Obama has right Afghanistan policy
As a progressive but independent voter, I support President Obama’s Afghanistan policies. His logic is correct. We cannot ignore the likelihood of Afghanistan becoming a safe haven for radical anti-Western fundamentalists and destabilizing Pakistan with its nuclear weapons.
A Taliban victory also would destabilize other moderate Muslim governments who are our allies.
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Confronting radical Islamic jihadists is the challenge of our generation, and we can’t hide from it.
Obama is smarter than the knee-jerk liberal faction within the Democratic Party. We should realize that the Afghan war is a crisis point within a much larger struggle in Islamic civilization. We need to encourage Muslim societies to become more liberal and democratic by consistently standing up for human rights, including women’s rights, economic justice and nationhood for Palestine. Obama recognizes this and knows when to use force and when to use moral persuasion and diplomacy, such as opposing expansion of Israeli settlements in Palestine.
As a former ex-pat who worked in the Middle East, I can testify that the U.S. has huge prestige and influence in Islamic societies.
Standing up for human rights will help the more progressive elements prevail in Muslim nations. This is ultimately worth more than sending in a million troops, but there are crisis points where military action is required.
Barack Obama is displaying wise leadership in knowing when and how to use diplomatic and military options. He is way ahead of the one-dimensional criticisms that he is getting from both the left and the right.
Felix Mahr, Littlerock
Lawmakers should oppose Senate bill
Vote “no” on the Senate health reform bill for these reasons:
1. The $500 billion curtailment in Medicare waste and fraud represents funding for existing Medicare advantage plans. Far from wasteful, these provide many health and prescription drug benefits for 10 million people.
2. Claiming the $500 billion will fund the health bill is outrageous duplicity because it assumes senators will vote against future Medicare funding. If you’re not yet convinced, vote “no” because the bill’s full 10-year cost is $1.3 trillion once delayed health expenditures come into effect. This is fiscally irresponsible.
3. Our current U.S. government debt position is calamitous, demanding a “no” vote against future budget busting programs that result in even more debt.
4. Raising business taxes during this recession, the worst since the Great Depression, is likely to extend high unemployment and weak economic growth.
5. Costs for Medicare recipients will go up significantly under the Senate plan. You don’t have to be a genius to calculate it.
Assume it is in effect next year and use the health plan costs provided by the Centers for Medicare/Medicaid Services for 2010. Annual premiums for a Medicare Advantage Washington couple would rise from $0 to $4,000 or more. This “tax” on seniors deserves a “no” vote.
6. The present government option is exactly why Washington state has such a dire doctor situation for Medicare/Medicaid participants. Why expand?
Let’s be sensible and restart health reform. Lawmakers should vote “no” on the current Senate bill.
Richard Puz, Olympia
Student advocates for levy passage
I am an elementary student in the North Thurston Public Schools district. I am writing to you about our upcoming 2011-2012 replacement levy.
I understand from my parents that a lot of people do not like to approve levies because it raises their taxes, but I hope to explain why our levy is so important to our future.
This levy isn’t one that will raise taxes. This levy replaces the 2008 levy that our community already is paying for. Without the replacement levy, there are a lot of programs and teachers that may be removed or reduced.
Programs like art, science, music and athletics or physical education may not be offered in our district without the levy.
My parents explained to me the domino-effect when levies are not approved and budgets cannot support programs. People also lose their jobs. These are important jobs that are an important part of my success and the success of over 13,000 students in our district. We are the 22nd largest school district in our state.
Some things I didn’t know about levies is that they also affect programs that help kids get breakfast and lunch, maintenance of schools and even buses. So not only could be people lose their jobs, but also students could miss out on healthy food and healthy schools.
Please approve our replacement levy this February, our futures count on it.
Makenzie Sylvester, Lacey
Tiger Woods has a right to privacy
I am with Tiger Woods on this one.
His relationship with his wife is his business and not mine. Let them work it out together.
I am very worried when the national news media can breech cell phone messages and broadcast them on the evening news. No wonder he canceled interviews.
We should all be very worried for our individual freedoms.
Jeanne Myers, Lacey