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Ending wars quick way to save money

“Never try to teach a pig to sing. It can’t be done, and it just irritates the pig.” This may relate to our efforts to bring justice and democracy to such places as Vietnam and Afghanistan. Democracy never takes hold until the people are ready for it.

Undeclared wars of the last half century include Vietnam, the Persian Gulf War, Iraq, Afghanistan, and now perhaps Libya.

These actions may have been legal under the powers the president has as commander in chief, the War Powers Resolution of 1973, and other congressional resolutions, but all would have benefitted from the debate that occurs when Congress exercises its power to declare war under the Constitution (Article I section 8).

We need transparency and insight into the goals and hoped for benefits of such exercises. A forthright congressional debate might have stopped some them.

We are spending beyond our income: Some say 40 percent or so of every dollar we spend is borrowed. Immense savings would result from avoiding selected undeclared wars. (Some say Iraq and Afghanistan have cost a trillion or more). If we would stop trying to teach pigs to sing, we might have no budget problems.

JAMES D. PATTERSON

Rapid City

People have already paid to leave lights on

When President Clinton shut down the Shrine of Democracy at Mount Rushmore in 1995, I started a lighting fund to keep the lights turned on the four presidents after dark.

People from around the world came forth with enough donations to keep the lights on for several years. The unused money went into some sort of general donations fund and it appears that the powers that be may shut off the lights on the Shrine of Democracy once more for selfish political motives.

Our present federal government seems hell bent to sell us and future generations into economic slavery.

If our choice is between indebted servitude and shutting down our present government, shut down most services except those needed for national security until we can replace our present leadership.

George Washington and Thomas Jefferson put their lives on the line to give us a Constitutional Republic which maximized freedom. President Lincoln died for keeping the Republic intact. President Theodore Roosevelt gave us national parks like Mount Rushmore for all the people.

Let’s leave the lights turned on at Mount Rushmore, as the lighting costs have been paid for by the generosity of many citizens from this country and abroad.

ART OAKES

Keystone

Difference of opinion the final straw

In response to the April 6 editorial, “Take public broadcasting off the dole,” we have canceled our  subscription to the  Journal and will increase our annual contribution to South Dakota Public Broadcasting by $192, the amount we will not be spending on this subscription.

We have supported the Journal with our subscription for many years, despite frequent differences of opinion with its editorial policies.

We believe local newspapers serve a vital function in our society, but as this opinion pointed out, we have a “broader range of information readily available.”

The editorial missed the point about public funding for public broadcasting. SDPB serves the people of South Dakota in many ways that are vital to the functions of state government and works as a unit of the South Dakota Bureau of Information and Technology to expand access and connections for schools, communities and the electorate across the state.

South Dakota Public Broadcasting’s private contributors and underwriters do support its radio and television programming. However, we cannot possibly contribute enough to sustain its extensive public service.

The notion of injecting commercial advertisements and interruptions is ludicrous, nor do we believe that commercial media would appreciate that entry into the competitive market.

GEORGE PRISBE

Lead

Kooiker’s claims contrary to fact

We have four candidates for mayor: the incumbent and three others. Two of the three are not well known and have limited history.

The third, Alderman Sam Kooiker, continues to harp on the landfill fraud case (now in the court system) and the censure imposed by his peers (not the mayor.)

Further, in his campaign letter, he maligns the mayor as being irresponsible, dishonest, without integrity, deficient in vision, a promoter of unfriendly government, and a puppet of special interests.

These charges are contrary to fact and certainly do not convince me that he represents the opposite of these alleged negatives.

The avowed intent of Kooiker’s campaign letter is to persuade us that he will “bring people together.” Flinging about wild accusations will not bring our citizens together as we work to build a better Rapid City.

Alan Hanks has been a good mayor who has helped Rapid City prosper.

He knows we have a challenging road ahead of us, especially with the economic downturn that we are overcoming. He is ready to tackle what comes next.

Choose the candidate best able to lead us forward: Alan Hanks. Your vote really does count!

