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Letters to the editor for Saturday, November 26, 2022

The News-Press (Fort Myers) 11/26/2022 Letter writers

Florida economy needs Dreamers

If you could easily help 600,000 individuals wouldn’t you? The lives of these servicemen and women, nurses, health care aides, valedictorians and others are again hanging by a thread through no fault of their own.

They are Dreamers – adults who were brought to this country as youngsters, but still without any permanent legal status, under threat of being deported to countries where they have never lived or spoken the language.

Senators Marco Rubio and Rick Scott could join other Republicans this month to support bipartisan legislation to settle the status of DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) residents once and for all. Our Florida economy needs them. We cannot wait until a federal court again deals them a blow, saying “Congress could fix this but it didn’t.” It’s time for our senators to act.

Dawn-Marie Driscoll, Fort Myers

Is blind partisanship wise?

The snake oil salesman can only be successful if people buy the snake oil. People are still buying, but fewer people every day. Many of the lesser salespeople have jumped ship. They say the disreputable ex-president has too much negative baggage, like trying to undo the results of the election he lost, and he must go. There’s a chance he’ll get replaced as the party’s voice, but maybe he’ll survive.

Rest assured that if Trump gains the Republican nomination through the primary system, the weak-kneed naysayers will grovel their way back into his favor. What is it about political parties that can turn seemingly intelligent advocates for the people into spineless flunkies of the snake oil salesman who is so obviously toxic to the party and the country?

In a U.S. Senate runoff on Dec. 6 tens of thousands of Georgians will vote for Herschel Walker, a man unfit in so many ways. Of course, Trump strongly endorses Walker. Snakelike Republican senators like Graham, Rubio, Scott, Hawley and Cotton will slither up to a mike and endorse Herschel. Republican voters who fully understand how inept and ethically challenged Walker is will swallow hard and vote for him. Party above all else. It sounds crazy because it is.

Maybe we’ll get lucky, and Trump will lose again and just go away. Walker will probably fall short of the goal line in a victory for sanity over blind partisanship.

Kevin McNally, Bonita Springs

LNG exports on the rise

There’s much to agree with in William Lewis’s Nov. 20 opinion piece on energy exports.  Mr. Lewis seems not to appreciate, however, that President Biden, “captive of the radical left” or otherwise, is among those already on his side. Trade publication NGI reported just a few days ago that the U.S. last year saw “record LNG exports. . .  Since hitting a record last December, U.S. LNG exports to Europe have eclipsed more highs as the continent scrambles to replace Russian pipeline gas imports . . . (and) the United States is likely to maintain its role as a top exporter.”  Whatever Biden is doing to help or refraining from doing that could hurt LNG exports seems to be working. It sounds like Mr. Lewis’s message to Biden really is “You’re doing a good job on this one – Cut it out!”

Murray Newton, Iona

Timing convenient for the Left

Those on the Left love to accuse the Right of conspiracy theories. Never mind that the Russian collusion hoax was maybe the biggest false conspiracy theory in history. So let me suggest a couple of conspiracy theories. It was 768 days (more than two years) after the story first broke that CBS had forensic experts determine that the Hunter Biden laptop was real. This was conveniently reported right after the midterm elections.

The FTX bitcoin debacle came to light also just after the midterm elections. This is the organization that stole billions from investors and also gave some $40 million to the Democrats for the midterm election. Again, very convenient timing to break this news just after the election.

Ron Wobbeking, Naples

Politicians like DeSantis are the solution

The “rigged system” is given as the main reasons why Donald Trump has support that will not die.

How does the rigged system work?

Government makes the rules about how a large part of the incredible wealth generated in America is distributed.

Elected legislators write the rules.

When someone wants to run for the Legislature, in all but rare instances, it takes a great deal of money, most of which comes from wealthy individuals, companies and organizations. These people are buying access to the legislator.

Once elected to a heady job which few ever want to lose, the new legislator begins raising money for the next campaign. Donors who liked the legislator's positions are the source. The power of wealth and the ability to influence large numbers of voters is always there.

When the legislator leaves the position, the next place of residence is as a lobbyist in Washington, working for the same entities the legislator benefited while in office.

Is this a “rigged system?”

Yes, but the person making $15 an hour still has the right to vote and there are lots of them.

There are two political leaders today who do not go along to get along. One is Donald Trump, who has too many weaknesses that he does not have the competence as a politician to overcome.

The other is Ron DeSantis, who is as close as we can come to the American ideal as a success story. He has no baggage. He earned his populist bones against Disney and earned this state's votes by good judgment and competence. If there is a solution to the rigged system it is voting for people of character and ability like DeSantis.

