Printed letters, November 10, 2013

Jeff Leany’s history ideas spurred me to refresh my knowledge. I always felt cheated by school history.

Reality is better than hero worship. Our founders sported massive insecurities, large egos, and extreme disagreements. The genius is their final document. Our founders created a “liberal” republic, a word they used liberally. The conservative was monarchy. And I didn’t realize how few white Americans had voting rights well past the founding.

We were Britain’s quagmire. That and the French are the only reasons we won the revolution. Americans, top to bottom, really didn’t know what they were doing.

Confederation didn’t work as it did in Switzerland or the Netherlands. We were too large. The point was preventing anarchy, tyranny and monarchy. George Washington disliked the undisciplined militias that deserted frequently. Public patriots weren’t any better. Washington chose Valley Forge for winter headquarters because there was plenty of nearby farm food. But some patriots wanted silver, so they sold to the British and let our boys go hungry.

Another thing I just realized: The original American settlers in Texas and California were illegal immigrants.

Leany should study the historians willing to slog through the original research, people like David McCullough, Eric Foner, Joseph Ellis and Ron Chernow. Pauline Maier’s “Ratification” had a surprise ending, for me at least. One recent history about the Great Depression that left me muttering “OMG” every other page is “Fear Itself,” by Ira Katznelson, a must-read, especially for southern tea partiers.

Disjointed quotes aren’t history. As John Adams said, “Absolute power in a majority is as drunk as it is in one.” And that’s not the full story.

EILEEN O’TOOLE

Grand Junction

Obamacare forms invade 
the little privacy we have left

Only a fool would give out the information asked for in the Obamacare application. What a way to expose yourself to the rest of the world. The government already has enough information on every one in the country by just going to IRS records, Social Security files and old census files.

Please, people, think before you answer any and all questions asked by a dysfunctional computer program. They already have answers to more things about you than they need to know. Once it gets hacked — and it will — who else will know all these things about you that are supposed to be private information? Please be careful.

DAVID SHRUM

Grand Junction

 

School board election articles 
belonged on the opinion page

The Daily Sentinel’s reporting on the school board election was shockingly bad. The last straw for me was the Nov. 6 headline, “Voters reject reform candidates.”

To proclaim such anti-teacher, reactionary candidates as reform candidates without question is just the last in the string of reportage which equated the candidates who lost with everything good in the world, and the candidates who won as somehow behind the times.

These articles would have been fine on the opinion page as Emily Shockley’s personal views on this election, but they did not merit front-page placement as reporting on an important local race.

Luckily, Grand Junction residents are smart enough to figure things out for themselves.

SARAH SWEDBERG

Grand Junction

 

Veterans urged to share
their personal stories

Many in our community view Veterans Day as devoted strictly to those who died serving our nation. While we have a responsibility to remember those service members who sacrificed their lives for us, Veterans Day is also about those who returned to us.

So, take a moment to bow your heads in remembrance of those who have died. Then, spend Veterans Day in celebration of those who returned to us — those who stepped forward when duty called and have stories of their own.

Tell your children about their great-grandfather’s service in World War II.

Let them know that when the nation needed more soldiers on the front lines, their grandmother donned a uniform so others could go to the front. Tell them why she couldn’t serve on the front lines as today’s female soldiers can.

If you are a veteran, share your stories — the good, the bad and the often strangely unique.

Tell us about your unit’s first sergeant who kept his pogie bait (snacks) under his bunk and was knocked out of it after a European boar sneaked under the tent walls in search of something to satisfy his sweet tooth.

(A “pogie” was a company clerk; a “pouge” was someone who served in a rear echelon unit. The “bait” was food or drink used to bribe them for favors that only they could do.)

Tell us about the time your boots froze to the deck of a landing craft when a “winter” storm blew up in June on the north Atlantic.

Share your story about stepping out of a HUMVEE to meet nature’s call, only to realize you were standing on unexploded ordnance that had been nearly buried by the wind.

Every one of the above is a true story.

These are the stories veterans lived and we need to hear. On Veterans Day, celebrate your lives and the lives of those with whom you served.

PATRICIA HITT

Acting Director

VA Medical Center

Grand Junction



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“Only a fool would” take David Shrum’s letter – “Obamacare forms invade what little privacy we have left” – seriously.

The Affordable Care Act’s (“ACA”) forms are actually less intrusive than typical health insurance applications – which include detailed questions about medical history that the ACA application does not ask.

Before ObamaCare, applicants for health insurance had to “expose [themselves] to the rest of the world” in order to even qualify for coverage.  Even when initially approved, any insured who filed a claim could be summarily denied and/or cancelled by the insurer – which first gathered the claimant’s medical records and employed a staff of doctors to scour those records for any “pre-existing condition” that would entitle them to deny the claim.  ObamaCare made that odious practice illegal.

Shrum apparently does not comprehend that all the information currently maintained by the government is dated (from the past), but that the ACA’s application process requires current and prospective information from the applicant in order to present available insurance options and calculate potential premium credits.

As originally designed, the ACA trusted the information provided by applicants, but then verified it later by comparing tax returns claiming credits against other records.  Section 1001 of H.R. 2775 – the bill that ended the government shutdown and avoided default – now requires that eligibility for credits and cost-sharing premium reductions be verified “up front”, thereby further complicating the process (because apparently Republicans do not trust Americans applying for health insurance).

Thus, while computer security is a serious concern, there is far less information collected under the ACA than by health insurers previously—whose computer systems may be just as susceptible to hacking as the federal government’s.

Thus, “only a fool” would deny him/herself and/or his/her family needed health insurance coverage because of speculative privacy concerns based on laughably false propaganda.

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