1. Archive

Gorbachev a politician, not a peacemaker

Congratulations to Soviet President Gorbachev! He certainly deserves some kind of an award. But the Nobel Peace Prize? Get serious. Gorbachev's skill and cunning is as a politician not a peacemaker. At a huge celebration of the 70th anniversary of

the Bolshevik Revolution on Nov. 2, 1987 Gorbachev said, "In October 1917, we parted with the old world once and for all. We are moving toward a new world, the world of Communism. We shall never turn off that road."

True to his word, Communism is alive and well in the Soviet empire with only minor cosmetic changes designed primarily for Western consumption. Glasnost and perestroika are buzzwords to make the West believe that Communism is no more. The reality is that the government still controls the economy, the KGB operates as usual, the Gulag system is still intact, and there's nothing to eat.

The Nobel Prize Committee should have checked with the Lithuanians before giving the peace prize to the man that vetoed their request for freedom from Soviet tyranny with military might and intimidation.

There were far more heroic characters than Gorbachev involved in the Eastern Europeans' struggle to free themselves from Communism. He was the problem, not the solution. Because of economic and ethnic crises in the Soviet Union, Gorbachev had little to gain and much to lose if he did not acquiesce to the Eastern Europeans.

Gorbachev's goal is to keep himself in power and con the West into giving his country lots of aid, trade and credit. He created the Soviet version of a "Western style" president which was to be a five-year post elected by the general public. However, to "simplify" things he suggested that they just skip the public election the first time around. That's exactly what they did. In recent months he's pushed for the czar-like powers which he now holds.

It's unfortunate that the Nobel Peace Prize judges overlooked Gorbachev's intentions as well as his record to give him such a richly undeserved reward.

James L. Archibald, Clearwater

Reform desperately needed

Re: Group calls commercial health plans wasteful, Oct. 10.

Thank you, Richard Coorsh, for providing yet more evidence that the disastrous mess that passes for a health care system in this country is in desperate need of reform.

As spokesman for the Health Insurance Association of America, Mr. Coorsh made three statements in defense of the appalling status quo, and all of them were inaccurate.

First, he claimed that there was "overwhelming opposition" to a national health plan; last year's St. Petersburg Times' survey showed 90 percent support for one.

Next, he quotes $245-billion as the sum required in new taxes to finance it; again, pure drivel _ with price controls and the elimination of duplication and inefficiency, a national scheme would save money.

Lastly, he attacks the Canadian system _ arguably the best in the world _ for rationing or denying care. Utter nonsense! More people suffer from inaccessible care in one U.S. city than in the whole of Canada.

Three strikes, Mr. Coorsh, you're out. And, if there's any justice, so too will this dreadful health-for-wealth system be.

Nick Hobart, New Port Richey

Is this preposterous?

Re: Even the comics show us why Canada's health care is better, Oct. 7, and a letter to the editor, in response, Oct. 17.

The letter writer asked that "Mr. Dyckman and the Times produce any and all solid evidence to support this preposterous pronouncement" that emergency rooms fill up with dead and dying people who, had they gotten ordinary medical care, wouldn't be sick at all.

I realize Mr. Dyckman is a busy man so let me assist.

To the letter writer, a doctor, one day when you're free, say, your golf day, you could drive over to Cocoa with me to visit my mother-in-law. It's a long drive and both my cars have over 100,000 miles. If your car has less, would you mind driving? I'll spring for the gas and tolls.

My mother-in-law is 57, diabetic and in need of heart bypass surgery for the past two years. She is now to the point where a heart doctor won't touch her. Why, do you ask?

My father-in-law has health insurance and as my "mom" uses it, he becomes a liability and is laid off.

You say, "preposterous," say it to my wife, she will be riding over to Cocoa with us.

I can also fill you in on the home front. You guessed it, my wife is diabetic. My son is 13 and up to now, thank God, he isn't.

I have group insurance with my employer. The cost is only $60 a month, if I don't use it (about the cost of a cart and green fee at a "decent" course). I pay $5 for prescriptions, $10 for a doctor's visit and pay outright for things not covered. For example: "chem-strips" for my wife to check her sugar, deemed not a necessity. Try to get a referral to a specialist; lunch with Saddam Hussein is easier.

Our company this time last year had 700 employees. We now have about 200 and I'm hanging in there.

Hey Doc, you got any friends in Canada? I could use a reference.

Brian Patrick Feehan, Seminole

To stimulate the economy

Re: Washington eschews reality, by George F. Will, Oct. 11. The president's own economists predict that a cut in the capital gains tax would increase the annual growth rate by less than 1/10th of 1 percent. This is because most capital transactions (possibly 99 percent) are resales, from one investor to another, which don't provide any money for industrial growth.

Better ways to stimulate the economy include: lower taxes for interest income, encourage saving, and a national health plan, financed from general revenues. Every dollar, deposited in a financial institution, is available for loans including those for industrial growth. Manufacturers can compete better in the world market if their prices don't have to include costs for employee insurance.

Jack Gregg, Largo

Welcome, Mr. President

Re: Welcome, Mr. President.

Welcome to St. Petersburg, Mr. President.

See the wire and concrete barricades walling St. Petersburg citizens from access to the beauty of their waterfront? Stay and see large boys in their large petrochemical-fueled toys blast the serenity of our town, deface our streets and pollute our air in mindless pursuit of "entertainment." Stay and see thousands of Floridians drink their beer and cheer the boys and their toys.

And will they give a thought to tens of thousands of women and men patrolling skies, water and sands in alien lands to protect our fossil fuel addiction? I don't give a damn for big boys and their wasteful petrochemical toys, for beers and cheers.

