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09.21 ‘Poor people don’t plan long-term. We’ll just get our hearts broken’

09.19 Texas proposes rewriting school text books to deny manmade climate change

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Health Care & Environment

09.21 After Surgery, Surprise $117,000 Medical Bill From Doctor He Didn’t Know

09.21 Climate warning to world leaders: stick to 2C limit or face 'mayhem'

09.21 Desmond Tutu: We fought apartheid. Now climate change is our global enemy

09.21 Thousands join People's Climate March around the world – live

09.21 Climate change is a global emergency. Stop waiting for politicians to sound the alarm

09.21 US will not commit to climate change aid for poor nations at UN summit

09.20 Climate Change: The Next Generation [25:26 video]

09.20 These Stunning Photos of Greenland's "Dark Snow" Should Worry You

09.20 Artificial Sweeteners May Disrupt Body’s Blood Sugar Controls

09.19 Texas proposes rewriting school text books to deny manmade climate change

09.19 Jarvis Cocker: Do I Really Have to March?

09.18 China, the Climate and the Fate of the Planet

09.17 Americans' Waistlines Are Growing Ever Larger

09.17 Preventing Cancer Through Good Food and Exercise

09.17 The 100 Percent Renewable-Powered City: Too Good to be True?

09.17 We can avoid climate change, and boost the world’s economy – if we act now

09.17 World 'can cut emissions at low cost'

News Media

09.19 How the Media Gets It Wrong

09.18 At Elite Media, ‘Scientific’ Racists Fit in Fine

Daily FAIR Blog
The Daily Howler

Justice Matters

09.20 Financial Criminals Have Been Fined Billions, but They Rarely Pay

09.20 Science’s Sexual Assault Problem

US Politics, Policy & Culture

09.21 Spatial Justice: Rasquachification, Race and the City

09.20 "Washington Is a Cesspool of Faux-Experts Who Do Bad Research"

09.20 Does Hillary Clinton Have Anything to Say?

09.19 Police Have a Much Bigger Domestic Abuse Problem Than the NFL

09.19 Chris Christie lies yet again. Tells press conference that Sirota was fired by Pando over inaccuracies

09.18 The Occupy Movement Takes on Student Debt

09.18 US school districts given free machine guns and grenade launchers

High Crimes?
Economics, Crony Capitalism

09.20 5 Signs the Dark-Money Apocalypse Is Upon Us

09.20 Climate Change Is an Opportunity to Dramatically Reinvent the Economy

09.18 Bill Black: The New York Times’ Coverage of EU Austerity Remains Pathetic

09.18 The Deficit Disaster That Never Was [charts]

09.18 Hey, FCC: do your job and stand up for net neutrality, not Big Cable schemes

09.17 A Public Bank Option for Scotland

International

09.21 Germany's Ailing Infrastructure: A Nation Slowly Crumbles

09.21 Mikhail Khodorkovsky breaks political silence, saying he would lead Russia

09.21 Kurds call on 'all Middle East' to help defend stronghold from Isis

09.19 How Malawi Women Are Turning Waste Into Wealth

09.19 5 Key Themes Emerging From the 'New Science of Cities'

09.19 The rapid pace of technology is hollowing out the middle class

09.19 Scotland votes no: the union has survived, but the questions for the left are profound

09.18 Tests for a Still Broken Iraq

09.18 World briefing on US-led coalition to defeat Isis in Iraq and Syria

09.18 Putin's aggression has left Europe in pre-war state, says top Russian writer

09.18 House approves Obama plan to arm Syrian rebels

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Letters to the Editor

EDITOR'S NOTE: We cannot publish all the letters to the editor we receive due to time constraints. Preference is given to letters that are concise, grammatical, civil in tone, and submitted by verifiable correspondents. In addition to the writer's name, letters must include (for verification purposes, not for publication) the writer's address, phone and e-mail address. Following are recent representative letters. Please send your letters to editor@baltimorechronicle.com.

Hey Working Class Republicans!

How's that Election Victory Thingy goin' for ya!?

Didja notice?

Soon as election time was over, your newly-anointed Republican leadership unanimously voted against extending your unemployment benefits! ....Even while they help their Banker friends who have your upside-down mortgage and are ready to foreclose on you.

Go figure, huh?

Now it's clear they are willing to hold the working class's well-deserved tax cuts hostage to getting all the Millionaires and Billionaires' bennies extended as well, even as they carp about having to "Balance the Budget"...which, incidentally, in case you haven't noticed, they plan to take out of your hide too, like your Social Security and your Medicaid!

Like I said, How's that Trickly-Downy Thingy goin' for ya?

Bia Winter
Mount Vernon, Maine
R.I.P., G.O.P.
Editor:

We mourn the passing of a once great American institution. After some years of failing health, what we once knew as the Republican Party is no more. The party of Lincoln, Eisenhower, and even Nixon is gone. Its shameful zombified remains would embarrass its former leaders. Now it preys on children, voting against kids' hunger and health bills as it recently did. It turned up its nose at unemployment benefit extensions for families in need. And it recently threatened to hold our entire nation hostage until their demand for their wealthy benefactors' tax cuts is approved.

These acts would put to shame any heart or conscience, were they still alive. But now virtually every move by what was once the Republican Party is calculated for the benefit of their large corporate owners, regardless of the cost to our country and the harm to Americans.

Out of respect for the late G.O.P., let us not refer to its corporate-run corpse as the Republican Party. Let us call it what it is—the Plunder America Party.

Doug Long
Rio Rancho, NM
Republicans' Boorish Behavior
Editor:

There was supposed to be a bipartisan summit at the White House, but only the Democrats showed up. The Republican leadership of the House and Senate somehow couldn’t find any time in their schedules to meet with the president of the United States. If this is what cooperation and mutual respect is going to look like over the next two years, then settle in for more trench warfare and far less progress.

It has been more than two weeks since President Obama issued a postelection invitation for Congressional leaders to join him for dinner on Nov. 18 to discuss “how we can move the American people’s agenda forward.” Republicans left him hanging, refusing to commit to a date even as the office of Mitch McConnell, the Senate Republican leader, said he was encouraged that the president wanted to discuss areas of agreement.

On Wednesday, the Republicans, led by Mr. McConnell, said they just didn’t have the time. They had discovered there was so much to do—new members to welcome and lots of other unspecified details. Besides, they said, the president should have asked for a mutually agreeable date instead of just inviting them. So the meeting was pushed back until Nov. 30.

As the Republicans know, that means less time to work out important compromises in the remaining lame-duck session on crucial issues like taxes, the nuclear arms treaty with Russia and extending unemployment insurance. So far, in fact, there has been zero interest in actual compromise on any of those issues, despite extended hands from the White House. On Thursday, Nov. 18, House Republicans blocked a bill that would extend long-term unemployment insurance past the holidays.

Beyond the practical implications of this rudeness, there is an increasingly obvious lack of respect for the president and the presidency, with Republicans interpreting their electoral victory as a mandate to act with hubris. Steny Hoyer, the outgoing House majority leader, noted Thursday that he couldn’t remember a single instance when Democrats did not change their schedule to accommodate a request to meet with President George W. Bush. Mr. McConnell has already made it clear that defeating Mr. Obama is more important than negotiating on legislation. Apparently, that also goes for snubbing Mr. Obama.

