OUR READERS' OPINIONS - 11/7/10

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What will Democrats do?

If I were to have a gravestone I always wanted it to say, "I'm glad THAT'S over!" That's how I feel about this election. It was like dying a painful, slow death.

But now the lines are drawn in the sand. Mission accomplished!

The Republicans have their golden opportunity to fix the problems President Obama inherited from the last Republican administration. Oh, but wait, that's right.

Their mandate is not to work together with their Democratic colleagues to fix what ails us. Their mandate is to make Obama a one-term president. No. Matter. What.

What will the Democrats do? What they always seem to do. Wake up every morning and ask themselves, "How can we best screw up the party today?"

As King Solomon said in Ecclesiastes 1:9, "What has been will be again. What has been done will be done again. There is nothing new under the sun." Life goes on. As always.

Dorothy O'Brien

Walla Walla

Corporate Americabuying our rights

Money and politics have always gone hand in hand, but when corporate elites at the top of our capitalistic society start extending their greedy hands down to the American people's constitutional rights it is time to be concerned.

"We the People" might soon be revised to "We the Corporation" as money buys more and more power and rights for the top 2 percent in America. With all the corporate bailouts and anonymous corporate donations to political elections, the roles and protections of private and public are being reversed.

Corporations are receiving citizens' rights and private individuals are being subjected to public scrutiny. The Supreme Court will be deciding on a case soon to determine whether a corporation (AT&T) is a "citizen" guaranteed the rights to personal privacy.

But here is a more disturbing example: The U.S. Census American Community Survey, which I received in the mail after filling out the regular US census this year. This survey is an extremely long, invasive questionnaire asking highly personal questions of U.S. citizens to be used by private businesses and government to decide where to build the next super Wal-Mart or where to pour all its "anonymous" campaign funds by demographics.

I wouldn't normally be concerned with a piece of junk mail like this, but apparently gathering all this data on Americans is extremely important because not only has the U.S. Census Bureau threatened me with fines for failure to fill out this survey, now they are calling multiple times a day with harassing phone calls.

This is a huge violation of my constitutional right to privacy, and a glaring example of how corporate America is buying outright our individual rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.

Carin Gordon

Walla Walla

The unspoken cost

Whether you are a Democrat or a Republican, every good-willed citizen of this town and this nation should be appalled by what was not talked about in this last election - the cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

While the Bush administration initially speculated that the war to oust Saddam Hussein would cost $50 billion to $60 billion, the Congressional Budget Office now estimates $1 trillion to $2 trillion dollars.

Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz has recently adjusted that figure to a predicted $4 trillion to $6 trillion. This is deficit spending in the extreme and it is an inherently bipartisan concern; a Republican got us into these wars but a Democrat continues to expand them.

No one in the mainstream of either party is publicly willing to connect the dots between unprecedented military, deficit spending and the current economic crisis.

As citizens of a democracy, we have power over where our money is spent. Let's stop quibbling over how much to cut Medicare, Social Security, or education and, instead, demand that our government first talk to us openly about how much they are spending on the wars and how they plan to pay for them.

Then we can have a debate about whether or not we are willing, as a democratic nation, to put up with those costs. Once we've had that discussion, then we can talk meaningfully about how to fund social programs that effect all of our daily lives.

Are we an empire or are we a democracy? A nation state cannot be both without accruing major costs that most concerned citizens are, when presented with all the information, unwilling to make.

Jeanne Morefield

Walla Walla

Yet another runaway bureaucracy

Although I was not able to attend the Department of Ecology forum, and even though I do not have any water issues or even live in Washington, I can not resist putting my two cents worth in.

In your article ("Forum dives into water proposals," by Andy Porter, Nov. 1) Ecology Director Ted Sturdevant stated that budget cuts and staff reductions are reducing Ecology's ability to fulfill its mission. What is Ecology's mission? In my opinion the Department of Ecology is yet another example of a runaway bureaucracy that doesn't answer to anyone and makes its own rules and levies, and determines the amount of its own licences, fines, penalties and roadblocks on the innocent and defenseless public.

Also, in my opinion, the only apparent control of this bureaucracy would be to reduce its budget (budget cuts and staff reductions, as quoted above) to slow it down. And now it wants to subvert that possibility by "switching water resources from reliance on taxpayer funding to a fee-based system where those who benefit from water management services pay more of the costs of those services." (Who "benefits" from these water management "services"?)

So now Ecology wants to fund itself off the backs of the very people it is harassing with its bureaucratic regulations, fines and roadblocks.

