Nick Budnick's "All Bets Are Off" [


, March 26, 2003] sheds light on a new police tactic: "Do Nothing." In a head-scratching attempt at "safety," police blocked traffic so an illegal protest could run amok and block


traffic, thus protecting citizens. Or something.

Thursday [March 20] was a social event to create mayhem at. Period. Peace had very little to do with the march. Your photo showing bandanna-clad teenyboppers forcing their sign against police is only one of hundreds of incidents of vandalism, intimidation and thuglike behavior.

A note on these protests: Albert Einstein said, "You cannot simultaneously prevent and prepare for war." Something similar applies to those protesters who are trying to make their rants more politically palatable by stating they're against the war but still support our troops. How does one do that, exactly? Yell, "Hurray, troops! But don't shoot, guys"? That whole notion is both contradictory and

Protesters are desperate (and I quote) to "exercise their constitutional right to be heard." Umm, it goes without saying to us who have actually read the Constitution that they don't have the right to be heard. They have the right to speak. We can't be forced to listen--whether by you violating my right to drive or shop. Stories of protesters jumping on vehicles and screaming obscene gestures with terrified children inside aren't free speech. They are, on the other hand, a novel reason to thin the herd of this societal baggage by shipping them to Iraq to practice their free speech.

Bryan Drendel

Is it true that the Portland Business Alliance, which gets more than 80 percent of its budget money from public sources, has endorsed political candidates and now plans to form a political action committee in order to supply campaign donations (rather, bribes) to office seekers?

Is this what people mean by "public finance" of political campaigns?

Am I living in a Third World country--or even worse, somewhere in Texas, but not near Austin?

Is the Bush administration contagious?

Does anyone know how many phone calls and letters to an elected official it takes to neutralize a $1,000 contribution? Is the problem not so much the leaders of the PBA, but instead three city commissioners who don't have the guts to tell these democracy killers to "shove it"?

Is it too late to leave Portland, since Portland already left me?

Carlos Martini
Northeast Everett Street