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October 17, 2013 at 7:02 PM
President Obama encourages fight between parties
What we just witnessed in Washington, D.C., is a stunning lack of leadership [“Out of jeopardy, but for how long? page one, Oct. 17].
The speaker of the House is unable to come up with a coherent message as to why he chose this time and place to “take a stand.” I admire someone with the courage of his convictions, but I’m still not clear on what those convictions were. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid just says no and refuses to allow votes on House bills. The president refuses to negotiate with Republicans, which is the story of the last five years and is exactly what got us in this mess in the first place.
Right or wrong, tea-party Republicans were elected in 2010 as a repudiation to Obama and with a mandate to repeal the Affordable Care Act. The president has never bothered to try to reach any sort of rapprochement with them, though he knew this issue simmered all along. He had to know this fight was coming, and did nothing but encourage it, thinking his party would gain. That may be smart politics, but it is the opposite of good leadership.
Mark Stratton, Bothell
September 27, 2013 at 7:32 AM
Follow the money
I am very weary of the articles on guns and gun violence because no one talks about the key issue: the dollars that companies in the United States earn by selling weapons and ammunition. [“Obama pushes gun control at Navy Yard memorial,” News, September 23.]
President Obama asked recently why other countries such as Canada and Australia were able to stop gun violence by simply passing a law.
Why, because those countries do not, by and large, sell weapons and ammunition to other countries.
The dollars that are earned from domestic and overseas sales of weapons and ammunition are at the core of the issue of gun violence that all of us wish to understand and stop.
Gail Hongladarom, Seattle
September 4, 2013 at 7:32 AM
Congress: Act quickly
To those who represent the people of Washington state in the House and Senate: When you reconvene on Sept. 9, you have an important task at hand. President Obama has delayed action in Syria in order to seek your approval. [“Obama tosses gauntlet to Congress,” page one, Sept. 1.]
While I hope that you can make an informed decision and act in the best interest of our country, I also ask that you act quickly. Do not use this as an opportunity for political grandstanding, stroking egos or saving your political reputation.
As I’m sure you’re well aware, the Navy has a strong presence in Washington and, as we speak, thousands of sailors who are currently stationed in Everett and Bremerton are waiting on you to make a decision, as are their families.
I am one of those family members, anxiously awaiting the return of my husband. As a military wife, I support my husband and my country wholeheartedly. I understand that, at times, he must leave our family to protect our country.
My personal opinions on Syria aside, I have trouble supporting indecision and long, drawn-out debates simply to save someone’s reputation.
When it comes to Syria, I do not have all of the facts. I am not privy to all of the classified information that you have access to. Make your informed decision, one that is in the best interest of the country, quickly and please, send our sailors home.
Stacy Zeiger, Lake Stevens
President: Practice compassion
Mr. President: You have the choice of making a uniquely American response to Syria’s leader.
That American response would show compassion; it would not be a deadly punishment. Contrast crippling war reparations demanded from Germany by the Allies after World War I with America’s actions after World War II, when we dug deep into our treasury to help former enemies.
Why not devote our country’s resources to helping the Syrian refugees and the bordering countries that have opened their doors to them? Work tirelessly to organize and lead an international coalition of the willing to provide food, water, clothing, shelter, medical care and protection for these ravaged human beings.
That protection would also serve those bordering states if Syria tries to harm the refugees on foreign soil. This action could isolate Syria’s leaders and lay groundwork for an international demand that they stand down from their carnage.
Leaders receive far more credit when they change their minds to accomplish an overwhelming common good than when they stay a course so as not to lose face.
Thank you for enlisting Congress in decision-making.
John and Sandra Stonhouse, Normandy Park
July 27, 2013 at 8:02 AM
What about Bush?
Anna Smith has decided to sue the president of the United States for collecting data on her and everyone else. [“Idaho nurse sues Obama over surveillance program,” News, July 26.]
At least this president has the oversight of the Foreign Intelligence Service Act court.
I wonder where her outrage was when George W. Bush did the same thing without any judicial oversight.
Carol Barber, Kent
July 26, 2013 at 7:35 PM
For climate activists, the last few weeks have been exciting. President Obama finally laid out a plan to address climate change. [“Obama rallies faithful ahead of August recess,” seattletimes.com, July 22.]
Another bit of good news is the confirmation of Gina McCarthy as the new administrator at the Environmental Protection Agency. As an air-pollution expert, McCarthy will be at the helm of implementing rules to help protect our planet from climate change.
Now is the time we all need to speak up in public and support strong federal actions to reduce the pollution that is warming our planet, and rein in outdated and dirty energy sources that are creating extreme weather globally.
Karen Peralta, Kenmore
A long time coming
I’m not sure why it has taken until now for our government to speak out about protecting our world from ourselves, and decide to make plans for a less-destructive footprint, but I’m glad it finally is happening.
