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Letters to the editor

Do the math

Does a large number of privately-owned guns make our nation safer? As a gun-owning Republican for 35 years, I've noticed two things:

One, America has more firearms per household and more firearms per 100,000 citizens than any country on earth.

Two: Of all the world's industrialized nations, the U.S. has 20 times as many yearly non-acccidental deaths from firearms than any other country in the world. Do the math. ' James P. Snyder, Central Point

Smith threat misguided

On Tuesday, Sen. Gordon Smith said that he wants those who are trying to block the rehabilitation (of the Biscuit fire area) to know that I'm prepared to do whatever is necessary to start bringing our forest back to life.

I support rehabilitation of the forests, but Smith seems to think rehabilitation includes logging 19,500 acres of ancient forests. Myself, I am under the impression that building more roads, compacting the soil, removing wildlife habitat and killing native vegetation is a bad thing for the forest. I have hiked in the area several times in the past two years, and the forest seems to be recovering quite well on its own, without Sen. Smith's rehabilitation.

These lands have evolved over thousands of years with fire. A post-fire environment is part of the succession of the forest. Salvage logging destroys that environment, and with it, the plants and animals that depend on it.

Smith and the others who support this huge timber sale are not concerned with forest health, rather, how many fistfuls of money they can make off with at the expense of these wild forests. ' Patrick Schubert, Medford

Quit closing school

It's incredible to me to observe that School District 549c has been in session for less than one week and already, the students are given a holiday on Wednesday, Sept. 15. Am I missing something?

Couple that with the wasted funds used to erect a Welcome to Medford sign across from the Rogue Valley Mall to the tune of at least &

36;29,000 and it's pretty evident why taxpayers refuse to approve new taxes. Or is this yet another teacher instructional day ' come on, let's get realistic.

The Mail Tribune reports that nearly half the kids going to school in this district are living at the poverty level ' with this kind of school system, it's hard to contemplate how this cycle will ever be broken ' good paying jobs generally go to the well-educated. ' Jim Langhoff, Medford

The real endangered species

When the Biscuit fire first started, to the 500,000-acre ash heap that the environmentalists call an old-growth forest, there is one common thread: failure by the government.

Was this caused by inept employees, or was it because elements within our government have essentially been taken over by the radical left? Republicans, Democrats, party lines seem to be blurred on this issue.

Salmon, spotted owls, sucker fish ' what's next, the deer tick?

The American middle class has become the real endangered species. Millions of good-paying jobs disappear overseas, more and more government regulations and a higher tax burden are shutting down entire industries.

In Oregon it's timber; elsewhere, its steel mills, textiles, shoes, and now even food. We are fast becoming a nation that produces nothing.

I urge everyone to educate yourselves before you vote. Attend William Grigg's speech at 7 p.m. Sept. 30 at the Fruitdale Grange in Grants Pass. This will be one of the most informative and eye-opening events that you can attend this year.

A properly informed and educated people can make a difference. Feel free to e-mail me for more information on this event, mancuso@grantspass.com. ' Damon Mancuso, Wolf Creek

Election letters

On his watch

The Democrats continue to bray that Bush lost a million jobs on his watch without addressing causation. Any good economist knows that the economic decline and the resulting job losses started in March 2000 when the hi-tech bubble burst and that the tragedy of 9/11 seriously turned the decline into a recession. Even Robert Reich, Clinton's favorite money man, concedes that these events, not any Bush policy, are responsible.

Our resilient free-market system, with a big assist from the Bush tax cuts, has seen a 30 percent increase in the S&P 500 since March 2003 and 1.7 million new jobs in the last 12 months. Every economic indicator suggests that a strong recovery is well underway.

