Back to new posts: http://myhonestopinionblog.com/

A few samples from the book
Dear Editor: a common man’s (not so common) opinion”
by Jorg Aadahl
jorgaadahl@gmail.com
Smashwords Edition
Copyright 2014 Jorg Aadahl

As a paying reader of this book, you are not only free, but encouraged to plagiarize, copy, change, and embellish upon any letter signed by this author and republish it under your own name or alias. The e-book “Dear Editor – a common man’s (not so common) opinion” is available for review and can be ordered and downloaded directly from the publisher, Smashwords.

Chapter 5- GUN CONTROL  for safety and the common good!
The “Loud music” verdict (2/16/2014)
We will never know how many lives may have been saved by the jury finding Michael Dunn guilty in the “Loud music” trial, – or how many more have been lost due to the insane Zimmerman verdict.
Hopefully, trigger-happy gun-slinger’s will now think twice about looking for situations that can be provoked, then jump in and shoot to kill, and falsely claim standing their ground in self-defense.
Both Zimmerman and Dunn left their own ground to provoke situations that turned fatal, – on someone else’s ground.
Zimmerman got away with taking a life, – Dunn is now in prison for the rest of his.
Justice finally served, – and “standing your ground” somewhat shakier.

Nov. 22, 1963 afterthought
Despite Lee Harvey Oswald’s dubious background and suspicious activities, he was able to buy through mail order the gun that allegedly killed President J.F.Kennedy.
If background checks had been in place, that purchase may have been averted, and our elected president may have been allowed to pursue a more promising new direction for the US, – and the rest of the world.
It is not only difficult to understand the rational behind NRA’s resistance to background checks. Their position is also highly suspicious, as well as dangerous for anyone, including current and future presidents.

A real no-brainer (4/4/2013)
Why wasn’t the right to automobile ownership and regulation of traffic covered by the US Constitution?
That’s simply because the Founding Fathers during the age of horse and carriage didn’t have the foresight to anticipate the development of automobiles and the ensuing traffic and need for regulation to protect us from killing each other. Consequently, the Constitution was limited to what they knew and could foresee at the time.
Few, except perhaps the most extreme lunatics among us, would suggest that automobile regulations are unconstitutional.
Likewise, how in the world could the Founding Fathers foresee high-capacity automatic assault weapons eventually be developed when all they knew were muscats? Consequently, the Second Amendment was limited to what they knew and could foresee at the time.
It’s as simple as that. Should be a no-brainer even for the most intellectually challenged Republicans and NRA talking heads.

Mass theater shoot-outs (8/02/2012)
In the aftermath of the Aurora theater massacre, Alan Newman (LTE, July 27) makes the naive claim that “If one person in that theater besides the shooter had a concealed weapon and fired at him, he or she could have at least distracted him long enough to minimize the victims that were killed or injured. Remember, the only way to stop a bad person with a gun is by a good person with a gun”. What utter nonsense!
Shooting back in a crowded, dark, and in this case smoke-filled theater, with people getting up and trying to escape, is shear insanity! Such ideas demonstrate the mentality of gun-happy, trigger-eager people,card-carrying NRA-member or not. What a blood bath even a single additional gun-slinger would have created, not to mention if there were several of them in the place, ready to give their beloved guns some exercise. They would be just as likely to shoot each other, as well as unarmed people in the crowd, as hitting the idiot that started it all.
Such crazy thinking underscores the need for strict firearm controls, including limits to clip capacity. Personally, I think weapons also should be kept out of the hands of someone so naive that they think theater shootouts are appropriate. Weapons for self defense should be limited to the home, and be disallowed in the public arena where law enforcement is supposed to be in charge.

Chapter 6- HEALTH CARE – privilege or right?
Republicans wrong again (2/10/2014)
The Congressional Budget Office projects a reduction of 2.3 million equivalent full-time jobs by 2021 as a result of Obamacare (“Obamacare to cut U.S. labor force”, The Post 2/5/2014).
Congressional Republicans and right-wing media wasted no time interpreting this as a negative result and loss of jobs due to implementation of the Affordable Care Act. Not so at all! Actually, the exact opposite is true.
With health care coverage more universally available, people will have the option of cutting back on their working hours, or not working at all, while older people may choose to retire earlier, as soon as the expanded Medicare takes effect. All is optional and up to the individual employees, who with Obamacare will have greater personal freedom and not be tied to a job only because of health care provided. If that’s not in line with the Republican slogan, I don’t know what would be?
Those employees that with Obamacare in effect will have greater freedom, are not laid off against their will, and will not add to the ranks of the unemployed. Quite to the contrary! This reduction in available labor pool, means that positions will open for others to fill. That again means that unemployment may actually go down, – probably to the dismay of Republicans praying for the ultimate failure of Obamacare. It is all quite logical, but no surprise that Obama’s opponents created yet another opportunity to trash him and his signature project, preying on gullible voters. Nothing new here, but something that should be remembered when the next election comes around.

Killer-care (12/09/2013)
Republicans have decided that Obamacare will be a disaster, – and according to the Gospel of Michele Bachmann, a killer.
No doubt about that, – for the GOP!

The health care scare (8/15/2013)
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius stated flatly years ago that “I’m all for a single-payer system eventually.” Now Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is out of the health closet, declaring that Obamacare is the stepping stone ultimately leading to a single-payer health care system. Obviously, that is the ultimate solution and should be the goal — the sooner, the better.
The insurance industry is just an added cost factor that does nothing for health care, except limit wherever they can for profitability. We are the only industrialized country with a for-profit insurance industry regulating health care, with the result that many don’t get the care they need. So why are so many, primarily Republicans, against universal health care in the first place, not to mention a single-payer system with insurance industry phased out? Along with Social Security and Medicare, successful health care reform would provide the third and final pillar of Americans’ social safety net, all provided by the Democratic Party, and against fierce opposition by Republicans. GOP’s alleged concerns about a “government takeover of health care,” “rationing,” “doctor-patient relationship” or mythical “death panels” are just smoke screens. The real reason for its opposition is a successful government-backed program that provides the American public with affordable, comprehensive health care will secure an enduring Democratic majority for years to come. A government that works for universally needed services is an anti-Republican scare. It will also become abundantly clear how the Republican leadership has lied and fooled the public just to secure their own control. The GOP is not working for the common good and for the people, but for special interests at the expense of the rest of the society. And now they want to shut down the government, which isn’t even in their own shallow self-interest. How unfit for public service can you be?

The health care system we need (3/28/2012)
Even if the Supreme Court goes along with President Obama’s health care proposal (“Justices to give close scrutiny to health care law,” March 27), we’re nowhere near a cost-effective plan covering everybody.
We still have a health care insurance industry that adds nothing except cost while denying care for those who need it. What we need is a single-payer system backed by government, financed through payroll deductions, like for Social Security and Medicare. Elective procedures like face-lifts, tummy tucks or routine circumcision should not be covered. Preventive care will cut down the cost of emergency room operation and improve the nation’s overall health.
Certain common, necessary functions in a modern society should be nationalized, for the benefit of all, and in the country’s best interest. Universal health care is one of them. It is a basic human right for all, not a privilege for some. Health care should be a national concern and has a direct impact on the health of the population, its ability to work and sustain a decent lifestyle and ultimately the economy.
And don’t scream “socialism.” Social welfare has nothing to do with that scary word. Just look it up.

Deadly birthday ritual (11/19/2012)
The insane ritual of downing 21 shots of liquor on your 21st birthday has killed yet another youngster, this time a 21 year old senior at Chico State College, California. When will such utter nonsense stop?
The likelihood of dying may not be so high compared to other causes of death, like traffic accidents, suicide, or military combat. But the likelihood of destroying internal organs is 100%!
It may not show up for a while, but sooner or later the effects will impair the health, and most likely shorten the life span. The human body is not built for senseless abuse like that, so what are they trying to prove? That they are brainless? That they have no other abilities to show off, or simply that they need a more intelligent, responsible and caring circle of friends?
In either case, I think it is about time to hammer into the heads of young people the extreme danger of such alcohol abuse and the consequences, – before their 21st. The primary sources should be parents or care takers, and not the least the schools! It should be a mandatory part of the curriculum to impress upon students not only what they risk, but what permanent damage they are certain to do to their bodies
And if it ever happens at a sorority or fraternity, it should be closed down!

Chapter 7 – SOCIAL SECURITY – insecure or not?
Social Security safe! (9/25/2011)
Either Congressional Republicans don’t understand how Social Security works, or don’t care, or intend to confuse people. They insist that Social Security must be cut to balance the budget. However, Social Security does not, and never has been, part of the Federal budget, and has never contributed to the deficit!
Social Security is paid for through payroll, which so far has raised more money than is paid out! SS is projected to stay solvent through 2037! All needed then is to raise the cap from the current $106,000, which means that higher wage earners will pay a percentage closer to what the lower earners pay. While lower income earners keep paying social security through the year, higher earners are done with SS payroll deductions earlier and earlier each year the more they make. Some are done already in January!
Wars, loopholes and tax breaks for the wealthy, subsidies for big oil, and bailing out Wall Street after shady deals are made in a financial environment that lacks proper regulations, caused the deficit, not Social Security!
Why the Republican effort to destroy Social Security? Is the truth that funds have been stolen from Social Security by the previous administration, which the Republicans now are trying to cover up? Or, could it simply be that they just can’t stand the thought of a successful social safety system that takes care of all, not only those already well off?

Chapter 8- PLANNING FOR PARENTHOOD – and why not?
Yes, – what is (morally?) wrong about planning for parenthood???

The contraception contraption (3/21/2012)
According to the most outspoken Republicans, contraception is a sin, and allowing others to control their own reproduction violates their religious freedom. Even knowing how abstinence fails as birth control, they claim it is a religious value to be unprotected and play Russian roulette.
Whether they like it or not, people will have sex, inside or outside of marriage. Some of these activities will result in pregnancies, some of which are unwanted and some of which will end in abortion. With sex education and access to birth control, unwanted pregnancies and the abortions that can result, can be drastically reduced. It therefore defies all logic to deny other people the right to make their own decision.
Whether the religious accept it or not, human sexuality is here to stay, and it is a statistical and historical fact that people will have sex. Always has been. Always will be. Even your parents “did it,” believe it or not. This is a part of human nature that can neither be prayed away nor legislated out of existence. The only sin involved is to deny women their basic human right to health care, which includes contraception.

Religious freedom, – to hate? (8/07/2012)
If there ever was any doubt, we now know what the lovable bunch on the right mean by religious freedom, – namely their freedom to control others, especially women, and especially when it comes to what in their mind is such despicable, unnatural and horrible thing as sex, – especially when practiced by others!
The hysteria surrounding the August 1 implementation of affordable and available contraceptives for women is pretty revealing of the twisted mind set of the extremists on the right, without which the Republicans wouldn’t have been able to choke Congress to an unpatriotic and unconstitutional grinding halt of doing nothing but obstructing the democratic process.
And for some of the lunatics way out on the right cliff to compare this most necessary health care expansion with Pearl Harbor and 9/11, is more than laughable. It is simply disturbing that people so far removed from human values and common decency are given so much political control. Isn’t it about time to cleans politics for such religious infestation and keep religion and government separate, as the Founding Fathers clearly intended?

Chapter 9 – WAR ON WOMEN why on Mother Earth?
WOW! (8/22/2012)
It is just fitting that the all too common Republican attitude about, and lack of respect for, women be exposed as clearly as through Todd Akin’s statement about “real rapes’ not resulting in pregnancies. Although the time-honored ‘WOW’-expression has taken on an entirely new meaning with the Republican War on Women, why such surprise at Akin’s fabulous pregnancy statement?
Ignorance and lack of respect both for women and science go hand-in-hand with their climate change denial, young earth fantasies, their “trickle down” economic myth, and the notion that Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan have presidential qualifications. Who in their right mind would support a party where such ignorance and disrespect for common decency prevail?

Women control thyselves (1/25/2014)
Former Republican hopeless presidential candidate Mike Huckabee opines that womenfolks shouldn’t be able to obtain insurance covered birth control just because they cannot control their libido, – God-given or not.
It’s difficult to imagine he speaks from personal experience of uncontrollable libido attacks of the female kind!

War on women’s rights (2/17/2012)
Religious zealots now claim that their religious freedom is denied if they cannot deny women access to contraceptives!
What on earth makes them believe they should be allowed to decide what others can or cannot do? This amounts to a war on women, by religion gone amok, the main cause of wars throughout the history of mankind. Freedom of religion does not mean freedom to restrict the freedom of others, whether same, different or no religious faith.
I fail to understand what kind of religious value it can be to leave families unplanned and pregnancies and women’s overall health left to chance, – especially in a world already overpopulated.
Only sick minds will call family planning a sin! Leaving your own family unplanned, is bad enough, and irresponsible. But denying others that right, – that is a sin!
Freedom of religion must go hand-in-hand with freedom from religion, for the rest of us. If anything, there is already too much freedom of religion when its practices are allowed to interfere with science, education, politics, and other people’s personal life.

Perspective on misrepresentation (3/10/2012)
The writer of “Perspective on overpopulation” in the Feb. 27 edition of the Daily Journal, illustrates how difficult it is to carry on a meaningful dialogue with someone dead set on twisting around the facts and misrepresenting the issue(s) at hand.
If you can turn a discussion about the need for access to health care for women (including family planning) into advocating abortion and putting all people on earth into Texas (including sick and starving children from around the world), I’m at a loss for a response that may get through this letter writer’s logic barrier. I don’t teach remedial math anymore, so I’ll leave it to the obviously mathematically challenged letter writer to figure out his mistake.
Even if you cover all lakes and rivers, flatten all mountains and turn all agricultural areas, forests and pastures into livable land, his calculation isn’t even close. So, back to your calculator and try again. Never mind the nonsense of concentrating the world population in Texas, which already has a problem with inadequate social services and poorly educated leaders. Where this writer got his “well-known facts” from, I don’t know. Perhaps the same source from which Bush got his weapons of mass destruction “facts.”

Rape in the name of “god” (10/24/2012)
Richard Mourdock, the Republican U.S. Senate nominee in Indiana, described pregnancies resulting from rape as a “gift from God” and “something that God intended to happen.”
Sounds like he has it all figured out, that it is God’s plan that rape victims get pregnant! So, I have to assume that the message to young girls is that they shouldn’t even try to resist rapists since that would be to go against God’s will and his mysterious plans, with eternal hell as punishment if they do object to the uninvited intrusion.
Isn’t that what evangelical sect leaders for ages have impressed upon young girls, that it is God’s wish that they be shown the ins and outs of the evil of sexual encounters by their own religious leaders? Apparently, that screwed up (pardon the pun) philosophy is still with us, even at the congressional level, – especially among Republicans.
But that women continue to vote for such sex-obsessed idiots, escapes me.

Blessed rape (3/04/2012)

The religious crowd’s sickening obsession with sex and genitals, especially the female variety, knows no limits.
Do religious zealots in Congress know no end to their war on women? The latest attempts to denigrate women would not only make rape legal, but mandatory for women seeking abortion during the first trimester, for whatever very personal reason they may have.
The Republican spiritual leader Rush Limbaugh seemed to achieve a perverse delight in attacking law student Sandra Fluke after her testimony about what happened to a friend who could not afford the medication required, which happened to be birth control pills that could have saved the ovary that had to be amputated. Limbaugh even wanted to watch a video recording of her alleged sexual activity, as if that had anything to do with her passionate, brave testimony before Congressional Democrats, after the Republican all-male panel refused to hear her when drooling over their religious hang-ups against contraception. How despicably low can you sink, even for someone with such a miserable track record as Rush Limbaugh when it comes to women.

