Letters for April 14, 2005

Restore civil liberties
As PATRIOT Act hearings begin on Capitol Hill, I was shocked to hear FBI Director Robert Mueller state that national security letter provisions should be expanded.

These letters are administrative subpoenas issued by individual agents, rubber stamped by their supervisors, and served on a variety of “financial” institutions (includes insurance companies, post offices and casinos, among others) to collect confidential client information. There is no court oversight or requirement of individualized suspicion of wrongdoing. That means an FBI agent can probe into your private life at will—in utter disregard of the Fourth Amendment—and in complete secrecy under penalty of law.

Google the words ‘bad cops’ to see why the Founders provided for checks and balances on police powers.

Thanks to these unconstitutional antiterrorism laws, Americans are more vulnerable to “unreasonable searches and seizures” and less “secure in our persons, houses, papers, and effects.” We are at far greater risk of identity theft and database abuse than of becoming the victim of a terrorist attack. Even the architect of the PATRIOT Act, Viet Dinh, has expressed concern over the use and misuse of databases.

Google database, abuse, police or FBI to see what I mean.

Bob Tregilus
Nevada Campaign to Defeat the Patriot Act

Hooked up
Re “It’s time to pull the plug on PBS” (RN&R, Right Hook, March 31):

Sometimes I disagree with Mike Lafferty, but your conservative columnist is starting to make some sense.

Although perhaps a better question to ask is how is it that Sesame Street and Barney were able to make millions (billions?) off of PBS? Didn’t Disney buy out the Muppets?

Ryan Atwater

All journalism is biased
Re “A new player” (RN&R, News, March 31):

I’ve been reading you paper for more than 8 years now and have many times been thankfully informed about issues I knew nothing or not enough about and pissed off over articles I disagreed with. But Dennis Myers’ article on one-sided journalism has to take the cake.

In my opinion, all media is at least leaning to one side, if not one-sided, including the RN&R. When reading the opinion page of any newspaper, you will always find erroneous statements by the writers that the papers’ editors publish regardless. It is an opinion, even though it may slander or incorrectly inform. For example, in the same RN&R issue, do we know for sure that Dan Hendricks’ boss is really a foolish jerk? What about any Roland & Cid cartoon? Where’s the journalistic scrutiny here? Read the Reno Gazette any day on the opinion page under “Our view,” and you will find no signatures at all. How about TV newscasts? Even though an anchor reads an unbiased news item, what’s with the body language or raised eyebrows? I have not seen or read the Patriot yet, but I will, and the laughable comment I made was not directed at Mr. Myers, for he wrote a truly thought-provoking article. It is laughable in our day to expect journalistic integrity, and we should all try to be as informed as possible to avoid being misled. Then form your own opinion and write a letter.

M.J. Bender
via e-mail

A cry for help
Re “Confessions of an eBay Opium Addict” (RN&R, News, March 17):

Having just read the article “Confessions of an eBay Opium Addict” on www.alternet.org, and on the chance that it is not the late posting of an April Fools’ Day joke, I am writing to ask you to assist the author in getting the help he needs. I don’t know if your organization provides any health insurance, but he needs to be in rehab. It just about broke my heart to read that story. If it isn’t a cry for help, I don’t know what is. If it is in your power or the power of your organization to do anything to help him, I pray that you will do so.

Laura Camp

Pot is a gift from God
Re “Pot Prohibition Madness” (RN&R, News, March 17):

With all the discredited, government-subsidized persecution of cannabis and the public’s subsequent brainwashing, it is important for cannabis users to know where they stand on the issue in biblical terms. It is biblically correct to re-legalize cannabis (kaneh bosm before the King James Version). It is no accident that the Bible indicates God created all the seed-bearing plants and said they were all good on literally the very first page of Genesis (1:11-12 and 29-30). The only biblical restriction placed on cannabis is that we use it with thanksgiving: See 1 Timothy 4:1-5, where it even describes who will promote its prohibition—those who have fallen away from the faith.

It is time for government to stop caging humans for using what is good.

Stan White
Dillon, Colo.