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.
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?
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
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.
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.