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April 24, 2006 WEB LETTERS TO THE EDITOR Due to limited space in the printed version of the Tidings, we present in this section more of the letters received as a courtesy to the community and to provide a larger forum for the free exchan


Due to limited space in the printed version of the Tidings, we present in this section more of the letters received as a courtesy to the community and to provide a larger forum for the free exchange of ideas and opinions These letters, which do not appear on our printed pages, must conform to the same standards and protocol as letters appearing in print, with the exception of length Web letters may run longer than those placed on our pages, but we ask that submissions remain under 400 words The Tidings reserves the right to edit online letters that run too long

Liberal media is a myth

Tennyson wrote:


A lie which is all lie may be met and fought with outright, But a lie which is part in truth is a harder matter to fight&

Michael Barone, in his April 4 commentary, was &

part in truth&

, when he argued that political leanings hurt newspaper credibility However, he was incorrect when he asserted that those political leanings were liberal, and that 90 percent of newspaper people are Democrats

Barone based his 90 percent figure on the basis of &

surveys galore&

A 2002 study of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Indiana University found that 37 percent of US journalists identified with the Democrats, and 16 percent with the Republicans The study, conducted every ten years and processed much like the US census, provides an important decade measure of the pulse of journalism

Mr Barone states that he has &

been closely acquainted&

with newsroom culture for more than thirty years If so, he should be well acquainted with the code of ethics of the Society of Professional Journalists: &

Public enlightenment is the forerunner of justice and the foundation of democracy

The duty of the journalist is to further those ends by seeking truth, and providing a fair and comprehensive account of events and news &

Mr Barone owes more to his readers than inaccurate information based on &

surveys galore&

Barone cites two stories, carried by the New York Times, that he describes as inaccurate, harmful to the Bush Administration, and supposedly written by

a liberal reporter Barone is correct in criticizing the lack of thorough investigation by the reporters, but the stories become insignificant when compared with the misreporting of Gore during the 2000 election campaign

According to most accounts, the reporters covering Gore thought of him as supercilious and smug However, their contempt for Gore cannot justify the unprofessional misreporting of his positions on abortion, the Internet and the environment

Following the election, the &

Project for Excellence in Journalism&

and &

Princeton Survey Research Associates examined 1,149 election stories that were published over the course of the campaign The analysis showed that the media&

s most common theme of the campaign was that Gore was scandal-tainted, which accounted for 42 percent of all assertions about Gore&

s character Thirty-four percent of the stories asserted Gore was a liar

Only 14 percent of the articles were about his competence, knowledge or experience The misreporting in many of the 1,149 stories was helpful to the Bush campaign, and damaging to newspaper credibility

The election of 2000 was based on the charisma of the two candidates, and not on the issues It didn&

t matter whether the reporters were liberal or conservative What did matter was who made the decision to print news based on faulty or incomplete information The decision on what stories to pursue, the location and theme of the story, and the duration of the story does not rest with the reporter According to Tom Johnson, former publisher of the Los Angeles Times and later president of CNN, &

It is not reporters or editors, but the OWNERS of the media who decide the quality of the news &

According to Robert McChesney, in his book, RICH MEDIA, POOR DEMOCRACY, Nixon was supported by approximately 65 percent of the 72 newspapers controlled by Hearst, Cox and Scripps-Howard In 1967, Richard Berlin, executive officer of the Hearst Corporation, requested and received Nixon&

s support for the Newspaper Preservation Law, allowing newspapers to collaboratively set prices The legislation passed, even though it violated the spirit and intent of Anti-Trust legislation In the 1972 election, those same 72 newspapers supported Nixon 100 percent, thereby proving Tom Johnson&

s statement that the media OWNERS determine the news

In 1983, fifty companies CONTROLLED the media, according to Ben Bagdikian, Dean Emeritus of the School of Journalism at UC Berkeley Today, there are just FIVE giant conglomerates (News Corp, Time Warner, Viacom, Disney, and Vivendi Universal), and FIVE newspapers (The New York Times, the Washington Post, the Times-Mirror, Knight-Ridder and Gannett) The owners, directors and advertisers of these organizations make the crucial decisions on how we will be informed, misinformed, or not informed at all

