The GOP has blocked? Obama at every turn

I find it interesting – and more than a little disingenuous – that Robert Samuelson, in his syndicated column of Sept. 11 ("Are you better off now?"), seems to place all the blame for what he suggests is a failed recovery on President Obama.

Has Samuelson forgotten that at every turn, a thoroughly ornery and obstreperous wing of the opposition – reinforced by the 2010 midterm election, which returned control of the House back to Republicans – has sought to thwart and obstruct the president – to such a pass that Moody's, last summer, downgraded the credit rating of the United States, citing political paralysis in Washington, D.C.? The list of their antics is long and tiresome.

Much of this is detailed in a new book by Robert Draper, "Do Not Ask What Good We Do: Inside the U.S. House of Representatives." He charges that from the moment Barack Obama took office, Republicans plotted to sabotage his presidency, even though the nation faced its worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.

Let's hope that come November, the voting public has a better memory than Samuelson.

Douglas Aerie



Food stamp use shows? we are not better off

Two recent articles in The News grabbed my attention. In the Sept. 5 edition on page A6 was the headline, "Food stamp use hits record 46.7 million." In the Sept. 6 edition on page A1 was the headline, "Record number of families struggled to feed families."

I read both articles in their entirety. Are we better off now than we were four years ago? I think not.

Mark Tanski



Obama's policies show he? cares about our problems

I am writing in regard to Charles Krauthammer's Sept. 8 op-ed, "The empathy gap." What is wrong with this picture? He states that Obamacare, regulating Wall Street and helping a new alternative energy company are examples of a man who doesn't care about our problems. In my world, where I'm concerned that my family doesn't lose medical care because of a catastrophic illness, where large corporations take advantage of many of us, and where I find energy costs taking a bigger bite out of my income, I am grateful for someone who cares about my problems.

I grew up with a Catholic elementary school education where we were taught that all men are brothers and that Jesus said, whatever you do to the least of my brethren, you do to me. Now I don't know if this thought is left, right or center, but I believe anyone who feels this way can sincerely support President Obama's policies.

Krauthammer says Obama has an "outsized self-regard and personal ambition." For someone to gamble his whole political life on passing universal health care, it appears there's more than personal ambition going on here. Apparently Krauthammer is arguing that because Obama is running for re-election, that is somehow proof that he is not empathetic and only wants vindication. Krauthammer whines that Mitt Romney has been demonized and that is the reason there is a large empathy gap between Romney and the president. Well I have news for Krauthammer. The demonization of Romney pales by comparison to the vile and ugly characterizations Obama has received. Could it possibly be that the president does truly want to balance the powers between rich and poor and foster a society where we can all work together as brothers?

Richard Barylski

Silver Creek


U.S. is a republic,? not a democracy

President Obama referred to our nation as a "democracy" several times during his Democratic National Convention speech. I guess he wasn't taught in grad school, nor was he teaching his students as a constitutional law professor, that our nation is not a democracy. We are a republic, Mr. President. There is a huge difference.

A republic has enumerated powers for the government and maximum freedom for the people. The enumerated powers ensure limited government. A democracy allows for mob rule by simply majority vote. A democracy allows for votes that diminish freedom and embolden tyranny. But perhaps Obama prefers the democratic labels to create more power for him and his cronies and less adherence to constitutional government?

David Thomas



No reason to publish? SEAL's real identity

I am writing in regard to the Sept. 9 editorial, "SEAL's book risks endangering lives just to cash in on bin Laden raid." The News criticizes the anonymous SEAL who wrote a participant's account of the raid that killed Osama bin Laden for putting the lives of his team at risk while at the same time it reveals the SEAL's real name, thus increasing greatly his and his family's risk of death as well as that of the whole team and their families. With one identity revealed, the others become much easier to learn.

The author wove a tight web of anonymity around himself and his team. It is stated repeatedly in the book that all feared their identities would become known and personal security lost – a huge factor since they had just killed the No. 1 terrorist on earth. Does The News believe it is less unethical to publish his identity because Fox News did it first, with a few others following? It isn't.

Second, the editorial claims the book was written for the money. Yet the author clearly states he is giving most of the proceeds from the book's publishing to charitable organizations he lists that provide help to families of soldiers killed in action. He invites the public to likewise donate to these and other veterans organizations. Following this are five or six pages of the names of Navy SEALs killed in action.

Lastly, The News claims national security concerns are put at risk by the book. By what exactly? This is a straightforward account, told from the inside, of a very common operation: an assault on enemy headquarters, this one with the enemy commander in chief present. Assaults on enemy headquarters have been going on for centuries. They have been written about continuously as long, and often by participants. Nor does the book contain descriptions of any secret technology. The book is harmless – much more so than The News publishing the identity of one of the team leaders.

Gerald Finnegan



Punish Navy SEAL?who violated oath

I would like to comment on Donn Esmonde's column that stated we should laud the Navy SEAL who violated his oath to protect and keep secret the details of any mission he is involved in. The effectiveness and survival of this organization depends on its members being sworn to secrecy and never divulging the details of their missions. That's just the nature of the job, and this SEAL knew that full well and swore to secrecy when he signed on.

I don't know whether Esmonde ever spent any time in the military. If he did he would better understand what it means to be a member of a unit and your obligation to all the members of that unit. It is disappointing that he thinks we should know the details of the Osama bin Laden mission. There are things that have to be classified and kept secret for the good of the SEALs and our country.

I am a former member of the military and I know if this went on during the Vietnam conflict, this man would have been court-martialed for treason. I feel bad for all the men who were in his unit. They have to be worried as to when the next shoe is going to drop and what else he's going to feel he has to tell the world.

I have tried to come up with any legitimate reason for doing what our Navy SEAL did and cannot imagine a case where it would be justified, so as far as his character is concerned, at the very least he is a selfish, dishonorable man who does not keep his word. At the worst, he is a traitor and should be treated accordingly by the military justice system.

Walter M. Bielinski



Americans are fed up ?with politicians' antics

Everyone I talk to is quite fed up with the childish actions of our politicians. Name calling, accusations and slander seem to be the front-runner for what they believe is the only way to get elected to office. The vibes I'm getting from them is nothing short of third-grade bullying.

I don't know how much they spend on postage, but when their mail arrives in my house it goes right in the shredder without being read. Then come the phone calls. Some of the calls lock up the phone lines and don't allow outgoing calls until the recorded message is complete. This should be illegal. All political calls I receive are hung up on immediately. I never once received a call from a politician after he got into office.

The biggest issue on the table for all politicians is jobs. It sounds like a broken record. And guess what? There are still too many people unemployed. A large majority of the people not working wouldn't sacrifice losing their benefits to go to work anyway. Looks like we're stuck with all the bullying, lies and phone calls that have plagued the voters for years.

Ken Zuchlewski



Don't presume to know? what your God is thinking

I laugh and marvel at people who pretend to know of what God would approve. (Reference the Sept. 5 letter, "God wouldn't approve of president's actions.") Is there not an admonition in some book or other about not judging that ye not be judged and casting stones? I think we'd all be better off if we left God out of it. After all, whose God are people referring to? Then again, what if there is no God?

Come on, folks, take responsibility for your own approval and disapproval. Stop hiding behind a God who may or may not exist. Oh, right, you'd have little or no credibility standing alone.

Suzanne Toomey Spinks