War on women (3/21/2011)
Both Republican politicians and Islamic extremists are waging war on women.
How badly women are treated in most of the Muslim world, is utterly despicable and sign of backwards, misogynous cultures. Why aren’t women treated better in our country, where reason and sanity should prevail?
Take Planned Parenthood, which Republican dominated congress wasted no time de-funding, apparently neither understanding nor caring about the impact lack of funding has on women’s and children’s health, and the economy.
The objective of Planned Parenthood is exactly that, planning for parenthood, i.e. teach women about reproduction, care of unborn and newborn, and own health. Preventing unwanted pregnancies through better sex education and availability of birth control, is obviously an integrated part of the process, and the best and most effective way of preventing abortions.
Why is anyone against such a national concern? Saving money is just an excuse, since the ultimate social cost far exceeds the modest governmental funding. Also, money provided to support PP doesn’t just disappear. It circulates nationally, boosts the economy, and provides jobs, besides improving the aggregated health of the nation!
That ought to be a no-brainer, but apparently not so for Republicans catering to narrow-minded hang-ups.

Chapter 10 – THE GAY LESBIAN AGENDA a human equal rights issue
Seething Mom, Arizona (http://www.seethingmom.blogspot.com , 6/20/2008)
A great letter to the editor, – couldn’t have said it better myself.
We are slowly inching our way home, but our stay in California during this historic time has been so exhilarating that I really don’t want it to end. Being here has helped me imagine what it will one day be like in all 50 states when everyone is free to marry the person they love, regardless of whether it pleases the James Dobson-Pat Robertson crowd. And it was especially heartening to see the only letter printed in the SF Chronicle on the subject of marriage in California this morning was one written by someone our side. It just made that hot cup of coffee I was sipping with my husband, mom, and brother all the more sweet:
Bible tells me so (SF Chronicle, 6/20/2008, reprinted in Freethought Today)
Editor –
Of course, with a sufficiently twisted homophobic mind, you can find support in the Bible for denying an estimated 10 percent of humanity equal rights. However, why would the Bible be right on this single point? It is wrong on just about everything else, from the age of the world to the shape of it, from the dynamics of the solar system to how animals, including humans, came into existence.
And when it comes to ethics and morality, including the treatment of women and how to punish the most inconsequential transgression, the Bible sets a horrible, immoral example.
So why this sick emphasis on a single issue of equal rights, which hurts no one, but makes the life of many much happier? Who can find satisfaction in knowing that others are less happy than they could be? What happened to the old, time-honored phrase: Mind your own business?

Opportunity lost (12/21/2010)
Good move to finally repeal DADT. However, one cannot help wonder what we may have avoided if done away with before Sept. 11, 2001. Prior to the attacks, American linguists fluent in Arabic were fired because they were gay, resulting in intercepted messages with clues to the terror that were left untranslated.
Could 911 have been avoided, as well as the wars on Afghanistan and Iraq? It is possible. What a tragedy it wasn’t done sooner.

What if? (1/12/2011)

What if DADT had been repealed earlier, or if gays and lesbians in the US military had not been an issue, like in other civilized countries?
Then, instead of being fired, American linguists fluent in Arabic would have been allowed to translate intercepted documents with clues to 9/11. The terror attacks could easily have been avoided, which again means that thousands of lives would have been saved, and that George Bush in all likelihood would not have been re-elected.
Wars on Afghanistan and Iraq would not have taken place. Our economy and the world’s respect for us would have been better. Sadam Hussein would still be in power; however, he would have kept al Qaeda out of Iraq and his arch rival Iran in check, without our involvement. Sarah Palin would still have been an unknown Alaskan and not in our face 24/7. Oh, I almost forgot: we wouldn’t have had Roberts and Alito on the Supreme Court, which instead would have had a Democratic majority, more respectful of the Constitution and oriented towards our common interests. Think about it! Stupid, hate-based hang-ups can have serious consequences! Our long history of discrimination has cost us dearly. In so many ways!

Iran for heterosexuals only! (9/25/2007)

Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad claims that there are no homosexuals in Iran.
That can only mean that he has killed all those who were born with a preference for the same sex, or statistically about 10% of the population.
Not much to brag about!

Right on! (3/26/2013)
Finally, a brave voice setting things right. Ted J. Hannig’s March 23 guest perspective, “Marriage ‘rights’: A modest proposal,” is right on, not the opposite. It’s about time someone put things right. Enough of these leftist demands for equal rights for a chosen lifestyle from people claiming they were born that way. Left-handedness is a chosen lifestyle, so in your face! What a mess it’d be if leftists got their way. Driving on the left side would create chaos of biblical proportions, like poking a left finger in God’s eye. That wouldn’t be right. Ever noticed all the road signs with the reminder “no left turn” or “right-of-way”? Who sits on the right side in Congress? Ha!
Take books. They open on the right side, using your right hand, exactly as God intended when he created the Bible. It goes for coffee cups too. Why is the handle on the right side? Because that’s where it belongs (unless an uppity leftie turns the cup around). Ever wonder why the bride is always on the right side of the groom? What a disastrous marriage if she were put on the left, making fun of god-given traditions.
Now the left-handed minority demand equal “rights,” of all things. Equal “lefts” is fine with me. Remember our God-selected president Bush and his slogan “no child left behind”? He never said “no child right behind.” That’s where Cheney belonged.
Hannig’s column is on the right side of the page, exactly as the editor intended. We both write and read toward the right, not the opposite. Kudos to Hannig — right up my alley. He’s destined to be lifted right up to heaven when the time comes, while everyone with the self-inflicted lifestyle of left-handedness is left behind — and rightfully so!

Thank you for your kind and clever support. Ted Hannig

Chapter 11 – CIRCUMCISIONthe cruelest cut
Anti-circumcision web site: http://www.nocirc.org
Circumcision ban (8/22/2012)

Your article “Rabbi, officials seek religious circumcision rights” (SF Chronicle, 8/22) refers to attempts in Germany to lift the ban on circumcision to legally protect Jews and Muslims who circumcise infant boys as a religious rite.
What about the right of any human being to be left intact, as Mother Nature intended? Religious “rites” should stop before human rights are violated. It is particularly ridiculous when religious people subscribe to such an old, barbaric ritual, as if their “God” made a mistake that has to be corrected right after birth, with no say on the part of the one mutilated, except screaming in pain and agony.
Even Jesus himself took exception to circumcision, allegedly responding to his disciples’ question that if it were good, baby boys would have been born that way. Could that be why The Gospel of Thomas was excluded from the Bible? Kind of inconvenient considering the myth about the covenant between Abraham and God, the foundation for the so-called “great” religions.

Death by circumcision (Sent to Bay Area Intactivists, info@intactamerica.org, discuss-bounces@lists.bayareaintactivists.org, 5/12/2012)
Fellow intactivists,
I just read in the Norwegian newspaper “Aftenposten” that a 2 week old boy from Oslo had died as a result of complications after forced circumcision, i.e. without the victim’s consent. The parents are Muslims, and the torture took place in a doctor’s office early a Sunday morning, which in itself is unusual since private practice medical offices are closed on weekends.
The case is being investigated by police.
As you know, routine circumcision is not practiced in any of the Scandinavian countries, except for immigrants from countries where torture of babies is encouraged. No respectable doctor is willing to perform genital amputations, and most hospitals reject such requests even from immigrants.

Circumcision nonsense! (8/26/2011)
Among all the nonsense published in support of circumcision, the project reviewed in the article “As circumcision declines, health costs will go up, study projects” (LA Times, August 21) takes the prize! Forgetting the faulty “research” and absurd savings claims, the morale of the story is that if you have been circumcised, feel free to run out and have unprotected sex, – you’ll be fine!
My goodness, how irresponsible!
Did this “research” team ever ask themselves why STDs, including HIV rates, are higher in the US where circumcision is practiced and most men have been cut against their will as babies, while much lower in countries where circumcision is not practiced?
In the Scandinavian countries circumcision is not only frowned upon, but considered an absurd atrocity and violation of the basic human right to be left intact, like Mother Nature intended. Yet, Scandinavians are among the cleanest and healthiest people on earth!

Circumcision a human rights violation (5/03/2010)
Your Health article, “Swedish doctors say no more circumcisions” (April 30) is a reminder that this barbaric, myth based custom should be banned, as it pretty much is in the Scandinavian countries.
The procedure is a violation of the human right to be left intact, unless necessary for medical reasons, which routine circumcision is not. It is particularly strange that religious people subscribe to this totally unnecessary, risky and painful operation on babies too young to have a say in a matter that affects them for life. The idea that the god they believe in made a mistake that man has to correct, is preposterous.
Even Jesus emphasized how ridiculous this proposition is. In saying # 53 in the Gospel of Thomas, the disciples allegedly ask him if circumcision is worthwhile. Quite logically he responds that if it were, baby boys would have been made that way by their father. Is that the reason why this gospel was not included in the Bible? Obviously, it raises a question about the Abrahamic covenant, even for the most devout.

The Gospel of Thomas and Circumcision (KGO Talk show: The God Hour, by Brent Walters, 12/03/2010)
Dear professor Walters,
Since you will be dealing with the Gospel of Thomas on your program this Sunday morning, I wonder how do you reconcile saying # 53 with the alleged covenant between Abraham and God re. circumcision?
Not that I personally believe that any of it happened, but the problem is that the faithful do. I feel awful, thinking about how many innocent little baby boys have been brutally, painfully, and unnecessarily mutilated because of such superstition.
To me, it sounds like Jesus himself denounced circumcision, which he should do, of course, if he cared (and existed), but will too much logic applied here tear the foundation of religion apart?
As a naturally born Atheist, I wouldn’t mind if it did! (Yes, even we non-believers find your program interesting)

Cut out the ‘cut’ (5/24/2011)
Kudos to Lloyd Schofield for his valiant effort to have circumcision banned in SF (“Anti-circumcision measure to go on November ballot,” in the May 19 edition of The Daily Journal). Hopefully, the effort will be successful, and perhaps an example to be followed elsewhere.
Eventually, this unkindest cut of all will be a historic oddity, as hard to explain as witchcraft, voodoo rituals and sacrifice of animals and virgins to please imaginary gods.
Besides obvious moral obligations, physicians are in accordance with the Hippocratic Oath obligated to never do harm to anyone.
Yet cutting off a vital part of innocent and defenseless baby boys is practiced in this country on a broad scale. Actually, we are the only western country to practice routine circumcision, while comparable countries not only do not practice it, but regard circumcision a barbaric, immoral and totally unnecessary violation of a newborn’s human rights. The procedure is painful, it is risky and at times deadly, and it causes irreparable anatomical, and often psychological, damage. To justify such a horrible act on religious grounds, or to make the boy look like dad, is pure nonsense and irresponsible parenting.
Thanks to all those who signed Schofield’s petition for a step toward greater respect for the human body, especially of those too young to speak for themselves. They can only scream in pain, with the option of suing their parents and mutilators later in life when they realize how they have been violated by those who should be the first to protect them.

Hurting whom? (6/26/2011)
Laura W. Brill’s commentary (“Circumcision – the catalyst for reform,” Open Forum, June 22) refers to religious minorities, Jews and Muslims, being hurt the most if SF passes a ban on circumcision. That’s a strange way of looking at this most-needed ban against genital mutilation of innocent baby boys. The exact opposite is the intent of the ban: namely, to protect minority and other children from being hurt. How can parents be hurt by being prevented from hurting their own children? When grown and more mature, with few exceptions these children, and their partners, will be thankful that a protective measure prevented them from being hurt and scarred for life.
Before long, we will look back in horror and wonder why on earth this bizarre ritual was allowed to survive in a modern world, where common concern for our fellow human beings and equal rights to a natural body were prevailing social norms.

Jesus’ foreskin (Comment to Dr. Dean Edell, KGO Talk Show, 8/05/2010)
Dear dr. Dean,
Remember saying # 53 in the Gospel of Thomas, where Jesus allegedly explains that boys would have been borne without foreskin, if that were good!
Very logical, – but where does that leave the covenant with Abraham??? Also, was Jesus asked before they butchered him?

Chapter 12- RELIGIONISM & MORALITYmutually exclusive opposites?
The common denominator (5/16/2013)
The highly religious, even fundamentally religious US military, is riddled with sexual assaults, including rapes at a far greater proportion than in the population at large.
The Catholic Church has acquired notorious infamy for its extraordinary number of sexual assaults by its clergy on vulnerable children, foolishly entrusted in the grasp of sick deviants.
Religious sects have for ages been a breathing ground for sexual assaults, especially against young and naive female followers.
Islamic countries? Let’s not even go there!
The common denominator here stands out in all its holy glory!
Perhaps religion isn’t as hot a moral guide as it is held out to be?! Rather a convenient cover-up, perhaps?

Pat explanation needed (3/22/2011)
We are waiting for your explanation Pat Robertson! Why did this horrible earthquake happen? Was it because God was mad at Japan for being friendly to the United States after repealing DADT? Or, could it be that he triggered a tsunami as a warning to those who may have been enjoying the beaches in a sinful manner? We need your revered insight, Rev. Robertson.

Guidance from above’ (10/8/2010)
You may have wondered what Christine O’Donnell has to offer as a Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate. With only imaginary degrees, no real job or political experience, personal finances in shambles and a twisted view on social values, she was the best the GOP could dig up? We now know the answer, from her own mouth: she takes guidance from above, where her imaginary friend (to quote Bill Maher) tells her what to do. Yeah, we saw where that led us during eight years of similar high-level counseling of another Republican with questionable education, no real job experience and a weird view on social order and human values.

Unsuitable for children (Freethought Today, November, 2002)
In an article in the Norwegian newspaper “Tidens Tegn”, one of the leading and most respected theologians in the country, Bishop Hygen, advocates the abolishment of the Old Testament when teaching young children about religion.
The morality promoted in these scriptures is in no way suitable for children, Mr. Hygen states. The schools must emphasize that the bible cannot be used to teach science and that the creation story is nothing but an explanation people at that time provided for what they did not understand. The Old Testament myths have for too long been allowed to stand in the way of science and true understanding of how the world works.
The date of this article was September 24, 1937!

Chapter 13 – FAITH, BELIEF AND TWISTED VIEWS Defying common sense
Believers’ beliefs are inconsistent (Freethought Today, Jan/Feb/2014)
While rejecting overwhelming scientific evidence, it is funny how the global warming deniers often are the most devoted believers in stories made up thousands of years ago, without a shred of evidence, and against all logic.
Take the so-called “Great Flood”. How about asking some logical questions, like where did all the water come from, and where did it go afterward?
Ran off the edge of the flat Earth, perhaps?

Disturbing ignorance (2/1/2014)

James G.B. DeMartini Jr. praises Irv Chase for his “excellent” letters against climate change and wishes there were more Americans like that (Letter to the editor “It’s still a hoax” in the Jan. 21 edition of the Daily Journal).
Actually, there are, and that’s the problem. That’s why we, as a nation, are lagging behind more enlightened countries in math and science. That’s why we keep electing officials who abhor learning, logic and progress. That’s why science-challenged politicians are elevated to head science-related committees. That’s why text books often are riddled with dogmas, superstitions and blind faith to be passed on to the next generation. That’s why global warming deniers often are the most devoted believers in stories made up thousands of years ago that don’t have a shred of evidence. They believe in stories despite the overwhelming scientific evidence and against all logic.
Take the so-called “Great Flood.” Where did all that water come from, and where did it go afterward? Off the edge of the flat Earth, perhaps? Same with water from receding glaciers and melting polar caps? Off an imaginary edge with no impact on the climate?
No wonder more enlightened people not only laugh at us, but also are afraid because of our disturbing ignorance.

