Your Views: Oct. 8, 2020

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Opinion pages don’t reflect both parties

I find that the Clay County Progress opinion section is very biased against President Trump. It is hard to find a conservative viewpoint in this newspaper. If it does publish a conservative viewpoint it is offset by more than one liberal viewpoint.

The last issue has one conservative viewpoint and three liberal ones supporting Biden. If you choose to publish a Biden viewpoint, it should be offset by the same number of Trump viewpoints. If you can’t find the same balance, then none should be published at all.

I have been very disappointed in the unbalanced nature of your newspaper and my only way of fighting this is to cancel my subscription. I know this will be fruitless but at least it gives me some satisfaction. So, please cancel my subscription and use the unused portion of my subscription as a donation to the Trump campaign.

Allan Finley


Health care is the fabric of our community

“Thank you Clay County, N.C. for my health insurance. I work in Rockland County, N.Y., 29 hours a week. Your North Carolina federal tax dollars are paying for my Medicaid through the Affordable Care Act. My job doesn’t offer health insurance for part-time employees. Aunt Judith and Clay County residents pay federal taxes and some of the money finds its way to my New York heath insurance. Maybe some of my insurance is paid for by the president’s $750 dollars given to the IRS?

Thank goodness for my health insurance this summer, my illness required medical care. All of my salary is spent on food, rent and utilities, I would have been in the sink if I didn’t have the NYS Medicaid ACA Expansion Heath Coverage.” There are many North Carolina candidates who continue to block Medicaid expansion through the Affordable Care Act for the working poor and laid off workers. At this writing 725,000 North Carolinians would benefit from North Carolina Medicaid expansion, at least 750 workers in Clay County. U.S. Sen. Tom Tillis and the Republican Speaker of N.C. State General Assembly Phil Berger have blocked and undermined health care for our county and state. Lt. Gov. Dan Forrest and Rep. Kevin Corbin have voted against ACA Medicaid Expansion.

Republican candidate for N.C. House District 120 Karl Gillespie stated at a Zoom meeting he won’t support Medicaid ACA expansion. All of our Republican candidates mentioned and Madison Cawthorn, repeat the same old line of former N.C. Gov. Pat McCory, “We will do something better.” It’s been eight years and in these eight years one Tar Heel a day dies from lack of affordable, comprehensive health insurance, six North Carolina rural hospitals have closed, 50 have reduced services and the remaining rural hospitals are struggling with unpaid care. Did I mention that five out of 10 N.C. bankruptcies are caused by unaffordable medical bills?

I have attended many Zoom meetings and have heard the following candidates support Medicaid expansion with the Affordable Care Act: Presidential candidate Joe Biden; Gov. Roy Cooper; Cal Cunningham for U.S. Senate; Moe Davis, U.S. House of Representatives N.C District 11,Victoria Fox -NC.State Senate District 120, Susan Landis NC House of Representative District 50; Josh Stein, Yvonne Holley, Ronnie Chatterji and all of the North Carolina Democrat ticket. Truly none of the Republican candidates support Medicaid expansion under the ACA or have a viable alternative.

Clay County expanding Medicaid with the Affordable Care Act would lead in this coming year to at least 15 more jobs creating $2,300,000 growth in the county’s economy and $46,200 more in county tax revenues. This has a ripple effect for our community, including hospitals, clinics, drugstores, restaurants, garages, etc. and families. Health care is the fabric of a community — source, “The Economic and Employment Benefits of Expanding Medicaid in North Carolina.”

For our community,

Judith Wikstrom, Family Nurse Practitioner


Check your facts and rhetoric before writing

I am writing this article in response to Kathy Waters’ opinion of President Donald J. Trump on Sept. 17. Trump is a no-nonsense, shoot-from-the-hip, in-your-face businessman. He sees the obvious (common sense) in the lack of leadership and the ability to get anything accomplished. All his decisions are made within the constitution and he worries little of political backlash. Yeah, the salty sailor was a tag put on him, but he wears it well.

Waters posed the question on why Biden is the candidate for the Democrats. Simple answer is he is an empty suit and could never shoot from the hip to make a command decision. He has far left handlers that ear-piece him on his next move. Next in line should Biden fail to come down for breakfast is Kamala Harris, a well-documented Republican hater. Remember her questioning at the Cavanaugh hearings? This is the best they have which in itself is extremely scary. The Dems always ask what Trump has accomplished in three and a half years and it is simple if you take the blinders off and tune out the fake news. Go to the facts and you will get a wake-up call.

This paper should print those accomplished facts over a three and a half year time frame and compare it to Biden’s 47 years. A couple of quotes worth mentioning here are first from Winston Churchill: “If you’re not a Liberal when you’re 20, you have no heart; if you’re still a Liberal at 40, you have no brain.” Secondly, from Margaret Thatcher: “The facts of life are conservative.” Briefly on the COVID issues. It is a fact that Atlanta bases Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a track record of more than $285,000 contributed by CDC employees to Democrats but only $1,000 to Republicans.

