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Issue Home August 12, 2009 Site Home

Letters to the Editor Policy

Oppose Government-Run

I strongly urge you to oppose any legislation that would enact a government-run, public health care plan.

The small business surtax would devastate small businesses already struggling with a severe recession. This surtax would hit those who create jobs especially hard because more than six of every 10 affected are small business owners, who have led America out of the last seven recessions and create two out of every three jobs during a recovery.

Other problematic provisions include the public plan, which would be an unfair competitor, ultimately shifting costs to the private sector as it becomes big enough to drive down reimbursements to doctors and hospitals. Consumers would then flock to the public plan because its premiums would be cheaper, and ultimately no viable private plans would remain.

Also, any mandate to employers that requires them to offer a one-size-fits-all "minimum benefits package" to all their employees is the wrong idea. The solution isn't to force people to buy into an unaffordable system; the solution is to improve the quality and affordability of health care through market-based changes. Employer mandates, by their nature, limit flexibility and innovation; the foundation of voluntary employer provided health care.

This legislation will not address the nation's health cost explosion, will steeply hike taxes in an already precarious economic situation, will fail to lead to more affordable, accessible, quality health coverage, and will lead us toward government-run health care.

In short, it will make a bad situation worse, at great costs to the nation in jobs, taxes, and freedom.

I strongly urge you to oppose any legislation that favors a government-run, public health care plan.


Roger Zurn

Hallstead, PA

Off-Setting Penalties

Fortunately, it happens to me only seldom. An emotion of mine gets the better of my better judgment. Result, I'm displeased with myself. With regard to this particular emotion, here's a quote fragment that sticks in my mind: "humane and pure and altruistic." Altruistic? Whatever that means.

I honestly believe the person, for whom I feel empathy, is undeserving. In this instance, that person happens to be a certain law enforcement official, who recently shared a beer with President Barack Hussein Obama.

Somebody dared tell me to my face that, somewhere in my temperament, I have a pathologically optimistic streak. Well, here's what I first conjectured about Cambridge Police Sergeant James Crowley, when his case first came to my attention. The man is a frustrated quarterback.

Somehow, Officer Crowley and Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. had gotten into a contretemps on the professor's porch. Whatever words were exchanged, before the arrival of Officer Crowley's backup, there's nothing trustworthy to validate either man's version.

Different people hear the same thing differently. Once in a while, I get told, "What I said is not what I meant."

According to media commentators and real reporters, Crowley's fellow officers do mention that Professor Gates demanded or requested his name and badge number. Well, different people do hear the same thing differently.

At this point, I'm wearing Officer Crowley's brogues. Police of Irish descent refer to their foot gear as brogues, so I'm told. The man has a career to protect. Whether he was in the right or whether he was in the wrong, the complaint's going to be on his record. Likely enough, so I'm guessing, it's been spotless. Cambridge Police Sergeant James Crowley would like to become Cambridge Police Lieutenant James Crowley. In that regard, a spotless record would help tremendously.

Out of desperation, Officer Crowley grabs for a straw. I've been there. Believe me. This straw is glowing neon: OFF-SETTING PENALTIES. It's easy to suppose that is what would come to mind for a frustrated quarterback. So, he reckons the aggrieved citizen will forget about the complaint, if the latter is given some incentive. The incentive has to be something Officer Crowley can bring to the table.

On a charge of disorderly conduct, he arrests a pre-eminent academician, known to the President of the United States of America as "skip." Out of the frying pan, into the fire. I've also been there.

My five doughnuts to the reader's three, the sergeant will never, ever make lieutenant. And that's not all that's causing Cambridge Police Sergeant James Crowley anxiety.

Just so happens, Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. also has a career. And he's been given, on a diamond-lined silver platter a golden opportunity to advance that career. However the professor exploits that opportunity, nothing good will, the cop's way, come of it.

It starts, when the cop reasonably speculates an aggrieved citizen with no rap sheet will surely file a complaint. In response, the cop will have that aggrieved citizen hauled in on some charge or other. In return for forgetting about filing a complaint, the charge, say, "disorderly conduct" gets dropped.

