What they say and what they really want are different
When I read President Barack Obama's suggestion for paring down government, I laughed.
He suggested changes in sacred Republican territory — the agencies that deal with business.
The Republican response was expected — accusations of politicizing and a promise to "consider."
It made me wonder, what do Republicans want?
I have saved many articles which seem to mean little by themselves, however seen as a whole you can clearly see what Republicans really want.
■ Influence over elections through use of corporate pocketbooks that can now run advertising that may or may not be honest and whose origins may be kept secret.
■ Use of contractors rather than government employees even though contractors cost taxpayers more.
■ A shrinking of regulatory agencies, especially those who assure safe food, clean water and access to electricity.
■ An end to Social Security.
■ A sell-off of public lands.
■ Freedom to blow tops off mountains, destroy aquifers with unhindered fracking and drill for oil anywhere on Earth, without regard for consequences.
■ Privately funded for-profit schools and hospitals.
■ Restricted voting for groups that they believe might vote against them.
■ An end to Medicare and Medicaid.
■ An end to all regulations on banking and investment houses and unfettered investing in hedge funds.
■ A return to the practice of allowing health insurance companies to insure only the healthy.
The saddest fact of all is that some Democrats want the same things, because this is what makes the few very rich.
Sara M. Porter
Don't hurt oil producers
When the U.S. economy tanked in 2008, the companies lining up for taxpayer-financed bailouts didn't include any of America's oil or natural gas producers. In fact, this segment of the energy industry supports 9 million U.S. jobs and has created 20,000 new jobs since the economy went into recession.
With Kentucky's unemployment rate still at an ugly 9.1 percent, why is Washington waging undeclared tax war on U.S. energy producers?
The Obama administration claims job creation and economic growth are its top priorities, yet the White House is pushing for new taxes on American oil and gas producers that would do just the opposite.
The White House is trying to increase certain taxes, putting U.S. producers at a disadvantage versus their much larger foreign competitors as well as strip away manufacturing tax deductions from oil and gas producers, even though these deductions would continue to apply to all other manufacturers in America.
If this punitive tax attack is allowed to go forward, average Kentucky families will end up the victims of lost job opportunities and slowed economic recovery, as well as reaching deeper into their pockets to pay higher energy prices.
This just doesn't make sense. If the Obama administration and Congress are serious about accelerating the economic recovery, they should be encouraging the industry that's leading the way, not sabotaging it with job-killing new taxes.
War with a joystick
On Dec. 28, the Herald-Leader published an article from The Washington Post on President Barack Obama's expansion of the U.S. drone war — targeted killings and surveillance of adversaries by unmanned aircraft systems.
The only adviser to Obama who questioned the expansion of the drone war was the former director of national intelligence, Dennis Blair, who was later fired. Obama himself seems to have been passive.
The advantage of targeted drone killings is that not as many U.S. personnel are killed as would be in a conventional war. This manner of war-making treats war as a video game. The pilots are located outside the theater and operate the drones by a joystick. The remote pilots, however, can suffer psychological repercussions from their actions.
The drone attacks often end up killing civilians, even children. Neither the intelligence nor the targeting is always accurate.
On the same day the Herald-Leader published this article, the Los Angeles Times published an article telling of Pakistani death squads that were going after informants to the U.S. drone program. The drone program has increased hatred of the United States.
The legality of the drone attacks under international law has been questioned.
The targeted killings and surveillance by drones are especially heinous. They are a dehumanizing and distancing way of war-making that, thus, make war-making all that much easier.
War is getting completely out of hand. Instead of expanding our war-making with drones, we should be ending our war of terror on terror.
Anne G. Woodhead
Costly bill for patients
In the battle for health care reform, those of us unable to receive adequate treatment for our medical concerns are likely to take another hit in our pocket, if a bill sponsored by state Sen. Julie Denton of Louisville is passed.
Under current rule, a health care provider is required to submit the first copy of medical records free of charge to the patient or their representative.
If passed, Senate Bill 85 will allow these practitioners to charge up to $1 per page for our records.
In the event a person is in the process of seeking disability, this cost will not be absorbed by the representative but rather passed on to those of us already burdened with the high cost associated with our medical care.
It is understandable Denton is sponsoring this legislation since, having been trained in the dental field, she has firsthand knowledge of this in her day job.
Health care reform needs to be a concern of all citizens of our commonwealth, and attempts to make changes that have negative impact need to be fought against by our electorate, not supported.
God, science apart
I found myself playing devil's advocate with the Jan. 20 letter, "God, science in tandem."
It stated, "As our understanding of science and technology grows so rapidly, so does our faith."
I have to reject that statement. Faith and scientific literacy are not intertwined. One is not dependent on the other.
The author appears to be willfully blind to this as he states further down, "Can one be inspired toward scientific discovery without some form of faith? Is it even possible?"
To which I can only reply, "emphatically, yes." Polls confirm that scientists have a higher rate of atheism than the general public.
To be filled with awe and wonder about nature and to be intensely curious about the workings of the universe do not require a belief in the supernatural.
These are common human traits. They are felt by believers and non-believers alike.
I do not see that science and religion complement each other. Religion has everything to gain if science confirms an article of belief. This is why some zealots indulge in wasteful foolishness such as creationism. But religion, with its emphasis on faith and myths, has nothing to offer science.
Science and religion need not war with each other. But the best that can be hoped for is an uneasy truce.