L. Neil Smith's
Number 212, February 24, 2003


[Letters to the editor are welcome on any and all subjects. To ensure their acceptance, please try to keep them under 500 words. Sign your letter in the text body with your name and e-mail address as you wish them to appear.]

Letter from Renata Russell

Letter from Michael Barnhill

Letter from E.J. Totty

Letter from Scott Graves

Letter from Paul Alan Claussen

Letter from Frank Ney


Dear Sir:

How much do you want to bet, while providing huge cuts in funding the Strategic Helium Reserve, all legislators will meet in closed sessions in the middle of the night to give themselves huge pay raises?

I'm only asking.

Renata Russell [archergirl@netzero.net]



I read in the most recent edition of TLE that the "correct translation of KGB" is "Department of Homeland Security". It is not. The correct translation of KGB is Committee for State Security: KOMITET GOSUDARSTWENNOJ BEZOPASNOSTI [sorry .... can't reproduce the Cyrillic here! -ed.] (pronounced: Komitet Gosudarstvennoi Bezopasnosti). [...]

Accuracy matters.


Michael Barnhill [lsrcorp@yahoo.com]



I consider that the only thing you did wrong was advertise beforehand.

Your ploy would have worked perfectly, had you done the deed first, and THEN advertised it.

Actually, now that I consider that, you should have done the deed in SEVERAL locations, and THEN advertised it.

You see? Advertising your intent beforehand actually gave your adversaries the upper hand, because then they were able to assemble quickly against you, not unlike telling a combatant enemy where you are going to strike next.

I keep telling my fellow Libertarians that we need to adopt the credo of the guerrilla fighter: Hit and run.

The Brits have an old saying: He who fights and runs away, lives to fight another day; he who fights and hangs around, usually ends up in the ground.

If you aren't where your enemies are, they can't effectively attack you. If you hit one place, and move quickly to another, they are left in the breach explaining things, and usually not too persuasively at that.

How can you fight someone that you can't see?

Or, more to the point: If you continually change your tactics, your enemy is forever attempting to catch up to you. You essentially call the rules of the game.

Oh, BTW: Never, but NEVER play into the hands of someone using that tactic. Always counter is by using a more effective counter-ploy: One-up them by using their tactic. If they call you to one side of town, you call them to the other, then leave. The objective? Make them come to you, only to be put-off, and explained away as taking their time to reply, thereby making them appear to be disingenuous.

The objective is to not let even the press keep up with you, because they are more an enemy than those you seek to exploit.

Remember: Politics is just another kind of war.

As in war, you need to keep your wits about you in order to survive. Treachery becomes a game that you must learn all the rules of: There are no rules.

Therefore, in order to win, you concede nothing, give nothing, and forgive nothing.

The first rule of winning is: There is no such thing as losing.

In Liberty,

E.J. Totty [ejt@seanet.com]


As much as I agree with Mr. Smith's comments about the quality of the vast majority of television programming, I would have to ask, If it is so bad now, when was it any good? Certainly with occasional breaths of fresh air, television has always been the great intellectual wasteland. I once thought the television of my youth was so much better than today's bill of fare. Once the cable stations hit upon the brilliant idea of re-airing all the old shows I watched in my youth I realized my mistake. Television hadn't gotten worse; my standards had simply gotten higher.

Knight Rider, A-Team and Dukes of Hazard were my big three in the days of yore. I would do my homework quickly to be allowed to sit glued to the set absorbing such classic intellectual lines, as "Yeee-Haaaw" and "I love it when a plan comes together." Once I tired to re-watch the crap of my youth I noticed certain trends, where when one program would have the "amnesia episode" within a few weeks every other show had its amnesia episode. Was this an evil plot to get me to think about amnesia? Nope, simply the overworked and under talented writers stealing each other's ideas and filing off the serial numbers to get something written by the deadline.

Today television has grown up a bit. Instead of pitching to our pure base emotions with Daisy Duke or the slut of the week slipping into KITT and onto Michael, television today tries to claim an intellectual high ground. No longer will a main character wear revealing outfits or sleep with a rotating cast of large breasted bimbos. Ok, to be fair they still do that. But it is all wrapped up in a shawl of higher order emotions. "Ripped from the headlines" or "So shocking you won't even go to the bathroom" (sponsored by Depends of course) is the new emotional hook. If this is the new method, you need to have "real" characters in "real" situations. You can't seriously deal with the issues of bio-terrorism by having B A Barrackus drink the vial of VX gas and save the day. You need to have cops, firemen and doctors to run these plots through.

