- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 3, 2004

GOP fuels class warfare

The Bush administration, like past Republican administrations, has engaged in class warfare ever since it took office in 2001 (“Class warfare isn’t classy,” Commentary, yesterday). This administration promotes government of the rich, by the rich, for the rich — a plutocracy. The GOP actually wages class warfare by promoting policies that overwhelmingly favor the rich few; Democrats, standing up for the many, are right to confront the Republicans for doing so.

The conservative Republicans’ ploy of accusing Democrats of class envy is the GOP’s attempt to divert the debate. In this most important presidential election year, both political parties should be debating this question: Is survival-of-the-fittest plutocracy the best way to achieve America’s goal of “justice for all”?

In our interdependent economic system, rich employers need workers just as much as employees need a job. Class warfare — Republican-style — is not classy.


Louisville, Ky.

A matter of jurisdiction

The Washington Times’ article regarding the opposition of Israel, the United States and the European Union to bringing the issue of Israel’s security fence to the International Court of Justice at the Hague (“U.S. argues World Court has no right to judge Israel,” World, Saturday) should have stressed that the World Court hears only cases where both parties have agreed to its jurisdiction.

It would be a precedent for the World Court to attempt to intervene in an internal political matter. The Palestinians have consistently tried to “internationalize”their struggle with Israel. The unfortunate outcome of the World Conference on Racism in Durban, South Africa, was an example of that.

Leftistorganizations known for political correctness, such as Amnesty International, are not an impartial source for views on Israel. Their pro-Palestinian policy has been in place for a long time. During the Cold War, Amnesty International consistently attacked U.S. policy and, for example, never attacked the Soviet Gulag. (It played no role in freeing refuseniks.)

A better and more objective source would be William B. Quandt, author of “Peace Process” and a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and vice provost for international affairs at the University of Virginia.


Providence, R.I.

Sorry, Miss Jackson

CBS, the NFL and MTV — especially MTV — should have heavy fines for the rot they put on the air during the game break (“FCC to probe Super Bowl show,” Page 1, yesterday). And that refers to the whole show, not just the famous “exposure.”

The excuse that it was some accident is ridiculous: Janet Jackson’s nipple had a medallion of some kind on it, clearly not something that would have served any purpose if it were to remain hidden. Old-time strippersdidn’twear “pasties” without showing them. Everyone was on the same page here; let’s not fool ourselves.

That said, the Super Bowl needs to cancel any halftime shows from now on; forget the lousy 20 minutes of revenue. They’ll survive. Let the fans get out of their seats, hit the restroom, get a beer, stretch, make a call home. Are we so jaded that every minute must be filled with excitement? Can’t we just turn it off for a short time without losing our way? Ever heard of an intermission?

Dignity seems to have died. Thanks, MTV and your fellow travelers; you’ve killed it.



Federal Communications Commissioner Michael Powell says: “I am outraged at what I saw during the halftime show. … Our nation’s children, parents and citizens deserve better.”

He’s talking about the fleeting shot of one of Janet Jackson’s breasts, but he could have been talking about the endless procession of ads for pills that induce erections.

However, the chances of Mr. Powell or anyone else in the Bush administration taking umbrage or action against a pharmaceutical company are about the same as the chances of me playing in next year’s Super Bowl. And winning.

Mr. Powell wants communications conglomerates bigger and bigger and bigger — so CBS asking corporate brother MTV (they’re both owned by giant media conglomerate Viacom) to produce the halftime show is what he gets.


Iowa City, Iowa

I don’t want to see Janet Jackson’s breast. I’ve already seen enough of Michael, and to be honest, one Jackson is enough for me.

And isn’t it rather paradoxical that the streaker who ran out onto the field and exposed himself to millions got an armed escort off the field, out of the facility, and likely prosecution and conviction, while Miss Jackson walked out under her own power? How about equal application of the law? Either give Miss Jackson the same treatment as the streaker or turn him loose.



FCC in a two-front war

It’s obvious to me that the author or authors of the editorial “The on-air war” (Monday) were not actually in San Antonio for the Federal CommunicationsCommission event and grossly misrepresented the protests that took place. I was one of those in line early that morning.

First, the editorial fails to mention that organizations often considered “conservative,” such as the Parents Television Council, were there as well as”liberal”groups. Speakers at the event reiterated that the FCC’s decision to weaken media-ownership rules had sparked criticism from a broad spectrum of politicians and organizations, ranging from Sen. Trent Lott, Texas’ own Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison and the National Rifle Association to Sen. Byron L. Dorgan, the AFL-CIO and the National Organization for Women. Let’s not cloud the issue by pitting one side against the other. The fact of the matter remains: The FCC handed a huge gift to the broadcasters in June 2003 by weakening ownership rules and put one of the basic tenets of a democracy — a free press — at risk.

Second, the assertion that those who testified at the hearing were not concerned citizens but representatives of a concerted plot is ridiculous. I had the privilege of standing in line with local civic leaders, mothers and teachers who wanted to voice their concerns over concentrated corporate ownership of public airways, the homogeneity of their local news and low-quality — often vulgar or violent — programming on all TV and radio stations in San Antonio.

Average people took off a day from work and cared enough to stand in line early in the morning to make their voices heard to the FCC. If that isn’t grass-roots, I do not know what is.


Field organizer

Texas Public Interest Research Group

San Antonio

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