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Byline: The Register-Guard

Senate should reject Gonzales

There's a new memo in Washington - it decries torture. We're Americans, it says, we don't torture people. That Guantanamo stuff, that was abuse. Abu Ghraib, too.

I can just hear the wheels turning - President George Bush has nominated Alberto Gonzales to be the U.S. attorney general. In case you have forgotten, Gonzales is the author of an earlier Washington memo in which he redefines torture and poo-poos the Geneva Conventions, which prohibit torture of prisoners of war. It is now commonly understood that his memo had a lot to do with the recent torture of prisoners by American soldiers.

So, what do you know, a new memo comes out. It gets splashed all over the news and everyone forgets that Gonzales should probably be tried as a war criminal rather than approved as attorney general.

Please, if you value human life and dignity, let your senators know that Gonzales should be rejected as attorney general.



Halliburton's problems buried

One of six items, some 66 words, tucked down in the bottom left corner of the business page of The Register-Guard on Jan. 4 demonstrate how journalism has nurtured a fascist regime in America.

A single-column, dwarf headline reads, "Halliburton reaches final settlements on asbestos claims." I pointed out in a previous letter that Halliburton was being saved from bankruptcy by the Bush administration via a no-bid, multibillion-dollar contract in Iraq. I have to quote myself here because the media are silent on this gross dereliction of responsibility on the part of our government:

"In 2001, Dick Cheney's Halliburton Corp. was enjoying a stock price of $22 a share. By October 2002, a drop in domestic oil production and the corporation's multibillion-dollar asbestos liability was threatening to bankrupt Halliburton. Their stock was down to less than $13 a share. In November 2002, the Defense Department was already cutting deals with Kellogg, Brown and Root, Halliburton's construction division, to take over Iraq's oil. By June of this year (2003), Halliburton's stock had risen to well over $23 a share and climbing." It now trades around $37 a share.

If we could trade one corpse per share for Halliburton stock, we could buy back the lives of all 100,000 innocent victims of this unnecessary war. But dollars speak louder than bodies. This buried headline and cautious reporting should have been screaming the truth on the front page.



We must deal with race issues

I was saddened to hear that Marilyn Mays is leaving for San Diego (Register-Guard, Jan. 4). How many good people will leave our community before we stop pretending we are too "hip" to have race issues in Eugene?

We desperately need diversity here. It enriches the culture. It's American to be from everywhere, to believe in all things and to celebrate in all ways. Eugene is very homogenous.

I have a personal investment. By virtue of adoption, my sister and I are different colors. She is considering a move to Oregon or Washington to be closer to family but will likely not move to Eugene. She's concerned about raising my niece, her daughter, in a community with almost no African-Americans.

I would love to tell her that we have no racism here, but that would be a lie. This is a community that stood by and watched a beloved African-American choir leader harassed by police not once, but twice, two African-American high school students held at gunpoint by police because of a bank robbery that turned out to be committed by a white man and now the search of a young, upstanding man because of what? He was wearing baggy pants?

What do we lose by being in continuous denial? Well, for one, we lose a brilliant lawyer who works as a public defender in Chicago. Who else do we lose by being so obtuse?



Coburg: Enforce all traffic laws

The city of Coburg has every right to enforce the traffic laws on Interstate 5 within its city limits. However, I believe that other responsibilities go along with the enforcement of those laws.

I believe Coburg should also be investigating the traffic accidents that occur on I-5 within the city limits. The city should also be assisting disabled motorists along the freeway so as to make it safer for all motorists traveling through the community on I-5. To simply sit on the side of a roadway with a radar gun and stop those vehicles that are exceeding the speed limit is not traffic law enforcement. You must enforce all of the laws and do the hard things, such as collision investigations.

If you are only writing speeding tickets and not doing any of the other things required of a police agency, then the police officers are operating a speed trap to receive a commission for the city. I know the traffic laws of the state of Oregon were not set up to be used in this manner.



Nursing home criticisms unfair

Many local care providers were hurt by K. M. Grimes' Jan. 2 letter, "Care of elderly needs attention."

