Printed Letters: May 17, 2017

Contact Interior regarding Bears Ears

Recently President Trump ordered Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to review all national monuments bigger than 100,00 acres designated since the Clinton era. Of particular concern at this time is Bears Ears Monument, which (notwithstanding Interior’s press release) was the subject of extensive public comment.

Included was a trip by some Grand Junction locals to Bluff, Utah in 100 degree weather for a public hearing with then Secretary Sally Jewell.

The effort to establish this monument was initiated by five tribal nations in a highly unusual collaboration. The designation, made by President Obama, allowed current drilling and grazing to continue, as well as current hunting and gathering practices. But it benefited us all by preserving stunning country, including 100,000 (some of them personally viewed) amazing archaeological sites. Local economies in Bluff, Blanding and Monticello stand to benefit greatly from the tourist traffic this monument will generate.

Bears Ears was federal land before it became a monument. It belongs to all U.S. citizens, a point that can be driven home by your far-flung friends and relatives. But because it is so close, it appears that our comments will bear extra weight with this administration.

Please write, call, or email the Department of the Interior before the comment period expires on May 26. You can find the contact information on the internet by searching for “DOI-2017-0002” at We tend to doubt our efficacy, but the recent grassroots victory saving the federal methane regulation demonstrates the power our joint efforts can yield.

Grand Junction

Mainstream media should 
cover outrageous hypocrisy

Over the last week, every elected Democrat in D.C. who could rushed the cameras and talk shows to tell us the importance of the president selecting a new FBI director who is non-political and experienced. Over the weekend their leadership, Sen. Schumer, et al, rushed to the talk shows and threatened they will hold the FBI director’s job hostage if they do not get what they want politically over outstanding matters.

So far, I have seen or heard no mainstream media news commentator, news service, or left-leaning talking head question this logic. And you wonder why the mainstream media is held in such low esteem?  Do these people really think that the voters of this country are asleep and not noticing this outrageous hypocrisy?

Grand Junction

Tipton is trying to make health care better for Coloradans

Regarding the scorch to Congressman Tipton from Mr. Gustafson, formerly of Grand Junction, now at Harvard. Sorry, I agree with Scott Tipton. Something must be done with the ACA. Sure the AHCA may not be perfect — but it is a start that gets the Senate and House talking. The responsibility is to get help for all the people in the middle, the employers of companies under 100.

I talked to one such employer. An employee makes $13 per hour. His insurance is 25 percent of his wages ($1,000 a month) with a deductible of $7,500. Another part-time worker makes $320 per week. Her insurance is also 25 percent of her salary and she also has a $7,500 deductible.

A friend is retired. Her insurance premium is $1,000 per month. Her deductible is $6,000.

This isn’t “insurance.” It is scaring or forcing people to pay for something in a so-called exchange, which they can never afford to use. The only possible care for these millions of people is the emergency room in case of a terrible emergency. Then, the hospital and doctors will probably receive no compensation at all.

The shameless lies are that ACA is all worth it to cover 20 million people. There are millions more that have no hope of coverage — even though employers are struggling to give some coverage. Employees are trying to pay for insurance they can’t use.

Yes, Scott Tipton is trying to make health care better for Colorado — like others in Washington. It is very difficult to back out of an entitlement that is complicated and a big tangle of regulation. At least some are giving it a try.

Grand Junction

ACA’s healthcare mandate and tax are unconstitutional

One thing that has always bothered me about the (Un)Affordable Care Act is the mandate that you have to buy the insurance or pay an income surtax to the IRS. No one should be forced to buy anything by the federal government.

In 2016, 8 million people had to pay $695-plus each to the feds. The Congressional Budget Office said that 69 percent of those 8 million people were solidly middle class. Didn’t Obama promise that if you made less than $250,000 annually, your taxes wouldn’t increase?

Colorado’s economy does extremely well from the efforts of its middle class workers and families (those earning $250,000 or less). I still feel this mandate and tax are unconstitutional. As I understand it, the new American Health Care Act will not have this mandate or tax. Why hasn’t the media told us this?

Grand Junction


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While Ms. J.C. Smith can be forgiven for her Wednesday letter (“Mainstream media should cover outrageous hypocrisy”) crossing in the mail with the rapidly unfolding events in Washington, she is not entitled to redefine the meaning of the word “hypocrisy” or to inject false facts to bolster her misinformed opinion.

First, “hypocrisy” is defined as “a feigning to be what one is not or to believe what one does not; especially, the false assumption of an appearance of virtue or religion”.  That definition clearly and aptly applies to cowardly Republicans claiming to be patriots, to the President they support despite his obvious contempt for the Constitution, and to the “social conservatives” who disregard the moral failings that permeate this administration.

Second, by now, both Democrats (led by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer) and responsible Republicans are calling for the President to name “a new FBI director who is non-political and experienced”.  Indeed, yesterday, Senator Pat Toomey (R-Pa) opined that Trump should name a Democrat to succeed James Comey in that position!

Third, Democrats have announced that they may refuse to confirm a new FBI Director – not until they “get what they want politically over outstanding matters” – but rather until a Special Prosecutor is named to investigate Trump and “all things Russian”.  Thus, Smith’s obfuscation of that widely publicized fact reveals her own partisan hypocrisy.

Fourth, the growing bipartisan call for a Special Prosecutor is well-founded.  As Senator John McCain (R-Az) observed last evening, the ever-multiplying allegations against the Trump administration have reached – or nearly reached – “Watergate size and scale”.  Thus, there is nothing “hypocritical” about Schumer’s demand for a Special Prosecutor.

Fifth, Smith’s claim that she has “seen or heard no mainstream news commentator, news service, or left-leaning talking head question this logic” proves more than she intended – because appointment of a Special Prosecutor is an entirely logical response to Trump’s apparent “obstruction of justice” in firing Preet Bharara, Sally Yates, and Comey – all of whom were involved in investigating various aspects of Trump’s dubious dealings.

There were a couple of Letters to the Editor today that are perplexing because they seem to imply that money for medical insurance seems to magically appear out of nowhere. The complaints were about the cost of medical insurance and how something ought to be done.

You buy insurance to cover medical costs beyond your ability to pay immediately, or even ever. Where does that money come from to pay the bills? You pay a premium for the policy and you may pay co-payments for services and pharmaceuticals. You may also have to pay an amount from your own pocket before the insurance kicks in. Are all those payments enough to cover all the costs you accumulate? Maybe, maybe not.

If not, where does the money come from to pay your bills? From the other people insured that are not running up bills. Insurance is a cooperative effort to have enough money available to pay any bills run up by members of the cooperative.

How do you know whether there will be enough money accumulated over time to ensure that there will always be enough money to take care of the bills of all premium holders? Smart people called actuaries figure that out and they determine how much coming into the insurance company coffers will be necessary to make sure that all bills are paid.

The letters today complain about the amount of contributions necessary from policy holders to make the system work.The ACA is an attempt to see to it that all citizens are adequately covered by insurance even though some individuals can’t afford insurance. The government had to subsidize the system through Medicaid.

Republicans say they could do a better job. Fine. The medical charges will mount up. Who will pay them? Can insurance collect enough to pay the bills? And how much should each participant pay in? We’ll find out soon whether the requirements for any insurance program can be met or disregarded. In the end, there still is no free lunch.

Thank you, Joan, for the reminder to comment on Bear’s Ears today. I agree that we need to have our voices heard.

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