Email Letters: May 18, 2017

Citizens need to work together for the good of all

Thursday’s letter to the editor by Bill Hugenberg is just another of many examples why our nation will never be united and will never again achieve the greatness it once had. He and those whose hearts are filled with hatred toward our president will see to that. Until our hearts are made right, such hatred will prevail until we destroy ourselves from within our own borders.

We won’t need to fear the likes of North Korea or Iran, or whomever, to destroy us; we will do that ourselves unless our hearts are turned from an attitude of hate to one of working together for the good of all. Just a thought!

GARY R. REEDER

Grand Junction

Book sparks comparison between methods used by governments

I am currently reading “Why, Explaining the Holocaust” by Peter Hayes, published this year by W. W. Norton & Co. The book is highly recommended and is beautifully written. In light of recent news, I found one short paragraph especially interesting in regard to how the National Socialist German Workers (Nazi Party) and Adolf Hitler managed to defeat the popularly elected Weimar Republic. Here is that paragraph:

“The platform they ran on was summarized succinctly by Gregor Strasser, the day-to-day director of (Nazi) Party operations in the early 1930s, when he defined National Socialism as ‘the opposite of what exists today.’ And their method in state and national parliaments, as well as in municipal councils, was to disrupt democratic government, make it dysfunctional, and thus to ‘prove’ its ineffectiveness in meeting Germans’ needs. In a fundamental sense, this highly partisan political force ran against politics, with all its messy compromises, disagreements, and imperfections, and promised to replace it with order and strength.”

Does anyone else see comparable methods in use today?

GEORGE E. CORT
Montrose

Straightening out curves on I-70 an unnecessary expenditure

How exciting to see that the state wants to straighten out the Palisade curves on I-70. A little blasting of the canyon walls and altering the flow of the river ought to do the job. I know it’s been a major thorn in my side for years to have to tap my brakes going through there, and then reset my cruise control. While we’re at it, how about we do the same through that onerous Glenwood Canyon stretch so we can get to Denver five minutes earlier?

Evidently, a lot of us think we have the God-given right to do 75 on the Interstate regardless of nature’s topography. Here’s an idea: build that fast lane for these folks and charge a toll. Leave the slow lane for the rest of us, and if you can recoup more than the $40 million investment in tolls, send us slugs a TABOR refund check.

JOHN CAIN
Grand Junction

Is the sage grouse really in trouble?

Kudos to the Garfield, Rio Blanco, Moffat, and Jackson County commissioners for suing the BLM over the plan to protect the greater sage grouse. The plan is the equivalent of adding the grouse to the Endangered Species List.

BLM maps show grouse habitat in major portions of six western states and lessor tracts in another five states – 11 states – that together comprise a major part of the U.S. How can anything that exists in 11 states be considered endangered? If that 11 was 11 square miles, I might agree with the BLM. But major portions of 11 huge western states? Not a chance.

Some years ago environmentalists attempted to list the prairie dog as threatened or endangered. That proposal was clearly a ruse to limit use of a major portion of the U.S. That plan failed. The plan to protect the grouse is basically the same, but more sophisticated. It’s a ruse to limit use on a major part of our country.

I’m an environmentalist, but the environmental religion has gone too far. We need to employ common sense when addressing environmental problems – not religion. I hope the lawsuit succeeds.

LARRY BROWN
Palisade

Sage Grouse may have been better off in the spring of 2012

Having led the BLM’s sage-grouse planning effort through the production of Colorado’s draft Environmental Impact Statement in 2013, commenting on the Sentinel’s May 16 article “Counties plan suit over bird protection” seems prudent.

When the Interior’s sage-grouse initiative exploded on the scene in 2012, many of us in the BLM wondered, why now, and what’s the rush? There was consensus that standard BLM management was inadequate because both sage-grouse populations and area occupied were in decline. But the BLM was moving to address the problem. In 2012, all five BLM offices in northwestern Colorado had ongoing or completed land use plans with substantially upgraded sage-grouse management. Local officials were basically saying “we don’t like this, but can live with it if we have to.” But on came the Department of Interior brandishing threats of listing under the Endangered Species Act. Pursuing a national planning amendment on an unrealistic timeline, the department seemed content to change the local dynamic to “we can’t live with this.”

