- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 9, 2003

Fine distinctions

In his otherwise fine review of Mark Falcoff’s “Cuba: The Morning After” (“After Castro, will Cuba’s communist regime survive?” Books, Sunday), Roger Fontaine strangely compares the 1996 Helms-Burton law to the notorious Platt Amendment, which gave the United States the right to intervene in Cuba’s internal affairs in the early 20th century. Strange in that in doing this, the conservative Mr. Fontaine parrots the propaganda of Fidel Castro and his minions. The comparison is nonsense.

Helms-Burton states that U.S. recognition of a new Cuban government is conditioned upon that government holding free and fair elections, releasing all political prisoners, and barring Fidel and Raul Castro from having any role in a future Cuba.

Maybe Mr. Fontaine believes this sets the bar too high, but I doubt 11 million long-suffering Cubans would agree with him.

JOSE R. CARDENAS

Vienna

Lewd NFL ‘show’

Thanks to Michelle Malkin for providing insight into the morals of those who have become role models for our youth (“Madonna and the children,” Commentary, Monday). Add to that the NFL “porn show” on the Mall last Thursday with the U.S. Capitol as scenery.

Where is the outrage? Did the National Park Service preview the program with Britney Spears et al. pantomiming sex on the Mall? Where is it written that disgusting displays with lewd rap noise must be a part of our lives? The NFL “show,” apparently endorsed by the Park Service, was sickening.

Our young women obviously emulate the costumes, and lack thereof, worn by stars such as Madonna and Miss Spears. Will the NFL be there to help innocent, uninformed teens when they are raped or worse because they excite lust in the strangest sorts of men (and apparently women, as well)?

Why are we not at least attempting to give our youth an option for decency?

It’s bad enough that young people can find porn and sexual perversion in the media, but now they can see it with other NFL fans — such as dads and moms who are not horrified.

We desecrate our national monuments — for a game? For money? For sex? Lust? Greed?

Islamists call us infidels. One look at the performances on our National Mall on Thursday certainly confirms this charge.

LYNN BATEMAN

Alexandria, Va.

Wrongheaded advertisement

While paid advertisements may be the financial lifeblood for many newspapers, I would have hoped that The Washington Times would have displayed more selectivity when confronted by an advertisement from a Holocaust denier (page A7, Sunday). Convicted of that crime in Germany and guilty of spreading his message of hate throughout the world, Ernst Zundel is not misunderstood and a victim, but instead an advocate of religious and racial hatred. He supports the extermination of not only Jews, but blacks and any other members of so-called inferior races.

It is disappointing that this modern exponent of Hitlerian hatred and mass murder would be allowed to use the pages of this newspaper to convey his message. Certainly, this full-page advertisement places your newspaper, or at least the individual who decided to run the advertisement, in a different and certainly not a favorable light.

When I brought a much smaller advertisement, an advertisement for a Holocaust denial book, to the attention of your rival newspaper, the individual in charge of that section ceased to run any further advertisements from that Holocaust denial source and an apology was forthcoming from the head of that newspaper.

Ernst Zundel does nor deserve any space in your newspaper. To have printed this travesty was a disgrace to your reputation of journalistic integrity.

NELSON MARANS

Silver Spring, Md.

For the love of money

Monday’s editorial, “McCain-Feingold and the First Amendment,” cogently questions whether barring soft money contributions to political campaigns is constitutional, but left unanswered whether other types of campaign finance reform might be both constitutional and wise. I submit that there are reforms that are both.

First, I interpret Article I, Section 4, and Article II, Section I of the Constitution as assigning primary management of elections to state governments, not the federal government, and I am disappointed that campaign reformers aren’t advocating state leadership in this matter. I think that statewide “beta tests” for reform options are the fastest way to develop viable national standards.

Second, if it is accepted that financing of campaigns by special interests is an invitation to abuse, perhaps a viable alternative to public financing is to limit the amount of time in which campaigns can accept contributions and during which they can buy election advertising. This logically would reduce both the amounts campaigns could raise and the amount they could sanely spend, but would not infringe upon the rights of donors. (It would be amusing to forecast the effects upon political parties, conventions and primary elections that such an approach to reform might spawn.)

DAVID M. HUDELSON

Horse Shoe, N.C.

Wrong on Medicare

After reading Robert Goldberg’s column in support of the current prescription drug benefit bills before Congress (“A new Medicare plan,” Op-Ed, yesterday), I could only wonder what bills Mr. Goldberg had read before writing it.

He claims that the bills currently in conference between the House and Senate include “conservative” and market-based principles. It took only a moment on the Internet to realize that, to be sure, the House version of the bill has a very limited competition factor — which would not take effect until 2010 — if at all. Mr. Goldberg neglects to include in his column two simple facts: First, the Senate version contains no such market forces or competition. Second, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, Massachusetts Democrat, has threatened to filibuster any final bill that contains those very provisions.

Before Mr. Goldberg spends any more ink exhorting conservatives to roll over for this “historic opportunity” to expand the federal government in a manner and degree that would make Franklin D. Roosevelt proud, he ought to spend more time getting his facts straight.

MIKE KREMPASKY

Falls Church, Va.

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