Obama and the speaker
Re "The tongue-tied speaker," Editorial, Feb. 15
House Speaker John A. Boehner's adamant choice of silence as a response to accusations that President Obama is not an American makes him complicit in nothing short of perpetuating slander against the presidency. His rationalization that confronting constituents with the facts means telling people what to "think" is vacuous.
At least Sen. John McCain had the guts and decency to speak the truth when the opportunity presented itself.
It's pathetically obvious that like the rest of Boehner's Fox "news" pandering Republican colleagues, if there is political gain, he will dignify the most fantastic of lies with his silence. How American is that, Mr. Speaker?
Boehner wasn't tongue-tied but shocked by the question related to doubts concerning Obama's birthplace and religious choice.
Boehner's answer was honest. He doesn't share those doubts, but everyone is free to think as they please, and it's not his right or duty to dictate their thoughts.
There's no active public discussion of these subjects, so why ask the question? Was it to distract from the real news of the day, the ever-growing budget deficit?
What more would you have from Boehner than his personal acceptance of Obama's statements?
Why were then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid not asked to rebut the claim by many of their adherents that the Bush administration was complicit in the 9/11 attacks?
Charles K. Sergis
So Boehner says, "It's not my responsibility to tell the American people what to think." Then it's OK for us to think that he has no integrity or sense of
responsibility or interest in being a leader, right?
Then, if many of us believe that he leads a party desiring only to defeat a president and not to pass legislation helping us, that's all right too?
Of course, the larger issue of what people do with their beliefs — hate and be bigots, for example — is fine too, isn't it, Mr. Speaker?
We conservatives don't pay much attention to where the president was born or his religion, but when leftist journalists on television and in newspapers constantly badger our leaders to denounce those who do, they give credence to the probability that the charges may have merit.
It's the president's policies, not his birthplace or religion, that are causes for concern.
Robert S. Rodgers
Protesters and the law
Re "Not fit to be tried," Opinion, Feb. 12
On the issue of charging protesters, the question is not whether a protest is "extreme and intemperate" in tone but whether it seeks to disrupt and prevent the act of another citizen's speech (such as disrupting the UC Irvine speech) or block freedom of movement.
Protesters who demonstrate in this way are accepting the consequences of their civil disobedience for their cause, and those consequences include criminal charges and possibly jail.
Otherwise, what is stopping anyone from doing this all the time, if the only repercussions are receiving the equivalent of a traffic ticket?
It frankly is difficult to fathom that our city attorney is unable to reason that it is not in the best interest of this community that peaceful activists serve time in jail.
It is absurd that given L.A.'s fiscal situation, City Atty. Carmen Trutanich still wants to incarcerate peaceful activists who stood in solidarity with the immigrant community last year. It is also equally absurd that he argues that these activists are "professional anarchists."
L.A. desperately needs people to get more civically engaged, and criminalizing dissent will discourage citizens from voicing their concerns.
Thank goodness for Trutanich. It's about time we had a city attorney with enough backbone to prosecute protestors who break the law.
Freedom of speech doesn't give anyone the right to ignore the law.
Building a better Middle East
Re "Tide of revolt sweeps Mideast," Feb. 15
Hats off to the Arab public for having the strength and wisdom to shake off their various dictators. Hopefully they'll have the same strength and wisdom to shake off these tyrants' deflection of hatred onto the tiny dot of land called Israel.
Isn't it time now to start building a future instead of wasting time, energy and resources to try to annihilate a country that could be your partner in building that future? Or is baseless bigotry better than bread and butter?
The United States needs to completely stay out of Iranian affairs. Any statement by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton or President Obama will be used as a pretext to round up (and possibly execute) protesters as agents of the United States.
Open is better
Re "A dependency court cure," Editorial, Feb. 12