Letters to the Editor

Sen. Patrick Leahy blasts Horowitz over Hillary; JFK Jr. story lacked class; "Nazi family values" was rife with prejudice.

By Letters to the Editor
July 22, 1999 8:00PM (UTC)
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Hillary's hypocrisy
BY DAVID HOROWITZ
(07/15/99)

Rather than criticizing Hillary Clinton, David Horowitz would do better to congratulate
her for recognizing that dairy farmers in the Northeast -- family
farmers who barely earn enough to survive -- desperately need the
modest safety offered by the Northeast Dairy Compact. Clinton is
siding with farmers, consumers and states that produced the dairy
compact. Horowitz sides with the corporate giants who have spent
millions to kill it.

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Horowitz's understanding of the dairy compact's record is
incorrect on several counts. Far from being imposed on the states,
the dairy compact is a state-initiated, state-ratified and
state-supported cooperative arrangement between dairy producers,
processors and consumers, which assures a safe and fresh supply of
milk for consumers and a fair price for dairy farmers. A study by the
federal Office of Management and Budget has shown that six months
after the dairy compact went into effect, the price of a gallon of
milk in the compact region was five cents lower than in the rest of
the country. The dairy compact's commission exempts milk used in
federal nutrition programs such as the school lunch program and WIC.

The only sure way to maintain a fresh and stable supply of locally produced milk is to
ensure that dairy farmers get a fair return for the milk they produce.
Fewer dairy farms do not equal lower milk prices or a more stable
supply of fresh, local milk. In parts of New England, before the
compact's lifeline to dairy farmers, more than 40 percent of these
dairy farms were forced out of business. Milk prices inevitably will
rise in the long run if milk production is concentrated with fewer and
fewer farmers, farther and farther away from the consuming public.

Horowitz is right about one thing: This is a battle between David
and Goliath. The real Davids in this fight, though, are the family
farmers, who are simply asking that a 7-day-a-week, 12-hour-a-day job
yield a decent return for their product; they are fighting large, multibillion-dollar corporate Goliaths, whose real agenda is protecting their
profits. Clinton deserves credit, not scorn, for championing the
true "little guy" in this important debate.

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-- Patrick Leahy

United States Senator

Washington

I read David Horowitz's column blasting the Northeast Dairy Compact
just before I went out to the barn to milk our herd of Jersey cows
this morning. Unlike most of our farming neighbors, this New York
farm family opposes the compact on free-market grounds. But I was
startled by Horowitz's claim that the compact "is expected to put
$74,000 in the pocket of every New York farmer, well-heeled and
struggling alike." This attention-grabbing figure represents about
half the gross income, or double or triple the net income, of most of
the dairy farm families I know. "That much?" I thought. "Maybe I
ought to support the compact after all!"

Unfortunately for my pockets, 10 minutes of rudimentary research
showed me that Horowitz's figure is nonsense. In New England, which
has operated under the Dairy Compact for about two years, the
percentage of the total producer price attributed to the compact
averaged 3.41 percent between July 1997 and December 1998. In 1998, when
the non-compact milk price rose higher than the floor price set by
the compact for a number of months, this percentage averaged just
1.74 percent. I don't know what Horowitz imagines that New York farmers
earn, but if he tried reading some agricultural statistics or simply
talking to a few of us, he'd discover that 2 or 3 percent of
the total producer price wouldn't pay $74,000 to anybody except,
maybe, a handful of the largest dairy farms. For the vast majority of
New York's milk producers, a modest few thousand bucks a year would
be more like it. New England's experience also suggests that
Horowitz's prediction of a 50-cent-a-gallon retail price increase is
wildly unlikely. If history is any guide, the increase would be more
like 12 or 15 cents a gallon -- bad enough, but nowhere near
Horowitz's exaggerated numbers.

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Hysterical hyperbole of this sort doesn't help anybody's cause. There are good, factual reasons to oppose the
compact. Why make things up?

-- Catherine Frey Murphy

DAVID HOROWITZ RESPONDS ...

