Aussie immigration up for debate

Regarding your Aug. 22 article, "Conservative Aussies shift approach to human rights": Australia has the right as an independent nation to decide who will be allowed to immigrate into Australia. Prime Minister Howard was elected for his stance concerning immigration and "illegal" aliens entering the country. It is not a human right nor has it ever been a human right to travel and settle wherever you choose.

Having worked with the United Nations in Bosnia, I developed a deep distrust for the UN for its inability to act when needed and not act when not needed. The UN does not have jurisdiction over the immigration policies of a country.
Brent Kennedy
Hampton, Va.

Regarding "Conservative Aussies shift approach to human rights": Many Australians put the governing Liberals last on their preferences during this year's state and federal elections. I did so because I am appalled and embarrassed by our deteriorating federal immigration and human rights record.

We, like the US, are a nation of migrants. I am a migrant. It is one thing to develop a sound, humane policy which regulates migration fairly, and entirely another thing to ignore human rights abuses in our country and elsewhere in the world.

Please do not imply by your headlines that the majority of conservative Australian citizens support current federal policy, as there is substantial evidence to the contrary.
Robert Rands
Dynnyrne, Tasmania

Short congressional terms are OK

Your Aug. 27 article "Capitol Hill turnover runs high," doesn't touch on the fact that an upside of high turnover in Congress could be less corruption. I've long felt that limiting the number of terms legislators could serve would be more effective than campaign- finance reform.

Special-interest groups and large corporations would be less likely to spend millions to influence a legislator who would be around for only four years.
Judie Hilke Lundborg
Lihue, Hawaii

Redistribute the wealth

Regarding your Aug. 26 article, "To woo voters, Washington revisits tax laws": We don't need more tax cuts. What we do need is a redistribution of income. If the super-wealthy would take a cut in salary, the workers in society could earn enough to pay for homes, cars, and college education for their children. The government would not have to pay to help people with their rent, welfare, medical expenses, etc.

I read once that Henry Ford told his board of directors, "We have to pay our workers enough so they can afford to buy our cars!" How smart!

We can have a graduated income tax that helps to redistribute money to the workers in our country. Or we can have a society that doesn't believe in fabulous riches for some, and welfare and support for almost everyone else, and, therefore, a more equally shared tax base. Which will it be?
Frances G. Mitchell
Suisun City, Calif.

Bedtime stories important for baby, too

In your Aug. 8 article, "Book bonding: Are kids learning to love reading?" one important issue is left out: the love for a good story starts long before kindergarten. Reading to a child at this critical time nurtures the development of imagination and higher critical-thinking skills. The focus needs to begin in babyhood and continue throughout childhood and life.

Despite the unfortunate cuts in librarians, budget reductions, and a decrease in children's bookstores, it seems the real missing ingredient is a lack of parents reading to their children.
Marion Henshaw
Sacramento, Calif.

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