Editor,

I really appreciated the thoughtful letter “The Cost of War” regarding our outgoing leader and his lack of consideration of human lives versus economic damage.

However, we miss the real balancing of factors in that nations which value good governance saw the ‘war’ not as an either or but, as ‘do the simple stuff’ and the rest will fall into place. Meaning, that after the initial lockdown, which most all nations followed, they continued with the ongoing and extremely cheap fix of getting their populations to just distance, wear masks and hand wash along with effective contact tracing. Pretty damn cheap and easy if leadership would have gotten behind these no brainer solutions. Not only would the “war” have been won much as the Taiwanese, Chinese, Singaporean, New Zealanders and Icelanders mysteriously did but they saved their economies to a far greater degree than the “economy versus lockdown” nations did.

So the easy and cheap solutions proved to be the far more effective ones. That really underlines the high cost of incompetent leadership. Oh, and how could I forget. They saved far more lives as well. Lessons anyone?

Mike Caggiano

San Mateo

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(26) comments

Dirk van Ulden

Truly a case of 'one can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink'. The federal government made all of the resources available but the aforementioned states, while not acknowledging their responsibilities to their citizens, squandered those resources and waited for Papa Trump to bail them out. Today we are dealing with the epitome of incompetence by our Governor who now realizes he did not have a plan to distribute the vaccines now made available to the State. He has two more weeks to blame Trump and after the 20th of this month, who will he blame next?

Tommy Tee

Dirk--Sorry, if Trump had a national plan in February we would be dining indoors, going to sports events, and attending theater. Abject failure.

Terence Y

Another revisionist history fantasy brought to you from Tommy Tee, just so he can go off on another TDS-infected rant.

Tommy Tee

Truth, Terry. Meanwhile, Trump fiddles while his fans loot, vandalize, destroy, and terrorize our capitol.

Terence Y

Nice faux outrage, Tommy. Your great President Trump tells his supporters to remain peaceful, yet when the idiot BLM and Antifa goons were spreading violence and destruction, nothing but crickets from the Dimmocrats. And now Twitter deletes Trumps call for peace? I guess Twitter is now complicit in perpetuating violence. Where's your outrage for this censorship?

Ray Fowler

Mike

I agree. Our elected leaders should set the example... leaders like Gavin Newsom, Nancy Pelosi, London Breed, and Sheila Kuehl. Could they be part of the reason California's COVID numbers remain so high? Then there's Andrew Cuomo, Lori Lightfoot, the mayors of Denver, Austin, Philadelphia, et al. Does their example inspire constituents to "do the simple stuff" mentioned in your letter?

Tafhdyd

Mr. Caggiano,

Excellent observations. I am surprised that it is 9 AM and the usual Trumpers haven't chimed in with their usual drivel about the great job their orange idol did. You know, like the travel ban that wasn't and the distribution of PPE's that wasn't etc. The really great job he did was lie to America so his corrupt friends could profit from the suffering and deaths of fellow Americans.

Terence Y

Blah, blah, blah, another day, another misplaced TDS-rant. It’s funny that these people blaming their great President Trump forget that states and local governments have primary responsibility for public health. Therefore, these rants should be aimed at their state and local authorities. And by that count, Governor Newsom is now responsible for over 22k deaths and Governor Cuomo is responsible for over 36k deaths.

Tommy Tee

Poor Terry--nursing his wounds. The "Great Corrupt Trump!! lol

Jorg

The moron in the WH sure Made America Gasp Again! But do his blah-blah supporters understand the damage he has done? I doubt it, - that requires a fiber of intellect.

Ray Fowler

Once again, Jorg... you have insulted 74 million Americans just because they did not support your choice for the Oval Office. It's starting to look like Joe Biden is the only registered Democrat who would like to see unity in America.

I wrote the following in response to remarks made by another reader, but set them aside, temporarily. Here are my comments:

When the right to assemble takes a dangerous turn, violence and the threat of violence must be stopped in their tracks. I was out most of the morning and early afternoon... I'm just catching up with the news, now.

