Letters to the editor – March 29th, 2017

Published 7:26 pm Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Reason behind the ban

Editor, Smithfield Times

So much has been written about the President’s two attempts to impose a ban on travel from Muslim nations that it’s probably an act of arrogance on my part to add to the pile. But, to the best of my knowledge, no pundit has yet told us the real motivation for the attempted travel ban. Here is my guess.

I think Trump probably knows that keeping refugees out and forbidding visitors from seven, now six, Muslim nations will have little if any effect in preventing future terrorist attacks. Federal judge Watson, in issuing the restraining order blocking the ban, noted a “dearth of evidence indicating a national security purpose.”

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So, what’s the real reason? Trump’s core supporters, unhappy whites living in poor neighborhoods, have complained bitterly about being overwhelmed by the large number of strangers from Mexico, Africa and the Middle East being settled in their midst. They feel the new immigrants are the wrong color, practice the wrong religion, or speak the wrong language to fit in.

Trump won the election by promising these marginalized natives a better life. He has pledged to stand by his promises. But he knows that any relief coming from his border wall, renegotiated trade treaties, trickle-down tax cuts, or junking regulations will be uncertain at best and slow to arrive. He needed to find a tangible reward very quickly. Stopping all refugees for 120 days and all travel from certain Muslim-majority countries for 90 days was the one popular action he could do immediately.

Trump’s executive order seems to have been fleshed out by his political strategy advisors, not his national security team. They apparently dreamed up the notion that any new immigrants would include violent terrorists in order to make the new policy sound plausible. Ethnic cleansing and religious discrimination are difficult propositions to defend, but who could be against enhanced safety for the american people?

Bob Waxham

History preserved

Editor, Smithfield Times

Newspapers are primary sources for historical research and contribute much to our understanding of times fast slipping away. Isle of Wight County and the town of Smithfield owe John and Anne Edwards and The Smithfield Times a debt of gratitude for not only preserving copies of the paper from 1928 to 2013 but also for making them available through a searchable digital database that provides access anytime, anywhere through the internet.

We are fortunate to have this record of our history preserved and accessible for any and all users and to have a newspaper editor and staff who care enough to write about and preserve the record of our life and times.

Carolyn A. Keen
Isle of Wight Historical Society 

Will vote for Alphin

Editor, Smithfield Times

Call it what you will: a sign from above, Kismet, karma or Divine Intervention, but it was experienced the day that this letter is being written.

Reading the 6 inch by 11 inch postcard mailed by the Rex Alphin for House of Delegates campaign, and already knowing of his commitment to good government as a member of the Isle of Wight County Board of Supervisors, it was decided that he would get this person’s vote in the Republican Primary to be held on June 13, and again garner this person’s vote in the General Election.

There ensued a search for a postcard to mail to him, on which it was planned to state: “Thanks for running for the House of Delegates. Good luck! I plan to vote for you.”

Suddenly, my wife said: “There’s someone at the door.”

At the door was a charming lady. Imagine my amazement upon learning it was Rex Alphin’s wife, campaigning for him! It was a delight to meet her, and after she summoned him, I had the honor of meeting Supervisor Alphin in person, for the first time.

We had a brief conversation, and while it would have been a pleasure to talk with them more, I paraphrased a few lines from a Robert Frost poem: “But you have promises to keep, and miles to go before you sleep, and miles to go before you sleep.”

Knowing him to be a fine writer (as well as a committed and conscientious public servant) from reading his excellent book, “The Nature of Things” and his well-thought-out letters to The Smithfield Times, it was rightfully assumed that he would appreciate the reference.

So, if I may, I will repeat what I was going to write to him: “Thanks for running for the House of Delegates. Good luck! I plan to vote for you.”

Allan C. Hanrahan

A ‘thank you’ for ‘no’ votes

Editor, Smithfield Times

Thank you to all the Virginia members of Congress who promised to vote against the House health bill. The bill would have forced devastating health care cuts that would have hurt Virginia’s children, seniors and working families who benefit from provisions the existing Affordable Care Act.”

Now is the time for legislators to get to work on solving the real health care problems. Congress needs to make reforms to strengthen and improve the Affordable Care Act. The Virginia General Assembly should draw down all of the federal Medicaid to expand healthcare in Virginia to 400,000 more citizens.

The Virginia Interfaith Center organized several prayer vigils last Wednesday afternoon at local offices of members of Virginia’s Republican Congressional delegation in advance of a scheduled vote on the American Heath Care Act. The House leadership delayed the vote until Friday, then pulled the legislation entirely. 

While the Affordable Care Act is not perfect, it did help millions of poor Americans be able to afford health insurance. The Center opposes the idea of “repeal and replace” proposal because it:

• Would reduce support for low-income people getting healthcare;

• Undermine the social safety net;

• Jeopardize the Virginia state budget, as the states will be required to pick up the funding difference.

