Listening to the comments made in the aftermath of the killing of Osama bin Laden, I find it utterly disturbing how the term “justice” is confused with vengeance. It is deplorable that President Obama equated the shoot-to-kill mission he authorized with “justice being done.”

Calling this act of brute retaliation justice is tantamount to abandoning the rule of law with its concept of due process that defines a civilized society and distinguishes us from less-civilized ones. It definitely separates us from those we call terrorists by the very fact that even the worst criminals — and bin Laden with his crimes against humanity was undoubtedly one of them — have the right to a fair trial. We practiced what we preach during the Nuremberg Trials and in the International Court of Justice in The Hague when we brought Hitler’s fascist thugs and the Serbian war criminals to justice.

The system of justice as the bedrock of a democratic country must not be abandoned, suspended or circumvented for political gain. It is the utmost hypocrisy when we pledge allegiance to the flag, including a commitment to “justice for all,” but are willing to compromise that concept when it is convenient.

By resorting to acts of lawlessness, Obama is aligning himself with his predecessor Bush, who after 9/11 responded in true wild West fashion with violence and wanted bin Laden “dead or alive.” Such behavior damages our credibility worldwide.

Cynics will argue that the end justifies the means, and it is irrelevant what the international community thinks. But that is the arrogant modus operandi of bullies.

Klaus-Peter Voss

Publishing photos of Osama bin Laden’s bullet-damaged corpse would be on a par with the barbaric practice of flaunting a vanquished enemy’s severed head on the point of a spear. As our president has said, that is not what we do.

Besides, for our government to use such a means to “prove” its claim that bin Laden is dead would be no better than its given word on the matter. In the absence of a physical body, photos — which can be lies nowadays — are no firmer proof than are statements.

However, since al-Qaida has accepted the fact, no further type of proof is needed.

Now the outcry has become “How could Pakistan have not known bin Laden was there?” If we accept that reasoning, we should equally ask, “How could Pakistan have not known our agents were also there, studying his hideaway?” Yet they apparently didn’t warn him.

One picture that emerges from the reports to date is of an aging, injured or ill former leader virtually retired in what very much resembles either a prison or an asylum, still dreaming up schemes that may or may not have interested his active successors, with whom he was in touch only by administratively inadequate, sparse couriered messages, otherwise filling in his time trying to savor his past by going over his photo albums and video collection.

Richard B. Innes

Obama’s big head. More than $1 trillion spent, more than 4,000 young men and women lost, and more than 100,000 CIA, FBI and military intelligence people searched for bin Laden for 10 years, and this Johnny-come-lately claims that he got him.

Not on my watch.

Todd Poland

It’s time for motorcyclists to pipe down, wear helmets 

Well, another season of loud, obnoxious motorcycles is almost upon us. I can’t wait.

There is nothing like sitting on my porch on a Sunday morning, reading the paper and listening to some illegally modified motorcycle a mile away, or trying to sleep when a convoy of them roars by. Good stuff. Hopefully the police will enforce the law this year to generate some much-needed revenue.

The phrase “Loud pipes save lives,” which is the typical response from someone with an obnoxious illegal motorcycle, is a joke. If that was the case, then they would be manufactured that way. So, that means Ducati, Yamaha, Suzuki, etc., all manufacture unsafe products because they are not loud? I better notify the (National Transportation Safety Board) and the Motorcycle Safety Foundation ASAP so they can recall all of them.

Also, why am I required to wear a seat belt — for my safety — while driving my 2,000-pound-plus car, surrounded on four sides by steel and airbags, when these motorcycle riders fly down the roads with no helmet? The only thing protecting them is two rubber tires and their legs. Why aren’t they required to wear helmets?

Since the first thing they do after an accident and sustaining an injury is sue, why should I have to pay for their lack of common sense with higher insurance costs related to hospitalization and therapy when helmets could prevent some injuries (though not all)?

Let’s go, Maine. Wake up and pass a helmet law — for their safety. It would also bring in more revenue if they can get a ticket for failure to obey the law, and the rest of us can relax and sleep at night.