Bob Stabile, Bonita Springs

A valuable benefit for seniors

Times get tough as you get older, especially when it comes to your health. Thanks to the Florida sunshine, I’ve been able to try and stay in shape, eat well and exercise, but sometimes it can be difficult without some extra support.

That’s why many seniors here in Florida have Medicare Advantage. These plans place importance on being active and offer free gym memberships and classes through the SilverSneakers program.

Medicare Advantage plans focus on the importance of life balance. Prescriptions and groceries can be delivered right to your door. Many Florida seniors talk to their doctors online or on the phone thanks to the telehealth options. As uncertainty about the flu, coronavirus, and other illnesses increases this winter, it’s nice to know that we have the option to stay at home and still get needed care.

As we get older, the benefits of a healthy lifestyle become much more evident, especially thanks to programs like Medicare Advantage that incentivize and support good health.

Ernest Bach, CEO, Florida Silver Haired Legislature

Election security

A simple solution to the problems of election integrity. Voters want security. They want themselves in charge of election security. Give each voter the means to audit their own vote as verified and counted. Each voter will vote on a paper ballot. ID number on ballot. Voter will copy their ballot through a scanner located on the surface of a single machine, no modem, no possible connection to internet. Two screen shots, original and copy. matched and verified will appear on screen with voter ID number. End of day, machine processor will print out the total votes for each candidate on that machine in that precinct.

The machine will post on the screen the totals received by each candidate that day and those totals must match the printout summary of all votes counted and ID numbers are posted by precincts in sequential order. Vote totals are taken from all machines in local precinct for all candidates, results of each precinct can be shown on TV that same evening.

Clint Zupancic, Naples

Lead with good intentions

Until we elect leaders to lead with open hearts and minds we are doomed.

History is truth. Racial inequities are real. Women's rights are human rights. Voting must be accessible to any citizen without fear or intimidation. Candidates must be smart enough to know the difference between right and wrong.

Park your religious Churchillian hocus pocus and lead with good intentions.

There is no place in our government or public education for religion and corporate greed. Vote for leaders with a real agenda to make things better. Candidates that just sling mud should be eliminated, not encouraged.

I have faith that you are all smarter than this and can find some common ground for everyone to be happy.

It is not all about you, or trying to be king.

Christianne Murphy, Golden Gate

Objective curiosity atrophies

If not but for Donald Trump -- wait a minute -- let’s go deeper and deeper and deeper still to find where the causal chain reaction began that led us to a loud-mouthed con man’s successful rise to the presidency:

An educational system that didn’t nourish every child’s natural objective curiosity (the essence of critical thinking) and caused it to atrophy while they force-fed "facts" and then tested to determine who was "smart" -- or not -- to the point where a huge segment of the country’s students turned off and couldn’t wait to get out of school and never have to open another book. And now many rely on Murdoch’s Fox "news" to do their "critical thinking" for them.

And it wasn’t just the kids who did poorly on the tests whose objective curiosity appetite atrophied.

The objective curiosity of the obedient good memorizers -- aka "smart kids" -- atrophied as well and today are among the "highly educated," like Hawley, Cruz and DeSantis, who can non-objectively spout verbatim the dogmatic philosophies of history’s most nefarious charlatans.

No wonder Trump actually said, “I love the poorly educated."

J. Cant, Naples

Biden's failing strategy

Here Joe goes again. In two really outrageous statements, Joe has put the United States back on its heels and looking more incompetent every day. Let's discuss.

Statement #1 catches Joe B. at a fundraiser scaring the hell out of donors. He indicated that the U.S. is at a point of Armageddon. Not since 1962 has the U.S. faced a nuclear threat so real he has raised the DEFCON alert. So, as usual, the White House backtracks but the question was never answered, are we at nuclear Armageddon?

Statement #2 exposes the hypocrisy of the Democrats and the extremely dangerous predicaments based on "the war on fossil fuel." JB and the climate change ideologues have reduced domestic oil production and created an environment where financial institutions will not invest in oil companies. And gas prices are climbing and JB cannot stop them. So JB has gone on bended knee to the Iranians, Venezuelans and most publicly the Saudis for more oil.

The OPEC+ nations just gave JB a big middle finger and cut production. And big bad JB threatens something bad to the Saudis. What will JB do? Right, sabre rattling and nothing more. When your strategy relies on unreliable characters, then you get what you deserve -- more windmills, more solar panels and lots of mad citizens paying $5 per gallon at the pump.

The economy is in a death spiral. JB has no idea how to fix the economy, can't pump more oil, and is all in on renewable energy not ready for prime time.

