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Letters to the Editor Policy

I Hope Thousands Call Him

I read in last week’s edition Senator Madigan is holding outreaches in Montrose and anyone can call him directly. I hope thousands of your readers call him or go directly to see him.

I also understand that there are many hard feelings in Susquehanna County politics. It is my understanding that people gripe about local issues and power and don't seem to know where to voice their gripes about their issues other than to their favorite political parties, in back rooms or at kitchen tables.

I have had many calls from readers of this paper alone, and I thank you for the opportunity to allow citizens to "air their views on important issues” right here in "letters to the editor".

I understand as time passes feelings get hurt and it is human nature to strike out at their opponents’ views. Huddle up and plan and attack on each other’s faults. I only hope the main issues discussed with the senator and representatives are issues of utmost importance. Like making new laws in our governmental branches, from townships to boroughs across the state to table some of the smaller issues (as important as they might seem) now, and openly discuss the use and the amount of use of biotec fuel and auxiliary fuels such as renewable re-sources to use as fuel (crops grown above the ground).

I am sure you all who are elected to one party or another have driven by thousands of unused farm fields and wonder why they are not planted with some sort of renewable fuel supply crops.

Maybe none of you have ever given it a thought. I am sure that the people who still are concerned about our local and state government are thinkers. Very intelligent folks. Intelligent fellows who have the need and drive to figure out the troubles and just don't know what to do about them.

A thought, by say the democrats might differ from the republicans and the democrats are afraid that the third party may loose another election from them, but the ability to THINK is still here in our county and we just need to sort through the issues and come up with a solution.

The thinkers need to set aside their differences now and maybe think of using our assets such as vacant, usable land to plant renewable resource plants to feed our ever growing need to get oil from our local, unused fields; to be used to make oil and turn crops into ethanol.

I know that the thinkers can see by now, it seems there is no end in sight to these high cost fuels as long as there is a war going on.

I am sure of one thing it surely is not unpatriotic to express your opinions, right or wrong about the war. My daughter fought in the Iraqi war and now is home for a short time, so don't think I did not loose part of my life worrying about her coming back alive.

We as Americans, from small towns to large cities have lost many men and women who have fought wars in the past and have not come home alive and I am sure that, in itself drives us to be the best patriots and never badmouth our leaders.

No one wants to show that they are unpatriotic, I am sure of that, but what do you thinkers believe that the wars are about? My opinion is oil, or greed, or the love of money and the security of our nation.

World wide we can help growers of any of the many renewable crops to make ethanol a fuel that can be added to our world supply of "black gold or Texas tea,” so we as a country do not have to depend on overthrowing or kissing butts of the people who own the rich oil fields of the world.

We can give hope to the farmers and the local supporters of the production of renewable resource world wide.

But nothing will happen if we fight over every simple issue or every gripe we all have as citizens.

Do any of you in politics today want to be labeled ,"unpatriotic”? I am positive, NOT'!!.

So let’s work together putting the smaller issues and hard feelings aside and try to inform our senators and representatives to channel our energy toward a greater country.

We need to stick together now, no matter what you believe should be done. Ask not what our government can do for you but ask what, and do what you yourself can do for the greater need of our country.

I truly believe we can turn our dependence of foreign oil around, and get our oil from the green fuels above the ground all over our world, instead of fighting over the blood red oil from foreign countries who have taken away many of our local men and women's lives. Remember "life is short" and our young children and grand children and great grand children depend on us to give them a future in a free society. They need our help so they can continue on with our freedoms to secure a future for theirs. Also teach them that the oil fields can cover our earth, instead of drilling miles down into it! Teach them some slang terms, some common sense terms and allow them to think like the many men and woman before us, like “Being over a barrel," or "The shot heard around the world."

Remember that the pen is mightier than the sword!

I am sure they will understand!


Peter A. Seman

Thompson, PA

Life With Roy Rogers

Range wars in the old cowboy movies and TV wrestling were simple affairs: the good guys vs. the bad guys, right vs. wrong, you're either on our side or the wrong side, no grays and no in betweens. Fine for old movies and exhibition wrestling, but life's a tad more complicated. In the world of international intrigue heroes and heels exchange hats as capriciously as we change channels. Guessing who's who is like playing three-card Monty on an international scale. Our story begins about sixteen years ago.

July 25, 1990. April Glaspie, our ambassador to Iraq, requests a meeting with President Saddam Hussein. (An audio tape records the proceeding.)

Glaspie opens the exchange: "I have direct instructions from President Bush to improve our relations with Iraq." After a succession of niceties she comes to the point: "I have received an instruction to ask you why are your troops massed so very close to Kuwait's borders?"

Hussein summarizes his dispute with southern neighbor. Negotiations with his country and Kuwait are at a standstill. Odd. Kuwait is little more than a snippet cut off from southern Iraq. Yet in the face of overwhelming force Kuwait stands firm. It is as if this tiny state were backed by an unseen superpower. But Hussein remains naïvely unaware of this possibility.

He continues and states his intention plainly: If on-going peace talks with Kuwait fail, then we will "defend our claims on Kuwait to keep the whole of Iraq." The meaning is plain to Glaspie. Hussein plans to reincorporate Kuwait back into Iraq from which it was annexed in 1921 by the British. "What is the United States' opinion on this?" Anxiously he awaits the reaction from our government.

