Race-Baiter Rove Didn't Belong At Forum

Letter to the Editor

Last week, the Connecticut Forum provided a platform for Karl Rove to speak.  While I am firmly in favor of unencumbered free speech, I am however, under no obligation -- as is the Connecticut Forum -- to build the platform. 

Rove long ago forfeited his place at the table where people meet to discuss substantive issues. In working for George W. Bush, his strategy to beat John McCain in the 2000 South Carolina primary was to circulate a polling question asking voters if they would be more or less likely to vote for John McCain if they knew he had fathered an illegitimate black child. This  was no random racial slur, as McCain was campaigning with his dark-skinned adopted daughter.   

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Rove's whisper campaign placed him beyond the pale of respectable politics and into a racist gutter.  McCain was quoted saying there must be "a special place in hell" reserved for the rumormongers.  Why the Connecticut Forum would include Rove -- especially considering the topic, "Debating Our Broken Political System," is baffling.   

If the Connecticut Forum wishes to maintain its place in respectable civil society, placing a practitioner of racial division on stage should not be repeated.


 

Is Cable Industry Afraid Of CTgig Project?

In the op-ed "Government Internet Project Unneeded" [March 21], the CEO of the New England Cable and Telecommunications Association takes a page from the tobacco and asbestos industries playbook in writing an excellent example of disassembly and misdirection. He attributes a position to state officials that they do not hold; namely, that they favor a state-run broadband network.

The essay fails to inform debate by only citing a municipal misstep and not great successes such as found in Manchester, where a public system outperforms any of the private companies he represents. The writer bemoans the lack of expertise on the part of CTgig supporters, while denying the need for two state employees, which would remedy this supposed defect.

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The writer decries a possible duplication of service as wasteful. Yet, are not some areas served by both Comcast and Frontier? In any case, the CTgig Project advocates building high-speed networks primarily where they do not exist.

Somehow, in the writer's view, competition within the private sphere pushes technology and superior service, yet competition from the public sphere is inherently wasteful. It is unfortunate that the cable companies wish to squash this initiative to inject a hint of competition to the present system. Greater state involvement can ensure that all of its citizens can participate equally in our digital age.


 

Judiciary Not Above Criticism

Anthony Spinella Jr., a former assistant state’s attorney, criticizes Courant editorials and the paper's editorial board for comments regarding the Richard Lapointe trial [Oct. 9, "Lapointe's Fair Trial Undermined"]. He makes the bold assertion that these editorials undermined the Constitution's guarantee of a fair jury trial by a defendant's peers.

However, no one’s constitutional right to a fair trial was endangered. No one is at risk of having their freedom snatched away by The Courant. Additionally, the letter writer holds the jury to be sacrosanct, apparently believing it, like the pope, to be infallible.

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Although this position alone is a serious issue, I believe it is a subterfuge. The letter writer is attacking free speech and freedom of the press, heading down a very dangerous, unconstitutional path.

Criticism of the judiciary is seen in certain circles as off limits. By invoking the purity of Judge Davis Barry and Senior Assistant State's Attorney Rosita Creamer, he sets the editorial up as being outside the bounds of accepted speech -- but we should all remember that the judiciary is not above review and criticism by the people.


 

Judiciary Not Above Criticism

Anthony Spinella Jr., a former assistant state’s attorney, criticizes Courant editorials and the paper's editorial board for comments regarding the Richard Lapointe trial [Oct. 9, "Lapointe's Fair Trial Undermined"]. He makes the bold assertion that these editorials undermined the Constitution's guarantee of a fair jury trial by a defendant's peers.

However, no one’s constitutional right to a fair trial was endangered. No one is at risk of having their freedom snatched away by The Courant. Additionally, the letter writer holds the jury to be sacrosanct, apparently believing it, like the pope, to be infallible.

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Although this position alone is a serious issue, I believe it is a subterfuge. The letter writer is attacking free speech and freedom of the press, heading down a very dangerous, unconstitutional path.

Criticism of the judiciary is seen in certain circles as off limits. By invoking the purity of Judge Davis Barry and Senior Assistant State's Attorney Rosita Creamer, he sets the editorial up as being outside the bounds of accepted speech -- but we should all remember that the judiciary is not above review and criticism by the people.


 

Many Benefits To National Service Program

A recent letter writer bemoaned the idea of a national service program [July 22, "National Service Would Foster Dependence"]. As a libertarian, it pains me to say that there may be benefits.

Keeping workers out of the workforce would drive up wages ending a trend of declining real wages. Regulating the length of service would give us full employment.

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A conservation/energy corps could repair ecological damage working on Superfund sites and brownfields. Its impact on crime levels is apt to be rather positive. Young men out in a forest camp and with a purpose in life will be committing few offenses. It could easily incorporate an educational component: Just work for your country and your academic or technical education is free.

This workforce could turn our agricultural system away from its corporate factory model to a system of co-ops, community-supported agriculture and supported family farms with an emphasis on organics.

 

 Letters 

U.S. Must Join Cluster Bomb Ban

More than 100 nations have signed the Convention on Cluster Bombs (2008), which prohibits their manufacture, stockpiling, transfer and use in warfare. To date, the United States has refused to join the international community in outlawing these pernicious weapons.

