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Issue Home May 5, 2010 Site Home

Letters to the Editor Policy

A Crisis Meeting

On April 20, The US House Agriculture Committee held a field hearing in Harrisburg, PA which focused mostly on the current dairy crisis. It seems that many of the witnesses did a pretty fair job describing some of the problems plaguing dairy farmers today. Apparently the efficiency drums were quiet since the most “efficient” dairy farms have struggled economically. Thankfully, the politicians didn’t lecture on efficiency since to do so would have been profoundly distasteful and hypocritical.

I was however, very disappointed with the lack of real solutions, the lack of urgency to get something done soon, and the apparent censoring of cost of production ideas while protecting the sacred cow of Free Trade. One witness said that milk prices are not too low, the problem is that imputs are too high. I wonder what plan is in the making to reduce the cost of imputs.

“It’s the Margin, Stupid” was the heading of National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) Jerry Kozak’s March 2010 letter as he outlined the Dairy Producer Income Protection Program (DPIPP). No one could argue with the fact that positive margins are important. Of course, positive margins are necessary on all imputs, not just a majority of feed cost at whatever level will be determined in the DPIPP.

Obviously there is a large difference between “margin” and “cost of production” judging by the harsh criticism of the latter and the widespread industry support of margin insurance from NMPF, International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA), and global Free Traders. Allow the “industry” to continue to take advantage of farmers and consumers and have it underwritten by farmers and tax payers. What a novel idea. I guess us simple folks “don’t understand the economic disciplines.”

Another issue which got a lot of attention at the hearing is the price discovery system. No one can disagree that the current system is broken. I don’t think that many would argue against more products being priced. However, even electronic daily reporting needs to be audited and I am afraid that the industry has become so consolidated that there will still be collusion in electronic daily reporting.

There must be an emergency floor price of $18 per hundredweight put under ALL manufactured milk before the current crisis gets worse. The Federal Milk Market Improvement Act of 2009 addresses many of the concerns of real dairy farmers and is still the best bill/proposal out there.


Gerald Carlin, Dairy Farmer

Meshoppen, PA

Can Say "No" To Seismic Testing

Seismic Testing is spreading in our county. Now it's in Bridgewater Township and elsewhere. You can say "No" to it, if you don't want men walking all over your property and setting up wires and stakes and testing equipment. Even if you have leased, you can say, "No." They can still put wires on property alongside any roads. You may feel something when the charges go off. I felt a roll of energy moving along my roof in Brooklyn Township. It was a new sensation and disturbing.

Cabot has been banned from most of Dimock and now is moving to surrounding townships. If you are concerned about your water, air, environment, animals, serene country life, then consider joining our or any Citizen Watch Group to keep your eyes and ears open to any unsound practices that threaten our health and water. Even if you have leased, help keep our environment free from toxic waste and damage. Call the DEP, the media, Citizen Watch Groups.

Our water, air, land and health is more precious than gas. We can't drink our gas. Once Nature is damaged, it can take a lifetime to heal.


Vera Scroggins, Citizens for Clean Water

Montrose, PA

We Are “All” Americans

Recently, President Obama gave a speech calling on women, African Americans and Hispanics to back the Democratic party. We know the Democrats, with a black caucus, Hispanic caucus and now with planned parenthood pander to these groups, but to come right out and say it!

When my grandparents came to this country (legally) 90 years ago, they became Americans. All my aunts and uncles joined in the fabric of America as policemen, plumbers, teachers, etc. My cousins and I continue this trend.

The Democrats want to keep us divided. Their strength is through division. Please remember, we are all Americans.


Angelo Petriello,

Thompson, PA

Never Been More Proud

Often in today’s world we hear about the negative behaviors of our youth. We spend a great deal of time and money as a society focused on prevention programs of varying types, programs that focus on increasing self esteem, penning slogans about villages raising children and no child left behind and programs aimed at improving the health of our youth. I am not writing to offer editorial on such programs. Rather, I am writing to share a story that I believe reflects the inherent goodness of our children and the prevailing values of the parents of our area.

