Letters

Dance (Un)Safe

RE: “Online Free Speech on the Line

07/07/00

These bills endanger our country’s young people and those who are uninformed about certain drugs. The fact is, drugs are going to stay around no matter what. If these bills pass, then much-needed information, including safety tips and education, will be eradicated.

Without access to such web sites as DanceSafe, kids going to raves or just experimenting with drugs will not have a reliable place to turn to for information and help. The reason so many people have gotten sick or died is because they weren’t educated and informed on how to use drugs safely.

Amanda Allred



07/07/00

The Methamphetamine Anti-Proliferation Act is clearly unconstitutional and borders on thought control. Its drafters do not distinguish between information, knowledge, and deed. When — not if — the Meth bill passes, the groundwork will be sufficiently in place for suppression of all unpopular speech — and hence the freedoms guaranteed to us by the Bill of Rights.

Daniel R. Haney



What’s good for the goose …

RE: “Tobacco Money Flows Both Ways

07/07/00

I’m delighted to see the tabacco money go to anti-tobacco liberals, considering the Republican Party always seems to outspend the Democrats during election time. Of course, I’m aware that the Democrats do have their own hefty contributors to begin with, and am not naive enough to think the party is poor, but in my opinion the playing field is never even.

Thomas D. Keenan



What are you smoking?

RE: “Tobacco Money Flows Both Ways

07/07/00

I agree that contingent fees and tort litigation generally must be amended. But this article seemed overly critical of contingent fees. As a lawyer for a small firm, I find that often the only way working people can obtain representation is through a contingent fee. I would be a fool to take a frivolous case on a contingency fee. Thus, to oppose lawyers working on contingent fees is to limit the power of working people in the courtroom.

Of course, in situations such as the tobacco cases, lawyers get an excessive reward. But using this as a representation of tort litigation on the whole is unfair.

Paul Lehto
Everett, Wash.



Geese and chickens and Democrats, oh my!

RE: “Tobacco Money Flows Both Ways

07/06/00

While the old adage, “Sauce for the goose; sauce for the gander,” would be apropos, I am more drawn to the “chicken or egg” metaphor. Why do Republicans support tort reform, and why do progressive lawyers oppose it and tend to support Democratic candidates?

It is conventional to suggest attorney avarice here, but that obscures the more salient issue: Big companies resent accountability, and if the contingency fees lawyers can collect are limited, they will have less of the financial wherewithal to help victims of large companies’ irresponsible behavior to pursue justice. After all, most of these victims are not going to be rich enough to go after such companies on their own.

Steven Chostler
Denver, Colo.



There goes our revenue model

RE: “Tobacco Money Flows Both Ways

07/06/00

The article (and your whole magazine, for that matter) doesn’t go far enough in looking for ways out of this mess. I’d rather see some discussion on how to reform the whole system rather than how each side is escalating the campaign spending arms race.

But the media, MoJo included, stand to lose too much ad revenue if campaign financing is reformed. So the media have joined the big money establishment in squashing any meaningful debate on reforming the entire campaign finance system. Where does this leave the public if even MoJo has turned into nothing more than a shallow, glossy bobo rag, complete with a bunch of trendy dot-com ads?

Chris Martens



Eroding freedom

RE: “Online Free Speech on the Line

07/06/00

Just saying “only the criminals will be prosecuted” ignores the fact that the interpretation of existing laws changes over time, so people not prosecuted now may very well be open to prosecution next year, simply because the next President’s drug czar will choose to take the law literally, rather than as it’s intended.

This subtle method of censorship erodes our Constitutional freedoms far more effectively than sweeping legislation. Anyone who has read “1984” by Orwell, “Methusala’s Children” by Heinlein, or Vonnegut, Jr.’s short story, “Harrison Bergeron” knows that freedoms aren’t swept away en masse (exept by military action), but rather eroded away by unnoticed riders on bills, “clarifying” amendments, and public will.

Merritt Nenneman



Don’t give us your wallet, either

RE: “Online Free Speech on the Line

I never wanted to burn the flag until they created legislation outlawing it. Now I want to start a drug-based website.

Chris Wing



We can’t go on like this

RE: “Border Hospitals on the Brink

07/05/00

Some day, a clear decision is going to have to be made: Adopt the libertarian position that people should be able to cross borders at will, or enforce laws and regulations governing ingress and egress from our nation. Currently, we have the worst of both worlds, with inconsistent and ineffective control of the border — maintaining the pretense of regulation — while rewarding those who are able to successfully evade mechanisms of control.

Perhaps if the people coming in were rich and white and we were relatively poor and nonwhite it would change matters, but the situation would still require resolution. It can’t go on this way forever.

