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Friday, October 22, 2004

Reprinting something a friend wrote.

Zoogz Rift is one of my husband Richie's best friends and a longtime musical collaborator. Zoogz and I have had our disagreements in the past, but now we're also very good friends.

His ex-wife Laura is also a family friend, and she has for the longest time been very much an Ayn Rand fan and big-L libertarian. These current, extraordinary circumstances have made her come to a very different conclusion about whom to vote for this November 2nd.

Since ZR posted this on Usenet, I am taking it to mean that this is a 100% open letter and reprinting it here. Laura's reasoned analysis and eloquent writing style is worth spreading.

I am 49 years old and my political views have changed over the years. But whether I have considered myself liberal, conservative, libertarian, or just plain independent feminist (which is pretty much how I define myself politically right now) I have NEVER been as opposed to a president as I am to this president we have now.

Why? Here's the reasons in a nutshell.

1. Bush is not only interested in criminalizing abortion, he is against stem-cell research and is for a Human Life Amendment which would give a single cell, a zygote, the same right to life as a woman. Presumably, this would lead not only to all abortions being made illegal, but IUDs and birth control pills as well (both IUDs and birth control pills can interfere with the implantation of a fertilized egg), and in-vitro fertilization.

2. As a result of his anti-abortion views, his administration has re-instituted a gag rule that has cut off family planning aid to millions of Third World women. Keep in mind that hundreds of thousands of women DIE as a result of complications of pregnancy, childbirth, and during botched abortions, most of these deaths would be preventable if women could prevent unwanted and unaffordable pregnancies, and if necessary secure safe abortions.

How does the gag rule work? Any country that accepts family planning funds from the US can't even counsel women on abortions or perform abortions, even if they use their OWN money for the abortion counselling and abortion services. Abortion is LEGAL here but heaven forbid that women whose lives are threatened by pregnancy should be able to get abortions in the Third World where they need them the most.

3. The attacks under 9/11 occurred during Bush's watch. How dare he and his lackey Cheney (or is it the other way around) imply that this nation is safer under the Bush administration! Bush was warned REPEATEDLY by the CIA that Al Qaeda and specifically Osama bin Laden was planning an attack against the US and IGNORED those warnings (as well as information from the FBI and from sources within its own administration). The idea that planes could be used as bombs was KNOWN to the intelligence community from the mid-90s onward. As early as 1994 the French prevented an attempt to run a plane into the Eiffel tower.

Our "macho" leaders couldn't protect us against FOUR, count 'em FOUR, planes headed toward the World Trade Center, Pentagon, and the White House. It took passengers to save the White House. Clearly, Bush and the members of his administration aren't the only ones responsible for the intelligence lapse--members of the CIA, FBI, and past administrations dating all the way back to the Reagan administration bear some responsibility. It is interesting, however, that Bush opposed an independent commission to look into the causes of 9/11 and only gave in when political pressure mounted. (I'm also still wondering why those planes weren't shot out of the sky by the military as soon as it became known what was going on. They should have been. Hundreds would have still died but at least a thousand or two would have most likely been saved.)

4. Bush launched the war in Iraq under false pretenses and then failed to enact a PLAN for the reconstruction of Iraq. As a result he is making this country and this world a more dangerous place to live in by aiding and abetting our REAL enemies, which are Muslim fundamentalists.

Keep in mind that Saddam was a SECULAR dictator that the US supported in the 80s. So much for the "axis of evil." The attacks on 9/11 were committed by Islamic fundamentalists who are now STRONGER then they were previously. Our sons and daughters are dying for something worse than nothing--they are inadvertently aiding the enemy.

5. Bush pretends that countries like Saudi Arabia and Pakistan are our allies, when both countries treat women horribly (an example: a woman in Pakistan was recently sentenced to be gang-raped because HER BROTHER accused a high status male of sexually abusing him) and are connected at least indirectly with Al Qaeda. Osama bin Laden is a Saudi and most of the 9/11 attackers were Saudis. The Saudis have funded schools over all the Middle East that teach hatred toward the US and western values. Many of these schools are in Pakistan.

