Letters to the editor, August 7. 2021
The Delta Rally
Dakotans I meet are wonderful, surprisingly non-doctrinaire, open minded, generous, confident and fearless regardless that most, if they care about politicians at all, choose more defensive, hostile conservatives over supposedly hippy-dippy liberals. Dakotans care for each other, avoiding harm from pure spite, prominent exceptions including refusing Medicaid expansion, and to the degree they do, supporting pandemic motorcycle rallies. 2020 covid rally spiked our previously flat infection curve right on time, a subsequent dip winding up another punch as virus percolated, then boom.
Over 200 dead in Pennington, over 2,000 dead in the state, SD 10th highest state death rate so far, up with urban eastern states hit early while doctors were still figuring out best treatments, and southern states with very high rates of poverty and baseline bad health. We’re worst in Midwest. We squandered our advantages in favor of rally and of indulging refusal of masks, distancing and vaccines.
Now comes delta rally.
Congrats to campground and bar owners whose loyal customers crowd up, unmasked, no refunds for pandemic flares. Crowds risk themselves and their families for those owners. Most of us locals, whether we think rally is fun or not, don’t intend to take risks for them.
Peter Hasby, Rapid City
Cut and run
State senator Julie Frye-Mueller asks (Journal, 21 July) why we are “allowing the Federal Government to dictate to us…?”
The Federal Government that she refers to are Forest Service scientists who reported we are cutting saw timber faster than we are growing it and need to reduce the annual cut in the Black Hills National Forest. No one is dictating anything. We’ve been over-cutting for years and, contrary to timber industry denials, we are threatening our saw timber with depletion.
The jobs Frye-Mueller is concerned about are unfortunately going to be lost no matter what we do. The scientists suggestions can at least help limit the size of future losses.
This didn’t have to happen. National forest staff years ago warned industry leaders that we were cutting saw timber faster than we were growing it.
What does industry have in mind? Do they plan to cut at present rates (they could for some years) until exhaustion of our saw timber really shuts things down? This business has the uncomfortable ring of cut and run to it.
David Miller, Rapid City
Corporations underpay taxes
Find great amusement in the political noise coming out of Washington, DC, from politicians, bureaucrats and pundits about taxing the rich and corporations. They are good sound bites on TV, but as history has shown, they are not realistic.
The IRS estimates the top 1% of the wealthiest folks in America pay some 40% of the federal income tax received, yet they own some 80% of the wealth. Many folks are upset when they hear corporations had billions of dollars in profit, yet paid no federal income tax (Ford, General Electric and Amazon to name a few).
They pay such a small percentage of their total income in federal income tax, or none at all, because they have offices of tax lawyers on their payrolls to ensure they pay the least amount of income tax. They all hedge their bets by paying lobbyists hundreds of millions of dollars to ensure any tax legislation has loop holes that favor them financially.
Additionally, if the large corporations do pay any federal income tax, it is added to the price of their products or services and ends up being paid by the purchaser of them. And that is you and me.
David Hall, Box Elder
A drop in the bucket
Getting more families outside is one thing. But doing it through a bounty on the tails of wildlife, namely foxes, badgers, striped skunks, raccoons and opossums to boost the pheasant population, is quite another. One-quarter of South Dakotans hunt & trap. That means 75% don’t. The income realized from pheasant season is a drop in the bucket compared to the benefits of wildlife-watching tourism in SD.
According to 2019 statistics from the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis, SD’s total outdoor recreational spending is $1.3 billion. Of that, all SD hunting & trapping expenditures come to $24 million a paltry 1.8% of total outdoor recreational spending. More people golf, camp, & sightsee.
Economics aside, the bounty program is a vulgar practice & the opposite of ethical hunting. Sound science has discredited the notion that killing one species to grow the population of another will accomplish that goal.
Trapping is in decline. It’s socially unacceptable & fur demand has plummeted. SDGFP should look at innovative options like the selling of passports to state park visitors, as Colorado is doing. This income is reserved for wildlife conservation, a goal that we can all get behind, & an investment in our future.
Darci Adams, Hartford
End the blockade
All patriotic Americans need to loudly demand an end to the criminal blockade against the sovereign nation of Cuba.
There is zero evidence that the Cuban people or its government is our enemy, and any true patriot ought to seek peaceful coexistence and cooperation with all countries of the world, despite their different cultures, political institutions, or development strategies. Virtually every nation on the planet has recognized the USA as the aggressor against Cuba, as evidenced recently by the UN Assembly voting 184 to 2, denouncing the 60-year long blockade for the 29th year in a row.
There are difficulties in Cuba and the recent protests there were the culmination of many different economic and political factors (not the least of which is our criminal blockade). However, much as any American would be rightly outraged at the Cuban government encouraging violence within our borders, every American should be equally outraged at the arrogance and cynicism expressed by our political establishment and media regarding Cuba.
The sovereign nation of Cuba deserves the respect and freedom to determine its own future without the self-serving motives of foreign state intervention. Demand an end to the criminal blockade, now!
James Leon, Rapid City
Sports Without Politics
We need separation of politics from sports at all levels, especially at the MLB, NFL, NBA, and Olympic levels. The commissioners should be bipartisan and leave politics out of their decisions. If you agree, contact them and let them know sports are meant to be a diversion from the hum-drum of the problem-filled world.
Jim Stephens, Rapid City
A great letter
Marxism: The submission letter by Edward Manzano about Marxism's failure was absolutely excellent. The article regarding Marxism by economist Huber a couple weeks ago was far too clean. Marxism is the basis of Communism, and Communism kills its opponents and anyone else it chooses. Always.
Hitler may have killed 6 million in the Holocaust, but the Soviets killed ten times that many by some estimates, and the Chinese killed may more under Mao. Toy with the economics of it, but you would do a great disservice if you studied Marxism without talking about where Marxism leads; Communism and death. Always.
Bob Koscak, Rapid City