Letters to the editor on Keystone pipeline, Benghazi, gun rights

05/20/2013 12:00 AM

05/17/2013 5:07 PM

We can’t afford Keystone pipeline

TransCanada’s proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline would bisect the United States, carrying up to 830,000 barrels per day of dirty Canadian tar sands crude to be exported from the Gulf of Mexico. Extracting crude from tar sands is one of the most carbon-intensive ways of getting at fossil fuels.

Keystone alone would mean 181 million metric tons of carbon-dioxide emissions annually, emissions that are disrupting the Earth’s climate and putting our economy and environment at risk. From droughts and wildfires to rising sea levels, mass extinction, and loss of habitat, the ongoing effects of the global climate crisis are demonstrating that we cannot afford to invest in dirty oil infrastructure like Keystone.

Moreover, the pipeline would travel over miles of vulnerable land and skirt dangerously close to essential water resources. The recent tar sands spill in Arkansas, as well as TransCanada’s own bad record of 14 spills in the first 12 months of operation of another pipeline, make clear that Keystone would put America’s environment and natural resources in danger.

We need to make the right choice for the climate, cutting carbon emissions and investing in clean energy rather than doubling down on dirty fossil fuels. President Obama must reject Keystone XL and ensure that our land and water are protected for future generations.



Missed results

The Eagle’s correspondents clearly missed the significant results of the May 8 House hearing on the Benghazi attack (May 9 Eagle). Even Kathleen Parker’s column, which acknowledged dishonesty of the cover-up afterward, failed to identify what the Clinton-run State Department should have done to prevent the massacre (May 14 Opinion).

The overwhelming responsibility falls on former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her politically appointed subordinate, Patrick Kennedy.

They expanded the mission for the Benghazi post while reducing the number of security staff available at both Tripoli and Benghazi. The witnesses recognized that blaming the video for the attack had no basis in fact. They were aware of the terrorist presence in the area when the security staff reductions were made, but their concerns were ignored in Washington, D.C. Their appointed “Action Review Board” interviewed the key “on the ground” figures with no stenographer recording their statements, gave them no opportunity to review and potentially correct their alleged statements as recorded, and did not allow them to review the final report. When the witnesses began expressing concerns that the necessary input was not being sought, or heeded, there was clear retaliation – particularly against Gregory Hicks, the former deputy chief of mission in Libya.

These circumstances demonstrate a clear absence of basic management skills on the part of Clinton and several others of her inner circle, both before and after the incident itself.



Competing rights

The Constitution, which includes the Bill of Rights, is not a list of absolute rights. It is a delicate balance of competing rights.

Some say they have an absolute right to carry guns. Not in my house. I’ll shoot someone who comes into my house with a gun. See how that works?

Another example: Some say they have an absolute right to say whatever they want to say whenever they want to say it. If I slander you, you could sue me and collect money in damages. If I threaten to kill a former president, I will go to jail.

So is it worth giving up a little freedom to have high-capacity firearms in exchange for protecting the freedom of first-graders and their teachers not to be shot with high-capacity firearms?

People would still get to have guns to protect themselves against mythical armies, just not those particular guns. And not in my house. There, and in schools and in work and public places where I go, my right to live peaceably without fear of lots of people running around with guns is more important than their fear of black helicopters with snipers.



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