I am an administrator of a nursing facility in Eugene. I started working in local nursing homes in high school. I put myself through college and worked hard to become an administrator. I've stayed in this career field because I genuinely love working with and for our greatest generation and do my darndest every day, as do all my staff, to provide the same care, love and attention that we'd want for our own parents.

Most everyone in our industry feels the same way. Our residents do not wait for 15 to 45 minutes for help. They may wait five minutes on a busy day. Our residents are not overly medicated to keep them in a submissive state. Such a statement is naive and hurtful. Our residents do not go without meals, and we do not staff our facility at the minimum level "to line our pockets," as Grimes asserts.

I am grossly offended at the suggestion that staff intimidate residents into "not telling family members what is really going on." This allegation is absurd. To suggest that Senior and Disabled Services takes the side of the facility during an investigation is outlandish. SDS is resident-focused and unbiased.

Rather than contacting your state representative, as Grimes suggests, I urge readers stop by their local nursing home and thank the staff for their tireless work and dedication - because they don't hear it nearly enough.



U.S. has huge troop deployment

Figures compiled for 2004 show that nearly a million members of the U.S. armed forces are currently deployed to Iraq, Afghanistan and other hot spots since Sept. 11. The United States has not had this large of an overseas deployment in more than 30 years.

During the Vietnam War, more than 3.4 million served in Southeast Asia. More than 58,000 died. With the first Persian Gulf conflict, something like 700,000 served and 382 died. Shortly after Sept. 11, 2001, when troops were sent into Afghanistan and later Iraq, the number of American men and women killed stands at approximately 1,500 and the number of wounded is more than 10,000. Expect these numbers to quadruple before the decision to withdraw is made.

Today's military is an all-volunteer, professional force. While there are no draftees, there are thousands of National Guard and Reserve soldiers who are bearing the brunt of citizenship. One other fact is that Guard and Reserve units have become family organizations - husbands, wives, sons and daughters are being sent into combat areas. In cases where only the spouses are in uniform, deployment means separation from children. Grandparents or other relatives become guardians for the next 18 months.

A final number: More than 303,000 troops have been sent to Iraq and Afghanistan more than once.



Voting procedure needs revision

Both political parties are in agreement with the basic interests of the real powers in the political arena, and those interests at present favor the exporting of jobs and manufacturing.

This is excluded from public discussion as much as possible. Public officials even avoid mentioning that it might be a factor in reduced Christmas spending and the decline of the dollar.

Instead, voters' attention is directed toward various social issues where extreme positions can be established so that they are afraid to vote for any third party candidate because if their choice should lose, the extreme that they fear would be elected. The result is that one or the other of the two parties will always be in position to protect those basic interests which profit the shareholders of the various enterprises they seek to aid.

We need a change in our voting procedure to allow our second-choice vote to count if the first choice fails to win. Ross Perot proved that a third party vote can be nullified, of course, but many people say they voted against someone rather than for what they really wanted.

We could do better than that, but having a nice political campaign appears to be almost as impossible as having a nice war.



Pay for costs of Iraq war now

It has been said by those in leadership positions that Iraq "is not the wrong war, at the wrong time and the wrong place." If we are to accept this statement as fact, then we are led to believe it is the right war, at the right time and the right place.

If we accept that, then it would seem we should also accept that we, in our time, should pay the costs of this war. We should not place the monetary burden on future generations, as we are presently doing.

For those who believe this to be a war of necessity, send your checks to President George W. Bush's White House, Washington, D.C., or urge the president and Congress to increase taxes to cover the costs of this war. After all, those ribbons on so many cars say "support our troops," and this would be solid, up-front support.

Instead of expecting tax cuts, patriotic Americans should step forward, ante up and pay the bill.


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Title Annotation:Letters
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Article Type:Letter to the Editor
Date:Jan 11, 2005
Previous Article:Surgery proves galling for Roseburg legislator.
Next Article:Buck up, legislators.

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