Letters Page setup: January 30, 2006. Please feel free to comment about this blog and elements in this blog. All letters will be posted.
August 6, 2006
Alan Beggerow here. I’ve been surfing the ‘net to see the reactions from folks about the NY Times article I was featured in.

I appreciate that you not only commented on the Brooks article, but included it.  I haven’t been able to read Brooks’ article because I don’t have access to the paper itself, and I’ll be damned if I’m gonna pay to read it online, but I sure have heard about it.

I especially enjoyed your final comment suggesting Mr. Brooks try a turn as a Wal-Mart employee while I take my turn at writing a column.  I think I could do at least a credible job, while his over-inflated sense of ego and priviledge wouldn’t allow him to even entertain the idea.  That kind of ‘work’ is for the lower classes, the dumb, the unambitious, the uneducated.

I’ve read  many comments about the original Times article the past few days, and there doesn’t seem to be any half-way point to most of them.  Either I’m condemned as a  lazy, dead-weight moocher, (and those are some of the milder comments) or folks give me an Atta Boy.  But after 30 years in a steel mill,  my hide is pretty thick.  It’s nice to hear comments from folks that understand, and the negative ones I slough off.

Anyway, I’m in this for the long haul.  This is an issue that’s been long overdue for debate in this country.  I’ve posted on other sites on the web, for I want to keep this going as long as possible.  Not for any personal notoriety.  I don’t much give a damn about that.  But I personally know many who are not only in the same situation, but have it much worse.  I will always be  a working man at heart.  American labor of all sorts is the backbone of America.  It’s time it quits taking it on the chin.  I agree with your assessment of Brooks’ article: Bullshit, and more bullshit!

Keep on keepin’ on,

PS.  I’ve got a blog where I’m posting additional comments about all of this.  Give it a look sometime.

June 24, 2006
Hi Richard!
You ask for people to post comments. I wanted to add a few things about the Brooks column on university education in Europe, which is just so much blather. What he doesn't mention is how vastly superior European primary and secondary education is -- so much better, in fact, that your average EU citizen with no college experience is better read and more capable of critical thinking than many Americans currently grinding through the degree mill and assuming 80 grand in debt while they're at it.
Anyway, keep it up! Even Kos started out writing to what appeared to be a wilderness.

Jeffrey F. Obser

June 4, 2006
So I guess biweekly collumns commenting on immigration legislation isn't writing about "the current political scene."  Not to mention he is pro-immigration -- like any decent libertarian.  You just are writing that because you agree with his immigration stance, but find him easier to fit into your 2 dimensional
universe if he is a moustached villain with a monicle, tying liberal America to train tracks.  So here you
ignore his pro-immigration stance.

Seriously dude you need to find out what a libertarian is.  You take all these cheap shots against Tierney, but you just don't understand the principles that guide him.  We are fiscally conservative and socially liberal.  Gay marriage, go for it.  Legalization ofdrugs?  Amen.  Banning pain medication and throwing sick people in jail?  Wtf. But we are fiscally conservative.  Not because we hate
poor people.  Not because we want to be rich and take advantage of people.  But because historical and
economic evidence indicate that the private sector is much more effecient than the government at solving

We don't have any illusions about a "City on the Hill" with laissez faire capitalism, about a private market
utopia.  We don't think it's perfect, that the private sector is GREAT (because libertarians are against
corporate welfare, a la farm subsidies and bottom barrel leasing fees for oil companies), but it means
that the private sector just works better than government bureaucracy.

Alex Louis

Hi Alex,
I would agree that some elements of the private sector work better than the government, but not all, i.e. health care, public transit, etc. However, I do not perceive either Tierney or Brooks as being particularly libertarian, except where it suits them. Neither, for example, has spoken out (as has William Safire) on the usurpation of goverment by the Executive Branch, from illicit wiretapping to unconstitutional line item vetoes, all of which puts our country at risk of turning into a dictatorship. In addition, neither has spoken in favor of gay marriage, abortion rights, or any other socially liberal (and libertarian) idea. These propagandists use libertarianism whenever they wish, just as they lie whenever it suits them.

