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Danger of Electronic Plebiscites

Regarding the Opinion page article "A Parody of True Democracy," Aug. 13: The real danger of electronic plebiscites (a la Ross Perot) is the one that the framers of our Constitution saw so clearly, namely the threat of a "tyranny of the majority" to justice and freedom. Lynch mobs are "democratic" in the same crude, populist sense that the author ascribes to electronic referenda. Justice, freedom, and prosperity have taken a beating at the hands of groups seeking special privileges from government. Plebi scites may shift the power to oppress from the few to the many, but only a constant return to moral principles of government will bring oppression to a halt.

Jefferson said: "A wise and frugal government which shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government." David Beers, Wichita, Kan. Inadequate coverage

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Media coverage of the growing poverty and the decline of the middle class has been inadequate.

The problems we face are clear, as are some of the solutions: tax reform; national health care; electoral reform; insurance reform; and the elimination of gross corruption (legal and illegal).

Yet they gain little attention beyond vague motherhood-and-apple-pie generalities by candidates fielding puffball questions.

How can we expect an informed public to act as responsible citizens without information to balance the well-financed propaganda and vote-buying of special interests? Bill Ireland, San Anselmo, Calif. Global cooling?

Regarding the news article "Cool Weather Threatens Crops Growing in Midwest States," Aug. 11: Global cooling is gaining momentum. Its effects are immediate and potentially worse than global warming. The tomatoes aren't ripening in the Northeast, and the corn isn't ready in the Midwest, except in Indiana. Minnesota has had its coldest July ever, and Iowa has had its second coldest and wettest.

Our current leaders do nothing. President George Bush, the supposed "environmental president," is silent. It's definitely time for a change - time for leaders who really care and who will do something more than just give us lip service. Let's hope it's not too late in November. Theodore Butler, Wilton, N.H. It's Congress's call

We often read how President George Bush promised not to raise taxes, and then he went back on his word. The president has no authority to raise or impose taxes. Only Congress can do this. Now we hear how Gov. Bill Clinton is going to accomplish all sorts of miracles with his economic programs. If elected, he too will discover that he does not have any power under the Constitution except to execute and administer the laws Congress passes. George Broatch, Bainbridge Island, Wash.

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