So far in DC, if not a riot by definition then riotous behavior nonetheless. However, I did note some key differences. Conservative media and Republican representatives have condemned disorderly conduct today instead of labeling it as "largely peaceful protests" the way CNN did last summer. CNN was wrong then, and anyone who characterizes today's protests as peaceful is equally wrong. You also saw Republican leadership calling for a halt to further violence. As you recall, violence in the streets last summer was ignored by Democratic Party leadership during the party's August national convention.

Where are we now? The function of our judiciary remains untouched, no elected representatives have been removed from office, and the candidate who received the most votes in November will be sworn in on Jan. 20. Has our democracy been threatened? Was it teetering near the brink of collapse? For all the challenges we have seen thrown at our democratic process over the past four years... from the right AND the left... our form of government and our institutions remain strong.

That's where I stopped.

I would add now that the element (mob) who were breaking things and threatening violence will not be able to hide very long in the crowd who traveled to DC to let everyone know they believed the election was rigged. Another key distinction between today and last summer... you won't see DC occupied by today's protesters for several weeks or even months. Arrests were made today and prosecutions should follow. You didn't see a whole lot of that last summer, either.

It's time to power wash DC sidewalks and start hanging up red, white and blue bunting. The swearing-in ceremony is only two weeks away.

Jorg

Ray: If the truth has insulted the 74 million who voted for someone as inept, unqualified and unworthy of the US Presidency as Donald J. Trump, so be it! Let me put it as plainly as I can: Those misguided voters I call uninformed, misinformed, and easily fooled since they fell for a blatant con artist like Trump, which the majority of us saw right through. What more than what he did today, does he have to do to prove me right?

Tafhdyd

Ray,

Yeah but… Yeah but… I know from our previous discussions you don’t really mean to say that because the left said little about previous disruptions/uprisings that this one is OK.

I just heard a few minutes ago that there is a number of Trump cabinet or administration people resigning tonight. I also heard there is serious talk about the 25th amendment, he is mentally unfit for the position.

One last item. Sedition, noun, conduct or speech inciting people to rebel against the authority of a state or monarch. Immediate impeachment??

Ray Fowler

Jorg

Wrong. Your "truth" is that persons exercising their right to vote for someone you do not support, according to you, means that they have not a "fiber of intellect." And yet, you don't see that as insulting... it's not only insulting, it is ... well... I cannot describe what it is in the most semantically correct way possible because that description would not survive the filters that screen comments before they are posted.

If you're suggesting that Donald Trump pushed election challenges to the Nth degree and that doing so was excessive, I can agree with you. If your suggesting that Donald Trump inspired riots by "what he did today" then you're just dispensing pablum. Was Donald Trump's calling for supporters to convene in DC pushing up against that Nth degree? Yes, I think so. Were those persons within their rights to assemble? Yes, again. Did the president incite violence or the threat of violence? No. You'll need to bring more than just pablum to the table for that one.

Any comment on Democrats not condemning the violence last summer?

Ray Fowler

Tafhdydicus

"Yeah, but... "? That's the answer to Dems condemning today's riot but saying nothing about riots over the summer? Oh, excuse me... the summer's "largely peaceful protests" nee riots. And you are correct... thanks for your vote of confidence... I am not saying the mob embedded with demonstrators today were doing anything that is OK. They were not. While I don't want to see heavy-handed police tactics at any protest, the rioters should have been allowed to reap what they had sown. You break windows to gain access to the Senate or the House... Antifa or Proud Boy... you'll be cuffed, stuffed and rebuffed. Make speeches not breaches.

I also heard some Trump admin folks were bailing out. It'll look good on their resume, but I gotta believe that it is also a matter of conscience.

