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If companies like Mylan and Walgreens want to become foreign companies to avoid U.S. taxes, then why should they get millions of dollars of U.S. tax breaks and VA contracts? Let USA companies have the contracts. Why do Republicans refuse to close this loophole? — Ronald Hendel, Rogue River

Given its high place in the Ten Commandments, the prohibition on taking God's name in vain can't be about using it in our swear words, a trivial sin compared to murder, which comes later in the list.

We struggle to understand the second commandment because we don't invest words with the power the ancient Hebrews did. Were we tricked into promising to leave our estate to the wrong person — as Isaac's wife tricks him into giving the paternal blessing to Jacob rather than Esau — we wouldn't hesitate to rescind our promise. But since the essence of the commandment is that we shouldn't use the power of God's name to validate our self-serving claims, we actually do violate it repeatedly.

Which leads to the assertion of many Israelis and their apologists that God gave them all the land called Palestine, and killing others who live on it is therefore justified. Didn't God say so in Deuteronomy 20? But I urge you to read that morally dreadful chapter and ask yourself whether any god worth our worship, rather than human beings, could have authored it. — Herbert Rothschild Jr., Phoenix

Resistance against the Israeli apartheid state is not a threat to the existence of Jews, but rather legitimate self-defense by Palestinians being brutally oppressed while being forced off their lands.

The inhuman treatment of Palestinians cannot be justified by the history of oppression against Jews by other people in another time on a different continent. The global protests against Israel are direct repercussions of the bloody Israeli offensive in Gaza, the siege on Gaza, and the illegal occupation of Palestine.

The brutal and asymmetrical use of force against those standing for life and justice for the people of Palestine is intolerable. Those acting in resistance to Israeli racism and aggression are legitimized by the continued expansion of illegal settlements and the defiance of Israel in the face of international condemnation for its brutal occupation.

I stand with the thousands of Jews, Arabs and socialists around the world calling for an end to the siege on Gaza and an end to the racist apartheid state in Israel and occupied Palestine. — Ryan Navickas, Medford

Thank you for publishing the article "Spraying investigation has Medford neighborhood on edge" on July 23. I feel sick about what happened, but the more we know about what pesticides are being used — and where — the better.

After reading the article, I looked up triclopyr, the primary ingredient in Garlon 4 on this site — www.pesticide.org/get-the-facts/pesticide-factsheets/factsheets/triclopyr — and read that it has a host of toxic effects, short-term and long-term, on people, animals, fish, frogs, birds and soil bacteria. I don't blame the homeowners for being concerned about their children and their pets.

Why would something this toxic be sprayed for the sole purpose of "eliminating areas for transients to camp?"

People everywhere are beginning to realize that we've gone too long without using the precautionary principle. Pesticides cannot be used indiscriminately, and in many cases, should not be used at all. "Weed" eradication is not more important than the health of people, animals, fish and wildlife. — Karen Potts, Ashland