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This issue of Freedomwriter has a number of letters.

Thank you and keep your letters coming!

May 10, 2004

Dear Editor:

Lest we forget, in April, 2003, it was Rumsfeld, not a 21 year old Private, who authorized troops in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba to strip prisoners naked before questioning and it was Bush who defended chaining Guantanamo Bay prisoners to stakes in unsheltered cages for months on end; “to soften them up.”

When accused of violating the Geneva Convention’s internationally accepted minimum standards of prisoner treatment, Bush declared, ““They’re not prisoners of war, they’re “Illegal Combatants.” The Geneva Convention only covers prisoners.””

If international law doesn’t apply, what’s our standard? According to President Bush, America’s rule of law doesn’t apply. “If they’re not Americans and not on American soil, America’s courts have no authority.”

The only remaining standard is, “Whatever Bush says...”

President Bush is currently in court, defending his decision to deny Guantanamo Bay prisoners “Prisoner of War Status” and defending his policy of striping prisoners naked before questioning.

Bush’s eagerness to discard the rule of law isn’t limited to foreigners. He’s also in court claiming the right to designate you an “Illegal Combatant.” If Bush wins, he’ll have the authority to make anyone he wants disappear. No explanation required.

Sound reminiscent of a different era? Think it can’t happen here? Attorney General Ashcroft’s December, 2001 testimony to Congress defined “acts of questioning government” as "aiding the enemy." By Ashcroft’s definition, this letter equals treason.

Ray Metcalfe
Chairman of the Republican Moderate Party

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May 9, 2004

Dear Tony Hopfinger:

(Here is a letter for inclusion in your next issue of the Press, hopefully)

In reference to Kyle Hopkins article last week entitled "Crude Awakening", about the history of the ELF (Economic Limit Factor) & it's role in determining severance taxes on the oil industry in Alaska, I applaud the author for his fairness on the subject.

Not only was the historical perspective outlined, but also its practical ramifications in current events. While our political leaders cannot agree on how to control state spending versus spending the Permanent Fund versus imposing new taxes on Alaskans, the article ended by quoting Rep. John Coghill from North Pole quite accurately, in terms of providing some direction for our solons:

"Representative Coghill believes that when dealing with the industry, it's key to remember the companies are working on behalf of their shareholders' best interests. Lawmakers must work on behalf of Alaskans' best interests, he said."

That sounds like some good marching orders to me. If the average citizen has to share a burden in solving state government's fiscal irregularities, then so does state government itself by limiting spending, & also Big Oil by paying more when crude oil prices are higher.


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May 8, 2004

I came across your website in trying to locate Chickalon Oil. Can you tell me how to get information on stocks that were bought by my dad in 1952 from Chickaloon Oil?

Kathy Thomas

(Webmasters Comments:
She forgot to include her email addressfor a response)

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May 9, 2004

Dear Editor,

Are you sure it's raining?

Some say the Permanent Fund is a Rainy Day Account, and it's already raining.

Last year the state took in $5.9 billion. Federal dollars and investment income accounted for $3 billion of that money. Oil brought in $2.1 billion, which leaves only $.8 billion from all other sources. Of course, the Permanent Fund receives a quarter of the oil royalties, leaving $1.6 billion from property taxes, corporate income taxes, production taxes and royalties to be spent by the legislature.

We are currently worrying only about our budget shortfall. When the oil money REALLY dries up, it is the full $1.6 billion a year that the people will have to replace - about $2400 for every man, woman and child. How big is your family?

It's time to reduce our needs to match our ability to fund government. We are spending at an unsustainable rate. Otherwise, the Permanent Fund will never be large enough to cover us when the rain starts.

Educate yourself at

Vicki Pate
PO Box 7447,
Nikiski, Alaska 99635

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May 1, 2004


I bear President Bush no ill will personally, as his invitation to my wife and me to his party in Kerrville, Texas in 1994 bears witness. I also was selected to do the invocation for his father in 1988 at the Sheraton Hotel in Seattle when he was Vice-President and running against Michael Dukakis. In those days I was 36th District Chairman of the Republican Party in King County, Seattle.

But my convictions on many issues finally led me to support Pat Buchanan's insurgencies against the Bush political empire in 1992 and 1996. I am now a member of the Constitution Party and support the Presidential candidacy of Michael Peroutka of Baltimore, who will be on the ballot in 42+ states and opposing Bush on War, Empire, the New World Order, trade, and the latter's betrayal of the Christian and conservative communities on social issues. One can see Michael Peroutka's site at and the National Constitution Party site at

Best-- Mark (Dankof)

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April 28, 2004

Dear Friends,

In the past you had expressed an interest in the painting, "Freedom Stands - Valley Forge" by Joe Criscuoli. Just a short note to let you know I've launched a new web site and I thought you might like to take a peek. I hope you enjoy "clicking around" - and that you'll spread the word to family, friends and acquaintances. So, without further ado, you are cordially invited to visit...

