Brew Ha Ha

Let me preface this letter by stating two things: 1) I think New Times is a fantastic publication, and 2) I am a reluctant Republican who loathes Senator John McCain.

Having these disclaimers in place will help qualify what I wish to convey. I want you to know how extremely disappointed I was in your article on the senator. It was a poorly written article on a poorly established subject. "Haunted by Spirits" (John Dougherty and Amy Silverman, February 17) was, by all intents and purposes, flimsy from the title to the very uninspiring and very unfunny finale. The article borderlined on irresponsible journalism, and I stand in awe that the editing staff allowed it to slip through into print. It read not like an informative, enlightening, responsible piece of writing, but as a weak, openly vindictive attempted expos' one might expect from the writers of The Jerry Springer Show.

Instead of seizing a tremendous opportunity to shed light on Senator McCain's true character, this article was so unintelligible that the public -- as evidenced by the poll results -- was largely left with no alternative but to assume that if this is the best dirt to be found on the senator, then he must actually be a valid, strong candidate after all! Subject matter such as that only gets one shot in the mainstream papers, and, unfortunately, you botched it.

Garrett Sirrine

I just read your article on John McCain's connection to the liquor industry. I was really shocked, not so much by McCain's incredibly close connections to a dubious industry, but by the fact that McCain is conveniently hiding it or playing it down. That stinks!

Having read Seymour Hirsh's The Dark Side of Camelot, and learning about the Kennedy family's involvement in the bootleg liquor industry, its ties to the Mafia and its subsequent ties to the Mafia during JFK's presidency and how this disgraced and stained our government, my belief is: The people of the United States should not elect a president who has been bought by men whose interests are tied with the Mafia. It is unholy, dangerous and irresponsible.

McCain may be a sincere man and a good politician, but no matter how good you may be, if you've compromised with the Mafia, you've sold your soul to the devil. We must never be so stupid as to let the Mafia come so close to our government, no matter what.

Thanks for the article and your desire to keep the public informed.

Nathalie Brun
Tujunga, California

I have no doubt that your expos' of Senator McCain is accurate. He is no angel and his supporters are not altruistic citizens. However, compared to "good old boy" Governor Bush, he is a shining light. Not since President Harding have so many self-serving industrialists joined together to crown one of their supporters (Bush). It appears that the people will choose a war hero over a successful Vietnam draft dodger.

David Lerner

We need someone as president who understands what it takes to get this country headed back in the right direction. The liberals have had the country going backward for more than 40 years, and it's going to take a strong person to correct the liberals' "mistakes." And to all you smoking and alcohol activists, this country has more pressing needs that should be taken care of first. As long as tobacco and alcohol are legal, people should have the right to kill themselves.

Jim Leggett
Bunnell, Florida

I would like John McCain to offer Americans an explanation for his hypocrisy. It is obvious McCain has decided that between alcohol and tobacco, alcohol is the lesser of the two evils. I suppose contributions of at least $103,000 from alcohol-related political action committees help make that decision.

Our "maverick" senator believes that by pushing for an additional $1.10-per-pack cigarette tax that he can divert attention from a comparable killer, alcohol. McCain is nothing more than a puppet controlled by his father-in-law, James Hensley. As pointed out, Hensley is chairman of Hensley & Company, controller of more than 60 percent of the beer market in Arizona through sales of more than 20 million cases of beer a year. Senator McCain is a clever sleight-of-hand magician. He focuses voters' attention on easy targets like Big Tobacco and makes his financial stake in alcohol disappear behind his wife's maiden name.

As for the hero John McCain paints himself to be, it's overplayed. Several members of my family and I served our country during times of conflict, but we only claim to have been doing our jobs like millions of other servicemen and women. In light of McCain's failed attempt to portray himself as a truthful man, maybe he should change the name of his presidential campaign bus from the "Straight Talk Express" to the "Fake Talk Express."

William A. Trush

Rose Garden

The New York Times has said: "Americans are being insulted by a political culture that places private gain ahead of public trust." It would seem that people as supposedly intelligent as Jack Rose, Jerry Porter and Tony West would know that the Corporation Commission is the last place where one should try to mix private gain with public service ("This Has Wrecked My Career," Terry Greene Sterling, February 24). When John McCain befriended and accepted favors from Duke Tully, Charles Keating and the Hensleys, at least he wasn't a member of or an adviser to a quasi-judicial body where decisions could benefit himself so quickly and directly.

In How to Overthrow the Government, rightist turned populist Arianna Huffington says that poverty and political reform are the primary moral issues today: "The economic boom of the 90s has masked a looming political crisis: a corrupt political system that auctions off public policy to the highest bidder, and leaves the overwhelming majority of Americans feeling alienated from their own government. . . . It's hard to escape the notion that the United States has been torn in two -- divided between a moneyed elite getting rich from insider deals and globalization and an increasing number of citizens left choking on the dust of Wall Street's galloping bulls."

McCain's current advocacy of political reform tends to mask his traditional Republican and plutocratic economic views that would exacerbate conditions for the bottom 50 percent of the population. However, congrats to McCain for making a start; most political leaders, including Jack Rose, don't have a clue.

Roland James


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