James Farmer's recent letter to the editor and the Ladies in Black say it like it is. Bring our troops home now!

I haven't always felt that way, but now I do. Here's why. How long should we keep our armed forces in harm's way? More than 60 years in Germany and Japan, more than 50 years in South Korea and more than eight years in Iraq and Afghanistan. The loss of lives and the wounded are more than the families and we can bear, much less the cost, which is money we don't have.

And now the added concern of 30,000 more troops needed in Afghanistan. I can't understand our president — he said he would bring the troops home and now he's adding more. Like the American Indians would say, "He speaks with a forked tongue." End this mess now! — Gordon DeVos, Medford

How can any one of us feel joy at holiday time or any time when a homeless man freezes to death in downtown Medford?

Yes, each city has their numbers of homeless that succumb and, yes, there are places for them to go. However, as we contemplate the season and the new year to come, how many of us are going to forget that fallen man and go on with our own struggle? If we do nothing more, let us all operate under the rule, for the greater good, so that each day we really see what there is to be grateful for and express it in whatever way we feel right.

Let Kevin Ferris stand as an example of what happens when someone is forgotten and what we as individuals can do to change that. Remember, each day we can do one thing that says we are thinking about the good of all.

It really cannot be that hard. Contemplate this as you enjoy the Christmas season. Look around and find a way to remember.

Giving seems to always have a dual benefit, something for the receiver and a whole lot for the giver, two birds, one stone. — Merrell and Phil Schwimmer, Jacksonville

I love my country, I fear my government. They bribe a congresswoman for her vote for $300 million. They attach 5,000 projects in pork to the budget bill. They attach payoffs to every bill. They overspent their budget so they raise their credit limit.

If they don't have cash, they print it. In time of recession, they spend 12 percent more. They ignore the interest of their employer. They don't read the laws they enact. They heed the party and not their public. They enact laws for us and exclude themselves.

They ridicule free speech. They expand their private planes while they ridicule others. They develop laws in secret. They are compiling a debt that will destroy our nation. They will tax us to pay for their unlimited excesses.

If a CEO did these things he would be jailed for corruption and charged with bribery, theft, misappropriation of funds and sedition.

If we can't jail them, let's fire them. — Jim McKenzie, Medford

In Afghanistan, we should meet with each local community. See what they need — a school, a well, transportation for trade.

Co-create community organizations with them that will achieve their local goals and fund those. That is what will dis-empower the "terrorists." — Eli Dumitru, Medford

The California Medical Association is concerned about "endangering patient safety" by incorporating alternative therapies into the health care plan. Come again? I suppose the 55,000 Vioxx-induced heart attacks and increased risk of breast cancer for women who bought into HRT must have occurred on another planet. On which planet are there more than 100,000 deaths "yearly" from FDA-approved, correctly prescribed medications?

We've got a health care system that one enters at one's own risk, and drug companies are experts at gaming the system and know that you buy any outcome you want from clinical trials and get it favorably "peer-reviewed" in any drug — I mean medical — journal.

Health consumers have, out of necessity, better health and survival, become wiser, more educated consumers about all health and medical philosophies. Alternative approaches to one's health have yielded safer, healthier outcomes in many cases, than those prescribed by convention.

Doctors like Steven Novella are destroying what good there is in conventional medicine. Health consumers want wisdom not dogma, less arrogance and more humility. Novella certainly has lost sight of "first do no harm." The CMA needs to clean up its own house first, before they can legitimately talk "patient safety." — Michael Framson, Medford

In his Nobel Prize speech, President Barack Obama described the 1970 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty as "a centerpiece" of his foreign policy. He stressed the need to implement the treaty's twin requirements: that non-nuclear nations forgo acquiring weapons capability, and that nations currently possessing them dismantle their arsenals.

The Rogue Valley Campaign for Nuclear Abolition supports these intentions. It will encourage the president to take the following actions prior to May 3, 2010, when an international conference convenes to pressure treaty signers to meet their obligations:

  • Stress repeatedly that nuclear nonproliferation and nuclear abolition are inextricably related.
  • Declare a policy of No First Use of nuclear weapons.
  • De-alert nuclear missiles aimed at Russia.
  • Pledge to swiftly reduce U.S.-Russian strategic nuclear arsenals well below the current agreement of 1500 strategic warheads each.
  • Include no funding in his FY2011 budget for new nuclear weapons or plutonium production.

RVCNA is a collaborative project. Its initial partners are OSD Initiative, Peace House in Ashland, Rogue Valley Veterans for Peace and Women's International League for Peace and Freedom. More organizations are being invited to join. Early next year, individuals will be urged to contact the president to achieve the campaign's goals. — Deborah Rothschild, Talent

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