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August 30, 2010
Biased Against Obama?
As a faithful subscriber to U.S. News for the last four years, I am getting tired of your incessant awarding of a C or C- to President Obama, which I think is completely unfair [Washington Whispers, August 6 and 13]. Do I get the impression that this is an indication of a die-hard partisan stand, one that will never change no matter what happens?
RAVIPRAKASH DANI Lubbock, Texas
Rangel and Waters Scandals
Time for them to go—period [Editor’s Note, August 13].
MIKE DUDENAS Mohawk, Mich.
Stripping Down the Military
Before any reductions in defense are made, I would ask the administration to work with Congress to reduce entitlements and other programs on a one-for-one basis [“Gates’s Pre-emptive Budget Attack,” August 13]: a billion dollars in defense matched by a billion dollars in reduced entitlements and other wasteful programs. The billions in farm subsidies, hundreds of millions of which go to millionaires, come to mind, and any federal program that has not had a thorough rejustification in the last 10 years. Further, how about gradually raising the full Social Security entitlement age to 70 and lifting the ceiling on income subject to Social Security taxes? Incentivize savings and investments by eliminating taxes on interest and dividends, and keep the current tax cuts in place until real reform can be effected. Move to consumption taxation only and eliminate all the insidious regulatory fees. I would gladly pay a flat 25 percent to 28 percent tax on consumption if it would eliminate the labyrinth of wasteful and bureaucratic processes currently associated with our taxation approach.
GORDON HAGEWOOD Burke, Va.
Why do we need so many bases in Germany and other parts of the world? Of course, the Republicans will scream “No” at the thought of closing these bases at the same time that they scream “deficits” at every opportune moment. I realize these bases keep people employed, but at the expense of our failing national infrastructure, education, etc.
MARILYN MUELLER Alpharetta, Ga.
The Iraq Quagmire
I am not sure if democracy will last in the country unless there are people willing to fight for it [Editor’s Note, August 20]. However, we should continue to assist their efforts with whatever means necessary. A stable, friendly Iraq will be key to keeping Iran under control and bringing a semblance of stability to the region. Is a stable Iraq a cure-all? Hardly, but it sure helps our efforts in the region.
TIM MCKENNA Spanish Fork, Utah
We need to keep the 50,000 training troops in Iraq for a while and keep assessing the situation to determine when and if we should pull our troops out. If they can form a government that includes the Sunnis, then they have a good chance of success. Otherwise, we may have to pull out of Iraq.
HOWARD THIBODEAU Redding, Calif.
Exit is long overdue. We needed to get rid of Saddam and his sons, secure the oil supply, and warn off Iraq’s neighbors, especially Iran. Once that was done, declare victory and stand by in Kuwait. No need to nation-build. Let the Iraqis do that; it’s not worth American blood and treasure. Nation-building is historically a failed policy. The will to fight to a definitive victory, or at least to accomplish immediate objectives and leave, must be restored.
GEORGE RULE San Diego
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August 23, 2010
Arizona Rep. Trent Franks argued in favor of the new law because border security is about national security; Illinois Rep. Luis Gutierrez said the immigration problem requires a federal solution. Your feedback:
Rep. Luis Gutierrez has the audacity to state "the border is as safe as it has ever been." Huh? The border is not even as safe as it was in the past. Just look at how the Mexicans are now oozing their killings into this country. When the druggies can have their people let out of prison in their own country to commit multiple murders with the help of the prison officials and guards, then the druggies are in total control of Mexico. The fences are not high enough, deep enough, or harsh enough to do what is really needed. We need Israel-type border fences from the Pacific Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico, with no breaks. Only the whining liberals and Mexican-boosters do not understand the issue. They want to let 11 million people here become instantly legal and to hell with those who are trying to enter the country legally. This country may need immigration, but it does not need illegal immigration. This country must continue to make people leave who are here illegally. We must give preference only to those who are entering this country by the book: those who are entering legally.
GERALD GIBSON Spring, Texas
Well and good to say we need a federal law reforming immigration, but until we have one, let the states do what they think is best. Illegal immigration is against the law. People who break other laws are subject to punishment. Illegal immigrants should be sent back to where they came from.
JACQUELINE JOHNSON Deerfield Beach, Fla.
Just stick to the facts, Rep. Franks. I agree with your position that the Arizona law does not promote racial profiling. What I find offensive is your deleted because it seems redundant/ktainsertion of your personal biases into the mix of facts, as if they were also facts. No one needs you to make statements like "as is so frequently the case, this administration's motivations have everything to do with political posturing." Such statements give you and other news sources a hypocritical appearance, because they are indications of your own political posturing. Just be objective and let readers make up their own minds about what's going on. The law does not promote racial profiling, and the bill has been distorted during translation by opponents. These are the facts; this is all we need. Keep your personal bias to yourself.
