Letters to the Editor
December 22, 2021

To the Editor:
Second Opinion: Bless their Hearts. December 23, 2021.
In an often contentious and challenging time, there are still many stories this year to warm the heart of even the worst Scrooge. Random acts of kindness: neighbors helping an old lady get into her house when she locked herself out, other neighbors bringing her garbage cans from the street after pickup (and I think some may be Republicans, bless their hearts), police helping kids by buying them a pair of shoes or a blanket, a kid bringing a donut to a fireman in a restaurant, people sponteneously paying for someone else’s meal, providers of meals for children and parents without home or hearth, teachers buying supplies for their students.
Recognition of our common humanity and of the fact that at the end we all face the same fate, and whatever we do to make the journey safer, happier, or easier for our neighbors, near or distant, defines our success as a human being.
A Happy Christmas to those who treasure the celebration of the "Good News" of the New Testament, and the joys of the season to all.
Kelly Scoles,
Fillmore

 


 
Letters to the Editor
December 16, 2021

To the Editor:
Second Opinion: Who Cares? December 15, 2021,
It will be up to the jury to determine whether 15-year-old Ethan Crumbley, who allegedly killed four and wounded seven fellow teens at Oxford HS north of Detroit, MI, with a 9mm Sig Sauer semi-automatic pistol on Tuesday of last week, had the required homicidal mens rea, or intent to kill, to be convicted of first-degree murder under the law. All we have now are the renditions of what occurred and some physical evidence.
On the morning of the shooting, Ethan and his parents, James and Jennifer Crumbley, met with school authorities to discuss his “behavior issues” which included a graphic drawing showing blood, a bullet, a shooting victim and a laughing emoji, and reportedly a note saying that the "world is dead," and "thoughts won't stop, help me."
The school showed it to the parents, who refused to take Ethan out of school at that time. Reportedly, the school believed him that he was designing a video game and directed that he be counseled within 48 hours. Ethan's parents had gifted him the gun and knew he had access to it at home, locked or unlocked, (he was in any event able to secure the weapon).
At around 12:45pm, Ethan left a school bathroom with the pistol and a couple of magazines and began shooting in the hallways as students and faculty fled and tried to hide. At around 1:20pm, a half-hour after the shooting began, Jennifer texted her son saying, "Ethan, don't do it." At 1.37pm, James called 911 reporting his newly-purchased gun missing and told an emergency dispatcher that he believed his son might be the shooter at Oxford HS.
On Thursday, the DA charged the parents with four counts of “involuntary manslaughter.” The state will have to prove that "the parents were 'grossly negligent' in allowing their son access to a firearm, and that their gross negligence caused the deaths of the students."
Congressional extremists who condone if not endorse violence, e.g., gun-totin' Lauren Boebert (R-CO), anti-everything-but-whites Marjorie Taylor Green, Madison Cawthorn (R-NC) who urges mothers to "raise their boys to be monsters," and murder-cartoonist, white-supremacist Paul Gosar (R-AZ), and countless truth-deniers, are tolerated even encouraged, and never reproached in the Republican Party. They know they are encouraging a malignant culture of violence and distrust, but believe that is to their political advantage to ignite and rekindle their base with anger and resentment. There are kids out there who feel it, too, and many do not have the skills to cope.
This is not a one-off tragedy. While there are responsible gun owners, we have an undeniable, relentless history of gun violence by children whose parents promoted guns to them (2021 Christmas cards from Reps. Tom Massie (R-KY) and Lauren Boebert (R-CO) show them and their children grinning and holding guns). How nuts are these people?
Idiocy, irresponsible parenting, and excuses by gun owners for serial tragedies like this should arouse censure from responsible gun users, the NRA, and the public. They happen somewhere in this country every couple of months, and nationally there are threats daily. One in Johnstown PA was averted on Friday. Our kids are just going to school as the law requires. They are not volunteering to insert themselves into a deadly "Rittenhouse confrontation."
If the parents' requisite intent cannot be proved, there are the civil courts and damages. Something to get the attention of parents. What do gun owners think is the answer? What is their obligation for the safety of others when their child has access to guns? What do they think the rest of ought to do about it to protect our kids? Do they care?
Kelly Scoles,
Fillmore

 


 
Letters to the Editor
December 8, 2021

To the Editor:
Second Opinion. Fact Check.
There are a lot of significant issues out there. I hate to waste a column on corrections like this, but last week's Editorial cannot be overlooked.
You say, “Only facts matter.” Let's make it a mantra, Martin. The “facts” and conclusions that you presented in your last "Realities," addressed to my column, are astounding, even fanciful, when you compare them to my actual statements. I can't see the point in writing a column which is then largely misrepresented, as was Second Opinion, "God, Guns, and Verdicts."
I did not mention or refer to “race” at all in the Rittenhouse case. I am not responsible for what other sources say. I mentioned that the victim in the Arbery case was Black and the jury was “mixed.” That was it. You’re the one who ran with “racist.” I stated that the president withdrew the “white supremacist” remark (thank you for that correction), as he should have.
My column said nothing about the WI police killing Jason Black. I said, “Shot and paralyzed.” You got that somewhere else.
I said that Rittenhouse was acquitted, and I supported the verdict because it was rendered by a jury. I made no mention of the races of the victims. My column objected to the fact that all lesser charges were dismissed, wrongfully IMO, so that it was an “all or nothing” decision, designed to protect the defendant.
I was amused by your vehement dispute of my statement that poor Kyle “had no training.” But, he was a lifequard! (in case the river should rise). And he knew CPR! (like every big-city waiter, and for which purpose he carried a gun?). I fear that this kid, once the adulation has settled down, will be selling “treasures” on Old Route 66.
If you have a legitimate source "debunking" the June 1, 2020, events at Lafayette Park, please make it available to me.
Your devotion to the innocence of young Mr. Rittenhouse is confounding. He went looking for trouble with an AK-15 and he found it. When you volunteer to take the law into your own hands, without lawful process, you are in fact a “vigilante."
You have read Don Quixote! I have only read a translation. You point out correctly that the poor man was “confused.” Exactly. Also, the Man from LaMancha also inserted himself into events which he misunderstood and which were not his business, and made himself ridiculous (though not deadly) to many. We are agreed, then, that Rittenhouse qualifies as a junior-Don Quixote.
In summary, many of your assertions in last week's editorial on my column were substantively inaccurate. Raising "racism" in that column was unfounded and was your choice, Martin. I did not raise the issue except to chastise the president for doing so.
I agree that we cannot have “a meaningful debate” if facts are not part of the discussion. While you are, of course, entitled to write anything in your editorials that you wish, if you just want to rant over things you have read elsewhere, go for it. You do not need me to do that. But please do not attribute to me things which I clearly have not said. No need to be "woke." Accurate will do.
Kelly Scoles,
Fillmore

 


 
Letters to the Editor
December 1, 2021

To the Editor:
What an impressive tour of the new classrooms at Fillmore High School!
State of the Art equipment along with positive up beat educators!
I had the opportunity to meet the new Fillmore United School District Superintendent Mrs. Schieferle and the First Family!
The citizens of Fillmore should be very proud of their school knowing it is second to none!
Ray Hoover,
Fillmore

***

To the Editor:
Second Opinion. God, Guns, and Trials.
A self-declared “second amendment person,” 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse, borrowed an AR-15 style .223 rifle and "righteously" headed from Antioch IN to Kenosha WI to insert himself as an armed vigilante in a violent protest after a police officer shot and paralyzed an unarmed young Black man the week before. He claimed he went to "protect businesses, and provide medical assistance," services for which he had no training. His mother apparently knew of his intent and did not protest. In pursuit of his objective, Rittenhouse shot three men, killing two of them.
Many Trumpians hailed the kid as a heroic symbol of gun rights and "justifiable," deadly “self-defense." Money poured into a defense fund; two Republican congressmen agreed to arm-wrestle over who would hire him as an intern. He was serenaded with the "Proud Boys Anthem." Grown adult men applauded our kids hitting the streets with semi-automatic weapons whenever a violent protest occurs. And called it “patriotism” or "altruism."
The president rightly walked back the statement that Rittenhouse was a "white nationalist." Government officials should not draw conclusions of law or fact before a criminal trial and verdict.
The acquittal of this poorly-parented, naive, and reckless junior Don Quixote was not surprising given WI law and jury instructions, especially since the defendant was overcharged under WI law and the clearly defense-biased judge dismissed all lesser charges. In any event, the criminal jury system was invoked and rendered a verdict after apparently careful deliberations.
But where did Rittenhouse get the infantile and dangerous idea that he had a right to arm himself and join the already violent and chaotic scene? "I feel like God has been on my side through the beginning," he said. Oh, well then. If you "felt" it, Kyle, that settles it.
The three defendants accused of shooting a Black jogger, Ahmaud Arbery, were each found guilty of “felony murder” in GA, applicable when the commission of another felony (here, aggravated assault and false imprisonment) results in an unintended death. Only the shooter, Travis McMichael, was found guilty of malicious (intentional) murder by a mixed-race jury. None mentioned "citizen's arrest" when apprehended. Where did these three get the idea that they could run down a person and shoot them on a suspicion?
Maybe these defendants heard then-presidential candidate Donald Trump observe to a thrilled rally audience that if Hillary Clinton "gets to pick her judges, judicial appointments, nothing you can do, folks. Although, the Second Amendment people — maybe there is. I don't know.” Or praise racist combatants in Charlottesville as “good people.” Or tell one of the militia groups to “stand by.” Or promise to pay the legal bills of followers if they injured protesters.
Or maybe they saw the National Guard troops brutally disperse a peaceful demonstration on June 1, 2020, in Lafayette Park near the White House so that Trump, Jarvanka, AG Bill Barr and the Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff Mark Milley in his field-fatigues, could have a photo-op in front of a church, holding…a Bible. There are many other situations from which to choose.
There has always been an undercurrent of violence in this country. What has changed in the last 5 years or so is the legitimacy of it in public, as "a right." The appropriateness of being "at the ready" against our own countrymen, even looking forward to it. The acceptability of violence to enforce individual beliefs or preferences. The idea that God is on your side if you're "packing."
Many cannot see that we are degrading ourselves as a democracy by normalizing threats and fear to ensure political conformance, forcing values, obstructing voting and other rights. Believing that guns and security systems, locked gates, intolerance, and "America First" will make them safe. Assuring themselves that a "vengeful God" is on their side. Because, you've all seen those portraits of Christ with a weapon.
Kelly Scoles,
Fillmore

 