Cold water on flood “evidence” (2/25/2014)
In his LTE “Evidence supports scriptures” (Feb. 24 edition of the Daily Journal), Matt Grocott tries to bunk my original allegation that the climate change deniers often are the most devoted believers in incredible stories made up thousands of years ago (“Disturbing ignorance”, the Daily Journal, Feb. 1-2).
As an example, I mentioned the story about the “Great Flood”. Of course, Mr. Grocott is right that there have been floods, and earthquakes, and major upheavals, and tsunamis for that matter, but a flood that covered the entire globe, which was thought to be flat at that time? No, didn’t happen! Nor do stories about floods and torrential rain here and there “prove” the adventures of Noah’s Ark. That one is just as made up as stories about water walking, snake talking, virgin birth and Adam & Eve! In his “Response to Matt Grocott” (The Daily Journal, Feb. 20), Mark Peterson explains, in very simple terms, many of the logical impossibilities of such a vessel, technical and logistic, as well as its claimed 40-day voyage on high water.
I have a few questions of my own to those who still believe the Noah story: how did the polar bears find their way back to the Arctic, penguins back to Ant-arctics, lions back to Africa, while the tigers chose the area East of Tigris, not to mention how the ants found their way all over the world, after the lonely pair had avoided being stepped on and crushed beyond repair by the elephants on-board the Ark? Never mind how to round up two and two of all the species, and of opposite sex for the cruise! Just try to round up two house cats!
There are unlimited oddities like that, which cannot be explained if indeed there was a global flood, with Noah coming to the rescue of all the animals that couldn’t survive high water. No, Mr. Grocott’s “evidence” doesn’t hold water, not even the holy kind

Lunatics among us (4/03/2013)
A recent survey shows that 1 in 4 of Americans believe that President Obama may be “anti-Christ”, whatever on flat earth that means. However, that must be more than half of those who voted for Mitt Romney, which explains a lot.

Pat explanation (8/05/2012)
As predictable as foul smell from an open sewer, Pat Robertson is at it again, scoring cheap points on other people’s tragedy, this time the Sikh Temple massacre. Blaming Atheists is beyond stupidity and ignorance, and not only because non-believers are vastly underrepresented in crime statistics and among prison inmates. Massacres like that inevitable expose some religious angle, not Atheism. And please don’t come back with the tired old myth that Hitler was an Atheist! He was a Catholic doing God’s work exterminating Jews and other “undesirables”. Just read “Mein Kampf”!
Pat Robertson’s claim that Atheists are mad at “God” fails by his usual lack of logic. How can someone be mad at something they don’t believe exists? No one is afraid of, or mad at, ghosts, unless you believe such fantasies are real. Pat Robertson’s fantasies know no limits, and he keeps making money on gullible people sharing his eartless, rambling nonsense.

Lottery rigged by God? (8/28/2008)
The sheer stupidity of religious folks never ceases to amaze me. The old couple who recently won almost $300 million in the lottery, immediately praised the Lord and expressed delight that their prayers had been heard!
So, they actually begged their perceived “almighty” to rig the lottery in their favor, thereby depriving the rest of the ticket buyers a fair chance in a lottery that per definition has to be completely random in order to be legal. Aside of the certified nonsense of their “faith”, how selfish can you get? Please God, let us have it, and to hell with everybody else! Who cares, as long as we get what we pray for, not what we pay for. Then, close to $300 million, awarded by God, sounds just fair, doesn’t it? A hundred grand would be a fortune for most people, but $300 million to a single couple? One must have an extremely low regard for the sense of fairness in a god who shows such a degree of bias and disregard for the rights of the many in favor of a couple who had no problem believing they deserved God’s outlandish gift. Only small minds can have such childish faith in divine power and such lack of respect for lottery fairness. Great minds have no faith in divine power, while an understanding of lottery randomness doesn’t require much brain power.

Faith in office? (Comment to Ronn Owens, KGO Talk Show, 8/09/2007)
Historically, the most horrific persecutions have been based on “faith”, a blind belief that you are right and that you have a god-given mandate to put yourself and your own kind above all others and even exterminate those who don’t share your faith.
“Faith” as a requirement for office keeps the best and the brightest excluded from the most important job imaginable. While the most progressive countries in Europe are governed by more or less “non-believers”, religion in the US contaminates both politics, education and life in general.
Ronn’ s comment: “Indeed, a stinging inditement from Jorg!”

Bachmann’s beliefs (6/27/2011)
Something imaginary from high above must have gotten into Congresswoman Michele Bachmann’s pretty head, convincing her that she is the chosen one. She has a solid following of people who don’t believe in science and fact-based education, who don’t believe in equal rights and women’s freedom of control over their own bodies or the fundamental right to health care for all. Instead they believe that prayers fix everything, from the outcome of football games to preventing air planes from falling out of the sky. They believe the end of their less than 10,000 year young world is near, so no point in saving the environment. They faithfully cling to old myths without a shred of evidence, and that teaching abstinence trumps sex education and contraceptives!
No wonder Democrats hope Ms. Bachmann will be the Republican nominee for president next year! With an opponent like that, President Obama won’t have to waste too much time on a re-election campaign. Instead, he can continue to focus on his work to right all the wrongs from his predecessor, – almost as fundamentally disturbed as the next Republican hopeful.

Odd woman out (1/05/2012)
Republican drop-out Michele Bachmann claimed to have God’s encouragement to run for the GOP nomination. Now that she’s out, some questions emerge:
1) Did God just lure her into the race to embarrass her, and her “pray-gayness-away” husband?
2) Is God angry now at the 95% of Iowa caucus-voters who rejected His alleged choice?
3) Or, did she just fantasize about divine backing, or simply lie to fool the gullible?

Birth evidence (2/21/2011)
I find it bizarre that, without a shred of evidence to the contrary, almost half of Republicans don’t believe that President Obama was born in the US, less than 50 years ago. On the other hand, without a shred of evidence, the same people, and many others, gladly believe that a specific religious figure, without any historic verification, was born somewhere in the Middle-East about 2000 years ago. Go figure.

Chapter 14 – PRAYING LIFE AWAY For what?
Praying for rain (1/19/2014)
Through the media we learn that “The California Conference of Catholic Bishops asked people of all faiths to join in prayers for rain as reservoirs in the state dipped to historic lows after one of the driest calendar years on record.”
Bishop Jaime Soto suggested a prayer for God to “open the heavens and let His mercy rain down upon our fields and mountains.”
My first reaction was to laugh it off as just usual silliness from the superstitious crowd, playing on the gullible among us. Obviously, nothing fails like prayer, but appealing to some accommodating spirit up there can easily have negative effects. If you believe it works, and unfortunately some do, praying for miracles may trump doing something constructive in critical situations, like in this case, taking preventive measures to save water.
It isn’t hard to imagine situations were praying instead of doing what needs to be done, can be disastrous. UA93, one of the four airplanes hijacked on 9/11/2001, comes to mind. If the passengers had prayed instead of trying to wrestle control from the Islamic hijackers, that plane would in all likelihood have reached the intended target, the White House or Capitol, instead of crashing in an open field in Pennsylvania. It is not even funny that inhabitants of both those targets usually encouraged praying, either to obtain something, or to get out of some predicament, or other. Like so many things politicians and religious leaders advocate, they don’t take into consideration the potential consequences of blind following.
The other three airplanes that fateful day reached their targets despite all the praying done by the unfortunate passengers. I’m sure the hijackers prayed, too, – but with no impact outside their own evil minds. They hit the target because nothing got in their destructive way.

Palin’s cheap reaction (1/09/2011)
First, Sarah Palin incites violence and targets Democratic congress members like Gabrielle Giffords. Then, when a deranged lunatic takes her up on her rhetoric and acts on the encouragement, she has the nerve to pray for the victims! How cheap, and how dishonest an attempt to look good!
Even an uneducated evangelist like Sarah Palin should know that no matter how hard or often she prays, that doesn’t undo the damage done.
She should denounce in no uncertain terms all right-wing hate mongery and start working for democracy and support the president the voters elected.
Nothing short of that will do.

Does prayer work? (9/26/2011)
Texas governor and Republican presidential hopeful, Rick Perry, prayed for rain. Instead, the state got wild fires.
Up and down the East coast, people were praying for the rain and storms to stop. Didn’t work either.
Has it dawned on these people that praying just doesn’t work, despite the connections way up high Perry and the like claim to cultivate and enjoy?
Do they really believe what they preach, or is it just a ploy to fool the gullible?
That part seems to work, though.

No Pray Day! (Freethought Today, May 2011)
The sooner the National Day of Prayer is abolished, the better. Not only is this meaningless “tradition” unconstitutional, but a despicable way to single out and kiss up to the evangelicals for political gain, – and not necessarily in the best interest of the country!
At best, praying does nothing and has no positive impact on anything outside the head of the ones engaging in the ritual. Nothing fails like prayer!
At worst, resorting to the absurd notion of praying in critical situations can have devastating results! Imagine what would have happened if the passengers on-board hijacked UA 93 on 9/11/01 had taken to praying instead of determined action to prevent the aircraft from reaching its intended target, which was either the White House or The Capitol! Praying would have done nothing to prevent an even greater disaster than crashing in an open field in Pennsylvania. Nor did the terrorists’ cries for Allah’s assistance help during the passenger uprising.
For our Government to promote praying is not only silly and superstitious, but will lull people into believing that it can be helpful in cases where real action is called for.
It is not even funny to think what may have happened to the White House or Capitol if all passengers on-board the hijacked UA93 had followed the Government-sanctioned appeal to pray!

Chapter 15 – CATHOHOLYCISM an ancient plague
Keep children away from clergy (4/20/201
Don Havis’ call for the Pope’s resignation (Letter to the Editor, April 20) is too mild for an institution as sick as the Catholic church. We have no reason to believe that the next Pope will be less immoral than his predecessors.
After centuries of child abuse and cover-ups, both in the Catholic church and other sects, I think a far better solution would be to keep children out of the clutches of the clergy and other preachers who care more about their own empire than the welfare of the young foolishly left in their care. Why expose the young and vulnerable to environments so infested with evil and scare tactics?
There is much to be said in favor of keeping children away from religion until they are mature enough to make their own decisions and choices healthy for adult life. Instead, teach children morality and social behavior, none of which has anything to do with religion. Children, and grown-ups too, should be taught to be good for goodness sake, not to please someone imaginary high up in the sky.

Hand written note received in the mail:
“Hi – Your article in PA Daily Post was so clear and right on. I’m sending copies to my friends to let them see how I raised my two sons, now in their 30’s. Thanks, Viole M

 The Catholic abuse scandal (Comment to Pete Wilson, KGO Talk Show, 7/17/2007)
Dear Pete,
Aren’t the parents at least partly responsible for what happened?
Isn’t it child neglect to leave vulnerable children in the hands of Catholic clergy, and even refusing to believe the children when on occasion they try to tell the parents what they are being subjected to? Is blind trust in the clergy a sign of a sick society?

Fox guarding the hen house (4/26/2010)
After centuries of abuse and cover-up by his church, the pope now pledges to protect the young better (The Daily Journal, April 19, page 8). That’s a shallow, unreliable promise, easy to make in the face of criminal charges all over the world.
How about protecting children by keeping them out of the clutches of the clergy all together? Both the Catholic church and myriads of other sects have been exposed as poor guardians of the young.
Much can be said in favor of keeping children protected from religious influence until they are old enough to make their own choice and able to evaluate what’s being fed them. Many who escape later in life have a hard time recovering completely.
Instead, teach the young morality and social behavior, which has nothing to do with religion. As we have often seen, the exact opposite.

“The gays, they made us do it” (4/13/2011)
I didn’t think the Catholic pedophilia and sexual abuse hierarchy could sink any deeper until I read Jon Carroll’s Datebook column “The gays, they made us do it” (Chronicle, 4/13/2011).
Carroll refers to the president of Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, Bill Donohue’s published claim that the fallen priests were lured into evil ways by their victims, which include both boys and girls around the world. Donohue writes that the whole thing is overblown and the fault of church enemies like the “pro abortion, gay-marriage and women-clergy” crowd! My goodness, the nerve of these creeps!
How can anyone support such a screwed up movement with degenerate, despicable characters anymore, considering all the damage done, including the political climate. Without Catholic support, George Bush would not have been elected and the economy not ruined, “9/11” may have been avoided, we would not have attacked Afghanistan and Iraq, and the Supreme Court would have had Democratic majority, – for the people in accordance with the spirit of the Constitution, and not for big business and special interests, many of which are religious and contrary to our secular Constitution.
The damage done by the Catholic Church is mind boggling!

Chapter 16 – POPE-ING ALONG How much longer?
Dirty Papal clean-up! (3/07/2013)
Editor,
There’s a long and rather disturbing, even embarrassing, history of blacks being called upon to clean up the mess left by whites. Our nation has nothing to be proud of here.
True to tradition, the mess left by the Bush administration was so deep, wide and destructive, that a heavy weight like Barack Obama had to be called upon, twice, in an effort to clean it up, impossible as the dirty task may have seemed.
So, why not a black Pope to clean up the incredible mess created by essentially white Catholic priests, and the bishops who covered up? That would make sense, even when nothing else does when it comes to Catholic “faith”. And with a black Pope to clean up all the dirty laundry, – you can hardly call it a “white-wash”!

Chapter 17 – ATHEISM, HUMANISM & MORAL ISSUES without superstition
Atheists believe in nature (Comment to Aftenposten, Oslo, Norway)
Instead of superstition and faith in the unproved, we believe in mother nature and humanity and that it is we who have the capacity to add intelligence and knowledge to the universe, not some imaginary, vindictive and self-centered ghost way up high. That’s a belief system with a more solid foundation than one based solely on ridiculous myths. The Aftenposten article refers to religion being on the retreat in the US, with 20% declaring no religion at all. However, still rather embarrassing for an advanced nation that so many still believe in Adam & Eve, Noah’s Arc, resurrection and virgin births,- not to mention that Mitt Romney has presidential potential!
Not too long ago religion had monopoly on the explaining business, and if you valued a sound connection between your head and the rest of your body, you would be wise not to engage in too much logic, reason or fact based explanation. Today, religion explains nothing anymore, while science has been able to explain more and more. Too bad religion still has such an iron grip on the American population, without which totally unqualified characters like George W. Bush would never have made it into the White House, – although a lot of election tricks and Supreme Court intervention were necessary.
And now another religion-infested candidate is trying to pray his way into the presidential chair, aided by voter suppression and tricks even more elaborate than in 2000 and 2004, and potentially with even more disastrous results than what the Bush administration gave us. When will Americans learn?
For Romney a paraphrase of JFK’s famous words would be appropriate:
“Ask not what you can do for the country! Ask what the US presidency can do for my legacy and my wealthy friends!”
Did I express myself clearly enough?

Einstein was an Atheist! (Comment to Gill Gross, KGO Talk Show, 8/13/2008)
Dear Gil,
Please don’t hang Albert Einstein out as a believer! He was a solid atheist who became furious when he learned that he was used as a “Christian scientist”. Granted, he was somewhat careless when using the word “god”, but has with numerous statements made it perfectly clear that he did not believe in a personal god who caused it all to happen and who kept an eye on things and listened to prayers.
By the way, the vast, vast majority of top scientists are non-believers. With more education, faith disappears.

Ryan and Rand (8/17/2012)
Among Republicans, VP candidate Paul Ryan is considered an intellectual, – right up there with Sarah Palin. Rep. Ryan has served in the US Congress for 13 years, during which time he passed two laws, one to change the name of a post office, and one to benefit his own archery hobby. An impressive record, indeed.
He has embraced Ayn Rand’s objectivism since high school and followed her social, economic and political philosophy as his moral guide since then. So why, all of a sudden, did he scramble to distance himself from her a few months ago, denouncing her life-changing influence on himself?
The reason turns out to be that Paul Ryan’s Catholic authority pointed out Ayn Rand as an Atheist, something hard to miss since she was widely known as a non-believer, and to her credit very open about it. But who cares? Her lack of belief in a deity has absolutely nothing to do with the philosophy that Ryan was so taken by. It is rare for Atheists to entertain the rather selfish, non-caring political economic position Ayn Rand advocated, but her non-belief and philosophy are completely detached. Hard-line political philosophy is mostly associated with religion, not Atheism!