Question being: Is it possible the CDC is hoping to sway November’s election by pushing fear? Free speech is our right, but pure verbal hatred towards our highest office in the land is not acceptable and will end any respect I have for the likes of Miss Hattie and a guy named Bagwell. Not once have I read any positive accomplishments that Biden over 47 years as a political hack has accomplished. I don’t expect any change in the likes of these two but toning down the rhetoric could be a start. I will physically vote and make sure I show an I.D. whether they need it or not. Early voting makes it convenient and any thought of a mail-in is ruled out.

Too many hands on an important document. As Biden would say, “Come on Man, let’s go out behind the gym and settle this — period. Kid talk from a grown man. If this opinion appears mean spirited then mission accomplished and I will continue to fight the lack of any decency from the other side.

Semper Fi,

Bob Harrington


Travesty occurring at Lake Chatuge’s Gibson Cove Campground

A debacle is about to take place with regard to campers from Clay County, surrounding counties, the state of North Carolina and numerous other states. We will no longer be able to reserve campsites at Gibson Cove on a short-term basis, up to 14 nights, except for seven undesirable spots — none adjacent.

Seasonal campers are being allowed to take over the lake front sites for seven solid months — the entire 2021 season, April 1, through Oct. 31. Clay County is doing road work and many other changes in the hope of attracting tourists from other areas. This seasonal takeover is in direct opposition.

Short-term campsites are $25 per night on the lake. Seasonal lake-front sites will be an unbelievable $13 per night depending on days in the month. Clay County taxpayers will be footing the bill for seasonal campers’ electric, water, grounds and lawn maintenance, restroom and shower daily clean up, garbage pickup, sewage dump and Wi-Fi, among other costs.

The lottery for long-term seasonal campsites on Lake Chatuge, Gibson Cove and Rec Park campgrounds —the Rec Park has long allowed seasonal camping so more power to them — is to be held Oct. 10 for the 2021 season. This is short notice, but surely something can be done to delay the lottery drawing a few weeks so this matter can be more fully reviewed and addressed.

One person apparently has been given the power to represent a small number of seasonal campers who, of course, would love to live on the lake, at Clay County taxpayers’ expense. Call Jerry Payne, the manager responsible for this decision and Debbie Mauney, the County Manager to stop this abomination until an unbiased review can be accomplished.

A concerned camper,

Jeannine Lawrence


For everyone involved, learning shouldn’t have to be this difficult

Over the past several weeks I’ve had the opportunity to speak with a few teachers, some parents and high school students, about the way the school year is being conducted. Let me first say I have no dog in the fight, my children and grandchildren are all long done with school. I’m sure the school board is following the state guidelines and all other requirements for the opening of our schools. However, over my professional life I’ve come to understand, one shoe does not fit all

The state, in establishing the opening guidelines, has overlooked that fact. What’s good for eastern North Carolina, is not necessarily good for western North Carolina. In my conversations with teachers, parents and students, they have all said they do not like the way they’re having to teach, send their children to school or having to learn. While I have not spoken with all 400-plus high school students, their parents and teachers, I’m guessing there are others who feel the same way.

We have lost some of our athletes to other school districts and we don’t have that many athletes to start with. There are students who normally are exceptional students but are currently failing. I had the opportunity to sub recently at the high school and I asked the students in my class how many of them, by the end of the day, went home with a headache from having to wear the mask all day; they all raised their hand. I understand the school board has to adhere to the requirements the state sets down and the members may have explained to the state law makers what is required isn’t good for the students and perhaps doesn’t work in Clay County.

School is more than just for learning your ABC’s. Students learn about life and how to successfully interact with other people, both young and old. They learn that not everybody is good or bad and that while winning is great, losing is part of life. Most parents are not professional educators. Not everybody has great internet connectivity and going to the library to get online may not be an option. There are other concerns like what do parents who both work do with their children who only go to school two days a week?

I spoke with one student who said, she had lost her best friend because that young person wanted to play football this year and is now in a Georgia high school. A volleyball player said her team was going to be required to wear masks during practice and games, but fortunately that didn’t happen. I sincerely believe the school board would like to implement some, or perhaps all, of the suggestions they’ve received from teachers, parents and students but are not able to do so for any number of reasons. I’m beginning to believe the state as forgotten the only reason there is a State Board of Education — it’s to educate young people, not restrict their ability to learn.

David Junghans


Former high-ranking Republican officials, military officers support Biden

A quite remarkable development not seen in any other presidential election has taken place over this summer. Large numbers of Republicans who are former high government officials — cabinet officers, national security leaders, ambassadors — and numerous former high-ranking military officers, have organized to support Joe Biden for president.

