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This week in LGBT News July 23, 2011

Posted by truthspew in Gay rights, homophobia, liberalism, marriage equality, NOM - The Bigot Cavalcade.
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First and foremost, we have the final certification of the abolishing of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. About damned time if you ask me since most of the military groups of the Western world have started allowing openly gay soldiers, airmen, etc. to no detriment.

But what befuddles me is the 60 day wait until the act becomes official. What’s up with that? The military branches have already done all the training, etc. Is this just a move to allow the Christian Fascists time to re-enact the ban? What gives?

In other news it has been found that there is a strong correlation between gay marriage bans and an increase in rates of HIV infection.

The bigots out there would have us all believe that their words and actions aren’t in any way detrimental to LGBT people. But I’m happy to see science proving once again that the bigots are dead wrong.

By denigrating the LGBT community the bigots instill a sense of second class citizenship, a sense of severe limits on who we can profess our love of, and a sense of hopelessness that leads in some cases to promiscuity, the down low syndrome, etc. It’s no wonder that there is an uptick in HIV rates in states with marriage bans.

Brings up another thought. In states where their sex education was swapped with abstinence only education, they saw a sharp rise in all sexually transmitted diseases.

As one who believes that the next generation and those to come should be educated about sexuality at age appropriate levels. None of this pseudo-science, or religious claptrap. When you have a 13 year old with hormones running rampant, I’d much prefer to have them educated about sex than to be blindly ignorant and trying to adhere to a promise of abstinence.

But the education part, I’m glad that California law now requires acknowledging that some of our greatest thinkers, movers and politicians were LGBT people. Of course the bigots are foaming at the mouth over this because once again, it portrays LGBT people as a normal part of human existence. And the bigots simply cannot work this into their world view.

Finally we have President Obama himself coming on board for the Respect for Marriage bill. This would scrap that horribly unconstitutional law known as the Defense of Marriage Act. The Act should have never seen the light of day in 1996. It was a knee jerk reaction to the potential for marriage equality in Hawaii that propelled the Republicans to give us that awful law.

But I doubt the Act will get through the House. The Orange Goblin himself won’t let it happen. With letters to the editor like this one, is it any wonder? The letter accuses President Obama for violating his oath of office due to his support for the Respect for Marriage Act.

A ProJo Letter to Debunk January 17, 2009

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This one is special to me. The reason being is the author is my aunt. But she’s a little bit ignorant of a few facts on the issue. I called her this morning to talk to her about it.

Elaine Rittmann: Fairer coverage, younger teachers needed

01:00 AM EST on Friday, January 16, 2009

I listened to Governor Carcieri’s speech on Jan. 7 with much interest. I applaud him for having the courage to change our system.

With skyrocketing medical- insurance costs hitting those in the public sector, public employees should receive benefits commensurate with the private sector and pay similar premiums and co-payments.

Their benefits should be terminated upon retirement and they should have to find coverage in the same manner as non-state workers.

Listening to the Governor can be hazardous to your health and mental well being. Carcieri is the clearest example of what I know as failing upward.

I can’t wait for the 2010 elections though I’m not exactly happy with the candidate choices. So far I know that Patrick Lynch, Elizabeth Roberts, Frank Caprio and David Cicilline have all voiced intentions of running. And if truth be known, I’d say Lynch gets it because his brother is state Dem Party Chair for the moment. I’ve heard no rumblings from the Republican party.

When I first started as as state employee back in 2001 we didn’t pay a dime for our coverage and we had $5 prescription co-pays and $10 office visit co-pays. By the time I’d gone back as a state employee in 2004, we were paying a hefty chunk of the cost of our coverage plus our co pays skyrocketed.

As to termination of benefits upon retirement that just shifts the burden a bit but you pay for it one way or another until the day we have a single payer or universal health care system in this country. It’ll be an uphill battle but if we stick together we can overcome the forces of big business insurers and billing companies.

