Victim of ‘witch hunt,’ or warranted attention?

Mitch Pearlstein and Kim Crockett (“ALEC haters’ witch hunt hits home,” Aug. 14) characterize the American Legislative Exchange Council as a conservative nonprofit organization, composed of state legislators.

In reality, more than 300 of ALEC’s members (and the source of 98 percent of its money) are corporations, paying thousands of dollars for the privilege of sitting in with elected representatives to craft national legislation. These corporate members — ExxonMobil, Pfizer, Wal-Mart, Koch Industries and others — are beholden to their shareholders, not to the American people, and their bills are crafted accordingly.

What Pearlstein and Crockett call a left-wing “drumbeat” against ALEC is simply a small part of the ongoing fight to get money out of politics. Readers should see for themselves at the much-maligned Center For Media and Democracy’s website.

NEAL SKORPEN, Minneapolis

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It’s impossible to be optimistic

An Aug. 15 article about the crisis in Egypt hit the nail on the head (“Arab Spring’s hope gets rolled back”) when it stated said that the broader problems for much of the Arab world were “fragmented countries, too much population growth, terrible education systems [and] too little water.” It might have been added that it will be virtually impossible to find employment to fill the needs of a growing population — no matter who or what form of government is leading the country.

Call me gloom and doom, but under these circumstances, I see no possible solution. It’s a no-win situation.

TOM R. KOVACH, Nevis, Minn.

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It’s the best way to raise people up

No less than a huge icon on the left — Bono, of U2 fame — acknowledged in public remarks the other day that capitalism does far more good for the poverty-stricken than does government aid.

He knows whereof he speaks, having led the charge for greater government assistance from the West in order to reduce the grinding poverty that defines so much of the Third World. Now that so much funding has been forthcoming, he looks at the same poor regions and understands that little or nothing has changed.

In essence, he echoes the wisdom of Benjamin Franklin, who said more than 220 years ago that too much government aid to the poor destroys their spirit. They must ache to improve their lives, spurred by free-market solutions to their joblessness.

If we in Minnesota want to improve the well-being of our seriously disadvantaged, we owe it to them to provide a work and tax environment that encourages entrepreneurs to start new businesses and hire the genuinely motivated now without jobs.

Regrettably, our DFL-controlled Legislature and our DFL governor insist on taxing businesses to fund an always-expanding welfare state. While their motives may be honorable, the results do enormous harm to the people who most need a hand up.

MARK H. REED, Plymouth

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‘The Law is the law’?

No, prosecutorial discretion is built in

An Aug. 14 letter writer alludes to something said by John Adams — that we are a nation of laws, not of men — in concluding that it is illegal for Attorney General Eric Holder not to enforce drug laws as written.

The law is patently clear: Prosecutorial discretion is the law, and always has been. The Supreme Court upholds it. In the court’s own words, in a ruling striking down several of Arizona’s rules regarding immigration, “Removal is a civil matter, and one of its principal features is the broad discretion exercised by immigration officials …”

The cop on the street is allowed to let someone go, with a warning. And the DA is allowed to disregard a silly law. No law forces the executive branch to implement every law.

It is wrong to break the law, but it is worse to insist that we must prosecute everything we find distasteful.

Michael D. Hoy, Excelsior

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Article cited centrism as if it were a good thing

I read with interest the article comparing Anoka and Dakota Counties (“The tale of two suburban counties,” Aug. 14). I happen to think, from what I have read, that Anoka is the better of the two. I don’t want a wheelage tax, and I don’t want light rail (try carrying four shopping bags full of groceries on a light-rail train).

Did the writer stop to think that Anoka County is doing just what the people want? Why is it so important to have Anoka be just like Dakota County? Why can’t Dakota be more like Anoka County? Maybe we in Anoka County do not want our elected officials to work in a centrist, nonpartisan manner.


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Sometimes a phrase just means what it says

An Aug. 14 letter denounced as “PC nonsense” the use of the phrase “life partner” instead of “husband” to describe Steve Lawrence in the headline for his wife’s obituary. Perhaps the letter writer should direct her complaint to Mr. Lawrence, who, in the article, called Eydie Gorme “my partner in life and on stage for 55 years.”