Email letters, October 1, 2013

Government, environmentalists kill another Colorado industry

It was heartbreaking to read about how the government and the extremist environmental lobby cooperated to essentially kill another industry in Colorado. The only reason that Shell is relocating its successful oil shale operations out of Colorado and into Canada and Jordan is because of the regulatory environment specifically calculated by the Department of the Interior under former Secretary Ken Salazar to stop domestic oil shale production in its tracks.

It has nothing whatsoever to do with the economics of oil shale – Shell’s technology was proven, its program going forward on time and on target, and oil shale is still being successfully produced on private land that the government cannot get its hands on, and in foreign countries.

It is sickening to think that people in our own government would willingly and deliberately attack an industry by making it impossible to operate. The blame starts with Salazar, but does not end there. Gov. Hickenlooper could have stood up and fought for his state and its people by opposing the BLM’s Orwellian treatment of the oil shale industry, but chose not to.

Maybe if the jobs and opportunity that the BLM just shipped to the Middle East were coming from the Denver metro area instead of merely northwestern Colorado, Hickenlooper might have been more inclined to step in.

In any case, it is a sad day for Colorado to see so much opportunity, hope and prosperity forced out of our state by our own government.

DENNIS WHITE
Grand Junction

Anti-coal groups should drill down for evidence

In the news the other day, some group that is against coal-fired power plants said that the atmosphere has been cooling for a while now, but the heat is going into the ocean and killing the fish. All this is do to the power plants and refineries etc. Common sense is that heat goes up and out.

Besides, Earth’s center core is several million degrees Fahrenheit. I think this group should go down in the ocean and check for heat escaping from Earth’s core and heating up the water.

RAFAEL SALAZ
Grand Junction

Irresponsible government spending violates trust of American people
 
Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew announced in a press interview published on Sept. 25 that the federal government reached its debt-ceiling in May of this year.  Since that time, the government has looted or embezzled around $300 billion from federal employee pension funds. Lew admitted that these funds would run out by Oct. 17. And we are just finding this out now!

Americans need to force Congress to repeal the law that allows presidents and the federal government to borrow from these pension funds and Social Security. It is these funds that Presidents Bush and Obama borrowed to finance the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. These two presidents wanted the debt ceilings raised so they could continue to fund these wars, as well as other excessive spending.

Repealing this law is just one step in forcing presidents and Congress to balance or reduce the federal budget. Other major industrial countries do not have debt-ceilings. We need to outlaw the debt ceiling.

There continues to be a major lack of transparency on the part of our federal government, Congress and the White House. The government continues to cover up where it is obtaining its operating funds. Billions and trillions of federal funds are already missing. This irresponsible behavior by our national government has violated the trust of the American people.

Think about it. The federal government, Congress and several past presidents owe the American people trillions of dollars in tax refunds. There is no budget or tax reform in the works. We have reached that point where Main Street Americans need to cut their own taxes. Let’s shut down Congress and the White House without their paychecks and then have a special election right now.

The lobbyists and the wealthy 1 percent pay them, anyway. I don’t think that the American people can take another year of this dysfunction.

RANDY FRICKE
New Castle

GOP faces dilemma over Affordable Care Act

When the Affordable Care Act was drafted – then enacted by Congress, signed into law by President Obama, and held (mostly) constitutional by the Supreme Court – its Section 1301 anticipated that most states would accept federal funding to set up state-managed health insurance exchanges (as in Colorado and other “blue” states).

To accommodate states which declined to implement a state-run insurance exchange, the ACA also provided that the federal government would do so for such states.

Disappointingly, but consistent with Republicans’ virulently misguided opposition to the “law of the land,” 27 mostly “red” states entirely refused to cooperate with the insurance exchange provision. Consequently, Secretary Sebelius’ Department of Health and Human Services has been responsible for creating and administering them.

To make adequate health insurance policies more widely affordable, Section 1401 of the ACA provides direct subsidies – refundable tax credits – for qualifying businesses, individuals and families.

However, according to testimony before the Subcommittee on Energy Policy, Health Care and Entitlements of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, by Jonathan H. Adler and Johan Verheij, Memorial Professor of Law and Director of the Center for Business Law and Regulation at Case Western Reserve University School of Law, on July 31, 2013, the ACA – as written – authorizes Section 1401 subsidies only for those purchasing qualifying health insurance on Section 1301’s state-run exchanges. Section 1401 refers only to state-run – not federally managed – insurance exchanges.

Meanwhile, HHS has promulgated implementing rules that incorporate the clear intent of the apparently misdrafted statute – treating all purchasers the same, regardless of whether they obtain coverage through a state-run or HHS-run exchange.

Thus, Republicans face a dilemma:  either support common sense “technical correction” amendments to “Obamacare,” or legally challenge HHC’s rule and risk depriving their constituents of needed federal subsidies – and thus access to affordable health insurance.

Catch-22?
               
BILL HUGENBERG
Grand Junction

McConnell thanks Parrish for educational mentoring

I wish to make a few comments on behalf of Tom Parrish for the school board.

Without the encouragement and support Tom gave me in the 1990s there would be no Math and Science Center in Grand Junction. I met Tom in 1992 while helping a team of kids with Odyssey of the Mind at Wingate Elementary. A fifth-grade teacher was looking for help with science in her classroom.

Finding I was a retired physicist, Tom asked me if I would like to come into the school and help her. His attitude to provide every resource possible to help kids resulted in my bringing hands-on science into Wingate Elementary for the next seven years as a volunteer and starting outreach to other schools in western Colorado.

