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Letters to the Editor: Feb. 21

Voices crying in the wilderness

To the Editor:

Last night, I watched Rand Paul and Mike Lee battling vainly against the tide. The tide in this case was their fellow senators, who have lost their minds and are willing to sell this nation’s security and future down the river for the sake of a short-term, stopgap, partial budget Band-Aid.

Retired Adm. Mike Mullen, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has said the gravest threat to our security is the national debt. Not Russia, not China, not Islamist terrorism, not even North Korea, but our debt.

A recent, “partial audit” of the Pentagon revealed that $800 million is simply missing. Of course, this is merely the tip of the iceberg. What do you expect when you load pallets of $500 million in shrink-wrapped cash onto military cargo planes bound for the Middle East? The Pentagon actually has been called “too big to audit.” What a horrifying state of affairs.

More military personnel are dying from accidents due to equipment failures and inadequate training more than in actual combat. Think about that.

Less than half of our naval aircraft are airworthy. About 80 percent of Marine aviation units lack sufficient ready-basic aircraft. Only half of Air Force combat forces are battle-ready, and the average age of aircraft is 27 years. This comes straight from the website of House Speaker Paul Ryan.

Then, there is Nancy Pelosi’s continued insistence that every new dollar spent on the military must be matched by another dollar in social welfare programs. Excuse me? Not only does this effectively double the cost of everything we so desperately need in order to rebuild our devastated capability, but it is premised on such a patently illogical, false equivalency in terms of priorities that it boggles my mind.

Democrats and Republicans came together to add $1.5 trillion to our already crushing debt just to tide us over for now. Everyone got what they wanted, so everyone is happy. Almost.

Of course, with interest rates rising and the dollar’s soundness a growing concern internationally, the Treasury will have to pay even more to sell this new debt to our allies and enemies than it already does. The interest this year alone is already $314.9 billion, according to the Office of Management and Budget.

On the campaign trail in 2008, former President Barack Obama said, “The problem is, is that the way Bush has done it over the last eight years, is to take out a credit card from the Bank of China in the name of our children, driving up our national debt from $5 trillion for the first 42 presidents, number 43 added $4 trillion by his lonesome, so that we now have over $9 trillion in debt that we are gonna have to pay back. $30,000 for every man, woman and child. That’s irresponsible. It’s unpatriotic.”

Of course, Obama then proceeded to more than double Bush’s dubious achievement in his two terms.

Milton Friedman once ruefully remarked of President Richard Nixon, “We are all Keynesians now.” I wonder what he would say today.

James Stein

Concerned about Canvas Cove

To the Editor: 

Our own local government is more worried about tax money than citizens.

One example is the approval to build a rehab hospital at Monet Drive and Hwy. N bordering Canvas Cove. It was originally zoned for homes but the county will do anything for tax money. They even are going as far as putting an entrance or exit on Monet. This is the apple orchard you all probably pass by.

Despite strong opposition from the Canvas Cove neighborhood and visits by Channel 4 news, the neighborhood was not heard. We did not get one vote in our favor from the the county zoning commission. I ask that citizens attend the monthly zoning meetings at Dardenne Prairie city hall to show opposition to this abuse.

If there is green space, they will rezone it to get tax money from businesses. I am not against progress, but consider the citizens in neighborhoods. With all the prime acreage available to build something like a rehab hospital they choose to disrupt our neighborhood. Also, where are our sound walls on Route 364?

Bob Bokerman

Buckle up, phone down

To the Editor:

It’s been just over a year since I became MoDOT’s area engineer for St. Charles County. This year has been a learning experience, but the one thing that has become clear is too many people are dying in crashes on Missouri roads.

MoDOT is doing everything we can to engineer better and safer roads, but we need you – all of you – to do your part by buckling up and putting down your cellphone. That’s what the Buckle Up/Phone Down campaign is all about. It’s tackling the two most impactful actions a driver can take to prevent crashes.

Distracted driving is a leading cause of crashes in the United States with cellphone usage blamed in 2,470 crashes in 2016. Missouri is one of only three states with no all-driver texting ban so, until that changes, we need to rely on each other to not drive distracted.

Putting the cellphone down is only part of the picture. Sometimes even the most attentive driver can be involved in a crash. That’s when being buckled up can help.

In 2016, 688 people were killed in crashes on Missouri roads – 62 percent of whom were unbuckled.  All the numbers aren’t in for 2017, but it looks to be about the same. I could spout a ton of statistics, such as the fact that an unbelted driver has a 1 in 27 chance of being killed in a crash compared to 1 in 1,239 for those who buckle up, but what good will that really do?

I want you to think about your loved ones – do you want them to become just another number? I think about this every time I buckle my son in his car seat.

Buckling up isn’t just for kids, everyone needs to do it because seatbelts save lives. Missouri has no primary seatbelt law, so once again we have to take it upon ourselves to buckle up every time we get in a car.

MoDOT is inspiring change starting with our own employees. In 2016, the use of cellphones was banned in agency vehicles and seat belt use was made mandatory. Please join me and my coworkers in taking the Buckle Up/Phone Down challenge by visiting modot.org/BuckleUpPhoneDown.

Andy Tuerck

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