- The Washington Times - Monday, June 24, 2002

Spoiled liberals deserve a good booing

My blood began to boil after reading "Blaming America" (Inside Politics, Friday). For whom do leftist elites Ossie Davis, Ed Asner, Eve Ensler, Tony Kushner, Noam Chomsky and Gloria Steinem think they are speaking? Certainly not the 3,000-plus families who lost loved ones on September 11. Nor do they speak for those of us who toil all night in wind, rain and snow, maintaining telephone and electric service. Nor for bricklayers, roofers, plumbers, firefighters, police officers, carpenters, airline attendants, pilots or construction workers. Because of the very nature of their work, they are firmly rooted in reality. As for our fighting men who are searching caves in Afghanistan and maintaining flight lines on aircraft carriers, the answer is obvious.

What kind of financial status would Mr. Davis or Mr. Asner have if they had been born in Iraq or Iran? Does Miss Ensler think her play "The Vagina Monologues" would earn her accolades in Afghanistan? Would Miss Steinem have risen to prominence as a defender of women's rights in Libya? Would Mr. Chomsky be allowed to take positions against his country if he were an Iraqi teaching at a university in Iraq?

These spoiled brats must be booed from the public forum for spewing such nonsense. Maybe that would force them to reconsider the virtues of living in a liberal democracy.


EMMETT LAUER

Silver Spring

Impeachable position taken on President Kuchma

The June 15 World article "Embattled president in danger of ouster" is, in our opinion, far off the mark for the following reasons.

First, the headline assumes that Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma's days are numbered, something on-the-ground facts do not support. The parliament has just agreed, under great pressure, to elect one of the president's closest and most trusted associates as speaker, thus demonstrating that it is not a parliament that is prepared to remove the president from office.

Second, leaving aside the question of whether the president should be impeached, the only political result that could have suggested that an impeachment is possible would have been the election of an anti-presidential parliamentary majority in the parliamentary elections of March 31. It is true that such an anti-presidential majority might have been possible had the current 50-50 proportional/majority system been changed to all-proportional or had there been no pressure on the deputies elected in majority districts under the current system. The power of the president, however, was such that no change in the electoral system was possible, leaving the election of at least 50 percent of the parliament's membership subject to manipulation by oblast governors, all of whom are appointed by the president.

Third, the suggestion that the president chose former First Deputy Speaker Viktor Medvedchuk as chief of staff in order to increase Mr. Medvedchuk's chances of succeeding Mr. Kuchma as president is simply incorrect. The president was concerned about counterbalancing the increasing power of the Donetsk-based Regions of Ukraine party, now 55 to 60 members strong and the largest single party component in the pro-presidential For a United Ukraine parliamentary faction. With the parliament busily fragmenting into small self-interest groups and his own chosen speaker, the legislatively inexperienced Volodymyr Lytvyn, showing little talent at working the president's will, Mr. Kuchma turned to Mr. Medvedchuk, a clever, wily and ruthless inside player, as a his chief administrator and hatchet man.

Mr. Medvedchuk took the job knowing that it was an enormous burden but that it also carried with it immense potential rewards. In a country where the balance of power has tilted drastically in the direction of the president, being presidential chief of staff carries with it great power. But Mr. Medvedchuk clearly understood that in taking the job he diminished his opportunity to run for president. The position of chief of staff, which requires a lot of dirty work that this president any president, for that matter does not want to do, is an extremely poor platform upon which to run a presidential campaign.

We recognize that political writing is an art, not an exact science. The piece in question, however, missed the mark so badly that we felt obliged to address it.


JIM DAVIS

Political writer

Kyiv, Ukraine


E. MORGAN WILLIAMS

President

Ukraine Market Reform Group

Washington

Musing on mentoring D.C. children

President Bush's appeal to Americans to volunteer in their communities was warmly welcomed by those of us who serve needy children. So thank you for encouraging this by listing mentoring programs for at-risk youth in the box "How to start volunteering," which accompanied the article "Mentoring Benefits" (Metro, Monday). There are many worthy organizations in the District in need of inspired, energetic adults seeking to connect on a deeper level with their community, yet many have no idea where to find them.

The D.C. Children and Youth Investment Trust Corp. is a public-private partnership that gives grants to community-based organizations (CBOs) in the District that serve at-risk youth. Recognizing that learning cannot and should not be confined to the classroom, Mayor Anthony A. Williams this year asked the trust to participate in developing a new model, which includes CBOs, for summer enrichment programs for these children. Many of these community-based organizations depend heavily on private money and dedicated volunteers.

This summer, these innovative and diverse programs will serve 14,000 of our city's neediest children by providing them with safe and enriching out-of-school experiences. At the same time, they will allow those who care about this city and its children to engage in a community of mutual caring and understanding, an arrangement that provides mutual benefits. The muse of a recent volunteer at one of the trust-funded mentoring programs inspired him to write:

"Cross a river, dark and muddy worlds away yet within sight,

"Your entire world looks dark from my monuments of white.

"Still I cross the bridge this evening, spanning worlds not reconciled,

"For the hope most worth believing, for the future of a child."

Only by tapping the talent, vision and energy of this city's CBOs, private donors and volunteers can we infuse our youth programs with the new vitality and resources needed to create a brighter future for our children.

For more information about trust-funded organizations, summer youth programs and volunteer opportunities, please call the D.C. Children and Youth Investment Trust Corp. at 202/347-4441 or visit www.cyitc.org.


GREG ROBERTS

Executive director

D.C. Children and Youth Investment Trust Corp.

Washington

Crying wolf weakens congressional herding ability

President Bush, once a fiscally responsible shepherd, should take care to avoid further empty veto threats, as his flock is beginning to realize that there really is no wolf, at least not yet ("Veto threats by Bush ring hollow on the Hill," Page One Wednesday). His refusal to use the veto staff to bring in the stray sheep within his own party, who continue to spend taxpayer dollars in a keeping-up-with-the-Joneses fashion, has resulted in numerous compromises that have left holes in an already weakening platform.

However, according to a Bush administration official quoted in the article, "Why veto when the threat of a veto gets us what we want?" Does the Republican herd really want higher steel tariffs, farming subsidies and heavy-handed campaign finance "reform"?

Instead of shearing the sheep quickly and efficiently, Mr. Bush has chosen to trim a bit of wool here and snip a bit of wool there careful not to leave any patches in his coat of high approval ratings. If he continues to cry wolf, what will happen when he really intends to veto a bill? He already is beginning to lose his ability to herd. A flock with no shepherd in charge can drive itself over a cliff with the aid of only a few big-spending black sheep.


LAURA MAYBERRY

Associate policy analyst

National Taxpayers Union

Alexandria


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