Letters: Feb. 22, 2024

Time to save Democracy at the polls

It would be inaccurate to say the Republican party is on the road to autocracy, because it has already arrived. Loyalty to the Great Man-child is now the measure of all things. While Trump has his own motivations, such as power, wealth and staying out of jail, he is also a useful idiot being exploited by the true thinkers of MAGA, such as Steve Bannon and Steven Miller, et al., as they attempt to destroy our constitutional republic. Every institution which our republic depends on is under attack – the judiciary, our educational system, regulatory agencies, election administration and even law enforcement when it attempts to hold the Great Man-child accountable. Trump may be a dimwitted buffoon speaking at an 8th grade level, but his sociopathy makes him a gifted conman. A complete lack of shame seems to be his super power as he manipulates his followers with fear, grievance, divisiveness and butt-hurt bigotry. Many decent people have been swept into MAGA’s mass psychosis – a mental illness which could prove fatal to our democracy if it’s not taken seriously and defeated at the polls. 
David A Sorensen
Duluth, Minnesota

 Tiffany has got to go

Several years ago, a family member wrote a memoir. He wrote about living on a family farm during the Great Depression. He wrote about getting the cows and warming his bare feet in the cowpies. He wrote about his dad selling a cow to buy shoes for a son who was graduating from high school. 
He wrote about his work history and how difficult it was to make a living to support his family. He owned a small family farm. He worked at the US Steel Plant in Duluth until it closed in 1987, putting thousands of people out of work. 
He worked on the ore docks and would get laid off for weeks at a time. He worked in the “woods” with his uncle cutting pulp. He wrote about the deep snow and freezing temperatures. 
He had to be frugal, and he continues to climb up and down the basement stairs to put wood into the wood-burning stove to supplement the gas heat in the farmhouse where he lives alone.
Recently, he was notified that he qualified to have additional insulation added to his house to make it more energy efficient. He will get a new energy-efficient refrigerator and hot water heater.
Two bipartisan Acts passed by Congress and signed by President Biden made this possible: The Inflation Reduction Act and The Infrastructure Act. 
Congressman Tom Tiffany opposed both of those acts.  
Kyle Kilbourn, a candidate for the 7th Congressional District, will be our advocate in Congress for the hard-working people and their families in Wisconsin. Priorities include: protecting Social Security and Medicare, expanding healthcare coverage, safe guarding our freedoms and voting rights that our veterans and others have fought for, expanding green-energy jobs in northern Wisconsin.
Joyce Maki Luedke
Weston, Wisconsin (formerly of Maple)

Mining blasts wrecked her home

What to do when vibrations from mining blasts damages structurally sound homes?
I live in a home that my husband built in 1976. Throught he years, the ome has always been maintained very well.
I, like many other peple on the Iron Range, live close to a mine. As time has passed, the mining operations have become closer to my property. The pit I live next to, themining company will conduct several blasts each week. These blasts can be very large and even simulate an afer shcok or an earthquake. Pictures and items on shelves move during these blasts.

I have called the company numerous times and they have sent people out to the property. I Was told different reasons, none of which were a result of their blasting. Thre was no admit to the damage being directly caused by the blasting except for a broken window in the garage that they did agree that they were liable for and paid to fix it. Pone pwuld have to wonder that if the blasting is capable of breaking windows that over time of constant vibrations from blasting oculd very wel contribute to the damage to the walls and basement.

I had a contractor come out to fix the basement at my expense. Their representative said my basement was at a point that needed to be fixed soon. I wasa hen faced with a bill from more than $23,000 to fix it on my own. I am 80 years old and on a fixed income. I as forced to dive into my savings and take out a loan to pay for these damages. This is only the basement. The damage to the main floor is still there. I am in no way looking to take advantage or get rich from the mining company. I do however think they should at least be responsible for some of the damage.

What would you do?
Nina Burla
Mountain Iron, Minnesota

No one would believe fictional tale of 2024 election

If you wrote a novel based on the 2024 election, in which you carefully created fictional characters to depict Biden and Trump as accurately as possible, you might have difficulty getting the manuscript published.  The editors would be likely to reject the story line as entirely implausible, and you would be advised to “get more realistic.”

On the one hand, your fictional Biden character would be overseeing a thriving economy, a booming stock market, full employment and attention to underlying infrastructure problems that had been neglected by prior administrations.  
This character, who you might name Joe Bland in the fictional story, would be an elderly, avuncular ex-Senator and current incumbent with a 50-year record of public service.  You could depict him as steady, predictable and always smiling, although a rather uninspiring public speaker.
Your fictional Trump character, who you might name Don Rump, would be a real piece of work.  He would be an ex-reality TV host and real estate developer with a checkered record of bankruptcies, divorces, lawsuits and criminal investigations.  He would be a controversial personality, with no record of public service, not even in the military. But Mr. Rump would also be a former President, as he had won a surprising election with fewer votes than his opponent.  His presidency, however, would have been something of a disaster, with mishandling of a major epidemic, dismantling of foreign alliances, endless controversies and melodrama, and crowned with two impeachments.  

You would even throw in, as fiction, that he attempted to defraud voters by denying their choice and by leading an insurrection against the routine electoral process.  You might even cap your portrait of this fictional candidate by alleging that after he was voted out of office, 91 felony charges were brought against him.

Your editors, however, would inform you that your final chapters would have to be rewritten, as no one would believe that the race between Joe Bland and Don Rump would be close. In particular, your contention that Mr. Rump might win would be rejected, as the editors would state that this would be plausible only if you posited that the electorate had been subjected to “mass hypnosis.”
Charles Gessert
Duluth, Minnesota