Email letters, September 24,  2013

Citizens must take back government
by voting out members of Congress

Our Congress, the Senate and the House, is so dysfunctional that it is now time that we, the constituency, need to take a long hard look where our country is headed under their direction. For a third year in a row, they are now in a deadlock over funding our government.

I have not heard one word on what is going on with our economy, the
recession that won’t go away. The health issues with the flawed law that we won’t know what is included until it is passed, and still don’t. Wars in countries that will return to the way they were the week after we pull out. And finally, an education system that can’t prepare our children to advance to a higher level without remedial classes, let alone the huge debt they will incur when they are finished.

What really spurred this letter was the fact that if our elected
non-representatives allow the government to shut down, our troops, who do their bidding, will not be paid, but of course they will receive theirs.

Are we really as stupid as these folks in D.C. think we are? Right at the moment, I must say a big “Yes.” We put them there, and come Election Day, most of them will be returned to office.

We need to take back our government. It needs to represent us and not allow them to do only their bidding. The recall a few weeks ago should cause us all to think of who should be in charge. We need to hold them all accountable or face us again, only earlier than the next election. But first, lets get rid of the professional representatives. Term limits don’t need to be law. We can do it ourselves at each election. We should practice a term limit of no more than two terms.

We need to stop being as stupid as they think we are!

Grand Junction

Repeal ignorance,
not Obamacare

The partisan effort to repeal Obamacare has produced a campaign of
misinformation that deliberately creates a partisan divide. All of the predicted perils of Obamacare fail to acknowledge that our health care system has been dysfunctional for decades. When local surgeons announce and support these gross inaccuracies, well then it’s time to speak up.
Health care is a complex and emotional topic. It’s also too big a part of the economy to let insurance companies and market forces to control it.

Yes, the free market has failed. When was the last time you checked your emergency room or hospital bill? Oh, you have insurance? Did you notice that your premium has increased every year for the past 10 years? Have you noticed that deductibles are getting so high that most care is out of pocket?

Our lack of a health care system has been a crisis to our economy
and to our own individual economic survival. It has been on an unsustainable rate of inflation that defies affordability, insurance or no insurance.

So, you want an affordable plan? It seems that the last Republican candidate still thinks that the emergency room provides all the cushion that this system needs. It wouldn’t be so difficult to accept all the criticism for Obamacare if most of it wasn’t a Republican idea. Employer-based, insurance exchanges, competition based, and yes even mandated insurance. These are ALL Republican ideas! Unfortunately this whole thing is partisan.
We have already seen parts of Obamacare in motion for several years. It has all been positive. Obamacare was designed to unfold in stages that would ensure its survival. It is already making preventative health a priorty by recognizing the power of prevention. It will have more and more impact as it gains momentum.

So far, it has protected middle class consumers from the almighty
profit margin of insurance companies by stopping unfair insurance practices. (It bans dropping insurance for pre-existing conditions, allows young adults parental coverage, removes payment caps).

Obamacare does depend on participation. So if this system fails, I won’t be taking the blame for it. I’ll just chalk it up to partisan anger, misplaced idealism and our failure as a nation to finally take care of something too big and too important to leave to the care of corporate America.
Grand Junction

Krauthammer’s column displayed
politically partisan attitude

In Charles Krauthammer’s column of September 22, he made reference to the liberal remake of the movie “Casablanca.” I don’t believe there has been such a remake except in Krauthammer’s mind. However the mention of it did give him the opportunity to change one of the most famous lines from the movie, “round up the usual suspects” to “round up the usual weapons.”

That’s how he managed to jump right into complaining about
Sen. Diane Feinstein’s call for another debate on gun violence.
If he had used the famous line correctly, using the word “suspects”
instead of “weapons,” it would have fit better with what seemed to be
the main issue of his letter.

He went on to talk about those with mental and psychological problems who, when discovered, should be given treatment and receive follow-up attention. I agree with this, but it would seem that these same people, unless considered cured of their mental problems, should not be allowed to own firearms.

What I don’t understand is why Krauthammer and his fellow conservatives are against even the part of gun control which
would mandate background checks for all gun sales. That policy would not eliminate all potential problems, but it would certainly help.
Sorry, but Krauthammer’s sympathetic feelings for the mentally ill
did not manage to cover up his politically partisan attitude.

Grand Junction

United still offers
early morning flight

I have no idea what letter writer Ron Harrison is looking at. United still runs a 6a.m. flight from here to DIA. It is often one of the fullest flights of the day. Feel free to check out United’s website and see for yourself.

Grand Junction

NCA designation helps
protect lower Gunnison

My recent canoe trip along the lower Gunnison River — through the
Dominguez-Escalante National Conservation Area — revealed an incredible learning landscape, rich with geologic wonders and wildlife, most notably birds.

River corridors such as this, which exist within protected
landscapes, offer people of all ages and ability levels incredible access to unique, wild places. It is essential – for the continued enjoyment of human visitors and animal residents alike - that the resources and habitats found in these locations be protected, maintained, and in some locations restored (tamarisk removal, etc).

The BLM must carefully review and manage river campsites – including access to them and potential registration for them – to ensure that the area is both protected and accessible.

I am very pleased that the lower Gunnison River is located within a designated national conservation area. This allows the BLM to be thoughtful and thorough in planning for its future use and enjoyment by a diversity of interests.

