News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Opinion

October 21, 2012

READERS’ FORUM: Oct. 21, 2012

Thank goodness

for independents


After reading letters from diehard Republicans, I must say I’m just glad we have independent voters — voters who can think for themselves.

Republican leadership wants to eliminate Medicare. I’m sure their are Republicans on Medicare who will vote to do just that.

Republicans want to privatize Social Security (which means giving it to Wall Street to play with until they figure out a way to steal it). Diehard Republicans on Social Security will vote to do just that.

The GOP is trying to eliminate labor unions, or at least make them impotent. Wisconsin is just the start. I know union members (who will be making peanuts without the union) who will vote to do just that.

Other diehards think that whatever a Republican president does is right and just the opposite for a Democrat.

A case in point is Michael Sherrill’s letter of May 16 in which he praised Bush for invading Iraq, calling it the right choice because it drew al-Qaida into Iraq which led to the killing of bin Laden. How he made that stretch is not the point. The point is, if a Democratic president had ordered the invasion, and everything else happened exactly the same, would he still believe it was the right thing to do?

After being brutally honest with himself and he decides yes, then he is an independent thinker. If not, he is a Republican apologist.

The GOP has gotten off the track of what they used to stand for.

At their convention their theme was “We Built It” which is based on a lie. A speech taken out of context is a lie.

A more appropriate theme would have been, “I’ve got mine, I don’t care about anybody else.”

— Bruce Sheets

Cory


Another look

at public broadcasting


Dear Gov. Romney:

Since you mentioned PBS, Big Bird and Jim Lehrer so prominently in the first Presidential Debate, my colleagues and I have compiled some information on federal funding for public broadcasting.

Most federal dollars for public media don’t go to PBS or Sesame Street or The PBS NewsHour, they go to local stations like the one I manage — WTIU in Bloomington — and our sister radio station, WFIU. Nationwide, stations like ours hire thousands of people, buy local goods and services, and contribute millions of dollars to our local economies.

A survey by the bipartisan research firms of Hart Research and American Viewpoint in 2011 found that over two-thirds (69 percent) of American voters across the political spectrum oppose proposals to eliminate government funding of public broadcasting. This week, a Washington Times/Zogby Poll confirmed that.

A Harris Interactive poll found that Americans consider PBS the most-trusted public institution and the second-most-valuable use of public funds — behind only national defense — for the ninth straight year. But our annual appropriation is equal to what the Pentagon spends every six hours.  

Numerous studies — including one requested by Congress earlier this year — have stated categorically that while the federal investment in public broadcasting is relatively modest, the absence of this seed money would cripple the system and bring its services to an end.

How modest? Including all our content — television, radio, mobile apps, podcasts and online — the cost is about $1.35 per person per year. If the federal budget were $1 million, public broadcasting’s share would be about a penny — one-hundredth of one percent.

If everything in the federal budget had been cut by the same percentage that public broadcasting has already been cut the last two years, our budget would now be $500 billion lower.

Despite these cuts, 91 percent of all U.S. television households watch their local PBS station each year. We still provide resources to teachers for free, and 81 percent of all our children between the ages of 2-8 watch us — and learn from us.

WTIU is locally owned and community-focused. We work efficiently to make limited resources produce outstanding results. For every $1 of federal funding invested, we raise an additional $5.

In addition to being good public stewards, we are also good storytellers. Let me end with one of our best, Ken Burns.

Mr. Burns writes in the Washington Post about discussing with President Reagan his iconic series “The Civil War”:

“In the late 1980s, I had the honor of meeting President Ronald Reagan at a White House reception. I told him I was a PBS producer working on a history of the Civil War. His eyes twinkled as he recalled watching, as a young boy, parades of aging Union veterans marching down the main street of Dixon, Ill., on the Fourth of July. Then, in almost an admonishment, he spoke to me about the responsibility he saw for a private sector-governmental partnership when it came to public broadcasting and the arts and humanities. (His administration was very supportive of these long-standing institutions.) I told him that nearly a third of my budget for the Civil War series came from a large American corporation, a third from private foundations, and a third from the National Endowment for the Humanities, an agency then led by Lynne Cheney. He smiled and then held me by the shoulders, and his eyes twinkled again. ‘Good work,’ he said. ‘I look forward to seeing your film.’”

We will continue our good work on behalf of the American public. Thank you for your public service, and good luck with your campaign.

— Phil Meyer

WTIU Station Manager

Bloomington


No consideration

for the taxpayers


Once again the proposed city budget made front page news in Sunday’s Tribune-Star. Also once again, the taxpayer can expect to take another hit. This time in the form of a fee in trash pickup and tree-branches removal.

This proposed fee comes as no surprise. Making the taxpayers fork out money to cover shortages in the city budget goes way back when the city decided to make the taxpayers pay for fire hydrant rental. Since then the services that were once free were added to the list of services that the taxpayers had to dig a little deeper to pay for.

I wonder if the unemployment rate in Vigo County, or sheriff sales of homes, or the amount of people on food stamps are taken in consideration when city officials tell the taxpayer they have to dig a little deeper so the city can operate. Probably not.