An editorial ("With All Disrespect, Mr. President") appeared in the NYT on 11/19 and should have been in every newspaper in the country to illustrate the depths to which political discourse has sunk. Eloquent wimp that he is, unlike his predecessor Obama has no criminal record and was elected in a chicanery-free and fair election, and as president of the United States he deserves respect, not the contempt that the Republican leadership(?) showed him by refusing to attend a White House dinner to discuss political differences.

Their behavior is inexcusable in what passes for a democracy, particularly when you consider that it is not his policies that they object to but the color of his skin, their primary goal being to replace him in 2012 even if it is with an inarticulate white disaster like the last one.

R. G. Wheeler
Lealman, Florida
Bush's Book Confirms His Lies about Iraq Invasion
Editor:

What ironic justice it would be if the book that Bush thought would exonerate him actually led to his downfall! All it takes is for one member of Congress—Leahy? Schumer? Whitehouse?—to show some guts and say, “Hey, what is this guy talking about?” For instance, he is on record as saying that he invaded Iraq because Saddam would not let the UN inspectors in to look for WMDs, which is the complete opposite of the truth, because Hans Blix and his team had been on the ground in Iraq for four months and had found nothing (which was definitely not good news for Bush and Cheney) and it was Bush who told them to get out because he was going to invade. Now Bush is saying that Saddam would not allow Blix in! Does he take us all for a bunch of idiots?

Some kind of investigative panel must be set up to question Bush on this and whatever other distortions of facts that the book contains, so that the relatives of those who died in Iraq will know what the rest of the world has long known: that they died not for this country, but for Iraq’s oil, profits for Cheney and Halliburton, and for Bush to settle a score with Saddam for his father. At the cost of $3 trillion, our damaged reputation around the world, over 4,400 American dead and over 30,000 missing arms, legs and eyesight, not to mention 700,000 dead Iraqi civilians (Col. Wilkerson's—Colin Powell's chief of staff—estimate on MSNBC with Lawrence O’Donnell on Nov. 10), Bush’s smirks cannot be allowed to continue, questions must be asked, and justice must be done.

R. G. Wheeler
Lealman, Florida
It's going to be a long, lonesome toll road for most Americans
Editor:

So, where are we going?

I read an article from FOX News that a lot of credit is being thrown at Sarah Palin for the huge Republican win. The train of thought is that most of the GOP candidates that Palin supported won. Personally, I think President Obama and Congress deserve more credit than Sarah Palin for the massive Republican wins.

It seems that at least FOX [if not more] needs a hero and Palin is it. With the lack of real heroes out there in today's world, I can understand the reaching out for one, but Sarah Palin?????

As an old-style Republican, as in the Eisenhower era, my biggest fear is a Perry/Palin ticket in 2012. Both are extremely grandiose and embellish a Republican platform that is not in the best interests of the American community; however, the past two administrations also were/are not in the best interests of the community at-large, so....

So, where do we go from here? It is both perplexing and frightening at the same time.

Peter Stern
Driftwood, Texas
U.S. Government Has a Lot to Answer For
Editor:

The federal government did the right thing by apologizing about its role in infecting Guatemalans with VD. Of course, these experiments shouldn't have happened in the first place. If you are shocked or surprised that the U.S. government would inject people with gonorrhea and syphilis, then you should do some research.

In the past, ''our'' government performed radiation experiments on prisoners, mental patients, and disabled children. They performed LSD experiments on U.S. soldiers, and chemical weapons experiments on American sailors. And of course there were the Tuskegee experiments.

Our government should investigate and declassify any information on eugenics, torture, and human experimentation.

Chuck Mann Greensboro, NC
No Security without Human Rights and Civil Liberties
Editor:

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals recently dismissed a case involving extraordinary renditions because of ''state secrets'' and ''national security." I don't think that any government should have the power, or right, to kidnap someone off the street [or out of their bed] and take them to a secret prison where they may be tortured.

Enhanced interrogations [torture], targeted killings [assassinations], and extraordinary renditons [kidnappings] are wrong. Changing the name of something that is wrong doesn't make it right. How can we can have national security without human rights and civil liberties?

Chuck Mann
Greensboro, NC
Media Mislead Public on Tax Cuts
Editor:

Why don't these reporters for all the "news" networks like ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, MSNBC, FOX, etc. tell their viewers that they make more than $250,000 a year? When these reporters criticize the desire of the President to give tax breaks to 97% of the American people they fail to inform their audiences that they are in the 3% who would benefit from gaining tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars if nothing changes. They have a vested interest in maintaining these tax breaks for themselves. The 3% who would benefit from continuing the existing tax breaks to the wealthy, including those in control of the media, are only interested in themselves and don't care about 97% of the American people.

David Vallaire
Why Have U.S. Troops in Germany?
Editor:

I think that it is great that some American troops have been taken out of Iraq, and I'm glad that the Secretary of Defense is trying to save the military some money. Here's one idea that would save the taxpayers billions of dollars. The federal government should pull all American troops out of Germany.

I can't think of any country that wants to attack or invade Germany. Not England, France or Poland. Not Russia or China. Not even Israel. If any country attacked Germany, the United States would come to Germany's aid. NATO, the European Union and the UN would come to its aid. So why do we have troops there?

If the people of Germany should vote for our troops to stay, and the German government should pay for all our troops' expenses (salaries, healthcare, housing, etc.), then they should stay. Otherwise they should be allowed to come home or sent to a country where they are really needed. Then we should pull our troops out of Japan.

Chuck Mann
Greensboro, NC
Term Limits Needed
Editor:

I think that it was unethical for the House ethics committee to allow Congressman Charlie Rangel to try and negotiate his charges and punishment. Rep. Rangel has ''served'' in Congress for twenty terms. This is just another example of how political power corrupts, and another reason for term limits.

Chuck Mann
Greensboro, NC
Who Can Own Our Genes?
Editor:

A U.S. District Court Judge [Robert Sweet] recently did the right thing by invalidating seven patents held by a corporation called Myriad Genetics. It all started when a woman [Genae Girard] found out that she had a gene mutation and was supposed to have surgery. She wanted a second opinion but couldn't get one because a corporation [Myriad Genetics] owned the patent to her gene mutation. Unfortunately this ruling doesn't invalidate other existing genetic patents.

No corporation should have the right to patent a living thing, or any part of a living thing. No company should have the right to patent DNA, bacteria, cells, chromosomes, genes, or any part of the human genome. If you believe that we are made in God's image, then God should ''own'' our DNA. If you believe in evolution, then DNA should be part of the public domain. Our DNA shouldn't be for sale.

Chuck Mann
Greensboro, NC
Social Security, Medicare and Obama-care: The Real Story
Editor:

When my daughter announced that she'd received a small scholarship for the college of her choice, and that I’d pay for the remainder, I had two simultaneous thoughts: I can't afford it, and it has to be done.

Decades ago, when America began providing guaranteed income and medical care for the elderly, we faced the same dilemma: We can't afford it, and it has to be done. At the time, Republicans dutifully warned of the cost, pointing out that entitlement programs for the elderly would grow out of control. They were right. Costs for Medicare and Social Security spiraled, probably more from the sheer fact that our population is aging, rather than because of mismanagement, but is that the whole story? Not really. The real story is that America did the right thing. We took proper care of the men and women who made sure the world wasn’t ruled by Nazis, who built our highways and schools and factories, who gave us TV and movies and modern medicine. The cost for such humanitarian extravagance was--and indeed continues to be--breathtaking, but in the end, that doesn't matter. We're a civilized nation, and we don't let our seniors spend their final years in Dickensian squalor.