With regard to pensions, I have to put aside a large part of my salary into a 401(k) plan and an IRA if I am to have any hope of retiring at 66. The funds will be there when I need them, but I will not have a 3 percent cost-of-living increase yearly. State workers should have to make contributions to a plan as well.

Why should we foot the bill for them to retire early when we have to work well into our 60’s and find our own way to afford retirement? When did things get so twisted around that we support a plan that clearly puts the private-sector worker at such a disadvantage? .

Because it is the deal that was negotiated with the governor. Carcieri likes to go back on his word and his efforts to vilify state employees really sticks in my craw. Instead keep reading and you’ll see where the real anger should be focused.

State employees currently kick 8.75% and teachers contribute 9.25% of their gross pay ito the RI Employee’s Retirement System. As it currently exists, you have to be in for a certain amount of time before you can retire, I believe the minimum is 20 years and now the age limits have gone up too, I think it’s 62 before you can really get full benefit. Funding of these benefits isn’t solely on the taxpayer, it’s on all state employees too.

As far as COLA, so how else do they supplement their income? Get a part time job? That just shifts the burden elsewhere too.

You’re right though, the general attitude toward the working class in this country has been rather poor since the Reagan years. The name of the game has been the bottom line, screw the assets called employees.

I also think the April 1 cutoff for the retirees is great. When the teachers due to retire are gone, we will have an influx of new teachers, with new ideas, and more modern teaching methods. I think that this will benefit our children. Thanks again, Governor, for bringing Rhode Island into the 21st Century!

ELAINE RITTMAN

Coventry

I hate to break this to you but there hasn’t been a sea change in teaching methods for at least the past twenty years. It might be a little but tougher to certify but nothing more than that. You have basic learning methods, the visual, the aural and the haptic. That will never change.

And here is another thing. You can most certainly drop a new teacher into a school without too much stress because teachers are trained for that. However, in the rest of the state there are people with very specialized institutional knowledge. You think the state operates like a real business but it doesn’t. It’s convoluted to say the least. But always keep in mind the one body that controls it all.

The body I speak of is the legislature. They’re the ones who control the purse strings in this state. See this point about the tax breaks and give-aways that our legislature granted as of October of 2008.

Governor Carcieri is the master of misdirection.

And I say fuck you Governor Carcieri for keeping RI mired in the 20th Century!

Someone else almost gets it! But socialism isn’t THAT bad. October 18, 2008

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The following Letter to the Editor in today’s Providence Journal.

Elizabeth J. Comeau: Moving toward National Socialism

01:00 AM EDT on Saturday, October 18, 2008

My attention has been diverted from the presidential election to our economy and the infamous bailout (a.k.a. rescue) plan. But, a rose by any other name . . . And, a mistake by any other name . . .

Before the House voted on the plan, we heard, “Passage of this bill will save us by providing immediate relief for the banking institutions; the companies that are struggling, the people in danger of losing their homes, their jobs, etc.”

The bill passed, and the market continued its downward spiral. Now we hear, “Change won’t come overnight. It will take time — even years — to recover.”

So far Ms. Comeau gets it. The give-away to the big corporations posing as banks was nothing but a money grab on the part of the business. Corporate socialism if you will.

Wasn’t it Mussolini who said, “The first stage of fascism is the merger of state and corporate power”? If we know our history, we know that in fascist Italy and Nazi Germany, the state gained control over the corporations. In modern America, it seems the corporations have gained control over the state.

The evil deeds of the infamous fascists were condemned, and the fascists defeated. Yet, I fear, the practice of economic fascism was not defeated and is alive and well, living in America, with our democratic system leaning more toward the philosophy of National Socialism.

This is where Comeau fails, and fails hard. It was the corporations that pushed Italy and Germany into the expansionist policies that brought about WW II. If you ever get a chance read the book titled “The Arms of Krupp 1587-1968″ by William Manchester. And next time you step on an elevator take a look at the logos, I guarantee you’ll see at least one with the familiar logos of Thyssen (A stylized arch) and that of Krupp (Three interlocked circles) or the two bound together as Thyssen-Krupp. They still make steel and stainless steel, those are the hallmarks of the Krupp Conzern back in the day. That same metal went into German and Italian weaponry from the 16th through 20th centuries.

