Email letters, October 23, 2013
Give ACA time, patience that other vast programs required
The Affordable Healthcare Act, ACA or Obamacare, is having a rough roll-out. If we had the estimated $24 billion (that’s billion with a B) the American economy lost due to the seditious actions of Cruz’s fool-playing with the stability of the American dollar and our future, the roll-out and necessary health care outreach could have had more resource support. Programmers were not “essential.”
All of you veterans: Remember when the Veterans Administration nationally changed over to electronic records in the late 1990s? The VA here in Grand Junction was a “beta” or test site. All personnel were responsible for changing over to and proficiently using the electronic programs as quickly as possible. Simultaneously, the nursing staff began using Bar Code Medication Administration. Consequently, it was a whole new way to do business, as is the ACA.
It literally took a year for the staff to start trusting the electronic digital records. As one of only a few beta sites, the staff at the Grand Junction VA was responsible for communicating necessary changes to the programming.
Huge digital programs like what the VA instituted and now the ACA take time and a lot of coordinated effort to make a workable product. Each user’s experience makes the experience of the next user smoother and more productive. Time is the most important element for the programming, and patience is the most important attribute for the users.
Illness care in the U.S. is grossly overrated. The ACA is a new way to approach the health state of our population. It focuses more resources on upfront care, namely prevention. Preventative health access can and will turn our illness-focused care into true health care. If you are eligible and have not registered due to a “brain-dead principle,” I refuse to pay your emergency bill.
Coloradans would benefit from reading Article II of state’s bill of rights
I have been a Colorado resident for 36 years. Recently I decided to thoughtfully read Article II of the Colorado Bill of Rights - one section a day for a month. Today I learned, “The people of this state have the sole and exclusive right of governing themselves, as a free, sovereign and independent state; and to alter and abolish their constitution and form of government whenever they may deem it necessary to their safety and happiness, provided, such change is not repugnant to the constitution of the United States.” That’s section two of 31 sections.
This is going to be interesting. Anyone want to join me? Just google Colorado Bill of Rights-Article II. I bet you can read the whole thing in just a few minutes, or take a few days to ponder what ideas were adopted on March 14, 1876. They are your rights; use them or lose them.
Teachers want reforms that will truly bring about change
As a parent, I don’t want to see District 51 turned into an experimental playground for extremists. My son may be a couple of years away from entering public schools, but once he gets there, I hope that his school will not have been previously stripped of its morale, resources and autonomy — the unfortunate and sad fate of so many Douglas County schools.
As a teacher in District 51 for the last 17 years and the elected chair of the Western Slope speech and debate community, I don’t want my voice to be ignored.
Consider the many recent rants against public education claiming that teachers’ unions block reforms. Well, if you’ve spent any time in a school over the last decade, you would probably be surprised how dynamic schools actually are and how often change occurs. Teachers want sensible reforms, and those in the classroom know best which reforms can be realistically implemented while still allowing room for individual innovation.
If anything, too many forced changes are constantly happening in our schools. Every year, some new idea is tried but never given the chance to fully succeed. It’s almost comical watching some “reform” come and go — whether it be a federal, state or local mandate.
If there is anything our schools need, it is stability—consistency—simplicity. Hire and retain the best instructors, get out of their way and let them work their magic. Let’s not forget that great teaching has been going on for thousands of years.
To throw away, water down or disregard what already works and call it a reform is the greatest mistake we can make. To believe that what goes into a child’s mind can be simply quantified by a number is shortsighted and ignores many relevant and diverse aspects of a child’s learning.
Only thoughtful policymakers who hear the call of the people in the trenches will be able to face the challenges ahead. Among the many reasons MVEA supports Greg Mikolai, Tom Parrish and John Williams for the District 51 school board is that they listen to the collective and individual voices of teachers, parents and other stakeholders. They have a track record of reasoned decision-making where people work together to solve problems.
Educators don’t want to block reforms; they want reforms they can believe in — reforms that will stick and truly effect change. True leadership is about inspiring — winning over the hearts and minds of those who follow.
There may be some who believe in building resentment and fear, and while this may force a perception of compliance in the short term, those in a free nation will eventually discover the truth.
ANTHONY C. BICHLER
State audit committee’s work shows refreshing nonpartisanship
How refreshing to read about the Colorado Legislative Audit Committee made up of Republicans and Democrats working together in a nonpartisan (heaven forbid) manner to solve difficult problems for Colorado citizens. And to think a national evaluation agency acknowledged this cooperation and honored the audit committee with its “Excellence in Evaluation Award.”
With Sen. Steve King scheduled to become the chairman and his commitment to continue the nonpartisan cooperation, could this example be a template for more nonpartisan work in solving other Colorado “nonpartisan” problems in a nonpartisan manner even down to the local level? What a unique concept of elected Republican and Democrat officials working together for solutions to the many challenges that impact all Coloradans.
