Letters to the editor: 10-31-2013

October 31, 2013 

Barack Obama

Since I now know Tom Woodall (Oct. 19 letter) and I are both obviously “ardent independents,” let me attempt to answer his questions. Obama was elected, in 2008, because he received more votes than McCain: 365/173 electoral votes and 66.8 million/58.3 million popular votes. Not even close.

In 2012, Obama won again because he received more votes than Romney: 332/206 electoral votes and 65.9 million/60.9 million popular votes. Not even close.

As to why, could be the fact that Americans liked what they saw in this president, and trusted him with four more years.

Why do Republicans (oops, I mean independents), have such a difficult time losing an election? If 62 percent voted for Obama and only 38 percent voted for Romney, that’s the “American people” telling Republicans “They’re just not that into you!” As our president said so eloquently: “You don’t like a particular policy or a particular president? Then argue for your position. Go out there and win an election. Push to change it. Just don’t break it!”

GLADYS A. ASHLEY, Eagle

I am 89 years old and 90 percent blind, but not so blind that I cannot see what Obama is doing to the people of this country is far more serious. Obama has betrayed us. He has circumvented the Constitution, has broken the law, has bypassed Congress, has given preferential treatment for many who support him, has provided giveaways to those who support him and has lied and covered up things he has done for personal gain.

In short, Obama has dragged this government to the brink of total socialism. We are taxed to death, regulated to death, spied upon by our own government and now must obey Obamacare or be fined and harassed. It is high time for Idaho to stand up and yell “I’m mad as hell and won’t take any more.” So Idaho, start circulating a petition for a special election to recall this president, who has failed us as president.

LOYAL EDWARD PUMPHREY, Meridian

There is no point mincing words, President Obama poleaxed the Republican Congress. Obama had the stronger hand and played it well in the debt standoff.

The Republicans appeared oblivious to the fact that the president had the power to turn off the entire government spigot including closing parks and delaying military burials as leverage. The Democrats would have the same leverage with a Republican president and control of one house of Congress, because the default posture is always fund all government or shut it down.

Just as importantly, Republicans misunderstood the resolve of the Democratic Party and its allies in the mainstream media. This grand coalition for “Big Government,” will never tolerate a meaningful reduction in the size, scope and regulatory reach of federal power. Nibbling at the edges maybe, but never a rollback. Given that fact, Republicans have only one option in the future. Fund government at sequester levels until the Democrats beg for relief and then bargain incrementally. No grand bargain on entitlement reform or spending reduction is possible in this climate. Let the fiscal chips fall where they may and when the Federal Reserve can no longer credibly monetize debt, begin the real debate.

FRED BIRNBAUM, Boise

Politics

Recently, there’s been a lot of finger-pointing concerning the government shutdown, the damage it’s caused and who’s to blame.

The tipping point, concerning the current political climate, would have to be attributed to former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. His myopic, polarized political style ushered in a whole new era of hyper-partisanship that continues to erode the very pillars of democracy almost 20 years later. No hostile foreign government, traitor or terrorist has caused more harm to the United States than the strong-arm style of politics foisted on our government by this “bloviator of the House.”

If American justice were truly served, Newt Gingrich would be tried for treason and summarily expatriated, same as Benedict Arnold was. The political infection that was spawned by this single individual to democratic governments everywhere simply cannot be overstated.

Democracy can and must overcome our problems, but it is first imperative that we identify and name the source of those problems before we can undo and correct the damage done. Blaming the “other” party is a symptom of the problem itself, and if we continue on that course, Gingrich’s style of toxic politics may inevitably cause irreparable damage to our American government.

MICHAEL F. HOWARD, Boise

Republicans

You can always tell who listens to AM Radio shock jocks and Fox (faux) News.

They are all programmed to talk the same way, act the same way. Its all about freedom as long as its the freedom they believe. No thinking required, just spew garbage, twist facts and even lie for an agenda.

By the way, politics and religion do not mix. They are to be kept separate despite tea party people trying to rewrite history.

Remember the crusades? Remember why people left the UK? It was because the government became a particular religion. Therefore no other religions were allowed or you could be killed. Are we going to repeat that horrible mistake?

Just say ‘no’ to the Republican religion or prepare to take up arms against these extremists when they come for you.

