Email letters, August 14, 2014

Senators need to stand up for clean energy and climate action

Compared to the last couple years, it’s been a relatively light wildfire season so far: only 33,000 acres burned. As global warming pollution heats up the atmosphere, quiet summers like this will be the exception, few and far between. Blazes like the ones that tore through homes near Waldo Canyon and Black Forest in 2012 and 2013 could be the new normal.

We know what we have to do: limit carbon from the largest sources – our power plants – and shift to clean energy like wind, solar, and energy efficiency. And that’s just what the Environmental Protection Agency would do under the newly proposed Clean Power Plan.

But instead of letting EPA do its job, polluters’ allies in Congress have introduced no fewer than 6 bills to block EPA’s Clean Air Act authority to tackle global warming. Sens. Mark Udall and Michael Bennet should continue to stand up for clean energy and climate action, even as polluters dump millions on campaign ads attacking EPA. Because summers like this one are too good to lose forever.


Environment Colorado

In future, Carter will be recognized for balancing faith and public policy

No question: Within 100 years or maybe much less, Jimmy Carter will be celebrated as the equivalent of a Protestant/evangelical saint. History will recognize his genuine accomplishment of delicately balancing the imperatives of faith with public policy.

In time, we will realize that the tenor of our present partisan comments is a simply a symptom of a passing affliction of hyper-polarized acrimony. Events will surely arise that will cause many more of us to behave like adults.

In time, many more of us will also honor real human progress rather than ingrained biases and cherished political ideologies.

Walhalla, S.C.

Palisade doesn’t need the problem of legalized marijuana

Apparently the Town of Palisade is considering putting the legalization of recreational marijuana on the ballot this fall. Why?

We are not De Beque. We are not a town that is so starving for money that we will chase any two-bit idea down the rabbit hole. Let De Beque deal with the headaches that we are now starting to see from this experiment in legal drugs. Let their children experience the increase in use. Let their town deal with the homeless that follow the industry. Palisade has enough problems. We don’t need more.

I strongly urge the Town of Palisade to not be seduced by the mirage of easy money. As the evidence is now showing, that “easy money” isn’t so easy.


Commercial fiction’s place is not in the classroom

I was astonished by the current debate regarding the teaching of “Enders Game” in District 51. I taught English for forty-five years, 15 of those as a teacher in north Seattle, and 30 at what is now Colorado Mesa University. I chose certain books on the premise that they could enrich my student’s lives, mystify their imagination, articulate their dreams and disappointments, and — most of all — transmit the best of our culture from one generation to the next.

I don’t quite understand what “Ender’s Game” has to do with an English class, except perhaps to blackmail students into reading something. Most teachers are familiar with “Anne of Green Gables” and “Life of Pi”; but there is so much more, and it is readily available. If teachers don’t know where to look, I would suggest they search the Booker Prize web, the Newberry Medal, the Caldecott Medal, or the National Book Award. All of these resources list some excellent material for juveniles and young adults.

Commercial fiction has its place (if not overindulged), but certainly not in the classroom.


Climate change the largest environmental hoax since DDT

Not since Rachel Carson’s book, “Silent Spring,” in 1962 about the supposed environmental damage done by DDT has a hoax been foisted on the general public like global warming, climate change, or whatever.

Today one of the greatest killers in the world is malaria, which in the 1960’s had been brought to near extinction through the use of DDT. “Why?” one could ask, are millions of people dying today from a disease that was all but extinct 40 years ago? The answer is that there are people who call themselves scientists who have agendas or ideologies that are willing to make fraudulent claims backed up by fraudulent data and a willing media to keep repeating these lies until people start to believe the lies.

Most people haven’t the slightest idea whether global warming is happening other than that the media keeps repeating it, so it must be true. Even when the scientists are caught modifying their data to support their claims, the media keeps repeating the falsehood.

The truth is that for almost 18 years now there has been no warming of the atmosphere. There is no evidence of greenhouse gases trapping hot spots here on the planet, which the EPA has used as a reason to bludgeon the coal industry. Has anyone ever wondered how many greenhouse gases are spewed out by all of the active volcanoes here on earth every day?