Kerry knows these truths, but counts on the mainstream media's monopolistic control of information to deceive you, the voter. ' H. L. Castleberry, Medford

Class warfare

One war Bush never mentions is the one he and his neocon friends in Congress are waging in our country ' class warfare! Consider the following:

The rich are getting richer 'one-third of Bush's tax cut went to the top — percent. A CBO report says only the top — percent benefited. It saved George W. Bush &

36;30,858 ' the average salary in the U.S. is &


Over — million jobs were lost. The administration favors job exportation.

Some 4.3 million fell below the poverty level to 35.9 million.

Median income is down &

36;1,500 in the last three years.

Those without health insurance rose by 5.2 million to reach 45 million.

Education (K-12) is underfunded and college education costs rose 34 percent under Bush. Wow, what a record!

These are trends, folks, and you aren't winning. But congratulations to the wealthy elite. ' David E. Asche, Medford

A veteran for change

During the height of the Vietnam War, I joined the Army, leaving my new wife behind. I had rejected my employer's offer to use his influence to get me an exemption as I considered it a dishonorable thing to do. I served proudly as an enlisted man and as a commissioned officer in the field artillery.

President Bush and Vice President Cheney took the safe way out through influence or exemptions. It saddens and angers me that these two men had the nerve to question the patriotism and valor of Sen. Kerry and of the rest of us veterans critical of the administration's handling of the war.

Bush rejected the sound advice of senior officers that conflicted with his own poorly conceived war plans. In the choice words of Gen. Tony McPeak, former Air Force chief of staff, it has been amateur hour at the White House from the get-go. ' Don Morris, Ashland

Which would you choose?

I am a veteran of 25 years' active military service. I served in Vietnam in 1968 as commanding officer of a battalion of the 3rd Marine Division, operating along the DMZ.

I take offense to the continued fabrication of events aired by the Swift Boat vets. These ads are based on half-truths and second- and third-hand tellings of events of 30-plus years ago. They are issued solely to impugn the character and actions of Lt. Kerry.

Official records, which anyone may examine, indicate that John Kerry exhibited leadership and bravery under fire. He volunteered to serve his country and placed himself in harm's way. Conversely, another individual exploited whatever means available to avoid actively serving his country and possibly placing himself in a combat situation.

I ask you: which of these two men would you rather have as your commander in chief? ' Bill Stewart, Phoenix


Four more years equals four more wars! ' Ann Ford, Shady Cove

A naked sign thief?

Surely not! In Ashland! I hear it! A car idling at the curb, a naked person gets out and grabs a sign supporting Bush/Cheney and as the person is leaving gives me the high sign. Guess I support the wrong team.

Now why is it that the radical liberal, protesting, save everything, draft dodging folks who live off the system (that we taxpayers are paying for) would do such a thing? I thought they were all for a person's right to be free to express themselves; silly me.

I guess I need to stand by my sign naked with a sign saying, don't cut trees, don't build golf courses, don't use public land, don't drill for oil, throw out religion, marry gay people, etc. etc. Ever hear of don't cut off the hand that feeds you?

People wonder why we voting taxpayers keep voting down school levies where the teachers continue to support these ideas. Duh! ' Rick Schefers, Shady Cove

The Republican dream

Watching the convention, I glimpsed the Republican dream. I saw war profiteering, fear-mongering, politicizing 9/11 and pro-life Christians who ignore civilian deaths in Afghanistan and Iraq. The wearing of purple heart Band-Aids demeaned every medal and Purple Heart ever awarded.

The climax was the president declaring that America needs to borrow more money from the kids so that he can keep his personal &

36;40,000 tax cut. He smiled and said we Americans can be trained to compete with Third World workers for the opportunity to earn Third World wages. He promised to free American business from restrictions so they can compete ' as if the price of prosperity is polluted air, land and water.

So that's the Republican vision: America governed by the elite with endless war, mindless fear, scorned vets, more poverty and scorched earth. In other words, just like the last four years, only more so. ' Damon Neal, Medford

Consider economics

A brief description of the major economic systems in the world.

