Category "Viewer Commentary & Response"

Appreciating Phil Donahue on USTV

July 23rd, 2006 by Andy in Viewer Commentary & Response

I appreiciate very much your broadcasting the interview with Phil Donahue. Phil speaks the truth, I miss viewing his TV program, and daily stimuli.

He still has that elusive “IT,” and although starting to show his age, he still is very much with it. Oprah or Jon Stewart should employ, or subsidize/sponser a T.V. or radio program for him. Ralph Nader and Phil Donahue should partner in something…anything. They need to spank their agents, or get new ones, to stay in the limelight. Americans need to be re-awakened, the few that aren’t totally apathetic. I guess my political science instructor in high school was correct when he expressed to the class one day, “The Masses are Asses.”

I’ve placed your web site on my favorites list.

Thanks again,
Frank A.
Portland, Oregon

USTV vs. The Pusillanimous Finger Pointers

July 9th, 2006 by Andy in Viewer Commentary & Response

Occasionally we hear from viewers who don’t share (or understand) our perspectives and purposes.

You are trying to project your own fears upon your audience—wasn’t it Franklin D. Roosevelt who said that the only thing to fear is fear itself? Why then are you portraying George Bush as some unstoppable monster, when it’s clear he has already become a lame-duck president?

The time to fear the power of the President was in the 90’s, when President Clinton and Attorney General Reno decided to kill American citizens and destroy private property in Waco, Texas.

Are you guys afraid of government surveillance? How long was Randy Weaver spied on? All he did was attempt to sell a shotgun, and he ended up losing his wife and child in an FBI/ATF shootout. And then, Ms. Reno struck again in Florida, when she and Clinton authorized a military exercise to remove a young Hispanic child from his relatives’ house. The real reason for the invasion was that the government suspected a cache of arms was hidden somewhere in the house. It was faulty intelligence that led to that egregious invasion of privacy and unwarranted search and seizure.

Yes, the 90’s were years to fear the government. While the Clinton administration hounded American citizens, it did nothing to stop terrorist attacks against American interests. The World Trade Center was first bombed in 1993. Remember? Our Marines were attacked abroad–remember? How about the attack against the USS Cole—does that ring a bell? And, I still have the article I clipped from the Dayton Daily News, revealing that the September 11 attacks against the World Trade Center were actually planned in 1996! What was our government doing about that? Maybe they were just too busy chasing and killing Americans.

Sandy Berger, former Clinton security advisor, said in 1997 that “Clinton might look like a hero to rally-’round-the-flag Congressfolk if he hit Iraq. It would zoom his ratings, spruce up his legacy.”. When France, Russia, and China hesitated to support the use of force against Saddam Hussein, John Kerry bellowed “Where’s their backbone? It’s very disappointing. They’re permitting Saddam to think he has the right to do as he pleases.”. So, Clinton would have been the hero for taking out Saddam, but Bush is the bad guy for doing it. Go figure.

I would rather live under the Bush administration any day, rather than return to the oppression of Democratic leadership. They seek to strip personal rights and ownerships (such as the Constitutionally-protected right to bear arms), while they try to appease those who seek to destroy us. We don’t need another over-sexed paranoid running this country, and we need fewer Chicken Littles telling us the sky is falling. We need another Charles Martel, who defeated Islamic radicals at the battle of Tours, or another Winston Churchill, who predicted the rise of both Nazi fascism and Soviet Communism, and suggested we stand up to them both.

God bless Republican America.

Dear Viewer,

If we believed George W. Bush to be an “unstoppable monster” we wouldn’t bother to pursue the remedies that we are applying to the problem of his quasi-legal presidency. Bush is not a lame-duck president. By definition, a lame-duck in politics is someone whose successor has already been chosen, but has not yet taken office. Unless you know something we don’t about the progress of the ongoing subversion of the democratic election process in this country, you cannot accurately refer to Bush as a lame-duck. There are still many reasons to be gravely concerned about the fact that Mr. Bush occupies the White House. His unconstitutional usurpations of power and reckless disregard for both diplomacy and the politically inconvenient realities of intelligence data threaten the freedom and security of all Americans, even those Americans among the boards of his transnational corporate sponsors. He is very likely the most irresponsible man to ever hold the office of President of the United States.