DORIS MARIE STROM

Rapid City

Kooiker a trustworthy, powerful communicator

I was reading the lead story headlined “Just Who Is Sam Kooiker?” in the Sunday, Feb 7, 2010, edition of this paper. The subhead read: “He rubs people the wrong way.”

Many ill-informed people say Kooiker harasses people and that was the reason for his censure. That thinking is so far from the truth that it’s laughable.

I know Sam Kooiker. He’s a powerful communicator, a creative thinker and a true success by anybody’s standards.

His professional background is a significant asset to his future job as mayor and has served him well as Ward 2 alderman.

He has demonstrated an incredible level of concern and a high level of professionalism when addressing constituency issues.

It’s all about public trust and his personal commitment to key issues that affect life in Rapid City. Kooiker is a budget hawk and a stickler for detail. That’s what I expect from an elected official.

Stan Adelstein reportedly told the Journal that Sam is a very kind person and seeks to do what he thinks is right, regardless of what others may think.

That statement is a million dollar endorsement of Kooiker’s future potential.

I’m voting for Sam Kooiker for mayor. You should too.

MARSHALL W. CURTIS

Rapid City

Headed down the drain without a paddle

The American debt now stands at $14 trillion. If a man had one eye and half a brain, he could see that America is spending itself into poverty.

It takes 20 bushel baskets full of money to fight two wars and pay the wages of people in Congress. America is going down the drain without a paddle.

SWAN LOFTEN

Deadwood

Chunk of debt is money owed to Social Security

The April 14 article on the history of the federal government’s debt has a very revealing statement: Of the $14.27 trillion national debt, some $4.62 trillion is money the government owes itself, mostly money borrowed from Social Security revenues.

It might be more accurate to say Congress owes the American people this Social Security money. Certainly any national politician who complains about that

$14 trillion dollar debt has got to say how they intend to pay this part back. It means crediting back to the people what’s theirs, the money paid in Social Security taxes.

This Social Security debt is money we owe ourselves. Four trillion is more than $10,000 per American.

If we want our country to survive, we have to take responsibility for our public debts and pay them off as soon as possible. It should be relatively easy to forgive this debt we owe ourselves, if we all take a cut in Social Security benefits. What other choice do we have? Whatever the cure, it must include some means to prevent future Congresses and presidents from being so stupid with our money.

MICHAEL MELIUS

Hermosa

PBS has outlived former usefulness

We need to end the subsidy to PBS. In the early days of radio and TV, a government sponsored broadcast network may have made sense. Now there are dozens of commercial stations available. Listeners and viewers have practically unlimited choice.

Terry Painter and others are perfectly willing to tax hard-working people to force them to support PBS so he can listen to “classical, jazz, folk, etc.” I’ve got conservative books that our library doesn’t carry. Would you like to be taxed to buy them for me?

He says, “It’s such a tiny portion of the national budget,” as if that’s reason to continue this leakage. Everybody has their own pet project they’d like to force others to fund. That’s part of the problem. Just what part of “there is no more money” don’t you understand?

BILL CURRAN

Edgemont

Hanks an experienced and successful manager

This letter supports Alan Hanks’ candidacy for Rapid City mayor, the position he has held for the past four years. During his past service as mayor, he has lived up to his promises and supported the issues previously stated.

For many years, Hanks has successfully managed his own business in Rapid City. He has adequately demonstrated his capability as an experienced leader in dealing with people and in developing creative and fair solutions to tough problems.

His roots are in the free enterprise system. He knows the value of a dollar and whose money government uses. While fiscally conservative, he vows to be progressive and optimistic about our future and dedicated to the idea that government is a servant.

If you agree with his philosophy and past record, I would ask you to join us in supporting Alan Hanks for another term as our mayor of Rapid City.

JERRY & TERRY SHOENER

Rapid City

Double standard applied to political signs

Why are many businesses not allowed to put up banners or other signs on their property? These businesses have been visited by the police and told they will be fined if the signs are not removed.

I do not blame the police. They are only doing their job. My question is why then are the mayor and other candidates allowed to have signs all over town?

