Printed letters, October 16, 2013

As the punitive government shutdown continues some very disturbing facts are emerging.

✓ Closing the World War II Memorial was a travesty. Only after an outcry were veterans allowed to cross the barricades to the open-air memorial.

✓ With national parks closed we now learn park rangers have been instructed by their superiors to make the shutdown as painful as possible for Americans. For example, public views of Mount Rushmore have been blocked, open-air memorials such as the Lincoln Memorial were closed and even trailhead parking lots on federal lands have been blocked — more evidence that the administration is trying to inflict the greatest pain on us. What kind of government does this? This can’t be the United States.

✓ The National Institutes of Health have shut down, preventing cancer treatments for children. Why are these innocent children being caught in the crossfire of political games?

✓ Death benefits for veterans killed in Afghanistan were being denied until there was another outcry.

But alas, President Obama has made one exception. He allowed an illegal immigration, pro-amnesty rally on the National Mall in Washington last week. This is an abomination. We Americans are fools if we do nothing about this madness.

Am I the only person who smells a rat in the way the situation is being manipulated by the current administration?

LYNDA AKERS

Fruita

If some are suffering,
then all should suffer

Excuse me, but why do you think bike racers should not “suffer” but it is OK for children to be sent home from Head Start, food inspectors to be laid off and workers to get no paychecks while congressmen collect theirs?

I do not agree with you at all on this: I feel if some are suffering because of this foolishness, then all of us should share in that pain. I do not want to break into any parks while my son is at his home with no job, no pay and no end in sight. I do not want Arizona or any state to pay to have their pet places opened while people without that connection have no advocate.

What happened to “working for the common good “or “taking care of the least of my brothers?” Those are ideas that this country was built on – not “I want my part or park or pay to be there – but too bad about the rest of you with no platform – just go without and deal with it.”

NANCY KEDDY

Grand Junction

 

Colorado should assume 
control of national monument

Realizing that members of Congress aren’t the brightest people, I would point out that federal employees are likely going to be paid for their “vacation.” We have rangers in place keeping people out of the people’s park. We know a citizen is unable to appreciate Colorado National Monument unless a park ranger is there to collect fees.

Fire the rangers, put a lock on the visitor center and campground and have the Colorado Highway Patrol drive across occasionally. Why pay the government twice for the job it isn’t doing (and is going to pay the people for, anyway). Rep. Ray Scott has the right idea in taking the monument back from the government and running it from Colorado.

ROB BRADSHAW

Montrose

 

Obama plays power politics 
to decimate Republican Party

So many Obama administration scandals have piled up that Congress and the people can’t keep up with them. They are difficult to resolve because the president of the United State appears to have more knowledge than he is willing to admit.

The phrase, “What do you know and when did you know it?” should be changed to, “What do you know and why are you lying about it?”

What is scary is that the president may intentionally not be negotiating the debt limit. Senate President Harry Reid is acting like a Mack truck driver who has had to put on chains in the middle of a snowstorm on Eisenhower Pass.

Obama is attempting to decimate the Republican Party and there are no holds barred. Look at the lies they told about the consequences of the sequester and then denied they had anything to do with the legislation.

I think Obama’s plan is to push the debt ceiling negotiations close enough to the deadline so that it will temporarily tank the stock market. Politically, he thinks he has nothing to lose. Wound the Republicans with one more negative tactic. Stir the tea party pot. Make them all humble. Blame the market scare on the other party, and Obama will come to the rescue.

With the budget mess and the looming Obamacare disaster, he is going to have to get lucky.

WILLIAM F. MCKNIGHT

Grand Junction

 

Republicans are irrational 
on major national issues

Rep. Scott Tipton and his fellow Republicans in the House blocked a vote on a bill that would have ended the government shutdown. Whether or not you agree with the bill, it is wrong to block it from coming to the floor for a vote. Now we are hearing some Republicans say that defaulting on the national debt wouldn’t be such a bad thing. Are these people crazy?

First they dismiss the advice of the scientific community on a wide variety of issues. Now they dismiss the advice of economists and business leaders on managing our nation’s finances.