Options? Pump oil or go to war. JB will take us to war.

Jack Holt, Cape Coral

Hurricane evacuations, mask mandates

I’ve been impressed that Florida state officials proactively implemented a mandatory evacuation of areas that were projected to be in the path of the hurricane. It makes sense that the elected official would want to do everything in their power to promote safety, to protect the vulnerable people who are in the path of the storm who may be maimed or killed if not removed from harm’s way.

What I don’t understand is how is implementing a mandatory evacuation in the face of a dreaded storm any different from mandating wearing of face masks to minimize the spread of an unseen but profoundly deadly virus? Is the difference that the storm can be seen? Via radar we can see its approach, the ferocity can be measured, and the damage can be calculated. Is it because the storm damage will be done to homeowners, corporations, those with property to lose? Whereas death from a virus isn’t always as easy to trace. One person may be infected but have no symptoms yet can easily pass it on to unsuspecting individuals, those with cash in pocket and those without. Not so easy to see the direct cause and effect of virus transmission but it’s there, nonetheless.

If implementing face mask requirements and other COVID reduction measures are violations to one’s civil rights, then why is implementing a mandatory evacuation not a violation of the civil rights of the people of Florida. Please Mr. DeSantis, explain.

Eileen M. Dwyer MS, RN, Chicago, IL

Snookered by the radical right

OPEC recently announced a huge reduction in oil production. Some are calling it “Putin’s War Tax.” Look for Republicans to blame the resulting increase in worldwide gas prices on President Biden.

Ah, for the good old days, when truly conservative Republicans pressured and worked with President Clinton to bring our deficit/surplus to 0. Radical right-wing Trump’s record pre-COVID tax cuts and spending added $4.5 trillion to the debt, accelerating the national debt problem. Look for Republicans to blame Biden.

Republicans who control Tallahassee cynically passed a gas tax holiday in October only, right before the elections and financed by federal funds. Look for Republicans to take credit.

Recently Mr. DeSantis diverted federal funds to fly people legally seeking asylum from Texas to Massachusetts, a campaign ploy also financed by federal tax dollars, falsely claiming these folks were here “illegally.”

We have been snookered by the radical right. No one wants to admit they have been fooled. Look for Republicans to double down on their culture wars, blaming Biden, immigrants, Democrats, transgender children, teachers, whoever else, for their failure to address real economic issues facing working Floridians.

Judy Freiberg, Naples

Helping wealthy to cheat

Recently, Kevin McCarthy, House minority leader, unveiled the Republican “commitment to America” if, in the election, the GOP won majority. Their very first bill would focus on repealing “87,000 IRS agents.” The claim is that such an expansion of IRS agents will be used to audit middle-class Americans, low-income earners and small businesses. Really? Let us examine the facts.

Recent Treasury Department report shows that the Treasury is losing federal income tax revenue of over $600 billion annually because some taxpayers are hiding a part of their income from being taxed. Almost all (99.95 percent) of non-reported incomes are arising out of income from investment in businesses, stocks, bonds and other financial assets. As the top 20 percent of the wealthy owns almost all the financial assets, more precisely 93 percent of the financial assets, the wealthy are hiding a part of their income to avoid paying the full amount of taxes that they owe. In contrast almost no income is hidden from wages and salaries and thus those workers are paying the full amount of taxes that they owe.

This is understandable because in reporting income, salary and wage earners are accounted by their employers but investment income earners are accounted by no one. Only way these cheaters can be detected is through IRS audits. By eliminating “87,000 IRS agents,” the GOP will be clearing the path for the wealthy to cheat. It seems the GOP is a party of law and order only for those not well off or well connected and the wealthy can freely avoid laws.

Mukhtar Ali, Marco Island

Manipulating our minds

I was In a group of people that I think claim to be rational-minded, justice-loving, democracy-demanding individuals. They expressed their desire to participate in a book club. But as I sat, listening and reflecting on my previous experiences (with such groups), bad thoughts intruded. I heard no mention of function process or motive, but given the bloodbath democracy has taken in Florida with the outcome of this election, if you are not oriented to change and continue the routine coffee clutch, apple pie in the sky mission, we are doomed.

 We read books oriented to justice, truth, equity and inclusion and end up with the same attitude. We could very well not bother and continue with “Stop Woke,” “ Don’t say gay” censorship and allow our present governor to choose our activities and manipulate our minds. The outcome will be the same: a culture of racism, other ism, oppression and abuse.

Lewis Robinson, Fort Myers

This article originally appeared on Fort Myers News-Press: Letters to the editor for Saturday, November 26, 2022

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