If you look at weather records for the last century, it shows that the 1930s was the warmest decade in the U.S. If you read about the Anasazi Indians you will find that the archeological record indicates that it was not unusual for them to adapt to “climate change” by moving locations. It is believed that one of the reasons for the migration of the Anasazi Indians from this area in the 12th and 13th century was drought.

If you go back only 13,000 years ago, there were many glaciers in this part of the world. We have had numerous “mini” ice ages since then. To give some context to this; if you take the last 13,000 years and compare it to the age of the earth, 4.5 billion years, and if the 4.5 billion represents one year, then 13,000 years would represent less than 2 seconds.

Human beings don’t live long enough to get a proper perspective of what the temperature of the
earth should be or how much CO2 should be in the atmosphere. The only constant is that the weather changes.

The real threat to this country is not climate change, but people with a climate change agenda

Grand Junction

Immigration system is not the only broken thing in our country

With President Obama reportedly poised to take executive action to create a pathway to legal status for perhaps millions of currently undocumented immigrants, some still claim that our current immigration system is not really “broken” and ask – if it is – why didn’t the Democratically-controlled Congress “fix it” in 2009-2010?

Of course, the estimated 12 to 20 million undocumented immigrants now in the U.S. did not all arrive here together. Rather, the 1980 Census estimated their numbers at only 2 to 4 million. However, following the de facto “Reagan Amnesty” in 1986 (when laws prohibiting the hiring of “illegals” went unenforced), illegal immigration accelerated.

Scofflaw U.S. employers remain the primary magnet for illegal entrants. During the Clinton administration from 1992 through 2000, the U.S. economy created 22 million jobs – and attracted from 450,000 to 750,000 “illegals” per year to fill jobs that American workers wouldn’t take (primarily in agriculture, construction, and lodging/domestic services).

During the Bush administration, illegal immigration reached 850,000 annually – totaling over 13 million by mid-2008. However, during the financial crisis and near-Depression of 2008-2009, at least 1 million undocumented workers “self-deported.” Consequently, health care reform – not immigration reform – was the priority in 2009-1010.

Under President Obama, illegal immigration was initially near net zero (but has increased as our economy strengthens), and more illegal entrants have been deported than under any previous administration.

From 2001 through 2012, Senate Republicans repeatedly “filibustered” variations of the DREAM Act (granting legal status to some children brought here illegally prior to 2007).

On June 15, 2012, after Republican Senator Marco Rubio repudiated his own proposal, President Obama ordered “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals” (“DACA”).

Notwithstanding the President’s Order, the Senate still passed the comprehensive “Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act” on June 27, 2013, but the “Tea Party” controlled House still refuses to even consider it.

On August 1, 2014, the House passed (and our own Scott Tipton voted for) a politically preposterous measure bill offering only $694 million to address the humanitarian crisis precipitated by 60,000+ unaccompanied minor children from Central America – in exchange for deporting some 700,000 DACA “Dreamers” – then went out to “recess”.

Obviously, much more than just our immigration system is “broken”.

Grand Junction

Congress needs to address House Bill HR-543

As of August 4, Congress is on recess, and will return to their seats in DC on September 8. While on recess, they are campaigning for the November election. In their campaign speeches they make promises that they probably cannot keep. They visit VA medical centers, nursing homes for the aged, union halls, hold round table sessions, and meet with constituents. In my opinion, items of this nature should always be on their agenda, not just 3 months prior to the elections when they are looking for votes.

Now that the VA has a new Administrator, the problems are not yet solved.  Hopefully the new Administrator will make needed improvements as the investigation continues to turn up inappropriate discrepancies.

The main item that needs to be addressed by Congress when they are back in session is House Bill HR-543: the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Agent Orange Act. We vets need help from the American people to call their members of Congress and urge them to support this House Bill. Navy Vietnam veterans are the most denied which makes no sense for VA benefits because they
served at sea not on land, yet are still infected and sick with agent orange. The deadly herbicide was in the air and in our drinking water at sea, a proven fact by the Institute of Medicine that the VA ignores.

With Congress on recess in their home states campaigning, let them know that American people do have a voice.

Media, Pa.


