Email letters, Aug. 13, 2012

Fullerton advised to read up on Constitution

Stephen Fullerton’s letter, “Women’s health care rights not part of Constitution” (August 10), betrays an understandably inadequate grasp of constitutional law.

In 1965 –- in the landmark case of Griswold v. Connecticut -– our Supreme Court held that state contraception bans unconstitutionally violated the “penumbra” that emanates from the specific guarantees in the Bill of Rights and “that help give them life and substance.”

As a Libertarian, Fullerton should readily appreciate that the various specific guarantees in our Constitution expressly and/or impliedly “create zones of privacy” – in which our pursuits of “life, liberty, and happiness” are to be free from governmental interference.

Initially, our Bill of Rights effectively protected only white male property owners against invasions by the federal (not state) government “of the sanctity of a man’s home and privacies of life.”

In 1868, with the enactment of the 14th Amendment, “all persons” – including women and former slaves – “born or naturalized in the United States” became citizens, and states were explicitly prohibited from abridging “the privileges and immunities” of any citizen, from depriving “any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law”, and from denying “any person equal protection of the laws.”

However, not until 1920 – with ratification of the 19th Amendment – did female “persons” become full “citizens,” complete with the right to vote.

Fullerton apparently failed to read the Ninth Amendment (adopted in 1791) that states:  “The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”  But that’s precisely what Fullerton is denying and disparaging.

Fortunately, the all-male court in Griswold rejected Fullerton’s sexism and held that women have a fundamental constitutional right of marital and medical privacy as to contraception.

I suspect that Fullerton would reach the same Libertarian conclusion had he been born female.

BILL HUGENBERG
Grand Junction

Leane’s leadership skills evident on ball field

I love playing softball. Our church team started playing in a Christian league, but soon found many more benefits playing in the G.J. Parks and Recreation Softball League, currently at Canyon View Park. For more than 30 years our church has enjoyed wonderful manicured fields, good officiating, great schedules, clean facilities, and most importantly, a great family atmosphere. The park even provides a clean, protected play area for kids. How many places can a person go now days and not have to worry about our children (in my case, grandchildren)?

This does not happen by accident. Before the first game of each league, Leane and his crew make it a point to lay out the rules in the park. Neither profanity nor poor sportsmanship is allowed. These rules are consistently enforced. Without strong leadership, the softball fields would quickly cease to be a place where people would feel comfortable bringing their family.

It takes strength of character and guts to hold to the values that Leane consistently enforces. Through his leadership, not only is playing on the fields enjoyable but just being in the softball park itself is a wonderful pleasure.

I know when I vote for a commissioner in G.J., I’m voting for someone who really cares about family and sportsmanship in our community. You can vote for someone who just talks about the importance of family, or you can vote for someone who has already shown his loyalty to “caring about family values.”

John Leane has already proven his value to our community—let’s put him in a position to help us even more.

MURL SEELEY
Grand Junction

Government subsidizes wind turbine slaughter of wildlife

The Production Tax Credit for wind power is set to expire at the end of the year, and the Senate is slated to consider extending the credit. Sens. Udall and Bennet are pushing hard to extend the PTC.

We have subsidized the wind power industry for 30 years, and the industry says quite clearly they would still not survive without subsidies. Where is the common sense? The message is clear. Wind power is not economic. Neither is ethanol and solar power. We should stop subsidizing these industries.

But, it gets worse. According to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, wind turbines are killing more than 500,000 birds and countless bats each year, including bald eagles, golden eagles and whooping cranes. In 2009, one oil company was fined $600,000 for accidentally killing 85 birds in five states over a period of five years. And, mining companies are all required to go to great lengths to not kill birds or be fined huge sums. Yet, not one single wind turbine company has been fined $1 for killing thousands per year over the past 30 years. Instead, our government subsidizes the slaughter.

And now it gets even worse. The Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing to grant “programmatic take” permits, allowing turbine operators to kill all these birds and bats without fear of penalty. This is all totally ridiculous. We, The People, should demand that Udall and Bennet both vote to not extend the tax credit.
If they don’t, which it’s obvious they won’t, they should be voted resoundingly out of office.

LARRY F. BROWN
Palisade

Destroying America’s soul

I’m tired!

I’m tired of being called a racist because I don’t agree with a president who happens to have a different skin color than I do. I don’t like his policies. I don’t like the fact that he disregards the Constitution; I’m tired of the will of the people being ignored. I’m tired of an administration that chooses to bypass the laws of Congress. I’m tired of out-of-control spending. Someone please explain to me what any of that has to do with skin color.
I’m tired of being called a racist because I want a reasonable, humane immigration policy. My grandparents were immigrants. They came to America, learned the language, worked hard, became legal citizens, built homes and raised families. They fought in America’s wars. I am not against legal immigration. How does THAT make me a racist?