Why else would corporations hire huge armies of lobbyists to influence congress? It isn’t because they’re trying to stop fascism, it’s because they’re trying to make as much money as they can. The side effect of such activity is a rise in fascism.

Why else would they form PAC’s (Political Action Committees) to move unencumbered money to the candidate of THEIR choice.

Of course it is all base on the notion that a corporation has the same rights as a flesh and blood person. This is a false notion. They have no such rights as we do. That point needs to be made abundantly clear to them.

Put it this way, I don’t mind paying a fair price for goods and services. But right now we have too many monopolies and duopolies and oligarchies for my tastes. What choice do I have for electric service or gas service? The same is true of the video market, you can have cable, FiOS or Satellite television. Sure there is over the air programming but that’s so saturated (As is cable, FiOS and Sat) with advertising pushing us to buy, buy buy.

Don’t even get me started about cell phone and the idiots who think that computing is going to be centralized again. It isn’t because the centralization model require a subscription method. So you pay over and over and over again. Not to mention that connectivity isn’t as ubiquitous as they’d lead you to believe.

It begins innocently enough with programs like Social Security, Food Stamps and entitlement programs. But, the programs become less innocent, more sinister (the Patriot Act being one example) as we hand over more authority to the government.

I fear for us, our children, and all the children to come as we witness the destruction of our national structure. And, I fear, the most difficult times have only just begun.

ELIZABETH J. COMEAU

Johnston

Sorry Ms. Comeau, the so called ‘entitlement’ programs you mentioned do not lead to fascism and they most certainly didn’t lead to the USA PATRIOT act. That disgusting bit of legislation was written by the corporations that would benefit the most. The scanner manufactures, the security firms like Blackwater, and the large contractors like Halliburton. They benefited to the point where they’d destroy brand new trucks because they needed an oil change.

How about the $700 Billion in corporate welfare we just gave to what I call the shadow banks. Those are the ones who operated outside the regulatory framework. Did the government force that on them, hell no. Ask yourself the question, where did the money go. Follow it and all you questions will be answered.

It is the other way around – corporate greed eventually destroys an economy. There have to be strong regulatory laws to prevent this. Look at telephone service and electric service. They were deregulated and what happened. It costs us MORE for phone service now than it ever did. Yet the bottom dropped out on the long distance side.

I remember in 1982 I had my own phone line and I rented a red Western Electric 2500 set from then New England Telephone. My total monthly bill was $12. Now my VoIP service is $24.95 a month as has far more features, but then to add insult to injury it rises to $32 to $33 a month because of FUSF and all the other bullshit fees that go right into the carriers pockets, it isn’t used to build out broadband.

Broadband only gets built out in areas that they think have a high profit level.

I did a bit of googling on Ms Comeau, seems she works for the CFC (Combined Federal Campaign) the company allowed to solicit charitable donations from federal employees. So you’d think she’d understand the true role of the safety net programs.

Seems she’s never heard of the concept of economies of scale. Explain why the VA Hospitals (Walter Reed is NOT part of VA) have the least cost but best service? Imagine applying that to the entire country. It could be done but the entrenched insurance and billing lobbies would never let that happen. The VA is the exception that they want to keep quiet.

We need to rise up and fight the corporate dominance and fascism occurring in the U.S. today.

Oggi idiota della Lettera ai Editore: It’s Barney Frank’s Fault September 27, 2008

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In case you were wondering, the title is Today’s Idiotic Letter to the Editor.

If you read on a regular basis you know that occasionally I get my source material from reading letters to the editor in the Providence Journal.I still like that Philipe and Jorge of NewPaper (Now the Phoeniz) fame used to call it the Providence Urinal, then the Blo-Jo. I usually call it a newspaper not fit for the paper on which it is printed.

