Flawed critique of Obama
John Hughes misses several crucial points in his May 2 characterization of President Obama ("Who is Obama, really?"). Mr. Hughes criticizes Mr. Obama for not taking a leading role in Libya, never mentioning that we're already in debt from two unnecessary wars, or acknowledging the careful balance that this situation requires as a result of the polarization over this issue. And in nearly his next breath, Hughes complains about the massive deficits. You can't have it both ways.
Hughes then declares that Rep. Paul Ryan's budget plan, which increases debt by $6 trillion, is a "bold" plan! Ryan's plan redistributes wealth to the top, the same way Reagan's and George W. Bush's plans did. These are the "bold" moves that created today's fiscal crisis, destroying the middle class, and lowering living standards.
And contrary to Hughes's mischaracterization, we do pay for Social Security and Medicare. Though these programs need to be streamlined, they're in trouble because the money we pay in is spent on things like tax breaks to the top and unnecessary wars.
Hughes questions Obama's resolve. I would suggest that Obama's bold decision to take out Osama bin Laden, and the way the CIA and military were coordinated under his leadership to complete the mission, with no leaks, answers his question.
Hughes also dedicates a good deal of his commentary to the national deficit. For an inkling of just how badly President George W. Bush and friends aggravated the deficit, simply consider how much money it cost, and is still costing, to take out those pesky and illusive "weapons of mass destruction" from Iraq. At the time, neither Hughes nor other conservatives seemed concerned with "America's mind-boggling deficit." A little more objectivity and balance would be appreciated.
Internet poker is no crime
Regarding the Monitor's View of May 2 "Folding on Internet poker": I'd like to refute a few claims made. Poker is a game of skill. If it were not, the faces in the winners' circles would be different. And Las Vegas is not "keen on the game," as you allege. Poker makes much less for the house than a bank of slot machines; casinos offer poker because a minority of players ask for it.
Most online poker sites had deposit limits per day or week to dissuade those "losses in an instant" you decry. The worst part about this anti-Internet "gambling" legislation was that it was sneaked in at the 11th hour with no proviso for discussion in Congress or gathering voter input.
Poker is not a crime, neither around the kitchen table as many of our presidents enjoyed it, nor on the Internet. The crime was devoting legislative energies to banning it online when there are so many other higher priorities.
Andrew D. Chitiea
Black Hawk, Colo.