Union Democrat staff

Thanks again, vets

To the editor:

My husband, Erik, and I were invited to a local veterans' meeting last week to be presented with a "Certificate of Appreciation" for making a donation to support the Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Parade.

We just want to say that this gesture was very uncomfortable for us. It was like sending someone a thank-you card only to have them return with another thank-you. We left there feeling unsettled, not having said what we really wanted to say.

So here it is: We love our veterans. We love our freedom. We wanted to show you this by donating what we could. We would have done it without a banner, without a certificate and without a "thank you."

My husband and I are in our early 30s. We were not there when you came home, we were not there to witness the treatment you all endured. We were not there to say, "thank you."

We do promise to instill in our only child the importance of supporting our country - even when and if we don't agree.

To support the people that do the things we are not willing or able to do ourselves. To appreciate the sacrifice of heart, mind, family, and all it takes to serve, bravely or not so bravely. To remind ourselves that separation of heart is poison for the soul. And, finally, that we do not have to agree or accept or change our views if we do not see fit in order to love this country ... we just have to love this country.

Again, my point is that we did what we did, because you did what you did. My only regret is that we could not do more.

Thank you, thank you, thank you. With love and appreciation,

Erik and Kimberly Blakeway


It's called greed

To the editor:

There is a great desire by the "Bush haters" to justify their voting for Obama, but to tell outright lies is unjustifiable!

President Bush did not take off the controls governing the stock market and banking. "Frontline," as pointed out by Wayne Kirkbride (letter, April 15) recently had had an excellent article pointing out that Alan Greenspan and two of his "accomplices" brought about that phase of the decontrol.

You remember Greenspan, don't you? He held the office now occupied by Ben Bernanke. They decided the economy was doing so well that it did not need controlling. This decision allowed Senator Dodd and Rep. Barney Frank to gain windfalls in excess of $90 million dollars (AIG?) and $135 million from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

These men and others were on the committee to protect against exactly what they did, and are still doing it, by the way. These are the ones who took off the controls, not Bush.

Get the facts straight before telling lies to further your agenda of blaming President Bush. Remember his name, Mr. Alan Greenspan, a man that was trusted by all America. By not watching the store, he and tax cheats like Timothy Geithner allowed all that has happened in the downturn. It is called greed.

Oh yes! What does restoring the funding of Acorn have to do with health care?

Thank you, James Schlotthauer for your "Trickle up poverty" letter (April 15). .

Connie Dresbach

Cedar Ridge

Republicans vs. Democrats

To the editor:

Jim Hassay (letter, April 12) claims four people who wrote earlier letters are brainwashed by the Republican Party.

Appears to me he has been brainwashed by the extreme liberal Democrats. This country was founded on you taking care of yourself, not depending on government to change your diapers.

Reagan and Clinton both signed deregulation bills presented by Congress. Presidents can only ask; Congress must provide the means.

I agree deregulation is the cause of many of our problems. Reagan asked for a wall to be removed, and he suddenly becomes the cause of ethnic cleansing? Give me a break!

Nixon was a crook, along with many other Republicans and Democrats. At least JFK had to the sense to have his sex away from the White House.

Bush: Deficit OK, but not $1.4 trillion and growing.

Obama is not smart. He can't talk without his teleprompter.

During a recent town hall meeting he was asked, "Why increase taxes during a recession?" Seventeen minutes of rambling without answering the question. That's an intelligent man?

Congress and presidents have lied to the public for decades. Nothing new there.

Are you proud of how your health insurance, not health care bill was passed? Promised transparency? Ten years of taxes for six years of health insurance? Because it cannot pay for itself?

Socialism: A theory or system of ownership of the means of production and distribution by society rather than by individuals. Socialized medicine: A system supplying complete medical and hospital care to all through public funds.

We not only have the nerve to question your new president, but the right. Given to us by the Constitution.

Chuck Wagner

Mi-Wuk Village

Propane prices

To the editor:

Thank you for printing all of the letters regarding propane prices.

Like Ana Schirmer (letter, April 7), my husband and I have become aware that our propane company has been charging much higher prices than other local companies. We recently took the time to compare the prices we had been charged by our current company with the prices charged by four other local companies on the dates of our four most recent fill-ups.

All four companies charged significantly less on all four dates. If we had received those four fill-ups from any of those other companies, we would have saved anywhere from $397 to $506, or around $100 per fill-up.

My advice to our propane company: Drop your prices to be competitive with all the other companies in the county, then do something to try to retain the customers who are angry at having been ripped off.

My advice to all the other propane companies in this county: Prepare for a flood of new customers.

Lisa Mayers


Rural values out-voted

To the editor:

To save the United States of America, we each have a responsibility to be informed of the platform of nominated officials at all levels of government, and to vote accordingly. We need to then monitor their voting records on those issues.

A wise man once told me that when the interest on a debt cannot be met, society will collapse. That is how Hitler came to power after World War I. Let's not repeat history. The French Revolution was caused by excesses in government, of which our founding fathers were very aware of when they created the U.S. Constitution.

We cannot spend ourselves to prosperity. It inflates our money and we all lose. There is no free lunch. Wealth is only created by mining, growing or changing for the needs of man. Open competition must be a part of free enterprise. Government guarantees caused the current crisis for the middle class.

Our rural values of production and responsible self-reliance are out-voted by urban values of entitlement.

The environmental movement is so counterproductive, it has tied us in our own shirt tail. We all want clean water and blue skies, but it must be balanced against the economic needs of man.

Bert Maxwell


Unions run amok

To the editor:

As Tuolumne County and the State of California sink deeper into debt, drastic measures must be taken. Here are two changes:

• Public employee pension reform: The current defined benefit system has to be changed for new hires to a defined contribution system. I appreciate the sacrifices of policemen and firemen, but stop with the 75 percent, plus or minus, of salary when retiring. Public employees should have an IRA-type plan, like most Americans, wherein the public agency they work for contributes a yearly amount directly to an IRA. When they retire, the money is theirs. This is better than a yearly pension at a set amount.

I would also change immediately laws and regulations to say that if a retired government employee takes another government job, the only pension they receive is their first.

• California prisons: I would encourage privatization of our prisons. Correctional officers' pay and benefits take up 40 percent of the total public employee outlay. That is shameful. Privatization would ease the burden on the state.

It is obvious that California's public employee unions have run amok. Today, unions represent less than 15 percent of all American workers. They seem to exist to break the bank for cities and states, while the best and the brightest of workers gravitate to the private sector.

John Robinson


Double standard

To the editor:

I have a question for those of you who oppose "compulsory" health insurance. Do you also oppose "compulsory" auto insurance?

Given the abuse dumped upon uninsured motorists who cause damage to others, one would expect people to fervently embrace making health insurance mandatory. Instead, people who don't have medical coverage, even if they can afford it, are described as "exercising their freedom of choice." Even though they may be making extensive use of emergency room services, which drives up health insurance costs for all of us, especially those who pay our own premiums (myself included).

Isn't there a double standard at work here? Or is change of any kind, even for the better, seen as being a threat?

Malcolm Carden

Long Barn