Letters to the Editor

Readers share thoughts on history, crop insurance and Republicans

History’s cautions

History buffs prefer fact and context before awarding grades on presidential actions in times of crises.

William McKinley was president at the sinking of the Maine. The ensuing Spanish-American War was arguably the most pointless war in U.S. history, with no clear evidence existing that the Spanish military was involved in the explosion that sank the Maine.

Theodore Roosevelt was assistant secretary of the Navy under McKinley. He resigned his post to command the Rough Riders in Cuba, demonstrating his courage. Roosevelt did what was obvious to America, but the historical debate continues as to what he knew and when he knew it.

President George W. Bush would have attacked Saudi Arabia if he were going after the 9/11 bombers’ domicile. To date, there is no clear evidence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

President Barack Obama arguably made the foolish mistake of telling the truth. He, the U.S. military and Congress had/have no clear strategy for addressing a complex situation in which polls show American citizens’ strong opposition to sending troops into combat.

The great lesson of history is to use extreme caution before going to war.

Rick Hughey

Overland Park

Crop insurance

For farmers, a lifetime’s work and every penny they have can be wiped out by a single hail storm, a drought or a market crash that erases any chance of profit regardless of how well crops do. That is why the vast majority of Kansas farmers purchase crop insurance every year and why it must remain available, affordable and viable.

With the cost of farming so high, most farmers must show proof of crop insurance to secure production loans from banks. This allows banks to make production loans to folks who might otherwise be judged too risky.

One of those groups is young farmers. They are the key to the future of American agriculture. For them, if they haven’t purchased crop insurance, one bad year and they are done.

Some think crop insurance is a freebie. It’s not. Farmers have skin in the game when they pay their premiums, which is not pocket change.

In fact, the farmers I know spend $35,000 to $40,000 every year to purchase their policies. And in many years, they don’t collect a dime.

Crop insurance helps ensure a legacy of abundance in America.

Steve Baccus

Past president

Kansas Farm Bureau

Minneapolis, Kan.

Republicans’ nature

The old stories say the scorpion stings the frog on the head and the snake bites the woman because it is “in their nature.” Republicans serve the wealthy at the expense of the rest of society for the same reason.

Voters should not be surprised by the craven behavior of Rep. Kevin Yoder and Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback in serving Wall Street and the Koch brothers at the expense of the rest of us. Maybe if Kansas City area residents’ recently reported Google searches were not so vacuous, they would be more aware of political and economic realities and better able to discern who is actually stealing their lunch money.

Is “Survivor” still on TV? If so, people should turn it off and pick up a book.

Jeff Gerner


GOP wall phobia?

Republicans clearly have issues with walls.

President Ronald Reagan famously said, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.” Today’s Republicans can’t build them high enough.

Is this wall phobia?

John Chapman


Illegal immigration

Some people keep complaining about the flood of illegal immigrants to the United States, saying we should keep them all out. Just how are we going to do that?

We have nearly doubled the size of the Border Patrol, making it one of the nation’s largest law-enforcement agencies. We have built hundreds of miles of walls and other obstacles along the border and spent a fortune on electronic surveillance.

Yet illegal immigrants still come.

There really is no way to keep people out, short of building a 2,000-mile, 20-foot wall with guard stations every quarter mile or so and staffing of more than a million agents. The cost of such a monstrosity would be prohibitive, and it would ruin the Rio Grande ecosystem.

Why do we want to keep people out anyway? Some say it is because they take jobs from Americans.

This is baloney. Illegal immigrants from Mexico do jobs and for pay that nearly all Americans reject. They just want to make decent money so they can feed their families.

Why not reinstate a guest-worker program, as suggested by former President George W. Bush? Then the workers wouldn’t have to stay here permanently.

Jim Meyer


Cooperation missing

In yet another act of defiance to the American people, the president is going ahead with an executive order for immigration.

Even though as recently as last year the president stated he didn’t have the authority to issue this kind of executive order, even though the majority of American people think this is an abuse of executive power, even though it enrages the new Congress, President Barack Obama has proceeded.

Instead of building bridges to improve relationships with Congress, President Obama seems intent on thumbing his nose at Congress and the American people. This has been his attitude since he became president.

The only weak reason the president puts forward is that he has waited too long for Congress to act. What difference could a few more months make?

If he really wanted to create an environment that fostered bipartisanship, President Obama would check his ego and give cooperation a chance.

William Gray

Overland Park

Back net neutrality

Because of the most recent elections, big businesses think they can push their agenda through Congress with little or no opposition.

The people of this nation need to put politics aside and understand why it is important that big business and big money not rule the Internet.

Net neutrality gives start-up companies and small businesses equal access to and equal opportunity from the Internet. Big businesses want to limit that access and opportunity.

Ironically, many of the companies trying to crush net neutrality might not even exist had it not been for net neutrality.

Those who support an open Internet cannot afford to sit on the sidelines. I urge people to learn more about net neutrality and stand up for it.

Steve Grant

Kansas City

Guiltless on Iraq

I recently heard former President George W. Bush on the radio promoting a new book. When asked about the wisdom of invading Iraq, he said it was a good thing from the standpoint of the safety of America.

When I look at the things going on over there, it certainly is not good for the people living in Iraq. When Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein was alive, there were no car bombs exploding.

I’ve seen a lot of deaths that the news media have reported in Iraq. What a tragedy.

Republicans seem to be unmoved by what they have done.

Clarence Edmondson Jr.

Kansas City

Special Christmas

Dec. 15 was a big day for about 1,000 Kansas City special needs children and adults who attended the 25th annual Friends of Special People Christmas party.

This event has become a very special day for very special people.

It couldn’t happen without Frances Brocato carrying on the tradition begun in 1990 with her husband, Joe, who sadly died two years ago, and by the many individual volunteers, including Santas, face painters, clowns, jugglers and musicians, as well as local companies that pitch in.

Thanks go to the Downtown Marriott’s Tom Gordon and his staff for hosting the event and to the Marines of Combat Logistics Regiment 4, stationed at Richards-Gebaur airport. They presented the colors.

Perhaps those who deserve the most appreciation and thanks are the caregivers of the special needs attendees. They are truly dedicated professionals who deserve our undying thanks for what they do.

Tom Karczewski

Kansas City