Promises, Promises -- As a lifelong Democrat, retired military and a senior citizen, I must agree that George Bush is the most promising of today's presidential candidates. As a retired veteran, I know how much he promised us; as a senior citizen, I liked his promises on health care insurance and his promise to "leave no child behind," as well as his promises to increase the opportunity for more students to afford college education, to improve the environment and to make prescription drugs available.
I must further say that he was most consistent in his promises to each and all of those affected groups in that he failed to deliver to any of them. He did deliver to one dedicated group of followers, but I'm sorry to say that his most loyal followers include the top income brackets, the pharmaceutical industry, the prescription drug industry, the polluters of the environment and, especially, the morticians who daily handle the returning military from Iraq.
Clean Money Elections -- It is ironic that President Bush has decided to challenge the special interest fundraising of Sen. John Kerry, since he himself is taking in record amounts of contributions from corporate and special interests. President Bush has accepted at least $6.5 million in funds bundled by Washington influence peddlers in just the last year, 10 times what Sen. Kerry has accepted from lobbyists over a period of 15 years. Twelve federally registered lobbyists are Bush campaign Rangers, who have bundled at least $200,000 each. Forty-one federally registered lobbyists are Bush campaign Pioneers, who have bundled at least $100,000 each.
Clearly, Bush is the one who is being bankrolled by elite special interests, not Kerry. The presidential funding system needs to be radically reformed in order to eliminate the special interest money that influences White House policies and decisions. Let's have clean money elections.
Big Spenders -- So far, the war in Iraq has cost U.S. taxpayers more than $150 billion. It cost $14 billion between last September and last November alone. Not only do we not know how much more American taxpayers will have to pay, but also the Bush Administration won't even give us an estimate until after the election -- the costs of military operations in Iraq are not included in the 2005 budget.
This isn't surprising, as President Bush has misled us from the beginning as to why it was so important that we launch a pre-emptive war, hiding the ambiguity of the intelligence from Congress and the American people. Now we know that Iraq was not an imminent threat to us, and that we could have used more time to work toward a peaceful solution, or at least to build more international support, which would have lowered the price we're now paying, in both dollars and American lives.
President Bush must be held accountable for his actions. I hope our senators, Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell, will censure him for misleading the American people.
More of the Blues -- I read a small section where The Inlander mentioned the Spokane Blues Festival. My heart started racing and I eagerly awaited your next issue. We need more culture here in Spokane and I love the blues; it's the only music that soothes my soul. However, to my knowledge, there are only two places where you can catch legitimate blues: Hotteez and Annie Fannies, and then only one night a week. Sheesh. Oh, well. With incredible events like Bloomsday and Hoopfest, maybe there's some hope for this diamond in the rough.
I will wait to see your coverage of this great new festival. (They have Jerry Miller and Sammy Eubanks coming.) From what I've heard, the organizer and founder (local blues legend Dave Green) put this together on his dime using his own Visa. Way to go! We need more guys like that. My hat is off to you, Mr. Green. You make Spokane a better place. And while you're at it, visit www.SpokaneBluesFestival.com.
Spokane Valley, Wash.
Playing Favorites? -- How can The Inlander ignore Dennis Kucinich? This last issue of The Inlander (2/12/04) showcased the Democratic presidential candidates, yet did not show Kucinich on the cover. This, to me, does not make sense, because Kucinich came in third place in the state of Washington, beating Edwards and Clark (who were both on the front cover).
In my precinct alone, he tied John Kerry for delegates (both received three). In addition to all of this, Gen. Wesley Clark dropped out of the race. Perhaps The Inlander did not know Clark had quit when the paper went to print, but you certainly knew that Kucinich did really well in the state of Washington -- and in Spokane.
Is it really necessary to remind The Inlander that their major readership is around Spokane (and the Inland Northwest) and no matter how much they strive to be a national publication, their responsibility is to the people that read them and therefore who allow them to earn an income?
In Spokane County alone, Kucinich earned 83 delegates. He is attracting the attention of many voters in the Inland Northwest because many people are all too aware of labor issues, farm issues and environmental issues. It was a poor judgment call on the part of The Inlander to omit Kucinich from the front page. He has a shot in Washington, but not if The Inlander keeps interfering with a fair presentation of the candidates.
A Threat by Any Other Name... -- If, as the evidence seems to suggest, Iraq did not possess weapons of mass destruction (WMDs), one wonders how it could be a "grave and gathering threat," or "a unique and urgent threat," or "grave threat" to America.
These were all claims made by President Bush, in his nefarious effort to deceive the American public, and to stampede Congress into unconstitutionally abnegating its power to declare war.