Same old politics on New START treaty
The nuclear treaty with Russia, called New START, is supported overwhelmingly by current and retired military leaders, our NATO allies, and retired Republican politicians and defense officials ("New START splits military, GOP leaders," Nov. 21). It is opposed by current Republican Senate leaders, most vehemently by the ones closest to the Tea Party movement, and conservative think tanks and lobbying groups.
The obvious reason Republicans have suddenly gone soft on national defense is that they would rather compromise our security than let President Obama have a win this year in Congress.
This should come as no surprise; their self-proclaimed priority is to make Obama a one-term president. Unfortunately, that attitude does not amount to governing or solving our common problems.
SURYA IYER, EDINA
• • •
I can't believe Republicans are standing in the way of progress and strength in foreign policy by opposing a treaty with Russia that makes modest reductions in the nuclear arsenal.
Not only this, but the fiscally conservative party is actually asking for increasing funding for nuclear programs.
Nuclear programs! Wow. Is this 1950? Does anyone actually think that we need to learn to make a better bomb?
BEN SUNDERLIN, RICHFIELD
Like Bush before him, Obama kicks the can
Does anyone remember President Obama's sleight of hand last year announcing his escalation of the war in Afghanistan? Didn't the newly anointed Nobel Peace Price winner soften his announcement by promising a July 2011 timeline for deescalation of the war? Didn't our elected representatives parrot Obama's promise to explain their votes for increased war funding?
So it's a little surprising to find no mention whatsoever of this bait-and-switch upon reading "Obama: At least four more years of combat" (Nov. 21).
The name of the game played by our war presidents seems to be "kick the can." Obama's doing what Bush did, kicking it into what he hopes will be his next term. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., even let slip that the game plan is for U.S. wars to extend in this sick fashion for another 100 years. The American people need to understand who's paying for this spinelessness and get off the couch and yell foul!
COLEEN ROWLEY, APPLE VALLEY
MCCL addresses the online vote on abortion
An Apple Valley couple has made waves by asking the online public to help them decide whether to have an abortion ("Apple Valley couple put abortion to an online vote," Nov. 19).
Let me make two points in response to this shocking situation:
First, the couple, Peter and Alisha Arnold, and some news reports have asserted that abortion in Minnesota is illegal after 20 weeks. This is not accurate. The U.S. Supreme Court's Doe vs. Bolton decision in 1973 requires a "health" exception so broad that virtually any reason is sufficient to justify an abortion late in pregnancy. The 2009 abortion report from the Minnesota Department of Health shows that 79 abortions were performed after 20 weeks' gestation in our state last year.
Second, the actions of the Arnolds are entirely consistent with the "prochoice" position. If abortion is morally permissible, then there is little ground for criticizing the Arnolds' decision to use popular opinion in making their choice.
But most of us know that something is very wrong here. Why? Because abortion is the killing of an innocent human being, one's own offspring. And putting a child's life up for a vote shows an appallingly callous disregard for the value of human life.
I pray that the Arnolds' unborn baby -- whom his parents have already nicknamed "Wiggles" -- will live and be loved.
SCOTT FISCHBACH, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, MINNESOTA CITIZENS CONCERNED FOR LIFE
Local government aid
St. Louis Park mayor responds to letter
On Nov. 16, a letter writer from St. Louis Park praised city staff for prompt removal of a downed tree and warned readers that further cuts to local government aid (LGA) will mean service reductions in Minnesota communities.
On Nov. 22, a letter writer from Plymouth insinuated that taxpayer dollars from other communities are paying for services like tree removal. I'd like to answer the writer's question directly.
No, Plymouth does not pay to remove trees that fall in St. Louis Park, nor for anything else that happens here. St. Louis Park has not received a dime of local government aid from the state since 2003.
In fact, St. Louis Park is a net contributor to the fiscal disparities program that allows communities around Minnesota to fund needed municipal services when trees fall or somebody wants to turn on their water or the streets are full of snow. In other words, thanks to that state law, St. Louis Park's taxpayers may well be paying for trees that fall somewhere else, not the other way around.
So, in answer to the letter writer who asked if Plymouth pays for trees that fall in St. Louis Park, the answer is no, and if our residents have anything to say about it, it never will.
JEFFREY JACOBS, MAYOR, ST. LOUIS PARK
• • •
If you voted for a no-tax politician and you're not happy with the Minnesota Department of Transportation after this weekend's icy roads (and probably the potholes next spring), or with your street not being plowed or your police and fire departments being slow to an emergency, please don't complain -- because you're getting more in your paycheck (which you'll probably spend getting your car and house repaired, or your stolen property replaced).
FRANCIS TARANTO, MINNEAPOLIS