Union Democrat staff

Case against control

To the editor:

In response to John Quartarolo's letter "Guns revisited" (April 17). Here is the educational response you asked for:

• In 1929, the Soviet Union established gun control. Between 1929 and 1953, 20 million dissidents, unable to defend themselves, were exterminated.

• In 1911, Turkey established gun control. From 1915 through 1917, 1.5 million Armenians, unable to defend themselves, were exterminated.

• Germany established gun control in 1938. Between1939 to 1945, a total of 13 million Jews and others who were unable to defend themselves were exterminated.

• China established gun control in 1935. From 1948 to 1952, 20 million political dissidents, unable to defend themselves, were exterminated.

• Uganda established gun control in 1970. From 1971 to 1979, 300,000 Christians, unable to defend themselves, were exterminated.

• Cambodia established gun control in 1956. From 1975 to 1977, one million educated people, unable to defend themselves, were exterminated.

• In the 20th Century 56 million defenseless people were exterminated due to gun control.

• It has now been 12 months since gun owners in Australia were forced by a new law to surrender 640,381 personal firearms to be destroyed by their government, a program costing Australia taxpayers more than $500 million dollars. The first year results are now in: Homicides are up 3.2 percent, assaults are up 8.6 percent and armed robberies are up 44 percent.

• During WWII, the Japanese decided not to invade America because they knew most Americans were armed.

• Switzerland issues every household a gun. Switzerland's government trains every adult they issue a rifle. Switzerland has the lowest gun-related crime rate of any civilized country in the world.

Brice Canaday


Outstanding forum

To the editor:

I'd like to commend Tim King and the Students for a Better School Board for the outstanding forum they hosted on Friday, April 17.

Promising to be non-partisan, they kept their word, allowing two current board members as well four candidates to address their priorities and concerns for the Big Oak Flat-Groveland Unified School District. With more than 70 people in attendance, the atmosphere of the evening was cordial and positive.

Mr. King introduced an innovative plan for reorganizing the district, which would empower school sites and give the district less control over school budgets. Such a plan would lay to rest some of the rancor between schools on the hill and in Don Pedro. Mr. King also emphasized that no one in SBSB or the teachers' association has advocated closing Don Pedro, a rumor that has worried some residents of that community.

Emily Hanchett


Angry now?

To the editor:

"We the People" stood in chorus, singing aloud anger and distrust. I've been protesting since 2000, but why did the April 15th protesters, teabags in tow, wake up now?

They employed apathy during Bush, who violated and ignored the Constitution for eight years, who robbed the poor to give to his rich, amplifying the stage from which we're being played to today; whose lies, now proven, lit a match in oil fields that will burn forever - they're angry now?

I heard for eight years: "I don't support all Bush does, but as an American, I support my president." Now these Americans say "Hope Obama fails"?

There's no unity in division, and as long as media mouths have an audience of fear, division will propagate American ignorance. Bush Republicans don't work for Joe the Plumber, they exploit him. That Party sold out America, beginning with Reagan's trickle-down economics that outsourced middle-class America and deregulated fair-market capitalism so Richy Rich paid less trickling out, not up. They outsourced jobs to Mexico and India for cheap labor and non-existent labor rules, ignoring the Union Label and the workers who built America.

They ignored our safety, knowing its blue-collar children wear red-white-and-blue combat boots. How would those who want Obama to fail have reacted if he went on vacation instead of going to work and ignored imminent threat of an attack? Would they have protested after Sept. 11, knowing the enemies were the people he barbecued with on Daddy's ranch and traded arms to?

M. Cristina Long


Incentives asked

To the editor :

In response to the Union Democrat article "Federal Bailout Dollars for Standard Mill" (April 18):

I would like to see Standard Mill continue its operations and save the badly needed jobs for its workers. But it is owned by Red Emerson and Sons and is "one of their toys." They can open it or close it with a wave of the multi-millionaire's wand.

If its profits are not good enough or environmentalists are being to much of a pain, then they can shut it down just like the mill at Martell - boom, gone. Standard Mill getting bailout money would be like loaning Donald Trump a million dollars for lunch money.

The mill is not a bank. A bank has investors and customers who can directly affect the stability of the United States economy.

If you wish to help matters start by forcing our county government into changing the punitive ways in which it deals with local businesses. Tuolumne County government chases off new business and stunts existing businesses from expanding or Improving their infrastructure.

Look around: This county can hardly afford road maintenance. We should have parks for kids to play in, not just a baseball park. To attract business you must be friendly and not hit them over the head with a permit book and taxes. The county needs to offer tax incentives and a helping hand while sticking to its general plan.

P.H. Luepke


Abysmal abuse

To the editor:

I don't understand why it is that recently almost all of California state employees, except for the incompetent politicians in Sacramento, received a 10 percent pay cut for 18 months.

On April 1, the federal Economic Stimulus Package, titled the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), gave federal money to our state government.

Our state chose to give people that receive food stamps, a very nice 13.6 percent raise in benefits.

So in perspective: If you work for the state, you're required to show up for work, perform your job, and are subject to random drug testing. For this you received a 10 percent pay cut. If you are on welfare and receive food stamps you don't have to look for a job, you don't have to go to school, and you are not subject to random drug testing. For this you received a 13.6 percent raise.

Why is it that politicians can't see it's wrong to force working people to pay for people that don't want to work? If people that are capable of working, were put back in the work force, all the money that is used to support them indefinitely, and all the money they generate in taxes working, could go to the state to help balance our budget.

But this action would mean that our politicians in Sacramento, who were voted into office to serve the people, would actually do what is best for our state. Unfortunately the way they've been acting in their job performances of late, it doesn't appear they are very concerned with the budget at all.

This is a very sad state of affairs and I just don't understand why this abysmal abuse is allowed to continue.

Tony Pedroncelli


Transfer of wealth

To the editor:

There has been much written lately about the failure of the presidency of Mr. George W. Bush. Not so!

Yes the Bush-Cheney team made mistakes, but they didn't go to Washington to represent us. They were there to represent their constituency, the oligarchy of the richest 2 percent of folks in this country.

In the last eight years we have witnessed the greatest transfer of wealth in the history of the world. Their "borrow and spend" policies doubled the national debt in eight short years. Trillions added with tax cuts to the wealthy. Trillions more to the military industrial complex to run two wars at half-speed to keep the military equipment orders going. Remember, there's no profit in peace.

They let the big energy companies write their energy policy, and you got the Enron scandal and have been ripped off at the pump ever since.

The wealth transfer continues with trillions more going to Big Banking and their investors to ball them out. Privatize the profits, the public pays the debt.

Yes, some will think he's a failure but the wealthy will never forget him. They bought President Reagan a house when he left office. Now they are setting up the Bush Policy Institute, a front to funnel lots of cash to him and his cronies. He'll be paid $100,000 in speaker fees to explain why more tax cuts are needed for the wealthy.

Now the wealthy owner of Fox News has some of you waving tea bags to protest the pending loss of his big tax cut.

They play you for chumps every time. Why aren't they protesting corporate tax evasion?

Patrick McGinnis

Twain Harte

Foot stomper

To the editor:

Yea for Jan Higgins and Sonora Courthouse Square Tea Party! Time for us oldtimers to stomp our feet!

Vivian Skipper