Some signs are within feet of where others were told they were not allowed to put signs. What is the criteria for putting up signs and who do these rules apply to?

Shouldn’t we be working together to help out local businesses, those that want to advertise and those that make the signs?

Instead it appears that you have to be in a public office or campaigning for an office to be able to put up signs.

 

N. RASMUSSEN

Rapid City

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Women treated like chattel here and abroad

In this brave new world of the tea party, I’ve noticed that most moms are still working double shifts  at home and work.

Home pays zilch and work pays something like 80 percent of what men make. This reassures me that the “family” is still the basis of society. Workers at the bottom, rich on top, and “chicks” busily making new soldiers. This is democracy?

Women are chattel the world over. Meanwhile, leaders struggle to make it harder to survive, like cutting WIC, which provides food for low-income women and children.

Children with lower intelligence will be more apt to sign up. They love children so much they’ll force unwilling women to bear them by making them talk to people who want to make their decisions for them.

Years ago, my 15-year-old niece went to Planned Parenthood to get an abortion. The daddy left town. Planned Parenthood sent her home, saying, “We don’t think you really want an abortion.” She had the baby. So much for being in it for the money. 

MARGARET MINKEL

Rapid City

They can always hope we’ll die before age 65

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know we can’t spend or tax our way out of debt. We elect officials to protect the interests of the people and they have failed us.

My Social Security payments, and that of millions of other Americans, were safely tucked away in an interest-bearing account for decades, until our politicians decided to raid the account and give the money to a bunch of losers in return for votes, thus bankrupting the system, and turning Social Security into the biggest Ponzi scheme in history.

American seniors nearing retirement have had retirement moved from age 65 to 67. Now you and your commission are proposing to up the age again.

It appears they would like us all to pay in but they hope we all die before we can benefit by drawing on it. I have found out over the years it is easy to spend other people’s money when I don’t have to be held accountable to anyone.

When the chief executive officer of a company does a poor job, they don’t wait  two to six years to fire him. They do it immediately. Maybe the same should apply to Congress.

CLIFFORD G. COLEMAN

Rapid City

Public, private finances are two different things

A few months back, the financial crisis brought about by the housing debacle was big news.

Some politicians urged government to intervene, while others thought that it best to leave the problem alone to divine intervention.

Now, that crisis has been forgotten and replaced by another crisis: the budget deficit and the debt.

Once again politicians seized the opportunity to obsfuscate. Some are comparing the government budget with our household budget.

Others are reviving the old sayings, “We are living beyond our means,” and “Our government is in the verge of insolvency.”

The truth of the matter is that public finances and private finances are two different breeds of cats — each with distinct priorities, goals, and constituencies.

What is good for General Motors is not necessarily good for the U.S. government.

I wish our elected representatives were more candid and honest with the electorate.

Explain  realistic solutions to the problem instead of rhetorically using simplistic and homespun statements which only show posturing and inflated egos.

ORLANDO ORTIZ

Rapid City

Troubled by candidate’s treatment at polls

In response to the April 19 letter, “Candidate encounters problems at polls,” I am both happy and outraged.

I would like to thank my colleague Al Labine, a true friend and supporter. I also would like to thank the good people of Ward 3 who have seen past the gossip, lies, and harassment I received.

The people of Ward 3 have spoken.

I am troubled by the way Scott Allen and his family were treated. When my opponents couldn’t beat me, they instead went after Scott and his family.

Scott and his family never hurt anyone. He was running as a candidate for Ward 1 and for the good of the city. He was running for change, which is greatly needed.

The people in Ward 1 and all the people in this city should be outraged by the treatment he received. I am sure those who live in Wards 1 and 2 will remember this next year.

I do hope this ends and there is no more gossip, lies and harassment against me or anyone else who runs for office. For those of you who were or are involved, stop.

This is a great city with great people living here. We want to build up our city, not tear it down.

BILL GRIFFITHS

Box Elder

Time to clean up city golf course

The person in charge of the condition at Meadowbrook golf course should be ashamed.

MICHAEL BIELGER

Rapid City

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