Regarding Bill Clinton, it never ceases to amaze me that some people assume that anyone who is critical of the Busheviks must therefore be an admirer of the Clintons. It should be clear from the values of democratic republicanism that we consistently espouse on UnCommon Sense TV and on the ustvmedia website that we found MANY flaws with Clinton’s presidency, and that we disagree with most of what both he and Mrs. Clinton have done since they left the White House. That said, I for one am EXTREMELY TIRED of the Busheviks’ pathetic attempts to blame their failures on Clinton and justify their choices and ensuing consequences by comparing them to the politics and policies of the Clinton administration (or more commonly to their own alternate narratives and spin about the Clinton Presidency). This pusillanimous finger-pointing is both whiny and intentionally deceptive for reasons whose numbers are too vast to address in an email (a large wonky book of facts and analysis might be adequate to the task).

By the way, the time to pay attention to abuse of the power by a President, legitimately elected or otherwise, is ALL OF THE TIME! (not just when there is one in office who philosophically discomforts you)

Yes, I do remember when our Marines were attacked abroad. It was in Beirut in 1983, right before Reagan orderd them to CUT AND RUN. I also remember that after Clinton ordered bombings in Somalia and Afghanistan, Republican mambers of Congress were saying that Clinton exaggerated the threat and using the spin/buzzphrase “wag the dog” to build “political capital” for their treasury-draining impeachment boondoggle. Then there is the fact that during the Clinton administration the CIA and the State and Defense Departments had relentlessly compiled a huge database of information about Al Qaeda and other terrorist threats which the incoming Bush cabinet failed to act on and almost entirely ignored.

There, you see? Anyone can play “gotcha” with foreign policy. The truth is that all foreign policy is based on risk, because it involves people and governments whose economic and political interests often conflict with ours. That is why we need to make certain that we do not make decisions that could have long and profound consequences without doing the HARD WORK of careful analysis.

Another global threat to our values of freedom and security is global corporatism, which has done at least as much damage to our nation as foreign terrorism and has in fact stimulated the development of Islamist terrorism around the globe. This damage by global corporatists includes, but is not limited to, the many deaths and maimings of Americans and others, the loss of our reputation in other nations because of corporate abuse of their people and resources, and the corruption of democratic processes both here at home and around the world.

And don’t even start trying to spin the above list of facts as “liberal whining.” These are problems we can actually solve, simply by reigning in the avaricious impulses of corporations with policies that protect the PUBLIC interest and the political commons and punish those who attempt to subvert them.

These corporatist crime syndicates (oil companies, tobacco companies, financiers, arms manufacturers . . .) try to deflect attention from their behavior by using the media they own (all the major networks, the majority of newspapers, and the major internet service providers) and the politicians they own (the Republican Party, the Democratic Leadership Council, Bush and his cabinet, etc.) to distract us with spin and celebrity pablum.

If we hold these unpatriotic, un-American, selfish, greedy, deceivers accountable, not only can we restore and expand on the democratic institutions and traditions of our country, but we can go a long way toward disproving the propaganda that is spewed about us by the likes of Al Qaeda. By the way, where is Osama bin Laden?

- Ed Lacy
USTV Media

Christians & The Separation of Church and State

May 20th, 2006 by Andy in Viewer Commentary & Response

A viewer takes USTV to task for supposed ill-informed commentary regarding the nature of church and state in our republic.

You guys aren’t funny or clever or even well informed. You can smugly dismiss the opposition’s arguments, but that doesn’t make you right. Pat Robertson was correct that “separation of church and state” do not exist in the Constitution. The words simply aren’t there. Read it. The 1st Amendment has two clauses relating to religion, free exercise and establishment. This means Congress cannot establish a religion or prevent the free exercise thereof. Establishment has been taken to mean a “separation of church and state” based on Jefferson’s letter to the Danbury Baptists, which is not a legal document, but a letter. Now, I’m not saying we shouldn’t have separation of church and state. I think it’s a pretty good policy. But the Constitution simply doesn’t demand it. I’m sorry if that upsets you, but it’s a fact. So you can put up all the nutjob Pat Robertson quotes you can dig up, and declare that this proves that Christians are hatemongers and want to destroy Democracy if you want, but that doesn’t make it accurate. And no one’s trying to create a theocracy except the Islamofascists like Bin Laden and Zarqawi. You should try taking a look at the world that they want to create. Pull your collective heads out and you might realize who the real threats to our way of life in a liberal democracy are.

Dear (Viewer),

Given your assessment of our mental acumen, America is lucky that the principle of separation of church and state rests not on our wit, but on the Constitution, its authors and signers, and the affirmations of constitutional principle by our Judicial branch.

