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07.22 The New Yorker Is Temporarily Making All Of Its Archives Free; Here Are 8 Stories You Should Read

07.21 Why Poor Schools Can’t Win at Standardized Testing

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Health Care & Environment

07.24 Top Doctor Working To Contain Current Ebola Outbreak Is Now Infected With Ebola

07.24 Under Water: The EPA’s Struggle to Combat Pollution

07.24 Why Do Other Rich Nations Spend So Much Less on Healthcare?

07.23 Germany, UK and Poland top ‘dirty 30’ list of EU coal-fired power stations

07.23 The strange relationship between global warming denial and... speaking English [chart]

07.23 Great Barrier Reef contaminated by toxic coal dust, inquiry told

07.23 Chinese city sealed off after bubonic plague death

07.22 California Halts Injection of Fracking Waste, Warning it May Be Contaminating Aquifers

07.22 Paterson's 'green blob' tirade reveals the right's problem with climate change

07.22 Climate models accurately predicted global warming when reflecting natural ocean cycles

07.22 HIV breakthrough reveals virus hidden in immune system cells

07.21 Green Energy Robin Hood: India Doubles Tax on Coal to Fund Solar and Wind

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07.21 Journalistic Malpractice: The Media Enables the Right-Wing Politicization of Science

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Justice Matters

07.24 The Leader of the Unfree World [Scary charts]

07.23 "Conservative" judges are ganging up to steal your "affordable" healthcare

US Politics, Policy & Culture

07.24 Calm Down ... You Are Much More Likely to Be Killed By Boring, Mundane Things than Terrorism

07.22 The Senate flunks basic biology: Inside a disgraceful hearing

07.22 If the Left Wants Scapegoats, Just Look in the Mirror

07.22 Detroit residents fight back over water shutoff: 'It's a life-or-death situation'

07.21 5 Giant Un-American Corporations Trying to Bolt U.S. to Avoid Taxes

07.21 Talking Openly About Obama and Race

High Crimes?

07.17 Gaza: this shameful injustice will only end if the cost of it rises [Over 1,000 comments]

Economics, Crony Capitalism

07.23 Detroit, Other Cash-Strapped US Cities, States Slashing Pension Benefits While Subsidizing Professional Sports Stadiums

07.23 Top lawmaker wants corporate tax loophole 'plugged now'

07.22 Here's Why Wall Street Reform Is Still in Limbo

07.21 OECD predicts collapse of capitalism

International

07.24 8 Celebrities Outraged by Israel's Assault on Gaza

07.24 Keeping Spies Out: Germany Ratchets Up Counterintelligence Measures

07.24 How America Finances the Destruction in Gaza—and the Cleanup

07.23 Wall Street Journal Argument that Gazan Civilians Aren’t Innocent Is the Exact Same One Bin Laden Used To Justify 9/11

07.23 Ethiopia Becomes China’s China in Search for Cheap Labor

07.23 US and Germany hold restorative talks after series of spy scandals

07.22 The Waste of War

07.22 Israel hits hundreds of targets in Gaza as soldier is confirmed missing

07.22 Bloody Weekend in Gaza [42 photos]

07.22 New Surveillance Whistleblower: The NSA Violates the Constitution

07.21 What Has $121,000,000,000 US Aid to Israel Really Bought? [3:17 video]

07.21 A Damned Paradise: Does Haiti Need Tourism? Or Does It Need Justice?

07.21 MH17: world's anger at Russia grows as bodies pile on to train at crash site

07.21 Gaza crisis: UNSC and Obama call for immediate ceasefire – live updates

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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.

Use of Word "Apartheid" Confirms Author's Anti-Israel Bias (permalink)
Editor:

Stephen Lendman accuses Israel of apartheid. ("Seventh Annual Israel Anti-Apartheid Week", March 2). To equate Israel with apartheid displays a profound ignorance of the horror that was South Africa. In South Africa, apartheid was enshrined in its constitution and supported by its legal system. Under apartheid, people were legally classified into racial groups and forcibly separated from each other. A wide range of laws ensured racially based discrimination, including the prohibition of Blacks from voting, using Whites-only schools and hospitals, or even mixing with Whites in public places.

