Thank America for the current regime in Iran

David McCoard recently wrote that a third option, "Support the Iranian people in their dream of a democratic, peaceful state free of its repressive regime," (beyond sanctions and military action) is ignored by the United States.

That "dream" had already been destroyed -- by the United States of America. In the Spring of 1951, Mohammad Mossadegh, the democratically elected prime minister of Iran, along with both houses of the country's parliament voted unanimously to nationalize their own oil industry. Britain, (BP) with its huge refinery at Abadan, vowed to resist. On Oct. 16, 1952, Mossadegh ordered the British embassy closed as they were going to bribe or assassinate him or invade Iran.

With no presence in Iran, the British turned to America. Kermit Roosevelt (Teddy's grandson), the CIA Middle East operations chief was their man. In 1953, operating out of the basement of the American embassy, he orchestrated the coup that brought down the Mossadegh democratic government.

There is a direct line from this event, through 38 years of the Shah and the SAVAK secret police, to the destruction of all political institutions, bringing about the rise of the Ayatollahs and the dangerous crackpot, President Ahmadinejad.

We did it.

Joe Dana

Danville

Need for money causes crime

The Oakland Police Department is being threatened with being put under court control ("receivership") due to its history of abusive behavior. But police work is dangerous. I can easily understand why a policeman would sometimes, in an atmosphere of fear, make a bad decision.

But maybe there is another solution. Where does violence come from? Doesn't most of it revolve around money? Let's assume that it does. There are two possible solutions to the money problem: (1) get more or (2) spend less. There are plenty of people working on the former.

Let's look at the latter. There are many simple ways that homeowners can reduce their expenses. People who don't own their home or pay for their utilities directly should be able to negotiate a lower rent when they reduce their water and power consumption.

Instead of focusing on the downstream effect -- crime -- let's help each other reduce the cause of crime: the need for money. Maybe the police department would even offer to help. Anything that reduces violence and crime would make their job easier, so they should be willing to help.

Mike Vandeman

San Ramon

'Unchurched' all should come out of closet

The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, a highly respected polling organization, recently announced that the number of Americans with no religious affiliation has reached 20 percent of the population (Contra Costa Times, Oct. 9).

This diverse group of "unchurched" Americans (agnostics, atheists, disbelievers, freethinkers, heathens, humanists, infidels, pagans, secularists, skeptics, etc.) has been steadily increasing. The numbers would be even higher if not for the fear of many nonbelievers to "come out of the closet."

For example, there are 535 members of Congress. By these statistics, one-fifth of them (107) are most likely nonreligious. How many avowed atheists are there? One. Yes, only one. Politicians fear the bigotry and intolerance of many religious people toward atheists.

It's high time for every nonbeliever to summon up his courage and be honest with his family and friends, his boss and fellow employees, his clergyman, commanding officer or scoutmaster. In the memorable words of Scripture [I Cor. 13:11], "When I became a man, I put away childish things."

The need for imaginary friends fits this description.

Burt Bogardus

Danville

Israeli victims given too little press attention

With the very real potential of a new war between Israel and the Palestinian enclave in Gaza, it is truly amazing that there is virtually no media coverage of recent events in the area.

Specifically, as of Oct. 12, there have been at least 637 rocket and mortar attacks this year on Israeli villages and towns by terrorist groups located in the Gaza Strip. Many of these attacks, which are accelerating in number and lethality, have targeted schools and residences where young children are present.

While we are constantly reminded of events in neighboring Syria, Lebanon and Egypt, there is a deafening silence when it comes to assaults on Israeli civilians. That situation will, no doubt, change when Israel attempts to eliminate the perpetrators, when we will be inundated by coverage of the unfair and asymmetrical assault on the peaceful civilians in Gaza.

Lewis A. Glenn

Danville

An open message to Gov. Brown

Dear governor,

Read the tea leaves and weep. Both of your tax-and-spend Propositions (30 and 38) are toast.

The solution to the school funding problem is:

  • primarily locally funded schools

  • vouchers

  • major realistic modification of pensions

  • lower spending on CARB, CalOSHA, and other useless state bureaucracies

  • lower tax rates and lower regulatory burden for taxpayers and industry

    We need to increase tax revenues by lowering tax rates and regulations to recapture the vitality of an expanding California economy. Your tax-o-rama fantasies only lead to an economic death spiral. Successful companies and people are simply fleeing the state -- just ask Campbell Soup why they are relocating their plant from Sacramento to another state.

    Your incredible arrogance in squandering our money on high-speed rail to nowhere, giant water tunnels to make the sex lives of delta smelt happier and a bloated pension system for government workers who are overpaid -- and who receive obscene spiked pensions and are rehired as independent contractors at more than their original salary to do the same job -- is insanely insulting to the taxpayers of this state.

    The school funding issue is a serious issue; too bad your approach is not. We have the highest sales tax in the nation. We have the highest income tax marginal rate. We have the most onerous regulatory burdens. Your intention to further oppress the California economy is nothing short of insanity.

    Have a nice day!

    Dick Flasck

    San Ramon

    Investigate price gouging at gas pump

    All in favor of investigating the oil companies for price gouging, stand up and be counted.

    It doesn't take much for them to raise prices if "an event" happens. I know. I used to work for an oil company, and I've seen this dozens of times. OK, so Chevron has a fire, and Exxon has a power outage, and within five days prices are a dollar a gallon more than before? All while officials are saying there are adequate supplies of gasoline? All while the price of crude oil actually dropped this week? It sounds fishy. It is fishy. And oil company executives need to answer for it.

    It's interesting. I can go to a Walmart, or Safeway, or Home Depot to buy some item and the price for it does not vary from store to store anywhere in Northern California. In normal times, I can drive by Chevron, Shell, and Arco stations within a mile of each other, and see prices that vary by more than 35 cents a gallon. Today, you can buy Chevron gas in Tracy for less than at the station that is within 500 yards of the Richmond Refinery. Are they telling me it costs less to deliver gas 60 miles away? No, because they set prices for all that the market will bear. Then they use these "incidents" to squeeze us even more.

    I'll make you a bet that if we all send an email to Attorney General Kamela Harris, gas prices will drop 50 cents a gallon overnight.

    Tim Tomasello

    San Ramon