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What happened to the truth being an absolute defense against libel?

To The Daily Sun,

I admit that I am in no position to judge a Superior Court judge. I would question, though, based on the June 10 article, the accuracy of Carroll County Judge Amy Ignatius's assessment, regarding statements made publicly by Douglas Frederick as to what he sees and smells coming from the chimney of Mayhew's Funeral Home crematory, and how that's made him feel, as speech that could possibly get him into trouble.

Mr. Douglas has, in fact, seen what he has seen and smelled what he has smelled. And all of what he has said can be corroborated by countless others who have also seen and smelled the very same things. Mr. Frederick, then, is not subject to libel/slander issues, as I believe was suggested, because, within the definition of defamation lies the foundation of that law which is based on whether or not statements, made public, are fabricated and untrue.

Mr. Frederick has fabricated nothing. He and others have seen the emissions. He and others have experienced the smell. It is true; Mr. Frederick is simply speculating that human ash may constitute partially the emissions, but is the judge or anyone prepared to state emphatically that no human ash has ever slipped by the filtration systems of crematoriums? In addition to that, if Mr. Frederick concludes that because the EPA has no guidelines on crematory emissions, and that fact alone raises questions and concerns for his health and well-being, and he expresses that ... is that really speech that is not protected?

I happen to agree with Mr. Frederick's opinion and have voiced it publicly, as have many others. Does this mean we should all watch what we say? Am I, along with the others, to expect a letter from Mr. Mayhew's lawyer telling
us to shut up, or else? Will we all be dragged before a judge and threatened to watch what we say? This country was built by people who refused to watch what they say. For all we know, Mr. Frederick's advocacy and voice, although
irritating to Mr. Mayhew, may prod the EPA and the state DES into performing better oversight, and years from now could possibly save lives.

And for that reason, I applaud his voice ... and deplore any efforts to silence it.

Al Blake

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Civil unrest is result of critiques of another's race or culture

To The Daily Sun,

The election for 2016 is the most dramatic in the history of this nation. This comes from a Republican voter who has never missed an election since being eligible to vote in 1964. Responsible Americans owe it to themselves to contribute to the election and voting process. American democracy no longer exists. It has been hijacked by international corporations, the rich elite (Koch brothers, Adelson, etc. ) and special interest groups (oil lobbies, insurance companies, NRA, etc.)

The two dominating parties are making this election personal, and do not focus on the issues at hand. The main issue is the "buy-out" of our government by the special interest groups, large corporations, and the very wealthy. The people of this country have been sold out by the very people elected by the voters, to represent them (the voters).

Voting becomes meaningless when the choices become severely limited. There is a need for more parties and opinions, by which we can make our voting decisions more complete and informed. Informed consent (voting) is essential to the decision making process. It's tweedledum Republicans and tweedledee Democrats.

Money is such a powerful force in campaigning that genuinely motivated populist candidates like Sanders cannot effectively combat opponents when the media — one of the major hijackers — is against them, keeping the public distracted by stories of the Kardashians, transgender bathroom use, and other ridiculous non-essential issues.

Despite what they say, elected officials do not serve the people. They serve special interests. Tragically, the people's vote seems to be unable to reverse this. The choices available are not choices at all.

Washington, D.C., is not listening to us. They must listen to us, or face the grim reality of our country fading into the history of civilization. This is a group responsibility, and regardless of one's sentiments about candidates, failure to vote is irresponsible to moving our country forward. Of course, one cannot make people vote, which is okay, as protest is what sets our country apart.

The campaigns of the major parties do not focus on the real issues, and promote narrow-minded, divisive views. There is a need to focus on our well-being, health, safety, and our rights to property and to be safe. The disturbing, violent protests of political rallies are inexcusable. Everyone has the right to express their views without the fear of retaliation from others. True political responsibility accepts all points of views.

The real defining characteristics of these major parties is narrow-mindedness. We must cherish our freedoms as defined in our Constitution which is for every living human being that resides in our country, not just the "anointed few."

Bigotry and insults cannot be tolerated, and must be condemned. The so-called Christian Coalition is part of the problem. Many members, but not all, are directly responsible. While there are passages in the Bible that promote forgiveness and love, many members refuse to practice these sentiments. Everyone's blood is red regardless of their physical status, religion or creed. Most religions promote peace and forgiveness. This peace is elusive in American society today, as well as the rest of the world.

The politicians today are dividing us. They are not promoting the concepts developed by our Founding Fathers. We the people must take our country back. We also must encourage all our citizens to develop the strength of unity to move forward. That is how our American Revolution came about. Every one is considered equals in the eyes of their creator. We need to tell these politicians we can no longer tolerate the divisions these parties promote. Our country is supposed to be the United States of America, not the disunited states.

When one compromises (brings into disrepute) another race, creed, sexual orientation, it generates civil unrest. No one person is better than another. None of us is immortal. We are created, born, live, and pass on. No one can buy eternity. We need to move in a direction that makes better lives for all of us, and not hate or discriminate against others due to their skin color, disability, sexual orientation, or creed. The sooner Americans take this responsibility to promote unity, the sooner we can take our government back. Our real power is the voting booth.

Mark Twain has these words in "Huckleberry Finn": "Support your country. Support your government if it deserves it!!" John F. Kennedy said: "Ask not what you can get from your country, but ask what you can do for your country." Both these axioms hold true to moving our country forward. We cannot allow any other perverted corporation, wealthy person, big business to interfere with this, including Donald Trump.

In 1968, the Chicago police were ordered to violently crush the anti-Vietnam war protesters. People were sick of that useless and futile war, but the power structure was determined to keep it going despite massive opposition, loss of life and limb.

We got rid of the stupid Johnson/Humphrey and ended up with a Nixon. But a change of parties did nothing, becoming worse with the impeachment/resignation of Nixon in Watergate.

Today, in Iraq and Afghanistan, people like Hillary Clinton, many other Republicans and Democrats alike help to keep it going. Wars are profitable for banks, munitions and weapons manufacturers, aircraft companies, etc. That's why we've had a non-stop war culture for the past 65 or so years. Lives and severe injuries are considered collateral damage.

Therefore, we the people need to participate to make sure our voices are heard, and take our country back.

Robert T. Joseph, Jr.

New Hampton

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