Email letters, Dec. 23, 3011

No commercial flights, no TSA

In Amy Hamilton’s article regarding the brouhaha at the airport, she wrote that the Airport Authority must control access to the airport or risk the federal government (TSA) discontinuing commercial flights. To take it a step further, if there were no commercial flights, the airport wouldn’t need the TSA. The parasitoid will have killed its host.

DREW ARMSTRONG
Palisade

Tipton works hard for working families

In this confusing political climate, it’s important to let people in the region know about one of our advocates in Washington. At a time when budgets are tight, Congressman Scott Tipton understands that Community Health Centers are a sound investment that improve the health of working families, save the government money and contribute to the economic health of rural communities.

As the U.S. House and Senate continue to deliberate spending, we are grateful to Congressman Tipton, who has worked hard and objectively to protect funding for health centers like ours and will, we hope, fight for resources in the final bill to help us meet the pressing need for health care in our community.

At Uncomphagre Medical Center, we serve people who need affordable health care.  Cutting our funding would not make that demand go away. In fact, it would shift patients with non-emergency conditions to local hospitals where the cost of care is higher, resulting in higher health care costs and crowded ER waiting rooms. Congressman Tipton understands the value of health centers in our community, now and in the future.

In these tough times, people need access to affordable care and communities need good jobs. Health centers in Colorado generated a total economic impact of $448 million last year and directly employed approximately 3,300 people. With the continued support of Congressman Tipton, we can sustain and grow this economic activity in west San Miguel and west Montrose Counties.

STEVEN SIEGEL
Executive Director
UMC

Congress failing to provide for seniors and disabled

Once again, Congress has subjected Americans to the drama of uncertainty by failing to pass legislation that gives health security to elderly and disabled patients. Because Congress failed to prevent the 27.4 percent cut in Medicare payment for physician services, family physicians will see devastating losses for each Medicare and TRICARE beneficiary they see, starting Jan. 1, 2012.

Worse, private insurers pattern their payment to match Medicare, promising an additional cascade of plummeting revenue to pay employees, office rent and utilities, and vendors for medical supplies.

No small business — as many family physician practices are — can sustain that kind of loss and remain open. No other business sector is routinely subjected to this variability and uncertainty. Congress must end patients’ health insecurity by averting the draconian Medicare physician pay cut and establishing a permanent change to the formula that dictates Medicare payment. 

We don’t need political brinksmanship. We don’t need political drama. We need solutions. We need permanent reform of Medicare physician payment —and we need it now.

KAJSA HARRIS, President
Colorado Academy of Family Physicians
Aurora

Republicans are wrong on pipeline

Wow, the Republicans sure have a bee in their bonnet over this XL Pipeline don’t they? They were even willing to deny Americans a continued tax cut to get it going.

Their true purpose screams that their real agenda does not really have the best interest of the public as the primary goal. No, they are more interested in making sure that an oil pipeline that will transect our country to move tar sand oil from Canada to a port in Texas is job one.

Your tax cuts and benefits are obviously way down the list of importance of the corporate power mongers in charge of this party in Washington. Oh sure, there will be jobs created. Most will be temporary. But, here are my questions. If this is such a great thing, why aren’t the Canadians building their own pipeline to their own port ? They don’t want the thing. Also, why does the oil need to go to a port? Do they intend on shipping it somewhere else after refining? China/Asia? Europe? Do the same taxes get paid to our country with this arrangement?

Maybe if the American people take all the risks of having a pipeline cutting our country in half, these companies should sign an agreement that the refined products will only be marketed in North America. That would give some credence to their selling point that this project will benefit America’s energy security. And then, maybe, I wouldn’t have this nagging feeling that this is mostly all about a lot of money going to a few people. And a lot of them foreigners at that.

TOM BUICK
Grand Junction

Bush can’t be to blame for Obama’s failures

When I wrote that presidential candidate Obama had said that he didn’t care how high the price of gas went and also that Pulitzer prize winner Thomas Friedman had written that $8 a gallon gas would solve many of America’s problems, I called them both “clueless”.  This brought a response from Michael R. Marquardt who accused me of projection.  Wow. Imagine my shame. Apparently, he couldn’t come up with anything better. He’ll swallow as gospel anything from these two regardless whether it makes sense or not.

It would be a great exercise for everyone to sit down, put your thinking caps on, and try to figure out how $8 a gallon gas would improve your lives and solve America’s economic problems.  I can’t figure out how that would do anything but make things worse.  Perhaps Marquardt will enlighten us.
 
Also, when I laid out a number of factual statistics demonstrating how things had deteriorated under Obama’s stewardship we got from Marquardt that “memories can be short” and that the “genesis of our problems began in the final years of the Bush presidency”. Marquardt conveniently failed to mention, or was his short memory to blame, that Bush was hamstrung his last two years with a Democrat-controlled Senate and House where the spending bills originate.