Serious talk about the 25th Amendment? That sounds a lot like Nancy talking. Going back to my poli-sci days in college... a nation state's top priority is to survive. A politician's top priority would be to stay in office. Aside from the ego, Trump is doing everything he can to stay in office. Nancy, Chuck, and good ol' Mitch would do the same, but not to the Nth degree (see previous comment to Jorg). I'm not sure the bundle of court challenges and any amount of Trump's "the election was stolen" rhetoric translates to being unfit.

Sedition... when a crime is alleged, all the elements of the crime have to be proven. Yes, sedition is "conduct or speech inciting people to rebel against the authority of a state" but there is one piece missing. The conduct or speech has to be intended to destroy or overthrow the state. I'm not a lawyer, but that is a steep burden of proof hill to climb. If you were trying to end run, finagle or otherwise trick the system to stay in office but the office was intentionally destroyed in the process... doesn't look like sedition to me. However, this may bring us back to the question of fitness. Maybe.

Impeachment? Won't work for the same reason it failed last February. You just won't get enough votes in the Senate. And as an aside... we don't really want to move forward with impeachment (of anyone) unless it's a clear enough case with the real possibility that the process will yield a conviction. Otherwise, the checks and balances in our federal system would be skewed to the point that the legislative branch could wield more power than was ever intended by the founders.

Jorg

Ray: After what we have now seen and heard from Trump, what would YOU call people who still support him?

Ray Fowler

Jorg

I'm still playing catch up after being very busy most of the day. I'll get to your question, but before I do... I expected a large crowd to gather today in DC as a way to show Congress they are not happy with the outcome of the election. That is their right. I did not expect a riot by a very small portion of those assembled. I also did not expect that the police presence would be initially ill prepared for the wanton escalation of violence by an embedded mob. All that being said, the curfew is working... we won't have an occupation in DC as we saw last summer elsewhere... and there will be no more challenges to the election results after VP Pence certifies (later tonight) the electoral vote tally.

I believe the way to avoid a replay of what has transpired over the past eight weeks or so is for each state to scrub their election procedures, and once they are in place... take the steps necessary to ensure they are followed. No governors or election commissions or local judges should be allowed to alter them. Period. The states have four years to get it right. They can do it.

Yes, yes... I will get to your question. However, before I do... I will ask for the third time... any comment on Democratic leaders not condemning the violence from last summer? And one final thought... As you recall, there were storefronts and businesses boarded up in many locations across the country during the week before the November 3 election. Were they boarded up in the event Joe Biden won the election or were they heavily secured in the event Donald Trump won? That's an easy one... business owners wanted to protect their livelihoods from the riots they believed would follow if Trump won the election. So, while today's events were simply outrageous and disgraceful... based on what we have seen over the past eight months... where is violence more likely to come from? The left or the right?

OK... your question... what would I call persons who still support Trump? Might be easier to say what I would not call them... uneducated. If you define education as graduating with at least a bachelor's degree from a college or university, then you win... they are uneducated. But that is such a shortsighted and demeaning way to measure the worth of someone. It does not take into account years of experience in acquiring knowledge and skills while building a career in whatever field they choose. Such a non-degree education includes the lessons learned in working with others, putting together an action plan to solve a variety of problems, running a business, accepting responsibility, helping others achieve success, and raising a family. So, I reject your labeling them as "uneducated."

Which brings us to an interesting point. Looking at the varied demographics of persons who supported Barack Obama... you will find many, many persons who were "uneducated" by your standard. The uneducated Trump voters are bad because they support Donald Trump, but the uneducated Obama voters are good because they support Barack? Wow. "Four legs good, two legs bad"?

The question... what do I call Trump supporters?

Neighbors.

What do I call Biden supporters? I call them neighbors, too. Neither is misguided, uninformed, fooled by politicians or... wait for it... uneducated.

Ray Fowler

Jorg

On the subject of education... you might want to check John Horgan's column in today's DJ. If you do, let me know what you think of the comments.

