Possible Scenarios to Deal With the ‘Trump Problem’

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  • Arctic Warming, and ‘the Survival of Our Civilization’
  • Go Slow on Driverless Cars
  • Who Gets Published and Why

Credit…Illustration by Mark Harris; photograph by Scott Olson via Getty Images

To the Editor:

Re “There Is No Happy Ending to America’s Trump Problem,” by Damon Linker (Opinion guest essay, nytimes.com, Aug. 21):

Mr. Linker seems to think that focusing more energy on prosecuting Donald Trump or holding him accountable would have a “corrosive” effect on the country. I’d say the corrosive effect was set in motion by Mr. Trump himself — eroding public support for America’s justice system and intelligence community.

It’s not simply a fantasy of a perp walk that drives Democrats to seek investigations of Mr. Trump; it’s the dream of accountability, the idea that his serial criminal activities would finally be halted, and that this would set a better precedent for the country.

The theory that a prosecution would lead to a dangerous precedent of going after former presidents supposes that there is sufficient evidence. In the case of Mr. Trump, there is. For other presidents?

One would hope that the final weighing of evidence would be in the hands of the Justice Department and the courts. We should be willing to entertain justice on a case-by-case basis. Not give in to fear — pumped by the Republicans — that this will corrode our systems further. Let’s not forget that the danger was inside the house to begin with.

Scott Garceau
Quezon City, Philippines

To the Editor:

I hate to say it, but I agree with Damon Linker. The Justice Department should not bring charges against Donald Trump (Plan A). As he points out, if a Republican president is elected in 2024, he would immediately pardon Mr. Trump. This would rightly enrage the left. So he urges Plan B — defeat Mr. Trump at the polls in 2024.

I think there is a Plan C. Don’t bring charges against him, but release all the evidence against him. All the grand jury testimony, all the documents, all the interview transcripts, the list of top-secret documents from Mar-a-Lago, everything that the prosecution would present in a criminal case. Try Mr. Trump in the court of public opinion. Flood the zone.

Who cares if Mr. Trump goes to jail? Don’t make him a martyr; expose him as a traitor.

Richard Gooding
Roanoke, Va.

To the Editor:

There is only one course of action that can achieve a viable solution. And that is to indict Donald Trump, try him, convict him and then have President Biden issue a pardon. He would then be forever in the disgraced category of Richard Nixon, a politician without portfolio. Justice will have been served without creating a martyr, and Mr. Biden would come across as the person he truly is, one who cares more about the health of our nation than any form of vengeance.

Joe Sundeen
Lower Makefield Township, Pa.

To the Editor:

Why does the ending have to be happy? Why not an ending that is pragmatic?

In reality Donald Trump is a symptom of what divides Americans and why our union should be reorganized. Break it up. Let the Trump and anti-Trump states become separate nations.

We are living today with almost the same moral and social divides as we had before our Civil War. And we seem to heading to another. Although Mr. Trump clearly lost in 2020, Trumpism didn’t die and surely will curse and damage us severely for generations. These are the stuff divorces are made on. Let the debate begin.

Duncan A. MacDonald
Floral Park, N.Y.

Arctic Warming, and ‘the Survival of Our Civilization’

Meltwater from the Greenland ice sheet near Thule Air Base on the northwestern edge of the island. Credit…Kerem Yucel/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

To the Editor:

Re “A Signal of Climate Change Just Got More Dire,” by Henry Fountain (front page, Aug. 12):

As described by Mika Rantanen, a researcher at the Finnish Meteorological Institute in Helsinki, Arctic warming is “strongly coupled” with the loss of reflective sea ice. Only half of the summer Arctic sea ice remains, with the risk that September will be ice-free within 10 to 15 years.

If all of the Arctic sea ice were lost for the sunlit months, it would add the equivalent of 25 years of current warming, or the equivalent of one trillion tons of carbon dioxide. In addition, continuing melting of Arctic land-based snow and ice could add a similar amount of warming. If the cloud cover dissipates, the warming will be even greater.

The good news, however, is that fast mitigation of methane and the other short-lived super climate pollutants, which include hydrofluorocarbon refrigerants and black carbon soot, can cut the rate of Arctic warming by two-thirds.

Time is short to protect the Arctic to avoid triggering a potentially irreversible cascade of climate tipping points. The survival of our civilization depends on it.

Gabrielle Dreyfus
Durwood Zaelke
The writers are, respectively, the chief scientist and the president of the Institute for Governance and Sustainable Development.

Go Slow on Driverless Cars

Credit…Charles Desmarais

To the Editor:

“Driverless Cars: Too Important to Race,” by Shira Ovide (On Tech, Aug. 15), offers pointed insights about the pressures to rush autonomous vehicle deployment without a thoughtful, deliberate plan that prioritizes safety.

Some in Congress are even pushing legislation to give auto and tech companies the green light not only to sell tens of thousands of self-driving cars with unproven, unregulated and unsafe technology but also to exempt them from current safety standards.

The message resonating in the Washington echo chamber is that we can’t let the U.S. fall behind other countries. As this article highlights, being first isn’t always best. This is especially true when it will result in the sacrifice of innocent motorists, pedestrians, bicyclists, first responders, construction crews and others.

The U.S. Department of Transportation recently started collecting data on automated driving crashes, injuries and deaths. Let’s learn from what is happening with testing on our roadways now, have our nation’s regulators actually regulate these systems and make certain that known problems are remedied before sprinting ahead to widespread operation.

Joan Claybrook
Cathy Chase
Ms. Claybrook is a former administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and president emeritus of Public Citizen. Ms. Chase is president of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety.

Who Gets Published and Why

A case involving the proposed merger of Penguin Random House and Simon & Schuster wraps up on Friday. A decision is expected in the fall.Credit…Hiroko Masuike/The New York Times

To the Editor:

Re “Trial Offers Peek Inside Publishing World” (Business, Aug. 20):

While a publishing behemoth battles in court over an attempted acquisition, a much more important transformation is taking place in the industry. This has less to do with profits than with fundamental questions of who gets published and why.

Writers were once told that they were “only as good as their next book.” In other words, a manuscript’s intrinsic value — the originality of its insights, the brilliance of its language and the persuasiveness of its argument — counted for a lot. Today, many editors evaluate submissions largely on their extrinsic merits: Do they fit into a niche on their lists? Is the author a celebrity? How many copies of his last book were sold?

Because most presses are fighting for survival, they have had to make publishing decisions based on these more predictive factors than take a chance on quality. That may be better than “random” selection for them, but it’s much worse for authors who haven’t made much money from previous books and now can’t expect serious consideration for that reason alone.

John Dippel
Brooklin, Maine
The writer is the author of seven historical nonfiction books.

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