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Web Letter

With the implementation of the Bush Doctrine, the United States is fast becoming the still more hostile Americans, whose arrogance the world cannot hope to avoid, not even by submission and servitude. We would plunder the world, stripping naked the land in our hunger, we loot even the oceans: we are driven by greed, if the enemy be rich; by ambition, if poor; neither the wealth of the east nor the west can satisfy us: we are the only people who behold wealth and indigence with equal passion to dominate. We ravage, we slaughter, we seize by false pretenses, and all of this we hail as the spread of freedom and democracy. And when in our wake nothing remains but a desert, we shall call that peace. Apologies to Cornelius Tacitus, De Vita Gnæi Julii Agricolæ cap. xxx (98 CE) in the Loeb Library ed., vol. 35, p. 80 (S.H. transl.).

Our relentless media cajole and agitate us to act against our best interests. Our career politicians are bought and sold like so many commodities. Our military complex is fed our wealth in an insatiable hunger for power. And so we forsake our infrastructure, our resources, our health and even our children.

Ask yourself: Why are we the only nation to garrison troops all over the world? Why do we ignore our domestic problems in the name of security and military superiority? Why has true patriotism been threatened by the emergence of blind nationalism? Why does theocracy and despotism threaten our constitution?

Without immediate change to a new path toward energy independence, a new diplomacy to foster mutual respect with misunderstood ethnicities and religions, a retreat from imperialistic military positioning and threats of war, and a renewed investment in our aging and failing domestic imperatives, the United States of America, my country that I love, I fear, has begun its waning years.

The undivided Roman Empire lasted 503 years (27 BCE to 395 CE). But the Roman Emperor Severus’ death marked the end of Pax Romana in 235 CE and the beginning of the end of the western empire. The last 240 years were marked by great civil upheaval, political instability and frequent invasion. The rise and fall of the republic lasted roughly the same number of years. Have we already concluded the days of the Pax Americana now? Can we change course? Do you want to?

Timothy Barrett

Louisville, KY

Oct 23 2008 - 2:59pm

Web Letter

I'd like to poke a hole in the over-inflated balloon of the Republican elder statesmen (like Ken Adelman, Christopher Buckley, even the sainted Colin Powell) who are crossing party lines to endorse Senator Obama. I am profoundly pro-Obama--at least as much as I've been anti-W--but I've held my position for eight years. I'm not more perceptive than these men. What I am, though, is moral--too moral to have averted my gaze from a clearly unqualified and anti-intellectual candidate with murky wins in '00 and '04, too moral to ignore a crafty running mate who, after "vetting" potential VP choices determines that he himself is the only possibility and then goes on to falsify evidence that would lead us into war and his cronies into fat, no-bid contracts, and too moral to ignore eight years--eight years!--of disastrous national and international policy that has brought this nation to its knees and toppled its supremacy. By propping up an anti-intellectual, theocratic, power-mad and ethically challenged leader, these elder statesmen have been complicit in our current myriad crises and have personally paved the way for the nomination of John McCain and his "barracuda" Sarah Palin--as anti-intellectual, theocratic, power-mad and ethically challenged as W, only with "the gloves off."

It's the nomination of Ms. Palin that seems to have turned away the Republican pundits more than anything else. But without their support of and excuses for the current Bush administration, she would never have been considered viable. Seeing the extent of the damage they have helped to cause, they reel away from their own handiwork with as much revulsion as Viktor Frankenstein. But like Dr. Frankenstein, they are solely responsible for their creation; the time for pitchforks and torches was after the Supreme Court decided the 2000 election. I hope their endorsements of Senator Obama are effective and swing votes to him; but I can't forgive the intellectuals of the GOP for legitimizing Mr. Bush and--unwillingly--Ms. Palin. Far beyond a single election, they may have helped destroy the United States of America.

Elizabeth Schwartz

San Diego, CA

Oct 23 2008 - 10:28am

Web Letter

10, 9, 8... countdown to an election! Elections often present difficult choices, as one should expect. A democratic form of government is not designed to be "neat" or easy; just look at our history and the current affairs of many democratic governments around the world.

Senator McCain has served our nation with great honor, and while he is a mature man, his "maverick" credentials are tarnished with many years of service in the US Congress, where he cast many more votes were cast for the status quo, rather than to disrupt or slow the relentless march toward a more powerful federal government. This, with his lack of clear focus on the need to limit the extent of governmental intervention into the economy in times of "crisis," suggests he is not a real conservative. Senator McCain is also very limited as a student and advocate of the US Constitution, as evidenced by his campaign finance "reforms" that were more effective as an assault on free speech than political corruption. Expanding governmental authority to restrict speech, particularly political speech, never leads to more freedom or better government.

But Senator Obama is the real threat to our economic and democratic systems. Yes, all politicians promise things that they can't deliver, but his preacher of over twenty years is a racist and his friends are criminals or Marxists (not a code name for "black") or, in at least one case, both. Sure, he funds leftist organizations that openly seek to undermine the electoral process in this country. But what we must focus on is that Senator Obama will move strongly toward nationalized healthcare. He might even want to start nationalizing part of our energy production as early 2011. He says he will also have government help pay for higher education for "middle-class" families and infuse the federal government even more deeply into our educational system, and so on... or so he says.