At issue was an unwillingness to negotiate or establish priorities, because all habitat was deemed equally critical. Colorado Parks and Wildlife habitat maps are consistently high quality, but suddenly their grouse habitat maps were important to a degree never previously contemplated. Enter Garfield County, which weighed in with its own “peer reviewed map.” Their perspective was obvious. How can marginal habitat for a species still occupying 165 million acres dominate such massive natural gas resources? That’s a question worth discussing, but Garfield County’s map is obviously biologically inadequate because it lacks connectivity between small habit blocks. For example, little habitat blocks won’t support sage-grouse if power lines are authorized nearby, because sage-grouse can’t protect their eggs within view of prime raven perches. The problems with their map have been explained to Garfield County many times, and its citizens would be wise to stop pouring money into that argument.

The Interior’s Grouse Amendment ended with a non-listing designation from the Fish and Wildlife Service, but with public land prescriptions that sure look like endangered species management to me. The non-listing decision is meaningful on private land. That’s the unstable platform on which we stand today. I think sage-grouse were better off in the spring of 2012.

JIM CAGNEY
Grand Junction

Those who opposed ACA missed an opportunity

When I was younger, I asked my boss, what is this SS deduction from my paycheck? He said, “Social Security, and when you retire you will have a check from the government each month.” Great! When I was a little older I asked my boss, what is this MHD deduction from my check every month? He said, “Medicare, and when you retire you will have health insurance coverage. Great. Thank you FDR and Lyndon Johnson.

If everyone signed up for the ACA or Obamacare, it would be successful. If the premiums were deducted from your paycheck each week, you would have affordable health care. Now, people are going to be forced into a situation where the only solution is universal health care. Those who opposed the ACA have missed the opportunity for a plan that could work for all. It is lost forever.

I doubt very seriously the GOP will have a solution. It has always been a program they have opposed for political reasons as well as they did SS and Medicare. Because of these two Socialist programs, I can live alone in my own house and not depend on my children to take care of me. And I’d like to add that Medicare is not an entitlement. I still pay monthly premiums.

JIM STEVENS
Fruita

Trump supporters either asleep or unable to face reality

Let me start by saying, the Republicans have already cornered the market on hypocrisy. For them or any of their followers to accuse others of such is hypocrisy in itself.

A May 17 letter writer here complained of Sen. Shumer holding the FBI director position hostage due to politics. Never mind that the real issue is investigating attacks against the United States by
Russia in order to help our commander in chief become president. What the writer should mind before defending the Republicans is the hypocrisy of making the claim after the entire party blocked the last president over anything and everything from an unmistakable political standpoint.

What is wrong with trying to get a politically neutral FBI director? Comey was a Republican, so you can’t say it’s the conservatives’ turn. Some people do think that some of the voters are asleep and they are correct. That would be the voters who chose to vote for an extremely unqualified and dishonest man who is now the president. That would be the voters who condemn news sources who report factual information because President Trump doesn’t like being fact checked. This would be the voters who now accuse others of hypocrisy while committing it.

Democrats wanted Comey fired when he chose to sabotage the election by first recommending no charges against Clinton while interjecting an opinionated statement that reeked of partisanship and then stating an investigation was again underway against Clinton, days before the election, and then nearly immediately retracting it. It is not nearly the same when the president is suspected of firing the director because he refused to stop the investigation into Russian interference. This, if true, would be an illegal move by the president. Are Trump supporters asleep or unable to face reality?

ROBERT FISK

Delta

President Trump is David battling the deep state Goliath

President Trump is David battling the deep state Goliath. One of the first things he did upon being sworn in was to freeze government hiring and wages. Think that made him popular with embedded government employees, who are for the most part liberal? Makes sense that some would illegally leak like sieves. Is the FBI investigating these known illegal acts? When he took shots at the various intelligence agencies, Sen. Schumer warned him they would get even. If that’s not bad enough, he then took on FBI Director Comey, who everyone thought was a loose cannon until he fired him. Sorry, President Trump is the boss.

