Hagel is truthful, deserving

The Chuck Hagel nomination for secretary of defense has brought out all the crazies in the Republican Party. They can’t stand a person who can think for himself and doesn’t sugarcoat everything. Chuck Hagel tells the truth even when it hurts.

Never mind what John McCain and his cronies are saying — Hagel is an excellent choice by the president. Many groups here in Nebraska are supporting him.

I am waiting for the swift boat-type ads to start coming out, like they have for many vets who have run for office. John Kerry was smeared when he ran for president. When these ads were found to be lies, were there any retractions or apologies? No.

Many in Congress have never worn a uniform, and if they did, it was probably as an officer. Chuck Hagel is a twice-wounded Army ground-pounder who will take a lot of convincing to put our troops in harm’s way. McCain and his neocon cronies would have us in many countries, as they have before. Hagel knows the cost our military pays when we go to war. You don’t have to look far to see our wounded warriors.

I hope the Nebraska senators will use their brains, vote for Chuck Hagel to be our next defense secretary and not just play “Follow the leader.”

Jerry R. Preble, Omaha

Obama’s motives are obvious

President Barack Obama, trained in Chicago politics, nominated Chuck Hagel as his next secretary of defense. Hagel’s credentials lend themselves to this position, with combat experience, medals for his service and serving in the Senate.

This nomination, however, is another step in showing Republicans in a state of disarray, since several in his party will contest it.

There is a “tell” when the president is on the prowl against Republicans: He gives his “we are not Democrats, we are not Republicans, we are Americans” speech, as he did in announcing the nomination of Hagel.

Even more apparent is the payback to Hagel for trying to sabotage Deb Fischer’s Senate campaign. In Chicago, you pay your debts, especially when you gain political capital.

Marshall True, Omaha

There’s little hope for Hagel

There is no way that Chuck Hagel can be voted in as secretary of defense. He is a war veteran who believes in the U.S. Constitution and the country, not the government!

The famed two-party system, which now holds the average American hostage to an obscene tax system that encourages our politicians to take our money at will, is not going to allow it. Too many Democrats and Republicans will vote against Hagel.

Joe Beardsley, Omaha

Watch future votes closely

I so appreciate the thoughts expressed by Michael McDonald (Jan. 6 Pulse). He made thoughtful and reasoned statements. He is right about what we have done to ourselves by inattentiveness as to whom we voted for.

Those who voted party lines rather than for the best candidate can blame no one but themselves as they see what unfolds in our State Capitol and especially in Congress.

Whether we made informed or reckless decisions, we should all pay special attention to votes cast in future years by our chosen representatives and make sure we vote out those who represent themselves and their interests rather than ours.

Jim Murray, Papillion

Separating fantasy, reality

I have an idea for a new television show. It’s about a Congress where the senators and representatives don’t have enormous egos, where their decisions are driven by a philosophy of public service rather than one of self-service.

It’s about a world where three letters, NRA, don’t send congressmen into hiding under their beds, where they cringe and tremble in terror. It’s about senators and representatives who hold the welfare of their country and its people above the demands of their political party, powerful lobbies and wealthy supporters.

On second thought, perhaps that’s a bit too far-out, even for the fantasy and science fiction genres. Never mind.

Reg Boyer, Fort Calhoun, Neb.

Recall the Prohibition fiasco

To those promoting the idea of a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, you may want to consider that the 18th Amendment banned the manufacture, transportation or sale of alcohol. Spend some time and do a little research, and you will soon learn all of the wonderful things this accomplished.

It soon gave rise to organized crime and created wealth for some of our more prominent political families. Gangs, and gang violence, increased dramatically from 1920 to 1933, when it took ratification of the 21st Amendment to repeal the 18th.

Soon after, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms was created. Doesn’t it seem strange that these three seemingly unrelated items are lumped together under the same authority? Not really, when you consider they are among the most heavily regulated and taxed items in the United States.

With this in mind, does anyone truly believe an assault weapons ban would keep these firearms out of the hands of criminals or insane individuals? The assault weapons ban has been tried before also, and guess what, crime actually increased during this period.

So, are the politicians backing stricter gun laws actually more concerned with increased revenue through higher taxation on these products than public safety?

Tom Beutler, Johnson, Neb.

Sometimes prayer’s not enough

Following the Connecticut tragedy, Val Black (Jan. 4 Pulse) asks for enlightenment as to why children aren’t taught moral standards like “Thou shalt not kill” in school, as if that would have helped.

Actually, man knew it was wrong to kill long before the Ten Commandments were written. Morals did not originate with religion. Besides, children are taught those tenets in every church, synagogue and mosque regularly and have been for centuries. This is a job for parents and clergy, not schoolteachers. Black should be asking instead why religion is failing us.

Beyond that, it is a given that in a sizable population there will always be the mentally ill and the desperate that no amount of moral teaching will assuage. It is a known fact that our prisons are filled with believers.

A tragedy like Sandy Hook is a complex issue rooted in psychology and society, and we have seen time and again that no amount of teaching or praying will protect all of our children everywhere at all times. This is a time when believers and atheists are equally stumped.

Larry Claassen, Lincoln

Gun control never the answer

Instead of gun control, we need to be talking about mental illness/criminal control:

(1) Provide necessary medical procedures to properly treat every mentally ill person in this country. Our government spends billions of dollars helping others; it’s time this tax money is used to help people in this country.

(2) Remove the criminals from the guns, permanently. Gun control would only remove guns from law-abiding citizens. Criminals ignore any gun control laws when they obtain guns. Why take guns away from responsible citizens with only good intentions of self-defense?

Criminals are for gun control! Take guns away, and crime will soar uncontrollably. Why do these mentally ill people choose these places to perform their unthinkable acts? They look for “no guns allowed” signs. They know they can complete their disgusting acts uninterrupted.

I will protect my family and property, as will hundreds of millions of citizens of this great country who agree with the Second Amendment. Everyone should join the NRA, which is keeping our nation safe and the intent of our forefathers alive.

Ed Foral, Springfield, Neb.

Send message to the NRA

Sen. Mike Johanns has an “A” rating from the NRA and has received $4,800 from that organization. Sen. Deb Fischer has an “A” rating and has received $4,950. Reps. Jeff Fortenberry and Lee Terry have “A” ratings and have received $1,000 each.

The best thing these lawmakers could do is return this money and tell the NRA: “We don’t need your money to decide what’s in the best interests of the country to decide gun control measures.”

George E. Schaefer, Bellevue

Ban impractical, unenforceable

If Congress passes a law that assault-type weapons must be registered or turned in, what will the penalty be for breaking this law? Would it be a felony?

With law agencies already understaffed and underfunded, who will be available to arrest these new felons who don’t register or turn in their assault weapons? With a court system already so overloaded with prosecutions, how would it have time to prosecute the new felons created by this weapons ban?

Don’t felony conviction sentencings usually mean prison time? Are we going to build more prisons to house these persons who just became felons by not registering their guns? With an estimated 80 million gun owners in the United States, how many people would this be?

Curt Maas, Stanton, Neb.

Many rushed to her rescue

I want to thank the gentleman who called 911 and the women (who turned out to be nurses) who rushed to my disabled daughter’s side as she was having a grand mal seizure. Also, thank you to the paramedics who arrived within five minutes to give her medical attention. I am so grateful for their help through this difficult situation.

Diane Binkly, Omaha

Bread man delivered the goods

Louis Rotella Sr. had a dream (Dec. 30 World-Herald), and with years of hard work and determination, his dream came true. God bless him.

Phyllis Castanzo, Omaha

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