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Letters to the editor

June 04, 2006

Bartlett is hardly 'insulated'



To the editor:

An article entitled "Bartlett is confident in re-election bid despite Republican backlash" that appeared in the May 11 edition of the Frederick Gazette, offers a rare, almost shocking glimpse into Bartlett's political thinking. As he acknowledges voters' concerns about gas prices and the Iraq war, Bartlett views himself as "insulated" because of the positions he has personally taken.

Bartlett speaks of the need for a "national commitment with the breadth of the Apollo program" to tackle the looming energy crisis. Yet at the same time, he repeats his mantra of "less government and fewer taxes." What we have actually gotten from Bartlett is his consistent support for subsidies, tax breaks, anti-competitive mergers (such as Exxon-Mobil), and the erosion of environmental standards, all in favor of the oil companies. This has not been a national program to solve the energy crisis. This has been the enabling of record-breaking profits in exchange for record breaking campaign contributions.

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With regard to the war, Bartlett says that he was in favor of first obtaining United Nations approval. How bizarre. Throughout his political career, Bartlett has been opposed to the United Nations, consistently voting against paying our U.N. dues, and consistently characterizing our participation in the U.N. as a surrender of our sovereignty.

Bartlett adds that he "never felt we had a possibility of success (in the Iraq war)." Absolutely astounding. This is a congressman who voted for the pre-invasion resolution that gave the Bush administration blanket authority to use force in Iraq. Since then, he has voted for every appropriation for the war, the cost of which now exceeds $250 billion.

Further, Bartlett consistently expresses support for the Bush administration's conduct of the war, has opposed any kind of timetable for withdrawal, and, unlike even many of his Republican colleagues, opposes debating the war in Congress. All of this at the same time as he "never felt we had a possibility of success"!?

Barry Kissin

Candidate for Congress

Frederick, Md.




Not a fascist state yet, but moving that way



To the editor:

The word "fascist" is now appearing in the media with increasing regularity. It is used by dissenters of the policies of the Bush administration and is intended to project a sordid imagery on several of their activities. But, are these questionable actions serious enough to earn them the epithet "fascist"? History shows that the three fascist governments were very evil. "Fascism" may be used as a general term for what was common to all three axis powers participating in World War II.

Basically, fascism is a capitalist economy under a dictatorship. Racism, anti-Semitism, militarism, worship of the state and glorification of past history are typical values or practices which might surface under a fascist-type system. To what extent are the foregoing themes apparent in the Bush administration? Surely some of their actions and claims have the rancid odor of fascism. But, is the "smell test" sufficient to pin such an ugly tag on a ruling set? Maybe they are just inept wannabees.

In Germany, the industrial class fully supported Hitler in return for an assurance that their property was safe from communist encroachments. We have what might be called "crony capitalism" but this is still significantly different from the authoritarian regimes of Germany, Japan and Italy.

However, we do have a benevolent and potentially problematic alliance with what President Eisenhower called the "military-industrial complex." It is favored with tax relief, tax cuts, forgiveness of financial obligation such as whole retirement plans and tepid lobbying regulations, to mention only a few. They are courted and pampered by solicitous politicians so that they do not need a dictator as a security blanket.

From a military perspective, we really need to take a hard look at what is going on. Here we are dangerously close to the fascist style. The three major governments with fascist trappings made pre-emptive strikes to achieve their goal. Italy was first with its invasion of Ethiopia. Japan then swept over Indochina. Germany, emboldened by their success, took over the Rhineland, Austria, Sudetenland and Poland.

The neocons who advise Bush are proponents of preemption. The guise that it is for their own good is spurious. To bomb a country into powder so that you may force them to be a democracy is a moral absurdity. These neocons, along with a vast number of other Republicans, are the same people who will not lift a finger to give representation to people living in the nation's Capitol.

There are other features of the Bush hegemony that merit study. They readily take end-runs around the law - or at least laws they find inconvenient. They are lax in the prevention of torture and are easily persuaded to ignore civil rights. They give medals to the inept - the more inept, the bigger the medal. Most unforgivable is the deliberate intermixing of religion and politics to pacify select constituencies.

The warnings of those who are alarmed at this perceived move toward fascism should be taken seriously.

To suppose that we are immune from the seductive attraction of "the strong man on a horse" is a fatal delusion. Germany had more theological seminaries than any country in Europe and yet it became a willing victim to the barbarities of fascism. We may stop this march toward fascist trappings by a clean sweep in Washington.

Allan Powell

Hagerstown

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