“Be Good for Goodness Sake” (Freethought Today, May, 2001)
Days later, I am still charged up by Dan Barker’s excellent talk “How to be good without god” at UC Berkeley, March 21, sponsored by SANE, the famous university’s only specifically nonreligious group (they have 37 religious groups!). Dan is a delight to listen to; with his wit, wisdom and experience from “been there, done that,” he held the audience spellbound, responded to numerous questions with additional enlightenment–and deflected with great tact and compassion the expected standard challenges from a few dogmatic souls in the packed auditorium, apparently disturbed by Dan’s logic.
The United States is the only industrialized, so-called developed country where religion has such a stranglehold on the populace. Especially in the Scandinavian countries and most of central Europe, the title of Dan’s talk would sound ridiculous, as if there ever were any doubt that you can be good without religion.
Religion’s own miserable track record as well as a rich assortment of freethinkers having lived good lives and done good deeds throughout centuries of human history, make the opposite question more logical: “How can you be good with god?”
Only in America does the religious crowd claim monopoly on Christmas; in most other countries it is a secular event. The word “Christmas” doesn’t exist in other languages. Only the equivalent of “Yuletide” is used. There is no “Christ”-infested name for the event, which, by the way, existed long before the Christian movement got the idea to jump on the already popular solstice bandwagon and subsequently redefined the “birth” of a questionable figure.
Thank you Dan. You have done good.
P.S. Dan’s book Losing Faith in Faith–From Preacher to Atheist should be required reading in high school!

 New low for Newt (1/12/2011)
Editor,
How low can you stoop? Former Republican speaker Newt Gingrich tries to squeeze some cheap political gain out of the Tuscon tragedy by publicly calling alleged mass-killer Jared Loughner a leftist and a Hitler-follower. Duh? Newt Gingrich was a history major and knows perfectly well that Hitler was a right-winger, a devout Catholic who according to his “Mein Kampf” did God’s work by killing Jews. The shooter may very well have been inspired by Hitler’s atrocities, but a leftist? That’s too low even for Newt Gingrich!
Then Gingrich tries to define this lunatic as an “atheist”, just because he apparently didn’t show much interest in religion! That doesn’t make anyone an “atheist”, which is an intellectually arrived position, far from a mere absence of religious interest. Atheists don’t run around killing others like this guy did. Statistically, as a group, atheists are far better behaved and less likely to commit crimes and end up in jail than believers.
And please, don’t come back claiming Stalin was an atheist! He was not! Stalin was religiously trained and set himself up as a communist “god” in the Soviet Union. He did not commit mass killings and other crimes in the name of atheism, but as a strategy to spread communism and destroy his adversaries, thus promoting himself.

Non-believers included (1/29/2009)
Editor,
I agree wholeheartedly with Don Havis (Examiner, 1/25, p. 16), when he praises President Obama for including all Americans in his inaugural speech, with non-believers included for the first time in recent history. It is about time that a president understands that he represents all, not just a selection that meets certain arbitrary criteria. Like his predecessor, Obama has pledged to be inclusive and in line with the Constitution. Unlike his predecessor, he seems to mean it. It is also a fair bet that the vast majority of the non-religious voted for Obama instead of the McCain Palin ticket!
However, certain religious “leaders” have already attacked the new president for even mentioning “non-believers”! That’s unconscionable! Why should a group of morally upstanding people be excluded because they have found no reason to depend upon divine faith and to believe what for them is unbelievable? It is a proven fact that non-believers are vastly under-represented in crime statistics, but over-represented in science, education, music, literature, arts, and invention. It should not be necessary to remind these religionists of all the trouble and misery caused by religion, but it seems necessary to point out the contribution from non-believers like Thomas Alva Edison, Albert Einstein, Irvin Berlin, Carl Sagan, Steve Allen, Bill Gates, Andrew Carnegie, Margaret Sanger, and numerous others who have contributed immensely to the advancement of mankind and betterment of human life. The bigots that criticized the President owe him and all non-believers an apology! They are far more indebted to the non-religious than the other way around!

Obama’s religion irrelevant (9/03/2010)
There is absolutely no reason to believe that President Barack Obama is secretly a Muslim, but even if he were, so what? It is contrary to the Constitution to conduct a religious test for public office, including the presidency.
Let’s judge people by what they do, not what they claim to believe. That would be more patriotic and in our nation’s best interest.

Superstition? (Comment to Gill Gross, KGO Talk Show, 5/07/2008)
The ultimate form of superstition? PRAYER!!!

Atheism is NOT Communism! (Comment to Brent Walters, KGO Talk Radio, 8/03/2008)
What nonsense to equate Atheism with Communism! Nothing in common. Communism is more like another religion, except their “god” is visible. Stalin himself was a rather religious man and wanted monopoly, that’s why he outlawed other religions in competition with his own. That didn’t mean that people became atheists! Atheism is as far removed from Communism as it is from Christianity! If anything, atheists as a group are more peaceful and better behaved than religious people. Just look at who are causing trouble even today! It is not the atheists, but the “faithful”.

Atheists among the best and brightest (Comment to Brian Copeland, KGO Talk Show host, 12/13/2011)
Dear Brian,
The vast majority of top scientists, authors, artists, philosophers etc. are non-believers. Also, religiosity declines with increased educational level. How would that translate into declining morality?
The notion that Atheists are less moral is just nonsense drilled into impressionable heads at an early age. THAT’s dishonest and immoral!

Chapter 18 – SUPREME LAW AND DISORDER institutionalized, or unconstitutional?
SUPREME DISASTER (5/2/2013)
Former Supreme Court justice Sandra O’Connor finally doubts the Supreme Court’s involvement to halt the Florida recount in the 2000 election. Imagine the outcome if they hadn’t intervened and declared Bush “victorious”!
While “9/11” was predictable and preventable, the Bush administration was clueless, ignoring intelligence reports and warnings from President Clinton. Gay linguists were fired, leaving intercepted documents with clues to the pending disaster untranslated. With Gore in charge, Afghanistan and Iraq would not have been attacked, Pat Tillman and thousands other military and civilians not killed or maimed, no right-wing Supreme Court majority, no unwise tax cuts for the richest.
Remember what happened to science, research, education, the wall between religion and government, regulations, environmental protection, Wall Street and financial frivolity, and incompetents elevated to important positions in government under Bush. The list is long and depressing.
With a Democratic extension of the Clinton years, in all likelihood the economy would have been somewhat better, our good foreign relations preserved, – and we could have kept shoes and belts on when checking in to fly.
Election tampering can have disastrous consequences. SCOTUS’ arbitrary handling is both mind boggling and sickening. O’Connor’s change of mind came too late!

Supreme prejudice (12/12/2012)
Editor,
It should be apparent to everyone by now how screwed up US Supreme Court Justice Antonio Scalia must be by asking “If we cannot have moral feelings against homosexuality, can we have it against murder?”
My goodness, how twisted his mind must be to compare same-sex relationship, which doesn’t affect anyone else, with the ultimate crime of murder! And this bigot sits on the highest court of the land, making decisions that affect all of us, for the foreseeable future?
Shouldn’t there be a way to remove someone so uniquely unqualified for the job of Supreme Justice? Scalia was appointed to the high court by President Reagan in 1986 and was partly responsible for stopping the Florida recount in 2000, which gave us George W. Bush and eight devastating years, predictable and preventable 9/11,two unnecessary wars, job losses, and a wrecked economy, besides an even more conservative court than before.
Thank goodness President Obama was re-elected, so that more enlightened justices can be appointed to offset the conservative, hate-ful wing of the Supreme Court.

Law and disorder (4/12/2012)
Dear Editor,
What has this country come to, when a law protects someone like George Zimmerman, who goes out of his way, looking for an opportunity to feel threatened, and then stages a situation where some innocent, unassuming victim gets killed under the guise of self defense? Republican support for the gun-happy self-appointed vigilante I think is indicative of an inhumane value system.

Unconstitutional law? (10/03/2013)
Dear Editor,
What has this country come to when the Government mandates purchase of something you may not want? It is un-American, unpatriotic, Hitleresk, communistic and socialistic! Such power grab destroys our freedom and makes a mockery of us as exceptional, God fearing, gun-loving people. This governmental intrusion disrespects free exercise of our religion and ridicules our free enterprise, capitalistic system that has worked so well, for some.
If the Founding Fathers had wanted it, they would certainly have written into the US Constitution that Affordable Auto Insurance should be mandatory, at least for all who drive horseless carriages. Let’s demand the shut-down of all gas stations until this insane law is repealed!

Chapter 19 – OUR SECULAR CONSTITUTION don’t mess with it, and don’t Christianize it!
Dispelling the myth (8/9/2013
Dear Editor,
Another great article by Charles S. Hayne, “Dispelling the myth of a ‘Christian Nation'” (The Post, August 7), effectively countering the persistent false allegations about the US Constitution and the founding of our great nation.
Please permit me to add another angle. Granted, the founding fathers were a mix of more or less religious men, as well as non-believers. As a group they were free to hammer out a constitution as they saw fit, so had they wanted to form the nation as Christian, they would no doubt have said so in the Constitution. They did not.
“We the People” underscores that there was no “Under God” concept intended. That ought to be respected, whether you are religious, or not.
The framers wanted to avoid what the churches and religion-infested royalty had done in European nations. How much farther ahead couldn’t we have been today if Atheists hadn’t been persecuted and often killed in the past, and still held back today, in violation of the Constitution? We all lose by discriminating against the best and the brightest.
Religious “faith” is clearly a prerequisite for holding public office even today. How counter-productive is that?
What’s the point, anyway, of making the Constitution divisive? It was supposed to be a document all could gather around.

Constitution confusion (7/08/2011)
Editor,
With such a miserable track record for religion in general, and Christianity in particular, I don’t understand how anyone but our enemies would want to drag our fine secular Constitution down to the same level, twisting the document to something it was never meant to represent (Mylan Mann’s letter 7/08/2011, “God and country”).
That shows both a lack of patriotism, a failure to understand our history, and not the least, a lack of respect for the work and sacrifice of the Founding Fathers.
The “Treaty of Tripoli” was approved unanimously by the Senate on June 7, 1797 and proudly announced to the nation by John Adams. Article 11 could not be clearer: “As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion …”.
I suggest this letter writer reads my letter of July 1 more carefully, and not with eyes blurred by religion.
And, don’t mix up the Declaration of Independence with the Constitution! In order to resonate with the oppressors, the writers of the former had to refer to the British’ religious frame of mind, using their own understanding of divine powers as a basis for the freedom and equality our forefathers demanded.
So, if the Founders wanted to continue the Brits’ religious tradition, why wasn’t that reflected in the Constitution? The answer, of course, is that the Founders formed a secular nation, – and for very good reasons!

Chapter 20 – REPUBLICANISM patriotism, or treason?
Congressional insanity (2/10/2014)
Dear Editor,
In order to save the country from another expensive shut-down and further credit decline, House Speaker John Boehner let sanity prevail and allowed the debt ceiling increase go to the floor for a vote. Most Democrats and enough Republicans voted to raise the ceiling, so that the bills for expenses the House already had decided to spend would be paid. Should be a no-brainer, – if you put the nation’s best interests ahead of your zeal to obstructing the President, that is.
Instead, Republicans now want their own house majority leader Boehner’s head on a plate, – for even letting Congress vote!
And these are representatives empowered by the people to protect the country’s interests!
I can hardly think of anybody more destructive and mindless.
Oh, – wait, – even worse would be the gullible voters who blindly put such unfaithful, incompetent servants in powerful positions! Again, and again.

Republican tricks and obstruction (1/13/2014)
Editor,
It is not entirely fair to equate Chris Christie’s bridge trickery with Republicans’ obstruction of Congress.
After-all, Gov. Christie allowed some traffic through.

Who approves of Congress? (12/4/2013)
Dear Editor,
I see that Congress’ approval rating has sunk to the low single digit level.
Just wonder, – who are those still approving of Congress?
Congressional Republicans themselves? Or, some other anarchists?

The Republican way (12/2/2013)
Dear Editor,
After having promised to block every effort by President Obama to get anything done, Republicans now complain that he hasn’t kept his promises.
After all, they kept theirs.

Intellectual shut-down (10/02/2013)
Dear Editor,
Since Obamacare is the law, and funded by law, how ignorant do you have to be to think that you can repeal it by shutting down the Government?
Ooops, – I forgot the intellectually challenged base Republican congress members must kiss up to!

Exposing the truth (10/27/2013)
Dear Editor,
On The Daily Show the other night, the Republican precinct chairman for North Carolina’s Asheville area, Don Yelton, admitted the obvious, namely that the intent of voter suppression was to prevent Democrats from voting, and not necessarily just minorities.
For that he was fired.
We have come to expect nothing but lies, misrepresentation, denial of facts, obstruction, un-patriotic actions and double-talk from Republicans, so exposing the truth for a change was totally unexpected from that side and so refreshingly un-Republican.
But, to get yourself fired for it, – not for sounding as dumb as many Republican congressmen and women, but for letting the cat out of the bag?
I guess they can’t trust someone who deviates from the party-line like that!

Dysfunctional reputation (10/23/2013)
Dear Editor,
Republican presidential hopeful George W. Bush picked as running mate Dick Cheney, with a dysfunctional heart.
Republican presidential hopeless John McCain picked as running mate Sarah Palin, with a dysfunctional brain.
Any wonder that the Republican controlled House proved dysfunctional?

Button up, GOP! (10/8/2013)
Dear Editor,
GOPs hottest convention button chavinistically mocks Hillary’s female attributes.
That should attract more women and nail the 2016 election!
For the Democrats.

Political nuttiness (PA Daily Post, 10/1/2013)
Dear Editor,
I see that the US Congress enjoys a 10% approval rate. Really?
I realize that most of Congress are, but it is hard to believe that as much as 10% of the US population are complete nuts.

Preventive action (9/27/2013)
Dear Editor,
After several horrible events recently, we are left with the disturbing question why no one reacted to bizarre behavior, delusional thoughts, and life-threatening ideas.
Realistically, though, I’m not sure it is even possible to hall more than half of Congress off to a mental institution as a preventive measure.

Brains not bombs (8/10/2013)
Editor,
Does anyone but the most gullible take Heritage Foundation President and former South Carolina Republican Senator Jim DeMint seriously anymore? On Fox “News” he said Al Qaeda “may be more of a threat to us than they were before before 9/11 because they perceive President Barack Obama to be a weak president”.
The threats before 9/11 were clear and present, but ignored by the then president George W. Bush. The predictable and totally preventable terror attacks not only happened on Bush’ watch, but he compounded the damage by blindly diving into two unnecessary wars, without a clear goal, and with no exit strategy. It took President Obama to get us out and to track down and dispose of Osama bin Laden, who Bush had given up on. Faced with credible threats right now, Obama has taken preemptive measures.
It looks like DeMint and his right-wink ilk measure “strength” by the willingness to blindly use fire power and attack, rather than brain power to figure out what’s the best course of action. Like in the school yard, – the bullies are the trouble makers, while the more brainy are the future problem solvers and true leaders.
Perhaps Mr. DeMint should re-evaluate his opinion? Oh, sorry, – I forgot, – that requires some brain power!
Truth trumps lies (5/19/2012)
Amidst the Right-wing inspired lies, distortions, fabrications, and innuendos, both about Mitt Romney and President Obama, all the Democrats have to do is tell the truth about both.
Doomsday? Hardly (10/31/2008)

We keep hearing that by electing a Democrat like Sen. Barack Obama, the country will go down the drain. The economy will suffer, business will be hurt, taxes will be raised, spending will get out of hand and we’ll all be worse off and less secure.
I seem to recall the same rhetoric 16 years ago, when Bill Clinton was running for the top spot. Does anyone remember what happened during his 8 years at the helm, despite the opposition’s gloomy prediction?
Dishonesty of Republican proportions (10/19/2011)

By now, Congressional Republicans should have lost all credibility and respect among people, – at least among thinking, non-brainwashed constituents. And all the lies, – sugarcoated with religious nonsense. It is absolutely incredible what they get away with!
American law based on the 10 commandments? Nonsense!
The US Constitution forming a Christian nation? Nonsense!
Social security adding to the federal deficit? Nonsense!
The US Postal system bankrupt? Nonsense!
Reducing taxes for the rich creating jobs? Nonsense!
How can anyone believe Republican politicians anymore?
By now it should be obvious that they don’t work for the people, despite their claim and deference to non-existing higher powers

Values or worts? (2/11/2012)
What are the “American values” Republican presidential hopefuls keep referring to?
Restrict health care to only those who can afford it and deny for those in need?
A tax system that benefits those already better off than the other 99%?
Discriminate on basis of race, gender, sexual orientation or religion?
Deny women the right to decide over their own bodies?
Deny people access to sex information and birth control?
Discredit education and science in favor of “faith”?
Turn every social issue into a religious controversy?
Cheat, lie, distract, distort and confuse for political and personal gain?
Appeal to ignorance, superficiality, superstition, and lack of intellectual curiosity?
Let industry and business go unregulated, jeopardizing life, health and environment for all, while controlling individuals’ most personal life and behavior, which affect no one else?
If these can be called “values” at all, – they are nothing but un-American, and clearly in conflict with the US Constitution’s concept of “we the people” and freedom and equality for all.