— Fred Roberts

Terre Haute


Explore your

ballot options


First off, I give praise to all the fine work being done around the area — and around the country, for that matter — on preparing for this upcoming election going on right now and ending Nov. 6 (whether it’s GOTV efforts, protecting the rights of others to vote, etc.). I also urge all people that are registered to vote to do your civic duty and vote for whom you think will do the best possible job, no matter whom you’re to be voting for.

That said, for those people still undecided or possibly getting tired of what the so-called “major parties” are giving you, take heed in the fact that there are other options out there to vote for. In the case of Indiana, according to the secretary of state’s website (sos.in.gov), there are several other options for candidates, with 17 of them for president of which to choose from (that being the Libertarian Party ticket of Gary Johnson/James P. Gray and 16 other eligible “write-in” candidates).

For starters, among one of the many options for president as a “write-in” option is the Green Party candidate Dr. Jill Stein. I have been familiar with her “Green New Deal” and have known about her gubernatorial race with Mitt Romney back in 2002 (including her “victory” in debating him). I think that may be enough for anyone else to vote for her. Among many of her issues that I feel make her very much qualified for the job include:

1. The right to decent affordable housing, including an immediate halt to all foreclosures and evictions;

2. Breaking up all “too big to fail” banks;

3. Taking money out of Wall Street and investing it into Main Street and community banks and credit unions;

4. Revoking corporate personhood via constitutional amendment and eliminating Citizens’ United once and for all;

5. Protecting personal liberty and freedom by repealing those aspects of the Patriot Act and the NDAA that violate our civil liberties; and

6. A single-payer “Medicare-for-all” universal health care system.

If you’re further interested in Dr. Stein’s issues, you may go to her website at www.jillstein.org. If you’re interested in voting for her or assisting in her campaign, please be in touch with me at cjester2@juno.com.

— Sarah Dillon

 Terre Haute


Rupert has much

to offer Indiana


Despite popular belief, this year’s Indiana gubernatorial race truly does feature three choices — there’s career politicians Republican Mike Pence and Democrat John Gregg, or Rupert Boneham, a Libertarian who prides himself on not being a politician.

While he may not be a career politician, Boneham knows the struggles facing Indiana families, knows a thing or two about how to relate to the average Indiana family and, if elected, would fight for every single Hoosier.

Boneham is the only candidate running who understands that government has no right injecting itself into our bedrooms. Boneham is the only candidate running who has routinely spoken about vocational education. He has also been the only candidate to speak about transparency in all state contracts and bids, along with the creation of a state budgetary spending cap.

And, in 2012, Boneham is the only candidate who is in favor of marriage equality and is the only candidate who will fight for every citizen regardless of age, skin color or sexual preference.

For over 20 years, Boneham has helped our state. The time has come to help him. On Nov. 6, I ask that you join me in supporting Rupert Boneham for governor.

— Paul Gable, chairman

Libertarian Party of

Shelby County


Fairland

Minorities will have

impact on election


How do Republicans expect minorities, including Hispanics, Blacks, and Muslims to vote for them? Republicans in Arkansas are struggling to get past the controversy generated by a state lawmaker who wrote that slavery might have benefited Blacks and a candidate who has advocated expelling Muslims from the United States. The Republican politicians’ comments have been roundly criticized and have created an opportunity for Democrats ahead of the Nov. 6 election. Arkansas has a Democratic governor but has voted Republican in the past three presidential elections.

The infamous “47 percent” Romney remark created a serious controversy nationwide. It reflected the ethos of the Republican Party. Readers might recall that on this page as elsewhere, Muslims have been accused of harboring plans to impose Sharia on America. A group of five Republican House members, led by Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, groundlessly accused two prominent Muslim federal officials of loyalty to Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood.

In the aftermath of 9/11, anti-Muslim rhetoric simmered on blogs and Fox News channel, and YouTube videos. But not until Barack Obama’s presidency was it allowed to erupt into prominent corners of mainstream politics. Perhaps, because of his family history and the persecution Mormons endured in the previous two centuries, Mitt Romney, to his credit, has shunned notions of American Muslim disloyalty, but Republican political and media figures have tolerated or even advanced these hateful myths.

The truth is that Muslim immigrants are a success story. They have high levels of educational attainment and are serving this country well, as many of them are physicians, surgeons, lawyers, scientists, engineers, educators and, yes, taxi drivers.

The violent few among them are no more a product of Muslim values than the 19th and 20th century anarchists were of Catholic values. Extremism is vanishingly rare among American Muslims, and loyalty to secular state institutions is high.

Cumulatively, minorities will matter a lot in this election. Indiana has about 300,00 Muslims and a significant African-American population. It is unlikely Republicans will get votes from them in any significant way. And the minorities’ votes will matter a whole lot in battleground states. White progressive Americans and minorities working together will decide this election.

— Khwaja A. Hasan

Formerly of Terre Haute

Wadsworth, Ill.

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