But there's more. America has just decided that we won't let citizens hit by catastrophic illness wither away out of sight. We won't tolerate breadlines and homeless shelters for people who need appendix surgery when they find themselves in between jobs. We decided that such indifference is not American, and for such a decision, we should be right proud of ourselves.

So can we afford to offer such a benefit to our citizens? Perhaps not. Is Obama fibbing when he says all this can be done fairly cheaply? Almost certainly he is. We can hope that having a healthier working force will lead to increased worker productivity, which in turn, will decrease budget deficits. And yes, America enjoyed a Clinton-era budget surplus after the dark, recession-ridden years of Bush Sr, but there's no guarantee we'll see that again.

Honestly, my guess is that we younger people will get 70 cents for every dollar we put into these dubious national kitties, and probably less. Of course I'm not pleased, but I don't want to live in a country that lets its citizens just go off in a corner and die. So with apologizes to Guns 'n Roses, this is not "the Jungle," it's America, and I'd prefer to remain proud of it, even if it means less money in my pocket.

Danny Doyle
Health Care Bill: The Morning After
Editor:

Critics called it "a cruel hoax and a delusion," a socialist program that would compete with private insurers and kill jobs. If it passes, Americans will feel "the lash of the dictator," and "end the progress of a great country." One New York Repubican Representative said, "Never in the history of the world has any measure been brought here so insidiously designed as to prevent business recovery, to enslave workers." We were told that to cooperate with it would be "complicity in evil."

Am I describing the outcry against Obama-care? No. Those quotes are from promenent Repubican opponents of Social Security in 1935, and Medicare in 1965. Same party as today, though. Same fear-mongering, same predictions that the sky would fall if America extends a hand to its most needy. And now today's Republicans must slouch back to their districts and expain why a bill that prevents insurers from refusing to cover you, or canceling you if you get sick, is somehow the work of the devil. They'll find a way.

Ken Shilling
4.4 million deaths in Iraqi Holocaust
Editor:

It is the 7th anniversary of the illegal and war criminal invasion of Iraq by US, UK and Australian forces on 20 March 2003. What has been the human cost?

As of 20 March 2010, post-invasion violent deaths in Occupied Iraq total 1.4 million (according to the eminent US Just Foreign Policy).

Post-invasion under-5 infant deaths total 0.8 million and post-invasion non-violent excess deaths (avoidable deaths, deaths that did not have to happen) total 1.1 million (based on 2006 revision data from the UN Population Division), this being identical to an independent estimate from under-5 infant deaths.

Gulf War violent deaths totalled 0.2 million and excess deaths and under-5 infant deaths under Sanctions (1990-2003) totalled 1.7 million and 1.2 million, respectively

In the period 1990-2010, Iraqi violent deaths totalled 1.6 million, non-violent excess deaths from deprivation totalled 2.8 million, under-5 infant deaths (90% avoidable and due to US Alliance war crimes in gross violation of the Geneva Convention) totalled 2.0 million and refugees totalled 5-6 million.

This is an Iraqi Holocaust and an Iraqi Genocide as per Article 2 of the UN Genocide Convention (cf WW2 Jewish Holocaust, 5-6 million killed, 1 in 6 dying from deprivation and the 1915-1923 Armenian Genocide, 1.5 million Armenians killed).

Yours sincerely,
Dr. Gideon Polya
Victoria, Australia

For further details, the writer recommends “Iraqi Holocaust, Iraqi Genocide” and “Muslim Holocaust, Muslim Genocide”.
Health-care "sob story"shows true colors of Limbaugh, Beck and Malkin
Editor:

In 2006, Tiffany Owens managed a Washington fast food restaraunt, fell ill, was fired for poor work attendence, and died in 2007 of complications resulting from pulmonary hypertension. She had no insurance, and according to Washington law, did not qualify for Medicaid. Tiffany's 11-year-old son, now an orphan, has appeared with President Obama as an example of what happens when the working poor are suddenly uninsured.

Three prominent Republican spokesmen rose up to dismiss Owen's death as a "sob story," in turns doubting the story itself, then doubting that there was anything doctors could have done for her. Rush Limbaugh said the woman would have died anyway, Glen Beck said there are plenty of programs in Washington that Ms. Owens could have applied for. He's half right. The program has a waiting list of 100,000. Michelle Malkin simply said that the woman was beyond medical help could have applied for existing programs, and was probably just faking being sick.

What we all know without being told is that the orphaned boy is black, and so was his mother. We also know that no prominent Republican would have risked expressing such open hostility towards a southern white family in similar straits. Limbaugh, Beck and Malkin are to be applauded for their candor, for their unabashed lack of empathy for people who do not look or talk like them. No fake sympathy, no false tears for the plight of a black 11-year-old orphan. This is what Glen Beck meant last month when he said that Republicans don't need a bigger tent, that there's no need for Republicans to be more inclusive. . They're making it very clear the kind of world they want, and if we let them build it, we'll only have ourselves to blame.

Jan Otis

For references, the writer offers this, this and this.
Nothing's More Important than Our Health
Editor:

We got a painfully clear demonstration of the Republican health care plan during the eight years of the Bush administration—they sat back and let 45,000 Americans die each year for lack of health insurance, according to the Harvard Medical School. And last year Republican Sen. Jim DeMint said, "If we’re able to stop Obama on [health care], it will be his Waterloo. It will break him." We have seen the GOP position on our health.

The Republican simplistic reaction to that and to nearly everything is to cut taxes for their wealthy supporters. They think if we just keep giving more power to powerful corporations that the corporations will take care of us. But instead, companies making record profits outsource our jobs to other countries.

Instead of giving powerful corporations even more power over our country, we should be focusing on the fundamental needs of ordinary Americans. Corporations represent their stockholders, they do not represent Americans. And "one dollar—one vote" is not democracy.

The GOP should stop using politics to grab for more power at the expense of our health care. What is more important than our health?

Doug Long
Rio Rancho, NM
Healthcare "Summit" lays bare Republican hypocrisy
Editor:

We watched most of Obama's Health Care Reform "Summit" with the Republicans and were very heartened by his handling of the basic issues, especially his very reasoned and lucid closing statements, that put the ball squarely back in the Repug Naysayers' court, reminding them that it's the uninsured Americans who are hurting and dying that they (should be)working for.

He made them admit they agreed on a lot of issues with the insurance companies with grudging agreement on regulation (of course, everyone tippy-toed around the elephant in the room...that every one of their gripes and sad stories pointed to the need for Single-payer, that would kick these racketeers out of the picture completely!).

Kudos also to Pelosi for mentioning the forbidden words (no, now they're not "Single Payer" anymore...now it's merely "Public Option".) And she corrected, immediately and on record, some of those Repug lies that fall under the "You can have your own Opinion, but you CAN'T have your own FACTS!" rubric.

We agreed, we couldn't even imagine Bush doing this sort of thing! (And Obama basically sent them packing with their tails between their legs.)

I just wish he'd insisted on a Public Option, and done this a lot SOONER!

Bia Winter
Mount Vernon, Maine
Open Letter to Bill Gates
Dear Bill Gates:

Recently the prominent scientist Stephen Hawking warned humanity that “we’re acting with reckless indifference to our future on Planet Earth.”