Unfair comparison (7/14/2010)
“On Sale: Your Government” inspired the thought that although members of both groups sell their bodies to the highest bidder, I think it is unfair to compare prostitutes with Republican politicians. After all, members of the oldest profession are paid to say “yes.”

Insulting the voters (12/12/2011)
After eight disastrous years under George W. Bush, and 3 years of preventing Obama from bringing the country back from the brink, who in his right mind would wish for more Republicanism, – unless they really want the country destroyed!?
It is an insult to the voters to suggest that any of the Republican hopefuls could do better than Obama could do in a second term. If Obama can’t perform miracles and fix it all, who among the Republicans do they think can do better?
What does any of them have to offer, uneducated for the job, inexperienced, intellectually challenged, and clueless as they have proved to be during the circus “debates”. No reason to expect any improvement even when Donald the Ringmaster is brought in to whip up some excitement. Clowns may be entertaining, but don’t expect them to perform magic tricks beyond the childish variety.

Chapter 21 – JOBS? Who wouldn’t want to work?
The real “Takers” (5/06/2013)
Like so many things, the Republicans have it wrong also when it comes to their dishonest election rant of “Takers” vs. “Makers”, aimed at swaying gullible voters by using misleading labels.
First of all, the “makers” are primarily those people who actually make things, tangible products and services that are marketed, sold and used to meet a need of some sort. These people, the vast majority of us, take home money, but only in exchange for a job done, something made or built, or a service rendered.
On the other hand, “Takers” are those who take home an inordinate amount of money and benefits compared to the time consumed and effort expended. High-level salaries and perks, bonuses, stock options and golden parachutes, whether fired or resigned, are more often than not taken for granted, and not as a fair exchange for something made or done.
Members of Congress and others that accept bribes from special interests contrary to the common good, must also be classified as “Takers”, – actually of the worst kind, since there is a secondary, negative impact that often costs a society dearly, besides contaminating the democratic process.
Heirs to vast fortunes are also “takers” unless they make something out of themselves and contribute to the society at large at a level proportionate to their own lucky birth.
Among the “takers” we must also count investors who jump in and out of the stock market, with no consideration beyond their own gain. What’s their contribution to society, compared to what they “take”?
Again, reality turns out to be the exact opposite of the Republican claim, as is so often the case.
The ultimate irony, though, is that you can’t take it with you, no matter how much you have accumulated.

Job loss nonsense (2/22/2014)
Why is it so difficult to understand the real effect of the now infamous CBO projection of labor market impact of the ACA, – unless you really want to misrepresent the issue?
(Boston Herald Other voices: The job loss from the Affordable Care Act, SM Daily Journal, 2/7/2014) Republican politicians and right-wing media are correct when pointing to the CBO report as nonpartisan, but they are totally wrong when they call the projected 2.3 million equivalent employee reduction as layoffs resulting in more unemployment! The CBO projection has nothing to do with employer-generated layoff actions, only voluntary employment changes by employees who no longer are dependent upon their old workplace for health insurance!
These people do not become what is defined as “unemployed”! Some simply cut back on their hours, spouses may not have to work full time anymore just to keep health insurance, some may now have the chance to start businesses on their own, and some may retire earlier due to expanded Medicare, – as clearly explained by those who issued the report!
However, and this is an important point totally ignored by those who fight against the success of Obamacare: Those positions left open will to some extent have to be filled! By whom? The previously unemployed, of course, so that the net result is less unemployment! Listen, Republicans: this is personal freedom at work!
The whole thing is actually quite simple, unless you grab any opportunity to trash health coverage for all, preying on gullible people ready to swallow anything to take Obama down. Compassionate and patriotic? Yeah.

Chapter 22 – TAXATION AND REPUBLICAN CONFUTATION who are they fooling, but the folly?
Money corrupts, – even the brain (2/14/2014)
Financial success is far from a direct and predictable result of hard work. Usually, it has a lot to do with luck, connections, and being in the right place at the right time, not to mention social factors, market conditions and an infrastructure that make it possible to do well.
Aging venture capitalist Tom Perkins proves what has long been apparent, namely that you don’t even have to be particularly bright (“1% spokesman defends stance”, SF Examiner, 2/14/2014) to achieve financial success.
How full of yourself, and how blinded by your own millions, do you have to be to compare an imaginary “exploitation” of the rich with the horror of Holocaust? How conceited do you have to be to even suggest that you, almost by definition, work harder than anyone with lower income, or with less wealth accumulated? Someone with $100 million piled up hasn’t worked 100 times harder than one with “just” a million, – or a thousand times harder than someone with a mere $100-thousand! It is more likely that the opposite is true, especially since money both talks and works. Over a certain critical mass, money works on its own, – often without the owner having to lift a finger, while others have to grind theirs to the nails.
How about some humility, and some gratitude for your good fortune? As if it isn’t enough making money beyond ones wildest dreams, being able to afford whatever you can think of? Instead, now Mr. Perkins wants to buy democracy, too, – as if money hasn’t already compromised elections enough, and prostituted politicians left and right?
And to claim that the last 50 years of war on poverty has been a failure, is like suggesting that medical advances are worthless unless 100% are cured. Not only does money corrupt, but it looks like too much infects the brain, too, – on some with money driven personality.

Republican nonsense (12/6/2010)
s coming out of the Republican congressional camp these days.
Are they deliberately confusing the issue, or don’t they understand that there is no such thing as tax cuts just for the middle class? Any tax rate for those making net taxable income of less than $250,000 affects equally those making more. The tax rate for the first $250,000 is unaffected by any taxable income over and beyond.
With tax reductions for the first $250,000, those better off get exactly the same as the middle class. But that isn’t enough; they want more. Their greed and incredible selfishness come at the expense of our nation in the long run.
This is so elementary that even Republican members of Congress should understand it. To turn around and claim that tax reduction for those making more would create jobs is beyond stupidity. It is money spent that drives the economy, creates demand, and results in additional jobs being created — that’s simple economics. And, while we’re at it, nothing would stimulate the economy more and create more good jobs than public funding of large projects to improve the infrastructure. That’s money spent and circulating here, while money spent for wars for the most part is wasted “over there.”

Chapter 23 – G O PARTY OF NO FUTURE Outlived itself, and the nation
GOP Game Plan (9/04/2012)
The Republican game plan has now become abundantly clear: Systematically and falsely accuse President Obama and his administration of exactly of what their own campaign is guilty! Lacking a workable program or sensible policies of their own, what else can they do, but lie?
Among all the unsubstantiated Republican lies and false accusations, none fit themselves better than dishonesty and incompetence. What better description of the Republican hopefuls? It has come to a point where we can safely assume that the truth is the opposite of what is claimed by the Republican camp.
Anyone still sufficiently bewildered to vote for such insincere, unpatriotic and lying politicians, – a disaster for the nation, and a danger for the world if, heaven forbid, they should be elected?

Palin for Hillary? (9/25/2013)
Considering the source, I wonder how many Republicans might be encouraged to vote for Hillary Clinton after Sarah Palin declared her unfit to be president?

No thanks to GOP (3/05/2011)
The Republican Party has for the last couple of years been called the party of “NO,” and rightfully so after voting against everything President Obama has promoted, including things they were in favor of before. Tea Party nothings like Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann, Christine O’Donnell, Sharon Angle and others have only made the GOP more nonsensical, while giving these women an equal opportunity to make fools of themselves. The GOP has earned the “NO” label across the board by having no conscience, no ethics, no shame, no heart, no patriotism, no knowledge, no understanding, no respect, no intelligence, no honesty, no plan, no direction, no ideas, no progress, no regulations, no need for science and education — no nothing. In the best interest of the country, voter reaction to the GOP in 2012 should be “No, thanks!”

Obamaspeak (9/11/2009)
Of course, Republicans have every reason to worry about president Obama speaking to school children. With his rhetorical skills and persuasive persona, he is likely to inspire the students to stay in school, study harder, learn more, and engage in independent thinking. That can’t be good for the future of the GOP.

Intellectually challenged? (1/20/2011)
s the best hope for our great nation.

 Chapter 24 – A GALLERY OF REPUBS a not-so-funny parade
Bach-ing out (5/31/2013)
I never thought I would ever have to admit that I underestimated Republican Congress woman Michele Bachmann’s intelligence. However, with a tough challenge for re-election, last year, and an almost certain humiliating defeat in 2014, she wisely decided to quit while still slightly ahead.
Congresswoman Michele Bachmann has made a name for herself in so many ways, including believing that a pretty face was sufficient for the US presidency.
Stating that the Founding Fathers had worked tirelessly to abolish slavery isn’t even among her 10 best, and far behind her heartless claim that natural catastrophes and recent gun massacres are divine punishments for something.
Despite her tireless work to prevent gay marriage from becoming law in her home state Minnesota, that state just became nr. 12 for equal rights to marry. Even with this setback for one of her flag causes, rep. Bachmann would never have to marry a gay woman, of course, – or a gay man, for that matter. And, a gay man may no longer have to settle for a straight woman, – even if she is blessed with a cute face!
That Ms. Bachmann doesn’t belong on The Congressional Intelligence or any other committee requiring some insight, knowledge, and analytical capability, she proves every time she opens her mouth. So, now what, Ms. Bachmann?

Sarah for Obama? (1/30/2012)
Sarah Palin urges voters to go for Newt Gingrich in Florida. Thanks, Sarah, – but I had no idea you were working for the Democrats, although you have done a lot for them in the past, – just by opening your mouth!
Or, perhaps you don’t understand that Newt will be even easier for Obama to take down than Mitt, – even if you keep your mouth shut?

Sorry, comedians (10/09/2011)
So, Sarah Palin isn’t running after all.
Too bad, Jon Stewart, Steven Colbert, Jay Leno and David Letterman.
You were hoping for an easy time before the 2012 election, didn’t you?
Well, you just have to work a bit harder. The rest of the Republican hopefuls aren’t quite as funny, but they’ll have to do. I know you can do it. I’m sure they’ll keep giving you good stuff.
Also, devoted Republican voters who felt that Sarah Palin was too intellectual, still have Michele Bachmann!

Trumping it up (4/29/2011)
Donald Trump must really like betting – even against all odds.
Against indisputable facts, he bet that President Obama was not born in the United States. He lost, both face and bet.
But did he learn from his mistake of betting against reality? Apparently not. Now he claims that Obama was a lousy student with poor grades despite being a Harvard graduate summa cum laude. From where does he get such ridiculous ideas?
There should be no doubt by now that Obama is very bright, hard-working and a fast study, but really good students rarely brag about their grades.
However, it doesn’t seem to have dawned on Trump that his intellectually challenged “birther” followers might buy into this “lousy student with poor grades” nonsense and identify with Obama instead of being intimidated by him as a top scholar.
What a circus a debate between Obama and Trump could be. I bet that would be a grand opportunity for Trump to go down in flames – looking for another impossible bet.

Chapter 25- SOCIALISM vs. CAPITALISM – adversaries or partners?
Keep concepts straight (4/16/2009)
Al Ujcle is right when he calls for more intelligent comments (From Readers, SF Examiner, April 9) and the need for understanding the true meaning of the words we use. Even newspapers and TV commentators are far too promiscuous when words like “socialism” and “fascism” are tossed around and often used to disparage opponents, imaginary or real. “Socialism” is a political and economic theory which advocates that the community as a whole should own and control the means of production, distribution and exchange. However, Mr. Ujcle is wrong when he uses Sweden as an example of a socialist country. Sweden is not, nor is any of the other Scandinavian countries. These are to some extent social welfare nations, where the ones stronger and better off take some care of the weaker and less fortunate. However, that has nothing whatsoever to do with socialism! These countries are as far from socialism as the US, perhaps even more so! The Soviet Union was a socialist country, where private ownership of the means of production was practically non-existent. It is also wrong to claim that the US is becoming “socialistic” just because government has had to step in and rescue certain businesses that got out of control because of greed and lack of appropriate regulation. Both the US and the Scandinavian countries have a relatively free enterprise system, based on capitalism, where almost all means of production are privately owned and managed. And finally, to refer to President Obama as “socialist” is not only completely misleading and disrespectful, but symptomatic of uneducated, sore losers. Get with it, folks, stop the name calling and support our President!

Socialism? Hardly (4/15/2010)
I am getting sick and tired of people writing about “socialism” without having the slightest idea of what the word means (”America marches towards Socialism,” letter to the editor, Daily Journal, April 8). Don’t these word-challenged writers have access to a dictionary, or is there a certain pride associated with not knowing the meaning of a word perceived as “bad”?
Socialism is simply “a political and economic theory which advocates that the community as a whole should own and control the means of production, distribution and exchange.” The word is often confused with the concept of social welfare, which simply means that the society takes care of those in need, which distinguishes an advanced society from those that neglect their people and let the rich and powerful prey on the unfortunate rest. So, what does affordable health care for all have to do with “socialism”?
The health and welfare of the population at large is of national concern and have a direct impact on the nation’s economy, not to mention its ethical foundation. All the health care reform has done is to take the first step in the right direction so that the US can eventually catch up with the other industrialized democracies in the world, none of which is practicing “socialism.” With the heavy burden of an expensive, unnecessary health insurance industry, we are actually paying more for less health care than the more advanced countries, yet letting millions go without adequate health care. Cut out this “socialism” nonsense and quit flaunting your ignorance, fellow letter writers!

Scandinavia: Not socialism (12/19/2011)
The Wednesday letter-writer arguing against my Dec. 9 letter, “A new look at capitalism,” not only misunderstood it, he also twisted my words to the exact opposite of what I wrote and showed a glaring lack of knowledge about modern Europe.
My point was that we can learn something from the Scandinavian countries, which are neither “Old Europe” nor “socialistic” — since their means of production, distribution and exchange are not owned by the state.
The Danish, Norwegian and Swedish societies are based on a capitalistic, free-enterprise system, somewhat regulated to protect the environment for the benefit of all. Scandinavians enjoy great personal freedom, with a thriving economy and low unemployment. Education, health care and protection of the young, sick and elderly are considered national priorities. In that sense, they have a more universal and fair social welfare system, which we have a lot to learn from. But that has nothing to do with “socialism.”

Chapter 26 – GET OBAMA – AT ANY COST! and why so unpatriotic?

State dinner bashing! (2/13/2014)
The state dinner for French President Francois Hollande hosted by President Obama, provided yet another convenient opportunity to trash our President, – for some. In “White House missed its own memo” (SF Chronicle, 2/13/2014), a letter writer complains that up to $500,000 was spent for an “opulent state dinner” and concludes that politicians like Obama can’t be trusted.
What nonsense! First of all, hosting this important ally was a rare event, watched around the globe, spreading goodwill and paving the way for greater cooperation. Besides being peanuts, the amount spent is not lost, but goes into the economy as a stimulus.
On the other hand, the $25 billion lost when the Republicans were playing games last fall and decided to force a shut-down of Government, is lost forever! The overall cost to the economy, the society at large, and individuals, is far greater than the $25B that could be calculated.
That’s an unnecessary loss that even Obama-bashers should be more upset about, – not a necessary dinner at a small fraction of the cost, – a cost that even stimulates both the economy and goodwill abroad.
If anything, the Obama-bashers are looking more and more silly, – and more and more desperate.

State of the Union (1/30/2014)
President Obama nailed it so thoroughly that the Democrats kept jumping out of their seats, while the Republicans seemed nailed to theirs.

