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WAS IT A WAR?
Who would consider an encounter in a boxing ring between Mike Tyson and a small child a fight? A brutal assault perhaps, or maybe an aggravated murder, but not a fight. Why then does the media and our delusional leadership refer to the invasion and brutal assault on Iraq as a "brilliant military victory" and something of which to be proud?

The world's number one military power attacks a poor, Third World country ravaged by war and 12 years of economic sanctions, 90 percent disarmed by the U.N. inspectors and militarily defeats it. What an accomplishment! A country that spends $1.4 billion a year on defense is defeated by another that spends $400 billion — not counting $70 billion extra for Iraq – all in the name of freedom.

Iraq joins the list of other bombed and liberated countries: Afghanistan, Yugoslavia, Nicaragua, Panama, etc., democracies all. Add to that list my country Poland, not bombed but raided by American economic and political advisors like Jeffery Sachs, Zbignew Brzezinski and finally strangled by IMF and Globalization austerity projects. It is a shell of a country now with an American puppet government, ready to serve its master by sending 200 special forces troops to aid the "coalition of the willing," while 96 percent of Poles oppose it. Democracy thrives in Poland. Add to the list "new Europe" on its knees, whose governments are prepared to sell their souls and sovereignty for a few dollars of American aid.

Behind it all, 70 percent of Americans waving the Old Glory and cheering. Shame.

Adam Uminski
Eugene

 

START TALKING
What I believe we need and desire is communication face-to-face, thoughtful discussions that are respectful, with both sides listening fully with open ears, minds and hearts. I am naïve enough to believe that any two people brought together would have something to teach each other.

Our culture, media and two-party political system do not work to bring us all together. On the contrary it is quite the opposite: polarizing, stereotyping and dividing us and sensationalizing the negatives.

My hope at all levels (personal, community and global) begins face to face with old-fashioned, slower-than-snail-mail talk. We need open, honest discussions across the divide of ideas. Community being built person by person, real life connections being made. To me, it seems what's more important than talking of our differences is talking of what we have in common. I believe we all have much, much more in common than we might think.

I would ask you all to take a chance, reach out a bit, open yourself up to someone (a neighbor or a co-worker maybe). Start a conversation with the intention of listening, not judging or wanting to change their views, but openly listening to see where they are coming from. It might seem daunting at first, but gets much easier the more you do it. What do you have to lose, fear? There is so, so much to be gained!

We might come to realize we do not have to act to agree upon everything to be friends.

Tim Boyden
Eugene

 

BAD ADVICE
I take offense to the bad advice given by Charles Gray (Commentary 4/10) for tax resistance. From the picture of Mr. Gray, I would guess he doesn't have to worry about his income anymore because it's fixed by now. To advise young, working-class folks with kids and mortgages to "lower their income" to below taxable level is not only impossible for most but utterly stupid and irresponsible.

His advice to quit your job and become self-employed and sell advice to people is way off. Your self-employment tax kicks in at $400. Your accounts, estates and trusts can all be garnished or have liens filed against them. You can ruin your credit and lose your home by following Mr. Gray's advice. True tax resistance is a shell game for millionaires.

For the rest of us, make donations to your favorite nonprofit organizations that provide the services you want to support. This is a dollar-for-dollar reduction of income. It lowers your taxes so you pay less into the war machine. You can donate a huge amount of your income. The amount is determined by your income; if you donate then you can carry forward to the next year what you missed in the present year.

Ask yourself this: Do you really want to lose your home and have you and yours live in a tent just because it will cause the IRS problems? Or would you rather keep your home, make donations to legal organizations and voice your choices through your elected representatives and senators?

Tom Hunnel
Eugene

 

GREEN WITH PRIDE
During this counterproductive war against Iraq, the Democrats are demonstrating their petty mentality and the one reason I'll never vote for them. The party of the donkey (or ass, as it were) seems compelled to attack the small percentage of citizens who voted for Nader/Duke, who voted against their sacrosanct two-party system or who voted with principle.

Now the Dems berate Green voters, blame the war on us, and, in general, struggle to assuage their consciences (or lack thereof). Dem sycophants ignore the half of the eligible voters that didn't even turn out. Yet the Green voters are blamed for Gore's ineptitude to out-poll a half-wit?

Democrats assume Gore wouldn't have attacked Iraq — a big assumption, ignoring Gore's support of Gulf War I, Star Wars, other ridiculous military programs and his support of sanctions, which killed (according to UNICEF) more than 500,000 Iraqi children from 1991 to 2000.

Dems will not guilt the Green voters, that small percentage, into swallowing the Democrats' swill next election. If Dems desperately need a scapegoat, blame the masses that didn't vote at all.

Wil D. Hormann
Corvallis

 

INDUSTRY UNION
I was glad to see your article "SASS Unionizing" in your April 10 issue. I should point out, however, that it contains a fairly common error: the IWW are not the International, but rather the Industrial, Workers of the World. Our name comes from our organizational model, seeking to unify workers throughout their industry rather than according to their occupational specialty. For example, instead of having separate electricians' and carpenters' unions, we aim to bring construction workers together into a construction industry union, IWW Industrial Union 330.

