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,

Letters to the Editor
November 10, 2021

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

Letters to the Editor
November 3, 2021

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

Letters to the Editor
October 27, 2021

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


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

Letters to the Editor
October 20, 2021

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


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


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


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