Fox Unbalanced and Unfair (2/04/2014)
President Obama being trashed by Republican politicians and right-wing media as been the norm since his inauguration. It is often so shrewdly done that it an be hard for the uninformed to figure out what’s true, especially for those enjoying the heated Obama hate-wave ride.
Take the Bill O’Reilly interview with President Obama aired on Fox TV right before last Sunday’s Super Bowl game. Despite the host’s constant interruptions and rather disrespectful demeanor, Obama kept his cool and calmly tried his best to answer truthfully and as completely as time allowed. But to listen to O’Reilly’s recap afterward, and to read what the right-leaning media write, provide a clear insight in not only how unfair and unbalanced Fox TV is, but also how disgustingly dishonest the media report such events.
Take the on-line “Eagle Rising”: “President Obama continues to play the blame game. The President was combative and unapologetic, even having the gall to make a couple of ridiculous claims: all of my scandals are Fox’ fault! In the same breath he also said that there wasn’t even ‘a smidgen of corruption’ in the IRS scandal”.
What a blatant distortion of reality! Far from being combatant, Obama insisted on answering O’Reilly’s accusatory questions, despite rude interruptions. The essence of Obama’s responses was thatit is Fox and other right-wing media that keep referring to “scandals”, keeping such false notions alive, despite evidence to the contrary. Obama did not, and has never, blamed anyone else for what has happened, – but it must be frustrating having to answer empty accusations based on misrepresentation of the facts, especially referring to “scandals” where none exists. However, how can Obama be blamed for things that happened before he took office, like 9/11, two unnecessary wars and a collapsing economy? Those were George W. Bush’ real scandals, which Obama has worked hard to undo, against fierce resistance and obstruction by Republicans and right-wing media, Fox very much included.

Obamacare a killer? (10/23/2013)
If the Republicans really believe that Obamacare kills jobs, why don’t they enthusiastically support implementation, – in line with their agenda since Obama took office?

Unfulfilled expectations (1/03/2013)
DOW was up 26.5% in 2013, for a record high, contrary to the dire stock market collapse under Obama predicted by the Republicans.
So, that socialist, Marxist, ineligible Muslim president couldn’t even meet that expectation!

Stupid comparisons (Comment to Ronn Owens, KGO Talk Show, 7/14/2010)
The comparisons of Obama with Hitler, Nazism, and the like, only shows the incredible stupidity of those against him.
Not only are they intellectually challenged and blank on history, but they also demonstrate that they have nothing of substance against Obama considering how low they have to stoop.

Chapter 27 – PRESIDENTIAL REQUIREMENTS and why not?
Presidential gender (2/27/2014)
When a prominent Republican Congresswoman like Michele Bachmann finds it necessary to proclaim that the country isn’t ready for a woman president, – we know it is.

GOP debt ceiling confusion (10/17/2013)
s the point?”
By now I thought that everybody but the most intellectually challenged had grasped that raising the debt ceiling is necessary in order to pay bills due for expenses already approved by Congress, – not incurred by President Obama! The alternative would be unthinkable, namely not to pay outstanding bills! The only “laughably absurd”, to use Ms. Palin’s expression, is the debt limit itself. It has no real mission and should be abolished, – especially now that the Republicans had the audacity to use it for political gain and contrary to the nation’s best interest.
The bright side is that they lost, which paves the way for a Democratic House the next election. That would be worth every million of what the shut-down cost the country!
And let’s not forget the embarrassing fact that Sarah Palin was the Republican VP candidate, – who thought she would be in charge of Congress if, heaven forbid, she had been elected to that office, so far over her pretty head???

Chapter 28 – MITT ROMNEY’S QUALIFICATIONS any, or none?
Mitt’s bar bust (3/16/2013)
That Republican hopeless, Mitt Romney, the epitome of abstinence, should be taken down by a bar tender, is more than funny. That was a social service of almost biblical proportion!
Now, it isn’t all that rare that bar tenders stop patrons from getting too drunk, or if they are, prevent them from getting on the road and cause mayhem.
Not so common, yet far more important, that someone like Mitt Romney was kept off the road to theUS Presidency, thereby perhaps preventing world wide catastrophe. Whether intoxicated from alcohol or one’s own ego and perceived success, drunks like that should be stopped while it is still possible. We saw what happened when George W. Bush wasn’t stopped in time!
I’m not sure what kind of medal bar tender turned videographer par excellence Scott Pouty deserves, but whatever it is, he has earned it!

“47% tape a savior!” (3/14/2013)
How indebted are we to Scott Prouty, the bar tender turned videographer responsible for the infamous “47%” video that revealed Republican hopefull Mitt Romney’s true positions?
According to MSNBC’s Ed Schultz’ March 13 interview with Mr. Prouty, who finally came forward, we have a lot to be thankful for.
Thanks to gullible voters swallowing Romney’s lies, accepting his unpatriotic dealings, and buying his undemocratic agenda, incumbant Barack Obama and his challenger were neck-and-neck at roughly 48%/48% last summer. Once the “47%” tape went public, and viral on the Internet and in the media, things quickly changed in favor of Obama and stayed that way to secure his re-election, despite voting obstructions by the Republican party.
Fortunately for us, and the rest of the world, the truth about Romney trumped the lies about Obama.
The “47%” tape may very well have determined the outcome of the election! Imagine if Romney, heaven forbid, had been elected! Instead of getting out of the disastrous wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, Romney was all set to prolong both, in addition to starting new wars wherever he saw an opportunity to demonstrate the military might of the US, beginning with Iran, besides showing the world again how callously we get into international conflicts.
If anyone deserves the Nobel Peace Prize, it is Scott Prouty! He may very well have saved us from more disasters on the international scene, and who knows what may have ensued if Mitt Romney had ended up as Commander-in-Chief. We are indebted to Scott Prouty for recording and revealing Romney’s true nature behind closed doors, and especially for having the courage to go public with the evidence, despite the obvious risks he ran.

Mitt back again! (1/25/2013)
Unsuccessful presidential candidate Mitt Romney is back again, assuring followers that he is not going away and that he will continue to help.
Whether needed or not, – hey, it won’t hurt the Democrats with more help from Romney! He’s in good company with Sarah Palin, Ted Cruz, Todd Akin, Rand Paul and the like, – all being very helpful reminding the voters what a Republican administration would be like.
Please, oh Please, Mitt, – keep it up! Just keep talking, – thinking people will get it, and be reminded of your complete lack of presidential potential!

Mitt’s Motto (10/08/2012)
Republican hopeless Mitt Romney’s motto has finally emerged as a paraphrase of the late President John F. Kennedy’s famous words:
Ask not what I can do for the country.
Ask what the US Presidency can do for my legacy and my wealthy friends!

Clean-up in 2012? (5/22/2012.)
Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney is now infamous for making snap decisions without bothering to think about the consequences, his fellow countrymen, the country, or the world! Never mind if it is contrary to his previous position.
“Obamacare”? Get rid of it, – that’s the easy one!
Planned Parenthood? No need for it!
Social Security? Get rid of it!
Medicare? Phase it out!
Foreign relations? Who cares about our enemies!
Time to get rid of Romney? Yes, in 2012.
He’ll be running again in 2016, promising to get rid of everything President Obama has done during his second term.

Chapter 29 – OBAMA CARES ! And why wouldn’t he?
Victory at last? (10/16/2013)
Will President Obama go down in history as the one who took down the nation’s enemy #1? The one who through patience and perseverance were able to finally break the worst threat to our security, freedom, happiness and prosperity?
Will Obama be remembered as the one and only who took down the unpatriotic group that worked so hard to take him down, – the Republican party?

Failed repeal of Obamacare (7/25/2012)
Republican House representatives have again, for the 33rd time, unsuccessfully tried to repeal The Affordable Health care program, or Obamacare, knowing full well that it won’t pass the Senate and that President Obama ultimately would veto any part reaching his desk anyway. Nothing else to do, like creating a better job environment?
Representative John Boehner (R) keeps chanting “where are the jobs?” and that “the American people do not want Obamacare!”, – despite the vast majority being in favor of improved health care and coverage for more people.
Who is Boehner talking about when he refers to “the American people”? Since even most Republicans have now turned around and realized that Obamacare will benefit the nation, the only “American people” Boehner refers to must be the health insurance industry, riding profitably on people’s need for health care without contributing anything but additional cost. Why is he so protective of this group at the expense of the rest of the people he is supposed to represent? Couldn’t be a hefty bribe, would it?

Obama’s global appeal (7/29/2008)
Rather than being concerned about the media’s lack of interest in McCain, we ought to value Barack Obama’s apparent appeal to the Europeans. We should appreciate that we have at least one presidential candidate that our European allies are comfortable with, someone they accept as an honest leader, a fresh breath, and someone with the ability to repair our relationship with countries we need to work with for a safer and better world. Obama has paid attention in geography class, has rapport with foreign leaders, expresses himself clearly and learns quickly, while McCain’s alleged foreign experience is highly overrated. Dropping bombs on a country that never bothered us is hardly something to brag about 40 years later. Nor does it count to McCain’s advantage that he is clue-less when it comes to such a useful, modern tool as a personal computer! Where has he been for the last 30 years, how does he stay current, and how does he communicate with the rest of the world? Today, computers are widely used by senior citizens, and having a presidential candidate who looks at a computer as a frightening, useless, black box, is too embarrassing to be funny. We’re the technology leader of the world and can’t have a president who lives in the past and who is completely foreign to the most widely used communication tool. The more enlightened members of the media have realized that, and the Europeans are certainly aware of it. It is tempting to juxtapose McCain with former VP Al Gore, who was instrumental in getting the Internet off the ground. What a difference!

Leave God out of speech (12/01/2011)
The right-wingers, spurred by their media pundits, are up in arms because President Barack Obama didn’t mention “God” in his Thanksgiving speech.
By keeping the greeting neutral and down to earth, he honored the spirit of our secular Constitution, which should offend no one.
Yet, Obama is being hammered for not violating the Constitution and not offending the many who do not necessarily believe in the tenets of organized religion. The president is supposed to represent all of us, not only those who will eagerly grab any opportunity to use anything to separate us.

Obama losing? (Comment to Ronn Owens, KGO Talk Show, 4/05/2011)
The only way I can see Obama losing re-election, is if enough democratic voters either stay home or neglect to ask themselves if anyone could do better, – regardless of the situation or what happens at the time of the election.
The only other possibility I can see is rigging the voting machines and preventing voters from exercising their constitutional rights!

Misplaced trust (8/10/2011)
Too bad President Obama didn’t have enough mistrust in him to believe the Republicans when they kept announcing that their #1goal was to take him down, even if it meant sending the country off the cliff.
Naïvely, I thought that elected officials were supposed to pursue a national agenda, – not a twisted personal vendetta.
Sorry, Mr. President, – there is evil in the world, and it is far from color blind.

Post election prediction (11/10/2008)
Just by winning the presidency, Barack Obama has already contributed significantly to stabilize the world and plant seeds of hope. I predict that unless he is prevented from pursuing his agenda, he will be a shoe-in for the Nobel Peace Prize. With Ralph Bunche (1950) and Martin Luther King (1964), Barack will be in good laureate company.
Remember where you read it first: in the SF Chronicle!
Postscript:
As I predicted a year before, Barack Obama actually won the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize “for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples.”
Back to table of contents

Chapter 30 – TORTURE for what?
Water-boarding is for barbarians (11/15/2011)
During the latest Republican debate, both Michele Bachmann and Herman Cain advocated water-boarding, obviously appealing to immoral voters from the right wing. Besides being ineffective and counter-productive, water-boarding exposes us as barbarians and serves as an effective recruiting tool for our enemies. Never mind that former Vice President Dick Cheney claims it works. Those who know, don’t.
Obviously, that doesn’t include Cain and Bachmann.

Cruel and inefficient (11/20/2011)
I agree with your Nov. 15 letter, “Water boarding too cruel,” which called water boarding illegal and unbecoming a civilized society. Also, it doesn’t even work.
Those who really know maintain that not only doesn’t it work, but water boarding is counterproductive. The practice generates false results and sends interrogators off in wrong directions, wasting valuable time.
More deliberate, intelligent methods produce more reliable and actionable information. In addition, barbaric and unenlightened practices such as water boarding serve as an effective recruiting tool for our enemies, supporting their allegation that we are worthy of obliteration.

The torture photos (Comment to Ronn Owens, KGO Talk Show, 5/14/2009)
Way too embarrassing for global publication! It is bad enough with those that have already been leaked. Why hang out more of our dirtiest laundry, showing us as bungling idiots with no respect for other human beings? Here we really need a cover-up, in the best interest of the nation. However, a thorough internal investigation is absolutely called for. How on earth could it happen that prisoners were stripped naked, treated like dogs, and made fun of by “soldiers” so childish that they are a disgrace for both the military and the nation?
And how ridiculous with this little girl with a gun presiding over naked prisoners! She could hurt herself, – and even worse, someone else.

OPINION: Shameful credit claim
Instead of keeping quiet about their illegal and unsuccessful torture of Afghani captives, sugar coated as “enhanced interrogation”, the Bush administration has the nerve to demand credit for president Obama’s successful tracking down and disposal of Osama bin Laden. Despite being abandoned a couple of years after 9/11/2001, whether deemed unlawful or a failure, or both, experts and those of trustworthy character involved back then, confirm that nothing useful came out of the torture, except a single lead several years after water boarding was stopped. Still, bin Laden wasn’t found until Obama took charge, while the war and the torture activities served as effective recruiting tools for al Qaeda, prolonging already unnecessary wars, at tremendous cost of lives and resources. We were the first country attacking another in the brand new century and millennium, instead of promoting a peaceful new age.
There is general agreement among interrogation experts that torture only hardens the objects and leads to false and misleading information. Treating the captives as human beings and obeying international laws and conventions, bring more useful results, while setting an ethical example for the rest of the world. Instead, Republicans demand credit for their shameful, failed mission.

Tortured credit grab (5/10/2011)
Editor,
The 9/11 terrorist attacks were predictable and totally preventable. The Bush administration ignored all signs, fired gay American linguists fluent in Arabic, and left intercepted documents with clues untranslated. Why was Osama bin Laden immediately suspected of being behind the attacks? Because outgoing president Clinton had warned incoming president Bush, together with an August 6, 2001, memo re. pending attacks on our soil, all ignored by Bush. AG Ashcroft didn’t even want to hear the name bin Laden, ever again, – before 9/11!
Ill conceived as the attacks on Afghanistan and Iraq were, the US had to be the first country to start wars in a new century and millennium, bringing nothing but misery, but no bin Laden, despite extensive torture.
Torture is not only illegal and unbecoming a civilized country, but also counter-productive. Especially now, when reps for the previous administration are busy demanding credit for the disposal of public enemy # 1, it needs to be said that no matter how indiscriminately, and often amateurishly, captives were tortured under Bush, Osama bin Laden was not found. Bush lost interest after 6 months, and “enhanced interrogation” abandoned after a couple of years, without results. Because it was illegal, ineffective, or both? If anything, the hunt for bin Laden was set back, while the torture and the war became effective recruiting tools for al Qaeda, – and a reason for the world to despise us.
Contrast that incredibly costly, embarrassing failure to the inexpensive, successful approach by our Navy Seals, a job superbly planned and executed, a mission President Obama deserves full credit for. He made the right decision, for the right mission, at the right time, in secrecy. This was a master piece that not only cut the head off the al Qaeda snake, but which also secured a goldmine of information and actionable intelligence.
Against some military advice, Obama rejected mindless bombing, which would have destroyed the compound and all intelligence therein, besides hurting innocents.
And now, those who brought upon us and the world unnecessary wars and years of delay, claim credit for Obama’s successful capture of bin Laden! What shameful behavior and complete lack of honesty and common decency. Then again, – what else could we expect from that wing?