That said occasionally the folks at ProJo let slip a letter to the editor that comes from someone outside Rhode Island. Most of it is anti-Democrat, anti-Liberal, anti-Homosexual, and other screeds. For some reason the editors at ProJo like the use people from out of state because we Rhode Islanders, probably because they need to in order to get the opposing view because it sure as shit doesn’t exist in RI.

The letter is from a Mr. Rick Cannon. I usually google search the names when I see an out of state letter bashing something. And I found Mr. Cannon’s LinkedIn account. Seems our writer is a pharma guy, which would explain how that makes him an expert in economic matters. Otherwise he has a fairly light web presence.

Rick Cannon: Bad loans, Barney Frank caused meltdown

01:00 AM EDT on Saturday, September 27, 2008

While I was visiting Providence, I had the absolute misfortune of reading Froma Harrop’s Sept. 21 column (“McCain and the meltdown”). It read like a piece of creative fiction, leaving me to wonder if Ms. Harrop really was concerned with understanding the issue, or merely seeking to aid her favored candidate.

Froma Harrop is a regular neo-con target for stating the way things ought to be, but in this paragraph Cannon lays his cards on the table. He’s anti-Obama. This is going to be good.

She seems to have a fundamental lack of understanding about how Wall Street reached this point. The meltdown has been driven by an inordinate number of sub-prime mortgages as well as the risky practices of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. President Bush’s economic policies had nothing to do with this, nor did Phil Gramm.

Congress meddled in the mortgage market, pushing banks to issue a larger number of risky mortgages, using tools such as the Community Redevelopment Act, virtually requiring banks to take on questionable borrowers. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac led the way in irresponsible lending, using their status as a Government Sponsored Entity (GSE) to give the impression of government backing for their loans — in essence, that the government wouldn’t let them fail.

Congress does not act at all except at the behest of the corporate interests. The banks knew precisely what they were going into here and don’t ever try to kid yourself that they didn’t. They rolled high before the bubble burst. Why it’s amazing that my bank offers 1/2% interest on checking!

But Cannon who works for pharma as a territory manager, and is more than likely familiar with the lobbying process knows that if banking, pharma, energy et al don’t like a bill, they employ armies of lobbyists. That’s probably part of Cannon’s job with Nutricia as a territory manager, or maybe he’s just a sales/marketing guy. Previously he worked for Bristol-Meyers Squib. He’s up to his neck in pharma.

So come out, come out Mr. Cannon. Do tell us what your real agenda happens to be.

And who protected this behavior? Congressional Democrats, most notably Barney Frank, who still defends his support for Fan and Fred despite the market turmoil they’ve helped create.

Congress — again, mainly congressional Democrats — browbeat banks and lenders, calling them to Washington in 2001 and 2002 to have them explain the lack of mortgages held by lower-income earners. In other words, Congress wanted to know why lenders weren’t loaning money to people who may not be qualified. Faced with this, lenders loosened standards.

Here’s where I call bullshit. Ever notice where the heaviest marketing of credit cards occurs? In low income areas. Wonder why our bankruptcy law now tilts toward corporations and not the debtor? Yep, they called in congressional favors.

Like I said earlier, the big banks would scream bloody murder if they were forced to take losses. But they accepted it because they knew two things.

The banks as I mentioned earlier are all about making money. And think about it, the real estate market imploded but who was left holding the assets? The banks. Of course I think that ultimately greed results in economic ruin. It always does and we’re seeing it come home to roost right now.

They also knew, or at least thought they new that when the excrement started hitting the fan, the Fed would bail them out.

So here we have it, a net transference of wealth and property. Tell me where the money went and you get a cookie.

But it most certainly was NOT because of Barney Frank.

One of the groups leading the charge against the lenders was ACORN, a favored interest group of Democrats.

Ms. Harrop’s policy prescriptions are no better. The Great Depression earned its name because it lasted so long. It did so because of the heavy-handed policies of the government, much like the ones Barack Obama is proposing now and Ms. Harrop seems to support.

