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Issue Home January 27, 2010 Site Home

Letters to the Editor Policy

Junior The Horse Trader

Here in deep Susquehanna, one out of a hundred people, remembers German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer, maybe. During one election, he made one promise over and over again.

No more than five minutes after winning, “der Alte” as he was affectionately known by the Germans, went back on his word. But the “old man,” literal translation, had an excuse. Loosely translated, “I reserve the right to be smarter today than I was yesterday.”

Nobody should be surprised, when President Barack Hussain Obama junior decides to keep the bedbugs, now incarcerated in Guantanamo, incarcerated there still. Likely enough, he will avail himself of the superannuated flatulate’s excuse, street translation elegantly phrased. Yes, junior did promise to shut down “Gitmo.” More than probably, the President will shut the place down as a military facility.

But the bedbugs will still be incarcerated there in a civilian facility, under the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

The way things work out, it’ll be a credit swap. The Democrats get credit for over-hauling a health care system, long overdue for reform. And the Republicans get credit for keeping the bedbugs incarcerated in “Gitmo.”

So far as junior will be concerned, it’ll be an eminently fair deal. In figurative terms, he comes away from the negotiation with a “Triple Crown Winner,” loaded with stud fee potential. The other party is left holding the tether on a glue factory reject.


A Alexander Stella

Susquehanna, PA

Blue Ridge School Says Thanks

For more than 175 years, communities have had a voice in the operation of their schools through a locally elected board of school directors consisting of individuals from their hometown. These people are our neighbors, friends, community leaders, parents at our schools, engaged senior citizens - all with one common goal - making sure students are properly educated in preparation for life.

These boards enable us to have local control of the public schools, meaning that decisions on school programs are made by local, elected representatives who understand the community’s unique challenges, values, culture and circumstances. With the advice and counsel of the educational professionals they hire, our school board has a bearing on virtually every aspect of our schools. It’s a huge responsibility and one that should not be taken lightly. Their actions directly affect our children - what they learn, who will teach them and what kinds of facilities house their classrooms.

Being a board member is an unpaid position in which most spend an average of 20 hours of personal time a month attending meetings and school activities, reviewing budgets and finances, educating themselves on the issues through reading and attending training, meeting with parents and school administrators, and countless other activities. How many parents or citizens would be able to devote the same amount of time to governing the schools?

This month, local communities are encouraged to honor the contributions of their local school board members. Too often we neglect to recognize the commitment and hard work of these men and women who serve as advocates for our schools. The staff and students of our district are asking all members of the community to take a moment and tell a school board member: “Thanks for caring about our children.”

On January 11, the Blue Ridge School District recognized its nine Board members at the regular meeting that evening. The current Blue Ridge Board of Education members are: Laurie Bonner, Christina Cosmello, Harold Empett, Priscinda Gaughan, Alan Hall, John Ketchur, Shane Rumage, Joel Whitehead, and Christina Whitney. We applaud our board members for their vision and voice to help shape a better tomorrow.


Chris Dyer

Superintendent of Schools

Preserve You God Given Rights

Defend The Unborn

Taken from the perspective of marriage, what God has joined together let no man put asunder. The diocese of Scranton lost Bishop Martino because in the performance of his duty he had to bar certain Catholic politicians from receiving Communion, for their own good, because they were advocating abortion. Many politically correct supporters of abortion made gross objections, personally.

It is becoming increasingly evident that abortion, the killing of an innocent child, is by far the greatest destroyer of peace in the world. We must continue to contact our representatives and reinforce their efforts to eliminate abortion from health care legislation by maintaining the Stupak Pitt Amendment, in it’s original form.

On behalf of so many truly faithful Catholics, I want to thank Congressman Chris Carney for his support of the amendment. It is a tremendous sign of conversion, the support of life at conception and the respect due the teaching authority of the Church. Please, Senator Casey, you can do the same, we are praying for you! May God once again richly bless America.


John Mann

Susquehanna, PA

The Khyber Pass Or Impasse?

The Khyber Pass: Kipling called it “a sword cut through the mountains.” Through it passed history's most infamous conquerors. Darius the Great and his Persians marched through it in 500 B.C. Two centuries later, Alexander the Great followed in his footsteps. Genghis Khan and the Mongols trodded the same path in 1300 A.D. The British left their mark in the 19th century. Soviet tanks rumbled through in the late 20th century. Today, it's our turn.

The pass is a 33-mile long corridor that switchbacks through the Hindu Kush mountains. It connects the landlocked nation of Afghanistan with northern Pakistan. It is a narrow gorge flanked by sheer rock cliffs towering 1,000 feet. At its broadest is it 450 feet; at its narrowest it is a mere 10 feet.

A macadamized road capable of bearing motorized vehicles runs the length of it. About 200 trucks travel over it daily carrying 75 percent of the supplies needed for U.S. and coalition forces.

The U.S. plans to increase troop numbers from 68,000 to 100,000 by mid-2010. NATO forces are projected to reach 50,000 this year. Add to this 80,000 mercenaries. Road traffic in the pass could rise to 400 trucks a day straining its carrying capacity to the limit.

The pass is the lifeline in and out of Afghanistan. Any interruption in this supply route could be catastrophic. And it could happen. Adm. Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, called it “a single point of failure.”

The biggest threat to the flow of supplies comes from ourselves.

On the face of it, drones seem to be the ideal way to attack militants holed up in rugged, mountainous terrain. A drone can reconnoiter an area, zoom its camera in for a close-up, and let loose a missile or a GPS-guided bomb.

