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Tea partiers indulge in nostalgia on steroids - Oct. 17, commentary

The right wing of the Republican Party has a few things in common with the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. They both used the democratic process to get elected but without a belief in democratic government or an intention of governing. Instead, they exploited the structural vulnerabilities of the democratic process to gain power and then attempted to impose their ideology on the governed. Ideology is not a governing principle. Once in power, they continued to exploit the democratic process by passing laws that disenfranchised, marginalized and disempowered their opponents and perpetuated themselves in office.

Sen. Ted Cruz is a recurring character in American history, the latest iteration of Strom Thurmond, Joseph McCarthy, George Wallace and every other "elected" demagogue in post-Civil War America. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was elected and so was Mohammed Morsi. What they all share is a rejection of the idea of democratic governance.

This is a particularly dangerous time in our history because of the ease with which people like the Koch brothers, Sheldon Adelson and other oligarchs can use money to subvert an already corrupted political system. The present is not an orphan of history. We have seen this movie before and we know how it will end if we the people do not intervene and elect individuals committed to the common good.

Roger C. Benson, St. Petersburg

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End sale of government to highest bidder - Oct. 4, commentary

Keeping citizens informed

Thanks to the Times for helping readers understand the statement, "We have the best government money can buy." It began with the Peter Butzin article on the Supreme Court decision on the Citizens United case and the current McCutcheon case. These allow large contributions by PACs or individuals to influence government decisions.

You also recently published an article on the projected 35 percent cost increase in health care plans.

And this week you hit a home run with Daniel Ruth's explanation on the political donations necessary to do business in Florida.

It's great journalism and will have a huge impact as your readers vote with real knowledge, on real issues.

Bill Wilton, Tampa

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GOP obstruction threatens economy - Oct. 15, editorial

Debt ceiling debate redux

Debate on raising the debt ceiling is a ritual for Congress, and both sides take advantage of it to blame the other side for anything and everything. In the 2006 debt ceiling debate, then-Sen. Barack Obama was part of the Democratic caucus.

Here's what he said: "The fact that we are here today to debate raising America's debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. ... It is a sign that the U.S. government can't pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our government's reckless fiscal policies."

He added: "Increasing America's debt weakens us domestically and internationally. Leadership means that 'the buck stops here.' Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. ... I therefore intend to oppose the effort to increase America's debt limit."

Not only did Obama oppose raising the debt ceiling, every Democrat in the Senate at the time opposed it.

So what's new? Under President Obama's less than five years in office, our national debt has increased to an astronomical $17 trillion. By the time Obama leaves office, the national debt is forecast to be more than $20 trillion.

So stop spinning the news to blame everything on the GOP. The GOP, including the so-called tea party representatives in Congress, turn out to be the only sane representatives we have.

Frank S. Fischer, Spring Hill

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Lender lays off nearly 500 - Oct. 15

Shifting the blame

How could Mortgage Investors Corp., a company operating in 26 states, blame federal regulations as the cause of their shutdown? I would think they had to comply with 26 sets of state regulations plus the federal rules; I am sure they had the resources. We do not see other mortgage lenders closing.

Perhaps it was the investigations into the company's business practices that hurt it. Once again an executive does not accept responsibility for his actions. I feel Bill Edwards was making a political statement by calling the deciphering of 2,300 pages an insurmountable task.

Henry Sklar, Clearwater

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Utility wins, users lose - Oct. 15, editorial

Giving customers a choice ...

In Texas, consumers have a choice of electric companies. They can go with the company providing them with a lesser rate or better service. There are no boundary lines forcing consumers to be with one company.

I was happiest with Withlacoochee River Electric. Since our area was bought out we are forced to tolerate profiteering by Duke.

It's time for this state to look to Texas and change the broken system we have. I can change my phone service, my TV/Internet service and still be held hostage by Duke and the Florida Legislature.

I'm looking forward to elections with a list of names to not vote for.

Christina Ennist,New Port Richey

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... is a better utility policy

In Pennsylvania, both commercial businesses and residential customers can choose which electric company (there are about a dozen) they want to use. In most cases they can also choose which electricity generation company they want to use.

For example, if a customer wanted to use green-generated electricity, he or she could select a green- generation company. The same for nuclear, coal, natural gas and so on. The rates vary according to electric company, generation company and type of generation.

The state has set up a website where rates are shown - individually and in combination so the customers can choose what is best for them. There is no good reason why the same is not being done in Florida.

Wayne McVay, Spring Hill