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Talk of the town

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No need to punish Russia for weapons

REGARDING COVERAGE like Sunday’s (July 27) of the Ukraine airplane attack, the possibility or even fact that Russia supplied the missile used is no different from the fact that the U.S. supplies the weaponry used by Israel in Gaza. Once the materiel is given, how it is used is apparently not the responsibility of the donor, although many an American – and undoubtedly Russian too – would end the giving once they saw what their generosity produced.

It’s important that Americans not allow propaganda from the military-industrial complex, spread throughout the media, convince them there’s a need to punish Russia – or exonerate Israel.

LYNN OLSON

Deming

Palestinians have rights to defense, too

THE LETTER to the editor by Lora Lucero in the Thursday, July 24, Journal was right on target. We will not have peace between Palestine and Israel until Israel ends its occupation of Palestine.

Secretary of State (John) Kerry and others can repeatedly claim that Israel has the right to defend itself, but they don’t say anything about Palestine having a right to defend itself.

Israel is the aggressor causing the unrest in the Middle East. Israel, end the occupation.

RICHARD FOSTER

White Rock

Many questions on immigrant children

CHILDREN ARE important. They are the future. Why are we discriminating against children from Mexico, Africa, Asia and South America?

The 2008 law intended to prevent sex trafficking in children and the president’s 2012 Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals initiative have effectively encouraged thousands of unaccompanied minors from Central America to come illegally to the United States seeking a better life. Once they are here, we provide them with food, shelter, medical care and an education.

However, the 2008 law prevents children from Mexico from receiving the same opportunity. Similarly, lack of transportation prevents children from Africa, Asia and South America from receiving the same opportunity as children from Central America.

No one can blame a child for illegally coming here seeking a better life. Why limit who can come here? Why discriminate? Why not provide transportation and encourage all of the underprivileged, homeless, abused and neglected children of the world to come to the United States?

Who is paying for the care for all of these children? Are there limits on how many underprivileged, homeless, abused and neglected children from other countries that we can appropriately take care of? One more question: What will we do when we run out of resources to take care of all of them?

VICTOR CARLIN

Albuquerque

Prosecutors should justify priorities

THE ACLU appreciates Lauren Villagran’s careful reporting on the massive increase of federal immigration prosecutions in her story, “The border is closed,” on July 28.

Jailing and prosecuting large numbers of migrants for illegal entry or re-entry is a tremendous waste of resources that exacerbates prison overcrowding and overburdens courts. Operation Streamline hearings undermine defendants’ due process rights and have attracted widespread criticism from federal judges, prosecutors and even the Vatican. And there’s been no evidence from the Departments of Justice or Homeland Security that criminal prosecutions deter better than regular administrative deportation proceedings.

It’s a shame that the U.S. Attorney’s Office in New Mexico avoided commenting on this issue of pressing concern. As public servants, federal prosecutors must justify their priorities along with the immense fiscal and humanitarian costs of these prosecutions.

VICKI B. GAUBECA

Las Cruces

Native governments should step in

IT IS EXTREMELY saddening to learn of the two men beaten to death (allegedly) by three young men. Our society has many problems that need addressing.

I am equally saddened by the fact that now that these men are dead, the Navajo Nation is making noise about investigating the deaths as a hate crime. Where was the Navajo Nation before the killings and where is the Navajo Nation and all the other native nations in this state when it comes to addressing the needs of their people, especially the homeless?

In recent years, the various nations have become financially better off as a result of gambling; some very well off. It is another vice that hurts society as a whole, but is a blessing for several native nations.

It is time we read about the Navajo Nation gathering up their homeless and placing them in shelters on the reservation while attempting to detox them and give them the skills to become productive members of either their own society or that of the United States as a whole. If these native nations cannot put forward the effort to save their people before death, I don’t care to hear their concerns after their people are killed.

TIM WILLIAMS

Tijeras

Palliative care helps cancer patients

WHEN IT COMES to a serious illness such as cancer, there is only so much one person can do to beat it. As a two-time cancer survivor, I am well aware of what “fighting the disease” is all about. That is why I think palliative care offers a solution.

The goal of palliative care is to improve the quality of life for both patients, their family and/or caregivers through a team-based approach to care. Palliative care can help take away some of the pain, fear and anxiety that many patients feel and may make recovery a bit easier. Because an estimated 10,210 New Mexicans will hear the words “you have cancer” this year, I think cancer patients deserve an approach that treats the whole patient — not just the cancer.

Currently, there is legislation in Congress that would improve access to this treatment approach through an increase in research, training and public outreach. I have urged our elected officials to sign on to make this happen and they came through!

As a survivor and advocate, I want to sincerely thank Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham, Rep. Ben Ray Lujan and Sen. Martin Heinrich for co-sponsoring bills that will help improve the quality of life for families facing cancer.

New Mexico is taking the next step in efforts to expand palliative care at an upcoming summit being held at the UNM Cancer Center on Aug. 7. Hear from special guest Rep. Lujan Grisham about legislation that will expand palliative care to thousands of New Mexicans as well as learn from local doctors about the great work that is already being done throughout our state.

