06-25-2020 Letters and Commentary

Thanks to our dairy farmers Summer and dairy seem to go together. Nothing quite beats ice cream on a hot afternoon, or a nice cheese pairing with a glass of Michigan wine after a long day. Dairy, of course, is more than ice cream and cheese. It is one of our state’s largest and most important industries and is responsible for employing over 40,000 workers and an economic impact of over $15 billion per year. Perhaps most astoundingly, 97% of Michigan dairy farms are family owned and operated — most of them for generations. Like many other small businesses, local family dairy farms have been particularly affected by COVID-19 and the resulting state orders. Farming is hard work even in good times, but the toll our farmers have taken over the past few months has been steep. Faced with the seemingly impossible decision to dump out their milk because of collapsing prices and reduced demand — even while their operating costs mount — dairy farmers are persevering in the face of adversity. In spite of what has become one of the toughest times in their businesses’ lifetimes, dairy farms are turning tragedy into testimony by donating their unsold products to local food banks to help community members who are themselves struggling through the pandemic. Such is the spirit of a farmer. It is hard to believe that we have reached the end of June and with it the end of Dairy Month. And while this month-long celebration of our dairy farmers and the healthy food they produce is coming to an end, we can never completely thank our farmers for all they do to stock our shelves and feed our families. I encourage you to join me in celebrating our dairy farmers, not just this month, but every time you enjoy their tasty products. As always, residents can contact my office with any state or local issues by calling (517) 373-6960 or emailing senklasata@senate.michigan.gov.

Keeping you in the loop This week I will be hosting two events across Southwest Michigan. Tonight, Thursday June 25, I will be holding a Virtual Townhall Meeting on Zoom to discuss the upcoming implementation of auto no-fault reform. This event will feature several guests including State Senator Aric Nesbitt and Rep. Jason Wentworth – two individuals that played key roles in making auto insurance reform a reality. I will also be joined by policy experts in both health and insurance who will be able to answer the many questions you have before auto insurance reform is implemented exactly one week from today. The Zoom meeting ID and password are below. You can also visit my official Facebook page for a direct link to the meeting. Meeting ID: 999 7428 8827 Password: 345873 Please note this event will be limited to the first 100 participants. Tomorrow, Friday June 26 I will be resuming my monthly office hours across the district. This month, I will be holding office hours at several locations, including Ely Park in Hartford (10:30-11:30

BUD’S LAST COLUMN NEXT WEEK… Many people the past seven weeks since Roy “Bud” Davis’ died asked where these last “Paw Paw River Journal” recent columns came from.

The simple answer was Bud wrote his columns a month or so in advance and sent them to the Record. In the past year or so, arthritis took its toll on Bud’s hands, and we had a few discussions on when he would write his last column. “Karl, you know I’m not getting any younger,” he said.

I’d reply it is up to you. Just give me a few columns and a final column when you get to the point you can’t write any more. Thanks to modern computer technology which allowed Roy to dictate the columns. Thanks as well to his family that helped him with program updates and typing in the past months.

After his wife Marion died this past year, the topic came up more often. He didn’t call her his Chief Accountant for nothing. They were a team through and through to the end.

True to his word, he called a couple months ago. “Karl, this is it. I’m working on seven columns and I should be done with them in a couple weeks.”

What about your final column, I asked? “Oh, that’s been done for some time now. I want to check it over one more time. Becky will help me send them along soon.”

Bud passed away soon after that and right after his funeral, Becky, his daughter sent the final columns to the Record.

Hands down, Bud is the finest columnist I’ve ever had the pleasure to work with. He’s written in the last column, that he never thought he’d be writing a newspaper column following his teaching retirement in the early 1980s.

Heck neither did I. I wouldn’t have expected more than a year or so of grinding out week after week of any writer. An editor’s dream writer is a person who never misses a deadline, keeps to the space allocated, and writes accurate and entertaining copy. Bud was all of that.

Don’t get me wrong… it took a few years for that dream writer to mature (he was 20 years my senior). His stipulation that his copy couldn’t be changed would have been the deal breaker. Thank goodness, I didn’t say no.

We had some hairy discussions that followed the changing times. He had a column mostly written by a Vietnam War veteran. I didn’t think our readers appreciate the F-word that was written in it.

“Karl, I’m nervous about changing a word in a quote without the writer’s permission.”

So am I was my reply, I’m more worried the writer will tell us to go jump in the lake if we change the F-word without telling him. Besides what other single word was used as much in that context? Now it’s all over the media.

