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Letters To The Editor 1/14/2019

January 14, 2019

Reforms imperative

Editor: Our political system has problems. Political parties need reform.

Each party has factions fighting for control. On the edges are extremists. This makes it easy for people to hate them. It’s easy to hate Democrats when extremists want to force people to use made-up pronouns depicting various sexualities, for instance. It is easy to hate Republicans when extremists are openly racist and neo-Nazis. Politics worked when Democrats and Republicans agreed on moral truths. Today, some wonder if any of them hold moral beliefs.

Gerrymandering happens nationwide. Technology can surgically slice up populations to give parties overwhelming election advantages. Democracy is based upon the people choosing their representatives while gerrymandering allows parties to choose the voters. Gerrymandering needs to end.

We need a grass-roots movement to take our country back. Common-sense amendments to our Constitution should include:

■ Lobbying reform. Lobbyists should come to the people when they want something. We should then vote on proposals via election proposition.

■ Affirmation that corporations are not people.

■ Limited money for political campaigns. Funds should be distributed evenly so all candidates are equal. Candidates’ views and message should determine the winner.

■ Limited campaigns, starting three months prior to a primary and two months before a general election.

■ Removal of influence from news media. There should be a return to unbiased reporting about those seeking public office.

■ Making the private lives of candidates off-limits for publicity during elections.

Hopefully, this would entice more qualified people to seek office and end “the better of two horrible candidates” elections.

What will history say about us if we do nothing? How does history treat the Germans of 1933 to 1945 when they stood by as fascism prevailed? How badly will we be judged if we do nothing?



Shifting sands

Editor: President Franklin D. Roosevelt launched his alliance with Saudi Arabia in 1943. He sealed it in 1945, returning from the Yalta conference with Russian leader Joseph Stalin and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, when he hosted Saudi King Abdulaziz Ibn Saud aboard the battle cruiser USS Quincy, in the Red Sea.

The alliance called for the Saudis to supply oil while America provided security for the kingdom. Since the days when FDR and King Ibn Saud chatted in 1945 on board the Quincy much has changed.

The United States has become the worlds largest oil producer, so Saudi Arabia does not matter as much. To have a meaningful relationship with the kingdom America needs a clear-eyed assessment of our current and future needs and not rely on past strategic requirements. The core elements of today’s U.S.-Saudi relationship are of critical importance.

First, there are common values such as human rights, the rule of law and religious

pluralism. America does not share these values with the autocratic Saudi monarchy.

Then there are common strategic interests. Although we don’t need Saudi oil

the kingdom has become even more dependent on American protection and its new foreign policy is worrisome. The Saudis used to work behind the scenes with checkbook diplomacy but recently have taken on an increasingly reckless and aggressive posture with Iran and we need to be certain not to get drawn into an indefinite war.

The final element of a mutual alliance is beneficial business ties. The Saudis

say they intend to purchase $110 billion in arms, which could go unfulfilled. Only

$14.5 billion has been purchased so far. This transactional element is not strong.

It appears an assessment of our relationship with Saudi Arabia leaves much to be

desired from our perspective and we need to be cautious about becoming involved in a Saudi-Iranian conflict.





Shutdown shameful

Editor: The Trump administration has ordered U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service employees to return to work because some members of his base were angry that they couldn’t hunt on wildlife refuge lands.

Meanwhile, some 800,000 government employees are furloughed or working without paychecks. Federal prison guards put their lives on the line and cannot pay their mortgages, car payments, grocery and pharmacy bills without getting paychecks, but President Trump makes sure that hunters can hunt. Banks will not wait for payment and could foreclose on federal workers who can’t keep up with mortgage payments.

It’s time to reopen the government and then talk about the wall. The whole exercise is only an ego trip for Trump. Why didn’t the Republicans fund the wall for the last two years while they were in control of Congress? End this shutdown now.



Shelter backer

Editor: Like Jim Freethy (“Shelter praised,” Dec. 31, 2018) I also would like to praise Griffin Pond Animal Shelter on how well it is run and maintained.

I proudly have done volunteer work for the shelter over the years. Three weeks ago, with intentions of adopting another dog from the shelter, we instead adopted a spunky, little black kitten my husband promptly named Kirby.

There are many puppies, kittens, dogs and cats out there that deserve forever homes.

Help reduce these numbers just by spaying and neutering dogs and cats.

There are numerous low-cost programs out there to help new adopters. Please check them out during this new year.




Facts startling

Editor: I am most impressed by Democratic State Rep. Greg Vitali’s Dec. 27 op-ed piece, “Get DEP up to strength.”

I am proud to be a modern environmentalist with a degree in biology. I consider myself fairly well informed on the subject. However, Vitali’s stated facts are an eye-opener for me, even with my experience in the field.

If there is a reason for me to support a politician other than Gov. Tom Wolf it would involve environmental protection and lack of enforcement.