Letters to the editor for Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Another calamitous Biden failure

As I write this Sunday evening, Feb. 4, it is late morning in Beijing and the members of the Chinese Communist Party are probably just waking up with hangovers after the enormous celebration they had last night. You see, this afternoon by our reckoning, we shot down their spy balloon over the coast of South Carolina after it had traveled from Alaska through Canada into Montana and across our country over our most important nuclear military bases. All of the data it gleaned was immediately sent back to the CCP. Mission accomplished.

Fact is, the balloon should’ve been shot down as soon as it entered U.S. airspace in Alaska, somewhere on remote land where the pieces might have been able to be put back together before rotting in salt water like they are now.

But it’s not just the surveillance data. The travels of the balloon showed the Biden administration and our military decision-making to be slow and ineffective. That fact is a treasure trove to the Chinese. Again, we knew the balloon was coming and we should’ve shot it down as soon as we could have.

Another calamitous failure of the feckless Biden administration and his woke-hobbled military.

Gary Marsh, Estero

Balloon incident showed U.S. weakness

U.S. military intelligence analysts seem to have been surprised that a gimlet-eyed citizen in Billings, Montana noticed a strange object in the sky that turned out to be a Chinese spy balloon. They shouldn’t have been if they had read the ancient Chinese military strategist Sun Tzu’s "The Art of War." His thoughts and philosophy have guided Chinese military philosophy for centuries.

For Sun Tzu, war is fought strategically and critically psychologically. For the followers of Tzu and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), the “supreme act of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.”

The recent Chinese spy balloon incident was a test, a deception that posed a question: how prepared was the U.S. to react to a technology (balloons) that was ironically first used by the Chinese in warfare? The CCP learned a lot, not about our military bases — that wasn’t their intent — but how the U.S. would respond. The answer: not well it seems. Why would we tolerate a spy vehicle transiting Alaska, Western Canada and the continental U.S. before finally responding?

Our political leaders should brush up on their Sun Tzu and be frightened that he wrote: “strike at what is weak.”

And, as this spy balloon debacle demonstrated, the U.S. is certainly weak.

James F. Lally, Naples

Military leaders should resign

I am just a simple civilian however, I do not understand how a Chinese balloon the size of three buses can be undetected by our military until it gets over our air base in Montana. I’m sure glad that we have spent billions of dollars on sophisticated weapons and detection systems for our military.I also feel so safe, knowing that our generals are hesitant to use any weapons to shoot down possible threats because of the possibility of falling debris on civilians on the ground. I can’t wait until China or North Korea send missiles over our airspace and we hesitate to retaliate or destroy them because we don’t want to have any shrapnel to harm us!What a joke our military leaders are. They should all be ashamed and resign immediately.

Daniel Voss, Naples

Post-hurricane frustration

The lives of Southwest Floridians were destroyed by Ian on Sept. 28. Then SB 2-A was hastily passed on Dec. 14 and has proven to be even more lethal than either Ian or Nicole.The insurance companies are taking full advantage of the powers bestowed on them and as a result, no one is seeing payment for the damages they incurred unless they hire a public adjuster. So, policyholders first pay a huge deductible of $5,000 or more and then they lose an additional 10% of the cost of the damage -- not to mention depreciation or any other loopholes the insurance companies find to not restore homeowners to pre-hurricane status. We have already waited four months and have yet to be compensated. Hurricane season 2023 is only three months away and we have no way to recover!Meanwhile, we have heard Casey DeSantis raised $41 million for hurricane victims, yet the governor only released $5 million to help a handful of residents with their deductibles. If the state has a huge surplus (as we have been told), why is all this money being earmarked for two additional state jets and an additional $12 million further funding the illegal resident flight fund (bringing the total to $24 million). As taxpayers, this state’s only priority should be to Florida's citizens!