 
Letters to the Editor
November 24, 2021

To the Editor:
Second Opinion. Thanksgiving.
It's that time of the year that we begin to reflect on the year gone by, and find those things for which we are truly thankful.
I wish you all a very relaxed and happy Thanksgiving. It's not that it hasn't been an eventful week, but this seems like a good time to "give it a rest."
Kelly Scoles,
Fillmore

 


 
Letters to the Editor
November 17, 2021

To the Editor:
Second Opinion: Mansplaining.
If you, as a reader of this column, have no interest in another discussion that touches on abortion, you should skip this entry. I will keep this brief.
Martin is not the only male who defaults to “mansplaining.” He would “never want to misquote anyone at any time,” rather, he is happy to decode my words until I can learn to represent myself properly. It should not be news that a man instructing a woman as to what she really thinks and intends is a dangerous lane in which to pull up.
You are unconvinced by my explanation of how I am both “pro-life” and “pro-choice.” That's fine. You modify the dictionary, then interpret my real mind. You imagine I am asserting rights for women that I would not assert for myself. I laughed at that one. I am long-past the personal dilemma, but I would have to confront the issue in real life to reach my personal decision. I demand the right to that choice for all women.
You state that you are arguing for the rights of “two persons,” the “mother and the child.” If you argued for the rights of women, I missed it. Nothing about a women's right, or no right, to control her own body. You are welcome to your opinion and practice, certainly, but have no business imposing your selected theological, historical, or imagined biological assumptions, on others.
Get off the Pol Pot, please. Beyond that evil regime, there is the Holocaust, Armenia, and Rwanda and more in just the last century, which revealed the depth of horror that humans can inflict on one another with the full knowledge of the “sublimely attentive – and avenging” Deity. One can ask, “who’s in charge here?” But it's ridiculous to blame our tortuous human history on a woman exercising jurisdiction over her own internal organs.
Partial-birth abortion is the terrible decision to terminate a pregnancy on a gestationally-complete foetus. Contrary to Martin’s suggestion, they are performed only under rare and drastic conditions.
Imagine a woman who has carried to term, with all the hormonal journeys she has taken, her dreams for the coming child, the nursery now ready, who must make the decision whether, in a dire circumstance (a child born with no brain, for instance), to abort or just make comfortable at that point. Do you really want to insert yourself - through your government - into that heartbreaking scenario?
I appreciate the concerns of people who struggle with this issue. Their expressed belief in the "value of human life” would be more reliable if they were also committed to life once birth occurs, for health care and education and equality in opportunity. When "No-Choice" advocates no longer protect an unborn “tiny person’s activity, kicking, sucking its thumb,” they assess the born and their mothers as "on their own," and freeloaders if they need help.
Martin, your feelings on this issue are clear. However, show even some reluctance to endorse gun-ready violence and bloodshed against your fellow countrymen for concocted and unfounded political accusations of hatred of country, and I will consider that you’re not blowing editorial smoke about your "reverence for [all] life.”
Kelly Scoles,
Fillmore

 


 
Letters to the Editor
November 10, 2021

To the Editor:
Second Opinion. Abortion Redux.
A tip of the hat to the election process in Virginia and New Jersey, and not for the reason you might think. Virginia elected Republican Glenn Youngkin governor over Democrat Terry McAuliffe last week by a not-insignificant margin. Youngkin ostensibly “ran without Trump," but his constant drum-beat against CRT was a Republican dog-whistle that Independents also heard and embraced, even if they didn't trouble themselves to find out what it actually means. The "don't-say-it-out loud" part was, "I've got this. I'll make sure that THEY will not replace [or criticize] us."
The tip of the hat is awarded because the elections were decided without hysterical sniveling from either defeated candidate (McAuliffe and Republican Ciattarelli of New Jersey) about the election being “stolen.”
Martin promised to further discuss abortion this week. I hope that he if he refers to my column, he attempts to quote me accurately this time. I was, however, impressed at how he managed to brandish “communists!” even on this subject, and how my comments lured him to mention human beings considered as rats. I didn’t think it could be done, but that Martin can surprise you.
If you are planning to relate the "history of abortion," Martin, you are aware that historically the rights of women were generally not recognized. It is only in a free society, where women are acknowledged as equals, that their rights over their own bodies are acknowledged. As opposed to those countries practicing Sharia Law, for instance, where women are considered “possessions to be ordered at will."
I clearly did not say that I am both “pro-life” and “pro-abortion.” I explicitly said that I am “pro-life” and “pro-choice” as not mutually exclusive, or a “contradiction”. And !Alert! I can think and argue whatever I like. It is up to the reader to decide if I am persuasive. I certainly did not advocate for abortion. On the contrary, I distinctly said that I know no one who is “pro-abortion.”
I unequivocally acknowledged that “life” begins at conception. I observed that the moment at which the fertilized egg becomes a “human being” is not known. Therefore, arguments that humanity begins at conception, or at some particular point in the gestational cycle before birth, is an opinion and not a fact.
Kudos to you on your knowledge of gestational biology, but this particular issue is at what point the human soul is infused into the body. You come from a religious tradition and are welcome to personally exercise your moral convictions. However, not everyone and more importantly, not every woman, shares your religious or secular beliefs. It’s her body, Martin, and the pregnancy is not in the public domain.
You at least appear to agree that Thomas Aquinas placed “ensoulment” during "completion of conception" (at 30 days for a female and 45-90 days for a male). Theologians have been massaging his statement for centuries. Your attempt to defend his assertion on this issue translates to, “he didn’t know what he was talking about.”
The real point was and is that in a free society a woman, and not the government, is the only entity with standing to assert a choice in the procreative biology of her own body.
Kelly Scoles,
Fillmore

 
Letters to the Editor
November 3, 2021

To the Editor:
Second Opinion: Abortion.
On Monday, SCOTUS was scheduled to hear the TX anti-choice statute. On December 1, the docket will include the Mississippi statute challenging the existing Constitutional right of a woman to obtain an abortion.
I have yet to meet the man who would agree that the state should have control over his reproductive apparatus or status should he beget a pregnancy. “No-Choice” proponents consider both the man and fertilized egg to have full constitutional rights but deny them to the woman. Government can do a lot of good things, but creating and legislating a free citizen’s obligation to the state regarding his/her reproductive organs is not one of them.
I know no one who is “pro-abortion.” It is not a choice to which a woman looks forward. But her pregnancy does not create a sudden duty to the government to relinquish jurisdiction over her uterus. It is a violation of her civil rights and privacy and restores the idea of "women as chattel." I am "pro-life;" I am also "pro-choice." They are not mutually exclusive.
I think men and women advocate for reproductive control of women because they do not trust women to make sound decisions for themselves, or because they believe that women are essentially ordained vessels for procreation. Some justify this view by declaring the “glory of [procreative] womanhood,” which pedestals no woman may refuse to ascend, a power postulate in itself. Or they think their own political/religious beliefs can and should be imposed on other people (the theocratic Christianity of TX and elsewhere).
Often, the same people who support invasive laws against women's reproductive choices conversely deplore the interference of “big government” in other situations far less intimate. Observe all the people rejecting mask or vaccine as an unconstitutional invasion of their freedom. “My Body My Choice!” But “Her Body, also My Choice!” “Babies” from the moment of conception are revered. Post-babyhood, not so much.
Whether a woman chooses an abortion or not, she should have good medical care; it is part of her overall health. Women should participate in state-run health care programs. We pay taxes for a lot of things we don’t use or endorse – like unnecessary wars, bank bailouts, and border walls - because it is part of living in a democratic society.
Many “No Choice” advocates challenge the right to bodily freedom by deeming abortion the murder of an “unborn human being,” and a crime. Certainly, the moment of conception creates “life.” Many people also assume that the human soul or human essence is infused into the biology at the same moment.
Over time, opinions and beliefs have ranged from the first breath (Genesis) or at birth, or at “quickening,” or 30 to 90 days “when conception is completed” (Thomas Aquinas), or 30-40 days after birth when the infant is likely to survive, or at the very moment of conception. Philosophers over the centuries have rendered opinions; clergy have assumed God’s will in the matter. Doctors have pointed to an embryo or fetus and said, “It will only become human.” But at what precise moment the unborn becomes a fully-actualized “human being,” they can’t say for certain.
The truth, no matter how fervently it is argued otherwise, is that no one actually knows. People can choose to believe what they will. Some adhere to religious doctrines and are welcome to practice them. But in a free society, they cannot force their unprovable or unwelcome political/religious beliefs on someone else. And they cannot employ the government to do it for them.
If there is a moral issue in a woman’s choice, that is for her and her conscience to resolve. A church’s teachings and counsel can certainly inform her in making her choice. I am pro-life. But as between the living woman who holds the fertilized egg in her body and the government, the decision must be hers.
Kelly Scoles,
Fillmore

 
Letters to the Editor
October 27, 2021

To the Editor:
Second Opinion: Experiment.
We are soon to discover if our nearly 250 year-old Great American Experiment can survive. Is it possible that the conditions in which we find ourselves now, as opposed to then, are such that at this time in history it cannot be sustained?
We get news fast and relentlessly, a tsunami of experience daily, and not all of it factual. Reading the paper and pondering some ideas and listening to other points of view have been largely replaced by quick-draw, instant-pot, fix-it, fax-it, rapid-fire, lions-and-tigers-and-bears! conclusionary decision-making. I think most people sense coming change, feel the increasing pace, and it is causing some brains to smoke.
A conspiracy-enthusiast talk-show radio host, Rick Wiles, warned that the Covid-19 vaccine is a “global coup d'etat by the most evil cabal of people on the planet in the history of mankind…" The medical establishment is “putting eggs” in people’s bodies which later “hatch into a synthetic parasite that grows inside your body.” He did not reveal the possible purpose of such a procedure. He apparently has a wide repertoire of such lurid ideas, and he is far from alone.
Kirsten Sinema (D?-AZ) clearly smoked the Democrats in AZ and has found the pot of gold which met her price. Joe Mankin (D-WV) is harder to understand. His state of WV desperately needs the help Biden's Plan is offering, and he knows after years of experience that the Republicans will not honestly negotiate anything. What appears as smoke may be coal dust.
John Eastman, a conspiracist and lawyer who authored the “Coup Memo” for Trump to convince Pence to reject the 2020 Presidential Election certified election results and send the results back to Republican-run state legislatures, is now attempting to whitewash his document. He now says he was merely “musing” on the possibilities and had no expectation that they would be implemented on January 6.
Shades of Sidney “Kraken” Powell and Rudy Giuliani whose defamation suit defenses were that they had no obligation to check the truth of any of their legal filings, and that, “no one would believe" their assertions anyway. They insist that their phony election claims were made to render the Mad King “happy” so he wouldn’t “explode” at them, the Truth be horse-whipped. Then Trump inspired and directed others to attempt to take by force what he himself could not attain at the ballot box.
Trump is creating a new free-speech social media network, Truth Social, the purpose of which will defy the “tyranny of Big Tech,” and will promote, “open, free, and honest global conversation.” The extensive Terms and Conditions (T&C’s), however, will prohibit users from statements that, “disparage, tarnish, or otherwise harm, in our opinion, us and/or the Site.” Users are advised that they must not “annoy” any of the site’s employees. As always, it can't be the Truth if it annoys the Donald.
What do these examples have to do with a rapidly-changing world where long-held assumptions or beliefs are being challenged? I think many look for solace to the past, our place in it, and the possibility of restoring it. We may want God to “come down” and control the unruly, or elect some strong-man who will make us feel secure by representing that he alone can hold back history with “America First.” People can be encouraged to believe things that are patently untrue, unreasonable, anti-democratic, or bizarre, as a port in the storm around us.
We have allowed ourselves to be divided into opposing uncooperative factions for race, religious beliefs, financial status, political affiliation. Our Constitutional Republic can become easy pickings if we do not steady ourselves and put a premium on the Truth.
Some political leaders here and elsewhere know that our greatest strength, our unity in will, is being threatened. They will happily take advantage of that. It will ease and expedite their objectives as we cannibalize ourselves over our prejudices, biases, fears and differences.
Kelly Scoles,
Fillmore

