Outrage over Benghazi
The Benghazi attack has been misrepresented by political and news media rhetoric. Placing blame and pointing fingers seems to be a learned President Barack Obama blame game.
The fact is our embassy, ambassador and staff weren’t protected.
Who cares who was responsible for the attack or whether they were terrorists or just a spontaneous reaction to a dumb movie? It was an attack on our embassy using deadly force.
What is important is why the attack wasn’t dealt with effectively and who was responsible for holding back.
Regardless of whether it was spontaneous or planned, it is this administration’s fault for the deaths of those American citizens.
It was this administration’s responsibility to protect, and it did not.
We need to send a message to our senators and representatives expressing our indignation.
Overdoing the ‘news’
During the Reagan administration, more than 240 U.S. Marines were killed in the Lebanon barracks bombing.
This was before the term “terrorist” was part of the lexicon.
It was a sad occasion, and thinking people knew that bad people do bad things.
With the deaths of a diplomat and three other citizens in Libya, another sad day, there is a movement to cast blame upon our leadership with a Watergate-type investigation because of semantics employed by poorly informed spokespeople hours after the attacks.
Their argument should be with Webster and the definition of terrorism.
Bad people still do bad things, regardless of the motive or planning.
By devoting so much time to this nonissue, the Republicans in Congress and Fox News wear their irrelevance like a badge of honor.
Dwelling upon this to deflect focus from pressing government issues only reinforces what the electorate confirmed at the polls on Nov. 6.
No event is as unexplainable as the deaths of children. We try to understand, but we simply cannot comprehend the suffering of a single child, let alone on the scale we have seen in Connecticut.
As physicians, our lives are dedicated to prevention of disease and suffering. Not only are doctors concerned about our patients individually, we are equally committed to eliminating factors that threaten the health of the community.
As the events of last week attest, there is a serious public health problem related to gun violence.
It appears to have become an epidemic, and it certainly threatens our physical and mental well-being.
When people are afraid to send kids to school, enter a movie theater, attend a house of worship or shop in a mall, there is a breakdown of the fabric of society. This is every bit as perilous as any deadly virus.
This epidemic requires a multifactorial solution. Physicians can identify and treat people with serious mental health problems. However, our governments should devise and enforce laws that protect society and preserve the social contract.
Without some paradigm shift in our approach to this critical public health problem, more parents are going to be left wondering “why?”
Jeffrey B. Kramer, M.D.
President, Metropolitan Medical Society
of Greater Kansas City
City employees stealing
Regarding the story about the city employees getting busted for fraudulent claims to the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City’s Points to Blue program (12-14, A1, “Wellness fraud alleged”), why weren’t they charged with tax evasion, too?
I recently redeemed $40 worth of points (I’m an underachiever), on which I paid $11 income tax. I say throw the book at these criminals. You might earn some points in the process.
President Barack Obama tells us the top 1 percent aren’t paying their fair share of income taxes. However, increasing taxes on job creators means fewer investments and fewer jobs.
This is the same president who, in the second presidential debate, incorrectly said of Arizona’s new immigration law, “Part of the Arizona law said that law enforcement officers could stop folks they suspected, maybe they looked like they might be undocumented workers.” Actually, such law enforcement tactics are prohibited under Arizona’s law.
This is the same president who, in a Sept. 20 interview with Univision’s Jorge Ramos, incorrectly said, “The Fast and Furious program was a field-initiated program begun under the previous administration.”
Actually, Fast and Furious was a program to let 2,500 weapons “walk” into Mexico without tracking or the knowledge of the Mexican government, adding to the drug cartel’s chaos, firepower and carnage.
It’s hard to believe the president could be this ill-informed.
Income tax statistics never mentioned by the president include: The top 1 percent pay about 40 percent of all income taxes while they have about 23 percent of the income.
The bottom 50 percent pay about 3 percent of all income taxes.
War on Christmas
I am puzzled by the fuss about the alleged war on Christmas. I would think that Christians who take their religion seriously would not want to have their sacred music mixed with the commercialism of the holiday season.
In response to the letter writer of Dec. 17, Wal-Mart has no more business preaching the Gospel than churches do selling cheap Chinese imports. Maybe he should shift his focus from the baby Jesus to what the adult Jesus said about public displays of religiosity (Matthew 6:5-6).
What would the man who protested the activities of the money-changers outside the temple have said about religious Christmas displays at the mall?
Veterans’ final march
I am outraged at the Department of Veterans Affairs and the benefits that retired vets don’t get.
Active veterans who die are provided a casket and services. Retired veterans don’t get those things. I know the VA hospitals can do something about this, but they choose not to.
I found out that caskets and services are not given to retired enlisted men. However, officers can get them because of their rank.
Not all veterans need it. However, the ones that do should have it available to them.
I spent $4,000 to prep my uncle before the national cemetery would accept him. That was the bare minimum.
My dad passed away on Veterans Day, and we had to have his body cremated to save money and will still have to come up with more. He was wounded twice fighting in Korea.
It is a shame. Casket companies and funeral homes should be able to pay lower taxes if they help veterans and their families deal with this.
Anyone should get tax breaks if they help veterans in any way.
Rev. George Otten
Kansas City, Kan.
I would like to encourage everyone to celebrate a mindful Christmas this year in sympathy and solidarity with those who are the victims of Superstorm Sandy.
Do not decorate your yard or home, string lights outside or decorate a tree. Please gather the money you would have spent on these things and use it to help these people.
Their homes have washed away. Their heirloom ornaments are lost now. Their yards are under water.
Let’s take a season to remember and help. Part of our country is grieving right now.
Let’s comfort them and show by this solemnity that we care about their lost loved ones and their displacement. Let’s wait with these outward displays until next year’s holiday season when we can all celebrate together.
Retooling the Chiefs
The 2012 National Football League season for Kansas City has been a nightmare. Some call it an embarrassment.
In my mind, it’s a chance to get better. Our season revealed what our franchise should do to get back on track.
First, we need to get rid of Romeo Crennel as head coach. We need a leader in this position, and Romeo is not cut out for the job.
Second, our GM, Scott Pioli, should be fired. His poor managing has cost the franchise dollars and wins.
Finally, we need to draft a quarterback in the first round of the 2013 draft. Matt Cassel is in the top 10 in interceptions, and Brady Quinn isn’t the game-changing quarterback that the Chiefs need.
The Chiefs need to find a new quarterback, a new GM and a new head coach for the 2013 season. We need to get better, and this is how we do it.