We have just seen a historic meeting between President Trump and Vladimir Putin. On the U.S. side we had President Trump and Rex Tillerson, Secretary of State, both neophytes to politics/diplomacy. On the other hand, President Putin and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavror have 18 or more years of political and diplomatic experience.
One wonders why Trump insisted on such a small group for this critical meeting, when he should have had Gen. McMaster, head of the National Security Agency present, along with Defense Secretary Mattis. Both sides should have also requested notekeepers fluent in Russian and English to provide a record so that neither side could give conflicting and one-sided minutes of this historic meeting.
President Trump has had as his mantra, “America First.” Yet the day before his meeting with Putin, Trump remarked that no one really knows who hacked our 2016 election. Does not Trump trust his own intelligence community? Also, why did Trump disparage the U.S. press in his remarks with the President of Poland?
Instead of President Trump sticking to his guns, he let Putin and the Russians off the hook, by stating that we need to move forward. By the way, we know that Trump let Putin off the hook, based on what Tillerson said after the meeting.
Trump should not have shaken hands with Mr. Putin for three reasons: his hacking of our election, his invasion of the Ukraine, and his backing of President Bashar al-Assad of Syria causing the slaughter of hundreds of thousands and creating millions of refugees.
Three questions remain: What does Putin have over Trump that our President gave him a pass? Why does President Trump think Putin is a better President than former President Obama? What kind of president distrusts his entire intelligence community along with the U.S. press?
Richard Penaskovic, Auburn
There is a glaring contradiction in recent U.S. health care policy. At the same time that Congress and the President are attempting to prevent desperate people from some of the poorest countries in the world from immigrating to the U.S., they are also restricting funding for Planned Parenthood, whose main goal is to help families in poor countries reduce their birth rate and plan for smaller numbers of children, who can then live and grow into healthier adults
The most economically developed nations already have stable or declining populations because they have already achieved a low birth rate along with highly productive, high-tech economies that are not labor intensive.
The poorest countries have already started reducing their birth rates, too, but the wealthier nations don’t seem to sincerely want to help them continue along that path, nor do they want to help them catch up to the levels of wealth production that obtain in their own nations.
Helping the poorer nations catch up to us in the West in wealth and prosperity would also help prevent immigrants from flooding our shores, even though many of them are well-educated and ambitious. These latter are the very workers who need to stay home to help their own nations’ progress. Funding Planned Parenthood at home and abroad would be a great step towards achieving these admirable policy goals.
John D. Studstill, Columbus
I was driving down the country end of Schomberg Road. There was a man running along the side of the road in the opposite direction. I was thinking, "What is wrong with him? It's blazing outside."
After I passed him, I looked in the mirror and saw him cross the road, pick up someone's trashcan that had been knocked down and left obstructing a driveway. The runner placed it to the side of the driveway, re-crossed the road and continued running.
Doing a good deed when no one is watching is a sign of strong character and a contribution to the betterment of our society. There is so much rancor in the news today that it is easy to forget how we really are a nation of strong values. This unknown man, doing a simple deed, unaware of his being observed, has inspired me to double down on being kinder to others and to pass the good along. Whoever you are, thank you for that booster shot of goodwill. Oh, and by the way, be sure to stay hydrated.
Hal Midgette, Midland
In the middle of the summer ozone season, the U.S. House of Representatives is considering H.R. 806, a harmful bill that would delay life-saving ozone standards.
Ground-level ozone pollution, or smog, is dangerous. Many Americans are especially vulnerable, such as the 1 in 10 Georgia children and the 1 in 12 Georgia adults with asthma. The New England Journal of Medicine published new research showing ozone is dangerous at levels far below the current standard.
This bill would make it harder to protect people from ozone-induced asthma attacks, emergency room visits, and premature deaths. Thanks to the Clean Air Act, we have made great progress in cleaning up ozone and other harmful pollutants. Still, millions of Americans live where the air is unhealthy to breathe and, literally, can threaten their lives. Weakening their protection is simply wrong.
Anne Mellinger-Birdsong, Mothers and Others for Clean Air, Smyrna