Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor (Oct. 1): NAFTA, jury duty, North Korea

Parts of NAFTA work well for Kansas beef industry

NAFTA has been one of the greatest success stories in American beef industry history. It removed tariffs on U.S. beef exports to Canada and Mexico when it was implemented 24 years ago. Since it went into effect in 1993, U.S. beef exports to Mexico have increased more than 750 percent. U.S. beef sales to Mexico totaled $975 million in 2016, with beef exports to Canada last year worth $758 million. Both countries rank among the top five export markets for U.S. beef.

While others may call for updating the terms of NAFTA, mainstream cattle organizations, including the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and Kansas Livestock Association, have encouraged the Trump administration to focus efforts on specific areas identified and leave alone current terms of the agreement that have benefited the U.S. beef industry.

The Trump administration and Congress should avoid repeating past mistakes by using NAFTA to resurrect failed government programs, such as mandatory country-of-origin labeling. As previously proven, incorporating mandatory COOL only would serve to alienate two of our biggest beef export customers, Canada and Mexico.

U.S. cattle ranchers and feeders need the current beef terms of NAFTA to be continued without counterproductive baggage.

Jerry Bohn, Pratt

Jury duty can be a positive experience

I was called recently to the Sedgwick County Courthouse to be interviewed for jury duty. I was not selected, but it was a grueling experience and worth it.

The attorneys, judge and various court assistants were so amazingly professional and kind that it boggles the mind that they do this job every day for years or decades.

Many of us potential jurors used silly humor to calm an otherwise grim mood in the courtroom. In retrospect, most of the humor was certainly lost on the defendant and some must have seemed childish to the wonderful professionals at work. This was a criminal case that carried grave consequences for the defendant if found guilty. The attorneys made it clear that the defendant had no responsibility to prove their innocence. It was up to the state to prove guilt.

Thank you to our public and private defenders and our public and private prosecutors. You have the weight of a country on your backs. And, judging from my recent experience in Sedgwick County court, you’re doing a bang-up job.

Kristen Jackson, Wichita

Trump hurt by predecessors

If the preceding presidents were the strong, confident adults that Davis Merritt proclaims in his Sept. 26 article (“What if Trump, Kim ran out of words?”), they wouldn't have saddled the current president with the insoluble situation he faces with a hostile, nuclear-armed North Korea.

Harry Clements, Wichita

President sending mixed messages on North Korea

Mr. President,

We, the undersigned members of Pine Valley Christian Church, believe that the social, economic and political means that we employ must be consistent with the ends we seek to achieve. Insulting world leaders and threatening to “totally destroy” another nation is a blatant violation of the U.N. treaty on the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons, and a betrayal of our national values. We call upon you and Congress to pursue a path toward peace that is consistent with our values as a democracy and with the goal of achieving a lasting peace.

The sanctions imposed against North Korea send a mixed and confusing message. They suggest you are willing to engage in strategies besides military threats and actions. Yet, the sanctions appear to be entirely punitive. The sanctions will inflict harm on the people of North Korea without providing a path that could lead to a peaceful, diplomatic solution to the problem of the Korean nuclear program. In fact, many suggest that the sanctions will have just the opposite effect.

Mr. President, you have a unique opportunity to strengthen the U.N. treaty. History will remember how you exercise your leadership. We will all be judged by your decision.

Rev. David Hansen, Wichita

(Editor’s note: The letter was signed by 18 others.)

Letters to the Editor

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