The uproar over former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani questioning President Obama’s patriotism is interesting and well founded. If most anyone else made such accusations they could easily be fluffed off as sour political grapes. The fact that it is the man that held New York together during the worst attack on American soil, ever, deserves the attention of even the most staunch Obama supporter. For the likes of Giuliani to call you un-American is akin to Rosie O’Donnell calling you obese, you have to believe it. There are several quotes from Obama, over the years, where our 44th president speaks of our homeland in tones of disdain for American exceptionalism. In his book “Audacity of Hope,” page 261 of the paperback edition, he writes, “I will stand with the Muslims should the political winds shift in an ugly direction.” Reasonable people know the winds have indeed shifted. The unreasonable among us won’t discover it until the meadow muffins have hit the fan. His statement made during the 2008 presidential race that he had campaigned in all 57 states leaves one wondering how a man can be elected to the highest job in the world and not know the number of states under his leadership. His inability to call Islamic terrorism, Islamic terrorism bears some securitization as well.
Giuliani has said that his concern for Obama’s glaring lack of leadership stems from long held idealist views that rear their ugly head at the most inopportune times. The fact that he favors Iran, the world financier of terrorism, and shows utter contempt for our strongest allies, Israel and Great Britain, hardly exudes patriotism or even competence. American citizens are rightly asking: Just whose side is President Barack Obama on? His supporters call it racism, his detractors call it the truth.
-- Tommy Parker
“In the wake of 9/11, my meetings with Arab and Pakistani Americans, for example, have a more urgent quality, for the stories of detentions and FBI questioning and hard stares from neighbors have shaken their sense of security and belonging. They have been reminded that the history of immigration in this country has a dark underbelly; they need specific reassurances that their citizenship really means something, that America has learned the right lessons from the Japanese internments during World War II, and that I will stand with them should the political winds shift in an ugly direction.”
The original quote from the “Audacity of Hope” makes no mention of Muslims.
New dietary report
The U.S. Advisory Panel on Dietary Guidelines has finally mustered the courage to recommend that Americans eat less meat and dairy products. And not just to lower our risk of heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes and obesity, but also because it slows the rate of climate change, which has its own devastating consequences. The 572-page report released Thursday notes that half of all Americans have preventable, diet-related chronic diseases and that two-thirds of adults and one-third of children are overweight.
It concludes that a dietary pattern higher in plant-based foods and lower in animal-based foods is more health-promoting and associated with lesser environmental impact than the current U.S. diet. The 1977 recommendation that Americans eat less meat by the Senate Select Committee on Nutrition and Human Needs was quashed by the meat industry, and subsequent dietary guidelines panels have been very cautious. The 2010 dietary guidelines panel merely shoved meat and dairy off the official MyPlate icon, representing the U.S. Dietary Guidelines.
Though the experts have now told the truth, our families’ health is still up to us. Fortunately, local supermarkets offer a variety of meat and dairy-free options, and the Internet has lots of advice on vegan recipes and transition tips.
-- John Bennett
Life means life
This is in response to Joe Hubbard’s letter advocating the death penalty for Stephen McDaniel. Like a great many people, he wrongly assumes that putting a person to death is much cheaper than keeping them in prison. In my studies of criminology while at Mercer we learned that the average death penalty case costs the taxpayers about $1 million more than similar cases in which the death penalty was not sought. There are an awful lot of procedures and appeals that must be followed, and these usually take at least 10 to 15 years and often as much as 20 or more. If McDaniel lived to be 70 he would cost the taxpayers much less than $1 million.
I have a hard time understanding why we are so all-fired eager to inflict this barbaric punishment on our fellow man. Almost all of the other civilized nations have long ago outlawed this practice. God bless the Giddings family. They understand that murdering another will not bring their loved one back. Before I am accused of being a bleeding-heart liberal, I should tell you that I think life in prison should mean life. If you commit the ultimate crime you should never be allowed to walk free again. If I had my way convicted murderers would be put in an 8-by-10 cell and the door welded shut. That would solve a lot of problems.
-- Randal D. Duckworth
Last week, the Senate Budget Committee held a hearing to discuss how to close a projected shortfall in Social Security. Republicans are waging an assault on Social Security. Last mouth, House Republicans approved a rule change not to fund the disability trust fund. Rep. Austin Scott voted for the rule change. Republicans alleged Social Security is going broke. Social Security is not going broke. The combined Social Security retirement and disability insurance trust funds have something like a $2.8 trillion surplus and can pay every benefit owed to every eligible American for the next 18 years.
Senators Johnny Isakson and David Perdue are on record advocating reforming Social Security. To cut or privatize Social Security or raise the age before being eligible to receive Social Security. They insinuate Social Security must be cut to control spending or reduce the national debt. Social Security did not contribute one cent to the national debt.
Social Security needs to be strengthened. But that does not take rocket science. Adjust for inflation the payroll deduction from the current $117.000 to $250.000. That would extend the life of Social Security for an additional 50 years.
Senior citizens who voted for Republicans are in for a rude awakening. They are going to repay you by trying to cut your Social Security. And for those who have been misinformed: No, Social Security is not paid to illegal aliens.
-- Ronald L. Cain
I noticed there will be a Macon Poverty Summit planned for March 4, organized through federal grants under Obama’s Strong Cities, Strong Communities Initiative established in 2011. Several local partners are participating in the summit to help the poor.
I have one suggestion for the organizers to keep in mind. People need to be able and willing to not only seek but obtain a job in order to earn an income. Welfare recipients and/or federal grants paid to local organizers for their words of advice do not create jobs for the poor nor does displaying the “100 Profiles of Poverty” exhibit in recognition of its 100th anniversary.
In my opinion, when you encourage people to work for their livelihood, you not only put bread in their mouths, but dignity in their hearts. It is rather simple, jobs create a path out of poverty. How many local private employers will attend the summit?
-- Faye W. Tanner
Send in the troops?
I have been watching national news shows showing a majority of American supporting sending troops to fight ISIS. What I have not seen are questions on how many countries are we going to invade? ISIS is in several. How many decades are we going to stay? Remember Afghanistan and Iraq, how they crumbled after we left, and Libya, after its dictator left, got the Muslim Brotherhood. How are we going to pay for these wars?
I am not against defending our country. I am against fighting wars that settle nothing and cost us money this nation cannot afford. In this area of the world, it is not democracies fighting the bad guys. It is terrorists fighting dictators and majorities denying rights to minorities.
If we are going to fight, we should make the side we support pay for the war -- not the American public. One final thought: We would not be targets of ISIS if we did not support repressive governments in the Arab world to get their oil. Our best answer is energy self-sufficiency. We wouldn’t have to support countries like Saudi Arabia if we did not need oil. In Saudi there is no religious freedom and political dissent can get you prison or worse. These people are our allies?
-- Clarence Berry