Letters to the Editor
March 30, 2022

To the Editor:
Second Opinion. SCOTUS and Jackassery.
A few weeks ago, Martin deemed it unworthy to consider“theater” in serious political debate. My point was that if theater were removed from politics, at least half of our current Congress would be in Cancun, “searchin’ for their lost shaker of salt.”
Example: Senate Judiciary hearings on the SCOTUS nomination of Kentanji Brown Jackson. Judge Jackson is deemed “Well-Qualified” by unanimous vote of the Standing Committee of the ABA and has been vetted and confirmed by the Committee for three prior federal judicial appointments. She graduated from Harvard magna cum laude, and Harvard Law School cum laude. She has a broad spectrum of legal experience.
Lindsey Graham (R-SC) sanctimoniously declared that President Biden picked the “wrongblack woman” (it’s “your Honor” to you, buddy), and that Judge Jackson is an “activist” (as opposed to the current flaming-reactionary SCOTUS majority). He became borderline-hysterical and ordered Jackson to weigh in on the Kavanaugh hearings, shouting over her when she tried to respond. At one point he became so overwrought in his lip-quivering concern for some unintelligible menace, he got teary-eyed and stalked out of the hearing room. Very emotional little guy.
Josh Hawley (R-MO) betrayed his Harvard/Yale education by puckering up for a QAnon-inspired dog whistle that liberals support pedophiles, and asserted that some of Judge Jackson’s sentences for sex-related crimes indicate she is an apologist for child pornographers. The mother of two pointed out that while she has some discretion in sentencing, Congress sets sentencing guidelines for judges, noting that she is not in Congress.
The hearing room hushed for the queries of TX Senator Ted “Daddy” Cruz (just keepin’ the legend alive).He so ridiculously grandstanded that fellow-Republican Ben Sasse (NE) commented, “I think we should recognize that the jackasserywe often see around here is partly because of people mugging for short-term camera opportunities” as Daddy checked his Twitter comments.
It wounds me to withhold my award for “jackassery” from Cruz, but it has to go to Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-TN). Also whistling toQAnonreveries of liberal support for pedophilia, she demanded that Chair Dick Durbin (D-IL) provide, for her inspection and evaluation, the sealed sentencing documents for a couple of rapists sentenced by Judge Jackson. He refused for privacy considerations of the victims. So, she asked the Judge to define “woman.” Judge Jacksonadmitted that she lacks the expertise to definebiological sex in terms of chromosomes, genes, hormones, and organs.Blackburn really wanted a simpler, more helpfuldefinition involving secondary sex characteristicsat birth. Which has nothing to do with an appointment to SCOTUS.
These political thespians know they can inspire and motivate the base by conjuring abortion, liberal plots, and pedophile rings. While Hawley showed an unusually keen interest in the details of rapes and molestations, Blackburn stated, “The Constitution grants us rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness – not abortions.” The relevant quote is, of course, from the Declaration of Independence and not the Constitution. Apparently, you don’t have to take a course in American History to get a BA in Home Ec. from Mississippi State or be a Senator from Tennessee. Someone on Twitter recommended that she “put down the Aquanet and read a book once in a while.”
Senate Leader McConnell urged Republicans to reject her nomination because she “declined to address critically important questions and ameliorate real concerns. Judge Jackson was the court-packers pick.” We’re still at 9, Lady Whistledog. Don’t hold it against Jackson that she hasn’t been credibly accused of sexual assault, didn’t snivel, or announce her passion for any particular adult beverage.
I cannot predict whether Judge Jackson will be confirmed, but clearly, she should be.We will see whether Republicans want a two-Party democratic political system or it’s their way or the highway. What you getwith a one-Party system is a dictatorship.Check out Putin to see what that means.
Kelly Scoles,


To the Editor:
There’s so much talk about the gaffes and bloopers coming from our President and Vice President.
So Kamala hasn’t been to the southern border, she hasn’t “been to Europe.” And maybe she has trouble thinking on her feet, like when she said “It is time for us to do what we have been doing. And that time is every day. Every day it is time for us to agree that there are things and tools that are available to us to slow this thing down.” It’s also possible she believes adults need to be talked to as if they have a third-grade level of education when she spoke about Ukraine. Her comment, “Ukraine is a country in Europe. It exists next to another country called Russia. Russia is a bigger country. Russia is a powerful country. Russia decided to invade a smaller country called Ukraine.”
And Biden is pushing 80. I’m sure he was just confused when he spoke to the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division and told them “You’re going to see when you’re there, and some of you have been there, you’re gonna see — you’re gonna see women, young people standing in the middle in front of a damned tank just saying, ‘I’m not leaving, I’m holding my ground.’”. And maybe his hearing was off when asked about the comment from Russia using chemical weapons, he stated we can “respond in kind”. And he did sound like Reagan this week, at least until he said about Putin, “For God’s sake, this man cannot remain in power."
But the best quote is from Harris when she said, “Because as we all know, elections matter. And when folks vote, they order what they want, and in this case they got what they asked for.”
Patti Walker,


Letters to the Editor
March 23, 2022

To the Editor:
Second Opinion: The Art of War
Before I address this week’s column, I want to note that, for all the flame-throwing in the last few weeks of’Realities , the issueremains that a former president and presumed candidatefor Commander-in-Chief made irresponsible and terrifying suggestions regarding foreign policy, and a leading GARepublican consorts with white Christian nationalists and Holocaust deniers who frequently mention Putin and Hitler with approval.
Last week, the sameMTGreene (R-GA) urgedwithholdingAmerican financial aid “to possible [Ukrainian] Nazi militias that are torturing innocent people, especially children and women,”echoing Putin’s favoritebut demented false argument about the invasion. Perhaps that will engender an editorial comment.These people are telling us how they will govern.
In The Art of War, Sun Tzu gives military leadership advice, for instance: “It is the unemotional, reserved, calm, detached warrior who wins, not the hothead seeking vengeance and not the ambitious seeker of fortune.As strong as the urge may be, pulling a “gunfight at the OK Corral” is a bad international reactionat present to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
It is understandable that many Americans, witnessing as we do the horrors of the Russian “peacekeeping mission” in Ukraine, demand immediate American offensive reaction. Many advocate for provision of military weapons, even “jet fighter-bombers” and other sophisticated equipment and technology, to support the courageous Ukrainians. As understandable as these sentiments are, the stakes are too high and broad, and the possibilities too unthinkable, to be anything but vigilant, disciplined and prepared at this point.
One of the most important considerations for this country and NATO is the behavior of Putin. There are reports that he has become isolated mentally and that his own “advisors” find his conduct “unstable.”He has abandoned his past Western-style diplomatic approach andhas personally assumedthe role as sole defender of Russia and architect of a restored USSR.His ego is tied to the conflict and a “win.”
Last weekend, General Petraeus observedthat the Russian militaryis a top-down authoritative system, little-prepared for the resolve and the guerrilla-type response of Ukraine. The unusual deaths of five Russian generalsdemonstrates the problem. “Because there's no initiative, no non-commissioned officer corps, no sense of initiative at junior levels -- they wait to be told what to do.”An impatient general goes forward to see why the column has stopped and Ukrainian snipers pick him off.A deformed ego may become more irrational by that demonstration of vulnerability.
Putin-watchers were stunned two weeks ago when he publicly asserted his intention to crack down on internal dissent, predicting that Russia would undergo a "a natural and necessary self-purification of society" that he said would "only strengthen our country," language which conjures up the worst excesses of Soviet totalitarianism and would make a Tsar smile. We in this country would do well to consider his words and conduct when wishing for our own “I alone can fix it” strongman leader.
What happens whenmilitary body bags return to Russia?When the repression ensues?What happens when a leader who may be erratic and unpredictable, someone who must “win” finds that he is losing face if not the War? What does that mean in a nuclear age? To other nuclear despots?
Fiona Hill, Trump’s Russian advisor, stated that “we have to find a way to give Putin an out.” At first, I thought that seemed a trifle generous. TheMachiavellian approach would crush an enemy at every opportunity. But SunTzu admonished military leaders to always give an opponent a way out, a “golden bridge,” and hope they take it.
It is foolish at this point to assume that Putin would not use a nuclear weapon.Knowledge, discipline, analysis, and consensus must rule the decisions of NATO in finding the bridge with Russia, not just Putin, with which Ukraine can live.All our lives may depend upon it.
Kelly Scoles,