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Gary Carter:  Sounds like you just might be a relative of Jimmy Carter.  Compared to Obummer, he looks reasonable - not as any kind of a ‘Saint’ though.  I’m pretty sure you can’t be a Saint when you look at women not your wife, with lust in your heart, as Carter admitted to.  As for the Peace Prize - well - Obummer got one of those too, and we still can’t figure out why.  Jimmy Carter should thank his lucky stars Obummer came along - now, Carter is only the second-worst president of all time.

To ‘Buffalo’d Bill’ Hugenberg:  Mr. Hugenberg - again you spout a whole bunch of numbers, possibly correct, and talk of our ‘broken immigration system’.  You denigrate Marco Rubio over his stance, I suspect mostly because he is a Republican.  Tipton’s efforts, you say are ‘preposterous’, yet the system is still ‘broken’.  I’d like to know just what you consider ‘broken’.  Is it that Republicans won’t knuckle down to the Liar-in-Chief, and go along with the Senate’s idea of amnesty?  Could it be that the Reagan ‘de facto amnesty’ was a mistake?  The Simpson/Mazolli bill of ‘86, signed by Reagan, required that the border be secured as part of the deal with Democrats.  Guess what?  The Democrats stiffed Reagan on the ‘securing’ part.  Now, the same party (Senate Democrats) want yet another ‘amnesty’, this time without securing the border.  Though Republicans say that is the first thing that has to happen (sealing the border) the Democrats want no part of it.  What reason would you offer for not securing the border?  Could it be that the border not being secured in any way, shape or form is what is ‘broken’, and was before Reagan’s presidency?  Maybe you can tell us all, who are just dying to know:  If the government can say that “there are 12 million illegal’s in the U.S.”, how can that happen, unless something is ‘broken’?  It must be broken at the southern border - that’s where they are coming from.  As for DACA - how old must a child be, when the parents are sneaking them into the U.S., in the dark, at night - and telling them to be quiet lest they be caught?  Furthermore - just what is it that justifies the term “illegal” to you Mr. Hugenberg?  Note, I didn’t say “undocumented” - I said “illegal”.  What I mean by that term is this:  An Mexican national father, or mother, or both - bring their Mexican national children into the U.S. without a Visa, a work permit, or any sort of legal permission to be here.  Does that not make them unlawful?  If not - how so?  If they come with a work visa, a student visa, or some other lawful temporary method, and overstay - are they not now in violation of Americas laws?  Would that be ‘illegal’ in your mind?  Just what part of ‘illegal entry’ into the U.S. is it that you don’t understand?  If a child is brought here as an infant, then I can understand their lack of knowledge of the circumstances.  After about the age of six or so, I believe they know what they are doing is not on the up and up.  As for what you deem the ‘humanitarian crisis’ on the border - it is just another opportunity for people who are here illegally to get a pass.  We will see just what the percentage is of those who are sent back to where they belong, and just how many people from other countries get displaced while trying to come here legally, because of this influx if ‘illegal’s’.

Buffalo’d Bill Hussein swings for the fence again, speaking from facts and figures without ever having been to the border. The liberal party continues to demand! things without justification of a rational plan of action. We have a government that can’t locate 20 million illegal aliens, run by men just like Buff. They can’t see beyond the next election and rule with feelings rather than rationality as the outcome of their decisions. We are seeing the fruits of those decisions come to be with a failing economy, being downgraded twice, a rising debt, doubling in a short time, and a foreign policy that has left this country in a third world status with the rest of the world. Buff Hussein quotes figures and froohaha as though they were the gospel of Jobe. All the this that and the other that has happened that he quotes religiously mean nothing in the wake of what the outcome of this “pen and phone” decisions have created. Leading by Crisis? Family’s barely making it paycheck to paycheck after spending all their savings to just get by, people with degrees working at fast food outlets, businesses looking elsewhere or holding off on development all because of the lack of confidence business and people have in this Administration to do the right thing. So let’s import more people we can brainwash and give free #### to? That’s a foreign policy the other Hussein likes, apparently Buffalo’d Husseing Hugenburg is just giddy with the results, without thinking of the consequences? did you buy that bus ticket yet Buff? Mr. Bright

David Zulian’s response to my on-line letter (“Immigration system is not the only broken thing in our country”) raises several issues worthy of further consideration.  Thus:

First, because sound public policy decisions should be based on objective facts rather than on subjective prejudices, the numbers I “spout” are both “correct” and relevant – in contrast to the fact-free gibberish offered by local nativists (like Zulian and Virginia/Mr. “Not So” Bright below).