Given the fact that 98 percent of the US cities have one newspaper monopolies, and that only ten organizations control the media, it is fallacious and contrary to the Code of Ethics of the Society of Professional Journalists for Barone and others to support the myth that the media is liberal I do, however, agree that we should &

redesign the news media from scratch&

It could be a marvelous design that would enable the media to be free of any combine or authority, or political position &

liberal or conservative A design that would enable the media to fulfill its full obligation to the citizens of this Democracy

Dick Mastain


s not nice to nit pick

On April 13 you provided the straw and this camel&

s back broke I bit my tongue when Jennifer Squires wrote about horse&

s feet and I patiently tolerate misspellings and uncomfortable grammar Take tonight&

s paper &

133; I counted five goofs on page A-3, for example, &

Multnomah County detectives would like to hear form anyone &



133; but when you nit pick a direct quote (4/13/06), you&

ve gone a bit too far Common courtesy (and accepted practice) allows a direct quote to be massaged in order to avoid embarrassing the speaker, as long as the correction doesn&

t affect content and only corrects a minor mistake &

but you drew unnecessary attention to two very inconsequential mistakes in Mr Frannell&

s 5-page legal memo So he forgot the &


in foregoing and he wrote the word &


instead of &



133; big deal Rather than make an issue, you might have just as easily made a discreet and diplomatic correction and moved on to more important news Please don&

t waste your talent and our time with silly little sic&


Vicki Bamman

Thanks to voice in wilderness

Thanks for initially writing and then correcting the Ruppert article He is truly a "voice crying in the wilderness" and we will all do well to heed his warningHe speaks of irrefutable facts about supply and demand As far as 9/11 goes, the laws of statistics speak for themselves regarding the governments accountability Too many incredible "coincidences" simply aren&

t plausible A nation of citizens that cannot be bothered to look into the inner workings of it&

s government simply because we must presume we are one of the few countries without ulterior motives or a corrupt government is a nation who will in the long run be governed by the few

Janine Dorn

Goleta, CA

Silkworms should be protected

Regarding the piece on a local silk artisan (April 13), readers may want to know about the suffering that silk production causes

Silkworms, if permitted to exit their cocoons, would break the continuous strand of silk, so they are killed, usually by being boiled to death Silkworms are killed by the billions every year

It takes about 4,000 cocoons to generate one pound of silk Females who are used to lay eggs become moths as adults Those who have not been bred to be wingless have their wings cut off Flightless and traumatized, they produce more eggs After laying their eggs, they are crushed and examined for disease, so that if any is found, their eggs can also be destroyed Male breeders are kept in cold storage when not in use; other males are dumped in the trash Silkworms feel pain and produce endorphins in response

India is the second largest silk producer after China When animals are exploited, one often finds that the humans who harm them are also victims of exploitation, in this case children who are virtual slaves Visit wwwhrworg/reports/2003/india to learn more about silk sweatshops

In clothing, silk may also be called pure chiffon, pure georgette, organza, pure crepe, or pure satin There are many excellent synthetics Don&

t buy silk

The foregoing is adapted from a book I&

m writing on animal issues

Ron Elterman

Completely unsolicited advice for conservatives

It must have become painfully clear by now that your lot have blown it You control both houses of Congress, the Presidency and now the Supreme Court To say the least, things in the last six years have not gone at all well With mid-term elections looming it would appear that the voters are mad as hell and not likely to take it anymore So what went wrong?

— It is simply not possible to trump reality with ideology The most egregious example of this mistake is trying to ignore global warming No matter how much you wish it wasn&

t, global warming is real, humans are largely responsible for it and action is needed right away in order to avert calamity

2 It is unwise to climb into bed with folks who have a weak grip on reality The coalition you have built includes some voters who will have to be placated from time to time with silly and time consuming poppycock While you were futzing around pretending that gay marriage was somehow a threat to heterosexual marriage, the infrastructure of the country was crumbling Face it folks, the earth ain&

t 6000 years old, and if Jesus came back anytime soon he would be appalled

— Underestimating the intelligence of the voters will come back to bite you every time It may take awhile but eventually people will figure out that the &

Clear Skies Initiative&

means allowing coal-fired power plants to pollute the air, that the &

Healthy Forests Initiative&

means a return to clear cuts, and that the greatest beneficiaries of the Medicare Drug Bill were the pharmaceutical companies When voters figure out that they have been deceived, there will be hell to pay and your first installment will come due in November

