Commendations to you for publishing the Eugene Register-Guard's editorial criticizing the use of "Socialism" as a fright word.

Only in America, of all the industrialized states, is it possible to frighten citizens and to garner political points by screaming that word at anyone who argues for public provision of necessary goods and services that markets will not and cannot reasonably and fairly supply. That fear and confusion is mainly the result of 40 years of relentless propaganda against socially beneficial public programs.

I hope that the editorial is among many other efforts to clarify what "social provision" of certain basic goods is all about, namely fairness and economic rationality. It means "promoting the general welfare" of our people in a decent society. — Gerald Cavanaugh, Ashland

Coming from the People's Republic of Eugene, I'm not surprised at the editorial from the Eugene Register (Red) Guard.

As usual, the Stalinists distort or conveniently leave out the real reasons Bush vetoed the SCHIP bill.

1. It would have provided free health care for illegal aliens.

2. It would have provided free health care for those families earning $82,000 annually.

As to socialized health care; in England, 6 percent of people pull their own teeth because they can't get timely care.

Mrs. Bill Clinton's Canadian parliamentarian friend comes to the United States for her health care.

As to the Veterans' Hospital system; while I would prefer vouchers for the vets to use in the private sector, realistically, these honorable vets deserve the best care we can give them. The current system was established long ago, before Bush.

I'll take my chances any day in the free-market world, I want minimal dependence on government, especially the do-gooder Democratic party.

Spare me, please! — Richard Gyuro, Sams Valley

Years ago I planted a spindly maple seedling that had all of six leaves.

Today it's 30 feet tall and welcome shade from the summer sun. Each fall I mulch the leaves in a continuing process of renewal.

As I was raking this afternoon, it struck me that every leaf represented a life lost this year to a badly bungled war and I wondered what nutrients all those violent deaths will add to the human soil.

A tree doesn't mourn its leaves as they drop away because they ensure its next season's growth. I don't think many parents who lose their children to war quite see it that way.

Maybe Bush and Cheney do. Maybe they consider all that blood to be ideological mulch. By what tortured logic can so bitter a harvest be the wages of liberty? — Stephen Davis, Talent

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