Kim Bobo
Executive Director
Virginia Interfaith Center

Backing Alphin

Editor, Smithfield Times

I would like to take the opportunity and privilege to express my thoughts on Rex Alphin running for the 64th District in the House of Delegates. I have known Mr. Alphin my whole life and have always known him to be an honest, earnest and very trustworthy man. Of course, we should expect that of every man who aspires to political office and he delivers that and much more.

As a fellow farmer, I have seen firsthand how he has used his practical common sense and has demonstrated his ability to adapt to changing business times. A good example of such is when several years ago grain prices were low and margins of profit even tighter, he literally walked the grain off his farm in little piglets. Actually he drove them off in a converted school bus. He bought a hardware store in Windsor and turned it into a customer service first oriented business that continues to thrive with new owners.

Another character trait that is rarely seen in politics today is his meekness. In today’s society meekness is often confused with weakness. In case you didn’t know, being meek is having strength in reserve. A wise man will never reveal his full capacity until a situation calls upon its need. I have no doubt if elected he will use his wisdom, experience and knowledge in representing the people, all the while remaining true to his values that he has consistently demonstrated his whole life.

I can’t help but to think that he is the type of man that the framers of our government had in mind when they laid the foundation of our government. A man driven to office not for power but the chance to represent what his constituents think and diligently pursuing that while remaining firm in his values and convictions. Let us put this man in office so he may be a voice in Richmond that reminds our legislators that the government is of the people, and that this is what the 64th District thinks.

John Byrum

Pipeline opponent

Editor, Smithfield Times

Natural gas is 95 percent methane and extremely flammable. It is a vapor not a liquid. Methane is colorless, odorless, tasteless and nearly 100 percent combustible.

It is too expensive to add the safety odorants tert-butylthiol and mercaptan to the high speeding vapor adding the rotten egg smell that alerts one to danger.

The rural routes for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline [ACP] and the Mountain Valley Pipeline [MVP] are the only routes possible because of the danger of explosions. Both pipelines are not allowed by federal law to be near highly populated areas and major highways.

Reflect, we don’t matter because we live in the country?

Every twenty miles along the route there would be a cutoff valve, automatically shut down magically by computer in Clarksburg, W.Va. when a leak was detected.

Realize that this leak that is from 12 to 26 feet underground and the methane is expanding into the ground and ground water and air. Might not be your problem actually, for you probably won’t wake up if you are within a mile of the explosion that occurred well after the initial leak.

There is an eight-minute response window for methane explosions. Our local volunteer fire departments are neither trained nor have the equipment (space suits) to put out a vapor fire. There have been absolutely no responsible actions planned for the safety and wellbeing of the citizens affected along the two proposed routes.

There were six pipeline leaks in the USA in January, two in February. Our lives will be in permanent danger.

Lauren D. Ragland
Green Bank, W.Va.

An Alphin backer

Editor, Smithfield Times

I am writing to endorse Rex Alphin for the office of delegate to the State Assembly from the 64th District. As an agri-businessman, Rex has served as director of the Virginia Crop Improvement Association, is the past chair of the local Southern States Board, has spent eight years on the Virginia Pork Industry Board, including three as its chair, and has been on the Isle of Wight Planning Commission for four years. In 23011, Rex was elected to the Isle of Wight Board of Supervisors and is serving out his sixth year on the board (the past two years as chairman).

Raised in Isle of Wight County, it is his belief that “to represent a people well, one must know those people; and to know a people, one must live amongst them; and to live amongst them is to love them.”

He also has ties to Suffolk, being an active member of a church and having family living there. I have sat under his teaching and participated in a home fellowship group and know that he holds truth in high regard.

Rex has a servant’s heart. He will not seek to promote himself, but rather he will promote those institutions and values that the people of Western Tidewater hold dear. He will support educational opportunity with parental choice, more vocational training, stronger K-12 and higher education. He will seek to balance the state budget, cut wasteful spending and keeep Virginia taxes among the lowest in the nation. He will defend the Second Amendment and vote pro-life.

He is honest, reliable and believes in a government living within its means. With proud enthusiasm, I support Rex Alphin as the Republican Party’s candidate for delegate to the State Assembly.

Kimberly Stone

Not happy with banks

Editor, Smithfield Times

Thomas Williams reported Thursday that we used a $3 million missile to shoot down a $200 drone and wrote, “No wonder this country is bankrupt!”

He went on to give a bloody bunch of news we do not hear from our boob tube news media. It makes us sick how badly our country has slipped and fallen in our morals, behavior and position in the world! We don’t listen to the news media any longer.

Thomas said, “In 2016, over-draft fees from banks totaled a whopping $33.3 billion in one year and nobody reigns them in!  Banks have NO money. It is our money. We access our money at the ATM and they charge us fees on our own money! This is the madness we tolerate from banks,” he said, “and this … has to stop!  These same people loan our money and then they get bailed out over and over!”

The whole world is under the banksters control! Thomas Williams tells it like it is. For God sake, wake up! Put down that bloody phone and do some research! We are all on the reservation with our poor relatives, the Indians, who live in third world conditions! 

Linda Steffey