Grand Junction

If you want quiet BLM experience,
don’t hike on motorized trails

The audacity revealed by the quiet users during discussion of the two BLM draft resource management plans this year has been embarrassing.
Quiet users have the freedom to enjoy all of the 1.4 million acres in the Grand Junction and Dominguez-Escalante NCA travel management areas. Let’s not forget that it’s completely legal to walk off of trails on public lands. As a quiet user myself, I shake my head when quiet users complain about needing more trails? Grab a GPS and quiet your mouth, the best hiking is off of all trails and along cattle trails.
Currently there are approximately 4,200 miles of motorized routes in the GJ and DE NCA travel management areas. If we estimate each motorized route is about 10 feet wide (most are smaller) this represents an area of approximately 5,000 acres or 4/10th of 1 percent of the 1.4 million acres.

Can you imagine hiking on a legal motorized trail system that has been in place for 50-100 years, that limits youth, handicapped and elderly access to only 0.4 percent of our public lands and then actually complaining about the fact that you heard a motor running It would like riding a mountain bike along Highway 50 and complaining about traffic.
We need to bring common sense back into the equation. If you don’t like hearing a motor while you hiking, don’t hike on a motorized route.

Nearly all of the motorized routes on our local BLM lands are legal rights of way based on Colorado law, CRS 43-2-201. The BLM only has proprietorial authority on our public lands in Colorado and can’t legally close legal ROW’s unless we let it do so by being a cooperating subservient party. Under CRS 43-2-201, this right to vacate legal ROWs has explicitly been given to county commissioners.

Grand Junction

What is a ‘republican’
form of government?

Kudos to The Daily Sentinel for alerting readers to the potentially “far-reaching” litigation now pending before the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver (“A crucial case garners very little attention”).

As the editorial explains – and as Charles Ashby previously reported – the case raises a novel constitutional challenge to Colorado’s Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR), an amendment to Colorado’s Constitution adopted by initiative.

While supporters of TABOR endorse its voter-imposed restrictions on the perceived budgetary indiscipline of an elected Legislature, the challengers now argue that TABOR unconstitutionally prevents the Legislature from performing its budgetary functions.

That argument resurrects a long-dormant provision of the U.S. Constitution (Article IV, Section 4): “The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government”. While some might misinterpret that language as an explicit endorsement of their partisan affiliation, its precise meaning remains uncertain.

At a minimum, a “republican form of government” must guarantee the “equal rights of citizens,” according to United States v. Cruikshank (1875). Thus, not only is the case crucial to the future of TABOR in Colorado, it could have broader national effects.

In Michigan, for example, Republicans re-enacted that state’s “emergency manager” statute – even after it was repealed by referendum – and then imposed it on financially troubled (and, too-often, minority) communities (including Detroit), thereby effectively disenfranchising the local electorate by overriding the authority of elected officials.

Under Citizens United – after property ownership and poll taxes had long been rescinded as prerequisites for voting – fungible property (money) was redefined as “speech” and wealthy “citizens” and corporate “persons” suddenly became “more equal” than others.

Likewise, the Supreme Court’s recent gutting of the Voting Rights Act effectively allows local jurisdictions to deprive minority citizens of “equal rights”, thereby eviscerating their guarantee of a “republican form of government.”

Hopefully, the TABOR litigation will revitalize that core guarantee.

Grand Junction

Pot on kids’ brains means
trouble for their futures

New advances in developmental neuroscience from Harvard Medical School demonstrate that adolescent brains are uniquely vulnerable to the neurotoxic effects of pot. The earlier children start using the greater the permanent changes to brain structure and function.

Brains continue to grow into the mid-20s. This latter development is primarily in white matter, the part that forms connections between the various brain areas. The number and sophistication of these connections is critically important for cognitive function: thinking, memory and IQ.

Pot inhibits anandamide – an important regulator of brain activity – slowing many vital functions but, more importantly, preventing the formation of the innumerable linkages between neurons needed for higher-level processes.

Kids on pot acutely have muddled brains that impede learning and school work. Instead of learning how to cope with life’s problems, users miss out on personal and developmental growth. Younger age of first use increases the risk of dependence – 400 percent greater
at 16 years of age than 21. It’s reported to be harder to kick than

Early pot use is associated with development of serious mental
health disorders — up to six times increased risk of major depression, psychosis and schizophrenia.

Teenage pot use leads to smaller brains, lower IQ, shorter adult height, increased testicular cancer, more car crashes, similar risk of lung disease and cancer as tobacco and adversely affects
athletic performance.

Importantly, the pot our lawmakers toyed with as youth was only 20 percent as strong as the current version. It’s like beer versus vodka.

Changing laws have made it available, lack of enforcement leads to no punishment. Our children don’t have a chance against this stuff.
I’m not crying wolf. I’m trying to prevent this wolf from eating an
entire generation’s brain one toke at a time.

Grand Junction

GOP should concentrate on 2014
to repeal Obamacare

The Republicans need to soon figure out that as long as Harry Reid and his fellow socialists control the Senate, they are not going to defund or repeal the nightmare called “Obamacare.”

Even while corporations are laying off employees, families are looking at double or triple insurance costs, small businesses aren’t hiring and the 40-hour work week is dissolving; the left STILL thinks this is the right path for America. However, trying to change the legislation while the left controls the Senate and the White House is futile.

While defunding a portion of the law might delay things, without at least a majority in the Senate and House that can override a veto, the law stands no chance of repeal. The only course I can see right now for the Republicans is to get through the continuing resolution and debt ceiling issues without looking too weak, producing an alternative health care plan and concentrating all their efforts on the 2014 elections.

I still think the only way to fix Washington is for Congress to impose comparable term limits on themselves as they did on the presidency. As I said before: “Who is John Galt?” (If you haven’t read Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged”, you should.)

Grand Junction


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