Pakistan also has leaked nuclear information to our known enemies and has a population, from everything I've read, that is extremely hostile to the US, viewing Osama bin Laden as a hero.

6. Bush has spent BILLIONS of dollars on this failed war instead of spending the money securing our ports, securing our nuclear arsenal, securing our chemical plants, producing vaccines against bioterrorist threats--and just producing vaccines, period--and most importantly creating energy independence so we can stop the idiocy of pretending that Arab countries are our friends. WE need their oil and we need to stop needing their oil.

This country needs a massive R&D plan for energy independence enacted NOW.

7. Over 1,000 American lives have been lost in GW Bush's "catastrophic success" (his words, not mine) and who knows how many Iraqi lives in order to rid the world of a dictator who was not threatening us.

Please note that the world is filled with dictators and monarchs every bit as murderous as Saddam Hussein was. Presently, hundreds of thousands of Sudanese are being killed, tortured and raped by Arab militias and millions are in imminent danger of death, all with the tacit support of the Sudanese government, and we are doing nothing.

In any case, the greater enemy, Iran, is next door. From what I've read, Saddam wanted Iran to believe he had nuclear weapons because he knew Iran might have such a capacity and he thought Iran would not attack Iraq if Iran thought Iraq was similarly endowed.

So what do we do? We attack Iraq. Imagine the irony if Iran drops a nuclear bomb on us when our boys are dying next door in Iraq.

8. Before 9/11 the Taliban was supported by the Bush administration, given millions of dollars, OUR money, this to people who treat women worse than we are allowed to treat cats and dogs. To be fair, other administrations also supported the Taliban and this country has supported foreign dictators in the fight against Communism (and before that in the fight against Nazi Germany) for decades. That said, GW Bush has carried the "natural" hypocrisy of government to new extremes with his idiotic "axis of evil" comments. Presumably none of these countries were terribly evil in the past. North Korea, Pakistan, and possibly Iran have nuclear weapons and all three of these countries have either leaders or populations extremely hostile toward the US. Why aren't we invading these countries?

9. Halliburton and other companies directly or indirectly associated with the Bush administration are winning no-bid contracts to reconstruct Iraq. The reconstruction of Iraq should be run mainly by Iraqis and the Iraqi people should be the main beneficiaries. Americans should not get rich from the destruction wrought by American bombs.

10. GW Bush is a lying "born again" ex-boozer, ex-thief, ex-vandal (yes, Bush had been arrested for drunk driving and disorderly conduct well past his teen years) who was apparently a failure in everything he attempted before he entered politics despite all the advantages wealth could buy; a wastrel who blew one million dollars of taxpayer money avoiding service in Vietnam learning to fly an obsolete plane and "serving" in Alabama doing God knows what. He and Cheney, another liar--imagine accusing Kerry and Edwards of being absent from the Senate when he knows damn well they have been on the campaign trail for many months--play the role of macho men but neither one of these cowards fought in Vietnam. Kerry, for all his faults, did. (Cheney, by the way, has two drunk driving arrests).

Check out for Bush's record of shame.

From what I've read, Ted Kennedy accused Bush of "arrogant ideological incompetence." Sounds right on the money to me. Not a fan of Mr. Ted but when you're right, you're right.

Please think about the future of this country, when you vote in November.

Please remember that we cannot be the policeman of the world. Free women here refuse to breed cannon fodder and when our military fills up with noncitizens and illegal immigrants we will be headed the way of the Roman Empire which stretched itself so thin it ended up hiring mercenaries to fight its endless battles until it finally collapsed as much from the inside out as from the outside in.

(NB: what are these "independent contractors" in Iraq if not hired mercenaries? I think we're closer to the Rome scenario than you think...--MKH)

Of course, Bush could try to reinstate the draft and force poor young men to die for his miserable mistake, and once re-elected he just might. Right now, he's putting off a major military offensive until AFTER the election. What colossal nerve--the fate of Iraq, its people, and our soldiers are simply a ploy in his election campaign.

This is the kind of man who makes me remember Richard Nixon with a great deal of fondness.

I urge you all to vote and to encourage all whom you know to vote as well.

Well, what more need be said? Throw the bastard out!