Shane Solano recently stated that President Clinton engaged in political terrorism by enforcing the naval blockade, against Iraq (Letters, 12/10). While I find the language a bit excessive, the embargo was a bipartisan effort, begun under George H. W. Bush, continued under Clinton, and enforced under George W. Bush. According to U. N. figures, the blockade by 1998, had directly led to the death of over 700,000 Iraqis, at least 500,000 of whom were women and children. This balanced against estimates that Saddam Hussein and his thugs killed approximately 700,000 of his own people during his 20-some-odd years’ rule.

When we use an embargo as a political weapon, we are conceding defeat. In nearly every case — Iran, Iraq, Cuba, South Africa, Nicaragua, etc. — the regime has not changed. Instead of labeling such actions as terrorism for shock value, we need adult discussions and rational policies. And when we have bipartisan irrationality like the Cuban and Iranian embargoes, stop the partisan shouting.

Norm Rodewald, Moorpark

Your vote counted…
With all the other problems in America, mostly caused by eight years of rule under George Bush and Dick Cheney, I find it curious that the first thing the new House of Representatives, with its new Republican/Tea Bagging majority, wants to do is “repeal” the Health Care Reform Act that is supported by most Americans.

This action will have absolutely no effect whatsoever on the outcome of the bill because the measure will not pass in the Senate; and if it did for some reason, the President would veto it when it came to his desk. So why bother?

The only answer has to be that they are doing this to show support for someone other than the American people. They must be answering to their Big Insurance cohorts, such as Anthem, Aetna and companies who feather their nests with large corporate donations. They couldn’t care less about the American people who are sick and dying because they lack health insurance so they are shut out from getting the care they need unless they subject themselves to the poorly funded free services that exist in America today.

This is something that I, for one, would not do. I have seen the kind of care the indigent get, and it is appalling despite the best efforts of the gifted health care professionals who do their best in this broken system. I have a good job with a nice company, but I work as a 1099 employee so I have no benefits outside of a cheap (except for the premium payments), temporary insurance plan that covers virtually nothing. If I were to get deathly ill, my choices would be to get treatment through existing government-run health facilities, get treatment under my cheap policy and maybe bankrupt my family, or die. I would choose the latter because I will not subject myself to government-run healthcare, nor would I let my family be held financial hostage by Big Insurance and Big Medicine. It would be cheaper for them to bury me, so that is the route I would choose.

As it is, I may be going blind because of the health care debacle in America. I have severe glaucoma that needs to be checked every quarter, but my cheap plan does not cover visits to my ophthalmologist so I don’t go.

All in all, though, I feel lucky since there are so many people out there who can’t get health care, nor can they afford food or housing, either.

It is a sad day in America when representatives who are supposed to be taking care of the people are instead taking care of their special interests, but in the end, the people have no one to blame but themselves.

You elected these people.

John Darling, Ventura

The good fight
Dear Director Griffin,

Re: your recent interview with Shane Cohn, writer for the VC Reporter, “… Griffin defends the role of public libraries.”

Thank you for your reasoned and detailed response to LSSI’s takeover of Camarillo Public Library. And, with apologies for the gushiness, I absolutely love your locked-jaw attitude against this sort of corporate takeover. Well done, you!
As a former resident of Ventura and dedicated user of Wright Library, the news re Ventura County libraries helps me understand the enormous strain that the Bush/Cheney Depression has dumped upon you.  I submit that corporate terrorism, e.g., LSSI and its ilk, because of its multitentacled insidiousness, is far worse than individual acts of terrorism, which are themselves utterly despicable.  Already, the long-term negative effects of tax breaks for the wealthy — individuals and corporations — coupled with needless and unfunded wars are evident.

I plan to share your interview with our library’s director as well as my sister-in-law, who serves on the library board in her community. Happily, our city council is very supportive of our library.

Keep up the good fight. And it is a good fight.

Geoff Godfrey, Newberg, Ore.

On the fringe
You had to see it coming. I know I did and said so, right here in the Reporter.

An attempted political assassination by a fired-up crazy in a context of political hatred and exaggeration left six people dead, 14 wounded and one gifted congresswoman fighting for her life.

The right wingers, particularly the Tea Partyers, constantly evoke violence as a possibility. Palin, who was especially criticized in this context, is only one of the breed to do so. There is a systemic pattern of using force and coercion, of advocating the “Second Amendment Solution” to effect political change. And Murdoch’s irresponsible news outlets give these people coverage and the veneer of legitimacy.

We have already seen the early rumblings of home-grown fascism — meetings of Congressional reps disrupted by traveling mobs, armed people showing up at public meetings, peaceful demonstrations invaded by well-equipped Tea Partyers to over-talk and dissipate the message, enormous increases in the threats of violence to liberal legislators, particularly in Arizona. Recently we saw Rand Paul’s bully-boys throw a dissenting woman to the ground and one Rand fan stomped on her head — all this for displaying a nonconforming sign. Right here in Ventura County, Grant Markus was assaulted and falsely arrested when he tried to speak out about health care reform last year.

This isn’t high spirits. These aren’t isolated incidents. These are consistent attitudes and attributes of the fringe right.
This was predictable and it will not be the last event of its kind.

Don’t let this tragic event be dismissed as the random workings of a lone looney. Whatever his level of sanity, whatever his twisted motives, we know the target he hoped to destroy and what she stood for. It was no accident that she was the victim and not her recent opponent.

Margaret Morris, Ventura