To the Editor:
“A lie doesn't become truth, wrong doesn't become right, and evil doesn't become good, just because it's accepted by a majority.” Booker T. Washington
In April 2019, Hunter Biden dropped off his laptop and external hard drive to a repair shop in Delaware. When he failed to return to pick it up, knowing it was from Biden, the shop owner contacted the FBI who didn’t take an interest in it until late October when they subpoenaed the shop owner for the devices.
In October 2020, the New York Post (the country’s oldest paper) released details found on the device. And that information, emails, text, photos, and messages details how Hunter used his name to further his overseas business dealings with Ukraine, China and Russia for the years beginning in 2010 when Joe was Vice President.
For instance in early 2014 Hunter ended up with a $50,000 a month job with Burisma Holdings, a gas company located in Ukraine. In an email Hunter was asked by a Burisma advisor in May 2014 how he can use his influence on Burisma’s behalf. In 2015 that same advisor thanked Hunter for introducing Joe to him.
In 2015 a Ukraine prosecutor was involved in a criminal investigation of all board members of Burisma and Joe said America would withhold $1 billion in aid unless the investigator was ousted. Joe said it wasn’t because of the Burisma investigation but that the investigator wasn’t cleaning up Ukraine’s corruption. Could they not be one in the same?
The laptop shows the financial records of Hunter and the millions of dollars coming in and going into joint accounts he held with Joe and other Biden family members.
Journalist integrity went out the window when mainstream media CNN, MSNBC ABC, CBS, NBC and The View claimed it was all false. They stated it was Russian disinformation, was a smear campaign. Any mention of the laptop got you thrown off Facebook, Twitter, and the like, even including the Next Door site. Hunter went on national TV to tell the world "It could be that I was hacked. It could be that it was the that it was Russian intelligence. It could be that it was stolen from me. Or that there was a laptop stolen from me."
Sadly the corruption detailed on it is real. Thankfully the FBI and the Dept of Justice didn’t believe the mainstream media. Hunter must have felt the pressure as he recently borrowed $1 million to pay off his tax liability (I’d like to know who he borrow it from). The investigation is looking into possible money laundering and potential foreign lobbying violations.
So along with the denials and refusal to answer questions from our leaders we continue to see mainstream and social media also don’t have the maturity or professionalism to acknowledge they were wrong. Today you still cannot mention “Hunter” or “laptop” on any of those platforms. Their commentators don’t mention it during their segments allowing their followers to remain ignorant of the truth. How many other issues did they cover or censor in order to continue in their undemocratic extreme ideology?
The misinformation, disinformation, censorship of opinion is not just on mainstream or social media platforms. It’s currently being sought by the California legislation. I, along with a few other Fillmore residents (none of our elected officials appeared) took part in Democratic Assemblymember Steve Bennett’s Virtual Town Hall on March 12. I queried him on his position on AB2098.
AB2098 is a continued attack on the First Amendment right of freedom of speech. The bill states, “This bill would designate the dissemination or promotion of misinformation or disinformation related to the SARS CoV 2 coronavirus, or “COVID 19,” as unprofessional conduct. The bill would require the board to consider specified factors prior to bringing a disciplinary action against a physician and surgeon.” No where in the bill is “dissemination, promotion of misinformation or disinformation” defined. In fact, the authors of the bill are responding to “major news outlets have reported...dangerous propagators...” as a reason for the bill.
Frankly, if it wasn’t for the Gazette I wouldn’t be able to inform anyone of this bill or Hunter for that matter. So thank you Martin.
Patti Walker,


Letters to the Editor
March 16, 2022

To the Editor:
Theater and Drilling
Martin: While my views and literary style are not news to you, I can understand that occasionally they may irritate reactionary sensibilities. Politics has always been in great part “theater” (think Kennedy/Nixon debates or Ted Cruz delivering“Green Eggs and Ham” on the Senate floor). If you observe political Party leaders (on both sides) you know that. These are the very people who will formulate American policy. What they say and do now is very much an indication of how they will govern if given the chance.
You are a serious man, but it’s hard to believe that you think it trivial to reveal a former president and potential future Commander-in-Chief joking about inciting a war between two nuclear powers, then sitting back and watching the result. Or find nothing significant in a prominent Republican politician consorting with groups known to invoke Hitler and Putin and support racism as the dominant conservative ideology. Or that Republican leaders are afraid to condemn these undemocratic extremists.Avert your eyes at our peril.
I do not concoct facts or “alleged comments.”Google them. The incidents I report generally do not appear on conservative media. They contradict the image that many Republicans(want to) have of their Party, or they may disturb the reverie of Tucky’s white nationalist views, conspiracy theories, and dictator envy. ButDorothy Collins taught her 12 kids to share, and so...
The Russian war is a worthy subject and easier to confront. The racism inherent in white nationalism can involve friends and neighbors. You will write what you wish, but I am afraid that you will be stuck with that ink bill after all.
You asked why President Biden “closed down the nation's energy industry,”presumably when he fulfilled a campaign promise and stopped the Canada-to-Gulf XL Pipeline project (and federal oil subsidies). Theindustry was not “closed down.”Thedenial of pipeline construction permits does not stop oil and gas drilling or delivery. It precludesproduct conveyance by way of a very environmentally-risky delivery system. The tar sands oil will just have to find its way to market as it always has.
Oil production in the Trump and Biden Administrations has remained generally constant. The post-pandemic demand is greater as people are out-and-about, the Russian war and sanctions against buying their oil have some effect, but the petroleum companies are not drilling more oil. Instead, they are opting to prioritize stock buybacks and score record high profits rather than using the approximately 9,000 oil and gas drilling permits already available but unused.
"Oil and gas companies do not want to drill more," (emphasis mine) said Raymond James analyst Pavel Molchanov. "They are under pressure from the financial community to pay more dividends, to do more share buybacks instead of the proverbial 'drill baby drill,' which is the way they would have done things 10 years ago. Corporate strategy has fundamentally changed."
President Biden has released significant oil reserves andis under pressure to invoke Cold War-era powers to force more domestic oil production as the war in Ukraine strains supplies and further fuels inflation. It is a dilemma of the “open market”against governmental interference with private enterprise for national need. Capitalism against temporary “socialism,” if you will.
The industry knows what the future requires. They are already investing in a petroleum-free world. BP (British Petroleum) has rebranded itself “Beyond Petroleum” andis looking toward renewable energy projects, such as wind and solar.But the GOP wants to “party on” as if the future is distant and the horrific environmental impacts of fossil fuel do not exist. And blamePresident Biden.
This is the time to bite the bullet and go green energywith the new jobs that will generate. To miss this opportunity is to deny the future, andextend the economic prison of the fossil fuels industry and theproduct-source of our impending climate crises.
Kelly Scoles,


To the Editor:
At the beginning of each week I give thought about what to write in my Letter to the Editor. I see so many issues to address - Ukraine, inflation, pandemic/endemic, the supply chain? Seems they are connected in so many ways, which I find troubling in itself.
For instance, back in early 2021, Russia started setting up its military along the Ukrainian border. In response Biden was set to give a $100 million military aid to Ukraine then it was halted. As Russia moved in more troops, Biden began his talk of “strong economic and other measures” if they should attack. Republicans were asking Biden to provide military aid to Ukraine in November 2021, but it wasn’t until mid January 2022 that Biden provided any aid.
On February 22, Russia launched his “demilitarisation and denazification” of Ukraine. On March 14, Russia joined forces with China. Now Biden’s threatening China with the same lines about “strong economic and other measures” if they respond to Russia’s request for military and economic relief.
When the USA placed sanctions on Russian imports, it became clear gas sanctions were negligible compared to the impact we’ll see in the current inflation situation as it relates to the iron, steel, fertilizer, nickel and copper, and grain Russia provides. Our current inflation rate as of February is 7.87%. In February the average American was paying $250 more a month to deal with the price increases we see daily; today they say it’s now $375.
Today, Biden’s sitting with Russia to broker a new nuclear deal with Iran, one of America’s biggest threats. He’s begging Venezuela, another arch enemy, to sell us their fossil fuels. Pete Buttigieg, our Secretary of Transportation, says we need to look to solar, wind, nuclear or hydroelectric means for our energy and move to zero fossil fuels. Keep in mind 65% of the energy used in the USA is a form of fossil fuel. I’m sure it will take much longer to get become fossil fuel free then the time it takes to return to our being energy self-sufficient today.
Ukraine is in the 20th day of fighting to maintain its sovereignty after the unprovoked attack by Russia. Since then Iran sent 12 missiles near the U.S. consulate in Irbil, Iraq. North Korea has shot more ballistics missiles off it’s coast in the last month. A Russian missile strike near Poland was launched from within the USSR’s own borders. COVID is raging out of control in many areas of China, causing a reduction in their ability to respond to our “supply chain crisis”.
Concerns about Russia having nuclear weapons has Western Europe worried. And rightfully so. Since most of Europe depends on Russian fossil fuel, they were unwilling to take the same actions as we have. If Russia wins this war, the dynamics in Europe and around the entire world will dramatically change.
It is possible for the USA to be self-sufficient in most of it needs and if necessary we could live without the rest. I don’t care if you call it “Made in America” or “Make America Great Again”, but it’s my opinion a true leader will see that it may be time to shift the agenda from globalization to self-sufficiency and “... preserve, protect and defend“ America.
Patti Walker,

