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Thursday, Oct. 13, 2011 03:33 pm

Letters to the Editor 10/13/11

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Thousands of tea party activists gathered for a “Restoring America” rally at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., in 2010.
PHOTO BY OLIVIER DOULIERY

PROHIBITION

Currently airing on PBS-TV, “Prohibition” explains how the Volstead Act changed America. One program stated “Prohibition had been enacted to forestall change; to put and end to alcoholism, safeguard the American family (and) to re-establish the moral supremacy of small town Protestant America.” If you substitute “tea party” for “prohibition,” “Barack Obama” for “change” and “liberalism” for “alcoholism” you have the same set of circumstances today.

Historian Catherine Gilbert Murdoch said on the program, “In their extremism, they eliminated all moderate support and that’s a really important political lesson that applies to a lot of different movements; that you’ve got to bend a little if you’re going to stay – if you’re going to keep what you’ve got because if you don’t bend, it’s all going to come crashing down around you.”

The tea party currently garners a lot of media attention and many conservative Republican candidates and officeholders pander to them. However, their extremism is certainly not representative of the majority of moderate Americans, and their unwillingness to compromise with others will be their undoing. That’s really a shame because, like the citizens who have begun demonstrating on Wall Street and other large cities against corporate greed and financial mismanagement, the tea party people represent a challenge to the two-party system. We need to keep challenging that status quo in order to create changes that benefit the majority of Americans.

The tea party’s lack of a leadership structure is a weakness they share with the Wall Street protesters. Factor in their unwillingness to bend and you have a movement with no lasting power. Like Prohibition, the tea party may stick around for a few years, but it won’t last because the vast majority of Americans don’t support it.

Jeff Donohue
Chatham



GATEHOUSE TURNAROUND

What Gatehouse CEO Michael Reed should have promised is a Dave Ramsey turnaround [see “SJ-R gets a sour Apple from Gatehouse,” Sept. 29]. This company has been pink-sheeted by the New York Stock Exchange, and owes a billion dollars, due in 2014. Last year the company cash-flowed just over $1.5 million, and paid out bonuses in the same amount to corporate executives. Do the math. These execs are already paid handsomely, and are protected by splendid compensation contracts. Gatehouse has lost the game, although there is still time left on the game clock. GHM will keep gutting newspapers, and “right sizing” staff to keep things going as long as possible. It kind of reminds me of an ER team that refuses to stop doing CPR long after the patient is dead.

The GHM business model assumed an unchanging economic landscape. What do ya know? We are now sailing in 30-foot seas, and the ship is not rigged for foul weather. How quickly and how easily we forget that there are economic ups and downs, and fail to prudently prepare for life’s little surprises. I heard Michael Reed once state that,  “No one could have seen these economic times coming.” For a guy who runs the nation’s fourth largest newspaper company, he fails to have an accurate perspective of economics or history.

The current problems are only compounded by the changes in the technological landscape. The big wheels at Gatehouse are in a pickle, and all I have to say is, “good luck with that.” You might consider visiting daveramesy.com.

A former Gatehouse employee
Name withheld by request



PRIVACY KILLS

It is time that hospitals, medical clinics, paramedics, doctors and social service agencies do away with the HPPA law for medical-related privacy issues. It could be a matter of life or death. People who are low-income, uninsured, mentally challenged and homeless sometimes do not have the ability to make major decisions. So everyone should be allowed all information and records. With this change, no one will have to deal with a possible death or unknown treatment while trying to provide services to someone who cannot make the decisions for themselves.

Russ Barnett
Springfield
Rwlite2005@yahoo.com

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