“No-Spin” Style

I have to admire Andy Granatelli's "no-spin" debating style: State your opinion as irrefutable fact (Obama is a "socialist," "FOX is the only TV that tells the truth") and then move on to the obvious conclusion that 85% of Americans aren't bright enough to see that (“He Told Us So,” MJ # 16/3). Who could resist such a thoughtful, logical postulation?

I admit to having occasionally watched Andy's media heroes on FOX, and found them provocative and loud, but certainly not "fair & balanced." Same goes for the savants on MSNBC. I suggest you try the evening news on PBS where you can entertain thoughtful, differing viewpoints with no screaming or faux weeping.

And, by the way, if Obama is a socialist, he's sure not very good at it. Seems to me he spent most of his first year trying to salvage a financial system wrecked by the excesses of capitalist wunderkinds.

Walter Dallenbach

Montecito

(Editor’s note: We prefer Charles Krauthammer’s conclusion: “Obama is not a socialist,” he postulates, “rather he's a far-left secular progressive bent on nothing short of revolution.” We agree that PBS news hour instead of FOX or CNN can sometimes be illuminating and is often quite good. As for Obama’s salvaging “a financial system wrecked by the excesses of capitalist wunderkinds,” I suggest you look for political “wunderkinds” – Barney Frank and Chris Dodd in particular – that created, supported, and encouraged Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae to indulge in the most irresponsible acts of financial excesses, as the cause of much of the damage. – J.B.)

U.S. Already Socialist

I like a person who will recommend things, be it a restaurant list or his favorite TV shows. Thank you sports legend, Andy Granatelli. But his fear that the USA will become socialist... I'm confused. I already consider the USA irreversibly socialist. Didn't G. W. Bush engage 'TARP' where the $700 billion bailout package involved the federal government buying stocks in American banks?

I could give thousands of examples of our society being socialist, from the fact that 75% of our students in Santa Barbara County get free school lunches, to government supported media, housing, car manufacturing, transportation, roads... what's left? The curious thing is that all the FOX characters that Mr. Granatelli mentions are pro-Britain and pro-Israel, Socialist countries. But when it comes to the USA being socialist why is it inconceivable?

As for getting to real news, I prefer the Internet. Go to Google News and do a word search, whatever the subject. I adore foreign press because of the varied views concerning the American occupations. Here in the USA, the press takes baby steps in criticizing its own country for fear of poor ratings. The Chinese, the Portuguese, the Irish, and Palestinian press often give more objective information. I mean, how much time has Bill O'Reilly given to the recent Dutch investigation of the 2003 Iraq invasion and the summation that the invasion was illegal? How much time has Hannity given to Britain's Chilcot Inquiry where the 2003 invasion was denounced as illegal? I can safely assume, none. But already Iran is in need of an invasion due to the same certainty that Iraq had WMD, as far as FOX-head Roger Ailes is concerned. Quite pitiful TV if you ask me.

Matt McLaughlin

Santa Barbara

Nazis One and All

Take Mr. Granatelli's advice and watch FOX news all day. Then for some bedtime reading fetch out your well-worn copy of Mein Kampf and lull yourself to sleep.

Ian Bernard

Santa Ynez

(Editor’s note: Well, there ya go again, throwing the Nazi thing out there against anyone who dares not toe the liberal line. Is that the best you can do? – J.B.)

Congress Shall Make No Law...

Recently, the Supreme Court made a landmark decision to ban restrictions of corporate spending on political advertisement during elections. This decision strikes down much of the 2002 McCain-Feingold campaign-finance reform laws seeking to limit corporate influence.

Surprisingly, Justice Kennedy wrote the 57-page majority opinion stating, “Government may not suppress political speech on the basis of the speaker’s corporate identity.” Further, he writes, “No sufficient governmental interest justifies limits on the political speech of nonprofit or for-profit corporations. When government seeks to use its full power, including the criminal law, to command where a person may get his or her information or what distrusted source he or she may not hear, it uses censorship to control thought. This is unlawful,” Kennedy wrote. “The First Amendment confirms the freedom to think for ourselves.”

Locally, it is a sign that people are paying attention when questions and concerns surface. In my humble opinion, court decisions that limit government regulation of private liberties are very rare and very welcome. Currently our freedoms, including freedom of speech, are in far more danger from an over-reaching government than they are from private enterprise – the bedrock of individual prosperity and national liberty.

I do not believe that this ruling will “open the flood gates” for corporate involvement in electioneering any more than was already the case (PACs conforming to the now-banned regulations). Even “giant corporations” have limited resources and still have to make a profit to survive. Government, as we are all too painfully aware, does not. Rather, the banning of old laws which restricted corporations and unions from promoting their ideas and opinions will more likely simplify and clarify the issues for the voting public. Everyone can compete. The Supreme Court ruled that corporations and others must disclose the extent of their involvement in political advertisement including identifying who is responsible for the content of an advertisement and who contributed money.

In summary, the court ruling significantly reduces government control over private expression of support or criticism of political candidates. If anything, the ruling should enhance perspectives and expressions of ideas presented from all sides of a given issue. On balance, I believe it will further empower the private sector in the continuing struggle to downsize and control a bankrupt public sector that is desperately trying to yoke us to their agenda and make us pay for it to boot.

