Letters to the editor for Sunday, November 5, 2023

Editorial cartoon
Editorial cartoon
Editorial cartoon
Editorial cartoon
Editorial cartoon
Editorial cartoon
Editorial cartoon
Editorial cartoon

∙ Editor's note: Got a message you'd like to share in our Thanksgiving edition Nov. 22? The deadline is early so send it by Nov. 16. Letters to the editor should be 250 words or less. Include your name and city or community of residence. Guest opinions should be 600 words or less and include a brief summary of the author’s credentials relevant to the topic. Guest opinions may include a head shot of the author. For the Fort Myers News-Press, email submissions to mailbag@news-press.com and for the Naples Daily News to letters@naplesnews.com

Good questions

Don’t be fooled by Trump’s apparent “softening” on the abortion issue.  He appointed Brett Cavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court specifically for the purpose of overturning Roe v Wade, and if he wins the election and Republicans retain control of the House, their first order of business will be to pass a federal abortion ban with few, if any, exceptions.  The current speaker of the House, Mike Johnson, is a fierce advocate for criminalizing abortion, as are many of his colleagues.  Polls consistently indicate most Americans want to protect women’s health care rights, but Republicans have decided they will decide what’s good for women and what’s not.

Wherever I go in the world, people ask me why, despite appalling mass shootings here, we seem to want to make it easier to buy a gun than to vote.  I carefully explain that most Americans want sensible gun control, such as universal background checks and licensing laws, that most of us favor increased mental health funding and bans on high-capacity magazines and assault weapons, like the AR-15.  If this is true, I’m asked, why is there no action from our elected leaders?  Good question.  Is it because of the huge influence of gun manufacturers and the NRA?  The bottom line is Republicans have no interest in gun control and Democrats can get nothing done without some support from the GOP.

Ray Clasen, North Fort Myers

We make bad decisions

In our great democracy we choose to elect our presidents by the electoral college. Why not use the popular vote in a democracy? Currently, you can lose by millions of votes, but if you win the swing states you’re the winner. Every vote should count. It turns out that fewer than ten states really matter and dictate the outcome. Is that how democracy is supposed to function?We lead the world in mass shootings. The weapon of choice is the AR-15. The vast majority of Americans favor an assault weapons ban and stricter gun laws in general. Some of our politicians fear the NRA, justify their narrow-mindedness with an antiquated Second Amendment, and insist that it’s never the right time to do the right thing. Isn’t that dumb and disheartening?How can Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-Al), his main qualification being that he was a college football coach, have the authority to singlehandedly hold up hundreds of military promotions for the past nine months? He conflates his anti-abortion zealotry with our military readiness. It’s ridiculous that one stubborn senator has such power.

The cartoonish fraud George Santos (R-NY) has pleaded not guilty to 23 federal counts that include identity theft, credit card fraud, and conspiracy. His bio is a complete fabrication. He’s so crazy that he’s actually entertaining, and he’s a U.S. congressman. We have an uncanny ability to pick subpar people to represent us.Does it seem strange to anyone that the GOP just voted in as speaker of the House a Trump loyalist, an election denying, right wing extremist? Is this their attempt at bipartisanship? It sounds a bit counterintuitive.

How can we consider for president a man so lacking in character that we wouldn’t consider him as a friend, much less our leader? He’s a narcissist, a misogynist, a racist, a serial groper, a fraud, an indicted seditionist, a wannabe dictator, and not particularly smart. He likely has jail time in his future. He has no ideology other than self promotion. Admittedly, he is a successful snake oil salesman. Do I have to ask — how could we be so stupid?

Kevin McNally, Bonita Springs

VP fails assignments

Kamala Harris was to spearhead the protection of our southern border. That was the job assigned to her by Joe Biden. Everyone must agree that she was an abysmal failure in this assignment. She failed without even trying.

The adminstration's idea was then to send her to the countries in the southern hemisphere to aid them in preventing the mass exodus and hazardous trek to the U.S. She failed at this as well.

She has spewed word salad in all her interviews of mainstream media and has laughed and guffawed her way over the past 2 1/2 years.

Now Biden has finally found a position and a project with which she should excel. She is the administration's point person on making sure the science of Artificial Intelligence is one that exhibits equity for all. I say perfect for her because her level of intelligence is in reality absolutely artificial. She has no idea of reality and has no ability to once again be vice president. Her position on Biden's ticket was because she fit his picture of a minority woman. Her total lack of ability was overlooked.