Big boys and their toys teach bad values: Wasting finite resources is okay; making some bucks through destructive entertainment is okay; refusing to face the calamitous consequences of our resource-wasting ways is okay.

Do you think it's all okay, Mr. President? I wish you would say.

Well, have a nice day, Mr. President.

Dudley E. DeGroot, St. Petersburg

House cleaning needed

Wake up America!

Our elected officials are taking us to hell in a handbasket at a hundred miles an hour.

We don't have a government of, by or for the people anymore. Drive into any gas station and see the unholy marriage between our politicians and big business.

The majority of politicians are rich, power hungry people who only represent special interest groups. We need to take our government back from these people.

Our country needs a complete house cleaning from top to bottom and here's how we can do it. In any election, be it county, state or national, from dogcatcher to president, don't vote for any incumbent.

Come on America, no more business as usual politics. Let's open the door and let the fresh air in before they choke us to death.

I will never vote for any incumbent again!

John Preston, Port Richey

The only way I can see limiting the terms of office of these lawmakers in Washington is by getting the issue on the ballots of every state. Let the citizens decide.

You could never get these legislators to go along with the public's thinking; it would only add to the confusion they already have _ and can't cope with.

F. Grant Noerenberg, Palm Harbor

No wonder Congress doesn't want to tax the super rich .


. most congressmen are super rich.

Joe Sherry, Tampa

Learn from history

I've had it! I should have sent this letter when first I read the editor's comments on the Public Broadcasting System's documentary of the Civil War. Regrettably, I did not. But after reading the rantings of a southern letter writer who says the South was misunderstood, and then the ravings of a northern writer who feels the need only to condemn the South, I felt I should give a slave's point of view.

The editor's comments that "the economy of the South was dependent on slavery, the economy of the North was not," and that the Civil War was fought for the "noblest" of reasons were an outrage. The slavery and civil atrocities of the South were obvious; those of the North were only cleaned up by the history books. A great-grandfather on one side of my family starved to death in Ohio because his factory wages were not enough to feed his family. On the other side, a great-great-grandmother was raped by Sherman's Union soldiers during a raid on an unguarded plantation near Savannah, Ga. She then fled to the so-called "free" North where my family spent a hundred years in the ghettos of Philadelphia.

Yes, the heart of Africa was torn by slave traders trying to fill the South's demand for slaves, but who was doing the tearing? Abraham Lincoln saw his first slave auction in Illinois, a state of the "free" North. While slaves worked the fields of the South with only food and poor shelter provided, black men slaved in the factories of the North for pitiful wages. If either side is looking to be exempted from the blame of slavery, forget it. One side was as guilty as the other.

The Civil War was fought for the least noble of reasons _ greed. The South needed the economic edge provided by slavery, and the North could not survive without the resources of the South. The economies of both North and South were fueled by African sweat and blood.

The war is over. There should be no arguing over who was right or wrong. No one was right. We should only observe the lessons learned from that dark era in American history and try not to repeat our mistakes.

Scott Bryant, St. Petersburg

"Blinded by bias'?

Thank you, Barbara Fredricksen for your A profile of justice? story on Freddie Lee Williams, Oct. 14. Too bad it wasn't published before Judge Graham's recent re-election. A good judge is in an ideal position to examine all the facts and find a just and reasonable solution. Judge Graham is apparently too blinded by his own bias.

We've all chuckled at his courtroom antics and "creative" sentences and sometimes gasped at his excesses. His courtroom delivers more parody than justice. Mr. Williams' sentence was neither, it's simply tragic.

Judge Graham's re-election is no laughing matter either.

Diane Love, Yankeetown

Usurping the Pinellas Trail

You recently reported on a new shopping strip being developed by the Sembler organization titled "Lighthouse Crossings." I was disappointed that you did not probe into why this stretch of the "Pinellas Trail" was allowed to go by default to this developer. Other stretches of the old railroad right-of-way have been blocked off from even casual use. Sembler's builders have not only usurped the space but have torn it to shreds with heavy construction equipment.

The old CSX roadbed through Pinellas was bought by Florida and rented to Pinellas. No one has explained why we wink at Sembler's usurpation. A crowning touch is cutting an entry _ a divided highway, no less _ squarely across our "Pinellas Trail."

Enter Florida's Department of Transportation to cut new left turn lanes on Tyrone Boulevard, new barriers and widening of Park Street, new egress on 38th Avenue _ all within a few hundred feet of already backed-up intersections. The new left turn lanes are at the major curve on Tyrone _ can another stoplight be far behind? That will make a third light in less than a half mile. Meanwhile, there are dozens of small businesses further south on Tyrone which not only have no left turns in the median, but left turns are explicitly forbidden.

Can all this be ascribed to Sembler's good planning? Or can we look at his great success at raising money for Republicans? When Bob Martinez collects $1,500 or more for a mere dinner, we know who pays: the taxpayer buying giveaways of railroad rights-of-way, drivers finding further traffic hold-ups, and all of us who have campaign contributions reign over the common good.

Albert Foster, St. Petersburg

Seniors should step aside

Re: Sen. Connie Mack's letter to the editor, Oct. 12, on earnings test.

My feelings are the cap should never have been increased to $9,360 and this would be a good time to get it back in the $5,000 range.

The seniors should step aside with a declining economy and let the young, the unemployed and minorities have a chance. For a few, working may be a necessity, but from my observation, the vast majority of them are so hungry, they will try working 'til they are 95.

R. L. Swanson, Port Richey, retired senior citizen