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EVERYBODY'S COLUMN / Letters from our readers

>President's actions worthy of censure

At a time when Erie County languishes with excessive property taxes and a faltering budget, American taxpayers have had to shell out $380 billion for President Bush's failing war in Iraq. At the same time, this president has given huge tax cuts to the class that he serves, and more gravy to the military industrial class that profits from unnecessary war. After decades of cuts to social spending and years of ignoring global warming, the flooding and destruction of New Orleans illustrates the fruit of the "Republican Revolution." Soldiers and citizens suffer and die, while Halliburton profits.

On top of the global devastation, we face the collapse of our form of government and American values. Indiscriminate killing, concentration camps, torture and illegal domestic spying are not American institutions. There was a time when we had the courage to demand accountability from our leaders. Presidents were even impeached for violating the law.

Sen. Russ Feingold has bravely suggested that presidential disregard for the law deserves censure. Bush is the greatest threat to peace and security in the world today. Censure for violating the rights of every American is a small step back toward democracy.

Mark J. Ludwig
East Amherst

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>Didn't Bush learn anything over the last three years?

In a recent national security report, President Bush again advocated his policy of pre-emptive warfare, saying that "we do not rule out the use of force before attacks occur, even if uncertainty remains as to the time and place of the enemy's attack." Haven't we seen the disastrous consequences of these pre-emptive strikes?

Our troops have been engaged in Iraq for three years now, and the situation is worse than ever. Anti-U.S. sentiment and disorder are at an all-time high. This country's policy of striking first has not alleviated the danger to our nation, but increased it by creating a breeding ground for terrorists and insurgents of all kinds. We must not accept this audacity on the part of our government. Pre-emptive strikes may work against small bands of rebels, but when used against another nation, they can only lead to ruin. History is a testament to this fact.

Tim Baran
Lancaster

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>Liberals bashing president to promote their own agenda

It's the same old stuff -- liberals bad-mouthing the president. People all over the world see how we disrespect our elected officials and jump on that dissention. Maybe these liberals should start chanting, "Saddam lied, and thousands died," since it was Saddam who bluffed everyone into believing that he had weapons of mass destruction.

After the 2004 election, I had to listen to liberal Sen. John Kerry foaming at the mouth, saying how our troops in Iraq are kicking in doors, and scaring little children and women, etc. So the mantra that liberals care for our troops is all bull.

Remember our spineless president, Bill Clinton, doing absolutely nothing after terrorists blew up the Navy warship USS Cole? This, along with the many other unanswered attacks on Americans, allowed terrorists like al-Qaida and the Taliban to perpetrate even more attacks, including 9/1 1.

All liberal Democrats care about is their own political agenda. Do you want a nuclear Iran, just like Clinton let North Korea go nuclear? Do you want the whole world to be at risk from nuclear attack? Then vote for the liberal Democrats and seal our fate, and the fate of the world, for total destruction.

James Ziolkowski
10-year Navy veteran, disabled
Buffalo

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>Bush is trying to protect nation from more attacks

Except for the blame-America-first crowd, most Americans stood behind President Bush on 9/1 1 when he vowed to go after the terrorists and any country that aids them. Neither the hand-wringing liberals singing "give peace a chance," nor those flag-burning hippies of yore who lead protests today, has changed the mind of anyone who remembers the calculated murder of nearly 3,000 citizens.

I could respect the anti-Bush letter writers if they would honestly state their agenda. But most are anti-capitalist liberals. Their anti-war stance is an excuse to undermine our traditional culture and promote socialism: bigger government, higher taxes and more social programs, including socialized medicine.

They would relinquish American sovereignty to the United Nations and World Court. In the name of conservation and the environment, they would limit our use of gas, oil and electricity. They would eliminate God from the public consciousness and reduce the concept of sin to simple "good or bad choices."

To achieve their utopian dream, liberals rail against a president trying to protect his country against further attacks, undermine the morale of our military and give comfort to the enemy.

James Costa Jr.
Elma

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>Clinton can't understand simple economic principle

As noted in the March 19 News article, "Clinton gets an 'A' for effort, but her jobs promise remains unfulfilled," Sen. Hillary Clinton's promise for 200,000 new upstate jobs actually shows a loss of some 34,000 jobs over the five years she's been in office. Obviously this was an empty campaign promise used just to get elected, and she deserves an 'F.'

Clinton blames the Bush administration's "tax cuts for the rich" for her failure to create jobs in upstate New York when indeed the Bush economy nationwide is doing quite well. It is growing at a steady pace, adding close to 200,000 jobs monthly. Unemployment is low, and wages are going up. The truth is those tax cuts were across the board for all income levels and they worked.

Clinton said things could be different if Al Gore had won the election in 2000 and stayed the course her husband had set. Little does she know that job growth here has lagged the nation even during her husband's administration. If she had actually lived in New York State during the '90s, perhaps she would have known this. The bottom line is for job creation to happen, taxes need to be cut so the economy can grow. Since Clinton refuses to recognize this simple economic principle, she will continue to fail and should not be elected to any office.

