The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Editorials

November 8, 2012

Readers' Forum 11-8 | Oil, gas drillers handed unfair advantages

— I would like to address the so-called “war on coal.”

If this “war” actually exists, it was started by then-Vice President Dick Cheney and his oil- and gas-drilling buddies.

They saw to it that the nicknamed “Halliburton loophole” was put into place. This provision exempted oil and gas drillers from the environmental regulations of the federal Clean Air and Water acts. This is a great competitive advantage of gas over coal.

Next, we have Republican Gov. Tom Corbett and the state Republican House and Senate refusing to enact a proper severance tax on the gas, as do many other states. This tax could help all of Pennsylvania cure its financial woes.

Again, a great competitive advantage of gas over coal.

In another letter I will try to explain why the mine owners favor union-busting polluters over labor-favoring environment protectors.

Patrick Albright

Cresson

People are actors, not the nations

The presidential candidates and news accounts referred to nations as actors by attributing to their opinions, motivations, decisions and actions. Those references are not intelligible. Nations cannot think, decide or act.

Many years ago, during warmer months, I ate my brown-bag lunch on the porch of a Quaker meeting house that was next door to the office building where I was employed. I was often joined by an elderly black man who was employed by the Quakers as a groundskeeper.

We never exchanged names but we had interesting conversations about personal matters and current events, including the then-ongoing and controversial Vietnam War.

For him, this war was a large-scale city gang fight. He did not see ideologies, nations or economics. He saw individuals contesting for turf.

At that time, I dismissed his opinions.

Now, Iā€ˆbelieve that he had a clearer view than I did. Perhaps, as my lunch companion believed, military conflicts are the result of interplay and actions of individuals who conceal their own ambitions, motives, desires and interests.

Using his eyes, one sees contesting individuals who are distributing money and weapons, threatening, acting and reacting, waving flags, making speeches and fighting, all while calling themselves nations or ideologic organizations. They fight by proxy. They cause suffering and destruction. They are not responsible leaders.

My seeing-eye companion would see the individuals who are now serving the Middle East not as especially dangerous.

He would see them playing the child’s game of King of the Hill with deadly violence. He would note that their ornaments include nuclear weapons.

He believed that these individuals found their fighting exciting and profitable.

Frank Desimone

Johnstown

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