Too much money corrupts democracy
Thomas L. Friedman’s column (Oct. 4 More Commentary) was interesting — on the impasse and the fact that it threatens the majority rule principle upon which our democracy is based. Friedman identified three structural changes in the democratic process that threaten future governance — money, media and redistricting.
I think he is correct, especially in addressing the effect of money and the Citizens United perversion of the electoral process. On Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court was to hear the case of Shaun McCutcheon v. the Federal Election Commission, which would remove the current $123,200 limit that an individual can give during a two-year election cycle to candidates, parties and committees.
This is one of the few remaining barriers to an even larger tsunami of money that is destroying the only voice we have as citizens — our vote.
Mitt Romney’s proclamation that corporations are people is wrong. Elections have become a sick joke. Wall Street, Romney, the Adelsons, the Koch brothers and more have negated my vote and cheapened the value of my 20 years of military service.
James Byrk, Plattsmouth, Neb.
Don’t be fooled by Lee Terry’s apology
Nebraskans would be foolish to believe Lee Terry is truly sorry for saying he wouldn’t give up his pay. People usually spout their true feelings without thinking first, and that is just what Lee Terry did.
His apology is an attempt to keep from being tossed out in the next election. He is obviously far more concerned about himself than his constituents, and he doesn’t deserve to continue representing Nebraska.
Before the next election, I hope that Nebraskans and all U.S. citizens will pay attention to how their senators and representatives have done their jobs. And, no, I am not a Democrat.
Margaret Coffin, Papillion
Terry’s apology came off as insincere
Lee Terry’s letter of apology (Oct. 7 Midlands Voices) felt more like a rationalization and justification for the continued government shutdown.
If Lee Terry wanted to apologize, he should have talked only about his own behavior. Far too much of his essay was spent explaining that his behavior was based on how others are behaving. That is not accepting responsibility for his role in this shutdown and not an apology.
Nebraska needs leadership that takes responsibility for making sure the government is funded to operate well at all times, not just when we like all public laws that have been passed.
Terry Rohren, Bennington, Neb.
This version is not the ‘law of the land’
I keep hearing how the Affordable Care Act is the “law of the land.” In its illegally revised form, I would argue it is not.
The legislation that was voted on and passed and litigated at the U.S. Supreme Court level is not the current version that the president, without constitutional authority, has altered numerous times with the stroke of his usurper’s pen.
If he and Harry Reid want a “clean” continuing resolution, then they should present a clean, unaltered and thereby legal health care act. Perhaps more people on the Hill and in grassroots America would get behind the legal version of the “law of the land!”
Jim Bassett, Bellevue
Comparison seems a bit off-base
Trying to give health insurance to 25 million more people is the equivalent to Dred Scott (Oct. 6 Pulse)? Seriously?
Thomas E. Hudek, Spencer, Iowa
It’s past time that Congress did its job
A question for Republicans and Tea-Partisans: Where does it state in the Constitution that the executive branch has to negotiate with the legislative branch of the government? I thought it was the president’s job to sign into law or veto legislation passed by Congress. A veto could be overcome by a two-thirds majority vote.
It is high time for Congress to do their job and quit playing games. All members take the oath to uphold the Constitution. Maybe they need to read it.
Loy Schneider, Omaha
Food stamps versus federal pay
Some in Congress want to take billions of dollars in food assistance away from the least fortunate in order to provide them with an incentive to work. This has been done in an economy without enough jobs.
Yet, in the theater of the absurd that is Washington, our Congress has voted to pay federal employees while keeping the government shut down so they can’t work.
Time to elect a new Congress.
Ralph L. Morocco Jr., Omaha
‘Militia’ view distorted by extremists
In response to Dave Zickefoose (Oct. 5 Pulse) and Arnie Romohr (Oct. 6 Pulse), the notion that the Second Amendment’s “well-regulated militia” can be used against the government contradicts the Constitution, Article II, Section 2, which places the militia under the president as commander in chief.
The Militia Act of 1903 defines the militia as the “National Guard.” Appeal to some “unofficial” or “unorganized” militia is moot, because whatever that is, it’s clearly the opposite of “well-regulated.”
Thomas Jefferson was an impressive polymath, but his attitude toward “government tyranny” varied, depending on whether his party was in power. For example, as president he wasn’t shy about using the Alien and Sedition Acts against his opponents.
In 2009, shortly after President Obama took office, Richard Poplawski killed three police officers in Pittsburgh who were responding to a domestic dispute. He believed U.S. troops would soon be used against Americans and that a gun ban was coming.
We face serious problems as political dysfunction and stresses intensify. We need to be clear that extremists cannot distort the Second Amendment to excuse their inflammatory rhetoric, which can too easily lead to hysteria and terrorism.
Jim Bechtel, Omaha
Founders didn’t envision email, either
Alan Goodman (Sept. 29 Pulse) says that we should limit weapons protected by the Second Amendment to what was available in the 1700s. Like the Constitution and the Bill of Rights as a whole, the Second Amendment is purposely vague, as the writers knew things would change. Thus, it did not say “arms as of 1776, all others are subject to government approval.”
Following Goodman’s logic, since there were no electronics in 1700s, they are not covered by the Fourth Amendment (search and seizure) and Fifth Amendment (self-incrimination), and the government should be allowed to snoop on phone calls and emails whenever it wants, without due process.
Bruce Miller, Bellevue
Ethanol gasoline should be a choice
In this allegedly capitalist economy, consumers should have more choices, not fewer. The recent forced consumption of ethanol is a disturbing example of greedy special interests trumping the public good.
Several decades ago, some gas station pumps had a mechanical dial by which the consumer could select among eight or more blends of gasoline, and that choice was then blended at the pump. This option should be updated and brought back.
Gas stations would only need the same infrastructure they have always had — three gasoline storage tanks. But the tanks should hold ethanol-free 87 octane, ethanol-free 91 octane and E85. The consumer could then select E85 or one of eight different blends of ethanol and octane at eight different “blended” prices. And we would still have two choices for ethanol-free gasoline.
The decision would then be back where it should be: in the hands and wallets of the consumers.
Win Pikelis, Omaha
The point is to get kids reading, learning
Yes! Thank you, Gary Wasdin, for putting teen literature into perspective (Oct. 5 World-Herald).
As parents and teachers, my husband and I encouraged our children to read. We sometimes advised them on their choices but mostly were glad to have them reading and talking about all kinds of books. We wouldn’t dream of telling someone else’s parents what to do about their kid’s decisions. We aren’t opposed to other people’s opinions, but we will make our own choices.
We loved the “Eleanor & Park” and “Fangirl” books, too. We recall a time not too long ago when there was furor over “To Kill a Mockingbird” and anything Harry Potter. Madeleine L’Engle knew you can’t fool kids and wrote amazing stories. All of these allow young people to use their brains and imaginations. How better to learn!
Carol Sanderhoff, Omaha