Friday, April 18, 2014
I find it disgraceful that the Republicans are politicizing the tragic events at the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi.
A paramilitary soldier guards the U.S. Consulate in Karachi, Pakistan, in 2002, after an attack in which 10 people died. There were several lethal attacks on U.S. diplomatic stations when George W. Bush was president, but Democrats didn't call for a "Watergate-style commission," as Republicans have in the Benghazi, Libya, attack, a reader says.
2002 file photo/The Associated Press
Not long before these horrific events, the same Republican lawmakers voted against a request by the State Department for additional funding at diplomatic facilities in troubled countries. As Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said, these funding cuts would be "detrimental to America's national security."
These desperate, transparent and hysterical attacks on President Obama and his administration are a continuation of the Republicans' pre-election strategy to disrespect, disparage and diminish him.
Our embassies and other diplomatic facilities have always been at high risk for intrusions and violent attacks.
In 1983, under Ronald Reagan's administration, the Marine barracks at the U.S. Embassy in Beirut were bombed, causing the deaths of more than 200 American servicemen.
Under President George W. Bush, there were attacks on the U.S. Consulate in Karachi, Pakistan, in which 10 were killed. The U.S. Embassy in Uzbekistan was a target, resulting in two deaths. An attack on the U.S. Consulate in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, caused five deaths. By the time Bush left office, there also had been lethal attacks against U.S. diplomatic stations in Syria and Yemen.
It didn't seem to occur to Democrats to criticize President Bush as a failed commander-in-chief, duplicitous or incompetent after these episodes, or to request a "Watergate-style commission." For the Republicans to do so now is despicable and unconscionable.
The behavior of the Republicans, especially Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham, is especially egregious in view of Ambassador Christopher Stevens' father's request to Republicans to stop politicizing his son's death. The Republican Party continues to demonstrate its priority: to place party above country to the point of dishonor.
Special limits on voting might ease Webster's fears
I would feel so safe if Charlie Webster stopped those hordes of "black people" (not to mention women) from voting. Did his sources say they were being bused from town to town? I'll bet there were thousands.
Doesn't Mr. Webster think the answer is to clamp down with a voting ID issued only to valid resident Republicans he can personally vouch for? Then the Republican Party could take its rightful place as supreme and absolute permanent ruler.
Okay, I've had my say. Now Bill Nemitz doesn't have to write his column.
Media offer conflicting data on the violent crime rate
All this confusion about media. About who is telling us what we need to know to make informed and responsible decisions concerning America's future. Well, here's one for you:
An article in the front section of USA Today states that the violent crime rate went up 17 percent last year, citing a Justice Department report.
About two weeks later, an article in the front section of the Oct. 30 Portland Press Herald (Dispatches, "Number of violent crimes decreases for fifth year") states that the violent crime rate went down 3.8 percent last year, citing a study by the FBI.
Almost like sitting midcourt, watching a tennis match.
Rich households, firms best situated to handle tax hikes
Changing taste and technology affect small businesses. I used to make a good living selling physical books online; with the rise of e-books, I've had to shift occupations.
That's the risk of commerce, and it has nothing to do with federal tax rates.
I raise that point because some are arguing that we cannot allow tax rates to rise slightly for our wealthiest citizens in the interest of debt reduction for fear it will somehow hurt entrepreneurs.
That is a false argument.
Congress has embarked on a great budget debate as our national debt has become more of a problem.
One idea for staunching the red ink is to raise more revenue from those best positioned to provide it: rich households and profitable corporations.
On the individual side, tax cuts passed in the early Bush administration would be allowed to expire for incomes above $250,000 a year. This prudent change, which would affect only the top 2 percent of American households, would bring in almost a trillion dollars in desperately needed revenue over the next 10 years.
That quarter-million-dollar threshold is only crossed by 3 percent of small businesses (we're talking about profits here, not revenue).
So the next time you walk around the Old Port, you can be pretty sure that none of the unincorporated businesses you pass would pay a nickel more in taxes if Bush-era tax rates reverted to the modestly higher, more reasonable rates in effect during the Clinton years.
Getting our federal budget back in shape and strengthening programs that support our middle class customers (like Medicare) is the real way to help small businesses.
I'm confident Sen. Olympia Snowe and Sen. Susan Collins understand this and will vote accordingly during the special session of Congress dealing with our national finances.
As soon as the elections are over, Congress will begin work on cutting the national debt.
Where will the budget cuts come from? If they decide to override their current deal, to cut defense and let tax breaks for the wealthy expire on Jan. 1, keep your eye on retirement benefits like Social Security and Medicare for us and our grandkids.
Watch for a lot of smoke and mirrors, but know that if they say they are going to create a "new" Medicare program, or "change" Social Security, they could have raised taxes on the wealthy instead.
Call Sens. Olympia Snowe at (800) 432-1599 and Susan Collins at (207) 622-8414 and tell them to protect our grandchildren by raising taxes on America's wealthiest corporations and individuals.