These men and women are deeply dismayed at the damage President Trump has done to our governmental institutions and to our standing in the world. They are campaigning for Joe Biden as a morally decent man, highly experienced in both domestic and foreign affairs. These organizations include the following. • “Former Republican National Security Officials for Biden.” Among the 70 members are former CIA and NSA directors.

In their signed, open letter they say that President Trump “has gravely damaged Americas’ role as a world leader.” • “43 Alumni for Biden.” Some 200 members of President George W. Bush’s White House and cabinet offices support the Democratic candidate. “Biden will do what Trump has not,” they write, “serve the best interests of the country.” • “Republicans and Independents for Biden.” About 100 former state office-holders, a “coalition of current and former Republicans, conservatives, independents and prior Trump voters” will campaign to elect Joe Biden. • “National Security Leaders for Biden” consists of 489 members of both parties, and independents.

They include 22 four-star generals, numerous other generals and admirals, former cabinet officials and other, numerous high-profile Republicans who have served under presidents Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush. They write: “Joe Biden has learned hard lessons and grown as a leader who can take positive action to unite and heal our country.” He “has the character, principles, wisdom and leadership necessary to address a world on fire.” What do these organizations of mainly Republican leaders share in common? Alarm over four years of “reckless” behavior by President Trump in foreign and domestic policy, causing great harm to our long-time alliances and cultivating dictators and adversaries. As the 489 national security leaders declare, “..our allies no longer trust or respect us, and our adversaries no longer fear us.” They also see Trump’s failure to provide honest, forthright leadership in combatting the coronavirus as immoral, a domestic catastrophe and a national security threat.

These men and women do not have a political axe to grind. They are patriots who have devoted their lives in service to the country they love and they grieve to see the damage that has been done to it under this president. Two other Republican groups have sprung up this summer to support Joe Biden with ads on social media and TV: “Republicans Voting against Trump” and “The Lincoln Project.” No other sitting president running for re-election has ever faced such opposition from outstanding public servants of his own party. Retired military officers almost never come out publicly to support candidates, especially presidential candidates. I hope you will explore these organizations on line.

Robert J. Schneider


Interesting developments made in treatment, prevention of COVID-19

It’s time to change the topic and end my debate with Jim Davis. I’d like to thank the surprising number of friends, acquaintances and others who have complimented me on my responses to him. Continuing to respond to the world of anti-science, conspiracy theories and discredited studies, doctors and scientists is useless. You either believe me or him. When I started writing it was to talk about interesting developments with COVID-19 treatment and prevention that go beyond the general information from the health department.

Aside from the continuing importance of face masks and social distancing, some news in prevention comes from new studies showing that small aerosol particles that travel further than big droplets also have a much higher viral load than the bigger ones. It’s also important to be aware that the amount of virus inhaled or ingested plays a significant role in disease severity. Vitamin D, good levels of which we thought just helped disease severity, has now been shown to help as a prophylactic.

Good levels of iron, folate and Vitamin B-12 also seem to help, although the hard proof for those is not here yet. The proof so far is that elevated RDW, red blood cell distribution width, is associated with poor prognosis in a very wide range of disease and that includes COVID-19. Elevated RDW is most commonly a sign of a deficiency in one or more of those latter three nutrients. And just this last month, statin use during the 30 days prior to admission for COVID-19 was associated with a lower risk of developing severe COVID-19 and a faster time to recovery among patients without severe disease.

Use of statins prior to admission was associated with a 71 percent reduction in the adjusted odds of developing severe disease. However, this is not proof that starting statins after getting sick is any help. One good article on this is at: Pages/2020-09-23-statinsreduce-covid-19-severitylikely-by-removing-cholesterol-virus-uses-to-infect. aspx. Also, the president received Famotidine (Pepcid) for his illness, in addition to the more expected medicines. There is some early evidence that it helps with COVID-19. Last, there is good proof that some people have some pre-existing immunity from bouts with common cold coronaviruses.

This would also lead to milder cases but probably not full immunity. The treatment front is harder to summarize. For the current status of the most talked about coronavirus treatments, see: html. That page is updated regularly and includes those that are effective and those that are not. These are most of the major treatments, not a complete list. I think the scientists are expecting significantly better results soon from the new monoclonal antibody-based drugs which are looking good in the early stages of trials.

Many of the drugs are being used without a completed RCT, randomized clinical trial, because they seem to help and don’t pose significant danger and there hasn’t been time to complete a good trial. Various old corticosteroids including dexamethasone and methylprednisone are being used successfully. Treatment is getting better for all cases, but we are not yet at the point where we can say it is getting much better for serious cases.

Mike Gora