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Letters for Thursday, July 26, 2001

Letters for Thursday, July 26, 2001

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Juvenile delinquents

Old Glory, young hooligans

What sort of people let their kids show disrespect for the flag of their country?

I am an 83-year-old Navy veteran who spent 20 years in service of the country in two wars and learned what the flag represented and the respect that was due it - not just for the time spent in the service but for the sacrifice others before me gave so that there would be a flag to appreciate. I have flown the flag every day for over a year and have never had a problem until July 22, when three young boys, about 8 to 10 years old, decided to have some fun with the old guy. They undid the halyard to the flag and let it fall to the ground. They have done this twice.

I reraised the flag after the first time, because I thought it might have come loose, but about five minutes later it happened again and I saw the kids running away.

I don't think it's a bit funny, nor does it give these kids any self-esteem by doing it.

This has been a pleasant and secure neighborhood for the seven years we have lived here, and we have had no concerns about the conduct of the adults or the kids until now. To have some young people deliberately unfasten the ropes holding the flag up so they could see the flag fall to the ground makes me want to paddle their asses.

George J. Eldridge,

170 N. Easy St., Missoula

Roadless initiative

Bush choking off people's voice

So tricky Bush (from Texas, where they do not have national forests or public lands) and his new Forest Service chief, Dale Bosworth, are going to rewrite the roadless ban (with complex and camouflaging questions for "new" public opinions) "through an open and fair process and address the concerns of states, tribes, local communities and others."

The others apparently refers to the 90 percent of the 1.6 million American citizens who unanimously supported the roadless ban initiative in the public participation process.

Is the Forest Service some kind of Army of Occupation that serves an anti-environmental president and secretary of agriculture (with a genetic engineering corporate background, including GE hybrid trees plans) and the subsidized logging industry? What difference is there between a democracy and dictatorship when overwhelming citizen input is ignored and insulted and our forests destroyed with subsidized logging and roading?

Don't worry though - in cooperation with logging industries, local economic interests and ATVs, forest rangers will determine various adjustments and eliminations for the future use of the 58.5 million acres under the roadless ban (with destruction and degradation of quality forests and recreation, particularly in lower areas).

Yet, social science research reveals that the same rangers have strong biases toward these local, economic interests, which, in turn, have strong political influences on them. As federal public land officials, they are responsible to the national public interest with its concerns for old-growth forests, wildlife and quality recreation.

All Americans own national forests - not a few local logging, economic, and ATV interests. And then add the intense timber-cutting pressures and quotas by Bosworth (not the previous chief who resigned when he saw what was coming). And bingo, Bush has snuck another trick along with his anti-abortion, Kyoto and energy manipulations.

Daniel H. Henning,

1512 Highway 93, No. 22, Polson

Second Amendment

Recipe for slavery: Disarm the people

And just what did George Mason, head of the Virginia constitutional delegation and originator of the Declaration of Rights (incorporated into the Constitution by Jefferson as "The Bill of Rights") say to Jefferson about the Second Amendment?

"I ask sir, what is the militia? It is the WHOLE people. To disarm the people is the best and most effective way to enslave them."

Stan Ryan,

115 Eagle Drive, Polson

Left-wingers have polluted the issue

In your editorial of July 18 you addressed the issue of Attorney General John Ashcroft trying to return the interpretation of the wording of the Second Amendment to what the writers of that amendment intended it to mean.

The Second Amendment was placed in the Constitution in 1791, and since then many words have been polluted in our English language. Therefore the only proper interpretation that can be used is what the words meant when they were used.

When the argument first began about what the militia is and what that word means, I spent time in the main library in downtown Los Angeles and found two dictionaries: One was the edition of 1837 and the other one was the edition of 1869.

These dictionaries are much closer to the time that the Second Amendment was written, therefore their definitions must prevail: 1837 - "Militia, the whole body of physically fit male civilians eligible by law for military services. The armed citizenry, as distinct from the regular Army." The 1869 issue repeated verbatum this definition.

Recent dictionaries define militia as a part of the armed service of a nation. Is there anyone who can not see the difference between these two definitions and recognize pollution of a word?

Ashcroft is absolutely correct in trying to debunk this attempt to make the Constitution say whatever the pinko-left-winger faction of the political parties and especially the news media want the Constitution to say.

Thank you for your editorial. Maybe it will help in getting people to recognize the subterfuge that is being put out by the general news media, the universities under the left wing, NEA and the Democratic Party in particular.

Elbert E. Stallcop,

208 S. Court St., Hamilton


Rates an assault on small business

If Republicans were asked to increase the minimum wage by 50 percent, they would be screaming to high heaven about putting small businessmen or women out of business.

How interesting, then, that in both Washington, D.C., and Helena, after raising energy prices by 50 percent, they never mention anything about putting those same small businesses out of business.

O.E. Verlanic,

734 Cleveland St., Unit A, Missoula

Tax refund

Money should go to higher cause

We're informed that our $600 tax refund check will reach us in mid-August. Thanks, Max and Dubya, but we don't need it. We could use it, of course, but there are thousands of folks right here who really need it. We don't want to benefit at the expense of the children (18 and younger) living in poverty in Missoula County (23 percent) or the seniors (64 and older) in the same situation (17 percent). This badly conceived tax reform plan only widens the already enormous gap between the rich and the poor. What a shameful piece of legislation!

Why not join us? What an impact we could have if 1,000 recipients of a $600 refund (some will be smaller of course) made a similar commitment to their neighbors. That would be more than a half-million dollars. Now that's real money.

Think about it.

Don and Pat Simmons,

951 Ronald Ave., Missoula

Montana Summer Symphony

Kudos for corporate goodwill

Corporations such as Montana Power Co. receive their share of public criticism when they act in ways we judge to be detrimental to the well-being of our state. They should also be publicly praised when they act as good citizens and provide important benefits to us.

In creating and continuing the Montana Summer Symphony, the men and women of Montana Power have demonstrated the highest form of corporate citizenship. For four years, Montana Power has enabled hundreds of our finest symphonic musicians from across Montana to showcase their talents and provide outstanding, free family entertainment to tens of thousands of Montanans.

We know of no other entity with the ability and the willingness to create and sponsor such a fine event.

The Montana Summer Symphony is an excellent reminder of why we need strong, successful and Montana-based corporations, such as Montana Power and Touch America, not only to support our economy by providing jobs and goods and services, but also our culture and our ability to live together in the state we choose as our home.

Gerald and Caralee Mueller,

440 Evans, Missoula

Special interests

Money talks, democracy walks

Kudos to Bob Anez for excellent investigative journalism. His article, "Reports: Energy lobby tops at Legislature," (Missoulian, April 23) documents not only the amount of money ($3.56 million) special interest groups spent to influence Montana's legislators during the 2001 Legislature, but makes the link between the money and the bills that become law.

Special interest money is not just a "beltway" phenomenon. It is alive and well in Montana. Unless citizens become aware of this and counteract it with their own involvement in politics, government will cease to be, as President Abraham Lincoln said, "of the people, by the people and for the people."

Sara Busey,

75 Brookside, Missoula

Letters policy: The Missoulian welcomes and encourages letters to the editor on topics of general interest. Letters should be about 300 words or fewer. The Missoulian reserves the right to reject or edit letters for content and length. The Missoulian prints as many letters as possible. Letters must contain the writer's name, address and telephone number (phone numbers are for verification, not publication).

Mail to: Missoulian Letters, P.O. Box 8029, Missoula, MT 59807. Fax: 406-523-5294. E-mail:

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