There are so many misrepresentations and false statements in Sen. Leahy's letter it is difficult to know where to begin. It is false, for example, to claim that Hillary Clinton is siding with "consumers" in backing the milk compact, since consumers groups are in fact opposed to it, because consumers would be gouged by the artificially supported milk prices resulting from the compact. The senator, who is the legislative author of the compact, misrepresents the facts when he suggests that it is a case of small farmers vs. "corporate giants." In reality the structure of the milk industry in the Midwest states that oppose the milk compact and the Northeast states that support it is the same. There are big farms and small farms in similar distributions in both regions. The difference is that the Northeast has a large urban population and therefore it produces more beverage milk than the Midwestern states, which produce more milk solids like cheese. The compact affects the price of beverage milk only. It benefits corporate giants as well as small farmers in the Northeast by making children pay more for a gallon of milk, and puts Midwestern dairy producers at a disadvantage.

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The 50 cent per gallon rise in milk prices I projected for the new compact, which will include additional states, is an estimate put forward by consumer advocate Mark Green and Rudy Giuliani among others. Milk prices in the compact states have increased 7 percent since 1997, when the compact was first instituted (according to the OMB), or 25 cents a gallon. Of course the amount of the rise will depend on how the cartel is administered. I should have qualified my claim about the pricing and also about the amount of money going to farmers. The $74,000 figure is an average. Of course the larger farms in Vermont, Massachusetts and other states in the compact will benefit more than small farmers who may not see a fraction of this sum.

The bottom line is that this is a futile government intervention to put off the inevitable. Milk production by small farms is inefficient. Artificially raising prices to protect inefficient farmers at the expense of children and especially poor children, which is what Hillary Clinton supports, does not reflect the kind of priorities she otherwise claims to be hers.


Famous for being famous

BY BILL WYMAN

(07/18/99)

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Bill Wyman is not shoveling dirt , but slinging mud on JFK Jr.'s body
before it's even been recovered. Regardless of whether his premise -- that
John Kennedy Jr. was more style than substance -- is true, his timing
absolutely sucks. His comments are out of bounds, not because they run
contrary to the public idolatry surrounding John Kennedy Jr., but out
of common courtesy for the recently deceased. Wyman either should have saved his comments for a later date or, if he felt so strongly about Kennedy's supposed vapidness, shouldn't
have waited until now to slam him.

Unfortunately, John Kennedy Jr. is most likely under 110 feet of water, and in no position to defend himself from a classless act
like Wyman. Apparently Wyman's conscience is submerged at about the same depth.

-- Fred F. Smith Jr.

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In attacking a nation's regard for a poised icon, Bill Wyman has bought
into exactly what he seems to be rejecting. Does he so desperately need
an excuse to buck the inevitable outpouring of media mourning?
In acknowledging the hype surrounding fallen John Kennedy Jr., he has
answered questions we haven't asked. We were satisfied to watch JFK Jr.
grow and stumble and celebrate. And in the end, we are saddened to see
him go.

No one ever proclaimed him a writer. No one was ever able to put their
finger on precisely what his role was in our society. So it is useless
now, and indeed disrespectful, to ponder his vestigial qualities as a
celebrity. In this day and age, his grace, damn good looks and potential
only beginning to be tapped were rare qualities worthy of our
astonishment. The fact that he accomplished anything in the face of our
grandiose expectations and beneath the weight of such a legacy is
amazing. He was a true gentleman.

-- Karen Cameron Boyden

After a weekend of
virtually 24 hour coverage on all major networks of the disappearance of JFK
Jr. (and, oh yeah, those other two people), I was left with the very same
feelings about Kennedy articulated so well by Wyman. It sounds like he was a
nice guy, and I'm very sorry for his family, but have I missed something here?
Clearly in this country celebrity, in and of itself, is the most important
credential.

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-- Russ Lehman

Olympia, Wash.


The beautiful and the damned

BY JAKE TAPPER

(07/17/99)

Referring to Christy Turlington and Cindy Crawford as "eye candy" offends me. The writer
assumes a male (and, it should be noted, heterosexual) reader -- John Travolta is
an "actor," but Cindy Crawford is a sex object -- and objectifies these women
in an insulting way. Obviously Turlington and Crawford are known (and rich
and famous) for their physical beauty, but referring to them as "eye candy" is degrading.

