News From Terre Haute, Indiana

September 23, 2012

READERS’ FORUM: Sept. 23, 2012


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Environmental regulations protect us all

Since Mitt and the Tea Party Republicans are already doing a bang-up job alienating just about everyone but themselves and their top 1 percent funders, I thought I’d weigh in on a more mundane, though no less important in the long term, issue brought forth Sept. 16 by Courtney Schmidt regarding governmental regulations of coal-fired emissions.

I’ll do so with a hypothetical scenario.

Let’s say Republic Services, in order to improve their profits and outperform their competition, decided that instead of taking their daily loads of garbage to the landfill, they would simply dump them in Sugar Creek instead.

Would an argument against doing such a thing be deemed an attack against the garbage removal industry, and against our free enterprise system? Would it be “anti-capitalist,” perhaps even “socialist” of me to say,  “No, you cannot do that. These waterways belong to all of us, and you cannot dump toxic waste in them simply to save money and improve your bottom line?”

So why is requiring the coal industry to properly dispose of or eliminate their waste product, the mercury and air toxins they are dumping into our collective atmosphere, any different?

Sure, it’s going to cost them some money, just like it does for Republic to use the landfills, but so what? That’s the cost of doing business. If you can’t bear that cost, well … I’m sorry. What do you want me to do about it? Am I supposed to subsidize your industry by allowing you to pollute my environment, and that of future generations, at no cost (to you, that is … not so much for those impacted by that pollution and consequential impact of carbon dioxide accumulation), so you can make higher short-term profits, and outperform competitive energy sources?

Talk about an “anti-capitalist” form of “socialism!”

— Kerry Tomasi


‘Scary’ movie about Obama based on false fantasy

In response to a letter from Kathie Munson published Sept. 15:

So you went to see a movie and came home, what, more informed?

No, you came home down a few dollars and more delusional. So many like Ms. Munson have flocked to the “Obama’s America” movie and gotten just what they went there for — a soft-edged version of the hate Obama campaign.

The creator of this kitschy little money-maker is Dinesh D’Souza, a very conservative serial Obama hater. Actually, he and so many like him do not want President Obama to lose in November. His presidency has been an absolute cash cow for them. What does it say about us when such open hatred of our first African American President can fuel a billion dollar multimedia industry in the name of a “better America”?

The movie’s premise rests on the relationship between a young Obama and his father. Of course, his father had very little influence on him because he lived almost his entire youth with his loving, hard-working mother and grandmother. This nonexistent relationship with his supposed radical Kenyan father is the movie’s basis for claiming that President Obama is anti-American.

Of course, more broadly, in a political campaign that is funding a lie and fear factory with hundreds of millions of dollars, it does not matter what the truth is about Obama’s life or his presidency. The GOP’s plan to influence votes with lies and fear-mongering on one side and then restrict voting for law-abiding citizens on the other side with lies about vote fraud begs the question of why would so many people be willing to stand with such illegitimacy?

President Obama’s upbringing reminds me a little of the Republicans’ favorite President, Ronald Reagan. Reagan’s father was a drunk, couldn’t hold down a job, and moved the family many times. This was perhaps even more troubling to a young Ronald than Barack’s essentially fatherless experience. The nickname “Dutch” was given to Reagan as a child by his dad because he resembled some image he had of a chubby little Dutch kid.

In spite of all this, the Gipper made it to the White House. He promised lower taxes, smaller government and more prosperity. Did he keep his promises? Well, he raised taxes 11 times and oversaw unbridled spending during his presidency which almost tripled the federal budget deficit (it went from $900 billion to $2.8 trillion) and grew the size of government to record levels. Reagan added 238,000 nonmilitary government employees. His initial tax-cutting approach created 10.8 percent unemployment, so he had to tax like crazy from then on to recover those jobs. Governing should be more precise than that.

How about President Obama? Unlike Reagan, Obama has delivered to a remarkable degree on his promises in spite of the rabid and disgraceful resistance by Republican lawmakers in their attempts to see him fail while they disregard the needs of the country. We are enjoying the lowest tax rates in decades. In fact, last year businesses and corporations paid their lowest average rate (12.1 percent) in 40 years with individual rates at their lowest in 30 years. Obama has kept government expansion in check as well. His social, health, environmental and global-political accomplishments have also been impressive and important, laying the foundation for progress over the next four years and beyond.

Obviously the slow job market recovery is a concern, but that is a shared responsibility between government and the private sector. There is plenty of money out there to create jobs and plenty of work to be done. Corporate profits are up, dividends are up, stocks are up, CEO bonuses are back up, but big money won’t pitch in and bet on America. They would rather distract us with complaints about regulations and debt while quietly cashing in big time. President Obama gave Congress a solid jobs bill a year ago and Senate Republicans wouldn’t let it come up for a vote. Apparently compassion for the middle class and poor has no place in the GOP tent, nor is there room for cooperation. The “big tent” is long gone. It has been replaced by a circus tent filled with the wealthiest Americans who created it and their familiars.

