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Public vs. private workers; Justice Clarence Thomas' financial dealings; divorce and Social Security

March 12, 2011

Workers, un-united

Re "Government in the cross hairs," Opinion, March 6

Barry Goldman pleads for sympathy for government workers, saying they are friends and neighbors, not "beasts." Fair enough.

However, that doesn't mean that I cannot criticize my neighbor if he demands that I continue to fund a bloated compensation package. I toil just as hard in the private sector.

Those in power take care of their own, which is why the rest of us are so hell-bent on limiting the size and scope of government. They have proved that they simply cannot handle that power fairly.

Goldman declares that nepotism and incompetence exist in the private sector too. Again, correct, but in the private sector, we are accountable to price points and profit margins. Goldman's government workers need only to protest and our taxes are raised.

Dave Mulnard

Tustin

Too many information-challenged Americans have bought into President Reagan's mantra, "Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem."

The economic decline of the U.S. was put into motion when Reagan and his cohorts set out to deregulate corporations. And 30 years later, we in the middle class are lashing out at public employees who keep our streets safe, our water and environment clean and our children educated.

The only folks making out like bandits are the banks and mega-financial institutions that made billions through fraudulent loans and derivatives. As they say, money is power, but an informed citizenry is the ultimate power.

Bob Teigan

Santa Susana

Regardless of how Goldman characterizes the issue, the bottom line is that I cannot afford to pay someone to retire at 50, 55 or even 60 years old and receive full benefits until death.

And a true "friend" or "neighbor" would never expect me to.

Paul Carter

Long Beach

We can be thankful to union-busting Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker for making explicit the Republican agenda. Phase one, already largely accomplished, involves steadily defunding government through big tax cuts to the rich.

In phase two, Republicans use balanced-budget rhetoric as a political weapon to attack "entitlements," defined as every positive thing government does to benefit society.

And when our public sector has been cut to the bone, with working Americans effectively stripped of affordable healthcare, schools and retirement security, and the middle-class lifestyle is a distant 20th century memory, then Republicans can move ahead with phase three: more tax cuts for the rich.

Jonathan Goetze

Pearblossom, Calif.

Attacking Justice Thomas

Re "Clarence Thomas' dangerous conceit," Opinion, March 6

Jonathan Turley seems to stop just short of asserting that Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas should be impeached for his apparent wrongdoing by not disclosing his wife's full income for 13 years and for not recusing himself from the Citizens United case, in which both he and his wife appear to have had a personal interest.

If there is substance to these allegations, then their truth should be tested by the full weight of the impeachment process. Thomas should not be permitted to place himself above the law with the inexcusable excuse that he was unaware of the relevance of his actions.

Ruel Mizrachi

Port Hueneme

Thomas' complaint is not a "conceit," it is a fact. Diminishing the stature of the justices diminishes the court. President Obama's criticism in his 2010 State of the Union address was imprudent. The Turley-Common Cause offensive is worse. Attacking Thomas is a ploy to keep him from ruling on "Obamacare."

The spousal argument is the ideological mirror image of the effort by pro-Proposition 8 attorneys. They attempted to force U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Stephen Reinhardt to recuse himself because he is married to Ramona Ripston, the just-retired executive director of the ACLU of Southern California. She had discussions with the lawyers who will be arguing before her husband.

Two differences: Ripston was more directly involved in the legal effort than Virginia Thomas, and Common Cause and Turley averted their eyes from Ripston.

Turley is not advancing principle; he is exercising political activism.

William R. Snaer

Palm Desert

Let me get this straight: Thomas, a Supreme Court justice, said his failure to disclose his wife's income for 13 years was "inadvertently omitted due to a misunderstanding of the filing instructions." And this man is on the highest court in our nation?

Bill Prestridge

San Clemente

Diversity in 2011

Re " 'Whites-only' isn't diversity," Editorial, March 9

Any racially exclusive program is offensive, divisive and unfair. There may be degrees of offensiveness, but they are all bad.

This is 2011. Most students beginning college now were born around 1993. They were not alive during the Jim Crow era and were born nearly 30 years after the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

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