-- Jennifer Grant

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The last Kennedy
BY DAVID HOROWITZ
(07/17/99)

David Horowitz's reference to John F. Kennedy Jr. as "the last Kennedy"
perpetuates one of the darker aspects of the Kennedy family's legacy: its
sexism and its lack of expectations for its women. In fact, Caroline Kennedy
has assembled a family legacy of accomplishment far greater than her
brother's and probably would have continued to do so even had he lived. She
is the "last Kennedy."

-- Anastasia Pantsios


Nazi family values

BY AMY BENFER
(07/15/99)

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What unconscious prejudice is unwittingly revealed by the writer's question,
"how does Idaho breed racists when everyone here is white?" Does she mean
that the converse is true? That it's easy to understand how a person can
become a racist after coming into contact with Jews, blacks, gays or
Latinos? Besides, the answer is obvious: Racism, like any prejudice, thrives on
ignorance.

-- Frances Luckin

Johannesburg, South Africa

Why act like you want to see our side of things? Why act nice when you cannot even quote us properly? Next time, Amy Benfer should not try to act like she is a different kind of reporter; she should be up-front and tell us she is the same kind of reporter as the others. Benfer stretches the story to fit her view, misquotes us and adds her own commentary to make us look dumb. She never wanted to see our side one bit. She wanted to look brave facing us haters, but her article proved who the haters are.

-- Christian Teague

Office manager

Church of Jesus Christ Christian/Aryan Nations

This piece is very much pro-Nazi and Aryan Nations. It is not an example of objective reporting,
but rather an attempt to humanize these evil individuals who teach racial
hatred to their children, condone the murder of other races and refuse
to admit members of the press who are not of the "aryan" race. What
message are you sending to your readers?

-- Bill Maniaci

Director, Jewish Defense League of Nevada

"Nazi Family Values" shows that more and more people who espouse
white supremacist beliefs are otherwise ordinary people. Saying they
"hate" is not only ineffective in combating such ideas and actions, but
it is a gross simplification of a complex social movement. As for
"hate", asking a 6-year-old to choose between her parents and a group
of strangers that is (to her) hostile without reason will only frighten
her and give credence to her parents beliefs that it is "us against
them."

The rise of white supremacy is inextricably linked to
the hostility that blacks and other minorities have toward whites in
general. Black racial separatists encourage this hostility, teaching young blacks to stereotype
ALL whites as oppressors, and have confused them so that they can't tell
the difference between George Wallace and a white motel maid.
White racial separatists, like their black counterparts, prey on
confused young people. White young men -- who are taught from
kindergarten in amoral, liberal public schools that they are
responsible for all the horrors that have plagued humanity since the
dawn of time simply because of their race and sex -- are particularly
vulnerable. It is well known that if an abusive mother or father
constantly tells their child he or she is lazy, stupid, slutty etc., the
poor child often embodies those characteristics as a teen or adult. Is it any surprise that
many young white men are becoming savage killers, when they've been taught in school that that is
all white men have ever done?

It's a shame Benjamin Smith killed himself, so we could not have the
pleasure of executing him. But for the liberal media and public schools
to shunt all responsibility onto conservatives and not recognize their
own role in fermenting this backlash is dishonest and irresponsible.
And despite the media's infatuation with hate crimes, the incidence of
whites murdering any minorities pales in comparison to the numbers in
which blacks are killing each other.

-- Lillie Wade

I wonder if the people of Idaho understand how sad many of us
ex-Idahoans feel about our home state. I lived in Idaho for 33 years.
I grew up in the same home that my father knew as a child. Yet I find it harder and harder to go home, to see my folks and visit old friends. I am no longer blind to
their luxury of ignorance. I can no longer be silent when they make
their ignorant racist comments. When your day-to-day life seldom means having any dialogue with a person from a different culture, it is nearly impossible to push the walls of ignorance back. I know.

-- Linda Fitch


The Matt Drudge of porn

BY MICHELLE GOLDBERG
(07/13/99)

In the future, when writing an article about a man
who, conflicted or not, is proud to be a Jew, please do not illustrate using a
figure with a cross around his neck. We Jews are not Christians, and we are
proud not to be.

-- Aaron Schatz

Cambridge, Mass.


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