***

To the Editor:
In case you weren’t able to make it to the council meeting last night (10/26) and didn’t watch it online, a decision was made and there has been an appointment to fill the seat left vacant by Ari’s passing. After interviewing 12 applicants, Simone Alex was selected to become our next council member.
I want to congratulate the city council on a job well done. There were 6 questions in all. Each applicant was asked to answer the same set of questions. After all 12 applicants had the opportunity to respond, the council members each named their top two picks. There was some overlap, so the applicants whose names came up the most went on to the next round. This continued until it was down to two applicants.
It was a tough choice but Simone was selected by three of the four council members. When it was motioned that Simone be appointed, the vote from the council was unanimous. I want to thank each council member for working together as a team; putting the good of the city over politics and making a selection they could all agree on. The actions of our council last night was commendable and admirable and just what Fillmore needs at this time. Thank you, council members, for being united and helping our community through this process.
I’d also like to commend each of the applicants. If you haven’t been in that position, you can’t know what it’s like. The pressure is on and you have no idea what questions you’ll be asked. The council members came up with some very solid questions and the applicants all did well. Some stand-out responses were given and, as a citizen, I want to thank and congratulate each of the applicants. I’d also like to second what council member Lynn Edmund said at the end of the meeting; each of the applicants who cared enough to put themselves forward should continue to involve themselves in the process of leading our city. We have a wonderful community of people who love our town and we need more citizen participation.
And, finally, congratulations to the newest member of the Fillmore City Council, Simone Alex. I presume that she will be sworn in at the next regular council meeting on November 9th.
Tim Holmgren,
Fillmore

 
Letters to the Editor
October 20, 2021

To the Editor:
All council seats on the dais belong to the people of Fillmore; not the swampy establishment at City Hall. Sadly, Mayor Austin, through his despicable actions last Tuesday, tried his best to circumvent a process that would allow the public to be part of the selection to fill the one seat vacancy on the council. Thankfully, there were barely three council members who felt compelled to defend a procedural due process. As for being open minded on future applicants, it seems the two swampy establishment council members have their minds made up, per their dialogue at the last meeting.
Mr. Holmgren is correct on one count, though. This endeavor will indeed be contentious: The People Vs. The Swampy Establishment.
Brian N. Sipes,
Fillmore

***

To the Editor:
Second Opinion
Re: Martin's Editorial
I promise not to further argue with Martin that the withdrawal from Afghanistan was of Trump’s design. I wish that we could have done better in logistics. Remember that the withdrawal was announced well in advance. Why some people waited until the last moment to leave, I do not know. Our government could not force them to leave earlier. It doesn’t make it any less disturbing.
I have a number of housecleaning comments: Yes, “Pence has a duty to protect the ‘football.’” The point was he knew he had to run for his life, and for the protection of that item. He didn’t think standing his ground was an option, given the conduct of the insurrectionists. January 6 was not just a bunch of “rowdy tourists.”
Martin’s lament that President Biden has driven the economy "into a ditch”. Except that the Biden Plan has been neither adopted nor implemented at this point. If inflation was his point, you don’t have to have an Economics degree to know that one inevitable result of the pandemic economic response was going to be inflation. It's better than letting people starve during the emergency.
Section 4 of the 14th Amendment says what it says regarding the debt. But please DO argue the “intent of the framers,” as you will encourage a much-needed review of the 2nd Amendment. No reasonable cognizant person debates whether to pay the bill after dining out. To not pay that debt is considered theft and you will be forever barred from the premises. Governments have the same rule. Got that, Mitch?
But it was the following paragraph in the Editorial that compelled me to respond:
“…This nation will not endure a Biden presidency. When this becomes widely obvious, we may hear the sound of 400-million American arms being unlocked. We should pray that our Christian Constitutional culture is maintained and respected."
I checked with Martin last week to ensure that I had read him correctly. He replied that the, "400-million" expression [was]as a hyperbolic metaphor for that half of the American citizenry profoundly concerned about the continued survival of our Republic." Your reply did not answer my question. When you say "American arms being unlocked" are you referring to actual weapons being readied to kill fellow Americans? You appear to be very close to endorsing that, and it's not for the first time. You are skilled so as to include a condition, "we may hear the sound" but the image is the same. You link, in just a few sentences, the suggestion that the Biden presidency should or may be cut short or terminated, and weapons would be justified. These thoughts have an extremely serious legal and social nexus.
You also link these thoughts of an armed protection of political values against President Biden (by "arms" or a "knife fight") to defend what you think are the "moral mandates" of Judaeo-Christian principles. This sort of demagoguery is foolhardy and dangerous. Say it often enough and people can become inured to its untruth, and to what that would actually look like. I will send you some photos of the aftermath of The Battle of Gettysburg, or some pictorials of the torture of the Inquisition, if it will illuminate the issue for you.
Prayer is fine in an effort to maintain respect for our “Christian Constitutional culture.” Unlocking arms and knife fights are not. I had assumed that you knew that the founding fathers were generally Deists, God-acknowledgers, though distinctly not Christian. They spoke of "God," "Lord," or "Creator," not Christ.
Conservatives and people who agree with you, Martin, seem to believe that God is a Republican who embraces all their political and religious beliefs. They know what God wants because it is - coincidentally, even miraculously - what they want themselves. Political arguments without threats of violence can be constructive, but to make Christianity your pony in that regard is cynically manipulative.
Kelly Scoles,
Fillmore

***

To the Editor:
How to fill the vacant council seat was discussed at last Tuesday night’s council meeting. The first choice to be made was, do they want to appoint someone to fill the seat until the next regular election next year (basically, a 1-year term) or go to a special election in April (which would fill the seat for the remainder of Ari’s term).
The special election would cost the city just shy of $90,000 so all four council member expressed an appointment as the preferred action. They have until November 16th to fill the vacancy. If they are unable to come to an agreement by then, it goes to the special election by default.
The first suggestion made regarding an appointment was to select Carrie Broggie that night. If they had done that, it would have been over. Carrie would have been a good choice;
• She’s had experience as a council member and as Mayor.
• She’s currently serving as the Chair of the Planning Commission.
• She has a calm personality and is very balanced.
• She doesn’t make the position political.
Carrie would have been a good choice. Both the Mayor and the Mayor Pro Tem agreed. But the two Marxists on the dais wouldn’t even consider it. They were both set on going through with a full appointment process, even though their “reasoning” was very weak. It was obvious from their reasons and from their dogged refusal to consider putting this behind the council last night that they have plans and will be putting up applicants themselves.
Since neither Lynn nor Christina would budge, Diane decided that this was not “a hill to die on.” Diane conceded to the full appointment process, so that’s what happens now.
The city will post the open seat today (10/13) and accept applications up until Oct. 21st. Whomever applies will go through the interview process;
• Each of the council members will provide two interview questions to the city attorney.
• She will compile them into a list of questions.
• The interviews will take place at a special council meeting on Tuesday, October 26th.
• Each applicant will be asked the same series of questions with a time limit set on responses.
• After all of the applicants have been interviewed, the council will open it up to a discussion amongst themselves.
• They will then nominate and vote on which applicant to select to fill the seat until November, 2022.
This will be a contentious process. Just deciding whether they should choose someone last night or go to a full interview process was causing a stalemate. Finding a candidate they can all (or, at least 3 of them) agree on will be very difficult. When this happens, I hope that Diane will feel that this is a hill to die on.
If they can’t come to agreement on the 26th, they’ve left it open to hold a few more special meetings prior to the deadline. No one wants to spend $90,000 to hold a special election, but we can’t let control of the council be taken by a Marxist majority with an extreme agenda or we will be headed down the same road we see the rest of the country on.
Tim Holmgren,
Fillmore