Our ambassador plays her cards close to the vest. She has been waiting for this question and is well prepared. Glaspie replies that the United States knows of his intention from satellite photographs and on-ground sources. She goes on: "Secretary [of State James] Baker has directed me to emphasize . . . that the Kuwait issue is not associated with America." Glaspie continues: "But we have no opinion on the Arab-Arab conflicts, like your border disagreement with Kuwait. We have considerable sympathy [with] your . . . confrontation with Kuwait."

Hussein is pleased. America has green-lighted his invasion of Kuwait. The dictator doesn't know it yet, but in the game of international poker he has just been suckered into going all in with a losing hand. Eight days later Hussein invades Kuwait, exactly what the United States wanted him to do.

One month after the Hussein-Glaspie meeting two British journalists obtain the audio tape of the conversation. They buttonhole Glaspie. First journalist: "Are the [audio] transcripts correct, Madam Ambassador?" Glaspie ignores the question. She walks briskly to a waiting limousine. First journalist presses the point: "You encouraged this aggression – his invasion. What were you thinking? Saddam told you that if negotiations failed his goal [would be] for the whole of Iraq. You know that includes Kuwait . . .!"

Second journalist: "You knew Saddam was going to invade [Kuwait], but you didn't warn him not to. You didn't tell him America would defend Kuwait. You told him the opposite, that America was not associated with Kuwait."

Glaspie brushes aside the questions. She enters a waiting limousine. The door slams shut and the car speeds away. Since that time sixteen years ago, Glaspie has been as silent as a tomb. She has become an Orwellian non-person; it is not so much that she seems not to exist, is it as though she never existed at all.

Yet, ironically, her silence speaks volumes. It is an exposé, a tell-all book about a world of intrigue where double dealing is an art form and duplicity is honed to a fine edge. In this world the tyrant Saddam Hussein was only a boy scout, a lamb – as it were – led to the slaughter.


Bob Scroggins

New Milford, PA

An Ongoing Crusade

Mr. Jennings of Brooklyn has gotten himself much attention again recently in his ongoing crusade against the county Occupation Tax. His latest campaign seems to be merely a repetition of the same point he has been pushing for months – that the tax does no good for the county and should be eliminated.

In all his arguments that I have read, he has only presented the (in his view) negative aspects of this tax. He has not presented any suggestions on how to improve the situation for the taxpayers, other than getting rid of the tax. Pointing out a problem without offering potential solutions benefits no one. One good reason to have a tax in addition to the real estate taxes is so that residents of the county who own no property still contribute to the financial well-being of the county. If the occupation tax does not adequately fulfill that purpose, then maybe a change is needed. But to just eliminate the tax, rather than reform or replace it, would merely give those who don’t own property a free ride, and place a larger burden on those who do own property.

A point that Mr. Jennings has not mentioned is that municipalities that have a per capita tax share space on the occupation tax notice (a service for which the municipalities pay one half the cost of printing the notices). Townships and boroughs would be left to fend for themselves if not for this, and the taxpayers would lose the convenience of combined and uniform tax billing.

Mr. Jennings has come close to accusing the local tax collectors of greed, in that he states that they are the only beneficiaries of this tax. It is true that out of each tax notice sent out, the tax collector will receive $3.90. It applies to both the occupation tax notices and the real estate tax notices. The county, like many municipalities and school districts, could have set a percentage of tax money collected as the form of compensation for the local tax collectors, but chose to pay the flat per-notice rate instead. Perhaps the percentage method of payment would improve the bottom line to the county. The time and effort involved in collecting taxes is not small, and it is not being greedy to expect reasonable compensation for the labor involved.

This newspaper has, to a large extent endorsed the views expressed by Mr. Jennings, and has gone on to advocate the elimination of local tax collectors. This paper has called the current system of tax collection archaic and inefficient, and has expressed the opinion that consolidating the tax collecting at the county level would be a better, more cost effective system. I find it amazing that the same newspaper that weekly reports and editorializes on the sometimes laughable antics of this county’s government could propose that the same government would be a better choice for collecting the county residents’ tax dollars. Instead of being served by a neighbor they know, and whom they have a vote in electing, county taxpayers would be at the mercy of bureaucratic appointees, or worse yet, some crony of the commissioners.

If Mr. Jennings has ideas of positive ways to improve the tax collection system in the county, I’m sure the residents would like to hear about them, but all I have seen has been negative. The old saying applies: “If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.”


Tim Button

Harford Township tax collector

EDITOR’S NOTE: Dear Tim, just to clarify; “this newspaper” (meaning of course, me) has neither endorsed nor advocated the elimination of local tax collectors. We have published opinions (just like yours) from residents and/or columnists on the subject, willingly, in the same manner as we have for the past 26-plus years I have owned the County Transcript. We welcome your (and any other) opinion on the subject. Having complete access to talk about all the pros and cons seems to help.

Demand A Strategy

President Bush has started a PR campaign to convince us of success in Iraq. The facts show otherwise: a nation on the verge of civil war, which has become a magnet for terrorists and extremists. Congress has a vital responsibility to stand up to the president and insist on an exit strategy. Unfortunately the Republicans running Congress won't stand up to President Bush. Let's contact our representatives and senators and demand an exit strategy!


Harrison White

Windsor, NY



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Letters To The Editor MUST BE SIGNED. They MUST INCLUDE a phone number for "daytime" contact. Letters MUST BE CONFIRMED VERBALLY with the author, before printing. At that time you may request to withhold your name. Letters should be as concise as possible, to keep both Readers' and Editors' interest alike. Your opinions are important to us, but you must follow these guidelines to help assure their publishing.

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