Supreme Court Justice nominee Brett Kavanaugh at the Capitol in Washington, D.C., on July 10 (Photo/Chip Somodevilla-Getty Images)
Supreme Court Justice nominee Brett Kavanaugh at the Capitol in Washington, D.C., on July 10 (Photo/Chip Somodevilla-Getty Images)

Save our day schools; communism’s moral heirs; travel ban security angle


I watched four struggling day schools become none

Regarding “Before it’s too late, unify Jewish schools in East Bay,” having lived in the Midwest before moving to the Bay Area, I fully understand what author Reuven Kahane meant when he said we must try to figure things out before it’s too late. I wish someone had given my previous community the same advice before we sadly watched our four struggling Jewish day schools become none.

As the saying goes: “You won’t know if you don’t try.”

Michael S.
Walnut Creek


If you criticize travel ban, also consider security angle

However many times I read your editorial “Muslim travel ban ruling sets dangerous precedent,” I can find no reference to any legitimate security concerns that are the obvious origin of the policy in question. (You do dismissively quote the chief justice’s reference to security in his description of presidential authority.) This omission is astonishing.

Let’s start by reviewing the history of this policy of giving added scrutiny to travelers from certain — actually a small minority of — the world’s Muslim-majority nations. It was President Obama’s administration that first identified four such nations for added scrutiny with the Terrorist Travel Prevention Act of 2015. The Department of Homeland Security added three more in February 2016. The concern was then and remains now the ability to properly vet persons coming from areas without functioning governments. The listed states with functioning governments are Iran, the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism, and North Korea and Venezuela, two very hostile powers. I recall no editorial criticism of President Obama’s administration in 2015 and 2016. Please correct me if I’m mistaken.

President Trump made some terrible statements during the campaign, but the campaign is over. The government’s first responsibility is the protection of its people, which is the primary standard by which public policies should be judged. That shouldn’t be so hard to understand. However humane your intentions, the inability to recognize that persons from certain areas can pose additional risks suggests a detachment from obvious reality.

We should vigorously debate how to achieve the proper balance between openness and security. Reasonable people can differ here. However, your editorial, by failing entirely to address the security issue, places itself beyond the scope of reasonable discussion. This bias would be irresponsible in any publication. For a newspaper representing a particularly vulnerable community, it is surreal.

Steve Astrachan
Pleasant Hill


Communism’s moral heirs

I’m moving to San Francisco in two weeks to start my first job out of college, and the first article I read in the Jewish newspaper in my new home is about communism (“A fifth-column 4th: Celebrating Independence Day in 2018”).

It’s been a terror finding a place to live on an entry-level state government salary, and the problem with homelessness represents a failure of imagination and kindness in our society broadly and in SF particularly.

The moral heirs of communist philosophy are the socialists, and the Democratic Socialists of America is the group to watch. I don’t know how you can write an article on the left in America without mentioning them, but they’re doing great work on immigration and checking reckless capitalism. I would encourage you to look into them — they’re growing by leaps and bounds.

Josh Greenberg
Calabasas


Tell it to the judge

To Judge Brett Kavanagh: For me, an American, a Jewish son of a Holocaust survivor and a former American history teacher, justice and democracy are Jewish issues. Deuteronomy and Jewish tradition and culture say to pursue justice, and I agree. Democracy is the most just political system, at least so far. But democracy requires checks and balances.

In the Minnesota Law Review you wrote: “The Constitution establishes a clear mechanism to deter executive malfeasance [impeachment]; we should not burden a sitting president with civil suits, criminal investigations, or criminal prosecutions.”

Your Honor, how can you have impeachment without investigation? How should a House of Representatives responsibly draw up and vote on articles of impeachment without an investigation beforehand that yielded at least some evidence of impeachable crimes, and how else should a Senate hold a fair impeachment trial without an investigation into the facts?

You also argued that criminal investigation hampers the president but the same argument could be made against impeachment. Our Constitution obviously considers that any added burdening of a president during impeachment is not as important as this crucial check and balance.

You also argued that investigating a sitting president makes their performance “worse.” In the case of — and these are your words — “a bad-behaving or law-breaking president,” stopping that president’s law-breaking might actually be better for the nation, but fatally undermining impeachment by not allowing congressionally authorized investigations of sitting presidents is not. It makes our presidency and form of government worse, and undermines this important part of our Constitution. In my view, it is patently unconstitutional.

I would appreciate your response in public.

Tom Kahan
Oakland

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