***

To the Editor:
Fillmore must fill the vacant seat left by the untimely death of Ari Larson. There are 3 options as outlined by Fillmore City Attorney, Tiffany Israel. These options are as follows:
1. City Council Members by majority vote may appoint someone to fill the vacant seat. The term for this appointee is 1-year until the next general election. Incurred cost would be minimal, if any to the City other than a change of placards, signage and other miscellaneous changes to identify the new councilmember. Previous council member Carrie Broggie was proposed. As a veteran council member, her appointment would minimize any cost and training. This option was tied by a 2 – 2 council vote.
2. City council agreed to invite potential candidates to apply for the open seat and go through a formal interview process. The posting by the City has already taken place and applications will be accepted until Thursday, October 21. The council will prepare 8 questions, 2 from each of the 4 members, and use the questions in vetting a candidate for consideration. This is done at a special council meeting on Tuesday, October 26. Again, the council must choose someone by majority vote, this is a closed vote and the public can view the interviews but cannot vote on a candidate. Council has until November 16 to fill the vacancy. If a majority vote cannot be made, a Special Election is the default option. Costs for this option would be nominal when compared to a Special Election.
3. If a majority vote still cannot be reached in selecting a new member, the last and most costly and time consuming is the Special Election. A cost of $90,000 includes but not limited to printing and mailing ballots and numerous city and county staff time. This would take place in April 2022 and would fill the empty seat for the remainder of Ari’s term of 3 years. Consider also that the 2022 elections will follow shortly in November 2022 where the residence will be able to exercise their customary vote for 2 seats coming available in 2022.
Comments by Fillmore Residents:
I feel it is too much money to have another election and you should go with appointing Carrie to the current position available. Thank you, Linda Root
Spend $90K or appoint someone now? Does the city have an extra $90,000 to essentially throw away? Appoint someone. Go for a person who is "like" Ari. How about some new blood for the council? Possibly a younger person who could represent all the newer families moving into Fillmore. Don't spend money when it is not necessary. Rhonda Taylor
I saw that the vacant counsel seat needs to be filled and if the current council members can’t decide on someone to replace Ari Larson, it will go to a special election in the spring. I also saw that the special election would cost $90,000 for the city of Fillmore. I personally can think of much better ways to spend 90k in our community and I hope the counsel can agree on someone sooner than later. For me I would hope we can find someone like Ari who wasn’t in it for political gain (on either side) but for the sake of the community of Fillmore. She will be missed. Anonymous
I was unable to attend or view the City Council meeting the other night. I did however read the minutes and was dismayed to see that two of the council members are unwilling to have any kind of compromise and would rather spend almost $90,000 of our taxpayer dollars to further their personal agenda. These two council members should be putting the community of Fillmore first.
I would hope some unity and bipartisanship will be exercised in the near future to avoid this catastrophic waste of money!! –Anonymous
To the Fillmore City Council -In a time where money is hard to come by, please be responsible and do what’s right for the community and avoid a special election. That money should go towards improving the quality of life for our residents and community, not pandering or drawing lines in the sand over fringe ideological differences. Appoint a candidate who is fair, open-minded and above all else, understands the constitution and the idea of representative government. Fillmore needs someone who is proud of his/her town and country, aware of its flaws but committed to pursuing the “American Dream” for all. Michael and Candace Ingram
Who in the City is volunteering to take a pay-cut if this goes to an election? I do not believe the council members who brought us the Pride Fair will agree to any reasonable candidate and we don’t have the money for an election. My recommendation is to reconsider and accept Carrie Broggie’s offer to fill in. She has a proven record of being fair and open minded. Respectfully, Annette Sula
From someone who loves Fillmore, if a consensus cannot be made at the open “cattle call”, the obvious remedy would be to reconsider Carrie Broggie, a known individual, fair and balanced. If this goes to a $90k Special Election due to loggerheads by the council, your agenda and intent for this City is crystal clear.
Dianne Sutton,
Fillmore

 
Letters to the Editor
October 13, 2021

To the Editor:
Second Opinion: Hypocrisy.
I concede that the Democratic Party has its own knuckleheads, certainly in Manchin and Sinema. That said, I came upon a saved video of a Trump rally in August 2021 where he was savaging President Biden on the Afghanistan withdrawal. Trump was self-congratulating on being the architect of the end of the war, because “they [Biden] couldn’t stop the process.” Biden couldn’t extricate the US from the Taliban Agreement and couldn’t alter it either, and Trump was wicked proud of that. It was necessary, he argued, because the Afghanis, “could only last if we were there.” But he’s shocked that Biden didn’t DO "something."
Then there was Rep. Bill Posey (R-FL) railing against the Biden administration for poor planning of civilian ally evacuations in Afghanistan. “Shame on Biden…every effort should have been made!” But two months before his theatrical outrage, Posey and many Repos had voted “No” on a Demo bill to expedite Afghani immigration visas to evacuate our allies (after it was discovered that Stephen Miller of the Trump administration had slow-walked the emergency visa process to avoid immigration of Afghanis and other non-white people). Counterfeit principle, outrage, and righteousness as a way of political life.
The former VP, Mike Pence, whose life was explicitly threatened on January 6, escaped down the back stairs with the nuclear “football.” Now, to salvage his last hope of being president someday, he genuflects and says, "I know the media wants to distract from the Biden administration's failed agenda by focusing on one day in January.” 9/11 was also just "one day" in September. It was so harmless that he fled that day in fear of “patriots,” now newly-refashioned from disciples of ludicrous conspiracy theories, fascist dogmas, and hatreds that may yet injure the country beyond repair. Apparently, no lie, no hypocrisy, no revision of history is too preposterous for the Trumpian political mind.
Likewise, the election audits in AZ, TX, etc. State elections officials have certified the 2020 results for Biden, and the auditors have concurred. But, because the AZ audit result went against Trump, that just had to be fraudulent, too. Trump Republicans will only accept results in their favor; all others are fraudulent. This is Trump’s obsession and he's tickled orange that a lot of Repos swallow it.
The Repos insist that President Biden's Administration has "failed" after 10 months. His program to kickstart the economy and make improvements in opportunities for Americans has already been declared DOA by Mitch McConnell. He wants to continue on in the same old way. The wealthy are doing fine and the biggest foes of government are on his side, anyway. The Repo way or no way. And yet, they have no plan to improve the lot of Americans.
Mitch McConnell vows he will not vote again to extend payment of federal debts (money already authorized for expenditure) or raise the debt ceiling in December. After McConnell sniffed over the lack of civility in the Senate (this is the same guy who obstructed two SCOTUS seats, not for any democratic purpose, but because he could), he was angered when Chuck Schumer called him out on his hypocrisy. Such is the statesmanship of the GOP. Personal squabbles are more important than the economy of the country. The Republicans propose nothing and they won't let anyone else try. And, unfortunately, a large portion of the electorate is fine with that and chooses it time and again.
The Constitution, 14th Amendment, Clause 4: "The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law...shall not be questioned." McConnell and cohorts intend to violate the Constitution, and place our economy in peril with regard to the debt ceiling. And blame someone else. Because of his bruised ego.
Kelly Scoles,
Fillmore

***

To the Editor:
It’s finally on it’s way! The Fillmore Library Expansion Project was approved by the Supervisors on October 5, 2021 and will break ground in November. With donations from the County of Ventura, Friends of the Fillmore Library, the City of Fillmore’s Development Impact Fees, as well as the wonderful $1.5 California State Grant, the dream is now becoming a reality.
When completed Fillmore will have a modern public library. It will include a classroom, study rooms, Innovation/STEAM lab/meeting room, designated computer area, access to public laptops, a usable outdoor area, and so much more.
Construction will likely take eight months and due to the design the Library will be closed. But don’t fret. The County will see that the Mobile Library will make stops at City Hall Tuesday of each week. While inconvenient, the reward will bring a positive impact to Fillmore.
As the President of the Friends, we thank all who remained faithful to the mission and are proud to be a part of the new addition to the community.
Patti Walker
President, Fillmore Friends of the Library

***

To the Editor:
How to fill the vacant council seat was discussed at last night’s council meeting. The first choice to be made was, do they want to appoint someone to fill the seat until the next regular election next year (basically, a 1-year term) or go to a special election in April (which would fill the seat for the remainder of Ari’s term).
The special election would cost the city just shy of $90,000 so all four council member expressed an appointment as the preferred action. They have until November 16th to fill the vacancy. If they are unable to come to an agreement by then, it goes to the special election by default.
The first suggestion made regarding an appointment was to select Carrie Broggie that night. If they had done that, it would have been over. Carrie would have been a good choice;
• She’s had experience as a council member and as Mayor.
• She’s currently serving as the Chair of the Planning Commission.
• She has a calm personality and is very balanced.
• She doesn’t make the position political.
Carrie would have been a good choice. Both the Mayor and the Mayor Pro Tem agreed. But the two Marxists on the dais wouldn’t even consider it. They were both set on going through with a full appointment process, even though their “reasoning” was very weak. It was obvious from their reasons and from their dogged refusal to consider putting this behind the council last night that they have plans and will be putting up applicants themselves.
Since neither Lynn nor Christina would budge, Diane decided that this was not “a hill to die on.” Diane conceded to the full appointment process, so that’s what happens now.
The city will post the open seat today (10/13) and accept applications up until Oct. 21st. Whomever applies will go through the interview process;
• Each of the council members will provide two interview questions to the city attorney.
• She will compile them into a list of questions.
• The interviews will take place at a special council meeting on Tuesday, October 26th.
• Each applicant will be asked the same series of questions with a time limit set on responses.
• After all of the applicants have been interviewed, the council will open it up to a discussion amongst themselves.
• They will then nominate and vote on which applicant to select to fill the seat until November, 2022.
This will be a contentious process. Just deciding whether they should choose someone last night or go to a full interview process was causing a stalemate. Finding a candidate they can all (or, at least 3 of them) agree on will be very difficult. When this happens, I hope that Diane will feel that this is a hill to die on.
If they can’t come to agreement on the 26th, they’ve left it open to hold a few more special meetings prior to the deadline. No one wants to spend $90,000 to hold a special election, but we can’t let control of the council be taken by a Marxist majority with an extreme agenda or we will be headed down the same road we see the rest of the country on.
Tim Holmgren,
Fillmore

