Letters to the Editor
Re "Independence 2.0" (Cover Story, Aug. 6): I agree with Lawrence Lessig that it's time to change the way we finance election campaigns. We only need to look at the successful systems of public campaign financing in Maine and Arizona to see that it is really possible. The key to their success is the provision for "fair fight funds," or matching funds, if a publicly funded candidate is being outspent by private money, including independent expenditures. See the impressive Bill Moyers short documentary, "Road to Clean Elections," at www.caclean.org.
California has a historic opportunity to create a pilot program for a similar system. A.B. 583, the Clean Money and Fair Elections Act, needs to pass the state Senate before Aug. 22. It is being opposed by lobbyists, who stand to lose the clout of check-writing if public financing takes hold in California.
You can send a free fax to Senate president pro tem Don Perata—who is a co-sponsor of the bill—at www.caclean.org/letters. Urge him to stand up to the lobbyists and move the Clean Money bill through the Senate.
If enough states use public financing, people will demand it at the federal level. It's time for the voters to pay the piper so that we can call the tunes.
Re "We Got Served" (The Fly, July 30): While I realize that "The Fly" is, I believe, supposed to be satirical (satire: a literary composition ... in which vices, abuses, follies, etc., are held up to scorn, derision or ridicule—American College Dictionary), I found "We Got Served" offensive. While I think there are may have been a better way of encouraging Metro to cover the House Judiciary Committee hearing on Executive Power, I was surprised to see protesters described as a "scruffy throng" and that Fly hoped for wild-eyed lunatics. Although I guess this was supposed to be humorous, I feel that it sounded demeaning to the thousands of local citizens who have participated in hundreds (thousands?) of anti-war, anti-Bush demonstrations in the last eight-plus years. Further, to describe Kucinich as a "yapping twerp," when he has courageously and tirelessly attempted to put impeachment "on the table," goading a practically comatose Democratic Congress to abandon their craven pandering, is unfortunate and sad. Not to mention protesters being described as "crackpots."
Dana St. George, Member, Silicon Valley Impeachment Coalition
How Can I Join?
Where can I sign up to join the esteemed and august Silicon Valley Impeachment Coalition? They are such kidders and have such a good sense of humor that how can anyone take their cause seriously (Letters, Aug. 16)? I can address their concerns, but first a little history. Impeachment of public officials is always on the table, but, according to the Constitution, "for high crimes and misdemeanors," which means breaking the law that you were sworn in to uphold. It is not a tool to remove a duly elected official because you don't like their politics or because you have policy disagreements or because your own president got impeached 10 years ago. So exactly which laws has this president broken?
Spying on U.S. citizens? They're right, this is no joking matter. But it didn't happen the way that these people say it happened. During times of war, there are normally numerous safety precautions taken and that was the case here with international communications. Only if there was sufficient reason to monitor international communications, because of known terrorist affiliations by one party, could this action take place. And if the same suspicious calls originated and were totally contained within the U.S., no monitoring was permitted. Then there is the honoring of congressional subpoenas, even if they have no legal basis, because one branch is not bound by subpoena law to another branch. This is a false issue and is only being used by one side as a political weapon to gain political advantage over the other side.
Then there is the false claim that the war in Iraq is illegal. Oh, really, and who says so? I can point to three separate documents that make it legal, at least in our courts. First, there is the U.S. Constitution, which gives the president the express right to "make" war in defense of our county's security. The Congress still must "declare" war and fund it, to have a war, but the president prosecutes it. Second, the 1998 Congressional Resolution that President Clinton signed calling for the removal of Saddam Hussein by force, if necessary. Third, U.N. Resolution 1441 in 2002 called for "regime change" in Iraq by force, if necessary. That's three legal documents that says we acted legally.
Haven't we learned anything from the lessons of the last president to be impeached? That, like him or hate him, it robs this country of its president at the exact time that it may need him the most to be strong, in the face of evil in the world?
Nancy Pelosi was correct today. Their effort is tantamount to a "fishing expedition" at best, and a lynch-mob action at worst.
Hearts Go OutOur hearts go out to the Unitarian Universalists of Knoxville who are hurting still from the violence in their sanctuary. One disturbed individual chose their church to attack because of its liberal views and support of same-sex couples. As Unitarian Universalists, we are sobered, but not silenced. We continue to speak out for economic and social justice, including the right of same-sex couples to marry. Our sanctuary remains a place of peace and shelter for all.
Kristi Iverson, Kathy Parmentier, Board of Trustees
Unitarian Universalist Church of Palo Alto