It is refreshing to see the media finally realizing the importance of the free press. In the weeks after the election, the media normalized the election of Donald Trump as president of the United States as if all was right as rain. I remember seeing The Baltimore Sun front page the day after the inauguration spouting something like "Hoards Flock to DC for Inauguration." I thought "What? There were no hoards." I was there, and if you compare it to the previous inauguration, the mall looked empty. Then Donald Trump himself started lying about his crowd size.
Donald Trump actually lost the election by 2.9 million votes. If this were any other democracy in the world, he would not be president. Thanks to Russian interference in our election, Republican gerrymandering over the past 10 years, and the Electoral College, Mr. Trump occupies our highest office, and he is a disgrace to that high office.
To those who say, "give him a chance," I say that we did; until we heard his cabinet picks, incompetent at best with hidden agendas for their appointed posts, and billionaires and profiteers all. When Trump statements are fact checked, 76 percent of what he says is not true. Yet so many are duped, unaware they are duped.
Donald Trump is the president Russia wants us to have, and Rex Tillerson is the secretary of state Russia wants us to have, and here is one reason why. Russia has 63.6 million acres that it wants ExxonMobil to explore for oil. The current, long standing U.S. sanctions against Russia prevent ExxonMobil from exploring those Russian acres. Rex Tillerson has shown the world he is ready to discard U.S. foreign policy by his previous business actions, because that is exactly what he did once before. Mr. Tillerson undermined U.S. foreign policy in 2011 when the U.S. was pushing for a national oil sharing agreement with Iraq. Before the agreement was reached, ExxonMobil, under Mr. Tillerson, signed a bilateral oil agreement with the Kurds for the sole purpose of the enrichment of ExxonMobil. This bilateral agreement with the Kurds undermined the United States foreign policy of managing oil through the central Iraq government, and that oil policy would have helped to greatly stabilize the region. Vladimir Putin, who is a long time friend of Mr. Tillerson and gave Mr. Tillerson a medal in 2013, and is salivating to have Exxon Mobile explore those 63.6 million acres. This revelation is just the tip of one iceberg with several more icebergs heading our way. As for people who think that Donald Trump can outfox Mr. Putin for America's advantage, I say that first of all, he can't; and second, maybe he doesn't really plan to outfox Mr. Putin, but instead cooperate fully.
I thoroughly enjoyed Mike DeBow's letter, which referenced Joseph Goebbels, Hitler's propaganda minister, or purveyor of lies (alternative facts). To refresh, Goebbels said "a lie told once remains a lie, but a lie told a thousand times becomes the truth." So, I want to thank the free press for trying to prevent all of these lies from becoming the truth by calling out each and every lie as it occurs. It is my feeling that Republicans misrepresent the truth (lie) to their constituents, because so many people are ready to believe these lies. As a health care professional, I can assure you there is no such thing as a death panel as part of the Affordable Care Act, yet I see that lie used to promote fear of and hatred toward the Affordable Care Act. Republicans were like a group of giddy middle schoolers on their first day back — trying to get rid of the Ethics Committee, and the Affordable Care Act on day one. Then came gag orders on scientists, gag orders on the EPA and Animal Protection agencies, and removing climate change from the White House website. The most recent outrage is throwing a wet blanket on the Freedom of Information act — this week, the FBI will stop accepting email requests for Freedom of Information Act data. Instead, people will need to submit requests through an online portal called eFOIA — or via fax or snail mail for the sole purpose of making information more difficult to obtain. The most recent lie is that President Donald Trump's senior policy adviser Stephen Miller repeated on Sunday Mr. Trump's unsubstantiated claims that people were bused from Massachusetts to New Hampshire to vote illegally in the swing state during the 2016 election. But he provided no evidence to support that claim or other claims of widespread voter fraud because there is no evidence. Widespread voter fraud is a lie that is being feverishly reported by the Trump administration. Tom Rath, Republican and New Hampshire's formal Attorney General, who was appointed by President George H. W. Bush to be a director of the Legal Services Corporation, called out this latest lie. Mr. Rath served as the chairman of the election campaigns of New Hampshire's former U.S. Senator, Warren Rudman, and current senior U.S. Senator, Judd Gregg, and he actively assisted in the U.S. Senate process that confirmed David Souter as Supreme Court Justice.
These past few weeks I have met many people just like me at protests, rallies, and at the offices of my senator and congressman to call out the lies, let them know we will not be silent, and we are not going away. It is heartbreaking to see rights that have been so hard fought over decades, if not centuries, on the chopping block with so many voters unaware that fighting for these rights was even necessary.
Cathy Leibensperger, Sykesville
Cathy Leibensperger, Sykesville