Regarding "Biden's on-target message on Russia" (editorial, Sept. 22): The Russians are definitely not bluffing on this escalation of the Ukrainian conflict. They have more nuclear weapons than any other nation on Earth. They know the meaning of suffering garnered from centuries of successfully fighting and defeating invaders — most recently the Nazis.
The West needs to acknowledge its role in fomenting this crisis with the Maidan coup/putsch of 2014 and NATO's relentlessly provocative behavior against Russia since the fall of the Berlin Wall. We need to backtrack from marching toward total war with the largest nation on Earth that has the most natural resources. We are yet one more step closer to World War III, which no one will win and we will lose. I'm sorry for what is happening in Ukraine but it is not worth dragging the U.S. (which is suffering from myriad domestic problems, like inflation), down into an unwinnable conflict that will collapse our economies and possibly destroy all humanity.
Michael Pravica, Henderson, Nev.
The thing the media seems to ignore is that all or most of the countries that were previously under the Soviet umbrella could only be kept in the union under force. These countries have opted to be independent, to the extent some are willing to join NATO or go to war with Russia rather than live under Russian rule again. Russian President Vladimir Putin has to keep a gun to the heads of other countries in his effort to "rebuild" the USSR. To ensure they don't leave, he's willing to bomb them back to the stone age to prevent them from leaving (see Chechnya). As casualties increase, it's likely Russian citizens will also turn against him. The fact that he is recruiting prisoners should speak volumes. Ukraine will require billions to rebuild. Who will pay? It will either be a huge financial burden to Russia, or an economic dead weight for years to come. Either way, any country that has to forcibly keep member states under force of military threat will never be a serious global power.
Keith Bogut, Lake Elmo
Just wait a few years, and you'll see
I kind of want to cut out Daryl Cagle's cartoon in Friday's paper (showing two eye-rolling people in a car plugged into a wall outlet and getting to the end of cord) and beam myself forward 10 or 15 years to see the shortsightedness of today's cynics. If you just replace the image of the car with one of a computer from the 1980s or, better yet, of a phone from the early 1990s, you'll see my point. A search of political cartoon archives would likely find similar jabs at innovations such as motorized cars during the horse and buggy era. Or, "What good are those dang flying machines anyway — if God meant for us to fly he'd have given us wings!" Apparently it's upsetting for some to accept the new world of advanced tech.
And, yes, I still read on the printed page.
Neil Robinson, Plymouth
We drive a non-Tesla electric vehicle with 222 miles range on a full charge from our reliable garage charger. Recently we took a trip from the metro area to Duluth for two days and nights, but left our EV at home because we cannot trust public chargers for the reasons Lonnie McQuirter cites ("Don't hand Xcel the Minneapolis EV charging marketplace," Opinion Exchange, Sept. 14).
Over the 18 months we've leased our EV, I have found that non-Tesla public chargers have no support from host properties. Once when a charger failed to handshake with my EV's battery software I did get free remote override by calling the phone number on the public charger, but that should not be necessary.
Our internal combustion engine (ICE) rental car and gas cost us $430. It was work to drive compared to our EV. The pickup by comparison was nonexistent, and acceleration was drive-by-wire (which means delayed) at precisely the times we needed it most (during zipper merging, for example). One premium gas pump did fail but an attendant immediately came out to solve the problem.
I will never own another ICE car, but I will also never take my EV out of range until the ubiquitous public charger problems are eliminated so that public chargers match the reliability of gas station fuel pumps.
Mathews Hollinshead, St. Paul
Keep the pressure on it, Fed
Even with inflation running at 40-year highs, there is a growing chorus from industry leaders and Wall Street veterans, including Elon Musk, Cathie Wood and Jeffrey Gundlach, for the Federal Reserve to reverse its policy prescription of higher rates to combat inflation. Given the often long lead times to their policy actions, they argue that the Fed is increasing the probability of a recession or hard landing, even risking deflation in the near term.
With real short-term rates still significantly negative and an unemployment rate at 3.7%, a historic low, the Federal Reserve should maintain its course of higher rates, even if it triggers a decline in asset prices in the near term. Inflation is still rising month over month, albeit at a slower pace, in part because of commodity price deflation driven by the strengthening U.S. dollar. A move by the Fed to lower rates would increase asset prices, weaken the dollar and put upward pressure on commodity prices, adding fuel to an already hot inflationary fire.
The Fed's dual mandate of a stable currency and full employment will sometimes create a tug of war between those who want higher asset prices and those who cannot tolerate the inflation high asset prices can create. I hope that the Federal Reserve will continue to prioritize price stability and the vast majority of Minnesotans who are seeing their purchasing power erode with each trip to the grocery store.
Carl Mariano, Wayzata
In response to the consistent effort to paint the party running our country right now in the best light possible, please consider that the Star Tribune print headline about the inflation poll, instead of stating "Majority say inflation isn't undue stress on household" (Sept. 22) could have said "84% households feel stress from inflation." Your colors are showing again.
Jim Sakara, Bloomington
Who is fooling who? ("Majority say inflation isn't undue stress on household.")
Inflation is indeed causing "undue stress" and misery to most of the population.
It is a matter of degree. Costs of automobiles, homes, mortgages, food, education entertainment, health, child care interest on loans, etc., continue to rapidly increase.
For short-term and long-term savings, the money is now worth less. Inflation has caused a dramatic decline in the stock market. Those stocks in real dollar value are now even worth less.
It is the level of misery that is different. Those in the middle and lower class are hurt the most. It reinforces the digital divide and the haves and have-nots. The upper class can absorb inflation much easier but even then suffer some misery. Most should be able to attain the American dream, not just a top percentage of society. Inflation also affects the young — it is making us so much more difficult for them to realize that dream.
Say inflation is reduced to 3%. That still leaves in place the prices of past inflation. The misery of inflation is upon most of us. I implore our leaders to address this.
Gordon Hayes, Eagan