Omaha speaks up: Letters to the editor for the week of Nov. 3, 2023

Gun Rights

Working for Nebraskans

A lot of politicians like to talk about solving problems, but Sen. Pete Ricketts is actually working to solve the border crisis. Immigration seems to be an issue that politicians have gone back and forth on for decades, but I’ve never seen the situation as bad as it is now.

Because of Joe Biden’s failed policies, there are a record number of people coming into our country illegally. Fentanyl from the drug cartels has killed far too many Nebraskans and our country is being overwhelmed by the amount of people who have moved here in the past few years.

We need to get this situation under control, which is why I’m glad Pete Ricketts is actually proposing solutions. His newly released plan to help secure our border is exactly what it’s going to take to address this issue.

Ricketts also visited the border to see the situation firsthand and hear from Border Patrol agents about what Congress should be doing to fix the problem.

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While a lot of politicians talk about getting stuff done, Pete Ricketts is actually working to make it happen. He is representing us well in Washington.

Brandi Burkett, Omaha

Chasing tax cheats

I have just learned that new House Speaker Mike Johnson wants to slash funding to the IRS and use that money to aid Israel. How absurd. To the contrary, they should increase funding to the IRS to collect all the back taxes owed by tax evaders and cheats. That would likely result in enough money for Israel and Ukraine both, as well as important programs at home. It appears that the wealthy tax evaders have been whispering in Mike Johnson’s ear.

Kathy Gruba, Hastings, Neb.

Pillen’s true message

Jim Pillen’s farms are reporting incredibly high levels of cancer-causing nitrates in an area with high levels of breast cancer, brain cancer, and pediatric cancer, and his response is “the author is from Communist China. What more do you need to know?”

Nebraska has the highest rate of cancer in children west of Pennsylvania — what more do you need to know? Pillen’s farms have violated state rules regarding waste control, per the investigation — what more do you need to know? Gov. Pillen is fine using his grandchildren as props in commercials, while there’s a chance his business is poisoning the water of yours — what more do you need to know? Jim Pillen, after his refusal to debate in the race for governor, regularly denies access to public records, and has sidestepped any kind of accountability — what more do you need to know?

Pillen owns several facilities with high levels of nitrates, refuses to answer questions about it despite being an elected official, and everyone is scratching their heads wondering why Nebraska’s best and brightest are leaving this state. What more do you need to know?

Michael Zack, Omaha

Comments draw more attention

I am grateful to Gov. Pillen for his racist remark toward Nebraska journalist Yanqi Xu as it seems to have backfired substantially more than he calculated. Instead of simply dismissing the question and sweeping it under the rug, he has drawn a larger audience toward the report with the inclusion of racism in his response. Hopefully some good can come of this influx of attention to his pollution.

Michael White, Omaha

Same values?

I am writing in response to the Pulse letter “Bacon Falls Short” (Pulse, Oct. 24). My intention is to point out fallacies which continue to appear in some Pulse letters. The author, Robert Anthony, points out that Don Bacon has the audacity to “vote with Democrats” (that is, be bipartisan) and insists that “Nebraskans. . . elect someone who truly represents our state’s values and interests.” While I am not writing to support Don Bacon, I do feel compelled to point out that not all Nebraskans have the same “values and interests.”

Although our state might be stereotyped as homogeneous, Nebraska has an incredible diversity of opinion and modality. We do not all think the same way or vote the same way or value the same things. Our ideologies are often dependent on our personal situations and backgrounds, and opinions are — by nature — subjectively biased. I would challenge any Nebraskan who thinks we all have the same “values” to get out of their familiar social bubbles in order to discover all the variety and walks of life which exist in our state. Nebraska is stronger when we acknowledge our similarities and differences.

Anne Marie Thornton, Papillion

Stop the violence

My message to President Biden & my congressmen:

I urge you to call for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire, de-escalation, and restraint to prevent further civilian harm in Israel and the occupied Palestinian Territories.

