Letters To The Editor

Don Chapman
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February 18, 2009 - MidWeek
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Obama disappoints

As an independent who voted for Barack Obama with both misgiving and hope, I must say that I am in rare agreement with Michelle Malkin - “All The President’s Tax Cheats” - about the nature of his cabinet picks. Surely there must be top people in finance and healthcare who do not owe the IRS back taxes or who don’t have other legal problems hanging over their heads.

It was this kind of poor vetting that led John McCain to choose Sarah Palin as his VP choice, one of the reasons I could not vote for him.

One can only hope that Obama is wiser about his economic stimulus than about his cabinet picks. After reading Arianna Huffington’s column “The Right Stimulus” on the adjoining page, I am not at all certain that he is.

Douglas Lee
Aina Haina


 

Watada was right

This is in response to the Feb. 4 letter from Gene Tress about James Watanabe and George W. Bush.

Bush, by his own definition, was a terrorist. Our illegal invasion of Iraq, the abuse of our military as a WMD, the mass murders and other atrocities, the illegal, unjust arrest, detention (imprisonment) and torture of innocent people have created possibly thousands of new U.S.-hating Muslims.

We are at much greater risk of harm now because of our anti-Middle East and anti-Muslim attitudes and actions. The 9/11 attack was a justifiable retaliation for our previous terrorism in the Mideast.

Lt. Ehren Watada was correct in his position that the invasion was illegal and they all could be tried for war crimes. He offered to join the action in Afghanistan, which is just as dangerous as Iraq. He is no coward.

Bush should not suicide out. He, Chaney, Rumsfeld et al. should be sent to Guantanamo and be given the same torture that they applied to innocent people who were never tried or found guilty of any crimes.

Burt West
Honolulu

Careful spending

Jade Moon hit the economic nail on the head in her column “Not Spending Makes Economy Worse.”

Yes, we need to save and conserve for a rainy day - it’s here - but if everyone stops going out to eat, for example, or stop shopping at local businesses, money stops circulating and those businesses have a better chance of closing or laying off workers.

In a truly healthy economy, saving is as important as spending.

Art Lee
Kahala


Eight too many

Thank you to Bill O’Reilly for speaking up about the insane woman Nadya Suleman. The only thing more abusive than this unemployed mother of six giving birth to octuplets is the fertility doctor who made it possible. We can only pray for these babies, who will never receive the attention and care each child deserves.

Ashley Higa
Honolulu

Love and respect

What a wonderful cover story on six very different couples, “How To Make Love Grow.” The one thing I detected in each of these loving couples, and what keeps them happily married, is mutual respect. I hope one day my boyfriend and I can look back like that and talk about our years together.

Kelly Gomes
Honolulu

Weird and stupid

Apart from the laughs it always brings, what I love about Chuck Shepherd’s Weird News column is that every week I’m reminded that there are a lot of people in the world a lot stupider than I.

Kate Miller
Hawaii Kai

Send your letters to MidWeek Letters, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., Suite 500, Honolulu, HI. 96813; by fax to 585-6324, or by email to dchapman@midweek.com. Please include your name, address and daytime and evening phone numbers. We print only the letters that include this information, but only your name and area of residence will appear in print. Letters may be edited for clarity and space.
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Most Recent Comment(s):

In response to Burt West’s letter regarding the Iraq war, it should be noted for all the people holding the view that this was an illegal war that our invasion of Iraq was not based on a public relations drive; it was based on Public Law 107-243, otherwise known as the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq, passed by the 107th Congress in October 2002. It passed the House with a vote of 296 to 133 (by 69%) and the Senate with a vote of 77 to 23 (by 77%), including 58% of Senate Democrats.  In short, it was overwhelming; it was bipartisan; and it was law.  It was also a continuation of a long standing U.S. policy to remove Saddam Hussein from power.  Advocates of this policy included the Clinton Administration.  As for the rest of the letter, it was difficult to understand the attack on 9/11 as justifiable for any prior U.S. action.  I understand that it is or, more hopefully was, Bin Laden’s position that U.S. “occupation” of Saudi Arabia resulting from Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait in the first gulf war was an insult to Islam, and this was his rationale for the 9/11 attack. As for torture claims at Guantanamo, none are proven. I believe Mr. West is confusing Gitmo with Abu Ghraib where criminal charges were levied against U.S. personnel who participated. Traditionally, battlefield combatants who are not in uniform have been summarily executed on the battlefield upon capture. The U.S. removed these people from the combat zone and held them.  That is far more humane than the fate meted out to U.S. soldiers who fell into the hands of the terrorists.  Clearly Mr. West is confused as to who the good guys are.

I would like to respond to Bob Jones’ opinion article on February 18th in Midweek attacking Lieutenant Governor Duke Aiona and City Councilman Gary Okino’s comments opposing the House Bills that seek to legalize civil unions for homosexual couples. My references are listed at the end of my letter.

After reading Jones’ article I looked up the four House Bills he casually referenced. To my great surprise the Bills state that their intent is to, “extend the same rights, benefits, protections, and responsibilities of spouses in a marriage to partners in a civil union… Repeal language that defines or refers to marriage as being limited to a relationship between a man and a woman and instead specifies that the relationship is one between two persons…. Recognize marriages that are valid in country where the marriage was contracted, whether or not the marriage is heterosexual in nature.”

