Don’t establish a U.S. religion

Gov. Noem just violated the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America when she signed into law an order requiring all schools to place “In God we Trust.”

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” Do Noem and those who passed this law not understand the English language?

This new law that requires all schools to post “In God We Trust” is clearly “establishing” in our schools a religion, and because it is a state law demanding this posting, it is not a free “exercise” of but a requirement. Do these Republicans not understand why the framers of our Constitution demanded that the state not force religion on people?

People escaped from Europe so that they would have the right to be free and to make their own choices and not have the state do it for them. Noem and the Republicans that passed this law are telling our children that our Constitution has no meaning and therefore our flag and what it stands for has no meaning. These people are attempting to establish a theocracy instead of a democracy. Frightening.

Brent Cox


Good news for Booth hatchery

A recent Journal news story was great news for all the folks around the Black Hills who value the Booth fish hatchery in Spearfish for its historic and natural history, its big role in our tourist economy, and its promotion of family values (Where else can families bond by feeding the fish and the ducks?).

This story told how the D.C. Booth Society (a citizen support group) is raising funds to help pay for a 60-plus acre addition of undeveloped land next to our hatchery. Over half of the needed funds have already been raised, and the Journal story told how readers who wish to join in may help. I would suggest calling or visiting the hatchery for details.

Don't forget to visit our Booth fish hatchery this summer and bring your family to have a great day feeding the fish and the ducks.

David Nickel


Single payer too radical?

Democrats agree on the need for universal health care but differ in how to achieve it. Single payer is criticized as radical. Its objective is to spend our money on care not insurance, saving hundreds of billions a year in administrative costs out of the more than $3 trillion a year spent on health care.

Per person we spend twice the average of other rich countries that have universal care. Still, our system leaves 30 million uninsured and tens of millions more underinsured, which contributes to our lower life expectancy.

OECD website healthcare stats ($ per person per year)/(life expectancy at birth) by country. Australia $4,708/82.6, Austria $5,227/81.7, Belgium $4,840/81.6, Canada $4,753/82, Denmark $5,199/81.2, Finland $4,062/81.7, France $4,600/82.6, Germany $5,551/81.1, Greece $2,223/81.4, Iceland $4,376/82.7, Ireland $5,528/82.2, Israel $2,822/82.6, Italy $3,391/83, Japan $4,519/84.2, Korea $2,729/82.7, Luxembourg $7,463/82.2, Netherlands $5,385/81.8, New Zealand $3,590/81.9, Norway $6,647/82.7, Portugal $2,734/81.5, Spain $3,248/83.4, Sweden $5,488/82.5, Switzerland $7,919/83.6, U.K. $4,192/81.3, U.S. $9,892/78.6. Comparing the U.S. against the average of other 24 countries, U.S. $9,892 vs. $4,633 and US 78.6 vs. 82.3 years.

What is radical and outrageous is that we allow our for-profit health care system to exist. We deserve much better.

Robert Wilfong

Rapid City

Climate change will hurt SD

Gov. Noem most recently used her bully pulpit on the Journal's editorial page to acknowledge that "unprecedented flooding" and continual storms have hobbled South Dakota farmers and ranchers, and to brag about all the federal tax dollars our state will receive despite ballooning deficits.

Our governor tells us this has been "the largest disaster declaration request in South Dakota history" but not to worry, because "the storms were strong, but South Dakotans are stronger." She never mentions climate change, which will continue to bring extreme weather and ultimately destroy our economy and threaten our very survival.

As governor, she could be a leader. She could promote renewable energy, including rooftop solar and wind turbines. She could make our state more hospitable for electric cars. Other states are taking decisive action to confront the climate crisis. But Noem is like an ostrich with her head firmly planted in the sand.

She won't admit that climate change is a problem that demands our urgent attention even to save her own grandchildren. We must do that for her.

Jay Davis

Rapid City

Trump not cleared by report

A Trump supporter and I are on a break from talking politics, but we did agree it’s weird how people draw radically different conclusions about our anomalous president. The same applies to Mueller’s report. Some Trump partisans sincerely believe the report clears him of all crimes.

Page 2 of the report says although Mueller dismisses “collusion,” since there’s no federal crime by that name, Trump avoided prosecution for conspiracy only because of his passivity in the matter. Trump was not in control, regardless, he was happily aware of Russian interference, invited more, and didn’t report what he knew. Mueller details scores of contacts between Trump campaign members and Russian government contacts, collusion galore, Russian activity in the vein of Watergate’s “dirty tricks.”

However, Mueller lists 10 episodes of Trump criminally obstructing the Russia investigation, most of them acted out in plain sight, reported as they occurred. Mueller’s legal opinion is: The only remedy for presidential crime is impeachment. Speaker Pelosi’s political opinion is: Impeachment with conviction denied by Senate Republicans sets up Democrats to lose the 2020 elections. The opinion of people like me is: Since current laws allow only impeachment as remedy for a defiantly criminal president, impeachment it is.

Peter Hasby

Rapid City

State DOT inconsiderate

On vacation with my wife and with friends in the Black Hills, while in Custer State Park around 11 a.m. on July 31, a DOT truck was painting yellow divider lines on the roads. My car was a victim of this process, and I was pinned between the truck coming and the guardrail, and I am very upset that the truck was not adequately equipped to protect against having overspray and splatter from hitting vehicles in the opposite lane.

I drive a 2007 Mustang GT convertible that I bought brand new for $33,000, and it’s my baby. My car was splattered with yellow road paint from the front bumper, front chin spoiler, on the hood, windshield, driver side front fender, front tire and mag, door, rear tire and mag, rear quarter panel and rocker panel.

Then my friend was driving a new 2018 Harley Davidson Trike worth $45,000, and he has yellow splatter on his black fender, tire and mag. This is completely rude and disrespectful of those who take care of their vehicles and keep them nice. I do not feel that I should have to clean up after stupidity making mistakes such as no splatter guard.

William Rong

Des Moines, Iowa

Elected officials must be leaders

I am a progressive, I have been a hunter, and I am a parent and grandparent. Where are the voices of our congressional leaders when white supremacist violence strikes yet again in El Paso and Dayton? We see their words when they bring home the pork, but how do they demonstrate the moral authority to lead? To the families, and the communities of color, be they native, Latino or have different lifestyles, what do they say? I hear hopes and prayers, but that has not and will not stop the violence.

This isn't a Second Amendment matter; it is one moral authority. Who among us can respect the words of our president that demean and drive wedges between us with race and religion? I for one would never promote by word or action the hatred that Mr. Trump has promoted and defended through his tweets and rhetoric. I for one am willing to support reform of our laws on gun ownership and weapons available to the public.

To those that proclaim, "The only way to stop a bad guy is with a good guy with a gun," I ask how many die before that the good guy gets there? Elected officials be leaders.

William Groves

Rapid City

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