Sounds like a good example of too much government to me. We need more budget cuts and staff reductions.

Dave Shafer

Milton Freewater

We want someone else to pay

Once again, I would like to address some things, that I just don't understand. Why is it that we call ourselves the greatest nation on the face of the Earth and we don't give everyone a fighting chance at the "American Dream?"

Why has our education system fallen into a state of chaos (ranked in the lower third of industrial nations)? Why have our roads and infrastructure become our next financial nightmare? Why have companies been rewarded for exporting jobs when unemployment rages and we give tax breaks to those same companies?

Why is it called "welfare" when you help people but "sound business practice" when you help out industries?

And why do we think that we can have it all and not pay taxes? Just seems like we want it all, we just want someone else to pay for it.

Bruce McCutcheon

Walla Walla

The election is over …was there a purpose?

This letter will certainly only appear after the results of the 2010 elections are over. By then we will know whether Moe or Curly won and we will then go off and forget everything - this is the American way.

I would like to challenge those who wrote letters supporting or excoriating Moe or Curly to now keep score.

In most cases, neither Moe nor Curley actually proposed any actions or programs for which they can be held accountable, but we should all attempt to determine whether what the winners do has any relationship with what they said before being elected or has any relationship to benefits for the citizens who voted (or didn't).

This should be easy in the case of those who won locally. And for the letter writers who predicted the end of the world should the other person have won, keep track of the accomplishments and failures, and then explain these in your subsequent letters.

Of course, this would mean that elections have some purpose and we want them to accomplish that purpose. But perhaps elections are only important to the various media who sell advertising time and space. Gosh, $3 billion spent by politicians, and yet we complain that we can't afford mandated health insurance.

Dick Swenson

Walla Walla

Put money in jobs,not dirty campaigns

The paper says that $61 million has been spent on one politician throwing mud at another, or on telling people why or why not they should vote for an initiative or resolution.

It seems to me that if people were interested enough to vote, they should inform themselves by looking into the past performance of a certain person, or what an initiative or resolution is all about, instead of relying on all the lies and promises that are generated in order for those pushing to just get their way.

The $61 million would put at least 750 to 800 people to work in a decent paying job for the next two years. Putting a lot of that money back into the economy supporting themselves and their families.

After that, the next election would be here and if those that have such deep pockets to push their agenda would then put this money again into a pot to pay wages for these 750 to 800 for at least the next two years, again that would allow a lot of that money to recycle into the economy.

It seems there is no shame in the circle of crooks, as they are lying about what they are going to do, or what the other person is trying to do, they are spending money like it grows on trees. Is it any wonder that a handful of people who can think for themselves are starting to rebel against all that our present government is doing to the people?

David Base Sr.

Prescott

Too much hatred, notenough common sense

Election time has come and gone and, as usual, the "letters" section is filled with the diatribes by the regular contributors, and surprise, surprise, the staunch Republicans/Democrats expressed their one-sided, party loyalty ranting for us all. And let's not be fooled by the tea party folks, theirs is not a third party option; it is a spinoff of the GOP.

As always, my recurring theme is: party line voting is irresponsible, a waste of your vote, and is the real problem with politics in America. When will you folks figure out we can change things in D.C., but as long as we stay mired in the belief that this party or that party has all the right answers and those of the other party are all thieves, liars and crooks out to ruin our great country, nothing changes.

Neither party has all the answers, never have, never will and, if you look back through history, some of America's best times have been when we fought and worked together to make life good for all.

As also is common fare from these contributors, the GOP folks want us to forget who held the reins when we got into this current mess, as is clearly evidenced in Ms. Bardsley's recent letter regarding this fact, complaining she is sick and tired of Bush being blamed, and we should quit living in the past.

Another of today's problems: not many are willing to accept responsibility for their actions.

Face it. Bush lied to us to get into a war we had no business getting into, he hasn't to this day owned up to this; the money that we lose daily continues to add to our deficit, and on and on, yet the GOP vilified Clinton for his tryst that lost no lives, and he eventually fessed up. I'm a veteran with 21 years in the Army infantry and have always believed in my country, but not in getting involved in conflicts/wars we have no business in.

The Democrats (neither socialists nor Marxists) have their issues too, but they have been in charge and on the economy mess for two years, it took a lot longer to get in the hole, it will take longer to get out.

Why the hatred and rage, the stupidity of the "birthers," tea partiers, etc? There's too much hatred, not enough common sense; it's that plain and simple.

Thomas Peacock

Spokane

Attend sessions on healtheffects from wind turbines

The Oregon state Health Department has decided it is time to look into possible human health effects from industrial wind turbines.