There is a helpful web page on this subject at www.iww.org/culture/official/international.shtml

Patrick R. Wade
Eugene

 

JUST AIN'T SO
To Sally Sheklow: Love the column, dah-ling (4/17), but let me set the record straight (no pun intended). You lambasted my home state of Florida as being gay-unfriendly, and I admit you have a point! People forget that most of the state is as deep-south-redneck as it gets! But a large percentage of the state thinks Anita Bryant can stick her politics where the sun don't shine.

I felt a little resentful that you implied the only democrats in Florida were Afro-American or Jewish, though I guess it worked for the humor in your column. But I'm here to tell you, it just ain't so. Like anywhere else, the liberals and conservatives come in every flavor (yes, I've met a gay Republican, though I didn't get it).

As for me, I'm a lily-white PFLAG girl who spent most of the early '90s working my way into clubs like the famous Paragon on South Beach where the men were pretty or really pretty (all tucked in, towering high heels and dresses to die for). The word from back home is the GLB scene is alive-and-kicking, so hopefully they'll kick back hard for those retiring sisters.

I'm happy to be in funky Eugene away from the pretension, but I owe a little loyalty to the town that made me the hip liberal I am. Miami, at least, is as gay-friendly as Eugene, trading Anita's crusade for the OCA. But don't discard your sisters and brothers down south who've fought hard and won their piece of paradise on Ocean Drive!

Robyne Miles
Eugene

 

SERVE & PROTECT
This is in response to T. Medlock Tejada's letter (4/17). I too was at the protest at the federal building to observe for myself if all the letters written in protest of police intervention were true. What I saw in fact was quite the opposite. I saw police officers keeping a close eye on a situation in case of an incident. Granted the intention of the gathering was peaceful, but too many "peaceful" assemblies have gone sour lately for any police department to take lightly. Chicago, San Francisco, Portland and New York all had incidents rising from peaceful assemblies, San Francisco being one of the worst, with arrests in the thousands. And you cannot deny that such assemblies in Eugene have never gotten out of hand. I am not saying all protestors are violent animals, but you cannot deny the existence of idiots.

You use a lot of religious rhetoric as a dramatic way to put things, but let me remind you of a verse in the Bible itself: "Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil." I, of course, am not saying all protestors are evil, just the idiots. Did you know that in the gatherings in Portland, several incidents occurred: One man threw acid at a police officer, several protestors laid down in the streets and blocked off emergency vehicles, and several places of business were destroyed or damaged.

Yes, you and your "righteous majority" have the right or privilege to be there, or as it says in the Constitution (which the left says is so recklessly thrown aside), "the right to peaceably assemble." But the police also have the right, the second gatherings go south, to step in and, as they say, "serve and protect."

James Ready
Springfield

 

CRITICAL OF CRITIC
It is time to say something! I've let this go on for too long. What of this so-called film critic of yours, Lois Wadsworth? If she's wise, this is an alias. I have always questioned why critics think they should exist. However, if a publication decides to have such a thing, how about a critic that writes well and knows what he or she is writing about? In the case of EW, both qualities are missing.

This is not about disagreeing with the opinion of the film subject. It's about reviews that read like book reports. If one doesn't know anything about the art of filmmaking, they can just write a bad synopsis of the plot, and as a bonus, give away the ending! This fills space. Then make up some absurd angle about the characters that no one understands. If the readers don't get it, that's OK because it might confuse them into thinking the "critic" knows something they don't. Therefore, it's profound. Also be sure to leave out anything about the making of the picture, as this might confuse things (and give away the fact that the writer doesn't know anything). Then, publish the review two weeks after the film's opening after everyone has already seen it!

I just love the boldface "BORING" in the review of Phone Booth in the 4/17 issue. Ms. Wadsworth must be making a statement about herself! I do appreciate honesty in a person. (This is a good film by the way.) Isn't it time to hire someone who is knowledgeable about film making and is a competent writer?

Dub Taylor
Cottage Grove

 

PEOPLE'S PAPER
The part of EW I usually find the most fascinating is the Letters section. This past week, I checked out the "Web Letters" as well, and found that, with only one or two exceptions, they were just as well-written, cogent and valuable as the ones to which you allotted space in the print edition. I'd like to suggest that you print more of these letters, to help make the Weekly truly the "people's paper."

What should you cut to make room for this? While I appreciate the work and perspectives of Tony Corcoran and Tom Lininger, I hardly need to hear from them every week; once a month would be fine. The new "Music at the Clubs" format takes twice as much space and is much more difficult to read than the old grid-style calendar. By paring some of this fat, you'd have room to give more voice to diverse community members. On behalf of the many talented and passionate letter-writers who contribute to EW (or attempt to), thanks for considering this plea.

Chris Roth
Dexter

EDITOR'S NOTE: For the record, our new Clubs listings and photos actually take up the same space as the old grid. Also, Corcoran only writes when the Legislature is in session, and Lininger's days on the commission are numbered.

 


LETTERS POLICY: We welcome letters on all topics and will print as many as space allows. Please limit length to 250 words, keep submissions to once a month, and include your address and phone number for our files. E-mail to editor@eugeneweekly.com,
fax to 484-4044, or mail to 1251 Lincoln, Eugene 97401.


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