And here we get to the meat of it. Mr. Cannon conveniently forgets that the party that lead us into the Great Depression was none other than his revered Republicans. Remember Herbert Hoover? Like Hoover, the policies of the Republicans that have controlled the house for the better part of twenty years gave us this mess.

It was Hoover by the way who ‘promoted government intervention under the rubric “economic modernization” ‘ aka the first public looting of the federal treasury.

But history, what’s that? I know Cannon is a younger man, probably in his early 30′s judging by his LinkedIn page so he can somewhat be forgiven for not knowing about the role of the Republicans in the first economic crisis. But he is capable of learning and so I would hope he realizes the error of hiw ways sooner than later.

Of course he neglects to mention his Republican credentials here. Honestly, if you’re going to write a good screed, at least have the common decency to tell us up front that you’re a neo-con Repug.

Perhaps if Ms. Harrop better understood the problem, she wouldn’t be so inclined to suggest such ridiculous “remedies.” For someone who accuses John McCain of not knowing much about economics, Ms. Harrop seems to suffer a paucity of economic knowledge herself.

RICK CANNON

Buffalo

I honestly don’t think McCain knows much of anything. I also have a pretty sharp hunch that McCain is in the early stages of dementia. Do we really want a demented old fool as President, one who is statistically likely to kick the bucket before his first term is out, leaving us with a soccer mom as President when the United States is teetering on the edge of the abyss?

For the past 20+ years we’ve seen horror show after horror show of the things brought to us by Republicans. Iran-Contra anyone? Illegal invasions, limited military actions, a military-industrial complex gone wild.

You’re an idiot Mr. Cannon. You are instructed to get some string and some card stock. You are to write on the card stock “Hello, my name is Rick Cannon and I’m an Idiot”. There’s your sign, wear your ignorance proudly.

Letters to the Editor: Today’s anti-socialist July 20, 2008

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You know, I get a kick out of those who bitch and moan about the subsidies for school choice, for the poor, the unemployed, etc. They constantly complain that it’ll lead the U.S. into socialism as if that’s such a bad thing to begin with.

I wonder what Lawson’s take on Social Security and Medicare happen to be? In his views I fear that just because you reach a certain magical age you shouldn’t be entitled to any programs.

My biggest problems with our legislators aren’t the fact that they provide subsidies, not at all. Instead they consistently grant tax breaks to those who least deserve them. And the same is true on the national level, something changed from where we said lets give everyone the safety net they deserve to screw everyone and they’re on their own.

This change started back in the Nixon administration but then went full steam ahead under Reagan. Does anyone remember the Reagan plan to fix the food stamp program? He’d distribute bulk items like cheese, powdered milk, and get this, ketchup which was classified as a vegetable.

Under Clinton we saw the drawback of welfare benefits with so called welfare-to-work programs. Good idea and it does tend to work well in good economic times but let the economy slide and all bets are off.

Now under the Shrub (GWB) we see the dismantling of the state institutions and money being shuffled to faith based institutions to provide the services. My problem with that is the fact that there are always strings attached when religious organizations provided ‘help’.

Maybe it’s a bible quotation with your meal, or some other way to proselytize. Maybe it’s a refusal to help. Look at the interference put up by the religious over RU486, or their opposition to contraception. Look at the current battle to force insurance carriers that cover Viagra to cover contraceptives for women.

You know what, I get taxed out the wazoo but my biggest complaint about it is that it doesn’t fund the programs I think are valuable and necessary. I’d like to see energy independence, infrastructure rebuilding, tracked public transit, and last but certainly not least every citizen cared for by the rest of us.

The notion that the U.S is an individualistic society is in a word, bullshit. We’re not. When I think about it if I played the lottery and won say just $20 million or so there are several people I know who wouldn’t have to pay a mortgage anymore. The other thing is that I wouldn’t say a thing about it, just find out who holds the mortgage and pay it off. Probably pre-pay taxes for 20 or so years too.

I’m a big believer in the method of you help me, I’ll help you. And sometimes it’s very one way where I might help help you and expect nothing in return.

