Email letters, October 4,  2013

Tipton should explain trip cancellation to fifth-graders

Just thought Rep. Scott Tipton would like to know that after months of planning, my son’s 5th grade class was not able to go to Arches National Park as it was closed.

I would like to extend a personal invitation to Tipton to come to my son’s 5th grade class and explain how it was that he was not able to fulfill his constitutional duties to pass an annual budget (which should be a valuable civics lesson).

I would also like to point out that he would help cause a constitutional crises by not raising the debt limit as a default would clearly conflict with the 14th Amendment (not to mention wreck our already fragile economy).

I do not want to hear how the other guy is to blame, but rather, I respectfully ask that Tipton look in the mirror and take responsibility for the role he personally has played in this embarrassment. After all, he cannot control what the other guy does, only what he does.



Tea party exerts undue influence on GOP

Republicans campaigned on shutting the government down. Their grass roots cheered it. After the GOP House caucus voted last Saturday the representatives were giddy with joy. As psychotic as it sounds, members of the GOP were happy about their planned extortion. The hated government would be shutdown, or millions would be denied health insurance plus the rest of us denied the numerous benefits of the Affordable Care Act. Right-wing media would
blame Obama and lay a smokescreen of misinformation.

Regular news outlets would predictably use a false equivalency that would claim the President was equally at fault because he would not negotiate with a gun to the country’s head. Billionaires would buy ridiculous ads falsely proclaiming that government would replace doctors.

This strategy sounds insane to observers who pay attention, especially from Congressmen who already have government-subsidized insurance. Why would anyone joyfully hurt so many? Conservative “news” outlets have generated
lies and misinformation about the ACA that have left many not even knowing that the ACA and Obamacare are the same thing. They like all the benefits of the ACA but hate “Obamacare.” Very few know the ACA reversed the upward
trajectory of government health care costs and extended Medicare for ten years. The media made the public delusional.

The Senate has sent a clean Continuing Resolution to the House for the dollar amount that the GOP wanted. It would immediately pass if Boehner allowed an up or down vote. But why compromise when you can extort and lead the nation into one manufactured crisis after another. Blaming President Obama is like blaming the rapist blaming the victim.

The tea party is in an ideological war and it does not care if it brings down the country or its people. Thank God for the Republicans who still do care.

Grand Junction

Pro bono fundraiser was a great success

The Pro Bono Project of Mesa County held its third annual “LawLawPalooza” fundraiser last month and thanks to all the community support, it was a great success. 

The Pro Bono Project is an independent non-profit that helps pair local lawyers with the clients that need them, but who cannot otherwise afford an attorney.  Through the Pro Bono Project, local lawyers provide hundreds of hours of volunteer service to those in need.  But, that service would not be possible without the generosity of the Grand Valley.

Although the economy is believed to be improving, the combination of recession and low interest rates have hit non-profits, including law related non-profits, particularly hard.  At the same time more and more individuals need help navigating their way through an often-complicated legal system.  So it is with great appreciation that we thank our host Springhill Suites, musicians Jeff Pine, the North 17th Street Band, and all those that donated to the silent auction.  With the community’s help we look forward to continuing our mission of providing access to justice for those in need, including victims of domestic violence.

Grand Junction

Horticulture volunteers deserve thanks for dedication, efforts

I would like to express my deep gratitude for the Tri River Area Master Gardeners, Native Plant Masters, and Ute Learning Garden docents who volunteer for Colorado State University Extension.  These dedicated individuals contribute thousands of hours each year, providing information to our western slope communities on plants, plant health, soils, irrigation, native plants, noxious (and merely obnoxious) weeds, and Ute culture and history.  They care for our nearly four acres of demonstration gardens on the Mesa County fairgrounds, and several other gardens throughout the area, including the Community Garden adjacent to the Mesa County Main Library. 

In our three offices in Montrose, Delta, and Grand Junction, the Master Gardeners test soil and water for salts, and identify plants, insects, and plant diseases, and offer research-based information appropriate to the problem.  You may meet Native Plant Masters on local hiking trails, where they’ll likely be identifying wildflowers and shrubs and would be pleased to share their knowledge with you.  They are available to lead hikes as well.  The docents conduct tours of the Ute Learning Garden, located on the Mesa County fairgrounds, for adults and school children; to schedule a tour give our office a call at 244-1834.

Our wonderful volunteers are all committed lifelong learners who love to share their knowledge and have a lot of fun doing it.  We couldn’t accomplish anywhere near what we do without their help and support.  It has been an honor to serve them. Thank you, all of you!

