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Opinion: Letters to the Editor

When will 'power to people' make return?

To the Editor:

Indeed, it appears that in this Christmas season of 2010, we are living in the dark night of the American soul. With the "Citizens United vs. Federal Elections Commission" decision of the U.S. Supreme Court passed last January, our political system was given into the hands of the large corporations, among them the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which now has the right to dispense an unlimited amount of money into political campaigns as an expression of their "right of free speech."

With that, the country has been handed over to the wealthiest class of Americans; hence, the election campaign of 2010 was the most expensive in U.S. history. We poorer Americans are no longer free, for we have been made the subjects of those who through their lobbyists now rule the country. We need a new birth of freedom from the culture of greed. Work for it. Pray for it.

Future historians will mark this year as the turning point when "liberty and freedom for all" was replaced by "liberty and the freedom of the wealthy from their responsibilities as citizens of this country." I am reminded of the CEO of Mobil/Exxon who came on TV during the 1973 oil crisis to say "We are not a national company, but 'multi-national.' " Thus began the trend of manufacturing companies moving out of the United States into Puerto Rico, Mexico and soon to China and small nations throughout the Far East, while American workers were fired from their jobs.

How long will it be before "power to the people" once again becomes part of our political rhetoric?

Michael D. Ryan, Mitchell

Comforting to hear from victim's family

To the Editor:

This letter is in reference to your articles on the tragic shooting death of Matthew Montag, 19.

Upon reading your articles, one would likely assume that the untimely death of Matthew involved excessive alcohol and a potential confrontation between Matthew and the accidental shooter.

It is my sincere hope, having known of Matthew and his quality of character, that this was an honest case of misinformation and not an attempt to dramatize this story.

Having spent this past weekend with the Montag family and seeing Matthew put to rest, it was comforting to hear from them the true state of Matthew's mind and body the night of the shooting without having to rely on your publication.

Bill McGuckin, Matawan, N.J.

Too many suffering under GOP agenda

To the Editor:

The Republican Party has successfully defeated attempts to grant seniors a one-time, $250 payment to help offset the lack of a COLA for the second year in a row. They also held the unemployed hostage until they got their demands for a continuation of lower taxes for the richest and on inheritance taxes. Guess who they watch out for? Now they can cross their fingers for the next elections as too many people are suffering under their agenda.

Dennis Leischner, Mitchell

Going smoke-free is best for S. Dakota

To the Editor:

A recent letter in this newspaper criticized the American Cancer Society for its work in support of the statewide smoke-free law. This criticism makes absolutely no sense to me. In fact, it would make more sense to criticize the Cancer Society if it didn't support the smoke-free law. After all, the ACS is dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem and in order to do that, the society must invest in research, education AND prevention. This includes getting the smoke out of your workplaces.

Secondhand smoke is proven to increase the risk of cancer in nonsmokers. It contains more than 4,000 toxic chemicals, nearly 60 of which are known to cause everything from lymphoma and leukemia to brain, liver and, of course, lung cancer. Yet this increased risk can easily be eliminated by simply having smokers step outside to light up. Rarely is preventing cancer so simple and straightforward.

As a volunteer and supporter, I commend the American Cancer Society for working to eliminate cancer through all means necessary, including statewide smoke-free laws. Considering the amount of pain and suffering caused by smoking-related cancer in this state, going smoke-free is surely the right thing to do.

Charlene Berke, Director, Avera Queen of Peace Cancer Center, Mitchell

Feel free to send government a check

To the Editor:

In response to a letter to the editor by Jay Williams in the Dec. 11 edition, I see our state has its own Bernie Sanders (Socialist Party senator from Vermont). Mr. Williams is asking us to be patriotic by paying more taxes; he even goes so far as asking us to write our congressmen and demand they raise our taxes. Right now, according to The Associated Press, 47 percent of eligible taxpayers pay nothing. I doubt if they will make the call. As you see, we now have more people in the wagon than are pulling the wagon. The top 10 percent of earners (those you call the rich) now pay 71 percent of all taxes.

Mr. Williams, no matter how much in taxes the government takes in, it will always spend more. It's not a tax problem, it's a spending problem.

I'm going to be patriotic in a different way. I'm going to send President Obama a free download to "" His last trip to Mumbai after the election where he took along 3,000 people and rented all 570 rooms in the Taj Mahal for 10 days cost about $200 million a day, close to $2 billion. Then I'm going to send Michelle Obama the channel for Home Shopping Network, since her last shopping trip to Spain cost the taxpayers $375,000. And, finally, I'm going to send Nancy Pelosi an Amtrak ticket to California to save taxpayers about $28,000 per trip. It will be a one-way ticket.

And to you, Mr. Williams, in our great free country, you have the right, privilege and patriotic duty of sending the federal government all the extra money you want to. But like most liberals, your ideas always revolve around spending somebody else's money.

Gregg Hubner, Avon

Inmates taking jobs away from workers

To the Editor:

Your "overcrowded prisons" cartoon should have a sign above the door that reads "JOBS."

Recently, you reported that inmates are being used to build the new prison. You reported in another article on the same page that the Labor Department will use a federal grant to help the unemployed train for work.

Why are inmates helping with the construction of our new prison when these jobs should be given to unemployed construction workers of our state? There should be a federal ban on prison labor. Inmate labor for less than prevailing wages is no different than the gulags in other countries that we criticize for human rights violations.

Where is the outrage?

Tom Meyer, Mitchell

Drinking is problem that needs attention

To the Editor:

We are all saddened and grieved by the tragic accidental shooting of some days ago, but did anyone find it ironic that the sidebar in the story proclaimed that what we need is more gun safety? Like we all need hemorrhoids.

When was the last time we read about a car full of kids in an accident because the driver was smoking? And yet we have done a very good job of regulating cigarettes, but are content to let yet another entity sell beer and eventually get video lottery -- two cancers that are decimating our society. Come on, people, wake up.

It's not about free enterprise. Where is business' responsibility to help maintain the social integrity of the community -- what little we seem to have left.

Drinking and gambling are serious problems, and nobody is paying any attention.

Kathy Domeyer, Mitchell

Council should limit approval of alcohol

To the Editor:

I would like to ask the City Council members of Mitchell how they feel about the recent shooting incident that allegedly involved alcohol.

They keep giving licenses out to more businesses in Mitchell all the time. The people who sell the licenses are partly responsible for his death, and also the ones who vote for them to have licenses.

God keeps the records and all of those who make the liquor available are going to give an account to Him. Wake up all you people who are making alcohol available anywhere. May God have mercy on all of you.

Genevieve Reeves, White Lake