I’m tired of being told I can’t know the truth. Mistakes are made, but does an administration have the right to lie and hide behind executive privilege to cover those mistakes? Remember, this was going to be the most “transparent” administration ever in the White House.  It is not about politics, it’s about the truth. 

I’m tired of being told I have to hate people that have a lot of money. Someone with a lot of money gave me a job, paid my salary week after week, gave me a bonus when they could and paid into my retirement account. I have to laugh. People want to bring down capitalism, but at the same time are enjoying the benefits every single day.  Where do they think the latest technology comes from in the phone carried in their pocket? How about Facebook? Google? Microsoft? How about the clothes on their backs and the food they eat and the cars, buses, trains and planes they travel in to their newest protest? What about the laptop they use to spread the news that “Capitalism is bad?” The tent they sleep in? Every single one of these is a product of capitalism. Someone had an idea, a dream, and was willing to step out and try. And because that dream was born in America, that dream became a reality.

I’m tired of political ads spewing half-truths and downright lies. Whatever happened to honesty, integrity, honor, goodness, and truthfulness? The hate-filled, divisive, false garbage that passes as political ads disgusts me. It seems to me that 90 percent of those in Washington care nothing for the people they represent and want only to further their own self-interests. And they will say and do anything to make that happen. I wish we could clear the deck from the top down and start over.

And last, but not least, I’m tired of my country, my flag and my faith being ridiculed and mocked. What right does a teacher have to tell young children they can’t sing ”God Bless the USA?” Why should I not be allowed to pledge allegiance to my flag and my country because “someone” might be offended?  Let them be offended! This is America. They can shut their eyes, leave, plug their ears, change channels, or use the mute button on the remote like I do when I can’t stomach any more of their rhetoric.

America’s soul is being destroyed, and we are letting it happen. If we don’t grab with both hands the little that is left of America, the America that was once proud, strong, free and good, and pull her back from the brink of the abyss we are hanging over, the greatest nation, the most blessed nation on the face of the earth, “the shining city on the hill” is gone forever …  and ever … and ever.

JEANNIE SHAW
Crawford

Voter fraud ‘problem’ overplayed

I am writing in response to Rick Wagner’s column on Aug. 9. Republican-controlled legislatures (mainly in swing states, what a bizarre coincidence!) are spending millions of taxpayer dollars to force people to obtain a specific government issued photo I.D. vote (I thought you people wanted less government in our lives).

The state of Pennsylvania was forced to admit in court that there is “no evidence of any in person voter fraud” and “no evidence that it will occur in Nov. 2012 in the absence of the photo ID law”. According to the National Republican Lawyers Association, there have been 340 convictions for voter fraud in 10 years in the entire U.S.

Even John Fund, the conservative columnist, confesses that a massive co-coordinated effort at fraud is much more likely to involve absentee ballots. Absentee ballots tend to favor Republicans, so they conveniently ignore that side of the issue.

Concerning True the Vote, a “nonpartisan” election integrity group? It is a spinoff of the Texas King Street Patriots Tea Party. I agree its statistics are startling. My guess would be startlingly inaccurate. The group is also on record as saying that its poll watchers during the upcoming November elections will be following people around “like the police.”

And my favorite part: “Felons for Franklen.” Nearly 1,100 felons voted? Actually, that is the number of complaints that were submitted and investigated; the vast majority was found to be baseless. Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said, “There is no basis in fact, whatsoever, in these inaccuracies propagated by the Minnesota Majority here, none.”

As many others have said (correctly, I think), this is a solution looking for a problem.

JULIE REX
Grand Junction

Ninth, 14th Amendments support women’s rights to contraceptives

Two recent letters to the editor underscore the gulf between those of us who support individual liberty and those who would suppress it. Stephen Fullerton’s letter didn’t think women had a right to contraceptives. He is wrong. Griswold v. Connecticut clearly delineated those rights within both the 9th, privacy, and the 14th, due process. Fullerton must be aware that the government protects the rights of all persons, regardless of what they believe or don’t believe. No one is forced under the Affordable Care Act to use contraceptives; neither can you deny contraceptives to your employees as covered medical services simply because you choose personally not to use them.