 
Letters to the Editor
October 6, 2021

To the Editor:
Second Opinion.
Facts and Afghanistan. October 6, 2021.
I understand that you are mystified by liberal arguments, Martin. It is of great benefit to exchange differences of opinion when they are based upon facts. And, as you say, thereby lies the problem. But we need to rely on actual facts, not politically-manufactured CZ facts. For example, whether or not the Republican/Trumpian “Big Lie” that the 2020 election was “stolen” from them, when every court, high and low, has found no cause of action (insufficient facts to support the allegations) in the admittedly erroneous, unsupported, even loony arguments made by Trump’s “counsel,” including Rudy, Lin Wood and Sidney “Kraken” Powell (now there’s a lineup). The AZ audit debacle, another clear example.
There is absolutely no proof that Trump’s need to win at any cost resulted in a stolen election. When even your hand-selected SCOTUS says you’re wrong, that you do not have a cause of action based upon your pleadings, it’s time to accept facts. But The Donald doesn’t accept facts that don’t support his illusions, and his worshipful Repos bring on the Hallelujah Chorus. Hence, the difficulty in having a reasonable discussion. Still, we persist.
On Afghanistan, time and hearings will uncover all the facts. Keep in mind that President Biden only learned of the Agreement once he took office on January 20, 2021, as the Trump Administration did not share that fact pre-inauguration. On April 14, 2021, President Biden revealed that he had "inherited a diplomatic agreement" that promised all U.S. forces would withdraw by May 1, 2021. Biden continued, "It is perhaps not what I would have negotiated myself, but it was an agreement made by the United State government, and that means something." Biden extended the withdrawal date to September 11, but the Taliban retaliated and began their takeover. If Biden had rejected the Agreement entirely, the US would have been forced to increase military support to impose our decision to stay indefinitely. Exactly what the American public had been begging successive presidents not to do.
Of all the arguments criticizing Biden, there is one that illuminates the Trumpian charade of competence, deal-making prowess, and "genius beyond the generals." The one that makes me snicker is that the Agreement only proved to be faulty when the inexplicable trust Trump placed in the terrorist Taliban turned out to be illusory! Completely unforeseeable blow! When the Taliban failed to obey Trump's general order to meet and confer with our ally, the Afghan government, as to the withdrawal and subsequent governance, the Agreement should have been declared in material breach and unenforceable and we should have stayed put.
So, it's Biden's fault that we are not still at war in Afghanistan. Biden should have refused to withdraw and resumed the war, though the Taliban by May 1 were already violently enforcing their contractual rights in the south that we gave them in the Trump Agreement. Translated, Biden is Trump’s Daddy, who was obligated to fix Donald’s mess without implicating him. Like Daddy Fred and twin-under-the-skin Roy Cohn used to do.
The Agreement left our ally to the notoriously un-tender mercies of the Taliban as they were not included in the negotiations, by Trump's choice. He did not want to hear Afghan opposition to his Art-of-the-Deal "brilliant plan" and the objections to it were furious. Deflated, the Afghans abandoned their government over the summer.
The US and the world are not novices to the horrors of war. Getting into it can be exhilarating ("we're gonna kick Saddam's *ss!"), fighting it is always costly in blood and money and heartbreak, and concluding it so often tragic (Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Saigon, Kabul). And still, we act surprised.
Kelly Scoles,
Fillmore

***

To the Editor:
I usually do not respond to your letters, Kelly, as I feel your liberal thinking is so bias, it would take more words than I am allowed to respond in our wonderful newspaper. But I feel you made two statements that are incorrect.
First regarding the audit in Arizona, yes, the number showed that Biden had won, but how legitimate were those ballots? 17,000 ballots were found to be duplicates, records were cleared just before the audit started, more ballots than cast voters, machines connected to the internet that aren't part of the election system, mail in ballots without a crease, all in all 40,000 ballots that were very suspicious. It seems that Democrats are willing to cheat at the ballot box to remain in power.
Now regarding Republicans acting like dictators, that's "the pot calling the kettle black". In the past 8 months, according to the Biden administration, if you disagree with their philosophy, you are a white supremacist. The National School Board Association has now sent a letter to the Biden administration requesting that parents who protest at school board meetings regarding the divisive and totally insane new curriculum in our school, be declared domestic terrorists.
The Left feels we should be reprogrammed, and simply shut up, that's dictatorship! In the meantime, Antifa and BLM can burn, loot, steal, and kill without any repercussions, and totally destroy our big cities.
Kelly, you seem to be hung-up on Fox News; maybe you should broaden your horizon and listen to Newsmax and OAN, you will learn a lot!!
Huguette Johnson,
Fillmore

***

To the Editor:
I received this message from a good friend and feel it is important to share with your readers. Billy Graham's daughter was interviewed on the Early Show and Jane Clayson asked her: "How could God let something like this happen?" (regarding Hurricane Katrina). Anne Graham gave an extremely profound and insightful response. She said "I believe God is deeply saddened by this, just as we are, but for years we've been telling god to get out of our schools, get out of our government and to get out of our lives. And being the gentleman He is, I believe He has calmly backed out. How can we expect God to give us His blessing and His protection if we demand He leave us alone? In light of recent events... terrorist's attacks, school shootings, etc. I think it started when Madeleine Murry O'Hare complained she didn't want prayer in our schools, and our Supreme Court said OK. Then someone said you better not read the bible in school. The Bible says thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not steal, and love your neighbor as yourself. And we said OK. Then Dr. Benjamin Spock said we shouldn't spank our children when they misbehave, because their little personalities would be warped and we might damage their self-esteem (Dr. Spock's grandson committed suicide). We said an expert should know what he's talking about, and we said OK. Now we're asking ourselves why our children have no conscience, why they don't know right from wrong, and why it doesn't bother them to kill strangers, their classmates, and themselves. Probably, if we think about it long and hard enough, we can figure it out. I think it has a great deal to with "WE REAP WHAT WE SOW." Funny how simple it is for people to trash God and then wonder why the world's going to hell. Funny how we believe what the newspapers say, but question what the Bible says. Funny how you can send 'jokes' through e-mail and they spread like wildfire, but when you start sending messages regarding the Lord, people think twice about sharing. Funny how lewd, crude, vulgar and obscene articles pass freely through cyberspace, but public discussion of God is suppressed in the school and workplace.) End Quote
Perhaps it's time we heed the work of the prophet in (2Chronicles 7:14) If my people which are called by my name, shall humble themselves and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.
Thanks for listening
Dave Johnson,
Fillmore

 
Letters to the Editor
September 29, 2021

To the Editor:
Second Opinion: Martin and Democracy This Week. September 29, 2021.
Martin: It's "next week" and I accept your invitation to explain my failure to include every word of Dave's Manifesto in responding to it. You may recall that you rejected my original submission because of length, in large part because I had quoted Dave’s language verbatim. You felt that to do that was unnecessary and too long.
I shortened the column to condense the word count, but included a summary of Dave's comments, as the articles made no sense without them. So, I was very surprised to read your objection in last week's editorial that you couldn't comment because, "Without seeing the substance of "Dave's Manifesto" (9-22-2021) nothing I would write would make any sense to readers." Hmm. But, let’s move on. If Dave feels I did not do a fair job in summarizing his comments, I hope he will let me know. Obviously, I thought his issues important.
The one issue which I will address this week is the plethora of democracy-threatening events happening right here in America, for those who watch only Fox News. I am going to speak here of "Republicans" as if they were all Trumpians. I know they're not, but it keeps the word count down. The AZ Maricopa County Audit Report is in. Before it was released, in a rant that bewailed the "unjust subpoenas" issued to Mark Meadows, Steven Bannon and others by the House Committee on January 6, Trump also proclaimed a victory in AZ and praised the grifting Cyber Ninjas as "highly respected auditors.” Except the Audit Report found that Biden gained 99 votes, and Trump received 261 fewer votes than the official results.
Trump won in TX in November by 5 points, but this week he directed Governor Abbott to also conduct an audit, and it was ordered before the sun went down. How insecure do you have to be to do that? Wants to run up the score 10 months after the game is over. It's abnormal, to use a nice word. And Abbott is willing to spend TX tax dollars to do it.
If Trump has to completely destroy our elections process in all states in order to make himself feel like a "winner," why are intelligent Repos up for that? We the People have the vote and the Constitution, and Republicans appear to bent on destroying both.
To wit: McConnell has said that he may not allow a vote for SCOTUS if an opening becomes available after the midterms and the Republicans pick up Senate seats. He wants permanent control over all branches of government. He believes that no Democrat should have power, nor should anyone who disagrees with Republican ideals. That is not a “democracy.” It is the blueprint for a dictator.
And now, the Republicans have declared that they are willing to default on the national debt. This will be disastrous to our economy and will contribute to the dollar being replaced as the world currency. And we will have done it to ourselves. Well, some of us will have done it.
Kelly Scoles,
Fillmore

***

To the Editor:
Why no mention of Islam in the media? I’m no Islamophile but I am interested in Islamology. Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world. There are (50) world countries that consider themselves Muslim Nations. That adds up to (2) billion people. There are (18) world countries that consider themselves Christian Nations. That adds up to 274 million people. (USA does not call itself a Christian nation.) Islam gains converts up to 2x the rate of all other religions combined and is expected to grow by 35% in the next 20 years. Last year, 20,000+ Americans converted to Islam.
Taking a cursory look at Islam’s holy texts (which includes the life of their prophet Mohammad), may offer some insight into the nature of Islam and perhaps the mind of Islamic extremists.
There are (3) Islamic holy texts. The Koran (revelation to Mohammad from Angel Gabriel), The Sira (the biography of Mohammad), and The Hadith (Mohammad’s sayings & habits). These three texts are a Trilogy. They are inextricably linked, they cannot be separated, they are unable to stand on their own. Anything that contradicts any of these texts cannot be seen as Islam.
Mohammad was born in Mecca, Arabia in 570 C.E. into the Quraysh, a merchant Tribe. [His father died before he was born, and his mother died when he was 6 years old.]Mohammad lived briefly with his Grandfather but when his Grandfather died, he then went to live with his Uncle, a Trader & Merchant.
In those Pre-Islamic days, Mecca was a conglomerate of Christians, Jews&Polytheistic Idolators (ancient Iranian religions). They lived together in relative prosperity, peace & harmony. It was not unusual for the indigenous people to mix religions. They adopted some Christian beliefs, some Jewish beliefs and kept their own native polytheistic beliefs. Mohammad came from a family such as that. Each family would favor certain gods & goddesses and build a shrine inside their home. [‘Allah’ was considered the highest god. ‘Allah’ means ‘the god’.] Mohammad’s family favored the Crescent Moon goddess, Alilah (Allah’s daughter), the (fertility) goddess Uzza and (destiny, prosperity) goddess Manat.
At age 25, Mohammad married a wealthy woman, 20 years his senior. [She proposed marriage to him.]When Mohammad was 40 years old, he began to have feverish dreams. He said that the Angel Gabriel would give him messages. These dreams are the basis of the entire Koran, about 600 pgs. It was originally compiled in chronological order, but later they were arranged from largest chapter to smallest chapter. The Koran of today’s books store, is not the Koran of Mohammad’s day, 610 C.E. The original was destroyed.
Mohammad’s Koran had (2) separate locals of his ‘revelations’ and each is very different in tone. The first was in Mecca, and the second was in Medina. [The Mecca Koran is poetic & spiritual. The Medina Koran is historical and political.] While in Mecca, Mohammad criticized & preached against the religion of the day, which was polytheistic and idolatrous. He spent 13 years preaching to anyone that would listen. During those difficult years, he gained 150 disciples (followers). Eventually people grew annoyed &angry with him and threatened his life. He was forced to flee to Medina. While in Medina, he stopped preaching his new religion. He instead became a Politician and a Warrior.
During the last (9) years of his life (Mohammad died at age 62) he was involved in 88 acts of violence, averaging violent skirmishes once every 6 weeks. At the end of his life, every single Arab (100,000) was ‘converted’ to Islam. When Mohammad preached his religion (in Mecca) he averaged 12 new converts a year. Whereas in Medina, where he picked up a sword, politics & jihad (the struggle), he gained 10,000 converts a year. In other words, Political Power was a thousand times more effective than Spiritual Religion.
If Mohammad would have stayed in Mecca, he would have had 265 converts at the end of his life due to ‘religion’. Instead, he moved to Medina as a Warrior Politician which gained him 99,735 converts. At the time of his death, Islam’s success was 0.3 due to religion, and 99.3% due to Political Power.
[More on Mohammad, Jihad, Submission & Sharia later.]
I will leave you with one question, are these statistics relevant to today’s Islam and what’s going on in Afghanistan? You decide.
Leslie G. Marshall
PIRU

