A letter writer from Sept. 24 suggests that we who believe the current rate of climate change is human-caused should be ashamed. I am not. But the letter did make me wonder about something: Is the Star Tribune opinion staff preparing itself for the day when climate-change denial can no longer be regarded as a thoughtful opinion deserving public deliberation?
This is the U.S.: We are entitled to have and express opinions. But we also depend on responsible journalism not to mislead us about the state of the world. For example, I know there are people who believe the earth is flat, and people who believe it is only 4,000 and some years old, but the Star Tribune doesn’t take those opinions seriously, for good reason. I know there are people who believe that being born with brown skin makes a person inferior to those with white skin, but the paper takes that opinion seriously only as a problem, as it should.
Are you ready for the day, coming soon, when climate-change denial can no longer be seen as a harmless opinion? To be sure, we need all the ideas and opinions we can gather about how to reduce global warming. But thinking we will always need to debate whether human activity has anything to do with climate change will only bog down our progress toward finding solutions. Three cheers for the young people helping us face facts. Three sighs of sorrow over those who refuse to face them.
W. Bruce Benson, Northfield
This man should not be president
A Sept. 26 letter writer lists many of the reasons why our president is in a constant swirl of controversy (racism, Russia, etc.) but holds them up as examples of why his most recent abuse of power also will not “work,” presumably meaning it will not lead to impeachment. The examples listed, as well as many more that could be, only prove that his supporters will stand by him as a good president even in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary. The factual evidence listed would only lead an impartial observer to think the man is not a decent human being, much less president.
The writer is also flatly incorrect in his assertion that we must “accept the fact that the American people chose Donald Trump as president in 2016.” It is common knowledge that almost 3 million more American people voted for Hillary Clinton than for Trump. He received 46.1% of the popular vote, while she received 48.2%.
Katherine Baufield, Minnetonka
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A Sept. 26 letter writer said that “the American people chose Donald Trump as president in 2016.”
Just a reminder: Trump was chosen by the Electoral College, not the voting populace, which clearly had someone else in mind.
Not that it matters all that much either way. Support from the masses is not an a priori guarantee of absence of criminality, as we learned the hard way in 1974 with Nixon, who had commanded both a substantial Electoral College and popular majority two years earlier. The number of followers a person has says nothing about his or her character.
Thomas Henry, North Mankato
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America, it is time to hold our elected leaders accountable. Ever since Trump’s election, members of Congress have played hot potato with the term “impeachment.” The legislative branch has a Constitutional duty to start the impeachment process if the president is suspected of committing high crimes and misdemeanors. We have been told of great collusion in the election process with Russia. Now we are told of dire abuse of privilege by Trump against a political opponent with dealings in Ukraine.
It is time for America to demand the truth be told. If the president committed high crimes and misdemeanors and the legislative branch does not proceed judiciously, then it is more guilty than the president. Congress: Stop playing politics with the Constitution and perform the duty you have sworn to uphold, otherwise admit the alleged impeachment is nothing more than smoke and mirrors to confuse the voting public.
Christopher Lund, Hamburg, Minn.
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The Democratic leadership of the U.S. House is moving toward impeaching Trump (“Democrats reach last straw with ‘brazen’ Trump,” front page, Sept. 25). If these leaders proceed, the likely result will be as follows: The House votes to impeach, and the Senate doesn’t even come close to obtaining the two-thirds majority required to remove the president from office. The process will take significant time and effort, which means the important matters that the House and Senate should be working on will be neglected — including the immigration mess and the intolerable national debt, among other matters.
The approval rating of Congress hovers around 18%, and there’s a reason for that. It is my opinion that spending money, time and effort on impeachment is stupid — regardless of what you think about our president.
Richard J. Hansen, Edina
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Our president has employed the same tactics as president as he has throughout his business career. He’s used racist policies, bankruptcies, probable tax evasion and utter lack of civility, all to enrich himself. Once again he plays the victim card in this latest scandal with Ukraine, saying he’s been so wronged by the media and Democrats out to get him. The real victims here are you and me, the American people.
During his time in office, he’s managed to build a wall: a wall of protection around himself, by appointing people who will sell their souls to keep him from facing his corruption. Where were our Republican leaders (there’s a small handful; John McCain was one) who put principle ahead of party?
Nancy Olmsted, Excelsior
The government can collect your data, but you have some rights
The Sept. 21 article describing the FBI’s excessive use of administrative subpoenas to gather our personal data (“Secret FBI subpoenas scoop up personal data”) contains the following quote from University of Texas Prof. Stephen Vladeck: “The question is: Do we have the right to know when the government is collecting information on us?”
A provision of the Minnesota Government Data Practices Act (MGDPA) does give individuals who are the subject of data held by Minnesota state and local government agencies the right to know that those entities are holding data about them. In summary, our statute says that upon request to the person in the agency who is responsible for compliance with the MGDPA, an individual shall be informed if they are the subject of any data held by the entity. Upon further request of the individual, they shall be provided access to any government data that are classified as private or public (according to Minnesota Statutes Section 13.04, subdivision 3).
Thanks should go to the farsighted legislators and even some bureaucrats who, some 45 years ago, had a sense of what the future of government surveillance might bring.
Don Gemberling, St. Paul
The writer is spokesperson for the Minnesota Coalition on Government Information.
Gee, if only we still had that money
In response to the opinion piece titled, “City leaders must act to keep Mpls. safe” (Sept. 25): I agree that the safety and security of fans flocking to downtown Minneapolis to enjoy professional sports should be of the utmost importance. The authors of the piece recommend training and employing more officers throughout the city but with no real plan to pay for it.
One can’t help but wonder how much training and how many officers could be employed had the city not devoted millions in subsidies for the very teams doing the asking.
Robert Baril, Minneapolis
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