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Letters: Corruption helped cause Illinois financial woes

The “Top 10 reasons Illinois fell into financial abyss” should have been the Top 11. And No. 1  should have been “corruption.”

For years we have been hiring unnecessary and unqualified people in unnecessary jobs, giving out no-bid contracts (especially to insiders), building highways to nowhere, purposely investing tax money in bad investments, inflating privatized services (food, janitorial, garages) and inflating construction by relatives.

This is not a finite list. Corruption makes governments broke.

C.M. Blumenthal, Jefferson Park

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Worrisome firing

I feel so much better that the “Independent” Police Review Authority, consisting largely of cops and ex-cops, presumably incapable of finding productive employment off the government teat, have investigated themselves and only found one of their shootings out of 400 over the last several years “unjustified.”

A sterling record, no doubt, unless you take into account the fact that they have chosen to fire someone, an ex-cop, no less, whose considered opinion on six of those shootings was that they were unjustified. Thankfully, though, he’s been fired, his decisions have been overturned, and Chicago cops can continue to shoot the unarmed, the mentally ill and handicapped with impunity. What a relief!

Ron Barth Jr., Las Vegas

Playing down pope’s words

Fr. Robert Barron’s essay in the July 19 Sun-Times, about Pope Francis’ encyclical and Latin American speeches concerning capitalism, the marketplace, and the “poor,” is an effort to play down the pope’s words and, instead, emphasize the Roman Catholic Church’s social justice teaching for the last 125 years of the Industrial Age.

Fr. Barron admits the pope’s remarks about capitalism are “strong, even a bit exaggerated.”  He then looks to the words of past popes about morality in the context of the free market place, and concludes, “A market economy enjoys real legitimacy if and only if it is set in the context of a vibrant moral culture that forms its people in the virtues of fairness, justice, respect for the integrity of the other, and religion.”

Fr. Barron is an apologist for this new pope’s inartful words. The pope’s harsh words about capitalism seem to show a man who is unsophisticated, mired in regionalism and without a world view, except perhaps in the abstract. (Remember, “ Who am I to judge?”)  Fr. Barron does his best to rehabilitate the pope’s words but using pious platitudes, such as fairness, justice, respect and sensitivity, undefined by him, do little to improve the pope’s inartful words.

Despite my assessment of the pope’s tarnished view of capitalism, I continue to reserve judgment about him as pope, but with the hope his pontificate will be successful.

Dennis Dohm, Oak Lawn

Trump concerns

With a plethora of Republican candidates in the race for president, I hope Donald Trump’s chances falter.  Can you imagine Cabinet members like Meatloaf and Dennis Rodman as advisers to the president of the United States?

Vincent Kamin, Loop

Long lines

My vote for the most frustrating waste of time is waiting in a long line at the post office with only one clerk waiting on customers.

Ken Greenberg, Skokie