Register today for this free event at acscan.org/nm. Together we can create the quality of life all cancer patients deserve.

KATHLEEN MCVICKER

Albuquerque

Lawsuits in store for ‘overhaul’

LAWSUITS OVER the terrible miscarriage of justice you euphemistically refer to as the “overhaul of New Mexico’s behavioral health system” are pretty much guaranteed and the rationale can be found in the article, (“State auditor: Suits over Medicaid likely,” July 25).

If your quote of HSD spokesman Matt Kennicott is accurate, he provides the basis for the suits. He is quoted as saying “these entities engaged in egregious billing practices that siphoned Medicaid money away from its intended purpose …”

In fact, the majority of the “entities” he refers to are still under investigation and it has not been determined if they did anything wrong. Reflecting the arrogance of the Martinez administration, he speaks as if these agencies are guilty of charges of which, in fact, they haven’t even been informed, much less found guilty.

HSD, with approval – either explicit or implicit – of the governor, presumed these organizations to be guilty and took steps to destroy them by taking away the funds with which they operated their businesses. They were denied due process guaranteed under the U.S. Constitution – the Sixth Amendment for those of you who don’t know there’s more than two – to be informed of criminal charges and have been treated as if they were guilty from the outset when these vague allegations were made based on an audit that has never been made public.

For all of you who claim to care about the Constitution, where is your outrage?

JIM JONES

Albuquerque

Battling God over little fish’s fate?

WRITING IN response to the lawsuits filed by this bunch of idiots in Santa Fe against two federal agencies over this stupid fish, I can only ask if someone did away with common sense while I took my afternoon nap.

Two things come to mind about this ridiculous action. First and foremost, if the good Lord has decided that this bait fish has served whatever purpose he put it here on this planet for – and I admit that I certainly don’t have a clue what that purpose would be – and it is time for that fish to go the way of the dinosaurs, then even the all-powerful bureaucrats in Washington may have a tough time winning its pardon.

Second, and just as important, to “save” this fish, these people want the water for the fish to take priority over the water used to grow some of the food that they enjoy with their afternoon margaritas at Tomasita’s. I admit that it’s been awhile, but the last time this issue came up, the hatcheries in this state had hundreds of thousands of this fish in tanks all over the state ready to release as needed to ensure its future.

I can only think that the group has decided it had been a while since its name has been in the newspaper and it was time to stir the pot again. And one last thing: Where in the world are these people getting their financing?

HARRY KERNS

Albuquerque

Rep. Pearce left public out of discussion

WHY DIDN’T Rep. (Steve) Pearce hold even one single public meeting before getting his buddies in Washington, D.C., to turn over 300,000 acres of BLM land to the White Sands Missile Range? Why was the transfer buried in the Defense Appropriations Act instead of a standalone bill that could be vetted and debated? If SunZia and the Department of Defense have reached an agreement, why is this even still being talked about?

Maybe if he’d gone a more public route, we simple citizens wouldn’t have quite so many questions about how it will affect the people who use the BLM lands, not to mention the state trust lands and private lands in that 750,000-acre expanse.

I read about the concerns expressed by grazing lessees and, as a hunter, I am quite similarly worried about how it will affect my ability to pass on my traditions and feed my family. A lot of us feed our families by hunting. If Rep. Pearce is comfortable locking sportsmen out of 300,000 acres of public land without so much as a warning, what’s next?

Nothing in the Defense Appropriation Act language or the statute it amends protects public access. Rather, the law withdraws all the federal land – about 303,000 acres of it – from entry under public land laws. Maybe they’d allow entry under other authority. Maybe they won’t. Maybe they would for a while and then change their mind. Who knows?

What I do know is this is not how access to public land should be decided. Hunters do not want to see places where state record bulls live being closed off by a single paragraph in a thousand-page bill out of D.C.

We share our lands with grazers and hikers and campers. We all have a place and a perspective. It’s time Rep. Pearce cared a little more about us.

ED ABREU

Las Vegas

APD’s new vehicles send wrong message

I WAS STUNNED to see Saturday’s front page story about the new military style vehicles for the police department.

Is there no one in the Albuquerque Police Department or the Mayor’s Office who may have anticipated what the public’s reaction to this purchase might be? Surely, in light of national and local outcry to previous APD actions, someone, especially the mayor, should have put a halt to this unnecessary and insensitive action.

This purchase was wrong on so many levels.

First, APD has become the national symbol for an out of control police department. Militarization of police departments is a major problem of concern everywhere.

Second, local fear and distrust of the police is rampant in all segments of Albuquerque society.

Third, the DOJ’s report was a scathing indictment of the culture of violence fostered by APD and its frequent disregard of constitutional rights.

Lastly, does APD really need to spend huge amounts of money on these types of vehicles? How many new patrol cars or increased training for officers could this money have paid for instead?

MAURICE MACKEY

Albuquerque

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