Re: The Tea Party & the welfare state

Come November, many Tea Party-backed candidates will most likely be elected to Congress (“Tears of rage,” Sept. 15). Of those candidates, 100 percent are Republicans. Their battle cry is one of smaller government, fewer taxes and more fiscal responsibilityin short, no more freebies.

However, there is an inherent hypocrisy that needs to be exposed. In short, the Tea Party candidates, like Joe Miller of Alaska, intend to cut what they term “entitlement programs,” ridding the U.S. of any semblance of a welfare state. What I want to know is, how does one define an entitlement? Exactly what qualifies as welfare?

Take Mr. Miller of Alaska for example. Does the fact that he received $7,000 in farm subsidies, a low-income hunting and fishing license, while his wife collected unemployment, qualify as welfare? If you ask me, it seems that what is really at stake is whether those receiving these benefits are perceived as deserving. One has to wonder whether all of those old white men rolling up to their Tea Party rallies in their Medicare-funded electric scooters understand that their very health stands to be compromised by the elimination of said “entitlement” programs?

The truth is that we all benefit from the welfare state at some point in our life. Whether it’s the collection of emergency aid, Medicare, Medicaid, the earned income tax credit, or spousal benefits as a military widow, all of us are on welfare!

Let’s be honest: When it comes to the Tea Party, all one needs to know is that, once again, we have a group of citizens who have imagined themselves to be an oppressed minority, falsely believing that the benefits they receive are the only ones rightly deserved. I, for one, am not buying this distinction, and neither should anyone else.

Ivan Martinez

Re: Hospital chaplain on cancer industry

Thank you for Front Porch, one of my favorites parts of the paper. The Oct. 20 column by Katja Hill (“Cancer, Inc.“) is especially poignant and confirms what I see twice a week as a hospital chaplain. The cancer industry is indeed alive and well.

Earlier this year, I read Devra Davis’ 2007 exposé of the cancer industry, The Secret History of the War on Cancer. The book is a 500-page history of the horrors perpetrated on us by government and industry and is a must-read for anyone even remotely affected by any form of the disease, especially lung cancer. Dr. Davis exposes the lies and cover-ups that went on for decades before smoking was finally acknowledged as a cause of lung cancer.

Yet today, 46 years after the Surgeon General’s 1964 Smoking and Health report, cigarettes are still available everywhere. There may be significantly fewer public places now where one may smoke, but we continue to manufacture cigarettes and push them at people, especially overseas.

Cancer research and cancer treatment are about money, power and control. A cure, if it were found, would idle an industry upon which too many people depend for their livelihood, and our culture simply will not stand for that. So we have regulatory agencies run by the industries they regulate and a host of corporate cancer holocaust deniers at every level of government and industry. And we line up like lab rats to buy what they’re selling: tobacco, environmental pollution, chemotherapy, radiation and propaganda.

The Very Rev. Christopher Ross
South Boston, Va.

Re: Property rights & wrongs

Most landowners in Chatham County are unaware of how the Western Wake Partners wastewater treatment plant will affect them (“Dumping on New Hill,” Aug. 11). This is an issue that should highlight how the current county commissioners will protect individual property rights.

Simply put, will the county commissioners allow an external intergovernmental entity to seize private property through eminent domain, or will they defend individual property owners by making Western Wake Partners build their wastewater discharge pipeline in the existing utility easements that cross the county?

Western Wake Partners wants to take the cheapest route to discharge wastewater into the Haw River in Chatham County. What does the county and its property owners have to gain from a pipeline that will bring no revenue to the county and will cause an environmental impact on the county’s water resource in the Haw River? In addition, it will degrade property values and restrict the affected property owners from utilizing their property as they see fit.

The discussion should be what is in Chatham County’s best interest and not in what is in the best interest of an outside entity. If the current commissioners are for “green” or “smart” growth, then they should not create additional utility easements when current corridors exist, and they should show leadership by holding a governmental entity to the same standards imposed on individual and corporate property owners.

As a landowner in the proposed pipeline route, the potential exists for my property to become worthless because the proposed pipeline could destroy my proposed septic field. I believe eminent domain should be used as a last resort and not as something that is pursued just to make access to Chatham’s resources cheaper in the name of progress.

Maj. Sam Cherry

Re: 23 percent independent

I appreciate Bob Geary’s Oct. 20 cover story, “How the Democrats lost their way.” I have two comments about it, however. I think he should have written this article many weeks ago, rather than now when the election is upon us. Secondly, nowhere in the article does he mention that more than 23 percent of North Carolina voters are now registered as independents (unaffiliated). Surely that figure says a great deal. Does Mr. Geary find this an inconvenient truth?

Elizabeth S. Axtell

Re: The critical role of superior court clerk

The role of Wake County superior court clerk is critical, and it’s important that citizens cast an informed vote (Wake County 2010 Endorsements, Oct. 13 and 20).

I recently had a case in the Wake County court and unlawful documents were used. The documents violate North Carolina General Statutes and contradict the way that the court system is supposed to work. Recordkeeping is a key responsibility of the clerk of court, and it’s essential that she take this responsibility seriously.

The North Carolina Public Defender’s manual says that a defendant has a statutory right to a probable cause hearing in district court. The hearing should occur between five and 15 working days of the person’s first appearance in court (G.S. 15A-601(a) and G.S. 15A-606(d)). The purpose of a probable cause hearing is to determine whether a case should be transferred to superior court for prosecution or dismissed for lack of evidence. If the court were following statutes, then there would not now be several hundred cases pending in superior court.

Instead, the way the Wake County court system “works” is that cases are continued in the Wake County district court indefinitely and then some are “appealed” to superior court. The appeal itself and the appeal document used in the court violates N.C. General Statutes, which say that a case can be transferred to superior court, not appealed, and transferring cases from district to superior court is supposed to happen within 90 days, per the National Speedy Trial Act. The long-standing biased process of “judge shopping” is what helped cause the problem.

A responsible leader like Janet Pueschel can correct the recordkeeping, help move cases through the system in a systematic and timely manner, and provide relief to the hundreds of people who are unlawfully being held hostage in the broken Wake County court.

Donna Pilch

Re: In the phrasing

Thank you for your article about Noam Chomsky speaking at elin o’Hara slavick’s art exhibit opening (“Modernity’s shadow,” Oct. 6). I found it refreshingly informative and disturbing at the same time. I’ve often looked at our current political/ governmental operation as that very “out-of-control juggernaut”nicely put, I’ll steal the phrase a couple of times for sure. The fact that it was an “invited audience” makes me wonder how that list was compiled … a rich lefty/ art appreciator who’s who? And, “marginally less cruel”excellent phrasing, clearly you’ve learned some realities about our health “care” system. Thanks again, good work.

Greg Jones