Readers comments 3-15-19
On the same page
A synergy of Claremont resources was on display last week when the Friends of the Claremont Library and the Center for Asian Pacific American Students sponsored a conversation between Viet Thanh Nguyen, author of the library’s On the Same Page community read The Refugees, and Mai Elliott, Claremont historian and Ken Burns consultant.
Pitzer College’s Benson Auditorium facilitated the enlightening dialogue, and students and community members participated.
Stay tuned for the final On the Same Page event at 2 p.m. on Saturday, March 16 in the Claremont Public Library’s meeting room at 208 N. Harvard Ave., when Claremont councilmember Jed Leano brings the issue home with a discussion of refugee relocation.
Find below an open letter to Douglas Lyon in response to his letter published in the March 8 COURIER.
My Dear Mr. Lyon:
Without going into our political affiliations, let me make an objective observation regarding the lies by our current president compared to any lies or untruths told by previous presidents.
If the statement(s) by Barack Obama regarding the Affordable Care Act and its provisions was indeed a lie, I will give you that, but you must match my offer with “I will build a wall and it will be paid for by Mexico,”?by Donald Trump. Okay, next? By the way, Mr. Lyon, you have another roughly 8,000 to go (*according to those who are keeping track).
*Source: The “exhausting” work of fact-checkers who track Mr. Trump’s barrage of lies (theguardian.com, January 21, 2019).
I have no trouble understanding why Donald Trump was elected. No one took him seriously and we ignored the Russian interference until it was too late. More important, for a couple generations, economists, with very few exceptions, have been telling us that increased global trade would benefit all of us.
They failed to tell us that the American standard of living would decline and income inequality would increase. Our unemployment numbers will remain strong unless our southern border becomes less restrictive. Our negative balance of trade will grow worse even though one of my economist friends used to say that it is not a problem.
Very likely a Democrat will be elected president in 2020, but in the unlikely event that Mr. Trump is impeached, we can expect his base to continue to support people like him but better prepared and slightly less bad.
I am glad we have something to worry about that is more immediate than climate change.
Please accept my thanks and deep appreciation for the two columns, My Side of the Line on Friday, March 1 and Friday, March 8.
As a Rotarian for more than 40 years, the four-way test remains unique and so meaningful for everyone. President Trump ought to question himself and how history will judge him, and I hope his Rotarian supporters could make a special effort to affect a marked change starting now.
Is it the truth?
Is it fair to all concerned?
Will it build better friendships?
Will it be beneficial to all concerned?
Hey, look over there
There’s a visual puzzle I’ve seen in which you look at a drawing and try to express what you see. Turns out, if you look one way, you see an old haggard woman; another perspective, you see a beautiful young woman. All the same drawing!
In an odd way, this sums up our politics today: We see what we wish to see; we skim over and rationalize the faults of our team favorites while looking with microscopic intensity at our adversaries.
That said, I enjoyed Peter Weinberger’s editorial (“Time for a reboot to get the president out of office,” March 1, as well as his “Proof of President Trump’s ‘real’ character is easy to find,” March 8).
I also got to thinking, after reading Douglas Lyon’s rebuttal (“Truth and ethics,” Readers’ Comments, March 8), about the overall nature of our discourse these days. What I’ve noticed in today’s partisan political debate is the idea that pointing out, say, Mr. Trump’s lies and ethical lapses will usually result in other people looking back at, say, Obama’s or Lyndon Johnson’s or maybe even Harry Truman’s faults. (And, “what about Hillary and Benghazi?,”?they remind us.) This technique serves to pull focus from the subject at hand; the old “but what about so-and-so?” ruse.
Can we analyze one politician (as Mr. Weinberger did) without people dredging up previous politicians, usually of the opposing party? Are we so cynical that we accept lying and corruption as business as usual because we now have been assured that all presidents lie and do shady things?
Mr. Weinberger made reference to the availability of reliable fact-checking sites and, believe me, we need these fact-checkers now more than ever.
Trump sources v. news
To his credit, Peter Weinberger takes the time, in his March 8 column, to expand considerably on his original thesis by adding information gleaned from several sources: PolitiFact, the New York Times, PBS.org, CNN and the Los Angeles Times. Although, I might have hoped that he, as a journalist, would venture a little further afield in search of information. All of these sources fall within, well, shall we say, the left side of the political ledger. (Some of these even piled on to the Covington high school boys hoax; until they were compelled by reality to retract their initial hysteria.)
But there are many, many other sources out there. Thousands, in fact. Not implying any favoritism or preference, here are a mere six additional examples. For an assortment of liberal and conservative columns there is RealClearPolitics.com. A respected conservative newspaper is the Washington Times. For commentary there are PragerU.com and TownHall.com. And for news, DailyCaller.com and Breitbart.com. This is but a tiny sampling. With the internet, it is the matter of a few key strokes to discover hitherto unknown resources.
On the subject of just one of Mr. Weinberger’s topics, that “Mafia family,” he cites Mr. Trump as promoting “loyalty above all else.” Were that this were true. And if that is the goal, it has been a dismal failure. The current White House has been staffed with a greater oddball assortment of self-serving, self-promoting leakers than any other White House in history, at least that I can think of. As for Jared and Ivanka, this is its own special issue, and problem.
On a more general note, Mr. Weinberger comments, “I assumed Trump’s actions have been so well documented, that even readers who did not agree would understand a differing point of view.”
This statement seems to contain an internal contradiction. If we are discussing actions or events which have been truly “well documented,” then we are no longer in the realm of “differing points of view.” Either a thing did happen, or it didn’t. Unless, of course, the “documentation” is not really documentation, but rather opinion dressed up as “news” by the fake news mainstream media—present company excepted—as happened to the boys from Covington High School.
[Publisher’s note: It’s easy to muddy the waters when it comes to the truth. Just because someone labels a news source as publishing liberal or conservative editorial (opinion) articles, doesn’t mean their news stories are opinions too. The sources I provided have only the highest standards for news reporting accuracy, regardless of the focus or topic. Are they perfect? No. Do they admit mistakes? Yes, and publicly. Part of the problem occurs when readers who do not agree with the reporting or topic, blame or discount the news source, or simply call it biased. A classic shoot-the-messenger mentality. President Trump’s consistent abuse of the truth feeds the fake news wagon train in an attempt to discredit opposing views. Mr. Lyon may not agree with a New York Times editorial, for example, but their news reporting remains the gold standard. The facts are out there, if you choose to believe them. I’m happy to continue this discussion privately via email at email@example.com. Thanks again for all your feedback. It’s okay to agree to disagree. —PW]