Horticulture Education Specialist,
Tri River Area Extension
Grand Junction

House Republicans must continue to fight against Obamacare

The Sentinel’s Oct. 3 editorial and Michael Pramenko’s accompanying commentary assert the president’s re-election was a tacit if not explicit endorsement of Obamacare, which they note is now the law of the land.

Absent from these observations are several foundational considerations which just happen to also be laws of the land: (1) members of the House of Representatives were installed through the same electoral process, and (2)
the Constitution provides for revenue/spending measures to originate in the House, without prior clearance from Barack Obama and/or Harry Reid.

House Republicans are characterized as childish for holding their position, while Obama’s inflexibility is somehow noble. The writers conclude further that since there is no evidence the president or Senate Democrats will cave on Obamacare’s defunding, the House should simply pass a clean continuing resolution. This stunning non sequitur begs the question, ”Why then have a House at all?” Send ’em all home, Barry and Harry will handle it.

Republicans are urged to “acknowledge they lost this fight” and “fight Obamacare another day.” What other day would that be? When it becomes more of a monster than it already is, even in its 10,000+ page regulatory infancy? After more waivers, exceptions and special allowances are added to the 1,400+ already granted, making a further mockery of “a government of laws, not men?”

Funding a law is distinct from and independent of its original passage, and is an inseparable element of the separation of powers. Instead of suggested capitulation, House Republicans should fight with increased vigor. It is specifically within their constitutional authority to do so, it is the fight to have, and now is the time to have it.

Grand Junction

Dr. Pramenko’s column sparks thoughts on modifications

Regarding Dr. Michael Pramenko’s column Oct. 3, some modifications
are in order:

• 2014 was an election not a coronation.  We still have three branches of government.  The two houses of Congress are set up
to “negotiate” when passing the Continuing Resolution.  As we know, the president and Harry Reid are adamant – no negotiations.
• Truly, it would be funny, if not so serious.  It is not funny that guards and government employees are expending more energy and dollars setting
up blockades at the national monuments in DC and Serpents Trail and the Colorado National Monument than it would take to let people walk around.
• It is pointed out “we live in a country with certain rules.”  Yes, and a country with a magnificent, time tested Constitution which is largely being ignored.
The President was able to pass and sign Obamacare (ACA) when he controlled both Houses of Congress.  It is one of those certain rules that the ACA passed,  legally. Next came the not so legal part – of the President changing the ACA 19 times by executive order to opt out certain sectors of society – like the president, administration, Congress – thousands of ‘friends’ got the pass. 
• We see many examples of “train wrecks” these first three days.  Republicans asked to wait one year for enactment of ACA to work out the problems.  We never hear
about numerous glitches that have been worked out this past year in a bipartisan way.  This could continue with a one-year extension prior to full implementation.
• Currently Western Colorado has great representation in the 3rd Congressional District.  If you have called the office of Scott Tipton, you still get an
answer.  “Grown ups”, like our senators, could do likewise and answer their phones.
• Does anyone really think a few tea party representatives could cause this government shut down?  According to the Wall Street Journal 53 percent of citizens do not approve of Obamacare.  Isn’t it possible that all representatives are? getting calls – asking Congress – to please listen – slow down the train wreck?  It is easy to say, let it pass and if we don’t like it, we can repeal it.  Sure, that happens a lot.  Once a bad law is enacted, it seldom, if ever, goes away.
• One of many bills the Republicans passed is for a more privatized approach in which the patient has choices, private enterprise furnishes insurance, health care
providers help with patient decisions and are compensated, competition is provided. That bill is stacked up at the door of the Senate, along with many others.

Grand Junction

Editorial on shutdown shows bias against conservatives

There is so much wrong with your editorial, “Point made, now reopen government,” that I don’t know where to begin. I guess you’ve decided to join the rest of the national media in bashing all conservatives, or maybe your editorial board just doesn’t bother to read any news source that fails to repeat the Obama/Reid ideology.

Let’s begin with your statement “The impasse is over whether a continuing resolution to keep the government operating will include language to defund Obamacare.” You also state “Republicans should acknowledge they lost this fight [to defund Obamacare] and move on to fight Obamacare in other ways.” The House of Representatives did exactly that on Monday, offering a bill to fund all government at current levels while making only two significant changes to Obamacare. First, the House followed the president’s own precedent, approving a one-year delay for the individual mandate just as the president delayed the employer mandate. Second, the House approved revoking the Obamacare waiver that allowed all members of Congress and their staffs to keep their generous taxpayer funded insurance subsidies. The House bill would certainly seem to most thinking voters to “fight Obamacare in other ways.” The Democrats in the Senate, in lockstep with Harry Reid, rejected the House bill, but you castigate “the tea party caucus . . .[for] killing any proposal that isn’t to their liking.”