The U.S. Census and CDC make it clear in stark terms why the issue of contraception is so important to women. In 1936, the year contraceptives were legalized in this country, the maternity related mortality rates for all women and girls was 568 per 100,000 births. In 1960, after the Griswold decision took full effect, the rate dropped to 37.1: in 1973, with the advent of the birth control pill, the rate dropped to 15.2 maternal deaths per 100,000.

Contraception is more than a health issue; it is a safety issue for girls and women. This is even clearer if you look at the rates for the period 1996 to 2003, when right wing anti-contraception and anti-abortion laws started taking off in the states: the maternal death rate rose from 8.5 to 12.1. Conservatives have long been fighting a war against women, and the casualties are mounting.

Another war conservatives have been fighting is against voting rights. Juanita Williams’ false accusation against the Obama administration for filing suit against Ohio’s Republican secretary of state’s voter suppression acts is a prime example. In 2008 fully one-third of Ohio voters used early voting. Republican legislators rolled back early voting for everyone except the military, and this only because the Democratic legislators fought them to protect military personnel and their families stationed overseas. The suit was filed to reinstate early voting for all citizens of Ohio, not to deny the military early voting.

We women, those of color, elderly, poor, and students know there is a war against us. The war was started and is pursued by the Republican right wing. Conservatives should not be surprised that we peasants have had enough and have decided to get uppity. If all you can put forward are hatred, half-truths and disrespect for your fellow Americans, you do this country a disservice and need to think long and hard about how you want to be treated then treat your fellow citizens with the same tolerance and respect.

DIANE WOLFE
Hotchkiss

Romney, Ryan insensitive to needs of middle, lower classes

Romney and Ryan (R&R) have a conservative vision that is right for the Right but leaves the Left bereft. 

R&R will push for defense and weapons, much as North Korean Leader Kim Jong-Un does while his countrymen die of hunger.  R&R will push for less spending, but it is not the spending that is bad, it is the misallocation of spending that is wrong. 

As Reagan said, “Use your household as a guide.”  If you are in dire debt, renegotiate the interest, and/or principal. Don’t spend foolishly but spend on items that will improve or bring future benefits. 

To stop spending completely or reduce spending too much could have disastrous results.  R&R want to spend less so that the 98 percent will really experience the consequences.  R&R want to “grow the pie” but want the 1 percent to keep 98 percent since they believe they are the deserving class.  R&R and Conservatives believe they do everything themselves and have no one to thank for their good fortune. 

They are back to a 70-year-old theory that benefits will trickle down because lower classes are less disserving.  R&R will not accept trickle up, and yet we know that members of the middle class have to spend a very large portion of what they receive and the lower classes have to spend every penny they receive.  The rich on the other hand will in most cases outsource their money to tax safe havens in order to pay fewer taxes than anyone else.

Romney will continue to claim he pays all his required taxes but refuses to let others know how little he pays.  In step with economist Ayn Rand, Ryan believe that the lower economic classes must suffer in order to really feel the consequences and learn our lesson to make the world better for the 1 percent. 

It appears no one has told R&R that it wasn’t Main Street nor the lower classes that created the economic downturn in 2008—it was Wall Street.  Now R&R want to deregulate the Wall Street sector; their modus-operandi appears to be “what they don’t know can’t hurt them ” and ” If we can get away with grand theft once, we can get away with it again and again.” 

If you want to be part of the 1 percent, it is said that you have to join them or at the very least think like they do.  Ryan has joined, if not in dollars, then in thought.  It appears that Republican obstructionists will continue to put forth preposterous ideas that more suffering by the lower classes will make life better for all.  For me, it was distressful information that Ryan was selected by Romney to run as his V.P. 

For the middle and lower classes it’s bad news they are running at all. 

JOSE U. LUCERO 
Grand Junction

Are failed Republican policies immoral?

Now that Paul Ryan is Mitt Romney’s running-mate, the new presidential campaign catchword is “immoral.”

In May, the Council of Catholic Bishops decried the “Ryan Budget” as “immoral” – because it would gut the social safety net and deprive millions of affordable health care while offering more tax cuts for the wealthy and increasing the national debt by trillions unless “middle class” taxpayers pick up the tab.  Meanwhile, the “Nuns on the Bus” have invited reluctant Romney to witness first-hand the likely impacts of his proposed policies.

Romney and Ryan contend that it would also be “immoral” to saddle younger workers and future generations with the burden of a growing national debt – which they attribute to entitlement programs – while begging the question as to who did the “saddling.”

