Tea party's strange brew | Sept. 16, Daniel Ruth
Nothing new about this zealotry
Daniel Ruth has done a masterful job of perfectly describing the know-nothings that inhabit the world of the tea party. They have a self-inflated view that theirs is a reflection of the American electorate. Nothing could be further from the truth.
The Tea Party Express is on a fast track to being exposed as a handful of zealots who have captured the Republican Party and are leading to its destruction by their antics. Hiding behind the American flag and claiming to be patriots is an old trick that goes back to the John Birch Society, and they will surely be repulsed by informed voters as they have in the past.
Do we as a nation have problems? Of course we do. But sticking your head in the sand and refusing to take any action will not solve the problems.
Robert W. Schultz, St. Petersburg
In the end, party of middle
I object to Daniel Ruth's description of the tea party being a strange brew and his description of the Sept. 12 presidential debate. The tea party movement is a grass roots effort of millions of Americans seeking to realign our government with the intent of our Founding Fathers. It is a nonpartisan movement that believes government should operate within the framework of the Constitution, and it acknowledges that both Republicans and Democrats have violated this principle and passed unconstitutional laws when they controlled Congress.
The core beliefs and goals: American exceptionalism, limited federal government, limited federal spending (debt reduction), strong states' rights, strong national defense, enforcement of immigration laws, protection of individual rights, and rejection of any United Nations jurisdiction over the United States.
The tea party seeks to re-establish a constitutional government because when elitist politicians ignore the Constitution, they really are saying they know what's best for us and they possess the wisdom to overrule the Constitution. This approach often leads to anarchy or fascism. Tea party members are not "right wing" but, in reality, conservatives who appear to be the only true moderates.
Doris Houdesheldt, St. Petersburg
Warnings on loan program ignored Sept. 16
News coverage unbalanced
After weeks of negative front-page articles about the GOP presidential contenders, Gov. Rick Scott and U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, I looked for an article concerning the Solyndra-Obama administration's embarrassment. Finally, in Friday's paper, tucked into the bottom left half of Page 5, I found a one-column article. This is nearly a week after NBC, ABC, Fox News and others broke the story. The sad thing about the little article is that it did not include the pressure the Obama administration exerted to have this $528 million loan approved quickly. It also didn't mention that Vice President Joe Biden had taken an active role in trying to get this loan through quickly so he could announce it when he took part in the groundbreaking ceremony of Solyndra's new plant. Solyndra went bankrupt. The taxpayers lost $528 million, and 1,100 jobs were lost.
The Times continues to pander to liberals. Where is the balanced reporting?
Daniel Pennisi, Palm Harbor
Solyndra deal is a scandal
Solyndragate! Here we go again. Another Washington scandal. The news is appalling, rife with allegations about people in high office and their knowledge regarding the collapse of Solyndra, which, at the expense of the taxpayers, received $528 million and then folded. It does not look good for this administration. Is this incompetence or corruption?
Most disturbing is that private investors will be getting preferential treatment in any recouping of funds, while taxpayers will be subordinated to them. Questions about political favors, coverups, known information about the fiscal state of this company and its ability to become successful abound. Naturally the Obama administration is attempting to disassociate itself from this debacle, but surely it will undercut the president's re-election campaign.
It seems as though people in high office have no fear of scandal or consequence. Perhaps our judicial system is deemed too soft, too easy to forgive, unwilling to pursue and indict. I sincerely hope that those found guilty in this fiasco are severely punished.
Orfeo Trombetta, Seminole
Solyndra's lobbying costs
Overlooked (more likely, just ignored by the media) in the Solyndra debacle is that Solyndra spent almost $2 million to lobby the Obama administration.
That means we gave them a half billion dollars, borrowed from our kids and their kids, to produce nothing and to enable them to pressure the White House to give them more. Fortunately, that fell on deaf ears. But we'll see if the "green energy" loan guarantees in the mill will turn out to be worth it. What's that definition of insanity?
Ernest Lane, Trinity
HPV vaccine and politics
As a female physician and researcher, I was shocked when I heard U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann make that false comment about the HPV vaccine just to score political points. Not only did she have no evidence, but she also demonstrated a complete lack of knowledge about how HPV kills women. Even worse, Texas Gov. Rick Perry called his decision in 2007 on HPV vaccination "a mistake." Without medical knowledge, these politicians attacked each other using a lifesaving vaccine as their weapon. Antiwoman and antipublic health views should not be marks of conservatism. And the use of misinformation should not be spread in a national forum, especially when it comes to public health. Our leaders should be advocates for preventive health care, not politicians who benefit from "let the uninsured die" mentality.
Charurut Somboonwit, M.D., Tampa
Federal intelligence budget
Spending should not be secret
I am informed by my representative in the U.S. Congress that he voted in favor of the budget for the intelligence agencies, but the figure is secret. Apparently it would be valuable information for al-Qaida and its ilk to know how much the U.S. government is spending on intelligence gathering.
I don't think how much we are spending on intelligence is shaping terrorist planning. But the taxpayers don't get a chance to know, and we are the ones who are paying for an expanding set of intelligence agencies with overlapping responsibilities. Meanwhile, a prominent Republican spokesman says that any budget cuts should come out of items like education, health care, Social Security and so forth.
Michael Francis, Homosassa