The fracking and gas industries are major threats to our land, and without eliminating those, we really have no hope for a future in this country. I believe renewable energy is a step in the right direction.
I hope President Obama makes an actual difference and future presidents follow his positive actions. This is our country, but we have left it in his hands. Let’s hope he handles it with care.
Emily Mancinelli, Seattle
July 22, 2013 at 4:14 PM
Zimmerman acted in self-defense
Steve Alberts, in his letter to the editor, offered us his opinion on the George Zimmerman verdict and “Stand Your Ground” laws. [“Northwest Voices: Zimmerman verdict,” Opinion, July 17.]
Alberts writes that Zimmerman has no “legal or police experience,” which somehow means that Zimmerman couldn’t possibly make an informed opinion on whether or not Trayvon Martin was attacking him.
Alberts displays that elitist liberal arrogance, saying that most human beings are too stupid to figure out that someone is attacking them.
Mr. Alberts, when someone punches you in the face, knocks you down and starts smashing the back of your head against the concrete, you don’t need some kind of advanced “legal or police experience” to figure out that someone is attacking you and that you have to do something to save your life.
Peter Karr, Bellevue
Zimmerman was acting responsibly
Jerry Large makes the case that racism is vibrant because George Zimmerman chose to follow Trayvon Martin, and speculates that was because of his hoodie or Skittles. [“Florida verdict a ‘wake-up call,’ ” NW Thursday, July 18.]
The trial itself didn’t fully explore why Zimmerman followed Martin after being told not to. The prosecution depicted Zimmerman as profiling Trayvon Martin.
By the summer of 2011, The Retreat at Twin Lakes had experienced a rash of burglaries and break-ins. Previously a family-friendly, first-time homeowner community, it was devastated by the recession that hit the Florida housing market, and transient renters began to occupy some of the town houses in the complex.
Vandalism and occasional drug activity were reported, and home values plunged. At least eight burglaries were reported within Twin Lakes in the year before the shooting, according to the Sanford Police Department.
In a series of interviews, residents said dozens of reports of attempted break-ins and would-be burglars casing homes had created an atmosphere of growing fear in the neighborhood, and Large somehow forgets that Zimmerman was part of the Neighborhood Watch. That makes it clear why he felt compelled to check out Martin.
Richard Pelto, Kenmore
Racism and injustice continue
In reference to the subtitle on the article regarding President Obama’s remarks on the death of Trayvon Martin as “surprising,” I suggest the surprising thing is that the remarks were so long in coming, and that any of us should hear them as a surprise. [“Obama: ‘Trayvon Martin could have been me,’” page one, July 20.]
After all, it was 50 years ago in April that Martin Luther King Jr. wrote his “Letter from the Birmingham Jail,” naming the same injustices of which President Obama spoke.
“When you are harried by day and haunted by night … living constantly at tiptoe stance, never quite knowing what to expect next, and are plagued with inner fears and outer resentments; when you go forever fighting a degenerating sense of ‘nobodiness,’” then, King wrote, we would understand why it was difficult to wait for that day when the injustices of racial prejudice would be no more.
I give thanks to our president for stating the painful truth that we are still waiting, and I hope against hope that we will take his words to heart, and live lives worthy of the challenging call to action spoken throughout the lives of Martin Luther King Jr. and President Barack Obama.
May we work toward that day when racism is no more.
C. William Bailey, Seattle
July 16, 2013 at 6:18 AM
Republican opposition is shameful
Syndicated columnist Froma Harrop asks in her first paragraph why, “other than crude political posturing,” would congressional Republicans want President Obama’s Affordable Care Act to fail? [“Column: Keep the health-reform train rolling past the naysayers,” Opinion, July 13.]
She follows with 14 paragraphs of commentary. All she needed was her first sentence after the question: “Our health-care system has been milking the taxpayers, the government and individuals for decades.”
Continuing such shameful profiteering from human illness is exactly why the Republicans oppose reform. Nothing more need be said.
David Behrendt, Edmonds
February 23, 2013 at 7:00 AM
Raises will help improve economy
Raising the minimum wage is necessary [“Obama, business groups differ on minimum wage plan,” seattletimes.com, Feb. 13].
The minimum wage exists to guarantee that people are paid enough to sustain themselves, and the current minimum wage is too low to do this. Increasing the minimum wage to keep up with inflation is something we should always do, and hopefully will from here on out.
As for the people who argue that raising the minimum wage will decrease businesses willingness to hire people, this may be true initially, but once the minimum wage goes up, so will the spending of the people working in those jobs. It’s fair to say that a lot of the people in these minimum-wage jobs (though far from all) are students. If minimum wage goes up, those students won’t hold on to the extra money they start making; they will go out and spend more, driving local businesses and making it feasible for them to expand creating jobs.
Simply put, raising the minimum wage is not only helpful to those making minimum wage, but is also a step toward fixing our economy.
–Joe Raley, Bellingham
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