You state, “The president called House Speaker John Boehner, the nominal head of the House GOP, to join him at the White House Wednesday.” You add “The once-respected Boehner now appears only concerned with protecting his job as speaker by jumping as high as the tea party caucus commands him.” You fail to mention that the purpose of the meeting was for the president to reinforce his earlier statements that he will refuse to negotiate or compromise in any way on Obamacare or the continuing resolution. And you certainly fail to mention that Harry Reid, the nominal head of the Senate Democrats, now appears only concerned with protecting his job as senate leader by jumping as high as the president commands him.

Your final shot is to “Approve a clean continuing resolution, let the government reopen and fight Obamacare another day.” That certainly supports the ideology of the left. The House wanted to defund Obamacare. That supports the ideology of the right. How about going along with the compromise of the House which does not defund Obamacare but delays for one year the provision that affects individuals and makes congress live by the same rules the rest of us must follow? That would be a compromise both Democrats and Republicans should be able to support.

Grand Junction

Dr. Pramenko continues to mistakenly boost Affordable Care Act

Once again, Dr. Michael Pramenko takes keyboard in hand to boost the ACA.  He says there are results from last year’s election.  True enough, and most of them are not good.  He says that our Democracy is effectively being forced to repeat this election – or else.  No, Doctor – it isn’t that the Tea Party didn’t get their way – the facts are that polls show over and over that a majority of American citizens didn’t want Socialized Medicine in the first place, and don’t want it still. 

Yes, we live in what is supposed to be a ‘representative government’ – can you truthfully say that the ‘representatives’ in D.C. bent to the will of the people when considering the ACA?  Apparently, you have forgotten just how the ACA came about. 

Pramenko talks about ‘civility’.  Would that be the same civility that is used when Harry Reid says Republicans are “taking the nation hostage” or refers to them as “terrorists’? 

Yes, in three short years, this country will have another election.  We can all hope that candidates can be put forward who have some semblance of common sense, so we won’t be forced to continue on the path to Socialism, as we are now. 

Yes, I referred to the ACA as ‘Socialized Medicine’ – any time the taxpayers have to pay for healthcare insurance that is mandated by government, it is Socialist in nature.  The problem is that once government gets hold of any program, it goes downhill, while government gets bigger and bigger. 

Oversight is one of the main problems – people who are in positions of overseeing said programs don’t.  Why should they?  They work for the government.  Lois Lerner would be a prime example.
Pramenko says that last year, a majority of Americans voted for President Obama.  I can agree with that statement.  In some precincts, a huge majority – well over 100 percent of the registered voters.  In some of the precincts, Romney got zero votes, and the total count was over 100 percent of registered voters.  Yeah – that would be a majority, all right.  Whether or not they were all Americans, and whether or not they all voted only once for their choice, is definitely in question.  One woman on an interview, stated that she had, herself voted six times, and had taken two of her friends to another precinct, where they voted yet again.  “Vote early and vote often” is not just a funny saying in Democratic circles – the proof would be in the votes counted.
This administration has not had a budget since Obama has been in office, according to the news.  I haven’t seen it in the Sentinel, and I read the Sentinel front to back each day.  Not a bad thing, when you consider that with a budget, there is an end to the money available to spend. Without it, there is no end to the amount of money one can spend, give to countries who hate the U.S., very expensive military equipment can be given away, and then stolen by our enemies, and …there are vacations to be had.  What’s the problem?  A few billion here, and a hundred or so million there – no big deal. 

Pramenko says that Cruz can’t count, because he says: “The American people want to repeal Obamacare.”  With a majority of polls that show ‘we, the People’ didn’t and don’t want the ACA, what has that to do with Cruz not being able to count?  “This issue is too important for one-liners, and factually-challenged political rhetoric.” 

Yes, Dr. Pramenko – it surely is.  That’s why Sen. Cruz is challenging it – because Harry Reid and the present folks on the Democratic side of the aisle forced the ACA on Americans, and counting wasn’t considered. 

I will agree that a functional government starts at home – that’s how the Tea Party came into being – you know – those folks you assume Ted Cruz believes “can’t think for themselves.”  When using the term “factually-challenged” in the context of statements Dr. Pramenko made about Sen. Cruz – it appears the pot is calling the kettle black.


