Union Democrat staff

The end of the Iraq war

To the Editor:

The Bush War against Iraq officially ended Thursday morning. In a gigantic ceremony attended by a few hundred people, we pulled down our flag and turned the country over to the Iraqi people. We lost over 4,400 soldiers, spent nine wasted years and millions of dollars, but it was well worth it. As Bush said, it was a war against terrorism, or was it weapons of mass destruction, or was it to save the Iraqi people from a despot leader? I forget. Anyway, back to the subject, it's over. And, I guess we won. Didn't we? Not sure what we won but we did. Those darned Iraqis won't be attacking New York in their fleet of rowboats.

But as important as this war was, peace marchers being laughed at, soldiers dying, pouring millions into rebuilding what we had just blown up, its over. And, our people are sure excited. They are dancing in the streets. It's the talk of the town. Big headline print in all the papers. Sure glad the anti-war people got shut up. If they would have had their way, we wouldn't have this glorious victory. It's wonderful, isn't it?

Hope you can get to work today, there may be crowds in the streets, what a celebration. Congratulations, good for America, good for protecting our shores, good for Democracy. Wow, I can hardly type, I'm shaking so with excitement. A proud American.

Stephen Kistner


No TUD rate increase

To the Editor:

I was able to attend the TUD meeting on Dec. 7 at 9 a.m. It should have been held at a time in the day when more of the working people of the county could attend. In any case, it was well attended. The general consensus was the Board should take very seriously what the ratepayers of Tuolumne County want and think of their rate increase. It was an overwhelming no on any rate/tax increase at this time. Not much was said about salaries/benefits except that they are too high.

So I, like a number of people wonder how much the TUD employee is paid and how much that employee contributes to their own retirement/ health benefits. It turns out, for employees, the employer, TUD, that is you and me, Tuolumne ratepayers not employees, pay pretty close to the full freight of those retirement/health benefit contributions. Again, that means all that ratepayers pay for these benefits, not the employee.

I don't begrudge anyone making a decent living. The TUD personnel is great and water is the best in the state. But there is something wrong with this picture. A first step in closing the red ink at TUD would be to start back at the collective bargaining table and have the employee pay their fair share of their benefits. Not a lot of people I know get to retire and if they do they pay toward it. Would we really need any rate increases then? This county is made up of hardworking people, trying to put food on their table and pay all their other bills. We cannot afford any rate/tax increases. Last time I looked, TUD is a public utility that works for the ratepayers not the other way around.

MP McHugh

Twain Harte

Class warfare

To the Editor:

I have never heard this said as simply or as well - class war at its best.

The folks who are getting the free stuff don't like the folks who are paying for the free stuff, because the folks who are paying for the free stuff can no longer afford to pay for both the free stuff and their own stuff.

And, the folks who are paying for the free stuff want the free stuff to stop.

And the folks who are getting the free stuff want even more free stuff on top of the free stuff they are already getting.

Now … the people who are forcing the people who pay for the free stuff have told the people who are receiving the free stuff that the people who are paying for the free stuff are being mean, prejudiced, and racist.

So … the people who are getting the free stuff have been convinced they need to hate the people who are paying for the free stuff by the people who are forcing some people to pay for their free stuff and giving them the free stuff in the first place.

We have let the free stuff giving go on for so long that there are now more people getting free stuff than paying for the free stuff.

Now understand this. All great democracies have committed financial suicide somewhere between 200 and 250 years after being founded. The reason: The voters figured out they could vote themselves money from the treasury by electing people who promised to give them money from the treasury in exchange for electing them.

Will we face this dilemma until the end of time?

Ray Anderson