Michael Zubrow, Naples

Deadly danger

Your article from Robert Hilliard: "DeSantis, Ladapo put us in deadly danger": This article could possibly incite Morgan & Morgan and/or any other health-oriented lawyer to start a class action!

Leon M. Braunschweig, Marco Island

Freedom from religion

No logical person can doubt the role of religion in causation of this tragic war. Religion causing wars is nothing new. Now with atomic bombs mankind and most living things could be eliminated from the face of the earth this very week. The religion-based Israeli/Hamas war, which has no potential for a beneficial outcome, could escalate into a nuclear war eliminating mankind.

The horrific Israeli/Hamas tragedy is caused by faith-based belief in a god that no one has ever seen, heard, felt nor even defined. I have never seen, heard, felt nor seen the center of gravity. But all people knowledgeable about this issue accept its definition. Its definition is “that point on any object (i.e. a pencil, the moon, a car) at which its entire mass may be considered to be concentrated for purposes of computing torque about any axis.”

No one has provided a definition of god on which knowledgeable people will agree. Is god only an abstract concept? If god is only a concept how can reasonable, logical, knowledgeable people go to war over just a concept? Here in Florida god-oriented Christian nationalists are hell-bent on destroying our public education system through vouchers. Has the time come to support “Freedom- From-Religion” and elimination of vouchers which are illegal according to our Constitution? Or review the 1950 movie (Spencer Tracey) of the Scopes Monkey Trial.William Pettinger M.D., Bonita Springs

End this madness

With the Republican House of Representatives being virtually non-existent for a crucial three week period sans House speaker, the newly elected MAGA Mike Johnson’s first order of business was to provide aid to Israel, but not Ukraine, with an additional caveat that the cost of the help be offset with money allotted to the IRS from the Inflation Reduction Act which enabled more agents to go after billionaire tax scoff-laws who were enriched by the Trump tax giveaway, which was not paid for one iota adding trillions to our national debt. Of course this bill will be DOA in the Senate so why waste everyone’s time while the looming government shutdown is only a couple weeks away? To eliminate aid to Ukraine at this critical juncture is insane. Not sure about Israel the way they’re handling their response to their catastrophic intelligence blunder. Hopefully, one year from now, there will be a Democratic House, Senate and president so this madness can end.

Glenn Chenot, Cape Coral

War is lousy

Germany never bombed the United States in World War II but we bombed Germany, civilians were killed and we were right to have done so.

Korea never bombed the United States in the Korean War but we bombed Korea,  civilians were killed, and we were right to have done so.

The Vietcong never bombed the United States in the Vietnam War but we bombed Vietnam, civilians were killed, and we were right to have done so

Now, without provocation, Hamas out of Gaza, attacked Israel, brutally murdered innocent citizens at a music festival, butchered women and children, took hostages and fired thousands of rockets into Israel, killing thousands of civilians, and Israel is held up as the aggressor nd villain by students on our campuses, nations at the United Nations and Palestinian sympathizers around the world.

Look at the facts:  Hamas started this conflict in Gaza.  Hamas terrorists hide in schools, mosques and residential areas for exactly that reason, to get their own countrymen and women killed and throw blame on Israel.

What should Israel do in response to Hamas terrorists?  Let them go unpunished?  Complain to the U.N.?  Yell Shame Shame at them?  Israel should do exactly what it is doing.  Warn the Palestinians that the attacks are coming, and then try to root out the terrorists once and for all.  If our own misguided students can’t or won’t understand this, it’s a shame but war is lousy.  If The United Nations keeps throwing the blame on Israel, it’s too bad.  War is lousy.  If Palestinian sympathizers hate Israel, it’s regrettable, it’s misguided but war is lousy.

Just don’t forget.  Hamas started it.

Peter Weissman, Naples


The number one mental health disqualifier before being allowed to purchase a mass-slaughter weapon should be the desire to own one.

J. Cant, Naples

Tough sell

Trying to sell the re-election of President Joe Biden to the American people is like trying to sell Bud Light to beer drinkers.  Tough sell.

Diane Corcelli, Bonita Springs

Diplomacy didn't succeed

I can only hope that the recent contributor had his tongue firmly planted in his cheek when he said, "it has become obvious that diplomacy alone is the answer" to the current problems in the Middle East.