Kathleen Hughes, Omaha

Laugh or cry

Like most people, I enjoy a good laugh. Defining what is funny, however, is becoming more and more difficult. The movie “Funny Bones” touched on this as the story of one man’s quest for what is funny. Unfortunately, many witticisms take their humor at someone else’s peril. Watching someone slip on a banana peel has been the long-standing classic image of funny. Those who are less inhibited by social constraints find many more occasions to have a good laugh, as long as no one gets hurt. Social media is flooded with examples of guys crashing motorcycles into ponds, people slipping on icy porches, and cats falling from couches.

If you are old enough to remember vaudeville or a carnival tent show called a 10-in-1, you can appreciate the current sideshow in the House. Watching Republicans try to pick a speaker is worth the dime entry.

The comical antics of sideshow performers are mimicked in Washington D.C. every day. One doesn’t have to be too selective of one’s news sources to get a good view of the performances. One politico attacks another with a virtual pie in the face for our enjoyment. Certainly, there is a little humor in watching Joe Biden falling on the stairs of Air Force One or falling off a bicycle, as long as no one gets hurt. In a 10-in-1 show there is always a bonus called the blow off. The blow off today has to be Biden trying to ban gas stoves. Certainly, many chefs would consider a pie in the face as a just response.

So as a favor to those of us who can watch events that many find disturbing, and get a little chuckle, please keep sending these vaudeville troupes to Washington so we can laugh daily. Because if we don’t, we may just have to cry.

Dennis Stransky, Omaha

Bacon’s no hero

I am tired of reading comments praising Rep. Bacon for not supporting Jim Jordan for speaker of the House. “MAGA” Mike Johnson is no different than Jordan except he wears a suit! When Rep. Bacon takes a stand against Trump, the mob boss cult leader of the Republican Party, I will then give him credit!

Jim Kubik, Omaha

Action and change

Please stop with the “thoughts and prayers” after every mass shooting. Instead, vote out the people who refuse to control weapons of mass destruction. That’s right, I believe that automatic weapons are weapons of mass destruction.

Until those in power relinquish their devotion to the NRA, we will unfortunately see more mass shootings. Thoughts and prayers aren’t working. We need action and change.

Cindy Sass, Omaha

Supporting Biden’s agenda?

In his Oct. 29 Pulse letter, “Violence against Israel”, Preston Love, Jr is quoted as saying in one of the closing paragraphs, ”I stand strong and rebuke the trend in this country towards division, divisiveness, and accompanying violence, one against another.” Good for you, Mr. Love — well-written, concise, and to the heart of the matter.

I do have one question I’d like to ask, if you would allow me to indulge myself. Are you going to support Joe Biden and an agenda that, in my opinion, is destroying family morals, values, the U.S. Constitution, and the fear of God?

Charlie Aliano, Omaha

Praise for letters

Kudos to Kerry Hanson, Barbara Anderson. Leslie Allen and Milton Ebeseu (Pulse, Oct. 26) for calling out the governor for his xenophobic remarks about writer Xanqi Xu. Let’s hope someone reads the letters to him as he seems to avoid any criticism.

Jean Miller, Blair, Neb.

Letting the dust settle

Our House of Representatives has just elected a speaker who has already, in his first week, shown this country that his history of ideals, beliefs and actions are concerning. He is appearing often on a far-right network that survives on rhetoric and a constant flow of misinformation. Hopefully, House representatives will remind him that his role as speaker will be to maintain a consistent and responsible floor that involves the inclusion of all members. His responsibilities are not based on his proposals or demands — it’s about what all members agree, through negotiation and compromise. It’s an environment that commands diplomacy with a sincere desire to maintain our democracy.

His spin on the cause of mass shootings is not only cringe-worthy and ignorant but very, very disturbing. His party has chewed on mental health as the cause for years. And of course mental health is an issue in every country, but they just don’t have mass shootings. And now in D.C., roaming the halls of our Capitol, this House speaker is proclaiming that the cause of mass shootings is “the human heart.” And as usual, “this is not a good time to bring this up,” — the same response from this group of lawmakers after a horrific incident. Again, the thinking is “Let the dust settle — everybody will move on.”

It seems the only message we received from all of this rhetoric is that this individual is also owned by the NRA, like many in this legislative group. Our country is becoming a concern for all of our allies and a display of weakness to our enemies. And yet, these mass shootings just keep on coming.

Kathe Strand, Omaha

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