Instead of eliminating private freedom and choice, this decision creates freedom and choice. Along with more freedom and choice comes more responsibility to stay informed – to understand the multiple sources and motives of corporate and union advertising sponsors. I believe this decision makes individual thinking and choice more vital in America. As a result, our country is also more vital.

John McIntyre

Montecito

Census Taker Warning

I went to training for a week to be a census taker (“Editorial” MJ # 16/3). The people they hire are the ones that achieved a high score on the test. As those people are hired, they go down the line to the lesser scores. I don’t remember any background check; they never told us to try to get inside anyone’s home, but I think there will always be some bad guys that will use that job as a way to case someone's house.

On a different note: be careful with that 809 prefix on an incoming call; it costs a lot of money if one answers it, and the phone co.'s answer is that you should not have answered it.

Michel Vanags

San Diego

Are They Nuts?

In the shadow of the Massachusetts massacre of the Democrat Party, an event as important to the left has gone unnoticed. The demise of Radio America, filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy, legalese for “belly up.”

In the 1980s AM radio was dying of poor quality compared to FM. Young people in the most important ad demographics listened to music and ads worth millions. Taxpayer supported “public radio” found a home as it is cheaper to put up a new FM station. AM stations need very expensive antennas. FM antennas can be a short "stick” atop a convenient building. But along came Rush Limbaugh…

Rush Limbaugh saved AM broadcast radio by saying what Americans thought, but never heard or read in major media: “America is okay,” “Taxes are too high,” “Strong defense is necessary,” “Patriotism is not a sin,” and “Liberalism, Environmentalism, Feminism, Progressivism and the Welfare State are all insane.” And, Mr. Limbaugh proved his cases being right 99.3% of the time according to Sullivan Group audits.

Within a year Rush Limbaugh had over 700 stations and was the most listened to broadcaster in history. Liberal pundits said he had no talent, that he had stumbled into a lucky break, so leading liberals like Mario Cuomo, Jerry Brown and Jim Hightower jumped onto the airwaves and died.

Believing they were simply under-funded even though Rush and his partner Ed McGloughlin started with only $250,000 for one satellite contract, Air America launched with $10 million and a list of performers including well-known Al Franken, Janeane Garofalo, Ron Reagan, Jr., Rachel Maddow and others. While they did manage to get on 100 radio stations the owners discovered they could not sell ads. Who wants to advertise on shows that trash America, hate free enterprise, promote more government, regulations taxes and welfare? You do not need an MBA to figure that out.

Adrian Vance

Lakeport

Canada Comparison Bogus

I was surprised by the letter comparing health care in Canada and the U.S. that appeared in last week's issue of the Journal, as it was in conflict with what my Canadian friends had told me. I made a search for the original data referred to in this letter as taken from the United Nations International Health Organization. There is no such Organization listed as part of the United Nations. My search method was simply to type in the Google search window such phrases as "Comparison of Canadian and U.S. Health Care" or "Investor's Business Daily," and nowhere did I find any such list of comparisons, although I found several blogs quoting directly from this supposed study. My conclusion is that these data about the inferiority of the Canadian system are bogus.

The ultimate comparison of the two systems lies in the longevity of their citizens, which is about 2.5 years longer in Canada for both men and women.

John Ise

Montecito

(Editor’s Note: Citizen longevity in advanced societies has more to do with lifestyle choices than anything inherent in the type of medical care available, although, of course, the better the care the better the outcome – J.B.)

Bring Down The Poles!

We are all now aware of the catastrophic ruins of the natural disaster in Haiti. For all of my long life, have been told that “The Big One Is Coming!” With all the earthquakes and faults we know about in our area, this warning is really necessary.

Montecito is deeply appreciated by all who live or visit here. It is unique in many ways, being closely between the coastal mountains and the Pacific and in the more mild half of California.

In the 1950s, the city of Santa Barbara and Montecito agreed to have Coast Village Road modernized and rebuilt. All the telephone poles were put underground.

Underground telephone poles should be the present community’s priority goal for bringing out the natural beauty of our beloved Montecito.

The poles, which now blight us, would also increase conflagration, we are warned.

To make ugly pole removal possible, our whole community can take part with: auctions; open houses; breakfasts; luncheons; dinners; musicals; garden events; beach events, etc. Donations would be terrific. Federal, state, county and city governments a part. Everyone’s property value and safety will soar after this blight is underground. This is a “can-do” necessity.

Yours sincerely,

G. Hebert

Montecito

(Editor’s note: We’re certainly with you on this one! – J.B.)

Peanut Butter & Malaise

Isn't it suspicious that only three of four living ex-presidents have been summoned to help with the Haiti Rescue effort?

I'm sure that Clinton and GW will be able to organize relief efforts, raise money and spearhead the important tasks necessary to help a country ravaged by plate tectonics.

But why is Jimmy "Joe Bob" Carter not included in this endeavor? It appears that his expertise at solving problems and (rescuing people) is being snubbed or ignored by the White House. Conspiracy theories in the blog-o-sphere suggest that Mr. Carter is being "saved" for an even more important task....running National Health Care.

This super-bureaucracy would be a perfect opportunity for Mr. Carter to build the medicinal sandwich liberals want everyone (except themselves) to eat...peanut butter and malaise.

Dale Lowdermilk

Founder, NOTSAFE.org

Montecito