Letters to the Editor, Jan. 6

Not going to take it…

“I Am MadAs Hell and I Am Not Going To Take It Anymore!” Recently, Ihave read Mr. Bill Forhan’s columns in your newspaper this last couple ofmonths and his lack of facts really "get under my skin."  

I believe Mr. Forhan, the publisher, is scraping the barrelbottom when it comes to factual and excellent journalism. I am so tired ofreading his opinion about State employees and State government not doing enoughfor the economy in this great State. He obviously has not done hisresearch and/or listened to Gov. Gregoire’s proposal to the legislature regardingthe budget for the next biennium. He seems to think State government andState employees do a disservice to the rest of us in the state.

State employees have taken pay cuts and now will see theirbenefits affected, contribute more to their health insurance and see less intheir retirement programs. They have been taking furlough days for over ayear now. Obviously you have not had to drive 50 plus miles to the licensingoffice to renew your driver’s license and found it closed because the onlystate employee had to take a furlough day. Boy, I am sure that wouldhave made him "mad as hell."  

Mr. Forhan is a poor excuse of a publisher when he does notdo his research and give accurate facts. He seems to be giving his opinionabout the state budget problems. 

The Governor stated she heard the taxpayers loud and clearwhen the election results for the Initiatives were final: No to taxincreases! Now, what we will see are big cuts to health care programsbecause the voters did not want to pay a few extra pennies on gum, pop andbottled water. In fact, the cuts may be so big that 66,000 people will not havehealth insurance due to the elimination of the Basic Health Plan in the state. We may also see elimination of cash grants and medical care for theDisability Lifeline Program and the elimination of the Children’s HealthProgram, which provides medical coverage for 27,000 children who may be in thestate illegally. This makes no sense to me. 

What makes me "Mad As Hell and Not Going To take ItAnymore" are the lies and false reporting Mr. Forhan is printing. It isbad enough we will feel so many of these budget cuts, but it truly is adisservice to the citizens in Okanogan County to read his perspective.  

Mr. Forhan should do his research and give facts and notjust his erroneous opinion. The citizens deserve more than this.  

Jean Pfeifer


Slavery vs Freedom

Several weeks ago the Publisher raised a question about theproper size of the federal government and its intake through taxation. Aresponding op-ed responded, rather persuasively, that only government can buildbridges, fix an industry, or maintain a standing army. It ended with anadmonishment to essentially be quiet and pay our taxes. 

The question is not trivial. Is the answer settled? A studyof both the federalist and anti-federalist papers surrounding the Constitutionratification debate would make it difficult to argue – much less prove – thatif the early citizens of the thirteen states had foreseen the size, power andscope of the federal government that would ensue, the Constitution would everhave been ratified – relatively enlightened as they were by the writings ofsuch men as John Locke and Charles-Louis Montesquieu. Were they simply tooshort-sighted to appreciate the demands of the twentieth and twenty-firstcenturies?

Some perspective is perhaps gained by reflecting on abouthow well we have preserved the one right that was closest to theirhearts-liberty. Liberty is the antithesis of slavery, which my edition ofWebster’s Dictionary defines as “held in servitude.” Montesquieu’s essentialidea of slavery is thrusting aside rule of law made with the consent of thegoverned in favor of the control of one’s actions, property and inalienablerights by a person or persons with the physical power to do so.

One fundamental right linked to liberty is the foundation ofall others: the writ of habeus corpus. Simply put, a writ of habeus corpus froma judge requires an officer of the branch of government holding the reins ofpower-the executive branch-to either charge a man under the law or set himfree. This right was established through 500 years of struggle with Englishkings, and was enshrined in our Declaration of Independence and theConstitution. Without it, the demise of all other rights embodied in theconcept of liberty is only a question of time.

We have seen this fundamental right of a citizen laid asidetime and again. A stroke of the pen was all it took to put 400,000 citizens ofJapanese ancestry behind barbed wire for three years. An artful stroke of thepen was all it took to create a prison on Cuban soil in which persons could beheld indefinitely beyond the reach of any courts. A stroke of someone’s pen isall that is needed to keep Bradley Manning in solitary confinement for over sixmonths without material evidence, charge or trial. Did each of these actionshave a compelling reason? 

A right which can be set aside by the unchecked decision ofone man is not inalienable.

The Roman Republic collapsed when its most fundamentalinstitutions were circumvented with claims of national expediency.

Benedict G. Armstrong