It is true that Jefferson wrote a letter wherein the phrase “separation of church and state” was coined, and that the phrase itself does not appear in the U.S. Constitution. However, Jefferson’s eloquence was not the first statement by a founder explaining the original intent to keep church and state separate, nor was it the most significant. The primary author of the Constitution, James Madison, wrote the following, two years before the Constitution was ratified by the states:

From Memorial and Remonstrance
Against Religious Assessments
Written by James Madison, 1785

Because Religion be exempt from the authority of the Society at large, still less can it be subject to that of the Legislative Body. The latter are but the creatures and vicegerents of the former. Their jurisdiction is both derivative and limited: it is limited with regard to the co-ordinate departments, more necessarily is it limited with regard to the constituents. The preservation of a free Government requires not merely, that the metes and bounds which separate each department of power be invariably maintained; but more especially that neither of them be suffered to overleap the great Barrier which defends the rights of the people. The Rulers who are guilty of such an encroachment, exceed the commission from which they derive their authority, and are Tyrants. The People who submit to it are governed by laws made neither by themselves nor by an authority derived from them, and are slaves.

Granted, Madison’s language here is structurally ornate by contemporary standards, but persevere; the meaning is quite clear, and serves as the surest possible indication of the intent of the founders. The founders’ intent was to ensure that the government provided no legislative, and thus no material, aid to religion.

In addition to Madison’s explication of the philosophical underpinnings that inspired the First Amendment, there is also Supreme Court precedent affirming the relevence of Jefferson’s statement in his letter to the Danbury Baptists. Regardless of what contortions might be applied to eighteenth century prose by people with specific agendas relating to their own beliefs, judicial review, the responsibility of the Supreme Court for the interpretation of the Constitution, has been settled law for over two centuries, since shortly after the Constitution was ratified.

Below is relevant case language, written over fifty years ago, in which the unconstitutionality of an attempt by a local school board to infringe against free exercise by imposing an establishment was clarified:

Everson v. Board of Education [of Ewing Township, Montana] 330 U.S. 1, 15-16., 1947:

“The ‘establishment of religion’ clause of the First Amendment means at least this: Neither a state nor the Federal Government can set up a church. Neither can pass laws which aid one religion, aid all religions or prefer one religion over another. Neither can force nor influence a person to go to or to remain away from church against his will or force him to profess a belief or disbelief in any religion. No person can be punished for entertaining or professing religious beliefs or disbeliefs, for church attendance or non-attendance. No tax in any amount, large or small, can be levied to support any religious activities or institutions, whatever they may be called, or whatever form they may adopt to teach or practice religion. Neither a state nor the Federal Government can, openly or secretly, participate in the affairs of any religious organizations or groups and vice versa. In the words of Jefferson, the clause against establishment of religion by law was intended to erect ‘a wall of separation between Church and State.’ ”

Although Everson v. Board is not the only case in which this principle is affirmed, and neither the first nor last, it is the most explicit in its clarification.

Also noteworthy, if tangentially relevant is the content of Article II, which confers the power to make treaties, and gives treaties the binding force of law. This is important because in the text of a 1796 United States treaty with the Barbary States, The Treaty of Tripoli, is found the following:

“. . . the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion”.

While this treaty language, although it has the force of law, does not explicitly reinforce the establishment clause per se, it begs the question: Is there any religious foundation of the U.S. government, and if so what is it? The answers are self-evident: If not based on Christianity, it must be construed to have no religious foundation. This is important because any suggestion that the founders did not mean what they wrote in the Constitution and in the overwhelming preponderance of their letters and other writings is dashed by this Congressionally ratified treaty.

Conversely, and wishful thinking and protestations aside, there is precious little writing by any of the founders to suggest that they intended our republic to have a pious tenor, and none whatsoever by Madison or Jefferson, authors of the the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, respectively. Those who insist that the founders were Christians, or meant for the United States to be guided by the principles of Christianity or any other religion, inevitably rely on peripheral figures to argue their case.

Regarding contemporary questions, I agree with you that fundamentalist Islamic radicals promote a vision that is inimical to democracy and freedom of conscience. One cannot, however, objectively read the totality of the statements of either Pat Robertson or Jerry Falwell without concluding that they are enemies of democracy and freedom of conscience as well. Perhaps they are not doing what the radical Islamists are doing, trying to create a theocracy as you say, because our Constitution and traditions of law stand in their way. It is reasonable to speculate that if they were operating in a different millieu, they might be behaving much more like their Islamic counterparts. Luckily, we have not had to experience that different scenario.

