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Open Forum

US: land of fantasies

Letter to the Editor:

The US seems to be the land of fantasies. I just saw a TV ad for some movie or program with some "foreign" looking creatures. They weren't "foreign" in the politically current sense, of being brownskinned Guatemalan women and children invading 'Amurika' to rape us and sell us drugs. These creatures were dressed up to look like aliens we'd welcome: hard metallic creatures from some far away galaxy, wielding some sort of double-ended glow sticks; I think they're called light sabers.

The current occupant of our White House (there's no way that a sane or stable mind can call this a 'president') says those dangerous women hiked a thousand miles with babies and children through deserts, mountains, and wilds to come to Disneyland. A mind that thinks that way isn't merely insane. Those are the sort of hallucinations that often come from minds that have been flooded with an overdose of bad LSD, or 'acid'. But he's not alone.

He dreams of being some sort of bad hombre, like a fourth of US people. They're obsessed with superheroes, someone to save them from people just like themselves. They're fascinated by shootouts and cop and war stuff on the news. When there isn't enough of that, they fill in the blank time with TV programs like CSI, NCIS, and  similar insanity, justified as being "the reality we live in". I'll hopefully be starting an eighth decade, and have never witnessed an actual murder or mass shooting. That's reality.

New Zealand just experienced a mass shooting. Their prime minister ('president') declared they'd never publicly  utter the name of the person that did it. They don't want to give recognition to such people. Good for them. Why can't our media do that? The New Zealand legislature a month later banned assault weapons by a vote of 119-1. Apparently the NRA has failed to "protect" gun manufacturers there.

Assault weapons don't merely kill people. They're fast, high energy bullets, hitting so hard that instead of just puncturing organs and bones, they liquefy them, making them unrepairable. This is what the US used against people in Vietnam earlier, and now the Muslims in Iraq, Afghanistan, and many other places. Including children. They don't seem to appreciate our "Christianity"; I wonder why.

Meanwhile the US spends $700 billion yearly on military here to "protect us". It's 6-10 times the amount China, the number two country spends, which has four times as many people.

While all this "protection" is going on, we have an "occupant" who fantasizes leading a biker gang, Bikers for Trump, and fantasized about shooting someone on 5th Avenue, and getting away with it. Sick.

Simultaneously, 'occupant' colludes with our adversaries, handing them classified secrets just like candy treats. Then why waste all our money on military? Who gets that money? Are they pro-war, promilitary? You bet! $700 billion costs each human here almost $2,200. What could you do with an extra $2,200 each year? Each!

We're a lot sicker than we realize.

A. Martin
Merrifield, MN

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Bring transparency and justice

Letter to the Editor:

In December 2018 I became aware of some serious issues with Crow Wing Power Cooperative (CWP) regarding a  royalty agreement between three employees and the Carlton group over the manganese mine.

A group of us CWP members are looking into the allegations and have been treated very poorly by management and staff when attempting to get information. These people have been working hard to tightly control the narrative surrounding this issue.

In 2018 the board members were required to sign NDAs preventing them from speaking on issues regarding the mine. Bryan McCulloch did not sign and has been very transparent. Paul Koering did also make a statement in the 1/13/19 Brainerd Dispatch article (also see video), saying “with the little bit I know I would not have been in favor of or endorsed any incentives to any board or management.” He then asked our legal counsel whether anyone  received money from the Hunt sale but Johnson did not answer.

At the February board meeting, two officers of the board challenged McCulloch, stating that by talking about these things he is misrepresenting the company. He responded that his main objective has always been the best interest of the membership. Then (based on some new alleged information revealed), he questioned the board member who had stood up to make the accusation, whether she had accepted $70,000 from the sale of Hunt Technologies in (2008). He asked twice with no response. Another board person, who had also been on the board at the time of the sale, stated that it was their compensation for the sale.

McCulloch (board secretary), requested that the staff secretary put this information in the February minutes, but when he got the minutes, he found that it was not there. McCulloch also requested that the tape of the meeting not be destroyed, whether it was is unknown.

I have also been made aware that CEO Bruce Kraemer may have taken a large sum of money from the Hunt sale.Clearly this pattern of some board members and management serving themselves, while others guard the secrets and or keep their heads in the sand has been going on for a long time. If you read policy number 110 it refers to conflicts of interest certification and disclosure. It is a form all board members and key management must sign to prevent conflicts of interest.

I along with other CWP Cooperative members, as well as Gabe (from Brainerd Dispatch), had our requests to attend the 3/21/19 regular board meeting refused. What happened to the transparency management has been promising?

We have contacted Don Ryan, county attorney and aid to attorney general Joe Meyer. Our objective is not to harm our cooperative but to bring transparency and justice to these matters. We believe a forensic audit is in order. It should also be noted that the audit company has been the same for over 20 years.

Gary Bakken
Breezy Point, MN

Snakes in Your Yard

Letter to the Editor:

Herpetologist Randall Reiserer has studied snakes for decades, but recently even he was surprised by what he saw in the stomach of some snakes: lots of seeds, some of them even starting to grow. Along with identifiable bits of prey – chiefly mice and shrew hair and teeth - he found 971 seeds from 14 different plant species, including 19 seeds that had begun to germinate. So as they feed on seedloving rodents, some snakes incidentally acquire a crucial role in the life of plants. They become seed spreaders.

Many of these shy creatures help around the yard by controlling rodent populations. Some, such as our garter snakes, also eat garden pests, including grasshoppers and slugs. And since we now know that some species also help spread seeds, it’s time to show snakes some love.

Happy Gardening, Happy Earth Day.

Judith Schiller
Fifty Lakes, MN

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