Helping people

To the Editor,

I am getting very tired of hearing all the bad news about all the human tragedies around the world, but not enough about helping those who need help. Why can’t the U.S. stop making war around the world, divert more tax money from military spending to helping the people who are suffering?

In addition to wind, water and fire tragedies, many people are starving in other countries. We could help them.

The U.S. spends more on and builds more military equipment than the rest of the world combined. Why? And, why do we need a thirteenth (multi-billion dollar) aircraft carrier? And, why do we need to build more atomic weapons, while asking other countries to stop?

Maybe we should imagine ourselves in North Korea’s shoes. They are under threat by the greatest military power in the world, which has attacked and nearly obliterated other countries.

Think of the thousands of Americans who have died or been injured (and millions of other people) in conflicts that many think were unnecessary. We are very sorry for all of the human losses. Maybe there would be much less if the U.S. would cut back on meddling in other countries. And, there would be much less terrorism against this country. That is called blowback.

Couldn’t we retrain and employ some of the weapon builders to rebuild our infrastructure, and construct more solar power and other clean energy sources.

Many good questions — I wish the politicians had some good answers.

Jerry Fueslein


Don’t be complacent

To the Editor:

It seems to me that David Vassar’s article in the guest column was an excellent argument against legalizing marijuana cultivation and processing in Tuolumne County. He correctly surmised that the “train wreck” that now threatens Calaveras County was set in motion by a hasty decision to legalize the marijuana industry in that county.

The good people of Calaveras County are now paying for that decision and I applaud those who are attempting to reverse the damage already done to the moral fiber of their community. As always with taking the moral high-ground, it will come at a cost.

Snake-oil salesmen have always been a danger to those seeking an easy fix for their problems and in times past were tarred, feathered and run out of town. My hope is that Tuolumne County will not be fooled by this “harmless” industry that promises so many benefits but will instead deliver crime, violence and confusion.

The rush by many to believe the propaganda of the marijuana industry reminds me of a song I heard as a child about a lady that paid dearly for her naivete. It went like this: “She sailed away on a sunny summer day on the back of a crocodile. ‘You see,’ said she ‘he’s as tame as he can be, I’ll ride him down the Nile.’ The croc winked his eye as she bade them all goodbye, wearing a happy smile. At the end of the ride, the lady was inside and the smile was on the crocodile.”

David Peters


Silencers aren’t silent

To the Editor:

I have some thoughts on an unnamed bill co-sponsored by Tom McClintock. After researching H.R. 3668, “The Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act of 2017,” I can see Mr. McClintock provided some comments but I can’t verify that he co-sponsored it. As a sportsman and shooter, I would be happy if he did.

A letter published on Nov. 9 adamantly opposed “silencers,” which might reduce the sounds a rifle produces when fired, but only to a limited degree (unlike Hollywood’s romanticized version of a “silencer” so often seen in the movies). A “silencer” is only capable of reducing the firearm’s report (the bang) by 18 to 32 db of suppression, which still ends up having a noise level of around 130 db. This is in the noise range of chainsaws, rock concerts or rocket engines according to Wikipedia (probably why my hearing is so bad).

What a suppressor does not do is knock down the sound of the supersonic bullet traveling through the air, so this does not equal zero noise or anywhere close to it. A more realistic piece of legislation regarding suppressors could actually be beneficial to shooters and to those who live close to hunting and shooting areas.

Far from being irresponsible, H.R. 3668 would be a very responsible piece of legislation. If Mr. McClintock did co-sponsor it, I commend him.

Jim Phelan


Radio show lineup

To the Editor:

I remember the dismay and dread I felt when Donald Trump was elected. He had clearly shown us who he was and what we might expect from him. By now, his personal shortcomings and the destructiveness of his policies are apparent to everyone. But the propaganda machine grinds on, shredding the truth and spreading a layer of falsehood so deep and wide that it has become the common ground for political discourse for too many, and Donald Trump retains a base of loyal supporters.

The most important player on the propaganda team is Fox News, whose express purpose is to present a very conservative viewpoint. It is dangerous for our democracy for a major news network to be an apologist and a cheerleader for the ruling party, especially if defending and promoting an agenda is more important than the truth.

On weekdays, our local radio station presents right wing talk shows from nine in morning to six in the evening. It is a shameless lineup of rhetorical dishonesty that is working very effectively to sell the agenda of the wealthy Republican donors. For example, almost every nation in the world recognizes that human activity is disrupting the climate, and they have agreed to take measures to avoid disaster, but the American public has doubts about the clear consensus of scientific experts because talk radio and subservient politicians like Tom McClintock, with his speeches at the Heartland Institute, have ensnared the issue in a web of confusion.

If there are any conservative talk show hosts who can have an honest discussion of the issues without demonizing the opposition and who can refrain from gossip, half-truths, and conspiracy theories, then let’s hear them on our local radio. It would be a welcome improvement.

John Watson


Rewards of wealth

To the Editor:

The rationale being offered for cutting taxes for corporations and the wealthiest one percent is that doing so will stimulate job creation.

The top 100 corporations in the country have already squirreled away $2.6 trillion overseas to avoid paying taxes on those funds. They have not created jobs with those funds. There is no reason to think they will create jobs with the billions they will receive in tax cuts under the Republican bills currently before the House and the Senate.

What might have created jobs was the $780 billion in taxes those corporations would have paid had their funds not been off-shored. There are any number of things that $780 billion could have paid for, beginning, perhaps, with repair of the crumbling infrastructure of the country.

Currently in the U.S., three individuals possess more wealth than the bottom 50 percent of our population. We do not need to keep rewarding the wealthiest persons and corporations, especially when those “rewards” take from and harm people who have far less.

Gal A. Williams

Angels Camp