Your dream in cutting CO2 to zero by 2040 is praiseworthy, but much more than that needs to be done to save our planet, and it’s just not happening. Since several attempts to contact you previously have failed, I’m trying with this open letter to reach you, as it is urgent, since, as Stephen Hawking also said earlier, “The Doomsday Clock advanced to five minutes to midnight.”

I’ve been orbiting (involuntary) the sun since 1935, and have researched the causes of our problems, and sought to learn if there are possible solutions, for as long as you’ve been alive.

I invite you to look through my telescope as I am, until proven otherwise, a modern-day Galileo, ignored and maybe silently ridiculed. You’ll find some of my thoughts on the Internet, but these are only appetizers.

Should you decline to meet me privately, I then ask you to a public debate where, should you be the loser, you will spend $300,000 to a project that is needed to allow other people to look through my telescope. I do not want your money. Personally, I know nothing; I’m just stepping on the shoulders of giants and consolidate their genius.

However, to be fair, should I lose this debate, my loss will be one dollar, as this is about the relative worth between us.

You know, Bill, we have much to learn. I heartily embrace the humble and honest admission by the late physicist John Wheeler: “We do not know the first thing about the universe, about ourselves, and about our place in the universe.”

Gunther Ostermann
Kelowna, BC
Canada
Joe Stack, the IRS and the T-word
Editor:

If someone flew an airplane into a building full of people to protest the Afghan war, it would be called a terrorist incident. However, when Mr. Joe Stack flew his plane into an IRS building and killed people, the news media calls it. “the accident,” and “the incident.” The local Texas prosecutor claimed specifically that Mr. Stack was not a terrorist. But what should you call it when a man pens a manifesto proclaiming, “violence is the only answer,” then kills people because they work for the government? Mr. Stack’s wife apologized on the news to “everyone affected by the incident,” but was careful not to use the term “victim,” when referring to the people her husband murdered.

Regardless of the media’s politically correct posturing, the simple fact is this: Joe Stack was a suicide bomber. Even though his name was Joe, and not Mohammed, and even though he was protesting taxes, not Israeli foreign policy, Mr. Stack was a murderer of the innocent. So why does the media avoid the T-word when referring to him? Because anti-tax politicians are powerful. When Massachusetts’s new Senator was asked about the plane attack, he yawned, “No one likes paying taxes.” That sentiment is quite popular, as so few news outlets see fit to interview the families of Mr. Stack’s victims, or even print their names. Apparently, if you are killed because you work for the IRS, your name is not even worthy of a line in the newspaper.

Many have forgotten the violent Tea Party rallies of last summer, the buses full of anti-tax activists appearing at congressional offices around the country with their clubs and fists and foul mouths. Many have forgotten the Sarah Palin rallies of 2008, events that attracted characters similar to the murderous Mr. Stack. But the media has not forgotten those events, because they know that if they refer to Mr. Stack as a terrorist, as a man who killed innocent people to make a point, they’ll wind up in the crosshairs themselves.

Arthur Plum
Ban Microchips in Humans
Editor:

The Georgia state Senate recently passed [47-2] a bill that would ban forced microchip implantation in humans. Hopefully the Georgia state House will do the same. I think that Congress should pass similar legislation on the federal level.

Right now it is common for some pets and livestock to have these implants. Once the technology gets better, and the prices go down, some people will call for mandatory implants for prisoners, convicted felons, mental patients, and maybe even children [to prevent kidnapping].

The federal government, and corporations, should be banned from having the power to force, or require, microchip implants in humans.

Chuck Mann
Greensboro, NC
Single Payer Health Care is the Way to Go
Editor:

Single payer health care (along the lines of the German and French systems) is the way to go.

It should be marketed to the US voters as best for small businesses, which it is.

I have been a small business owner in the USA and in Germany for over 25 years. I cannot afford the same medical benefits to my USA employees that my employees get in Germany. In the US, as a small business owner, I am always at a disadvantage when hiring employees vs. a large company or hospital that can offer benefits. So I am forced to hire less qualified workers or pay more to get the same level of expertise.

Those opposed to this systen should be clearly identified as murderers. Those opposed, for the most part, are conservatives who support 'right-to-life' and 'the unborn.' It should be made very clear that opposition to universal health care has killed more unborn babies than abortions. Do they want to kill more unborn babies by not providing proper pre- and post-natal care for many of those babies?

Reduction in cost is another important factor. Single payer countries pay about half for health care and medicine than we do in the US. This would be the best way to reducing the budget deficits that voters care about.

The politicians and the press need to use the following points consistently when talking about Health Care, from the President on down: It is good for small business; those opposed condone the de facto murdering of children; it is the best way to reduce the deficit.

Voters should be asked: Do you support small businesses in the US? Are you opposed to killing unborn babies by failing to provide adequate pre- and post-natal care? Do you want the government to reduce the deficit now?

Manfred Chemek
Mr. Chemek is a certified commercial investment professional.
Editor:

Outstanding article in response to the latest inequitable Supreme Court ruling against the American voter and the Democratic process. It wasn't bad enough that corporate influence over election activities was rampant in most instances. Now it is actually sanctioned by the Feds. It amazes me that the average voter doesn't fear the influence of corporations in our legislative process, but they fear our government more, and frequently dismiss any discussion involving regulatory reform as a threat to our constitution.

I hate to break it to the average American, but corporations should not be awarded the same inalienable rights as individual citizens, as they are typically not even a collective representation of the masses they "used to" employ. Furthermore, they are a man-made entity, and do NOT qualify for consideration of the constitutional rights bestowed upon individual American citizens.

This whole fiasco should result in the unseating of the justices that supported the decision, especially Roberts. At the least, they should be forced to undergo a competency hearing to determine if they are 'fit to serve'. This is treasonist behavior and a total betrayal of the Democratic process. Our founding fathers would not have considered this a ruling that protects the constitutional rights of Americans.

I hope that a constitutional ammendment is forged to dismantle this ruling.

Jim Frederick
S.E. Colorado
The Supreme Court's Corporation Stimulus Package
Editor:

The Supreme Court has just passed a huge '' corporation stimulus package." Five Supreme Court justices have decided that companies, unions, and other corporations can spend millions of dollars supporting, or opposing, candidates who are running for President or Congress. This is a big victory for Big Business, Big Labor, and any individual that wants our country to be a plutocracy.

Suppose a candidate runs for Congress and his main goals are to eliminate bank bailouts and increase taxes on banker's bonuses. Banks all over the country would be allowed to spend millions of dollars opposing him. Suppose a candidate for President states that since the people own the airwaves, all TV and radio programs should be part of the public domain. Every TV, radio, and cable station would be allowed to spend millions of dollars opposing her.

The Supreme Court believes that corporations should have a special Constitutional ''free speech'' right to spend more money on political campaigns. They already have the rights to advertise, lobby, and contribute money to political events. They have more ''free speech'' rights than we citizens have. (By the way, why does the Supreme Court consider corporate spending on politics to be free speech?)

Companies, unions, churches, and all other corporations should be banned from contributing money to political parties and candidates.

Chuck Mann
Greensboro, NC
More Lists Needed
Editor:

I see that the writer of "Israeli Occupation Supportive Companies to Boycott" has made a "List" of companies to boycott because they do business with Israel. This "list" harks back to the days of the Third Reich. I suggest the author erase this list and do another list with names of terror organizations and States that sponsor terror such as Hamas, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad, Iran, Syria, Sudan, Cuba, etc.

