Portman's lack of courage

U.S. Sen. Rob Portman fails at bipartisanship if it requires courage. He touts his bipartisan efforts, bills addressing uncontroversial issues with common sense solutions. But when faced with bipartisan legislation addressing a key moral issue — blocking arms sales to Saudi Arabia in response to journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s grisly murder — he lacked the guts to join a handful of other Republicans in support.

U.S. intelligence agencies quickly concluded that the Saudis murdered Khashoggi. A recent U.N. report detailed more evidence — that Khashoggi’s murderers called him a “sacrificial lamb,” a forensic expert said that “joints will be separated” when disposing of the body, rooms were scrubbed down and evidence possibly burned to thwart investigators — pointing to the killing and cover-up authorized at the highest levels of the Saudi royal court.

Rand Paul expressed what was at stake: “There is high confidence that the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia butchered a dissident with a bone saw … You would think that would give us pause as to giving Saudi Arabia or selling Saudi Arabia more weapons."

Lindsey Graham agreed. He voted “to send a signal to Saudi Arabia that if you act the way you’re acting, there is no space for a strategic relationship. There is no amount of oil you can produce that will get me and others to give you a pass on chopping somebody up in a consulate.”

Sadly, Portman values President Trump’s favor more than he values upholding America’s moral standing in the world.

Sharon Kimmell, Silver Lake

 

Deals for big utilities

In the House Bill 6 debate, FirstEnergy Solutions supporters have called for credits for the company leading Ohio in current carbon-free power generation. But in calling for this, they ignore the reality: Ohio does not currently value carbon-free electricity generation.

Witness the bill as currently proposed also calls for paying for continued operations of coal generators, even an out-of-state operation. Many could support a carbon-free standard, but this is “greenwashing.”

No matter, they say, arguing nuclear operations should get yearly bonus checks from the entire state because of how they make energy. Carbon-free, they say. Solution? Add a carbon-free standard to the renewable portfolio standard we have.

Watching the floods, fires and heat waves sweeping the Midwest and world, we clearly need to take climate action, but House Bill 6 as it stands is clearly just a participation trophy for unprofitable generation.

Thomas Collins, Garrettsville

 

Destroying art in U.S.

A couple of years ago, I attended a forum at the University of Akron where the destruction of ancient artifacts by ISIS was discussed and I would have to say universally condemned. Several years earlier, most of the civilized world was disgusted with the destruction of the Bamiyan Buddhas by the Taliban.

It appears we are little better as we intend to paint over a New Deal era mural which interpreted the life of our first president, George Washington ("San Francisco to paint over George Washington mural,” July 5). Unfortunately, this does not appear to be an isolated incident in 21st century America.

Robert E. Williams II, Akron