Anti-tax extremist Grover Norquist lauded Ryan’s tax proposals as a return to those of President Reagan – implying that those tax cuts produced economic growth.  However, reputable economists conclude that whatever gains resulted from Reagan’s “Voodoo Economics” were attributable to massive deficit spending, not tax cuts.
Between 1981 and 1992, Presidents Reagan and Bush (senior) more than doubled the national debt—measured as its percent of Gross Domestic Product.  After President Clinton (and Newt Gingrich) reduced the national debt by producing a budget surplus by 2000, Republicans increased the national debt by another 50 percent—through a combination of gratuitous tax cuts, unfunded wars, and expansion of Medicare Part D.

Under President Obama, the national debt has increased by only 10 percent—necessitated by the economic mess he inherited from Bush.  Moreover, had Republican presidents emulated the policies of Bill Clinton, the “national debt” would be almost non-existent.

On Oct. 11, Ryan and Joe Biden (both Catholics) will debate whether the theological definition of “immoral” encompasses insanely returning to failed Republican policies.

BILL HUGENBERG
Grand Junction

Liberal lemmings exhorted to run faster

While the liberal lemmings must know they are running towards the fiscal cliff, they can only hear in the background their fearless leader yelling “Faster. Faster.”

Wake up!

L.W. HUNLEY
Grand Junction

Negative ads ignore idea of ‘innocent until proven guilty’

Political elections have always been mudslinging contests. Candidates are misquoted and sound bites are taken out of context, but this election season has reached a new low.

The liberals, who have been trying to defend a rather dismal record for the last four years and cannot find enough “dirt” on the competition, have adopted the tactic of making something up and trying to force the opposition to prove their innocence.

I may be mistaken, but I thought in this country one was assumed innocent until proven guilty. An ad runs that implies that Romney was somehow responsible for a woman’s tragic loss in her battle against cancer with no factual evidence to back up that claim and (by way of airing the ad) challenges their opponent to disprove the accusation.

Harry Reid stands at the podium on the Senate floor and declares that Romney has not paid taxes for the last 10 years, and Nancy Pelosi goes on record as saying it must be true – Harry Reid said it. Of course, their objective is to get Romney to produce his returns so they can show he is wealthy.

The tactic says so much about the left. They promote out of one side of their mouth that America continues to be the land of opportunity, while trying to demonize someone who has followed all the laws and used his leadership abilities to amass wealth.

If the tax on capital gains was 30 percent instead of 10 percent, I am confident that 30 percent would have been paid. Warren Buffet is in the same category. Remember him declaring that he paid fewer taxes than his secretary? Did he pay more than the law required? No, he didn’t. And I do not understand why this is OK for a liberal while it is not for a conservative. It is nothing less than hypocrisy.

But this seems to be the norm. “I’ll cut the deficit in half” – no, I won’t. “If I don’t have unemployment below 8 percent, I deserve to be a one-time president”.”  “It wasn’t my fault! Bush …  the Republicans … the tsunami!”

GLENN MENARD
Grand Junction

Falsehoods by young girl send innocent men to jail

There is something terribly wrong with a justice system that allows a young girl to openly lie about her age, entice many young men to have sex with her and then lie about it to the police.

The young man (I think there are more than a few this has happened to) is jailed and labeled for life as a pedophile while the young girl continues to lie about her age without any repercussions whatsoever.

Yes, they sometimes, maybe often, have parents that back up these lies. Is there not one person that has enough guts to stand up for these young men or everyone afraid for their political lives?

Also, there are people working within the correction system that totally believe it’s their right and duty to dehumanize anyone in “their” system.
You folks that full well know about this absolutely must stand up for truth and justice.

CLYDE JORGENSEN
Sun City, Ariz.

President should be honest about tax plan’s effect on retirees

President Obama claims that his tax plan will not affect a couple earning less than $250,000. That statement is far from true.

Many seniors have earlier company retirement plans (1990 and earlier) that don’t contain cost of living adjustments. What they receive today is what they received the day of retirement. More recent retirements plans are based on 401k contributions made by the employee and the employer. For shortfalls in their income needs, retirees have to depend on returns from invested savings and/or 401k withholdings. The gains received are dividends and capital gains.

Obama’s plan affects taxes on dividends and capital gains with increase rates from 15 percent to 20 percent, a 33 percent increase. Most retirees who pay these taxes have adjusted gross income far below the $250,000 level.

Come on, President Obama. Let’s be honest.

A. HANSON
Grand Junction



COMMENTS

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Come on, A. Hanson,let’s be honest. You know that withdrawals from 401k/IRAs are taxed at ordinary income tax rates, not dividend or capital gains rates.

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