LETTERS for January 27 issue
WHAT’S THE HOLDUP WITH THE WEST MAUI HOSPITAL?
Amazingly enough, I have not heard a peep about the West Maui Hospital/Emergency Room in at least a year, especially from Joe Pluta.
I thought the Certificate of Need, money and property were all secured. What gives? And why no comment whatsoever — why the sudden silence?
I was, and still am, under the impression — like a lot of other residents — that time is of the essence here and BIG TIME. So, any comments from anyone responsible for the (non)progress?
JOHN BLAHUTA, Lahaina
OBAMA WAS BORN IN THE U.S.
What are you saying, Mr. Brock (“Birthers challenge Obama’s citizenship,” Jan. 13 issue)? If you are born in Hawaii, you don’t qualify as a naturalized citizen?
I agree with Mr. Abercrombie. What are you doing here anyway? Aren’t you late for your tea party? Don’t look now, but your bigotry is showing.
LES POTTS, Napili
STOP THE FLOW OF DRUGS INTO AMERICA
Every couple of weeks or so, the American flag in front of my company is lowered to half-staff, because we receive faxes when an American soldier dies in Afghanistan or Iraq.
Every day, Americans die of drug violence and American jobs are stolen by Communist China.
There are over 10 million illegals from Mexico in the United States. If they live here and don’t make trouble, fine.
The problem is Mexico. There are reportedly 35,000 American border patrol agents deployed. Mexico has 750. Get it?
Drugs come from Southeast Asia, the Middle East and Afghanistan through Honduras, Guatemala and Mexico, then into the lungs, arms and hearts of Americans.
Local, state and federal government officials have stated to our face that they will not secure our border.
Mexico has become a terrorist front for organizations like Al-Qaida and Communist China.
Why set off a dirty bomb when you can kill effectively with little bags of powder? They even profit from it.
Our Army needs to withdraw from Afghanistan and be sent into Mexico. They need to be put on the right track, so Mexicans can live normal lives instead of like prisoners of marauding psychopaths and a corrupt government.
As he lay dying, our American envoy to Afghanistan, Richard Holbrooke, is reported to have said, “You’ve got to stop this war in Afghanistan.”
Is this your country or not?
ALFRED BROCK, Via E-mail
GOVERNMENT WORKERS MUST CUT BACK, TOO
It is offensive that Gov. Neil Abercrombie will add additional money to the government employee health care plan at this time. I realize that he has only been in office a few days. However, he must recognize that there are tens of thousands of our citizens that have sustained a reduction in their work hours, had their work benefits reduced, earned less money and some even lost their jobs entirely. I personally know of no one in the private sector that is better off today than they were 30 months ago. Not one.
Contrarily, every 30 months, each politician and government employee has received pay increases with no loss of benefits during this time frame. This action by the governor is egregious and cries out for a sense of fairness.
It seems $18 million may appear to him as petty cash after being in Congress. To the people of Hawaii, though, it is a mountain of money. Sir, it is money we don’t have and will only intensify our ultimate balance of the books.
JAMES WAGONER, Kula
RULED BY RIFLESThe Pentagon and the National Rifle Association have a lot in common these days. They’re in love with guns. They maintain powerful lobbies. They refuse to acknowledge the dangerous consequences of their policies.
And they’re both on the defensive.
After the Tucson massacre, the NRA has a lot to answer for. The attempted assassination of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ), in which the congresswoman and a dozen bystanders were wounded and six others were murdered, has again focused attention on how easy it is to buy guns and use them in this country.
The NRA has managed to survive attempted and successful assassinations of presidents, horrifying school shootings and other killing sprees. Every year, nearly 100,000 Americans are shot and guns kill approximately 10,000 people, according to gun control advocates.
It’s practically a war. The NRA will yet again dig in its heels to make sure that “the guys with the guns make the rules,” as NRA head Wayne LaPierre phrased it in 2009. Support for stricter gun laws has declined from 78 percent in 1990 to only 44 percent in 2010.
The Pentagon, meanwhile, faces a similar public relations disaster. Iraq is a mess. The Taliban still controls large sections of Afghanistan. Unmanned drone attacks in Pakistan have simply disturbed the hornet’s nest.
Given all this, it would be fitting if the American people demanded cuts in military spending because of the Pentagon’s failed policies. Instead, the Pentagon faces the ax because of the overall budget deficit. The Pentagon is doing all it can to prevent the cuts. Like the NRA, the generals and majors won’t give up their guns without a fight.
President Barack Obama recently ordered the Pentagon to cut $78 billion over the next five years. This comes on top of about $100 billion that Secretary of Defense Robert Gates identified as savings that could be reinvested in “boots on the ground.”
Yet the military budget is projected to increase until at least 2015. Military contractors have dodged a bullet. In exchange for giving up a few token systems, the $100 billion of redirected savings will mean more money for other big-ticket items like missile defense systems and long-range strike bombers. To ensure that the spigot remains open, Gates has played up the alleged China threat.
Like the NRA, the Pentagon refuses to connect the dots between policies and consequences. The United States is responsible for nearly half of all global military expenditures — and yet we’re bewildered by our perennial budget deficits.
As the world’s number one arms peddler, Washington continues to push exports to the developing world — and then we’re surprised at all the conflicts that continue to burn. Our policy-makers labor under the persistent delusion that war is the answer to our foreign policy problems, and then we’re aghast that our adversaries seize on violence in return.
Through it all, the Pentagon continues to claim that it’s in the “defense” business, and that demilitarization would make us all less safe. The NRA likewise argues that gun control would only take weapons away from people who need to defend themselves. Through repetition and money, these institutions transmute such madness into conventional wisdom.
The very faint good news is that both the NRA and the Pentagon are digging in their heels because they realize they’re standing on slippery slopes. It’s our job to seize this moment of tragedies at home and abroad to push both organizations downhill. We have to stop the guys with the guns from making their deranged rules — and fast.
JOHN FEFFER, Institute for Policy Studies