National security adviser Michael Flynn's resignation is nothing but political damage control ("Flynn resigns over Russia calls," Feb. 14). Who told him to talk to Russia in the first place? Did he just get up one morning and say, "Gee, I think I will call the Russian ambassador and chat!"? The Republican administration must come clean about its interactions with Russia (particularly before the election) and its financial relationships. Congress must conduct a detailed and thorough investigation and report the results to the American people. America's national security is at stake.

John Fetrow, Mahtomedi

• • •

I'm all for "extreme vetting" of refugees who want to live in this country (although it should be pointed out that we already do). I'm also in favor of extreme vetting for national security advisers, ahem.

Jennifer Kunze, Minneapolis

IMMIGRATION ENFORCEMENT

If raids worry those who entered illegally, it's their own fault

Immigration and Customs Enforcement conducted raids recently and deported many illegal aliens. Good. Our laws are finally being enforced. The liberal media is falsely accusing President Trump of separating families ("Immigrants unsettled by raids in state," Feb. 14). No. Illegal aliens are separating their families by committing the crime of illegal immigration. They are responsible for committing their crimes, they are responsible for the consequences of their crimes, and they are responsible for separating their families. If they did not want to separate their families, they should not have immigrated illegally.

Taylor Swanson, Eden Prairie

RURAL MINNESOTANS

They voted for Trump, and now they're seeing the consequences

Reportedly, voters in rural Minnesota voted for Donald Trump because they are under the perception that they are the forgotten people of "flyover land" who have been neglected by the larger society and that urban areas like the Twin Cities get an undue share of society's wealth and government expenditures. Yet, by voting for Trump, they voted for a travel ban that would deprive them of services from many noncitizens who have taken jobs in rural areas as primary care physicians, dentists, home health care aids and nursing home assistants (front page, Feb. 11). Not only would this lead to poorer health care and increased mortality rates, but it would also hurt economic development, because employers might choose to locate in population centers where adequate health care is available. It boggles the mind to think that outstate voters would vote against their own self-interests and create a situation that further exacerbates their problems.

M.L. Kluznik, Mendota Heights

REFUGEES

This fear and climate change: Put two and two together

Somalia, like much of the Horn of Africa, is suffering a persistent multiyear drought that has promoted political instability and caused a humanitarian disaster ("Families flee drought in Somalia," Feb. 13). What this report fails to mention is the connection between climate change, an enhanced El Niño and the increased risk of drought. As atmospheric carbon dioxide has rocketed from 250 parts per million in the early 1900s to more than 400 ppm today, global temperatures have risen in response. And a warmer Earth means more severe and damaging climate extremes. El Niño is a periodic release of heat from the Pacific Ocean and in itself alters weather patterns. Warmer oceans enhance the effects of El Niño.

If our government wishes to slow the flow of refugees and save millions of lives, a good start would be the adoption of a carbon fee recently proposed by the GOP Climate Leadership Council ("A GOP plan that could turn the tide," Short Takes, Feb. 13). As each year is warmer than the last and billion-dollar climate disasters become routine, there is simply no time and no excuse for further delaying action on climate change.

Bruce D. Snyder, St. Paul

MINNEAPOLIS MAYOR'S RACE

Looks like an interesting year, with some echoes from the past

History can and may repeat itself, particularly regarding politics. After reading that a campaign intern for Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges crafted a fake "Draft Jacob Frey for Congress" job posting ("Hodges camp admits to stunt," Feb. 14), I began to think of this mayoral campaign as an uncanny replay of the Hillary Clinton-Barack Obama contest for the 2008 Democratic Party presidential nomination, with Hodges' campaign assuming the DFL nomination for her re-election is owed her (and acting accordingly), and the challenging campaign presenting City Council Member Jacob Frey as the agent of change whose candidacy upends the municipal status quo. (Hodges posted an apology to Frey on Tuesday.)

The 2017 mayoral campaign will provide interesting insights into our city and its political culture.

John Mehring, Minneapolis

HEALTH INSURANCE

Well, if we're going to solve problems by taxing providers …

In response to extending the 2 percent provider tax in Minnesota to fund the individual insurance rebate program and the state portion of the funding for MinnesotaCare proposed in the Feb. 11 commentary "An interim plan to stabilize Minnesota's individual market," I would ask for a reply to the obvious question: Should Minnesota-based health care providers fairly be legally recognized as one of the fundamental permanent pillars that will be depended on for sustained funding in covering the future ever-increasing health care costs of Minnesotans?

In other words, to achieve affordable health care in Minnesota, Minnesota-based health care providers should be legally obligated to pick up some of the health care costs of the state to achieve this laudable goal?

Yes, when Minnesota lawyers are legally forced to pay annually a part of the ever-rising costs of the Minnesota judicial system to achieve affordable legal coverage.

Yes, when Minnesota grocery store owners are involuntarily legally responsible annually for paying part of the costs of feeding the poor to achieve sustaining affordable nutrition.

Yes, when Minnesota schoolteachers are legally required to pay annually part of the ever-increasing costs in the school system to achieve affordable high-quality education.

Yes, et cetera.

Dr. Carl E. Burkland, New Prague

The writer is a retired family physician.

OPINION EXCHANGE

Page benefits, as do we all, from hearing slices of life

The Feb. 10 commentary by Warren Hanson ("At the airport, he said what he needed to say") was a poignant and lighthearted delight to read, especially during this time of daily hate-speak. In fact, I almost missed it because of its location on the Opinion Exchange, which I now mostly avoid. The unintentionally listened-upon slice of airport conversation that Mr. Hanson describes reminded me of those I, myself, often hear at Lake Harriet — a social gathering point in my city. When the sun shines and the temperature is right, masses of people pass by the bench I sit upon on their circular journeys, and I, too, hear slices of conversation. Having no beginnings or endings for reference, but just middles, energizes my own imagination, serving to create little stories in my mind. Real or otherwise — it matters naught, just as long as they come from the heart.

James Boyer, Minneapolis