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MATHEWS IS A RED

Rather than trying to deflect criticism of his weird hit piece on Chris Cox by attacking me (Letters, May 19), Todd Mathews should just admit his attempt at humor didn't work. It wasn't funny and wasn't accurate. Instead, Todd digs himself in deeper, demonstrating again that his political bias prevents him from getting his facts straight.

Todd suggests that I "proposed giving the Chinese government U.S. missile technology." Just for the record, my original support for President Clinton's decision to permit U.S.-built satellites to be launched on Chinese rockets came only after guarantees were made that stringent safeguards would ensure no technology could possibly be transferred to the Chinese. Once I'd signed on, the Clinton administration simply ignored that promise. Through ignorance or design, the security standards were not enforced, and, worse, the Clinton administration did all it could to cover up the missile-technology transfer that was taking place. As soon as I discovered the deception, I not only pulled my support but also personally investigated the matter. The information I uncovered was later verified and included in the Cox Report.

The reason Clinton has gotten away with his numerous lies and betrayals is that too many members of the press are like Todd Mathews. They worship liberal/ Left politicians and refuse to hold them to any standard of accountability. Instead, they constantly take jabs at Republicans and never let the facts get in the way of a good bash.

Representative Dana Rohrabacher
Huntington Beach
Todd Mathews responds:It's just like Dana Rohrabacher to assume that I'm a liberal or a Leftist and not in fact a libertarian who's simply disgusted by the hog feeding that goes on regularly in government. The facts are these, as first reported by my colleagues Anthony Pignataro and R. Scott Moxley ("Cox, Dicks, No Balls," June 4, 1999): on March 10, 1994, in the House subcommittee on Economic Policy, Trade and Environment, Rohrabacher recorded a voice vote in favor of loosening restrictions on U.S. companies eager to sell military-related satellite and related technologies overseas, including to communist China. Specifically, the vote shifted jurisdiction over highly sensitive technology transfers from the State Department to the free-and-easy, if not downright incompetent, Commerce Department. Two months later, on May 18, Rohrabacher proved his first vote wasn't an aberration. He cast the same vote in the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Rohrabacher's defense—that he got some sort of assurance from the Clinton administration—stands as its own indictment: What sort of idiot would believe anything Bill Clinton says? Bottom line, Dana: you fucked up. Accept responsibility for the fact that you and others like you—Democrats or Republicans, it makes no difference—pushed for a leaky system of technology transfers to the Chinese, and stop trying to red-bait people with whom you disagree.

INTER-OFFICE MEMO

Hey, Buddy. I don't see you around the office much, so I figured I'd write you a letter in hopes that you'd see it—as would the thousands who undoubtedly read your rabidly anti-Bruce Springsteen screed ("One Step up, Two Steps Back," May 19). Like all of your stuff, it was funny. It was well-written. And it was opinionated. But, man, was it off-target.

I can readily attest that taste is no prerequisite for a critic, but a little historical context never hurts. You focused your Springsteen-is-shit column on the fact that his albums since 1984 don't match up to his pre-Born in the USAperiod. That's true. But you should know as well as anyone that: (a) what has always made Springsteen "Springsteen" isn't his studio work but rather his live performances, and (b) this the first time he's toured with the E Street Band in more than 10 years. Those two facts should have led you to realize that this isn't an occasion to rip Springsteen for recorded output that hasn't been up-to-snuff for 15 years. It was a time to celebrate the return of a remarkably committed performer and his ferociously talented band, an ensemble that works its ass to the pelvic bone each and every time it hits the stage.

I saw Springsteen five times on this tour, and I walked away from each show feeling cleansed and empowered. In a time when so much pop culture is all about hype and image, Springsteen is a living, performing reminder that, in very rare exceptions, a concert can be as real and intense as a good fuck. In fact, much more fulfilling. And sure, anyone who needs a 52-year-old rocker to make them feel that way has more problems than a general dissatisfaction with the world as they perceive it, but screw it; I'll take transcendence any place I can get.

So, Buddy, I'm really sorry that you feel cheated that the Springsteen you once admired has, in your eyes, sold out and turned middle-of-the-road. That wasn't the guy I saw on May 22 at the Arrowhead Pond. This wasn't a greatest-hits tour or a tired revival. It was the return of a living legend, a guy capable with the right band—his—of transforming just another concert at just another big venue into a rapturous celebration of the power and the glory and the MINISTRY of rock & roll.

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