Friday August , 2018
Actions by administration will lead to devastating results for families.
On July 26, the Trump administration announced it had complied with a federal judge's order and returned to parents most of the children separated at the Mexican border. However, hundreds of children still remain apart. The administration claimed it reunified all family members who were "eligible." Say what? How can children be deemed ineligible to be with their parents?
First, many parents were swiftly deported to their home countries without their children. Evidence suggests this was intentional. Statements by the administration indicate that it felt such behavior would deter future refugees from seeking asylum in the U.S.
Second, through sheer incompetence, negligence and maliciousness, the administration lost track of which child went to which parent.
This behavior is nothing less than legalized kidnapping - similar to when children were brutally separated from parents in the slave trade. It is a human rights catastrophe that has sullied the reputation of the United States.
As a student at University of Maryland School of Nursing in the early 1970s, I was forced to watch films of infant monkeys separated from their mothers. The behavioral-emotional result of parental separation is what we now call reactive detachment disorder. I urge readers to Google it. Then they will know why such research has been banned for primates, including Homo sapiens sapiens.
Zane Beller Szurgot
Separation at border amounts to kidnapping
Wednesday August 1, 2018
GOP aims to cut programs in response to red ink for which it is responsible.
The Reading Eagle editorial for July 25, "Continued federal deficit spending risks future disaster," states, "Federal red ink is expected to top $1 trillion per year," warning that "if nothing is done to sharply reduce or eliminate federal deficit spending, a serious crisis awaits."
What the editorial fails to make clear is the impact on this deficit of the Trump tax cut passed by the Republican Congress in December. Even the White House's Office of Management and Budget projects that the law will account for nearly $1 trillion of additional debt over the next decade.
The Republicans are hoping to convince working-class voters that because of that law they can anticipate a 2019 tax cut, but the major percentage of that tax cut goes not to workers, but to corporations and wealthy taxpayers.
And the Republican plan for the future is to pay for that tax cut in large measure by reducing programs that working people depend on, such as Medicaid and other health care programs that protect people with disabilities; food stamps that feed hungry children; some Social Security protections; and federal support for public education.
Since the Republicans currently control the presidency, the House of Representatives and the Senate, there is little promise of changing Republican plans. Our only hope is a massive turnout of voters in November to return our government to a two-party system.
I urge readers to register now and vote in November.
James D. Boyer
Republican tax cut big factor in deficit
Monday July 30, 2018
Berks County needs to protect the civil rights of LGBT community.
While it was regrettable to read in the Reading Eagle that Paul Fredrick will move its headquarters from Fleetwood to the county of Baltimore, Md. ("Paul Fredrick moving away from Fleetwood," July 25), it was no surprise to me. Notice that both Baltimore County officials and company executives spoke of attracting talent in the decision to relocate operations. In today's business climate, companies often consider the ability to attract talent as one of the most important factors when deciding where to locate. This translates into their insistence on communities that are LGBT-friendly and protect the civil rights of LGBT people as places they want to and will locate their businesses.
Baltimore County protects the civil rights of LGBT people and adjacent Baltimore is considered in the top five LGBT-friendliest cities in this nation. Berks County does not provide any civil rights protection to LGBT people. The lesson is simple. If Berks wants to compete successfully for business and economic development in the 21st century, then being LGBT-friendly and protective of civil rights is the way to go. Treating LGBT people fairly and welcoming them warmly costs nothing and would change Berks County's brand for the better while creating quantifiable and long-term economic benefits.
Loss of Paul Fredrick shows need for respect
Thursday July 26, 2018
His performance in Helsinki was that of a useful idiot.
To denote a person who acts as an unknowing, easily manipulated agent of the Soviet/Russian regime, the Soviet/Russian intelligence services employ the term "useful idiot."
Historically the term referred to followers of communist propaganda and apologists for Soviet/Russian behavior.
"Kompromat" is a Russian word meaning "compromising information," specifically material that can be used as blackmail.
In his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, President Donald Trump gave incontrovertible proof to the world that he is a useful idiot. The next question is, does Putin have something on the U.S. president?
That answer will emerge eventually.
In the meantime, it looks as if the United States is being led by an individual who in intelligence terms is compromised.
And the individual who appears to be controlling him is a ruthless, murderous thug - a former KGB agent - who remains our country's principal enemy.
Schwenksville, Montgomery County
Trump appears to be under Putin's control
Wednesday July 25, 2018
Shows in Helsinki that he's a supporter of Russia.
His press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki revealed President Donald Trump's true colors as a supporter of Russia. Despite the indictment of 12 members of the Russian military intelligence (who report to Putin) for their cyberattack on this great nation, on which Trump was fully briefed before his departure for the Putin meeting, Trump said he believed Putin's "strong" denial of any Russian denial of any involvement in the attack on our nation.
Even Fox News anchors and Republican lawmakers were appalled at Trump's abandonment of this great nation in favor of a hostile foreign power. More people are asking what Putin might have on Trump that keeps our president from doing his constitutional duty. As long as voters continue to support Trump, he will continue to sell out this great country, to its great peril.
Trump says our relationship with Russia has never been worse. Has he never heard of the Cuban missile crisis? He says that "four hours ago it (the relationship) got much better." What did he give away? Why did Putin have a notepad, which he used to take notes, while Trump had nothing? Did we get nothing? Have we had enough yet?
Coatesville, Chester County
President reveals his true feelings
Tuesday July 24, 2018
Too many stay home, giving Republicans an advantage.
I have wondered how in this country, an example of democracy throughout the world, the will of the majority is so often overruled. As I watch the weekly assault on the Judeo-Christian ethics of compassion, wisdom and honesty, I have come to understand.