You should know that neither Andy nor myself are athiests or materialists. I consider the spiritual dimension of my life to be equivalent to what Plato described as the first form, the foundational form upon which all else rests. That is my attempt at understanding the universe, and although I think that we humans, mere mortals that we are, cannot comprehend even the full material extent of the universe, never mind the extramaterial dimensions that are apparently integral to it, there is more to existence than the material.

I do not, however have any desire to impose my limited apprehension of existence on anyone else, nor do they have the right to impose, even to the slightest degree, their limited apprehensions upon me, as I am certain that their understandings, regardless of how steeped in any religious traditions they may be, have no more epistemological validity or authority than mine. That is one of the beauties of being an American and of enjoying the protections of the Constitution that the founders bequeathed us.

God help us if we squander the Constitution because of spiritual hubris.

Ed Lacy
UnCommon Sense TV Media

Military Vet Thanks USTV

February 23rd, 2006 by Andy in Viewer Commentary & Response

I saw your show the other night on channel 57 in Fort Wayne Indiana and for me and my family who serve in the military, I thank you. Here is a letter I just sent to the Journal gazette: Please keep up the good work…our nation needs you.
Thank You.
Mike Boetjer

Out of touch with North East Indiana

I can only surmise that the February 12, 2006 article you printed ‚”Follow Souder in Disclosing earmarks”, which portrayed Representative Mark Souder’s congressional record in a positive light can only mean that you are Totally out of touch with North East Indiana, or just a paid writer, maybe living in Washington D.C and your only redeeming quality is that the Journal Gazette still publishes your articles. If you would have done any research you would know that this congressman has voted lock step with President Bush on his failed war policies, and for every policy that has sent Indiana Jobs out of Indiana CAFTA, NAFTA. Indiana Manufacturing Job level is at 1991 levels. He has also voted to send more money to the Middle East (Palestinians known terrorist) and our enemies (oh these monies have been sent to them not just earmarked) during his tenure than he has sent to the local school districts. I would not have written this but your total detachment from and disregard for the people in North East Indiana, Indiana as a whole, the sweat and blood of our children who serve in the military and to the shame and sweat of those who have lost jobs in Indiana to other countries, has screamed out for a voice. I might suggest also that our Senator Lugar who has no one running against him for reelection has a record of supporting Indiana just as well. Maybe you could research this and find out why no one is running against Senator Lugar. Any way you should at least visit the state you claim to represent in your writings from time to time maybe check the Fort Wayne Alliance Web page statistics, at least give a cursory attempt to research what you are writing about and printing.

Michael Boetjer
Double Blue Star Father
Former Captain, U.S. Army
Fort Wayne, Indiana

Patriotism - Ain’t Good For Much

February 21st, 2006 by Andy in Viewer Commentary & Response

Comments posted by a USTV viewer in response to our program on the question of “What Is Patriotism?” (USTV List of Programs)

I’d say patriotism, if it is something that must be talked about and affirmed, does no good whatsoever.

The various dictionary definitions of patriotism are about what you would expect.

patriotism: love for or devotion to one’s country

The real question is, what is patriotism good for? What does it do? Some optimists will say patriotism inspires them to improve their country, to make it more liberal, kinder and gentler, or whatever. But while they may define it that way personally, as linguists would say that’s a prescriptive definition, i.e. wishful thinking.

I submit that the descriptive definition, meaning the way people generally understand it, is that you love your country as is. Patriotism says “we are separate from other countries, and we are better.” Nobody waves the flag to say “It’s a small, round world, and everyone is equal.” And this patriotism only does one thing: inspire people to war. (And I suppose also to root for our team at the Olympics, which were invented by the Greeks as a surrogate for war.)

If we are invaded, as opposed to being the aggressor, then Americans will see their way of life as better than the invaders’, and they will fight to remain a separate nation. But that sort of patriotism comes naturally. It does not need pep talks. When patriotism comes to you as a pressure from others, it is corrupt. Kings and Presidents throughout history have needed some powerful psychology to convince people to die horrible deaths for petty causes. I can think of several flavors: fear, hatred, duty, honor, glory, and patriotism. Rubbish, all.