The last time Republicans threatened to default on our nation’s debt, our borrowing costs went up and it added to our national debt. Now they are threatening to do it again and further increase our national debt.

Is anyone surprised that the political party that dislikes government also happens to be the one that’s the worst at running it?

JIM CRITTENDEN

Grand Junction

 

President must accept onus 
of spiraling national debt

I am not crazy enough to think that failing to raise the debt limit is a good idea, nor is a government shutdown necessarily a good idea, but I do think the president should have to eat his own words.

Here’s what then-Sen. Barack Obama said in 2006:

“The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the U.S. government cannot pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our government’s reckless fiscal policies. Increasing America’s debt weakens us domestically and internationally. Leadership means that ‘the buck stops here.’ Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better.”

I’m sure that perspectives change when a community organizer and junior senator from Illinois suddenly becomes president of the United States, but in this case the failure of leadership is Obama’s.

R. LANCE WADE

Grand Junction

 

Tipton’s office conveniently
closed during the shutdown

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 was 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.

DIANE WOLFE

Hotchkiss



COMMENTS

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William McKnight’s letter (“Obama plays power politics to decimate Republican Party”) aptly illustrates how local Limbaugh-lemmings – relying exclusively on that drug-addicted bloviater and “FoxNoise” for misinformation, while failing to read and/or comprehend the contradictory facts all-to-occasionally reported by the Sentinel – can maintain a woefully ignorant and ass-backwards understanding of recent events.

First, “so many Obama administration scandals have piled up” and have proven to be fact-free partisan political theater that “Congress and the people” rightly ignore them – recognizing disingenuous Republican demagoguery for what it is:  snake oil. 

Second, while “conservative” propagandists perpetually insinuate that President Obama “appears to have more knowledge than he is willing to admit”, they offer no evidence that such allegedly “suspicious” knowledge violates his duties and/or oath of office—thereby impliedly conceding that President Obama is smarter, better informed, more responsible, and even more “conservative” (albeit only half-White) than they dare admit to their ever-gullible “base”.

Third, the American public (but not McKnight) knows that “what is [really] scary” is “Tea Party” Republicans’ refusal to recognize the well-documented consequences of their two-pronged strategy to “shutdown the government” and manufacture a default – clearly proven by their ongoing tactic of “intentionally not negotiating on the debt limit”.

Fourth, what is also “scary” is the Republican-controlled House’s (and Scott Tipton’s) recent embrace of anti-democratic authoritarianism – changing its rules on October 1, 2013, to guarantee a prolonged government shutdown by rescinding the long-standing “privilege” to call for a vote on the Senate’s “clean C.R.” bill (previously available to all 435 Representatives) and restricting it to only the Republican Majority Leader. 

By rejecting “Tea Party” Republicans’ unprecedented and deliberately extortive tactics, President Obama allowed the Republican Party to shipwreck (“decimate”) itself on the political shoals protruding between the Scylla of self-destructive ideological extremism and the Charybdis of responsible pragmatic governance.

While R. Lance Wade’s letter (“President must accept onus of spiraling national debt”) – quoting then-Senator Obama’s 2006 comments – was intended to discredit the President, Wade actually proves how prescient and fiscally “conservative” Obama was and remains.

Thus, first, years before there ever was a “Tea Party” or any “Ryan Budgets”, junior Illinois Senator Obama was warning his colleagues of the consequences of continued profligate deficit spending – then, by rhetorically (only) “fiscal conservatives”.

Second, when President Obama was inaugurated in January 2009, he inherited the largest national debt and annual deficits in U.S. history, two off-budget wars, and the ballooning expenses of Medicare Part D (all financed with deficit spending). 

Third, “conservative” Republican President Reagan’s “VooDoo Economics” tripled the national debt, while “compassionate conservative” George Bush doubled it again. 

Fourth, while the national debt has increased by 50+% during President Obama’s tenure, he also instituted accounting reforms which resulted in a $2.7 trillion increase in reported debt and has reduced federal deficits every year he’s been in office – a cumulative 50% since 2009.  No “Tea Partier” or “Repugnican” ever did that.