He went on to admit that a Democrat-controlled House and Senate, with a Democrat president, for two years failed to do anything about jobs creation because the Republicans were the party of no. Nonsense. The Republicans didn’t have the votes to pass or stop anything. Remember, that’s how we got ObamaCare, a monstrous jobs killer. It’s such a jobs killer that some 1,400 businesses have been given exemptions because it was going to increase their costs and they would have to lay off employees. Why is it that American businesses have some $2 trillion of cash that they won’t commit to hiring or expanding?  It’s because they are scared to death of what the Democrats have in store for them.  Fortunately, the voters in the mid-term election understood what was going on and kicked the Democrats out of the House, deservedly so. The same should have happened in the Senate but sadly didn’t.

We are now three years out from the Bush presidency and things are still going south as The Daily Sentinel headline reported that 50 percent of Americans are now classed as poor or low income. We can argue about the genesis of our economic problems but it’s clear that with Obama in charge it’s going to get worse as that is what has happened since he took office.

So, Marquardt can continue on with the “it’s all Bush’s fault” nonsense, it isn’t true and the voters are not going to buy it.

RICK L. COLEMAN
Grand Junction


My first calling was that of political science and history major, and I would like to address several intertwined myths or misconceptions that many Americans unfortunately cling to in regard to congressional reform: that is,writing to your congressman in hopes of the person reading your letter and making some kind of change, e.g., expecting  congress to reform itself and abolish its perks system; and voting out incumbents in hopes of bringing about  some kind of change.
 
Ray Lashley (Nov. 22), Allen Dunn (Dec. 20), and others in the past have written letters regarding congressional reform.  Mr. Dunn is disconnected from reality and  his letter is particularly humorous when viewed through the correct lens.  However, he has a calling as well—writing for MAD magazine. The Untied States Congress is above all other government bodies, and makes and plays by its own rules.  There is no other government branch, body, agency that can compel Congress to reform itself per Mr. Dunn’s eight points, which by the way are not original with him. They have been circulating on the Internet for a number of years  What about utilizing Gingrich’s approach?  Send in federal marshals  who would, at gun point, force Congressmen to rewrite their own rules and abide by them?  What about taking action as  Kirk Rider (Nov. 9) suggests?  Instead of complaining “Get active by writing your congressmen and (sic) issues that are important to you. . .”   Writing letters to Congressmen asking them to reform their perks system and abide by the rules, as we peons below them do, is a pipe dream and unrealistic, to say  the least.  Also, asking them to refrain from the pressures lobbyists and the influence of corporate money is unrealistic.   Can a leopard be asked to change its spots? Can a skunk be asked to  de-scent itself?  Can a hog be asked to refrain from feeding at the trough?  The answer is obvious. 
 
For a strong dose of reality, I suggest Misters Dunn, Lashley, Rider and others approach congressmen directly next year when  they, especially Scott Tipton, pass through Mesa County on their campaign trails, engage them in discussion  and ask them directly what they will do about reforming the congressional perks system.  Their responses should be interesting and worth a letter to the editor.
 
Another myth or pipe dream is the notion that congressional reform can come about by voting out the incumbents  and getting in fresh, clean, untainted persons who will listen to their constituents.  On the average it takes about 6 to 12 months for a newly elected congressman to succumb to the perks system and the money lavished on them by lobbyists and corporations. The perks system and campaign contributions are a permanent addiction that most congressmen can not walk away from and ignore, or leave behind.  Can anyone produce a list of  who in the last 20-30 years has turned down congressional perks while in office and who has forsaken perks after leaving office? 
 
What, if anything, can be done?  The cold, hard reality is that congress makes its own rules and plays by them, and asking congress to play by a different set of rules as Mr. Dunn suggests will never, ever happen.  Congress will not play by or abide by anyone elses  rules. The answer is to play the game on its turf and use strategies and tactics that congressmen are familiar with.  For example, to promote their cause, Occupiers and their sympathizers need to become very well organized nation wide and carry their campaign indefinitely into the future.  As Caesar Chavez said it’s la lucha sin fin—the struggle without (an) end.  Next, Millions of dollars need to be raised by OWS which will then be used for donations to congressional and presidential campaigns and to influence and legally bribe congressmen in other ways. As the adage says, money talks.  And, money definitely opens doors and allows access to congressmen.   
 
Mr. Rider in  his letter briefly mentions Americans Elect a new direct-democracy movement whose aim is to replace America’s two-party, locked up system in the 2012 election.  After spending an hour on the Americans Elect website—http://www.americanselect.org and reading about its mission and goal, it was obvious that there are some assumptions being made by Americans Elect which may  prove to be disastrous and self-defeating next year.  Plus, many more questions came to mind, especially as to whether or not the organizers of American Elect truly understand American history  and how we as a nation  have gotten to where we are now domestically, and especially internationally. To succeed, Americans Elect needs to study past history so mistakes are not repeated. 
 
The dissatisfaction with the direction our nation is taking grows daily. Next year will definitely be a decisive year in regard to who is elected president and who is elected to the house and senate which in turn will determine the direction our economic and political system will take.    
 
SVETO DJOKIC
Grand Junction



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