It seems that the author is extremely prejudiced against Israel and America without a scintilla of concern over the root causes of violence, war and the need to defend against and defeat terrorism in the region. Supporting fascist terror groups while tearing apart America is a cute little exercise in naiveté by sophomores parroting the biases of their leftist professors, but it does not look good on someone in the adult world who fancies himself a respectable "Research Associate."

Gary Gerofsky
Ontario, Canada
Why We Elected Obama
Editor:

A year ago, if we had read in the paper that employers were hiring again, that health care legislation was proceeding without a bump, that Afghanistan suddenly became a nice place to take your kids, we would’ve known we were being lied to. Back then, we recognized that the problems Obama inherited as President wouldn’t go away overnight.

During his campaign, Obama clearly said that an economy that took eight years to break couldn’t be fixed in a year, that Afghanistan was a graveyard of empires, and would not be an easy venture for us. Candidate Obama didn’t feed us happy-talk, which is why we elected him. He never said America could solve our health care, economic and security problems without raising the deficit. Instead, he talked of hard choices, of government taking painful and contentious first steps towards fixing problems that can’t be left for another day.

Right after Obama’s election, we seemed to grasp this. We understood that companies would be happy to squeeze more work out of frightened employees, and would be slow to hire more. We understood that the banks that had extorted us out of billions of dollars, were lying when they said they would share their recovery. We understood that a national consensus on health care would not come easily. Candidate Obama never claimed that his proposed solutions would work flawlessly right out of the box, and we respected him for that.

But today, the President is being attacked as if he were a salesman who promised us that our problems would wash off in the morning. He never made such a promise. It’s time for Americans to realize that governing is hard work, and that a President can’t just wave a magic wand and fix everything.

Ellie Light
Use DNA Testing Whenever Possible
Editor:

Thanks to the Florida Innocence Project, James Bain was recently released from prison after serving 35 years for a terrible crime that he didn't commit. So far, over 240 people, in our country have been exonerated by DNA evidence.

Congress should pass a law that states that in all cases where DNA evidence exists, any prisoner accused of murder or rape who claims to be innocent should immediately have that DNA evidence tested to see if they are really guilty or innocent. Right now, some judges and district attorneys have the power to block innocent prisoners from gaining their freedom. That is wrong.

Chuck Mann
Greensboro, NC
Time to Quell Excessive Power of Credit Bureaus
Editor:

During the past several decades in the U.S. , three credit bureaus have become so powerful that they can make or break American lives.

They are Equifax, Experian and Trans Union. Any one of them has the capability of causing many sleepless nights of worry for American citizens. On many levels they rival the power and control efforts of the dreaded IRS.

While within minutes any credit company may provide the bureaus with negative financial information or comments on a person that can stay on an individual's credit report for up to 10 years, it may take years for an individual to get an incorrect negative documentation corrected and/or removed.

The god-like power wielded by "the big three" recently caused a woman to be determined unacceptable for a residential mortgage because the bureaus recognized her as being dead. Based on the misinformation provided by the credit bureaus, she was refused a mortgage.

The credit bureaus also may even determine whether a prospective employer will hire you, based on your financial credit report. Why should a person's financial status determine whether he or she is eligible to be hired for a job? Financial hardship should not be the reason not to hire a prospective employee.

It is absurd and unconscionable that entities with such little oversight have such immense power over the financial lives of American citizens. It is time to diminish the extent of that power in the best interests of, and in furtherance of the personal rights of, American citizens.

Peter Stern
Driftwood, Texas
On Obama's "Hesitancy" on Afghanistan
Editor:

An AP article yesterday stated that Obama's hesitancy on Afghan war build-up implies weakness. I wish world leaders had more of that kind of weakness. Clearly, President Obama does not want to send soldiers into harm’s way without a clear goal, a solid plan, and an exit strategy, three aspects sorely missing from President Bush’s military ventures. I know that we Americans are used to Presidents that play cowboy, that say things like “Bring ‘em on” and “Mission Accomplished" without a second thought, Presidents who send Americans into battle on falsified weapons reports. But it seems like our current President understands that you don’t send soldiers into battle without first nailing down what we’re supposed to be doing, and why. So hats off to Obama’s “hesitation.” Soldiers are human beings, not chess pieces. It’s about time we get a President who understands that.

Mark Spivey
Obama And Afghanistan
Editor:

Afghanistan, Afghanistan, what’s a President to do? All his options are bad ones. Raise the troop levels and give the Taliban a run for its money? For what? To support a corrupt aristocracy? Bad idea. So should he keep the troop levels the same? That just places the soldiers already there in harm’s way, and for no good purpose whatsoever. So should Obama withdraw? Then after the Taliban win, Al Qaeda will be free set up shop and plot. You can be sure that Obama will be blamed for anything they do, and called a coward for running away from a fight. The people taunting Obama will be the same crowd currently faulting him for supporting a nation that won’t lift a finger to help itself.

It’s clear why the Republicans sent up Mr. Three Time Loser and Lipstick Queen into that Dog-of-a-Fight in 2008. The winner gets to drown cleaning up various Bush-era quagmires, while everyone else stands aside and watches the funny President wave his arms and pitch pails of water over the side.

Janet Leigh
Let's Have First American Representation
Editor:

I would like to commend President Obama for meeting with over 500 leaders of American Indian tribes. But I would like to know why he hasn't appointed at least one American Indian to be an ambassador, federal judge, or cabinet official. Also, in the entire history of the United States, no American Indian has been appointed to the Supreme Court.

Even today, there are treaties that the federal government has made with Indian Tribes that still haven't been upheld. What a shame. Our ''nation of immigrants'' should make sure that the ''First Americans'' have more representation in the federal government.

Chuck Mann
Greensboro, NC
China Should Get No Respect for its Human Rights Record
Editor:

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi recently gave the Dalai Lama a human rights award. President Obama was nowhere in sight. Many of the President's critics rightly accuse Obama of ''kowtowing '' to the authoritarian Chinese regime. Apparently he won't meet with the Dalai Lama until after he meets with Hu Jintao, the '' President '' of the Chinese regime.

I don't understand why the President and Congress won't stand up to China. China is a brutal dictatorship. They still allow child and forced prison labor. They still use forced abortions and sterilizations. They don't allow freedoms of speech, press or religion, or the rights to petition or peacefully assemble. Some of the people who stand up to the dictatorship are tortured and executed. And please don't forget the Tianamen Square Massacre.

It is official: China is a superpower and ''our'' federal government has decided that appeasement of dictatorships is better than democracy and human rights. The U.S. doesn't support independence for Tibet, democracy for China, or self-determination for Taiwan. Supporting Communist China isn't ''change."

Chuck Mann
Greensboro, NC
Repeal the Entire Patriot Act
Editor:

President Obama wants Congress to extend parts of The Patriot Act that are about to expire. I think that the entire Patriot Act should be repealed.

George Bush and most, if not all, of the members of Congress who made this law didn't even read it. Many Americans don't know how many rights we lose with this act.

One provision gives government agents the power to enter your home, or business, without a warrant. They can then search and plant wiretaps. Then there are roving wiretaps. And don't forget they can still copy your medical, financial, and library records.

The ''Founding Fathers'' would have opposed the Patriot Act. Benjamin Franklin once said,''They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary security, deserve neihter liberty nor security'."