Attacking the press daily for “fake news” doesn’t help with his national press coverage. The press in response is doing everything in their power to undermine him. They’ll show him who is important. Many have become jackals, with 90 percent of their coverage being negative without even a fig leaf of objectivity. They could make the case that he is crazy to take on all these establishment institutions at once.

President Trump’s cabinet appointments are brilliant picks who will help him drain the swamp. Swamp is not the best term. The Washington dirty water is deeper. Bringing government into line with the principles that got him elected (fewer regulations, stronger defense, economic growth, better jobs) will take years. No real politician would be as direct as him. It reduces the Democrats to being mean spirited crybabies, screeching, “impeach him” at everything he does. It is like crying wolf. That is not intelligent discourse.

The good news is President Trump’s base remains rock solid. We have the president’s back.

DAVID A. KEARSLEY
Mesa

Thanks to representatives who voted to maintain BLM methane rule

Victory for clean air! A big thank you to Sen. Bennett (D-Co.) for his recent vote to not rescind the BLM methane rule. I appreciate his stand to protect Colorado’s air quality, our health, and our quality of life. When released into the atmosphere, methane gas is especially destructive in contributing to greenhouse gasses and global warming. We need to be reducing our overall consumption of carbon, not increasing it, as a vote to rescind would have done.

Also, thanks to La Plata County Commissioner Gwen Lachelt for her leadership in speaking with Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), who also voted to protect our air. By speaking with him just before the vote she may have had sway in influencing his vote favorably.

I was disappointed to hear that Sen. Gardner (R-Co.) and Rep Tipton (R-Co.) voted against Colorado’s environment and in favor of gas and oil industry profit.

May we all breathe a sigh of relief (and clean air!) that this important protection will remain in place.

ED ATKINSON
Durango

Tipton needs to stand with honor, show courage, and defend commitment to country

Voting for Congressman Scott Tipton was an easy decision. However, his lack of a strong voice against the current president and his administration’s illegal actions is noteworthy.

We all thought the congressman was a moral candidate and above reproach. Unless he shows some spine to address the current downward spiral of the administration, he needs to go.

Congressman Tipton needs to stand with “honor,” show “courage” and defend his “commitment” to the country.

DAN MILLER
Mancos

We need to make child marriage illegal

Under different circumstances, Justin Harris’s sexual relationship with the 15-year-old child would have been legal. His crime is outrageous. But it is more outrageous that child marriage is allowed in Colorado, and across the United States – despite a consensus of scientific and medical communities in opposition to it. UNICEF estimates nearly 8 percent of girls in the USA are victims of child marriage. That Justin Harris’s sexual exploitation of this child could have been legal should inspire the thought that it does not need to be – and why things are this way.

A deadlocked legislature and congress too busy bickering to make the variety of legal reforms (like this one), which would have broad bipartisan support, and immediate public benefit should raise other questions. As should our own voter apathy and lack of compassion. Let’s make child marriage illegal. And then focus on those other urgencies that demand our immediate attention.

AARON BRACHFELD
Grand Junction

There still is no free lunch when it comes to health care coverage

There were a couple of Letters to the Editor yesterday that are perplexing because they seem to imply that money for medical insurance seems to magically appear out of nowhere. The complaints were about the cost of medical insurance and how something ought to be done.

You buy insurance to cover medical costs beyond your ability to pay immediately, or even ever. Where does that money come from to pay the bills? You pay a premium for the policy and you may pay co-payments for services and pharmaceuticals. You may also have to pay an amount from your own pocket before the insurance kicks in. Are all those payments enough to cover all the costs you accumulate? Maybe, maybe not.

If not, where does the money come from to pay your bills? From the other people insured who are not running up bills. Insurance is a cooperative effort to have enough money available to pay any bills run up by members of the cooperative.

