Letters to the Editor

Readers share thoughts on CIA torture, Eric Garner and Rep. Kevin Yoder

Report on torture

Some issues are crystal clear. One is the use of torture. It is a barbaric use of power.

It is inhumane, and nothing excuses its use. Nothing.

I applaud the Senate report.

Trying to make it a partisan issue is missing the point. It took hard work and guts to report.

Though it makes me shudder, we needed to hear it.

Torture should never be used for any reason. Period.

Anita B. Malott

Kansas City

Wording change

Instead of saying, “I can't breathe” repeatedly, why didn't Eric Garner in New York say, “I give up”? Do you think that would have made a difference in the outcome?

Joyce Way

Eudora, Kan.

Tea party facts

The tea party types whine about leaving a national debt to future generations but campaign endlessly to lower taxes and never pay their share to lower that debt.

Some of these people purposely live in a state of ignorance.

I suspect their ignorance is a convenient method to hide their personal greed. They got theirs; they want to keep it and not share it with others, including future generations.

John Meyer

Blue Springs

Banking bill debate

Like all sweeping bills, the 2,300-page Dodd-Frank financial reform bill missed the intended mark in a number of key areas. Of particular concern are provisions that were intended as big-bank regulation but which have boomeranged on Main Street.

One great example is Dodd-Frank’s swaps pushout provision that was finally fixed in the recent 2015 spending bill — a side of the argument that was not included in the Dec. 13 editorial, “Yoder hurts bank reforms,” attacking Rep. Kevin Yoder.

This provision had already passed the House with more than two-thirds of members supporting it, 70 Democrats and 222 Republicans.

Thanks to this fix, American companies will still be able to get a kind of insurance covering aspects of their business where they can’t always rely on stable costs — like commodities, agricultural products, fuel or even interest rates.

Stable prices for companies mean stable prices for their customers. None of these areas caused the financial crisis.

The change Congress made makes sense. There has been criticism for including this fix in the year-end must-pass spending bill. Well, we agree that the new Congress should return to regular business.

And that includes fixing regulations that simply don’t work.

David Hirschmann

President, CEO

Center for Capital

Markets Competitiveness

U.S. Chamber

of Commerce

Washington, D.C.

Rep. Kevin Yoder sponsored and passed a bill exempting banks from risky practices called swapping (12-17, A1, “Yoder defends banking change”).

He would have better spent his time writing legislation to prosecute these robber bankers for their outrageous, fraudulent subprime mortgage schemes, which nearly bankrupted our economy and had a huge negative effect on every American.

Not one banker has been held accountable and, in fact, the banks are bigger and richer than ever.

There is no question that many executives in the big banks had full knowledge of those illegal actions and actually encouraged them.

The fines imposed by the government on the banks themselves are pitiful compared with the damage done to our economy. These rules were put in place to prevent a repeat of these frauds, and now the door has been opened where you can bet more regulations will be repealed.

I am going to do some swapping of my own — swapping my future votes for Kansas representative to anyone other than Yoder.

He was harshly criticized for swimming in the nude, which I thought was no big deal. But he has now shown himself again a man without clothes. And his color is money green.

Henry Goben

Overland Park

Immigration justice

Here is a thought on the immigration and border security problem.

Because our government basically bullied and bought (on the cheap) most of the West, including Texas, New Mexico, Nevada and California, from the Mexican government, it could be a step toward justice if we now give 5 million or so undocumented workers a break toward citizenship.

Edward “Gomer” Moody

Kansas City

Democratic Party

I am writing in response to your Dec. 14 front-page article, “Country Clout.” There has always been a tension between rural America and urban America. Our founders wanted it that way.

Your article pointed out some of the tax and funding imbalances. It did not cover all areas of spending, such as the judicial and law enforcement, which would rebalance the equation somewhat.

But simply rebalancing the financial equation wouldn’t adequately reflect what is happening.

The critical issue was referenced deep in the article, saying that in 1993 half of rural Americans were represented by Democrats, but now about 77 percent are represented by Republicans.

I have heard many people state that the Democratic Party of today is not the same as the one I grew up knowing. In many ways, the Democratic Party has left the heartland, embracing radical issues and pushing America in a direction most rural folks are uncomfortable with.

I believe the issue is for more balance in what many in the urban centers are pushing for, making their message more acceptable to the non-urban parts of Missouri and all of America.

Dave Stackelhouse

Lee’s Summit

Obama overreaches

The Founding Fathers established three branches of government — the executive, the legislative and the judicial — to prevent one group from usurping the democracy. It doesn’t take a law degree to know that President Barack Obama has violated the Constitution and its spirit by using executive orders to circumvent Congress.

His actions regarding immigration are an immediate threat to our Constitution. Our representatives should act accordingly to reverse executive orders and stop him from acting unilaterally to forward his personal agenda.

It is a government of the people, by the people and for the people.

Randy Maddox

Kansas City

Reopen Woodlands

I have a question for the Unified Government: Who is paying the bill for having police cars provide security at the two Woodlands entrances?

I see them there seven days a week. With the speculation that Iowa will lose some of its live dog tracks and simulcasting in 2015, now would be the time to try to get something going for this empty Kansas City, Kan., venue.

Why won’t our elected officials carry out the wishes of their constituents and work at getting the Woodlands back in business? What do they have against Phil Ruffin, owner of Wichita Greyhound Park, who wants to invest in gambling with dogs and simulcasting races in several Kansas venues.

It’s time for some answers. Would the politicians responsible for this area please respond? I’m sure a lot of people would like an answer.

Rick Brunk

Kansas City, Kan.

Special thank yous

Being a woman about to celebrate a successful advanced age this holiday season, I am compelled to give a special thank you to those special people in my life.

Regrettably, I’ve experienced some personal health issues, and my friends, family and doctor have stepped forward with above-and-beyond expressions of love.

A physician gave me his private phone number with directions to call at any time of crisis. Friends have gone out of their way to provide support. There also have been invitations and reminders of must-see events and offers of transportation.

Feeling a bit lonely, I decided to do some shopping. Time got away from me, darkness set in and no one could reach me. I had forgotten to take my phone.

Phone calls started, and ultimately one friend drove 70 miles to check on me.

The final outcome: I was safe at home and embarrassed for not having my phone. But I was escorted to a wonderful gathering and then safely back home.

You can’t pick your family, but you can pick your friends, and I have the best in the world. I love you all, and thank you.

Linda Neville