Dear Editor:

It should surprise few who read our community’s newspapers and bulletins that our largest grass roots lobbying organization and several other boutique Armenian-American political groups (AADLC–Armenian-Americans for Kerry–and Armenia’s for Kerry) have thrown–symbolically and otherwise–their full weight behind the Kerry-Edwards campaign. Now–it seems–that Skeptik Sinikian has thrown his hat into the fray with his liberal-leaning columns. If this is a bolt from the blue to you–just look back to the 1996 presidential campaign and the endorsement of President Clinton over long-time community friend and supporter–Senator Robert Dole.

While the Clinton endorsement could be explained away as an exercise in political expediency–a la Clinton was going to win–anyway–so why burn any bridges–it’s interesting to note that the principle reason for not lending support to President Bush was ignored when President Clinton received our community’s backing. If memory serves–President Clinton never recognized the Armenian genocide as candidate Clinton had. That being said–only the most mendacious in our community can say with a straight face that a President Kerry would buck this trend.

So letss take a look at some of the other factors that really matter to the hardworking–industrious members of our community. Over the past three and a half years–after tax incomes have risen 11 percent–home ownership is up–and over 1.5 million jobs have been created since August 2003. Why? Because President Bush forced Congress to lower taxes for all Americans–including Armenian-Americans. All Americans have been given the increased spending power that has enabled our GDP to grow by more than 5 percent over the last three quarters–the fastest rate of growth in nearly two decades. Add to that the fact that productivity grew at the fastest 3-year rate in more than 50 years and one would be hard pressed to take seriously Senator Kerry’s doomsday diatribe of "economic decline." Despite Senator Kerry’s doomsday proclamations of "Hoovervilles" sprouting up across the US–unemployment has gone down further to 5.4 percent–a full .2 percent lower than it was in 1996.

Armenia’s–for centuries and by various means and circumstances–have found themselves in foreign lands. The one constant is that we have prospered both economically and socially. Trade and commerce have been integral components of Armenian life throughout our history–and in no place have we prospered more than in the United States of America. It’s difficult to drive down a street in Watertown or Glendale and not see at least five or six Armenian-American small businesses. Coincidentally–these very small businesses are the backbone of our economy–and the true engines of economic growth–creating seven out of every ten new jobs.

In our own community–these are the businesses that often times import goods from Armenia to sell to an eager Armenian-American consumer market in states such as California and Massachusetts. Let us not forget that when tax rates were lowered–so was the tax burden on the 90 percent of small businesses organized as Subchapter S Corporations–partnerships–or sole proprietorships that pay their taxes at the individual income tax rates. Cutting marginal income tax rates allowed small businesses and our community’s job creators to invest more of their money in their businesses to expand and create more jobs. When Senator Kerry stands atop his soap box and seethes about "Benedict Arnold corporations," promising to raise taxes on only the rich–he’s talking about raising the taxes of virtually all small business owners–many of whom are industrious–hardworking Armenian-Americans.

It’s time that our grass roots and political organizations enhance their repertoire by addressing some of the bread and butter issues that matter to the community they purport to represent. The same goes for columnists who hide behind obnoxious pseudonyms.

Aram Zamgochian

Dear Editor:

I appreciate your response to Mrs. Savey Tufenkian’s letter (October 2–2004) regarding freedom of choice and freedom of speech. Jokes about notable people–including presidents–Republican or Democrat–appear every day in newspapers–magazines–TV talk shows–or even national news channels. This is the American way of freedom of expression. Like all Americans–we read–perhaps chuckle–and forget about it. However–Mrs. Tufenkian’s outrage about "insult to the office of the President" during a time of election campaign raises a deeper concern in me as an Armenian. My concern is that there are Armenia’s who support and may vote for President Bush based solely on Party affiliation without scrutinizing his performance.

As an Armenian–I believe that we have a lot at stake in this election. Besides the fact that Mr. Bush has ruined the economy of this country–has made a mess of the people and countries in the Middle East–and has been responsible for the death of thousands of innocent people–he has done everything possible to go against the interests of Armenia and the Armenian people.

To name just a few of his actions–he has tried to decrease the relief moneys allocated to Armenia–he has tried to decrease the military aid funds to Armenia–increased those to Azerbaijan–and–contrary to his pre-election promise in 2000–he has yet to acknowledge the Armenian genocide. I am a registered Republican–but we now have an independent Armenia’surrounded by hostile neighbors and her continued existence is of paramount importance.

Armenia needs support and financial aid–which this president has not and will not provide. Whatever aid we have received as a nation–we owe to our supporters in Congress–not this president. As ARMENIANS–we have an obligation to think of what benefits our country–irrespective of our Party affiliation. I hope that all true Armenia’s remember what this president has refused to do for us in the past four years and–in November–cast their vote accordingly.

Elise Yacoubian

Dear Editor:

While I am usually a big supporter of Asbarez–I am very disappointed in the direction this quality newspaper has decided to take. Objective journalism seems to have taken a back seat to partisan politics. Asbarez has decided to exercise its full first amendment rights of media bias over trying to be a reliable source of updated news to its subscribers. (It looks like a publication of the Democratic National Committee–and not only the editorials) While I am knowledgeable enough in American politics to be able to tell the difference of objective journalism and partisan spin–Asbarez is my main source for news from Armenia and I am not savvy enough to be able to tell the difference for Armenian news. I hope it is not being done to the same extent for Armenian news. I expect a certain amount of bias from any newspaper–especially the official publication of any organization–but I sincerely hope that the partisan spin can be taken back a notch to keep Asbarez as the leader of all types of news for the Armenian-American community.

Kris Demirjian

Dear Editor:

The debate between John Edwards and Dick Cheney presented Americans a stark choice.

John Edwards shared an optimistic vision for the next four years: genuine leadership in the war on terror; an economic growth plan that creates jobs and keeps them here at home; affordable health care for every American; a plan to make America stronger at home and respected abroad.

But Dick Cheney had nothing to share but attacks and excuses. As the architect of four years of failed Bush administration policies–Cheney had a lot to answer for in this debate. But he failed to explain those failures–instead attacking John Kerry over and over again.

I want a plan for the future–not attacks and excuses. The vice presidential debate made it clear that John Kerry and John Edwards are the right choice.

Zaven Aloojian


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