So when I hear it suggested that it is my patriotic duty not to question the government when it decides we are at war, I don’t disagree. Yes, that IS patriotic, but it’s not democratic, and it’s not wise. I would even say it’s un-American, as a personality trait. If Americans are proud of one thing, I always thought it was individualism, and patriotism is inherently collective. The typical American, I would have guessed, is happy to be free but a little embarrassed by patriotism.

Incidentally, the Merriam-Webster definition of ‘patriot’ is a little more interesting.

patriot: one who loves his or her country and supports its authority and interests

That’s quite a bit closer to the John Ashcroft definition, the one appropriate to the Patriot Act.

Any one else have a take on this?

Viewer Doesn’t Appreciate USTV Humor

February 20th, 2006 by Andy in Viewer Commentary & Response

A viewer writes to comment on UnCommon Sense TV’s take on George Bush’s 2005 State of the Union address (see the USTV List of Programs for more details).

Is this just some bizarre attempt to grasp at the success MST3K had — but with political footage? I’m not altogether amused, but then again.. I detest politics.

Give me little robots and B-movies anyday.

Dear Viewer,

Gotta love those geeky robots! The point here was to use the MST3K format to comment on the 2005 “State of the Union” speech by George W. Bush. This was not a completely stand-alone production, but a special created by the producers of the UnCommon Sense TV show, which airs on public access in the Dayton, Ohio region on Sundays at 6pm. Our usual format is more conventional: We sit at a desk and talk about issues with some additional sound and images to reinforce the points we are making.

I also hate politics, (and would rather spend my time listening to DEVO, Sufjan Stevens, Theivery Corporation, and the Dresden Dolls or reading Robert Anton Wilson novels) but experience has taught me that I cannot run from politics. NEVER FORGET: You may not be interested in politics, but politics is interested in you. If you don’t use your rights, someone else will be happy to use them for you.

Culture, music, food, business, media, entertainment, sports, education, and money in this country are all intertwined with politics. For instance, the channel where you saw Uncommon Sense TV exists because in 1976 the FCC required that cable television companies provide public, educational, and government (PEG) access broadcasting services to the communities where they do business.

Also, programming like the SciFi Channel, MTV, Food Network, ESPN, CNN, and all the other special interest channels exist because of ‘bundling’ of cable packages provided through the cable distributor. It used to be that most of what cable services provided were local channels from other cities. All the Turner channels and CNN grew out of this background. The original appeal of cable was to provide TV to communities that only had zero to two channels. Cable was discouraged from even operating in the big urban markets. So if you care about what you have the chance to see on TV, hear on the radio, or access on the internet, pay attention to politics. They regulate the media, and often they do it in ways that help their friends make money, NOT in ways that make it better for you.

Are you going to college or planning to? If you are intending to get student loans, know that they only exist because of politics. Do you like safe tap water? Know that it only exists because of politics. Do you like getting breaks at work? Know that employers are only required to give them to you because of politics. I could go on, but you get the point. You SO need to pay attention to politics.

Ed Lacy
USTV Media

PS: Speaking of Science fiction, did you see Dark City?

America: A Christian Nation?

February 18th, 2006 by Andy in Viewer Commentary & Response

A note sent in regarding our program “America: A Christian Nation?” (see our program list for more information) which posed some of the following thoughts and questions.

i just wanted to write you and tell you that i think your show, which i only caught part of, was way off the mark. it was on america being a christian nation. the founding fathers were correct, i believe, in seperating church from state. they did a good job leaving christian symbols out of buildings and some tombstones and the like, but what about our money, oaths taken for office, and swearing in at trials and hearings?and that really isn’t the question about whether “america” is a christian nation. regardless of what some of the fathers wrote or said, the “people” of this country were christian and built many buildings such as churches, schools and hospitals. a poll, done by cnn i think, in 2004 said that 80% plus people regarded themselves as being christian or “tied” to christianity. i personally would never try to shove my beliefs onto someone else, and i realize that some christians want to “seize” our government, but don’t christians have a “right” to elect the people they believe will best serve their interests? the term “christian nation” only really started to appear in my newspaper and tv after bush was elected like it was wrong for “those people” to elect someone they wanted. it would seem to me to be more appropriate next time to use the term “christian government” insread of christian nation to make your point.

The term Christian nation denotes much more than a majority sentiment or belief. It refers to the political structure of a country. For instance, the United Kingdom is a Christian nation, because it has an established church that is officially recognized and supported by the government. Many other countries such as Sweden, Peru, and The Netherlands have similar arrangements. Our constitution expressly FORBIDS the official establishment of religion by our government, so the United States is, by definition, a secular republic, where the religious or non religious inclinations of all citizens must be given equal protection under the law.