We had numerous discussions on helping kids. With his support and encouragement, I built the Sci-Tech Exploratorium in an empty classroom in 1998. Just as I have mentored others, Tom was like a mentor, nudging me on to provide science education to kids. That start prompted Audrey and me to build the John McConnell Math and Science Center in 1999. That nudge has resulted in benefits to thousands of kids from Colorado to Kansas, Iowa and Nebraska.

We thank Tom for enriching our lives, as well. Because of his interest in the education of our young people and his compassion for those kids, we believe he will serve the students and community well by being elected to the School Board.

JOHN and AUDREY MCCONNELL

Grand Junction

School Board elections must focus on students, not politics

The upcoming School Board election has become — for some — an opportunity for partisan gain. As a long-term and now mostly retired teacher in District 51, I have deep concerns about this trend.

A movement toward partisan school board elections will only foster a climate of polarization and division. Endorsement and support by political parties may encourage strong alignment with party positions instead of encouraging problem solving and consensus building when deciding important school district issues. Here’s what we should consider in choosing a school board candidate:
• What are the candidate’s vision and goals for high academic achievement for all students?
• Does the candidate inspire parents and other stakeholders to have confidence in the public schools?
• Does the candidate understand that the School Board’s role is about the big picture — setting the direction for the district and providing oversight and accountability — rather than day-to-day management?
• Is the candidate “data savvy” and able to justify decisions based on data?
• Will the candidate be able to craft a working relationship with the superintendent, teachers and administrators based on mutual respect, collegiality and a joint commitment to student success?  (Dervarics, Chuck, and Eileen O’Brien. “Eight Characteristics of Effective School Boards.” Centerforpubliceducation.org)

When considering which candidates to support in Mesa County, all voters have an obligation to elect those who will best serve the needs of our children and our community without concern for party affiliation.

It is also highly important that we honor and support our teachers, the everyday “soldiers” within our classrooms who commit extraordinary time and effort to help ensure success for all of our students.

Voters must look closely at each candidate and ask themselves which candidates will support improving, not dismantling, public education and will continue to build on our successes, while constantly seeking accountability for all involved, within a collaborative and respectful environment. 
     
MARY BUSS
Grand Junction

Dems must take ownership of government shutdown

Once again the liberal media has chosen to ignore the polls of the American people that clearly showed that most Americans do not want Obamacare. Obama and the Democrats have blamed the Republican Party for the shutdown of the government. However, House Republicans passed a resolution funding the entire government but defunding Obamacare, and giving the Democrats a year to try to work through the many problems with Obamacare.

The Republicans should not accept any of the blame for the government shutdown. The liberal media has not and will not admit that the Republican House passed an acceptable resolution to avoid the shutdown. The Democratic leaders — Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and President Obama — chose not to accept this resolution; therefore, they shut the government down, not the Republicans.

As we enter into another election year, we should all be reminded of this gross miscarriage of our system.

MIKE and SAUNDRA HAMMETT
Grand Junction



COMMENTS

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As is frequently heard through the din of the on-going debate over the efficacy of the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”), opponents are entitled to their opinion – but not to their own set of objective facts.  This caveat clearly applies to the Hammett’s on-line letter:  “Dems must take ownership of government shutdown”.

Contrary to their assertion, the most recent polling “of the American people” does not “clearly show that most Americans do not want Obamacare”.  Quite the opposite is true.

First, previous polling has been distorted by the massive misinformation campaign waged against “ObamaCare” by its virulent right-wing opponents – as confirmed by the fact that the ACA polls 8-10 percentage points better than “ObamaCare” (the same thing).

Second, while some polls showed a plurality of respondents opposing ObamaCare, that aggregate result ignored the fact that 7%-11% “oppose” the ACA because it does not go far enough to improve our health care system.  As a result, only a minority opposed it because it was “too liberal”, etc.  That factor flips the results from 43%/50% opposed to ObamaCare (versus 39%/38% supporting it) to 46% - 36% and 49% - 39% favoring it.

Third, 56%—a clear majority—of those most-recently polled now favor retention and improvement of the ACA (CBS News, New York Times) versus repealing it, and also oppose de-funding it (Kaiser Family Foundation).  Moreover, 72% oppose shutting down the government over “ObamaCare”. 

Meanwhile, as this morning’s Sentinel headline (“Health insurance markets open to surge of new customers”) impliedly confirms, millions of Americans are “voting with their mouses” (and overloading websites) to learn more about their newly acquired benefit.

Right-wing bubble-heads remain free to believe that Repugnicans acted “reasonably” and “should not accept any blame for the government shutdown”.  However, most Americans know that such incredible denials are not “acceptable”.

Please tell me where in the Constitution of the United States of America it says that government has the right to tell me how I MUST spend my hard earned income?

Even when income tax started, it was never fully ratified by a 2/3 majority of congress, but they enacted it anyway. Our government does unconstitutional things all the time. Obamacare is no different.

Mr. Miskel: How is the Affordable Care Act unconstitutional? The Supreme Court disagrees with your assertion.

Mr. Hunke

Sometimes the Supreme Court can be just as misguided and wrong as Congress.

Appointees to the Supreme Court are picked by politicians who have been “groomed” towards a political ideal. Liberals appoint liberal minded judges, conservatives do the same. It’s just the luck of the draw as to whom is in power at the time of a SCOTUS vacancy opening. It’s all political.

Just because it’s the Supreme Court, there’s no guarantee they will do the RIGHT thing. Their collective mindset can still be wrong.

 

This is no guarantee that th

Mr. Miskel, What are your credentials regarding constitutional law that makes your opinion “correct” or “right” and the judges’ opinions wrong?

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