I have what one would consider fairly Christian attitudes for an atheist. Can’t help it, I spent 12 years in Catholic schools so some of it rubbed off on me. I do wish the actual Christians would get it though and I see that some of them do, even the fundamentalists. They’ve realized the folly of their ways in persecuting gay people, and opposing abortion and now are becoming more environmentally and socially conscious.

Apparently they’ve realized that you attract more flies with honey than you do with vinegar.

So Mr. Lawson, when is the last time you benefited from subsidization? You make no mention of the SUV subsidy handed out a couple years ago, or the big subsidies used to maintain the interstate highway system.

James Lawson: Stop all subsidies

01:00 AM EDT on Sunday, July 20, 2008

In response to Robert Davis’s July 8 letter, “Subsidize the poor, not private schools”:

Stop subsidizing altogether. Subsidizing only creates more of the same problem that leads to subsidizing to begin with. Stop subsidizing private schools. Let the people who send their kids to private schools pay for it. Stop subsidizing the poor. It only leads to more poor and is not helping them. It’s a vicious and cruel circle, but it’s the way life is.

We are all becoming a little “more poor” every day. Our elected officials can’t stop their unrestrained spending and government expansion.

At this rate, we will all eventually need to be subsidized. We will have a complete socialist society one day. No real safety, no private ownership, a step closer to authoritarianism — or worse, no liberty, no more Constitution, and no more United States of America. Our lives will be planned, by officials who produce nothing, who spend their time trying to figure out how to leach off the last remaining remnants of capitalism, until there is nothing left. Then, my friends, you and I, your children and my children are going to be in big trouble, and the last thing anyone will get is subsidization.

JAMES LAWSON

North Kingstown_

You may be blind but you shall still see May 27, 2008

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The letter in the block quote appeared in the Providence Journal today, Tuesday the 27th of May, 2008.

Mr. Dorian has written a very interesting letter in which he discovers his own latent racism. That’s the thing about we humans. For some reason we automatically fear those whom we don’t know, or at least some do.

I’ve re-edited this because I had such an incident today. I was carrying groceries home from the supermarket (It’s less than a mile away) but a young Latino guy asked if I needed any help. I thanked him and told him I only had a short way to go. He was very polite too. It restores my faith in humanity when things like this happen.

But the message that one should never judge a book simply by it’s cover sunk in fairly early with me. It honestly doesn’t phase me what color your skin is, what really matters to me is that you’re a decent person. Luckily Mr. Dorian has found this out. I really don’t have much else to say because Dorian has written an account that should re-affirm ones faith in humanity.

Edward Oscar Dorian: Losing my blindness

01:00 AM EDT on Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The other week I had an accident that caused me to discover something about “those people” in Kennedy Plaza and, more significantly, to learn a great deal about myself.

After many years away, I’ve recently returned to my native Rhode Island, where in the 1930s and ’40s, when I was a boy, the small, formal, park-like area then in front of City Hall in downtown Providence was seldom used.

Wow, what a change! I, now forced — because of diminished eyesight— to use bus transportation, found the crowded Kennedy Plaza area alien, bewildering and, to be honest, frightening. That is, until the other week when, while hurrying across the plaza, scrupulously avoiding contact with those “threatening” groups of fellows in weird clothes, loud language and of different skin color, I fell!

Instantly I was surrounded, and dark arms reached down offering help. I instinctively refused, but age and pain made rising difficult. Ignoring my repeated, rude refusals, the fellows gently lifted me, all the while expressing genuine concern. One fellow retrieved my glasses and, instead of handing them to me, carefully fitted them to my head. Another attentively recovered and returned my briefcase and its spilled contents. Expressing inadequate gratitude, I hobbled away; they called after me several times, “Are you sure you’re okay?”

Only later did I realize that I had not been okay for a long time. Based on little more than clothing and color, I had been stupidly judgmental. Obviously, more than my eyesight had been faulty. My ugly stereotypes had blinded me to the inherent caring, generosity and courtesy in others.

