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Letters to the Editor

Readers write about civil liberties violations, the proposed Latin American bank, presidential primaries, and the Federal Communications Commission Fairness Doctrine.

July 13, 2007

Importance of monitoring civil liberties violations

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I would like to express my gratitude for the well-written article on July 11, "Visit gone awry: Detention roils a US-German family," which tells of Majed Shehadeh's experiences and mistreatment by Department of Homeland Security officials, especially the struggles he and his wife have faced regarding reentry into the United States, despite their ties to the country.

No one can deny the manifest importance of family, home (whether that be principal home or vacation home), and heritage. After all, these are a few of the things that make life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness inherently worthwhile. I hope that troubling accounts such as these will sway those who already have reasonable doubt in the DHS and instill a little doubt in those who do not already possess it. Hopefully, the actions of the DHS will soon be fully monitored. Any civil liberties violations – particularly those of due process – impede the proper functioning of our democratic republic, so we must carefully watch those who are entrusted with power over such civil liberties.

John Long
Asheville, N.C.

Kudos to Latin American bank

I read with great interest the July 11 article, "Latin America's answer to the IMF," which addressed how Latin American countries are looking to form a regional bank. I believe that it is good that Latin America is taking control of its economic situation, especially when the World Bank and International Monetary Fund are not fulfilling their promised goals. Simply because Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez is promoting the idea of a regional bank run by Latin American nations does not mean the concept is a bad idea.

Muhammad Yunus and the Grameen Bank were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for their pioneering efforts in sustainable microfinance, yet the World Bank still spends less than 1 percent of its annual budget on microcredit. The World Bank's mission is to improve the living standards of the poor, but it has no measurement to determine how well they are able to reach the poorest of the poor, defined as those existing – certainly not living – on less than one dollar a day. I believe that the World Bank, the IMF, and our US Agency for International Development should invest in Banco del Sur and help empower our neighbors to help themselves.

Larry Donohue

Fairness of presidential primaries

In response to "Wastefulness of the early presidential campaign," I certainly agree that millions of dollars are wasted at this early point in order to entertain the few interested voters and give the press something to talk about. An even greater travesty is that most registered voters have absolutely no say regarding the selection of presidential candidates. In 2000, my state of Colorado held a primary after Al Gore and President Bush had both secured their parties' nominations. In 2004, we didn't even bother.