Letters to the Editor

Climate change, roads, pensions, refugees

Climate conference made us feel good

Re “Paris climate change accord marks historic progress, if it’s not too late” (Editorials, Dec. 13): The COP21 conference was a feel-good exercise masking enormous self-denial.

No mention of fossil fuels. No commitment to a tax or fee on carbon releases. It was like having a criminal trial without mentioning who the alleged perpetrator is or the penalty if found guilty.

Fossil fuel companies and governments are free to extract oil, gas and coal and explore for new fuel sources.

The public should not be blamed for this. They know what is really needed but weren’t invited to the proceedings. It was a colossal failure of political leadership.

Clifford E. Anderson, Sacramento

Democrats have wasted road taxes

Re “Turning from Paris to reality of potholes” (Editorials, Dec. 14) Since the Democrats took over the government in California, they have diverted much of the gas taxes to the general fund and other pet projects like the train to nowhere.

We are going to pay too much for about 75 miles of a high-speed rail that has way too many stops.

Democrats continue to ignore the highway system. Interstate 5 is only two lanes each direction and we have many potholes and decaying bridges. Now Democrats want to raise taxes to fix the roads that they neglected for the past 40 years. They should quit stealing from the people of this state for their pet projects.

Leslie H. Brown, Sacramento

Labor hides reality of pension costs

Re “Focus on secure retirements” (California Forum, Dec. 13): Contrary to claims by Carrie Lane and David Low, the Independent Institute receives no funding from the Koch brothers. Our pension-reform work is supported primarily by San Francisco Bay Area Democrats who want to prevent bankruptcy of the government retirement system, as happened in Detroit.

Such ad hominem attacks reflect a desperate attempt to dismiss serious evidence. Erroneous information will not help solve the pension woes of California’s unfair two-class system: A privileged class of government workers with generous lifetime pensions insulated from recessions, and the rest of us who pay for these protected government pensions.

Lawrence J. McQuillan, Independent Institute, Oakland

Republicans’ word use is Orwellian

Of the several definitions of the word “language,” my preferred is, “The vocabulary and phraseology belonging to an art or department of knowledge.” Language is best when it expresses truths both concrete and spiritual.

We’re in trouble, especially with political speech, when only villainous ends are served with inflammatory words linked together to incite, and not to expand knowledge or fruitful communication.

Or, as with Ted Cruz, it becomes a form of doublespeak in which real science for him is no science.

Top Republican candidates often cited as brilliant elocutionists are nothing of the sort. Their speechifying is mostly hate mongering infected with lies. Their irresponsible utterances are closer to another of Webster’s definition of language: “The inarticulate sounds by which animals express their feelings.”

Spencer P. Le Gate, Sacramento

Washington would be appalled

In response to Donald Trump and Ben Carson’s positions regarding Muslims in America, I thought it would be interesting to note how George Washington might respond. In 1793 President Washington wrote to the members of Baltimore’s New Church:

“We have abundant reason to rejoice in this Land the light of truth and reason has triumphed over the power of bigotry and superstition, and that every person may here worship God according to the dictates of his own heart.

“In this enlightened Age and in this Land of equal liberty it is our boast, that a man’s religious tenets will not forfeit the protection of the Laws, nor deprive him of the right of attaining and holding the highest Offices that are known in the United States.”

David Ribakoff, Auburn

We have miles to go before we rest

In the 1635, my seventh-great-grandfather was arrested in New England for allowing traveling Quakers to stay at his house. Later, another great-grandfather, while knowing about the Underground Railroad, did not reveal that knowledge and might have even helped. I am proud of them.

While attending college in the 1960s, I had a friend whose last name was Israel. Later, I met him while working on our advanced degrees and he divulged that he had changed his last name. During WWII, we and other countries could have saved many Jewish people. At least the English took many of the children.

I would encourage the young people today to read up on history. Be glad that we have come this far and that our Founding Fathers and later leaders have given us the freedom we enjoy.

James McDonald, Lincoln

Different side of same coin

As much as Donald Trump’s call for the temporary ban of Muslims migrating to the United States is disgusting, this is the proposal of a wannabe president, not the actual policy of the nation.

Our own President Jimmy Carter, a liberal president if there ever was one, denied entry to the U.S. to Iranians, a response to the anti-American actions of the new regime in that country.

Much more egregious are actions directed to citizens of Israel, more than three-quarters of them Jewish. Sixteen nations ban the entry of Israelis currently. All of them are Muslim countries, including Iran, Bangladesh, Malaysia and Pakistan.

Then there is the pronouncement by Mahmoud Abbas, acting president of the Palestinian Authority, that no Jew will ever be allowed to reside in the future state of “Palestine.” Sounds a lot like the policy of “Judenrein” prevalent in Hitler’s Germany of the 1930s.

Where is the comparable outrage?

Al Sokolow, Davis

Christians are suffering, too

Re “Stop hysteria on Syrian refugees” (Editorials, Nov. 19): The Sacramento Bee editorial board called for allowing into the country 10,000 Syrian refugees, some of whom will be Muslims. Compare the plight of Christians in northern Iraq as recently described before a House committee. This is one excerpt:

“I met mothers whose children were torn from them by ISIS. These same mothers came to plead for the return of their children, only to be informed, that they, the mothers, had been fed the flesh of their own children by ISIS. Children murdered, then fed to their own mothers.”

What a shame that President Barack Obama ignores the plight of these poor souls while opening the door to Muslim refugees. He has pointed to the Crusades a millennium ago. As what? Belated, justifiable retribution?

James McCandless, Roseville


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