Letters to the Editor

Letters to the editor for Aug. 16

Do we really want the media influencing foreign policy?

The recent leak of a classified Defense Intelligence Agency report to The Washington Post should cause all Americans to shudder. The Post’s catch phrase is “the story must be told,” but they need to discriminate. Do we really want a mainstream media outlet irresponsibly influencing our foreign policy?

Within minutes of The Post’s release, pieces and parts of their story had been echoed across all major mainstream media outlets, identifying The Post’s reporting as their source. From a single spark a media firestorm ensued; just another stick to stir the global pot.

News flash! Post reporters aren’t cleared to handle classified material nor are they included in the U.S. inner intelligence circle. They can’t or won’t differentiate between “confidential” and “CONFIDENTIAL.” They speak as self-appointed North Korea experts and spice their narrative with implied “informed” comments.

Fire ... ready ... aim! Push that breaking “news”; make the biggest splash in the media pool.

The document they possess is classified and doesn’t belong to them is lost.

Imagine if some guy across town found your stolen bicycle in his backyard and then refused to give it back or tell you who had taken it. These are essentially the rules of engagement that the press enjoys.

DIA Director Lt. Gen. Vincent Stewart describes his agency as “a 3-letter agency that no one talks about” and “a large organization made up of quiet professionals.” Lt. Gen. Stewart and his charges are now getting exposure they don’t relish over this leak.

Bill Malec, O’Fallon

The United States doesn’t own the planet

Does anyone, someone more powerful than me, know what the truth is about our president? His father warned him to stay out of Manhattan because he is from Queens, the site used for Archie Bunker, because real New Yorkers don’t think like him.

He has only been in office for a few months and the White House has a revolving door with worse turnover than Cracker Barrel. Mostly “used to be’s” who don’t know the answer either.

He appears to be a high-functioning sociopath just like Kim Il Un or whatever the name is in North Korea. My grandson turned four in July, and I won’t be here to protect him from further useless (except to Federal Contractors) wars.

Do we have to go through the downfall that claimed Greece, Rome, Egypt, Spain, France and Britain? They were all superpowers of their time.

We don’t own the planet and we can’t kill those who disagree with us. Period. Every war contains within it the potential for global destruction. Stop this now. Call or write your senator; they are our only hope.

Joseph Reichert, Belleville

Golf must count as work for Trump administration

The naiveté and complete lack of basic understanding as expressed by Lori Felts just boggles my mind. Her letter of Aug. 11 stated that Donald Trump was not “golfing” all the weekends where a complete gallery of photos of him “golfing” was prominently displayed on all the MSM. She innocently accepted the White House statement that all those “golfing” weekends were actually “working” weekends when in fact pictures taken of the golf cart “in action” did not display any “work” being accomplished, between shots.

Felts blithely believed whatever this White House put out as “a working weekend” without making a rudimentary or cursory check, as any responsible author should have and would have done. A simple review of the facts finds that Trump has played golf 43 times since becoming POTUS. There goes Felts’ claim as to “Trump being the hardest working president ever.”

A final contribution by Felts to our misunderstanding of what words normally mean is the last sentence of her missive in which she informs us Trump is doing “work even if it is not the kind of work you and many others prefer he did.” Huh? I must suppose from that convoluted thought this must mean “golf” counts as “work”?

Lee Pitzer, O’Fallon

Will Trump supporters remain loyal?

Republicans are not deplorable, but a few have deplorable biases that Donald Trump has pandered to. They associate blacks with crime, welfare and rioting. They link all Muslims to Sharia Law and terrorism. Mexican immigrants are job stealers, criminals and are on welfare. In addition to fostering fear and hate of “others,” Trump has managed to alienate leaders in Mexico, Canada, Australia, Britain, France and Germany while embracing Vladimir Putin and the leader of the corrupt Philippines. He has isolated the U.S. by pulling out of the Paris Climate Accord and for criticizing NATO. He is totally ignorant of how our government works, especially the separation of powers. Huge vacancies abound in key government posts. He mocks the free press and refers to it as “fake news.” His Twitter comments are embarrassing even to his own party, but is the butt of jokes around the world. His associates in the campaign are under investigation for collusion with Russia, and he is under investigation for obstruction of justice. As the “fake” media pundits say with each new revelation, lie or tweet, “You can’t make this stuff up.” But, Fox still has his back, as does his loyal base. Can they remain loyal when 20 million plus are thrown off health care? When tax reform enriches the rich and doesn’t help the middle class? When billions are spent on a wall that proves to be no deterrent? When no progress is made on infrastructure while roads and bridges erode? When war escalates in the Middle East?

Judy Neel, Belleville

Are we willing to hurt our own schools?

Everyone wishes for simple solutions to challenges. We look for a villain to blame. “If only they’d change,” we say. Few challenges are that simple.

BND’s editorial on Illinois school funding is an example of taking a complex challenge and making it a simple blame game. Yes, schools need to know if they have money to open. However, it’s not helpful to reduce the discussion to a buzzword like “Chicago bailout.” Undoubtedly, it’ll get people agitated about being victims of Chicago and sell more newspapers. It may even secure re-election if you’re Rep. Katie Stuart, who has jumped into the “bailout” blame game. Unfortunately, it doesn’t accurately represent the complexities or create a constructive conversation where everyone wins.

Complex problems need honest dialogue. BND’s claim that Speaker Madigan inserted a bailout for the Chicago Schools pension system on May 31 is misleading, if not inaccurate. United Congregations of Metro-East has been working for four years on education funding reform. It’s always been in legislation for the state to pick up Chicago’s pension fund (just like every other district) while dropping their block grant. It’s difficult to call picking up Chicago’s pension fund a bailout when their pension fund is funded at 54 percent of need while the state’s fund is funded at only 30 percent.

Under Senate Bill 1, no Illinois school loses. Many hurting downstate schools will gain significantly and Chicago gains. Are we so intent on making sure Chicago doesn’t gain, that we’re willing to hurt our own schools? I hope not.

Cheryl Sommer, O’Fallon