Jorg

Ray: So, what about Horgan’s column? Except for my own 2 kids, the only experience I have had with acceptance tests, is the ATGSB, which was my first experience with multiple choice. What a joke! I come from an entirely different educational background, where all-day written exams for the most important subjects were standard, even for graduation from elementary school. All exams were graded in secrecy by someone who had no idea who the coded paper came from, - with no say on the part of the teacher in the subject. While an A here is rather easy to obtain, the top grade there was so difficult to obtain that it was rarely given, - in a class by itself and something one could only dream about. Not even all correct answers to the final math test would earn you the top grade. In addition to correct answers, you had to show an exceptionally elegant way of arriving at the correct solution! The year I graduated from elementary school, there was only a single top grade in English in my entire town and suburbs of about 100.000 people. For that exam, Trump would be lucky to get the third highest grade!

Ray Fowler

Tafhdyd

Yikes... typo

I meant to write. "If you were trying to end run, finagle or otherwise trick the system to stay in office but the office was NOT intentionally destroyed in the process... doesn't look like sedition to me." I omitted the "not" in error. Sorry.

Ray Fowler

Jorg

I'll get back to your comments re: testing... got to finish some errands, first.

However... your response to what I would call Trump supporters and Biden supporters? Your response to why the Democratic leadership did not condemn or address violence in our cities last summer?

Ray Fowler

Jorg

The Horgan column... I just thought it would be nice to step away from political issues and exchange some ideas about something not related to the current political situation.

The point of John Horgan's column is that the College Board needs to develop an objective way of assessing a high school student's suitability for college academics. My counterpoint was that the College Board is not equipped to do so largely because it is too profitable for them to keep using tests tailored for well heeled families.

It's not about multiple choice exams.

While the testing process is different in other countries... a different testing methodology does not equate to a better testing model.

Gotta run... will address your disenchantment with the multiple choice test format, soon.

Ray Fowler

Jorg

Well, multiple choice test questions are not a joke. This format can be used effectively to test declarative knowledge, subject comprehension as well as require the test taker to apply analytical skills. While they are often described as objective tests, that is not true. The perspective of the test writer will become part of the test. The key, however, is to write good multiple test questions. That is not easy. Starting with a stem or prompt, the test writer needs to flesh out several alternative answers that will challenge the test taker's knowledge, comprehension and ability to analyze the single objective construction of the multiple choice question. Additionally, multiple choice questions may align better with a particular student's learning style. Maybe.

Essay and oral exams can be fraught with the examiner's bias. The way to minimize that bias... and the bias that may sneak into a multiple choice question... is to insist on peer review of tests before they are administered to students. Plus, tests should be rigorously re-evaluated and updated when necessary.

Good multiple test questions are not a joke. When they are used with other types of assessments, e.g. document based questions and free response questions, they can help provide a challenging and fair way to measure how much a student has learned about a subject.

Back to John's column... the College Board can write textbook exam questions that combine the multiple choice format and essay style responses. John is calling for the College Board to write a test that is objective and can be used to reward exceptional scholarship. Noble goals. I believe the College Board will not do so for the reasons stated in my response to John's column.

Cindy Cornell

Thank you for the common sense imparted in your letter. Unfortunately it appears we did not learn or retain the lessons of the 1918 pandemic.

Jorg

Trump must have been asleep in history class, too!

Dirk van Ulden

Jorg -while you are adamant that you received a superior education, you clearly have not learned much or have been able to use the gained knowledge effectively. You keep on criticizing President Trump based on his personality and character, but you totally ignore his accomplishments. Many Trump supporters, including myself, were often offended by his tweets and other remarks that were inappropriate, but we looked at the bigger picture. He did what we wanted, installed constitutionalists on the Supreme Court, eliminated zillions of useless regulations and brought up employment among the forgotten. His position to put China in check was long overdue and he also made other NATO members finally pay their agreed-to share. And finally, he brought about a rapid development of the vaccine to combat the China-originated virus. You will likely have a spin on all of these issues but you can't deny that he accomplished a lot for the country, even for you. Let's see if Sleepy Joe can even accomplish a fraction in four years of what Trump did in one year.

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