Letters to the editor: 09-30-2013

September 30, 2013 

Affordable Care Act

Are you paying any attention to what is happening in D.C.? In order to impress their radical followers, the extremist Republicans are making all kinds of threats and promises that they know they cannot deliver. Very little funding for the ACA (Obamacare) is tied to the federal budget, yet these Tea Party types are threatening to shut down the country to express their displeasure with the fact Democrats actually passed a piece of legislation that will help people.

They are lying at a rate that is unprecedented even for them, because they know their followers are gullible enough to believe them and won’t look for the truth.

At the same time most Republican-led states, including Idaho, are denying the poorest among us insurance coverage by refusing to expand Medicaid. Most of these people are not eligible for help through the exchanges because they were to be covered by Medicaid, shot down by the Supremes.

Many Republican-led states are also making it as difficult as possible to gain information about the ACA by hindering the navigators who are hired to help people get coverage. If you cannot repeal the act, hinder its implementation as much as possible.


It is nothing short of reckless endangerment to threaten the American people with a shutdown due to a last ditch effort by the House members of the Republican Party to extinguish the Affordable Care Act. For the 47th (or is it the 48th?) time, it’s the law.

My family has already benefited from the Affordable Care Act. With this law, one of my adult children is able to receive health insurance through her parents’ plan until age 26. My older child, who is now 26, will have affordable insurance available through the health care exchanges on Oct. 1. Both are employed, but in positions that do not offer health care benefits. We are grateful for the Affordable Care Act.

To our politicians, please, move on and keep the government running. The price of a shutdown is not worth the cost of making a point.


President Obama

Was America really ready for the first African-American president after all?

It’s not because Barack Obama was elected our first black president that is the problem, it’s how we as a nation have reacted to it. We have lost track of one of our prime responsibilities as a nation — to hold our elected officials accountable for their actions. It seems that we have relinquished our God-given right and duty to make sound, critical judgments toward a government that has gone astray, partly because of, dare I say, our president’s color.

There was a time when the “media” in this country was considered the watchdogs of the government; our allies, exposing corruption and holding our elected officials’ feet to the fire regardless of party affiliation. Not anymore. A palpable, national guilt seems to have obscured our decision making, which does not bode well for our country.

I don’t care, and I think most Americans don’t care, whether our president is black, white, blue or green. What counts is that they do a good job for us and if not, we have the right and responsibility to confront them honestly, without fear of some type of racially tinged reprisal.



If not for a crushing $5.5 billion yearly pre-funding of future retirees health benefits requirement, the U.S. Postal Service would have made a $660 million profit for the third quarter of the fiscal year.

This unfair and unnecessary mandate to pre-fund health benefits is the main cause to delay mail, reduce services and inconvenience the American people. Shutting down mail processing plants, reducing delivery days and closing post offices, both city and rural, is like “killing the patient to cure the disease.”

A much more positive solution exists that would maintain the service and convenience that the ratepayers (no tax dollars involved) deserve.

If the ominous pre-funding was eliminated and if the USPS were to use their own overpayments in their retirement systems, the financial problems would be solved. Many veterans already employed with the Postal Service could retain their jobs. Businesses, both small and large, would not be inconvenienced by unnecessary delayed mail. Door delivery would remain six-days a week.

Congress has the power to positively solve the financial problems of the Postal Service without any negative implications. It has to act and act very soon.

JOHN PAIGE, president, Idaho State Association of Letter Carriers, Pocatello


In reading Dana Milbank’s column (Statesman, Sept. 15) I had to wonder why he would think that General Boykin, Louie Gohmert, Alan West and so many more would demean 9-11. No one knew the twin towers were going to be hit. It happened without warning. However, in Benghazi we had people asking for more security, three times before the attack and three times during.

So what did Hillary do? She strips the only security in Benghazi. Colonel Wood plus some Navy Seals and Green Berets. Troops on standby were ready to go but they were told to stand down. Two Navy Seals disobeyed orders to save 20 some Americans at the cost of their lives. Then they have a commission to investigate and guess who picks them? Hillary Clinton. A former Clinton puppet from the past, Thomas Pickering.

How many questions does he ask Hillary and the people involved in the attack? Zero. How nice. Most American want to know the truth. That won’t be forthcoming from this administration. Who ordered our troops to stand down? Our people serving our country should not be expendable.

AL TIKKER, Meridian


I have a friend who has actually seen the wheelbarrows full of cash going to warlords in Iraq. How can we continue to spend billions of dollars overseas on such foolishness and hear at home talk about cutting benefits for the poorest Americans?

How about bringing all of our military home and stoping all foreign aid except medical and food related? You can have a tractor, but, not a bomber! Make the money saved available to contractors at very low interest rates if they hire ex-military men and women! Use them to re-build our infrastructure!

Set up a real program of education, health care, child care and work to bootstrap poor people into the middle class!

Turn the income tax into a 12 percent fixed tax where no one escapes except the poor! Get out of the World Trade Organization. Force corporates to bring jobs back to this country!

Get rid of the CIA! When we quit bothering other people, they will quit bothering us! Military would be special operations only!

A good start would be to can the entire Congress and start over with term limits! Make lobbying illegal!

Let’s do it Americans!


Luna — Common Core

Idaho’s taxpayers pay a minimum of $16,000 a year for Luna’s membership to CCSSO (Council of Chief State School Officers), who wrote and own the Common Core Standards (how much money will flow into their coffers forever as owners of the national standards?). Emails sent to CCSSO and Luna inquiring what Idaho was getting for this membership fee went unanswered by both offices.

In addition to annual state-paid membership revenue of $2.1 million; CCSSO spends $8 million a year for payroll (funding largely from Bill Gates and Fed grants). CCSSO’s staff directory lists 58 people, which averages about $137,000 a year each.

Another $7.4 million goes to consultants. So has Luna been receiving paychecks from CCSSO as well as from Idaho?

Also, CCSSO spends more than $8.5 million a year on travel expenses — how much was allocated to Luna as he traveled extensively nationwide promoting Common Core?

It sounds less and less like his allegiance has been to Idaho the last several years.

We pay his salary, pay his $16,000-plus membership fee to CCSSO — what does Idaho get in return besides being sold out to the federal government and private enterprises?

(No, we cannot “tweak” the Standards. No, we cannot “quit” Common Core any time we want to.)



Republicans claim they want minimal government interference in the lives of Americans.

The Nixon-Reagan generation started the “war on drugs,” actually a war on people, expecially blacks.

They wanted a police state; all they achieved was a nationwide breakup of families. They made the ’60s happen. What they ultimately reaped was 1/4 of the world’s prison population (fast approaching 1/3).

According to Bureau of Justice statistics, 48 percent of federal prisoners are incarcerated for drugs. The federal system is 40 percent over capacity as a result.

State prison overcrowding is off the charts. Attorney General Eric Holder recently proposed the early release of non-violent drug offenders from their draconian sentences; also, a change in guidelines to give sentencing discretion back to federal judges in drug cases.

Washington and Colorado marijuana legalization was won primarily by the 18-32 age group; those over 70 voted overwhelmingly against it.

The young said they will no longer allow the imprisonment of their fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters for marijuana. Obama’s Justice Department issued the edict honoring the 10th Amendment by refusing to interfere with Washington and Colorado’s mandates.

If Romney had been elected president, he would have already interfered with state’s rights and sent in the troops to terrorize his fellow Americans.


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