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Foster: On Afghanistan, Jan. 6 and the economy

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How odd that Brian Coulter thinks his absence on the Forum page is causing readers to miss his commentaries. My opinion is just the opposite — he should keep his poison pen hidden away for many more years.

His hiatus apparently enhanced his talents to obfuscate the facts. For instance, he is dead wrong about saying the Biden administration left $83 billion in armaments in Afghanistan. He rattled off a list of weapons supposedly left behind, but what was that value? I daresay it was hardly a fraction of the amount he claimed.

The big-ticket items like helicopters were rendered inoperable, and I have yet to hear reports of any weapons left to the Taliban being used against American troops. The reason, of course, is that no more American military personnel are in that country.

I also take exception to the quote that the assault weapon ban that expired in 2004 “had no statistical measurable impact on violet crime rates.” Try telling that to the families in Uvalde or Buffalo where more than 31 people were killed by 18-year-old shooters using assault rifles. If Congress can’t ban the sale of such weapons of war, at least it should enact a ban on sales to anyone younger than 21.

OK, did I really make an unprovoked attack on Brian? Oh my, such a sensitive guy. Guess he doesn’t know the first rule of opinion writing — if you dish it out, you’d better be able to take it. And what about calling me a “gadfly?” If that’s the best he’s got, than I’ll take it with a smile.

I’m also curious if Brian is feeding the Big Lie to his students that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from Trump. Frankly, every civics and government teacher in the country should make their students write a review of the Jan. 6 committee hearings.

The story about the insurrection is being told by Republicans inside the Trump administration or high-ranking Republican officials. Simply stated, after losing the election, Trump became the first candidate in American history to try to thwart the peaceful transfer of power. His MAGA team conspired even to order the U.S. military to seize and analyze voting machines.

After losing 60-plus court cases to overturn the election results, saner members of his staff had to threaten to resign en masse to kill his crazy idea to seize voting machines. Trump then sent out a tweet on Dec. 19 urging his supporters to attend a big rally in Washington on that fateful day, Jan. 6. “Will be wild!” he tweeted.

With the mob assembled, Trump urged them to march on the Capitol, and we know how that turned out. The assault claimed five lives and permanently scarred, both physical and psychological, Capitol police members.

As multiple witnesses have testified, Trump and the MAGA crowd are the biggest threat to American democracy since the Civil War. And it lends further credence to the notion that America will never be destroyed by a foreign power, but by internal division that we haven’t seen in nearly 160 years.

I’d also like to rebut another critic, Don Peck, who also wrote to complain about President Biden. Poor Joe can’t catch a break these days not only from Fox News, but also from a lot of hand-wringers about the current state of affairs.

Yes, inflation is high largely due to fuel prices that affect nearly every aspect of the economy involving transportation. Before Peck and other worrywarts talk themselves into a recession, consider gas prices have dropped more than a dollar per gallon recently and are in shouting distance of where they were a year ago.

You have to remember just two years ago, oil prices went negative due to the imbalance of ample supply and shrinking demand. It’s all related to the COVID pandemic when businesses had to shutter under stringent health mandates.

The economy rebounded sharply last year when vaccines became available and people could get out of the house and back on the job. In just a remarkably short period, unemployment went from 10 percent in 2020 to about 3.6 percent today. And there’s more good economic news lately. Consumer spending, which accounts for about 70 percent of the U.S. economy, rose slightly in June.

Joe has made his fair share of gaffes and misstatements, but I believe his heart is in the right place. If the naysayers would stop trashing the economy, we have a good chance to curb inflation and work toward peace and prosperity for all.

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“Nevertheless, the firm foundation of God stands, having this seal: ‘The Lord knows those who are His;’ and, ‘Everyone who names the name of the Lord is to keep away from wickedness.’”

2 Timothy 2:19