published Thursday, September 29th, 2011

Letters to the Editor

GOP's words full of hypocrisy

I received a card in the mail from Rep. Chuck Fleischmann. Although I already knew, the envelope showed "postage paid by taxpayers." So that little perk adds to our deficit!

I also got robo-calls from Rep. Fleischmann and Sen. Bob Corker.

I don't care to hear more of their hypocrisy. Republicans speak of cutting spending, but of course only on programs that help the poor and lower income workers.

They have no plans whatsoever for creating jobs. Never will they touch any of the Koch brothers' tax breaks (subsidies on oil, etc.). After all, a portion of that is returned to them via contributions for their constant campaigning.

The Koch brothers are just an example of those financing tea party/Republicans. In buying GOP politicians, they are establishing an oligarchy. If you scoff at that, you are not paying attention to reality.

Yes, the ultra-rich are "job creators," but mostly now in places such as Asia. You do want to move there and work for extremely low wages, don't you? If they can eliminate unions, sweat shops will return here for our posterity.

As for "voter fraud," who would risk jail and fine? Photo ID is just more "Jim Crow" legal voter suppression.

WALTER M. BENTON, Signal Mountain

* * * * *

Medical care there when it was needed

When we moved to Chattanooga from northern Arkansas a few years ago, one of the reasons was our perception that we would have great medical care available to us. I recently had the opportunity to verify that.

While attending a fundraiser for the Children's Hospital a few days ago, I became quite ill, and it seemed as if I might be having a heart attack. The details are fuzzy since I was not fully aware of what was going on, but the Hamilton Place mall staff and security personnel were there to assist.

I understand two doctors from Erlanger were the ones who asked me many questions and checked my vital signs. Someone found a chair and a cold cloth. The EMS was called and arrived within minutes.

After being wheeled out on a gurney and receiving great care, I felt much better. EMS drove me to the emergency room at Parkridge, where I was immediately taken to a room and assessed by the efficient, friendly staff.

Ultimately, it seems the problem was likely dehydration caused, in part, by the fact that I had played nine softball games over five days in the prior week.

So, thanks, Chattanooga.

RICHARD DURBIN

* * * * *

'Serve & Protect' execution poor

When ads for the aquarium's "Serve & Protect" events held Sept. 23-25 began, my friend and I were interested enough to research sustainable seafood a little further and looked forward to "treating ourselves to sustainable seafood at ... (list of eight restaurants)" as the ad encouraged.

Surpassingly, when we called several restaurants to inquire, employees had no idea what sustainable fishes, if any, would be on the menu -- even when we asked them to check with the manager.

We finally made reservations at one only to find out when we arrived they only had oysters, yet the waitress had a list of seafoods which they would have "sometime" in the future.

I am sure a lot of money was spent by the sponsors and restaurants advertising the weekend's activities. Perhaps all that mattered was the cook-off hosted by Alton Brown. What a shame.

Like many events happening in the world today, it looked great on paper but the execution was poor.

SHERRI BISHOP, Hixson

* * * * *

Petraeus moves penalize him

Why was outstanding Gen. David Petraeus retired?

Department of Defense (DoD) used military's procedure, being passed over, to retire Petraeus. Pentagon appointed generals junior in rank to Petraus to highest Army ranks in DoD -- Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Gen. Ray Odierno, Army Chief of Staff.

Petraeus, with 37 years service, was appointed director/Central Intelligence Agency. He could have been permitted to remain in uniform and complete 40 years service for full retirement.

Previous directors/CIA did not retire from military to serve. Opposite's true. First four DCI's were admirals/generals. Navy Admirals Raborn and Turner served. Gen. Hayden, USAF, served as director/CIA from 2006-09. With Petraeus not serving 40 years; his retired pay is reduced 7.5 percent for rest of his life!

Marine Gen. James Mattis was passed over, but given jobs twice as a Unified Combatant Commander reporting directly to Secretary of Defense; not forced to retire. When Petraeus was sent to Afghanistan, he was demoted from one of those jobs, Commander U.S. Central Command. It is now held by Gen. Mattis. Is it fair to retire and penalize Petraeus?

JOHN A. LYNCH JR., Whitwell, Tenn.

* * * * *

Let freedom ring for Palestine

It is time to recognize Palestine as a member state of the United Nations. This recognition forces the United States, the European Union and Israel to negotiate with a responsible nation entity.

Israel may exist by divine right in a belief system for certain religions, but Israel is a dynamic state with an innovative and competitive economy, not the appendage of someone's apocalyptic dream. The biblical boundaries of Israel are as mythical as Homeric geography. Both civilizations, however, rest on shards of archeological proof. But evolution demands a state of reason, a declaration of independence from hate to a pursuit of happiness.

As a state with full nation rights, Palestine needs to be recognized by FIFA, the international soccer body, in order to prepare a team for the 2018 World Cup.

It is time for America to be free from the fear of terror and invest in education, loans and innovation. It is time for the CIA to quit piping chaos and cash through ancient tribal warlord kingdoms and Israel to quit buying up U.S. congressmen to support its political ambitions.

Let the natural law of liberty seep through a Middle East autumn. Let freedom ring from Palestine to Pakistan.

KEMMER ANDERSON, Signal Mountain

* * * * *

Do something soon to save downtown

Like Jim Howard (letter, Sept. 25), I, too, was downtown on the night of Sept. 17. I was leaving Riverfront Nights concert passing the aquarium when out of nowhere appeared two different, but large groups of gangs. One was congregating in front of a restaurant on Market Street and the other was passing through the aquarium plaza yelling and causing such a disturbance that people dining outside on the plaza were beginning to look nervous.

I walked up First Street toward the Walnut Street Bridge and waves of people were streaming down toward Market and, again, making a disturbance. There were no policemen in sight until I got to the other side of the Walnut Street Bridge, where there were two police cars. I did pass one officer on a Segway on the bridge.

Frazier was practically empty.

Living in North Chattanooga, I very much appreciate what the police have done to curb the crowds that were causing problems in Coolidge Park, but they need to have more of a presence downtown, especially on weekend nights.

If something isn't done and done soon, everything Chattanooga has worked for and achieved in the last 20 years to bring life to downtown will be destroyed.

REBECCA ROCHAT

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