The word was left in and there was no public outcry… as I remember there was more brouhaha over a typo that changed a headline that should have been Tiny Tots. The typo made a late-night talk show.

Another time Roy said he was running out of ideas for the column and wanted to quit writing it.

My suggestion was to rewrite some mystery and murder columns.

That added more fuel to the fire and generated more new columns as well.

Finally, there was a discussion on unwritten columns. “Karl,” he said, “there’s a couple ‘doozies’ that I’d like to write but the people involved have too many relatives here about.”

We must do more to protect our seniors For more than three months now, the coronavirus crisis has claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands of Americans, and sadly, nursing homes have been hit the hardest. In Berrien County alone, 75% of COVID-19 deaths have been residents of long-term care facilities, while Kalamazoo County reported that 33% of their deaths have been in nursing homes. These tragic statistics extend well beyond Southwest Michigan, and that’s why I introduced bipartisan legislation last week with my colleagues Rep. Dan Kildee (D-MI), Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX), and Rep. Ron Kind (D-WI) to provide more resources to nursing homes in their fight against COVID-19 and better prepare for future outbreaks. The bipartisan Infection Control Training and Support Act would provide $210 million in emergency funding for nursing homes to enhance quality of care and safety measures during the COVID-19 pandemic. Our seniors are among the most vulnerable in our society, and leaders at every level must do more to better protect the safety and wellbeing of both residents and their caregivers both now and down the road. To learn more about important legislative issues, follow me on Twitter at @RepFredUpton or by visiting my website: upton.house.gov. You can also call my offices in Kalamazoo (269-385-0039), St. Joseph/ Benton Harbor (269-982-1986), or Washington, D.C. (202-225-3761).

The final word I was amused when I heard the term “absolute truth” used to describe “science”. It was apparently a complaint that some people don’t accept science as ultimately credible and trustworthy. It was amusing because anyone familiar with true “science” realizes the limitations of our understanding about most subjects. The discovery of new “truth”, new insights into what exists and how it works, is the task of “science”. “Truth” therefore is constantly changing. If we put our faith in changeable science, we are standing on unstable ground. Science can never produce truth. It can only discover truth. And its ability to discover is limited by its tools of observation. Those tools, including statistics, can be abused and misused in hands of dishonest “scientists” who approach “science” with a tinted-glasses agenda. “Scientists” once denied the existence of the Hittites, for example, because archeologists had not discovered them. But the Bible spoke clearly about the Hittites. What archeologists long thought was fake Bible history, just another Bible myth, was demonstrated to be true. The Bible described the “water cycle” long before any scientist proposed it (Isaiah 55:10). Could references to the earth’s foundation “pillars” supporting structures actually be describing some sort of subcontinent honeycomb structure, possibly filled with superheated water? Is there truth there yet to be discovered? If so, it could prove to be vitally important to better understanding tectonic dynamics. Better to search the Bible for truth hints than just discount it. True science would profit. There are many reputable scientists who have faith in a more reliable source of “absolute truth” – God’s Word. Jesus said, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away.” (Matthew 24:35) The bottom line of truth is God’s Truth. He says we are accountable to Him, and that a judgment is coming. Science can’t run from that, and denial will ultimately look pitifully self-delusionary. Further reading: Josh McDowell’s, “The New Evidence that Demands a Verdict”.

Benton Harbor Farmers Market The Benton Harbor Farmers Market will open for another season on Wednesday, July 1, 2020. The market will run from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. every Wednesday in the Dwight P. Mitchell City Center Park in downtown Benton Harbor. Each week from opening day through September 2, the Benton Harbor Farmers Market will offer a wide variety of locally-grown and affordable fresh fruits and vegetables. This year, the market will also feature several newer vendors selling homemade and locally sourced foods. In addition to cash, the market gladly welcomes Bridge Cards (EBT), Senior Project FRESH, and WIC Project FRESH coupons that can be used to purchase qualifying items. The market will also offer people with Bridge Cards an opportunity to double their spending power with the Double Up Food Bucks program. Due to COVID-19, the Benton Harbor Farmers Market will not offer any additional activities, cooking demonstrations, or group exercise opportunities. There will be extra precaution for market patrons with handwashing, physical distancing, and all patrons are encouraged to wear a face covering while shopping for fresh produce. The Benton Harbor Farmers Market is operated by the Berrien County Health Department and supported by grant funding from Be Healthy Berrien through the United Way of Southwest Michigan. New vendors are welcome and encouraged to contact the Berrien County Health Department for more information. Find additional information about the market and how to become a vendor at www.bchdmi.org.

