Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Letters to the editor: 3-10-11

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Dear Editor,

The drumbeats and media propaganda machine are in full swing in attempting to push the United Sates into some sort of active military role in Libya. It would be the dumbest thing we could possibly do. In World War II Hitler made the classic military mistake of opening up a second front to the war that led to the well documented and total failure of his war. Today the United States is already involved in two wars with marginal success, loss of many American lives and a major drain on our economy. It would not only be foolhardy, but downright stupid for us to get involved militarily in Libya. Yet the drumbeats continue.

The United States cannot continue to be the world police force. Further, the situation in Libya is much more complex than appears on the surface. It is not only the good people of Libya seeking freedom, but a mixture of people that include those associated with radical Islam. We seem to have short memories about what happened in Afghanistan where we supported Osama bin Laden and the Taliban against Russia. The result of that was Sept 11, 2001 and a continuing disaster for America. When will we learn?

Our world police force strategy, even for seemingly good causes, has been a major failure. We need to accomplish things through diplomatic means and by having Europe and other countries step up and not rely totally on the United States.

The American people are urged to put the drumbeats and propaganda that is constantly being fed to us into perspective and not allow ourselves to be stampeded into still another military conflict.

Al DiLascia
Chicopee, Mass.

Dear Editor

With a very low approval rating how do incumbents in Congress keep getting re-elected?

One reason is political gerrymandering. 

The fourth Massachusetts congressional district of Barney Frank reveals a distorted method designed to thwart the will of the people and hold onto power. In 1981 Barney Frank defeated eight-term Republican congresswomen, Margaret Heckler; Frank has held onto power for nearly 30 years. Our state legislators in Boston will now redraw the districts for state and federal offices and do everything in their power to make it impossible for challengers to have a fair chance of getting elected.

State Sen. Stanley Rosenberg and state Rep. Michael Moran, leaders of the Massachusetts Redistricting Committee met behind closed doors with our Democrat congressmen to get their advice on how their districts should be drawn. Are you satisfied with politicians or political parties who think districts belong to them? Take for example the town of Chelmsford. Instead of being represented by one Republican representative, it was carved up and is now represented by four Democrat representatives from the neighboring cities and towns. Districts should not be designed to split a town if the population allows it to fit into one state representative district. Towns in a state representative district should be grouped together when part of a school region.

Contact your state legislator and ask when public hearings will be held. Demand free and fair elections. You can find your local legislators by visiting, www.malegislature.gov/People/FindMyLegislator <http://www.malegislature.gov/People/FindMyLegislator> 

Massachusetts is losing a congressional seat as people move to states with lower taxes. How would our congressional representatives act, if they faced elections that were not rigged by gerrymandering? They might do what we elect them to do, represent our views instead of jamming down our throats a government takeover of healthcare that is opposed by 60 percent of Americans. 

A government that insulates itself from the will of the people is not a democracy, and one that manipulates the law is not a republic.

Dan Allie
Northampton, Mass.

Dear Editor,

This is in response to the Collegian Article, “Iditarod starts 39th rendition Saturday in Alaska .”

For the dogs, the Iditarod is a bottomless pit of suffering. At least 142 dogs have died in the race, including two dogs on a doctor’s sled that froze to death in the brutally cold winds. What happens to the dogs during the Iditarod includes death, paralysis, frostbite, bleeding ulcers, bloody diarrhea, lung damage, pneumonia, ruptured discs, viral diseases, broken bones, torn muscles and tendons and sprains.

During the race, veterinarians do not give the dogs physical exams at every checkpoint. Mushers speed through many checkpoints, so the dogs get the briefest visual checks, if that. Instead of pulling sick dogs from the race, veterinarians frequently give them massive doses of antibiotics to keep them running. The Iditarod’s chief veterinarian, Stu Nelson, is an employee of the Iditarod Trail Committee. They are the ones who sign his paycheck. So, do you expect that he’s going to say anything negative about the Iditarod?

During training runs, Iditarod dogs have been killed by moose, snow machines, and various motor vehicles, including a semi tractor and an ATV. They have died from drowning, heart attacks and being strangled in harnesses. Dogs have also been injured while training. They have been gashed, quilled by porcupines, bitten in dog fights, had broken bones, and torn muscles and tendons. Most dog deaths and injuries during training aren’t even reported.

Iditarod dog kennels are puppy mills. Mushers breed large numbers of dogs and routinely kill unwanted ones, including puppies. Many dogs who are permanently disabled in the Iditarod, or who are unwanted for any reason, including those who have outlived their usefulness, are killed with a shot to the head, dragged, drowned or clubbed to death. “Dogs are clubbed with baseball bats and if they don’t pull are dragged to death in harnesses… ” wrote former Iditarod dog handler Mike Cranford in an article for Alaska’s Bush Blade Newspaper.

Dog beatings and whippings are common. During the 2007 Iditarod, eyewitnesses reported that musher Ramy Brooks kicked, punched and beat his dogs with a ski pole and a chain. Jim Welch says in his book Speed Mushing Manual, “Nagging a dog team is cruel and ineffective…A training device such as a whip is not cruel at all but is effective.” “It is a common training device in use among dog mushers…”

The Iditarod, with all the evils associated with it, has become a synonym for exploitation. The race imposes torture no dog should be forced to endure.

Margery Glickman
Director of Sled Dog Action Coalition, www.helpsleddogs.org
Miami, Fla.

To the Editor,

The Collegian article on Ballot Initiatives published on February 25, was a balanced piece and did mention some reasons people oppose these so-called “reform” proposals.

Another reason for opposition lies in the practical politics of the drug policy reform movement.

The 2008 Ballot  Question 2 on marijuana decriminalization, was one of these initiatives. It was not passed by politicians. It required citizen votes to succeed. Because of Question 2, UMass students today, unlike those of earlier “generations,” do not have to fear jail – or fear the insidious government practice of using the threat of jail time to force people to betray their friends.

Question 2 was an important first step, however, much work remains to be done. Many activists around the state are hoping to put a Question on the ballot in 2012 to end marijuana prohibition entirely. UMass’ own Cannabis Reform Coalition will no doubt be out there, working to collect the signatures necessary to bring this measure to the voters. Anything that stymies this, as Senator Rosenberg’s proposals do, will be a terrible setback to the cause of Freedom in Massachusetts.

I would urge everyone to contact their legislators, and get them to oppose these bills, S. 13 and S. 314.

Sincerely,
Terry Franklin

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