The fall I took in Kennedy Plaza the other week was a valuable learning experience I shall never forget, and for which I’m grateful.

EDWARD OSCAR DORIAN

Cranston

Letters to the Editor in the Providence Journal are tacking Right March 26, 2008

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I always read the Letters to the Editor because sometimes you find a real gem in there that demonstrates the rightward bias of the editorial staff at the Belo owned Providence Journal. I do know that Belo is shopping the Providence Journal around so maybe they’re leaning right to appear attractive to another newspaper group. I don’t know what the motivation is but I can guarantee two things that comes out of the letters I’m posting here.

That they’re written by social conservatives is one thing, the other thing I suspect is that the people writing them are older folks who have been hornswoggled by the news media.

My comments will follow each letter so lets begin:

Joan E. Frattarelli: Broken families end up stocking prisons

01:00 AM EDT on Wednesday, March 26, 2008

“More than 1 in 100 adults are in jail.” That should be a wake up call to our government officials and the voters who put them in office. The only explanation I have heard so far for this travesty is that jail sentences are longer. That may be a small contributing factor but is far from the core of the problem, which is the break-down of the family unit.

More and more children are being brought up in dysfunctional families; the parents (or in most cases, parent) are so drunk or high on drugs that the children are left to fend for themselves at a very young age; there is no guidance. They get indoctrinated by witnessing their parents’ destructive behavior on a daily basis. As a result, they become a product of their environment. Since these mothers generally have multiple children, the social problems will increase with every generation.

The government’s programs created to reform and rehabilitate such behaviors are not working. We taxpayers are spending an enormous amount of money on these failed programs. For example, we have a drug court that requires addicts to sign a contract with the court that lasts for two years. During those two years they have counselors and social workers making decisions for them. They have to abide by the conditions of the court that monitors them closely, and they are rewarded as they proceed through the program.

Once they fulfill the terms and conditions of their contract they are on their own, which means they have to start making their own decisions. In most cases they revert back to their old habits, since it is so difficult to change once you reach adulthood. Most are not capable of making good decisions, and their children are again faced with the same dangerous and destructive environment as before.

Too much emphasis is being placed on keeping children with their parents. It is my belief that, for the sake of these children, this mentality must change. The children should be removed from their destructive environment. These children would be better off in a state home, where they can receive the guidance, structure and lessons in respect and responsibility that they need to become productive adults.

Cut off the welfare checks for the adults who have perpetually abused our welfare system, who spend our tax dollars on cigarette, drugs and alcohol. Our money would be better spent on programs and facilities for their poor children.

JOAN E. FRATTARELLI

North Scituate

Ms. Frattarelli is guitly of believing the FUD spread by the media. First she states that broken homes are responsible for the drug epidemic. No Ms. Fratarelli, a sense of futileness and hopelessness lead to drug use. In some case drug use is purely recreational.

Her attack on welfare is disgraceful. There was nothing wrong with the old system, all they needed to do was add better investigative services and perhaps do child cutoffs. I did see one example of abuse one time but that was just a woman working the system and being a baby machine.

But the best part is where she advocates stripping kids from parents who ‘drink or do drugs’. Oh those wacky swamp yankee conservatives make me laugh. Frattarelli would fit in well with the Calvinisits, or dare I say it the Scientologists.

Here’s the next letter this one is a Bush policy supporter and parrots the line that if we hadn’t brought the fight to Iraq the ‘terrorists’ would have brought the fight here. Someone needs to get out more.

Andrew Lyon: What if in Iraq

01:00 AM EDT on Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Bob Kerr’s column of March 19, titled “What if,” shows why a liberal point of view is always dangerous to our freedom and what the Founding Fathers wanted America to become.

I would like to pose some “what if” questions to Mr. Kerr. What if we did not have a strong leader like George W. Bush? If we did not take the fight to the enemy, they would have become more emboldened. This is what happened during the long eight years of Bill Clinton, where extreme Islamic fundamentalism flourished and a weak leader did nothing. What if America took marching orders from the United Nations — or worse, Mr. Kerr?