As the "Bush" tax cuts, which Obama opposes, are allowed to expire, and capital gains taxes, corporate taxes, estate taxes are increased, combined with a significant increase in income taxes for individuals with an income over $200,000, then every individual that actually works for a living and every business that can make a profit will pay higher taxes and/or prices for products. It is important to realize that the Obama "promise" of tax cuts" for 95 percent of all Americans is misleading at best!

Taxes will increase, the economic slowdown will likely deepen or at least the economy will "stall" for an extended period of time, with more "intervention" by an Obama government the likely consequence. Senator Obama knows no other solution than "government." He appears to know no other way to get votes than to promise more government intervention and more "help" from government. Yes, more and more money from the federal government, or rather your pocket, to "spread the wealth," to try to temporarily prop up the economy, to expand governmental involvement and control in healthcare, education, energy, etc., and, of course, to support "grassroots groups" like ACORN that will become organizational bases for his political machine of the future.

When we have ceded to "our" government the responsibility to meet our needs for financial security, to provide our health care, to pay for college, to provide energy... and that government then fails to meet those needs, as government (i.e., Congress) surely will, where will we then look to for solutions? A dictatorship will eventually follow, at first in the form of some central committee of "statespersons" and "experts." Can you say "First Secretary Pelosi," and "Premier Obama."

Admittedly, this may not be likely to happen in the next four or eight years. But did you know back in August that we were going to have a serious economic "crisis" in September? Could you have believed that the federal government would become an equity holder in our banking industry in October, and now will soon become a holder of individual home mortgages, all with not much more than a whimper from even our most conservative elected officials?

What is likely to happen in the next four to eight years or, as Senator Biden would contend, in the next six months, will be serious international challenges. Our next president will face complex foreign challenges. Paradoxically, the president with the weaker résumé may be the one more likely to be put in a position of deciding whether or not to use force, while the more "hawkish" candidate might not be challenged in the same way. By Senator Obama having taken the “no” to the surge "cut-and-run" position on Iraq, the question on the international nuclear stage in an Obama Presidency will be... where will he draw the line! Will the Senator (of four years), now president Obama, be forced to draw the line in an imprudent place, to prove his "strength" or in the alternative to confirm his leftist "credentials" of capitulation? These are serious and troubling questions.

The issue is not which candidate is perfect, or has all the right answers. The point of real concern is in what direction are we going with regard to expanding or limiting the authority of the central government, and what risks we are willing to take in the international arena?

Senator McCain is no "rock star" or even "Joe the Plumber," but I do have respect for his service to our county, and his experience and perseverance.

The "change" Obama promises, is not the change I want for my loved ones, my country or this world. I would rather place my faith in God and face the uncertainties of free enterprise and the inherent conflicts associated with free thought and speech, than to timidly share my "approved" Yugo for "the greater good" as defined by my "comrades." I don't want to send my children, or anyone’s child, to die in any war, so it is hard to vote for a Senator Obama when missteps by a president might lead to serious foreign conflicts.

So, if you honestly believe Senator Obama can deliver "universal" healthcare and provide higher education "to all," "save" the environment, and through "face to face" "no pre-condition" discussions with international terrorists achieve world peace--all while strengthening and not eroding our economic and democratic institutions--then please vote for Senator Obama. Otherwise, vote "no" on the Obama referendum!

john Sanderford

Kearney, MO

Oct 22 2008 - 2:43pm

Web Letter

Somehow you forgot the past eight years and all the liberals who wanted to kill Bush or have Cheney die. Google either phrase and you will come up with enough liberal hatred to expose your bias.

Scott R. Nellis

Belvidere, IL

Oct 20 2008 - 11:42pm

Web Letter

Amazing that this article mentions the infamous "kill him" incident without mention of the Secret Service agents present who said they heard no one say "kill him."

The agents must be part of the right wing conspiracy too I guess.

I anxiously await the article concerning a male Obama supporter beating a female McCain sign holder over the head with a stick. That actually happenned. But why bother reporting the truth if it doesn't fit the agenda?

Tim Smith

Des Moines, IO

Oct 20 2008 - 9:07pm

Web Letter

I am a registered Democrat who believes this article is one-sided. First, two points. To the dismay of journalists, the Secret Service cannot corroborate that "kill him" was yelled at a rally. Second, your intro mixes crazy smears found on blogs (e.g., Madrassa attendance) with real concerns (e.g., Ayers), in an attempt to discredit the legitimate concerns.

I believe this article is one-sided because journalists have continually talked about the hate from the right, while convienently ignoring the hate from the left. The Democratic party is not the same, and it is not a party I want to be associated with anymore. It appears to me that in the desire to win the White House, the DNC and Obama decided to copy the "winning" strategy of Rove. Where are the articles on the MO "truth squads?" Why is the media vetting Joe the Plumber? Why is no one asking about the rampant mysogyny from the Democrats, leading up to Obama supporters on his website wearing "Palin is a c**t T shirts?

