001 the Bush administration has deregulated Wall Street and the banks once again. Surprise! Chaos ensued.

In 1932 FDR was elected president and brought a sense of hope and stability to the nation, regulated the financial markets, put people to work, instigated Social Security and other needed programs to help the poor and elderly.

Once again we need to toss out the Republicans who have caused this mess and replace them with Democrats who will make government work for the people the way it's supposed to — not just for the corporations. We need reform at all levels of government.

Elect Barack Obama, Jeff Merkley, Lynn Howe, Peter Buckley and Jim Olney. Change is needed! — Allen Hallmark, Central Point

Our upcoming election is critical, do we make choices listening to bias media and commentators, or take time to research facts?

Personally we have researched records for truth. Today's issues are urgent. Wrong decisions will be fatal and the media and politicians are playing a blame game.

Which candidate foresaw the credit crisis and tried to do something about it? Researching the Library of Congress will show Republicans made many attempts to put through regulations. In 2005 John McCain and three sponsored a bill to regulate banking industry; Democrats blocked every attempt and sided with lobbyists.

Take time, research issues and backgrounds. News and print media is deplorable and insults our intelligence. Donations or gifts from lobbyists should be illegal as they sway decisions made by our elected officials.

Sen. McCain and Gov. Palin stand for reform of Washington which will make this a stronger country to be proud of. — Robert and Laura Bennett, Eagle Point

We "little folks" have already been badly hurt by the mortgage and credit crisis. To reward with my tax dollars those who benefited from a sleazy system that they designed is abhorrent to me.

It is time that those who gave us consumer debt while shipping jobs overseas as a way of "growing the economy" pay for their greed. I will not vote to re-elect anyone who supports this "bailout" of money lenders while the rest of us lose our homes and investments.

There are better ways to handle a crisis. Let's reflect a bit more rather than follow the leader who landed us in trillion dollar wars in Iraq and Afghanistan based on misinformation and lies. Do you really trust his minions' assessment now? — Margaret Shockley, Talent

Some politicians like to refer to themselves as "the original maverick." The actual original Maverick (Sam) was an 18th century democratic lawyer from Texas who refused to brand his cattle. His herd would mix with another, and all unbranded cattle were Maverick's.

Over the years, the definition changed to now mean an unpredictable person who goes his/her own way.

In a democracy, one person is elected to represent the many. Campaigns allow people to time to familiarize themselves with a candidate so they can choose the one who most appropriately represents their views. If certain candidates proudly proclaim themselves to be an unpredictable mavericks, liable to change positions at any moment, how could that person possibly represent anyone consistently?

The only opinion represented would be that of the candidate. It is possible that the candidates wish to redefine the word. Fundamentally, it wouldn't be the first time. — Matthew Morey, Shady Cove

Sen. Gordon Smith is quoted in this month's edition of the Jackson County Republican Party newsletter, to wit:

"As a member of the Finance Committee I have had the unique privilege to be closely involved in formulating economic policies aimed at growing the American job market, and increasing the vibrancy of our economy and I am proud to continue my commitment to do that."

I can't think of a better reason to vote for Jeff Merkley and send him to the United States Senate. Jeff worked hard to bring Oregon's finances under prudent control. That's what we need in Washington! — Richard Trout, Ashland

McCain is an extraordinary hero, the greatest patriot of all time. He is also brilliant in the use of his heroism to manipulate others.

Since the beginning, McCain has expressed the vital necessity of national defense experience and of putting country before political campaigns, then chooses a running mate with a day's experience, for political gain.

He admits to having a tendency to act before utilizing critical information. Like Bush, he will resort to divisive, saber-rattling rhetoric and put the country in a mess.

McCain talks of reform, but both he and Palin accept earmarks. He criticizes others for having special interest lobbyists, but his closest circle of cronies are such.

To his credit, McCain admits to being rather ignorant about domestic economics, but he follows the Bush administration's favor towards the very rich at the expense of the middle class.

Do we want another Bush-McCain term? — Danny K. Devine, Medford

Years ago I heard a saying that I have only applied to a few people. Obama reminds me of that saying: "Educated beyond his intelligence."

Ask him a question, he needs five minutes to give an answer that should have been said in two sentences. Maybe we can count on him to talk our enemies to death.

The man is an empty suit. No ideas of his own. Doesn't open his mouth till he speaks to advisors, always follows the party line. Take away his written script and he fumbles.

McCain's record of crossing the party line shows he puts country first. What does Obama really think about anything?

I do know three things about Obama. He raises taxes, he's ranked second in lobbyists money from Freddie and Fannie, and he definitely did not want a woman on the ticket — in either party. — Mary Brown, Eagle Point

It will take a skillful leader to bring the diverse citizenry of Ashland together to move our community forward — a leader who is thoughtful, knowledgeable about the community, and able to work toward consensus. George Kramer is just such a leader.

For more than two decades George has demonstrated both his commitment to making Ashland a good place to live and do business and his ability to solve problems creatively, efficiently, and collaboratively. Please join me in voting for George Kramer for mayor of Ashland. — Amy Cuddy, Ashland

Recently someone wrote Sarah Palin was hypocritical because she didn't kiss her baby, Trig, before her Alaskan speech.

Sarah Palin birthed her Down Syndrome baby giving life to Trig saying he's perfect as God made him. There won't be a day Trig won't be loved by his family and friends because of Sarah Palin.

What would Obama have done, evidenced by his 100 percent voting record on abortion and 'Born Alive Act'? Trig would be aborted mid-to-late term. Trig's legs pulled out of the womb, scissors thrust into the base of his skull and Trig's brains removed. If Trig survived a different type abortion he would be left to die with no human rights or personhood attributed to him.

I want a world with more Sarah Palins who will fight for the rights of the handicapped, who see them perfect. Not as Obama sees them, as a mistake that should be killed. — Mary Anne Hutson, Medford

Gaps in experience can be filled in. Gaps in judgment cannot.

Obama enlists Biden's expertise while McCain picks Palin's extremism. Obama recognizes the insecurity of the middle class while McCain calls the economy fundamentally sound.

Obama stands with the hard-working many while McCain supports the wealthiest few. Obama would give responsibility back to the Iraqis while McCain would continue Bush's war even for 100 years.

Our country needs a change in judgment. Our country needs to reverse the recklessness and failures of the last eight years. Our country needs Obama and Biden. — Dolores Scheelen, Medford