Marilyn Foley, Punta Gorda

Unwelcome intrusion on girls' privacy

Good morning Florida. When I woke up Friday, I was greeted by this headline in the Tampa Bay Times:Florida Athletes May Have To Report Menstrual HistoriesSeriously? I thought. So, in our Free State, where individual rights are purportedly protected, the most intimate details of teenage girls' bodily functions may have to be submitted to the Florida High School Athletic Association.According to the West Palm Beach Post, questions on the topic which were optional in the past would now be mandatory. It appears a measure that invades the privacy of young American women and girls may be put into place in an effort to identify 0.003 percent of the population.As if this is not troubling enough in its own right, it fails to take into account that it is not uncommon for athletic girls to experience amenorrhea.According to nationwidechildren.org as well as many other sources:Many things can cause menstrual dysfunction. Any changes in normal hormone levels can lead to menstrual dysfunction, especially in athletes. This can be caused by overtraining, stress, dieting and weight loss. Typically, menstrual dysfunction occurs when the amount of energy used by athletes exceeds the amount of energy taken in through nutrition.In addition, kidshealth.org states:Girls who are very athletic might not get their period until they stop exercising or competing so vigorously. Severe stress or some illnesses also can delay menstruation.Aside from an invasive policy, targeting young women and girls, which is reason enough to object, it fails to recognize a major confounding variable for this specific population, young female athletes.Susan Kaercher Meyers, Naples

Where does dictatorial behavior stop?

Discrimination based on the hue of epidermal pigmentation is just plain hateful and wrong. But, unfortunately, it is as common as your contractor not returning your phone call, a car running a red light, or a dog owner bringing the pet to dinner. However, if everyone was of the same epidermal pigment there are those who would simply find other reasons to hate and discriminate. They could hate you for your height, shoe size, hair color, age, etc.

Unfortunately, for many, this philosophy hasn’t changed much over the years and it’s not likely to change much more, especially in the “free” state of Florida. Florida has a governor who supports this philosophy and does everything he can to promote it.

As a child I complained about having to learn history in school. Why waste my time learning about what has already transpired? Fortunately, my teachers and parents were quick to straighten me out. They taught me that a look back would give perspective on what could happen in the future. And, it was especially important to learn about uncomfortable history (such as discrimination) and how it came about in order to do whatever is required to mitigate repetition.

This brings me back to the gov. and his, so far successful, attempts to suppress any history he feels would make impressionable students feel uncomfortable, discrimination being his main target. Sure, learning about discrimination is uncomfortable, but so is algebra! I don’t see the gov. banning that! Obviously, he doesn’t want students to learn the history of discrimination so it can propagate unencumbered.

Unfortunately, it’s apparent that many adults are nothing more than tall children. They are impressionable, gullible, and naive. So, why stop with children, gov? Why not ban things that make adults uncomfortable also. How about a ban on learning about menopause, birth control, hair loss, erectile dysfunction, flatulence, colonoscopies, tooth extractions, and the morning after taco Tuesday? Where does this dictatorial behavior stop?

Jay Custa, Estero

Bi-weekly bashing in letters

I must applaud The News-Press for their bi-weekly bashing of DeSantis and Trump. The editors must have gone above and beyond to choose Saturday's winners. The depth to find Northeast Democrats must be getting easier with thousands of you moving down to the Free State of Florida! What could the attraction be to these minions of high taxes, overcrowding, poor schools, and the worst highways in the U.S.? Please tell me why?

It's easy to answer, sun, water, temps, clean cities, good schools, low / no taxes, and opportunity. So why the hatred? In all the letters, the emotions drive your tale, not facts or even strongly supported opinions. Are you so mad at your voting record of terrible governors, even worse congressmen and women, and the crime and poverty sitting at your feet? Did you not know these failed politicians will come back to raid your pocketbook, vote against your well-being, and treat you as cattle? Seems moving would give you time to reflect and vote for responsible government, balanced budgets, schools that actually teach science and math, and a place where protecting yourself isn't a crime.

So, for next week's bashing, why not try something honest and refreshing? Instead of publishing the hatred spewed by a small number of hypocrites and boobs, publish letters that are honest and inciteful. These new letters will uplift the spirits of Floridians and visitors alike. Let's show the world that Southwest Florida is not the dumping ground for elites and sheep posing as your neighbor.

Jack Holt, Cape Coral

Gross government overreach

Why does the State of Florida, the local athletic director, a coach, and any other person outside of the young woman, her parents, and her health care provider need to know the status of a young athlete’s menstrual cycle? The simple answer is that they don’t.

It is absolutely essential that any student who wishes to participate in high school sports should first have a comprehensive physical examination conducted yearly by a health care provider to ensure their ability to participate in strenuous activity. It is also appropriate for a health care provider to include questions about a young woman’s menstrual history as a part of that physical examination. Where Florida would be overstepping is the proposed requirement that this sensitive, very personal information be shared with ANYONE outside of the health care provider, the parents, and the young woman herself.