RICK DARTEZ Riverside, Calif.
All the fedslowercase seems ok to me because referring to federal official, not the Reserves/kta do is talk about doing something about the immigration problem. Let them get out of the way of Arizona, which is trying to do something about the problem.
SUE PECK Wellsville, Pa.
I believe illegal is illegal. However, there is no mention from the Republicans of the businesses who hire illegals because they can get them to do the work more cheaply. Why not suggest a system to make that more difficult, if not impossible? Children born to immigrants here illegally should not be automatic Americans. Although, from a hospital standpoint, this would prove extremely problematic. Many of these folks do pay taxes, Social Security, etc., and they will never receive benefits. Instead of everyone in power reacting for political reasons, they should put their heads together, let the gray cells work, and come up with a reasonable solution.
MARILYN MUELLER Alpharetta, Ga.
Will we never learn? The lesson of Prohibition was that making illegal something that a lot of people want gives power to a criminal element to provide the prohibited goods and services. The same is true for drugs. Forcing people to stop using drugs by law empowers those who supply the drugs outside of the law and results in criminal activity. Legislating against movement of people across the U.S.-Mexican border is another example. People have been crossing the border ever since there was a border. People moved both ways. When jobs were available in the United States, people came for a few months and went back. They provided needed services in return for money, and both nations benefited. Then, when we got concerned that Mexicans were taking jobs that Americans wanted, mostly in agriculture, we tried to stop them from coming. By making it difficult for them to come, we were also making it difficult for them to go home at the end of the harvest season. So they started bringing their families. The more we tried to stop them from coming, the more they were forced to stay. Now we have people who were brought here as small children and know nothing of their native country. What do we do with them? The immigration and drug problems are intertwined. Both are caused by making unenforceable laws to dictate behavior. Each effort to make the laws harsher will only increase the scope of the problem. We've got to find a better way to handle the drug problem to take the profit out so we do not continue to give power and wealth to drug traffickers. We've got to develop processes that allow people to go back and forth with less hassle so as to stop enriching "coyotes." And we have to try to help Mexico become a place where people want to stay.
KENNETH VISTE Boise, Idaho
It's sad that Arizona felt the need to pass this law. The federal laws are more sweeping and should be more than adequate. They are simply not being enforced. At least Arizona can still imprison employers that knowingly hire illegal aliens. This is the best tool we can use to solve the problem. As far as striking down the Arizona law goes, we haven't heard the end of it. Just wait until November.
AUBREY COLLINS Donalds, S.C.
The Democrats' solution to illegal immigrants is to make them all legal. They refuse to call this amnesty, but that is exactly what it is. Meanwhile, Obama's enforcement policy consists of occasionally forcing companies to fire illegal aliens, but then leaving them in the United States to fend for themselves with no job, which leaves welfare or crime as the obvious alternatives. Liberals call this a humanitarian solution. And the congressional Republicans bluster and do nothing. Arizona has finally stepped forward with a viable plan to act at the state level, and immediately the liberals react using mischaracterizations, lawsuits, protests, and outright lies and intimidation. We do not want a "comprehensive" solution. We want safe, secure borders first. Then we want companies who hire illegal aliens punished in a meaningful fashion. Only those two steps will solve the problem of illegal immigration.
STEPHEN MABIE San Antonio, Texas
I don't understand what is wrong with carrying identity papers. Since I have been old enough to drive, and have a checking account or credit card, I have always had to be ready to show ID if, and when, asked. It was never considered racial profiling even though I am American Indian and have darker skin than some.
KYMBERLY FISHER Edmond, Okla.
Illegals out. No amnesty. No "anchor babies." I support those that will clean house. If anyone wants to come to this country to work, then grant them working papers for six months, with renewal based on the need for them to continue their jobs. Citizenship, driver's licenses, etc., are definitely not an option. The powers that be revised because though the writer may have been making a play on the expression 'powers that be,' it was confusing./ktaseem unable to feel the pulse of the American public, which is beating furiously over this issue. I am glad some states, like Arizona, are taking the issue to heart and doing something real about it. Bravo.
MIKE STORCH Lowman, Idaho
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August 16, 2010
Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich argued that new nuclear reactors would be too risky; Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander said that nuclear power is cheap and reliable, and that Americans can’t afford to ignore it. Your feedback:
America needs to get back into nuclear power in a big way, but we have handicapped ourselves on several fronts. America is lagging behind the rest of the world in research and development, including manufacturing of the components. We do not have the skilled labor force. And Washington needs to change its attitude and mindset about corporate America and the entitlements given out to the nonproducing public. Nuclear energy will be the answer to our energy problems, but we are in the back of the bus on this compared to the rest of the world.
BRAD HECK Huntingdon, Tenn.