The State of Israel has nothing in common with apartheid. In Israel, all citizens have equal rights, regardless of their gender, religion or ethnic origin. This is clearly spelled out in the Israeli Declaration of Independence. Israeli Arabs form political parties, compete in free and fair elections, and are represented in the legislature, executive and judiciary, all the way to the Supreme Court. They can be found in every Israeli university as professors and students and in every Israeli hospital as physicians and patients. Arabic is an official language in Israel.

Of course nobody can deny that there is discrimination in Israel against its Arab citizens. Knowing Israel's history, this unfortunate fact is easily understandable. Many in Israel strive to abolish that discrimination and progress is being made. But such discrimination is found in many countries. From England (ask the Muslim Council of Britain) to France, and from Italy and Belgium to the Scandinavian countries. But Lendman would never find any parallels between those countries and apartheid South Africa. By using the highly charged term "apartheid" with all its negative connotations, Lendman confirms his very strong anti-Israel bias.

Jacob Amir, M.D.
Jerusalem, Israel
Reply to "Pulling Back the Curtain on Windpower" (permalink)
Editor:

Ms. Eastman, in "Pulling Back the Curtain on Windpower," needs to get a better grasp on the facts about wind power technology.

Her premise that wind power is not technological feasible or commercially viable is premised on a false assumption that the turbines making up the wind farms would be stand-alone generation facilities--something like the iconic picture of the single windmill on the prairie. It is equally disingenous to liken it to filling the sails of a single ship.

Missing is Google Corp's announcement in October 2010 to invest $5 billion in an interconnecting high voltage direct current offshore transmission line or “backbone” for the East Coast, with the first vertebrae connecting offshore wind from Virginia to Delaware. Moreover, the State of Maine is pursuing harvesting 5 Gigawatts of offshore wind in the Gulf of Maine by 2030. In fact, this interconnection from Maine down to the Carolina's takes the wind out of her intermittency argument.

Moreover, building Maryland's wind industry and interconnecting it into an East Coast offshore energy system will greatly benefit our economy from offshore construction, maintenance, supply chain, to turbine manufacturing.

This story is an ad campaign from a front group for an increasingly antiquated, dangerous and endangered fossil and fissile industry.

Paul Gunter
Takoma Park, MD
State Of Emergency For New Energy and New Jobs
Editor:

What does it take to mobilize America and unite its manufacturing sector to work towards a single goal? In the past, a world war and the very real possibility of life-and-death brought us together. Our current economic/energy situation is equally monumental. It is the equivalent to WWIII, and we need to mobilize to win it.

Let us respond with an executive order to declare our situation a state of emergency. The president needs to direct the Pentagon to organize and carry out a "war for green energy." This massive project would be dedicated to researching, building and installing enough renewable energy technology to supply the power needs of the United States by January 1, 2015. Committing to green energy is the single best thing we can do for our economy and environment. This critical undertaking will solve our energy, unemployment, and pollution problems simultaneously.

We already possess the technology to convert to clean energy and don’t need the motivation of war or economic depression to make sustainable advancements. If we can work together in wartime to manufacture ships and airplanes, we can cooperate in peacetime to build a clean energy system even more efficiently and quickly. We can build a new power grid and clean energy system that will pay for itself in a few years while producing abundant, safe, and nearly free electrical power. A myriad of new jobs will be created, ending unemployment.

There is no shortage of energy. The sun’s rays, the earth’s heat, flowing water and blowing wind give us an inexhaustible source of energy. Instead of wasting time and resources, we must utilize what has been given to us for free and work towards a common goal.

The Plan: Clean Energy - Green Technology. Get involved by visiting http://www.truthcontest.com.

Xavier Moutoux
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
The writer is founder and webmaster of the Unifying Truth Project.
U.S. Must Not Support Dictatorships
Editor:

I think that the Democrats and Republicans who rule our federal government should oppose, not appease, all dictatorships. Our government supported the Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista, and along came Fidel Castro. They supported the Shah of Iran, and along came the Ayatollah Khomeini. They supported the Somoza family in Nicaragua, and along came the Sandinistas [and the Iran-Contra affair]. And don't forget that Manuel Noriega and Saddam Hussein were major allies to our government, until they became our enemies. Our government should support democracies, and oppose ALL dictatorships.

