Email letters, December 5,  2013

Obama administration may be manipulating populace

Standardized testing shows that American students keep falling farther behind, especially in mathematics. The Obamacare debacle and the American public’s apparent surprise at its implications illustrate the lack of basic math skills by the bulk of the electorate.

President Barack Obama said we needed the program to cover the 40 million uninsured, yet he now says the target for coverage is 9 million. What about the other 31 million?

Obama sold the program saying premiums would go down by $2,500 per year, yet the program requires additional coverage (pre-existing conditions and children until age 26 to name two). That is mathematically impossible.

He said if you like your plan, you can keep your plan, yet requires certain minimum coverage that some existing plans don’t have. Impossible.

Apparently the education system has failed to teach basic civics, as well. When the realities of implementation of the program began to hurt Obama politically, he changed the law by executive fiat — unconstitutional. The Affordable Care Act, passed by a dubious maneuver in the Democratic Congress, is the law of the land and cannot be changed by a chief executive by proclamation in an afternoon press conference. It must be repaired or replaced through the legislative process.

This administration is either incompetent or purposely manipulating an ignorant electorate to seize executive powers it does not have. Hopefully, the American public will realize the dangers of an out-of-control executive branch and restore government by constitutional rule.

DENNIS GORSETT
Grand Junction

Republicans once thought nuclear option fine idea

After reading a letter to the editor about godless Democrats invoking the “nuclear option” to appoint godless judges who will bring destruction and hellfire on our country, I thought a trip down memory lane regarding Republican efforts to invoke the “nuclear option” would be appropriate.

Below is a small sampling of comments by conservative pundits and gasbags during the presidency of George W. Bush, when Democrats invoked the filibuster on some of his appointments. Those were the good old days when conservatives couldn’t wait to invoke the “nuclear option.”

On The Rush Limbaugh Show on Dec 24, 2004, Limbaugh stated, “This filibuster, as you know, they’re filibustering these nominations which requires essentially 60 votes for a judge to be confirmed. The Constitution says nothing about this. The Constitution says simple majority, 51 votes.”

During a 2005 edition of Fox News’ Hannity & Colmes, Sean Hannity stated, “There are seven specific instances in the Constitution where they call for a supermajority. I believe it’s unconstitutional to filibuster. It is not about advice and consent now to ask for a supermajority on judicial nominations. I believe that is not constitutional.”

The Wall Street Journal wrote an editorial approving the use of the nuclear option in May 2005. Part of the column stated, “Barring a surprise last-minute deal, this week Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist will ask for a ruling from the chair—Vice President Dick Cheney presiding—that ending debate on a judicial nominee requires a vote of a simple majority of 51 Senators, not a super-majority of 60. The nuclear option—aka the “constitutional option”—will have been detonated. Judicial filibusters, R.I.P.”

Currently 76 presidential appointments have moved through committees and are awaiting a vote. Seventeen are judges; the rest are ambassadors and other high officials from other agencies. Historically that’s a large number the Republican minority is obstructing. No wonder the “nuclear option” was invoked.

For more calls by conservatives to take the “nuclear option” go to http://mediamatters.org/research/2013/11/21/flashback-when-conservatives-decried-filibuster/197001.

EUGENE SPINNER
Grand Junction

Patients, doctors lost control of health care decades ago

Republicans are having such a gleeful time over Obamacare that they and the press seem to be missing a few things. Most certainly the rollout was flubbed terribly. Leave it to a bunch of baby-boomer bureaucrats to mess up technology. President Obama should have handed the task to his campaign people. They can connect everyone with everyone.

What’s most confusing is the “you can keep your plan” debacle. NPR had a detailed report that the “grandfather clause” allowed these plans to continue through 2014 and Obama has now extended them through 2015. So, why is everyone thinking the plans end this year, 2013?

