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Your letters: Tax the rich?; thoughts on Veterans Day; GOP leaders destroy democracy – AberdeenNews.com

President Joe Biden has proposed funding the Build Back Better initiative by raising taxes on the rich. Well, why not? As infamous bank robber Willie Sutton replied, when asked why he robbed banks, “Because that’s where the money is.”
One-third of the wealth in the USA is held by 1% of the citizens. That’s where the money is. Couldn’t these ultra-wealthy people get by with smaller yachts and jets and fewer mansions? These wealthy Americans don’t pay income tax because they don’t have income, they have investments, stock options, and IRAs filled with undervalued assets. The combined wealth of the richest 400 U.S. billionaires equals 1% of total global wealth. The wealthy claim to be the big job creators in the economy. After all, they employ legions of lawyers, accountants and lobbyists to protect their billions from media scrutiny and the IRS.
But these well-paid employees don’t contribute anything to improve our society or standard of living. Most of these billionaires aren’t wealthy because they are super intelligent or creative. They just happen to be born to the right parents and were born in the right country at the right time. In other times or countries, these people would be just average people. Why can’t the wealthy give something back to the country and to the unseen people that made their success possible?
Allen Walter, Groton
On Veterans Day, I was so disappointed for the lack of recognition our veterans received from the Aberdeen American News. In previous years you saluted them with a special section showing photos of those who left their families, served our country and sacrificed their lives in the name of freedom.
Jayne Reuer, Aberdeen
On Veterans Day I reflected back on the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. That horrific day is so much worse when we consider the background of some of the rioters. They included military veterans and active duty personnel. All these individuals, at one time, swore an oath to support and defend the U.S. Constitution against all enemies. Shamefully, on Jan. 1,  these individuals became the enemies of our constitution and democracy. They attempted to overthrow our government, and there should be repercussions beyond convictions in federal courts.
These misguided supporters of Donald Trump need to be reminded that they took an oath to the constitution, not to a president. Active duty personnel who are convicted in federal court should be court-martialed and then “drummed” out of the military. They should feel fortunate they were not hanged on the Capitol gallows they constructed for Vice President Mike Pence. A couple hundred years ago, that might have been their fate for participating in an insurrection.
There are former military personnel (veterans) who also disgraced themselves. I think about the various organizations whose membership rolls are comprised of veterans. The VFW, American Legion, Vietnam Veterans of America, etc. advocate patriotism and American ideals. The self-proclaimed “patriots” who stormed the Capitol (waving Trump flags) did not live up to that standard. Their continued association with these veterans groups tarnishes the good name of each organization and its members. For their deeds on Jan. 1, those veterans convicted in federal court should forfeit their memberships. I belong to several veterans organizations. It is distressing to think that across this nation there are individuals in these organizations who are willing to overthrow our democratic government in order to give birth to an autocracy. We should purge those convicted of engaging in the insurrection.
Rick Benting, Redfield
Republican Party leaders and members have succeeded in dong what the Axis powers in World War II could not do: destroy American democracy. Most have adopted lies and treason as their M.O., and that has worked well for them.
The coming dictatorship will be given a booster shot when they take back the House and Senate in 2022 and locked in permanently when Trump retakes the White House in 2024.
The people of Russia, China North Vietnam and many lesser countries have never experienced democracy. For them, it’s life as usual. U.S. citizens, however, have enjoyed something quite close to it for the past 232 years. How will our politically dispossessed majority react?  Anyone’s guess, but autocracies, once in power, are almost impossible to dislodge.
Terry Painter, Rapid City
Be aware that every animal welfare organization in North America condemns rodeo due to its inherent cruelty.  Most of rodeo is bogus from the get-go, having little to do with either agriculture or life on a working ranch. It’s mostly macho hype, an exercise in domination.
The great  majority of rodeos don’t even require on-site veterinary care. The PRCA has done so only since 1996, after five animals were killed at the 1995 California Rodeo in Salinas. Some “sport”!  I should note that South Dakota is one of only 10 states that allows the brutal “steer roping” event (aka “steer busting”), the single most egregious event in all of rodeo.
The United Kingdom (England, Scotland, Wales) outlawed rodeos back in 1934.  Germany and the Netherlands have since followed suit. Can the U.S. be far behind?  See the YouTube video short, “Bucking the Myth.”
Legislation is in order. In the interim, boycott all rodeos, their corporate sponsors and advertisers. Follow the money.
Eric Mills, coordinator for Action for Animals, Oakland, Calif.


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