Thank you, Barbara Shelly (3-1, Commentary, “Losing Tom Schweich: A setback for reform”).
We now know the context Missouri Auditor Tom Schweich was dealing with that led up to his suicide.
There was an organized, vicious personal campaign of destruction aimed at him, paid for and directed by Missouri’s political leader, Rex Sinquefield, and involving Kansas City’s Jeff Roe. That’s more information than we got from The Star’s political reporters, Steve Kraske and Dave Helling.
Kraske’s verdict was that Mr. Schweich was “high-strung.” In other words he was crazy, end of story.
Thomas J. Hogan
KC health care
The allegations in the Feb. 23 editorial, “Stop unhealthy cuts to indigent care providers,” that failing to privatize ambulance billing led to proposing cuts in city funding for our health safety-net providers, are way off base.
The ordinance to outsource ambulance-billing jobs to a Florida company that was the subject of a massive patient-identity theft was repealed 12-0 by the City Council after a successful referendum petition drive I volunteered on collected more than 10,500 signatures.
In fact, even though that company’s salesmen and politically well-connected lobbyists promised millions in increased collections, the proposed city contract would have allowed it to collect significantly less than our often-maligned city employees collected last fiscal year, with no financial penalties whatsoever.
Publicly reported January collections set a record high for the last two fiscal years, despite continuing to use temporary employees in several key positions.
Collections this fiscal year are projected to exceed last year’s. The real reason for the proposed cuts in funding for our health safety-net providers is the $1,975,000 settlement the city paid this fiscal year to settle a lawsuit for violating the Fair Labor Standards Act by classifying ambulance paramedics and emergency medical technicians as firefighters to avoid paying them appropriate overtime.
An account (3-3), “‘I couldn’t believe what I was seeing’,” of the Jewish Community Center and Village Shalom retirement community shootings retold during a preliminary hearing for the 74-year-old F. Glenn Miller Jr., tells us he aimed a gun at a witness and asked whether she was Jewish, which she wasn’t, so he lowered the gun.
The same day’s editorial, “Bullying within GOP politics must stop,” tells us Missouri Republican Chairman John Hancock distressed the late state Auditor Tom Schweich on the topic of whether the latter was Jewish, which he wasn’t.
Is it just my perception, or is a common thread running through there somewhere?
Protect free speech
The First Amendment guarantees freedom of speech, and there is nothing in the amendment that speech and expression of views must be consistent with either an institution’s or national patriotic sentiments (3-1, A4, “Sermon from chaplain stirs ire”). It would be interesting to put the chaplain’s statement that “America has a penchant for war” before the students and faculty as a true or false question to find out the position of the college population, even if the institution is not necessarily a liberal institution.
Let us learn from the supporters of the Second Amendment, or the right to bear arms, about their passion, their enthusiasm for guns and protection of that amendment. Let us become passionate for expressing views, particularly when they are consistent with the reality of events.
Let those who truly question the Wild West mentality in the 21st century emphasize the need for greater understanding of our human community.
In his speech Monday to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu invoked the history of Jewish isolation and persecution to justify his outrageous effort to undermine the foreign policy of a sitting U.S. president.
Nobody with Jewish ancestry — and I have it — ever wants to see Jews persecuted.
But Netanyahu is not the leader of a persecuted nation, and he certainly doesn’t speak for all Jews or Israelis. He speaks as a powerful, arrogant leader of a nation with one of the largest nuclear arsenals on earth trying to prevent another nation from challenging its complete domination of that terrifying kind of weapon in that region of the world.
In doing so, he uttered the absurd falsehood that Iran does now or will in the future pose a serious existential threat to Israel.
Iran knows very well that use of nuclear weapons would bring its own extinction.
Netanyahu is a clever demagogue, but he is no friend of America. It is outrageous that the Republican-dominated U.S. House issued him an invitation to smear his nonsense in the face of a U.S. president.
David A. Lee
No tax cut certainty
If I hold a brick at arm’s length and let go, all of us know it will promptly fall to the ground. Some of us similarly believe that if we cut taxes on the rich, those cuts will promptly be used to create new jobs, etc.
In other words, the new bounty will “trickle down” and benefit the voters who created that new bounty to begin with.
But there is a problem.
We know the brick will promptly fall to the ground because of the law of gravity. But there is no law of gravity or economics that will guarantee that the new tax-free income will promptly be used to create new jobs, etc.
It may be used to create a new trust for the rich taxpayers’ grandchildren. It isn’t necessarily going to trickle down to anyone.
Gov. Sam Brownback has assured us his scheme of tax cuts will be a “shot of adrenaline” and revive our economy. But there is no accompanying law of gravity or economics to make sure that shot of adrenaline works.
And it hasn’t worked. So now what, governor?
Sermon for peace
I read with disbelief the article (3-1), “Sermon from chaplain stirs ire,” on the action taken by the Nazarene Church on Randy Beckum’s Feb. 10 sermon. So I Googled Randy Beckum and easily found his sermon for that particular day.
I watched the entire 25 minutes and found him to be right on with everything he said. I could not find any reason MidAmerica Nazarene University would relieve him of his duties in a second position as vice president for community formation because of this sermon of peace and love instead of violence and war.
University President David J. Spittal stated that Mr. Beckum, a one-time administrator of the year at the university, had indicated a desire to be relieved of the vice presidency. Sure he did.
What is happening to our society when our religious and educational institutions do this to a man who preaches love over hate, peace over war?
Shouldn’t such preaching be what makes educated, peace-loving nations different from other countries that don’t have this open dialogue for fear of retaliation?
So where do we stand now?
Kind of scary isn’t it?
Margaret Madeline Chase Smith was an American politician. As a member of the Republican Party, she served as a U.S representative and a U.S. senator from Maine.
She was the first woman to serve in both houses and the first woman to represent Maine in either. She is perhaps best remembered for her 1950 speech, “Declaration of Conscience,” in which she criticized the tactics of McCarthyism.
“I speak as a Republican,” she said on that memorable day in the Senate. “I speak as a woman. I speak as a United States senator. I speak as an American. I don’t want to see the Republican Party ride to victory on the four horsemen of calumny — fear, ignorance, bigotry and smear.”
I haven’t found a Republican who could stand up to Margaret’s scrutiny. Name one if you can.