We must expand presence in Arctic
To the editor:
The article “Icy Frontier” in the October 2013 Military Officer magazine outlines the need for the U.S. to become more involved in the Arctic region.
The melting ice could open up the Arctic Ocean to new shipping routes between the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans which will cut 4,500 miles off the shipping lanes. The Arctic area contains a vast amount of oil and natural gas to be discovered and processed into energy.
Russia is restoring an old military base on the New Siberian Islands (off eastern Siberia). A garrison is stationed there, and an airfield and naval facilities are under construction. President Putin wants to use the base to enhance Russia’s economic and security interests in the Arctic. Russia is also constructing a number of new ports in the Arctic and building nine new icebreakers to supplement 10 existing icebreakers.
The U.S. Navy lacks facilities in Alaska and does not have icebreakers. It has to rely on old Coast Guard icebreakers for support.
The U.S. should evaluate the feasibility of constructing infrastructure in the Arctic and look at the possibility of establishing joint facilities with Canada. We need to bolster our complement of icebreakers.
Donald A. Moskowitz
Soup kitchens depend on support
To the editor:
The Sonshine Soup Kitchen in Derry recently sent out a plea for additional donations as they struggle to feed the growing number of those facing hunger in Derry. The website “Feeding America.org” reports that one in six Americans faces hunger. During this season of giving, those of us who are fortunate enough to go to bed with full stomachs should reach into our pockets and support our local food pantries. Even a small donation, multiplied by many, will make a difference.
With hunger increasing in our general population, the U.S. House Republicans seem to have forgotten their souls. While helping out agribusiness with farm subsidies in their most recent farm bill negotiations, they have allowed the expiration of additional benefits to the SNAP program originally provided in the Recovery Act. This lack of action will cost a family of three $29 a month in 2014. In their drive to reduce the budget, the House will strip the poorest of our population from the small amount provided by the SNAP (food stamp) program rather than deny corporations their subsidies. It doesn’t seem right to send children to bed hungry.
Supporting agribusiness over people
To the editor:
Supreme Court justices often recuse themselves and local town council members do the same when there could be a hint of conflict of interest. Not true for members of Congress. Call it a sin of omission.
Then there is the sin of commission in which a representative votes to extend crop subsidies to farmers earning over $750,000 per year, and cut food stamps for millions earning less than $750 per month.
Reserved for the 10 Republican representatives who receive farm subsidy dollars and also voted to cut food stamp dollars, is the triple sin of arrogance, callousness and hypocrisy. Unfortunately due to redistricting it will probably not be a mortal sin.
Leading the pack of “political pork eaters” is California Republican Congressman Doug LaMalfa, a rice farmer, who has collected $5.1 million in subsidies since 1995 but happily wants to cut the $1.33 per meal subsidy for 4 million children, veterans, disabled and poor who need food stamps.
The original purpose of the Farm Bill was to ensure our food supply and stabilize prices for family farmers. But times change and guaranteeing a food supply turned into paying farmers to not grow crops, the family farm has essentially disappeared and today’s price levels make millions for corporate agribusinesses.
What has not changed is the Republicans’ commitment to the $295 billion farm bill safety net for rich farmers, very profitable agribusinesses and themselves. At the same time they hardly try to veil their disdain for the needy and the social safety net they love to hate.
Cronyism doomed Obamacare website
To the editor:
Fifty years ago, President John F. Kennedy, a Harvard-educated Democrat, promised to put an American on the moon and bring him home safely. On July 20, 1969, Mr. Kennedy’s promise was fulfilled when Apollo 11 landed on the moon before a worldwide TV audience, even though Kennedy himself was not merely out of office but dead, having been assassinated by a Communist.
Three years ago, President Barack Obama, a Harvard-educated Democrat, promised, “If you like your health-care plan, you will be able to keep it. Period. No one will take it away. No matter what.” He also promised that people who didn’t have health insurance could buy comprehensive policies at low cost on a government website.
The Obamacare website crashed shortly after midnight Oct. 1 with about 2,000 people trying to use it. More than a month later, the number of successful insurance purchasers remains in single digits in most states.
The Apollo project succeeded even though no one had ever done anything like it before. The Obama administration couldn’t field a website even though thousands of businesses operate complex websites handling millions of users around the clock. What’s the difference?
Mr. Kennedy went to MIT, the world’s premier engineering college, and asked Charles “Doc” Draper, the world’s foremost expert in guiding rockets, to handle the moon mission. Competence succeeded.
Many companies could have built Mr. Obama’s website. Microsoft and Google operate monster websites and have years of experience with medical records. eBay has a complex website. Facebook supports a billion users. Amazon sells willing buyers $28 billion worth of merchandise per year.
Instead of seeking competence, Mr. Obama awarded the contract to a Canadian company run by one of Mrs. Obama’s Princeton classmates. The company that built the broken website has been punished for their $500 million failure by being paid extra to fix their botched job. Cronyism failed.