Maybe insurance companies wanted to scare people. After all, part of the Affordable Healthcare Act directs insurance companies to put more of their earnings into patients rather than CEOs. People such as David Kearsley like to say control should be returned to patients and their doctors. Maybe he’s never had health care insurance, but patients and doctors haven’t had control of health care since the time insurance paid everything — sometime around 1970.

Another puzzle is the argument about women’s coverage and contraception. Has anyone ever looked into what electives his or her company insurer will pay?  I didn’t know until a few years ago, before Obamacare, that some companies cover abortions. Not only that — most will cover surgical contraception for both men and women and will probably cover part of contraceptive pills.

Some self-insured companies may not cover these things, at least if they asked not to cover them in the past. I’d be willing to bet most companies never asked, at least before Obamacare.

EILEEN O’TOOLE
Grand Junction

Be mindful of kids who must breathe smoke in vehicles

With our many days of below freezing weather, let’s remember kids breathing toxic tobacco smoke in airtight vehicles.

MIKE SAWYER
Master of Divinity
B.S., Social Science
Denver

Motorized access in Cactus Park does not threaten deer, elk

Once again David Lien, representing the Backcountry Hunters & Anglers and residing in Colorado Springs, writes in favor of closing access to local public lands of which he obviously has little to no knowledge. He has always subscribed to the concept of “If you repeat the lie often enough, the unknowing will begin to believe it.”

In reality there is no reason to close 85 percent of the motorized routes between December and May in the Cactus Park portion of the Dominguez-Escalante NCA.

Analysis concludes that the deer and elk populations are at or above the targets for the area and current management policies have been effective at mitigating impacts while maintaining access. The best available science specifically concludes that motorized usage is not a threat to the species.

STEVE CHAPEL
Grand Junction

Consider home schooling to maintain family values

Look, if you have a penis you should go to the boys or men’s room. If not, go to the girls or ladies room. That is Kathy Svenson’s message and one I wholeheartedly agree with.

I take offense at Delta County School Board President Pete Blair’s spin about castrating a 10-year-old. Is a 10-year-old prepubescent kid even able to make a gender change/identity decision?

Blair’s statement was designed to confuse the issue. Kathy is not in favor of castrating 10-year-olds. Even in middle school we have a “boys” room and a “girls” room for common-sense reasons. Political correctness has run amok on the Delta County School Board. Hang in there, Kathy; you are doing a wonderful job.

You can home school to get your kid out of this politically correct, amoral, poor system that may not reflect your values. With the development of the Internet, it isn’t as hard as you might think. All it requires is a broadband connection and a $250 computer if you don’t have one.

There are some really excellent systems out there such as http://www.khanacademy.org. It is totally free, offers Colorado Academic Standards (Common Core) compliant instruction, instant remedial help and even a report to the coach (you) on areas your kid might be having problems. Just click on learn. It is individual self-pacing (no grade barriers).

You can fill in American history (incredibly not part of Common Core) and the reason Englishmen fled the tyranny of the king (He was the only one allowed to own property) with books like “Rush Revere and the Pilgrims” and “Good to be King” by Michael Bednarik.

If you have a Wi-Fi router ($50), you can join with other home-schoolers who share your values and even churches and retiree volunteers to make it easy. You don’t have to put up with this.

MIKE MASON

Cedaredge


Sage-grouse is more beautiful than drilling rig

We can’t stop the drilling, but we can save the sage-grouse. Several months ago I obtained a copy of a beautiful male sage-grouse in his mating stance.

I had the photo matted and framed, and it is a centerpiece in my house. I ask what is more beautiful — the grouse or a drilling rig?

Save the sage-grouse.

BETTIE EVENSON
Battlement Mesa
 
BLM should enforce laws already on the books

Last spring we all experienced the BLM land grab process of “public” input to “resource managment plans” that would reduce motorized access roads by 67 percent and close areas that hunters and anglers have been able to access since the beginning of time. After a rather lengthy and heated discussion of their plans for the next 20 years, the BLM advised us they would submit their final recommendation to Washington for final approval sometime in 2014.

