GOP misdirection hides poor record

It is fairly easy to understand why Republicans are making such a big deal out of the Benghazi attack, which left four Americans dead.

Look at the recent presidential records: Clinton took military action in Bosnia, resulting in no dead Americans and nearly complete success. Obama took military action in Libya, resulting in no dead Americans and nearly complete success. Bush took military action in Afghanistan and Iraq, resulting in thousands of dead Americans and costly, disastrous, Vietnam-like messes.

The GOP feels the need to exaggerate the trivial as a cover for the monumental.

David Talley

Berkeley

Statehood would level negotiations

On Nov. 29, Palestine was recognized an a non-U.N. member state.

Of course Israel didn't want Palestine to obtain even a modicum of statehood -- and the U.S. in its knee-jerk obeisance follows Israel's policy without giving the idea some independent thought.

Yes, Israel has a problem with states. It can't indiscriminately bomb them, assassinate their leaders, blockade their borders, close ports, limit freedom of movement and settle their people on land that is not theirs. Palestinian statehood would surely be an inconvenience to Israel.


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But it might actually move the peace process: If Palestine moved from occupied territory to statehood, there would be more equality between the negotiators.

Gen Katz

Oakland

Union plays chicken at bakers' expense

How tragic that the bakers union had to take its game of chicken to the brink with Hostess, a company that was struggling to survive and was finally driven to liquidation because the union wouldn't agree to some cut in benefits to make financial survival possible.

Now 18,000 are out of work, including many Teamsters who were not on strike. Who are the greedy, rich "millionaires" here -- the Hostess officers or the union officers? The ones who suffer the most, naturally, are the workers. Merry Christmas from the bakers union!

Richard Terry

Moraga

Israel being unfairly singled out by writer

In a recent column, "Gaza status quo won't do; peace process must begin," Eugene Robinson writes: "Israel does not have a right to keep Gaza's 2 million residents under permanent blockade."

First, the word permanent, of course, assumes that the terrorists will continue to launch Iranian missiles at Israel's citizens, because if this permanently stops, the blockade will too, in time.

Israel regularly transfers all merchandise but weapons to Gaza through Ashdod port in Israel. A great number of weapons that were hidden in the ships destined to Gaza were stopped there, at Ashdod port.

In fact, such blockades or even more severe blockades are not new, as the writer must know: They were placed against Cuba, Iran, Bosnia, North Korea, Syria and Libya, just to mention a few cases. Such a blockade, given the circumstances (weapons intended to be used against unarmed civilians) is in full compliance with international law.

Is this my imagination, or is Israel is being singled out by the writer, and if so, why?

Gerson Luria

San Lorenzo

Cap-and-trade will raise energy prices

The editorial "Auction is a turning point for California" shows enthusiasm for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, which I share.

However, the editorial overstates the connection between greenhouse gases and clean air, and misunderstands that cap-and-trade is intended to raise energy prices.

The "600 facilities" that must buy permits are included in the Air Resources Board's "stationary source" category, which accounts for less than 15 percent of California's nitrogen oxide emissions. Starting in 2015, the Air Resources Board will require sellers of gasoline to buy permits for the greenhouse gas emitted when that gasoline is burned. Sellers already pass increases in crude-oil costs to drivers, and will undoubtedly pass along the cost of greenhouse gas permits.

That's the point: Seeing higher gasoline prices, drivers will use less, and emit less greenhouse gas. Many forecasts of California's greenhouse gas permit prices are in the range of $20-$50 per metric ton by 2020, equivalent to 20-50 cents per gallon at the pump.

A price increase is intended because transportation fuels account for 40 percent of California's greenhouse gas emissions. The Air Resources Board website has all the data: www.arb.ca.gov.

Mark Meldgin

Albany