February 20, 2006
re: PLEASE don't take down the blog
It's important to have someone pick apart the subtle dissembling of these two (particularly Brooks - Tierney is a relative amateur).  You're really the only one doing it!  The world needs you!

Thanks for the effort that I know goes into your site.

St. Louis, MO

Hi Adam,
I'm not sure if the world needs me but I appreciate your comments. I've been wondering, though, whether it really is worth it to dissect and parse these two propagandists. Their acts never seem to change and they use the same tactics over and over again, particularly Brooks. I do feel proud of the fact that I may be the only blogger who understood that Linda Hirshman was using hyperbole in her Atlantic Monthly article on feminism today, and her letter to me was extremely gratifying. But it's a lot of work and I need to consider whether there are better ways to spend my time. Haven't made a decision yet, though.

February 18, 2006
re: Your Blog
Just wanted to let you know I am a regular reader, even though I am in Australia.
Starting seeing Brooks on the Lehrer Hour here, and superficially he looks reasonable, and balanced until you watch him "Flip Flop" according to the Party Line..witness the NSA spying, initially critically, then justifying it..also found out about his role in the Clinton witchunt.
Keep up the good work.
Regards, Khris

Hi Khris,
Two years ago I interviewed Eric Alterman, a leftist media critic who for a time was a commentator at MSNBC. During his very first program (which was also Ann Coulter's first program), he directly questioned Coulter about one of her more outrageous statements. The little plug in his ear said, "Eric, stop that. Don't be an asshole." It is not in the interests of broadcast media to question the words of any so-called expert pundit. Thus, Brooks can get away with virtually anything on the air, and there's nobody who is checking his facts or statements in the New York Times either. That's the main reason I started the blog. By allowing these pundits to make statements and never be held to account, the media owners have debased all of American journalism. It's a rare pundit indeed (Molly Ivins, by the way, is one of the few. I've interviewed Molly a few times for my radio show, and she's as terrific in person as she is in print) who is willing to cop to incorrect statements. I would like to credit firejoemorgan.com, a blog skewering sports journalism, for the idea behind this blog. I think we need more of this kind of accountability because, as I say, the mainstream media isn't doing it.
February 9, 2006
re: Smells Like Team Spirit
i guess you are completely oblivious to the fact that you just proved tierney's point, i.e. people will go to great lenghts to avoid challenging their political beliefs

Hi Alex:
Thanks for writing and getting this letters page started. Actually, I don't think Tierney was talking about close-mindedness in that particular piece, but rather about how extremism on both sides of the aisle is debasing the national debate. In point of fact, I think he's arguing a straw man, reiterating the Republican propaganda mantra that extremism in the Democratic Party is vocal and omnipresent. This mantra was reinforced a couple of days later by an administration spokesman who accused Hillary Clinton of being an extremist and a "Bush-hater". In fact, she's no such thing. She's a centrist who is opposed to Bush's more extreme policies and occasionally (not that often, in fact) speaks up against them.. Well-funded "think tanks" like the Heritage Foundation churn out pro-Republican propagandists by the bushel, all of whom use specific propaganda techniques while presenting common "talking point" messages, each of which reinforces one another on a daily basis. Therefore. it didn't surprise me that the day after Tierney talked about Democratic "extremists," the Administration made its comments. It's a lie to talk about extremists in both parties as if they have equal time in the mainstream media or Congress. I will say that I personally object to negative characterizations of Bush (as an idiot, or a chimp) because it makes the other side refer to my side as "Bush haters." I don't hate Bush personally, though images of him do make me gag. I object to the policies of his administration, which I believe are inhumane, and I object strongly to the cronyism, incompetence and corruption that we've seen in the last five years. In terms of my own closemindedness, I will say that if being an anti-fascist/anti-theocrat makes one close-minded to fascist and theocrat rhretoric and hate, then I guess I am close-minded.