How do you know whether there will be enough money accumulated over time to ensure that there will always be enough money to take care of the bills of all premium holders? Smart people called actuaries figure that out and they determine how much coming into the insurance company coffers will be necessary to make sure that all bills are paid.

The letters today complain about the amount of contributions necessary from policyholders to make the system work. The ACA is an attempt to see to it that all citizens are adequately covered by insurance even though some individuals can’t afford insurance. The government had to subsidize the system through Medicaid.

Republicans say they could do a better job. Fine. The medical charges will mount up. Who will pay them? Can insurance collect enough to pay the bills? And how much should each participant pay in? We’ll find out soon whether the requirements for any insurance program can be met or disregarded. In the end, there still is no free lunch.

JOHN BORGEN
Grand Junction


COMMENTS

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Mr. Reeder, I don’t know if Hugenberg hates Trump, but I doubt it. I hate the fact that a man like Trump is president. He has proven conclusively that he is unqualified for the job. He has also proven that, if not having a “unique” character, he is probably badly sick with one or more mental conditions. I hate the fact that so many voted for him when it is plain that anybody paying attention knew before he even started campaigning that he was unqualified in many ways for the job. Hatred of defiling the position is vastly different than hating the man.

You do know Bill hates Trump as you do because he is a Republican and your group are Democrats.  It has been obvious in all your groups retorts.  Your party is in disarry ever since you lost the election.

Hi Ron, you know that how? Do you even know Bill? As to your dream of disarray, you’ve been watching too much Fox. Do you really believe everything they tell You? Are you really proud of the madman you voted for? The guy is an ignorant mental case.

Mesa’s familiar apologist for “the deplorables” Dave Kearsley is at it again – mimicking Baghdad Bob, Kellyanne Conway, Sean Spicer, and Sarah Huckabee Sanders in parroting Trumpian talking points in his online letter Thursday (“President Trump is battling the deep state Goliath”).

Of course, Dave’s biblical reference is just as absurd as candidate Trump’s transparently self-serving assertion that – next to “his own” (but ghostwritten) “Art of the Deal” – the Bible is his favorite book.  Sadly, evangelical Christian “social conservatives” believed him, overlooking his history of amoral hedonism to gain a Supreme Court seat.

The federal bureaucracy has been through hiring and wage freezes before.  After initially ordering a freeze in January, the Trump administration conditionally lifted that freeze in April – but tied that action to its “budget proposal” that was “dead on arrival”.  The fact that career professionals and scientists charged with protecting our clean air and water would take umbrage at the prospect if losing their jobs should have come as no surprise.

Moreover, contrary to Dave’s assertion, the federal bureaucracy is about evenly split between self-identified Republicans (40%) and Democrats (44%) – not all of whom are necessarily “liberal”.  See:  http://www.govexec.com/oversight/2015/08/there-are-more-republicans-federal-government-you-might-think/119138/.  However, in the last election cycle, political campaign contributions from employees of several federal agencies did substantially favor Democrats.  See:  https://www.fedsmith.com/2016/05/19/which-party-receives-the-most-in-political-contributions-from-federal-employees/.

Likewise contrary to Dave’s insinuation, the primary source of embarrassing “leaks” has been the “federal employees” on the White House staff.  Additionally, given Trump’s oft-demonstrated penchant for concealment and blatant dishonesty, we are quite fortunate that constitutionally loyal intelligence professionals did not sit silently by while Trump and his treasonous ilk were “making America great” for Putin.

Meanwhile, Trump and his surrogates – not the mainstream national press—have been the primary purveyors of “fake news” and
“alternative facts”, while “90%” of Trump’s “negative” news coverage comes from quoting his “extremely careless” rhetoric back to him and responsibly fact-checking his pathologically disingenuous pronouncements.

Finally, with a few exceptions, Dave’s reference to “brilliant” cabinet picks and “draining the swamp” must surely have been meant as a bad joke.  While unimpeachable investigators are building the case for Trump’s possible (if not inevitable)impeachment, he hysterically tweets about his victimhood.

David and Goliath?  Hogwash!

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