1. Capitalism: An economic system where production of goods and services are distributed privately and are privately owned and accumulated in a free market. (America)

2. Socialism: An economic system where production and distribution of goods and services are owned collectively and political power exercised by the whole community. A material base for Communism. (Sweden)

3. Communism: A government economic system with collective government ownership of property, government organization of labor and government ownership and distribution of goods and services. (North Korea)

It should not be to difficult to see that Republican political economic positions support capitalism far better than Democrat positions. Also note the Republican presidential candidate has current chief executive officer experience in private industry, state government and federal government. His Democratic opponent does not. You choose in November. ' Raymond A. Aardal, Grants Pass

Baseless accusation

In his Aug. 27 letter, Lowell Nicolaus leveled another baseless accusation that John Kerry has not released his military records. Obviously he has not visited John Kerry's Web site. If he would check the following address, he would find the complete record in astonishing detail: .

If he would like to compare the fullness of Kerry's disclosure to the sketchy information released by Bush, I would recommend he take a look at this address: . ' Marc L. Ratner, Ashland

Evidence overwhelming

I researched the evidence from the Internet and the mainstream media asserting that forged Texas Air National Guard documents were published by CBS's 60 minutes. As a former prosecuting attorney and elected DA (Democrat) I'd take the case in a minute.

The evidence of forgery and fraud, too extensive to reproduce here, is overwhelming. The charitable interpretation: CBS was duped. The uncharitable: Dan Rather and 60 Minutes deliberately published material they had reason to know was false in order to influence the electorate to vote against an incumbent president.

Either way, the publication of false documents by the most venerated TV news program in history under these circumstances deserved more from the Mail Tribune than an incomplete page five oh, by the way with a headline whitewashing CBS. If we can't depend on CBS for the whole truth, it would be nice if we could depend on you. ' Steve Neely, Ashland

Showing true colors

The Bush administration is going to remove an endangered seabird, the marbled murrelet, from the endangered species list. This move would open up the bird's nesting habitat, coastal old-growth forests, to logging.

Not surprisingly, this decision conflicts with both the findings of the most experienced murrelet biologists that completed a scientific review in March, as well as government scientists (such as U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service wildlife biologists in Portland's regional office) that issued identical findings in April.

Any way you look at it, this move is another example of the Bush administration suppressing or ignoring scientific information, and its own scientists, in order to serve up old-growth forests to its campaign contributors.

To sum it up, President Bush has weakened protections for roadless areas, old-growth forests, air and water quality and salmon. The Bush administration has shown its true colors, and green is not one of them. ' Joseph Vaile, campaign coordinator, Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands Center

Rules apply to all

Political signs are popping up faster than weeds following a fall rain. Unfortunately, it is not quite the time of year for either rain or political signs. Placement of political signs is regulated by our various governments. For example, none are permitted in Jacksonville until 30 days prior to the election.

These rules apply to all. Unfortunately, some politicians are simply ignoring the laws.

Particularly disturbing to me are the C.W. Smith signs placed in violation of local laws. As a long-time law enforcement officer, Smith should know better.

No one is above the law. Everyone should have to play by the same rules. I am supporting Sue Densmore for county commissioner. ' Trish Bowcock, Jacksonville

Sign stealing is inspiring

The Kerry/Edwards campaign has been a clean, above-board fight for issues that are important for us to consider in this election.

The future of our country and its relationship to the rest of the world is at stake, and I will not be deterred by the sneaky cowards who robbed our neighborhood of our Kerry/Edwards lawn signs in the dead of night. On the contrary, they have inspired me!

Because of them, I am going to wear my John Kerry T-shirt, display my bumper stickers, and wear Kerry/Edwards buttons everywhere I can! I'm buying more signs, attaching them to my house and giving them away to people who want them.

