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Byline: The Register-Guard

Current U.S. gun laws are a joke

I was in the supermarket looking at magazines when I saw an article with the headline, "Are gun laws strong enough?"

Well, duh! No, they're not. We don't really have any meaningful gun laws in the United States, and every 18 months or so someone proves it.

I don't belong to the National Rifle Association. I think they are fearful little men who need guns because they have no courage. Unfortunately, they seem to have a lot of pals in Washington who believe it's more important to court the votes of cowards and bigots than people with common sense.

Toys are regulated more strongly than guns in our country; movie content is regulated more strongly than guns; hairdressers are regulated more strongly than guns. I can't kill you with a toy. I can't kill you with a movie. I can't kill you with a bad haircut.

But a crazy person can go out and buy enough weaponry to kill a dozen people and wound 60 more. The stupidity goes on and on.

The NRA doesn't speak for me, and if gun laws were stricter I would follow them because I believe living together as a society is more important than killing those who disagree with you.



Move the homeless into City Hall

In the July 31 mailbag, Grady Lewis wrote that the solution to the homeless problem is to park people in Civic Stadium. I would go one better.

If members of the Eugene City Council really have it in their collective hearts to have an "Opportunity Camp" in Eugene, stick it inside City Hall. No one's there now because all city services have left, or are soon to leave.

I imagine the building is insured, and being inside without heat would be better than being outside without heat during our wonderful wet winters.

Restroom facilities are there, as are showers, I imagine, and if you were to look around I'll bet a kitchen could be found inside the building.

The best part of the equation: The firefighters and paramedics would be just around the corner.

So step up, City Council, and put your unused building to good purpose. It may not be a wonderful enough temple for your use, but I imagine there are many who would flock to use it in the winter.



Why no uproar about the 'swoosh'?

Like many who have been watching the Olympic Games, I, too, was shocked to hear that the uniforms worn by Team USA during the opening ceremonies were not made in the United States.

However, what I find even more shocking is that although it seemed as if Ralph Lauren was put through the wringer over that, nothing has been said regarding all the Nike sportswear worn by U.S. athletes competing in the Games.

The Nike "swoosh" can been seen night after night on almost all American athletic apparel - and the track and field events haven't even started yet.

Are we to believe that Phil Knight and Nike are now using U.S. garment workers to manufacture their line of sportswear, and that Nike footwear is now manufactured in the states?

I may be wrong, but I highly doubt it.



Look to U.S. before criticizing Cuba

The Register-Guard's July 30 editorial response to Raul Castro's recent offer to mend fences with the United States concludes, sensibly enough, that it's time to abandon the government's embargo of Cuba. Parroting standard, unsubstantiated, anti-Cuba propaganda, however, the editors accused "Cuba's repressivea... regime" of "failure to institute democratic reforms," "an abysmal human rights record" and "political and civil rights abuses."

The editorial failed to mention that in addition to a military invasion, a blockade and a mean-spirited, counterproductive embargo that for 50 years, as the editors admit, "has poisoned U.S. relations with an entire hemisphere," the CIA tried to assassinate Fidel Castro many times. Some good neighbor.

How about instituting democratic reforms here? Of a corporate-ruled political system of legalized bribery; of a huge, growing economic gap between the greed-addicted 1 percent and the rest of us; of terroristic warmongering, international bullying and the use of torture; of the industrialized world's highest rate of incarceration; of our ludicrously dysfunctional, money-dominated election system; etc.

Most Cubans have been highly supportive of Castro and the revolution that ran a corrupt dictator and the Mafia out of Havana. Moreover, they now live at a level far above that of most of the "democratic" U.S.-supported regimes.

Cuba's crime is that, while far from perfect, it's too good an example of a government representing the interests of its citizens and is therefore a bad example for this hemisphere, as far as the ruling class in our country is concerned.



Support health care, not insurance

Richard Barnhart came to a great conclusion in his July 31 letter but missed a crucial point. He concluded, "(T)he best solution is to adopt a single-payer health care system that covers all U.S. citizens and is paid for with taxes rather then insurance premiums."

Exactly. So why then call for health "insurance"? Insurance is the system we use to pay small amounts to be covered for large, unlikely, catastrophic events. Health care is not a rare event.

As Barnhart correctly pointed out, the system needs to be one paid for by taxes. Saying it shouldn't be paid for by insurance premiums is true, but the letter failed to note that it's the insurance companies inserting themselves between patient and doctor that makes it all so expensive. The companies' role is to collect the money, try hard to limit what's paid out and then keep the rest.

So we should leave out the word "insurance" if we want good, affordable health care.



Occupy action is a positive turn

I believe the action being taken by Occupy Eugene at the abandoned house at 12th Avenue and Lawrence Street is the most positive development in the local Occupy movement saga so far. By establishing a presence at the abandoned house, members are taking an action that will improve the quality of life in that neighborhood.

That positive action gives them both the credibility and the focus that, to me, had been lacking up to now. It gives them credibility because they are taking a positive action instead of just protesting, and it focuses their message on the mortgage crisis our country is facing because of the actions of Wall Street.

I hope they succeed in establishing such a project in every neighborhood in town. If they can convince the banks that own the mortgages on abandoned homes to give them access to the homes and write that access off as a charitable donation, they will do more to help with the homeless problem in town than any "homeless camp" would accomplish.



Voter ID laws are easily subverted

We should all agree: One eligible voter, one vote.

No one should be able to vote more than once. If a person is determined to do so, or if an ineligible voter is determined to vote, all they need do is obtain a phony photo ID. If they're part of an organization bent on subverting an election, then obtaining fake ID would be no problem.

Why are we kicking people off the voter rolls and making them produce a photo ID if voter ID laws can be foiled so easily? It seems to me a much more effective step would be to follow the example of the Iraqis and dip our fingers in ink when we vote.


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Title Annotation:Editorials and Letters
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Aug 3, 2012
Previous Article:Keeping voters informed.

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