Chuck Mann
Greensboro, NC
Obama and the Indoctrination of Children
Editor:

So let’s get this straight. Obama’s predecessor took America to war under false pretense, citing “weapons of mass destruction” that everyone agrees did not exist, and today’s Republicans don’t want Obama addressing children because of “indoctrination?” Our previous president preached war against Iraq to anyone who would listen, children, adults, young and old, making us partners in his blunder, and the Republicans dare talk of keeping their children safe from Obama’s ideas? What are Obama’s ideas? That the government can be an active partner in change, rather than a nuisance. And this notion is suppose to be bad? The Republican Party seems determined to be “against” everything Democratic.

John F. Stott
Corporations Should Not Be Allowed to Support Politicians
Editor:

I don't think that companies, unions, or any other corporations should be allowed to contribute money to political parties or candidates. Unfortunately the Supreme Court may eliminate campaign spending limits on corporations sometime this week. Corporations shouldn't be allowed to buy elections.

Chuck Mann
Greensboro, NC
Legal System's Strange Priorities
Editor:

Bravo! The brave State Prosecutor, Robert A. Rohrbaugh, has nailed a terrible criminal. The prosecution of John Paterakis for a minor campaign donation infraction certainly must rank up there with the jailing of Al Capone, the ambush of Bonnie and Clyde, the Watergate caper and other high-profile criminal prosecution successes.

Why should a man who has spent millions of his own dollars to support charitable activities, provide buildings for underprivileged children, and other varied good works get a pass in such a horrible crime as a mistake in giving too much money ($6,000) in a campaign donation to a local politician.

Certainly there must be plenty of violent criminals, gangs, murderers, drug dealers and the like for the brave State Prosecutor to go after. Or could it be that he prefers the front page attention of harassing a high-profile citizen like John Paterakis?

No wonder crime is so prevalent in the United States, with misguided prosecutors like Robert Rohrbaugh on the job. How many violent criminals got off because Mr. Rohrbaugh was spending his time trying to nail John Paterakis?

I’ll tell you what Mr. Rohrbaugh—I’ll take John Paterakis as a neighbor and you can have the Bloods and MS-13 for your friends.

Robert N. Cadwalader
Linthicum, MD
A Little Respect for Washington
Editor:

I remember years ago, during Arnold Schwarzenegger’s campaign for California Governor, proponents used to say how nice it would be to have a “powerhouse” in office, a hero who could get things done. I used to chuckle at the way they confused the movie character with the man, as if the new Governor could use his laser gun to vanquish a roomful of Democrats. Clearly, in 2008, we Democrats had the same problem, electing Obama the Hero, Obama the Man of History. A few months later, none of our fantasies has been realized.

It’s amazing how deeply we Americans disdain the political process in Washington, the gradual gathering of support for a plan of action, the slow work of building consensus, the need to appear evenhanded and fair while at the same time, trying to expedite a Bill that can actually get passed. National reform is painstaking, very un-sexy, and you don’t get to say “Go ahead, make my day” very often. Honestly, the process should be tedious, unless a President wants to arrest his opponents in the middle of the night and make them disappear. This is why I always chuckle when friends complain about the snail’s pace of politics. I’m thinking, “Be careful what you wish for.”

To achieve national reform, a sitting President must deploy a mixture of sticks and carrots, of fear and friendship, must selectively extend the promise of support or the threat of opposition to more than five hundred elected individuals who don’t see the world the way he does. If he steps over his opponents, he’s accused of bullying and risks alienating their supporters. If he’s too conciliatory, his allies accuse him of watering down reform to the point that there’s nothing left.

Obama wants health reform. Everyone except Republican leadership wants health reform, but the President pretty much has to build it one congressman at a time. It’s no wonder that during the early 1930’s there were calls for FDR to deploy temporary dictatorial powers. Of course, there are those who claim FDR did just that. But then, there are many more who say FDR didn’t nearly go far enough chasing out the fat cats, and that his failure to do so led to the current crisis that is costing us 1.5 trillion and counting.

The best Obama can do is make a clear case for a public health insurance option. He can then hope that people tune in and listen to the facts. His allies say that it’s time the President practiced a bit of arm twisting, cracked the whip, and instilled some serious party loyalty. They’ll point out that the Bush-led White House did not brook dissent from rank and file Republicans. I’d respond that if Obama were a Republican, he’d have vilified his opponents months ago, calling them unpatriotic, immoral, a threat to national security, and associating them with terrorists. That’s not his style, and it never will be.

Remember the movie “Billy Jack?” Where actor Tom Laughlin karate-chopped a whole restaurant full of racists after screaming, “I just go berserk.”? Well, we don’t have one of those. We just have this President who expresses himself quite well, and hopes people listen. Will that be enough? We’ll see.

Mike Platz
No Death Squads
Editor:

President Obama ran on the idea of change. But it appears that the more things change, the more they stay the same. The Obama administration recently renewed a contract with the North Carolina company Blackwater USA [Xe] even though the company is banned from operating in Iraq. This comes after it was revealed that the C.I.A, wanted Blackwater to evolve into a ''death squad." Meanwhile, in Afghanistan, there is a security company called Armor Group [Wackenhut] that has been making some news, but that is another letter.

The United States government should never employ death squads.

Chuck Mann
Greensboro, NC
The Obama Administration Wants To Compromise—But Why?
Editor:

I hear the Obama Administration talk of getting a health bill passed by compromise. Maybe the so-called public option can be used as a bargaining chip to bring The Republicans to the table. So what do the Republicans say? That Obama is not a U.S. citizen, and has no right to be President, that his plans are socialist and contain death panels, and that they hope the Obama Presidency fails. I cannot think of a single nice thing that a Republican congressmember has ever said about Obama or his plans. Not a one. Can you? Where does Obama get the idea that Republicans want to work with him? They clearly don’t want to.

Jen Park
Republicans and Health Care Reform: It's About Being Willing to Share
Editor:

As one listens to the Republican anger over health care reform, one can imagine an anti-government protester cheerfully paying premiums on insurance policies that cancel you for making a claim, or happily sauntering out of an emergency room that denied them treatment because of a coverage problem. One can imagine a town-hall sign-waver enthusiastically forking over most of their pay to bill collectors after suffering a catastrophic injury, thinking, “Wow, the free market system is great.”

No, Republicans are just as affected by health care inequities as anyone else, especially the working class Republicans who show up armed and dangerous at America’s town hall meetings on the topic. The accounts of denial of health care that were a part of last year’s campaign? It wasn’t only Democrats who talked of losing loved ones due to the shenanigans of insurance companies. Republicans, too, cried real tears at the injustices.

So what’s this all about then? The down-with-government shrieking at the town hall meetings, the gun-toting visits to Obama events, the insistence that Obama’s health care reform is inspired by the devil himself? It’s about shock. The shock of no longer being in power. Every President since JFK has been either conservative or a Southerner. Every single one. These folks have had it their way for decades. And they don’t want to share.

Gloria Elle
We Need Government Healthcare
Editor:

The wingnut scream machine is yelling, "no socialized medicine," trying to scare us with the specter of faceless government bureaucrats deciding our healthcare. Yup, that's scary, but what is far worse is the current situation of faceless corporate bureaucrats deciding our healthcare. Why? Because private health insurance corporations make their profit by NOT giving us the healthcare that we need.

President Obama's health care reform gives us the choice of private corporation or public government health insurance. Without the public option, we're stuck with good healthcare for the rich, lousy healthcare for the middle, and no healthcare for 45 million people with little money or pre-existing conditions.

As government employees, public option bureaucrats are ultimately responsible to us, the people, not to profiteers, for providing healthcare service.

