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2015 was a very good year for progressives; 2016 will be, too

To The Daily Sun,

Happy New Year, everyone. Year 2015 has been a tough one for the world but a year of monumental victories for progressives and a disastrous one for Tea Party radicals, gun nuts, and religious conservatives.

Topping the list are the Supreme Court's recognition of marriage equality nationally and Obamacare's big win. The rate of the uninsured has dropped below 10 percent for the first time in decades. In a series of scalding decisions, the NRA's agenda was burned when the High Court rejected its appeals regarding banning assault-style weapons (Highland Park), trigger locks and locked up firearms (SF), and taxing gun purchases for gun violence research (Seattle). The Highland Park decision also portends badly for any more appeals regarding Maryland's semi-auto and high capacity clips ban which was upheld by 4th Circuit.

In environmental issues, the EPA issued new clean energy rules, the Paris Climate Summit was a success and the pope trolled the science deniers like a pro. President Obama rejected the Keystone Pipeline and legislation against oil trains in urban areas started in Seattle. In North America, the Canadian tar sands and coal mines took big hits. Fracking is also a hot political issue throughout the Americas due to methane release and contaminated water.

Where possible, coal mines are being shut down worldwide. The Kellingley Colliery, Britain's largest deep coal mine shut down. One of Australia's oldest, the Jindal Steel and Power mine shut down. In New South Wales, Australia, the Armidale mine shut down for good. In Germany, Siemens CEO gave up on German fossil fuel plants. Exxon was outed by investigations as knowing the dangers of climate change since 1981 but obscuring the truth for profit and maintaining the status quo.

In matters of reproductive rights, courts struck down unconstitutional abortion laws in North Dakota, Wisconsin, Idaho, and Alaska. Ohio and Kansas are being sued and the new Texas laws have been put on hold until heard by the Supreme Court which will likely be decided 5-4, striking down the law.

In international matters, the Iran nuclear deal paved the way for a more peaceful world, brushing aside the shrieking hysterics of the right wing warmongers who are fighting over who to invade next. And oh yeah, Kim Davis went to jail for refusing to do her job. Stay tuned for 2016 when a Democrat will be elected to the presidency and the U.S. Senate may well return to the Democrats, thus insuring the appointment of no right-wing justices.

James Veverka

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Bergdahl court martial should focus on those who died looking

To the Daily Sun,

On a TV newscast on Dec. 10, I heard that 'the Army is still deciding whether to court-martial Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl. If it even gets to court martial — in my opinion as a former Army officer — much of that procedure should be focued on those who died trying to locate him.

In my first draft of this letter, I proposed that he contact the survivors of those soldiers and accept responsibility for what harm his actions caused to others. I've redone my letter and now believe that his doing this must be made mandatory.

I now am not sure what action I hope the Army takes if he states that he wants to remain in the Army. I haven't seen word as to how his readjustment to the service has gone. If he does state that he wishes to remain on active duty, and I hope he does, he has a long row to hoe.

Bill Carberry


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