The answer is simple: We would be fighting on our soil. Rest assured that this war on terrorism was going to happen even if we just sat there waiting for America to be attacked again. The liberal view (that of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton) is that we should wait for them to attack us and then try to understand. I say let’s protect America first and understand later.

I have an idea for Mr. Kerr: It’s the citizens’ money, not the government’s. Mr. Kerr and liberals would just spend it on more liberal programs. I would rather spend it on keeping us alive! Mr. Bush has protected our country since 9/11. It is the president’s primary responsibility. He gets an A-plus in that department.

Ask Mr. Kerr to look what liberalism has brought to Rhode Island. I will be more than happy to answer: the fourth-highest-taxed state; the 50th friendliest state for business; one of the top welfare states; political corruption on a revolving-door basis; and a failing school system.

Mr. Kerr also took a pot shot at Mr. Bush’s intelligence. Let’s see: Yale graduate, Harvard Business School MBA. Where did you go to school, Mr. Kerr?

What makes America the greatest country is that we always try to do what is right and we have brave men and women who defend us from the evil that exists in the world.

ANDREW LYON

Cumberland

What? What? A liberal point of view is dangerous to democracy? What the hell has Asshat Lyon been doing, even watching Faux he would make the cognitive jump that our civil rights are being trampled on a regular basis in the name of safety. I’m reminded of this quote from Benjamin Franklin, remember him?

Anyone who trades liberty for security deserves neither liberty nor security.

There it is Mr. Lyon, you deserve neither. Your outright attack shows that you took the neo-con agenda hook, line and sinker.

And when Lyon says “Let’s protect America first and understand later” I cannot fathom the ignorance of this statement. It’s akin to “Shoot first and ask questions later.” which is NOT a good policy principle. It’s the kind of policy principle that gets you into quagmires which is precisely what Iraq has become.

What Lyon doesn’t’ realize is that some point in the very near future we’ll need to pull our troops out of Iraq. But he doesn’t get the fact that there were no terrorists there before we invaded. Saddam Hussein was a brutal dictator but he managed to put a Sunni minority in control of a Shia majority. That was quite the balancing act. We broke it.

My guess is if we stay or go, we’re going to see more terrorism on U.S. soil. Put it this way, the U.S. backed creation of citizen groups to stamp out the insurgency and had agreed to pay the groups to do so. But then the U.S. reneged on our promise. So now we have an armed group of 80,000 men in Iraq who’ve now told the U.S. to go pound sand. Lovely policy blunder there. BTW, Real News is an awesome source. Here’s the video:

I think what bothers me more about Lyon’s letter is his charge that Clinton did nothing to stop terrorism while he was in office. Oh peaches, he did more than Bush has done. You do remember the 1991-1992 invasion right? How about the no fly zone? Or a diplomatic core that wasn’t gutted to the core and the laughingstock of the western world. How about defining torture as legally acceptable. Or suspension of Habeas Corpus for those deemed ‘enemy combatants’.

And as far as the echoing of Bush’s Yale and Harvard days, how about we look at the solid C student, or the guy who got a choice spot on the Texas Air National Guard which meant he’d shirk any time in Vietnam. Lyon has yet to realize that power and privilege do nothing for the little guy and everything for those who wield said power and privilege.

Actually instead of impeachment I’d like to see Bush, Cheney, Gates, Gonzalez, Alito, et al dragged from their offices, given standard combat uniforms and then whisk them off to Iraq without USSS protection or even U.S. Army protection. Then let them tell us how well things are going over there.

I wonder if he thinks he’s better off now than he was seven years ago. I can answer that question easily, no we’re not. We’re worse off with runaway inflation, eroding civil rights, and an administration led by a man who once said and I’ll paraphrase here “The Constitution is just a God Damned piece of paper.” Yeah, I feel all safe and comfy.

Wait, wait, let me get out my brush. There, I’ve painted Lyon as a lying neo-con asshat.

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