Thanks to Bill Varble profoundly for his magnificent column in the Mail Tribune Aug. 21.

In it he tells the truth, the reality of how the poor, including hard-working poor, in America — of increasing numbers — are suffering; contrasted with the hypocrisy of the greed-based, blind and lying propaganda of the Heritage Foundation, related organizations and trust-funder type citizens whose mantra is, "I've got mine, Jack." This obscene inhumanity is shameful, disgusting and stupid.

I add to his statistics the reliable data that one-fourth of children in our country are currently hungry.

During my 35 years as a physician (internal medicine) in research, teaching and practice in Minnesota, California and Oregon, virtually every one of my patients who were poor — often with significant disabilities — and were receiving some kind of financial support, government or private, was fully deserving of this aid. I believe that most of our population realizes this reality and are moved to help our suffering neighbors. Hence my hate for the lies about them, and appreciation to Varble for broadcasting the truth of their just need.

I've long admired and benefited from his journalism: information of importance, truth-seeking and skillful presentation. Keep up the fine work, please. — James Hall, Central Point

This is in a response to the front page article in Thursday's paper about feeding the people in Hawthorne Park.

I was taken aback by the suggestion that people in need were considered to be a threat and looked down upon for not having a home, not having jobs, and needing a meal. It wasn't so long ago that soup kitchens were in our cities across the country.

Today in America, many families are homeless, jobless and hungry with no place to go. To us who are fortunate enough to have jobs and homes, I would hope that we would open hearts to those people who need help in these times in America.

There's nothing to fear. We only have to look into their eyes, to see that they need our help and understanding. — Phillip Mason, Medford

It is with great pleasure that I write in support of the Education Program at Sanctuary One.

I brought all 160 of my middle school students for a service learning experience to Sanctuary One last spring. Our visits exceeded every expectation the students, families and I had for this field experience day. My students and families had a fun and life-changing experience.

I applaud Sanctuary One for providing this educational experience. It is these real-life lessons learned during trips to facilities like Sanctuary One that help students understand the relevance of the scientific information learned in the classroom. It keeps them connected to their world.

This is the full-circle learning I wanted my students to experience and Sanctuary One delivered! Our donation from Ashland Middle School was given with great appreciation.

I encourage others to donate and support this very important care farm. Please contact me if you would like more information about the value of supporting Sanctuary One. — Kristi Healy, Ashland

Over the past several years my husband and I have met and made close friends with Israelis working in our valley. They have rented from us, we have shared meals and have created fond memories.

After high school they must serve two to three years in the armed services. Their homeland security is of the utmost importance.

They are wonderful, caring people. They allow their enemies to walk their streets alongside them.

Hamas won't be satisfied until they are completely eliminated.How crazy it is to allow this. I call this ignorantly tolerant.

Israelis are told to turn the other cheek. Then, when they finally stick up for themselves, they are persecuted by the world. It was so wrong having to give up the Gaza Strip.

I will never agree to oppose these people regardless of world political view. As an American I have been personally touched by them and the horrific outcasts they have been and continue to be. I will stand with them and I hope and pray that many other Americans feel the same.

Let Israel have peace within her borders, stand by her and let her fight her enemies without tying her hands. Give her our blessings. — C. Gallatin, Medford

Standard and Poor's did the right thing when they lowered America's credit rating from AAA to AA+. I believe Moody's and Fitch were wrong by not supporting S&P.

The Mail Tribune printed a schedule from all three agencies. I saved that portion of the paper and I looked it over when Standard & Poor's made their downgrade.

From what I could see, they were very generous — I would have given us a CCC (currently vulnerable to missing a payment, needs favorable conditions to continue making payments).

The "favorable conditions" that S&P mentioned was our ability to receive money from foreign nations who buy our bonds and Treasurys. How much longer they will trust us is anyone's guess.

I know I wouldn't, knowing that we print money without any backing. This is totally against the Constitution, and we have been doing it for a long time.

The tea party is right — we need a lot of new people in Congress with common sense. — Gordon DeVos, Medford

In her "Quit whining" Letter to the editor, Wendy Grammatica suggests that to help save the Medicare and Social Security systems all federal and state employees should be required to pay into those systems.

When I retired as a federal employee in 1992, I had been paying into the Medicare system for many years.

At that time federal employees did not pay into the Social Security system. However, they could not receive Social Security benefits unless they had personally worked on civilian jobs long enough to accrue the required number of quarters to qualify for it. They could not receive spousal benefits from their husband's account. I haven't seen anything that has changed this system since I retired.

I don't believe that Ms. Grammatica would like to be required to pay into a system from which she could never receive any benefits. — Mary Ann Carlson, Central Point

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