Soap Box

Trump's tariffs hurting states

To the editor,

President Trump is trying to correct a trade imbalance by imposing tariffs on products imported from China. China has retaliated by imposing tariffs on our exports to China.

Trump’s tariffs will cost automaker Ford $1 billion in 2018 and 2019 and require significant layoffs. Exports from the BMW plant in Greer, S.C., were down 35 percent in August 2018 versus August 2017. Honda USA is incurring hundreds of millions of dollars in unplanned costs because of Trump’s steel tariffs.

States incurring substantial revenue losses include: Louisiana a $5.7 billion loss, with China its top export market; Washington $5.2 billion, with China its top export market; California $4 billion, with China its third-largest export market; Illinois $2.1 billion, with China its third-largest export market; South Carolina $2.6 billion, with China its top export market; Alabama $2.4 billion, with China its second-largest export market; Texas $1.4 billion, with China its third-largest export market; Kentucky $917 million, with China its fourth-largest export market; Michigan $842 million, with China its third-largest export market; and Ohio $826 million, with China its third-largest export market

Many states are suffering economic problems with declining exports and job losses because of Trump’s tariffs.

– Donald Moskowitz, Londonderry, N.H., via email

America needs sensible gun laws

To the editor,

Recently, there was a segment on the news about gun drills in preschools. When I grew up, there were only fire drills. One would think the 2012 Sandy Hook shooting was enough to get sensible gun laws enacted.

As much as I am glad there are more elected officials agreeing with people wanting sensible gun laws enacted now, and not later, it’ll take no more lucrative pay-offs to both sides of the political aisle. So far, over the many years of mass shootings, there are insane threats to realistic gun policy from pro-gun groups to keep their AR-15s. I did not see the negative reaction needed when a current law was installed for the mentally unstable to purchase firearms.

The latest California shooter, with PTSD from military overseas deployment, is an example of why we should not ever be engaged in war that breeds 12-people-trigger-happy deaths.

If gun deaths don’t happen in most politicians’ back yards, where their own family members/colleagues are affected, we will unfortunately see weekly carnage. Had there been a worse situation last year at a baseball field full of Republican congressmen, where one was shot in the leg, perhaps we the people would be spared weekly mass funerals.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving took years to create awareness. Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America deserves recognition now, not to be kicked down the road.

– Sally Florence, Durango

Medicare for all ... not a bad idea

To the editor,

In response to several recent articles demonstrating the benefits of single payer/Medicare for all, compared to  our current health system, a few facts go a long way. The World Health Organization of the United Nations annually ranks its 191 member nations on the effectiveness of their health-care systems. These enlightening statistics are available at the World Factbook published by our own CIA, the United Nations website,, and the Institute for Health Metrics from University of Washington.

The performance of the U.S .health-care system ranks 37th of 191 nations, which is truly pitiful. France and Italy rank first and second. The health of the U.S. population ranks only 72nd, slightly above Iraq. In Life expectancy, we rank 43rd, the third successive year of decline. In infant mortality, we rank a dismal 170th, in maternal mortality 138th. We are, however, first in one category: expenditures. We spend almost twice as much as any other nation on health, and health-care costs are the biggest cause of U.S. bankruptcies. Longevity projections published in the medical journal The Lancet rank the U.S. 64th in 2040, slightly better than Bangladesh!

Single payer/Medicare for all is used by the rest of the world, because it makes more sense and saves money with no middle men, like insurance companies or agents. Doctors work for the health system, and drug companies are forced to sell drugs at reasonable prices. We can learn much from other countries about their success and as a result, experience better health at a much lower price.

– Jim Forleo, Durango

Keep 'hand of god' off our bodies

To the editor,

The “hand of god” con is one of the most dangerous situations our country faces. Does your religion compel you to build more cages for children and families? Does your religion encourage you to profit from bank and stock funding for incarceration?

Both Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Alito were nominated by a man who saw himself as the “Hand of God,” George W. Bush. The Roberts court stepped over the line that forbids government institution and enforcement of the practice of religion in the Hobby Lobby case. Here, it was ruled that the oligarchic patriarchal corporate executive had the right to use his religious beliefs to determine what health care went into women’s bodies and what came out of women’s bodies in his employ. This is against the law and is the first step on a slippery slope to destroy the first Amendment in America. It is imperative to get the governments’ “hand of god” out of women’s fertility and health care.

It seems corporations bought the Roberts court, and by rule, now have the right to buy the best government and internet money can buy. The “hand of god” con in the hands of corporations and the politicians and judges that serve them, is polarizing America into flirting with predatory fatal results. Humiliation, intimidation and violence does not serve our Constitution. Don’t let the separation of church and state crumble.

– Stephanie Johnson, Durango

Problem not Fox, but antisemites

To the editor,

I worry about Shan Wells. After his latest cartoon, I think he needs anger management with a good psychiatrist. Why? What is considered the worst massacre of Jews in U.S. history, Wells turns into a platform to push his politics. Mourn and remember the dead? Not Wells. Dead Jews are just a prop for him to push his political agenda.

So what does Wells do, he blames it on Fox News. Does the shooter have accountability? Not to Wells, who, if he studied history, would know that Jew hatred has been around at least 2,500 years before Fox. Bowers hated Jews and Trump because the neo-Nazi thought Trump was controlled by Jews. Nothing more and nothing less.

If Wells thinks Fox had anything to do with it, he should look into the statistics of hate crimes over the last 22 months. The NY Times just came out with a report showing that half of all hate crimes in New York were against Jews. Now get this Shan: Not ONE person caught or identified as the aggressor in those antisemitic hate crimes has been associated with a right-wing group. Right wing antisemitism is only part of the problem.

To Wells, Jewish lives matter only when they are attacked by skinhead neo-Nazis. When the Jew is attacked by a person of color or a Muslim or pro-Palestinian activist, his sympathy disappears. Still waiting for Wells’ cartoon denouncing Louis Farrakhan for calling Jews termites, filth, vermin and calling for our destruction.

The problem is not Fox News or conservatives – it is Jew hatred, plain and simple. It exists on the right and on the left. It exists in some sects of Christianity and Islam. It exists among atheists as well. It can be found among the educated as well as the ignorant. White people and people of color can be and are antisemites.

To everyone who reads this letter, if you want to fight Jew hatred, look for the strain that is in the group you identify with and fight it there. Don’t sit back and pretend that it’s only a problem with your political opponents. If you think that, you are fooling yourself, and you are part of the problem.

The typical reaction of the Jews of Pittsburgh was not to call for the death penalty but to reveal that Jewish doctors had treated the shooter. Mr. Wells, maybe you could learn from that attitude instead of a rigid political narrative that has consumed and angered you for far too long. We can dream, can’t we?

– Shelly Perlmutter, Durango