Dan Raphael
Seattle, Wash.



Bill the feds

RE: “Border Hospitals on the Brink

07/05/00

The Border Patrol should not be calling 911 and then ducking the actual processing of the illegal immigrants they have discovered. The Border Patrol should be accompanying the ambulance to the hospital and completing the processing of their usual paperwork in much the same way that customs inspectors at major airports accompany and process smugglers of narcotics who become ill on their incoming airplane flights. Expensive? Sure. Why shouldn’t the feds pay? The INS policies are federal policies.

Why aren’t the southern border local governments, media, and federal legislators railing against this bill dumping by the feds?

Robert Kulaya



We could have guard dogs, too

RE: “Border Hospitals on the Brink

07/05/00

Did you know that some years ago the border guards put up a very workable plan for excess or illegal immigrants?

Put up a 12- to 14-foot-tall chain-link fence across the entire US/Mexico border. Put motion sensing lights and motion sensor alarms at strategic areas. Hire enough guards to triple the current number on patrol. All people captured would be immediately returned to Mexico. No holding and no hospitals.

Their plan to pay for it was this: At legal crossing points going to or coming from Mexico, everyone pays a $5 charge. All airports institute a $15 arrival and departure fee for all foreign flights. This means everybody pays, whether a US citizen or not.

The designers of the plan had all the figures to show that it was economically feasible and would not raise taxes in any way.

I think it was shot down because it was too logical and not properly PC.

Sandra Beene



Blood vengeance

RE: “Kosovo’s Vigilante Journalism

07/03/00

Vigilante journalism is quite compatible with the blood vengeance still living among Albanian population, and civilization level of their society. It is tragic that the West tolerates it.

Dr. Zoran Petrovic
Pittsburg State University



Quadruple standards

RE: “Online Free Speech on the Line

07/03/00

So what else is new? If the government can’t make any tax money on the illegal sale of drugs they’ll once again attempt to restrain even the mere mention of said drugs behind closed doors. Wave bye-bye to Amendment #1.

If they applied the same ridiculously ineffective laws to the real “gateway drugs,” i.e., caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco, the entire country would be in an uproar. But because those products have been pathetically and unfairly legitimized, the blame for our country’s drug “problem” falls on whatever substances seem to be the new fad. Legislate it away! Amend the constitution! Legislation is the cure for our ills!

By keeping the illegal drugs illegal, and the legal drugs legal, the system can’t turn the corner we all hope it someday will. Take away the forfeiture statutes and decriminalize the use of recreational drugs and see what happens; the number of prisoners in our penal system will be cut in half and those ridiculous billion-dollar packages we send to South America could be spent here on our own domestic issues. Now what would THAT do to the economy?

Allow the government to tax and subsidize the manufacture and distribution of all recreational drugs, just as they do with legal drugs (such as tobacco), and the drug “problem” is removed. Completely. Until the government can make some money on the deal, they don’t want any part of it. Those politicians don’t work for free, y’know.

Saaller Heiligen



The scared little government

RE: “Online Free Speech on the Line

07/03/00

Nothing, absolutely nothing, so terrifies government as the free flow of information. Especially the free flow of information the government doesn’t sanction, or that government minions find offensive. Methamphetamine is undoubtedly a dangerous drug, with long-term deleterious consequences as yet unknown. But government control is also a dangerous drug, and more of its deleterious consequences are known. The minions of the corporatocracy are busily trying to squelch all sorts of freedoms, but most fervent of all is the effort to squelch the power of the free flow of information via the Internet!

They censor it, spy on it, prosecute those whose tastes aren’t popular, etc. Those of us who value our freedoms must organize to stop such nonsense, or pretty soon, the corporations who control the country will be in control of content on the Internet, and we’ll all be much the poorer for it!

Robert H. Walters, Ph. D.
Clinical & Forensic Psychologist



The polka-dot ship

RE: “Abortion at Sea

07/03/00

I’m impressed with Dr. Gomperts’ plan for abortions at sea. I do worry about the after-effects women may suffer upon returning to their countries. Women continue to be dishonored, cast out of society, and murdered when we decide to take control of our lives. I hope support groups offering emotional counseling and physical protection are set up in these areas Gomperts plans to service. Working together as a group is the key to making a successful revolution in women’s health. I also hope there will be clinics in some shape or form to address post-abortion complications, should they occur.

I envision a lavender ship with bright pink polka dots sailing upon the embryotic fluid of Mother Earth’s womb, rescuing women from tyranny and unjustice! Good luck!

Kim Marcellino