But the risk of killing civilians is unavoidable. In 2008, more than 10,000 Pakistanis demonstrated against drone strikes that continue to cause civilian causalities.

According to Pakistani authorities, in the last three years U.S. air strikes have killed 701 persons. Fourteen were members of al Qaeda and 687 were civilians.

This year the U.S. has dramatically escalated drone attacks. In 2008, there was an average of one drone attack a month; in 2009 the average was four a month. In the first two weeks of January 2010 there have been six attacks. At the present rate, that's triple last year's average.

Even the sound and sight of a drone sows resentment and is unnerving. There is no way of knowing if it will pass harmlessly by or fire a Hellfire missile.

Whether the use of drones will prove more effective at eliminating al Qaeda and the Taliban or serve as an unintended recruiting tool for these organizations remains to be seen. But what is known is this: losing the support of the people and strengthening the insurgency are the major threats to the supply convoys that squeeze through the Khyber Pass every day.

Even getting to the Khyber Pass is fraught with dangers.

Supplies are offloaded at Pakistan's southern port of Karachi. From there truckers transport the supplies 800 miles north up the western border of Pakistan to the entrance of the Khyber Pass. Along this route convoys are vulnerable to roadside bombs and ambushes.

Another hazard are the drivers. Some truckers sell their cargo along the way, then torch their vehicles claiming it was the Taliban and collect the insurance money for the destroyed truck.

As if all this weren't enough, there's more.

U.S. and NATO troops cannot protect the convoys in Pakistan or in the Khyber Pass. The Pakistani government will not allow foreign soldiers on its territory. We must depend up the Pakistani army and drones for convoy protection through Pakistan and in the Khyber Pass. Two allies: an army of tenuous dependability and a weapon of problematic efficacy.

Lastly, in light of the magnitude 7.0 earthquake that struck Haiti January 12, this question comes to mind: Could a similar temblor - the Big One - batter California while our troops and treasure are frittered away a quarter-way around the world? The possibility is real.

January 10, 2010: a magnitude 6.5 earthquake struck northern California.


Bob Scroggins

New Milford, PA

Reviving The Constitution

The current administration and Congress have made it very clear to the American people that they know what’s best for the country and that the Constitution is just four sheets of parchment, written by a bunch of old men.

As the election results in Massachusetts have demonstrated, that is not the case. Our Founders believed that the citizenry of this country should be morally straight, grounded in religion and educated in the laws of the land.

In order for Americans to know the direction in which this country is headed, they need to understand that our direction was set over 233 years ago by the greatest piece of legislation ever written by mankind in any era.

On January 30, Hillsdale College is presenting, online, for free, a webinar entitled “Reviving The Constitution.” It is being taught by six Constitutional scholars. To register for this course, just go to www.hillsdale.edu and look for the link to the webinar.


Bruce and Edna Paskoff

Montrose, PA

Derailed, Or Sidetracked

On Tuesday, January 19, the Juggernaut got derailed, at least for the moment. The election of Scott Brown to the Senate deprives Progressive Democrats of a filibuster proof majority in the Senate. That put the brakes on ramming the Socialistic healthcare bill through Congress over the objections of the American people. Folks, we almost bit the bullet except for the arrogance of the Dems and the appeal of the Republican candidate. However, the machine for Socialism is still in place, although their bearings are heating up and they are liable to throw a wheel or two this fall.

We must take advantage of the respite which has come our way and make sure that we have our goals firmly in place and the machinery to make them a reality. I firmly believe that there has never been a country on earth like the United States of America and I also firmly believe that is due to the wisdom of our Founding Fathers, expounded in the Constitution and Bill of Rights. The Progressives believe that the Constitution and Bill of Rights is flawed and needs revision. They would revise it by expanding Government to the extent that Socialism replaces Democracy and that bureaucracy replaces individual initiative. Another way of saying it - a Nanny State in lieu of Freedom. The Progressives have been moving the bar for decades so now as much as half of the population is dependant on government in one form or another, and growing. It is the frog in the pot which I have alluded to in the past. This presents an unsustainable situation for Freedom. Picture yourself, as a family, in the financial hole in which the Government finds itself. Stimulus spending, bailouts, mortgage modifications, unemployment, foreclosures and what does it all mean? Not prosperity, I can tell you that. You earn your way out of a mess like this, not spend your way. Can’t be done in Government any more than in your family. Open your eyes, people!!

We must return to our Founding Principles. We must live within our means. We must reduce our dependence on Government. We must nurture hard work and innovation. Our Government must do its job of protecting our industries, not hobbling them with higher taxes and noxious regulation. Bad companies and bad banks must be allowed to fail. Politicians must not be allowed to corrupt our markets, housing or otherwise, for their political, sociological or monetary gain. This is going to be ugly. We don’t make anything anymore. We must begin to and we must buy those things made in the USA, and make more of them. The real cost of buying foreign is far greater than the savings at the register, believe me. We must change our ways. Otherwise, our children will spit (or more) on our graves and we will deserve it.

Republican or Democrat, makes no difference. Your values make the difference. The Republicans betrayed their principles, the Progressive Democrats never had any. It is up to the people to demand from their Party that the candidates for election have demonstrated principles which conform to the Founding Fathers. Even so, this will take time and pain. If we are unwilling to change, our downfall will not take much more time at all.


Joe McCann

Elk Lake, PA


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Thank you, Susquehanna County Transcript

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