All the Best,

Joe Criscuoli

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April 26, 2004

My name is Richard Robinson and I'm starting a grass roots effort in Oklahoma to help save transportation options from being forever destroyed and I need independent coverage. The news media is controlled by one family named the 'Gaylords' that own the newspaper. They own 20% of Bass Pro and they 'convinced' our policy makers that we need to build their building at taxpayer's expense. $20 million of it out of educational funding that was supposed to be for schools and NOT private businesses. There are several lawsuits out about tax payer abuse about Oklahoma City subsidizing businesses like a socialist system.

They will not run any reports about our I-40 highway move that will destroy our rail infrastructure and so have to look for independent news agencies.

What do I need to do to help get coverage? I've started a site called if you can post the link for me please?



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April 22, 2004

AN OPEN LETTER TO .... Dr./Pastor D. James Kennedy
Center For Reclaiming America (CFRA)
Coral Ridge, Florida

Dear Pastor Kennedy:

I am an evangelical Lutheran pastor and an admirer of your work over a period of years. I received a forward of your CFRA plan to bring Christian voters en masse to the polls this fall. I am in total agreement with this.

However, I must register respectful but strenuous disagreement with the notion of many Christian conservatives and traditionalists that our choice this time is George W. Bush. As far as I am concerned a vote for Mr. Bush and his neo-conservative cabal is not simply a wasted vote, but a dangerous reaffirmation of policies that are neither Christian, conservative, or Constitutional. Clearly his opponent this fall is also a dangerous man, although candor compels me to say that their record on most of the major issues is a carbon copy of the other. What then, is the point?

For my money and Christian judgment, the only candidate in the Presidential race this year is Michael Peroutka, the Constitution Party candidate for the Oval Office. His web site may be found at I commend it to you for your prayerful consideration. I have also been making the Christian evangelical and Constitutional case for Mr. Peroutka on the web. My article for Dave Black On Line may be accessed here . My own web page also contains several articles on him. It is my prayer that you and yours might weigh this option after reading my appeal.

I understand you voted for my friend Howard Phillips over a moribund Bob Dole in 1996. I did likewise, and voted for Mr. Phillips in 2000 as well. I feel vindicated in these decisions, as well as my decision to leave the Republican Party totally after their National Convention in San Diego in 1996. The George W. Bush years since have only served to reaffirm my own departure from that body. It is my hope that you will not lead your fine sheep to the slaughter with an affirmation of what has happened in this country since the Bush-Cheney team took office almost 4 years ago.

If evangelicals had done the right thing in voting en masse for Phillips over Dole in 1996, and Phillips over Bush in 2000, the Constitution Party would now have automatic ballot access in all 50 states and a gun to the head of the establishments of both major parties. A vote for Michael Peroutka now gives the real Right in this country an opportunity to be heard and taken seriously in the next 4 critical years. The alternative is to be taken for a ride again at the hands of the Republican Establishment, and held responsible as evangelicals for putting our imprimatur on what has been one of the worst Presidencies in my lifetime.

A few people are catching on. Ron Holland's Dixie Daily News, the most widely read traditional Southern site on the World Wide Web, is taking op-ed papers from readers about what the options are in the fall of this year in the first Tuesday in November. I find it revealing that Mr. Holland admits that he is having to publicly solicit any of his regular readers to write in favor of another 4 years of Mr. Bush, as he has not yet received one written, signed, and verified op-ed piece from a reader willing to be associated with massive debt, a preemptive war on falsified grounds, un-Constitutional USA Patriot Acts and Federal subsidies to "faith-based ministries", the amnesty for another 12 million illegal aliens in this country, or the appeasement of the militant homosexual rights lobby as has been undertaken by our President within his own Party.

If you are satisfied with that record, I must strenuously dissent. At the same time, I respectfully and evangelically suggest that you would have a far greater impact in this election and the subsequent history of this country by not simply registering your own vote for the Constitution Party candidate this year, as you did in 1996, but by publicly endorsing Michael Peroutka and telling the Republican pols manipulating the rest of us to go fly a kite.