Robby Nadeau
South Portland 

The recent story “Panel backs limit on motorcycle noise” is inaccurate.

The writer has melded two bills into one here and some of the facts are totally wrong. The language of L.D. 477 was replaced with an amendment. The amendment creates another subsection to the statute on mufflers in the vehicle code.

All due respect to Sen. Bill Diamond, but the decibel level will be 92 at idle, not 95. I know this sounds high, but keep in mind that the test is performed 20 inches from the end of the muffler.

Did the writer actually interview Mr. Dodge (Richard Dodge, director of the Cumberland County chapter of the United Bikers of Maine) for this article, or did he go to the newspaper’s files and pull up statements from the 2009 debate in Portland, when that city tried to adopt an ordinance to regulate motorcycle sound?

This bill does not require an inspection sticker to be displayed. That is required by L.D. 1675 from last year’s legislative session. The bill requires motorcycles to display an inspection sticker starting in January 2012. The sticker can be displayed anywhere on the rear of the bike.

This year, L.D. 221 was filed by Sen. Debra Plowman to put the sticker on the license plate. This passed through committee on a unanimous vote, so starting in January 2012 all motorcycles registered in Maine should have to display the inspection sticker on the license plate if the bill passes, and I am confidant that it will.

Bad reporting like this just adds to the confusion for everyone. I don’t think that a little diligence in reporting is too much to ask from a news source that thousands of people rely on.

Joshua Herndon

Speculation, not demand, driving up the price of oil 

In an April 18 article, The Associated Press reported that “OPEC ministers have said there is little they can do at present to lower prices, arguing that markets were oversupplied and that the recent gains were largely driven by speculation.”

There is no shortage of crude oil in the global market. Demand is not the prime cause of rising oil prices and therefore not the cause of today’s price of gasoline at the neighborhood pumps.

In May 2000, oil companies and investment banks met in Atlanta to form the Intercontinental Exchange, a privately-owned entity designed to conduct trades outside the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. By 2006, this exchange overtook the regulated New York Mercantile Exchange and became host to the majority of crude-oil futures trades. Speculation accelerated.

From 1990 to 2000, the average price of crude oil was $17.94 per barrel. From 2000 to 2009, the average price per barrel jumped to $45.60, an increase of 254 percent.

There is no evidence to support an increase in demand of this magnitude. The only corresponding increase is in the magnitude of oil company and investment banking profits.

At a given time, anywhere from 25 percent to 50 percent of the price of oil is attributed to speculative trades in the unregulated futures market. Any hiccup in global events invites increased speculation. Look at prices today.

The Commodity Exchange Act of 1936 placed all energy futures trading activity under federal regulation, partially in the name of national security. It took 64 years to reverse this thinking.

In 2000, lobbyists finally sold deregulation in the name of economic growth. Growth failed to occur. The speculative genie jumped out of the bottle and landed in our gas tanks.

Congress, find the courage. It is time to reinstate federal regulation of energy markets.

Tom Foley
Cumberland Foreside 

Sixty nine, 60, 16, 46, 25.

Those numbers represent the first-quarter profit percentage increases of the world’s five largest oil companies.

This most certainly should not have been a surprise to anyone who stumbled upon it, nestled in the confines of the financial pages in a recent Press Herald. It should have taken center stage on the front page, but with royal weddings happening, space was at a premium.

Speaking of premium: There are a good many states paying more than $5 a gallon for it now. We all know what exaggerated fuel prices do to our economy. Just like the tornadoes that have besieged the South, they pick up everything in their path and drag the economy down with them.

We have seen these profits before and we’ll see them again next quarter. We have the power to do something about it, but in a country with such a strong fixation on the automobile, that most likely will not happen.

In finishing, I took the current base salary of Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson and spread it out over a year. At $21 million a year, that would be $400,000 per week, or $10,000 an hour.

Hey, the man has to eat!

Scott Plummer
South Casco