 
Letters to the Editor
September 22, 2021

To the Editor:
Second Opinion: Part II if II, Dave's Manifesto. September 22, 2021.
I Never Cared..Now, I Care.
...You've given all the tolerance you have to give. This is no longer your problem, it's now my problem. I still have time to fix it, but I had better step on it. - Tolerance is not something you bestow. It is something you are. If you were unable to "fix it" when it WAS your problem, who are you to issue ultimatums regarding duties and timetables for me to fix it? This is an American problem. We have to “fix it” together.
…You are a "very patient person" but you're losing it. You insist that millions of people are also "sick of all the Anti-American crap!" - I hate to dispossess anyone of a treasured virtue, but I don't see the patience. You and people who feel as you do are not the sole arbiters of what is “American” and what is "anti-American." Of crap? You raised it. I couldn't say.
...You've always cared about all lives, but you resent the notion that certain lives matter more than others. You cite the protesters as a radical bunch of "thugs, criminals, and anarchists who want to destroy the country." - I have to guess that you are speaking of Black Lives Matter. Please note that it doesn't say "Only Black Lives Matter." The movement arose from repeated national examples of the killing black persons for grossly inadequate legal reasons. A 12-year-old boy was shot in a park in early morning because he was playing with a toy gun. A young woman was killed in her own apartment in the middle of the night in a botched police raid. A father was choked to death on the street for selling loose cigarettes. Another father was suffocated in the street for a small-amount bad check. They, and a lot of the rest of us, got the feeling that black lives did not matter. There are always people who exceed the mission in protests, offensively or defensively, and they should be prosecuted.
If you are offended by "thugs, criminals, and anarchists," how outraged were you by the insurrection at the Capitol on January 6, when the Speaker was threatened with death, the building was breached, furniture and windows were broken. congress members were seen trying to shore up the floor of the House, and people died? Gallows on the Capitol lawn, the Vice President, escaping down the stairs with a military aide carrying the "football" with the nuclear codes, having been identified as a near-traitor by the president of our country. I would be far more sensitive to your being offended by BLM if you were also up-in-arms over January 6.
...You assert that America is the greatest country on Earth and if anyone does not agree with your view of what that means, they can leave. "We are done caring about your "misguided feelings.” - It is a manifest truth that, if you have to proclaim you own greatness, you likely aren't (unless you are Muhammed Ali). You do not have the power to determine that, if someone doesn't meet your scorecard, they don't "love America" or don't belong here. It's not just your country. I can't say with certainty about you, but it is evident that many Republicans do not care about the feelings or rights of others. Trump rallies were full of people with signs proclaiming, "F*ck Your Feelings." Message received. Alert: the “feelings of others” are not at your disposal.
Looking back, the America of the 1950's – 1990’s looks so much more attractive from here. Everybody got along and understood their roles in society and were optimistic about the future. It’s an illusion, of course. Long-simmering societal and cultural problems were ignored until they became unavoidable. Economic uncertainty and extreme income inequality grew. This world of political, social, economic, climate, and techno changes we could not have imagined can be unsettling, but we are all going to go through it. We are just at one of those points in history. Let's stick together. We have a history of doing that and it is our best hope.
Kelly Scoles,
Fillmore

 
Letters to the Editor
September 15, 2021

To the Editor:
Second Opinion
Voting and 9/11
By the time you read this, the results of the CA Recall election will likely be known. Last weekend before election day, Republicans assumed success for Newsom! They claimed on Elder’s website that, “We implore you ... to join us in this fight as you are able, primarily by signing our petition demanding a special session of the California legislature to investigate and ameliorate the twisted results of this 2021 Recall Election of Governor Gavin Newsom," the website said.
There is a reference to "improperly formed ballots" that were discovered prior to the election, but no offer of evidence to support the claim. Also, “if there is an audit of the recall election, county election officials should not be a part of the recount, because doing so would be similar to ‘allowing an alleged criminal to examine the crime scene,’" the petition says.
The Repos are doing what Trump did in the summer of 2020. He claimed that he could only lose if there was fraud in November and whined it at every opportunity. If he won, the election was fraud-free; if he didn’t win, there was a clear “steal.” Remember the kid on the playground who always demanded a “do-over” and would stamp, snivel, and cry “foul” every time he or she lost? This is what the “grown-up” version looks like.
Republicans plan to do this for every election nationally which they lose from now on. Just smear and dishonor the election process, with no evidence, even before the results are known. They equate elections officials with “criminals,” unless they stack the election panels themselves, which they are doing in many states. People ask why Democrats, Independents, and fair-minded Republicans, do not respect the current Party.
I trust that the GOP will not hold up AZ as their classic example of a forensic audit, due this week, though I wish they would. The process has been a clown show from the first. Cyber Ninjas with no prior elections experience took the helm, the voting machines were dealt with in such a way that AZ is going to have to replace them at a substantial taxpayer cost. There have been numerous threats against legislators who criticized the process. The mysterious differences between the counts of other Repo candidates and Trump were found to be because many Republican voters voted a straight Party line, except they voted for Biden for president.
I have been critical of Bush 43 for so many reasons, but I have to give credit when due. His partial remarks on the 20th anniversary of 9/11: "We have seen growing evidence that the dangers to our country can come not only across borders but from violence that gathers within. There is little cultural overlap between violent extremists abroad and violent extremists at home. But in their disdain for pluralism, in their disregard for human life, in their determination to defile national symbols, they are children of the same foul spirit. It is our continuing duty to confront them."
Three former presidents, Obama, Bush 43, and Clinton accompanied President Biden to Ground Zero or Shanksville on 9/11/21. Former President Trump was invited but opted out. Rather, he made a last-minute visit to a NYC firehouse to mention 9/11 and discuss his political future. Then he had to skedaddle to prepare for commentary on the Holyfield fight later in the day, for which he bragged he was going to make an “obscene” amount of money. He couldn’t even make that day of national mourning about anything except himself.
Kelly Scoles,
Fillmore

 
Letters to the Editor
September 8, 2021

To the Editor:
Second Opinion: TX and SB8. September 8, 2021.
TX and SB8
The Republican-controlled legislature of the State of TX has adopted SB8, a bill which will prohibit abortions after 6 weeks (before most women know their condition). What is also extremely concerning about this law is its enforcement provisions. The woman will not be prosecuted. The law targets the doctor, nurse, receptionist, cab or Uber driver who provides transportation, mother or father, sister or brother, husband, or anyone else who furthers her intent. It is a law which the Taliban and Al Queda would endorse.
TX, in attempting not to fall completely afoul of Roe v. Wade which prohibits states from nabbing abortion-seekers, came up with a new twist: the State of TX will not accuse anyone. Individual private citizens, of TX or elsewhere, can accuse the perpetrators, take them to court and, if the perp is found guilty, receive a $10,000 bounty. Attorneys who defend targets will be held co-responsible for court costs, attorney fees (for claimants) and bounties.
A new career is on the horizon. Take a couple of months off, head for TX with the family, get to know as many people as possible and then go for it. Tell the kids to keep their ears open for any talk of procreation in any fashion and tell them to be able to name names. You will probably lose friends, and you will have to respond to summons’ when the court dates approach, but once you get the business rolling, the TX trips are probably tax-deductible, and you could easily realize $100,000 per annum. HeeeHaw!
Russia and China do this. Urge people to spy and report on their friends for crimes against the state. Let’s see. I look in your open garage and see great stuff that I don’t think you can really afford on your salary, so I have a little chat with the IRS. Your mother-in-law comes to visit, but doesn’t speak English so, just to be sure, I call ICE to have her checked out. You swat your five-year-old on the rump for some amazingly bad language his brother undoubtedly taught him, but I call 911 because I don’t believe in corporal punishment. What kind of world are Republicans trying to create?
TX and other red states are rabid to outdo each other in their quest to humiliate, degrade, and now persecute anyone who does not share the legislature’s religious beliefs. There are a number of federal laws which could render the vigilante provision dead in the water. My guess is that SCOTUS will not find the 6-week ban unconstitutional but will decide that “standing” to sue and it’s “harm” requirements cannot arise by legislative fiat. If not, run for your lives, and blow a kiss to democracy on your way out.
This CA recall is a ruse. Newsom is up for reelection in one year. The events of the last two years speak to his commitment to reduce the impact of the virus. I am certain he did not welcome the loss of taxes. The recall is happening for two reasons: the Republicans are hoping that people are so fed up with the life changes that have occurred, so sick and tired, that they are eager to blame somebody. Or, that Democrats or fair-minded Republicans are so disgusted with politics that they just won’t vote. They’re counting on it. Use your mail-in ballot this weekend and put it in the ballot box in front of the Library, or vote on September 14 by taking your ballot to St. Francis Catholic Church, the official voting station.
Kelly Scoles,
Fillmore

***

To the Editor:
Well Kelly I guess the email I forwarded to Martin must have really gotten under your skin. I am so glad that you are out there to show all of us Neanderthals how much we don't know about civil rights. So not caring whether or not someone's skin color is different than ours as long as they do their job and didn't blame me for their problems was not enough for you liberals. You focused on black Americans but what about the Japanese who were put in prison camp during WWII. I didn't hear them blaming America, on the contrary they are too busy being engineers, doctors, and IT specialists.
You said Rush Limbaugh was to blame for the lack of servility in American Politics. I doubt you ever listened to his show but I am sure you are a fan of CNN, and MSNBC. I guess all the things they had to say about President Trump were perfectively fine with you.
You had a melt down over my defense of history. In Minnesota we celebrate the Vikings. I suppose we should stop that because they made slaves of the people they captured. Get over it Kelly. History is history and we can't change it. Denying it because it doesn't fit our ideal of what should have happened is not realistic. In fact, it is foolish. Those who deny history are destined to relive it. If we are so bad, then why are so many people clamoring to get into our country.
Dave Johnson, American Patriot,
Fillmore

[National Review article below submitted by Dave Johnson]

What Is An American?
A primer.