Grand Junction

Republicans actively campaigned on a ‘shutdown’ promise

As is frequently heard through the din of the ongoing debate over the efficacy and/or popularity of the Affordable Care Act opponents “are entitled to their opinion, but not to their own set of facts.”  This caveat obviously applies to Frank Little’s letter:  “Key Democrats should take blame for federal shutdown.”
Contrary to Little’s assertion, recent polling does not show that “sixty-five percent of Americans do not want Obamacare.”  Rather, quite the opposite is true.
First, previous polling has been distorted by the massive misinformation campaign waged against “Obamacare” by its virulently cynical opponents – as confirmed by the fact that the ACA is polling 8-10 percentage points better than “Obamacare” (the same thing!).
Second, while earlier polls showed a plurality of respondents opposing Obamacare, that aggregate result ignored the fact that 7 percent-11 percent “opposed” the ACA because it did 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 percent/50 percent opposed to Obamacare (versus 39 percent/38 percent supporting it) to 46 percent - 36 percent and 49 percent - 39 percent supporting it.
Third, 56 percent—a clear majority—of those most-recently polled favor improving the ACA (CBS News, New York Times) rather than repealing it, and oppose de-funding it (Kaiser Family Foundation).  72 percent oppose shutting down the government over “Obamacare.” 
Fourth, contrary to Little’s fact-free assertion, the CBS poll released yesterday showed that 44 percent of Americans properly blame Republicans for the shutdown, while only 35 percent blame Democrats.  And, the former is rapidly increasing while the latter is falling.
Finally, “you don’t need a weatherman to tell which way the wind blows.”  While right-wing bubbleheads remain free to excuse irresponsible Republicans, genuinely sentient readers recall that they – not Democrats – actively campaigned on a “shutdown” promise.
Grand Junction

Only Dems created equal, everyone else pays bill

Before all h#$@ breaks loose in America over Obamacare, I just want to make sure I understand Democrats properly. Just because I work hard, give people jobs, did not abandon my wife or children, don’t work for the government
or a Union, am a legal citizen, and don’t want to call Democrats mommy or daddy… I’m supposed to pay 25 to 30 THOUSAND dollars a year for Obamacare while I watch Obama and the Democrats handing it out free to people who vote for them, exempting their union, trial lawyer and business buddies from Obamacare, and subsidizing themselves, their buddies, and millions of other people’s premiums even though the government has no money! Is that correct, Democrats?

Charge others, but if they try charging you you’ll storm the Capital like you did in Wisconsin. I think the Deceleration of Independence says all men are created equal. But now it’s changed to: All Democrats are created equal, the rest of you pay the bill.” That’s not a foundation that will work in America.

Grand Junction

Sentinel should forego editorials on a number of issues, politicians

Your editorial regarding Cruz and the government shutdown can be summed up in one sentence, “You lost the election, now sit down and shut up!”

This is a curious attitude for a paper that was founded by Democrats to take. Don’t you believe in the right of the people to redress perceived wrongs? Don’t you believe that the minority have a voice and should be able to use it?

Were you silent in the Bush years? Your editorial stance is not embracing Democracy or acknowledging the complexity of the Fascist policies of this administration, or even understanding the fundamentals of a Constitutional Republic: instead you join the chorus of ignorance which says that if your side loses an election, you are not allowed to speak.

A policy this paper most certainly did not follow during the Bush years and most certainly will not follow when the occupant of the White House has an R after his or her name.

The fact is that Mesa County is a red county. Your side lost the elections beginning with the city council and working on up to the federal level. To avoid being called hypocritical, The Daily Sentinel must not do the following:

1) Make any commentary on the policies of the City Council, the Board of County Commissioners, District 51 School Board, Rep. Tipton, Rep. Scott, Rep. Wright, Sen. King or any other Republican elected to office.

2) Write any editorial that in any way suggests a better way of doing things.

Your stance is not only antithetical to the very concepts of democracy or representative republicanism, but also hypocritical.

Not to mention stupid.

Grand Junction

House does not wish to shut down government

I want to clarify some issues behind the federal government shutdown.

Article 1 Sect 9 “No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law”

All bills for appropriating federal money originate in the House of Representatives.

Therefore, if the House wishes to shut down the government, it need only to NOT pass an appropriations bill that funds the government. When the House passes an appropriations bill, if it is approved by the Senate and signed by the president, the House has forfeited its opportunity to shut down the government.

To claim “the House wants to shut down the government” after it has passed an appropriations bill to fund the government is an irrational statement.

