Sounding off: This country belongs to all of us
On Aug. 27, the Trump reelection campaign sent this message to its supporters in a fundraising email: “The President is calling on you at this critical time to remind (Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez) and Democrats that this is our country, not theirs.”
This cannot — and should not — be dismissed as an “over the top” fundraising message. It is a declaration that a substantial portion of Americans are, in the eyes of Trump, not Americans at all because they don’t support Trump. Whether you calculate that percentage of Trump opponents based upon the 2016 presidential election, the 2018 congressional elections or the numerous polls from Jan. 20, 2017, up to the present that show at least a plurality, if not outright majority, of the people in this country do not support Trump, the message is clear. If you don’t support Trump, this is not your country.
In the Dred Scott decision, Chief Justice Roger Taney wrote that African-Americans “had no rights which the white man was bound to respect.” Now Trump has said the same thing: If you are a Democrat, this is not your country; you have no rights which he, or his supporters, are bound to respect.
The Dred Scott decision, and Taney’s words, made the Civil War inevitable. Now Trump has issued what amounts to a declaration of war against half (or more) of the American people. Simply because those people don’t support him.
Think about that. This is not the “usual” Trumpian outrage. This is horrifying. No more, no less.
Eric Falk, North Huntingdon
Unions give workers power
Our working men and women are in dire condition. The average CEO in this country earns 400 times more than the average worker on a production line. The top 10% control 90% of the money.
This situation is similar to what was happening in the early part of the 20th century. One important event that happened was the birth of powerful unions like the United Mine Workers (UMW), which led to eventual development of the AFL-CIO. Quickly, union leaders received the right to collective bargaining and they had a seat at the table with corporate leaders. The result was better working conditions, benefits and wages.
Although there was some decline in union numbers, to a great degree this was the situation until Ronald Reagan became president. He attacked the union representing the airport flight controllers (PATCO), and the other unions in this country did not come to their defense. Reagan was able to decertify PATCO, and this led to successful corporate attacks on many unions. Union membership nosedived to the point where only 10.7% of workers are represented by unions today.
Since labor unions are not nearly as powerful as they once were, workers’ wages, conditions and benefits have stagnated. It is difficult to reverse this history, but if workers would take a page from those old leaders in the UMW, they could unite and form potent unions to gain a powerful seat at the bargaining table. Perhaps some of the profits they produce could be shared by corporate leaders.
Richard P. Davis, Saltlick
The Antichrist is closer than you think.
Demonizing immigrants and refugees seeking asylum is anti-Christ.
Building walls is anti-Christ.
Stoking racial tensions and xenophobic hatred is anti-Christ.
Using fear as an expedient political tool is anti-Christ.
Selling arms to repressive regimes that murder journalists and bomb children is anti-Christ.
Spending more on the military than on public education is anti-Christ.
Failing to protect the most vulnerable: the hungry, the homeless, the unemployed, the elderly and the unborn is anti-Christ.
Discriminating against people because of their sexual identity is anti-Christ.
Protecting sexual predators and misogynists is anti-Christ.
Misleading the public with bombastic lies is anti-Christ.
Waging war on a free press is anti-Christ.
Promoting corporate profit over stewardship for the environment is anti-Christ.
Keith G. Kondrich, Swisshelm Park
Collateral damage from anti-Trump actions
I am writing this letter from Facebook jail.
I wonder when the 24/7 anti-Trump nonsense will stop.
We have a president who is trying to help protect our country and make the American dream last.
Will he ever get a little cooperation?
Bill Maher suggests we should hope for a recession so Trump won’t be re-elected.
We are a sovereign nation of laws but this concept is being challenged daily.
We have clubs of governors and state attorneys general suing Trump at the drop of a hat.
We have the ACLU turning into the Alien Civil Liberties Union.
We have members of Congress openly calling Trump obscene names.
These actions create collateral damage. They are tramping on our Constitution just to damn Trump.
The recession idea alone will cause companies to close, add unemployment, cause people to lose their pensions, and cause depression and suicides.
George Biskup, Penn Township, Westmoreland County
NRA’s terroristic ways
What if we were to expand the definition of terrorist organizations beyond those that practice or promote terrorism to include any organization that works to obstruct all effort to eliminate or lessen that terror?
