Lack of leadership, unmasked

Since 2017 we have heard these from Trump: “Tyranny.” “Fake news.” “Hoax.” “Enemy of the people.” These accusations apply more to Trump himself than anyone else.

A lowly virus reveals that our wanna-be emperor has no attire except a long red tie (made in China). He does not know how to lead, he only bullies; (maybe that’s why his wife launched her anti-bully “be best” campaign). The old adage is “you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink.” Trump couldn’t even lead a horse to water.

He fails to protect us from COVID-19. He could have done what New Zealand’s leader did, but then, she’s a woman. If he had uniformly locked down the country. If presidential powers were used to produce N-95 masks and PPE so needed. Hot spots would have been corralled. Whitman County is lucky to avoid a COVID-19 death. Infected people may show no signs, but they may be spreading the virus. Even some healthy youth who became infected have had heart problems, and we can only hope those won’t be permanent.

Trump’s words and his administration’s directions must not be accepted as normal. It is not normal for federal agents without identification to be sent to arrest protestors and use tear gas against them. It is not normal to deny science, whether for COVID-19 or climate change or environmental protection. It is not normal to blur our hallowed separation of church and state. So many changes made by Trump and his loyal republicans cannot be accepted as normal because they undermine our democracy.

Our faces do not need to be unmasked. Only President Trump’s lack of leadership needs to be unmasked. Trump’s term of carnage against the American people must end — may it be so, in November.

Mark Bordsen


Follow the CARES money

The CARES act provided more than $12 million in forgivable loans of $150,000 or more to 48 recipients in Whitman County per Small Business Administration data at I encourage you to go to the website to view the recipients from our community. That’s roughly $500/taxpayer.

I support the provision of these emergency funds to the health care providers, restaurants, hotels and other small businesses impacted by the shutdown and desperately needed this money to survive. However, several ag-related businesses received sizable awards. As a member of the ag community, I’m struggling to understand how these farmers, warehouses or processors were impacted by the shutdown. Did they have crops that could not be harvested due to labor restrictions?

Did they have livestock or products that they were unable to take to processing plants due to shut downs? If so, these losses would have already been covered by the CARES subsidies provided by the $18 billion package administered by USDA. So what then, was the reason for the loss? Remember, agriculture is an essential business exempt from shutdown.

I know the manager of a grain operation very similar to those here in Whitman County who asks the same question. This manager declined to apply because they could not attest to losses due to COVID and would have personally benefited due to bonuses based upon profitability. Yet, many similar operations around the country were awarded funds. What I find even more distressing is that as a group, these recipients are “fiscally conservative,” anti-tax, anti-government and anti-social programs.

The problem is that there is not going to be much accountability for these funds. The awards were given based upon “the honor system.” Simply say yes, you were impacted, and the money is there for the taking. Most folks probably thought they’d never be audited or questioned.

Mary Hoffman


The ‘secret military police’

With others, I suspect, my initial thought when watching television images and reading accounts of Mr. Trump’s deployment of secret militarized federal forces in Portland (and elsewhere soon, it appears) was Geheime Staatspolizei, familiarly known as the Gestapo.

That notion, however, is probably inaccurate. In his early rise to power, Hitler employed more malleable paramilitary thugs known as “Brown Shirts” or Stürmabteilung (SA), later replaced by the SS. American patriots of this variety like to refer to themselves as “militia.”

I was on the verge of turning 15 when President Eisenhower sent troops to Little Rock, Ark., in order to quell the violence connected with desegregation. Some apologists for Trump may argue the circumstances are analogous. One important distinction is that President Eisenhower sent a thousand soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division. They were not anonymous “secret military police.”

Am I concerned that anarchists or Russian provocateurs might be infiltrating and undermining ostensibly peaceful demonstrations? Of course, I am — such events would appear to be quite vulnerable to impositions from extremes of either the left or the right. Nevertheless, irrespective of the pandemic and its risks, I find myself wondering why all of us aren’t out in the streets.

Ron McFarland


McGeachin gets it wrong

Does the lieutenant governor of the great state of Idaho (Her View, July 24) really believe that the problem is that average people are demanding more federal help in this crisis. Is she not aware that the very large majority of COVID-19 handouts, not to mention the recent tax breaks, have gone to the wealthy and well-connected? And the meme “For some, more never seems to be enough,” clearly more belongs to the wealthy in America. It’s been in all the papers.

And if she so strongly supports transparency, has she insisted on that from Secretary Mnuchin, even though he says he won’t supply such information? And doesn’t she even realize that we already have socialized medicine for the insurance and pharmaceutical companies? We’d prefer socialized medicine for the people, something every other developed society already has, and something this pandemic has shown so clearly to be a necessity.

Finally, is it not the “consistent, conservative, and transparent government” of which she speaks that is responsible for the largest gap now in wealth between the rich and the poor and middle class ever seen in this great land? Just asking.

Tom Wolbrecht


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