It has announced a steering committee will be comprised of wind farm developers, community members, the Department of Energy and Oregon's energy facility siting council, which oversees new industrial wind facility locations.

Depending on the make-up the community members group, the rest of this steering committee have already been the driving forces erecting industrial wind turbines in Oregon.

Until recently in Oregon, most of them have not been sited near residential areas. Morrow County has received complaints of noise issues since the Willow Creek project was completed and its planning commission has determined it is in violation of noise standards.

In May, Invenergy was given six months to bring Willow Creek into compliance.

The Friends of the Grande Ronde Valley have in recent months requested the Oregon Health Department and the Oregon Department of Energy to study industrial wind turbines and turbine locations and their effects on people. The proposed Antelope Ridge Wind project on Craig Mountain, overlooks the city of Union nestled at the base of that same mountain.

The announcement from the Oregon Health Department says, "With any development, you start learning more about potential concerns as more people start experiencing it."

People living near industrial wind turbines have been experiencing problems for many years now, only recently in the U.S. with their development. There are numerous written reports and studies, most recently the Wisconsin Public Service Commission has generated a lot of testimony and action with regards to noise affecting citizens.

As reported in Audiology Today, July/Aug 2010, "Unfortunately, the research and development done by wind-turbine manufacturers is proprietary and typically has not been shared with the public, but reports of the distressing effects on people living near utility-scale wind turbines in various parts of the world are becoming more common."

Two questions come to mind. Why does the Umatilla County Planning Commission feel a 500-foot distance is adequate between a home and industrial wind turbines? And, why must private citizens continue to prove harm after industrial facilities are built near their homes?

There are three "listening sessions" being held in November, please take time to attend one and oversee the process to be sure our citizens will be protected.

Debbie J. Kelley

Milton-Freewater

Don't allow theft ofSocial Security

America has been inundated with illegal immigrants from Mexico! We probably have a lot of them in Walla Walla. America is "The Land of opportunity."

I don't mind them being here, but not illegally. If they are illegal, they have no American rights. If their employers took Social Security withholding form them, then they should be given back what was taken from them.

Illegal immigrants cannot have legal rights in America. If these illegals start collecting Social Security benefits, a check every month, it is the same as the thievery that has been going on by our congressmen for the last ex-number of years, to the tune of trillions of dollars. Mexicans have human rights,

They should be treated humanely as any of us are to be. When they start claiming rights that they don't have, then I protest and we cannot allow that.

Our Social Security system was not set up to take care of illegals from Mexico or anywhere else for that matter, that are illegally here. The president of Mexico, Felipe Caldron, is in Washington, D.C., working on getting help from our congressmen to pass a bill called H.R. 98. If you agree with me you don't think illegal immigrants should collect Social Security then write a note to Secure American Alliance, P.O. Box 96580, Washington, D.C. 20090-6580.

I'm 79, so I won't be collecting Social Security much longer for myself but Social Security program was meant to be for the benefits of my sons also. It's being stolen.

Most people haven't paid any attention to our Social Security. It's being stolen in a legal way so they won't be put in jail, but Congress is not doing its job. It seems to me as being there for one purpose, the members of Congress. They don't have the interests of the country in mind, it's what can I do for myself.

Well I've blabbed enough as an irate legal American. They are stealing yours and mine - Social Security - investment. Don't let them.

Bob Stanfill

College Place

Thoughts on InlandOctopus painting

Those good folks who applaud the tawdriness adorning Inland Octopus are the folks who eat at McDonald's and shop at Wal-Mart. They applaud the tawdry, the ill-conceived and the ill-produced.

The painter's ostensible deity is Warhol, his priests the Simpsons, his bible the comic strips for domestic imbecility. His admirers pick their noses at stop signs and relieve the expiscations upon their skirts and trousers.

His employer pretends benevolence, knowing he's been hoodwinked by his foolish impulses and knowing not how to extricate himself without embarrassment. It's not an honorable dilemma, but it's not more dishonorable than he wants it to be, alas.

What a tempest in a tea cup!

David Castleman

Dayton

Column collection bringsgiggles and tears

Can I just say something, too?

I pre-ordered Sheila Hagar's book thinking it'd be nice to have a collection of some of her columns, since the ones I've clipped and saved over the years are scattered. After picking up my copy and beginning to read I found it difficult to put down.

The selection is wonderful! It reminded me of why I love her columns in the first place. Alternatively I snickered, giggled, laughed; got misty-eyed, cried; and grew pensive.

Marilyn McCann

College Place

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