No proof of Russian hacking
The Inquirer joins those blaming Hillary Clinton's defeat, in part on "a cyberespionage and information-warfare campaign" ("No time to move on," Monday). But no U.S. intelligence authority suggests that the emails exposed were false or doctored, or that the Russians, or anyone else, hacked into the U.S. electoral system. Instead, they did the U.S. media's job for them, exposing the dirty tricks the Democratic National Committee was up to, such as sabotaging Bernie Sanders' campaign and supplying Clinton with questions she could be asked in an upcoming debate. The DNC should blame itself and campaign chairman John Podesta's foolishly exposing his email account.
The Inquirer should be more concerned that the ease with which the DNC was hacked suggests our most sensitive intelligence secrets, which were on Clinton's private server, are now also probably in the hands of nations that wish us harm.
|Nick O'Dell, Phoenixville
Media need to get it right
As a veteran journalist, it saddens me to see the Inquirer joining the media scrum shamelessly parroting Obama administration and Democratic Party claims that Russia hacked the Democratic Party and the U.S. election.
Prior to Thursday's Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on cybersecurity threats from foreign factions, the government had presented no hard evidence of such a hack - only inferences - but neither the Inquirer nor any other major news organization has followed basic journalistic principles to present the other side. Why haven't you told readers that WikiLeaks, which published the purloined emails damaging to Hillary Clinton, insists they came from a leaker, not a Russian hack? And why haven't you interviewed experts such as retired National Security Agency technical director William Binney and former CIA senior analyst Ray McGovern, who knowledgeably observe that if there had been a Russian hack, the NSA would have the details to prove it?
Your readers deserve honest journalism, not regurgitated government and Democratic Party propaganda.
|Dave Lindorff, Maple Glen
A closer look at Obama years
The rapid rise of fake news in the media has been in the headlines recently. The commentary that criticized the economic performance during the Obama years with misinterpreted statistics is no exception ("From debt to jobs, a failure to deliver," Tuesday).
The commentary noted that since January 2008, U.S. population has grown by 20 million, but job creation by only 7 million. Should we be creating jobs for the children who represent this population increase?
It cited Bureau of Labor Statistics figures that 14.5 million more Americans were out of the workforce in November than when Obama took office. But it failed to note the bureau's analysis, indicating the change was due mainly to demographic trends, such as more young people in school and more elderly retired.
The decrease in home ownership was a result of incomplete recovery from the 2008 mortgage crisis, not Obama's economic policies.
The commentary blamed the government student-loan program for a 25 percent increase in college costs over the last seven years. College costs have been going up an average of 5 percent a year for at least the last 10 years, which would have produced an increase of 41 percent in that time had the rate not slowed recently.
|Charles Cozewith, Washington Crossing
Soda tax pales to beer levy
There's quite a fuss over the Philadelphia sugary-beverage tax ("New levy leaves a sour taste for some," Wednesday), but it goes practically unnoticed that I, among all the beer drinkers in our city's restaurants and bars, have been directly or indirectly paying a tax on all draft and bottled beers for more than 10 years. Comparing the 1.5 cents-per-ounce tax on sugary drinks to the 10 percent tax on 12-ounce bottles of beer, many beer drinkers are paying about a 40-cent tax - about 22 cents more than for a 12-ounce sugary drink. Should I cry in my beer?
|Edwin E. Scully, Philadelphia, firstname.lastname@example.org
Make example of child abuser
Philadelphia's judicial system has a remarkable opportunity to protect children from sexual abuse with the sentencing of Alexander Brengle. This Delaware County man has been convicted of sexually abusing a 14-year-old while tutoring him in 2009. He displayed sophisticated grooming behavior to maintain the victim's silence, and he has displayed no remorse. This indicates that as long as Brengle is free, children are at risk.
Research shows that abusers of children typically have 50 to 150 victims. Victims usually need years to disclose their abuse, their cases are difficult to bring to trial, and convictions are difficult to obtain. So, when there is one, the sentencing represents a huge opportunity for judges to protect children.
Judges must keep this in mind when sentencing those who prey on children. Child sexual abuse causes lifelong harm for its victims. Lengthy sentences are one of the best ways to protect children from convicted offenders. And we urge judges to remember this when sentencing Brengle and other sex offenders.
|Melanie Blow, chief operating officer,
Stop Abuse Campaign, Rochester, N.Y., email@example.com