Bruce Joffe
Piedmont, Calif.
Obama's Economic Policy Choices
Editor:

Coming into office, Obama had three choices for handling the economy. First, he could have cut taxes and began talking upbeat even as the economy worsened, hoping that the market alone would sort things out. Ex-President Bush did this, and it didn’t work. The second option would have been to design a stimulus package geared especially towards troubled industries and sectors. This would have prompted accusations that Obama was favoring traditionally Democratic strongholds and ignoring the rest of the nation. Obama chose a third option, which was to design a stimulus package that gave a small lift to everyone, some aid to troubled sectors, and some aid to economies that were not on the ropes. This option gives the President the least political payoff, because even now that the economy is improving, it’s hard to prove that the stimulus had much to do with it. The Republicans claim without evidence that the economy would have improved without the President’s big spending, and since we have no crystal ball to view alternative outcomes, no one can be sure. So as the economy improves, watch for the Republicans to turn up the volume on this claim.

Lars Deerman
Lendman and the dirty truth about Israel
Editor:

It was with a great feeling of hope and gratitude that I read the article you chose to publish by Stephen Landman concerning Israel's hideous and apartheid land laws. As a Jew, born and bred on the slow zionist drip of chicken soup, I have had to have the cold hard facts thrown in my face repeatedly to undo the disneyfied image of the "democracy" that is Israel, that she is a "flower in the dessert," our "ally" in the middle east. It is the kind of information that Lendman reports, the truth and it is ugly, that we must confront and we must weigh in our response to Israel. The tragic thing is that he leaves out a great deal of what is deeply horrific in Israel's anti-Palestinian policy.

Wtih deep gratitude that the truth is being told.

Miriam Cherkes-Julkowski
Ocean Grove, NJ
Guess who's indirectly paying for Israel's land theft?
Editor:

You are to be applauded for publishing Stephen Lendman’s careful and hard-hitting article, “Israel’s Discriminatory Land Policies.” Such description of Israel’s crimes against the Palestinians rarely appears in the US press. Traditionally the Hebrew press and academia has been far more open about the brutality with which the Jewish state was established and with which it continues its expansionism. Lendman might have added that every contribution of Americans to the Jewish National Fund, the legal overseer of all the land stolen from the Palestinians, is tax-exempt. This means—given exemptions must be compensated for by increases in overall taxes—that we Americans pay for those donations. We also contribute $3 billion a year of our taxes to Israel, the US’s largest recipient of foreign aid.

Ellen Cantarow
Medford, Mass.
The Ideal America
Editor:

No American government should allow torture, assassinations, kidnapping,overthrowing democratically elected governments, or domestic spying on innocent Americans that haven't broken the law. Some people think our government should participate in these actions under certain circumstances.

Just because the ''bad guys'' do [or try to do] these bad things doesn't mean that the ''good guys'' should stoop to their level. We should have a government that supports democracy, human rights, and civil liberties at home and abroad.

Chuck Mann
Greensboro, NC
The Death of Robert McNamara
Editor:

Robert McNamara has died, and some might be surprised at the vitriol surrounding him. What’s he done that made so many people so mad? He was the “Architect of the Vietnam war.” So what’s that mean? He was the originator of the idea that the Viet Cong only had so many people and resources to draw from, and if America continued to bomb them relentlessly, eventually, all the VC will die and the North will have to surrender. He reduced the war to numbers, and ignored factors such as motivation and national pride.

Then, as head of the International Monetary Fund, McNamara originated the idea that nations who borrow money from the United Nations must submit to the most draconian economic policies, or be denied loans. For example, nations receiving IMF funds must slash or eliminate social spending. Again, he was a numbers guy, asserting that such factors as national well-being could be reduced to fiscal prudence.

But the man lived long. Before any of this, McNamara was the President of the Ford Motor Company, and gave the world a car that would last. And last and last. He was the architect of the Ford Falcon. Like the Plymouth Valiant and Dodge Dart, the Falcon was based on the idea that people will buy a car that will never die. Ah, but he forgot the numbers. Yes, they’ll buy it, but they’ll buy it once. He forgot planned obsolescence. Perhaps having committed such a blunder as to give the world a truly reliable car, he decided to make up for his good deed by destroying nations.

Gloria Elle
We're All in this Mess Together
Editor:

I, too, am concerned about the government spending that has been protested by some. But we cannot allow our nation to continue down its dangerous economic decline. As an American, I cannot in good conscience sit back while my fellow Americans lose their jobs, their homes, their health care, and their lives. The "I've got mine, the heck with you" approach is wrong. And if we allow ourselves to have that attitude, it will eventually harm all of us. The greatest threat to us is selfish cynicism.

We tried it the George W. Bush way, allowing corporations to take increasing power with decreasing accountability. And we have reaped what they sowed. Do we want to go through that all over again? Now we are taking responsibility for and paying for the consequences of those mistakes. And hopefully, for our country's sake, we are learning from those mistakes.

We are not simply a bunch of disconnected individuals. We are a nation—the United States of America. We are proud to be Americans who work for and depend upon the well-being of each other.

Doug Long
Rio Rancho, New Mexico
The wrong target
Editor:
Re: "Cheney signs deal to write his memoirs," June 24.

So Cheney is joining Bush in writing his memoirs. These two former draft-dodgers, who lied to start a war for personal reasons and material gain, have never been asked one single question by our so-called representatives pertaining to their crime, shamefully leaving that particular task to Cindy Sheehan. Absent any kind of trial or even inquiry into the decisions that they made, they can now re-write history to suit themselves, without fear of rebuttal by witnesses who are ready and available to testify against them. Meanwhile, our current president, who has never once made reference to the hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians killed in Bush’s war (and has in fact effectively absolved him of them), says that he is "appalled and outraged" by the handful of deaths of demonstrators in Iran. Regrettable though those deaths are, his outrage is misdirected. He should leave Iran to the Iranians and seek justice right here, beginning with Bush and Cheney. After all, we are still ahead of Iran in stolen elections, by a score of 2-1.

R. G. Wheeler
Lealman, FL
The Election Crisis in Iran
Editor:

As a citizen of and believer in democracy, I applaud the efforts of Mir Hossein Mousavi. His efforts are similar to what former vice-president Al Gore should have done during the controversy surrounding the United States presidential election of 2000. Gore should have continued to protest regardless of the political risks until all the votes were counted in Florida. Instead, former president George W. Bush was appointed by the United States Supreme Court to effectively overturn the will of the people, and look at what has happened to the United States in the last eight years.

Believe it or not, one thing that trumps capitalism and political correctness in the United States is the right to have one's vote counted. This is the foundation on which our democracy is built. Mousavi should continue to defy Iran's powerful security forces so that Iranian democracy can be preserved. It is not the reformist movement that is attempting to seize power, but rather it is those currently in power who have engaged in fraud to prevent the will of the people from being heard. Why else would they stoop to such underhanded tactics to block various means of communication among the citizens of Iran? Why is the government in power utilizing such political strong-arm tactics as the use of violence and false arrest? Why are international journalists being told they should prepare to leave the country? Why would Mahmoud Ahmadinejad leave the country en route to Russia a day earlier than expected? The world knows he can run but he can't hide from the truth.