In Christ,

Pastor Mark Dankof

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April 15, 2004

Dr. Hassan El-Naijar's op-ed piece on Mr. Bush's endorsement of Mr. Sharon's Gaza pullout plan is well summarized in his description of this arrangement as a pact between one who has no right to give away stolen lands and one who has no right to receive them. My own op-ed piece for Al Jazeera some days ago on the President's pathetic acquiescence in Sharon's extra-judicial killing of Sheik Yassin serves as a predictable road map of its own in what has now happened in Administration concessions to the Israeli Prime Minister on occupied territories and the Right of Return. A number of American paleo-conservative and libertarian sites have re-posted my observations for Al Jazeera, including Strike the Root. The word is getting around.

Even more significantly, the neo-conservative/pro-Bush/Sharon wing of the American Right is having more difficulty than ever in concealing what this tragedy will eventually mean to the average American in future bloodshed and war without end. My recently published night thoughts on these matters on Good Friday evening which may be found here have since been making the rounds on numerous Internet sites of the American Right. Dr. Dave Black, professor of systematic theology at Southeastern Southern Baptist Seminary in Wake Forest has also weighed in on this with ominous warnings to Christian Americans and conservatives about an eventual resumption of a compulsory military draft in the United States after the conclusion of this fall's Presidential election (see link). Dr. Black is not hesitant about linking this coming tragedy to Mr. Bush's policies on preemptive war and the Middle East. And the latest issue of Pat Buchanan's The American Conservative on the newsstand (April 26th, 2004) carries a front cover cartoon depicting Mr. Bush, Ms. Rice, Mr. Cheney, and Mr. Rumsfeld with enlongated Pinocchio noses in the wake of a stream of Administration lies about the Iraq war and its real purposes.

If these sources on the American Right are now beacons of dissent, you can imagine the wider consternation within the realm of American public opinion that will continue to brew, especially as money and casualties are followed by military conscription for purposes that have nothing to do with the legitimate defense of the continental United States or bona fide national security concerns. The Israeli lobby in the United States may be in for more than it bargained for as truth continues to be disseminated in this country about what its goals really are, and how its money has bought the souls of more than a few American politicians. Stay tuned.

Mark Dankof

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April 11, 2004
Cleveland, OH

According to the Social Security Act, "the purpose of Social Security is to provide insured persons with payments by way of a retirement benefit, survivors benefit, sickness benefit, and to substitute for compensation under the Workmen's Compensation Ordinance, a system of insurance against injury or death caused by accident arising out of and in the course of employment." In order to finance social security, a Social Security Fund was established, financed by contributions made by the workers and their employers. All benefits, administrative expenses, and capital expenditures are paid out from the Fund.

But according to government figures, "while Social Security takes in more than it spends right now, the situation reverses when the baby boom generation (those born between 1946 and 1964) begins to retire in 2010. Unless the system is overhauled, Social Security by 2013 will be spending more than it collects in taxes and will be broke by 2032."

I will be 69 years old in 2032. I will have paid a very large percentage of my income into a government plan and will have nothing to show for it. Accordingly, Social Security payroll deductions should end for anyone born in 1965 or later and be shifted to a 401(K) plan so they will reap the rewards of their investment when they retire. Those born in 1964 and before should continue some Social Security payroll deduction along with some government subsidy to cover the difference.

With all this talk of tax refunds fueled by a government surplus coupled with the enormous corporate tax breaks given out by our government, I am sure we could find enough money to subsidize a transition plan to save our retirement money.


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April 3, 2004
North Kenai

Dear Editor:

Voters on the Kenai Peninsula indicated their displeasure with a Borough Assembly tax and power grab by voting down a school issue.

Proposition 1, if approved by voters would have moved another basic government service OUTSIDE of the borough wide real property tax cap. This deceptive tactic is increasingly used by government to expand their cost and powers, beyond limits previously set by law.

Historically school bond issues have been approved by voters almost without question. Sometimes these bonds are really needed, but often it becomes obvious after the election they were not. The combination of a wasteful state legislature and an over zealous school board has resulted in about 20% excess Kenai Peninsula schools at a time of declining enrollments. Now because of the arcane state funding formula these schools can NOT be closed and tax savings realized.

Fortunately, the majority of voters on the Peninsula were not fooled again by an election to take more money from the taxpayers, under the pretense of benefiting our children. Voters simply expect the school board to live within its means just like we do.

Results of Proposition 1 clearly indicated the public favors a smaller more efficient government. This should be a wake up call not only for local governments, but also for those hiding in Juneau, because state wide elections are coming next!

Mike McBride

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March 22, 2004

Not unlike some governors before him, Frank Murkowski maintains Alaska’s net profit oil revenues of 57% (24% Federal & 33% Alaska); substantially below what other countries receive (many currently at 83% net profit retention by the host country). But now he’s endorsed a tax cut for these same corporations that will range from 70-120 million dollars annually, claiming it will stimulate exploration and development. This became more reprehensible when his cronies in the legislature attempted to make that ‘incentive’ retroactive. How do you stimulate something that happened three years ago??