Maybe he missed these events that tried diplomacy and failed: 1967 - UN Security Council Resolution; 1978 - the Camp David Accords; 1991 - the Madrid Conference; 1993 - the Oslo Agreement; 2000 - the Camp David Summit; 2001 - the Taba Talks; 2002 - the Arab Peace Initiative; 2003 - the Roadmap Plan; 2003 - the Geneva Accord; 2007 - Annapolis (relaunching of the peace process; 2010 - Washington relaunching of the peace process

As you can see, diplomacy is obviously not the answer.

The contributor also quoted Mahatma Ghandi, "An eye for an an eye will only make the whole world blind."

When there are 456 million Arabs in the world and only 16 million Jews, the Arabs have a lot more eyes to lose and may be willing to do so to wipe out the Jewish people once and for all.

As Golda Meir once said, "You can't negotiate peace with somebody who has come to kill you."

Rick Manuel, Dade City

Motorists and cyclists

Dear driver, do you know who I am?  I am a cyclist.  A cyclist who has been riding for 43 years, solo and grouped.  A cyclist who follows the rules, compliant and careful.

I am a mother of two children, a daughter and son.  I am a daughter of one remaining living parent fighting cancer.  I am a sister to seven siblings, adopted and natural.  I am a cousin, many times over.  I am a friend, loyal and grateful.

I am a driver.  A driver who stops behind the solid line.  A driver who looks left and right for cyclists, walkers, runners.  A driver, compliant and careful.

I am a cyclist.  A cyclist, hit by a driver two years ago who had the red light.  A cyclist who knows too many people injured and killed while riding.  A cyclist who was crossing an intersection with her group this morning with the green light.

I am the human you almost hit this morning, in your rush to turn right on red on 82 and Gateway Boulevard.

Do you know who I am?  I am the flesh and blood person asking you to take an extra 5 or 10 or 20 seconds to pause and look before you hit the gas.  You may just save a life instead of taking one.

Julie A. Simpson, Fort Myers

Dismantle United Nations

There is a high-rise building with a river view in Manhattan that has outlived its usefulness. The 30-plus stories housed offices for diplomats from around the globe. In the beginning it was a well meaning idea that fell far short of its objectives and founding ideals.

This building has become a beehive of hate for countries that have targets on their backs. The building now houses hatred for Israel from those who allow countries like Iran to deliberately torpedo every effort for peace and equality whenever it does not suit their terrorist philosophy.

The now misused building is of course the United Nations. The entire organization needs to be dismantled and the U.S. needs to find better uses for the millions of dollars it bestows.

Michael Zubrow, Naples

Guns and mass shootings

I am not much into guns. We have this constant drumbeat of new gun laws every time there is a mass shooting. I know it is a dumb argument, but we could do away with drunk drivers by taking away cars. I don't know how many, but there are multiple millions of guns here in the U.S. Eliminating guns is not practical. Technology is such that you can apparently even make ghost guns, whatever they are. In addition, you can apparently modify existing guns to make them either semi automatic or automatic. We can pass tons of gun laws, but the bad guys will find a way to get them, to the detriment of law abiding citizens.People who do these things are not right in the head. They are the problem. I would guess that every mass shooter had history that would suggest they were a potential problem. We need better ways to identify these people and not only treat them, but also keep guns away from them. Certainly we should also look at gun laws that could help. There should be a study of how all the past mass shooters obtained guns and see if there is some common ground that a gun law would have prevented. If we find none, then gun laws in and of themselves will have little impact other than making a political statement.

Ron Wobbeking, Naples

Blood money

The National Rifle Association was established in 1871 to improve the marksmanship skills of American citizens and to promote the sport competitively. It became a popular sport in the Olympics, in colleges, organized by the NRA.  In the 1930’s  the NRA backed federal legislation to limit concealed weapons, prevent possession by criminals, require all dealers to be licensed and require background checks.   NRA backed the National Firearms Act, and parts of the 1968 Gun Control Act.Then in the mid-1970s, a faction within the NRA moved the NRA away from sports into opposing “gun control.”  It formed a political action committee (PAC) in 1975.  In 1980, the Republican platform opposed the federal registration of firearms, and for the first time ever the NRA endorsed a presidential candidate.In 1981 a gunman shot and paralyzed President Reagan’s press secretary, James Brady.  Then the Brady Bill, endorsed by Reagan, appeared requiring background checks before gun purchases.  After the Brady Bill passed in 1993, the NRA paid for lawsuits in nine states to strike it down.  In 1997, the Supreme Court declared parts of the legislation unconstitutional.The NRA was awash in money from gun and munitions manufacturers.  By 2000, it was one of the three most powerful lobbies in Washington. It spent over $40 million on the 2008 election.  In 2012 the NRA spent $9 million in the presidential election, and in 2014 it spent $13 million. In 2016, it spent over $50 million on Republican candidates, including $30 million on Trump’s effort to win the White House. Blood money: bloodied innocents for the sake of bloody profits.

