NSA data can resolve

political scandals

Why don't we prevail upon the National Security Agency to put that treasure trove of data it has collected to good use? We paid for it, and it would be of some value if we were to use it to get to the bottom of some recent scandals.

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Have the NSA release the e-mails and phone calls of Internal Revenue Service official Lois Lerner during her tenure. We might be able to learn the truth she is so reluctant to share.

I believe the communications of all our politicians and their appointees, while in our service, are public property. We are paying them - and quite well, I might add - to do things in our best interest, not their own. It would be most enlightening to know if we are getting what we are paying for.

I always learned to "do unto others as you would have them do unto you." They have been spying on us, digging into our communications as well as our financial information, and it's high time we got a good look at theirs.

In the case of the IRS scandal, Lerner's evasiveness is an invitation to question exactly what she was doing for us.

This president promised transparency - let's demand it.

KEN ELLIS

Ocean City

Don't blame police

for drug use, crime

Regarding the Aug. 18 Leonard Pitts Jr. column, "End the war on drugs":

Pitts panders to those who see themselves as victims and blame others for their failures. He says the war on drugs has "been a war on justice, an assault on equal protection under the law." I would respond that law enforcement defends and protects all honest, law-abiding citizens. But when you cross the line of the law, you become a criminal. You do the crime, you do the time.

How can we bridge that gap between blacks, whites and Latinos and attain unity when writers like Pitts keep pointing flame throwers at the law-enforcement community?

Attorney General Eric Holder recently announced that federal prosecutors will no longer charge nonviolent, lower-level drug offenders with offenses that fall under mandatory-minimum sentencing guidelines. He is making the problem worse - including in black areas that now will be filled with drug-selling parolees.

Pitts totally gives black parents and leaders a pass for a miserable failure in imparting values, morals, etc. And the rap culture promotes drug use and fancy cars instead of wholesome leadership and role models for youths. It's very sad. I suggest that black leaders, entertainers, the president and his administration do a better job in the communities that are crying out for it. This is a life-and-death issue.

NATE NATHANSON

Northfield

GOP, not Obama,

threatens democracy

Regarding the Aug. 18 Charles Krauthammer column, "Can Obama just rewrite laws?":

Krauthammer is quick to criticize what he refers to as President Barack Obama "rewriting" laws. But he doesn't mention that Obama's efforts to reform immigration enforcement and mandatory-sentencing requirements, or to slow the pace of extending Obamacare, are reasonable and humane approaches to correcting what most Americans agree are flaws in the implementation of democracy and justice.

Krauthammer also doesn't weigh in on the Republicans' very real and wide-spread usurpation of democracy and the rights of Americans by voter suppression, closing women's health care centers, gerrymandering legislative districts, and the unprecedented use of the filibuster to disallow a democratic vote in Congress on a wide range of issues.

The Republican Party, not Obama, is the threat to our democracy.

HARLEY HALPERN

Galloway Township

Recreational fishermen

will miss Lou Rodia

Regarding the Aug. 16 story, "Fishing writer Lou Rodia dies at 88":

Cape May County and all of South Jersey lost a fishing legend last week.

The passing of Lou Rodia is a great loss to recreational fishermen. Lou and I talked numerous times over the past 40 years on current and past fishing conditions. He was a force in maintaining access for recreational fishermen. The last time I talked to him was just before he was going in for major surgery, and we discussed saving Drag Island. As usual, he offered excellent advice. He will be missed by all.

BILL SHILLINGFORD

Swainton

Prayer important

to many patients

Regarding the Aug. 17 article, "Doctor finds way to put ministry into practice,":

I was pleased to read that studies show 60 percent to 80 percent of patients want their beliefs noted.

As a licensed clinical social worker and Christian counselor, I always use a spiritual evaluation with patients. In doing so, I am able to understand if a patient has spiritual beliefs and whether they want their beliefs incorporated into the counseling.

Often, they appreciate prayer before and/or after our sessions. The patient is always the one who decides whether this is desired. I find that providing the patient time to consider such questions in privacy prior to the initial appointment decreases the chance of them being influenced by me or another therapist. It is important that those who decline be respected for their decisions. But faith-based readings and other interventions can be helpful.

MARGUERITE HEATON-COLELLA

Caring Confidential Counseling

Linwood

Guardian will reach out

to all of A.C.'s cultures

Atlantic City is a very diverse city with a melting pot of ethnicities. We are a multicultural society, with each of us celebrating our rich heritage in many different ways. When I tell people I am from Atlantic City, it is that richness that I rejoice in.

This Nov. 5 all Atlantic City residents will have the opportunity to take a giant leap forward and elect a mayor who willingly accepts and extends a helping hand to all the residents of the city, no matter what their ethnic background, race, religious creed or sex - a mayor who welcomes with open arms all of those who reach out to him.

This is something that has been missing from our city government for a very long time. I ask my fellow residents of the city to support and elect Don Guardian as the next mayor. This is our time to shine and our opportunity to embrace.

VICTOR GARLITOS

Atlantic City

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