President Donald Trump's base amounts to about 35 to 38 percent of voters, yet so many policies seem designed to satisfy them at the expense of the other 65 percent. The simple reason is that the base votes in every election. According to the United States Elections Project, only about 37 percent of the voting-age population voted in 2014. As a result, we have more Republican governors, state legislators and members of Congress. Only about 60 percent of eligible voters took part in the 2016 election, and thus we elected a president and more legislators who seem unwilling to thwart policies antithetical to what the majority wants. To stop this, we must elect people who favor different policies.
So for those who don't like government officials who do nothing in the face of an attack by a foreign government; children being taken from their parents; making food less available to poor children; continued threats to health care for millions; a tax cut that doesn't help most taxpayers; a Supreme Court that has limited workers' and voters' rights (so far); and legislators who are unable to pass sensible gun laws to protect our children, then there is only one recourse.
People must vote in every election.
Berard N. Avella
Majority must vote if it wants to be heard
Monday July 23, 2018
American voters need to pay attention to this administration's actions.
While the country's focus is on President Donald Trump and Russia, federal agencies are hard at work rolling back regulations that protect the American people.
Trump and the Environmental Protection Agency have been rolling back vital climate and clean air protections. This includes the Clean Power Plan, which was intended to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from electric plants. They also lifted a moratorium on federal coal leasing and removed the requirements that federal officials consider the impact of climate change when making decisions. The Senate voted to reverse the Stream Protection Rule, which seeks to protect waterways from debris generated by surface mining.
The EPA will repeal a requirement to provide information about chemical hazards to first responders and the public. This information can help people protect themselves from exposure to dangerous chemicals. The EPA justifies the decision by pointing out that it will save the chemical industry $88 million per year.
Rolling back the chemical disaster rule will, by the EPA's own assessment, harm low-income and minority communities more than others. The EPA didn't hear from communities because the only public meeting about the rollbacks was held in Washington. Meanwhile, industry interests have been well-represented as the agency makes its decisions.
These rollbacks make big businesses richer without regard to the harm and cost to the environment and to the American people.
American voters need to wake up.
Dropping regulations will hurt environment
Friday July 20, 2018
Common sense seems to be at a premium among Trump defenders.
It's not accurate to refer to those who oppose President Donald Trump as Trump haters ("Critics of president not being productive," Reading Eagle, July 13). They are informed voters.
Letter writer Sharon Sensenig claims that CNN, NBC, ABC and MSNBC report lies. Some serious fact-checking is required before stating one's comments as facts. Trump supporters often use Fox News as their primary source of information. That organization has been caught in so many misrepresentations that one of its own news analysts resigned in protest. PolitiFact's page dedicated to Fox shows the network's abysmal record in reporting the facts. And Fox commentator Sean Hannity serves as informal adviser to the current occupant of the White House.
Common sense seems to be at a premium amid the chaos engulfing the world. We are at an all-time low in the world's eyes. Trump has done nothing to move this country forward. He has stoked our greatest fears and instilled unprecedented turmoil with his misinformation, lack of knowledge of diplomacy, and history and lack of compassion. He has done little to make America great. He is more about making himself great. If one truly believes that President Barack Obama left a mess, you ain't seen nothing yet till this president leaves office.
President's critics are informed voters
Wednesday July 18, 2018
Immigrant children aren't the only ones at risk under this administration.
President Donald Trump finally caved to public pressure and promised to stop separating immigrant children from their parents. Yet the next steps remain unclear and of uncertain legality.
Like immigration, the mistreatment of children is an old problem that Trump is making worse. It's not just children seized at the border who aren't treated with compassion. America also systematically shortchanges its own children.
"A shockingly high number of children in the U.S. live in poverty," the United Nations reporter on extreme poverty and human rights, Philip Alston, declared in a scathing report.
Almost one-fifth of American children live in poverty, and they account for one-fifth of homeless people.
There's a direct link between the mistreatment of immigrant children at the border and the indifference toward low-income children all across the country. The core reason is a lack of compassion.
Researchers Kathryn Edin and Luke Shaefer have found that some 3 million American children live in "extreme poverty," with a cash income of less than $2 per person per day. A child is 57 percent more likely to die by the age of 19 in the U.S. than in European countries, according to a study published this year in Health Affairs magazine.
A bipartisan outcry forced Trump to back down from tearing immigrant kids from their parents.
Now we need a similar outcry on behalf of America's children.
Richard A. Weiherer
Trump takes problem and makes it worse
Monday July 16, 2018
Senate, Supreme Court leave many without a voice.
In America, many think that one man (or woman) equals one vote, so we get equal representation. Not true. Laws that amount to voter suppression, resulting from hysterical but baseless claims of voter fraud, cost many their right to vote in 2016. Yet Hillary Clinton still got 2.86 million more votes than Donald Trump. Millions more people are unrepresented than represented.
Kris Kobach, a prominent provocateur who promoted the rampant voter fraud theory, led Trump's Election Integrity Commission, which fizzled fast. Kobach was subsequently fined in federal court for "a pattern of patently misleading representations," which are lawyer words for: "He lied. A lot."
Now we're about to get another Supreme Court justice appointed by a president elected by a considerable minority and approved by a Senate that is also grossly unrepresentative. California, Texas, Florida and New York together have 108.5 million residents totaling 32.5 percent of Americans and are represented by eight senators. North Dakota, Alaska, Vermont and Wyoming together have 2.7 million residents, or 0.83 percent of Americans and are also represented by eight senators. Pennsylvania's two senators represent 13 million residents, or 6 percent of Americans.
So we are represented by a president for whom a large majority didn't, or couldn't, vote, and a significant percentage of Americans are not equally represented in the Senate.
Will the new Supreme Court justice represent all Americans, or the powerful few who put him there?
Many Americans lack fair representation