Once again we can see evidence of how President Donald Trump has hurt the U.S. economy. We all know how the trade war has clearly hurt farmers, and now we read that manufacturing in the U.S. is in a slump, every sector of the economy is affected, with even whiskey sales down (“U.S. distillers struggle as exports diminish,” Feb. 13), all due to Trump’s unnecessary and reckless trade war.
Also in Feb. 13’s paper was an article about how the national deficit is approaching $1 trillion with the total national debt now over $23 trillion (“Deficit rises, headed to $1 trillion”). In just three years Trump has been responsible for over $2 trillion of the total national debt — almost 10%! And, worse yet, the annual deficit is expected to stay over $1 trillion a year for the foreseeable future.
I’m just glad to see the true conservatives finally turning on Trump due to the horrific national debt he is accumulating! Certainly we’ve seen Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, that deficit hawk during Democratic presidencies, all over this? No? How about South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham? No? Minnesota Rep. Tom Emmer? Rep. Pete Stauber? Rep. Jim Hagedorn? Why aren’t we hearing from these supposedly staunch conservatives? What is it? Fear?
Douglas Wobbema, Burnsville
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So why is Rudy Giuliani getting information from Ukraine again? (“Giuliani’s info to be vetted, Barr says,” Feb. 11.) Why does the Department of Justice have a special channel for him to report information to? Giuliani is President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer; by definition that means his first priority is Trump, not you, not me, not America. Do you really think he will report anything but unfavorable information about Joe and/or Hunter Biden? Oops! I mean corruption in Burisma and/or Ukraine — after all, that’s what Trump was concerned about when withholding aid. What will Giuliani report if he doesn’t find anything noteworthy, lies? He certainly won’t report, “I didn’t find any incriminating evidence against the Bidens.” And who is paying for Giuliani’s “witch hunt”? Somehow, I don’t think I really want to know.
Steve VanderLinden, Farmington, Minn.
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Recently, Trump was interviewed by Sean Hannity on Fox and his complaints about the suffering he and his family were enduring made my blood boil. Was a family member killed by a drunken driver? No! Does a family member have an incurable or terminal disease? No! Did a family member lose his or her job when a factory moved overseas? No! These are non-self-inflicted adversities. The “suffering” that Trump is talking about is because of choices he has made.
Complaining about inquiries into his tax returns? Trump chose to depart from a 50-year tradition of presidential candidates releasing their returns. Complaining about inquiries into conflicts of interest with his businesses? Trump chose to not put his businesses into blind trusts, unlike past Presidents George H.W. and George W. Bush. Complaining about being investigated for Russian ties? Trump chose to stonewall and obstruct the investigations instead of cooperating, disavowing and offering up what he knew. Complaining about being impeached? Trump chose to press Ukraine for help in exchange for aid, instead of walking the straight and narrow after the Mueller report was released. No, this is not the kind of suffering that most people experience, and many people would gladly suffer (all the way to the bank) the way he says he is.
Peter Hall, Edina
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In the continuous and ongoing verbal assault against Trump by members of the media and those privileged few who are allowed to vent in the Readers Write section, your invectives are shallow and baseless. The impeachment process was a partisan witch hunt that fell short of its goal. The Democrats are in disarray as they attempt to recover from their recent embarrassments. The refusal of the Democratic leadership to recognize the reality of the 2016 election will only be outdone by their reaction to the 2020 landslide. The simple fact is your case against Trump was not made because the facts were not present. Your blind rage, intense dislike and penchant for outright lies were on full display.
Those who label us a “cult” have no clue as to how much we disdain “the swamp” of both parties. We view the Democrat Party as a dangerous agent for socialism and reject their agenda. We are aligned with Trump’s “promises made and promises kept” as he attempts to return the nation to a better place.
Those disenfranchised moderate Democrats are welcome to join us as their former party grapples with their identity, direction and messaging.
Joe Polunc, Cologne, Minn.
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We fight him, we correct him, we argue with him, we reject him, we despise him, we pray for him, we analyze him and, finally, we turn him off and become quiet. Maybe now is the time for us all too crawl up on the rooftop and scream, repeatedly, to all of America that they are committing suicide, killing their democracy and their country, refusing to be “We the People” forming a more perfect union. This is not about your damned rights, this is about the life or death of our republic.
We thump the Bible, we thump the Constitution, we ignore history, we make war not peace, and, day after day, we strain gnats and swallow camels.
Bill Dix, St. Francis
Questions on a ‘quality’ education
Earlier this year former Minnesota Supreme Court Justice Alan Page and Federal Reserve Bank President Neel Kashkari proposed a constitutional amendment to help close the achievement gap in Minnesota public schools. Later Ted Kolderie posed a series of questions that need to be debated about the proposed amendment (“A ‘quality education’ amendment is a bold idea,” Feb. 1). Here are some additional questions that I believe should be added to his list.
First, should the present system of rating schools based on academic performance and graduation rates be changed to reflect the changes made by employers and post-high-school educational institutions? There is a huge conflict between the school rating system based mainly on academic performance and the priorities of the World’s Best Workforce (Minnesota’s strategic education plan) and criteria increasingly being used in admissions to post-high-school educational opportunities. Increasing the 21st-century skills of collaboration, communication, critical thinking, creativity and problem-solving are priorities for employers and few if any of these are reflected in the present standardized testing. Additionally, the highest priority of most employers is the work ethic of the applicant, and attendance is not usually reported on a high school transcript.
A second question relates to the boards, commissions and task forces used by the Minnesota Department of Education. Do they truly reflect the diversity of the state? By diversity I don’t mean simply ethnic/racial/gender diversity but business, educational and income background and individuals who understand what the needs of the workforce of tomorrow will be.
The third question involves closing the achievement gap. Research has shown that home environment, including family income levels, the parents’ educational level, parental values and expectations and cultural norms, are related to student achievement in school. Even if more money is poured into public education, is it realistic to expect that the school system can significantly close the achievement gap when so many of the factors that determine success under the present system of measuring are out of the control of teachers and other members of the school staff?
A robust debate/discussion around what constitutes a quality education today and what it needs to be for the future can be helpful in keeping Minnesota known as an educational state.
Linden Olson, Worthington, Minn.
The writer is a member of the Worthington school board.
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