Lt. Gov Aiona was absolutely correct when he said, “this is a same-sex marriage bill under a different name”. Just look at the Bills’ own description of themselves, and then at the Lieutenant Governor’s comments. The title of the homosexual relationship is expressly the only difference! To argue otherwise is untruthful. Jones’ article attempts to hide the fact that such civil unions do not contain the same pros and cons as homosexual marriage. And he blatantly omits the rest.

After mocking the language of Mr. Okino’s opposition to the House Bills, Jones asked, “I’m wondering: is that the mind of [Mr. Okino’s] constituency…?” I consulted the precinct voter breakdowns listed on the website of Hawaii Office of Elections of the 1998 election. It included an Amendment to the Hawaii State Constitution which gave the “legislature power to reserve marriage for opposite sex couples only.” I looked up Mr. Okino’s area of representation (House Districts 31, 32, 33, 34, 67, 37). I calculated that 73% of his constituents voted to protect traditional marriage. So, to answer Jones’ question, yes, clearly Councilman Okino’s comments were in harmony with his constituents.

The article claims Lieutenant Governor Aiona’s opposition to the civil union Bill claiming could hurt his gubernatorial campaign in 2010. How strange that Jones would jump to such a grave conclusion! Given the voter data above nothing could be further from the truth. Mr. Aiona may have simply deduced his constituents’ wishes by looking at voter data when he voiced his opposition to civil unions. If Lt. Governor Aiona uses voter data to know the mind of the people and acts accordingly how could he possibly ever lose their support? Rather, Mr. Aiona will continue to earn the trust and confidence of his constituency. Lieutenant Governor Aiona, and Councilman Okino seem to be of the same mind, and they understand the general feelings of the populous. Jones clearly does not.

The article states, “This is an issue where organized religion should butt out.” I would like to point out that members of organized religions have the same constitutional rights to speak against, vote against, and lobby against any issue of their choice. Jones’ article suggests that one’s constitutional rights are diminished which pope, prophet, pastor or guru he reveres. For the sake of this discussion how shall we categorize these two groups? Shall we call them the Organized and the Disorganized? Or, the Religious Organized and the Religious Independent? How strange to have to make such a distinction! Anyhow, the question remains: are only the voices of religious people who are not members of an organized church to be heard? Are other religious people to be prohibited? Since this is the United States of America I would like to answer with a loud and resounding, no! I am appalled that Jones would suggest otherwise.

Jones wrote, “As in abortion, [civil unions] is rightly an individual decision…because the uninvolved are not damaged by it.” This claim brings into sharp focus the very crux of the debate. What one side sees as “progressive” (as Jones states) the other side sees as destructive. I for one, believe that abortion and civil unions certainly do “damage the uninvolved”, just as murder and fornication undermine the peace and harmony of our society. Taking life and creating life are not to be trifled with, even in its perverted forms.

Throughout his article, Jones comes across as indifferent to the facts in Hawaii’s battle to protect traditional marriage and to promote traditional family values. The House Bills he supports would overturn more than a decade of hard work on behalf of Hawaii voters and legislatures to protect traditional marriage! Remember, in 1994 Hawaii voters chose to protect the definition of marriage, as well. Since the language in the House Bills clearly aims to give homosexual couples exactly the same status as married heterosexuals, legislatures should not ignore voters consistently demonstrated opposition.

Respectfully,

Jacquelyn Skaf
Waialua Resident

http://hawaii.gov/elections/results/1998/general/precincts.htm

http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/site1/docs/docs.asp
HB444 Civil Union (House version): Extends the same rights, benefits, protections, and responsibilities of spouses in a marriage to partners in a civil union.
SB458 Civil Union (Senate version): Extends the same rights, benefits, protections, and responsibilities of spouses in a marriage to partners in a civil union.
HB878 Redefine marriage: Repeals language that defines or refers to marriage as being limited to a relationship between a man and a woman and instead specifies that the relationship is one between two persons.
HB309 Recognizing same-sex marriage from elsewhere: Recognizes marriages that are valid in country where the marriage was contracted, whether or not the marriage is heterosexual in nature.

Bob Jones seems to think that there are plenty of beds in shelters for all the homeless in Hawaii that want one. Not true. The shelters are always full and there are never enough beds to go around.

Bob Jones seems to think that everyone can get a small public assistance check and go live in a park. Not true. Only the mentally ill can get a public assistance check in Hawaii. Drug addicts cannot get one, alcoholics cannot get one, and the unemployed that have exhausted their unemployment benefits cannot get a public assistance check. They can get food stamps, now known as the EBT card, but that is it.

Bob Jones seems to think the mentally ill homeless people terrify people and should not be in the park. So, where do you think they should be? My guess would be access to mental health services and a place inside to live, so they can get better health care.

Mr. Jones, anytime you think the homeless have it easy, by all means, go for it, see how easy it is, not knowing where your next meal is coming from, not knowing if someone will stab you to death while you are trying to sleep.

As for eliminating the Kau Kau Wagon, they only serve on Saturday, and they only serve sandwiches.
That seems pretty small potatoes to attack.

Mr. Jones, here is hoping you are never elected to office where you can be in a position to criminalize the homeless by throwing them in jail merely for trying to sleep.

Now I know why I never read Midweek. That is a mistake I will not make again.

David Morgan


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