Email letters, October 8,  2013

Editorial on shutdown panders to local sentiments

Tuesday’s editorial was interesting. Talk about provincial, self-serving attitudes! Every community in the country has a complaint of some kind about local discomfort caused by the current government closure and how its situation is exceptional and it should not be a victim of the closure.

Keep in mind who caused the possible illegal closure and why: Republicans cannot achieve their objectives through normal legislative action, so they have chosen extortion to get their way. We have elections and regular legislative routine and Republicans lost.


The author of the editorial commits a cardinal journalistic offense of taking one anecdotal comment in a notorious reactionary Washington paper as proof that Obama is trying to inflict as much pain as possible on citizens. Once again, who caused the closure?

There is a budget on the table from the Senate that Obama will sign. House Republicans refuse to allow a vote unless they can have a majority without any Democratic votes. They don’t have the votes so, like three-year-olds, they try to blame Obama and Democrats for their own inability get their way with a program voters rejected twice by electing Obama and the legislature passed with the Affordable Care Act.


The final sentence of the editorial tells all. The author suggests that the whole mess will hurt Democrats. That suggests that the editorial is either trying to please local sentiments or is hoping to help in spreading distrust in those who are standing up to a completely unconstitutional, outrageous plan of extortion to inflict on voters something contrary to what those voters have convincingly rejected over the last five years.

Republicans should grow up, as is also true of the editorial writer. The Sentinel is diminished by such a thoughtless, partisan effort to spread misinformation and mistrust. Why encourage the Republican information bubble?


JOHN BORGEN
Grand Junction

 
New York road rage incident troubles responsible motorcyclist

As a responsible motorcyclist and a concerned citizen, I am writing about the incident that occurred in New York City on Sept. 29, involving an SUV driver and some motorcyclists.

I am troubled by the serious injuries caused by the SUV driver and by the actions of some motorcyclists who apparently decided to take the law into their own hands. Some in the media have reported the facts, but others are sensationalizing the story. I urge you to report this incident factually and objectively.

I ride responsibly and do my best to represent motorcycling in a positive light. Those of us who ride support rider education and often raise funds for charitable causes in our community. The safety of all road users, especially motorcyclists, is of the utmost concern to me, and I do not support actions by any road users that violate the law.

Each year, the American Motorcyclist Association sanctions hundreds of well-organized recreational events. At these events law-abiding motorcyclists gather to enjoy camaraderie and spend their tourist dollars in host cities and surrounding communities.

One unfortunate event of this kind, reported frequently by national and local media, can create a false image of all motorcyclists by the general public.

Motorcycling has become an enjoyable mainstream activity, and almost everyone today has a family member or friend who rides. The actions of the motorcyclists portrayed in the video of the encounter in New York City do not represent me, my friends or the vast majority of the 27 million motorcyclists in America.

ORRIN BECKNER
Grand Junction

Deterioration in our national budget situation is attributable to four factors

Having apparently exhausted legitimate criticisms of the Affordable Care Act, gullible local Limbaugh lemmings are now claiming that “President Obama has had 5 ½ years to fix things, and all he’s done is triple the national debt and put his supporters on Food Stamps”!


First, this revisionist history charges Obama with the policy decisions of 2008, when he was not inaugurated until January 2009 – inheriting Bush’s budget for that year, two off-budget wars, and the ballooning expenses of Medicare Part D (all financed with deficit spending). Thus, Obama has had fewer than four years to “fix things” – during all of which Republicans have cynically opposed whatever he proposes.


Second, “conservative” Republican President Reagan’s “VooDoo Economics” did indeed “triple the national debt,” and “compassionate conservative” Republican President George Bush doubled it again (while concealing his profligate deficit spending “off-budget”). While the national debt has increased by 50 percent during Obama’s tenure, he also instituted accounting reforms that resulted in a $2.7 trillion increase in reported debt.


Third, a New York Times study found that – since 2001 — the deterioration in our national budget situation is attributable to four factors:  the Bush Recession (inherited in 2009 by Obama) = 37 percent; policies enacted by Bush (including “the Bush Tax Cuts”) = 33 percent; policies enacted by Bush and extended by Obama (including TARP, two unfunded wars and Medicare Part D) = 20 percent; and policies initiated by Obama (including the stimulus, the auto “bailout” and the ACA) = 10 percent.


Finally, Food Stamp eligibility criteria were expanded to current levels in 2003 (renewed in 2008) under Bush. The cost of the program has doubled since 2008 – because 800,000 Americans per month were losing their jobs when Obama was inaugurated. He has “fixed” that – and more.


BILL HUGENBERG
Grand Junction

AMA member hopes law will catch up to responsible parties

I am an American Motorcyclist Association member, and I hope that the incident in New York is an isolated one. I hope that the law can get the responsible parties and make an example of them.

TOM LYNN
Littleton

Sending homeless away would invite needless litigation

An answer to Double D Lewis: I don’t think sending homeless folks somewhere with a one-way ticket will help the problem; however, having sue-happy lawyers get involved is just going to make matters worse.

