Issue One: The Midterm Elections

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Set term limits

After listening to the political ads that we are being bombed with daily, I cannot stand the distortions and outright lies that the competitors are using against each other. I am tired of it. None can be believed. There apparently is not one honest politician alive.

We need change in our government and not the change-and-hope theme used during the present administration's rise to power.

We need to get away from politics as a career. The original thought of the founders of our great country was for citizens to serve in office for a limited time and go back to whatever they were doing prior to this service for their country. It was never intended to be a lifelong vocation.

But look at what happened. These current legislators are in it for one reason only and that is to feather their own nests.

I say get rid of them and tell their successors to enact term limits. Let them pay their own retirement and health care costs instead of bleeding the taxpayers. They are receiving good pay and not giving us a fair day's work. The president has term limits, so why not Congress? These people make me sick.

BOB WAGNER
Coraopolis


Think for yourself

In a couple of days we will once again have an opportunity to select our congressional representatives and, yes, another governor. This crucial personal journey of thinking through our choices involves gathering data, filtering information, acquiring knowledge and finally applying our wisdom.

The challenges of ignoring the spin doctors, dismissing the media biases, casting aside party affiliations, dissecting the issues burdened with political noise and understanding the candidates' positions are formidable. It will take intellect, willpower and determination not to be swept away by the political bombardment of emotional garbage.

Those who strive to burden us with these challenges are betting against our independent thinking! The reason we see so many and so much of this outright noise is that it has worked so well in the past. Only we can stop this bombardment by refusing to be counted as brainless!

Don't let others tell you what to think, how to interpret or what this means to you. Think, then vote!

MARTY KAPLAN
Upper St. Clair


Make them deliver

When I was of the age to first vote, I was so excited to have that privilege. Now, over 40-plus years, all I've seen is mud-slinging between all candidates and not following through as they had promised during their campaigns.

I hope that before I die I will be able to see each candidate, no matter what office they are running for, run on their merits. They should make a list of all they will do if elected. Then we will see for ourselves if they come through.

They should concentrate in their campaigns on what they will do for the people who voted for them. Then, if elected, they should follow through on everything they promised during the campaign. Then, and only then, can they can say: "I promised the people I would do this and I delivered!"

HEDY GROSSMAN
Millvale


Do your homework

Voters, please do not repeat history this coming Election Day. The elected of this country win their positions far too cheaply. Your right -- ensured by the deaths of far too many -- is far too often bought by the half-truths and lies of 30-second attack ads, bumper stickers, yard signs or 15 lines of print.

Candidates tell us "negative ads work" -- they work because we don't. We don't make candidates explain positions using data; we vote for them because they convinced us their opponent is worse. It is bad enough that not enough people vote. (Politicians need only a majority of 25 percent to 40 percent of those eligible to vote. What kind of grade did you get if you scored 12 percent to 20 percent on a test? And folks who scored like that ... you really want them in charge of the government?)

Please, plan and take time. Find out what the candidates will do, and how they know their plans will work. Find out about all of them; then think about how those actions stack up against your beliefs, your feelings. Pick the ones whose actions come closest -- know that it won't match perfectly! Then vote ... and pray.

JIM LINKHAUER
Brentwood


A pledge to whom?

So, the GOP has its "Pledge to America." I wonder who the Republicans are making their pledge to?

When they make their pledge to roll back regulation of business, are they making that pledge to the people of the Gulf Coast inundated with oil or to BP, which put it there?

Are they making that pledge to our parents, who lost huge portions of their retirement income due to the economic volatility over the last few years, or to Wall Street, which made its money from that same volatility, created by alternatively pumping and dumping (shorting and fear-mongering) companies that they intentionally fill with debt for just that purpose?

When they make their pledge to repeal the recently passed health care reform law, are they making that pledge to those of us who paid premiums expecting to have our doctor bills paid or the health insurers who make their money taking and investing our premiums and refusing to pay our claims based on small-print technicalities, even refusing to return the premium payments we already made?

