I rise to applaud U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland's naming of Jack Smith as special counsel to lead the ongoing Trump-related investigations ("Special counsel to lead Trump probes," Nov. 19). Smith brings a remarkable record of judicial accomplishment to this difficult task, including having overseen the extraordinary complexity of indictments inside the International World Court in The Hague to rectify the ravages of war crimes in Kosovo, and to thereby ensure the everyday safety of its citizenry. Through this public history, we can discern evidence of Smith as a man who embodies both judicial patience and perseverance — a passion for justice buoyed by the certitude of resilience, as measured in his record of time and time again carrying required justice to its appropriate conclusion.
In making this appointment, Garland sends a clear message to the citizenry of this country, one not to be ignored — that corruption and criminality, whether at the national or international level, will never be tolerated. Moreover, perceived wrongdoing will be examined fully and without favor, as measured by those age-old lead weights swinging backward and forward, tethered to that time-honored scale to which jury members bear witness within each and every American courtroom.
I can think of no more hopeful Thanksgiving message than this — the sun rising on our mutually held blessings, this rich bounty, the visible fruits of American democracy!
Judith Monson, St. Paul
Perhaps the most paradoxical statement in recent memory is Garland's explanation for appointing a special counsel to investigate Donald Trump's keeping government documents at his Mar-a-Lago home and his role in the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol. While he tells us he did so in order to avoid any claim that his Department of Justice's investigations were "motivated by politics," in the same sentence the article says that "Trump's announcement … that he was running for president in 2024, coupled with the possibility that President Joe Biden would also run, prompted [Garland] to take what he described as an 'extraordinary' step."
After the House Select Committee spent almost two years investigating Trump's role in the Jan. 6 riot, including numerous public hearings, it has yet to issue a report or announce findings. Similarly, the FBI has been investigating Trump's potential mishandling of government documents for a number of months. In neither of these investigations has a criminal charge been leveled against Trump. So do we really need to put Americans through what we experienced during the Robert Mueller investigation that lasted two years at a cost of more than $30 million, and resulted in no criminal findings against Trump?
Unless, of course, the purpose of the investigation is to damage Trump's attempt to return to the White House. While that may be a welcome relief to many, I prefer to accomplish that result through the free operation of our political process, without outside interference from any source. That's politics done right.
Ronald Haskvitz, Golden Valley
Well, our unique almost-Supreme-Court-justice and current attorney general has surfaced in a news conference. Do not be shocked that he performs, as usual, in ridiculous fashion about the rule of law.
Talking about a "candidate" running for office as if they cannot be corrupt, dangerous and a thief is difficult to digest. Imagine Al Capone, robbing banks and stealing people's money, decides to run for office and we must leave him alone for the "public interest"? Or, get a special prosecutor to investigate while he is touring the country robbing banks!
Well, there have been sitting congressmen indicted for corruption and we survived for the public good. Mr. AG, there seems to be no rule of law these days. We defy Congress, subpoenas, grand jury testimony, etc. What are you doing as attorney general?
As a lifelong Democrat who has supported candidates at every level since Lyndon B. Johnson, I am thinking of becoming an independent now. I cannot listen to the same verbiage over and over — when nothing happens. The "public" knows very well what has occurred over the past six years and it's not pretty. In fact, there are pretty serious allegations: the emolument clause violated, classified documents stolen, insurrection stoked and elections tampered with is just a small sample.
My faith in the justice system has no floor these days. Therefore, my leaning toward becoming an independent grows by the day. Democrats, beware of the "public interest," as it may kick you in the face.
Paul J. Bartone, Eden Prairie
Child care needs help this session
Everyone in Minnesota, wherever they live, and however they live, deserves access to high-quality child care. Child care is infrastructure — without a safe and reliable place to send children during the day, huge numbers of adults cannot participate in the workforce. It is also education — our brains grow to 80% of their adult size in the first years of life. We need to support children and families during this crucial time of development and adequately compensate the child care workers doing this important work.
The child care system in Minnesota needs and deserves to be publicly funded. At our center, we spend nearly 90% of our tuition on staff salaries and benefits, so we cannot afford higher wages for our staff without pricing families out of care. This leaves us fundraising for things like facility repairs and classroom supplies. We run on incredibly thin margins and struggle to maintain affordability and competitive wages.
We must recognize child care for the public good it is and support the most vulnerable and powerless members of our community, our children. We're counting on the new Minnesota Legislature to lead the way. It has the opportunity to make universal child care, in which every family has access to affordable child care, and teachers earning wages on par with K-12 educators a reality by fully funding child care. It is my greatest hope that we will see action this year. All of our communities will be better for it.
Lily Crooks, Minneapolis
The article "Attorney general: Lunch shaming isn't legal under Minnesota law" (Nov. 19) highlighted that 124 Minnesota school districts have policies in place that appear to violate the state law prohibiting shaming students who are behind in lunch payments. Schools are already weighed down this year by thousands of dollars in unpaid lunch fees and resort to offering "a substandard alternate meal" for needy students, embarrassing them in front of their friends. Thankfully, Keith Ellison wants to make schools step up to follow the law. Yet, we need to solve the larger problem that schools don't have the money to provide for lunches, and too many parents don't either.
Take the budget surplus and pay for meals for all students. No proof of poverty needed, just feed them all and totally eliminate the issue of who is deserving of food and who is not. We all know the link between hunger and school performance. We can't risk losing more of the learning success these kids should be having but lost with the pandemic. To our legislators and Gov. Tim Walz: Use some of our surplus dollars and feed our children!
Mary Susan Brock, St. Paul
It's all been said — but not done
Another day, another mass shooting ("Colorado attack should spark action," editorial, Nov. 22). I cannot fathom the immense heartbreak endured by all the families and friends of people over the last several years who have been injured or killed by gun violence, and not just mass shootings. I cannot suggest a solution to this problem that has not already been suggested. We need change on multiple levels to address our fascination with guns, our access to guns and our problems with gun violence. What I can do is not vote for anyone who does not support gun control. Enough is enough.
Marilyn Condoluci, Crystal