Letters To The Editor 1/22/2019
Badge of ineptitude
Editor: If we have learned anything about Donald Trump’s presidency it is an abiding spectacle full of self-praise.
Consider the constant distraction and narcissism, the deliberate chaos and willful ignorance. Like a master magician, he conjures sleight-of-hand card tricks from tweet to tweet. It sometimes seems to compact the 24/7 news cycle into a microsecond.
But don’t mistake all of this for stupidity. The current saboteur in chief has a plan. Call it strategic incompetence, which incorporates draining-the-swamp slogans, callous inhumanity and deep-state machinations.
It’s an insider’s nod to the ruling order and all very well-scripted. Trump wears his critics, satirists, crazy actions and bizarre behavior like baubles and trinkets. He is impervious and full of vainglory. Yes, Trump follows old bromides about politics — divide and conquer, bread and circuses and always follow the money. But he’s upped the ante on the definition of incompetence. It’s now an accolade.
SOUTH ABINGTON TWP.
Room to improve
Editor: Positive accomplishments during the first two years of Donald Trump’s presidency include: revised tax policy benefiting many Americans, elimination of unnecessary or restrictive regulations, low unemployment and higher defense spending.
The following negative events transpired:
■ Russia has made significant inroads into Syria. President Erdogan of Turkey asked Trump if the United States would leave Syria and Trump unilaterally decided to pull troops out. Trump, against the judgment of his generals, is drawing down our military in Afghanistan.
■ We have alienated allies by pulling out of agreements and diluting our responsibilities in international organizations.
■ China has expanded its reach and developed strategic bases in the South China Sea. We are in a trade war with China and states are losing billions of dollars in export revenue.
■ The stock market tanked in December and continues to roil during a government shutdown. Trump shut down the government and put 800,000 federal workers on the street because he wants to build a border wall, which is very costly and might not solve illegal immigration problems.
■ Trump weakened the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act, which will increase pollution.
■ Trump has lost about 25 key White House officials, which is a record.
■ Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election has led to the prosecution of Michael Flynn, former national security adviser; Paul Manafort, Trump’s campaign manager, Michael Cohen, Trump’s personal lawyer, and others.
■ Trump’s character flaws led to Democratic victories in the midterm elections. Democrats retook control of the House of Representatives and the governorships of key states, such as Michigan and Wisconsin.
I give Trump so far a grade of D-minus. There is tremendous room for improvement in the new year.
No exit from NATO
Editor: I have read with great concern recent media reports saying President Donald Trump has expressed interest in withdrawing the United States from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
Such a move would not only play directly into the hands of Russian President Vladimir Putin, but would also be a disservice to the legacy of Americans who fought to liberate and then establish a free and prosperous Europe. In World War I and World War II, millions of brave Americans fought to defeat the forces of tyranny and oppression that had engulfed the European continent. In doing so, these veterans not only freed the oppressed citizens of European nations, but also worked to help build a more safe and secure world for future generations.
Since the aftermath of World War II, NATO has served as the vehicle by which our country helps to maintain peace and stability in Europe. Our continued engagement in NATO carries on the legacy of those who served in order to make our world better.
I urge all Americans to support our continued leadership in NATO and to consider it a key issue for those running for federal office. Our nation’s involvement in standing up to 21st century threats in Europe honors the spirit of those who served in the 20th century to establish a Europe for us to partner with in peace.
GERARD M. HETMAN
Tired of winning?
Editor: My neighbors — acquaintances all — encouraged me to build a backyard pool.
At a backyard barbecue party, I got carried away and told my friends that I could get a person in my neighborhood who I don’t like, respect or even really know, to pay for my pool. This person is my next-door neighbor. Our property lines adjoin. When another neighbor told my next door neighbor of my boast, he burst out laughing and, through my friend, essentially told me to go pound sand.
Well, the president made this wild boast extemporaneously: “Not only am I going to build a big, beautiful wall, but guess what? Mexico is going to pay for it.”
It is the absolute height of arrogance and chutzpa to hold our government hostage during a government shutdown because he doesn’t want to look “foolish.” As to government and contract employees being out of work and without paychecks during the shutdown, he cares not one iota. I bet he couldn’t find Yosemite or Yellowstone national parks on a U.S. map if you handed him a magnifying glass.
Incidentally, he has presided in two short years over a 10 percent increase in the national debt, which nears $22 trillion. It is estimated that by 2028, national service debt will eat up 96 percent of gross domestic product. He promised to eliminate our national debt entirely and take only eight years to do so. Promises made, promises kept, my arm. I guess that our government would have to borrow the $5.6 billion that Trump cries about for the silly border wall. He will no doubt claim a “win” even if all he gets is $1. An intelligent and appropriate question might be, “Where are we headed?”
JAMES MICHAEL FITZPATRICK