This type of bombing is especially inhumane. From the accord:

"Cluster munition remnants kill or maim civilians, including women and children, obstruct economic and social development, including through the loss of livelihood, impede post-conflict rehabilitation and reconstruction, delay or prevent the return of refugees and internally displaced persons, can negatively impact on national and international peace-building and humanitarian assistance efforts, and have other severe consequences that can persist for many years after use."

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The convention has a provision for aid in defusing unexploded bombs such as those littering Laos. Bombs dropped by the U.S. in the 1970s are still killing and maiming today.

 Letters 

U.S. Must Join Cluster Bomb Ban

More than 100 nations have signed the Convention on Cluster Bombs (2008), which prohibits their manufacture, stockpiling, transfer and use in warfare. To date, the United States has refused to join the international community in outlawing these pernicious weapons.

This type of bombing is especially inhumane. From the accord:

"Cluster munition remnants kill or maim civilians, including women and children, obstruct economic and social development, including through the loss of livelihood, impede post-conflict rehabilitation and reconstruction, delay or prevent the return of refugees and internally displaced persons, can negatively impact on national and international peace-building and humanitarian assistance efforts, and have other severe consequences that can persist for many years after use."

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The convention has a provision for aid in defusing unexploded bombs such as those littering Laos. Bombs dropped by the U.S. in the 1970s are still killing and maiming today.

 

National Defense Shouldn't Be Jobs Program

Sen. Richard Blumenthal is running TV ads touting his support for submarine building at Electric Boat. His line: Building these subs creates jobs. But will these jobs make the economy stronger? Not likely. Will they balloon the national debt? Absolutely.

Columbia- and Virginia-class subs are replacing the Ohio- and Los Angeles-class subs. But why current subs need replacing is unfathomable. The Ohio class (aka Trident) provides more sea-based nuclear deterrence and first-strike capability than is needed since the fall of the Soviet Union. And L.A. fast-attack subs outclass anything under the waves.   

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The Congressional Budget Office notes that the first Columbia will cost $4.8 billion, plus $4.5 billion in design and engineering costs. The next 11 subs are pegged by the Navy at $3.6 billion each. Total program cost: $347 billion. Considering our B-52 and B-1 bombers, plus our land-based ICBMs and hundreds of nuclear cruise missiles, these new subs will add little to our defense.

Blumenthal needs to understand that defense spending is about defending the nation, not Connecticut jobs.

A Master of War

 

Activists Right To Call Out Kissinger

My thanks to Code Pink for calling for Henry Kissinger’s arrest for war crimes during Thursday’s Senate Armed Service Committee hearing. Committee Chairman John McCain’s thanking Henry Kissinger for his distinguished service to his country  indicates that he approved of Kissinger's foreign policy efforts, which left a trail of blood from Cambodia/Laos/Vietnam to Chile/Argentina to Greece/Cyprus to Bangladesh. McCain should think again before he calls conscientious Americans scum.

Readers might reference  "The Trial of Henry Kissinger," "Nixon, Kissinger and the Destruction of Cambodia,"   "The Price of Power: Kissinger in the Nixon White House" or "The Blood Telegram: Nixon, Kissinger, and a Forgotten Genocide."


Indoctrination to Violence

 

In Sunday's Insight section [Dec. 13], many proposals were put forth to reduce gun violence. All were lacking. None addressed the underlying cause: The teaching of violence as an accepted way to solve problems, or in the words of one of the commentators, "seek justice" in our society.

Violence is thrown at us from cartoons to cop shows to video games. We are immersed in it.
A society inculcated with violence is a necessary adjunct to our violent foreign policy. How does our government get its young people to kill millions in Southeast Asia or "shock and awe" Iraq without a predisposition to violence?
 

North Korea: No War

 

To the Editor: Substantial questions regarding Trump' fitness to be commander-in-chief have been raised by national security experts and a host of psychologists. With Trump's thumb on the trigger of the nuclear weapons, this is an intolerable situation. Considering his threats to burn North Korea to the ground perhaps with a first strike nuclear attack or following a provocation, the military must be prepared to refuse an order from the Commander-in-Chief.

Under no circumstance should it follow an order to nuke North Korea. The Constitution is perfectly clear that the war-making powers rest in the Congress. Any order from Trump to launch a nuclear attack without a Congressional act of war is unconstitutional-illegal. The same goes for a conventional attack.

Can he order a limited strike against a missile battery that has opened fire on our armed forces in international territory, of course. What he cannot do is to start a full-fledged war without a Congressional declaration of war. We are a nation ruled by law not as in a dictatorship by one person.

I urge armed forces members that have taken an oath of office to defend the Constitution against enemies both foreign and domestic to refuse any such orders and arrest any officer directing them to do so. North Korea does not possess nuclear forces significant enough to justify a launch of US nuclear weapons based on a launch-on-warning response directed by the President. This is not a situation where there wouldn't be time for Congress to declare war against North Korea. This is not a question about North Korean behavior, it is about our Constitution and the rule of law.

Demand that your Representative support: H.R. 1448-Reclamation of War Powers Act sponsored by Rep. Himes (D-CT).

Tom McCormick, West Hartford