Overseas jobsWatching ABC's "Nightline" recently I was...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Overseas jobs

Watching ABC's "Nightline" recently I was devastated to learn that my U.S. tax dollars have been used to create jobs in Costa Rica, Mexico, Honduras, El Salvador, the Dominican Republic, etc. The rate of pay in these countries is less than $1 an hour.

Secretary of Labor Lynn Martin said that over 22,000 jobs have been created. Thus we have spent over $100 million to train people overseas for jobs taken away from our own workers. Ms. Martin is opposed to union labor and would probably be glad if we all would work for minimum wage.

Sen. Al Gore noted that it is an outrage to use taxpayers' money to recruit companies to take jobs away from our own citizens. He also mentioned that the Bush administration has actively encouraged U.S. companies to go overseas. Mr. Bush seems more interested in creating jobs elsewhere than in our own country.

An example is the Maidenform Co. in West Virginia, which closed its doors and moved to one of these countries, leaving 150 people without jobs.

The president of the company said he lost money on each garment. The wages at this company in 1980 were around $6 an hour, and in 1990 they were $10 an hour.

Who is going to take care of all the unemployed people that these overseas departures have created? Who is going to pay their mortgages, feed and clothe them and educate their children? Not George Bush.

Jeanne H. Hildebrand

Baltimore

Drug czar overlooks real issues

"Drug Czar" Bob Martinez is still singing President Bush's 1988 campaign theme song: "Don't Worry, Be Happy."

His flippant reply of Oct. 4 ("Legalization Would Worsen Drug Problem") to Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke's Sept. 27 letter ("Treating Drugs as a Public Health Problem") skipped over the serious issues raised by the mayor.

Mr. Martinez ignored the conclusions of the study by the National Center on Institutions and Alternatives, that the nation's drug-war policy is criminalizing an entire class of people, namely African-American men.

Mr. Martinez ignored all eight suggestions by Mayor Schmoke for dealing with the failed drug war without so much as mentioning them. Like his do-nothing boss, Mr. Martinez blames Congress and state governments for any failures in his program.

A major part of Mayor Schmoke's letter dealt with the connection between drug use and public health, especially the spread of AIDS. A needle-exchange program was one constructive idea floated by Mayor Schmoke.

Mr. Martinez ignored the AIDS issue and arrogantly rebuked the mayor, writing, "In many states, funding for drug treatment has been reduced . . . " Maybe he hasn't heard that the trickle-down economic depression has parched local and state budgets across the country.

In my mind, the studied ignorance of Mr. Martinez is a purposeful continuation of the divide-and-rule philosophy epitomized by Mr. Bush's Willie Horton campaign.

I would say Mayor Schmoke is polite to characterize the Bush administration's anti-drug strategy as "flawed." "Willfully misdirected" would be more accurate.

Keith Matis

Baltimore

Soviet travels

I would like to level with President Bush over this non-issue of Bill Clinton's trip to Moscow while he was a student.

As a high school student in the early '70s I also visited Moscow. Leningrad, too. During the administration of Richard Nixon, detente was the word, and I had the opportunity to take a trip that heretofore would have been unthinkable.

In fact, the State Department encouraged visitors to the Soviet Union to help promote understanding between our two superpowers.

I am angered over President Bush's desperate attempts to turn this into a campaign issue.

Many students took trips to the Soviet Union at the time as "ambassadors of goodwill" for the United States.

I resent anyone's trying to imply that what we did was unpatriotic or un-American. In fact, we were doing what the government wanted us to do, and I went there as a proud American, who came back enriched by the experience. As well as all the more thankful that I lived in a great country like the United States.

David K. Henderson

Baltimore

Anything goes

The Bush-Quayle-Baker team concluded that Bill Clinton and Al Gore were on their way to winning the presidential election by a blow-out.

This is why Bush is now personally involved in the political equivalent of the "Hail Mary" pass in football -- a final, desperate attempt to destroy his opponent and divert the electorate from its desire for change.

Don't be surprised if in the next few weeks you hear Bush or Quayle suggest that Bill Clinton is Joe Stalin's illegitimate son, an Iraqi double agent or an extraterrestrial transvestite -- or all three!

Bush's political handlers believe they have nothing to lose and, in any event, they'll never be held accountable. They are twice wrong.

The ends don't justify the means. Cynical use of deceit, dishonesty and demagogy permanently stains a public career. As a way to gain power, even to do great and noble deeds, it doesn't wash.

History and the fair-minded American people will ultimately judge more than just the winners and losers: They will judge how the game was played.

Roger C. Kostmayer

Baltimore

Education solution

Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke wants the death penalty for cop killers. Bush will put away carjackers, and Clinton is no Dukakis when it comes to Willie Horton.

When the jails are bursting at the seams and all neighborhoods have armed guards -- that is, the ones that aren't leveled from rioting -- a beam of light must lead us to a better way.

Education is the most powerful weapon in our arsenal. People are changing their perspectives on how to live healthier lives on nutritional and environmental levels. This success should be the driving force to believe that positive changes can be implemented to our benefit.

The categorizing of the drug epidemic as a health problem, instead of laying the escalating load at the feet of law enforcement, is one step toward sanity.

Mayor Schmoke has recognized that continuing to plug the bursting dam of crime with chewing gum is not going to work. His understanding comes from his background in law enforcement and personally seeing its limitations. His agendas are basic sense to treat a growing population's illness, and provide real opportunities for all people.

When shown that rewarding options to grow are real and result in enjoying the variety life has to offer, people will choose these options.

It is the constitutional directive to our government to give us educational choices which would allow us all to enjoy healthy lifestyles, not to mow people down in cross fire.

Robert L. Schwartz

Towson

The Blues

Only mentioned briefly in the Senate investigation was the merger of Blue Shield and Blue Cross in 1984 that resulted in questionable financial dealing between the presidents of each organization.

Each with his own self-serving empire wrangled for weeks as to which would step down when the pressure to merge weakened their respective positions but not their ability to get as much as they could from what remained of this merger.

Naturally, each had a contract approved by a hand-picked board of directors, similar to that of Carl J. Sardegna, chief executive officer of the present Blues, involving the payment for severance, guaranteed wages and other benefits beyond the date of this merger.

One of your reporters should review the facts of this merger. Not only would it make interesting reading but would show what to expect when Mr. Sardegna and his lavishly paid cohorts are sent packing.

If our senators from Maryland, Barbara Mikulski, always loud but not clear, or Paul Sarbanes, unknown but on the payroll, are paying attention to the investigation, the outcome could have a bright side.

They might recognize the sad situation confronting their constituents trying to obtain medical care backed by sensible and affordable insurance coverage.

This is obviously not provided by Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Maryland or elsewhere. Canada's national health plan had many start-up problems that gradually have been corrected by the 10 provinces where it is now universally accepted.

Yes, taxes are high but coverage is complete for everybody at all levels of income.

Bad reports in our country by the medical profession should be weighed as to the source and disregarded.

Truman Smith

Baldwin

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