On corrupt countries
Since our president seems to be so concerned about corruption in the countries that receive financial aid from the United States, why does he not withhold funds from Israel? If I am reading recent reports correctly, it looks like Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been indicted on charges of bribery, fraud, and breach of trust.
Why do we continue to send that corrupt government billions and withhold authorized money from other allegedly corrupt countries? Hypocrisy, or is the president lying again?
New York Times columnist Bret Stephens is no left-leaning liberal; his work is usually a little right of center. The Friday column describing his new belief that Donald Trump should be impeached and removed from office, however, lists the best reasons yet promulgated for such an action.
He also worries, as I do, that such actions might actually help Trump politically. But Stephens' arguments about the criminalization of political differences, Trump's use of political office to shield him from prosecution and enhance his personal wealth, the administration's promotion of conspiracy theories and outside figures like Rudy Giuliani to influence other nations, and the acceptance of Russian disinformation add up to strong arguments for impeachment to remove the menace we face today.
Stephens takes us all to task for accepting the "clear and present danger to our security, institutions and moral hygiene," a stinging rebuke to Republicans and those who are willing to allow this to continue.
The House will very likely vote to impeach. Perhaps our Arkansas senators should pay particular attention to this plea, although, sadly, I doubt this will happen.
MARY DEE TAYLOR
Public service patriots
The impeachment hearings have given us many hours of riveting testimony. They have introduced us to an engaging array of public servants including Bill Taylor, George Kent, Marie Yovanovitch, Alexander Vindman, Jennifer Williams, Fiona Hill, David Holmes, Laura Cooper, and David Hale.
These witnesses gave a cohesive, eye-opening account of wrongdoing at the highest levels of our government. I was struck by their honesty and concern for truth, their courage and sense of duty, their respect for law and ethics, and their resolve to put national interest above party and self. In my view, these behaviors make them genuine patriots and heroes.
Consider the sharp contrast between these heroes and our president, who exhibits none of their virtues and behavior. None. Moreover, while they were testifying, the president was smearing, insulting, and threatening them and adding several dozen whoppers to the more than 13,000 documented lies he has already told while in office.
Let's look on the bright side. This miserable excuse for a president will pass from the scene soon enough. But thousands of good, brave public servants such as these witnesses will go on serving our nation for as many decades as we need them. They are the glue that will hold us together. Thank God for that.
Overcharged on taxes
It has bothered me since our state government put an "excise tax" on hybrid and electric cars, so I finally did some research to determine how much of a penalty people are paying to own one in Arkansas.
I chose a Toyota Camry (top-selling midsized sedan) for comparison. The gas model gets an average of 34 mpg, the hybrid 46 mpg. (It costs about $4,000 more than the gas model, so you pay $230 extra sales tax at purchase.) According to the insurance industry, the average number of miles a car is driven a year is 13,476. Doing simple math, the gas model burns 396.35 gallons in a year, and the hybrid 292.96. The hybrid uses 103.39 gallons less per year. Multiply that times 24.5 cents, the state tax per gallon, and you get $25.33 in "lost tax." Why am I paying an extra $100 to drive a hybrid? I'll pay the $25.33, but completely object to the extra $74.67. Using the Camry's 34 mpg to figure tax on an all-electric vehicle comes out to $97.10 a year, not the $200 fee being charged.
I ask that state senators and representatives fix this during their next session. Also, I plan to vote against making the half-cent sales tax for highways permanent. When it was voted on in 2012, effective July 2013, it was supposed to end in 2023. That's how it was sold to Arkansas voters. The governor and others are now saying, "please vote for it, it isn't a new tax, you are used to paying it." Sunset clauses in taxes are a deceptive tool to make it easier to get a tax bill passed. They almost always ask for them to be extended. They should all be written so they cannot be extended or made permanent and cannot be renewed for at least three years after they expire.
Your Sunday edition contained an article regarding the health benefits for young people who drink water (from the American Heart Association). Approval of the use of clear plastic water bottles in Little Rock public schools is apparently imminent.
On Nov. 27, the PBS network broadcast "The Plastic Problem." This professionally produced, well researched, highly documented program told of the millions of tons--and rapidly growing--of plastic which are destroying our oceans, beaches, rivers, and lakes--and the marine life in those bodies of water.
The apparently conflicting, well researched evidence supporting each of these divergent positions demonstrates the challenges we as a nation and as citizens of the world face.
Editorial on 12/03/2019
Print Headline: Letters