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Public unaware of Mueller investigation facts

Editor, The Beacon:

This afternoon, I heard stunning information from a recent poll: 59 percent of Americans believe that Bob Mueller’s investigation has run for too long, and that thus far he has obtained zero indictments and zero convictions to show for his work.

The truth? Mueller has obtained indictments of four former Trump advisers, 13 Russian nationals, three Russian companies, one California man, and one London-based lawyer whose wife is Russian.

Five of these people (including three former Trump aides) have already pleaded guilty, and one has already gone to jail.

As to Mueller’s investigation having continued for too long, consider this: (a) The Watergate investigation lasted more than four years; (b) Iran-Contra, almost seven years; (c) Whitewater, seven-and-a-half years; and (d) breaking Valerie Plame’s cover as a CIA agent, just over three years.

And Mueller’s investigation? A smidgen past one year! Not three years; not four years; not seven years. Just one.

No “liberal spinning” or misdirection here. The dates when investigations began and ended are a matter of public record. And the number of indictments, convictions or guilty pleas, and prison sentences are also a matter of public record.

How can so many decent, intelligent Americans be so profoundly clueless? Clueless about a sequence of crimes unfolding right in front of them, a sequence that might very well destroy our democracy and leave us with oligarchy or autocracy?

Psychological factors like “confirmation bias,” motivated reasoning, and framing play a significant role, of course. But I’d like to add two additional, “common-sensical” perspectives.

First, you can’t know facts you’ve never heard or read–or, even worse, facts replaced by a campaign of deliberate lies. For example, if you get your information strictly from Fox and conservative talk radio, you’ll hear a steady stream of conspiracy theories and nonsense. If you do hear the truth, it will be distorted or presented as an object of mockery.

Second, if you read or hear multiple sources of information, you have a chance … or would have if those waters hadn’t already been poisoned. This afternoon, I heard Leslie Stahl tell about having been with Donald Trump in his office, no cameras and no microphones. She asked him off the record why he continually attacked the press with charges he knew were nonsense.

“You know why I do it?” he said. “I do it to discredit you all and demean you all so that when you write negative stories about me no one will believe you.”

Why does this matter? Republican Sen. Jeff Flake made it clear in his remarks at the Harvard Law graduation: “Our presidency has been debased by a figure who has a seemingly bottomless appetite for destruction and division and only a passing familiarity with how the Constitution works.”

Facing that kind of person, a gullible or ill-informed populace will have no chance of saving our democracy.

Wayne Dickson


Saving Earth may require ditching those disposable plates and cups

Editor, The Beacon:

Do you want the grandchildren of your grandchildren to be able to inhabit the Earth? 

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, producing polystyrene foam [often, and often mistakenly, referred to as Styrofoam] utilizes chlorofluorocarbons, which eat away at the ozone layer protecting our planet.

And, it takes between 500 years and forever for a polystyrene cup to decompose, according to sciencelearn.org.

Some scientists estimate that polystyrene foam does not decompose at all in the environment. It is made of polymer beads that are resistant to a process of photolysis, a chemical process in which molecules are broken down into smaller bits through the exposure to light.

Unfortunately, polystyrene foam contains benzene and styrene, which scientists have discovered to cause cancer. According to a 1986 EPA report, the production of polystyrene foam is the fifth-largest creator of hazardous waste in the United States.

Do you want the planet to be uninhabitable in a million years?

Cynthia J. Kuest


Weather delays? Really?

Editor, The Beacon:

The still-under-construction Marriott continues to elicit comments both pro and con, and following the recent arrival and departure of hundreds of baseball fans (the vast majority of whom found accommodations in Orange City, Lake Mary, Daytona Beach, etc.), the principals are bemoaning lost revenue due to the multiple and extensive downtimes experienced over the course of the past two years of construction.

One does marvel, however, at the apparent lack of efficiency on the part of the developer, when compared to the roughly 16 months it took 75 or 85 years ago to do site prep, construct and furnish both the Empire State Building (January 1930-May 1931) and the Pentagon (September 1941-January 1943).

Citing “weather delays” is about as lame an excuse as “the dog ate my homework,” considering neither snow nor ice nor frigid conditions came into play.

On a positive note, the awning looks nice, the colors really aren’t that bad, and I’m sure the elevators will function properly.

Carter Smith


Wishes more people had read students’ letters

Editor, The Beacon:

My applause to Donna Meeks and her students whose letters were recently published in The Beacon. It was enlightening and refreshing to read their letters to the editor.

We adults forget at times that our tweens and young teens have sincere, thoughtful and meaningful opinions. After all, their thoughts today could be a preview of our future.

It’s a shame, however, that their letters were published in the midweek edition of The Beacon. Too many readers will not enjoy them. Lots of us subscribers now just toss that edition since its format was changed.

Thanks again, Ms. Meeks and class, for your efforts. I’m sorry that your efforts didn’t get the exposure that you deserved.

Paul Marcinuk


Loved youth letters

Editor, The Beacon:

I totally loved reading the Youth Opinions in the recent edition of The Beacon. All these young folks deserve praise for their courage and their well-written letters. Some of you made me tear up with what you said about the animals and the environment, etc.

On a personal level, I was deeply touched by the words of Evan Quinones. To hear a young man say to the public that not all disabilities are visible at first glance, so people should be more tolerant of the needs of others, made me feel a bit less lonely.

Yes, young folks, older folks get sad too, get frustrated too, and it helps some of us to hear what you are saying, for it reminds us we are not alone in our disability or our love of animals or the environment, etc.

God bless all you beautiful young people, for your words are more inspirational than you know, and the hope that resides in your hearts has given me and others a boost of energy that has helped to renew our spirits and our optimism for the future.

Samuel McIlrath

New Smyrna Beach