Now, I see a letter in the paper about how “Colorado’s hunters and anglers” are apparently infavor of reducing population growth, energy development and off-highway vehicles that have steadily eroded quality wildlife habitat in our state. First of all, I resent the Colorado Backcountry Hunters & Anglers making statements about how I feel as a hunter and angler about the BLM and their land grabs. Second, I wonder if Mr. Lien has even been to the Uncompahgre Plateau or had “boots-on-the-ground” on the Western Slope?

The BLM managers are proposing to change our ways of access to our public lands in a way that will curtail some of our recreation, including hunting and angling, hurt our jobs with more energy restrictions and further concentrate our growth on private lands. If you don’t believe it, just ask the folks from other states that have been barred from their public lands use by our government. The bottom line is Obama owes the radical environmentalists for their support in his election to president. Now in his second term he is repaying them by letting them strangle the real hunter and angler from access to our public lands.

I am not sure what population growth has to do with public lands, but I do know that the wildlife habitat is already protected by laws regarding damage by energy companies and off-highway recreationists. The public lands do not need to be restricted to the few hikers, bikers and horseback riders to protect them.

If the BLM can’t enforce the laws already on the books, it should return management of the lands to the people of the state that the lands are in and leave town.

JAMES O’MALLEY
Grand Junction



COMMENTS

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Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

A drilling rig is a beautiful thing to me. For 22+ years, drilling rigs provided me with a steady income, the ability to pay taxes to the government (ok, that may not be such a beautiful thing), they gave me the ability to eat well and healthy, keep warm in my home and have gas in my car. They kept me out of the food banks and soup kitchens, and I was financially able to give to these food banks and soup kitchens to help others.

Yes, a sage grouse is beautiful to look at, but I never met one that gave me all the things I’ve listed above.

Two on-line letters – Dennis Gorsett’s “Obama administration may be manipulating populace”, and Eileen O’Toole’s “Patients, doctors lost control of health care decades ago” – evidence continuing confusion about the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”) and create a timely opportunity for clarification.

As Gorsett confirms, the ACA was enacted because some 40+ million Americans lacked affordable access to health care.  The “target” of 9 million refers to those who can obtain coverage through state or federal “exchanges”; the remainder may be eligible for free coverage under Medicaid expansion.  However, because 20 “red” states refuse to accept billions in federal monies to pay for that expansion, millions will remain uninsured.

The Kaiser Family Foundation reported that average premiums on exchanges – coupled with federal subsidies – are $2500 less than comparable existing policies, which is not
“mathematically impossible” if 40% of the expanded “risk pool” includes younger (18-35) and healthier insureds who actuarially offset those with “pre-existing conditions”.

As both Gorsett and O’Toole observe, considerable confusion arose because of President Obama’s assurances that “if you like your plan, you can keep it”.

That statement was initially true, because all policies in effect on March 23, 2010 were explicitly “grandfathered” by the ACA (some, with minimal “upgrading”), while new policies affording coverage after December 31, 2013, had to comply with the ACA’s minimum standards – including free preventative health care services for women.

What the ACA’s drafters did not anticipate is that cynical insurers would systematically induce policy holders to exchange “grandfathered” policies for “non-grandfathered” ones and would continue marketing new, cheap, non-compliant (“junk”) policies without ever warning consumers that those policies would have to be cancelled as of January 1, 2014. Consequently, millions of trusting insureds received cancellation letters this year.

The ACA was constitutionally enacted using the same legislative “maneuver” (“reconciliation”) as the Bush Tax Cuts.  Meanwhile, beginning with false accusations of “death panels”, Republicans have been “purposely manipulating an ignorant electorate” with misinformation.

Mike Mason, who continually loses the school board races in Delta County, wants to teach ‘American history’ via a book where Rush Limbaugh the radio host pretends to go back in time???  I, for one, am confident I voted correctly—along with the majority of folks that voted this last time in Delta County.

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