It appears to me that in the desire to elect a Democrat, people are willing to abandon all standards. That is a scary place to be.

Lynn Ford

Austin, TX

Oct 20 2008 - 3:49pm

Web Letter

This article masterfully explains the context within which the GOP conducts its presidential campaigns (The destroy-your-opponent method did not start with Karl Rove).

So why does the GOP always take the low road? The "True Believer" convictions of the far right have always applied a religious fervor to their political ideas. It's simple, really: once we have convinced ourselves what we are doing is right for America (and thus "God's work"), we humans are then capabale of doing anything. Add the "mob mentality" component to this, and you have the perfect conditions for a uniquely human emotion: hate.

Roger Canteri

Arlington, VA

Oct 20 2008 - 1:53pm

Web Letter

Mr. Kim has written an excellent piece. Right now, the outrageous lies and filthy mud being dumped on Obama and his supporters by the McCain campaign are noticably deflating the hard- and honestly won lead Obama enjoyed as recently as last week. Therefore, perhaps the question we should ask ourselves is : What if Obama loses?

Will Obama's loss embolden the McCain /Palin supporters who are not bright enough to understand that they've been "hoodwinked" (as Obama often says)? There's a real chance that the hateful, racist elements making up a significant percentage of McCain's supporters will indeed see an Obama defeat as vindication and license to become even more boorish and threatening to the rest of us. It's not an impossible scenario, I'm very sorry to say.

Since a deeply disturbed Richard Nixon unleashed Lee Atwater and other know-no-bounds attack dogs in the fall of 1968. Rhe Republican Party's willingness to use darkness, hatred and fear has attracted more and more darkness, hatred and fear to that once "grand old party." It is now an empty, sorry shell of its former self.

Make no mistake, folks: If Obama loses, this country is in far deeper trouble than it seems, even now, after the Republicans' forty years worth of stunning, breathtaking corruption, lies and dirty tactics has brought this once-proud country to its knees.

Steven Kyriak

New York, NY

Oct 20 2008 - 11:42am

Web Letter

Mr. Kim's myopic political views cloud his objectivity.

First, I do not think that most Republicans "hate" Barack Obama. You should not base the sentiment of an entire party on a few crazy people yelling a few crazy things at a couple of rallies. Almost all Republicans would agree that "kill him" and "terrorist" are inappropriate comments.

In addition, when issues of Obama's past relationships or acceptance of socialist tenents are raised, it is not because of "hate." These are legitimate issues for many voters. One must wonder whether Obama shares the views of William Ayers and Reverend Wright. The fact that Obama refuses to answer simple questions about these associations makes one wonder. It is also a fact that wealth redistribution is a tenent of Marxist socialism. So, when Joe Biden says paying higher taxes is patriotic and Obama tells Joe the Plumber that it is time to spread the wealth, they are espousing socialist views. This is also a legitimate issue for voters. Raising these issues is not based on hate.

Think of it this way--if John McCain had launched his political career in the home of David Duke, he would have had a very short political career. Thirty years from now, if a candidate for president was friends with a "rehabilitated" Osama bid Laden people would ask a lot of questions. These comparisons to Obama's relationships are not based on hate, but based on legitimate questions.

Second, you act as if hate is a one-way street. Sure, there are Republicans who hate Democrats or maybe even hate Obama. But the sheer amount of hate directed at President Bush from Democrats is like nothing I have ever seen in my life. They hate everything he says and everything he does. They have a sort of blind hatred in which they hate everything without thought. Many compare him to Adolf Hitler, among other things. He has been called the Anti-Christ. He has been depicted in pictures with devil horns. Many have called for his death.

The biggest difference is that most Republicans would decry any hateful thing said about Obama. But I have never seen a Democrat second guess all of the hate directed at Bush. So whose party employes the barbarians?

Marcus Peterson

Glendale, CA

Oct 20 2008 - 11:04am

Web Letter

Here come the Thought Police. About all that you left out of this article was to call conservatives Nazis and to invoke the name Hitler to support this nonsense.

Talk about hate speech, you win hands down on that one. Let's review. You said the Republicans "stoke murderous madness," with their "Frankenstein monster freed from his creator." You go on to refer to the right wing's "paranoid imagination" and to typify some of its adherents as "trolls" and others as merely "soft propagandists" who wield "poisoned swords."

I'd say that was pretty hateful from a guy calling the other side hateful.

What really troubles me about your thought process is that you think spewing hate is OK if it is in the name of "civil rights and liberties, diplomacy and cosmopolitanism." I remember Barry Goldwater was destroyed over a similar thought process--"Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice." I guess hate speech in the defense of civil rights and liberties, diplomacy and cosmopolitanism is no vice either, huh?!

Roger Roney

Dallas, TX

Oct 20 2008 - 10:49am

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