Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

March 02, 2004

Free trade has huge costs for current citizens

I doubt Michael J. Marshall need worry about the loss of manufacturing jobs; he was lucky enough to study at Georgetown ("Protectionism: bad politics, bad policy," Opinion*Commentary, Feb. 25). But for millions of Americans, "protectionist" measures, as he misleadingly calls them, are far from bad policy.

Mr. Marshall argues that in the long run free trade is good for everyone, however, if we have learned anything from globalization it is that the health of the economy often comes at the expense of the health of actual people.

Moreover, the export of jobs is not benefiting the poor in developing nations either, as the World Bank and International Monetary Fund require countries that receive their aid to basically dismantle social services and privatize utilities, which makes basic services virtually unaffordable, and give incentives to large agribusiness at the expense of the small farmer - which means they have to seek manufacturing jobs in urban areas.

Chris Kolb

Baltimore

Trade in ways which protect all workers

Michael J. Marshall misses the point in his defense of free trade ("Protectionism: bad politics, bad policy," Opinion*Commentary, Feb. 25).

The critical issue is not whether to trade, but rather to trade under rules that protect every worker, both here and abroad. Such rules would include a living wage, the right to unionize and real environmental protections.

Unfortunately, neither Sen. John Kerry nor President Bush will advocate such a position. How can they when they are both funded by corporations benefiting from this race to the bottom in wages?

Michael Melick

Baltimore

Hold Palestinians responsible for fate

I am once again appalled at The Sun and its biased coverage of Israeli-Palestinian issues. The editorial "The wall and the court" (Feb. 23) is another example of The Sun not holding the Palestinians accountable for their situation.

The final paragraph says that their daily life would be improved by more influence from Washington on Israel. What about the impact on their daily life if the Palestinians quit employing suicide bombers?

What if they rose up and overthrew their corrupt leadership that is more interested in power and wealth than the welfare of its people?

Instead of asking the United States to hold Israel accountable, why not ask the Palestinians to hold themselves accountable?

Until the world holds the Palestinians accountable, there will be no reason for them to hold themselves accountable.

And there will never be a solution here until Palestinians take responsibility for their own future instead of bemoaning the past.

Robert Weitz

Lutherville

Large raise offends Balto. Co. teachers

I am the daughter of two Baltimore County educators, and I cannot recall a time in their 30-plus years in education when they received raises of nearly 25 percent. But I do recall many years when they did not receive even a cost-of-living allowance.

It is demoralizing and insulting for the superintendent to get a $45,000 raise when the teachers got almost none ("Balto. Co. schools chief gets $45,000 raise," Feb. 26).

Sara Stritch

Abingdon

Raise state's fees for probationers

I read about the financial straits the state is currently facing.

One small way to increase funds involves the supervision fee offenders pay while on probation. Currently, parolees pay $40 a month for supervision while probationers pay only $25 a month.

I urge the legislature to increase the supervision fee of probationers to $40 a month.

Shouldn't these offenders, who take so much from the state and its citizens, pay the same amount as the parolees?

Rai Douglas

Baltimore

The writer is president of Local 3661 of AFSCME Council 92.

Mel Gibson merits more sympathy

I am very disappointed in The Sun's recent coverage of Mel Gibson and the release of The Passion of the Christ.

Its flurry of articles and editorials seems to reflect a concerted campaign to portray Mr. Gibson as a no-talent, wild-eyed nut.

From below-the-belt accusations of "two-bit theology" to a slam of Braveheart and other Mel Gibson movies, who could blame someone for wondering what the ulterior motive is for these attacks?

From a newspaper of The Sun's stature, I think it is reasonable to expect a more balanced portrayal of one of Hollywood's more talented directors.

Dan Tuton

Reisterstown

High time Hollywood showed some values

Hats off to Cal Thomas for his wonderful article about the film The Passion of the Christ ("Film holds a powerful lesson for Hollywood," Opinion*Commentary, Feb. 25). It is about time the entertainment industry had a film that is worthwhile, in terms of its values, as opposed to most of the garbage from Hollywood.

And as for Susan Reimer's "Leave your children at home" (Feb. 25), yes, leave them at home to watch vulgarity, violence, disrespect and bathroom humor on television.

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