The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

November 8, 2012

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

Submitted by Readers

— 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


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, I believe 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


Fox News balances the liberal media

I enjoyed the editorial page on Oct. 30, especially the Readers’ Forum and the column by Stephen Verotsky on Fox News.

I enjoy PBS, but I don’t believe the taxpayers should pay for it; the station gets enough through donations.

If it wasn’t for Fox News and talk radio, we would have a total liberal media in this country.

He should read the book “Arrogance” by Bernard Goldberg, who worked for the liberal mainstream CBS news for many years. Goldberg punctures the bubble in which the media live and work, a culture of denial when country views are not welcome.

Does he remember the CBS scandal involving Dan Rather, who was fired because of his false accusations about President George Bush?

An Associated Press article published Oct. 28, “Majority harbor prejudice against blacks, poll finds,” revealed that most Americans express anti-Hispanic sentiments. This just before a presidential election! Shame on this liberal news network.

I’m happy to see the “silent majority” spoke up in our Readers’ Forum. I think they woke up when they saw how badly our country is being run. There were many new writers who showed we still have people with common sense, something lacking in the politically corrupt elite news networks.

Stephen Sakmar


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