Union Democrat staff

Chess and war

To the editor:

The Obama administration and the media are calling Russia's decision to give the U.S. military access across their country into Afghanistan a sign of progress between the two countries.

Let's regress: Russian assisted North Vietnam with military supplies, which helped defeat the U.S. forces. The U.S. assisted the Afghans/Bin Laden to defeat Russian forces. The chess game was even at that point. Now the Russians will help facilitate military supplies into the Afghan graveyard for foreigners. Is this help, or Russian chess at its best?

Remember: The U.S. can play baseball and golf against the Russians, but I would not advise playing chess or war with them.

Dennis Schneider

Angels Camp

Shut down commissions

To the editor:

Watching a news broadcast concerning the state budget, I was appalled when the speaker of the Assembly answered the reporter's question, "How many commissions are there?"

This referenced the governor's announcement that his budget would "end some commissions." "We don't know how many there are," the Assembly speaker answered, holding a handful of papers typed single-space top to bottom bearing the names of state commissions.

Many commissions are merely retirement income for former politicians or their staff members. Commissions do not meet; do not report to anyone and many contain only a single member. Some commissions direct businesses and utilities in their operations, which brings into question the performance - or lack thereof - of the executives in charge of said entities.

The general public has no idea of the quantity or quality of state commissions. I could imagine a commission to study the effects of the colors used on bubble gum wrappers in preventing tooth decay among senior citizens.

During financial emergencies as exist today - when there is insufficient funding for health and education and counties are being forced to lay off primary responders, including sheriff deputies - these arcane commissions should all be unfunded.

Keith A Carlen

Twain Harte

Shameful breakdown

To the editor:

Clearly, a shameful breakdown of the American checks-and-balances system occurred during the Bush-Cheney years. The injustices should have been dealt with as they occurred, but a totally subordinate attorney general and ineffectual Congress allowed improper behavior to continue even though most knew it was wrong.

It is time to bring those responsible to justice, otherwise we are diminished as a nation not only to ourselves, but in the eyes of world as well.

Gary Phillips

La Grange

Who is accountable?

To the editor:

After witnessing numerous violations by our local law enforcement team, I question their willingness or ability to "protect and serve."

In the last week I have observed the local team of both Tuolumne County Sheriff's deputies as well as the Sonora police officers speed both in and out of the city limits (north Sonora) without lights or sirens on a regular basis at speeds that I would estimate at well over 50 mph. I am well aware that there may be urgent calls that require their attention, but if so, why not use lights or sirens?

I have also recently witnessed a sheriff's deputy blatantly cross Washington on Linoberg Street to go the wrong way towards Stewart Street.

Who is holding these lawmen accountable?

Brett Thomas