Thanks to the kerfuffle, initiated by Officer Crowley, the ruse will come to light for all and sundry. And it gets worse. Attempting that ruse might give an aggrieved citizen with no rap sheet an opportunity to sue for false arrest. Nobody sues for no money.

Just so happens, an aggrieved citizen did sue for false arrest, and did win. The citizen was Lawrence O'Donnell, depending on one's point of view, either a blithering left-coast-biased gasbag or a frank and sober cable news pundit. Whatever the point of view, the fact of his successful law suit remains as both precedent and example.

Maybe, Cambridge Police Sergeant (forever) James Crowley should be given a little credit for helping bring the ruse to the public's attention. I'm speculating his fellow officers will blame him for letting the cat out of the bag. Now we're talking real anxiety.

I should admit I do have a little bias with regard to the perfersser. Wood'jah buh-leave! I was so perturbed I got in touch with the North Penn AAA. I even went further.

I wrote up and I sent in the particulars that went with ticket # LX3891930 Docket # 6-10-368 in the Town of Kirkwood. Some time soon, I suppose, I should write a letter. In this case, for the sake of a measly $105 in fine and court costs, the arresting officer endangered innocent people.


A Alexander Stella

Susquehanna, PA

Afghanistan: The Hopeless War

The war in Afghanistan is lost; it's just that we haven't found out yet. Pessimistic? Defeatist? Perhaps even subversive? Not at all. It's simple arithmetic. A comparison of Afghanistan with Viet Nam leads to only one conclusion: defeat.

When the Viet Nam War was at its height, we had 500,000 troops in theater. They were the best trained and equipped that any nation could field

The infantryman was supported by tanks, artillery, and air power. He could call in air strikes on precise coordinates to rain down napalm or request an AC-130 gunship to pulverize the ground with a torrent of 20 mm cannon shells. To really rearrange the landscape, a B-52 would do a flyover. Adding it up, U.S. bombers dropped 3.5 times more tonnage in Nam than they did in WW II - that's more than 300 pounds of high explosives per person.

For his part, charlie had a bicycle. He lived in tunnels and subsisted on fish heads and rice. His weapons were an AK 47 and booby traps cobbled from unexploded U.S. ordinance.

Yet, after 8 years of conflict, we lost. Why?

All military hardware - armor, artillery, air power, satellite intelligence, you name it - has only one purpose; to support the infantryman to take ground and hold it. In country, we could take the ground but could not hold it.

A battle might rage for hours or days. In the end we won. We always won. The enemy would fade away leaving the ground for the grunts. The area was searched for weapons, cleared of suspected enemy, and - to use the Army's euphemism - pacified. But eventually, we left and charlie came back on our heels.

Viet Nam is a small nation, only 127,000 square miles. Divide that by 500,000, the maximum number of troops stationed there at one time. The answer is one pair of boots for every quarter of a square mile. But for guerrilla warfare that's not enough. The enemy could be anywhere at anytime indistinguishable from any peasant - man, women, or child - in the rice paddies.

Now let's take a look at another guerrilla war: Afghanistan. That nation has 250,000 square miles, twice that of Viet Nam. Its topography is uncompromisingly rugged: steep mountains, narrow valleys, winding passes with blind turns. It is ideal for defense and ill-suited for the mechanized weaponry of the West.

In Nam, charlie used neighboring Laos to transport supplies, as staging areas, and as sanctuaries. Afghanistan is a landlocked nation surrounded by 6 “Laoses.” And as in country, the enemy could be anywhere and probably is.

It is in this land that 60,000 U.S. troops are deployed along with 30,000 soldiers from NATO. Once again, do some division. Divide 250,000 square miles by 90,000 infantrymen. The answer is one pair of boots for every 2.8 square miles. That's an astonishing 11 times more land per soldier than in Viet Nam. We cannot hold the land.

The numbers tell the story: the war is unwinable, more lives will be lost, and tax dollars will continue to be fretted away in a hopeless endeavor.

To date (08/03), the cost in U.S. lives is 682 - plus 7,589 “collateralized” civilians - and 2,046 servicemen seriously wounded. On average, 50 per cent of the seriously wounded will have traumatic brain injures due to increasingly more powerful IEDs. They will suffer irreversible motor dysfunction, cognitive impairment, and behavioral problems for the rest of their lives.

