Congress: Terrorists have gun rights too | May 8
Attacking a basic American right
Gail Collins' column and the Lautenberg bill it supports are as fatally flawed as the FBI's terrorist watch list. The Terrorist Screening Center has been and still is adding names to that list with no investigation beyond those names coming up in uncorroborated, uninvestigated reports of suspected terrorism supporters, sympathizers and participants.
The list now contains more than 1.1 million names, many with multiple entries and misspellings, and almost all are completely innocent of any crime. It has included 4-year-olds and nationally known figures, and it took years for those victims to get their names off the list. Nelson Mandela and his family were not removed until 2008 after intervention by members of Congress.
Not only is the list grotesquely inaccurate, but real terrorists are often allowed to fly because of the inaccuracies and the delays in updating by the FBI. The Times Square bomber was allowed to board an aircraft because of the airline delay in reading the latest list revision. Fortunately he was removed before takeoff.
The removal of a basic civil right by faceless bureaucrats without legal process or easy recourse to appeal is unfortunately not unprecedented. But the last time this occurred was during the McCarthy era.
I suggest that Gail Collins and Sen. Frank Lautenberg at least have the honesty to admit their goal, to repeal the Second Amendment and ban all firearms, instead of trying to subvert and corrupt the Constitution.
James J. Klapper, Oldsmar
Reports are misleading
We have all been hearing about how leaders of the state Republican Party have been spending on party credit cards. While this is an important issue for the party to be aware of, much of what is being reported is misleading.
There are many valid expenditures on these credit cards, and much of the personal spending is reimbursed. Further, these are party funds, not governmental funds. I have no problem with funds donated to the party being used in an effort to raise an even greater quantity. This is called fundraising and is a critical element of survival for any political party.
Further, to be fair, it is time to demand the state Democrats release their own spending information. Reporting should be done in the same biased manner, as the media can make is sound like they are throwing away state money. If money is spent to fly the state chairman to a fundraising event, the media need to give the same implications of impropriety that is being presented for the GOP.
It's time for the St. Petersburg Times, as well as the rest of the media, to balance its reporting.
Deborah Butler, Valrico
Republican Party credit cards
Politics and greed
The operative word is party! It doesn't matter if it is Republican, Democrat or independent, if you give money to the "party" you can expect it to disappear without accountability and then have them asking for more. And once you are on their mailing list only death will remove you from their grip.
Until recently, the party credit cards were unknown to the general public. Now that this has been revealed there will be countless meetings, gnashing of teeth and decisions made to find another avenue to hide the greed and avarice of political power.
If not for the Times/Herald expose we would still be in the dark on this latest chapter of politicians doing what they do best. It really is time to boot them all out and start over.
Robert Weisman, Tampa
Republicans show their true nature May 10, letter
Taint is all around
The letter writer would like us to believe that the GOP uses bully tactics and sneaky tactics in passing bills without legitimate debate.
Has she looked at the Democratic Party? She is showing her true nature. I suppose that she has forgotten the closed-door sessions, bully tactics and sneaky tactics of the liberals in Congress.
I'm not saying the Republicans aren't tainted. But she needs to take her blinders off and see that politics (both federal and state) has been dirty and ugly.
Ron Melone, Clearwater
Stars of GOP rally in Pasco | May 8, story
Regulation is essential
At Friday night's fundraising dinner for statewide Republicans, former Gov. Jeb Bush made a statement that left me wondering if he was living on a different planet from me. He was quoted saying that "the demonization of capitalism has got to stop if we're going to save the problems in our country."
I was wondering what exactly he was referring to. Was it the grilling that Goldman Sachs executives were forced to endure during their one day of questioning in front of Congress recently? Could it have been the press conferences that the West Virginia mine owner had to have to explain why hundreds of violations in his mine were not corrected prior to mine workers dying in the mine? Or could it be that the Obama administration was expecting a little bit more of BP than it was willing to do and pay for regarding this catastrophic oil spill in the gulf?
If those are the kind of demonizing things he's referring to, then sign me up. Capitalism has brought us the highest standard of living in the world, but unfettered capitalism also brought us to the precipice of disaster last year. It's up to government to see that we have the proper checks and balances in place. It's a shame that Gov. Bush views those regulations as a demonization of business.
Michael Savino, Seminole
Who gets rights?
The right is all atwitter over the Time Square bomber, saying that he should be declared an enemy combatant and denied his rights. It's strange that when the Hutaree terrorists were arrested, no one called for them to be labeled enemy combatants and deprived of their rights. I guess if you are white and Christian you are entitled to your rights. If you are Muslim and not white, you're not.
It's also strange that the right is willing to let the executive branch arbitrarily decide who has rights and who doesn't. I thought that they didn't trust the government.
Christopher Radulich, Apollo Beach
To ease your mind
Do you find your general outlook on life is dark and gloomy? Are you short-tempered with your wife and children? Hate your job? Are you thinking the whole world sucks?
If you would like to not feel this way any longer, do what I did. It really works. Try it for 30 days. You'll be pleasantly surprised.
Stop watching Fox News and listening to talk radio. Really. If it doesn't work you can go right back to the gloom and doom and negativity so prevalent on both "news" outlets.
Jim Lockwood, Spring Hill