"Truth panel" a bad idea | Feb. 18, commentary
Bush actions deserve investigation
This article by two Republican partisans is simply meant to protect Bush administration officials from further criticism, censure or prosecution.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy has proposed a "truth committee" and House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers has introduced legislation to establish a National Commission on Presidential War Powers and Civil Liberties. Both believe that federal and international laws may have been broken by Bush administration officials who lied to invade Iraq, tortured and transferred detainees to other countries to be tortured, and conducted "warrantless" electronic surveillance of U.S. citizens, among other possible excesses of power.
The authors of this article believe it would establish bad precedent for one administration to investigate another, that it will look like partisan retribution and it is best to move on.
I disagree. While I am reluctant to expect much of congressional investigations given their history of partisan bickering and coverups, not investigating possible violations of federal and international law would further undermine the rule of law that the U.S. legal system stands on. Further, just moving on implies that these types of excesses will not likely happen again.
Once the parameters have been widened to allow undermining the Bill of Rights and violations of federal and international law, future administrations will remember that these excesses of power were allowed and will resume or further exceed legal authority.
To prevent another imperial presidency of either party, I urge support for Leahy's and Conyers' investigations.
Mike Smith, St. Petersburg
We need to see deeds that match the words
For the nation to believe, the "talk must equal the walk."
Congress has just passed and President Obama signed into law the most pork-laden bill in the history of the Republic. And then a week later, Obama calls for a "day of reckoning," and accountability.
Watching the president call for fiscal restraint and responsibility is akin to watching an obese person engorge themselves at an all-you-can-eat buffet while announcing they are starting Weight Watchers … tomorrow.
Sorry, Mr. President, but in order for us to support you, the "tongue in the shoe must equal the tongue in the mouth."
Dale Robbins, Sarasota
Get out of the way
I truly believe that we have a president who is intelligent and hard-working. If anyone has a chance to get us out of the mess we're in, it is he.
But the Republicans have to stop throwing themselves in front of him to create stumbling blocks in order for him to do the job for which he was elected.
It doesn't matter what President Obama says or does, the Republicans are immediately on the air to tear him down. It is obvious that they have their own self-interest at heart and not this country's.
Think about it. They obviously aren't afraid of losing their jobs (at least not immediately) and they obviously don't have any trouble paying their bills and goodness knows they don't have to worry about medical expenses. It's time they start worrying about the people who elected them.
Shirley M. Day, St. Petersburg
Put people first
I watched some of President Obama's address Tuesday, and then changed the channel. I heard nothing new.
One statement did catch my attention, "It's not about helping banks; it's about helping people." What "people" was he talking about? With all the money given to banks and other financial institutions, who has been helped? I have not seen the "people" getting much relief from the bailout, only the banking industry.
I would welcome some proof that the "people" or the economy have been helped by this or any "stimulus package," and/or bailout.
Let's face some facts. The government "oversight" in the past has been, in my opinion, a free- for-all for the greedy in office. The "people" will not be helped until government officials put them first, instead of their egos and chest-pounding.
Jack Wright, Zephyrhills
Bush as scapegoat
For the forth time now I have heard President Obama talk about the deficit he "inherited."
I find this amusing, as if he had not been part of the Democrat-controlled Congress that has been in office more than two years now, and that they are in no way responsible for the current deficit or the more than 5,000-point loss in the Dow Jones Industrial Average since they took over Congress.
If Obama wants to be taken seriously as president, he needs to acknowledge the failure of Congress and stop using George Bush as a scapegoat now that the election is over.
Ronald Dubs, St. Petersburg
The two Republican mantras have always been smaller government and lowering the national debt. However, under the eight years of Republican control of the federal government both the national debt and the size of government went up by gargantuan proportions.
Now after putting us in this current credit crisis they repeat their mantra: We are spending too much money. The truth is they have proven they do not mind excess spending as long as it is spent on things they like, e.g. tax cuts for the rich, the Iraq war with no-bid contracts, tax cuts to big oil and a bridge to nowhere, to name just a few.
Gerald A. Cerveny, Tampa
The voters backed FDR
There have been plenty of items in the press recently that have been critical of President Obama's recovery plan. Op-ed columns, letters, etc., have been claiming that Obama's plan is similar to FDR's recovery plan, which they say didn't work, and that only the war got us out of the Depression.
These people need to be reminded that after FDR put his plan into effect, the people re-elected him by a much bigger margin than in his first election. Obviously, the public was convinced.
Furthermore, it should be noted that the reason the war ended the Depression was that it required a huge stimulus spending plan.
Lewis Lederer, Clearwater
Character knows no age | Feb. 24, Connie Schultz column
What's right in America
In all my years of reading the Times, I have never been moved to tears by an article on your editorial pages — until now. Rage, yes; disbelief, yes; horror, yes; sorrow, yes; happiness, yes. But tears, no.
This story moved me as no other story has ever done. And if your readers somehow skipped it, I strongly urge them to go back and find it.
My heart goes out to the 18-year-old who lost his mother, but the rest of the story is the best indication of what's right in America today. There were no losers. Everybody did the right thing, including the referees who wouldn't budge from calling a technical foul. This article should be required reading for all the multimillion-dollar sports stars of today.
I am sending the article to President Obama with the suggestion that he invite all involved, including the refs, to the White House to be recognized for their true spirit of sportsmanship.
James F. Donelon, St. Petersburg