I hope you are inspired to show your support as well. If they get the shirt off my back, at least I'll see their face! ' Douglas McDonald, Medford

Four stickers and counting

As a resident of East Medford, I woke up this morning to another sunny day, and another Kerry/Edwards sign missing from my front yard. Seems there is a scared Republican running around who feels it is okay to go into a stranger's yard and remove their personal property ' always in the middle of the night.

I have finally decided that for every sign they take, I will put another Kerry/Edwards sticker on my car. I am up to four. ' Coppelia Burns, Medford

President flip-flop

The Bush record on the 9/11 commission: Flip-flopping through the investigation.

He opposed its creation.

He opposed its funding.

He opposed giving the commission two extra months to complete its work.

He said that Condoleezza Rice would not testify. She testified that before 9/11 Bush had read a report entitled Bin Laden Determined to Attack in the U.S.

He said he would not testify. Later, he said he would, but only for one hour. Then he agreed to testify for more than an hour, but only if he wasn't under oath, and could have Cheney with him.

Bush says he is a strong leader who stays the course, but his record is one of continuous flip-flopping, when faced with public opinion and political pressure. Just last month Bush said the war on terror could not be won ' 24 hours later he flip-flopped. ' Joe Richards, Ashland

War without honor

President Bush has conducted his war without honor. Thousands of innocents are dead.

The heads of the dead sons of his enemy were paraded, as if on pikes, across the front pages of world newspapers. He held people, even U.S. citizens, without recourse to due process. The Supreme Court declared that last a violation of law; the Justice Department should have prosecuted him.

His Christianity is his primary support, but his are not those of a follower of Jesus, who exhorted us to love our enemies and not kill them.

Unless you're very rich, he's done nothing to earn your vote.

Our lead horse is heading us toward a very steep waterfall. It's time to change horses, midstream or not.

A moment will come when support for Bush will collapse, just as it did for Nixon. I hope that moment comes before the election. ' Scott McKay, Medford

Corporate-free news

This letter is for those hypnotized by Fox News.

The Republican National Convention was accompanied by mass demonstrations. The Republicans implied Democrats were behind these protests when in fact many independent groups were represented.

The protests were peaceful but violence did occur. A plainclothes policeman rode a motorcycle into a crowd prompting a violent reaction from a protester. At a speech to young Republicans by White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card, protesters stood on their chairs and revealed their signs. Video footage shows a young man grabbing a woman's sign, pulling her to the floor and repeatedly kicking her before he was pulled away. Yet the activists were the ones arrested for assault.

These stories and more were covered on Democracy Now, which can be seen on Free Speech TV and World Link TV on DISH Network satellite service. Ask your cable company to carry these corporate-free channels. ' Teresa Kalla, Ashland

Run like business?

Should government be run like a business? Well, it is!

In the last couple of years many CEOs have sharply higher income and bonus pay. So does our president. In January 2001 his salary was doubled from a previous &

36;200,000 to &

36;400,000. Congress has substantially raised members' salaries as well, while the majority of working people have taken pay cuts and lost health-care benefits.

We are privatizing the military one corporation at a time. Halliburton once was run by Dick Cheney. Now Cheney is vice president, living mostly in undisclosed locations, while Halliburton is the most favored corporation of our government and in the business of contracting everything for our military you can think of.

While our military personnel make between &

36;12,000 and &

36;20,000, a Halliburton contractor makes &

36;100,000 a year. We, the taxpayer, are footing this bill.

What ever happened to government for the people and by the people? ' Heide Seeman, Medford

Another trite attempt

Columnist Jonah Goldberg makes another trite attempt to prove media bias toward John Kerry, but his argument falls short. He claims that if not for his conservative brethren playing up the story of the anti-Kerry swift boat gang, the mainstream media would not have covered the story.

As it turned out, they should have ignored the story, since it contained more fabrication than fact. Ignoring a story so full of holes it could sink a swift boat is not bias, but good journalism. Too bad the mainstream media felt pressured to perpetuate the lies. ' Jeff Palmer, Medford