Consider Jim Moore for judge

To the editor:

I write this epistle as a relative newcomer since it has been 60 years without writing a recommendation for a candidate for public office.

This is about Jim Moore, a candidate for the regional judgeship for Haywood, Jackson, Macon et al.

Who is Jim Moore, you inquire. He is the man perhaps walking down North Main Street in a conservative suit and tie, perhaps opening a store door for a lady or picking up a piece of trash.

He is a man of the people but perhaps forgetting to announce that he is a candidate for the judiciary. I will announce for him.

I am a bar member since 1963 but do not practice now. Jim has the experience, over 10 years as an assistant district attorney and likewise for his individual practice which includes criminal law. Any period over 10 years we call umpteen up to 50.

He has shown an empathy for those who are caught up in the system, perhaps through ignorance. He is level headed, sympathetic without being naive and not filled up with himself; not pompous.

A man of faith, which is needed in all our institutions; having observed him frequently seeking guidance of the Holy Spirit; I do avow his faith.

We need to be cautious when we, the electors, have an opportunity to select a judge. As you know, the state Governor selects most, which is often not the best for us.

A sound legal background is good for a candidate, but I stress a background in “life.” We need a judge who has met many challenges in his life; dealing with each as important and meriting a decision not only just but one worthy of his office.

Remember that a sitting judge is harder to remove from office than a wild hog in a swamp. I ask for your consideration for Him Moore in this campaign. Any other questions can be answered at the early voting site or the polls. I trust the people of the mountains to choose properly.

K.G. Watson

Maggie Valley

Consider what can be dediced from impeachment hearings

To the editor:

Now that the impeachment and trial are over what do we know for sure? Based on all the evidence and facts presented we know the following four things.

1. The phone call and whistleblower were almost irrelevant in light of the overwhelming evidence that Trump and his minions were engaged in an extortion scheme to defame Joe Biden. Witness after witness added to the facts that multiple people had indicated to the president of Ukraine that he had to announce an investigation of Biden in order to get the military aid that Congress had authorized. It was clear that all they wanted was an announcement of an investigation of Biden and not an actual investigation of corruption in general.

This is no different than a gangster extorting a grocer to pay him if he wanted produce delivered to the grocery. This is extortion. It is not bribery or quid pro quo. It is extortion. Apparently the only reason Trump released the edited version of the phone call was because he thought that extortion was a normal business practice.

2. The freeze on releasing the aid to Ukraine was illegal. This was almost overlooked. The GAO determined that the law passed during the Nixon administration was broken by Trump when he withheld the aid. That law forbade the president from withholding funding that had been appropriated by both houses of Congress. Contrary to the lies and arguments to the contrary, Trump committed the crime of extortion and violated this law.

3. By denying release of any documents and ordering people not to abide by lawful subpoenas, Trump clearly obstructed justice and Congress’ legitimate oversight authority. Republicans and some letter writers try to confuse the process. The House impeachment process is similar to a grand jury where evidence of wrongdoing is explored. The actual trial is in the Senate. What defendant gets to withhold the vast majority of evidence or gets to deny witnesses to testify either before a grand jury or at a trial?

4. Republicans in the Senate are so scared of Trump and his 25 percent of voters who are true believers in the Trump Cult that they will let Trump get away with doing anything. Not allowing witnesses and further evidence made the Senate trial a mockery and travesty. If it was not so serious, it would have been funny seeing Republican senators twisting logic in knots to justify acquittal in light of the obvious and overwhelming facts. From “he learned his lesson” to “he did it, but it’s OK” Senator after Republican Senator tried to justify their votes with the only exception being Mitt Romney, who took his oath before God seriously. All the others had determined their votes before the trial began despite the fact that they took an oath before God to render impartial justice. McConnell and Graham plainly said where they stood even before the impeachment vote was taken.

