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Wishful thinking

To the Editor:

If the Colorado Lottery cleaned up its act and gave its customers accurate information ["Scratch 'n' Stiffed," Feb. 7], that would do very little to reduce the victimization of those customers, because of their inability to accurately interpret the odds of winning. As the late philosopher W.V. Quine observed, government-sponsored gambling is a subsidy of intelligence: The taxes of intelligent people are reduced at the expense of wishful thinkers. If the Lottery people were interested in full disclosure, they would include advice to abstain. It would not cripple the industry, judging from the experience with cigarettes. The real threat to the Lottery would be using its proceeds for a prudent funding of education programs.

-- Robert Irwin

Fill in the blanks

To the Editor:

Last week's Independent carried an article that was scurrilous, outrageous, rude and unfactual ["Washing His Hands: Retired Army General Wesley Clark defends controversial actions in Kosovo war"]. Heretofore, I've trusted your reporters to report on events with some measure of accuracy -- but the article of Wesley Clark's address to hundreds at Shove Chapel on Monday night [Feb. 4] ignored totally anything General Clark said in his speech and chose to wander off into the realms of conjecture, supposition and slanderous, sleazy name-calling.

You should be embarrassed by this brand of shoddy journalism. Every time this happens, you lose your readers -- even the most devoted.

-- Kathleen Fox Collins
Colorado Springs

Editor's note: The Independent chose not to focus on the content of General Wesley Clark's prepared speech, but rather on the substance of his past actions in Yugoslavia, for which he has been tagged both a war hero and a criminal.

License to brainwash

To the Editor:

General Wesley Clark defends the bombing of Serb national television, creating a precedent that could be turned against the United States. But if this precedent is "unthinkable," it is only from proximity; it is only if it were to happen on "our" shores that it would be outrageous. NBC television is a government propaganda organ. That it is not "widely recognized" as such is due only to the bourgeois state's pervasive brainwashing that it is a private enterprise, a position made utterly ridiculous when one realizes that licenses to broadcast are obtainable only in exchange for promises to serve the "public interest."

In order to be permitted to broadcast, television stations and networks must promise to be government propaganda organs. To those who would question this assertion, let me ask: Would a television network that ever called for the overthrow of the government be given a license, or would its license be renewed?

Mr. Clark: NBC, ABC and CBS, in any war against the United States, are by your standards "dual use" facilities. What will you say when a cruise missile destroys Rockefeller Center?

-- Daniel C. Boyer
Houghton, Mich.

A worldwide scandal

To the Editor:

Kudos to Kimberly Holcomb for castigating the Colorado Springs Right to Life organization, which created billboards to capitalize on the Sept. 11 tragedy so they could make a point about abortion [Letters to the Editor, Feb. 7]. They, as well as Father Bill Carmody in his letter in the same issue ["The Great Satan"], try to compare the tragedy of the deaths of living, feeling human beings killed on Sept. 11 with the use of abortion to terminate pregnancies.

A more plausible comparison would be the Inquisition of the Middle Ages with the current trend of the Catholic Church to compel everyone to accept its moral condemnation of abortion. This censure ruins the lives of many women, forcing them into unwanted motherhood, and creating needless guilt for those who choose to abort.

Instead of trying to instill guilt in these women, Father Carmody should be seeking to arouse guilt in those of his Brotherhood who abuse or sexually molest young children in their charge. These born children are the true "walking wounded" who will "never be the same." They are the ones who will suffer bad dreams and cry in an instant.

The crime of priestly pedophilia is becoming a worldwide scandal. In a landmark agreement in Ireland recently, the Catholic Church offered $110 million to compensate thousands of victims of sexual and physical abuse that occurred over several decades in church-run schools there. Now, with the high-profile trial of John Geoghan in Boston, these cases are no longer being hidden from the general public.

It is time for the Catholic Church to stop the Inquisition against women who choose abortion and concentrate instead on ending the suffering of born children -- the living, breathing, feeling, children who have been molested by the Church's own trusted priests.

