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Do surveillance under the law

President Bush says the domestic spying he authorized has saved lives ' maybe it has, maybe it hasn't. Nothing this man tells us deserves unquestioning belief.

But it can save lives just as well under the law. Authority for such activity lies with the courts, and the president may not decide otherwise, or we are no better than those whose undemocratic ways we decry. We must make that clear to everyone in this government. ' Carol Ampel, Medford

Time for impeachment

The recent revelation that the Bush administration authorized illegal wiretaps on thousands of American citizens without any court orders should be sufficient grounds for impeachment. It is clearly a violation of the U.S. Constitution.

The amazing part of this is that Bush seems to be unaware that he has broken the law. Perhaps he is too stupid to be entrusted with protecting our civil rights. It is time for impeachment. ' Larry Laitner, Ashland

War 'facts' nothing new

A recent letter to the editor quoted a number of facts regarding recent successes in Iraq. In actuality, the facts have been circulating on the Internet since 2003 and can be found at , a Web site that collects and exposes urban legends.

If a myth is repeated enough, the unwitting accept it. A real fact is this war is costing &

36;195 million per day; that's 12 meals for every starving child in the world. ' Ed Miller, Ashland

Walden bill not bipartisan

On Friday, Dec. 17, Sue Kupillas expressed her support of HR 4200, finishing with the statement that Walden has gained significant support of Democrats and Republicans in Congress on this moderate bill.

The facts are that of the 140 co-signers of the bill, 127 were Republicans and only 13 were Democrats. Not a single Democratic congressman from Oregon's delegation is a co-signer. Perhaps this will help clarify some of the misunderstanding this bill has evoked. ' Gail Beason, Talent

Our house is divided

W likes to brag about how well Iraq is doing these days. Elections are coming; after three years the five-mile highway from the airport to the Green Zone seems secure and in that vast emptiness that is the inner world of W, all is well.

On the home front, we find more tax cuts for the rich. A strengthened bankruptcy law makes it harder to file, and yet applicants are now being inundated with new credit card applications. For the poor, it is a mixed bag of reductions in food stamps, welfare, child care and Medicaid.

We have become a nation that Lincoln warned about. Our house is divided and we cannot stand. The gap between rich and poor widens daily. Corporations get rich while workers face wage reductions or job losses.

We are attempting to build a new nation, Iraq. While we build schools and rebuild infrastructure, we also work to secure the Iraqi border. This is being done as our own schools and highways crumble and a 3-year-old could penetrate our borders.

W presents himself as a man on a mission and yet the proffered olive branch is in a serpent's mouth.

Have a cautious Christmas! ' Wayne R. Martin, -Medford

Something old, something new

Bush's Strategy for Victory speeches have given us something old: his repeated lie about the war in Iraq having something to do with 9/11 and maligning the patriotism of those who dare question him; and something new: an upbeat report of progress, contradicted by the fact that the closest thing to a safe place over there is an embattled super-fortress called the Green Zone.

The most pitiful part, however, is the strategy itself: Keep doing the same thing, but expect different results. Bush is still waiting for them to bring him flowers. He doesn't seem to get that no matter how many Iraqis we brutalize, torture or murder, we can't make them like us.

Our troops are stuck where they had no need to go, and where killing them is the one unifying theme in an intertribal war triggered and exacerbated by the Bush administration's incompetence. By staying the course we can expect more of the same: murder and mayhem, skyrocketing debt and the erosion of any vestige of respect left for us in the world.

If the chaos Bush created in Iraq is what he calls spreading democracy, then it's no wonder he has to spread it at gunpoint. ' Michael Steely, Medford

School District 9 arrogant

The arrogance of School District 9 is hysterical.

Just the idea of sticking two schools up a dirt road without sidewalks and then having the audacity to tell the kids not to walk up the road (Reese Creek) to get there is cause enough to portray the district in an unfavorable light on this occasion. Let alone the &

36;30 million we figured would also employ more teachers in addition to the understaffed, over-designed, high-maintenance eyesores.

I say get rid of two roundtable zealots and buy four qualified teachers. Surely this would better serve our kids than a few who feel they are beyond reproach. ' Mark Nelson, Eagle Point