Social Security benefits for children with disabilities SSA’s Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program helps children with qualifying disabilities and their families. For this program, a child must meet all of the following requirements to be considered disabled and medically eligible: The child must have a medical condition, or a combination of conditions, that result in “marked and severe functional limitations.” This means that the condition(s) must very seriously limit the child’s activities. The child’s condition(s) must have been disabling, or be expected to be disabling, for at least 12 months; or the condition(s) must be expected to result in death. Compassionate Allowances are a way we quickly identify diseases and other medical conditions that, by definition, meet Social Security’s standards for disability benefits. Thousands of children receive benefits because they have one of the conditions on the list at www.ssa.gov/compassionateallowances/conditions.htm. A child must also meet other eligibility requirements. Since we only pay SSI to disabled people with low income and limited resources, a child, who is not blind, must not be working or earning more than $1,260 a month in 2020. A child who is blind must not be working or earning more than $2,110. This earnings amount usually changes every year. In addition, if the parents of the child or children have more resources than are allowed, then the child or children will not qualify for SSI. You can read more about children’s benefits at www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10026.pdf. Visit www.ssa.gov/people/parents/ to learn more about all we do to care for children. Please share these resources if you know a family or friend who needs our help. Vonda VanTil is the Public Affairs Specialist for West Michigan. You can write her c/o Social Security Administration, 3045 Knapp NE, Grand Rapids MI 49525 or via email at vonda.vantil@ssa.gov.

When does it matter?

Dear Editor,

When asked whether I am a Republican or a Democrat I answer that I like to think of myself as a “thinking Republican” or as some might say a moderate. I do not follow blindly, nor do I drink the Kool-Aid and I am adamant in forming my own opinions. I wear a mask. I social distance and I wash my hands often. I do not see these as political issues but as health and medical issues. Being 79 years old I certainly do not wish to become a COVID-19 statistic.

As moderate I also sympathize with the “Black Lives Matter” movement and do believe we need to live up to the ideals that “all men are created equal” and there needs to be “justice for all” to quote two of our most important documents and I believe there is a systemic racism that pervades our country. I do wonder aloud at times, however whether we are looking at police brutality on a wide scale or are we looking at rogue officers who cause issues at a number of our police agencies. Perhaps we need to be much more careful to whom we supply a badge, a uniform and a gun.

One issue that beguiles me though is when do Black Lives Matter? Is it only when it pertains to police violence or does it always matter? Out of curiosity I Googled this question on the Monday after Father’s Day: How many shootings were there in Chicago over Father’s Day weekend?

The answer was 104 shootings (a number of which were children) with 14 victims perishing. I am sure not all of the shootings were black on black but if history is any judge a vast majority would have been gang on gang violence. According to the Chicago Sun Times most were on the south and west sides of the city. It’s not only Chicago; gun violence is up in South Bend, too. The South Bend Police commissioner laments that if shooting victims or witnesses do not help police catch the shooters, the violence will continue.

Don’t the above beg the question: When does Black Lives Matter?

Robert Becker

Letter is misleading by omission

Dear Karl,

This letter is in reply to a letter you published by Major Kenneth Peterson, United States Army, Retired.

Dear Major Peterson,

First let me say, “Thank you for your service.”

As to your letter to the editor I must say, it is misleading by omission. Beginning with the Insurrection Act 1807; while your statement in the letter is basically correct, you fail to note that other laws come into play with regards to the use of the military on American shores.

First is the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 which limits the use of the military to enforce domestic policies but has 26 exemptions.

Next you failed to mention US Code Title 10 Armed Forces adopted in 1956, and as amended. This Act has been used. President Eisenhower used this act to send in the 101st Airborne Division into Little Rock Arkansas in 1957. (See Executive Order 10730; under today’s Title 10, one only needs to read CHAPTER 13 section 252 & 253) This event centers around Brown v. Board of Education and enforcing court orders; but historians believe it has more to do with insubordination.

Let me briefly explain, Gov. Orval Faubus and President Eisenhower met and came to an agreement. That agreement was, the National Guard troops would stay at Little Rock Central High School. But Faubus reneged on that agreement removing the National Guard and replacing them with the local police. I suggest to you with your military background that insubordination is taken very seriously. Therefore Eisenhower may have felt this was insubordination since he never spoke in favor or against Brown v. Board of Education.

While many events happen to the “Little Rock Nine” from 1957 thru 1958, the end result is Eisenhower didn’t need anyone’s approval to send in the military. So my question is: Which is better, to be invited in as the Insurrection Act of 1807 calls for by governors who face riots (insurrections), a position President Trump has taken, by your own admission or use Title 10, which allows military intervention in areas where riots (insurrections) are happening without consent?

