Letters to the Editor

Journalism and terrorism

Re "A byline for Hamas?" Opinion, July 22

I would rather that people write Op-Ed articles than fire rockets or build illegal settlements. The protests of Marvin Hier and Abraham Cooper are heartfelt, but their claim to moral superiority is empty. Israel had its own terrorist groups before it had its state, and the occupation of the West Bank after 1967 has made a mockery of international law. All sides have blood on their hands, and the sooner we substitute real dialogue for sanctimonious posturing, the better off we all will be.

Patrick FrankMonterey

Bravo to Hier and Cooper for criticizing The Times for printing an Op-Ed article by a Hamas leader. Someone must explain to The Times that journalistic standards do not require giving a forum to terrorists. In fact, if journalistic standards have any meaning at all, they require that terrorists -- because they are beyond the pale of what we consider civilized conduct -- be denied the privilege of expressing their deeply immoral views in a newspaper. What is wrong with The Times?

Suzanne ZaharoniBeverly Hills

Hier and Cooper write that "just like Hitler, Hamas was democratically elected." They were half-right, and, I believe, informed enough to know better. While Germans certainly supported Hitler by the late 1930s, the fact is that he was not elected. He was appointed by President Paul von Hindenburg. The writers also asked whether the editors would have welcomed articles by Auschwitz's Dr. Josef Mengele justifying his gruesome medical experiments. I hope they would. Perhaps if Mengele had been more publicly associated with his experiments, public outrage might have stopped or limited his work. Hier and Cooper want us to see Hamas members as equivalent to the KKK or the Virginia Tech killer. They're not. They are the democratically elected representatives of the most potentially volatile real estate in the world. It is in the interests of the United States to know Hamas well. The Times does a service publishing its views.

Jim CorbettSan Clemente

It seems that Hamas would have to attain the janjaweed's genocidal success in Darfur for The Times to deny it a byline.

Charles S. BerdianskyLos Angeles

Money mattersRe "Is a billion dollars ordinary income?" July 21

If Blackstone Group Chief Executive Stephen Schwarzman's federal tax bite on $400 million increased from 15% to the 35% paid by couples earning $350,000 gross, his after-tax pay last year for a job that essentially just scoots money around would have dropped from $340 million to a mere $260 million. For his Christmas party, he may have had to convert his Park Avenue apartment to merely a beach on Maui instead of one on St. Tropez.

We thousandaires lack sympathy.

Mike KvammenSouth Pasadena

The Times provides us the new definition for "many" middle-class families: "struggling to stay afloat." Moreover, what once would have been immediately seen as a striking contradiction in terms is now offered up without even a hint of irony. However, perhaps also unwittingly, The Times has moved us closer to a better understanding of what it actually means to live as one of these newly defined middle-class families: Struggling to stay afloat.

Tom WildeSanta Monica

Judging MahonyRe "The Teflon cardinal," Opinion, July 22

Cardinal Roger M. Mahony should be forced from his position. He has let Catholic parishioners down, covered for and protected sexual deviates and criminals and fought exposing all this exceptionally dirty behavior for years and years. How can anyone have any respect or willingness to deal with him? I think we know why Latino groups overlook his misbegotten actions and behavior -- they have a vested interest in having and using him as an ally and protector for illegal immigrants.

Joe Doremire

Fountain Hills, Ariz.

Now that I know of Mahony's family's involvement in running a poultry business that was raided by border agents, my eyes are opened as never before. Now I understand why he's a staunch defender of illegal immigration. He cannot forget, it seems, how border patrolmen once treated immigrants "as if they were dirt." This coming from the man who turned a blind eye to priests treating kids the same way.

John PrimaveraSan Diego

How is Mahony's case different from that of Cardinal Bernard Law's in Boston? There, the outrage that Law had harbored and protected child-molesting priests was so massive that hundreds of loyal Catholics took to the streets outside the cathedral where Law was saying Sunday Mass. Good priests who had not molested children signed a petition requesting that Law be removed. The clergy and the laity took action and it worked -- Law resigned.

Why is it that no such action has been taken in Los Angeles? Do we love our children less than they do in Boston? Are the clergy in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles that afraid of Mahony, or do they condone the sexual abuse of children by their brother priests? What does it take to get Los Angeles Catholics angry about such horrific crimes?