Fifth, a New York Times study found that – since 2001—the deterioration in our national budget situation is attributable to four factors:  the Bush Recession (inherited in 2009 by President Obama) = 37%; policies enacted by President Bush (including “the Bush Tax Cuts”) = 33%; policies enacted by President Bush and extended by President Obama (including TARP, two unfunded wars, and Medicare Part D) = 20%; and policies initiated by President Obama (including the Stimulus, the auto “bailout”, and ObamaCare) = 10% (now 20%). 

So, if President Obama must “eat his words”, he should relish them.  Even though only a former “community organizer, President Obama has shown more “fiscal conservatism” against mindlessly obstinate obstructionism—than any Republican ever did.

Diane Wolfe’s letter – “Tipton’s office conveniently closed during the shutdown” – aptly documents one more reason why Congressman Scott Tipton has forfeited his legitimacy as Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District’s elected Representative.

On Sunday, “Tea Partiers” demonstrated near the White House – carrying Confederate flags and demanding that President Obama renounce the Koran!  Meanwhile, Alpine Bank is admirably assisting federal employees victimized by the mindless government “shutdown”– because Congress passed a law guaranteeing that they will be retroactively paid for not working.

Moreover, as the AP reported in the Sentinel (“What happens if U.S. breaks borrowing limit”), among the impacts of default will likely be non-payment of Social Security and veterans’ benefits.  Because the “Tea Party” is substantially populated by both older Americans and veterans, they were “protesting” to further fester a self-inflicted wound that may prove especially septic in Grand Junction and Pueblo.

As The Denver Post reported two years ago—“Grand Junction suffered biggest decline of personal income in U.S. in 2010” (August 10, 2011) – a significant portion of both Grand Junction’s and Pueblo’s local economy depends on “transfer payments” (e.g., Social Security, veterans’, and extended federal unemployment benefits).

Statewide, transfer payments contributed between 28% of income gains in Boulder and 70% in Pueblo.  Grand Junction, Pueblo, and Greeley were the Colorado metro areas “most dependent on government support to boost incomes.”

Thus, local businesses, realtors, and car dealers should be bracing for another “Bust” if the dysfunctional Congress fails to avert default by raising the debt limit, and Tipton’s constituents should be asking themselves why they elected an irresponsible “Tea Party” Congressman who supports policies that threaten to devastate local economies and impoverish many of the gullible lemmings who trustingly voted for him.

Both the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel and The Pueblo Chieftain should call for Tipton to resign.

Letter-writer Lynda Akers (“Punitive federal closures reveal disturbing facts”) should stop listening to Rush Limbaugh and “FoxNoise”, because—“as the punitive government shutdown continues, some very disturbing facts are emerging” about the extremists who promised, planned, orchestrated, and now celebrate the debt-increasing “government shutdown”.

While closing the WWII Memorial was regrettably inconvenient for visiting veterans, the real “travesty” was the sorry spectacle of a Texas “Tea Party” Congressman—who voted for the shutdown—publicly berating an innocent National Park Service (“NPS”) worker for performing her sworn duty to enforce the law that he and his fellow fools enacted.

Since August 2011, guidance for managing an orderly government shutdown has been promulgated in Office of Management & Budget (“OMB”) Circular No. A-11, which required federal agencies to publish “shutdown contingency plans”.

Therefore, cynical “Tea Party” perpetrators – while disingenuously feigning “surprise”—knew that the NPS plan required all facilities to be closed unless “they are deemed essential for health and safety reasons, are needed to support on-going excepted NPS activities or are located in urban areas where full NPS law enforcement coverage is continued due to the inability to control visitor access.”

Nevertheless, because major monuments in D.C. remained open in the 1995 and 1996 shutdowns (when there was no “sequestration”), the House Committee on Natural Resources is holding a hearing this week to substantiate as-yet-unverified anecdotal reports that NPS “rangers were instructed by their superiors [President Obama?] to make the shutdown as painful as possible” – which was “Tea Partiers’” intent in the first place!

Finally, President Obama made no “exception” for an “illegal immigration, pro-amnesty rally”.  Indeed, eight Democratic Congressmen were arrested for illegally demonstrating without the required permit – as 15,000 supporters marched from the National Mall to the White House in support of comprehensive immigration reform.

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