Your Views for July 20
Hamas vs. Israel
It is clear that Hamas fired the first salvo in this latest battle between Israel and Hamas.
Hamas has fired over a hundred of its unguided homemade missiles into Israel. Ninety percent of these have been destroyed by the U.S.-financed (at the cost of a million dollars per anti-missile missile) “Iron Dome” shield. The rest have safely landed away from population centers.
Not a single Israeli has been killed or injured by these Hamas “sling-shots.” Yet, Israel has chosen to bomb Gaza in retaliation, killing over a hundred civilian Palestinians in collateral damage.
As a self-proclaimed civilized country, Israel’s image in the rest of the world would have been better served if it had exercised self-restraint, at least until any of its citizens were actually hurt! This Israeli reaction is excessive in nature. It reminds me of David and Goliath, except this time “David” is not Jewish.
In his zeal to reassure readers with “the facts” about inflation and unemployment, Ed Comstock in his letter (“Inflation still low,” Tribune-Herald, July 10) laid upon us some misleading data.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that year-over-year inflation increased from 1.6 percent in January to 2.0 percent by May, thus the trend is up recently, which was my point. Also, the rate that the BLS reports is the “core” inflation rate, which excludes food and energy prices; these increased 2.5 percent and 3.3 percent respectively since last year.
Also, importantly, the reported inflation rate excludes “people living in rural nonmetropolitan areas” (per the BLS), so the index is practically worthless for the Big Island.
Anecdotal evidence of inflation, although less precise, has to be considered because it relates what people actually experience versus highly scrubbed government statistics. Comstock trusts the government to meaningfully inform us; I do not.
Finally, the unemployment rate is decreasing not because more people are finding work but because more people are dropping out of the labor force. The BLS stats indicate that the labor participation rate is 62.8 percent (versus 63.5 percent a year ago). This is because the population continues to increase even as people drop out of the job market.
Pre-recession labor rates were closer to 66 percent, thus the BLS data show there are about 1.1 million fewer people working today than six years ago.
Economic statistics are difficult to interpret. Like many people, I rely on “experts” to help me understand them. I may not always get it 100 percent right, but Comstock’s advice to simply ignore me is premature.
It’s free speech
Mr. Patrick Donovan’s view (Tribune-Herald, Your Views) that the “hateful signage” is the price paid to express opinions is correct. It is the most bothersome political views that need the most protection.
People calling for removal of the signs (from the truck parked at Lincoln Park in Hilo) because they don’t like the message should read the First Amendment again and research why it is so important to a free country.
The men and women — but mostly men — of our military have died, suffered and sacrificed to protect, among others, the First Amendment and all that it means. Those who want these signs torn down because they don’t like the message demean those sacrifices.
I personally don’t find the message useful; it’s similar to the shrieking style of the Code Pink girls, but I love the fact that they are able to say it.
As for the signs on the public park fencing: Let’s apply the same zeal to removing the political signs found on public property as we do to removing a crucifix.
Waimea Outdoor Circle would like to thank the volunteers who gave up their Sunday morning two weeks ago to help us participate in Matson’s Ka Ipu ‘Aina Program (container for the land) by cleaning up the center of Waimea town’s sidewalks and medians.
Eleven dedicated community members were out bright and early, filling 35 large trash bags with cuttings, garbage and debris, which were loaded in their trucks and hauled to the Waimea Transfer Station.
This is an ongoing project of Waimea Outdoor Circle, and we look forward to a continuing effort of keeping Waimea “clean, green and beautiful.”
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