Second, in April 2012, in an apparent effort to curry favor with Latino voters in advance of the Presidential Election, Republican Senator Marco Rubio offered an alternative to the DREAM Act that did not include a “pathway to citizenship”.  After President Obama endorsed his proposal as a reasonable compromise, Republican Senator Ted Cruz and like-minded “Tea Partiers” railed against it – prompting Rubio to repudiate his own bill.  If those facts denigrate Rubio, he has no one to blame but his fellow Republicans.

Third, on June 27, 2013, by a vote of 68-32 (including 8 Republicans), the Senate passed S.744—the “Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act”—but the “Tea Party”-controlled House has yet to even consider it.  S.744 would enact “comprehensive” reform by addressing all the major concerns of both parties – but “Tea Partiers” won’t allow a vote in the House because they know it would pass.

Fourth, as Republican Senator John McCain insists, those (like Zulian) who think S.744 grants “amnesty” don’t understand the meaning of the word.  Rather, the present system is “broken” because it already amounts to “de facto amnesty” due to the absence of the rigorous enforcement that nobody by “Tea Party” nativists want, while S.744 imposes a $1000 fine and requires “illegals” to self-identify themselves to immigration officials in exchange for temporary legal status. 

Fifth, Simpson/Mazolli failed because the Reagan administration declined to enforce it against scofflaw U.S. employers (presumably, Republicans), whose demand for cheap labor continued unabated.  When border security was increased by President Clinton, determined immigrants found more remote and/or inventive ways to enter illegally.

Sixth, no one has yet clearly defined what it means to “secure” and/or “seal” our southern border – or calculated the cost-effectiveness of doing so—when (like the 9/11 terrorists) 40% to 50% of “illegal immigrants” actually enter legally and overstay their visas and/or arrive by boat, plane, or car hundreds of miles away from the “southern border”.

In any event, S.744 would provide some $43 billion to “secure” 700 additional miles of border with 20’ fencing and double the size of the Border Patrol to 40,000.

Peter considering the low cast cheap shots directly fired at me personally and my wife by Bill Hussein I don’t think your jackass remarks are pertinent. Buff rambles like the lawyer he is, irreverently and tries to be “personal” in his attacks. I only return fire when fired upon. However for the record I have no respect for a man that supports taking healthcare away from hundreds of thousands of private citizens in Colorado that were perfectly happy with their policy to force them to pay more so those that didn’t have it can have it paid for by so many others? I worked at a job I didn’t particularly care for just so I could provide medical benefits for myself and my family.
Mr. Bright