Chapter 31 – MILITARY PROBLEMS Not what they claim!
Iraq War Militarily Stupid (3/21/2013)
To the articles “The Iraq War was a crime” (SF Chronicle, 3/21/2013), we must add that it was also an incredibly stupid undertaking from a military standpoint.
No matter how despicably horrible the despot Sadam Hussein was, at least he was a stabilizing factor in that region. Iran and Iraq were arch enemies, in permanent opposition, and often at war. If either got an upper hand, the other would strike, so why not let them fight it out, again and again, without our intervention? If two of our worst enemies are at each others throat, why not leave them fighting? There is no need for us to side with the lesser enemy, unless the conflict gets out of hand and threatens others!
The Sadam Hussein regime was also the more secular in that area, – another stabilizing factor in the midst of fighting Islamic factions. While Iraq’s dictator kept Al Queda at bay, now they have another playing field because of our involvement. While Iraq would likely have checked Iran’s nuclear ambitions, they became our worst nightmare.
What about military strategy back then, instead of foolishly attacking a country of no threat to us?

The Afghanistan disaster (2/22/2013)
Ted Rudow III brings up the sad history of Afghanistan over the last 30 years or so (“Sad litany”, SM Daily Journal, 2/19/2013).
However, he fails to reflect on what might have turned out differently if the US hadn’t intervened during the 1979 war between the Soviet Union and Afghanistan. We foolishly stepped into that mud, too, and helped the Taliban with weapons that turned out to be vital for their defeat of the Russians. Why couldn’t we stay out of that conflict and let the locals fight it out without us? It was well known back then how the Taliban treated women, who were denied both education, health care and the most basic human rights, yet, we had to help their oppressors! Why? To prevent “Godless Communists” from converting the Taliban? Yeah, big deal!
So, what if the country had turned communist? That would probably have made it much harder both for the Taliban and al-Qaeda to flourish. The 9/11 terrorist attacks may not have happened, George W. Bush would have been a one-timer, and the Supreme Court not loaded with right-wingers. Iraq might still be a power to keep Iran in check, instead of a breeding place for al-Qaeda!
Meddling in countries without understanding what we are doing, has consequences! Yet, we keep doing it!
Do we ever learn from our mistakes?

Blind might (1/21/2012)
In his New Hampshire victory speech, Mitt Romney emphasized the importance he would put on keeping the U.S. militarily strong. He declared that he’d aim to keep our military “so strong that no one would dare attack us!” Oh really?
Has he already forgotten 9/11, when a handful of virgin-hunting martyrs armed with box cutters were able to hijack our airplanes and do irreparable harm to our nation, despite our military strength? What does military might mean unless backed up by intelligence and common sense, with competent people in charge, regardless of political affiliation (or sexual orientation, for that matter).
The terror attacks on that fateful day were totally predictable and preventable, and there was no shortage of military might. Instead, we compounded the disaster by using overwhelming fire power to attack two countries that had nothing to do with the attacks.
Meanwhile, Republicans claimed Bush kept us safe by sending our soldiers “over there,” where they were blown apart by the tens of thousands. So much for keeping us “safe.” Instead of more smart bombs, we need more smart minds. Instead of setting other countries on fire, we need to set a better example, which the world needs more than blind might. Instead of instilling fear, let’s give the world reason to support and trust us.
Any takers among the Republican hopefuls?

Opportunity lost (12/21/2010)
Good move to finally repeal DADT. However, one cannot help wonder what we may have avoided if done away with before Sept. 11, 2001. Prior to the attacks, American linguists fluent in Arabic were fired because they were gay, resulting in intercepted messages with clues to the terror that were left untranslated.
Could 9/11 have been avoided, as well as the wars on Afghanistan and Iraq? It is possible. What a tragedy it wasn’t done sooner.

Blessed, militant rape (4/19/2011)
Rep. Jackie Speier’s article in the Sunday Insight edition, “Female troops suffer rapes, Pentagon’s indifference,” is a shocking piece of investigative reporting.
Here we were told that “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” couldn’t be repealed because it would cause such a huge problem. Now it turns out that female soldiers are being raped on a large scale in the U.S. military, the very pious organization held in such high esteem. Women are more likely to be raped by fellow soldiers than killed by enemy fire – and then be blamed for being raped!
One rape victim was told by the military chaplain that “it must have been God’s will for her to be raped,” and the chaplain recommended that she attend church more frequently.
Is the U.S. military rotten to the core? A rape is a rape and a violation of a basic human right not to have your body invaded without invitation, whether you’re a servicewoman or a civilian.

Preventable disaster (4/21/2011)
Your article “New Charges Filed Against Suspect in USS Cole” is a reminder of a disaster that was avoidable. Like “9/11”, the attack on US destroyer “Cole” in the sea outside Yemen, was predictable and preventable. The ship was anchored in enemy waters, outside a country hostile to us, and some kind of terror action should be expected. Thus, the crew should be on high alert and on guard for anything suspicious! That should be a no-brainer. Instead, two Arab-looking young guys were allowed to paddle a rubber dinghy towards the ship, pretending not to understand anything shouted to them. Nothing was done to stop them. When up against the side of the ship, they blew themselves up, killing 17 US sailors, injuring 40 more, some seriously, and causing millions in damage to the ship, – and exposing us as gullible duds.
Under no circumstances should anyone have been allowed to approach the ship! Warning shots should have been fired, that’s a language understood around the world. If not heeded, the dinghy should have been sunk while still at a safe distance.
One has to wonder what the captain was thinking and what the crew were doing. Playing shuffle board or watching TV, instead of guarding the ship? What did they think the rubber dinghy paddlers had in mind? Greet the ship with flowers?
Have we learned from a blunder like that, or do we have to learn the hard way, again and again?
We should be a step ahead and anticipate possible scenarios, and certainly take decisive action when a potentially hostile action is in the making. Our imagination has to stay ahead of the enemy’s creativity!

Georgia a test case? (8/12/2008)
The Russians certainly know that our military position and our status in the world have been greatly weakened because of Iraq. They haven’t forgotten that we aided the Taliban in Afghanistan against them in the 80’s either.
How different the situation would have been today if we had stayed out of Iraq and let the Russians and the Taliban in Afghanistan fight it out without our involvement ! Then, our voice would have had some weight today, and we would probably have had less trouble with the Taliban. The attack on Georgia may be an initial test to see what they can get away with, while we stand by, greatly weakened on the international scene. After WWI it took the Germans less than 20 years to recover before they began to nibble on their neighbors! After the fall of the Soviet Union, it has taken the Russians less than 20 years to recover. Couldn’t we see that coming? History tends to repeat itself, unless we learn from it.

Military logic is nonsense (11/10/2009)
Can someone explain the logic behind the military’s firing of gays and lesbians for no good reason at all, while someone like Nidal Hasan is not only kept in the military but promoted all the way to major despite poor performance reviews?
It should have been clear that he was deranged and a safety risk both at Fort Hood and, heaven forbid, in the Middle East. While homosexuals as a group pose no risk as civilians or military personnel, someone who maintains an anti-American Web site and becomes an extremist after Sept. 11/should be checked out very thoroughly.
If that had been done, dozens of casualties at Fort Hood certainly could have been avoided. On the other hand, if homosexual Americans fluent in Arabic had not been fired, additional intercepted documents could have been translated and might have unveiled clues to Hasan’s plot.
Who jeopardized the nation’s security by firing the stable and capable, while retaining the unstable and incapable?
This LTE resulted in an anonymous phone call from someone who called me a “damned faggot”, followed by a travel suggestion to a very hot place. I have my doubts that this character understood how thoroughly he underscored my point!

Chapter 32 – PAT TILLMAN Why was he assassinated?
The Pat Tillman assassination (9/7/2013)
If only Bradley Manning had found and leaked documents revealing information about the assassination of Pat Tillman! Who gave the order to have one of our own fine soldiers killed, and why? Who actually executed the order, and who was responsible for the eventual cover-up and destruction of evidence?
This is the kind of information that the public really need to know, – not the least in order to hold the guilty responsible and make sure such an atrocity doesn’t happen again!

Who gave the order to assassinate Pat Tillman? (8/03/2007)
Here are the facts: Despite every effort to identify himself, Pat Tillman was killed by an M16 semi automatic at very close range, making 3 bullet holes in his forehead, something only possible for a highly skilled sharp shooter. There were no enemies in the area, only US soldiers, including US sharp shooters. His uniform and armor were destroyed, military doctors were not allowed to report on their findings, a call for criminal investigation was blocked, his diary disappeared, and the interviewing chaplain misquoted the unhurt soldier next to Tillman, making it sound like the atheist Tillman had offended him on religious grounds. Every attempt was made to cover up the story, first blaming enemy fire, despite no enemies in the area at the time.
The question remains: who ordered US sharpshooters to assassinate Pat Tillman? On background of the principles established at the Nürnberg trials after WWII, those who passed the order down the ranks, and those who eventually executed this heinous crime, can not use as defense that they just followed orders from higher-up. A crime is a crime, and this is deliberate murder of the worst kind.

Pat Tillman (6/26/2010)
In “General’s history” (PA Daily Post Opinion, June 25), the letter writer refers to general McChrystal’s somewhat shaky history, including the cover-up of Pat Tillman being “accidentally killed by his own troops”.”Accidental”? There was nothing accidental about Pat Tillman’s death. After half a dozen “investigations” and cover-ups, it was finally established that he had been killed by US sharp shooters, from very close range, with 3 bullet holes in his forehead! This was after he had stood up and shouted “Don’t shoot! I am Pat Tillman”. What could be less accidental than a cold blooded assassination like that?! Afterwards, all evidence, including his uniform, was destroyed. The reason for the killing? Possibly that he was ready to go public with his opposition to the Iraq war, possibly because he was known to be an Atheist, but most likely both of the above. It is no secret that non-believers in the US military are exposed to attacks from both foes and friends”.

Here’s the background:
http://www.dvmx.com/pat_tillman_death.html

Chapter 33 – ISLAM, TERRORISM, – and 9/11 Ignoring history and facts
9/11 lessons learned? (9/17/2013)
The MSNBC 9/11 documentary, “On Native Soil”, was a timely reminder of atrocities that must never be forgotten. It was also a shocking exposé of what went wrong prior to and during the Islamic terrorist attacks on that fateful day. Just about everything that could go wrong, and more, did.
How could all the signs, warnings and actual reports about the pending attacks be ignored?
Why would American linguists fluent in Arabic languages be fired, just because they were gay, while intercepted documents with clues were left untranslated? How could so many agencies hang on to bits and pieces of important info without communicating with each other? How could then Secretary of State Condoliza Rice claim that “no one could imagine that someone would steal our airplanes and use them as bombs”? That was her job to “imagine”! Besides, ever heard about WWII and the Japanese?
While the country was attacked, President Bush sat in an elementary school classroom reading for the students! That’s a job for the president, while all indications were that something huge was about to happen? On top of the info mismanagement prior to 9/11, – almost total confusion while it happened, important phone calls were left on hold, fighter jets scrambled without clear mission or goal, etc.
The Bush administration even tried to torpedo a most needed comprehensive investigation, until forced by 9/11 victims and relatives of the dead and maimed. Apparently none, or only a few, of the “9/11 Commission Report” have been acted upon. Did we learn anything, beyond taking our shoes off and on before flying anywhere?

Islamic terror! (4/23/2013)
Enough yet, – or do we need more Islam-inspired massacres to understand that Islam is far from being a peaceful religion, as claimed?
Let’s not be too naive about the whole thing. Islam is primarily based on the so-called “teachings” of the Koran, which indeed promotes violence and the killing of “infidels”, i.e. non-Islamists, as well as Muslims without exactly the “right” version, or worse: those who saw the light and abandoned previously indoctrinated “faith”. The Boston massacre is a clear example of Islam’s power to inspired gullible, impressionable and obviously unstable individuals to commit the most horrendous acts of terrorism. Here I use the word “terrorism” for acts that are non-specific, i.e. not aimed at any particular individuals, but the unknown masses for maximum impact of bodily harm and destruction of property.
Besides, who in their right mind can have respect for a religion that promises heavenly virgins as reward for deliberate mass murder of innocent people? How sexist! How immature! Never mind an impossible-to-handle quantity of 72 previously untouched specimen. That number is nowhere to be found in the Koran, but cooked up outside that scriptural framework that has caused, and is still causing, so much misery in the world, – especially for their own crowd. Here, other religious don’t help, either, as long as they keep promoting the fairy-tale concept of a “heaven”.
Now, fortunately, most Muslims, and even Islam converts, do not practice the religionaccording to the Koran’s teachings. Nor do most Christians practice their religion in accordance with the most horrible, cooked-up stories in the Bible. The big difference between these two religions, though, is that why most Christians are ashamed of their religion’s bloody history, too many promoters of Islam advocate an even bloodier future, – while at the same time advertising “peace”.
About time we wake up to that reality!

9/11 aftermath (9/11/2012)
The Bush Jr. administration was not only sleeping at the wheel prior to 9/11/2001, but ignored intelligence reports, warnings from outgoing President Clinton and clear handwriting on the wall. American linguists fluent in Arabic were fired because they were gay, leaving intercepted documents with clues to the pending disaster untranslated until too late. Yes, “9/11” was predictable and preventable! With more honest elections in 2000 and no Supreme Court intervention to halt the Florida counting, George W. Bush would not have been selected. Instead Al Gore would have been the lawfully elected president, and 9/11 possibly prevented. As a result, no wars on Afghanistan and Iraq, Pat Tillman and thousands other military and civilians would still have been alive and tens of thousands not maimed for life, no Sam Alito and John Roberts to turn the Supreme Court right-wing, no unnecessary tax cuts for the richest among us, no unpaid-for prescription drug program, etc.
Let’s not forget what happened to science and research, education, the wall between religion and government, regulations, environmental protection, Wall Street and financial frivolity, and incompetents elevated to important positions in government under Bush.The list is long and depressing.
With a Democratic extension of the Clinton years, in all likelihood the economy would have been somewhat better, our hitherto good relations with the rest of the world preserved, – and we would have been able to keep our shoes on when checking in to fly.
Yes, indeed, election tampering can have disastrous consequences, especially when voter suppression is used to sneak incompetents into office!
Have we learned?

Islam – a most dangerous hoax (Comment to Ronn Owens, KGO Talk Show, 7/10/2007)
How can anyone respect a religion that promises to reward mass murder of innocent people with an abundance of virgins in the afterlife? Would Islam ever have been invented if it were not for Christianity?

Regarding Islam (9/26/2011)
Regarding Islam, what good can come out of a book that promises virgins as reward for mass murderers? That alone makes all the rest nonsense.

On “Allah” (Comment to Ronn Owens, KGO Talk Show, 8/16/2007)
That’s almost funny!
Apparently, Allah’s origin is not very well known. Allah used to be one of many desert ghosts, until Muhammad decided to promote this ghost to super ghost, more important than the others. That worked so well that Muhammad eventually decided to define Allah as the same as the Christian “god”, thus jumping on an already successful bandwagon. And that’s the rest of the story! Amen!

9/11 blown by FBI? (5/01/2011)
Your feature article, “Inside the FBI’s Terrorist Hunt” (May 9, 2011), raises the question to what extent the agency can be blamed for not preventing 9/11, – quite predictable as the terrorist attacks were. There is plenty of blame to go around, including the firing of American gay linguists at the Monterey Institute of International Studies, fluent in Arabic and other important languages.
Intercepted documents with clues to the pending terrorist attacks, were thus left untranslated until after the catastrophe.
Let’s assume that the gay linguists had been allowed to do the work they were trained for, and that all the dots had been connected – and there were many really big, flashing dots – it is quite likely that 9/11 would have been prevented.
Beyond the tragic death of thousands, injury to more, and devastating destruction of property that infamous day, what would have been the consequences? First of all, we would not have attacked Afghanistan and Iraq, Pat Tillman and thousands others would still be alive or not maimed for life, George Bush would not have been reelected, right wing Catholics Sam Alito and John Roberts would not have been on the Supreme Court, which instead would have had Democratic majority, working for the people as intended by the Constitution, instead of favoring special business and religious interests. Without 9/11, would the overall economy and job situation have been more positive? Would our respect and standing in the rest of the world have been better? Would we have had universal health care?
In all likelihood, YES! The consequences of firing gay linguists go far beyond violating their human rights, which in itself is unbecoming a modern democracy. And now the repeal of DADT drags out claiming required “re-training”! What nonsense! The day President Obama signed the repeal order, the word should have been that from that moment on, no one can be kicked out of the US military just for being gay or lesbian. Period.
But if you violate the military code of conduct, including raping fellow soldiers, YOU will be dishonorably discharged, regardless of rank or sexual orientation!

