Friday, October 7, 2022
Home » News » Opinion » Letters: Send Pa. 7 Packing; Benninghoff Hasn’t Learned What Democracy Is About; Politics of Gas Prices; No to Casino; Supreme Conflict of Interest

Letters: Send Pa. 7 Packing; Benninghoff Hasn’t Learned What Democracy Is About; Politics of Gas Prices; No to Casino; Supreme Conflict of Interest

Send Them Packing

Eight Republican Congressmen from Pennsylvania participated in the months-long attempted coup against our democracy, which led to the January 6, 2021, insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

Seven of those legislators—John Joyce, Mike Kelly, Daniel Meuser, Scott Perry, Guy Reschenthaler, Lloyd Smucker and Glenn Thompson—are now running for re-election.

How dare they!

Prior to the Nov. 3 election, poll after poll showed Joe Biden had a double-digit lead. New evidence now also reveals that Trump’s own data expert told him he was going to lose.

Following the election, at least 11 aides and close confidants told Trump there was no fraud and no way to overturn the election. The conservative Supreme Court rejected Trump’s preposterous legal argument. Multiple top officials at the Justice Department, including AG Bill Barr, examined allegations of fraud and determined the claims were untrue.

The attempted coup and January 6 insurrection were based on lies and unsubstantiated charges of election fraud from the Trump administration, and the feckless acquiescence of Republican members of Congress. They fanned the flames of unrest and are responsible for helping to create the divisions now plaguing this country.

Not one of the Pennsylvania Seven has explained or apologized for voting to reject the state-certified election results from Pennsylvania and Arizona, which led to the deadly insurrection. Not one upheld his oath of office.

If your Representative is Joyce, Kelly, Meuser, Perry, Reschenthaler, Smucker or Thompson don’t send him back to Congress. Send him packing!

Gary Gittings,
Harris Township

Benninghoffs ‘Hissy Fit’

It’s good news that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has unanimously rejected challenges to the State House district lines as drawn up by the Legislative Reapportionment Commission (LRC.) Finally, candidates know their districts and can begin circulating their nominating petitions to begin their campaigns.

Approval of the district lines should not have had to go to the courts at all! Remember that Republican legislative leader Kerry Benninghoff was actually on the LRC’s five-member panel, but was outvoted over the exact map just approved.

That should have ended it. But Benninghoff, not willing to accept an honest vote (sound familiar?) had a hissy fit and sued to overturn the map his own commission approved, thus holding up the whole process. Fortunately, the Supreme Court is composed of adults and tossed Benninghoff’s case out.

Kerry Benninghoff has been in the state legislature for 25 years—and he still hasn’t learned what democracy is all about or how to play well with others.

He’s long past his “use by” date.

Gina Hershey Leon,
State College

The Politics of Gas Prices

Republicans love to play politics with gasoline prices. When prices were low in 2020, they claimed it was due to the wise policies of the “stable genius” in the White House. Now with prices considerably higher, the reason is the “socialist” agenda of the current administration.

Both claims are nonsense.

Gasoline prices fluctuate under the natural law of supply and demand. In 2020, we were not driving for pleasure due to COVID. Many people were working from home, and didn’t even drive to work. This reduction in consumption naturally led to lower pump prices. The policies of the administration had nothing to do with it.

Now, with widespread COVID vaccinations and lower case rates, people are driving to work and for pleasure again, so consumption (and prices) are up. Again, the current administration’s policies have nothing to do with it.

Increased demand for the product pushes up prices because suppliers recognize they can get away with it. Who can blame them? It is management’s duty to maximize profits to shareholders.

Here’s where the irony, and the hypocrisy, come in.

Republicans have long argued for the capitalist model and for governments to keep their hands off the private sector. “Don’t interfere with capitalism!” “Let the marketplace decide!”

Now that free market capitalism is giving us gas price inflation, the right wing is singing a different tune. Now the pain at the pump is Joe Biden’s fault. In truth, it is a natural consequence of the very economic structure they applaud.

Why can’t they understand how these things work?

Margie Swoboda,
Julian

Casino Brings Community to a Crossroad of Values

I strongly oppose the proposed casino. Considering the current rapid pace of growth and development in the Centre Region, any major project, including a casino, needs to be weighed against the values of the community. As a long time resident of the Centre Region, I share with many others the value of a healthy natural environment – clean air and water, lots of open green space, abundant forests and aesthetically pleasing landscapes – as well as a robust social and cultural environment comprised of abundant walking paths and bike lanes, clean public transportation, small independent businesses, parks and institutions that foster healthy personal and community growth.

The community finds itself at a crossroad of values: will we choose a path that promotes personal growth, a healthy ecosystem and meaningful relationships with others as well as with the natural world? Or will we take the darker road that risks – through potential gambling addiction, increased traffic, pollution, construction and other means – the health of individuals, communities and local ecosystems?

Please do not allow development of the proposed casino to proceed.

Andrew McKinnon,
Pennsylvania Furnace

A Supreme Conflict of Interest

We now know Virginia Thomas, spouse of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, was involved in high-level “Stop the Steal” activities seeking to overturn the 2020 presidential election. She exchanged dozens of emails with White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, urging him to overturn “…the greatest Heist of our History,” and punish Republicans who didn’t acquiesce. Thomas attended the Jan. 6 rally and feverishly spread election misinformation and conspiracy theories.

Her husband was the only Justice to dissent when the Supreme Court ruled that the National Archives could release documents associated with the Jan. 6 insurrection, including Mark Meadows files. He must have known Virginia’s communications would be made public. Virginia publicly denies conflicts of interest between her conservative activism and her husband’s position as a Supreme Court Justice, but the facts suggest otherwise.

Judicial ethicists are rightly calling for Justice Thomas to recuse himself from any Supreme Court petitions or cases related to the Jan. 6 Committee and/or 2020 election. Federal statute 28 U.S.C. section 455 prohibits judges from hearing cases in which spouses have “an interest that could be substantially affected by the outcome of the proceeding.”

Congress must compel the Supreme Court to formally adopt the Code of Conduct for U.S. Judges. The Supremes are the only federal judges not bound by the Code, which covers basic ethics, recusals, political activities, financial transparency and more.

Without this guidance in place, how can the Supreme Court ensure the American people its promise of equal and impartial justice under the law?

Mary Bruce Serene,
State College