Joe Haack, Naples

Finding the root cause

Following the October 7 acts of brutality by the Hamas on Israeli soil and after Customs and Border Protection reported 172 foreign nationals on the FBI’s terrorist watch list crossing our borders in FY2023 Americans are justifiably alarmed. In July 2021 Kamala Harris was charged with finding the “root cause” of the massive increase of illegal immigrants at the southern border. The tool used by quality professionals when they’re serious about finding root cause is called the 5 Whys. With Kamala Harris lacking experience with 5 Whys root cause analysis and my 30 years using it in the quality field I feel obligated to help out. Using the five Whys technique here’s what I came up with:

1. There are illegal immigrants crossing our southern border? Why?2. They’re escaping poverty and oppression and an overall poor standard of living. Why?3. They come from socialist and communist countries like Venezuela and Cuba that don’t believe in democracy, capitalism or a free press. Why?4. Class warfare is easier to sell to the oppressed and the poor. Why?5. It’s easier to covet others' success.

When there’s no profit incentive to take the necessary risks to create wealth economies collapse.

Ben Furleigh, Port Charlotte

Business, economic vigor

In the thriving market of Naples, where population growth continues to fuel economic vitality, we must remain open to the prosperity brought by new businesses. As a bank lender in Naples, I can attest that new businesses are the backbone of our local economy.

Collier County has demonstrated remarkable economic resilience, with job growth surging by 6.4% from 2017 to 2022, significantly outpacing the national average of 2.4% -- a testament to Naples' appeal as an ideal place to start and grow a business.

Naples' high per capita income continues to attract entrepreneurs and consumers, and the expanding population provides a solid customer base for new businesses, increasing their chances of success. As we venture into the fourth quarter of 2023, the local market's stability and improvement are evident, bolstering investor confidence in our thriving business landscape.

Collier County remains a standout economic hub within Florida. The rapid pre-sales of condos and the prospect of stabilizing interest rates fuel entrepreneurship and investment, indicative of the market's dynamism that supports businesses spanning various sectors. These advantageous conditions consistently benefit existing enterprises and newcomers, reinforcing the overall economic vigor of our community.

To remain an essential destination in the state, we must keep our doors open to innovation and progress. Supporting and embracing new businesses is not just a matter of economics; it's a testament to our resilience and our commitment to a brighter future for Naples.

Jodi Baird, Fort Myers

What's the difference?

Our Gov. DeSantis welcomed a planeload of refugees to Florida from the Hamas/Israel War, good for him and them.

Our Gov. DeSantis sent a planeload of refugees from Florida to Northern states because they were Venezuelans, bad for him and them.

I ask what's the difference?

Robert Savino, Fort Myers

Let’s have trial ASAP

On May 11, 2017, after his inauguration, Donald Trump invited Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Ambassador Sergey Kislyak to the Oval Office for a closed-door meeting. Americans learned about the meeting by seeing photos of it in the Russian press.  Trump revealed highly classified information to the Russian foreign minister and ambassador in the White House according to former U.S. officials. Trump’s disclosures jeopardized a critical source of intelligence on the Islamic State.  The information which Trump relayed was provided by a U.S. partner through an intelligence-sharing arrangement.  Israel was the source of intelligence shared with Russia.

In 2018, when Putin and Trump met in Helsinki, what did they discuss?  President Trump has gone to extraordinary lengths to conceal details of his conversations with Russian President Vladi­mir Putin, including on at least one occasion taking possession of the notes of his own interpreter and instructing the linguist not to discuss what had transpired with other administration officials.  Donald Trump has suggested he trusts Russian President Vladimir Putin more than the “low lifes” who work in U.S. intelligence.

Top brass in the Israeli defense establishment, particularly in the IDF Intelligence Corps and the Mossad Espionage Agency, are concerned that secret documents seized from former U.S. President Donald Trump at Mar-a-Lago include material whose exposure might damage Israel’s security.

Did Donald Trump leak information used by Hamas in their recent attack on Israel?  Maybe it will come out in the Mar-a-Lago documents trial.  Let’s have that document trial as soon as possible.

Sally Lam, Naples

This article originally appeared on Fort Myers News-Press: Letters to the editor for Sunday, November 5, 2023