If that were to happen, I would nominate the National Rifle Association to be foremost among them.
The NRA’s perennial effort to thwart meaningful gun control legislation — even after repeated mass killings — is a national disgrace.
The NRA could likewise be considered a terrorist organization for holding virtually all Republican legislators hostage to its political lobbying power — that is, unless they are struck with “Stockholm Syndrome” (where the victims of abduction come to agree with and empathize with their abductors).
The singular constant in all these too-frequent mass shootings is — surprise! — guns, specifically automatic weapons.
Concentrating on banning assault-style weapons alone would seem to eventually have a salubrious effect.
But in every case after a mass shooting, the NRA calls the shots (pun intended) and nothing is done. Leader Wayne LaPierre appears and utters the NRA’s tired and worn rationale, i.e. the slippery slope argument (recently parroted by Donald Trump) that anyone who proposes sensible gun control wants to destroy the Second Amendment and take away everybody’s hunting rifle.
Next to engaging in widespread voter suppression and thus attacking a bedrock principle of our democracy, caving in to the NRA is the most despicable and cowardly thing Republican legislators do.
What a spineless bunch of so-called public servants.
Robert Jedrzejewski, Tarentum
Vaccination bill would protect parents’ rights
In response to the op-ed “Vaccination info should be epidemic,” here are some facts proving that my Vaccine Informed Consent Protection Act, House Bill 286, is the best legislative cure for the real health care epidemic plaguing hundreds of Pennsylvania families.
Across the commonwealth, medical care is now routinely denied for infants and children whose parents choose to delay or decline vaccines for many legitimate reasons. This blatant discrimination is even more troubling when you consider that the insurance industry awards lucrative bonuses to medical practices that have the highest percentages of “fully vaccinated children.”
Recognizing these barriers to equal health care access, my legislation contains a provision specifically prohibiting insurance industry kickbacks based on vaccination quotas.
Common and potentially harmful vaccine ingredients include monkey kidney cells, calf/bovine serum, aluminum hydroxide, and known carcinogens such as formaldehyde and sulfuric acid.
Surprisingly, Congress has given vaccine manufacturers immunity from vaccine-related liability. As a result, the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program has paid out more than $4 billion for thousands of vaccine injuries or deaths.
House Bill 286 would prohibit denials of care and other forms of bullying and intimidation against families who exercise their God-given, parental rights to delay or decline an aggressive childhood vaccination schedule that has more than tripled since 1986.
Put more concisely, my legislation is all about protecting the rights of parents to freely determine if the rewards of every vaccination outweigh the risks for their children.
Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, Cranberry Township
The writer, a Republican, represents the 12th District.
Property tax system must change
The archaic school tax has been used to fund education since the 1830s. My home 0f 39 years cost $40,000, with current Deer Lakes tax at $3,600. I’ve paid for it almost three times over. I’m over 70 with no children and a low to moderate fixed income. My mother, a widower who owned her home for 50 years, had to sell her home in 2005 because of the tax. My parents bought that home new in 1955 for $13,500. Her school tax in Shaler when she sold was $1,500 per year.
Opposition to changing the current system lies mainly with teachers unions, school boards and senators. Senators voting against school tax relief in 2016 were:
• Democrats: John Blake, Jay Costa, Lawrence Farnese, Arthur Haywood, Vincent Hughes, Shirley Kitchen, Daylin Leach, John Sabatina, Christine Tartaglione, Rob Teplitz, Sean Wiley, Anthony Williams and Gov. Tom Wolf.
• Republicans: Michele Brooks, Jake Corman, John Gordner, Stewart Greenleaf, Scott Hutchinson, Thomas McGarrigle, Chuck McIlhinney, Dominic Pileggi, Tommy Tomlinson, Pat Vance, Kim Ward and Gene Yaw.
We need to elect candidates who support the people. Thanks to Sen. David Argall and David Baldinger, of the Pennsylvania Taxpayers Cyber Coalition, for their support of the Property Tax and Independence Act, Senate Bill 76. View this bill and perform your own calculations and savings. Everyone in Pennsylvania should be responsible for funding. Write to your representatives.
John Lambert, West Deer