Letters to the Editor
March 9, 2022

To the Editor:
Second Opinion: Nuts and Numb Nuts.
While the world contends with the terror of war, the resilience and courage of the Ukrainians, and the real possibility that Putin is mentally ill and not opposed to using a nuclear bomb, our own doofuses and crazies have not been idle.It’simportant to keep an eye on them especially in a midterm year. Sadly, there is only space here for a few.
In the garden of the merely demented,Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA)blooms conspicuously. Shewas confronted recently after speaking to a crowd summoned by the notorious Nick Fuentes. She claimed not to knowFuentes, an advocate of America as a white-Christian-only nation, a Holocaust denier, and a leader in the Groyper Movement,white nationalists who seek to normalize racism and make it a part of mainstream conservative political ideology.
Repo House Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) seemed to “buy” her self-exoneration until Logic grappled him to the ground. He later observed that Fuentes’ “introductory speech where he praised both Putin and Adolf Hitler should have been enough for her to walk away.This is unacceptable.”(emphasis mine) But the racism inherentin white nationalismactuallyis acceptable to a lot of people in this country, a factwhich McCarthy and many Republicans are afraid to publicly criticize.
If it were not acceptable, MTG, Nick Fuentes, Lauren Boebert, Matt Gaetz, the afore-mentioned Paul Gosar and Thomas Massie, Tucker Carlson,Louis Gohmert, Stephen Miller, and many others,would be as isolated in the Republican Partyasa pig at the Westminster Dog Show.Unfortunately, their porcine grunts are music to the ears of not all, but many.
In the arena of the barking-mad, theBest in Show for the week goes to a recent former president. Last Saturday night in New Orleans, Trump spoke to 250 of his most loyal donors. To prove that he’s “up” on foreign relations, he praised North Korea’s Kim Jong Un as “seriously tough” (he did not mention their “love letters”). He blasted President Biden’s “weak” response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine,andsuggested that the US should disguise our F-22 Raptorswith the Chinese flag and “bomb the sh*t out of Russia.”
“And then we say, ‘China did it, we didn’t do it, China did it,’ and then they start fighting with each other and we sit back and watch.”His audience roared with laughter and, I expect, deep, guttural,barnyard delight.This is the irresponsible,unprincipled,reckless man-child that nearly half the country thinks should have another whack atbeing our Commander-in-Chief.
I saw a video last week of a reporter asking Trump if, were the situation reversed, he would be as brave as Ukraine president Zelensky. Trump responded, “Well, you never know.” I was reminded of a Howard Stern interview about 10 years ago when Trump, a legendary germaphobe, told a story in which headmittedly refused to help an 80-year-old man who fell at a party at Mar-a-Lago and bled on the “beautiful marble floor[which] became very red…This is terrible! This is disgusting!After the Marines took the old man away, “I say, ‘Get that blood cleaned up! It’s disgusting’…The next day I forgot to call [the man] to see if he’s OK…[the blood] it’s justnot my thing.”
To the reporter, the real answer’s,” ‘Fraid not, that’s just not my thing.” Trump is worlds away from the courage and national leadership demonstrated by Volodymyr Zelensky.
Kelly Scoles,

Letters to the Editor
March 2, 2022

To the Editor:
Second Opinion. Putin, Trump, Ukraine
In a radio interview with Travis/Sexton last week, former president Trump praised Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. “Putin declares it as independent. Oh, that’s wonderful. He used the word ‘independent’ and we’re gonna go out and we’re gonna go in and we’re gonna help keep peace. You gotta say that’s pretty savvy…how smart is that? And he's going to go in and be a peacekeeper. Here's a guy who's very savvy.” Trump later clarified his statement: “The problem is not that Putin is smart, which of course he’s smart, but the real problem is that our leaders are dumb, dumb, so dumb.” (emphasis mine)
These are the words of our former Commander-in-Chief and wanna-be future CIC, congratulating a foreign despot for invading a sovereign country, and pronouncing the current President of United States incompetent in a time of war. Trump does not care about this country or maintaining the principles upon which it was founded. Everything is about his ego; he is clearly no “patriot.” And still, there are people who will vote for him in 2024.
Trump claims Putin would not have invaded Ukraine if HE were president because “he knows Putin.” More to the point, Putin knows Trump. Hanatee proclaimed that Putin was “afraid of Trump” and his “unpredictability,” (as if that were a good thing in a person of great power) and so, peace reigned. But in every picture of the two of them, Putin looked like the cat that munched the mouse, but let it live for further amusement. The mouse limped about, Rocky-style cocky, declaring that he had won a round.
Knowing well the kind of man Trump is, Putin played him countless times (when he asserted that Putin was more believable than that our own Intelligence Agencies, that NATO was useless, or when he couldn’t think of why Putin would lie about not spying on America). Trump detects that Putin is stronger than he, and that he likely has “information,” so where Putin is concerned he was, and still is, a very good boy.
President Biden has made significant progress in resuscitating NATO against Russian adversity. Former Bush 43 Secretary-of-State Condoleeza Rice observed that, “the global community would not be unified behind Trump the way they are with President Joe Biden.” The UN voted last week in a draft resolution to tell Moscow to cease the attack against Ukraine and “withdraw all troops immediately.” Russia was the lone “No” vote. The surprise was China, who joined India and the UAE in abstaining, but did not support Russia on the US-authored text.
Fox News and Tucky were instantly pro-Putin, and referred to the invasion as a “border dispute.” Carlson absolved Putin of being an enemy because he, among other things, did “not eat dogs.” (Google it) He is energetically seeking to interview Putin (as he did the despot of Turkey, Erdogan). These murderous despots somehow hold great emotional attraction for him.
Over the weekend, however, Fox News seemed to be reversing itself in its support of Putin, as major international corporations turn on Russia. It is clear that defending Ukraine is defending the future of Europe, particularly the NATO Balkan states.
The Russian people grow weary of Putin’s quest for historical stature by reconstituting the USSR. His crusade is not for the people of Russia, but for himself. Trump’s objectives are not for our country, but for Trump alone. This planet has been through so much in the last couple of years and there is still much to endure, particularly if this war extends on.
One great hope is that the despots and wanna-be’s will not arise victorious.
Kelly Scoles,


To the Editor:
As I write this, March 1, 2022, tonight President Biden will give his first State of the Union address. I don’t hold out hope that Biden will speak to the vast majority of the Americans he represents. He promised in his inaugural address to “repair”, “restore”, “heal”, and “build” America. He promised to do “great things,” to make America a “strong and trusted partner for peace, progress, and security,” and to answer “the call of history.” He also said, “To overcome these challenges – to restore the soul and to secure the future of America – requires more than words. It requires that most elusive of things in a democracy: Unity.”
As a reminder, here is the short list of his promises. He’d “shut down the virus, not the economy” and “I don’t think [vaccine mandates] should be mandatory”. Then “If you entrust me with the presidency, I will draw on the best of us, not the worst. I will be an ally of the light, not the darkness. It is time for us, for we, the people, to come together. And make no mistake, united we can and will overcome this season of darkness in America.”. He also said “No new taxes” for Americans making less than $400,000" and “We will not conduct a hasty rush to the exit [out of Afghanistan]. ... we’ll do it responsibly, deliberately, and safely.”. Or how about “I will notuse the Justice Department as my vehicle to insist that something happen.”. And finally, “I will make it clear to the Kremlin that it must end its aggression toward an occupation of Ukraine.”.
So how has he faired?
Biden mandated everyone get the vaccine or loose your job. He supported and pushed masks on those over two, yet the virus raged. More Americans died in 2021 from the virus than 2020. Then we learned we needed boosters, and in the end it turned out the vaccine was not fully effective in stopping it, only reduced its severity. Not that a small thing, but it wasn’t shut down.
As a country, we remain politically polarized. He pitted us against each other with his constant lament this is a “pandemic of the unvaccinated”. And it’s not just because of the pandemic. His divisive rhetoric has even polarized many in his own party.
American’s are anxious about the economy. Yes, there was record job growth in 2021 and many saw their wages go up. Yet with the inflation number above 7%, those wage increases were lost. I believe in his speech he will push for the tax and social spending portions of the Build Back Better Act. He’ll talk about housing, education and climate issues. But who will pay for the child tax credits for undocumented immigrants? And while families struggle with child care costs, the solution in the BBB was not the answer for most. Biden would also like to cap low-income families housing costs at 30% of their income. And preschool for 3 and 4-year olds, community college or training programs being tuition-free and for families making less than $125,000, college and university will be free.
I won’t dwell on the hasty rush on the exit of Afghanistan. You already know that was a colossal failure.
Biden and members of his administration have pushed the DOJ to go after states which enacted voting laws he disagrees with. He has the FBI targeting parents who speak up at school board meetings and targeted them as domestic terrorists.
And today, Russia is taking over Ukraine. For four years the Democrats and mainstream media accused former President Trump of being an agent for Russia. On his first day in office Biden opened the door to Russia to be a thorn in our side when he took away our ability to be energy sufficient and help to provide energy to European nations when he cancelled the Keystone Pipeline, which by the way left 11,000 people unemployed. In 2019, Biden stated, “Vladimir Putin doesn’t want me to be President, because I’m the only person in this field who’s ever gone toe to toe with him.” He was wrong. Biden’s foreign policies have allowed Russia, China, India and Iran to move in lock-step against the United States.
As Biden told us when he gave his address to Congress, “It’s time we remembered that ‘We the people’ are the government.” It’s not surprising 61% of American’s believe he’s on the wrong track. All we can do is wait and see what a year two has in store for us.
Patti Walker,