Profiling? Of course! (Comment to Gill Gross, KGO Talk Show, 12/29/2009)
That’s a no-brainer! If profiling works and increases the chance of catching those who intend harm, everybody except those caught ought to be happy! That includes innocent people being profiled, because they will be safer, too!
Forget about grandma and Swedish blonds! Instead, focus on those who look like and behave like terrorists or come from countries known to harbor terrorists.

Islam IS a violent religion (Comment to Gene Burns, KGO Talk Show, 12/11/2008)
I have read the Koran (The Dawood translation) very thoroughly, in addition to numerous analytical works by former Muslims. There is absolutely no question that the Koran, and thus Islam, advocates the extermination of all us “infidels”, i.e. non-Muslims, for the ultimate global dominance of Islam. This can not be misinterpreted! What does your guest, the good professor say to that?

The Koran a hoax (Comment to Ronn Owens, KGO Talk Show, 11/05/2007)
Isn’t it quite obvious that the Koran is a hoax, i.e. a complete fabrication? Also, is there any doubt whatsoever that it has caused far more evil and destruction than good? I have read the Koran and found nothing but hate and pure nonsense.
I’ll challenged anyone to find a single useful, original, peace promoting reference!

The Koran (Comment to Ronn Owens, KGO Talk Show, 8/28/2008)
Your Muslim guest is either lying through her teeth or she is unfamiliar with the Koran. I have read it very carefully and found it full of commands to kill infidels! In order to be a true Muslim, you are obligated to do your best to kill the rest of us, or convert us.
Her quote that killing is wrong is a false statement. She neglected to include the end of that sura, namely ” … unless justified”.

Improve visa control! (Comment to Ronn Owens, KGO Talk Show, 1/25/2010)
I’d like to ask John Bolton if it wouldn’t be a better idea to beef up the visa process? If no visa, you don’t fly. And to get a visa, you have to prove that your background is clean, you have no adverse associations, account for what you intend to do here in the US, whom to visit, etc. If it doesn’t check out, you won’t fly! Whatever time it takes, a month, 3 months, forever, – that’s what it takes.

Terror control! (Comment to Ronn Owens, KGO Talk Show, 1/29/2010)
Have we overlooked the first line of defense, namely the visa process? Put the burden on the applicants to prove they are OK, and require the various US Embassies to verify thoroughly before a visa is issued. Without a visa, you don’t get on-board.
If the process takes a month, 3 months, or forever, so be it! For applicants from “trouble”-countries, they will need to account for the reason they want to visit, whom to see, where to go. To visit the US is not a right for anyone, it is a privilege, and you have to prove you are worth it!

Offended by fairy tales? (Comment to Dr. Dean Edell, KGO Talk Show, 4/26/2008)
The same thing has happened in Norway! Even drawings of little pigs have been removed from some classrooms, so that sensitive Muslims won’t be hurt. Absolutely idiotic!
I’m offended by another kind of fairy tales: religious dogma! However, I don’t demand all religious activities to be outlawed! (Tempting, yes, – but …)

Chapter 34 – “CHRISTMAS” and other hijacked labels

“Christmas” wrongly named! (12/14/2009)
Alex Altman’s “Brief History – The War on Christmas” (Times Dec. 21, p. 32) distorts the true history of this ancient event. It was originally a pagan observation of the season when the sun turned and days became longer again. When Christianity came along, this popular tradition was seen as unwelcome competition for the masses and originally outlawed for the faithful. Failing to obliterate the event, Christians eventually decided to jump on the band wagon and celebrate along with non-Christians, eventually taking it over more and more and making it into a religious observation, partly based on the incorrect dating of the birth of Jesus Christ, whether a historical figure or not. It is perfectly all right to celebrate together, whether Christian or not, but preposterous for the believers to take it over and declare it exclusively theirs! It is fine to put a religious spin on it if you so prefer, but no one has a right to claim ownership of a tradition that was never theirs! The unfortunate thing is the name “Christmas”, which of course has religious connotation. It is only in English that the event is called by a religious name; in just about every other language the event has a non-religious label, for example the equivalent of “Yuletide’ in the Scandinavian countries. There, the event is rather secular in nature, but with religious overtones for those who prefer. Thus, the event is all-inclusive, offending no one. I remember when growing up in Norway, “Jul” was something that we all looked forward to, regardless of faith or lack thereof. It was for everyone, with good food, gift exchange, and celebration of brighter and warmer days to come. You could pass any stranger on the street, smile, nod and wish “Merry Yuletide”, and always get the same in return. “Jul” brought everybody together, with warm feelings and a positive attitude towards everyone, as well as generosity for the less fortunate. The word “Christmas” is exclusive and to some, unfortunately, offensive and contrary to what it could, and should be. To claim the Christmas tree as a religious symbol, is ridiculous. It is Nordic and secular in nature, and should be left that way.That fundamentalists and right wingers like the Glenn Becks, Bill O’Reillys and Ann Coulters have the audacity to claim that non-believers or people with different faith than themselves are staging a “war on Christmas” is more than preposterous and dishonest. It is motivated by political self interests, as well as being divisive, unpatriotic and contrary to the intended spirit of, – yes, “Christmas”. Why turn an event that should bind us together on common ground, into something that divides us and creates hate and distress?
Merry Yuletide!

“Pro life” monopoly? (Comment to Ronn Owens, KGO Talk Show, 6/02/2009)
Why should the “pro-lifers” have monopoly on the expression “pro life”? We’re all pro life! I am, you are, and Obama is. We all want to minimize the need for abortion and believe that it should only be used as the very last resort, when all other options are exhausted. We are still pro life, and certainly not pro death! Certain terms, like “pro life” and “family values” seem to have been hijacked, thus confusing the issues.

Disastrous mislabeling (6/11/2013)
just imply a higher natural power, something more powerful than us, and not a divine fantasy.
To linguistically imply that catastrophes like the recent Midwest tornadoes and Hurricanes Sandy and Katrina are “acts of God” just leads unscientific minds to speculate what may have prompted “God” to such disastrous punishment, even on innocent little children. Besides adding insult to injury, such ignorance feeds a thriving, lucrative religious industry. These religious industries take advantage of gullible souls that are easily convinced about a divine force out to punish, instead of forces of nature, of which science understands more and more. Nature itself has no motif and is not vindictive, like an imaginary “god.” It naturally acts as a result of its own dynamic forces. Unscrupulous preachers like the Pat Robertsons, misplaced pseudo politicians like the Michele Bachmanns and other charlatans are thriving on unknowledgeable flocks who foolishly hand over their money in exchange for a false sense of protection. With more knowledge of weather conditions and scientific insight into nature’s forces, natural events can pretty much be predicted and measures are taken to limit damage and loss of life. Not only is praying utterly worthless, but resistance to protective actions thought to be “against God’s will” may easily cause even more damage and additional loss of life.

Chapter 35 – A LITTLE SOMETHING ABOUT SCIENCE and other stuff

Climate confusion (1/07/2014)
Snow storms and cold spells on the East coast have deniers like Donald Trump and other prominent Republicans all fired up. Despite the indisputable trend to a steadily warmer globe overall, certain places will still be cold at times, and, of course, there will be snow. Exactly because of a warmer globe, there will be more snow in those places that are still cold. It is very simple. The warmer the weather, the more water will evaporate from oceans and lakes. When the atmosphere can’t hold more evaporated water, rain will fall in warmer areas. And, yes, snow where it is still cold enough for rain to turn into snow. And because of climate change, storms will be more violent as well.
For every unusually cold area, we can point to other areas unusually hot. The previously rather cold Nordic countries are experiencing unusually warm weather, and a lack of snow on which to ski. Australia is blazing hot these days.
Observations of climate changes must be based on trends, not individual events or occurrences. Weather is not climate, and anecdotes are not statistics.
The depth of the ignorance can best be exposed by Republican talking head Erick Erickson’s Facebook entry: “The difference between people who believe in the 2nd coming of Jesus and those who believe in global warming is that Jesus will return.” Yeah, blind faith trumps solid science anytime, among some Republicans. Wonder what would happen if President Obama all of a sudden should come out and deny climate change? Actually, I think I know.

A snow job (2/26/2010)
Barry Bradley’s “Amusing take on ‘science’ ” (SF Examiner 2/25/2010) requires a rebuttal. He entertains the too common misunderstanding that snow is evidence that the earth is not warming. The inescapable fact is that both snow and rain are results of water evaporating from lakes and oceans. If it is too cold everywhere, no water will evaporate, and there will be no rain or snow. The warmer it gets, the more water will evaporate and form clouds. The atmosphere can only hold so much before water forms again and comes down as rain in warmer areas and, yes, snow if it is still cold enough somewhere else. All that snow on the East coast is simply a result of increased evaporation due to warmer climate, while it happened to be cold enough on the coast for snow to form instead of rain. Even when glaciers and poles are melting, it may be cold enough somewhere else for snow to fall. And while we’re at it: the biblical flood never happened! There simply isn’t enough water available to “drown” the whole earth! And even if there were, where would the water go afterwards, when it “dried” up? Like it or not, the laws of physics rule, even if you are indoctrinated to believe that they don’t.

Rainstorm of Biblical proportions (8/28/2011)
So from where does the torrential rain back East come?
Not from some mysterious reservoir way up high, but from evaporated water in warm areas around the globe!
If so, why so much more evaporation than usual? Higher temperatures due to global warming! It is as simple as that, for those who want to accept the laws of nature: as the temperature rises, so does evaporation.
Sorry about that, global warming deniers. You may refuse to believe it, and even pray to stop the rain, but it rains nevertheless, – in biblical proportions, if you prefer.

Chapter 36 – CROSSING GUARDS AND TRAFFIC SAFETY
Crossing guards ensure safety (3/25/2010)
Phyllis McArthur of Foster City (“Slow down for pedestrians” in the March 17 edition of the Daily Journal) is concerned about the safety at the Gull Grebe intersection in Foster City, affecting Audubon School students, their escorts and other pedestrians. She appeals to drivers to slow down and stop for pedestrians trying to cross. The question is, why isn’t there a crossing guard on duty at such a busy intersection, where kid’s safety is at stake? Volunteer crossing guards are a rare bargain these days, providing safe crossing for pedestrians and smoother flow of vehicular traffic, at no or very low cost. Why not hire a guard before someone gets injured, or worse? Anyone is welcome to observe how well it works at the Newport Monticello intersection outside Highlands Elementary school in San Mateo during the morning rush around 8 a.m. Here, pedestrians cross in complete safety, while an average of 150 cars, including four to six buses, flow through with minimum delays and frustration. Safety is no accident!

Editor: The letter writer is a volunteer crossing guard.

Chapter 37 – ADVICE FOR LETTER WRITERS
Letters to the editor
August 10, 2011 By Jon Mays, San Mateo Daily Journal staff
The comments are varied, but there are always people who think somehow we are plotting for or against something when we select certain letters to the editor to print. “I can’t believe you printed that letter.” “Because you printed that letter, I will never read your paper again.” “Why don’t you own the fact you posted a letter that is misleading.” And my favorite: “I will only use your paper now to pick up dog feces.”
While there is a selection process to how we print letters, it is not based on some sort of mission of ours to skew public opinion. They are simply letters to the editor (that’s me) and we print them to reflect the opinion of our readers, at least those who take the time to take up pen and paper, or place hands to keyboard, to write them.
First of all, if I only printed letters to the editor I agreed with, there would be very few. Particularly the ones who call me or my reporters names. But people have the right to their opinion, and it’s important our pages reflect the diverse points of view of our readers. So we print letters of various opinions, even if that opinion is that we stink.
In recent weeks, there has been a high volume of letters regarding the economy, and the debt ceiling discussion in particular. Sometimes I will group letters on similar topics with each other and, other times, I try to balance the page with opposing points of view. That’s why you’ll sometimes see letters that bash Obama and support Obama on the same page, and sometimes in subsequent editions. Sometimes space is a consideration, and not all letters get in right away or some letters with similar points of view as others won’t get in because it’s redundant. If a columnist is writing on a salient topic, I might group some letters with both similar points of view and opposing ones.
We have a few frequent letter writers and those who write lengthy missives. For the most part, I try to limit letter writers to two a month and around 250 words. Letters are edited for length, style and grammar. If a letter writer is wordy, but the topic is strong, I might ask them to trim it down a bit and resubmit it. Some do, some don’t. Sometimes long letters with a developed and concise argument can also be turned into guest perspectives which are around 600-800 words and feature a one- or two-line biography of the writer. I usually encourage people to check with me first to make sure the topic is timely and is worth carving out the real estate for it.
Sometimes we receive a lot of letters that were eerily similar and probably part of some letter-writing campaign. Those usually come during election seasons, but we did get quite a few like that during the health care debate. We usually limit those types of submissions.
Local letter writers take precedence, as do those who write on local topics. However, we do print letters from out of the state or even out of the country if the topic is strong and relevant.
I enjoy letters to the editor because they provide a forum for our readers to express themselves and provide an interactive experience for those who see theirs in print. They also provide a certain context for the work we do here every day. Without letters, we might not know if what we do is meaningful. And who knows, they just sometimes might spark connections and a dialogue that would not have taken place before.
There are always many sides to a story, and we appreciate hearing them. And if you don’t like a certain letter to the editor, you can always write your own. Who knows, you just might change the conversation.
Jon Mays is the editor in chief of the Daily Journal. He can be reached at jon@smdailyjournal.com.

Letters to the Editor (Planned Parenthood’s guide)
The letters to the editors page is one of the most widely read sections of the newspaper. Letters to the editor reflect the opinion of the community. Your pro-choice voice needs to be heard on important issues such as family planning services, access to abortion and sexuality education. One of the most efficient and effective ways to advocate for responsible choices is through writing a letter to the editor.
For more information, talking points or tips, email us at public_info@pplm.org or call (617) 616-1660 x1552.
Before you sit down to write your letter, you can follow these simple steps:
1. Decide why you are writing the letter. Are you responding to another letter? Do you want to call readers to action? Is your goal to educate others? These are all good reasons to write a letter.
2. Know the publication’s guidelines. For instance, the Boston Globe requests letters to be no longer than 200 words. You can usually find the publication’s letters to the editor guidelines on the editorial page or on their web site. Keep it brief, the best letters are short and limited to a single point otherwise letters are likely to be condensed in the editing process which may cause the letter to be altered. Use a business letter format. Make sure you sign your name and even if you email the letter be sure to still include your address and phone number.
3. Determine one to three messages you want to express in your letter. Jot down your messages before you write. Avoid rambling and keep in mind most newspapers are written for readers at the fifth grade level (sad but true). If you are responding to another letter, avoid repeating negatives by touching on the point and going with your own positive message.
4. Make it timely by sending in your letter as soon as possible. Generally, your letter should arrive within two weeks following the event. It helps the editor if you reference a particular story by date and the headline. Most publications now accept signed letters by facsimile and some will take letters by electronic mail (with a phone number to verify authorship).
5. Congratulations – now you have the tools to write a great letter to the editor!
Many newspapers now accept letters to the editor by email as well as by mail.

Helpful web sites:
http: http://www.ehow.com
http: http://www.ask.com

Chapter 38 – AUTHORS WHO INSPIRED ME (and showed me why there is so much good in the world)
Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Irshad Manji, Dan Barker, Mark Twain, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Bill Press, Rachel Maddow, PZ Myers

Chapter 39 – BOOKS THAT DEPRESSED ME (and showed me why there is so much evil in the world)

Mein Kampf, by Adolf Hitler
The Bible (authors unknown)
The Koran (authors unknown)
The Obama Hate Machine, by Bill Press
Back to table of contents
San Mateo, CA
April, 2014

Back to new posts: http://myhonestopinionblog.com/