QUESTION: Don’t christians have a “right” to elect the people they believe will best serve their interests?

ANSWER: The majority can elect who it chooses, and recently it seems that you don’t even need to be a plurality, much less a majority, to elect someone. However, regardless of who is elected, their JOB is to serve the public interest as defined by the Constitution. If they deviate from the Constitution on behalf of a zealous majority or minority, they are violating their oath of office and should be removed.

Spending taxpayer dollars, PUBLIC money, on programs such as Bush’s “faith based initiatives” is unconstitutional, and must end. If people want to involve their churches, synagogues, mosques, temples, covens, etc in charity work, they can fund it directly, instead of asking Americans whose faith differs from their own to offer money to be spent under their auspices. The founders and the authors of the Constitution were very clear about this. A key point of democracy, as opposed to mob rule, is that, while it reflects the will of the majority, it does not allow the majority to tyrannize the minority. Imposing subjective morals that should apply only to members of a religion in secular law is tyranny. Using government money, which is secular by Constitutional mandate, to implement programs that favor any religion is antidemocratic, and tyrannical. It is one step away from taxation without representation. Eliminating religious favoritism is one of the reasons we fought the American Revolution.

If one has any doubts that faith based initiatives can engender religious favoritism, take a look at who has received the money. A much higher percentage of evengelical Christian applicants have been successful in receiving awards of money than those from other denominations or religions who have applied for it. If a different political constituency had more power in a future administration the tables could be turned, Neither scenario is acceptable. Even if it were Constitutional, this is an inefficient use of tax money because, far from providing an advantage by eliminating public bureaucracy, it helps to fund duplicate private bureaucracies.

Furthermore, the poll cited here does not reveal anything about the public’s will in political decision making, since among the eighty percent of Americans who identify with Christianity in some way or another, there is a wide range of opinion about what, if anything, their Christian association means in terms of political action. Some of the most committed Christians in America are the Society of Friends (usually called Quakers). I greatly doubt that THEIR political agenda would be even remotely palatable to the Southern Baptists, but they make up part of that eighty percent you are citing, As do Russian Orthodox, Lutherans, Episcopalians, Mormons, Brethren, Rastafarians, liberation theologians, African Methodists, Coptics, Metropolitan Church members (gay Christians), and even some Unitarians. So the poll says little about the religious will of people who identify with Christianity, let alone non-Christian Americans. Even if there were a monolithic viewpoint being represented by that number, that constituency would have to amend the Constitution to force its will on the rest of us, and they would be sacrificing our democracy on that zealous fire.

Frankly, I find it hypocritical that neoconservatives want to invoke the Constitution to protect our gun rights (which I support by the way), but want to ignore it when it gets in the way of subsidizing religion, reusing old communist detention camps in eastern Europe, setting up a system of illegal eavesdropping, or sticking their noses in my library records. Americans need to step back from all of the shortsighted and disrespectful tinkering with Constitutional law that we have been indulging in since Bush took office.

In conclusion, I will ask that one ponders the following: Would you want a President Hillary Clinton or Edward Kennedy to award the monies and wield the powers that are currently being offered to George W. Bush?

Ed Lacy
UnCommon Sense TV

USTV, Terri Shiavo and Our ‘Desperation For Attention’

February 15th, 2006 by Andy in Viewer Commentary & Response

UnCommon Sense TV receives occasional feedback, some is praise, some is thoughtful criticism. The following email was in a different category, however. Here it is (sic), along with a reply:

You are obviouly desperate to get attention with silly attacks heres a fact ted kennedy got lots of press for mary joe, and he’s been fine ,,terri schiavo is dead did your view of the constituition defend her?

Dear viewer,

I really don’t think it is productive to respond to this, but I’m tempted because you are participating (I hope unwittingly) in milking the Schiavo tragedy to political advantage.