Victoria Martin

Long Beach

Mahony is certainly to be commended for his efforts on behalf of Latinos in California. My concern is not so much with Mahony but with the whole Catholic hierarchy. It is obvious that the bishops neglecting to deal with abusive priests and allowing thousands of children to be abused over many years shows enormous lack of judgment. If they have shown such poor judgment in one area of their ministry, how am I to have confidence in their moral judgment in other areas? As a lifelong Catholic, I love the church, but I am very wary of our hierarchy's moral leadership and judgment.

Ralph SariegoWoodland Hills

Rallying around NaderRe "Raider without a cause," Opinion, July 22

In his premature political obituary for Ralph Nader, Todd Gitlin claims that Democrats enlarged their tent to include leftist activists. That comes as news to many of us in that category. The touchstone for Gitlin's thesis would have to be the war in Iraq, the No. 1 issue on the minds of the American people. Democrats were elected to Congress in 2006 on the expectation that they would end the war in Iraq. They have not. MoveOn.org is disgraced among knowledgeable activists for its timid, late and partial opposition to the war. None of the leading Democratic candidates are calling for prompt and complete withdrawal from Iraq if you read the fine print of their statements. These are all positions where the Democratic establishment disagrees with its base -- and not just the "leftist activists." What the Democrat apologists fear above all is that their alienated base will go for a principled, intelligent, charismatic, energetic candidate like Nader supported by the infrastructure that the Greens have been patiently putting in place over the years.

John V. WalshWorcester, Mass.

Gitlin's nebulous arguments as to why Nader should not run again are much more clearly demonstrated by his hilariously vituperative comments in the motion picture, "An Unreasonable Man." He simply has an irrational hatred of Nader.

Nader is right -- both sides are corrupt, and that is why this Democrat will again vote for him in 2008.

James L. HardemanFullerton

Everyone's guilty in the prison messRe "Criminal neglect," editorial, July 26

We are all to blame for overcrowded prisons. For decades, we have ignored the veterans coming back mentally destroyed by the effects of wars. We have ignored the homeless who sleep on sidewalks in cardboard boxes and beg for handouts. We have ignored the ones in schools who were not capable of graduating. We ignored the drug problem, and instead of stopping the pushers and the source, we started locking up the addicted users.

The people educated enough to devise solutions ignored the problems as these helpless people kept falling one by one into a lost and hopeless society. We just locked them up and said, "We are tough on crime." These unconstitutional crimes against humans are as bad as the crimes of those we lock up. Some judges are willing to say, "Enough is enough, the torture will stop."

Nora WeberBakersfield

West Nile actionRe "West Nile virus claims Kern County man, 85," July 25

The Times reports on the increase in West Nile virus cases being "blamed on hot weather and untended pools at foreclosed homes," and on officials from the California Department of Public Health urging precautions to protect ourselves from mosquitoes.

There's not much we can do about the weather, but why aren't the lenders for those foreclosed homes being held responsible for seeing that those abandoned pools are properly cared for? Aren't they as liable for the consequences of breeding mosquitoes carrying a potentially deadly virus as a drug dealer is liable when the drugs he peddles cause death? Where are the public health enforcers?

Alan Pollack MDWoodland Hills

Parsing GonzalesRe "Gonzales loses ground on the Hill," July 25

When Atty. Gen. Alberto R. Gonzales says he wants to stay at the Justice Department to fix problems that have surfaced during his tenure, it's the same playbook used by President Bush when he says we have to stay in the war to fight Al Qaeda in Iraq because Al Qaeda attacked us on 9/11. Why can't we (U.S. senators, newspaper reporters, citizens) call this drivel for what it is: unbelievable arrogance and deceit?

Charlotte HarjoLos Angeles

'Madness' in IraqRe "A huge new U.S. symbol in Iraq," July 24

Is there an end to this madness? What is the logic in building a $600-million embassy in the midst of a war zone? Webster's dictionary says that an act of treason includes the "betrayal of trust or faith." I believe we have two candidates -- President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney.

Bernard KentorEncino

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