The United Nations must be allowed into Iran to monitor this situation up to and including a new election. During the new election, let the call must go forth among all citizens of Iran that your brothers and sisters of democracy from all over the world are with you during every trial and tribulation you may encounter during this crisis. To the people of Iran, the trumpet of freedom beckons you to rise in protest and ensure your vote to preserve your sacred heritage, promote your children's future and obtain the blessings of liberty we all cherish.

Joe Bialek
Cleveland, Ohio
Doing the Right Thing
Editor:

The U.S. Senate did the right thing by passing a resolution apologizing for slavery and ''Jim Crow'' laws. The House of Representatives passed a similar resolution last year. I think the Supreme Court should also issue an apology. Slavery should never have been constitutional in the first place.

Chuck Mann
Greensboro, NC
We Need Transparency, Not Hypocrisy
Editor:

Well, so much for transparency and change. In the last couple of weeks, President Barack Obama has decided to keep military tribunals, to oppose prosecution for government employees who committed torture, and to fight the release of photos that obviously show the abuse of detainees by American soldiers. And maybe the prison at Guantanamo Bay won't be closed after all. I want transparency and change, not hypocrisy and the status quo. Human rights and civil liberties shouldn't be put on "the back burner."

Chuck Mann
Greensboro, NC
Partisan ignorance on display
Editor:

One letter writer to the St. Petersburg Times on May 19 ends his rant by stating that the office of the president of the United States "deserves respect."

Even when it was held by an ineligible—and therefore illegitimate—thrice-convicted drunk driver who had the office stolen for him twice? Who was the only president in history to be a self-confessed drunk at the age of forty? Who never did a day’s work in his life and owed every position he ever held to his father and his father’s influential friends? Who ignored every congressional edict that he didn’t like, by means of a ‘signing statement’? Who tried to destroy what he and his kind look upon as chump change and greens fees, but what millions of retired American workers are totally dependent upon, Social Security? Who was the only sitting president in history to be persona non grata at his own party’s convention, the party of which he was leader? Who told his staff to ignore subpoenas from congressional committees investigating criminal activity at the White House? Who stands alone in history as the source of a 365-day tear-off calendar with a verbal gaffe on every page? Who actually said “The trouble with the French is that they don’t have a word for entrepreneur” and “The majority of our imports come from overseas?” Who played a major part in the collapse of the entire world financial system, with his de-regulatory, banker-friendly, rich-rewarding fiscal policies? Who shares with Hitler the distinction of being the only heads of state in history whose departures led to people dancing in the streets in countries all around the world? And last but definitely not least, who lied to start a war for personal reasons leading to massive loss of human lives?

Anybody calling for "respect" for a record like that is living in a right-wing dream world. Maureen Dowd has more integrity and intelligence in her little finger than Bush has in his whole sorry, draft-dodging body, and if being referred to as ‘W’ is the only indignity he suffers, he can consider himself lucky.

R. G. Wheeler
Lealman, Florida
Open Letter to President Obama
Dear President Obama:

Thank you for re-affirming your intention to close Guantanamo and your statements that torture is fundamentally wrong.

But....You can see by Cheney's antics on the tube after your speech, that they won't go away untill you PROSECUTE them!

Have you noticed, Dick Cheney is still everywhere?

Most recently, this nauseating spectacle of Oily Dick coming on the tube right after your excellent speech to tell everyone once again how "unsafe" you have made us by your intentions to close Guantanamo, and once again recited the same litany of dirty lies we've been told for the last 8 years, with the brazen nerve of a man totally devoid of conscience, and utterly arrogant in his presumptions of impunity. This is especially nauseating because he himself seems to have orchestrated the massive Non-Response from his bunker on 9/11, and it was his administration that repeatedly ignored the warnings throughout that previous summer, busy looking for that "Pearl Harbor-like Event."

Cheney was in the bunker, ordering the fighters to STAND DOWN as they came in to hit their targets on 9/11 (go ask Norman Minetta...he was there, and his testimony is a matter of record) ....

And now Cheney's on the Media telling us YOU are making us less safe!?

How outrageous IS this!?

What we need from you is for you NOT to "Stand down" on US again!

Re-investigate 9/11....Open it up like a can of worms...THEN Cheney will go away!

Respectfully,
Bia Winter
Mount Vernon, Maine
Chicken Hawks
Editor:

It is well known that bullies are afraid of being beaten up. That's why they beat up on younger, smaller kids. Dick Cheney and Rush Limbaugh exhibit the same kind of braggadocio, as they advocate torturing people under U.S. custody who are bound, gagged and hooded.

We've heard from experienced CIA agents that torture doesn't provide actionable intelligence; it only elicits what the torturer wants to hear. We've heard from political scientists that torture helps terrorists recruit new terrorists. We've heard from clergy (and from listening to our own hearts) that torture blemishes our country's moral character, rendering us undistinguishable from the bad guys.

Yet Cheney, Limbaugh, and their followers continue to advocate torture, claiming the security of the county depends on it. If torture worked, the terrorist Zarkawi wouldn't have been water-boarded 185 times. In fact, he gave information during normal interrogations before water-boarding, and then clammed up when the torture began.

Why do Cheney and Limbaugh continue calling for torture? Is it because they themselves are cowards, so afraid of torture they would start blabbing immediately, who figure that terrorists are equally afraid? Yet, we know that many of our sons and daughters under arms, and frankly, some terrorists as well, have the courage and conviction to resist the torturer's coercion. They'd rather die than betray their country to bullying sadists who reveal themselves as moral degenerates.

There's a reason Cheney and Limbaugh are called "Chicken Hawks."

Bruce Joffe
Piedmont, Calif.
What do we do with the Unemployed?
Editor:

It's a simple question, but....?

There are millions of unemployed Americans.

There are millions of Americans on unemployment insurance benefits.

There are millions of Americans on extended unemployment insurance benefits.

There are millions of Americans who no longer can receive unemployment insurance benefits.

So, where are the jobs or additional extended unemployment insurance benefits for these and the millions more who soon will run out of extended benefits?

What do we do with the Unemployed?

Peter Stern
Driftwood, Texas
Equal Rights for All Adults—No Exceptions
Editor:

Pope Benedict XVI has called for greater respect for women. If he really wanted women to be treated better, then he would allow women to become priests, cardinals, and popes. He should support the '' Golden Rule'' and publically state that women should have the same legal, political, and religious rights as men.

But the Pope doesn't believe in equal rights. He doesn't believe in the equality of Christians and non-Christians,women and men, gay and straight people, or Protestants and Catholics. The Pope should practice what Jesus preached. According to the Bible Jesus said, ''Whatever you do to the least among men, you also do to me."

Religions, governments, and individuals should support equal rights for all adults.

Chuck Mann
Greensboro, NC
Unemployment to keep wages low?
Editor:

The Labor Department's U-6 measure of unemployment is about 16%. With a workforce of 155 million, this leaves 24 million Americans wanting work. President Obama's approach, so far, is to subsidize education for the unemployed to prepare them for "jobs of the future." But, Americans need 24 million jobs right now. In the future, Americans may need even more jobs, as new births and immigration expand the population. How do we know that more future jobs created will even exceed jobs that will be lost as corporations out-source, cut-back, and re-engineer? We need creative thinking and debate about this underlying problem of unneeded or surplus people. We need a jobs program at least as audacious as FDR's in the 1930s. Our economic leadership has told us for decades that education is the key to more and better jobs—maybe for some, but not for most.

J. Russell Tyldesley
Santa fe, NM
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Last updated: Friday, December 10, 2010, 10:17 AM

 



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