Thursday, February 22, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Friday's letters: Put politics aside in soldier scandal

Release sparks GOP backlash | June 3

Put politics aside, please

The June 5 front page of the Times referred to an article inside the section with the headline, "U.S. soldier's release sparks GOP backlash." However, the story on the inside had nothing to do with the GOP.

I am a parent of one son who became a U.S. Marine in January, and a second son who leaves next Monday for U.S. Marine Corps boot camp. It is disingenuous for your newspaper to claim that the issue of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl's disappearance is a left or right issue.

Since my sons have chosen to serve their country, this story means a great deal to me and I am offended that some media outlets wish to make it political.

The idea that Bergdahl walked away from his duties and that possibly several soldiers were killed looking for him is of great concern.

This issue is not Republican or Democrat or about searching for allegations to hold against the president. This is about the safety of our military and the respect that our country has for the men and women serving.

Nancy Harkins, Palm Harbor

A story of rescue | June 5

Gagging the whistle-blowers

Neither convicted national security leaker Pvt. Chelsea Manning nor Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl are your typical, scrape-the-barrel, brainwashed soldiers. This was evident when Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel triumphantly announced to an audience at Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan that Bergdahl had been released, and none of them offered any reaction.

Bergdahl told his parents that he had lost his faith in the Army and was ashamed to even be an American after what he had seen in Afghanistan. He walked out of his base one night, significantly without his weapon, and was captured by the Taliban.

Manning was given access to videos showing atrocities being committed by our troops in Iraq and naively thought that Americans should be informed, and for her trouble is doing 32 years at Fort Leavenworth.

Bergdahl also has a story to tell, about what he saw happen in Afghanistan, but will he be allowed to tell it? Not if President Obama, Hagel, Secretary of State John Kerry and all the chicken-hawks in Congress have anything to say about it.

R.G. Wheeler, Lealman

Public assistance for Walmart workers May 25

Tax credit is a better way

The earned income tax credit provides a tool for increasing the purchasing power of consumers. The EITC and a lesser-known House bill, the Financial Security Credit Act, are both advantageous for low-income families. The FSC creates an incentive for the low-income workers to begin saving directly on their tax form. The taxpayer would check a box on the return agreeing to a direct deposit of all or part of their tax refund into a qualifying savings account (IRAs, 529 college savings plans, etc., for a minimum 12-month term). This includes traditional savings accounts. The filer would be able to open a bank account on the form. If the taxpayer maintains the initial balance for at least eight months, he would receive a matched deposit of 50 cents per dollar saved, up to $500 per year. A pilot program called SaveUSA has shown this type of incentivized savings program for low-income taxpayers can work.

The EITC and the Child Tax Credit, or CTC, also provide significant income support to families who work in low-wage jobs.

Unfortunately, members of Congress did not make permanent the 2009 improvements of the EITC and CTC. The deficit is the obstacle cited to funding poverty programs. Ironically, the House recently approved permanent tax cuts or subsidies to corporations and financial institutions without offsetting the $301 billion cost of the tax package over the next 10 years. What do we value as a country?

Barbara Drake, Tampa

VA measure stalls | June 5

It's not a new problem

Issues with Veterans Affairs and the proper care of vets have been simmering for years, but nobody did any real investigation into the complaints from vets.

I remember working with vets in 2003-04 and talking about how long it took them to get an appointment to even see a doctor. They complained that when you got there it took hours for your turn, and then if some other treatment was necessary, that it took even more time, etc. Many used the health insurance provided by their jobs rather than wait on the VA.

Senate Republicans voted against a bill in February that would have started to relieve some of the problems by adding new clinics and more doctors. Now these politicians act as though they were always so concerned.

Actually, what they were willing to do was to allocate trillions to go to war in Syria or provoke a war with Iran. But new medical facilities and job-training programs for veterans who would fight these wars was just too expensive.

Senators who did not support the February bill included Marco Rubio, who is now riding on the back of the VA scandal to raise money and get votes for 2016 by presenting himself as so concerned. If this mess had not finally been made public after decades of mismanagement, Rubio would still be unconcerned about the vets and still pandering to the NRA for money and votes.

Both parties are to blame for not paying attention to past complaints. So is the Pentagon and ranking officers in all branches of the military. I am sure that officers, who receive the Cadillac of health care plans, were quite aware of the lack of care being given to most of our vets.

All of these people should stop trying to use this scandalous handling of our injured warriors for making political hay and all get on the same page to demand and get immediate change.

Patricia Houghtalen, New Port Richey


Thursday’s letters: Second Amendment is outdated

Second AmendmentCongress can act on firearmsThe Second Amendment is outdated, since it is predicated on the need for a "well regulated militia." Militias are defined as civilian soldiers trained under the command of competent military leadership. The...
Updated: 11 hours ago

Wednesday’s letters:

House Bill 21Opioid proposal merits supportIn 2016, Florida recorded 952 heroin-related and 1,390 fentanyl-related deaths. Four in five new heroin users began by misusing prescription pain medications, also known as opioids. Despite the widespread op...
Published: 02/20/18

Hernando Letter to the Editor for Feb. 23

Re: Hernando business leaders push to loosen development rules | Feb. 9; Re: Deny Brooksville mine expansion, planning commissioners say | Feb. 16Wish to register my opposition to both the draft of the new Hernando County Comprehensive Plan that elim...
Published: 02/20/18

Tuesday’s letters: Making politics personal is one way toward reasonable gun control

The Parkland shootingMake gun politics personalAs an educator of 32 years, it encourages me to see our young people engaged after the horror at Stoneman Douglas High School. The tragedy at Parkland has awakened the sleeping giant that is the millenni...
Published: 02/19/18

Sunday’s letters: Congress must act on firearms

Deadly toll: 17 | Feb. 15Congress must act on firearmsIt’s time for Congress to be counted.The failure of Congress to act to: (1) limit access to assault rifles and (2) require meaningful background checks for all gun purchases is appalling.Surel...
Published: 02/17/18

Monday’s letters: Call it by its name: terrorism

Deadly toll: 17 | Feb. 15Call it whatit is: terrorismLet’s just call it what it is. It’s terrorism. No school in the country is immune. They all have procedures for sheltering in place or emergency evacuation from a shooter. It’s prudent to be pr...
Published: 02/16/18

Saturday’s letters: Payoff to porn star not front-page news?

Lawyer: I personally paid porn star | Feb. 14Where we’re at: This is 4A newsOnly under the Trump presidency does a story about the president’s lawyer paying off a porn star to cover up an affair with the president show up on page 4A. Never mind t...
Published: 02/16/18

Friday’s letters: Water quality too important to gamble on

State to update water rules | Feb. 10Don’t gamble with water safetyI wondered whether this front-page article was an early April Fool’s joke. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection "updated" its pollution regulations in 2016, with str...
Published: 02/15/18

Thursday’s letters: Bill protects pharmacy customers

House Bill 351Bill protects pharmacy customersWe all need the protections provided in Florida House Bill 351 to ensure pharmacy benefit managers, or PBMs, are transparently operating with patients. Currently, PBMs are not regulated by the state and o...
Published: 02/14/18

Wednesday’s letters: The ocean is no place for amateurs

Youthful dream sinks in two days | Feb. 12Ocean is no place for amateursFirst of all, let me say I am sorry this couple lost their boat and I do applaud their adventurous spirit. However, I have spent over 20 years at sea and would like to commen...
Published: 02/13/18