Those are the things we know. What is this likely to mean? The acquittal has given Trump carte blanch to do whatever he wants. Forget the Constitution and the rule of law. Trump now knows he is above the law, and he is not constrained by the Constitution. Trump is now free to shake down any vulnerable country leader or engage in any scheme to enrich himself and his family. The retribution against his “enemies” has already started. Only true believers in the Trump Cult will be in the administration. All the graft and conflicts of interest we have seen in the Trump cabinet regarding regulation and giving away national resources were just the beginning. The Department of Justice will be a tool for personal retribution.

We now have a mentally ill president unrestrained by anything or anyone. Congressional Republicans including Tillis and Burr are the blame for this. This will be their legacy in history. God help us all.

Norman Hoffmann

Waynesville

Legal chemicals linked to increased autism

Are you comfortable with a proven highly toxic chemical being allowed to enter the nervous system of a defenseless fetus? Will you support public officials who turn a blind eye to such criminality for financial gain. If your answer is “no,” please — please read on.

One of the first types of highly toxic chemicals we learned about in medical school are called organophosphates. They were first developed in Germany before World War 2 and IG Farben- the same chemical firm that developed Zyklon-B gas used in the gas chambers of Auschwitz- helped produce organophosphates for the Nazis to use in chemical warfare.

Fortunately the war ended before they were used in combat. Among their many human and animal effects are paralysis and death.

These chemicals have been marketed and used in many countries, including the U.S., as pesticides, and many people, especially agricultural workers, have been exposed to them. Fortunately there is an antidote if poisoning occurs — Atropine — available widely in medical facilities.

Unfortunately there is no antidote for chronic exposure, for example, in a fetus exposed through the mother’s food intake or her occupational exposure. In a study of over 1000 pregnant farm workers in California, 87 percent of umbilical cord blood samples had levels of organophosphate — in particular one known as Chlorpyrifos.

While this chemical is used in diluted form in agriculture, and is excreted fairly rapidly in urine, it also can build up in fatty tissue, and most threatening — fetuses and infants lack certain enzymes that help break down this chemical and dispose of it in adults.

The 60,000 member American Academy of Pediatrics, of which I am a fellow, stated recently:

“There is a wealth of science demonstrating the detrimental effects of chlorpyrifos exposure to developing fetuses, infants, children and pregnant women. The risk to infant and children’s health and development is unambiguous.”

There is also a possible link to Parkinson’s and other disease entities, including certain cancers. A 2014 comprehensive review of 27 published medical studies found that chronic exposure had significant ‘brain development’ concerns — possibly including increased risk of autism.

In fact, the chemical was banned from domestic indoor use in the US in 2001, but still allowed for agricultural use. But as the number of studies tying it to negative developmental outcomes — including autism — multiplied, the EPA began to examine evidence that it would be in the public interest to ban the pesticide, which is widely used for soybeans, almonds, oranges, etc etc.

This would follow similar actions in Europe and Asia. But then the Trump administration intervened. It seems Dow Chemical, patent hold for Chlorpyrifos, gave President Trump’s inauguration committee a $1 million donation.

And shortly thereafter, the EPA, newly headed by Trump appointee Scott Pruitt (who recently resigned under a cloud of corruption), stopped any consideration concerning the chemical.

Corruption, crony capitalism, disregard for the public well being. Is this really the best our country can do?

The chemical industry spent $3 million in 2001 lobbying in Washington to get officials to look the other way. In 2017 the number jumped to $12 million. Lavish dinners at the Trump Hotel, dark money oozing into campaign war chests do not safeguard the well being of our children.

Many people have asked me over the years if there really has been an increase in autism in this country. In one of his many irresponsible tweets President Trump declared “Healthy young child goes to doctor, gets pumped with massive shot of many vaccines, doesn’t feel good and changes – AUTISM! Many such cases!”

Rather than this kind of bombastic, fact-defying rant it would serve our people better if Mr. Trump would change his own administration’s environmental policies.

These are being aggressively re-defined at the service of his campaign donors who seem to care nothing for the public good, only for enriching their own already bursting bank accounts. But I am not counting on any change in his behavior.

Dr. Stephen Wall is a retired pediatrician. He lives in Waynesville.

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