Next you speak of two military men. First Admiral Mullen, who states a fear many military men have; the use of our military against the citizens of the United States. You relate to this when you wrote “our towns are not battle spaces”. We went through this; it was called the Civil War. To this day the impact of that war still affects our nation.

But my last comment is in regards to General Mattis. Contrary to your statements about General Mattis, I see no evidence presented by you to prove General Mattis’ assertions. Since I read the book The Only Thing Worth Dying For by Eric Blehm, I’ve held an unfavorable view of him. I question his judgment. He has been removed from positions of influence by both former President Obama and President Trump. Even in his own book Call Sign Chaos: Learning to Lead, General Mattis suggests strong disagreements whether expressed or not with former President George W. Bush and former Vice President Joe Biden. My question is: Does General Mattis have a problem with authority other than his own?

Sincerely yours,

Barry Nilson

We can beat the enemy

Dear Editor,

After all the events that have happened in this country for the last couple of weeks here is my observance. In regards to what happened in Minneapolis MN to this person of color named George Floyd, my heart goes out to his family. No person regardless of who he or she is deserves to be treated the way he was. So Mr. Floyd had a fraudulent $20 dollar bill! Big deal! Four police officers held this guy down. One officer kept Mr. Floyd down and held him down by putting a knee to his neck. The other officers put their knee to his back thus Mr. Floyd was denied oxygen to get to his brain so that he could breathe. I don’t know what the actual death of Mr. Floyd was. It seems to me that if Mr. Floyd died because of lack of oxygen then all four of the police officers should be tried for murder not just one police officer.

I agree that as you said Mr. Bayer, “The good news affecting most of us does little to assuage the grief of those losing beloved family and friends.” This is in regards to the coronavirus which originated in Wuhan China. This virus ravaged its way through Italy and Spain and made its way to New York. Many of our states went through a lockdown to help control the spread of the virus. Many Americans are observing social distancing by staying six feet away from each other.

This leads me to this question: Since many of us are observing the six feet away rule why wear a mask? It should only be worn if you are less than six feet away from the person nearest to you no matter where you are at. Many of those peaceful protesters in Minneapolis MN, New York City, Atlanta GA and Chicago IL over the death of Mr. Floyd did observe social distancing and wore masks. However there were also rioters out there whom the mainstream media (ABC CBS NBC CNN The New York Times and The Washington Post) call “peaceful protesters.”

These rioters which destroyed many stores were not all from Minnesota or Georgia or Illinois or New York. They were paid to come to these places to do what they were told to do by their leader or leaders. I do not know who their leader (or leaders) is but I can tell you he or she is (or are) the one (or ones) whom ABC CBS NBC CNN The New York Times and The Washington Post bow to (or he or she bows to them).

You have also said, “Over one hundred thousand died from COVID-19 in the USA and millions of confirmed cases worldwide.” To that aspect let me ask you this: How any of these people actually died WITH the coronavirus and how many people died BECAUSE of the coronavirus? Let me add to this: How many people were baby boomers who were so sick with pre-existing conditions that they were forced to live in nursing homes? How many of those people lived in blue states (like California, New York, Illinois, Michigan, Massachusetts, etc.) as opposed to those people who live in red states (like Iowa, Indiana, Idaho, North and South Dakota, etc.)?

It would be interesting to find out how many of these deaths came in sanctuary cities in the U.S.

Concerning the coronavirus and the impact on the American economy, why is the American media salivating over unemployment and unemployment claims? It’s like the politicians in particular the radical left wing Democrats along with their buddies in the media telling these hard working God fearing Americans, “Look what we did to you! We shut you down! We can’t wait to shut you down again! RAH! RAH! CORONAVIRUS!”

What I have also noticed is that the looters and rioters who have destroyed businesses, homes and churches are given a free pass by these same politicians and media people while those who peacefully protest along with those who want to go back to work are looked down on. “OH MY GOD! LOOK AT THESE PEOPLE! THEY ARE GOING TO GET SICK AND GET OTHERS SICK TOO!”

Yes there is light at the end of this tunnel. This virus can be beaten. The medical and private servants must meet the enemy head on. It’s not just the coronavirus, it is facing fear. Never must any of us let fear rule over us. We must rule over it. Don’t let the mainstream media lead us into paranoia where we are constantly fearful.

Using good common sense we can beat whatever the enemy throws at us no matter whom or what the enemy is.

Richard Weschgel


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