4 Before you invade a country you should at least be able to pronounce it correctly Its &


not &


5 (Swallow hard; you aren&

t going to like this one) You will need to embrace some form of universal health care If you really feel you must, you can find some sort of &

market based solution&

that will preserve the health insurance industry Keep in mind though, that Canadians pay 30% less than Americans for health care and they live two years longer

6 Like it or not, the United States is part of a global community The concept of &

American exceptionalism&

angers most of the rest of the world The world is a very dangerous and complex place right now Cooperation and dialogue are far more effective than bluster and bellicosity The bull in the Pottery Barn foreign policy hasn&

t worked very well

7 You need to make sure that the guy at the top is competent This one isn&

t Even if you were to assume that the invasion of Iraq was a good idea (by the way it wasn&

t), it has become painfully obvious that the Bush administration has made a horrible hash of it In addition consider the way the Bush administration handled Katrina, the Medicare Drug Bill, the Dubai Ports deal, the ever increasing budget deficit and we begin to see a pattern emerging here While Ronald Reagan was very far from being my favorite President, he was at least able to handle the day to day business of governing the country with some semblance of efficiency You had a chance to nominate a competent conservative with John McCain in 2000 You may again have that chance in 2008 Don&

t blow it a second time

There is nothing more certain in politics than that the pendulum will swing Believing that there can be a permanent majority for any political party is an exercise in romantic logic It simply can&

t happen So prepare to lick your wounds my conservative friends My tongue is still sore from the last six years

Michael Bingham

The disabled helping the able


t know if anybodycaught the CBS evening news on Friday April 7, but there is this 11-year-old girl from Mississippi named Kelsie Buckley who is raising money and accepting book donations to help restore the local libraries that were wiped out from hurricane Katrina last summerThe thing that touched me the most about what she is doing is that she is doing all of this despite the fact that her family lost their home as a result of the storm, AND that she is losing her eyesight due to a rare disease she hasThis young lady believes thatif you help out with someone else&

s problems God will lessen yours To say the least, Iam very impressed with what this 11 year old is doing, not sitting around feeling sorry for herself, may we all learn from her exampleSo if you have some extra books kickin&

around and looking for a place to unload them, or if you feel drawn to make a donation, the address is: Kelsie&

s Books; PO Box 506; Morton, Ms 39117

For more information, here is a link to Kelsie&

s website — Also,if you&

d like to see the brief interview and/or read the article, here is the link

Giddy up!

Mike Lemieux

The case against Bush

In President Bush&

s own words: &

I wanted people to see the truth and thought it made sense for people to see the truth You&

re not supposed to talk about classified information, and so I declassified the document&

There it is in black and white The President unitarily and secretly declassified a national security document (the NIE or National Intelligence Estimate) to ward off embarrassment and conceal past failures in an attempt to rebut critics who were saying his assertions for going to war were based on faulty intelligence

Hindsight being 20/20 we now know, in fact, that his arguments about aluminum tubes, uranium from Niger, and ties to Osama bin Laden were 100% wrong and that his critics were correct What many people still don&

t know (despite Bush&

s desire for us &

to see the truth&

) is that that very same assessment told another story &

that many in the intelligence community believed even then that the intelligence could not pass the most basic sniff test

Remember when you were young and your parents told you not to lie? I do They had two very specific reasons: A) it is wrong to lie; and, B) that one lie would lead to more lies to cover up the initial lie Look no further than our current President for a perfect example of this behavior

I would be ashamed of any President who acted so callously with our national securityThis story isn&

t about his legal right to declassify, but HOW he did itIf he really &

wanted us to see the truth&

why was Libby ordered to pass along to a solitary reporter only the cherry-picked portions of the NIE that backed his assertions? Why did he tell the reporter to attribute it to a &

former hill staffer&

? Why did he characterize a footnote about procuring uranium from Niger as a &

key judgment&

when in fact he had already admitted &

those 16 words&

should not have been included in his State of the Union speech? And why did he leave out every single portion of the NIE that questioned the intelligence

If he really wanted us &

to see the truth&

why didn&

t he just make a speech? I know I did not get to see the truth, at least until now But what about Congress?