In Sept, 2003, Murkowski wrote Senator Domenici, lending support to Bush’s energy bill proposing that oil corporations extract oil from NPR-A without paying any taxes; Alaska would lose tens (if not hundreds) of billions.

If you doubt this, you need to see Ray Metcalf’s presentation on Alaska’s oil revenues.

It’s time to dump this Governor and his team in exchange for competent leadership whose souls don’t belong to the Big Three Oil Corporations.

Go to , print and sign the petitions, and save Alaska for those that care about her. The current leadership no longer represents our public.

Dirk R. Nelson

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March 16, 2004

Inquiring about writing or researching for the Liberal Talk Radio. Familiar with federal and state issues. Resume available on request. Thank you very much.

Best Regards,

Anthony Jones

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March 16, 2004

A quick Internet search reveals that not only is Qur'an 9:11 not even remotely like the verse on your web page, no transalations of the Qur'an even contain the word "eagle." You should be more careful.


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March 16, 2004

Dear Editor:

Perhaps common sense is no longer common, or just doesn't apply to our State Legislature. The old saying, “don't fix it if it ain't broke!” must not apply to our Permanent Fund. The Governor's proposed POMV plan is a fix to one of the few systems that isn't broke.

I've heard claims the current system is old fashioned, that universities and endowments use POMV to fund their operation. I've heard government officials claim POMV will create a steady stream of revenue, so Alaskans can count on receiving a dividend. However, I haven't heard why this new and improved system is really necessary to fix what really isn't broken with the Permanent Fund and Dividend Program.

It's what isn't being said that should alarm Alaskans. You can be sure this is a political fix to the citizens advisory vote of 1999, when 83% of Alaskans clearly said “No” to the state's proposal to spend a portion of the PFD to satisfy their overspending. Politicians refusing to accept that answer have now come up with a new plan and hope we don't figure out what they are doing until it's too late.

This issue was never about management of the Permanent Fund, but whether we have changed our minds about them spending the Permanent Fund to sustain the unsustainable. I say “NO”, again!

Fred Sturman

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March 10, 2004
Cooper Landing

Our Legislators and the Governor continue their push to grab more money, with no real cuts proposed to the bureaucracy. They’ve cut the Longevity program and created new taxes, calling them user fees. They’re proposing a new system of management for the Permanent Fund called POMV, percent of market value. Through this system, they’ll raid the Permanent Fund but they won’t say “raid”; they call it “smart management.”

What they’re doing is taking away from the many and giving to the few. They’re squandering Alaska’s future! If Alaskans continue to be silent, we will lose more and more.

Our state currently spends three times the national average for state government. While the bureaucrats push for more, they can’t explain how this level of spending can continue. If they take the Permanent Fund and increase taxes on everyone, we’ll still be out of money in the near future. The state will then finally be forced to cut spending, when we’re out of money and options. Can we afford wait until our last dime is spent?

Visit “Alaskans to Recall Murkowski” at Send a strong message by signing the petition to recall the Governor. Visit “Alaskans, Just Say No” at Sign up there to protect our Permanent Fund! For Alaska’s future, stand up now before it’s too late!

Ed Martin, Sr.

( Webmaster's comments:
We are glad to see Mr. Martin run for the Alaska Legislature)

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March 9, 2004

I appreciate the chance to talk, do you ever receive infor. from Viet-Namese people about info on p.o.w.s?

If so can you pass on, I am here in Viet-Nam working as a teacher, I am a vet. and have not stopped or cannot stop the search,please help if possible,

Truly Yours


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Hi everyone,

So I was interviewed by Melissa Block on "All Things Considered" on National Public Radio on Friday 4/16, and we talked about my song "The Red Thread," and how it's a tribute to my mother and my daughter, and they played most of the song from the album. It was actually very moving. If you missed the interview, you can hear it at NPR's website by going to and doing a search for Lucy Kaplansky.

The whole thing was just thrilling for me (that show has a ton of listeners) and I'm very happy to say that a whole lot of people must have gone out and bought my album because the next day "The Red Thread" was #4 on (that's out of all of the albums they sell), after Norah Jones, Eric Clapton and Diana Krall!!!! As I'm writing this, my album is #8 on Amazon.

Also, for anyone in the New York City area, just a reminder that I'll be playing 3 nights this week at Joe's Pub (4/21,22 and 23) with the great Duke Levine accompanying me on guitar. The number for ticket info is 212-539-8770. And the 4/21 show is a fundraiser for Half the Sky.

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