It seems we have too long kowtowed to various groups who don’t want oil drilling, don’t want coal mines, don’t like combustion-engine cars, don’t want wind power where it will interfere with ocean views, don’t like dams because they change ecology of streams, don’t want fossil-fuel power plants, and, for sure, they don’t want nuclear power plants. These fringe groups have for too long said no to any reasonable solution. We must have tort reform, rein in the EPA, and put our nation on the road to energy independence.
GARY BISHOP Knoxville, Tenn.
Can we transport nuclear waste safely? Can we store it safely? Can ratepayers and taxpayers afford the long-term cost of storage? “No” to nuclear.
WILLIS GREENE Morganton, N.C.
We deployed the first commercial power reactors and many are still operating safely today, providing base-load capacity 24-7, regardless of whether the sun is shining or the wind is blowing. Then we stopped building reactors, exported the technology to other countries, and watched as those countries continued to innovate and achieve national energy security while we continue to rely on fossil fuels for our energy needs. For shame!
SERENA MILLER Marietta, Ohio
If nuclear power is safe, why is it necessary to shield its owners from responsibility? They ask for this because they know nuclear energy is not safe and never will be. If you read what happened at Chernobyl, you will see it could happen again, anywhere.
PATRICIA EISENBERG Tucson
Nuclear must be in our future energy plans. Wind and solar can be installed in a shorter time frame, so they need to be part of the transition away from fossil fuels. In the long term, nuclear can replace coal, and biomass can replace or supplement petroleum-based transportation fuels. Also, few, if any, jobs will be lost in the fossil fuel industries over the next decade, since existing coal plants will remain in operation for many years. Renewable energy—such as wind, solar, and biomass—will only cover growth in demand for electric power until a substantial number of nuclear facilities can be built.
BILL ANDERSON Kingsport, Tenn.
Nuclear power is safe; abundant, if we choose to build it; cheap; and does not require our dependence on foreign countries that hate us, while taking our aid money and using it against us. This is a no-brainer.
JEFF GRIGGS Denver
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August 9, 2010
The Contract From America
Columnist Robert Schlesinger once again exposes his liberal mindset ["The GOP's Agenda Dilemma," July 23]. By cherry picking a few controversial ideas and employing ad hominem attacks on a few Tea Party members, he has written an editorial that can be safely ignored. Why didn't he include what Tea Party's "Contract From America" is about? To paraphrase most of the contract's 10 agenda items, the Tea Party wants to return to the Constitution, demand a balanced budget, simplify and reduce taxes, and develop a responsible energy policy. Who among us doesn't think these are good ideas? By ignoring the facts about the Contract From America, Schlesinger reveals his willingness to push an outdated and unpopular ideology.
BARRY DYSERT Fishers, Ind.
The term "Republican Party's strategic class," used by Robert Schlesinger in his commentary, is an oxymoron.
JACK JAMES Vilas, N.C.
Solving the Energy Problem
"The Senate's Democratic leadership pulled the plug on a comprehensive energy and climate bill that included controversial measures to cut carbon emissions" [Editor's Note, July 23]. If these guys are serious about conserving, how about shutting off their cooling systems? If every government office turned off the air, that alone would save a fair amount of energy and public funds. It also might be an interesting test to identify the truly committed public servants among us. Besides, it's summer. One ought to be warm in the summer. How's that for keepin' it real?
SUSAN STEPHENS Midland, Mich.
I think we are on a massive Titanic, whose captain, crew, and passengers pay no attention to icebergs and steam full speed ahead. The atmosphere cannot absorb the 40 or 50 billion tons of carbon dioxide we emit each year. Warming climate, acidification of waters, and other insults to the environment, as well as excessive human population, will cause civilization to collapse in all too few centuries. I saw an ad on TV by Monsanto Co. about feeding 9 billion people by 2050. It will not happen. By 2050, world population will be in decline with massive die-offs because of lack of potable water and other environmental degradation. I question whether humans can do anything about it even if the political will were to be there, which it will not be.
KENNETH VISTE Boise, Idaho
As for natural gas-fueled vehicles, all that is required is an executive order that all cars bought by the federal government must be powered by natural gas. A year's lead time might be necessary. After the automakers tool up for these cars, they would be readily available on the public market. Since we have huge natural gas reserves, this would lessen our dependence on foreign sources of petroleum. We should go nuclear. As for the "waste problem," an executive order could reverse President Carter's order that banned closed-cycle nuclear power plants. These are used with great success in France, Japan, Sweden, Great Britain, and many other countries. The waste from such a plant is about 4 percent that from the open-cycle plants that we have used since the Carter years. Using nuclear energy would eliminate our need for foreign sources of oil. The only problem I can see with these suggestions is the global economic upset that might ensue.
PETER FOWLER Oakland, Calif.