-- Janet Brazill
Colorado Springs

Unwilling women, unwanted children

To the Editor:

The juxtaposition of letters on Feb. 7, from Father Bill Carmody and Kimberly Holcomb, is striking. Most people would have to agree with Kimberly that the billboards equating the unprovoked murder of thousands of people in New York on 9-11 with abortions are gross and tasteless. The victims of 9-11 had no relation to or contact with the terrorists; they were chosen as purely anonymous targets of a blind, fanatical hatred that thirsted for blood, anybody's blood.

No one likes abortions, but they are generally undertaken by women who feel a pregnancy is a specific threat to their health, their welfare, or even their lives -- women who find no other option acceptable.

We can approach the question of abortion from several angles. One is the realization that, if so many anti-abortion activists weren't also fighting against contraception, there wouldn't be nearly as many abortions needed.

Another angle is the fact that human beings with fully developed minds, both adults and children, are self-aware, thinking and reasoning individuals (although so many people refuse to use that last faculty that one begins to wonder why god bothered bestowing it on them). An early fetus, however, has the mental capacity of, say, a mouse, a deer or a cow -- creatures that few fundamentalists object to killing.

The final argument against abortion offered by the religious is always that it is against their god's will to terminate a pregnancy. Is it? Recent studies indicate that perhaps as many as 50 percent of pregnancies end in miscarriages. God certainly doesn't show the same reverence for the human fetus that his disciples would impute to him. Yet some people are ready to make unwilling women and unwanted children victims of their limited concept of a deity, just as terrorists are ready to die, and take with them innocent victims, for their own perverted view of their god.

Pro-lifers certainly have the right to put up disgusting billboards relating terrorists to abortions. And we others have the right to express our disgust.

-- Doris Drisgill
Colorado Springs

Below the belt

To the Editor:

I realize the great tragedy Father Bill Carmody feels for the lack of babies being born: it's that many less kids for Catholic priests to molest.

-- Eric Hedick
Port Jervis, N.Y.

Let freedom ring

To the Editor:

Yes, yes, and yes! I couldn't agree more with Cecil Bothwell's "Lessons in Suppression" [Your Turn, Jan. 24-30].

Prior to George Bush's appointment to president, I had explained McCarthyism to my children, then aged 9 and 13. Since then we have had notable discussions on propaganda, media responsibility, dictatorships, free speech, the '80s, etc., etc.

My particular favorite was when Bush was declaring war after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. I reassured them that, while a grievous act of terrorism had occurred, we were not at war and the president did not have the power to put us at war. I then showed them the Constitution to support my statement. Oops ... I must have gotten something wrong!

My boy has gotten teased and threatened for showing support for Gore, and my daughter actually had her life threatened for speaking out in history class against bombing Afghanistan.

The only thing I find more unbelievable than the current state in America is the number of people who either can't, or won't, see the whole picture.

I am a veteran and this country belongs to me. I don't intend to relinquish any of my freedom. I may have been too young in the '60s, but I'll do my time now.

Cecil, you just name the place and the time.

-- Toni Stanton
Colorado Springs

Hard act to follow

To the Editor:

Dick Morris ["Like Father ... Like Son," Jan. 31] seems to predict a single term for the appointed president, Bush II, because Mr. Bush "doesn't have an act two." I tend to agree that Bush has nothing saleable with which to hold onto his current high approval ratings, but the idea that the public will therefore turn him out in 2004 may be too optimistic.

Mr. Bush and the Republican handlers, for whom he really speaks, seem to have learned some lessons from the early retirement of his father. Having succeeded in converting the prevailing attitude of the public into a full-blown jingoistic war hysteria, and [having] effectively killed off the entire Bill of Rights, they may well figure that they don't really need any legitimate "act two." Their complete suppression of freedom of expression may well translate into complete control of the election of 2004, one way or another, even if the tide of public opinion does indeed turn against them.

Furthermore, act one may still be going on. Bush has already explicitly told us that he intends to continue his current war for many years, and I certainly believe him. As long as that lasts, it's hard to see how any successful opposition can emerge to Bush, unless the American people somehow find the courage to take on the government '60s-style, with mass demonstrations even in the face of violent police opposition. Sadly, that kind of courage seems to be mostly absent today.

-- Patrick L. Lilly
Occupied Cheyenne Caon

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