You obviously never had a relative wasting away in a medically irreparable state. I remember how hard it was for me to let go of my mom, but she had made her wishes very clear, she wanted to be classified as DNR, and not to have a feeding tube. When she was laying in bed dying, I would have done anything to have her live for one more month, week, even day. But it would have been so unfair to her, and even though she had no living will, she had let everyone in the family know her views on artificial life support- she only wanted it if it could lead to recovery and a return to normal living. I can imagine the heart wrenching misery of both Terri Schiavo’s husband and parents. I understand from my personal experience the desire of her parents to keep her alive regardless of the prison her body and brain had become, the frustration of her husband and the struggles they all must have gone through. What an awful situation, and then along comes the political agenda of people like Randall Terry– and Tom DeLay, who was obviously using his righteous posturing to avoid being scrutinized for some less-than-righteous behavior in another region of ethics, that of the public trust in elected officials.

Politics aside, my answer is YES, the Constitution did defend Terri Schiavo, and it has nothing to do with “my view” of the Constitution. The rights it provided come from the long tradition of English legal precedent that traces back to the Magna Carta, a tradition which the theocratic right is determined to replace with the “divinely inspired” judgment of a bevy of Ayatollahs like Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, Randall Terry, et al. If the parents had wanted to remove the tube and her husband did not, should the court have allowed them to intervene then? Do you see the inconsistency here? Judicial tradition respects the sanctity of marriage. I could be disingenuous (like a congressman on a talk show) and ask you if you would prefer that it didn’t protect the sanctity of marriage, but I sense that your opinion on this matter is not based on the consistency or Constitutionality of court decisions, but rather on an emotional grasp of medical ethics.

As for Edward Kennedy, he was a drunk who ran into a lake and failed to call the police when his passenger was drowning. As much as I may think of his politics, of which I take a mixed view, you will not get me to defend his behavior, nor that of any of the rest of the spoiled brats sprinkled among his extended family. But for the life of me I can’t see how that has anything to do with the facts we present on our show, or with our opinions about those facts, or with the Schiavo tragedy.

Apparently you are laboring under the mistaken impression that we are loyal and uncritical members of the Democratic Party. Let me assure you, if the Democrats were in charge, and behaving the way these guys are behaving, I would be expressing the same attitude toward them. One of the flaws in partisanship is that in a political party you are aligned with human beings, many of whom do not have the ethical perspective or common sense to restrain themselves from baser impulses. We are small “d” democrats (and small “r” republicans) , certainly, but that is as far as it goes. No one who cares about the health of our republic could be anything but disappointed in the Democrats over the last fifty years. For myself, I am certainly an admirer of many (not all) elements of the New Deal, and I think that a retreat into the 19th century model of laissez-faire capitalism is an indulgence in fantasy at the expense of reality. Things that happen on the scale of the industrial and post-industrial economies need SOME DEGREE of public guidance. (Our politics ought to be openly about how much guidance much that should be, not about whether people have guns, condoms, or religious paraphernalia in their homes)

Since WWII especially, Democrats have succumbed to some of the worst political impulses, including corruption, failure to stand on principle, opportunism, and many others, as the Republicans are doing now. I do not agree with many of the philosophical underpinnings of the Republican Party, but I would have a lot more respect for them if they actually lived by them. I will never forget the rhetoric Newt Gingrich used to stir up (often deserved) righteous indignation against Congressional Democrats in the mid 1990s. It was easy, with the likes of Dan Rostenkowski and Bill Clinton floating around. Now the worm has turned. Seems the Contract with America wasn’t so revolutionary after all, just business as usual with a multifaceted campaign of propaganda and rhetoric designed to deflect attention from the self-serving behavior of the new regime.

Unfortunately, George Washington’s dream of a republic without political parties was never realized; the answer to that has to be more political parties, not fewer. Right now, the radical extremists have taken over the GOP, and I will use any tool at my disposal to help dislodge them from power, including the Democratic Party, but I have no illusions about the Democrats as an organization. Without serious reforms in the funding of public elections and in the stranglehold the two major parties have on the process, we will never fully realize the potential for democracy that this nation has. There are many ways to this end, several of which we have summarized and discussed on our show.

We are at a crucial point in world history, at which the role of the USA will be cast for at least a century. If we fail to behave responsibly, and continue to act as though the future will be just like the past, we will fall into the landfill of history as more coherent (not more desirable) leadership supplants us on the world stage. I don’t know if that is what the Busheviks want to see, but they are doing all they can to make it real, and sooner rather than later.
The Busheviks MUST GO!
They must go for the survival of the nation.
They must go because they are destroying the stability of people’s lives.
They must go because their religious intolerance foments attacks against the U.S. Constitution.
They must go for the survival of democracy and of republican government in the world.
They must go to prevent the ascension of outright global tyranny akin to that of the “Christian” European monarchs of centuries past.
They must go because they are ruining the Earth.