So, like the fantasies of Reagan, voodoo economics and the conservative approach to governing, this movie is trying to advance the notion that Obama is secretly heading us toward some dark place. Ooohhh, boogey, boogey. You can take those special movie glasses off now. It is time to live in the real world of facts and consequences. The facts cannot be interpreted any other way — President Obama inherited a grim reality that included significant corporate influence over Congress, rampant greed and treachery in the financial sector, crushing debt, a disappearing middle class, a crumbling infrastructure, vanishing jobs, abandonment of science, a decrepit education system, health care out of reach for many, and lack of international respect.

He has since made many brilliant and courageous decisions that are beginning to turn the tide with virtually no help from the GOP. It appears Indiana will not support Obama this time, but does that also mean we are going to support a do-nothing Congress during his second term?

Combined with our likely state administration, it paints a bleak picture for Hoosiers if we do. Let’s stop all the tea-foolery and do more to position Indiana as a viable option for sensible, forward-looking people and responsible job-creating enterprises.

— Don Rogers

Terre Haute

Obama is inept and incompetent

I should not stoop to comment upon the ineptitude or incompetency of Mr. Obama as he attempts to fill the chair in the Oval Office. The picture of him with his shoes on the desk, soles facing the camera, was enough for me to pay no further attention.

For more than four years, however, I have been appalled at the lack of vetting this individual has received concerning his background, beliefs, and Chicago chicanery leading to the White House. 

Allow me to pose a few questions. Why cannot the American public learn anything about Obama’s school records? Do we not deserve to know what kind of person occupies the office of the president? His childhood records at a posh prep school in Hawaii are sealed. How did he attend when he was the “poor” child of a single mother?

The records from Occidental College are sealed. By his own admission his days of doing drugs in high school caused poor grades. Did Occidental accept him as an affirmative action student or through fraud on the part of Obama and others (foreign student on his application)? How did he get into Columbia, or Harvard? Fraud or another method?

As an example, we can see how easily Harvard can be fooled. One needs look no further than the fraud of Elizabeth Warren. Cherokee indeed! One sees little investigative reference to his time in Chicago, the connections with domestic terrorists, the church of Jeremiah Wright which has at least two criminal cases unsolved, and possible membership in private clubs of  dubious repute. The methods used by his supporters from the time of his state senate campaigns to the U.S. Senate are replete with examples of illegal skullduggery.

One can only imagine the clamor for heads on a platter if any of these issues had involved a Republican candidate. Or for that matter a candidate in the primaries against Barack Obama. At least Obama’s opponent in West Virginia only received 40 percent of the vote because he was not allowed to campaign. As was Eugene Debs, the West Virginia candidate was a federal inmate.

Please, dear voter, this may very well be our last chance. The choice is clear. We can attempt to restore America or allow Barack Obama to continue to fundamentally transform America into something none of us will recognize.

— Edward Kesler

West Terre Haute

Double standard on license renewal

I recently renewed my drivers license.

As I am not all that “hep” about computers, I renewed the old-fashioned way. My wait was short, the employees were friendly and efficient.

As I was renewing an existing valid license, I was told to hold on to it until the new one arrived in the mail. This could take up to 10 working days, I was informed. It arrived in four. I destroyed the old license and now I’m good until 10-17.

Since I made a personal appearance at the license branch, I had to take an eye examination which I easily passed. Keep this in mind.

A few years ago, lifetime handgun permits became law.

There was some opposition to this from the media. It was said that those who carry a handgun should be required to renew their license every four years. It would be a good thing if we made sure that they were still eligible to carry (background checks, etc..) a weapon.

Sounded reasonable to me.

Later on that day, it occurred to me that had I renewed online, I would have avoided a vision test.

I could have been blind in one eye and unable to see out of the other and still been able to obtain a license.

I don’t recall any opposition to this in the media.

As the ability to see is paramount to driving a car, shouldn’t drivers be required to renew every four years (including vision checks) just to ensure that they are still eligible to drive?

Why the double standard, I wonder.

— Mark Burns

Terre Haute

Do you believe those TV ads?

Has anybody else noticed the Republican TV ads do not agree on one thing they are using to get your vote. It’s pretty bad when they can’t get something right.

I’m sure that you will know who they are when I tell what they are saying. One says that they cut $700 billion from Medicare and the other says they cut $500 billion. That’s an awful lot of dollars and I have no idea what the amount of money is and I don’t think they do either.

But when the people running for office tell you something, you can bet they will tell you just what you want to hear because they want your vote. They will tell you anything to get your vote.

If you believe what they tell you, then vote for them. Just remember, the president can only do what the Congress will let him.

— Ron Pullen

Terre Haute