Letters to the Editor
February 23, 2022

To the Editor:
Second Opinion: Facts and Durham.
Martin, you read the websites I provided on the issue of a weapon cache and weapons confiscated in D.C. in the days before January 6, 2021, and they in no way altered your understanding? Instead, you cling to a year-old, since-corrected statement of the FBI, even though you say you "don't trust them?" I think people often need to believe as they do because it is useful to them, and we know that reason is not necessarily the source of belief. Argument is generally futile with someone of intractable conviction. Still, I persist. And no, I will not declare a “truce on January 6.” People won't be bored for long, some Republicans have started to get real, and truce is against my nature.
I understand, however, why you want that truce. After the RNC’s “legitimate political discourse” debacle, Senate Leader Mitch McConnell felt compelled to declare that January 6, "… was a violent insurrection for the purpose of trying to prevent the peaceful transfer of power after a legitimately certified election from one administration to the next.” (emphasis mine) Kevin McCarthy then returned to his original position and called the Event a “violent insurrection.”
I was disappointed in last week’s LTTE from Ms. Walker. In response to her questioning the veracity of facts I had alleged (fine), I spent time assembling those and writing them up. Tenea at the Gazette was really helpful in making sure that the websites were easily readable. Walker’s response to those efforts, “I got caught up in the rhetoric in another letter to the Editor,” translated is “my beliefs are too useful to me to challenge them so I’m moving on, and my excuse is perfectly plausible.” Ooo-kay.
I really enjoy dialogue with LTTE readers, even though its Martin’s job (hence, “Letters to the Editor”) and he’s more than up to the task. Since the LTTE in question was addressed to me, I happily interjected myself. If, however, my ever-diminishing time is wasted with an airy “never mind,” the hope for serious exchange withers. LTTEs are a good vehicle for readers to share their concerns and observations with the Editor and community. Just be open, fair, and candid. We can respect each other's time and effort, no matter our political differences.
It is crossed-eye-inducing to read the John Durham motion in US District Court, D.C. Circuit, asking the Court to analyze a possible conflict of interest issue for cyber-attorney Michael Sussman (Durham being a Trump-era Special Counsel to determine whether the FBI’s investigation of the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia was overreach). In summary:
Sussman has been charged with failing to disclose a client in a meeting with the FBI in September 2016 after he shared “purported data and white papers” with the FBI and CIA that allegedly demonstrated a covert communications channel between the Trump Organization and Russia's Kremlin-backed Alfa Bank. The data was collected by Neustar, whose CEO was a friend of Sussman, under a contract with the Obama WH to monitor suspected data breaches from Russian-made smart phones. All data collected predated the Trump inauguration.
The data Neustar collected was Department of National Security (DNS) “lookup information.” DNS “lookups” are records that show that a certain IP address connected to another IP address on the internet. Durham's motion does not allege that the content of communications was the subject of “spying,” and in no way implicates Hillary Clinton or former President Obama in wrong-doing.
However, Tucky and Fox News staunchly endorsed the filing as proof that Trump was “right all along” in his claims that Hillary Clinton had spied on him and “hacked”” into the 2016 Trump Campaign. Durham’s motion alleges no such thing. The connection resides only in the fevered little brains of Tucky and Fox News.
“Your [self-proclaimed] favorite president!” embraced that fever and lamented the lack of the death penalty for those responsible.
Tucky and Fox News made it up for their grievance-hungry audience, as is their practice.
Kelly Scoles,


To the Editor:
On 02/15/2022 at 0900 hours I observed an elderly white male jaywalk across Central Avenue from a parking space in front of the old pool hall to La Fondita Restaurant in a clear attempt to disrupt and destroy our way of life using the “Anarchist’s Guide to Disrupting and Destroying Small Town America” by Robert Lewandowski. I called 9-1-1 to report the anarchist but the dispatcher started to ask me impertinent questions so I called Councilmember Lynn Edmonds but the call went to voicemail because clearly Ms. Edmonds was too busy brushing up on “Rules for Radicals” and plotting to “destabilize and tear down our culture and society” to take my call.
Or perhaps Ms. Edmonds was busy attending another tedious, but essential, county or regional district meeting the councilmembers must attend as part of their duties. Or perhaps she was reading thick, boring staff reports that conscientious councilmembers must study in order to make informed decisions at council meetings. Or perhaps she was volunteering with one of the many charitable and service organizations she supports. Or perhaps she was out in the community listening to the concerns of her constituents, especially our youth, the elderly, and those without reliable transportation who wish that there were public transportation that extended into Santa Clarita.
For the ironically challenged, yes, the first paragraph of this unsolicited letter is fiction. I was the elderly white jaywalker who just wanted a pan dulce from La Fondita, and Robert Lewandowski is a pro soccer player. I have known Lynn Edmonds for nearly 40 years. Two of her sons were my students when I taught at FHS eons ago. She and her late husband Bill have devoted countless hours to the service of this community. I might not always agree with her on every matter that comes before the Council, but her motives are unquestionably good. She advocates for the needs and the equitable treatment of those who often feel marginalized and unheard. Apparently this makes some feel anxious and uneasy.
There are five councilmembers for a good reason. Anyone who feels strongly about an issue should be encouraged to express their views and argue vigorously in support of their opinion, but making absurd, hateful, and hurtful accusations against someone who has given her life to public service is just wrong. It’s no wonder so few people of good will are willing to run for local public office.
Art Sandford,


To the Editor:
As always President Trump was right! The mainstream media ridiculed him and so did the democrats when he claimed that the left was spying on his campaign and later the spying continued while he was president. Now finally the truth has come out, thanks to the long and diligent investigation of John Durham. It is even worse than we thought. The money trail leads back to Hilary Clinton and her campaign staff. Durham investigation has exposed a conspiracy of far greater magnitude than Watergate.
Never before in the history of the United States have we seen such blatant criminal activity on the part of the FBI and the Democratic National Committee.
This is just the tip of the iceberg. Even though the fake news media has ignored the facts, judgment day is coming!!!
PS. If the DMC is capable of infiltrating a secure White House server, are they not capable of stealing an election?!!!
Huguette Johnson,


To the Editor:
In the 90's under Clinton, Ukraine was coerced into giving up its nuclear weapons to Russia in order to enhance the security of the area. In return USA, Britain and Russia were to provide security assurance for Ukraine. As Clinton declared at the time, “ “This must not be a gesture.”
In 2018, President Trump was very aggressive against Russia by placing sanctions against Putin’s inner circle and top businesses along with a Russian bank. This was in response to Putin’s actions taken against Ukraine, the Russian cyber assaults and poisoning of an ex-spy. At the time some experts warned trying to squeeze oligarchs is unlikely to bring about a significant change in Putin's policies. These were lifted later in 2018 when Russia moved away from threats to Ukraine. In 2019, Trump sanctioned Nord Stream 2, the fourth pipeline providing oil and gas from Russia into Europe.
Three months into Biden’s presidency, in March, 2021, Russia began moving its military forces in and around Ukraine. In response President Biden indicated he would put in place sanctions in which to “deter” Russia from an invasion. President Putin of Russia wasn’t worried.
In May of 2021, Biden waived the Nord Stream 2 sanctions. While the pipeline has not been certified, it does not stop the flow of gas and oil from Russia into Europe. In fact Russia is the biggest exporter of wheat and ranks at the top for sale of crude oil and coal. China buys approximately 100 billion tons of coal each year from Russia.
It’s obvious Russia was not too worried about Biden’s threat of sanctions as on January 19, 2022, Biden commented a “minor incursion” would be acceptable.
In the meantime, Russia formed an alliance with China who has agreed to supply them with financial assistance in the event sanctions are imposed. In addition, Russia has set aside funds to get it through the implementation of any sanctions.
Yesterday, Russia decided they had the right to take the Dunbar portions of Ukraine, a sovereign country, based on the historical borders held by Russia over 70 years ago. The area Russia is interested in is the “bread basket” of Ukraine. It is the third highest importer world wide of wheat and corn. It also gives Russia better access to the Black Sea and its oil and gas deposits. In the night, Russia forces moved into Ukraine.
Last night, US Press Secretary Jen Psaki tweeted Biden would sign an Executive Order which would prohibit NEW investment, trade and finance movement by the US to, from or in the Dunbar region.
Today, Biden has returned the sanctions on the Russian banks and Putin’s inner circle of supporters. He has sanctioned trade by Russia in US and European markets. He indicated if Putin moved further into Ukraine additional sanctions could be put in place. He also said he was “mindful” of how all this will affect the inflation here in the USA.
Biden’s shutting down of the Keystone Pipeline, along with other orders to stop drilling for oil, moved us from being an energy independent nation. Without the placement of sanctions on the current flow of Russian oil and gas it will take some time for the placement of these sanctions to be felt.
Patti Walker,

