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Letters to the Editor - Jan. 13

January 13, 2013

When columnists attack: Writers using GOP talking points

To the editor:

George Michael, David Limbaugh, Charles Krauthammer. Three peas in a pod?

No. Three negative op-eds in a row published by The Herald Mail attacking Obama and his policies.

Full of questions? Yes. Full of answers? No.

Michael attacks a 2.3 percent excise tax on the sale of medical devices in what he chooses to carelessly call “Obamacare” after giving its proper name. He quotes businesses who say they will be laying off workers in “anticipation” of the new tax.

Michael’s problem is he should know that this 2.3 percent tax is constantly being revised excluding, for example, nursing homes. The “Doc fix” is another example of the constant adjustments that have been made and will continue to be made to the Affordable Health Care Act.

Those companies laying off workers in “anticipation” can say anything they want but the light of day will tell whether laying off workers offsets any tax at all or simply increases their profit margins.

In November, Republicans tried to say Obama was “taking” some 700 billion from Medicare to put into what they called Obamacare. Their clearly made insinuation in multimillion-dollar ad campaigns that this hurt Medicare in some way was what is known, even to children, as a complete lie. Hospitals and insurance companies had agreed to these changes and it did not affect patient care in any way or cost taxpayers a penny.

Republicans as a whole want to dump Affordable Health in its entirety, rebrand the parts they like as Republican, and dump tens of millions currently with insurance off the rolls. Romney’s answer for the tens of millions was “go to the hospital” even though the hospital is much more expensive than the doctor they currently have under the Affordable Health Care act.

Michael, Limbaugh and Krauthammer’s op-eds all relentlessly attack Obama using Republican talking points, tidbits from right wing radio shows, and the sky is falling Fox News segments as their main sources of information.

There is no counterpoint.

Ken Hollar
Hagerstown



Letter berating Republicans is devoid of some facts


To the editor:

A recent letter to the editor berating Fox News Channel presentations, Republicans, the Republican Party, Republican Party supporters, Rush Limbaugh and many other things about the Republican Party was not only highly partisan but devoid of facts to support its claims.

Following are the facts:

1. Fox News is the most watched channel by the majority of Americans. Its rating is unsurpassed by other channels, including CNN, MSNBC, CBS, ABC, etc.

2. Rush Limbaugh is the most heard radio talk show host in America. More than 20 million Americans hear him every day. Nobody comes even close.

3. Almost 50 percent of Americans now get some type of government help, ranging from food stamps to unemployment benefits to disability pension, etc. Why should they vote for anybody else except Obama? The president got 52.4 percent of the general vote, so you know where the votes came from. Had I been one of them, I would have also voted for him.

4. For every dollar this government spends, 40 cents is borrowed. This is no different from your own house budget. How long you can do it depends upon how smart are you.

5. We have more than $16 trillion in national debt that will increase to $22 trillion by the time Obama leaves office. Take your calculator and calculate how much you owe personally. I don’t want to scare you.

6. Five percent of the population pays almost 70 percent of the total taxes in this country. Fifty percent pays no tax at all.

Just to let you know, I am not a Republican or a Democrat. I am simply a concerned citizen of this great country that gave me opportunities to be something.

Balwant Ahluwalia
Boonsboro



Some misinformation about guns needs clarification


To the editor:

I feel obliged to try to correct a great deal of misinformation regarding gun control and protecting schoolchildren that I have seen in this newspaper and other media sources since the Newtown, Conn., tragedy.

First, the gun used was not an “automatic” weapon. It was a semiautomatic rifle similar to an AR-15 that has been for sale to the public for 50 years. 

Despite the scary but meaningless term “assault rifle” that the media often uses, the AR-15 — or any rifle — is rarely used in crime. Based on the latest FBI data, in 2011 (the most recent year for which data is available) you were 54 percent more likely to be killed with a hammer or club, and more than twice as likely to be killed by someone’s hands, fist or feet, than you were to be killed by any kind of rifle. 

While the Brady “assault weapons” ban expired in 2004, and the number of guns per capita in the hands of private citizens went up roughly 43 percent from 2004 to 2011, the violent crime rate in 2011 was 17 percent lower than in 2004.  

To those who turn almost apoplectic over the idea of armed citizens or police “putting guns in our schools,” realize that there have been armed police stationed in Washington County Public Schools for at least the last five years and in Frederick County Public Schools for more than 12 years. President Clinton provided “COPS in School” grant funding that helped Frederick County schools hire officers. 

Finally, please realize that the Second Amendment is not about hunting or sport shooting. Our wise and scholarly Founding Fathers had even more compelling reasons why citizens should be armed as well as the government. Please, I ask you to read their words and learn why. Do you honestly believe that today’s politicians of either party are more wise?

Steve Bell
Hagerstown



Quick response to emergency is appreciated


To the editor:

I would like to thank the personnel of Golden Corral on Valley Mall Road, especially my waitress and the manager, who looked out for me when I had some food lodged in my throat on Friday, Jan. 4. I was transported to the emergency room at Meritus Medical Center by the Halfway ambulance service, who were very helpful in making me comfortable.

Also, thanks to the doctors, nurses and other personnel at Meritus for assuring me everything was going well. They dislodged the food from my throat and I was discharged Saturday morning. I could not have asked for better treatment. Everyone — the personnel at Golden Corral, the ambulance, as well as everyone at Meritus — went the extra mile to make sure I was well taken care of.

So, again, thanks so much and may God bless.

Sarah Hoch
Williamsport



Prison chaplains deserve inmates’ thanks


To the editor:

With the new year starting, it’s time to reflect on last year and years past and give thanks to the chaplains at MCTC. We have a tremendous group of chaplains who strive each and every day and go beyond their sacred duty to give comfort and strength to the inmate population of some 3,000 individuals.

Chaplain Bob, Chaplain Banks and Chaplain Ismael’s (not in any order) door is always open and nothing can take the place of a few well-chosen and sincere words when someone is troubled; especially with the loss of a loved one. This is only part of what the chaplains render to their congregations on a daily basis. They each offer new opinions to our problems and enlighten a fresh view to a solution. Their spiritual work encourages faithfulness and wakens hearts, which builds and reconstructs lives emotionally and spiritually.

We, the inmates at MCTC, will seem very much the same on the outside as we return home. The sufferings and responsibilities; the loved ones we’ll return to; our appointments and employment will be largely unchanged. But, spiritually and emotionally, the contact with these chaplains will be the major change in our intellect, a change that will carry us onward.

Thank you doesn’t seem to be enough for all the chaplains give, but a sincere thank you from the many lives they have touched and changed is truly a gift to cherish. We are blessed by their everlasting dedication and sincerity of heart.

Paul H. Inskeep, No. 211-806
Maryland Correctional Training Center

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