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Fault lies with parents

Jay S. Purdy of Omaha wanted to know in his Jan. 26 Pulse letter why the Nebraska Legislature is considering a “teacher safety” bill. It is because classrooms today bear no resemblance whatsoever to the schools that used to be.

The school I attended (1954-1966) had about 60 (!) kids in a classroom. Kids rarely brought anything more dangerous to school than chewing gum. If the teacher called and said that your child was misbehaving in school, no one would say, “What did you do to make him act that way?” You simply got punished in school and then punished again when you got home, because children were disciplined and taught that you did exactly as your teacher asked or suffer the consequences.

Somewhere along the line, psychologists decided that if you punished your child, it would damage their self-esteem. So, people stopped disciplining their children and now we have kids who demand high grades for work never done, swear at teachers and principals and feel free to assault them as well. We also have kids who bring knives and guns to school to attack teachers and other students.

Teachers are tired of being assaulted and then having the parents say, “It is all your fault.” Nope, it is the parents’ fault and it is sad that so few people can see that.

Judith E. Timms, Omaha

Fischer, Sasse and Senate vote

This is an extraordinary time in U.S. history. All that stands between the constitutional separation of powers as intended by the Founders and naked, self-serving autocracy is the honesty and integrity of a handful of Republican senators. Here’s hoping Sens. Fischer and Sasse count themselves among them.

Dan Prescher, Omaha

Senators have a duty

“These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.”

When Thomas Paine wrote these words in December 1776, the United States was at war with England. Much confusion, doubt and hand wringing was the order of the day, on both sides. Is my allegiance to England, the mother land, or do I side with these rebels?

Today, I see America more divided than any other time in my 72 years; one only has to listen to the nightly news. And nowhere is this great divide more evident than in the halls of Congress. The vitriol and lack of bipartisanship are shameful.

This unproductive divide between the Republican and Democratic parties is not only shameful, but dangerous. It was crystal clear in the one-sided votes to table some procedures, including the calling of witnesses, by the Senate.

Clearly, in any trial, much less a presidential impeachment trial, the president as well as the American people must be given the opportunity to hear compelling witness testimony, from both sides, in order to receive a fair trial and serve justice.

My expectation, then, is for Sens. Deb Fisher and Ben Sasse to not vote strictly the party line but, rather, to vote your conscience based on the evidence presented. In doing so, only then will you have fulfilled your constitutional duty and oath to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

Ed Abersfeller, Omaha

Trump is what America needs

I believe that Donald Trump is showing the United States what happens when we have a president who is not controlled by politics, cannot be bought and, frankly, is “just an American.”

Democrats hate him, Republicans cannot control him and the government wants to destroy him. So, if no party backs him, most likely he is a threat to their agendas, which in turn means he is a threat to their lies and deceptions.

It probably means he is exactly what America needs right now.

People are always saying, we need to get every career politician out of politics. Might as well start at the top. If no party likes you, you’re probably doing it right.

Ron Westergard, Bennington

Senate should call witnesses

The only reason to oppose witnesses and documents in the impeachment trial is to be complicit in the cover-up of the crimes of the president.

In the House arguments, the Republicans built no defense of the president. They brought no witnesses to exonerate him, no documents to exculpate him. Were they just too lazy to present any, or is there nothing to prove the president’s innocence?

With the bar set so low by the Republicans impeaching Clinton for an extramarital affair, Trump’s abuse of his office definitely rises to the level of high crimes. Trump used taxpayer funds appropriated by the Congress to extort a foreign country to announce an investigation into his political rival.

This is an abuse of his office that must not be allowed to go unpunished, because with this president, it will open the floodgates to greater abuses.

Karri Lira, Omaha

Fairness and military tax break

As a military retiree I would obviously benefit from the passage of Legislative Bill 153. However, I’m not entirely in favor of this bill. While I certainly envy to some degree military retirees in other states who do not have to pay state tax on their military retirement income, I also envy in equal measure those who don’t have to pay state tax on their Social Security income. With far less taxes collected from businesses and tourists compared to many states, Nebraska has to rely more on income taxes. The question then becomes whether lowering taxes on a particular segment of the population would be good for the state. I yield to others who hopefully have adequately researched this.

This is what I really don’t like about LB 153: It favors those who are getting the biggest retirement income. Like the percentage increases that are made each year to the military pay scale, those who already make a lot of money receive the biggest benefits.

If you want to help military retirees who really need the help, I suggest that instead of a percentage of retirement benefits being untaxed that, instead, the first given amount — say, $5000 of military retirement benefits — becomes tax-free. I’m pretty sure other states do it this way. Under the provisions of LB 153, Don Bacon would reap great benefits; enlisted retirees would get far, far less benefit. Who deserves and would appreciate this benefit more?

Gary Welch, Bellevue

What military service requires

This is in response to Jean Lillie’s comments in the Jan. 23 Pulse. First of all, you live in Iowa, where military retirees already get a tax break. Since you think we receive so much for free, I will tell you a few of the “freebie’s” I got during my 30 years of service, retiring as a command chief master sergeant.

» On my last phone call home before I left San Francisco for Vietnam, I found out my wife was pregnant and my Mom had cancer. I did not see them or talk to them for a year. My pay was $180 per month.

» After a year in hell in Vietnam we landed at Oakland. Americans were spitting on us.

» When my mother died, I was not there due to duty.

» When my father died, I was not there due to duty.

» Since I was on an aircrew during the Cold War and had to be on alert every third week, I missed 10 Christmas holidays with my family.

» I have a lot of friends who would have liked to take advantage of the possible tax breaks. Unfortunately they will not be able to since they died in action protecting citizens like you.

Benny P. Heald, Bellevue

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