Letters to the Editor
February 16, 2022

To the Editor:
Second Opinion: Lima Beans and Gulags
Martin, enjoy your voodoo algorithm-voting-machine-switch-capabilities fantasy. Your experts are theorizing mathematical and technological outcomes, in the mathematically-risky context of human behavior, that they cannot prove. The vast majority of those who had actual authority over the election, Democrat or Republican, do not share your beliefs.
You can conjure up all the excuses you want for why every court in the land found against Trump on the elections issue. Most cases were rejected because the stated “cause of action” did not meet the legal standard (the allegations in the pleadings, or facts in support, were legally insufficient) or did not meet legal or timely filing requirements. Rules that every lawyer knows. Did Trump amend his rejected pleadings? No, he did not, because that’s all he had.
Whatever happened to lima beans?
The “bubble” of Repo politics means that many voters listen only to that which reinforces their beliefs (Fox, Newsmax, etc.), the more aggressively, the better. I await the House Select Committee on January 6 Report, but revelations emerge daily about documents and testimony, thanks to House Committee subpoenas. Documents prepared or received by the president, or his staff, are public documents, our documents. The National Archives has formally notified Trump that it’s illegal for him to rip them up, flush them down the toilet (rather than utilize the 25 fireplaces in the WH?) or ship them off to Mar-a-Lago (some of them “Classified”). If you exclusively watch a cable network that only tells you what you want to hear, and will lie to do that, you will not know that there is a wealth of revelation already out there.
I generally do not do readers’ research for them, but just this once. I recommend reading the entire article, as many include sources at the end which are also very interesting. Just to identify a few:
Re: guns cache:
Re: guns and other weapons found or impounded:
Ukraine is a former USSR state, has been independent since December 26, 1991, is not an ally of the US or member of NATO (but would like to be), which makes direct military action uncertain. It is clearly against Russia’s interests to encourage expansion of NATO.
Putin's diplomatic style has recently become exceptionally adversarial and combative. He has adopted a rude and dismissive diplomatic persona, not unlike a recent former president who did enormous damage in almost every country in the world with his ungracious treatment of our allies and “love affairs” with despots whom he often praised: www.hillreporter.com/times-donald-trump-praised-dictators-and-controvers....
In an hour-long phone call last week, President Biden told Putin that the US and its allies are committed to diplomacy in the crisis, but if Putin invades the Ukraine would respond “decisively and impose swift and severe costs.” The economic wounds to Russian oligarchs would be significant if western banks were closed to them. On the other hand, Europe wants that pipeline for Russian natural gas. And the Ukrainians are a strong, determined, and even fierce people in defense of their country, as Putin knows. Here we go.
Let’s end on a humorous note: Last week, Marjorie Taylor Greene (supporter of QAnon, promoter of Jewish space lasers as the cause of wildfires in the West, endorser of killing prominent Democrats on social media, and Republican darling) said, "Not only do we have the D.C. Jail, which is the D.C. Gulag, but now we have Nancy Pelosi's Gazpacho [Gestapo] Police, spying on members of Congress, spying on the legislative work that we do…”
She’s right. The D.C. Goulash is bad enough, but the big threat is the Gazpacho police and their collaborators, the Vichyssoise! (borrowed from a guy on Twitter).
Kelly Scoles,


To the Editor:
We know that there are people who work to disrupt our way of life. We know that their goals are to destabilize and tear down our culture and society. We know that these groups of people are using “Rules for Radicals” by Saul Alinksy and the “Cloward and Piven Strategy” as the model for doing so.
In the Cloward and Piven Strategy, we are told that one way to bring down the American culture is to overload the system. Well, they are at it again; At the Fillmore City Council meeting on February 8th, Lynn Edmunds again stressed that a bus is needed from Fillmore to Santa Clarita and from Fillmore to Moorpark.
If this could be done at no cost, I would jump on the plan to provide this service to our community. However, at an estimated price tag of $200,000 per year (that’s every year), this plan would be unsustainable. It would cripple Fillmore, taking desperately needed funds away from the community. Before even entertaining the idea, we should make sure that all of our streets are fully and properly maintained.
The only reason I can think of for a council member to consistently pressure the city to spend this kind of money when so many years are spent just trying to figure out how to pay for basic services for our citizens is that they subscribe to the Cloward and Piven Strategy and to the Alinsky model for destabilizing a community.
Please look into the issue. Contact your council members and your city manager to get the facts and then write letters to the council members, the city manager and to the editor of the Gazette to urge the council to drop this attempt to spend money out of town when services are desperately needed here.
Tim Holmgren,
Fillmore, Ca.


To the Editor:
I apologize for my letter of February 10. I got caught up in the rhetoric in another letter to the Editor. I want my letters to remain focused on the Biden administration. Today I turn to his foreign policy agenda, or lack thereof.
First, we saw the disastrous surrender and withdrawal from Afghanistan. Today we have to deal with Russia and their possible invasion of Ukraine. And let’s not forget our dependency on China either.
The first indication Biden lacked foreign policy experience (regardless of what he says) is evident by the withdrawal from Afghanistan. Keep in mind that Biden is the Commander in Chief. Instead of instilling “the buck stops here” he’s more famous for “passing the buck”.
Trump, Biden, and the American people wanted us to withdraw from our “longest war”. In February 2020, Trump entered into the “Agreement for Bringing Peace to Afghanistan”. Keep in mind the agreement was a commitment and was non-binding. Even prior to the last plane leaving the ground everyone saw the breakdown in Afghanistan. At that point circumstances changed which were grounds for termination. Further, the agreement had a “conditions-based approach” which Biden replaced with “leave regardless of the circumstances”.
As the date of withdrawal loomed, in the quiet of the night on July 2, Biden supported the removal of the soldiers from the main military base, Bagram, leaving the only route out of the country the Kabul International Airport which lacked the security measures the military base provided.
Do you remember how Biden assured us on our TV’s a Taliban takeover was “not inevitable”. He also said he’d “not leave any American behind”. Yet August 15, Biden and top US officials were stunned by the pace the Taliban took over the country. The Taliban quickly set up checkpoints outside the airport, and on August 21, Americans were told to avoid the airport for fear of an attack.
And then there was the loss of 13 American service members along with the additional loss of life and maiming of countless others.
On August 30, 2021, Gen Frank McKenzie stated, "I'm here to announce the completion of our withdrawal from Afghanistan, and the end of the military mission to evacuate American citizens, third country nationals, and vulnerable Afghans," McKenzie went on to say, "There's a lot of heartbreak associated with this departure, We did not get everybody out that we wanted to get out."
Afghanistan fell almost immediately to the Taliban and the State Department refused to be a part of any further withdrawal efforts of American civilians and civil servants.
Biden committed to the “stop at nothing” approach to make ISIS pay for the death of the 13 service members. So a drone strike targeting a suspected car bomb perpetrator was launched which killed the driver, nine members of one family, including six children, all of which were not a threat or associated with ISIS. McKenzie said the strike was a “mistake”.
The Afghanistan policy failure of Biden has shown our foes that his weakness has invited the foreign aggressions we see today. From the Russian military agreement with China, the Russian agreement to provide oil to China, and China’s Belt and Road agreement with Argentina which allows for stronger ties with Latin America.
Patti Walker,