Chuck Mann
Greensboro, NC
The State of the World Today
Editor:

It seems to me that the world today is becoming more and more scary because more and more people are spending so much time and energy trying to force other people to worship their self-created god, instead of trying to work cooperatively and compassionately to manifest in the world what is of benefit for all of us, all other life forms on this planet, and the planet itself.

Robert Gardiner
Albuquerque, NM
Fault Finding Has Never Resolved Anything
Editor:

I certainly hope that I am not the only one who is "fed up to here" with verbal blasts like: "Right-wing rhetoric caused ...." and "All the Lefties do is point fingers and lie" etc, etc, ad nauseum. I appreciate the fact that all those who spew out all these venomous statements are just venting; but, I am going to challenge them to answer these questions:

(1) Can you tell me of one time, in the history of our species, when two sides firing Virulent Verbal Exchanges (VVE's) across the gap between them ever had the positive outcome of narrowing that gap?; and

(2) Do you want to see the people in this country become more tolerant and compassionate toward each other, or do you want to continue to live in a country where the divide has become so wide and so deep that negotiation or compromise is impossible and the result is that our country is no longer able to "hold its own" on the world stage and will soon fade into the fog of the has-beens?

Robert Gardiner
Albuquerque, NM
Why We Must Limit Guns
Editor:

This letter is in response to the articles covering the shooting tragedy in Arizona.

The second amendment of the United States Constitution states: "A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed." Obviously the need for a state militia has been replaced by the National Guard and Coast Guard, whereby trained military personnel are entrusted with the defense of this country against domestic enemies. Their weapons are tightly controlled and safeguarded.

The only two reasons for a citizen to own a firearm are for hunting or defense of the household from intruders. In either case, ownership of a handgun, shotgun or rifle is more than adequate to satisfy these purposes.

There is absolutely no need for any U.S. civilian to own any weapon more powerful or sophisticated than these. Accordingly, all handguns, shotguns and rifles must be licensed and registered to the degree necessary to match weapon to owner at the click of a computer key.

Furthermore, if we had prohibited the purchase of more sophisticated weapons {i.e., a Glock 19 semiautomatic pistol with an extended magazine}, innocent victims would not have died or been harmed during this most recent tragedy in Tucson.

The shooter is appears disturbed by mental illness. It appears that those defending the right to own sophisticated weapons exhibit a mental illness of their own by showing a callous disregard for the safety and protection of their fellow citizens. Mental illness and guns are as bad a combination as alcohol and driving.

Evidently we have the money to fight two wars overseas, but not the political will to treat the mentally ill, who may be not only a danger to themselves but to everyone else as well.

Joe Bialek
Cleveland, Ohio
The Reading of The Constitution
Editor:

The reading of The Constitution of the United States on the floor of the House of Representatives could be the start of something big. If it became routine to do that every year, maybe even twice a year, and on the floor of the Senate as well, this would provide the members of both Houses of Congress to be reintroduced, or maybe in some cases introduced for the first time, to the concept that as members of Congress their first responsibility is to sustain a government of, by, and for the people--a government concerned about the welfare of all citizens if the United States, not just the welfare of the few who have most of the wealth and all the power.

Maybe the reading of The Constitution could become a practice in all classrooms from the first grade through the twelfth grade during the first class in the Fall and the first class in January. That would afford all children attending schools the opportunity to become aware of the primary purpose for the government and the primary responsibility of all elected government officials: to sustain a government that is concerned about the welfare of all the citizens of this country. It would also remind them that, as citizens, it is their primary responsibility to ensure that elected government officials do not stray from their primary responsibility to all the people; and, that, if they do stray, it is the citizens' responsibility to do what is necessary to get the elected government officials back on the course laid out in The Constitution.

Robert Gardiner
Albuquerque, NM
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
 
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Last updated: Saturday, March 5, 2011, 5:09 PM

 



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