- The Washington Times - Monday, March 14, 2005

Hearing health care

Ann Geracimos was right on the mark in advising your readers that they should be responsible for their own hearing health (“Unnaturally quiet,” Metropolitan, Mar. 8).

Unfortunately, Miss Geracimos erred in her article by describing audiologists as “professionals who measure hearing loss, tinnitus, balance and related disorders and recommend treatment for them.”

Audiologists are qualified to perform sophisticated hearing tests, manage newborn hearing programs, dispense hearing aids and provide auditory habilitation when medical conditions have been appropriately treated by a physician.

They often partner with physicians in providing hearing health care for the young and old who incur hearing loss. However, audiologists are not physicians and are not qualified to recommend treatment for vestibular and hearing disorders of a medical origin.

Determining the causes of hearing loss, tinnitus and balance disorders may require the patient to undergo a complete medical evaluation. Those with hearing loss should be advised that a visit to a physician is the optimum course of action for proper diagnosis and treatment.


Chief executive

Executive vice president

American Academy of Otolaryngology


Global warming and political posturing

So, Sen. Joe Lieberman, Connecticut Democrat, sees purported man-made global warming as “a moral issue which causes us to exercise moral leadership before the worst consequences are seen” (“Evangelicals lobby Congress on responsibility” Page 1, Friday).

By such leadership, he presumably means his McCain-Lieberman legislation seeking to implement a scaled-back version of the regime set forth in the unratified Kyoto Protocol.

Precisely how scaled back remains unclear because, in a bid to strip away opposition, the bill’s sponsors serially carve out industries from its emissions rationing scheme.

Precisely how moral is Mr. Lieberman’s response is a legitimate issue given that the sole basis for such “greenhouse gas” regulation is the theory of catastrophic man-made global warming.

Even Kyoto’s proponents admit that a treaty, perfectly implemented, would not have a detectable climatic effect despite its enormous cost.

As such, Mr. Lieberman offers a percentage of nothing in response to a purportedly grave and imminent threat so that we can say we are “doing something.”

If the senator believes the basis for Kyoto/McCain-Lieberman, he needs to propose Kyoto’s express endgame or at least something near thereto: 60 percent to 80 percent reduction of energy use emissions, and not just here in the United States.

(Europe, by the way, admits it is not complying with Kyoto.) Amid the political firestorm Mr. Lieberman et al., can ponder the human consequences of their moral play.

In fact, the climate has always changed and always will. It is always getting cooler or warmer, wetter or drier.

Man has always adapted, with the wealthiest societies adapting best. The solution to the entire parade of supposed horrors is not rationing energy — access to affordable, reliable supplies of which the world has too little, not too much — but wealth creation.

This is indeed a moral question. Politicians who seize it in the fashionable sense do so not only wrongly, but in a way that upon scrutiny appears to be little more than political posturing.


Senior fellow

Competitive Enterprise Institute


Clinton’s ‘conservative’ principles

Hillary Clinton’s recent pronouncements on the issues of abortion and indecency in the media (“Bill’s strategy” Inside Politics, Friday), which appear to give evidence of an elusive streak of conservative blood in her veins is an indication of two poignant facts that hard-line democrats tenaciously refuse to embrace.

First, it is clear that Mrs. Clinton recognizes there is a significant body of potential voters who outnumber the negligible aggregate of fringe-left radicals who make a disproportionate amount of the noise. She also has wisely acknowledged that she may only ignore this sizable constituency at her peril should she wish to remain a viable candidate for 2008.

Second, the loyalty of a Democrat to his or her base, as well as his or her principles, is chiefly rooted in self-interest and political expedience.

Mrs. Clinton’s calculated shift to what probably amounts to heresy and treason in the minds of most liberals would seem more aptly in line with something Groucho Marx once quipped: “Those are my principles. If you don’t like them, I have others.”


Whitinsville, Mass.

Russian history

Your lighthearted editorial “Airbrushing history” (Saturday) touched on a very serious problem, namely, the intentional alteration of the past for political purposes. One cannot praise highly enough George Orwell’s famous passage from “1984” that “who controls the past controls the future; who controls the present controls the past.” But the despot’s concept of history cannot claim unlimited acceptance when it comes in conflict with the interests of other countries. A case in point is Russia’s relations with the Baltic States.

When, at the end of World War I, Estonians, Latvians and Lithuanians withdrew from the crumbling czarist empire, declared their independence and successfully defended themselves against Russian forces, they concluded peace treaties in 1920 that saw Russia renounce sovereignty over the Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian people and territory.

These solemn promises were broken in 1939 by the secret protocol to the notorious Molotov-Ribbentrop pact. Soon, under the threat of war, military bases for Soviet troops in the Baltic States were established.

Thereafter, under flimsy pretexts, unhindered access for Soviet forces was demanded, followed by unconstitutional and fraudulent parliamentary elections which finally led to the accession of the Baltic States as constituent republics into the Soviet Union.

It is interesting to notice that President Vladimir Putin’s predecessor, Boris Yeltsin, had apologized for the massacre of the Polish officers in Katyn during World War II, for the suppression of the Hungarian uprising, for the extinguishing of the “Prague Spring,” and for the invasion of Finnish Karelia. But neither Mr. Yeltsin nor Mr. Putin has expressed the slightest remorse for having caused so much misery and death to the Baltic people.

From the Russian point of view, the Baltic States belong to the so-called “near-abroad” group of countries. In order to keep its imperial ambitions alive in the Baltic region a myth against all logic, common sense and norms of international law was invented, namely that the Baltic States had in 1940 voluntarily joined the Soviet Union. Consequently, in Russia’s view all peace treaties with the Baltic States have lost their validity.

So long as the Russian president has not condemned the unlawful and forceful occupation of the Baltic States in 1940 and reoccupation in 1944 and not apologized for it, relations between Russia and the Baltic states remain as cautious as they have been for the past 13 1/2 years .



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