A premise of Christianity is that righteous torture can repair evil

To The Daily Sun,

In Latin America and the Caribbean region, Chile is one of only five countries where abortion is absolutely prohibited ... even when it could save a woman's life. Over 60 percent of the world's population now live in countries where abortion is generally permitted, and more than 25 countries have liberalized their abortion laws in the past two decades. Chile is not one of them.

There are geographic and political reasons why Chile has such stringent abortion laws, but suffice to say that it is overwhelmingly Catholic. This brings us to another wretched idea that Christianity has spawned i.e. "glorified suffering" (GS).

One of the premises of Christianity is that righteous torture — if it's just the right amount, i.e. intense and prolonged enough — can somehow repair the damage done by evil and sinful behavior. Millions of crucifixes are a testament to this belief. Shia Muslims beat themselves with lashes and chains during Aashura, a form of sanctified suffering. Asceticism and fasting is a part of both Eastern and Western religions because it supposedly induces an "altered state" and brings us closer to divinity. Our ancestors lived in a world where people had very little power to control pain. An aspirin and heating pad would have been a "miracle" to the writers of the holy books.

The best that religion could do was to make some sort of "meaning" of it, such as turning it into a spiritual good. The problem with this is that it has made people more willing to inflict it not only on themselves and their enemies but also those who are helpless including the sick and dying, the children and of course draconian conservative abortion laws.

Michelle Bachelet, the Socialist president of Chile, is attempting to crack the barrier of ignorance in this country isolated by the Andes from many of the social revolutions throughout the world.

George Maloof


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I heard voice of the people speaking in our town of Meredith

To The Daily Sun,

I am writing to thank the residents of Meredith for coming to the Selectboard Public Hearing Jan. 26 regarding the proposal for three single-lane roundabouts for the intersection of Routes 3 and 25 and its corridors. Your thoughts are important to the functioning of our town. It is simply amazing that 400 people were out and about while riding the wave of a snowstorm. We must all gather in support of the issues that affect our livelihood, civil liberties, and constitutional rights. It is the people's place to live. We, the residents, come first in Meredith.

I am now running for a Selectboard position. I will make sure that the people of Meredith are informed on the issues. I have always been an advocate and a protector of the people and their individual liberties. My voice is here to represent all walks of life. I have no bias toward groups, nor am I running with an agenda, other than protecting and defending the citizens' interest.

As I traveled around Meredith with my petition (500-plus signatures) against the proposal of three single-lane roundabouts, I heard the voice of the people speaking in their town. The spirit was coming from their hearts and I could see it in their faces and expressions. I heard the opinions and tried to translate them into action and we together were successful.

Rosemary Landry


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I got great advice on the best way to calm down a parrot

To The Daily Sun,

It has been interesting to go through a stack of past issues of The Daily Sun. It is the best little news paper around, keeping us informed of what's happening in the towns within the Lakes Region.

In response to letters written by Mr. Wiles, I will let him know that he should be ashamed to write all those letters under the name Steve Earle. Mr. Wiles along with Mr. Meade have been debunked over and over for letters written only to instigate an argument, spread hate and discontent. Mr. Meade and Mr. Wiles have the opinion that it's their right under the First Amendment to say anything whether it's true or not. Okay, then we all have that right. I made my case on this subject on Jan. 2, in a letter to the editor.

In response to Mr. Wiles' letter written Jan. 14 on Benghazi etc. etc., I took his advice and went to see a psychic, and asked what was the best way to calm down a parrot. He told me to put it in a cage, shut the door, cover it with a blanket and tell it to shut up. The most dangerous liar is one who believes he's telling the truth. Is that true, or did you hear it on Fox News?

Henry Osmer


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AFC is a right-wing plan & therefore requires much fixing

To The Daily Sun,

Two recent letters submitted to this wonderful paper were within a month's time of one another, yet seem to hold conflicting views. This is odd only in the sense that they were written by the same person. The first, under the heading: "Yes I do hate President Obama, but for all the right reasons." The other: "We stand against the darkness of intolerance, hate and violence."

My first question is, well which one is it? I'm sure if you get your "news" from a channel called Fox, you can rationalize believing both can be true. What or whom you hate is okay, but no one else is allowed to hate what you believe to be just, or right. And of course the second letter is based entirely on a conversation between two comedians.

Now I was raised to not hate anyone — strongly dislike, maybe, but to not hate anyone. Actions, and even some ideas can be hated, but that you shouldn't hate anyone. You may feel sorry for someone who does something evil, but hate only hurts the hater. As this came from my devout Christian parents, I think it has something to do with true Christian teachings. And the first letter was published five days before Christmas, the conveniently reassigned day Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus.

I am not a follower of any organized religion, but I celebrate Christmas because I was brought up celebrating it, and I believe Jesus' message of love, forgiveness, and acceptance are wonderful ideals to live by, Christian or not. And I certainly stand against intolerance, hate, and violence.

Now let's look at the first letter. The idea that the YouTube video was a fake obscure video that no one had ever heard of is, of course, just plain nonsense. I recall hearing about demonstrations being held about the video prior to Sept. 11, 2011. I guess this is a case of: if you tell a lie often enough, people may just start to believe it. Obviously the targeted audience had heard of the video, hence the protests. It was therefore quite logical to believe, rightly or wrongly, that the tragedy in Benghazi began as a protest about said video.

