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NEW TIMES CASE
Fearing all levels of government
The arrest of New Times founders Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin suggests that we ought to fear our government (even though the charges were later dropped). I have been concerned with government trampling of our liberty at the national level because of warrantless wiretapping, loss of habeus corpus, and heavy-handed tactics by government agencies, but the New Times incident suggests that the march toward a police state is also happening in my own back yard.
As a retired military officer and lifelong registered Republican, I don’t think I am being naïve about this. It saddens me that this growing authoritarian government is primarily the doing of people from my own political party.
The realization that a county attorney and county sheriff can make the kind of voluminous and detailed demands for information that were made on the New Times is truly chilling. Is the New Times a terrorist organization; are they harboring nuclear secrets; is the management part of a treasonous group? No.
The New Times’ sin is to have been regularly and repeatedly critical of the government officials who have now shown the New Times what raw power is all about. I was once under the impression that these kinds of tactics only existed in extreme authoritarian countries like Nazi Germany or the former Soviet Union.
Where are we going as a country and who are these government officials protecting? Any student of history knows that the greatest loss of liberty always comes not from some invading force but rather from one’s own government. It appears that our sheriff and county attorney wanted to give Maricopa County residents an example of what can happen if citizens challenge their authority.
An easy way in and out
Let’s face it, Sheriff Joe Arpaio and County Attorney Andrew Thomas hate the New Times. If they had any “probable cause” that the New Times committed a crime by posting Arpaio’s address on the Internet they would have arrested them years ago.
But an old saying goes that any good prosecutor can get a grand jury to indict a ham sandwich. And that’s probably the direction Thomas was taking. Get a grand jury to hang some felony charges on the folks at the New Times, even though no credible evidence exists that they committed a crime.
That way they can string up the New Times with some felony charges, and if they whole thing blows up in their faces they can say “don’t blame us, a grand jury indicted the New Times, not Sheriff Joe or Andy.”
Ahmadinejad must be confronted
Your editorial (Oct. 28, “Bush should stop saber-rattling on Iran”) is glaringly short-sighted in its conclusion that “(t)he Bush administration should concentrate on winning the two wars it already has before talking about starting a third.”
Regardless of the politically-inspired negativism representative of the Democratic Party and its leaders in Congress — and trumpeted on television and in print media’s editorial boardrooms — I am nevertheless extremely confident that the Bush administration and the Pentagon are very serious about concentrating on winning the wars we are currently engaged.
Iran is openly exerting itself as a major threat to peace and stability to the Middle East. Your editorial overlooks the fact that it has been Iran doing its own fair share of saber-rattling, promising to destroy Israel and mine the Strait of Hormuz to disrupt oil flow out of the gulf. Do you really believe Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s claim that his underground uranium enrichment program is only to be used to produce electricity? Whom do you trust? President Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice? Or Ahmadinejad?
Most importantly, however, is that there is overwhelming evidence that Iran is complicit in the killing and maiming of our men and women of the armed forces by manufacturing and supplying lethal improvised explosive devices and rockets to al-Qaida terrorists and insurgent forces in Iraq.
Like it or not, we as a nation do not have the luxury of picking and choosing when or where or against whom we must act to protect our national security interests. Iran needs to be confronted by someone. A little “bellicosity” and the stated position of the U.S. to not take the use of military force off the table seems to be the stronger of the policies available.
JOHN CROSBY JR.
An exploitation bill
Once again, Democratic politics is trumping common sense on the Trib letters page. For the benefit of readers like Barbara Beneitone (Letters, Oct. 24), the SCHIP Exploitation Bill Rep. Jeff Flake and others defeated is vetoproof for a reason: it would expand a program (created by a Republican Congress) intended for the poor into another behemoth that would insure illegals and their families, “children” up to age 25 and families making $80,000 a year. Thanks, folks, but we don’t need Clintonesque socialized medicine. We already spend half the government budget on entitlements. Not one of these misguided letters, including Rep. Harry Mitchell’s, addresses these facts about the bill.
While Beneitone bashes Flake about war spending and corruption, let me remind her that attacks on our troops in Iraq are now down 70 percent, according to British media sources (we rarely report that stuff here). Instead of trying to attack Flake and our troops, these critics should realize that some investments pay off. The Iraq war is going better now than the war on poverty ever did. We have avoided another 9/11. Why are Dems now trying to wage war on our own health care system?
We need to go in now
One reason I’ve always been so proud of America is because we have always championed the cause of freedom worldwide. If there is a nation in dire straights of any manner, the United States has always been their ready to serve, protect, and even die if need be, to liberate a society gripped by terror, evil and hate. Now with that statement out in the open, I for the life of me can’t understand why the United States has not ordered a fullscale invasion of war-torn Darfur, a region enslaved with blinding hunger and despair, and a people always at risk of mass slaughter any time militant guerillas invade one of Darfur’s villages.
I’m not saying other downtrodden countries don’t deserve United States military support, Lord knows wartorn regions of Iraq, Afghanistan and the Middle East need our support; but Darfur is in dire straits and I firmly believe our government needs to set aside funds and manpower so that citizens of Darfur can live in peace without fear of a militant guerilla-led mass slaughter at whim’s wish. The citizens of Darfur cry at sunrise because someone they loved dearly died from malnourishment or a bullet to their brain. I say let’s end Darfur’s suffering right now.
SRP planned well for drought
Atlanta has less than a 90-day supply of water remaining, according to recent news reports. Some suggested solutions “include piping water in from neighboring states, building more regional reservoirs, and setting up a statewide recycling system.” It does not appear as though any of these solutions will be available in the next 90 days to keep Atlanta from going dry.
Thanks, SRP, for planning for the future of central Arizona starting more than a 100 years ago.