Pfc. Bradley Manning languishes in the Marines' Quantico brig facing a court-martial and maybe 52 years in prison. To me, he may be one of the most courageous soldiers to have served our nation. He allegedly blew the whistle on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan by leaking classified files and video to WikiLeaks.

"Superior orders" are those that supersede the unlawful orders of governments or commanders, and many of us believe that orders to fight the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are unlawful under international law.

A Norwegian lawmaker nominated WikiLeaks for this year's Nobel Peace Prize, saying WikiLeaks has advanced the struggle for human rights. I'd love to see the Peace Prize awarded to WikiLeaks and Manning invited to receive it. Then, our military would be forced to justify his pre-trial imprisonment in a single cell in often torturous conditions.

Veterans for Peace, Chapter 156, invites you to learn more about Bradley Manning: attend a lecture/discussion at 3 p.m. today at the central library in Medford. Gerry Condon, board member of the Bradley Manning Support Network, will discuss the facts of the case, Bradley's current status, and let us know what we can do to help. Free Bradley Manning! — Allen Hallmark, Grants Pass

The Multnomah Education Service District is being sued for $734,000 because Christopher Tyler, a severely retarded child with a chromosome defect who supposedly required supervision while eating food, choked on a county-supplied free hamburger. His lawyers are Greg Kafoury, who specializes in suing Multnomah County, and Jason Kafoury, who organized the local Progressive Party.

The Multnomah's special needs program grew with a U.S.-funded grant for $6 million to include Christopher, but the grant ended and district is broke.

The program is also being sued, $100,000, for a non-verbal, sight-impaired, cerebral palsy child who broke his ankle. Such children are very fragile, die young, and place any caretaker at risk when the fragility is expressed. The tort costs come out of the educational budget at the expense of kids who can and want to learn.

That school districts are continuously subject to predatory lawyers able to progressively push for more rights for fragile children means our K-12 school system will break unless tort cases against schools are disallowed and children's "rights" reflect economic reality. Until then, Jackson county should replace 30 percent of its teachers with certified female eating supervisors, female because any males that contact children are also often sued. — Gerald Holmquist, Shady Cove

Wonder why we're having a recession? Thought it was just bad home loans?

Consider this: I just read in the Oregon Legal Journal that John Paulson, the guy who persuaded Congress and Obama to bail out Wall Street, earned $5 billion in 2010. That's right, $5 billion.

The article states, "Paulson's eye-popping payday confirms that hedge funds are still Wall Street's gold mine where hefty fees make hundreds of managers extremely rich.

There's also an article about a Mr. Greenstein, in Seattle, who defrauded the U.S. government of $240 million in taxes. The article goes on to say, "This is one of the biggest tax frauds in U.S. history."

This money could've been given to schools or as loans to small businesses. This is just a tiny portion of the corruptness that I've read about in the last few years. Add all this corruptness with the cost of the war in Iraq and Afghanistan and it's no wonder we have a recession. — Thomas Davenport, Medford

We are told as a nation we can't afford health care for everyone — so, in 2008, 48,000 people died for lack of health care and 700,000 faced medical bankruptcy. But, we can afford huge tax cuts for wealthy people whose descendants can live in idle luxury forever.

Thirty-four of us are fatally shot daily (12,410 yearly). That's more than the rest of the industrialized world combined.

We imprison more of our people — 70 percent for nonviolent crimes — than any other nation in the world.

We vilify homosexuals and deny them basic human rights, but we will continue teaching our children and enjoying the music and art of homosexuals until the end of time.

None of the other industrialized nations in the world allow citizens to die or lose their homes for lack of health care. Nor do they allow the sale of assault weapons.

Gay German military personnel have been serving alongside American soldiers in joint exercises for decades — no problems.

Can we continue to promote Christianity and human rights around the world while bigots, for-profit health care, "bought" legislators and the NRA dictate who we are? — Sidney A. Stitt, Phoenix

The Pat Clason letter, ("Monument is a bad idea") was more than misleading regarding the proposed 600,000-acre Siskiyou Crest National Monument.

His wisecracking opposition and misinformation about the proposal is designed to deceive people about the numerous ecological values present in this amazing landscape. He is also inaccurate when he states the intention of the Antiquities Act was meant to protect only archeological artifacts and that it would "lock up" federal land without public input.

The truth about the monument proposal is that it includes a large part of a globally significant bioregion. Its diverse geology, plant communities, unique and rare forests and wildlife species make the area a prime candidate for national monument status.

Clason, an ex-local BLM forester, should be familiar with all the virtues of these forestlands. Yet, in his distorted "Burma Shave" poetic view of the area, he flippantly states: "There's lots of dirt," meaning there's nothing of value in the proposal, not even the trees.

In contrast, my "Burma Shave" signage on the roads to the new National Monument says:

Praise for their efforts

No big trees fall

This area's been saved

A monument for all. — Chris Bratt, Applegate

We are a divided nation and united we stand, divided we fall. It's the rich against the other 90 percent of Americans. The rich own and control all politicians and all news sources and thereby control the government and the private capitalist economic system.

Their bottom line is profit regardless of the consequences of harm to the other 90 percent of their fellow citizens. This so-called "free enterprise system" is responsible for the following:

Millions of people unemployed, homeless, hungry, begging on the streets, foreclosed. The largest jail and prison population on earth. The largest military forces and wars all over the world — all supported by lies and misinformation. That huge waste of human and machine energy that kills and destroys just to keep the system alive.

That failed godless system could be changed to a scientific functional government that represents all the people on an equal basis. This system was researched from 1920 to 1932 by a group of scientists, engineers and economists. That nonprofit organization is known as Technocracy Inc., at www.technocracyinc.org. The changes would create a standard of living and lifestyle never known before. A truly United States of America. — Edmond D. Vongehr, Medford, 541-661-5325

In 1986 Ronald Reagan was president. He had a Republican majority in the Senate but a Democratic majority in the House. That same year they passed the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act. It requires all privately owned hospitals that receive government money (virtually all through Medicare) to provide emergency room treatment for everyone regardless of the ability to pay (no money was allocated in the act to pay for treatment).

Now, what I'd like to know is why "Obamacare" is loudly condemned by conservatives as socialism and a prime example of government overreaching, when there hasn't been a peep out of them about EMTALA? Could it be that this fight isn't actually about national health care but about trying to make Democrats look bad, particularly President Obama? In fact, wasn't that the Republican's outspoken goal at the very beginning of Obama's administration? And doesn't it smack of their "take-no-prisoners" tactics during Clinton's presidency (at least until he shot himself down via Monica)?

At a time when polls indicate that most of the electorate want Congress to cooperate so the country's problems get solved, I think the conservatives' heated rhetoric will prove detrimental in 2012. — Hartley Anderson, Medford

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