'Juvenile' Libertarian Prez Coverage Avoided Key Topics

After reading Tim Vanderpool's juvenile hatchet job on Libertarian presidential candidate Michael Badnarik ("The Simple Life," Currents, Sept. 9), my only reaction is amusement, and I expect it will backfire on the author. (Yeah sure, Rick LaPoint probably started it with his stupid "Weakly" comment--but I doubt that Rick's comment was the real reason for the tone of the piece.)

Thanks to the insightful work of Jim Nintzel and others with the paper, Libertarians have always received fair coverage, even when that requires a body blow to an individual Libertarian. Your readers will understand that our presidential candidate stands for more than what was in that article.

Also, this article fails miserably to meet the standard of journalism set by James Reel in the very same issue. Quoting from Media Watch: "Of course, true objectivity in journalism is a noble myth, but political reporters at least aren't supposed to make a show of their personal beliefs. Unless they are conservatives working for Rupert Murdoch."

Vanderpool's intent is clear when he deliberately avoids discussion of issues where your readership is likely to agree with Badnarik, such as the war (against it), the upcoming draft (against it), the Patriot Act (repeal it), the war on drugs (end it), etc. This article is so laughable, that I'd make a gentleman's bet that he actually helped our candidate by writing it.

David Euchner
Chairman, Pima County Libertarian Party

Libertarian Prez Coverage Accurate, But It Isn't That Simple

Tim Vanderpool's comments on our (Libertarian) positions are accurate, and I have no quarrel with them. Thanks for fairly representing what we believe. However, the characterization of them being overly simplified doesn't really do them justice. Yes, we believe in personal choice, but we would hold a person to the consequences of that personal choice. Choose to build in a flood plain and don't buy flood insurance--well, after the flood, rebuild at your own expense, not FEMA's (i.e., the taxpayers').

As for the withering away of religion, I personally know a number of Christian, Muslim and Jewish Libertarians (some of whom even believe in God). And the only parts of the state that will wither away are those that are unnecessarily intrusive, which unfortunately, at the federal level, is about 90 percent. The states are a different issue since they are supposed to have greater autonomy under federalism and may indeed create non-Libertarian solutions to political problems.

Tom Mathers

Illegal Labor Should be Truly Illegal

Leo Banks not only mentions the elephant in the room; he goes beyond the whining about how illegals are littering the Kolbe family homestead that we hear from the congressman's campaign, the racist baiting of pond scum like Joe Sweeney and the apologist maunderings of the Grijalva-Hoover camp ("Other Than Mexicans," Sept. 2).

The only fault in Banks' article is his casual dismissal of the average Tucson yuppie's (you know, "the foothills crowd") concern for cheap labor to install flagstone patios. Isn't the real issue our millions-of-dollars-per-day slavery habit? Where is the call from our heroic officials to mount a new war on addiction to cheap, illegal labor?

Randy Graf is the only politician I've heard argue in favor of actually shutting down businesses that knowingly employ illegal aliens, again proving the adage that even a blind pig finds an acorn occasionally. If you even suggest actively enforcing the $5,000-a-head federal penalty for employing undocumented workers, you will be immediately dismissed as either advocating the destruction of our steadily improving economy or being an insensitive and unfeeling lout. Think about it: Five grand a head at about, say, 10 million illegally employed and undocumented workers is a number so big we might even be able to increase the minimum wage here in Tucson to about $25 an hour.

Other than that, Banks is to be congratulated for his usual powerful writing. To paraphrase, there's an enemy on the border, and he is us.

Rick Spanier

Small pox Terror From Mexico?

Congratulations to Leo Banks for this riveting feature on the possibility of al-Qaida coming across our 2,000-mile, wide-open door for terrorists.

I have written a fiction novel, Target America, dealing with the scenario of Middle Eastern terrorists using the border towns as bases of operation to move freely back and forth.

We do know that nuclear warheads and small pox are missing from the former Soviet Union. What an ideal way to bring these "WMDs" into the United States. Risks today are too high to continue to allow the "flood" of foreign nationals across our border. I sincerely hope the catastrophic consequences of a smallpox epidemic are not needed to wake us up to immigration reform.

Rich Carroll

The Modern U.S. Definition of Religious Freedom

Regarding the article about Wiccans ("Pagan Predicament," Sept. 2): I don't understand why people say we don't have religious freedom in this country. You're free to worship at any Christian church you choose.

Janet Jones

Is McCain Being Bush's Buddy on Arizona's Behalf?

Regarding Renée Downing's article about the Republican convention (Sept. 9) and her speculation about John McCain's apparent fall from grace: I've been puzzling about this as well. The working theory appears to be that the GOP movers and shakers have told him that if he plays nice with W., they'll back him for president in 2008. I have lots of problems with that scenario: 1) McCain is smart enough to realize that promises from these bozos are completely worthless; 2) even if he did believe them, I don't think he's that low; and 3) I doubt that he's interested in running for the Senate again, much less the Oval Office.

I think the truth is that these movers and shakers have told McCain that if he wants Arizona to get squat in the way of federal money over the next four years, he'd better march to W.'s drummer.

Everyone out there should read (or re-read) Allen Drury's Advise and Consent to get a line on how these creatures operate. Another four years of this will be ugly. Look for a DeLay/Robertson ticket in '08.

Jim Secan

In Defense of Ironwood Pig Sanctuary

Regarding Steve Meiller's venomous letter about the Ironwood Pig Sanctuary ("The Most Offensive Letter We've Received in Weeks," Mailbag, Sept. 2): I am a former humane officer and supporter of Ironwood, and I can tell you that this is one of the best-run sanctuaries in the country. The founders and manager are very professional, dedicated people motivated solely by compassion for the plight of the thousands of pot bellied pigs. Pigs do not make good pets for most people. They need a very secure enclosure, dirt to root in and a very specific diet. Consequently, like many "fad animals," the vast majority end up being neglected, abused or discarded in shelters.

I agree that the middle of the desert isn't the ideal place for an animal sanctuary of any kind, but I imagine that Ironwood wanted to locate far from civilization so there wouldn't be any problems with neighbors. On the other hand, I would bet that the Marana farmers who grow alfalfa, cotton and other water-intensive crops suck up a lot more water than Ironwood ever will. And at least Ironwood's pigs are contained and will never wander freely over pristine desert like the cattle of our local ranchers, who pay cents on the dollar for the right to abuse our public lands. But unlike the ranchers and farmers, Ironwood isn't profit motivated.

Rita Gibbs


In "A Giant Burrito of Sorrow" (Cinema, Sept. 16), James DiGiovanna reported that Cheryl Tiegs was on Charlie's Angels, which is incorrect. He apologizes for the error and blames the Bush administration for it.
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