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President is ignoring constitutional rights

Charles Krauthammer underlines some of the most objectionable requirements of applied Obamacare that include "sterilization and pharmacological abortion," both of which are strongly opposed by the Catholic Church and some other religions.

This arrogant administration overreach endangers the survival of Obamacare itself. One can imagine a class-action suit being filed in a federal court that argues that the Obama health care legislation is unconstitutional because it assaults the free exercise clause of the First Amendment. Since the appearance of Krauthammer's article, President Obama has broadened the religious exemption clauses. But this administration's propensity for vacating constitutional protections may not yet be tamed.

I write as one who desires some kind of universal coverage, but who also worries about potential 10th Amendment violations. Thanks to the arrogance of the Obama administration, potential 10th Amendment quibbles may fade into oblivion in comparison with that legislation's First Amendment violations.

It remains to be seen whether the Obama administration will also try to curtail First Amendment protections for freedom of speech and for freedom of the press.

Richard H. Escobales Jr.

Buffalo

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Lady Gaga delivers important message

I am pleased to read that Lady Gaga is speaking out against societal and media pressures that contribute to the alarming number of people suffering from eating disorders. As many of us in the community are preparing to participate in National Eating Disorders Awareness Week (Feb. 26 through March 3), this is a timely reminder that expectations of looking perfect are everywhere.

Although most are aware by now that media images are altered to show us "perfect" pictures of models and celebrities, hearing such a popular, successful and admired singer admit that "every video I'm in, every magazine cover, they stretch you -- they make you perfect it's not real life" can have impact far beyond that of us ordinary folks.

Bodies are just not meant to look like the fantasy images that are seen in print. Real bodies simply cannot conform to these impossible standards, yet countless real-life people succumb to dangerous, life-threatening, happiness-robbing, confidence-depleting eating disorders in pursuit of the impossible. Kudos to Lady Gaga for helping to spread the word.

Tracy Welchoff

Executive Director, Buffalo Centre for the Treatment of Eating Disorders

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Variety of professions represented at Occupy

I would like to respond to the letter titled, "Occupiers promote a socialist agenda." My first question to the writer would have to be: "Have you ever attended a general assembly?" If the answer to that question is no, then I suggest that you do so before passing judgment.

I have attended meetings and his description of the participants could not be further from the truth. There are idealists, to be sure. Maybe we all need a little more of that rather than the apathy that prevails in today's society. There are also doctors, lawyers, college professors, teachers, carpenters, painters, firemen, policemen and others in attendance. I have not encountered the malcontents about which he spoke. Most of the people at Occupy Buffalo are passionate about restoring democracy to our country.

My other question would be: "Why are you so angry?" Please come to some meetings and ask questions. Be a real thinker, not a follower of what the media may be telling you. Most of the good work done by Occupy Buffalo is never put on the news or in the paper.

I think that he would find his perception about the Occupy movement to be quite wrong. The purpose is to restore the people's voice -- that is democracy, not socialism. All meetings are posted on the website (occupybuffalo.org) and there are general assemblies every Saturday at noon in Niagara Square, rain or shine. Please join us.

Carol Panzarella

Elma

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No one will benefit from war with Iran

A Feb. 14 letter writer accuses Israel's Benjamin Netanyahu of trying to "lure" the United States into another disastrous war. This time the target is Iran, larger than Afghanistan and more powerful than Iraq, a country more fractured now than ever before.

One cannot deny Israel's part in the growing turmoil in the Middle East. Extending the penal wall and allowing construction of more illegal settlements continue to provide ammunition for hostile groups in the Middle East, while encouraging unrest among Muslims and Christians living in countries like Lebanon. War could be the dark outcome.

Surely, objective and scholarly Jewish-American linguist Noam Chomsky and Israeli New Historian Ilan Pappe -- informed Middle East experts -- would agree that encouraging war, among other horrors, prevents political diplomacy; in this case the possibility of bilateral dialogue between Iran and the United States, with the important mission of bringing stability to Afghanistan, a vital common interest. With some success, such a schema would significantly ease tension, instead of allowing it to grow into another catastrophic war, one that would not benefit the United States, Iran, Afghanistan or Israel.

Fran Weiss

Williamsville

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Working class unions donate to campaigns

I want to correct the misinformation that Stephen Muscarella, president of the Buffalo Chapter of the Public Employees Federation retirees, wrote in his recent Another Voice. He stated: "Look at the egregious actions of the super PACs. Where do you think this money comes from? You can wager it's not from the working class."

In the 2008 elections, the top nine PACs (by money spent) totaled more than $25 million. No. 1, at $3.3 million, was the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers; No. 6, at $2.7 million, was the International Association of Fire Fighters; No. 7, at $2.7 million, was the International Union of Operating Engineers; and No. 9, at $2.5 million, was Laborer's International Union of North America. All are (hard) working-class unions.

Whether we individually lean liberal or conservative, we all must guard against political rhetoric, and/or misstatement of facts that support our views. Sometimes what's best for us individually is not always best for the country. (Note: Please don't mess with No. 4, at $2.8 million, the National Beer Wholesalers Association).

Curtis L. Mohr

Clarence Center