It’s past time to respond to Jamal Kashoggi’s murder

Protesters in Whitehall, London, demonstrate against the official visit by Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Wednesday March 7, 2018. Mohammed bin Salman received a royal welcome and high level political meetings, while being criticized by protesters against the war in Yemen, as he began a three-day visit to Britain on Wednesday.
Protesters in Whitehall, London, demonstrate against the official visit by Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Wednesday March 7, 2018. Mohammed bin Salman received a royal welcome and high level political meetings, while being criticized by protesters against the war in Yemen, as he began a three-day visit to Britain on Wednesday. AP

The response from Republican Sens. Lindsay Graham, Bob Corker and Richard Shelby to the testimony of CIA Director Gina Haspel (“The Latest: Dems want full Senate briefed on Khashoggi death,” Dec. 4) on the brutal murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi is chilling. The CIA evidence pointing to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s involvement in the assassination has been described by these senators as so “thorough” and “overwhelming” that they were convinced “beyond the shadow of a doubt” of the Crown Prince’s involvement.

The U.S. Senate needs to act immediately to block arms sales to Saudi Arabia. To ignore this flagrant human rights abuse and attack on journalism lends support to autocratic governments and undermines the important role of a free press.

Responding as Trump has done, by putting the monetary value of arms sales above our nation’s highest values, represents selling our souls to the devil and jeopardizes American values and safety at home and abroad. I urge Sens. Burr and Tillis to join other senators to halt arms sales to Saudi Arabia.

Vernie Davis


Students first

The UNC-Chapel Hill Board of Trustees would rather waste millions to build and maintain an unnecessary “historical center” to house a commonly despised relic than use the money to enroll hundreds more needy youth at UNC? Our leaders appear to care more about their own political ambitions than the needs of North Carolina youth.

The 2015 state law allowing the removal of Silent Sam from state property to preserve it also allows much less expensive options for moving it to other state historical sites — all better than this immoral idea. I challenge the UNC Board of Governors and N.C. Historical Commission to reject the UNC Board of Trustees’ shameful new building proposal.


Reasonable cost

I applaud UNC-Chapel Hill’s recommendation to build an education center on the history of the university, which would include Silent Sam. Why is this a waste of an estimated $5.3 million? Many campuses have educational centers. As for the $800,000 a year security on the proposed building, I am sure the other buildings on the campus have a budget approaching that figure in the high security era.

The other day I gave an illustrated lecture on the future of commemorative monuments in a North Carolina state college. The students represented racial and gender diversity.

In the discussion period, the students agreed that a society can’t erase history. We agreed that the controversial monuments should be placed in an educational setting. I was impressed by the maturity of the students.

Kevin Lewis


Not concerned

In 1967 Paul Erlick predicted that we would all be dead by now because the Earth could not produce enough food to sustain the population. Then came the Green Revolution, and we have plenty of food. Now they’re saying that if we don’t do something now about global warming we are doomed. What is it they want us to do? Cripple our economy while the rest of the world continues on its merry way?

For the American people (and many others) global warming is not high on their list of concerns. Perhaps it’s because they know two things. They have been lied to about the nature and magnitude of the problem, and the doomsayers continue their high flying lifestyles while telling us what not to do.

If you look carefully at the graph presented last Sunday (“Climate change report warns Carolinas,” Dec. 1) the NOAA prediction for sea level rise by 2100 is about 6 inches under current trends. Technology and the market will solve the “problem.”

Vincent M. DiSandro Sr


Fair elections

I find it interesting that neither of our U.S. senators or Republican U.S. House members have said a word about the potential voter fraud in North Carolina and demanded an investigation. It’s refreshing that local news organizations took the time to investigate and interview absentee ballot voters to provide light on the possibility of voter fraud.

North Carolina must put an end to any potential voter manipulation, whether it be absentee ballot fraud, gerrymandering or unreasonable voter ID laws designed to suppress or disenfranchise voters. We need to demonstrate we want fair and open elections.

Stephen Berg

Chapel Hill

Medicaid for all

In their commentary on Nov. 28 (“Linking physical and behavioral health care is a big step for NC”), Dr. Mandy Cohen and Dave Richard argued that combining behavioral and physical health care for Medicaid patients will be good for patients and our state. At a time when life expectancy in the United States is declining primarily due to suicide and drug overdoses, the connection between mental health and physical health is clear.

However, too few North Carolinians will benefit from the changes to Medicaid. North Carolina remains one of only 14 states that have not expanded Medicaid to individuals and families up to 133 percent of poverty. Were we to do so, the federal government would pay 90 percent of the cost.

Why limit it to those in poverty? “Medicaid for All” would make it possible for more North Carolinians, who increasingly can’t afford private insurance, to buy into the new Medicaid program on a sliding scale. Medicaid expansion is the next step, followed by Medicaid for All.

Jonathan Kotch

Chapel Hill

Campaign fraud

The headline of the article on Dec. 5 should be changed from “Convicted felon at center of voter fraud scandal” to “Convicted felon accused of election campaign fraud.” The voters are not part of the fraud that has been conducted. Let’s use language that describes the real fraud.

Kristi Pettibone


Seismic blasting

There is staunch opposition to offshore drilling. However, the same vigor and urgency does not seem to be applied to seismic blasting (“Trump paves way for air guns to search for Atlantic oil,” Nov. 30).

An environmental assessment from the National Marine Fisheries Service outlines incidental impacts to marine mammals from air guns used in blasting. These impacts have the potential to cause harm through direct injury as well as disruption of behaviors such as migration, breeding, feeding, and even breathing. This assessment only accounts for marine mammals. What about prey and commercially important species?

These permits willfully refuse to examine the totality of destruction caused by blasting. With coastal opposition growing stronger, and global attitudes towards fossil fuel expenditure shifting, seismic blasting is at best shortsighted.

Rebecca Drohan

Morehead City