Printed September 25, 2001 in National Review.

Written by Peter Ferrara, an associate professor of law at the George Mason University School of Law.

You probably missed it in the rush of news last week, but there was actually a report that someone in Pakistan had published in a newspaper there an offer of a reward to anyone who killed an American, any American.

So I just thought I would write to let them know what an American is, so they would know when they found one.

An American is English…or French, or Italian, Irish, German, Spanish, Polish, Russian or Greek. An American may also be African, Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Australian, Iranian, Asian, or Arab, or Pakistani, or Afghan.

An American is Christian, or he could be Jewish, or Buddhist, or Muslim. In fact, there are more Muslims in America than in Afghanistan. The only difference is that in America they are free to worship as each of them choose.

An American is also free to believe in no religion. For that he will answer only to God, not to the government, or to armed thugs claiming to speak for the government and for God.

An American is from the most prosperous land in the history of the world. The root of that prosperity can be found in the Declaration of Independence, which recognizes the God-given right of each man and woman to the pursuit of happiness.

An American is generous. Americans have helped out just about every other nation in the world in their time of need. When Afghanistan was overrun by the Soviet army 20 years ago, Americans came with arms and supplies to enable the people to win back their country. As of the morning of September 11, Americans had given more than any other nation to the poor in Afghanistan.

An American does not have to obey the mad ravings of ignorant, ungodly cruel, old men. American men will not be fooled into giving up their lives to kill innocent people, so that these foolish old men may hold on to power. American women are free to show their beautiful faces to the world, as each of them choose.

An American is free to criticize his government's officials when they are wrong, in his or her own opinion. Then he is free to replace them, by majority vote.

Americans welcome people from all lands, all cultures, all religions, because they are not afraid. They are not afraid that their history, their religion, their beliefs, will be overrun, or forgotten. That is because they know they are free to hold to their religion, their beliefs, their history, as each of them choose.

And just as Americans welcome all, they enjoy the best that everyone has to bring, from all over the world. The best science, the best technology, the best products, the best books, the best music, the best food, the best athletes.

Americans welcome the best, but they also welcome the least. The nation symbol of America welcomes your tired and your poor, the wretched refuse of your teeming shores, the homeless, tempest tossed.

These in fact are the people who built America. Many of them were working in the twin towers on the morning of September 11, earning a better life for their families.

So you can try to kill an American if you must. Hitler did. So did General Tojo and Stalin and Mao Tse-Tung, and every bloodthirsty tyrant in the history of the world.

But in doing so you would just be killing yourself. Because Americans are not a particular people from a particular place. They are the embodiment of the human spirit of freedom. Everyone who holds to that spirit, everywhere, is an American.

So look around you. You may find more Americans in your land than you thought were there. One day they will rise up and overthrow the old, ignorant, tired tyrants that trouble too many lands. Then those lands too will join the community of free and prosperous nations.

And America will welcome them.

 
Letters to the Editor
September 1, 2021

To the Editor:
Second Opinion: Part I Dave's Manifesto. September 1, 2021.
I NEVER CARED
...if you were gay until your shoved it down my throat. I trust that no one is literally doing any such thing. Do you really mean that you have had experiences where some display of non-heterosexual behavior offended you? Was it not possible to move on and enjoy your day? Ultra-femme behavior in men, or women for that matter, was uncomfortable for me. But I hope I have learned to stop being a ninny and just enjoy the person. Or move on.
...about your skin color until you blamed me for your problems. Who is to blame for the injustices and denial of rights to black people, and others, under the law? Perhaps those who think that, while regrettable, it is no reason to raise a protest. Or those who resent the study of how discrimination has affected our laws? Or those who are so afraid of the issue that they are willing to legislate against actual history? (ID, IA, TX, OK, TN) and 14 more state with upcoming bills?
...about the political affiliation of others until you condemned me for mine. Same here. But liberals did not initiate demonization of the opposing political party. Rush Limbaugh and his successor minions created it. Over the last 20 years, liberals became anti-American, evil, and determined to destroy the country and are, miraculously, both inept and genius at doing it. Republican personal virtue did not become a major issue until the events of January 6, 2021, a direct attack on democracy. Following which the lies, the revisionist history, subservience to one troubled and needy politician, the ravenous appetite for conspiracy theories and lurid assertions that would make Machiavelli blush, made it a huge challenge to respect that political party.
...where you came from in this great country until you condemned people for their history and heritage. If you are speaking of the removal of the southern war statues, I would think the South would not want to be reminded of the bloodiest encounter this country has ever experienced, which it fought to maintain the enslavement of one-third of its population in over ten generations of captivity. The South is only complicit in the Battle for the Confederacy if they represent it as a Glorious Lost Cause, which the statues do. There were brave men and women on the side of the South (John's maternal ancestors fought for the Confederacy), but they made a critically wrong choice which resulted in a massive national tragedy. No need to vilify them now, but so many brilliant and accomplished people hail from the South. Why not glorify them?
...if your beliefs differed from mine until you told me mine were wrong. Being told your beliefs are "wrong," and being persecuted for them, are two different things. Since you brought it up, it depends upon your beliefs. If you believe that man's use of fossil fuels has had no effect on the Climate Crisis, that COVID bis a hoax, that the universe was created in six 24-hour earth days, or that Jesus rode a dinosaur then, yes, you beliefs are objectively wrong. Good news! If they don't hurt anyone else, are not immoral or illegal, you are entitled to these beliefs but should probably avoid career choices in earth sciences and astrophysics. Faith or religious belief do not require reason or proof. People believe in things because they choose to, and every religion has its own inventory. Confidently enjoy your personal beliefs, but do not permit, as a believer or non-believer, persecution of others for theirs.
...how you felt about guns until you tried to take mine away. I am unaware of any existing or past governmental move to take away all guns. As a private citizen, my view of the Second Amendment is likely not to mirror yours.
Kelly Scoles,
Fillmore

***

To the Editor:
Ms. Scoles, you are wrong, very, very wrong.
Trump did enter into a peace deal with the Taliban which had many conditions, one of which was that the Taliban was to enter into an agreement with Afghanistan, which never occurred. The lack of an Intra-Afghan peace agreement nullified the Trump agreement.
The pull-out of the US from Afghanistan, which is a catastrophic failure, rests solely on your favorite Demolitioncrat, Biden. Who, by the way, said “we’re gonna stay to get them all out.”
And as Biden stated today, that did not happen. He didn’t even push for the removal of the man who saved his life in 2008, Mohammad. He was left behind because the State Department would not approve the removal of his wife and children.
And 56 days prior to the “end of the war”, Biden ordered US forces to leave Bagram Airfield on July 5, leaving behind usable Black Hawks, guns, ammo, vehicles, airplanes and more. It’s said the helicopters and planes will become unusable due to the lack of training and spare parts. But with the Taliban meeting with China’s Foreign Minister Yi, I’m sure they can help.
On July 8 Biden said “I trust the capacity of the Afghan military, who is better trained, better equipped, and ... more competent in terms of conducting war.” That was the reason the equipment was left.
Now they are saying the equipment is unusable. So why leave it?
The only truth Biden has stated is his admission he didn’t trust the Taliban.
Patti Walker,
Fillmore

 
Letters to the Editor
August 25, 2021

To the Editor:
Second Opinion
Afghanistan II
Martin asserted last week that "Joe Biden sold us out for nothing!" I believe that Martin was incorrect. The withdrawal at any cost was the brainchild of then-President Trump in an agreement in which the Taliban "rolled" the US. It is a remarkable document and is available on the internet.
Trump's negotiations with terrorist Taliban culminated in an Agreement in February 2020 entitled, “Agreement for Bringing Peace to Afghanistan between the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan which is not recognized by the United States as a state and is known as the Taliban and the United States of America.” The US-supported Afghani government with whom we had fought side-by-side for nearly 20 years, and our NATO allies, were not even parties to the Agreement. But a non-state terrorist insurgent was.
I was, then, horrified to watch Trump on Saturday in Alabama praising the Taliban for being "great fighters" and great negotiators." As a testament to the Taliban's prowess at the negotiating table, Trump agreed to release 5000 of their fighters and induced Pakistan to free from prison Mullah Baradar, an Afghan militant and co-founder of the Taliban in Afghanistan, as part of the "Deal." The terms include "protection" for US soldiers, but not the Afghani allies. Though these concessions were bitterly disputed by the Afghani government, Trump sold out our allies and provided the Taliban with a roadmap for our surrender.
While "Mr. Dealmaker" was congratulating himself in Alabama, Bush 43 was issuing a disgusting expression of "sorrow" at the way we left Afghanistan. He and his war-thirsty Neocon minions, including Cheney and Rumsfeld, were hell-bent on invading Afghanistan, though by the time we invaded that country Osama bin Laden had long escaped to Pakistan. And we had no plan for withdrawal.
There is no question that the withdrawal could have and should have been far more strategic. Our allies, the translators and other support personnel, should have been rounded up six weeks ago from outlying regions and put on planes to a place certain. NATO should have been consulted. The terrible withdrawal terms were negotiated by Trump. The execution by the Biden administration is one of heartrending chaos. But no administration involved in this irresponsible and unwinnable experience lacks accountability, at wildly varying degrees.
Now, cable news outlets are breathlessly interviewing the hounds of war: John Bolton and other belligerents, pundits with untarnished histories of being wrong, and Petraeus and other former military who now are ensconced on corporate boards. The same people who 20 years ago told us how successful the occupation would be, then how success was imminent, are now gravely, sagely censuring Biden for Afghanistan.
When will Americans refuse to let our leaders use deceit and fear-mongering ("weapons of mass destruction!") and ill-placed revenge (if we were going to attack the country which provided the 9/11 terrorists, it would have been Saudi Arabia, but that country was too valuable to us) in order to bully us into false wars? Wars that have nation-building hubris and military-industrial complex profits as their purpose rather than defense?
Now, we owe it to the Afghanis who believed our promises of support, and helped keep our soldiers - our children - alive or safer than they would have been, at great danger to themselves. They may have helped save the life of a military person you love. They have earned a place in our country and in the countries of allies. These people are not strangers to us. We owe them. And the world is watching to see how we treat our allies.
Kelly Scoles,
Fillmore

