Immigrants have strong asylum cases

Much consternation accompanies the "wretched masses from (the) teeming shores" of Nicaragua, El Salvador and Guatemala at our border. The xenophobic need to remember that almost half of those children have relatives in America and a right to stay under family reunification purpose of current immigration law.

All claim refugee status due to crime-ridden neighborhoods that go politically uncontrolled by their nations. Common defense and internal citizen safety are primary purposes of governments, so the children have a good case.

We absorbed many young teens who would have been conscripted or shot by Contras or Sandinistas in the 1970s. We may again.

It is interesting to note, incidentally, that more American citizens are moving to Mexico than are Mexicans emigrating to the United States. Annexing Mexico and Central America may not be a far-fetched solution to our border problems.

Diane Carpenter

Danville

Obama's party gave U.S. 2008 financial crisis

A July 23 letter echoes the same writer's June 18 letter, blaming George W. Bush for 2008's financial crash and congratulating Barack Obama for improving things.


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In reality, as New York Times financial analysts Gretchen Morgenson and Joshua Rosner chronicled: beginning in 1977, Democrat politicians and their Fannie Mae stooges coerced reckless liberalizations of mortgage-lending standards. Without the resulting Democrat-propelled financial catastrophe -- costing taxpayers trillions -- we'd be much further ahead economically now.

In July 2008, Obama called a 7½-year, $4 trillion Bush-administration debt increase "irresponsible" and "unpatriotic." So what should we call an $8 trillion debt increase during Obama's first 5½ years? How about America's $2,000 inflation-adjusted median household income drop since June 2009?

Emulating Obama's straw-man routine, the letter writer hypothesizes a John McCain presidency now, and claims that "GOP idolatrous praise would have elevated McCain to fiscal genius status."

That's silly. Attentive conservatives -- who understand fiscal realities and know the real McCain -- and left-wing media would both have deflated any such acclaim.

As the writer says, "It's shameful that some Americans allow partisan fervor to trump honesty." He's among them.

Sharon Arata

Danville

Humans have environmental impact history

A July 15 letter made the point that Earth's climate has constantly changed over the millennia. This is a fact. The letter writer goes on to state humans cannot possibly have any significant impact on such a large natural system. This is an opinion.

Early American settlers thought the forests of the east and southeast U.S. were so vast that there was no way mankind could chop it all down -- until we did.

There were an estimated 60 million bison in North America before 1492 (Wikipedia). It took less than 100 years to almost wipe out the entire population. This paper printed an article not too long ago about the passenger pigeon, once the most populous birds in the world, hunted by man to extinction. The Great American Prairie, once about half of the United States -- all gone. Remember acid rain from the 1970s? Or is there anyone denying humans have caused the precipitous decline in wild fish stocks throughout the world?

We can change the DNA of plants, clone animals, build cities that can support millions of people in the middle of a desert, chop down the forests of entire countries. Humans are quite capable of having a significant impact on climate. Anyone who thinks otherwise is uninformed -- or afraid to admit mankind has that much power over the planet, which would mean taking responsibility for the mess we have created.

Peter LaTorre

San Ramon

The civilians' deaths in Gaza fault of Hamas

The true murderer of Gaza citizens is their own government, Hamas:

  • Hamas initiated the rocket attacks on innocent Israelis, to which Israel had to respond to defend its own people.

  • Hamas sited missile launchers and weapons caches near (and even in) schools and hospitals, apartment buildings and U.N. shelters, making civilian casualties inevitable.

  • Hamas rockets come without warning, while Israel actually warns residents of targeted areas to leave before the attacks!

  • Hamas repeatedly orders its citizens not to leave their homes after the Israeli warnings and has fired on civilians trying to evacuate.

  • Israel has spent millions building shelters and missile defense systems for its people, successfully minimizing deaths.

  • Hamas has diverted millions given to it for their people's welfare and governance into secret, concrete-lined terrorist-infiltrating tunnels.

  • Hamas, putting its people in harm's way, has exploited the inevitable human toll to gain the world's sympathy. It is a ruthless calculated sacrifice of its own citizens.

    Paul Weiss

    Livermore

    The side that killed Gaza kids not "uncertain"

    I'm heartbroken, but grateful, to see front-page coverage ("U.N. school hit in Gaza strike," July 25). Your subheadline, though, neutralizes the rest of the story. To say " ... officials uncertain whether attack came from Israel or Hamas" is nuts. At the time you printed this story from the Washington Post (a right-wing functionary), it was well-known that the school was hit by tank shells. Hit several times in fact, even after school officials gave the Israelis their GPS coordinates and begged them not to attack until after they could evacuate the kids.

    Please don't bend your readers' opinions before an article even begins, with misleading headlines such as these. Be journalists, not stenographers.

    Mark Lewis

    Pleasanton

    Poultry plants' lax new rules to harm public

    Deregulation of the $70 billion poultry industry endangers consumer health

    With inspector reductions of 40 percent, a handoff of the oversight to the companies themselves, and changes that are voluntary -- of course the poultry industry praises the new slaughter inspection system.

    Also referred to by some as the "Filthy Chicken Rule," it is essentially deregulation when poultry consumption has increased ninefold in the last 40 years.

    How can this be modernization when poultry, 95 percent of the animals consumed as food in America (more than 8 billion animals), are still NOT covered by the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act? Or when the remaining quality inspectors will inspect 2.33 birds every second?

    Currently, food-borne illnesses affect 48 million people and kill 3,000 in the United States every year. One Consumer Reports study found that 10.8 percent of 300 tested birds harbored salmonella, 65.2 percent were positive for E. coli and 97 percent of the breasts tested contained harmful bacteria.

    Let's stop the overconsumption of meat that endangers consumer health. It's time to consider safer, more ethical, vegetarian food choices.

    Judy Lindow

    Alamo