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Letters: Dec. 9, 2002

7 minute read

Hallelujah Time for the Republicans

“A political party like that of the Democrats, which has become a rubber stamp for the Republicans, has no future.” MARSHALL RAFTERY Brutus, Mich.

With only 40% of U.S. citizens showing up at the polls, the results of this election can hardly be called a mandate [ELECTION 2002, Nov. 18]. We should make Election Day a national holiday and push voter participation to–gasp!–50% or 60%. Only then could the words mandate and triumph be used honestly. MAGGIE DONALDSON Seattle

Strategist Karl Rove kept the Republican machinery running, but you forgot to mention the fuel. It was the phony threat of an attack by Iraq that dominated the headlines, making people forget that Osama bin Laden is still on the loose and the economy is going south. And the Democrats just sat on the sidelines wondering what happened. MAFALDA FAILLACE League City, Texas

Democrats want to believe they were somehow outsmarted in the past election or two. But they are completely missing the point. The American people know the real thing when they see it, and that’s why they responded to George W. Bush’s party on Election Day. JERRY SHENK Harrisburg, Pa.

While Bush and his buddies are lining their pockets at our expense, wrongly demonized liberals continue to look quietly for compassionate and sustainable solutions to the problems that face us. Now we liberals need to step up and yell, “Enough greed!” JOE BEVILACQUA Napanoch, N.Y.

Your reporting on the midterm elections was perhaps an unwitting testament to how pathetic the U.S. political system has become. What a waste of resources! If our political parties, elected officials and their various minions would devote their time, energy and money to solving the country’s problems instead of perpetually scheming to maintain and extend their power, we would all be a lot better off. JOSEPH MORAN St. Petersburg, Fla.

The Democrats seemed to be for nothing or against everything; they deserved to be humbled. Imagine the amount of hollering we would have had to endure had the Democrats scored a victory. Bush has delivered on his pledge to change the tone in Washington. As an independent, I welcome and appreciate the difference. DEREK SCHMALZRIED San Diego

–Some readers felt the cover photo of President Bush and Karl Rove enjoying a laugh in the Oval Office in April 2001 was misleading. “The President went out of his way to avoid any hint of gloating over the election results,” wrote a reader from upstate New York, “so how did TIME depict him? Smiling in an old picture that gave exactly the opposite impression. Shame on you.” A Georgian was just as disgusted: “Your snide attempt to convey that Bush was gloating was below the loosest journalistic standards. Unbelievable!” But an Arizonan thought the picture could be put to practical use: “Democratic members of Congress should pin the cover to their office wall as a grim reminder of what should never happen again.”

Remote-Control Rubout

Your article “They Didn’t Know What Hit Them” [WORLD, Nov. 18] described how in Yemen an American Predator drone fired a missile by remote control into a car carrying suspected terrorists and killed them. You said, “U.S. officials think” that one of the six killed was Kamal Derwish, “a Yemeni American cited in federal court papers as the ringleader of an alleged terrorist sleeper cell” in the U.S. Another victim, “according to Yemeni officials,” was a former bodyguard of bin Laden’s. Apparently, the U.S. now kills without judicial trials and without questions. Are we nothing more than technically advanced snipers and terrorists? STEFAN SALINAS San Francisco

Resorting to America’s own form of terrorism, as happened in the Yemeni desert, is reckless and will serve only to breed more terrorists. CHRIS E. ROACH Austin, Texas

Arafat Gets Audited

I commend TIME for the article on the investigation into the finances of Yasser Arafat and the Palestinian Authority [WORLD, Nov. 18]. You revealed the past difficulty in uncovering corruption in the Palestinian Authority. The efforts of the team of American accountants who are helping the new Palestinian Finance Minister are welcome. Their investigation represents a step away from the failed leadership of Arafat and offers a more positive approach to coexistence with Israel. DAN FENDEL Piedmont, Calif.

At last, Arafat’s monopoly on money is being exposed, and everyone can see the fraud and corruption that has been, and no doubt is still, taking place. Your article did a service for the Palestinian people, whose suffering has increased as a result of Arafat’s manipulation of sizable contributions from the world at large. The piece also informed the international community, which up to now has stubbornly refused to see this corruption. VIVIAN LERER Belle Harbor, N.Y.

End of an Era?

Congratulations on Margaret Carlson’s excellent analysis of Bill Clinton’s loss of influence in our national political process [PUBLIC EYE, Nov. 18]. Although Al Gore’s potential power is uncertain, his distancing himself in 2000 from the former President shows that Gore had more wisdom than did many of this year’s Democratic candidates. Old Clinton allies and some of the media are tired of justifying Clinton’s unsavory conduct. TOM ARON Longmont, Colo.

In drawing a distinction between Clinton and Bush, Carlson stated, “Clinton revered CEOs; they now appear regularly in televised perp walks.” Is she serious? Has she ever heard of Enron chairman Kenneth Lay and his long-standing, cozy relationship with Dubya? The Bush Administration reveres CEOs and corporate America more than any prior Administration. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney have permitted the corporate heads of the energy industry to secretly influence government policy in that area and to date have refused oversight requests for accountability. During the Clinton Administration, this behavior was called scandalous. RICHARD IAN DERFLER Wyckoff, N.J.

Cutting-Edge Creations

Re your report on the coolest inventions of the year [Nov. 18]: Many of the inventions employ digital electronics with no outward sign of a complicated computer. These inventions will help us build products that will improve the quality of life without too much technological complexity. BUCK KULKARNI White Plains, N.Y.

I was astonished by the story about the vaccine made from freeze-dried tomato juice that comes from fruit carrying a gene from a strain of the E. coli bacterium. This vaccine can fight off diarrheal diseases. I didn’t realize such a thing was possible. I’m glad to know there are scientists trying to find better ways to combat disease in impoverished Third World countries. MARIA MAMAH Union Springs, N.Y.

Hooked on Shoplifting

The publicity surrounding actress Winona Ryder’s shoplifting trial should help educate people about the emotional, psychological and addictive aspects of shoplifting [BEHAVIOR, Nov. 18]. As a recovering shoplifter, I have never made excuses or denied responsibility for my shoplifting but, rather, sought therapeutic help. I eventually discovered that I was addicted to shoplifting and felt very ashamed. In 1992 I founded Cleptomaniacs and Shoplifters Anonymous. I found the help I needed, as have more than 600 people who have attended our weekly group meetings. One out of every 11 people shoplifts, and most do it not out of need or greed but because of underlying issues or addictive patterns. There is help on our website at www.shopliftersanonymous.com TERRENCE SHULMAN Southfield, Mich.

Why must celebrities be excused for everything? Some people seem to think that Ryder should not be punished but simply understood. Come on! When will these people accept responsibility for their wrongdoing? If Ryder’s filching of clothing is excusable, the same kind of justice should be available to everyone, not just movie stars and people with money. GERARDO JIMENEZ Pittsburgh, Pa.

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