Bush was also unwilling to declassify this very document for Congress in the autumn of 2002 when they were deciding whether or not to give the President the power to go to war Don&

t you believe they might have made a more informed decision if they had seen the questioning of evidence from those who actually put their lives on the line to collect it? Instead his decision resulted in the outing of a CIA agent (and the front company she &


for), one of those people who did puther life on the line, and who ironically had sources in Iran gathering intelligence on their development of WMD

From the evidence it is clear that Bush did not deem the document worthy of declassifying until his reelection campaign was starting, the war was going badly, and his rationale for war was being questioned He is responsible for his decision to use a national security document for partisan political gain, ie to cover his own butt, and such a misuse of authority is the very essence of a criminal conspiracy to defraud the United States It is also precisely the abuse of executive power that led to the impeachment of Richard M Nixon

This war and this presidency is a disaster in every possible way: We have depleted our military resources and shown the world our weaknesses on an unnecessary war while facing down a much more dire situation in Iran; almost 2500 soldiers have died, most after Bush declared &

Mission Accomplished&

; a minimum of 30,000 Iraqis have also died and those still alive do not want us there; we have shattered our image as a freedom-loving nation by torturing, murdering and holding prisoners without due process or recourse; we took the world empathy that we had after 9/11 and drove a stake of division through the world community leaving an alliance that does not exist; we took our eyes off Afghanistan not only leaving bin Laden alive and well, but allowing the Taliban to again extend its influence over the vast majority of the country (a death sentence for converting to Christianity = democracy? Progress??); we have a national debt that now equals $90,000 for every man, woman and child in America; and, just last week our Attorney General, Alberto Gonzalez, stated that he believed the President had the authority, without a warrant, to listen in on phone calls between Americans in our own country

Had enough?

Richard Browne

Ashlandlers make Ashland unique

Last summer a friend and I took a walk in the Oredson-Todd woods near where I live Crossing the stream we encountered an older woman, a younger one who appeared to be her daughter, and a child in a carriage I said a friendly hello as I always do; one of them muttered something, looked away, and continued on I said to my friend Lynn, &

They must not be from around here&

Lynn had spent the previous year in Bratislava, Slovakia (where she is now) teaching English She commented that Slovakians similarly keep to themselves, even the dogs are taught to stay back We speculated about whether it was cultural or a result of so many years of communist rule

Later we met two young women with a dog that thoroughly sniffed us over Lynn said it was nice to be properly greeted by a dog We also had a friendly chat with the two women, who were from

These past few years Ashland has been undergoing a difficult transition, from the small town so many of us moved here to enjoy, to what? One hopes not an anonymous metropolis, made so by the very presence of those of us who may have brought our big city ways

There is very large portion of Ashlanders who are determined to keep our town livable Many, many people volunteer their hearts, minds, and bodies to work on the city council, in the schools, on the many commissions and projects, all with that goal in mind But I believe the essence of community is how we relate to each other every day at ground level Do you smile or say hello when you meet someone while walking your dog? Are you grumpy at the grocery store check stand? Do you let other drivers in front of you? And in our little tempest-in-a-teapot town, how do you view your opponent in public disputes? Sincere people can differ

Back in the Paleolithic era when I was in college I took an archeology exam on what defines civilization I knew the answer was monumental architecture, hierarchies, etc, but I added that civil also means courteous, so a true test of civilization is how well we treat each other I still believe that to be true

Considering that Ashland is a tourist town, it is a formidable task keeping that familiar, intimate, easy going, small town feel of the place No need to be relentlessly cheerful, just considerate Remember that if you&

re cranky to the drugstore clerk, she or he carries that around all day and likely transfers it to the next person Eventually it&

ll get back to you; a communal negative feedback loop

I am heartened by all the people who stop for pedestrians on Siskiyou Boulevard Now that there is a crosswalk every 40 feet, this is quite the commitment Just by being patient with each other and stopping, we can help out of towners understand and follow our ways The aggression we learn in cities is hard to shake It takes time, but most important, it takes willingness It requires that we be willing to temper our own desires a bit and let the needs of others into our psyches, being mindful that all plants, animals, and people in our community have their place


s easy to absorb the idea of it, but we sometimes forget to put it into practice with those right in front of us in line at the post office By being kind we create a miniature culture here that we hope will rub off on newcomers and be retained and nurtured by our kids This is especially tough to do because the larger culture is so vulgar and decadent