Would it not be something if county commissioners and city councilpersons would follow this proven example by recognizing many local challenges have nonpartisan solutions. If we would only listen and respect those coming from different perspectives rather than making every issue a bipartisan issue, much could be accomplished.
Nation has slid from rampant capitalism to alarming socialism
We started down the road to socialism in the late 1800s, when the greedy tycoons (the capitalists) were using basically slave labor to produce their goods. Mining, steel mills, textile, manufacturing, etc. were paying people enough to buy what they needed in a company store, the profits of which went back to the company. They lived in shanty style houses and were generally oppressed second-class citizens whose children often had to work 16+ hours per day to help support the family (especially if the father was killed in a mine or mill) instead of getting an education like the elite class.
During the late 1800s and early 1900s, organized labor began to form in order to improve working conditions and demand better compensation for their labors. The early tycoons controlled everything, including the government, so the only path to creating a better future for the average American was through organized labor. Life continued to improve while the country struggled through two world wars and a depression.
Then at the end of World War II, FDR flipped the switch that really began to reverse the polarity of government. Under his leadership, a government already deep in debt from two world wars took on a welfare program. The program had good intentions to help the returning military with government (taxpayer) support until they could get on their feet and support their families. The fallacy of the program (or perhaps the brilliance if you’re a socialist) was that it had no end date. The program continued as written, where the only requirement to qualify was a low income.
The result created literally generations of Americans (mostly in inner cities) who depended on the government for their very sustenance. Housing projects sprang up in every major city that, over time, became slums filled with crime and drug trafficking. While the legislation as originally written was finally repealed in the mid 90”s, it was already being replaced by individual programs for housing, food stamps, phones, “disability” and countless other government programs. So, the concept of government subsidy only changed names and added more government employees to “oversee” implementation.
Meanwhile the unions, having done a lot to improve working conditions at the turn of the century, were being taken over by organized crime. They turned the concept of organized labor into extortion by forcing workers to join and pay dues if they wanted a job and forcing manufacturers into financial corners they could not get out of. The pendulum was definitely swinging in the other direction from the tycoons of the turn of the century.
Then in the late 60s – early 70s along came the Mother Earth tree huggers. Again, the concept was sound. Intervention was needed to stop industry from dumping toxic waste into our rivers and streams and exploiting our natural resources irresponsibly. Oversight was needed and, voila! The EPA was born.
It seems to me that when the pendulum swings all the way to the right and capitalists have autonomous control, the greed factor of the powerful push to achieve maximum “bottom line” performance at the cost of labor and the environment. While at the far left swing of the pendulum, the government controls everything and the sad result is that you end up with the same thing; a second-class totally dependent on the elite class. In this case, it is politicians in lieu of business executives.
Getting the pendulum to settle in the middle has been the goal of common sense, conservative Americans with strong family values since the inception of our nation. The Founding Fathers set up our nation with the belief that they had made it clear that the government should consist of normal, hardworking citizens who represent their districts for a term or two and return to their family business. Not the “career” politicians we have today.
Our government was originally founded as an opposition to monarchy, where the people have no voice in government. The concept that was agreed upon in our Constitution was a “republic,” in which the federal government’s power is limited by the states.
We have come a long way from the initial conceptualization of the U.S. government. We now have a country where career politicians dominate and the federal government has assumed more control than the founders had ever envisioned. They have taken over most land not privately owned, leaving the states with no say in the control of much of their own land acreage. They have total regulatory control of business, again leaving no discretion to the states. They control the majority of taxes and place mandatory entitlement requirements on the states without their consent.
We are literally living some kind of Orwellian, Marxist nightmare. The NSA has access to virtually any communication between individuals that isn’t face to face or snail mail, GPS tracking devices in our phones can pinpoint our whereabouts at any given time and cameras are now being put into use that have audio recording capability. Meanwhile, the liberal media is herding the masses to the slaughterhouse.
We have slid much farther down the socialist path since Obama was elected but, to stop a runaway train, you must first slow it down. The “all or nothing” approach the Tea Party took with the shutdown did nothing but add steam to the runaway locomotive. Right now the extreme left is controlling the throttle. While I sympathize, and personally agree, with many of the tea party concepts, they must accept a long-term strategy and first slow the train before they try to put it in reverse. With the adamant approach to ending Obamacare, they have placed all focus of the government shutdown on themselves.
Without a 2/3 majority in both the House and Senate, they had no chance of overriding a presidential veto, so the chance of repealing the law was somewhere below zero. I don’t know what their strategy was, but I personally think it was more “knee jerk” than thought through.
If conservative, family values are going to determine the course for our country instead of progressive, socialist ideologies, we must pull together in unison and arise as one voice or we have no chance. Too many votes are now going to those who now vote themselves money, which has been the downfall of every democracy in history.