License database is deeply disturbing

If you Google “police state,” one of the definitions is: “a totalitarian state controlled by a political police force that secretly supervises the citizens’ activities.”

We have been lurching towards such a state for several years now.

Recently, The Washington Post (July 7) published the results of public-records requests by Georgetown Law researchers. Since 2011, the FBI and ICE have been scanning the driver’s license database photos of millions of Americans without their consent or knowledge.

Most of the hits are of people who have never committed a crime.

Members of both political parties have expressed their dismay, including Chairman Elijah E. Cummings, D.-Md., and Rep. Jim Jordan, R.-Ohio.

Two cities — San Francisco and Somerville, Mass. — have banned their police and public agencies from using facial-recognition software. Well, do you value your privacy, or don’t you mind if your face is found erroneously to commit a crime?

Many years ago, the eponymous character Pogo, in that comic strip, said: “We have met the enemy and he is us.” It was a gentle rebuke to the U.S. participation in the Vietnam War.

The same quote could very well be applied today.

Harvey Herman


Trump administration wants to count us all

In regard to Roy Charles Moore’s letter to the editor concerning the census and the Constitution (“The Constitution is clear on the census,” July 8):

Nowhere in the Constitution does it say that there is a group of people that are excluded from being counted. The current administration is not advocating to exclude anyone from being counted.

All that will be done — and it will be done — is to ask someone currently in the U.S. if he or she is a citizen. That does not exclude them from the count; on the contrary, it makes them very relevant to the count.

This question was on the census before; it’s nothing new or unusual for someone to be asked if they are a citizen of the country.

Mac McAtee

Oak Ridge

Letter condemned Trump prematurely

How did this happen? In the July 5 paper Claudia Lange wrote a letter entitled: “Trump used Fourth for his political gain.”

The letter mentioned what the president did the night before at 6:35 p.m. This letter appeared quicker than a short-fused firecracker going off; most letters take two to seven days to be printed.

This letter had to have been written days before, as most of it was speculation, inflammatory words, a personal attack on the president, and it mentioned “partisan division.”

What we actually observed was a proudly presented history of the United States on our birthday. What could be more appropriate from the president of the United States?

To those who regurgitate negative talking points and disgust, and have “absolutely nothing good (to say)” about the president (from another letter last week), please take a minute of self-reflection and choose to work toward finding peace in a united America. Forgive the president — for your sake, and for all.

You see, the rest of us want to win, and we need you on the team to do so.

Randal Romie


This is why I don’t celebrate on July 4

This past Fourth of July has again reminded me why, unlike most citizens, I do not celebrate this revered day.

America is sick and rather than recognizing and treating its diseases, the population has been taught to admire them, perhaps because they are not properly identified.

They are:

  • Unfettered capitalism: The evils of capitalism (misdistribution of wealth, profit over morality, exploitation of workers) are bad enough, but when they are not moderated by government regulation, they augment the other diseases.
  • Imperialism: It is ironic that the United States, once the victim of imperialism, has become the world’s chief purveyor. Weaker countries that resist our attack on their sovereignty are politically bullied, economically boycotted and militarily threatened.
  • Militarism: The U.S. spends more of its budget on the military than the next seven countries combined.

Rather than see this as a waste of dollars urgently needed to provide social benefits, the populace has been propagandized into thinking we have enemies threatening us; that this disproportionate expense is necessary for our defense.

God is always on our side in wars, servicemen and veterans are used to justify support for aggressions, and our weaponry is a source of pride (tanks in shopping malls, jets in flyovers).

George Haeseler


The writer is a U.S. military veteran.

Seems familiar

Does the recent (this year’s Fourth of July) display of “military might” in our nation’s capital remind anybody besides me of Tiananmen Square?

Dan Donovan


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