Jim Pyrak
North Tonawanda

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>Senator certainly does not deserve an 'A' for effort

Was the March 19 article, "Clinton gets 'A' for effort, but her jobs promise remains unfulfilled," some kind of sarcasm? Let me get this straight. If upstate New York had the national average growth rate, we would have gained 133,500 jobs, but we are going to give praise to Sen. Hillary Clinton for losing 34,800 jobs. OK, then please give us an average senator.

Greg Powers
Lackawanna

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>Creating jobs in Albany won't benefit our region

I find it very interesting that the only place in upstate New York where Sen. Hillary Clinton was able to get positive job growth is Albany. Isn't this where all the government jobs are located? Yep, Clinton got some jobs, but where are all the private-sector jobs she promised to create?

Neil Noble
Orchard Park

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>Detaining Adams looks like petty political harassment

Gerry Adams, Sinn Fein leader, was stopped at the airport on his way to Buffalo by the "terror watch list." Doesn't it seem odd that he was coming from the White House, where he was an invited guest of President Bush? How did Adams get to the White House?

More importantly, why was he prevented from accepting Rep. Brian Higgins' invitation to the Irish Center? Could it be another case of incompetence by presidential aides that got him into Washington? Maybe overzealous airport screeners noticed he spoke with a brogue, sported a beard and mistook him for a Muslim, which kept him from the plane.

Personally, I think this is just another petty political harassment by Karl Rove-type Republicans -- a crude attempt to make Higgins look bad when his guest is a no-show. And Adams finds out what happens to those who don't wholeheartedly endorse the Bush plan for Ireland.

Henry N. Stahl Jr.
Amherst

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>Not everyone is sorry Adams was unable to visit

Let me see if I get this correct. Gerry Adams, leader of Sinn Fein, is "bewildered" at the Bush administration's refusal to allow him to raise money in the United States.

A few weeks ago Air Force One, with President Bush aboard, stopped at Shannon Airport to refuel on the route to and from India. The Irish press reported that Sinn Fein protested both times. The Irish minister of foreign affairs stated "a lot of American supporters of Sinn Fein will be very surprised to hear Sinn Fein state that the American president should not be allowed to refuel Air Force One in Shannon." Adams' party insults the U.S. president while asking for permission for a fund-raising visa.

Perhaps Rep. Brian Higgins can explain the dictates of common courtesy and respect to help Adams with his bewilderment before his next visit and visa request. Not everyone in Western New York is sorry Adams didn't arrive in Buffalo for St. Patrick's Day.

Edward M. Flynn
Secretary, Amherst Gaelic League
Cheektowaga

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>Treatment of Adams was truly insulting

I am writing this in hopes of getting some sort of logical explanation, although I must admit that my hopes for this outcome are extremely low. Can someone please explain to me the thought process used by our government in detaining Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams in Washington? I am curious and confused.

I don't understand how officials made the decision to detain him after he had sat not five feet away from the president of the United States during a luncheon at the White House. Did Homeland Security not check Adams out before the luncheon? Did he commit a faux pas at lunch and officials decided they couldn't let him run around our country having bad table manners?

Adams has worked tirelessly to end the violence in Northern Ireland. He has been a voice of peace. To have him detained as a terrorist threat, after breaking bread with the president, is insulting and an embarrassment to this country.

Holly Rankin
Cheektowaga

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>Sinn Fein leader has been a voice of peace

I am writing in regard to the March 18 News article, "Adams detained en route to Buffalo." Are we expected to believe that Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams' criticism of the Bush administration and his recent detention at a Washington airport, just hours after attending a function at the White House, have no connection?

It appears that the Transportation Security Administration cannot successfully detect bomb-making materials, as was recently reported, but is quite proficient in the role of President Bush's henchmen.

I am outraged that a man who has done so much to further the cause of Irish freedom through peaceful means has been treated in such a manner. Is there no end to this administration's vindictiveness?

Frank Duda
Williamsville

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>Perhaps Buffalo police owe the taxpayers money

There has been much discussion on both sides of the Buffalo parking ticket blitz. I believe that the people who are not in favor of these overzealous ticket writers are not asking the right questions.

If, as the police officers and their spokesman have stated over and over again, they are only doing their job in accordance with existing laws and ordinances, the question I have is: What in the world have they been doing in the past with all the extra time that they have now found? Why were they not doing their jobs before?

Perhaps the taxpayers have been paying for incompetence or dereliction of duty and therefore there should be a "credit" toward any wages that the police believe they are still owed under their current contract. Under this theory, perhaps the Buffalo police actually have a negative balance.

Joseph Merendino
Cheektowaga

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>Officers should crack down on more serious offenses

There has been much discussion recently about the parking ticket blitz being carried out by the Buffalo Police Deparment. While one cannot argue with the adage that "the law's the law," I question why the police have chosen to enforce this particular victimless "crime" and yet totally overlook a "crime" that I feel has reached almost epidemic proportions in our city -- namely that of cell phone use while driving.

If, as the new police commissioner has stated, we are entering a new era of zero tolerance for crime, why do we seldom, if ever, hear of a cell phone user getting pulled over and ticketed?

Is it because it would take a little more effort on the part of the police to ticket cell phone users, or is it that our new zero tolerance policy has become very selective as to what crimes we will not tolerate and what crimes we will?

Carol Kowalkowski
Buffalo

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