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Letters for Monday, June 2, 2008

• Shattered glass

• Where is substitute back pay?

• Hardly the bully

• The real outrage

Shattered glass

Jason Nichols has divided us into half-empty and half-full glasses (“Glass half empty or half full?” Letters, June 1). It seems that he resents the fact that his glass is a small one. The fact is that hard work, determination and creativity are justly compensated within our economic system. There are plenty of professions and businesses that are as rewarding for what you give as for what you get back. To refer to all who have more than you as greedy and self-serving is naive and simplistic. Your attitude appears to me to be one of “sour grapes.”

As for the police, they are becoming appropriately armed, not heavily. If they will have an unfair advantage, that is how it should be. That unfair advantage will extend to matters of civil disobedience as well. I suspect that is at the heart of recent protesting over police equipment and response.

Pete Antonson


Where is substitute back pay?

Representative Marcus Oshiro needs to get off his high horse when talking about “government” saving for a “rainy day” (“Hawai‘i’s needy families deserve the truth from administration,” Guest Viewpoint, June 1).

Everyone knows “government” never saves money, they merely take it away from wage earners. Its called “taxation.”

If taxing wage earners doesn’t bring in enough money they venture into other arenas of “free money” not so legal. Such as embezzling portions of hard-working state employees’ salaries from funded legislation of the very Legislature that Oshiro works in. And when caught and found guilty by the state’s very own court system, does our Legislature or governor do anything to rectify this stealing from not only our substitute teacher employees but also the futures of our children? No. Nobody does a damn thing to resolve these illegal acts. Not a penny has been paid back of the over $15 million owed substitutes in back pay over a nine-year period.

Oshiro stated he used to be a legal aid attorney. Ever work in the private sector? The “real world” you speak of? I did, as a small businessman for over 35-plus years on Kaua‘i. If I knowingly and illegally withheld salaries, or benefits, from my employees, and did not pay them back, I’d be writing this letter from jail, hearing first from the IRS.

How about Oshiro leading the effort to square-up the bill the state owes thousands of substitute teachers in wages, not to mention benefits? Or do your agendas of “money, power, politics” stand in the way?

John Hoff


Hardly the bully

In response to the letter, “Paying dearly for security,” that was published May 31:

The writer bemoans the high cost of national security when compared to other western democracies and cites the absence of aggression against those democracies. Obviously those countries have the luxury of such small defense outlays for two reasons. They can count on the U.S. to come to their aid in time of need. And they are not the major impediments to the designs of the world’s “bullies” (to use Chaquette’s term for his own country).

The U.S. saved Western Europe from fascism, and defeated imperial Japan turning it into one of the world’s great democracies. It saved half of Korea from the Maoist backwater north of the 38th parallel, and it held in check for 10 years communist aggression in southeast Asia, only to have it thrown away by a Democrat Congress that ended funding to enforce the Paris Peace Accords. What followed was the mass slaughter in Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam.

In addition we freed Muslim Afghanistan from Soviet Russia, and Muslim Iraq from the psychopathic Saddam. Hardly the record of “the world’s bully.”

To defend against the billion strong Muslim menace it will continue to be expensive. The Koran dictates that impediments to Islamic world domination be destroyed. And we are the one great impasse to that end.

John Burns


The real outrage

It’s apparent the phrase “We’re living in two Americas” is becoming more and more accurate. There are those who see America as the standard bearer of freedom, security and hope for the entire world and then there are those who view this country as a horrible example of greed, stupidity and death.

I’ve got news for those of you who lean toward the latter perception. You’re wrong, and if a majority of this country ever follows your lead you’ll be “dead wrong” along with the rest of us. In his thoughtful letter Dennis Chaquette (“Paying dearly for security,” Letters, May 31) asks some pertinent questions.

Is the $600 billion we spend every year on defense keeping us safer? The answer is: It’s not only keeping us safer, it’s allowing countries like Australia and New Zealand to spend far less and be as safe as we are.

If there is an inequity it’s that, with the exception of Japan, other countries aren’t paying their fair share for the portion of their defense that is being provided by our United States citizens who have been shouldering those costs. Instead of putting down our country, shouldn’t we be writing to chastise the other nations of the world who are “free” because of the United States and are not paying their fair share for our defense of their freedom.

Isn’t that the real outrage we should be writing about?

Gordon Oswald



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