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Letters for Monday, December 6, 2004
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Letters for Monday, December 6, 2004

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President Bush

Declaring war - on the middle class

The media have got to get off the bench and get in the game. I have become aware that President Bush and the Republican Party are trying to push through a huge, back-door tax hike to be shouldered by the already over-taxed middle class. The tax will be on our wages, salaries, homes and health care.

Bush finds it necessary to do this to us so he can pay for yet another enormous tax cut for the wealthiest population in America. Under the guise of "tax reform," Bush and the other radical members of the right wing are developing plans to eliminate taxes on investments like stock sales, dividends and interest earnings. But they plan to pay for this bonanza for the richest 1 percent by raising taxes on working families. How? By eliminating the federal tax deduction for state and local income and property taxes.

On top of that, the Bush plan calls for a tax increase on health care by no longer allowing companies to deduct the money they spend insuring their employees. Why aren't the media all over this issue?

This plan means we will pay higher taxes on our wages and salary, the cost of owning a home will increase, and health care costs for families - already out of control - will increase even more.

I am sick of this idiot in the White House waging class war on the middle and lower class to benefit the wealthy. I am sick of his lies. The way this administration lies repeatedly to the people, and gets away with it repeatedly, makes me wonder how stupid the people of this country must be. We need the media to stand up and ask the tough questions of these crooks. Remember Dan Rather asking Nixon the tough ones during Watergate?

Jerry O'Malley, Missoula

The flu

Guess what? The sky didn't fall

Buried on page A13 of the Missoulian's Thanksgiving Day edition (Nov. 25) was an article entitled, "CDC says flu season off to a slow start." The article reported that Delaware (one of two states with "widespread" flu activity) had experienced a grand total of - count them - six cases. Contrast this low-key coverage with banner headlines in the Missoulian earlier this fall (and previous falls) announcing in so many words that "flu strikes Missoula," "Pandemic on the horizon," "Vaccine shortage poses grave threat."

The result of such headlines this year was evident in pictures of elderly or infirm people with walkers and canes standing in long lines in cold weather in the hopes of getting one of the scarce flu shots available this year. Granted, flu is a serious threat to the very young, the very old and people with weakened immune systems. Your readers benefit from knowing how to prevent flu's spread. But flu is as much a part of the winter scene as snow in Montana. Surely the public interest is not served by these "panic mode" headlines each fall suggesting the sky is falling and that pandemic is just around the corner. I hope your coverage of next year's flu season will be less alarmist and more grounded on the facts as they really are.

Joanna Shelton Erb, Moiese

Education conference

Open your eyes to the world

I had the pleasure of attending the International Education Week Conference last month at the University of Montana. It was open to the public, students and faculty, and it was absolutely commendable. Udo Fluck and his charming wife, Nancy, coordinated the entire first-time campus event, whose theme was "Building Cultural Competency and Promoting International Careers." Their enthusiasm and the educational systems' willingness to delve into the current assessments and needs of our students was very eye-opening.

It was very clear that we, as a nation, and particularly in our student population, as we look to the future, need to be involved with the whole world, or we will fall into an economic and cultural abyss. Here are some of the facts presented: Most folks in Europe already know three or more languages. When the Iraq war started, fewer than 5,000 people could speak Arabic here. China produces most of our goods and has a population of

1.3 billon people. Our government has over 240 offices in other countries trying to promote business between our people and the world population, and they need good people to work there.

It was such a hopeful event whose only downfall was the fact that too few students showed up for it. I am writing to encourage this project to please continue. More and more people will realize how important it is to take an active role in international affairs. Maybe we wouldn't be so quick to start wars with people in other countries if we knew how to communicate with them, how their cultures work, what their art and history represents. It was such a positive event. I hope more folks will come next year.

Celia Grohmann, Stevensville

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