In dollars, the cost - not counting what will be required to treat the permanently disabled - is $185 billion.

The best we can do is what the British and Soviet Union did before us, cut our loses and leave. It is hubris to think we can succeed where they failed.

We haven't found that out yet, either.


Bob Scroggins

New Milford, PA

A New Club

"A newspaper is not just for reporting news, its to get people mad enough to do something about it." Mark Twain.

I was catching up on the local news, when I came across the minutes of a meeting that made me put my coffee down. It would seem that the Commissioners have appointed a new club. This is a hand picked, invitation only membership.

I like a good club. I've had the delight to be a member of a few youth organizations, and a few others that would question the low character to belong to that one. And since all is just a matter of ones' opinion on that day, being a charter member can go either way.

My issue with this new club, is that last year township meetings were the place to be. As you should be, if you don't vote, and keep up with the times, you would already be nickel and dimed to death in new fees, and someone else would decide for you how you should conduct your property. I believe zoning is something that many people voted out.

But to be appointed, one satisfies the lobbyists, and can still decide if this club is fully deserving of the county support. There already exists a few clubs destined to languish in meetings that are unresolved.

I think there is a huge disconnect in policy these days. Something akin to a slight of hand deal. I am beginning to think that corruption is being built into the system. At all levels of government. And they are not very subtle. In football terms, an end run.

A smart politician knows the secret handshake and is able to pull a rabbit out of a hat, and as much as I love magic, there seems to be a different reality, behind closed doors, smoke and mirrors reflect illusion.

Fortunately, I vote. I like that club membership. I take a great pride in it, and always vote according to my knowledge and opinion of the others politicians, and the knowledge they have of the issues, and can still maintain the principals of the founding fathers. I don't believe the intention of the framers was to hold town meetings, get a majority vote, and then ride the horse back to the county seat, to discuss strategy, and the placement of the smoked mirrors for this next trick.

I guess it rankles me to know this is the new politics, and somewhere in the fine print of the by-laws, you can read all about it. If you do not like what the people want, you become a magician dressed as a football player, and run end around the crowd. In the ensuing confusion, one is able to have the deal done before the smoke machine runs out.

I don't believe that is the type of government the fathers had in mind. I think they understood that leadership skills come from many experiences, and there is an integrity in good government. A principled representative, one who can read and write, can listen better than hear. Now that I can understand, and it holds no illusions. And this new club, just a fancy name for zoning.


Cynthia Allen

Summersville, PA

Today’s Heroes, Tomorrow’s Saints

Take courage in the truth; that we are endowed by our creator with certain inalienable rights. So let’s do everything we can to defend the image and likeness of God in women and stop abortion, now, before it is too late.

Did you know that the third secret of Fatima, Portugal was delivered to the Church by three Shepherd children, through intense persecutions? Jacinta and Francesco died within a year after the great “Miracle of the Sun.” Lucia, their cousin, was all but disowned by her family at the time. She remained in a convent to spread devotion to the Immaculate of Mary world-wide and to aid the popes in obeying the demands of Fatima. We must remember and bare in mid that by virtue of our baptism, God made Mary our mother, at Calvary, for it is with her that we can learn to carry the cross as worthily as possible.

August 13,1917, is the date that was supposed to be the fourth appearance of Mary of Fatima. But the mayor of Orum, a neighboring village (a Masonic), decided to abduct the three seers and threatened to kill them one by one if they did not reveal to him the secret. Meanwhile, the crowds waiting at Fatima dispersed disappointed. Many of course sought to find out what happened. When they found the mayor with the children, Jacinta and Francesco’s father stepped in to diffuse an ugly situation. So the children hurried off to Fatima, but Mary met them on the way at Adjestral.

These children, as most children long to do great loving acts of kindness, Jacinta, Francesco and Lucia, are heroes of the Church, Portugal and all humanity. They held fast to Mary’s words; “My immaculate heart will be your refuge and the way that leads to God.” For more go to www.fatima.org.


John Mann

Susquehanna, PA

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. 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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