Ed Lacy
UnCommon Sense TV

USTV Accused of Tasteless Nazi Sympathies?! (Huh??)

February 12th, 2006 by Andy in Viewer Commentary & Response

UnCommon Sense TV receives occasional feedback of various forms, some praise, some thoughtful criticism. Here is a somewhat misguided appraisal (spelling from original) of USTV’s Special Inaugural Edition program, first aired on January 20th, 2005. See our USTV Program List for more details on the episode in question.

I turned to this show and all they did was play clips of the NAZI’s and Hitler. I found it especially disgusting being that it is the 60th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwich death camp. I was in very poor taste and show a lack of common sense hence the name of the show. I don’t know what political message they were trying to make but after this a used car salesman is more credible that these idiots!!!

Thank you for expressing your concern about the content of Uncommon Sense TV.

I want to reassure you that UnCommon Sense TV is completely and unalterably opposed to all forms of dictatorship, especially ones that scapegoat the innocent and foment hatred. Our purpose for showing excerpts of the propaganda film Triumph of the Will was to warn people against fascism, and was IN NO WAY an endorsement of Nazism or any of its many evils. We despize Nazism.

We at UnCommon Sense TV believe that there is a very real threat from fascism in the USA right now, in the 21st century. The Nazi propaganda visuals were shown to illustrate for contemporary Americans how easily Germans in the 1930s were duped into supporting some of the most monstrous evil ever to manifest in the history of the human race. We hope that viewers will be able to see how what appears normal to us now in American politics, the rampant nationalism, the glorification of war, and the unleashing of the most selfish elements in our commercial economy, are all eerily similar to the political conditions in the early stages of Nazi Germany.

If you read the series of quotes by both German Nazi and contemporary American politicians that were shown on the screen during the show, you may have noticed that there were numerous disturbing similarities between the rhetoric of our own leaders and the twisted rhetoric of the mid 20th century fascists. It is wholly inaccurate and misleading to characterize the show as nothing but clips of Nazis.

We do not mean by our comparison to trivialize the evils of the Nazis, nor to exaggerate the evils of our current leadership. We believe that both can be seen for what they are, in both similarities and differences. If you have watched any previous installments of USTV, you know thet we are no fans of George W. Bush, and we consider him and his minions a threat to democracy in America, and to both the economic and spiritual health of the United States. We do believe there are several ways in which his administration resembles the regimes of Hitler and Mussolini.

Please take another look at the Inaugural Special the next time it re-airs in your viewing area, and take special care to read all of the quotes and facts that are displayed on the screen. Keep in mind that NONE of the information or quotations originated with our show. We have simply put the facts on the air, and provided what we think is an appropriate context in which to review them. I suppose our fault was in underestimating the number of casual and inattentive viewers who might stumble across our presentation and misinterpret it, either innocently or maliciously.

If you have any lingering doubts about our intentions, note to whom the program was dedicated (see the closing credits). There were three men mentioned. George Orwell, whose classic novel 1984 warned against totalitarianism, Franz Kafka, the greatly respected surrealist author of The Metamorphosis, who was a Czechoslovakian of Jewish descent, and some of whose relatives were murdered by the Nazis, and finally Claus von Stauffenberg, the man who tried to assassinate Hitler with a bomb in 1944. Unfortunately, Hitler survived the blast.

Ask yourself: Would anyone sympathetic to Nazis dedicate a program to these men? Resoundingly, NO!

We at UnCommon Sense TV are in favor of a democratic republic, and we are opposed to hate and oppression of all kinds. THAT is why we think there is no better time than now to remember the veracity of the closing quotation from the Inaugural Special, that Fascism doesn’t begin with concentration camps, it ends with them.

Anyone who payed attention to the content of our presentation would know that we also find Nazis distasteful, to say the LEAST. We also know that as the American philosopher George Santayana said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

I am certain that the victims of Auschwitz would not want us to forget how the Nazis rose to power, or how their propaganda conflicted with their actual goals.

What is truly tasteless is the willful ignorance of people who like to pretend that The USA is somehow immune to the evils of totalitarianism.
I will have much more confidence in the resiliance of the American people against fascism when they stop allowing people like Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, et al to wield political power.
I look forward to that happy day of renewal in the annals of democracy.

Ed Lacy
UnCommonSense TV
Long live the spirit of Thomas Paine

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