Of course we can ask why do these plots instead of the time tested "hypnotized to sell off the General Lee" type? Well, the same hacks that wrote such riveting plot points as "when will Michael hit the Turbo Boost T button!" are still writing today and they are out of fresh ideas. Some might say this could only be an improvement but alas this is television. Instead of stealing so-called plots and complications from each other, they now steal them from the pages of the New York Times (less chance of copyright infringement I guess) and thus a whole new kind of crap is piled upon the television viewer.

The executives are not immune to this type of idea stealing either. When one network has a success with Shuttstaffel, Life in the Ghettos then every other TV Exec is knocking on the door of his pet writers and saying, "We need that kind of show too! Get a pilot together by Tuesday, get that hot babe from that movie with the thing in it to be the hook." and POOF the viewers have a dozen Life in the Ghettos clones to chose from. Certainly there are incentives from government to select certain plotlines, especially anti-drug themes, which the cop and doctor shows are decidedly more capable of pushing for a little cash on the side thus increasing their usefulness to the networks. But alas, we are ignoring the one vital part in this disgusting puzzle. People actually watch this crap, and watch it enough to get the rating to go higher and higher. We have to accept a fact, our fellow countrymen are the intellectual equivalents of those Romans who sat in the arena and watched people being eaten by bears and lions. Crap sells. It sells real good.

If you think this is new, read Shakespeare. He was the hack writer of his day. His plays are just like the basic plots of any twitcom or docudrama. If he were alive today he would be eating microwave sushi with the TV execs and pitching pilots about large breasted women saving the world in bikinis not the next installment of Babylon 5. Throughout history the masses have enjoyed mindless crap, and we haven't evolved all that much in this time. As long as that's what gets them to watch, that's what will be shown because the goal is not to stimulate or even re-program, it's to get 4 or 5 hours of your day spent in front of the tube too numb to get up during the commercials, after all, it the commercials they want us to see, not the programs. Perhaps it's easier to think of it all as conspiracy so we don't have to look into the sheep-like eyes of our fellow Americans and realize they simply want to become comfortably numb in front of the aptly nicknamed idiot box and leave those messy intellectual ideas to the professionals.

Scott Graves [whiteknight@pcisys.net]


How many children must die in the war on drugs?

On Sunday Feb. 9, 2003, Drug Enforsement Agents staked out a house where they believed one Joey Angel Villarreal was hiding. During the stakeout a man was observed apparently leaving the house and getting into a [nearby] car on the passenger side. Shortly thereafter a girl also left the house and got into the driver's side of the car. The suspects' car - - according to the DEA -- left the house at a high rate of speed. Plainclothed DEA agents in two unmarked cars followed and, thinking it might be their suspect, force the car to pull over. Here info gets muddy. DEA agents claim that the suspects' car hit the unmarked DEA car in front and then also tried to hit the car behind that had blocked the suspects' car. At this point, DEA agents open fire on the car hitting the driver in the back of the head.

On Feb. 11, 2003 Ashley Villarreal, 14, died after family members requested that she be removed from life support at Wilford Hall Medical Center in San Antonio.

Daniel Robels, the male passenger, claimed that the still unidentified men around the car opened fire after their car crashed into the front car.

Mr. Robels was arrested for being drunk in public.

No weapons were reported found in the car.

I don't know about you, but if I was being followed by two unknown cars, forced off the road, boxed in by the unknown cars, and saw several plainclothed armed men moving toward my car I might try to get away also, even if it took crashing into one of the cars.

On the other hand.....

Paul Alan Claussen [paulclaussen@attbi.com]


On Sun, 16 Feb 2003 09:04:19 -0500, Jim Lesczynski wrote:

Say what you want about cops, but the NYPD saved our lives last Thursday.

I wouldn't attribute that to any vestige of moral character on the part of the NYPD, since they have none. They saved you for the same reason the Black Archie Bunker Malcolm X wannabe character saved the hero in Die Hard With A Vengeance. If they let you get slaughtered they would have been hip deep in libertarians, anarchists, and other undesirables (not to mention lawyers) inside of 48 hours. And not all of them would be rich white unarmed men.

Remember, this is the department that can't maintain fire discipline when faced with a black man holding a deadly wallet or cell phone. In this case, never attribute to kindness that which can be adequately explained by cynical self interest.

Frank Ney [n4zhg@icqmail.com]


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