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Letters to the editor

August 15, 2005

Another gaffe from state DOC


To the editor:

Just when it seems that the Division of Corrections (DOC) has enough problems to deal with, it appears they create more. I'm talking about the privatization of the commissaries throughout the state. My question is why? I have heard that the reason is to save money. To my knowledge, the commissaries have always made a profit.

The money generated from the sales help fund other projects and/or positions within the prisons. Where are they going to get this money once a private company takes over? My guess is either from us (the taxpayers) or with additional cuts (either services or personnel). I'm from the old school where if it's not broke, don't fix it.

Not only will this decision affect me personally, but the trickle-down effect will cause harm and a financial burden to the local vendors who have supplied these prisons for many years. If privatization is approved for the commissaries, do you think they will stop there? Next will be the dietary/food services, and what about the transportation company that will be escorting the inmates to courts, medical appointments, etc.

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The time to stop it is now, before its approved, for there's no telling where it will end.

David Kane

Hagerstown




Bolton appointment isn't surprising


To the editor:

Bush's recent appointment of John Bolton as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations should come as no surprise to anyone. In fact, in the context of the Bush administration's perverse notions of righteousness, he is the perfect fit.

I won't make much of the fact that Bush appointed Bolton during a Congressional recess, as this has been done by other presidents, including Clinton. It is very telling, though, that the executive branch refused to turn over key documents regarding Bolton's conduct to Congress before slipping him past the pesky conventions of American democracy.

Looking at Bolton himself, he is everything Bush could want in an ambassador to the U.N. When people disagreed with him, he tried to fire them. When the facts didn't fit his views, he just made them up, or at least exaggerated them. When subordinates crossed him, he had a temper tantrum.

In regard to the U.N. itself, Bolton has made such enlightening statements as "the United Nations can be a useful instrument in the conduct of American foreign policy" and "There is no such thing as the United Nations. There is only the international community, which can only be led by the only remaining superpower, which is the United States."

Again, very telling.

Of course, all of this is perfectly congruous with Bush administration tactics, which include the removal or smearing of dissenters, invention of facts to support fruitless warsand compulsive dishonesty that resembles psychological disorder.

In terms of the U.N., Bush has made his disdain quite obvious, saying that the organization ran the risk of becoming "irrelevant," when its members didn't jump up and sign an immediate resolution to start bombing Iraq at once.

I'm not exactly sure what that means, becoming "irrelevant," that is, but I'll take a guess. It means that relevance requires that the U.N. submit to the continued expansion of the global U.S. economic and military hegemony. The logical extension of such an unstated but obvious goal is only one thing, the creation of new enemies and new threats (real ones, this time).

Have no doubt that Bolton will perform as expected, in that he will be a hopeless incompetent and an insufferable bully. Like I said, he's the perfect fit.

Erik Burchard

Hagerstown

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