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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR Nov. 28, 2001, issue
All failed but air security
It seems our esteemed colleagues in Washington, D.C. have managed to do it again. They have created another branch of federal government employees that will never, ever disappear or be downsized. it will only grow larger as time goes by.
They are going to make professionals out of our airport security employees. They will give them a $20,000 raise and make them part of the federal government and this will, of course, make them professional.
Sen. Tom Daschle (D-South Dakota) says it will give us absolute security about flying over the holidays. Thats a matter of opinion. I think the only thing thats absolute about this is the fact that its nonsense.
This is the federal government. The plan wont be implemented before the holidays, perhaps not for months to come. Theres a one year deadline on this bill. Do you think it will go into effect one day before that?
The CIA, federal employees, are supposed to know who the bad guys are and make certain they stay in line. They failed to do that. The FBI, federal employees, are supposed to know who the bad guys are when they get into the country and keep track of them. They failed to do that. The INS, federal employees, are supposed to keep the bad guys from entering our country in the first place. They failed to do that.
Airport security, private sector employees, were supposed to keep bombs and firearms and knives with blades longer than 4-inches off our aircraft. No terrorist entered a plane with any of those things. Our airport security did their job properly. And they did it on an hourly wage of five to seven dollars an hour.
So I fail to see where federalizing these people is going to instill any confidence in me about flying again. It will only tend to make me think of the CIA, FBI, and INS employees who failed their jobs.
I see nothing wrong in giving these people a substantial raise in pay. And I see nothing wrong in letting the government oversee the airport security, making certain they follow federal guidelines. But I cannot see where simply making them federal employees is going to make them any more professional than they are already.
As taxpayers, we dont need to be paying for an additional branch of the federal government. And thats another absolute.
Dont mix money, politics
While wrapping themselves in the flag and preaching patriotism, the Bush administration and many members of Congress loot the treasury and bilk present and future taxpayers. Consider the tax cuts for corporations and capital gains cuts to the tune of tens of billions of dollars passed by the U.S. House. Consider the talk about aviation safety and the many in the U.S. House who voted to retain the inept security service for our airports run by corporations and not federalize and professionalize this vital need.
Consider that the dinosaur energy bill proposed by the Bush administration which favors global-warming fossil fuel and tries to sneak in unsafe atomic energy instead of heavily funding alternative energy which will be more economical in the long-run, provide jobs, keep the air and water clean, and is much more terrorist proof (imagine if one of those planes on Sept. 11 had hit one of the atomic reactors 40 miles up river from New York City and made the city and environs a wasteland indefinitely, to say nothing of the radioactive clouds that would have traveled around the globe.
Consider that our public health system has been starved for funds and that our infrastructure continues to suffer years of government neglect. In this time of crisis we pay for past neglect by being much more vulnerable to bioterrorism. How can the challenge of bioterrorism hope to be met by an understaffed, underfunded agencies?
How can hospitals, which can barely meet the needs of our population in normal times, hope to cope effectively during major emergencies? The nursing shortage caused by poor pay is hurting public health already.
These are just a few examples of the administration and many in Congress talking patriotism and using the current crisis as a cover to pass legislation that sells out the country to big money. Theres only one way to stop this betrayal and that is to get money out of politics. We need public funding of elections and election reform. We wont get that unless citizens understand whats happening and demand change. Getting money out of politics is the number one issue. Until we do so, our national interests will not be served and we will keep going to war for oil and other corporate purposes.
Poor Gates creates little
I see that Alice Franklin Bryant, that senile Seattle socialist who wrote loony leftist letters to the P-I and Times in the 60s and 70s, is alive and babbling in Oak Harbor, under an alias (Letter, Nov. 10). The writer uses half truths and hackneyed cliches in her rich (bad) vs. poor (good) class warfare diatribes.
Tell me, how many jobs would a poor Bill Gates have created. Also, how many Senate seats would a poor Kennedy, Boxer, H. Clinton, or Cantwell have bought?
Speaking of Bill Gates, Im sure he realizes now that if he had donated more to the Democratic National Committee and Clintons campaign, he would not have been harassed by Reno. Im sure he will be more politically correct in the future.
James L. Clements
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