Evil and its helpers | Daniel Ruth column, Nov. 16
The right action is often elusive
Daniel Ruth's column, "Evil and its helpers," discussed the recently disclosed U.S. Justice Department report on the post-World War II collaboration of the U.S. government and Nazi criminals who were admitted to the United States to work on scientific projects, for the CIA, and for the space program. This is not new information to historians and in particular to those who study the Holocaust and its aftermath, but the report is eye-opening and frightening. Thank you to Daniel Ruth for writing this column.
At the Florida Holocaust Museum we teach our visitors and particularly our schoolchildren that there were choices made during and immediately following the Holocaust. A choice could be made to be a bystander (to not get involved, and yes, this is a choice to do nothing to help), to be a perpetrator (to choose to murder the Jews and others) or to be an "upstander" (to stand up and do what was right despite personal cost). These were not simple choices, and often our Holocaust survivors talk about "choiceless" choices where no outcome was going to be positive. The United States made calculated and deliberate choices to allow these known Nazi perpetrators to not only enter our country but also to work, to earn accolades and to have their pasts buried.
We are fortunate to live in a wonderful country with the freedom to make choices. At the Florida Holocaust Museum we hope that those visitors who pass through our doors or are involved in one of our many community outreach projects will learn about the choices that were made during and after the Holocaust and will decide to make positive decisions that will impact not only themselves but their entire communities.
Carolyn R. Bass, executive director, Florida Holocaust Museum, St.Petersburg
I am neither an apologist for Nazi cruelty nor a critic of free speech, but I take issue with Daniel Ruth's critique of the American government's treatment of ex-Nazis.
Ruth asserts that former Nazis like Arthur Rudolph should have "been swinging at the end a rope" instead of actively helping Americans after the war. But isn't that the kind of blind hatred of a group that caused the genocide in the first place?
Of course many Nazis actively participated in the killing of innocent people, and deserved justice. However, many served German war efforts against their will, out of fear of retribution to their family if they didn't. You don't betray a totalitarian state if you know they will execute your children.
Thank God there were men like Claus Von Stauffenberg who, while carrying the label of a Nazi, had a conscience and a heart for humanity. However, if he had survived execution by the Nazis, I don't know if he would have survived the noose in Daniel Ruth's world.
Josh Bonner, Spring Hill
Obama claim falls short | PolitiFact, Nov. 11
Trust in fact check waning
I read PolitiFact's analysis of President Barack Obama's claims about the success of the stimulus money three times, with increasing puzzlement. Using only the content of the article, I had to conclude that Obama told the truth. Yet PolitiFact claimed his words were "a stretch" and only "half true."
PolitiFact could only reach these conclusions by quibbling about nonexistent data or by using imprecise semantic distinctions. PolitiFact criticized Obama's words because not all government agencies had precise data to submit; yet Obama used the data available, as PolitiFact recognized. PolitiFact used the same data to reach the same conclusions as Obama.
I have come to trust PolitiFact's analyses. Without such trust their efforts are worthless. My trust is waning.
Clarence Crawford, Homosassa
Medicare pay cut could cut off new patient access | Nov. 13
Cut would imperil seniors
The looming 25 percent Medicare cut to physicians has real-world consequences for seniors. Already, about one in five physicians are being forced to limit the number of Medicare patients they can treat because of the threat of cuts and current low payment rates. A deep cut of this magnitude will greatly impact seniors' ability to find a doctor.
Congressional action is the only way to stop the cut, which begins on Dec. 1. The American Medical Association is asking Congress to stop the cut for at least 13 months to inject some stability in the Medicare system. This action is vital to preserve Medicare's physician foundation for seniors who rely on the program now and to ensure access to care for the baby-boomers who begin to reach age 65 in January.
Americans are concerned, with four out of five people saying Congress should act immediately to stop the cut, according to a new AMA poll. Elected officials need to hear from patients and physicians that stopping the cut for 13 months is critical to preserving seniors' health care.
Cecil Wilson, M.D., president, AMA, Chicago
The left still doesn't get it
Leave it to the self-proclaimed intellectuals of the enlightened left to misread recent election results. In their virtual fantasy world, they believe their losing candidates should have gone even further left.
I would like to spell out what the left's failed midterm election really meant. The stimulus was a big failure, a waste of money and only delayed the inevitable.
Most Americans liked their health care and didn't want the government getting any more involved in it. Buying car companies looked like a union payoff with taxpayer money.
Spending our way to prosperity does not make sense. And making only 50 percent of us pay all federal income taxes seems unfair; everyone should have a vested interest in our country.
Dean Walters, Ruskin
More of same won't work
Let me see if I've got this right. The tax cuts enacted during the last Bush administration are in place. Since they don't seem to be doing much good in spurring the economy, how is it that the GOP seems to think extending them is going to help?
The economics of running a government are simple. You collect taxes and you use those taxes to run the government and pay for the services the government provides. That's it. You tax and you spend. That's how it is supposed to work.
Since the last Bush administration, however, government economics has been borrow and spend. And I mean borrow big and spend big. This is simply not sustainable. What will we do when flourishing countries, like China, call in our markers?
Emiliano Quindiagan, St. Petersburg
Use a transactions levy
In all this palaver about taxes, tax loopholes, special deductions and a thousand other tax references, complications and speculations, why is there not one word about the APT tax, the only reasonable tax for the 21st century?
The Automatic Payment Transactions Tax painlessly collects the money to run the government, educate our children, invade any country we please and pay off the national debt.
Every money transaction, without exception, is taxed at the rate of 0.3 percent from both buyer and seller. The buyer of a $200,000 house pays $600, and so does the seller. A $50 grocery bill is taxed 15 cents. No income, sales, corporate, estate, fuel or gift tax. Just the APT tax. No tax forms to fill out, or tax records to maintain. Nothing could be more rational.
Bud Tritschler, Clearwater
The Gadget Guy | Nov. 12
In 30 years of reading my favorite newspaper, I think you have reached a previously unimagined low with the article on how to skirt the dangers of texting/cell phone use while driving.
At least 30 states have outlawed cell phone use while driving, and your article encourages people to find ways around the well-known hazards of this practice. It's all very well for your "Gadget Guy" to insert the disclaimer that "the best way to solve this problem is to stop texting … while driving." But then he writes, "But what if …" he could show you how to do it safely (i.e., with eyes on the road and both hands on the wheel).
Sorry, you left out the most important organ, the brain, which unfortunately will be occupied with executing your "safety measures." What a shameful article, encouraging a practice that leads to frequent, multiple accidents.
Anthony Skey, St. Petersburg