Letters to the editor (04/07/12)

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Have a $2 bill; maybe  you should pass it on
Editor:
Isn’t it funny how one idea spawns another?
When my friend told me she sends her grandchildren $2 bills, I did the same and sort of expanded the idea. I sent $2 bills to relatives and told them about my husband’s “lucky” $2 bill.
Then we had a “Shrove Tuesday” supper at our church. Lloyd, a member, was there with his two foster, teenage boys; they were kind enough to act as waiters.
Thinking the young men had never seen a $2 bill — they are from Asia — I slipped a $2 bill into two envelopes that just said, “Thanks,”
Yesterday, I gave Lloyd the two envelopes and explained my rationale.
He told me that would have been true except he always sends his grandchildren a $2 bill for St. Paddy’s Day. That way they have some green.
I couldn’t wait to get my St. Paddy’s Day cards. In addition to the grandchildren, I have loads of Irish relatives.
Example: Knock, knock.
Who’s there?
Irish.
Irish who?
Irish you a Happy St. Patrick’s Day.

I look forward to the next idea.

Nancy Faust
Belen

Real responsibility, real choices
Editor:
We have some real choices to make concerning entitlements, subsidies and the deficit.
Should we continue to give hand outs to the extremely wealthy or take care of our middle class and poor, while supporting business practices and people that see profit in terms of quality of life more than dollars and cents?
When you buy anything, you’re paying taxes on it, even if your homeless or unemployed. When most of us get a tax return, we use it to pay bills or buy much needed services or replace appliances and transportation.
The extremely wealthy own most of the places we buy these necessities. They pay taxes, but not  near enough. I think it’s like three-fourths of their personal wealth that goes overseas as investments or into offshore accounts. Not very patriotic in my opinion.
This is not the only problem, but it’s a huge one. Even many really rich people see this as a problem. Greed pure and simple is the cause.
A lot of us feel as if it’s pointless to vote because our government does not listen to us. On top of it all, we understand that politicians have the attitude that the general population does not have the intelligence or understanding to handle the management of our shared resources and government.
I am sure they’re afraid we would spend it on our country instead of letting them use it for personal gain. Added to the fact there is so much money and power involved, underhanded actions are bound to, and do, occur.
The only way we can make these decisions and choices is by voting. We have to count on our government. We can’t.
Democracy can work with honesty and integrity. With these attributes, capitalism can as well. The way it is now, honesty and integrity are seen as weaknesses. It seems to be a free for all to see who can control the creative spirit and physical resources of as many people and areas as possible.
Here’s the deal I see: When people start speaking to each other and then voicing an open opinion to the public, there is always someone, or group, waiting to spin it into meaningless babble.
Basically, we all know what the mess is, we just do not know how different or similar the majority of our ideas for a solution are.
Split the pie, divide and conquer — these chess tactics are being used on we the people, to keep us separated and without unity.
Here are some examples:
• Elections, local to national, are so expensive the only way to run it seems is to sell out and owe debt to be paid with access and appointees.
• Workers competing for the lowest wages possible to survive on; this on a worldwide scale. Quality of life and product be damned in the name of unreasonable profit.
• Public meetings scheduled so that few people can attend with very little explanation of content. Important acts and laws passed with little to no transparency.
• Early reasonable tea party demonstrations. All of the sudden people show up slinging AK-47s.
• Bikers throw an anniversary bash; the national guard is practically called out.
• A matanza called illegal because the food wasn’t prepped at Walmart.
• Occupy gaining ground until folks in masks show with shields, M-80s and pipes along with property damage. Leave it better than you found it. Pack it in, pack it out.
• Police (a lot of them veterans) trying to protect and serve when some of them start acting like storm troopers. Pepper spraying peaceful protesters, some disregarding protocol and shooting to kill without real cause.
For every example given here, there is an if, and or but. The point is, for every group of serious decent people, there is some jerk (paid in dollars or thrills) there too screw it up.
I would remind you that this is not chess, and anyone that thinks of us as pawns has no right to have a position in government. We are guaranteed equal representation, but we do not have it.
This allows the theft and redistribution of our resources up to the super rich. I know folks foreclosed on and deal with the consequences that spread from this. Do you? The answer  is yes.
As it goes, we all know different ways we can become involved. The main way is to vote.
We just need to do it enough that we side step or convert  the folks that draw a paycheck or a thrill twisting and diffusing our focus. It is, after all, easier to get people to disagree than to unify and agree.
And we are, after all, in this together, even if we don’t approve of each other sometimes.
We have, with all our actions, caused some change. If we stand strong, speak and act with reason, we will continue to do so.
P.S.: Valencia County is lucky to have the Valencia County News-Bulletin. It is truly fair and balanced.

Jesse Servis
Los Lunas

There are ways to get around tax
Editor:
Terry Mehaffey’s letter of March 21 is quite correct in describing the foofaraw over estate taxes as a wasted conversation.
1. The oligarchs are spending millions of dollars for lobbyists to spew propaganda that the listeners to right-wing talk radio repeat like the mindless puppets that they are.
Those changes in the law are intended to eliminate taxes for only nine billionaire families in America, none of whom are based in New Mexico.
2. Shortly after I moved here from California, I was told that the law in New Mexico levies no — repeat, “no” — tax on estates below $1 millions.
The recommendation was for me to file a “transfer on death deed” for my house, which I did.
The cost was $140 for the lawyer and $9 to re-file at the county clerk’s office.
3. In virtually every state, the oligarchs have an option that is so direct (though maybe not entirely simple) to avoid estate taxes that I’ve never understood why they have not made use of it. The common term is “family living trust.”
Each couple or family group lists all the assets that they own, and everything on that legal document is exempt from state and local estate taxes.
Lots of rules, but lawyers know the drill. Anything that is not listed in the trust legal document would be covered by separate “last will and testament” legal documents.
Thus, the problem is actually moot, and the solution is available to everyone in America.
Right-wing talk radio listeners are the equivalent of yappy little lapdogs, except that yappy lapdogs aren’t allowed to vote.

G.E. Nordell
Belen

Kennedy wasn’t a ‘Catholic’ candidate
Editor:
Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum’s illness brought on by his reading of President Kennedy’s separation of church and state speech made me curious about the speech.
I learned that on Sept. 12, 1960, John F. Kennedy, as a Democratic candidate for president, gave a speech to a skeptical audience of Protestant clergy.
President Kennedy said, “I believe in an America that is officially neither Catholic, Protestant nor Jewish … where no religious body seeks to impose its will directly or indirectly upon the general populace or the public acts of its officials; I am not the Catholic candidate for president. I am the Democratic Party’s candidate for president, who happens to also be a Catholic. I do not speak for my church on public matters, and the church does not speak for me.”
Regular Valencia County churchgoers report that as they sit in the pews of our respective churches, be they Catholic, Evangelist, Protestant, etc., they hear their priests, pastors and preachers regularly violate the spirit of the separation of church and state doctrine.
They directly and indirectly tell us who to vote for and blatantly abuse their tax exempt status to pursue political agendas.
We, of course, hear their justification as direction from God himself. Who could argue with that?
The problem is that biblical interpretations vary, religions vary, priorities vary and reliance upon one view from the pulpit is contrary to productive public discourse in the formation of policy for the entire public who may or may not share the preacher’s views.
President Kennedy was right when he said, “I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute, where no Catholic prelate would tell the president (should he be Catholic) how to act, and no Protestant minister would tell his parishioners for whom to vote.”
Now, if and when, you respond to this letter, please do not tell me that you know what God wants.

Pedro Rael
Los Lunas