***

To the Editor:
We’re approaching the September 14 Recall election and I think it’s important to know some facts so you can make a sound decision. I’ve tried to “fact check” these. Searched for reasons to keep Newsom and reasons for him to go. I found the former was much more difficult than the latter. I vote not along party lines, but on platform. Who represents us should represent us, the citizens, not a political party. Anyway, here is what I found.
According to the LA Times here are the reasons not to recall Newsom:
While he (1) fumbled at times while leading the state during the COVID pandemic; (2) made some poor personal and policy choices; (3) public communication has been unclear or confusing on occasion; (4) he’s alienated political allies unnecessarily; (5) changed course on the pandemic abruptly and sometimes mysteriously; and finally (6) the largest fraud of public money in state history happened under his watch. But they ask, are these shortcomings grounds to recall him in “favor of an untested replacement”?
And as Newsom said in his Recall Argument, “The recall is an attempt by national Republicans
... to force an election and grab power in California.”
And to see how the first time governor did, here are the answers to the test, these are some reasons to vote to recall Newsom:
(1) massive executive orders – acting without legislature approval; (2) mandatory mail-in voting;
(3) on-going shutdowns, (4) loss of small businesses, loss of jobs; (5) unemployment checks to prisoners/felons in the amount of $500 million; (6) over $30 billion in unemployment agency fraud; (7) $80 million on billboard “education” plan to remind people to social distance; (8) granting clemency for felons: those who raped and murdered, even committed heinous crimes against children (that’s why he can close prisons); (9) homeless rate in CA is out of control; (10)infringing on the 2nd Amendment and put in place new gun and ammo laws; (11) Sanctuary State of illegals and criminals; (12) illegal aliens can now sit on state boards; (13) CA has the highest state income tax in the USA; (14) vaccination of children required or be fined; (15) mandatory health insurance or be find; (16) $98 million a year to provide health insurance to illegal immigrants; (17) overruling vote of the people to reinstate the death penalty (whether you believe in the penalty or not, it was the vote of the people); (18) spent $5.4 billion for the bullet train going nowhere; (19) over $1 trillion in state debt; (20) cut water to thousands of farms; (21) failed to pay his own property taxes, again; (22) 4% salary increase for Newsom and state lawmakers in 2019; 10% pay cut to all state employees in 2020. Newsom and state lawmakers still making 6% more making Newsom the highest paid governor in the USA; (23) $12 million spent on the Sleep Train Arena to treat 9 COVID patients; (24) enacted statewide rent control when it was voted down in the 2020 election; (25) seeking a $1 trillion collateralized loan from China; and (26) redirected gas tax money from roads and highways to railways.
Always good to be an informed voter.
Patti Walker,
Fillmore

 
Letters to the Editor
August 18, 2021

To the Editor:
Second Opinion
Afghanistan
I have responded to Dave Johnson’s I Didn’t Care manifesto but Martin, doing his job as editor, pointed out it grew to be quite a long column even if published in two parts. I thought the concerns Dave expressed were very representative of a part of our population. Perhaps another time.
“The Afghan War is Over.” We should be thrilled. Except for the terrible scenes of the withdrawal, the stunningly swift images of the Taliban taking over city after city, and surrounding even Kabul (nearly the size of Los Angeles). We, as Americans, did not expect or want to see such things, our troops who are fighting and have fought thought the outcome would be much different. Heaven knows, I am no military or strategic expert, but like anyone else I have my memory of events and observations of this tragic undertaking. .
We invaded Afghanistan precipitously. The Bush administration and the Neocons cited Afghanistan’s refusal to “turn over” Osama bin Laden (OBL) to the U.S. days after 9/11 as grounds for invasion, but the truth was that the then-leader required proof that bin Laden was involved. This “proof” (“white paper”) was promised repeatedly by the Bush administration but was never produced. The U.S. government’s case against OBL was insufficient for legal prosecution or diplomatic options but was good enough to take the country to war, a war that killed or maimed countless people who had absolutely nothing to do with the 9/11 attacks. Not to mention our own troops. The US never did find OBL in Afghanistan, as he quickly escaped to Pakistan. But Iraq, practically next door, was our real target (though with even less reason for attack based on 9/11). The troops and equipment were there, and there was no Plan B for withdrawal. We would introduce western policing and culture to Afghanistan and give them a basis for a more democratic government and make our invasion far more palatable to America. Both political parties, with very, very few exceptions, went along with it.
I remember hearing a military analyst in 2002 who said that Afghanistan was not at all like Iraq (this was news to me). It was still comprised almost entirely of unconsolidated tribes of multiple religions who really had no allegiance to each other. He thought that looking to Afghanistan as a “country” was a western misconception. The idea of subduing other tribes was unknown to them but they were historically excellent at subduing intruders, the last being the Russians. Still, we persisted. But we were working against the culture.
Then-president Trump signed an agreement in September 2020 for our withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan. His offer to meet with the Taliban at Camp David was quickly nixed by his administration. But the date was determined and notice given. President Biden had a choice when the dates were in sight: honor the agreement and withdraw, or refuse to go and continue our pointless war in Afghanistan. He chose the former.
Why the Biden administration did not do a better job of removing all the Afghan translators and support personnel, I wait to hear. It had better be a good reason. Based on what we know about the tribal structure of Afghanistan, it should have come as no surprise to us, and it is no wonder, that the Taliban cut through and regained the country as they did. They are not “intruders.” They have been there all along.
Kelly Scoles,
Fillmore

 
Letters to the Editor
August 11, 2021

To the Editor:
Second Opinion.
Covid Precautions.
Anxious as I am to address Dave Johnson’s manifesto, what’s going on in the country with regard to Covid will have to take precedence this week. For all the people who find Fauci and others inconsistent in their evaluation and recommendations concerning the virus, think back to your biology class and the nature of a virus. It mutates, and mutates, and…well, you get the idea. A world-wide malignant virus with inconsistent handling in different countries creates variants, so the response and protections will change, too. Unfortunately, it's far from over.
I find so many things stunning about people’s refusal to wear a mask, not to mention to take the Covid vaccine. There is precedent for people refusing vaccination for smallpox (which only came under complete control when cities required people to take them in the 1930’s), primarily because of the misinformation that abounded even back then. People who will ingest tobacco, liquor, Cheetos, Fritos, pork rinds, sausages, various substances medicinal and otherwise, frequent barbecue, etc., rail against ”tainting” their bodies with a life-saving drug. My Life! My Freedom! Your Whatever! How about we have an “assumption of the risk” card, or hat, so that when the unvaccinated end up in the hospital fighting for their lives from Covid, they fall to the back of the line for care. It’s only fair. They got the freedom they wanted; unfortunately they also took the risk. They failed to take responsibility for themselves and were indifferent to others when the remedy was so simple and available.
Parents who have resisted giving their infants vaccination or injections of up to 17 different drugs at one time and who, instead, require that the medications be given in periodic doses, I agree. One little, tiny liver or kidney should not have to process all that stuff at once.
A couple of things are strikingly strange about the refusal. It is the radical right news outlets, Repo elected officials, and Trump, who make this an issue. All of them have had the vaccine, both doses. Trump took it, even though he had (barely) survived the virus in 2020. He still won’t recommend it. Making sure for himself. You, not so much. Hannatee, Tucky, Angerham; they’ve all been vaccinated. Sean was indignant on the radio last week because restaurants in NYC are requiring proof of vaccination for service. Unbelievable infringement of personal rights!! The “No Shoes, No Shirt, No Service” sign? No problem.
Governor Ron DePsycho (R-FL) is barring school districts in the state from enacting mask mandates required by local school districts, proving that he does not trust the judgment of locally elected officials to do what they believe best for their communities. He calls that "freedom." He is fighting to sink lower than Trump and a lot of people, though concerned about the vast amount of oxygen necessary for such an undertaking, have money on the kid. Meanwhile, Governor Asa Hutchinson (R-MO) is begging his legislators to return to session and reverse the “no mask” laws, as his state is awash in the Delta variant. He sees dead people everywhere.
Governor Abbott (R-TX), having sold the State’s energy services to the ministrations of a private company which resulted in freezing constituents last winter (Ted “Daddy” Cruz was saved by a kidnapping to Cancun), signed new TX legislation in which businesses that require customers to be vaccinated against Covid-19 will be denied state contracts and could lose their licenses or operating permits (where is the freedom there?). And today, the reports from TX are staggering in new cases and lack of hospital beds. This, after a busy month making voting far more difficult for minorities in particular, though no widespread fraud was found during the election in November. We all know it's not about "voter fraud."
The thing I find additionally and incredibly offensive is that these people who will not wear a mask or take a vaccine as a gross violation of their rights and privacy, demand the right to insist that a woman carry a fetus within her body when she chooses not to. She has no privilege over her body, but they do over theirs and they are willing to die (until they are found "with virus" and want medical intervention) or let others do so. Also, do they understand that most of the naysayers are Republicans? Likely Repo voters? Apparently not.
Kelly Scoles,
Fillmore

***

To the Editor:
What has become of this great nation, the United States of America? I expressed my concerns in a previous letter to the Gazette warning that the election of Biden was disastrous for our country.
Where are the current leaders of our federal government, the Democrats, or of we’re going to be calling groups or individuals names like one other letter contributor does, let’s call them “Demolitioncrats”.
I haven’t written a letter to the Gazette in a while. Not that I haven’t cared or have not had something I wanted to say. It’s mostly been that the paper is only printed once a week and by the time Tuesday comes around there has been much too much to say! So I’ll start with “The Boarder Crisis”.
And it is just that. And don’t point to Trump, because the numbers crossing our boarder are the highest seen in nearly 20 years. If you’re not aware, not all come from the triangle countries in South America. Some are taking planes and come from Eastern Europe and Asia as noted by Customs and Border Patrol (CBP). That in itself shows that they are not fleeing out of fear of violence but want a better, job, income, and life. It does show that the consequences now involve national security.
Over 210,000 migrants were let into our country in the month of July alone. In the Texas Rio Grande Valley agents encountered 78,000 in July, 59,000 in June and 51,000 in May. In July that area saw a 900% increase in COVID cases and 30% of the migrants are refusing to be vaccinated.
Keep in mind those numbers do not include crossers who are detected by surveillance technology but are not apprehended, or the “got-aways,” as the CBP calls them. In fact, some officers of the CBP call Biden “Let ‘Em Go Joe”. I’d laugh, but it’s not funny.
And where are they going? There are so many that the government has flown or bused them throughout the US, to Florida, Arizona, Virginia, California, New Mexico, and Oklahoma to name a few. Most are unaware they’ve come as they are turned over to nonprofits, like Catholic Charities, who house them in hotels without supervision, allowing them to flow freely through those communities.
So where does that leave the honest, tax paying US citizen? How can one remain loyal to our way of life, our laws, our government, when our government isn’t loyal to us?
Patti Walker,
Fillmore