For the past twenty plus years I have had the privilege of participating in a four day trip to Washington D.C. with the sixth grade class from the Blue Ridge School District. This year on Friday evening April 23, we arrived with our group to tour the Lincoln Memorial, the Vietnam Memorial and the Korean Memorial. We arrived shortly before dark after a long day of tours in Washington D.C. and the kids were tired. We toured the Lincoln Memorial first, then gathered our students and talked to them about the importance of remaining quiet and respectful as we walked through the Vietnam Memorial. As we proceeded down that walk into the heart of the memorial, not a single student spoke a word and every person in the group both adult and child removed their hats just as they had done in the other memorials we had visited. They held this same posture through the Korean Memorial and then we returned in silence to sit on the steps above the reflecting pool and watch quietly as the lights came on at the Washington Monument, the Capitol and the Lincoln Memorial. As darkness fell, the students in our group spontaneously raised their light sticks, which were provided for safety, waved them slowly and began singing the National Anthem. The adults in the group watched and listened in amazement as these eleven and twelve year old children raised their voices together to recognize our nation. Here, without prompting of any sort from any adults, was a group of young Americans who after paying honor to the fallen men and women of our armed forces and one of our nation’s most historic leaders stopped and took a moment to express themselves in song. A song that has it roots in our own revolutionary war. A song that stirs the heart of every American and one that in its lyrics pays tribute to the men and women, both military and civilian, who held our flag on the rampart that fateful night and inspired Francis Scott Key to pen the words of our National Anthem.

I stood there, my eyes filled with tears. Being there and hearing these children, young Americans, sing in that setting is a gift whose magnitude is difficult for me to explain. You see, there is within our youth an understanding of America, a spirit of freedom, a positive sense of self and a desire to sustain our great country. I cannot help but wonder why it is that we as a nation have chosen to turn a blind eye and ear to such positive behaviors and have elected instead to focus on the negative, discouraging and destructive aspects of our world. I wonder what would happen if we made a decision to balance all our reporting, that is to counter each negative news item with a positive one of equal magnitude. What would our outlook be?

My hat is off to the sixth grade class of the Blue Ridge Middle School and my sincere thanks is extended to them for the amazing gift they gave to me and all others within the sound of their collective voice there on those steps. Kids, I am proud to know you and proud to have shared in your sixth grade trip. Thank you for being who you are and thank you for the unforgettable gift you provided to all of us on that trip. When I reflect on the 2010 trip I will remember the moment you made the world stand still and sent warmth through my heart. I have never been more proud of a class than I was on Friday evening, April 23, 2010.


Alan J. Wilmarth

Hallstead, PA

Don’t Let Passion Rule

I have been following the Dimock vs. Cabot problems since the beginning. I have the opportunity to meet people in the industry who assure me the environmentalists (one geologist calls them obstructionists) have the same agenda as they do for surface mining.

I understand there are serious concerns regarding water quality. There should be. A friend of mine reminds me that nothing likes to drink oily water. However, when a company tries to make reparation, and it is refused, that suggests that there is an agenda involved which isn't apparent to others who "read" what is edited for mainstream consumption.

What no one could foresee was that the pressure of the gas is immediate. That is why there will not be apparatus like other towns have, the gas flow is easier. It might surprise you to know they were not in the "Marcellus Shale" at all. Have you talked to your local water well driller? Some have stories of methane, naturally occurring, sulfur, also naturally occurring and salt water. I wonder why more of us don't think to light a match to our running water?

Now I see that the Honorable Mr. Casey thinks that the EPA should have oversight. If that isn't a invitation to invite further headaches, then I would suggest to the gentle reader to see what the EPA has done to other peoples in the name of land grab. In the library, in Scranton, is a reference section in which one can read the Federal Registrar and get current on just what these clubs are about, the vaguely worded mission statements, and the lack of any accountability to any other "branch" of government, and you may reconsider the real chance that you will not have any resolutions to repair your water troubles, but you might get an opportunity to be relocated. There are some very sad stories of people who lost their land due to these over zealous environmental club members.