Letters to the Editor
February 9, 2022

To the Editor:
Second Opinion: The Committee.
Did you grow up on a fruit farm in Camarillo, Martin? Because you are a cherry-picker of epic skill. And once you read a “fact” that you support, no matter that subsequent information falsifies it, you won’t budge, evidence be damned. You know that it is near-impossible to prove a negative and show that an event (a stolen election) did not occur; the proofs would be endless. So, bring on again your “authorities” who say the voter tallies had to be false. Ignore that the certified election results, audits, government officials of both Parties, and every court in the land have determined otherwise.
The only reason I would like to become a really, really old person is that I would like to see how History treats the anti-democratic forces in our country. Will they finally bring down our experiment in democracy, after 250 years or so, or will the electorate finally see and understand what one of the political parties became and tried to do to America?
The attempt to wrestle democracy from the nation began long before a “blow-dried show dog” and TV carnival-barker bewitched half the nation with his braggadocio, crassness, understanding that people love a show and will gladly trade reality for entertainment, and that the alchemy of fear, victimization, and resentment can be a powerful motivating force.
The House Select Committee is investigating the activities of January 6, 2021. Martin has insisted that nothing beyond the actual Event should be investigated, that all other considerations are irrelevant. I don’t blame him for wanting blinders, because the revelations are beyond anything most of us had imagined. The coup that Trump and his minions planned, to prove The Big Lie that he was reelected, was nearly successfully executed.
The plan began in June, 2020, with Trump warning that, if he were not reelected, the election would necessarily be fraudulent. Trump appointed election cyber security expert Christopher Krebs who, from all reports, did an excellent job. COVID required the broader use of absentee ballots to avoid public exposure. But Trump had not fooled all of the people all of the time, and a late Demo and disaffected Repo push for Biden successfully defeated the incumbent. Trump was unbelieving that his elections czar and political adulation did not win the day. His inability to “lose” precipitated The Big Lie that he had won.
There’s not the space here to list all the newly-discovered pre-January 6 Trump-Republican plans to invalidate tallies, appoint fraudulent Trump electors to replace Biden’s legitimate electors, the muscling of local officials to have votes “found” (Raspenberger, GA), or the threats to VP Pence. Court cases, including those filed with SCOTUS, were dismissed. Crazy allegations emerged from Trump representatives Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell, for which he was disbarred and she was censured by the courts, for alleging matters they knew, or should have known, were lies.
You may remember several Repo congressionals denouncing the insurrection the day after the Event, (Kevin McCarthy, Mitch McConnell were two) blaming Trump for directing and encouraging people to go to the Capitol and prevent a Constitutionally-required process. Investigation was demanded. But the Committee eventually secured tapes of the Event, and other evidence showing likely Repo congressional mob encouragement or assistance, and possible presidential involvement in the attack on the Capitol. It was a bad look for the GOP.
So, in the interests of the Party and not the country, they tried to stonewall the House Committee. But two House Republicans, Liz Cheney (R-WY) and Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), defied McCarthy and joined the Committee. Last week, the Republican National Committee censured Cheney and Kinzinger for participating in the House Select Committee investigating the Capitol insurrection. Cheney responded defiantly: "I’m a constitutional conservative and I do not recognize those in my party who have abandoned the Constitution to embrace Donald Trump. History will be their judge."
I’d like to be here for that.
Kelly Scoles,


To the Editor:
Kelly, I believe you made an assumption when you stated “A cache of guns and ammunition was located across the river for use when needed.”. I was unable to confirm this statement and wonder if you got that information from CNN. You assume they were to be used by those who attended the rally, but actually, you do not know who owned or for what use the guns were intended. Keep in mind that the FBI told the Senate they did NOT recover any guns at the Capitol. I’ve always wondered how can individuals who were not carrying guns overthrow the government? Deaths did occur to many who were on the Capitol grounds. Except for Capitol Police Officer Byrd who shot Babbitt, suspects of the other victims who died have yet to be identified.
As for your comment concerning BLM and Antifa, your position leaves one to assume you are in support of death and destruction these groups caused, and continue to cause, since your words defend their actions as you say, “they are advocating for their civil rights”. They used paintball guns to hurl large ball bearings and golf balls, lasers which blinded officers, as well as guns. Using your definition, these groups are domestic terrorists as they used violence to overthrow the government by burning public buildings and killing police officers as well as citizens.
The mayoral leadership in those cities who saw BLM violence (Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Columbus, Dallas/Fort Worth, Des Moines, Denver, Detroit, DC, Houston, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Memphis, New York, Phoenix, Portland) incentivized the continuation of the violence and destruction by not denouncing them. Note those cities listed are all led by democrats. If this was truly to advocate for civil rights as you say why not call on the ACLU as you suggested?
More than 25 people were killed in the Portland riots of 2020. Of the 96 arrested 47 had their cases dropped, 10 plead guilty and two were held for trial, which have yet to occur - they are out on bail. The penalty most received was community service. Under the letter of the law, the treatment of these 96 should have been the same as those inside the Capitol, or vis-a-versa.
With all the issues that Biden has yet to confront, you only want to talk about J6. How about you let the J6 “commission” finish its work then post comments. Why not address the other issues most care about - the economy, the boarder crises, and foreign policy.
Patti Walker,

Letters to the Editor
February 2, 2022

To the Editor:
Second Opinion. Correcting Misquotes. February 2, 2022.
I regret writing a column in which I have to refute misquotes. Nevertheless.
I did not say “marauding criminals,” I said, “accused marauding criminals,” many of whom have already been sentenced. The arrested insurgents presumably are represented by counsel, and I will leave it to them to resolve their clients’ issues with the courts. Or call the ACLU.
Guns are not the only weapons that can cause severe bodily harm. Subsequent FBI evidence revealed that many weapons were found including bats, poles, fire extinguisher canisters, and bear spray at the Capitol. The police had already confiscated several hundred guns, and ammunition, in D.C. in the days preceding the riot. A cache of guns and ammunition was located across the river for use when needed. Deaths occurred and many were injured, some of them seriously. Members of Congress reported alarm and many hid or ran in fear for their lives. Both McCarthy and McConnell initially accused Trump of instigating the insurgency and called for hearings on the matter but later, of course, changed their minds.
An early FBI opinion was that there was “no evidence that far-right allies of Donald Trump conspired to overturn the presidential election.” Additional investigation indicates otherwise. Evidence now shows that a command center was established in the Willard Hotel in D.C. in the days leading up to January 6, where Steve Bannon and Rudy Giuliani and other Party operatives mapped out strategies to try and reinstate Trump for a second term despite his losing the 2020 election. Recent news has been filled with the fraudulent claims of Republican “electors” in WI and MI. There is the recorded phone call to Secretary-of- State Raffensberger (R-GA) wherein Trump repeatedly asked him to “find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have.” He refused and Trump has been on a vendetta against him ever since.
When you dismissed the January 6 rioters as not being domestic terrorists, you quoted only part of the definition. Not only do domestic terrorists deeply distrust the government, they endorse violent action to overthrow it and install their preferred "uniculturalism." You, yourself, have sanctioned “lock and load” on more than one occasion, Martin.
While violence and destruction are abhorrent, BLM and others are advocating for their constitutionally-protected civil rights, not attempting to overthrow the government to impose their religious and cultural preferences on the nation. The purpose of the violence is the point. Domestic terrorists believe that only they are entitled to assume and exercise power, all others are unworthy (one of Limbaugh's favorite memes). That means that they are essentially undemocratic.
There was one deflection that made me laugh. You are extremely sensitive to the label “racist,” when it wafts your way. I did not even whisper that there are no "non-white domestic terrorists” in this country. There are violent self-loathers everywhere. You conjured “the smell of racism” into the conversation. Sniff what you will.
But, since you raised the subject, let’s fantasize that the insurgents on January 6, attempting to obstruct the constitutional election process, depose the newly-elected president and install Trump in his place, were almost entirely weapons-wielding BLM folks or assorted violent people of color. Would you think of them as merely rambunctious Capitol visitors having an excessively good time? Smell anything yet?
There are so many interesting issues to discuss. So, let's at least quote each other correctly.
Kelly Scoles,


To the Editor:
Another lesson learned on the first year of Biden.
The USA has supplied more than a billion dollars in aid to Ukraine. Over 5,800 troops stationed here have been placed on high alert to be ready to leave on a moment notice to be placed in NATO nations in the event Russia invades Ukraine. Now I believe no nation should invade another. I also believe that any nation which wishes to join NATO be allowed as NATO nations support one another in times of need. Ukraine is not a member of NATO. Neither is Russia.
When questioned, Jonathan Finer, White House Deputy National Security Advisor on CNN or MSNBC last week said in response as to why we should support Ukraine from an invasion by Russia, stated, “It goes to a very fundamental principal of all nations which is that our borders should be inviolate, that our sovereignty should be respected.”. And VP Harris when asked, said, “The bottom line is we have been clear and consistent for quite sometime that we respect the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine.”
But Ukraine is not the purpose of this letter. I’m writing because in the twelve months that Biden has been president, over two million illegals have crossed the southern border into the USA, 185,000 in December 2021 alone. They pay coyotes a lot of money who use them for the transportation of drugs or other nefarious crimes against humanity.
They are not fully vetted. They do not have to have to have received the CV shot(s). They are placed on buses and planes and shipped all over the USA in secrecy in the middle of the night. They are dropped off and allowed to move about freely. Of the two million plus who have come here about 48,000 have reported back as required. The rest are in the wind. These are not family units. Many are single adult males who, pursuant to the order of the US Supreme Court were required to be returned to their country of origin.
A police officer was shot in Texas by an illegal. A known Saudi Arabian male who is on the US terrorist watch list was transported to New York. He was to be detained but instead he was set free.
I truly welcome all who wish to legally come here, but we are the only nation that has allowed people from all over to come through our open door. It’s evident that all who come are not seeking asylum. Our cities and our national security are placed at risk as a result.
The lesson I take from this situation is Biden will defend only foreign nations and it is only their borders he will fight to keep inviolate and sovereign.
Patti Walker,

