Letters to the editor

Readers write in about shortchanging Earth, the best move for Republicans, the true purpose of cooperatives, and Iran.

Stop shortchanging Earth

In response to Mark Clayton's article, "Earth's growing nitrogen threat": My training has taught me that the threat is not so much from nitrogen as it is from mismanagement.

I believe there are ways to handle nitrogen fertilizers properly without damage and with increased production.

Strip farming, rotation of crops, legumes with good root systems, and nitrogen-fixing nodules can greatly reduce any adverse effect.

Recommended: Commentary

Soil testing and good management practices can save us from the damage caused by their absence. (There was a time when you could call your county agent's office and request soil sampling and analysis.)

Today you may find it difficult to find anyone studying to be a soils engineer. That is part of the problem.

For years there were whole departments of soil science in our "ag" schools. Now they are being reduced and cut.

Budget cuts must not shortchange Mother Earth.

Fred C. Beyer

Point Pleasant, N.J.

GOP 'tent poles'

Regarding Igor Kirman's commentary, "Best move for Republicans: Embrace the center": The author forgets that we live in a representative democracy and in the last presidential election the voters have spoken, loud and clear.

If Republicans want to broaden their tent, they have to remove the tent poles of greed, selfishness, flag-waving jingoism, and deceit. Twice this country has responded to the siren call of a Republican Party majority and paid the price.

Randy Dearborn

Camas, Wash.

Community first

In regard to the commentary "A jumpstart to US job market, turn workers into owners" : Melissa Hoover and Beadsie Woo offer an important alternative to the government's effort to restore the economy that failed.

Their statistics on the 29,000 cooperatives that hire 853,000 people and pay $25 billion in salaries is a good argument for expanding the co-op movement. But their essay fails to mention another – even more important – part of the equation.

Co-ops are created because of human need, not to save corporations or banks too large to fail. Food co-ops, housing cooperatives, community agriculture associations, peer lending groups, credit unions, cohousing, eco-villages, and many other social innovations serve people at a grass-roots level and promote community solidarity.

The goal of the co-op is not jobs, loans, and consumption. Their goal is community sustainability. If America wants to save its people, it won't be by bailing out banks and corporations.

It might be by creating cooperatives that produce and distribute needed goods and services and are owned by the people they serve.

Bill Ellis Rangeley,

Maine

Transparent ploy?

The article "Killing of Iran nuclear scientist: charges fly over who's responsible" quoted Meir Javedanfar, an Israeli-Iranian analyst as exploring the idea that the assassination of Massoud Ali- Mohammadi, the physics professor of Tehran University, could have been carried out by the People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI). The article also quoted state-controlled Fars News Agency as "accusing the 'hypocrites' of killing him, a popular term used by government media to refer to the exiled MKO [PMOI] opposition group."

It is important to note the day Mr Mohammadi was assassinated the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) condemned "the clerical regime’s ploy to attribute the assassination of Mohammadi to the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI)" and said, " [T]he PMOI has nothing to do with this murder.”

Tehran has used similar tactics in the past to distort the PMOI's image in order to justify the execution of its members and sympathizers. In 1994, it blamed the PMOI for the murder of four Christian priests and the bombing of the Imam Reza's shrine in Mashhad. In 1998, state media revealed that those crimes had in fact been committed by the regime’s intelligence service. Following Mohammadi murder, his colleagues and students pointed the finger at the regime.

Shahin Ghobadi,

Paris

Mr. Ghobadi is a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee at the National Council of Resistance of Iran.

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