I realize there is anger due to the arrogant outsiders, envy that one got a good lease, while another took the quick easy money that was offered and now suffers pangs of jealousy, but please, to those who read more into what is not being said, this is not going to be an easy answer, but don't forget there are drillers out there, who do the right thing, and not to let your passion rule you. I learned a long time ago, knowledge is what you get when you are well informed, unpleasant experiences happen when you don't read the fine print. Or is that government?


Cynthia Allen

Summersville, PA

The Drug Deception

Bernard Madoff conned investors out of $65 billion over a period of 15 years. But Bernie was little more than the small-time cheat who dropped slugs into parking meters. When you talk about really big-time scams, swindling hundreds of billions of dollars a year, every year, then you're talking about Big Phrama.

Exactly why is Big Pharma, the legal drug cartel, a scam? For three reasons: 1) Drugs merely mask the symptoms of the underlying pathology; 2) They are not curative; the pharmaceutical companies readily admit that. Far from contributing to healing and health, these chemicals concoctions create their own pathologies; and 3) drugs prevent one from making essential dietary changes which are the root cause of degenerative diseases.

Drugs, legal and illegal, are dangerous. That's why a prescription is necessary to obtain some, while others are banned. Last year, prescribed drugs were responsible for 32,000 deaths (others report it's three times that), about the same as the number of motor vehicle fatalities. To this add 5000 deaths caused by an overdose of illegal drugs.

Drugs are not medicines. Medicines are natural substances that are not only beneficial, they cure or at least ameliorate the targeted affliction. Drugs, on the other hand, are biological foreign compounds that do not cure; they camouflage the symptoms.

Statin drugs are illustrative of the drug deception. Statins (e.g., Crestor, Lipitor, Zocar, Mevacor, Pravachol) are a class of drugs designed to improve the cholesterol profile and prevent heart attacks. Twenty-four million Americans are taking statins. They are Big Pharma's honey pot grossing an annual $26 billion. No one denies that they lower cholesterol, but do they prevent heart attacks?

In a 10-year study, statins resulted in a one percent greater death rate compared to a control group that was given a placebo.

Crestor - the strongest statin - is a star money maker generating $4.6 billion for Big Pharma last year. But these are ill-gotten gains. A study in the “New England Journal of Medicine” compared the mortality rates of 18,000 adults, half on Crestor and half taking a placebo. Yes, Crestor lowered cholesterol. And no, it did not increase lifespan. Nor did its crippling side effects enhance the quality of life.

Statins are linked to some two dozen “known” side effects some of which are kidney failure, liver damage, rapid loss of cognitive function, inability to walk, muscle wasting, weakness, fatigue, depletion of the vital heart nutrient CoQ10, and, occasionally, death.

Like a Trojan horse, the dangers of statins and drugs in general are seldom recognized. As a result only a fraction of adverse reactions are reported. Considering that two million serious reactions are reported annually give some idea of the magnitude of the problem.

To be fair, statin drugs do work - but only for Big Pharma. For those who ingest them, they create biochemical havoc.

What about drugs for high blood pressure?

Not all drugs are bad, some are really bad. Calcium blockers (marketed under a score of brand names), may cause heart failure, the very disease they are supposed to prevent. A catalog of other unwanted effects are: insomnia, difficulty breathing, hypotension, depression, and diabetes - can slice 10 to 20 years off a person's life.

Drugs for arthritis, obesity, osteoporosis, and other degenerative diseases associated with aging, tell the same disheartening story: drugs do not heal, they conceal. So: What's wrong with concealing? Plenty.

Pain is the body's red-light warning signal. It forces one to restrict movement in order not to exacerbate damage and allow healing. Overriding the warning signal brings temporary relief but at the expense of long-term harm and possibly permanent physical damage.

Americans spend $320 billion a year for prescription drugs to treat chronic degenerative disorders. We are the most drugged nation on earth. Some 50 percent of us take at least one prescription drug and for those 65 and older it's 85 percent. Yet as measured against dollars spent to treat these diseases, we are the sickest nation on earth. But there is once segment of society for which drugs are eminently successful: Big Pharma.

A cautionary note: Changing the dosage of any prescribed drug should be done only under the supervision of a health care professional. To do otherwise could be life threatening.


Bob Scroggins

New Milford, PA

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