04 21 2015
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  • When should we use military to enforce US goals? NASHUA, N.H. (AP) — Rand Paul lashed out Saturday at military hawks in the Republican Party in a clash over foreign policy dividing the packed GOP presidential field. Paul, a first-term senator from Kentucky who favors a smaller U.S. footprint in the world, said that some of his Republican colleagues would do more harm in international affairs than would leading Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton. "The other Republicans will criticize the president and Hillary Clinton for their foreign policy, but they would just have done the same thing — just 10 times over," Paul said on the closing day of a New Hampshire GOP conference that brought about 20 presidential prospects to the first-in-the-nation primary state. "There's a group of folks in our party who would have troops in six countries right now, maybe more," Paul said. Foreign policy looms large in the presidential race as the U.S. struggles to resolve diplomatic and military conflicts across the globe. The GOP presidential class regularly rails against President Barack Obama's leadership on the world stage, yet some would-be contenders have yet to articulate their own positions, while others offered sharply different visions. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, whose brother, President George W. Bush, authorized the 2003 invasion of Iraq, declined to say whether he would have done anything different then. Yet Jeb Bush acknowledged a shift in his party against new military action abroad. "Our enemies need to fear us, a little bit, just enough for them to deter the actions that create insecurity," Bush said earlier in the conference. He said restoring alliances "that will create less likelihood of America's boots on the ground has to be the priority, the first priority of the next president." The GOP's hawks were well represented at the event, led by Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who has limited foreign policy experience but articulated a muscular vision during his Saturday keynote address. Walker said the threats posed by radical Islamic terrorism won't be handled simply with "a couple bombings." "We're not going to wait till they bring the fight to us," Walker said. "We're going to bring the fight to them and fight on their soil." South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham addressed the question of putting U.S. troops directly in the battle against the Islamic State group militants by saying there is only one way to defeat the militants: "You go over there and you fight them so they don't come here." Texas Sen. Ted Cruz suggested an aggressive approach as well. "The way to defeat ISIS is a simple and clear military objective," he said. "We will destroy them." Businesswoman Carly Fiorina offered a similar outlook. "The world is a more dangerous and more tragic place when America is not leading. And America has not led for quite some time," she said. Under Obama, a U.S.-led coalition of Western and Arab countries is conducting regular airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. also has hundreds of military advisers in Iraq helping Iraqi security forces plan operations against the Islamic State, which occupies large chunks of northern and western Iraq. Paul didn't totally reject the use of military force, noting that he recently introduced a declaration of war against the Islamic State group. But in an interview with The Associated Press, he emphasized the importance of diplomacy. He singled out Russia and China, which have complicated relationships with the U.S., as countries that could contribute to U.S. foreign policy interests. "I think the Russians and the Chinese have great potential to help make the world a better place," he said. "I don't say that naively that they're going to, but they have the potential to." Paul suggested the Russians could help by getting Syrian President Bashar Assad to leave power. "Maybe he goes to Russia," Paul said. Despite tensions with the U.S., Russia and China negotiated alongside Washington in nuclear talks with Iran. Paul has said he is keeping an open mind about the nuclear negotiations. "The people who already are very skeptical, very doubtful, may not like the president for partisan reasons," he said, and "just may want war instead of negotiations."
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  • A number of the bills now before the Oregon State Legislature protect parties who have experienced domestic violence or sexual assault  
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  • Some lawmakers, sensing a tipping point, are backing the parents and teachers who complain about 'high stakes' tests   
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  • Watch Rachel Maddow interview VA Secretary Robert McDonald  
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Funeral services for Afifa Ahmed-Shafi were Wednesday, July 31, at Eilnan's Funeral Home, 915 By-Pass Highway, Richland, WA.

A Muslim Portlander, born on the Fourth of July, Ahmed-Shafi's career and community activism typified a love of country and a love of community even when the two at times seemed to be at odds with each other.

Ahmed-Shafi was Public Involvement Best Practices Coordinator at the City of Portland Office of Neighborhood Involvement, and leaves behind a huge community of friends, colleagues and associates.

Ahmed-Shafi served on the board of directors and was active with the Center for Intercultural Organizing for a number of years. Before being named as Best Practices Coordinator, Ahmed-Shafi started out with Southeast Uplift as a neighborhood organizer.  She had just earned a graduate degree in Organizational Development from the Leadership Institute of Seattle, Graduate College of Saybrook University, in June.

As a volunteer for KBOO Community Radio, Ahmed-Shafi anchored the KBOO Evening News for one night each week for several years. She was also a founding member of the Asian Pacific American Compass news and public affairs collective, conducting interviews on issues impacting the APA community.

The APA Compass episode marking the U.S. assassination of Osama Bin Laden in 2011, which featured Ahmad-Shafi and Muna Abshir Muhamud together with host Sarika Mehta talking about stereotyping of the Muslim community, was particularly popular.

"ONI staff are in communication with Afifa's family and friends and will share info when a memorial service in Portland is planned," said Brian Hoop, ONI's Community and Neighborhood Involvement Center manager. "Till then please keep her family in your thoughts."

"Today I find my self having the incomprehensible task of conveying that our beloved friend and colleague, Afifa Ahmed-Shafi, suddenly and unexpectedly passed away last night," Ahmed-Shafi's boss, ONI director Amalia Alarcon de Morris, said in an email circulated Monday. "While there is not much information that is certain right now, doctors indicate that she may have had an undiagnosed brain tumor that caused her death. 

"Afifa's funeral will be held on Wednesday in the tri-cities area in Washington.  Her family welcomes all who want to and are able to make the trip.  As soon as we get details we will send out a follow-up email for those who want to go.

"Afifa was a bright light in our community.  Brilliant, kind, warm, with a wonderful sense of humor.  Her passion for, and commitment to, social justice guided her life and her work.  She taught us every day and made us better.  Afifa was one of a kind and we will forever miss her.  We are devastated by her loss."

 

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