U.S. Senate race
Candidates are ignoring our wars
The slick mail rolls in from the U.S. Senate hopefuls: glossy, four-color spreads from Jeff Greene, Marco Rubio, Charlie Crist, Kendrick Meek.
Their solicitations are packed to bursting with highly targeted promises and exhortations, all carefully sculpted from the results of their inside polling: Cut wasteful spending; cut the deficit; hold BP responsible; ban (or don't ban) drilling in the gulf; stick it to fat cats on Wall Street; create jobs, jobs, jobs. They're going to shake up Washington.
Not one among them talks about the wars. That's wars, with an "s."
The candidates promise to cut the deficit, but they don't mention that these wars have cost our nation more than $1 trillion in nine years. That's just the dollar cost.
Our candidates (I use the pronoun "our" with trepidation) promise to rein in wasteful spending, yet do not discuss the more than $30 billion President Barack Obama's 30,000-troop surge in Afghanistan will cost in fiscal 2010 alone. Nobody discusses the costs for next fiscal year. Neither do our Senate candidates discuss the overall ongoing costs of prosecuting these wars.
Is it too much to ask that just one of them might discuss the more than 5,000 American servicemen and women who have died in these conflicts, or would show the courage to talk honestly about the nearly 35,000 who have suffered serious injury in these conflicts?
If these candidates have any spine at all, they ought to take cogent, honest stands about the dual wars that are squandering this nation's national treasure: lives, money, materiel, international relations and more.
We should thank Messrs. Meek, Greene, Rubio and Crist for their highly targeted pandering. It feels so good to be stroked. But until they talk about the single largest contributor to the bankrupting of our country, they don't deserve the time it takes to throw their garbage away.
Eric Gerard, Largo
It's just a legal way to launder money July 27, Howard Troxler column
Start cleaning house
First we have the legal loan sharks of the credit card and payday loan industries who charge outrageous interest rates. Now we have unlimited funds that can be donated from corporations to support their favorite politician and we have no idea who donated these funds or how much. As Howard Troxler put it, "It's just a legal way to launder money," much the same as organized crime does to hide billions of dollars activities.
If corporate giants like BP, U.S. Sugar, AT&T, Humana (and the list goes on) want to back a political candidate, then we as voters should have the right to know how much was contributed. Then when these elected politicians make decisions to further harm us (the people) we will have a lot better insight into their decision.
Come November, we should start cleaning house in government by electing candidates who are for restoring America back to its greatness. We should pay close attention to their words and not how much money they raised. Howard is right on as usual!
Jack Burlakos, Kenneth City
Failure in Tallahassee
It is absolutely dumbfounding that the "elected" officials in Tallahassee do not listen to their constituents. It does not matter what "side of the aisle" I am on. I expect, rather foolishly, the officials in Tallahassee to listen to me and make my life easier. It is beyond my comprehension to learn that the leaders called off the special session that was intended to look at gulf oil drilling. They say it is not necessary. That is only true until the leaders want it to be changed.
I have lived in Florida since I was a young man. I am very proud of my state. I am not as proud of the people in Tallahassee. Voters need to stand up and say, "We will not take this anymore!" To be an elected person in Tallahassee does not mean one's pockets will be lined. Lobbyists should not "buy" votes.
Before we look at drilling as an option, we need to examine our addiction to oil. The current spill in the Gulf of Mexico should open our eyes a bit. It is time we examine our representatives in Tallahassee. Perhaps we need to "clean house" and start over.
Mark Grantham, Gulfport
America is being run by talkers, not doers. Please print this because America needs this attitude, not the "nobody is responsible for their own actions" stuff currently being pushed by the liberals.
"It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat."
— Theodore Roosevelt, "Citizenship in a Republic," speech at the Sorbonne, Paris, April 23, 1910
Nicholas J. Boyer, Tampa
A Senate power failure | July 25, editorial
An urgent issue
I just finished viewing the film, An Inconvenient Truth, the award-winning documentary narrated by former Vice President Al Gore. I fully agree with this New York Times editorial which warns that the U.S. Senate abandons "the fight for meaningful energy and climate legislation" at the peril of our whole country and planet. The longer this important legislation is delayed, the sooner global warming (supported by undeniable evidence) will overtake us.
President Barack Obama should step forward and, in no uncertain terms, explain to the American people "that global warming and oil dependency are clear and present threats to American security." In light of the horrendous disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, this should be a no-brainer!
John Hayner, Clearwater
Bush tax cuts
So the Republican position is $33 billion for unemployment is unacceptable because it will add to the deficit. But $1 trillion in Bush tax cuts is fine to add to the deficit. Once again the Republicans have shown that they truly don't care about the deficit or the middle class.
Christopher Radulich, Apollo Beach
Is paying people not to work counterproductive? My company needed to hire a few people. We set up interviews with 14 eager applicants. Then Congress extended the unemployment benefits and only three people showed up for our interviews.
Lynn O'Keefe, Largo