A hallmark of authoritarians
Re “Trump calls media 'the enemy of the American People’” (Page 10A, Feb. 18): In the establishment of any dictatorship, it is critical to silence sources of facts about the government. People who are informed of facts and not “alternative facts” are in a position to oppose the government.
In recent times, we have seen the emergence of nascent dictatorships in countries such as Turkey, Venezuela and Egypt where the free press has been suppressed. I fear were seeing the same with our new administration.
Wake up America and recognize the ongoing effort to destroy the credibility of the free press in the United States. I for one have no intention to live under a dictatorship. Write your congressional members regardless of party and ask them to take whatever action is needed to preserve our democracy, free press and rule of law.
Tom Smithson, Fair Oaks
We all must check the president
Failing Donald Trump is flailing about more violently these days. His attacks on the media have reached a fever pitch. How people can continue to support this man, who is an embarrassment to our country and seems bent on destroying its reputation in the world, is beyond me.
Berating Trump serves no purpose. He has not the eyes to perceive his own folly. We do best to speak out about what we ourselves are seeing.
Some Trump supporters want us to consider the positives of his administration. But do they consider these actions positives: stranding travelers in mid-voyage; rescinding common-sense rules that restrict access to firearms by certain mentally disabled people; signing an order that allows mine-waste to flow into rivers and streams; and issuing statements intended to de-legitimize the free press.
We must look to Congress, especially those members of his own Republican party, for redress. We must look to the judiciary. And we must look to the press and to ourselves, the free citizens and residents of our country, for strong statements about the outrages being committed in our name.
This president presents a clear and present danger to the republic. He and his administration must be reminded, strongly and repeatedly, that the U.S. is neither an autocracy nor a theocracy. It is a democracy. We the People! He serves all of us, those who voted for him and those who did not.
Nona Strong, Cameron Park
Free press is doing its job
I’ve been giving a lot of thought about the role the news media serves in our society, even here in the town and county you and I share as home.
We’re fortunate that modernization has brought us immediacy in news, from online to television. We have more information, but the responsibility to choose wisely is great and is ours. Some news leans left, some leans right. Thankfully the vast majority just tell us the facts.
According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, 1,230 have died worldwide in the last 25 years to do this for you. Behind those heroes are thousands more journalists who go to work everyday, and take their kids to Little League on Saturday.
Don’t let anyone tell you these hard-working people or the organizations they work for are the enemy of anything. They work to bring you the information that matters so you can make informed decisions for yourself.
Wil Matthews, Auburn
Stop listening to Trump
Re “‘I inherited a mess,’ Trump contends” (Page 1A, Feb. 17): The Nazis figured out that you control the collective consciousness if you control the media. Tell an outrageous lie over and over again and it becomes accepted truth.
Rush Limbaugh figured out that in capitalist societies, you can reap riches and have enormous political influence by creating media that give people permission, and cover, for hate. Those strategies helped get Donald Trump elected.
And Trump and Stephen Bannon are betting they don’t need to forcibly shut down truth-seeking media. Simply use the president’s bully pulpit for intimidation, reducing the audience and profits of uncooperative media companies.
Trump’s message to the media is, I can make or break you. But as media consumers, we have the last word.
Al Franklin, Auburn
Making America fear again
Of course President Donald Trump inherited a “mess.” Just as he got the “most” electoral votes since Ronald Reagan, when George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama all got more.
Trump’s obvious lies build a straw man to mask the fact that he’s done nothing positive as president. So far, his is a record of White House chaos, no real jobs plan, no health legislation, a failed, xenophobic and unconstitutional Muslim ban, covert deportations of Mexican “criminals” (aka decent taxpaying workers raising families who just don’t have papers) and no coherent national security or foreign policies.
His Russian ties, sons’ claims of family income from Russia, Russian election interference on his behalf, adoration of Vladimir Putin and failure to divulge his income tax statements or divest his business are all just the tip of his corruption iceberg.
To watch his press conference was to be afraid.
ACA fears aren’t fake news
In his press conference, President Donald Trump said: “Obamacare is a disaster, folks. It’s a disaster. I know you can say, ‘Oh, Obamacare. I mean, they fill up our rallies with people that you wonder how they get there.’ But they are not the Republican people that our representatives are representing.”
Let that sink in. He is saying our representatives are representing Republican people only. But our members of Congress, like it or not, are elected to represent everyone in their districts, not just the people who voted for them.
This is not fake news; these are not paid protesters. These are real people from the districts who are going to town halls to tell their representatives that they are not happy with the Republican repeal of Obamacare.
Ed Bass, Jackson
Air ACA concerns at town halls
The most detailed plan for Obamacare replacement so far has been that of Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price. As I understand it, the plan offers fixed but modest tax credits, pegged not to income like the ACA but to a person’s age. I’m concerned. Using age takes incentive from the younger and healthier who also tend to have lower incomes. Meanwhile, older enrollees could experience higher premiums and co-pays.
In Price’s plan, older, sicker people would be covered in high-risk pools, subsidized by the government. The fixed amounts in these pools as proposed is “woefully inadequate,” according to Eric Pianin of the Fiscal Times. High-risk pools have been around for decades and are notoriously underfunded and enrollments are often capped.
The plan also allows the selling of policies across state lines, supposedly to increase competition. About six years ago, I was defrauded by my health insurance company and I wrote to the California Insurance Commission to explain the situation. A few months later, I received a premium reduction and a rather large reimbursement check. I can’t imagine how 50 state insurance commissions are going to regulate thousands of health insurance companies. Perhaps this is the intention, to stymie regulation.
If you have concerns about this or the current proposal to increase eligibility age and lower payments for Social Security, I urge you to attend a town hall meeting of your local representative and voice your concerns.
Brian Louks, Soulsbyville
No welfare for undocumented
Re “Why we need a wall” (Letters, Feb. 16): I’m tired of the welfare myths about supporting undocumented non-citizens. I have been an eligibility worker, an employment and training worker and am a consultant for social services programs nationwide.
There are no cash aid or food assistance programs for non-citizens illegally in this country. Some states, such as California, have emergency medical services for anyone in the state. These apply to medical emergencies, heart attack, stroke, vehicular injuries, woman in childbirth and certain life-threatening injuries. There is no other service.
Fay Slater, Sacramento
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