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Support for Moammar Kadafi among Latin American leaders; voting on tax increases; the pope on Jews

March 09, 2011

A dictator's friends

Re "Unholy alliance," Opinion, March 7

Andrés Martinez deplores the bond between Libya's Moammar Kadafi and Latin American leaders Hugo Chavez, Daniel Ortega and Fidel Castro. He recognizes the anti-imperialist (anti-U.S.) character of this bond but feels that these leftist regimes have forfeited the right to judge authoritatively on liberty and democracy.

The U.S. has forfeited that right even more. Not only has the U.S. repeatedly supported right-wing repression and death squads in Latin America, it has also tried to undermine democratically elected leftist rulers in Nicaragua, Venezuela, Chile and Haiti.

The U.S. had a chance to undo that legacy by recognizing the Cuban government or forcefully condemning the overthrow of Manuel Zelaya in Honduras. It flunked both tests. With this track record, can the U.S. really expect sympathy from rulers who have interests other than pampering their countries' upper classes?

Roger Carasso

Los Angeles

The real Latin American left is composed of many millions of productive workers and small farmers. It is wrong to lump in mountebanks such as Chavez, Ortega and the Castro brothers. These pseudo-populists identify with the Libyan dictator because he is an autocratic oppressor.

We can hope that this crew of mis-leaders will soon be dragged from their gilded palaces by their outraged populaces.

Gilbert Dewart


Still work to do on the budget

Re "Time to deal on the budget," Editorial, March 7

Any "deal" requires trust. The politicians don't have our trust because they use taxes, fees and gimmicks to "balance the budget," hoping the economy will save them from required cuts.

They must show us that they will cut the budget by changing public service pensions to align with what the rest of us receive; reduce administrative staff but not police officers, firefighters, teachers and janitors; increase both the number of years used to calculate retirement pay and employee contributions; eliminate unnecessary commissions.

California lawmakers must prove that they can be trusted to lower costs, agree to a balanced budget on time and bring in businesses before they ask for tax increases.

Alan L. Strzemieczny


Gov. Jerry Brown got elected by promising that the voters could decide on extending higher taxes. The Republicans are refusing to let the voters vote. Why can't Brown and the Democrats simply say to the Republicans, "Put this to a vote or we'll just pass it ourselves"?

The Republicans could never get away with saying that Brown broke a campaign promise because they are the ones who don't want the people to decide on their own taxation.

Michael Lorraine

Simi Valley

The Gospels and the Jews

Re "A papal defense of Jews," Editorial, March 5

The statements about the exoneration of the Jewish people for the death of Jesus in Pope Benedict XVI's new book are timely, and not because of crazies like John Galliano.

The Roman Catholic Church embarks this week on the season of Lent, an emotional time for Christians, who contemplate the death and resurrection of Jesus. Even though the emotions that led to violence in medieval times are mostly gone, some animosity lingers.

Would that all Christians were familiar with the pope's correct interpretation of the role of the Jews in the Gospels, especially the Gospel of John.

Fr. Vivian Ben Lima

Woodland Hills

The idea that any group of people should be forever vilified for killing Christ is puzzling.

According to Christian theology, God sent his son to take human form and to die. Dying by some prosaic means would not have gotten the same attention as a spectacular public execution. Somebody had to kill Jesus.

Christians who look for a group to condemn forget that if Christ had not been killed, there would be no Christianity today, and the compassionate wisdom in Jesus' teachings would have been lost. Maybe that's why we call the day of his execution Good Friday.

Jan Gabrielson

Los Angeles

Working toward retirement

Re "Too many broken nest-eggs," Opinion, March 4

According to Republicans, the solution to eliminating the disparity between public and private sector employees is to make sure that all workers have it as bad as private sector employees.

It's kind of like noting that because those with two eyes can see better than people with one, to make it fair we should blind everyone in one eye.

Richard Vidan


I worked for more than 45 years paying into Social Security, and when I retired my annual benefits were less than 20% of my final year's salary. During those years there was never any job security other than working harder than the next person.

Eugene Thomas


Who pays?

Re "Credit or debit, human?" March 4

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