Letters To The Editor 12/31/2017

December 31, 2017 GMT

Vote or shut up

Editor: “Out kids will suffer,” was the cry from the public as the Scranton School Board recently discussed how to deal with a budget crisis.

A Times-Tribune headline on Dec. 19 stated that public was “livid” over possible layoffs and program cuts. Where was the livid public the last 10 years when Election Day rolled around?

We could have dumped the cronies who possibly did favors for some local business people. I want to know who approved favors for the busing company, including a no-bid contract and a very generous fuel deal.

But why were the same cronies elected again and again? The problem goes back through generations when people vote party lines. How stupid can you get?

This is why we have people like Bob Mellow, a former senator who was in jail and now gets more than $20,000 per month in pension benefits. The Democratic Party line voters made him, but not by themselves. Members of the nonvoting public are as much to blame.

The 22nd Amendment limits the number of times a person can be elected president. No politician should have more than two terms in office.

I was raised in a hard-line Democratic Party family and it took me a long time

to realize that is wrong. I am a registered Republican and my wife is a registered Democrat. This way, we can vote for the best candidate in either party in the primary election. We vote for the best candidates, but if they don’t do what they said, they are done.

Get out and vote or shut up and quit crying. People died for us to have the right to vote, don’t disgrace their memory.



Speaking in code

Editor: The Pacific theater in World War II included some of the war’s bloodiest battles.

Guadalcanal, Iwo Jima, Tarawa, Saipan and Okinawa were the sites of some of these battles as the Japanese fiercely resisted American invasions. American forces were compromised because the enemy could quickly break their codes. The U.S. Marines recruited a group of Navajo Indians and provided our troops with exquisitely secure communications.

According to the book, “Warriors: Navajo Code Talkers,” these young American natives were recruited off the vast stretches of the Navajo Reservation in Arizona and New Mexico and made up the code talkers who participated in these battles. They spoke to each other in the Navajo language, relaying vital information between the front lines and headquarters. Navajo was one of the world’s “hidden languages” and at the time it had no written form or alphabet or symbols. Only a handful of non-Navajos could speak the language, such as missionaries and anthropologists.

Recently, three Navajo code talkers, all over age 90, were at the White House to honor Navajo veterans of World War II. President Trump used the occasion to deride Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren as “Pocahontas.” The veterans, including one in a wheelchair, were stonefaced. The president of Navajo Nation, Russell Begaye, who attended the ceremony, later called the mention of Pocahontas “derogatory” and “disrespectful to Indian nations.”

The National Congress of American Indians had issued a statement in May, after Trump referred to Warren as Pocahontas, calling it a “pejorative term,” but Trump ignored it.

All Americans, not just native Americans, should condemn this outrageous, despicable and uncouth behavior, especially considering that Trump dodged the draft during Vietnam.




Toxic threat

Editor: I’m alarmed by Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt’s decision to kick the can down the road on toxic chemicals.

On Dec. 19, news broke that the EPA has indefinitely postponed bans on certain uses of three dangerous chemicals: methylene chloride, N-Methylpyrrolidone and trichloroethylene. These chemicals are linked to cancer, developmental toxicity and other health problems. Some of them are found on the shelves of your local hardware store.

Protecting American consumers and workers from dangerous chemicals is at the heart of the EPA’s mission. Action on these toxic chemicals is long overdue. Their health risks are serious and well-documented. In fact, a 21-year-old in Tennessee died recently after stripping a bathtub with a product containing methylene chloride.

Delaying these rules will needlessly expose 2 million workers and consumers to these hazardous chemicals. Yet Pruitt and his team have prioritized the chemical lobby ahead of our health.

Workers and families need more, not less, protection from toxic chemicals. EPA should end this dangerous delay.



Boldly pulling down

Editor: In his recently published book, “A Self-Made Man: The Political Life of Abraham Lincoln, 1809-1849,” author Sidney Blumenthal cites a speech made by Lincoln at the Young Men’s Lyceum in Springfield, Illinois, on Jan. 27, 1838.

Lincoln forewarned about a man who, seeking to be president, had “the will to power joined to the exploitation of ‘celebrity and fame, and distinction’ which was (Lincoln’s) most modern caution.”

Lincoln stated: “Is it unreasonable then to expect, that some man possessed of … ambition sufficient to push it to its utmost stretch, will at some time, spring up among us? And when such a one does, it will require the people to be united with each other, attached to the government and the laws and generally intelligent, to successfully frustrate his designs. Distinction will be his paramount object, and although he would as willingly, perhaps more so, acquire it by doing good as well as harm; yet that opportunity being past, and nothing left to be done in the way of building up, he would set boldly to the task of pulling down.”

While Lincoln was speaking about his political opponent, Stephen Douglas, could his warning equally apply to the present occupant of our White House and the men he picked as his advisers, such as Steve Bannon and Michael Flynn, as well as some members of Congress, such as U.S. Rep. Tom Marino?