Letters to the editor: Medicare is not entitlement; Jesus was not a refugee
TO THE EDITOR
Medicare is NOT an "entitlement!" Social Security is NOT an "entitlement!" We paid in!
In the halcyon days, when movie stars were glamorous, did USO shows overseas, and in general earned their keep, many paid 90 percent in taxes, and were glad to do it, to live in a country they could be proud of.
This was in between the original robber barons and the modern-day robber barons.
Now we have useless, "teats-on-a-boar" millionaires, billionaires, and gazillionaires who are set to get what's REALLY an "entitlement" ... a tax cut they DON'T NEED. And US of A is not the country it once was ... a downhill process that started in January.
Supposedly all that newfound wealth would lead to the 1 percent hiring more people, but the reality is that most of it went straight to the shareholders.
Not every rich person was in favor of the tax cut. At least one of them put out a video on why it was — and still is — a bad idea.
And, of course, to pay for this largess, pull the safety net out from under the not-rich ... Paul Ryan's lifelong dream, which is everyone else's dystopian nightmare.
Time to ignore party loyalties
TO THE EDITOR
This month's election for the local Wisconsin Senate seat might be the time to ignore party loyalties.
The candidates are running on several important issues including Second Amendment rights, lower taxes, the states exploding opioid overdose death crisis, and preventing the age tax on seniors health care.
While all these issues have merit, the opioid overdose death crisis seems a much more pressing issue to me.
With Wisconsin 2016 opioid overdose deaths running at 827, compared to 111 just 15 years ago, this is truly a crisis, and we need a committed fighter on this issue to have any chance of bringing this under control.
I think it is crucial that we have someone with the background and the experience and commitment to tackle this problem in Senate District 10, and we have the opportunity to decide that on Jan. 16
Town of River Falls
Jesus was not a refugee
TO THE EDITOR
Now that Christmas is behind us, I wish to bring up something that nearly drives the holiday spirit out of me.
Every December liberals bring out the flacid argument that Jesus was a refugee.
No, he was not!
There was a reason Jesus was born in a Bethlehem stable:
"In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. All went to their own towns to be registered. Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David. He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn." (Luke 2:1-20 — NRSV).
For what was the whole world being registered?
Emperor Augustus was assembling his tax rolls.
Why was there no room at the Inn?
Governmental policy had resulted in a negative effect on the local housing market.
This not a story of a poor refugee.
This is an allegory of today's liberal Democrats.
Had he been around at the time, Sen. Chuck Schumer would have appeared in Gethsemane, with his surgically implanted podium and reading glasses, blaming Republican extremists for Christ's death.
"Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing." (Luke 23:34 - NRSV).
A cause for hope
TO THE EDITOR
We stand at the end of a year in which our government's ideological rejection of climate and environmental science has wrought long-term damage to public health and the earth, virtually guaranteeing that our children's and grandchildren's lives will be more difficult and dangerous than our own.
I watch the news and connect the dots.
In December the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration issued a report on the accelerated melting of Arctic ice. Emily Osborne, a NOAA researcher, says, "This data shows that the magnitude and the sustained rate of warming of the sea ice decline is unprecedented over the last 1,500 years and likely longer."
The melting of the Greenland ice cap alone adds about 270 billion tons of ice and water to the ocean each year, contributing to sea level rise that threatens coastal areas worldwide.
Also in December came the new United Nations estimate that around 258 million migrants are now living outside their birth countries. This number includes the vast influx of refugees stressing the capacities of host countries to which they've fled. We can attribute a significant portion of these to geographical crises resulting from climate change such as the loss of coastal homeland and economic devastation of drought.
One bright light in this gloom is a New York Times report that German consumers are now sometimes being paid to use power instead of vice versa.
This is a dividend of Germany's far-sighted investment of $200 billion in cleaner electricity sources over recent decades.
Here at least is cause for hope, even in the time of Trump and his regressive promotion of harmful dirty energy sources. There is a way out of the pit we've dug for ourselves. Let's muster the political will to extricate ourselves from this trap in the year ahead.
Thomas R. Smith