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Since Omar Alansari-Kreger insists on bringing the Jews (and Israel, of course) into his commentary on the First Amendment and the near-murder of Salman Rushdie by a fanatic ("Of double standards and 'free speech,'" Opinion Exchange, Aug. 17), I suppose I am entitled to respond in kind to the questions he presents.

What would I do if Rushdie published a work of fiction depicting Hitler as a messiah figure? The same thing I do in response to "The Canterbury Tales," "The Merchant of Venice," "Oliver Twist," or any of the many thousands of books of similar "distaste" written about Jews over the centuries and still published to this day: Read them. Or perhaps simply ignore them, depending on the reviews. But I would never suggest that a book's publication be curtailed lest it "incite backlashes," or that its mere words would keep entire countries in a "developmental backwater." And I certainly would never approve — even tacitly — of any harm on the author of such a book.

It is odd enough that Alansari-Kreger looks to the Jews to support his thesis. But even worse, he draws the entirely wrong lessons.

Judah Druck, St. Louis Park


I want to talk about Alansari-Kreger and his piece in which he can't understand why Salman Rushdie gets away with what he does.

Do I think Rushdie is correct in his musings? No, and I have always denounced offensive material that crosses the line, although I believe it is important to talk about risky subjects because otherwise we are trapped in rigid thinking.

It's using threats of fear and intimidation and the push for violence that are absolutely unacceptable. That is what is so scary. That is why the attack on Rushdie deserves condemnation. It is the same reason why the Jan. 6 incident from 2021 deserves condemnation. It's why the riots in Minneapolis in 2020 after the death of George Floyd deserve condemnation. It's why the protest at Bob Kroll's house when he was president of the police union, where protesters smashed an effigy of him, deserves condemnation. It's why the mob that trapped City Council Member Andrea Jenkins in her car while harassing and mocking her deserves condemnation. It's why any threats or attacks on any person for their personal religious beliefs or political beliefs deserve condemnation.

That is why people are condemning what happened to Rushdie. It is not because we believe what he says is correct. It is because when people use violence and intimidation to get what they want or to make their message the only one that's acceptable, it has to be denounced.

William Cory Labovitch, South St. Paul


Alansari-Kreger asks whether "it is truly responsible to incite backlashes from people when exploiting free speech to attack [Muslims'] important beliefs, teachings and traditions ... ." If (as Alansari-Kreger apparently believes) free speech should be abridged in order to avoid inciting "backlashes" from the offended, all of our First Amendment rights are in jeopardy.

Peter D. Abarbanel, Apple Valley


A primer on where we are

It seems the truth often gets lost in the political rhetoric. I would like to present the law and facts in a manner that can be understood related to the recent search warrant served on former President Donald Trump and his lawyers and the search of Trump's home.

The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution does not allow the United States government to conduct "unreasonable searches and seizures." In other words, there must be probable cause, meaning reasonable grounds to suspect a crime or property connected with a crime.

The Department of Justice and the FBI did not have the authority to do a search of former Trump's home without the signed approval by a federal judge or magistrate. Judges and magistrates do not sign warrants for political reasons.

If the Department of Justice or FBI fail to provide the required information for a search warrant, any evidence found with the warrant is not admissible in court.

The Department of Justice and the FBI did provide the requirements of a search warrant that met probable cause requirements.

The search warrant must also specifically state the place intended to be searched and what the Department of Justice and FBI are looking to find with the search warrant.

A search warrant was used in former President Donald Trump's case when the Department of Justice and the FBI had to move quickly on a criminal investigation where U.S. government documents were on Trump's private property and could be in danger of being moved, concealed, shared or destroyed.

The Presidential Records Act of 1978 legally establishes that the records found at Mar-a-Lago are United States government property and not the former president's property. It is not legal for these government records to be stored at Mar-a-Lago.

Notably, this search warrant had nothing to do with the 2020 election, the insurrection, tax evasion and other legal claims against Trump. It had to do with classified documents including some that are "top secret."

Notably, government documents were previously removed from Mar-a-Lago in June 2022 using a grand jury subpoena. One of Trump's attorneys also certified there were no more government classified records stored at Trump's Mar-a-Lago residence.

Notably, it has been reported that the FBI agents involved in the August 2022 Mar-a-Lago search warrant removed 11 sets of classified documents, some of which were marked "top secret."

It is possible that Trump will be charged with crimes under the Espionage Act or another of the statutes cited in the Department of Justice warrant.

Nancy Lee Nelson, St. Paul

The writer is an attorney.


It sure feels like the law has finally caught up with Trump. Could it be the beginning of the end for him? The big one, of course, is the DOJ looking at Espionage Act violations. We also have Congress looking at the Jan. 6 attack. Then there's Georgia election interference, the New York civil fraud case and the Manhattan District Attorney fraud case. With all these, I think 76-year-old Trump is scared and may be starting to lose it. I can imagine him wandering the halls of Mar-a-Lago doing his best Norma Desmond impression, screaming, "I am big! It's the pictures that got small."

Beth Doty, Minneapolis


With hospitals' many breaks, they should be able to make this work

Just as a recent letter writer declared that he stands with Minnesota's nurses against the hospitals that oppress them, I, too, am on the side of nurses ("High time to fix this mess," Readers Write, Aug. 17). I, too, demand that hospitals put patients before profits. I called my Ramsey County tax assessor to discover that Allina's United Hospital in downtown St. Paul does not pay property tax. So I, along with the other property taxpayers in our county, are subsidizing that hospital — whose estimated market value in 2021 was over $134 million — with funds that ought to be paid this year by United but are not because United is classified as a charitable hospital. "Charitable hospital," eh? That may not sound accurate to the nurses who are poised to walk out of there because the "charitable" management callously puts them and their patients at bodily risk of harm! I stand with the nurses who naysay the uncharitable conditions at that, and similar, Minnesota hospitals.

For accountability, tax and otherwise, from health care honchos,

Diane J. Peterson, St. Paul


As a registered nurse who worked at the same hospital for 36 years, for 75,000 hours, I am done. Never in my career have I felt so incredibly disrespected and devalued as I have during this negotiation ("Minnesota nurses authorize strike," Aug. 17). It truly saddens me that the hospital thinks so little of its nurses and the patients that we care for. I am leaving because my values no longer align with the hospital; it has lost its soul.

Jeanne E. Kenady, St. Louis Park