Yes I, too, wish the terrorist had let us in on their plans prior to the attack, but I don't believe that warning us about their intentions is something they try to do. And just to be clear about the video itself, it was what is, in the movie industry, called a trailer — or preview — like you see before the main attraction at theaters these days. It was made by an extreme right-wing hate group here in the U.S. and was made to rile up the Muslim populations of other countries. Which could be called the pot calling the kettle black.

As to the idea that "everything is sunshine and light," where do you get this from? Yes, things in this country are far better now than they were six years ago, but it is in spite of right-wing obstructionism. As anyone who cares more about people than they do money will tell you, we still have a long way to go.

To those who back the idea of fewer taxes on the corporations and the wealthy, where do you think the revenue to run our country is going to come from? When states are getting fewer dollars from the federal government, local taxes are going to rise or services are going to be cut. And if you believe the Second Amendment gives you the right to attack the U.S. government, you have little to no room to say someone else thinks our laws are optional. And if you use phrases like "bro's from the hood" when speaking about our president, calling someone else a "race baiter" is another venture into the pot-and-kettle thing.

Wouldn't it be nice if racists could just come out and admit their racism, but that would take a "hint of honesty" and guts that they just don't seem to posses.

In reference to Obamacare, or more correctly, the ACA, first, as I have pointed out previously, it is a right-wing plan and therefore requires much fixing. Again, as I have also said before, it was a mistake to use the Heritage Foundation's plan in the first place. Why our president chose this insurance industry benefiting plan is beyond me, and I think it was one of his major gaffes. I still believe it was a way of getting the right-wing obstructionists to work with him. It didn't work. They vowed on his first day in office to block anything he tried to do to make our country better, and make him a one-term president. They, as usual, failed miserably.

Now on to the hysterical second letter (hysterical, as in funny). Here we have an extreme right-wing religious extremist decrying the actions of extreme right-wing religious extremists. Yes, the irony runs deep in these parts. No one has excused the actions of the extremists in France, no one. I remember years ago, when, I believe it was, the National Lampoon ran a "story" lampooning the extreme right-wing Christians' belief that Jesus was coming and he'd be armed with an assault rifle. The cover cartoon was a depiction of "Rambo Jesus". The death threats came fast and furious, so to speak. But what is truly funny about that letter is that we are talking about two comedians having a discussion. I didn't see it, but I know Bill Maher's position on this matter. He, like everyone else in this country, is welcome to have any opinion he likes. That doesn't make it right, or true. It's an opinion for crying out loud.

If you can't tell the difference between a fact and an opinion, stop watching a channel called Fox and gain some common sense. When we liberals use things that John Stewart says on "The Daily Show," we are scoffed at for getting our news from a comedy show. That in itself is nonsense, because Mr. Stewart uses mostly items taken straight from the headlines of current events and lampoons them. He even lampoons some silly things some liberals do.

If you are a right-wing extremist, and try to pass yourself off as a moderate, you have no room to say anyone is or isn't liberal. The time for all of us to act like big boys and girls came long ago.

Now, two of my favorite things from the last year. The best thing is that people who claim to watch no news shows at all, are more well informed than those who watch Fox. I didn't need any proof of this, hey, I read this paper all the time. But the second comes from a comedian, yes a comedian! Stephen Colbert said something like, "Global warming is no longer an issue, because I was cold today. And world hunger is fixed, because I just ate." Now he was in his right-wing persona when he said these things, but it's funny because that is what I think they believe. You see, that's an opinion.

One more thing to cover. If you honestly believe that Al Sharpton, Bill de Blasio, Eric Holder, and President Obama are to blame for the deaths of the two non-white police officers in New York, you are welcome to believe that. But then who should be blamed for the shooting of two white police officers in Pennsylvania? One who died. The NRA? Maybe Mike Savage? Rush Limbaugh? Which one of the right-wing heroes is responsible, or is it all of them? I'm sorry, but if you are going to stupidly blame anyone but the mentally disturbed young man who did the shooting in one case, you'll have to come up with blame for someone in the other.

Marty Valengavich


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82% elegible for Medicaid expansion are able-bodied & childless

To The Daily Sun,

Much has been written and discussed since the ink dried on the Affordable Care Act. Rather than bloviate on the political consequences of this legislation, I prefer to illustrate a few factual points.

First, 82 percent of those eligible under Medicaid expansion are able-bodied, childless adults. Second, this funding has been diverted from those in greatest need — the elderly and infirm. Third, we are already seeing a draw-down in funding to nursing care facilities statewide.

These are the consequences of Washington Democrats signing landmark legislation without reading a single word of it. As we go forward in 2015, legislative measures must be taken whenever and wherever possible to minimize the harm caused by the ACA to those most vulnerable to its tortured logic. Only then will we be able to implement the changes necessary to give those most deserving the value-driven health care promised under the ACA from its inception.
State Rep. Peter J. Spanos
District 3, Finance Committee


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