I don’t put much stock in a first-term Senator who is elevated to ‘presidential material’ in the media, before he even learns the workings of the Senate.  As for blaming the Republicans - thank God they are against ‘paths to citizenship’ other than what was, and is available to those wanting to come here.  Line-jumpers screw it up for those who follow the rules.  Senate S.744 isn’t a panacea to all our woes. To say that Reagan’s ‘amnesty’ worked would be an out and out lie. Even Hugenberg agrees that enforcement has not been accomplished, nor will it.  He doesn’t offer a solution, only blame.  If the grower’s want cheap help, that can be accomplished - we have work visas - enforcement is what is lacking.  If you want to come to America, and become a citizen of America, do it the legal way.
Mr. Hugenberg’s fourth point:  I actually do agree with Mr. Hugenberg on what constitutes the ‘broken’ system, not what ‘amnesty’ is.  When you don’t ‘secure’ our border, fail to deport those who have sneaked in, or overstayed a visa, whether you do it to placate the growers, or because you just don’t have an interest, it is ‘de facto amnesty’.  That term can be applied whether you don’t enforce, or if you grant legal status - even limited - to those who came here illegally.  Either way - those who try to come here and become true citizens of America, get shorted by the illegal’s.
As to the fifth point - Simpson/Mazolli failed - in the manner that the border wasn’t secured, which was part of the bill.  Mr. Hugenberg can blame it on Reagan, as do I.  Reagan should have vetoed it.  Regardless who one blames, the bill resulted in the 12 million illegal’s admitted to by our government now, whether it was by non-enforcement, or whether those 12 million see their chance at another ‘amnesty’.  S.744, along with DACA, and the DREAM act, is but another ‘amnesty’ for those here illegally.
I will offer a definition of “Securing our Nation” from the hordes of illegal’s coming.  That would be to require ‘legal permission’ to be here, in the form of a visa of some sort, (papers) carried on your person, surrendered at the request of ANY officer of the law.  Border Patrol ON the border, not forty miles away, with authority to deport any person without said visa on their person.  Authorization to ask, by ANY law enforcement agency for said papers based on reasonable suspicion of lack of same.  I don’t want to hear: “We can’t just round up and deport 12 million illegal’s”.  You can’t do it in a day, or a week, or a month - maybe even in a year - but it can be done, and that is part of the ‘broken system’.  We need to have the WILL to do it.  Administration(s) have not made the effort - and that is how we arrived at this point.  Cost effectiveness should not enter the picture.  Administrations have let this go for far too long, using every trick in the book to not face it - now it is incumbent upon America to fix it.

EVERY reporter that has actually been to the southern border and every one that I know that has actually lived along our southern border says one thing, “let the border patrol do their job and the problem will be cut in half tomorrow and stopped in the near future.” Even the Old INS agents that I know and the new ICE officers I have talked to say, let us do the job the way we know is effective. My relatives living along that border have caught and detained over 1,000 illegal aliens and coyote’s in the last 4 years and see sign that many more came thru they couldn’t catch. We just need to enforce the laws currently on the books and stop trying to be legislative whores to Washington for their amusement. Illegal is Illegal, have they forgotten that? If these people had used the system in place, no problem but they haven’t and I don’t feel sympathy for them. Mr. Bright

My on-going exchange with David Zulian concerning illegal immigration reveals the illogical inanity of local nativists’ opposition to comprehensive immigration reform (see the peanut-gallery comments of Virginia/Mr. “Not So” Bright below).

First, Republican objections to any “pathway to citizenship” for undocumented workers already in the U.S. is all about electoral politics.  Illegal immigrants themselves care less about voting than about the constant threat of family-destroying deportation.

Second, while “line jumpers screw it up for those who follow the rules”, S.744 sends self-identifying undocumented immigrants who pay a $1000 fine to “the back of the line” – subject to deportation should they violate the conditions for temporary legal status.

Third, while nobody claims that S.744 is “a panacea to all our woes”, it is the only policy proposal “on the table” – but House “Tea Partiers” won’t even allow a vote on it.  Thus, Republicans are solely “to blame” for Congress’s inaction on immigration reform.

Fourth, S.744 includes expanded “nonimmigrant visa” programs that will enable Grand Valley growers to reliably obtain workers – while protecting them against exploitation.

Fifth, enforcement at the border will remain porous – and dubiously cost-effective – until prohibitions against hiring illegal workers are vigorously enforced against scofflaw U.S. non-agricultural employers (presumably, Republicans), who remain the magnet for illegal immigration and apparently prefer the present “broken” system just the way it is.

Sixth, Zulian’s attempted definition of
“securing our borders” is problematic at best.  Because most U.S. citizens do not carry proof of citizenship, “Papers Please” laws would routinely violate the Constitutional rights of brown-skinned U.S. citizens (only?) just to identify and deport those who committed the misdemeanor offense of “illegal entry” perhaps years ago.

Seventh, positioning Border Patrol assets both at the border and “forty miles away” is “defense in depth”, increases the probability that those detained within that swath are indeed illegal entrants, and affords greater protections for vulnerable local residents.

Buffalo’d Hussein is back! did you finally make that trip to the Mexican border? You make comments and spout data that affects people’s lives in two nations and you don’t know jack #### about what you speak of. Or do you have illegals working for you?
Mr. Bright

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