M. BERKLEY
Grand Junction

President has equal responsibility with Congress to negotiate
 
Given most press coverage, you would think the first and last government shutdown was 17 years ago. It was the last, but they are nothing new. There were several during the Reagan administration. Sen. Obama himself advocated a shutdown in 2006. It’s not really a shutdown. More that 83 percent of all employees are still at work. All employees will get their full pay when this is over.

A Continuing Resolution, or “CR”, is needed to continue the government’s business while the regular individual appropriations bills are passed. We haven’t had a government doing its business as it should since 1997, the last time individual appropriations bills were relied on. I have to laugh when the president says he will now veto bills passed individually when that is how it should be done.

The next pressure point is the increasing of the debt ceiling. This is directly connected to Congress and the president being unable to create a budget and needing a CR. It follows that if you can’t budget you are likely to spend more than you should and you run up your debts. Once you hit that ceiling you need to prioritize what bills you pay until your “credit card” balance is increased. The president will have more than enough tax revenue coming in to pay Treasury obligations. Why is he talking about default?

Simply put, the president has responsibility equal to Congress to negotiate and get the job done.

DAVID A. KEARSLEY
Mesa


 



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Apparently, on-line letter-writer Dave Kearsely is at it again – listening to Limbaugh on his drive in from Mesa, then documenting that drug-addicted bloviater’s latest meme in a missive to the Sentinel (“President has equal responsibility with Congress to negotiate”).

First, constitutionally, President Obama has no responsibility to negotiate with Congress over appropriations bills.  Under Article I, Sections 7 and 9, all such bills are to originate in the House, but do not become law until an identical bill is passed in the Senate and signed by the President.  Differences between the two versions are to be resolved in conference committee between the two Houses.  As of March 23, 2013, both houses had passed differing budgets, but for six months Speaker Boehner refused to appoint House conferees, while Senate Republicans are still filibustering the appointment of conferees.

Second, contrary to Kearsley’s as-usual provably false assertion, “Sen. Obama himself” did not “advocate a shutdown in 2006”.  Rather,  then-Senator Obama (along with all other Democratic Senators) cast a symbolic vote against increasing the “debt limit” – knowing that it would pass with Republican votes regardless—in protest over George Bush’s profligate deficit spending and deceptive budgetary accounting practices (which ended-up doubling the national debt that President Obama inherited two years later). 

Third, Kearsley grossly distorts what’s been happening in Congress.  As shown on the Library of Congress web-site, the House has passed only four of the twelve required appropriations bills needed to keep all of the government open.  The series of bills to which President Obama objects are not substitutes for those appropriation bills, but reopen only slivers of the government which Repugnicans deem politically beneficial.  They even voted to pay furloughed federal employees for not working – rather than allowing them to do their many vital jobs.

Fourth, Kearsely’s mindless regurgitation of the Repugnican’s “credit card” myth is wildly irresponsible. Treasury officials have that it is not feasible to systematically “prioritize” our obligations – because automated systems issue some 2 million checks and pay out $10 billion per day—especially when required staff is furloughed.

Thus, Sentinel readers should again be laughing at Kearsley’s profound ignorance – if the stakes weren’t so high.  President Obama is refusing to negotiate with anti-democratic “domestic terrorists” lest doing so simply invites moré “hostage taking”.

Apparently, Dave Kearsely listens to Limbaugh on his commute from Mesa, then channels him to the Sentinel (“President has equal responsibility with Congress to negotiate”, October 8).

First, President Obama has no constitutional responsibility to negotiate with Congress over appropriations bills.  Under Article I, such bills originate in the House, but do not become law until an identical bill is passed in the Senate (and signed by the President).  Differences are resolved in conference committee.  As of March 23, 2013, both houses had passed budgets, but for six months Speaker Boehner refused to appoint House conferees, while Senate Republicans are still filibustering Leader Reid’s appointments.

Second, “Sen. Obama himself” did not “advocate a shutdown in 2006”.  Rather, he (along with all other Democratic Senators) symbolically voted against a “debt limit” increase – knowing that it would pass regardless—in protest over George Bush’s profligate deficit spending and deceptive accounting practices (which ended-up doubling the national debt that President Obama subsequently inherited). 

Third, per the Library of Congress, the House has passed only four of the twelve required appropriations bills necessary to keep all departments of the government open.  The bills to which President Obama objects are not substitutes for those appropriation bills, but reopen only segments of the government which Repugnicans deem politically expedient.  They even voted to retroactively pay furloughed federal employees for not working – rather than pay them to actually do their many vital jobs.

Fourth, Kearsely’s regurgitation of Repugnicans’ “credit card” meme is irresponsible. Treasury officials have testified that it is not feasible to arbitrarily “prioritize” our obligations – because automated systems issue some 2 million checks and pay out $10 billion per day—especially when required staff is furloughed.

Thus, Sentinel readers should again be laughing at Kearsley’s profound ignorance – if the stakes weren’t so high.

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