This proposed mandate poses a special requirement on young women wishing to participate in sports, opens up our athletes to potential ridicule and abuse, and is a blatant example of gross government overreach.

The only requirement to participate in sports should be the health care provider certifying that a student is healthy enough to participate in the activity.

Kari Lerner, Cape Coral

Pandering to ignorant supporters

Governor Ron DeSantis is always talking about freedom and labels his bills and projects with “freedom.” I see it as only to distract us from the freedoms he is taking away from Floridians. No abortion, no race in history, Don’t Say Gay. NO WOKE! Watch what you say at work, or keep on your bookshelf, especially if you’re a trained teacher as hundreds of books are banned, or GO TO JAIL! Freedom? Remove your mask! Investigate vaccines! Even if 85,000 Floridians died from COVID. The governor’s “shoot from the hip” leadership (no permit required) will also dissolve the Reedy Creek District from Disney, the largest employer in central Florida, possibly increasing the taxes of millions of Floridians as much as 30 percent and possibly saddling them with over $1 billion in debt just because DeSantis didn’t like that Disney was opposed to his discriminatory Don’t Say Gay law. DeSantis wants to bring accountability to the higher education system? He wants to ban Christian values like diversity, equality and inclusion from our education system. Real history like racism and slavery may not be “factual” according to the governor. So, students are NOT FREE to study racism in history. Yet, It is okay for the governor to fire an elected state attorney for comments he made about bills that were not laws yet. So much for the First Amendment. What the state needs most is accountability from the governor! Why is he spending $10 million on election integrity when there is no evidence of election fraud? Why is he flying legal immigrants from Texas to another state with our tax dollars? ($12 million) DeSantis isn’t here for Florida. He’s working hard to be the “Golden Boy” for the Republican Party. Floridians haven’t the time or money to allow an elected official (unknown only a few years ago) to pander to his uneducated ignorant supporters at the risk of the State of Florida’s established institutions and laws to support his political ambitions. He is a danger to the institution of democracy!

Oh! One last thing. Don’t forget to send in your teenage daughter’s menstrual information, or she can’t play sports. FREEDOM!

Brad Turek, Cape Coral

Indoctrination by omission

Gov. DeSantis recently signed a bill into law criminalizing school instruction that might cause a person “by virtue of his or her race, color, sex, or national origin,…[to] … feel guilt, anguish, or other forms of psychological distress because of actions, in which the person played no part, committed in the past by other members of the same race, color, national origin, or sex.” (Florida Statute 1000.05(4)(a)7)

Suppose Gov. DeSantis were to sign into law legislation prohibiting schools from teaching that white Christians were instrumental in the murder of millions of Jews, Roma people, gays, political prisoners and others during WWII or that Turks committed genocide against Armenians one hundred years ago or that Hindus massacred Muslims in India, because such instruction might offend people who are white Christians or of Turkish or Hindu backgrounds. Teachers should not fear that simply teaching historical truth will put them at peril, because some students might feel uncomfortable at what is being taught.

Another new Florida state law (Florida Statute 1006.28) also signed by the governor, now requires all books in classroom and school libraries to be approved by a media specialist or librarian, but the law has caused so much chaos that, according to the Miami Herald, the school district in Manatee County is “relying on community volunteers to come into classrooms and start checking books.”) A certified teacher has no say in the vetting process, but some folks have pressured schools into banning many books that are not pornographic.

Why should a minority of narrow minded and fearful people get to decide what is and what can’t be taught in our schools by our certified teachers? Why are people so afraid of being challenged by the truth and different ideas which benefit from being openly discussed?

The governor says he’s against indoctrination, but aren’t his “educational” policies really meant instead to indoctrinate by omission, a narrower and less truthful view of history and life?

Barry Fulmer, Fort Myers

Lake Trafford best for gator viewing

I have enjoyed observing the gators at many of the places you mentioned in your story of Feb. 4. I particularly enjoy taking a leisurely trip around the Loop Road while keeping an eye out for Burmese pythons at the same time. But I must point out that the best place in the area for watching gators, by far, is Lake Trafford in Immokalee. On a warm day, you could see as many as a hundred gators during an hour-long boat ride around the lake.

Joe Emerson, Fort Myers

This article originally appeared on Fort Myers News-Press: Letters to the editor for Wednesday, February 8, 2023