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China and U.S. debt

EDITOR: Without much fanfare and very little media coverage, China has eclipsed the United States as the worlds largest economy. In 1980, China’s economy was one-tenth the size of the U.S. economy Perhaps not coincidentally, U.S. government debt will reach $18 trillion in the next few days. Expressed in more human terms, this debt equals $124,275 per household.

Throw in unfunded retirement and health care benefits at the federal, state and local level and now you are talking about some serious money. Looking on the bright side, the world’s third-largest economy, Japan, is in much worse shape than we are. Its debt level makes the U.S. look almost solvent. Our second-place standing looks secure for now.

DON JONES

Santa Rosa

Criminal acts

EDITOR: In light of the release of a report by U. S. Senate investigators, it is clear that U.S. officials such as George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and others were in direct violation of international treaties signed by the U.S. government, including the United Nations’ Convention Against Torture.

Morally good goals can never be achieved by morally evil means. The end one strives for never justifies the means used to achieve that end. Ends and means are inextricably linked just like a tree and the roots that support it.

Torture is both immoral and illegal. Torture was conducted by Americans. Why isn’t anyone being prosecuted?

CHUCK WHATFORD

Santa Rosa

Torture and drones

EDITOR: In response to Randy Thomas’ letter (“Political football,” Friday) concerning liberal/progressives perspectives: We believe that acts committed by the Bush/Chenney administration regarding torture and the Obama administration’s murder-by-drones program to be war crimes. What so many people fail to understand is there is very little difference between the Democratic and Republican parties anymore, which is why the majority of Americans choose not to vote or participate in this madness.

GARY B. ROBB

Sebastopol

The Lopez report

EDITOR: Recent letters to the editor about the Andy Lopez killing point out the simple fact that we don’t know what happened that day because District Attorney Jill Ravitch has not released the data. She has only released her summation of the evidence. Until the complete report of the killing of Andy Lopez is made public, we can only guess as to what happened that sad day. This report would, of course, include Deputy Erick Gehlhaus’ testimony and the testimony of the deputy who was with him at the time of the shooting. It would include the forensic evidence. It would enlighten us all as to the what and why of the Andy Lopez killing.

TIM McGRAW

Healdsburg

Tyranny of the majority

EDITOR: Laura Beach (“The real agenda,” Letters, Tuesday) asks: If Dawna Gallagher-Stroeh’s “ ‘first and foremost concern is that this would impose something on people without their choice,’ then why isn’t she honoring the choice made by the people of Healdsburg by a large margin in the recent election to continue adding fluoride to our water?”

It’s worth remembering that our founding fathers worked hard to avoid a tyranny of the majority. Civil rights should never be subject to majority vote. Fluoride-Free Healdsburg, Gallagher-Stroeh and other concerned citizens are engaging in an ongoing democratic process to secure their civil rights, in this case their right to reject medication without consent, without dose control and without consideration of individual needs and vulnerabilities. Their concern — their “agenda” as Beach characterizes it — is reasonable and honorable.

We can choose fluoride for ourselves, in our toothpaste or from our dentists, but individual choice isn’t possible with fluoride in our water.

CAROL GOODWIN BLICK

Rohnert Park

Will’s take on cops

EDITOR: I think that an investigation should be opened immediately to determine who on your editorial staff threw away the actual George Will column for Thursday (“Too many laws, too much law enforcement”) and substituted such a well-reasoned, free of smirk and condescension, even compassionate piece on the national crisis in the relations between police and the policed.

Maybe Will really did write it. Conservative pundits have been known to offer constructive ideas about criminal justice. After all, William F. Buckley made the exoneration of Rueben “Hurricane” Carter his great personal cause. And succeeded.

But then that sneaky Will turned the whole tragedy of the string of incidents of police and the amount of force acceptable into a right-wing cause. Government has too many laws and regulations. It’s a fresh take on the incidents in question and not altogether irrelevant. But I’m afraid the situation is a good deal more complicated than is suggested by his analysis.

Just as the tax code is neither good nor bad based simply on its length, neither is our criminal justice system effective or not based on the number of laws. So, give it another shot, George. And stick with the new attitude.

ANDREW P. GROSE

Cloverdale

Lebron James’ foul

EDITOR: Please tell the British to take a deep breath and relax (“King James commits foul with royals,” Thursday). Yes, your princess was touched by a commoner (otherwise known as a human being). While you’re at it, please remind them that we got rid of monarchies more than 200 years ago. If I get invited to Buckingham Palace, I will abide by their rules out of courtesy. But when in Rome (New York) or Paris (Texas), get over yourself.

BRIAN NARELLE

Rohnert Park

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