Our leaders cannot be above the law John McCain's presidential campaign recently commented on the propriety of presidents authorizing illegal warrantless searches by proclaiming that the only ones complaining about this practice were "the ACLU and trial lawyers."
Thank you, Sen. McCain. As a trial lawyer, I have never been more proud of my profession. When a president puts himself above the law, and uses a "national emergency" and fear to justify breaking the laws of the country, it's good to know that someone is around to defend our legal system and remind us all that we are in fact a government of laws, not of men.
I sense that you, Sen. McCain, have found a convenient catch phrase, "trial lawyers," to serve as shorthand for anyone standing in the way of unbridled executive power, or any other conduct you would just as soon remain unexamined. (I bet "trial lawyers" gave you a pretty rough time when you were caught in the Keating Five scandal, didn't they?) Remember, however, that lots of bad people throughout history thought it acceptable to use whatever means necessary to achieve what they thought imperative or beyond question.
Didn't your mother ever teach you that "the ends don't justify the means"?
Terry Smiljanich, Clearwater Democrats should prepare for a GOP onslaught | June 6, letter
Obama keeps questionable company
The letter writer starts out by praising Barack Obama and then smearing John McCain. He then criticizes the Republicans because they will attack Obama during the campaign.
This is unbelievable hypocrisy. I wonder if he is also concerned about the attacks from liberal hate machines such as MoveOn.org? I wonder if he is concerned about the attacks coming from DNC chairman Howard "I hate Republicans" Dean? Obama has approved Dean remaining as chairman of the DNC. I wonder if the writer thinks this is Obama's first step in uniting Democrats and Republicans?
In addition, the writer says that Obama has a strong sense of right and wrong. I wonder where this "sense" was as he listened to his spiritual mentor, the bigot Rev. Jeremiah Wright, for 20 years? I wonder where this "sense" was as he entered into a real estate deal with his friend Tony Rezko who was just convicted of money laundering? I wonder where this "sense" was as he continued his membership in the Trinity United Church of Christ after it gave an award to Louis Farrakhan?
We are all judged by the company we keep and our actions. Obama's friends and associates, judgment, and sense of right and wrong are not impressive.
Louis Ciardulli, Safety Harbor
Back impeachment effort
Efforts to hold the Bush/Cheney administration accountable have taken another dramatic step forward. Congressman Dennis Kucinich this week introduced the first articles of impeachment against President Bush. It includes 35 articles detailing this administration's blatant abuse of power. I enthusiastically support this important bill.
I am grateful for Kucinich's leadership on this issue and for the steadfast support that countless Americans have given to these efforts to redeem our government and expose the crimes of Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney.
We should all be expanding our efforts to secure impeachment hearings in the Judiciary Committee for these new articles of impeachment against the president.
The articles present a stunning narrative of offenses that have gone well beyond previous crimes committed by any U.S. chief executive. In fact no president or vice president in history has done more to undermine our Constitution.
These allegations include the deliberate lies regarding weapons of mass destruction that led us to war and the approval of illegal wiretapping of U.S. citizens. The articles also offer new allegations of high crimes, including the explicit approval of the use of torture, which for high administration officials is a violation of treaties and U.S. law.
Write your congressman and urge him to support this bill.
Paul E. Ouellette, Spring Hill
In all truth, "Bush lied" is missing the point June 10, Fred Hiatt column
Deception was intended
So now we hear a report that President Bush didn't really lie. He just relied on what was called "intelligence community estimates" about nuclear weapons, biological and chemical weapons, and all the other misinformation that Americans were fed.
I wonder if people remember the howls of derision that greeted Bill Clinton when he wanted people to define "is." He was even impeached for lying.
A lie, we all know, is an attempt to deceive. The Bush administration made every attempt to deceive. To say that he did not really "lie" is legalese taken to its extreme. It is possible that Bush was so oblivious or stupid that he trusted those so-called intelligence estimates. But there is much evidence that he had already made up his mind that he wanted a war with Iraq. The rest was just an attempt to find a justification for it.
Please don't try to rationalize the war even more by saying that our administration was just mistaken. They were very many persons in the administration, in the intelligence communities, in the country as a whole who knew better, even with all the attempts to deceive.
Lucy Fuchs, Brandon
Gates is worth keeping
If the tenure of Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates ends with the inauguration of the new president, we will miss this shining star in our government. He has shown us that he is strong and competent by the way he handled both the Walter Reed Medical Center problem and the nuclear weapons fiasco in a prompt and decisive manner.
Could we hope that either of the candidates for presidency would continue his role in the new Cabinet? This would be especially commendable and valuable for Barack Obama as a positive move toward the bipartisanship so badly needed in Washington.
Liz Beceden, Spring Hill
Bense tarnishes reputation | June 11, editorial
In defense of Bense
As a member of the Taxation and Budget Reform Commission, I take exception to your editorial about Allan Bense. After 13 months and hundreds of meetings, Bense as chairman of the TBRC gave every side every possible opportunity to present their opinions.
With mounds of data, hours of presentations and public hearings, the commission advanced amendments that will allow the people of Florida to decide the fate of each. Remember it took 17 of the 25 members' votes to get on the ballot — not an easy task. And there was plenty of give and take on the part of all members when the fine-tuning took place.
I urge you to please follow your own advice at the end of the editorial, to "leave the exaggerations and distortions to the pro- and antivoucher groups that are sure to spend millions on fall campaigns." Your "job is to inform voters, not to trick them."
Nancy Riley, Clearwater