One way to create more harmony is to choose some generous act to perform regularly For example, when I drive to a parking lot I make sure to park several empty spaces from the door of the store so that, hopefully, someone elderly or disabled will get the closer spot I know you can come up with even better ways to promote the comfort and ease of your fellow citizens After all, our ground time here will be brief, so we might as well make the best of every minute

David Leo Kennedy

Wyden responds to public pressure on Iraq

On March 20, 19 of us entered Senator Ron Wyden's office in Portland to insist that he take leadership in ending the US military involvement in Iraq We entered that office armed with petitions signed by approximately 1,800 of our fellow citizens, supporting this peace initiative Outside the Senator's office, several clergy and other leaders spoke in support of our action Others stood in support Further, we felt the weight of some 15,000 or more citizens who had, just the day before, held the largest peace rally in the US in Portland Eventually, we were courteously cuffed, arrested and we go to court in June

The Senator is indeed taking leadership and we are grateful On April 7 he spoke forcefully to the US Senate, challenging congress to begin to act like a co-equal branch of government to the executive He is insisting on a date certain to get our men and women out of Iraq, where they were sent as a result of lies about WMD and connections to al-Qaida More than 2,300 US troops have paid the ultimate price for those lies, thousands of Iraqi children are dead or maimed for life as a direct result of US invasion and occupation, and George W Bush tells a shocked nation that the troops will stay until after he's no longer president

Please thank Senator Wyden for his courage and encourage him further to actually write the legislation that can mandate an end to this bloody occupation It could be done any time and he needs to know you will support him

Tom H Hastings

Whitefeather House Portland Catholic Worker Portland

Open letter to Grimaldi

Mr Grimaldi

I am sorry for the sad occasion You are absolutely right, family does come first Still, the community was left with decisions that you had made Further, you have seemed to have missed my point It wasn&

t the use of the Plaza or by whom It was the shutting down of the access to the town Other business owners including myself tried to contact you However, there was no person of authority willing or available in any City Office to answer questions concerning this issue Nobody knew what to do after you left

Matt Frey


s broken promises

Bush and the republicans promised us honor and gave us Delay, Abramoff and Cunningham Cheney gave us the finger

Bush et al promised us honesty and lied to get us into Iraq Many soldiers and innocent women and children have died

Bush et al promised us competency Brownie couldn't find New Orleans

Bush et al promised to restore America's good name Torture, renditions, an illegal attack on Iraq and not living up to our agreements and treatiesGeneva Convention, Kyoto and the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty are what we got

Bush et al promised to find those weapons of mass destruction He's still looking

Bush et al promised us security safety Soldiers are still waiting for body armor and steel plated humvees He allowed folks to die needlessly in New Orleans and who's guarding our ports?

Bush et al promised to get the evil terrorist Osama but attacked Rumsfield's buddy, Sadam

Bush promised to lead ''one of the largest reconstruction efforts the world has ever seen in New Orleans and yet 250,000 residents still live in exile

Bush et al promised us compassion and then cut veterans benefits, student loans, health care for kids and assistance for the poor and elderly

Bush et al promised us fiscal responsibility then squandered a budget surplus and have given us the largest debt in history

Bush et al swore to protect the constitution then gave us the Patriot Act, domestic spying on Quakers and Grandmothers and says he chooses which laws to follow

Bush et al promised humility and gave us a doctrine of preemptive war, Cheney and Bolton Mae West once said, "An ounce of performance is worth pounds of promises" It is time to face the fact that George Bush and his buddies are the biggest disaster ever to hit this country Send them home!

Barry Snitkin

Cave Junction

The Tidings gives priority to letters on local and regional topics of current interest It seeks to encourage thoughtful, well-reasoned letters and to discourage personal attacks, repetitive messages and personal disputes Form letters are not published in the Tidings, nor are letters identified as having been published in other publications Contributions to the Opinion page should be e-mailed in text-only format to tidingsopinion@dailytidingscom Please include your address and a daytime phone number where you can be reached for confirmation Letters are limited to 250 words At Length submissions are limited to 400 words Submissions may be edited for length, content and clarity See wwwdailytidingscom for our expanded letters and opinion section

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