Union Democrat staff

Will not forgive

To the editor:

On Treasure Island, during the summer of 1968, I rested after my first deployment in Vietnam and prepared for my second.

I watched as University of San Francisco and UC Berkeley-sanctioned buses carried college students to San Francisco International Airport. Students lined the concourses to shout insults and throw garbage at returning vets, some still in uniform. There weren't any news cameras, and this isn't taught in our schools.

Many of those students are now school teachers and some are college teachers. They now indoctrinate my granddaughter in their ideology.

If the community is going to have a parade, have some of those former students march, and the vets form the gauntlet of garbage and insults. I might come to your parade then.

I, for one, won't attend a parade that causes me to remember how citizens of my country treated me. I cannot forget. Nor will I forgive.

Don't bother asking.

Richard A. Eller

USMC retired


Won't march

To the editor:

Being a Vietnam-era veteran, having served my tour in Europe, I was ecstatic at the news of the parade. I immediately got information to march, and informing many people of my excitement. Twenty percent of these people, friends and even my son, asked "You were in Nam?" (meaning, did you fight?).

Nothing has changed. I cannot begin to describe the devastation in my heart. I will watch, not march, waving a flag.

Michael Johnson

Twain Harte

Spend at home

To the editor:

We are told that our governments are broke and deep in debt, but it seems that our federal government has money and aid to give away to several foreign countries. Most of them don't like us and would not return the favor.

What about helping our citizens and taxpayers first, like the elderly, students, handicapped, veterans, homeless, etc. What we give away could get us good health care, Medicare and Social Security without more taxation.

Our president is very generous to other countries with our money. Will we ever realize that we can't buy friendship and save the world? World leader should not mean world supporter.

Roy Jueal

Twain Harte

The Parade

To the editor,

Re: Paul Fairfield's March 9 letter, "What if there was a parade and nobody came?"

In the late 1960's, I served with some wise young men from small towns with names like Callicoon, N.Y., Muleshoe, Texas and Deer Lodge, Montana. We had all figured out how to beat the draft by joining the Marine Corps.

These jarheads were both friends and family. We shared food, letters and dreams. From the examples of these same young men, I learned that there are often bigger things in this life than just one's self. It was at the suggestion of one of these friends that I happened to come to Tuolumne County. As I recall, he said, "There are good people in Tuolumne … and they love parades."

I don't care in what war you served, everyone walks away with a sense of real loss. As Vietnam-era veterans, we have no monopoly on anguish, anger or resentment. I would like to think we are as big men now as we were at 19 - big enough, anyway, to make room for the young men and women coming home from war today.

If the draft and those times taught me nothing else, it was to keep a low profile.

So how about this suggestion? Change the name to The Parade, and we could come out with all the other vets and line the sidewalks to cheer the good folks of this community as they parade by.

It would be great way for us to show our appreciation for giving us a place to call home and for the opportunity to put our lives back together.

Semper Fidelis.

Al Neff


Propane pricing

To the editor:

Walt Cook's Feb. 16 story on unfair propane pricing caught my eye. I call them the way I see them, and when my local propane company charged me an additional dollar for a Hazmat fee some years back, I called it a ripoff scam to loyal customers.

Did they have an armed guard on the truck to protect us from terrorists? No.

I figure if they spill propane, they - not the customer - should pay to clean up the mess. Now several years later and a dollar raise per year, the fee went up to $4 per customer with a name change (all companies have a different name for it). It was called a "regulatory compliance fee."

Will I go to jail if I don't pay the fee? Propane is not taxable, so to whom does this regulatory fee go? Is it for the federal government, the state or the county? Or is it going to greedy propane companies?

Just think of the money paid per customer at the present fee of $4 per delivery! Is this a conspiracy by all the propane companies in this county? Where is justice?

Next is the discount plan scam. My local propane company offers several special plans, for instance one for a discount for senior citizens. There are four or five and at one time I qualified for at least three discounts.

My bill didn't change, so I called and was told only one discount could be given at one time, not all of them. I encourage all you propane customers to write in about these issues.

Harry E. Shaw


Socialism revisited

To the editor:

In response to Dennis Del Corno's March 1 letter:

I will answer your last question first: Yes, Social Security is a form of socialism and one of the biggest Ponzi schemes going. We put Bernie Madoff in jail for one much smaller.

As for socialism, I don't think it is necessarily an evil thing. That said, our Constitution provides for the government to protect our God-given rights. The military, FBI, CIA, Homeland Security, etc. can be seen as providing that protection.

The Interstate Commerce Act of 1887 stretches the protection to any activity that crosses state lines. Many of the current laws based on this act exceed its original intention, giving government a greater reach then originally intended.

As for the states, they were left on their own as long as they didn't violate the U.S. Constitution. If California wants universal health care, then so be it. We can always "vote with our feet," as the founders intended. Public Employees are just that - people employed by the government doing the work of the government. Police and fire protection seem to be government work, since they involve public safety.

As for education, it should never have become a government job. Control of education went from the control of a local school board, to a city or county school board, to state departments of education and now to the Federal Department of Education, which gave us No Child Left Behind. We see how that worked out.

When the government's work expands to things normally provided by the private sector, such as building cars, operating banks, providing insurance, retirement and health care, does that government become socialistic?

Jay Bunten


Do it ourselves

To the editor:

Recently, the president of the Tuolumne County Democratic Club submitted a letter advocating a single- payer, Medicare-for-all type health care system.

I have to take issue with several of Domenic Torchia's claims. He says Medicare for all will reduce costs. First of all, Medicare cost estimates have never been within 10 percent of actual costs. This plan cuts $500 billion from Medicare, while adding coverage to 30 million people. Even Obama stumbles when he tries to explain how that works.

Mr. Torchia wrote, "It will create no new government agencies." According to MSNBC, the health care bill will create 32 new agencies, task forces, advisory committees, and other bureaucratic creations.

Apart from creating agencies, the bill would generate a huge amount of work for the secretary of Health and Human Services, with dozens of new projects and grant programs.

He says "it will create hundreds of thousands of great private-sector jobs in the American health care industry." Perhaps; anything's possible.

I would be interested to learn of another huge government entitlement that spurred the private sector employment Mr. Torchia seems so confident a single payer plan will. Someone give me an example of the government's success in cutting spending anywhere, and maybe then I'll sign up. I believe that's wishful thinking.

I also believe we can improve our situation, but we are going to have to do it ourselves, step by step. Finally, I would suggest to Mr. Torchia that by using terms like "baggers" and "psychopaths" to denigrate concerned Americans that love their country only embarrasses the people he represents.

Guy Emery