incoming (2007-02)

This minister went on to explain that immigrants recently arrived, through hard work and diligence were purchasing land and acquiring possessions, while blacks, having “lived here their entire lives,” have not.

The defining point here is that the immigrants aren’t looking to liberal social programs but opportunity, while in stark contrast is the absolute failure social programs begun in the United States arguably in the 1930s and certainly accelerated by the Johnson Administration in the 1960s have negatively impacted if not destroyed the work ethic, the family life and ambition of generations.

Would anyone care to debate how welfare, along with a myriad of other social programs in this country, have improved the lives of individuals, their sense of self-worth, strengthened families, encouraged achievement? We’ve wasted billions of dollars, despoiled families, retarded the economic growth of large segments of our population and created millions dependant upon the government and not themselves—liberalism is a well-meaning disease. You can argue how well-meaning the intentions, but results and statistics speak for themselves. Feed a man a fish and you feed him for a day, teach men to fish and you feed them for a lifetime. Unfortunately Liberals choose to feed a man fish, but only to make themselves feel better—the man’s needs come second.

  John A. Guerin

‘Fatal’ Flaws

“The marketplace should be the decider of these issues. It shouldn’t be legislated.” “Even if you have distaste for the habits of others it shouldn’t give you cause to have the state manage individual rights.” Restaurants, bars and any other business are not public spaces? They are private property. So, are you an advocator for the state and federal government to legislate what we can do in our own private business and homes?

As a journalist, what if you were prevented from writing about the smoking ban because of forced censorship?

In most instances, a censor is a sincerely concerned individual who believes that censorship can improve society, protect children, and restore what the censor sees as lost moral values. But that doesn’t mean he or she should be able to restrict what you write? You of all people shouldn’t be pleading for this cause for the government to issue legislation as what people can do in their personal businesses and homes. This line of thinking has fatal and misleading flaws.

Have you forgotten what the First Amendment is about? “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

Simply stated, we all want the freedom to make decisions about personal liberties, but some of us also want to make these decisions for our fellow citizens. Why? Is it because we think we know better?

“He that would make his own liberty secure, must guard even his enemy from opposition: for if he violates this duty he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself.”—Thomas Paine, Dissertation On First Principles Of Government

Gloria Fay Burris

Pollute Not!

Everyone has rights and should have the right to do what they please as long as they don’t infringe upon the rights of others. A minority of people do not have the right to pollute the air that the majority has the right to breathe. People have the right to breathe unpolluted air. Smokers do not have the right to pollute the air that everyone has to breathe.   

If a majority of the population does not want to be exposed to cigarette smoke, it is the responsibility of our legislators to enact protections for the majority. Speaker Jimmy Naifeh has the duty to ensure that the wishes of the majority are protected. He should not be allowed to impede legislation that protects the rights of “his” citizens.  

A smoker doesn’t just affect him or herself. A smoker puts off poison that “touches” everyone in the vicinity. People have known for years that cigarette smoke is unhealthy, dirty and smelly. Lungs are clogged with tar and nicotine, air filters get clogged with oozing brown goo and our roadsides are covered with cigarette butts.

Supporting this “right” does not make sense.  

Non-smokers working in a building full of cigarette smoke are exposed to poison on the worksite. OSHA regulates those safety issues. People are required to wear seatbelts. Many states have enacted laws to protect their majorities. It is time that Tennessee makes the logical, sensible and legal choice; a choice that protects the rights of its citizens! It’s time to tell your elected officials that you want them to protect your right to breathe unpolluted air! Contact Gov. Phil Bredesen (615-741-2001, ) and Speaker Jimmy Naifeh (901-476-9593, ).

John Meyers

An Overlooked Legacy

If Nixon had been held accountable for his crimes, would the Imperial Presidency have been as strengthened over the past three decades as it has been? Would it be as easy as it has been for a president and his team to lie and mislead us into an unjust and immoral war? Would the press have been so compliant and potential whistle-blowers so cowed if Nixon had gotten his just deserts? I don’t think so.

Ford’s pardon of Nixon gave us the affable Reagan and “low-intensity” conflict waged by client armies. Then came Bush I and Panama and the first Iraq War. In the background, always, were the shadowy figures of Kissinger and Rumsfeld and Cheney and an army of neocon “thinkers.” Gradually, we got to the point where it isn’t even necessary for a president to employ plumbers to plug leaks.

The vice president could just call a secret meeting, just him and his powerful friends discussing energy policy. Then, the president could decide to lead the country into a war—a “cakewalk,” as one of his “thinkers” described it. There didn’t have to be a reason to invade. The president and his team could just make up a reason. Then, when they were caught in one lie, they could just make up another—and the war could go on—just as in Nixon’s day. Just like Vietnam.

Now, we are told we are bringing democracy to Iraq, that all that bloodshed and all that misery will at last have a meaning and a purpose. Our troops will remain there, but they will just be training Iraqi forces and providing necessary security. Oh, and by the way, it will require a few more troops—just as in Nixon’s day. Just like Vietnam.

Someone other than a few enlisted troops should be held accountable for the tragedy of Iraq. Someone other than the officers now protesting this illegal and immoral war should be brought to trial. Someone should be impeached.

If no one but powerless grunts and conscience-stricken junior officers are punished, then these illegal, immoral wars will happen again and again—and Gerald Ford will be remembered as the president who saved the American presidency only to ensure that American freedoms were taken away by a far less noble president and the arrogant thugs who abetted him.

Gerald W. Bone


Jim Gray

Guidelines for Incoming Mail