The answer is simple: The GOP is making its pledge to the generationally rich and their hired Wall Street sharks -- those who grow their wealth based on the economic volatility that supports the short trade every few years and allows companies to easily fire people and hire replacements at lower wages. All at the expense of a stable economy that helps the rest of us just trying to raise our families to live healthy lives and build meaningful careers.

MARK J. SENEDIAK
Mt. Lebanon


Underhanded ads

This election is critical to all Americans, particularly to the middle class. Here are some facts to consider before you vote: The Citizens United decision by the Supreme Court resulted in corporations being able to contribute unlimited amounts of money to campaigns anonymously. To date they have contributed, by a factor of 8-to-1, millions of dollars to Republican candidates. You have to wonder why.

This money represents the banking industry, insurance and oil companies and also foreign investors. The money is contributed to groups that do not divulge the source of their contributions and which then purchase advertising for candidates. Does this seem shady to you? It does to me. And who will the candidates who have received their money be representing when they make policy and pass legislation? Think about it!

MARILYN SULLIVAN
Franklin Park


Be guided by facts

Kudos to Rob Rogers for last Sunday's cartoon (Oct. 24). It pretty much summed up the lunacy of this election. Voters are understandably mad, but at the wrong people and party. President Barack Obama began his term with about as daunting a load of serious problems as any president ever has (most of them inherited from his predecessor). And these issues are so deep and difficult that he and his party simply cannot correct them overnight (especially when they're getting virtually no help from the party that did cause them).

So, please, keep things in perspective this Election Day. Let the facts, and only the facts, be your guide!

JOHN DOYLE
South Park


Kick out the socialists

Well, Nov. 2 is almost here! We have a situation where the American people can correct a terrible mistake. With the help of the liberal media, the Democratic Party pulled the wool over our eyes and we elected a radical socialistic government.

Fortunately, our Constitution has impeded their plans enough to slow down their march to more spending, higher taxes and bigger government. Now is the time for the people to take over. The battle cry should be: "Get rid of the Democratic leadership in Congress, both in the House and Senate."

To make sure, on Tuesday, do not vote for anyone with a "D" after his or her name.

KEN RUZICH
O'Hara


Thank you, league

I want to show support for The League of Women voters and their continued efforts to allow voters to hear candidates in a public forum prior to casting their votes ("Pledge Incites Peters Debate," Oct. 28). The league is nonpartisan and hosts many debates. It has rules so that the people who come to the debate hear issues and not talking points.

Candidates should respect the rules (which they have agreed upon in advance) and each other even when their positions differ. The audience should do the same. Standing up and shouting that the debate is "un-American" or accusing the moderator of being "agenda-driven" serves no purpose and further shows a lack of knowledge of what the league does. I would suggest that holding a debate is not "unpatriotic," but using a debate in an attempt to create a phony controversy is.

STEVE KARAS
Forest Hills


Laughable slogans

It is with interest that I read the article "GOP Seeks to Tighten Control in Harrisburg" (Oct. 18). Why would it want to do that? The article said the GOP already has 30 of the 50 Senate seats. Most Republican candidates seem to campaign on the tired slogans of "lower taxes" and "smaller government" -- and this year even "no government." As a resident of Pennsylvania for 18 years, these slogans make me laugh.

My single biggest tax in Pennsylvania is property tax, and it rises every year thanks to my local profligate school district. I live in a predominately Republican district, yet they always vote to raise these taxes. Since I have moved to this commonwealth, I do not remember a single bill introduced by a Republican state senator to abolish property taxes. So much for "lower taxes."

The best example the state Legislature could offer its hard-pressed citizens to help us believe the legislators' rhetoric about reducing government would be to dramatically reduce the size of the Legislature, say, by three-quarters, although I would settle for half. Again I don't remember a single Republican bill introduced to reduce the Legislature by this amount.

Am I therefore to presume that this is electioneering, typical Republican hypocrisy, or are any of them serious and really expect to be believed? They have 30 of 50 Senate seats and do nothing. Can we therefore expect dramatic action by giving them more, or even all 50? I doubt it.

MARIO KINSELLA
Indiana Township




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