History repeats

By Steven Sanders

A once powerful nation in eastern Europe that saw its empire dismembered some years earlier hosts the Olympics and then shortly thereafter invades and occupies a neighboring nation. It justifies its actions by saying that it needed to restore civil order and also protect its own nationals who were under attack. Sound familiar? Sounds like this scenario is right out of last week’s headlines? Sounds like the country is Russia, the Olympics are Sochi and the occupied nation is the Ukraine…yes?

Well for students of history this scene is eerily reminiscent of Europe in 1936. Nazi Germany had just completed hosting that year’s summer Olympics in Berlin. Not long thereafter it invaded and occupied the neighboring Sudetenland which was part of Czechoslovakia and then eventually occupied the rest of that country. It’s pretext then, similar to Russia’s pretext now, was that it needed to protect persons of Germanic descent form threats and to ensure stability. The world watched and did nothing. Feeling emboldened, Germany proceeded to annex Austria and then invade Poland which precipitated the most deadly conflagration in world history. Tens of millions of soldiers and civilians perished.

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Letters to the Editor, Nov. 15

Clarification, please, on stock market stats

Re: Letter, “The undecided voter,” T&V, Nov. 1

I read Mr. Cappelletti’s letter and would ask him to clarify one of his 15 points.

Number seven reads “Comparing the stats of the stock market four years ago to the stats today, would you say the economy has improved?”

(Hint: ask those who invest in, or have their pensions invested in, the stock market.)

So I looked at the three New York City stocks that I own or have owned during that period:

Verizon is up 42.0 percent (today, November 8, 2012) since President Obama’s election on November 4, 2008.

Bristol Myers is up 57.3 percent and Con Ed is up 34.8 percent.

More important, at the time of President Obama’s election, the dividend yield was greater than 5 percent for each of them.

So if all of us had reinvested all of our investment monies and reinvested the dividends in these NYC juggernauts four years ago, we’d all be way ahead of the game.

Accordingly, can Mr. Cappelletti please be more specific about the stock market statistics he’s referring to because companies located in New Jersey and Connecticut made money for their stockholders during President Obama’s first term, too.

Billy Sternberg, ST

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Letters to the Editor, Oct. 11

Why Obama caved

I’ve just learned that blind people can ride bikes. That’s right. They’re riding blind. They use a technique called “echoing,” which is what bats use to direct their flight so they don’t crash into cave walls, people on bikes or politicians in debates. So  “blind as a bat” is no longer negative or pejorative. Bats are sensitive to sound, and so am I. The President must be sensitive as well. He didn’t want to come out of his cave.

I’m sensitive to the sound of the voice as well as the rhythm. Watching the presidential debates, I was tempted to change the channel. I even checked the TV Guide to see what else was on, but no, I stayed with the debates and Romney’s irritating voice. Never mind what he was saying, things like Obama care is bad but Romney care is good. Impartial fact-checkers have proven these plans are essentially the same, but Romney says his plan was right for states but not for the entire nation. I’m tired of hearing about states’ rights. If it were up to the states, we’d still have slavery. And guess who wouldn’t be Mr. President?

So I wasn’t listening to what Romney was saying (I knew it would be the opposite of what he said yesterday.) but rather to how he said it. He must have been anxious to be seen as “presidential,” whatever that means, but did he have to be so wired, as if he were on some kind of high?

If he were in a street brawl, he’d be the guy to throw the first punch while his opponent was taking off his jacket with his arms trapped behind his back. Mitt’s voice made me want to scratch myself. It made my heart race. Why was he so agitated? Did he spend the night before the debate in Starbucks, sampling everything they make? He was jumpy and relentless as he went on the warpath, and he couldn’t be stopped by the mousy moderator who caved and let Mitt run the show.

Now I can understand why Mitt was quick to criticize the State Department for trying to smooth over the eruption caused by the anti-Islam video that was purportedly the reason behind the Libyan ambassador’s death. It’s because this is Mitt’s nature: He’s quick on the draw, the better to make money on the stockmarket. If you thought George W. Bush was a cowboy, meet quick Mitt.

He makes Bush look like the cowboy in “Brokeback Mountain”. Mitt is more like the quick-fingered Richard Widmark shooting an opponent in the back or pushing a woman in a wheelchair down a flight of stairs. The President, however, looked uncomfortable like he was in a coffin. And I know why. Mitt’s voice, his secret weapon, shot the President down as he cringed behind the lecturn as if he was in the back seat of a car or a box seat at the theater.

If Quick Mitt is elected president by voters blinded by a win-by-any-means mentality, who have nothing to gain and everything to lose, we’re in trouble. There’re no weapons in the White House, but there is a phone that Mitt could use to quickly give a final, fatal order. Or he could spare the generals the sound of his frantic voice and just press that red button on his desk. What a sound that would make!

John Cappelletti, ST

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