Watching the reporting on the appointment of a special counsel to lead the Russia inquiry, I was struck by an inconvenient truth. All of President Trump’s flaws, as well as the investigation of former national security adviser Michael Flynn and others, were known during the campaign. While the Russians did everything in their power to influence and disrupt our election, we the people, literate and free-willed, allowed ourselves to be influenced. It was not just Hillary who lost. Democrats lost across the board and in historically blue districts. We, as an electorate, are all complicit. This is not a time for gloating, but for soul-searching. The appointment of a special counsel is a step in the right direction. The rest is up to us to restore our democracy and respect abroad. It starts with repudiation of “reality politics” and influence of money in politics, and respect for the truth.
Steven M. Pine, Hopkins
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From what I read about the special counsel, the media is assuming the focus is on Trump/Russia collusion. This is not correct. The focus is on all matters concerning Russian interference in the 2016 election. That opens it up to such things as: Hillary Clinton collusion; John Podesta collusion; bribes to the Clinton Foundation; illegal surveillance by President Barack Obama and his national security adviser, Susan Rice; illegal leaks to the media, and many other things. I think the Trump/Russia investigation is already over, with no evidence of collusion. If there were any evidence, it surely would have been leaked by now. I predict the Democrats and media will rue the day they pushed for a special counsel.
Bill Howard, Minneapolis
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As a Trump supporter, this is by far the hardest time to stay by the president’s side since he took over as commander in chief. With the James Comey memo, it appears this could very well be the beginning of the end for Donald Trump. We Republicans cannot sit back and watch 2018 and 2020 slip through our hands by having Trump stay in office making a mockery of the legitimacy of our party. An impeachment trial might leave the party stained for a little while, but Republicans would have a far better chance of scraping by with the 2018 and the 2020 elections.
Carson Grand, Eden Prairie
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What possible good can come from the planned Trump trip to the Middle East this weekend? He was quoted in January telling his son-in-law Jared Kushner: “If you can’t produce peace in the Middle East, nobody can.” This improbable prediction was made to Trump’s 36-year-old real-estate developer senior adviser, who does not appear to have experience in diplomacy, let alone in the most intractable conflict in the cradle of Judaism, Islam and Christianity. One can imagine that the Trump administration will be diplomatically outmatched by the Saudis, Palestinians and Israelis. NATO will be prepared for whatever mood strikes Trump that day. The Italians have already done the Berlusconi years, but Pope Francis may show mercy to Trump, who has demonstrated that he possesses the ultimate messiah complex. The one hope for this trip is in the metaphor that if Trump is given enough rope, he will hang himself. For the sake of the future of America, and the world stage on which America plays such a prominent role, there is hope that the inevitable end of the Trump regime will be hastened by this ill-conceived trip.
Richard Cousins, Edina
Some brewing problems are unaddressed, or poorly handled
Interesting that the May 18 paper has an editorial cartoon on household debt, a commentary on housing stability, an article in the Variety section on the split in wealth and opportunity of the millennial generation, a note that household debt is rising, plus the stock market is having wide swings.
Has anyone noticed that there are a huge number of housing foreclosures listed? For the most part these are not million-dollar house loans, but less than $250,000.
Just at the time when we need stability, we have scandal after scandal in Washington. There are a number of elected officials who need to start doing the job they were hired to do. Quit trying to disenfranchise and separate us. The majority expect fairness and opportunity, good public education, and infrastructure that works.
Belinda Flanagan, Bloomington
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What is wrong with this picture? On Page A2 on May 18: “One of the big drivers of the latest debt binge has been student loans.” On page A4: “Education budget to seek $10B in cuts.” Funding for college work-study programs would be cut in half and public-service loan forgiveness would end.
Federal funds should not be shifted to promote school choice while making it harder to afford a college degree. One can only hope Congress gets this right when they have their crack at Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ suggested budget.
Susan Wehrenberg, Apple Valley
Two points: One about fairness, one about neighborhood safety
I never hear the argument that there should not be cars on Nicollet or Stevens avenue given that Interstate 35W is just a few blocks away — yet people make that argument about bike lanes and the Midtown Greenway. Much of the traffic on Blaisdell Avenue originates in downtown Minneapolis, where there is direct access to 35W. Some drivers take 26th Street when they could take I-94. Automobile commuters who choose a “faster route” through residential neighborhoods now, because of bike lanes, respect that neighborhood through slower speeds that reduce the risk of fatalities of those who live, go to school and work there. A win for everyone. Thank you, bike lanes!
Jenny Bordon, Minneapolis
‘KEEP St. PAUL BORING’
Slogan is a suitable play on the original: ‘Keep Austin Weird’
I enjoyed the front-page article on the cleverly ambiguous slogan “Keep St. Paul Boring” and its modest diffusion through T-shirts, bumper stickers and hashtags (“Boring deeper into St. Paul’s appeal,” May 18). I was surprised, however, that the article didn’t acknowledge that the slogan, credited to Nick Hannula, is a playful variation on “Keep Austin Weird.” The original slogan, coined in Texas around the turn of this century and later adopted in Portland and elsewhere, has been used to promote independent businesses, affordable housing, the arts, and other bohemian essentials threatened by likely forces of homogeneity such as gentrification, corporate chains, condominiums, and bars roughly the size of Cleveland, which may or may not be weird. The St. Paul slogan, like “Keep Albany Boring” and other apparently coincidental efforts reported in the article, fits the “Keep [Your City] Weird” ethos to a city whose charms and idiosyncrasies tend to be unassuming. The slogan can of course be understood in various ways, as the article demonstrates, but a note on its lineage might have been clarifying.
Dylan Hicks, Minneapolis
COVERAGE OF WOMEN’S SPORTS
Play it up, lead the way
Over the years, I — and many others — have submitted a number of letters lamenting the Star Tribune’s dearth of coverage of women’s sports, and its tendency to bury what articles there are in “second-class” locations. It has allowed me to express my disappointment in what I believe is a major blind spot in the newspaper’s vision as a leader in sports coverage. Today I am writing to say I have noticed the recent prominent coverage of the Lynx basketball and Minnesota Gophers softball teams. As a sports fan of both men’s and women’s sports, this is refreshing and important. Please keep leading in this way. Society will follow. Thank you.
Neal Hagberg, Minneapolis