Letters to the Editor
January 26, 2022

To the Editor:
Second Opinion. A Reader's Letter.
There are tons of issues out there but I think that last week’s LTTE from a reader deserves the courtesy of a reply. Ms. Walker is correct. I erred in conflating the state representations of MTG and Matt Gaetz. I apologize to the readership and appreciate the correction.
Do I care that accused marauding criminals are being held pending trial? No. That is a matter of judicial discretion, and the judges have the videos. Do I wonder why some accused anarchists are being held in solitary confinement? Give me a couple of cases and I will research them. My real concern is that the outside wallets, high-office facilitators, and the members of Congress who supported and enabled that horrific event be identified and held legally accountable for their actions.
Speaker Pelosi had, and has, no direct authority over Capitol security. Her responsibility is exactly that of Senate Leader McConnell. Strangely, in retrospect, neither responded to the Sergeant-at-Arms of their respective chambers for direction to the Capitol Police for National Guard assistance. Before it hit the fan, those in direct authority determined that to call in the National Guard would be "bad optics." There is plenty of blame to go around.
Kevin McCarthy’s “picks” for the Bipartisan House Select Committee on January 6, 2021, were almost exclusively Repo House Reps who were up to their molars in the effort to obstruct the Constitutional processes of government regarding the election. Several of them have been subpoenaed as witnesses by the Committee. Nancy had the power to reject the “goat” Republican nominees, and they knew she would. McCarthy refused to provide replacements, and the Repos gleefully expected that would kill the Committee for lack of "bipartisanship." His plan was thwarted when two courageous Republicans, neither of whom I agree with on policy, put aside Party robotics and joined the Committee at Pelosi's invitation and over McCarthy’s dumbfounded objection.
Earlier, McCarthy had needed to redeem himself after his post-riot assertions that Trump actually had incited the attack on the Capitol and demanded an investigation into the Event. For speaking the truth, he was summoned to Alternate-Truth Camp and public penance at Mar-A-Lago. He then calculated that his defiant plan to refuse naming Repo replacements to the Committee would earn him an extra-cozy spot on The Don's lap. Now, McCarthy has no one on the Committee whom he can control, the Committee is bipartisan, and the lap chance was petulantly rescinded. Never interrupt a dunderhead when he is bonking himself on the noggin. Leave him have his fun. So yes, I am OK with the Committee.
I was astounded by your question regarding the strong presence of "domestic terrorism" in the USA. That question has been settled since the Oklahoma City bombing in the late 1990’s. Generally, they are identified as groups of typically white, male Christians who are deeply distrustful of the federal government and are bitter over our growing multicultural society. Militia influence is well-documented and could be seen on January 6 as individuals in military-type uniforms linked hand-on-shoulder in a military maneuver. A quick Google will give you a place to start.
The buckshot questions in the last paragraphs can perhaps be addressed another time. Martin is a bear about word count. You have a lot of concerns, as we all should. You are impassioned, somewhat informed, and have a distinct point of view. I enjoy political "food fights," too, and hope that we will "cross pens" again. Thank you for writing.
Kelly Scoles,


To the Editor:
We watched the entire Biden press conference last Wednesday. It was disappointing to hear many of the questions be repeated from some out-of-touch reporters. Just as disappointing to see Biden read from prepared comments and pick-and-choose journalists, at least in the beginning. It’s not worth addressing the slip-up’s on it’s okay to have a small incursion into Ukraine and the legitimacy of USA elections.
Biden pointed out three most pressing issues he felt were upmost in the minds Americans. First, the supply chain which he say’s will be fixed by the infrastructure bill passed in 2021, second, child and elder care and drug costs that would have been fixed if the BBB had passed, and finally, the lack of competition in the business sector that he’s working on by way of another executive order. Really?
Most Americans are worried about inflation. The USA’s economy is based on energy. The price of energy (oil, gas, electricity) went up the day Biden shut down the Keystone Pipeline. On that day he declared war on American energy, the costs of which is seeing a seven year high in just 12 months. In turn, he agreed to allow Russia to open their pipeline to western Europe as well as the USA. Let’s put these two events in some context.
In March 2020, the USA was pumping a record 13 million barrels of oil a day, eclipsing Saudi Arabia and Russia. We were exporting oil to other countries, including Russia. In August 2020 we purchased from Russia 47 thousand barrels in August 2021 311 thousand; September 2020, 86 thousand, in 2021 208 thousand, and October 2020 145 thousand now up to 206 thousand in 2021, two times more than one year ago.
Today, our costs for oil and gas is $85 a barrel, and it’s expected to go to $100 by summer, just in time for your vacation. As a result of Biden’s approach to our energy based economy, he has asked OPEC and Russia to sell us more oil which has allowed Russia to threaten Ukraine.
And so many believed it was Trump that was in kahoots with Russia.
Patti Walker,

Letters to the Editor
January 19, 2022

To the Editor:
Second Opinion. Voters and January 6.
For voters who are not political wonks or hacks, depending upon your particular view, the events of January 6, 2021, are a regrettable, even tragic moment, but without historical significance. Our own Editor believes that it was a Free Speech event that maybe got a little off the rails. Just a bunch of patriots with a little too much party mood. No guns were found on-site (hundreds had been confiscated in the days prior), and the injuries to the capitol police and others, and subsequent deaths, were the result of political exuberance or Antifa or BLM or the FBI. Anybody other than the rioters. Many Republicans believe that it was largely a spontaneous event gone awry. History will, I think, prove otherwise.
In the meantime, the House Select Committee is issuing subpoenas for testimony and documents, some of which have been complied with (Mark Meadows), many of which are expected to be defied. The DOJ will decide, as in the case of Steve Bannon, to hold the refuse-niks in criminal contempt of Congress. The DOJ is moving slowly in this regard for some legal, and not political, reason. If a legal decision is rendered, it also has to be defended if necessary, on appeal, so haste is not a priority. Unfortunately, voters appear to be unwilling to blame Republicans for the insurrection because the legal system seems to have let the waters close over our heads.
Most of you have seen some of the videos of the attack. Perhaps, as Martin has said, there are hundreds more available. Why they haven’t been shown, I couldn’t say, but the presumption should not be that they show an innocent frolic in the Capitol. The country needs to know the truth before the midterm elections. This sordid Event was an attack on our democracy, or it wasn’t.
What’s most troubling to me is that Republicans who were extremely critical of both Trump and the rioters, who called for investigation of the Day and events leading up to it, are now absolving Trump, and in all ways reversing their legitimate calls for investigation. Reps. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), Gym Jordan (R-OH), Ron Johnson (R-WI) and Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) are just several. With few exceptions, the “Hidey-Hole” maneuver prevails. They no longer want this matter to be investigated for a very good reason, and now they have morphed to absolve Trump.
Because I am a political wonk, or hack, I have kept aware of the facts emerging from public documents. It is looking very much like a planned assault designed to further the intentions of Republican Senators to prevent the Constitutional performance of election duties by the Vice-President. The threats to Pelosi and Pence were real. The fear of the congressional members was real. The injuries, real.
It is only because most people are unaware of the emerging facts, or indifferent to them, that it seems like background noise. As a voter, I wish this process would move more quickly. We have a right to know if January 6, 2021, was an attempt to obstruct democracy or was a frat party that instigated a riot.
Kelly Scoles,


To the Editor:
Thank you Martin for your January 12 Editorial. I too wish Kelly would put forth items for discussion instead of blah, blah, blah. Kelly, you continue to spew gobbledygook and call people names failing to set forth facts only conjecture. You are proof that facts are insulting to liberals. Oh, and Kelly, Matt Gaetz is from Florida, not Georgia.
With respect to J6, you’ve seen all the videos? You have no questions as to why Pelosi refused to bring in the National Guard? Did you see the Capital Police open the barricade to let in the rioters? Or was that “doctored”. Do you care that the men are being held in solitary confinement? You must be okay with the setup of the J6 committee and that information is being withheld due to the failure of Pelosi to allow the picks the republicans put forth to be on the committee.
But let’s not stop there.
Are you okay with the DOJ’s instituting a “Domestic Terror Unit”? You believe there are strong domestic terrorism unit(s) active within the USA? Show me the proof, because neither Merrick or even our own Rep Brownley can provide. Or how about Biden’s message to the media and social network outlets (Twitter, Facebook, etc.) to root out all “misinformation”? Your ramblings magnify your support of the Sec of Education Cardona’s communication to the NSBA asking them to send a letter to the DOJ to target parents who speak out at various school board meetings as the board members feel threatened. Or Fauci failing to answer questions posed but pulls the “you sent people to threaten my life” rant. Those rants are similar to those who yell “raciest” when they haven’t a fact or leg to stand on.
As our senate fights to keep democracy alive, keep in mind according to Forbes 80% of Americans support voter ID; Yahoo, 62 %, Rasmussen $75%, or Gallup, four out of five support voter ID, yet our own representative doesn’t. Sadly, she didn’t even ask those who communicate with her our position on HR-4. As is usual, she reaches out after she’s cast her vote. That’s not representation, that’s totalitarianism.
Patti Walker,