In the current situation, the House passed appropriations for all government operations less Obamacare. That forced the Senate to choose between passing the bill as is, killing it or modifying it and sending it back to the House. Only the first option insures the government will be funded. The Senate by its actions has chosen to risk shutting down the government in order to resist pressure to shut down Obamacare.

The reason the Constitution gives the House exceptional control over taxes and spending is the entire House is up for election every two years. This insures that the people can closely monitor taxing and spending.

Grand Junction

Parrish’s years of service will make him an asset to school board

Tom Parrish is the man who deserves your vote in this year’s school board election. Both my husband and I had the privilege of working with Parrish for many years while he served as principal of Wingate Elementary School, and later, as an area director.  We have both observed first-hand his commitment to student excellence and the pathways he pursues in his dedication to students, educators, families and the community. 

Here are just a few of the reasons Parrish will be a strong asset on the board. Parrish has a strong and compelling vision for students and their academic achievement. He served School District 51 for dozens of years prior to his recent retirement, providing him with a valuable and in-depth understanding of local, state and federal requirements and policies. He is skilled at bringing people with disparate views together to solve knotty issues and dilemmas, something he learned from his years as a school leader. Parrish is and has been invested in the success of District 51 as evidenced by his own children attending school here, and now his own grandchildren.  Tom will bring a depth of wisdom and knowledge to the demanding (volunteer!) position of school board member. 

We are very excited that Parrish has chosen to run for this important position and support him whole-heartedly.  We hope you will, too.

Grand Junction

Shell bails from Mahagony Project

As a third-generation rancher and farmer in western Colorado who’s been hearing about “the promise of oil shale” my entire life, I was surprised to hear recently that Shell Oil had decided to pull the plug on its Mahogany Project.

For as long as I can remember, oil shale has been marked with the same obstacles to viability - requiring extreme amounts of energy and more water than we can spare. It’s obvious now that oil shale also fails as a source of revenue or jobs.

With any luck, Shell’s failed experiment will be the last news we hear about this issue for a very long time. Hopefully, now we can focus on truly forward-thinking and sustainable ways to grow our local economies and energy resources.




How convenient for Tipton that his office is closed

I went to Rep. Scott Tipton’s office in Grand Junction to voice my displeasure at his stubborn insistence on continuing to harm America with the tea party government shutdown only to find out that the office is closed because of the shutdown.

How convenient that Tipton doesn’t have to listen to his constituents’ displeasure because of his own actions. This is the political equivalent of putting his fingers in his ears and humming while the rest of us suffer.

The GOP is to blame for this mess, and the GOP needs to get out of the way of America’s recovery. We need a clean continuing resolution and a clean bill to increase the debt ceiling so we can get on with America’s business.






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As evidenced by the above on-line letters, Thursday’s Sentinel editorial (“Point made, now reopen government”) and Dr. Michael Pramenko’s guest column (“Cruz and tea party want to overturn the results of last year’s election”) exposed just how deeply the cynically disingenuous misinformation campaign waged by ObamaCare’s opponents has permeated the Sentinel’s readership.
Thus, Bud Markos’ fact-free missive (“House Republicans must continue to fight against Obamacare”) is based on the unstated premise that the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”) will be worse for the U.S. than a government shutdown, a debt ceiling default, and/or a return to the “pre-existing condition” of our previous out-of-control health care “system”.

Louis Dunn (“Dr. Pramenko’s column sparks thoughts on modifications”) falsely implies that Repugnicans have offered an actuarially viable alternative to the ACA, while failing to mention that it remains stalled in a House committee, would cost $1 trillion more than “ObamaCare” over ten years, and would employ the same approach that already failed in California, Florida, North Carolina, and Texas.

David Zulian (“Dr. Pramenko continues to mistakenly boost Affordable Care Act”) calls the ACA “socialized medicine”, when it originated as a “conservative”, market-based proposal—endorsed by Club 20 and Colorado’s Republican Governor Owens, and then successfully implemented in Massachusetts as “RomneyCare”.

At least David Wetherell (“Editorial on shutdown shows bias against conservatives”)  admits that the debate is purely ideological – not evidence-based.  Wetherell’s brand of “conservatism” might have more credibility had Sarah Palin and Chuck Grassley not falsely convinced gullible voters that “ObamaCare” created “death panels” – when the ACA statutorially eliminated hundreds of real “death panels” used by private for-profit health insurers to deny and/or cancel coverage based on “pre-existing conditions”.

How long can such “conservatives” cling to the same ideological arguments used against Social Security and MediCare to now deny millions access to affordable health care?

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