Letters to the Editor
January 12, 2022

To the Editor:
Second Opinion. In Plain Sight.
In the shadow of the anniversary of the Capitol Insurrection of January 6, 2021, President Biden spoke and, without actually naming him, laid the blame squarely on past-President Trump for the attack and the completely dis-proven Big Election Lie. Still, there were some fairly hilarious moments on cable news last week.
The highly-emotional, illogical but imaginative heir-presumptive to Rushbo, and Fox News darling, Tucky, striking his now-patented confused-schoolboy look, squealed that Sen. Ted “Daddy” Cruz (R-TX) had referred to the events of January 6 as a “terrorist attack” (and not for the first time). Outrageous! barked the poster boy for Concocted Grievance. Daddy begged to be on the next night to do public penance and correct his “awkward statement,” and dutifully slobbered and groveled (the camera only showed him waist up, but surely he was on his knees), finally denouncing his now- “stupid statement” at the feet of his whip-cracking, spit-hacking dungeon master. Staff hint: next time Daddy starts feeling chilly and wants to jet mid-storm to Cancun, run this segment for him and he’ll be a good boy.
Trumpian Republicans and their media esteem the Radical Right rioters as patriots, while condemning Leftist demonstrators, such as BLM, as threats to democracy and the culture. This has been Tucky’s schtick for the last year: “you didn’t see what you think you saw in D.C. It was a harmless demonstration that got a little out of hand.” A blatant lie (as further revealed in emails from Hannatee and Angerham begging Trump to call off the disastrous riot; they knew who had instigated it). But many Repos, who cannot bear to be faulted, are eager to consume it, just as they continue to push the 2020-21 Election Big Lie. Cruz can accuse the Left of inciting “terror,” but Tucky and his minions will not tolerate that label applied to the Radical Right. I think Daddy understands now.
The Matt and Margie Show (Reps. Matt Gaetz and Marjorie Taylor Green, both R-GA) was not quite as amusing but had its moments. Warbling like a tone-deaf duet of Edith Piaf wanna-bes, they proclaimed, “Non, je ne regrette rien,” they “regret nothing!” about their support of the assault on democracy, thuggery, fear, and violence of January 6, 2021. Without a conscience, it’s easy to regret nothing.
Sen. Lindsey “Li’l Lord” Graham (R-SC) responded to the President’s speech by sniveling about the “politicization of January 6” and tried to refocus the discussion to the appalling lack of satin…er, security…at the Capitol. “Regardless of the reason for the assault on the Capitol, to lose control in such a fashion twenty years after 9/11 is stunning.” Regardless of the reason for the assault?
The reason for the attack is the point, as he well knows, as do the congressional Repos. They are willing to minimize, ignore, or lie about the damning evidence of video and expanding testimony as “fake” because it reveals their true intent. It’s as if the security camera shows that you were battered and beaten by the assailant, whose defense is that you didn’t fight back hard enough to prevent your injuries. Or didn’t run fast enough to escape. Or the video was doctored to make it look worse than it was. They know that some of their folks are desperate to buy that.
OK, most of these and other related incidents aren’t so amusing (except the Tucky-Daddy exchange. Try YouTube). We now know that nearly all the Republican Senators and most of the Repo House members, many of whom were outraged and terrified on January 6, 2021, are now back in their hidey-holes, quiet as dead mice. Except for those who live for the spotlight. Looking for any way out of the Truth.
Kelly Scoles,

Letters to the Editor
January 5, 2022

To the Editor:
Second Opinion. Rogue's Gallery.
There is no question that 2022 is going to be challenging (in a lengthening line of consequential years). The House Committee on January 6, 2021 will present a report on its findings, the mid-terms will occur, Biden will continue pushing some version of his Build Back Better plan to drag this country into the second millennia A.D. in infrastructure and other benefits, and we will all contend with Covid and its mutations, as well as the rapidly changing world around us. Not for the faint of heart, to be sure, but every generation since we walked off the plains of Africa has had its own particular contests.
There are people who are fearful of things unexpected (as in "life"), who lament the human condition because it isn’t up to the standards of the heavenly afterlife as they imagine it, or those who just see through a glass and darkly. There are also people who use fear to falsely motivate others to political or social insensibility, and those willing to say anything about anyone true or false, preposterous or not.
One example of this phenomenon is Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) (MTG). Criticizing a conservative writer’s article stating that Trumpism was destroying the Republican Party, she said that Traditional Republicans caused "alcoholism, drug abuse, depression, failed marriages and caused traditional families to fall apart and small towns to crumble" (truth alert: hooey). These are the same people who “are so stuck up because they are so highly educated and because they think they are so much better than everyone." She continued that she was “happy to be the [new] face of the American people.” Lordy, no. Please.
Another example is that whiny, self-righteous purveyor of miserliness, Sen. Rand "Tribble" Paul (R-KY) who has consistently voted against congressional support for "handouts" to the victims of natural disasters: Puerto Rico, TX, FL, NJ after Hurricane Sandy. He blasted President Biden’s Build Back Better (BBB) plan as an unworthy “give-a-way.” But, after the devastating tornado three weeks ago in KY, he tearfully held out his quivering, vote-soliciting little hand to President Biden for "immediate and substantial" federal assistance for his state.
The Demos have theirs: Joe Manchin (DINO-WV) who voted against the “Billionaire’s Tax” also refused to vote for BBB when his state would stand to benefit more than almost any other. He explained his vote by predicting that his own constituents would likely only misuse the funds, and so did not need them. This is lookin’ out for the folks, No-Go Joe? That generally Red state will re-elect him, no doubt. I’ll skip Kristen Sinema (DINO-AZ) as ordinary words are inadequate.
Sen. Ted “Daddy” Cruz (R-TX) saw a report that WA had imposed severe additional limitations due to Covid, and publicly castigated Washington State for its continuing illegal, over-the-top string of Covid civil rights abuses. Except the article was about Western Australia (WA). That Harvard education of which MTG is so resentful and dismissive? No worries, dear. Even Daddy's 13-year-old daughter thinks he's off his political rocker.
Deadly viruses, water shortages, asteroids, climate concerns, world economic and political changes. These are not minor challenges. To meet them, why do we politically excavate to the likes of these grimy self-serving yokels and their like-minded cohorts?
Kelly Scoles,

Letters to the Editor
December 29, 2021

To the Editor:
Second Opinion. Happy New Year.
“Oh, wow,” to quote the late great Joan Didion. I thought that in this season of peace and joy, the last thing our readers would want to do is hang tinsel and ribbon on doom, gloom, and political complaints and predictions. Apparently, Martin disagreed.
His lament on Christmas Eve centered on the Afghanistan withdrawal and the wickedness, the “evil, ” of President Biden. No matter that his administration is trying to better the lot of ordinary non-billionaire Americans, catch up on neglected infrastructure projects while kick-starting an economy ravaged by the losses of Covid-19 and cash incentives to keep the country afloat. No matter that the plan to withdraw from Afghanistan was created by Trump without consulting the Afghanis, and everyone, there and here, knew it was coming. Trump said June 2021 and Biden extended it to September 11, 2021. The Taliban chose the earlier date to advance their cause in June rather than the later date, and it is true that we were not fully prepared. Clearly, we should not have relied on Taliban assurances (as Trump did). But who got us into this terrible war anyway? “Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld” should ring a bell. The Neocon love of war and Trumpian antics on the world stage have done us no good.
Martin insists that The Big Lie of the 2020 election is true, no matter that every court, including SCOTUS, disagrees, every audit has confirmed the vote, evidence is mounting of potentially criminal, anti-democratic Trumpian plans to subvert the election and stage an insurrection at the Capitol with the help of Trumpian congressionals. Martin's commitment to “evidence” of tampering is now part of his DNA and I suspect that he would collapse if he finally accepted the truth.
Getting old and looking back to our own youthful experiences and beliefs as being the “ideal,” is fairly common. I am certain it has happened to every generation as the world makes ready to do without us. The human condition can seem overwhelming at times. The “old rules” are discarded, acknowledged “truths’ are challenged as we make new discoveries, there are more people and different ideas, technology advances in formerly unthinkable ways, sometimes challenging humanity as we have understood it for millennia. Every generation creates its own ideals and we cannot return to the past. Our religious beliefs and moral principles are important and can be a great solace to the faithful, especially in time of stress and uncertainty. We are obliged to extend the same freedom to others.
Thrashing about with untruths, venom, and despair is not the best that humanity can offer. It does not burnish our ideals or encourage peace and understanding. To predict "this will not be a Happy New Year" is a sad place to land, a miserable thing to share with others in this season of renewal, and sucks Hope from experiences yet to come. I was very sorry to read it. If someone anticipates the bleak, dismal, and joyless, all things will be judged and experienced through that prism. I am not going to bet, at this point, against a Happy New Year - though challenging - for you all.
Kelly Scoles,

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,

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,

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,

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,


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,

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,

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,