JOHN STEINEBACH, Boise

Air service loss

I was very disappointed to read in the Oct. 19 paper that Boise was not awarded the $700,000 grant from the Small Community Air Service Development Program. This would have helped establish a regular nonstop flight to the East Coast. Businesses in this area were counting on this and also willing to donate considerable sums towards the effort. Where were our state representatives in Washington on this? Why weren't they lobbying for this grant? Were they too busy passing over 40 useless bills to repeal the ACA and shutting down the government to get involved?

Over the past six years, Boise has lost a considerable amount of commercial air service. This increases air prices for everyone and discourages businesses from locating here. Instead of electing representatives who want to fight the federal government and tear it apart, maybe we should be electing representatives who want work with the federal government to help Idaho become a more successful state.

CAROL BENZ, Boise

Jeff Kunz

Jeff Kunz is a true public servant. Please vote for him for Eagle City Council on Nov. 5. I had the pleasure of working with Jeff on the purchase of Eagle City Hall. As you may remember, this study was undertaken four years ago by a volunteer group co-led by Jeff.

Due to his strong business background, Jeff proposed an evaluation approach we all immediately agreed with.

I was impressed by Jeff’s leadership, knowledge, devotion and hard work. Jeff spent hours ensuring the evaluation was accurate, meaningful and unbiased.

When city authorities didn’t follow-up, Jeff continued writing and reminding decision-makers and the public about the recommendations. Jeff knew the purchase would annually save taxpayers substantial money.

Legally, the city was limited on what it could do. Jeff energized us and encouraged voters to support the bond. After much effort, it eventually passed, for the first time in Idaho’s history.

I’m inspired by Jeff’s integrity and conservative approach to doing what’s right for our city.

As an Eagle-based business owner and taxpayer, I believe Jeff is an excellent choice to bring fiscal responsibility, transparency and balance to the Eagle City Council. Jeff has spent over six years looking out for us.

FOAD ROGHANI, co-owner of Camille Beckman, Eagle

Jeff Kirkman

I listened to Jeff Kirkman, who is running in the Nampa City Council race this Nov. 5, and I can’t vote for him because I live in the county.

He doesn’t just use his own will to find solutions. He goes and talks to business owners, managers, and CEOs to hear how some of their problems might be solved.

He has investigated some of our big tax money eaters and where our tax dollars can be used more wisely. I believed him when he said that he will work to increase effective partnerships with other government jurisdictions and public agencies. He has experience in working in government and understands public policy and management. He believes communication is essential to produce desire results.

He answers his emails, www.kirkmanfornampa.com, every one, even if we live in the county. We patronize the business in the city. Hear him for yourself. He has meetings in many neighborhoods. If you email him I am sure you can go to one of the meetings and hear for yourself, if you want to know who he is and what he stands for. I was so impressed and I think I will go to another meeting and hear more.

AMELIA HARRINGTON, Nampa

Elfreda Higgins

Elfreda Higgins has an unquestionable history of positive service to Garden City. She has been actively engaged in improvements in Garden City and it has made it a better place to live. She has many years of constructive political experience and has been actively involved in her community. Elfreda has a positive attitude and winning smile which inspires teamwork and an environment for progress. I encourage you to vote for Elfreda as it will be a positive step for Garden City.

NANCY FRICKE, Garden City

Health exchange

When it comes to the user fee and the cost estimate for the state health exchange, Idahoans hear one thing, but see another. Supporters of a state exchange said an advantage was that it would charge a fixed dollar amount — “$4.80 per member per month” — while a federal exchange would charge a percentage (3.5 percent) of the health plan premium — wherever that premium ends up. Yet, the state health exchange now “projects” charging Idahoans 2.6 percent of the health plan premium, again, wherever it ends up. Not only do we see continued violations of that promised fixed fee, but now that fee is going up.

Why the broken promise? Because the projected cost estimate for the state exchange went from $20 million to $70 million. KPMG told the governor’s task force the cost estimate would be $77 million. But, supporters apparently ignored that estimate. Our legislators were not given complete and accurate information as to the costs and federal intrusions of the state exchange. We should end the federal grants, treat the state health exchange like the federal program it is, and opt out.

STEPHEN M. ACKERMAN, Kuna

Gas prices

According to the website BoiseGasPrices.com, as of Oct. 21, 2013, the average price for regular gas in the U.S. is $ 3.359, while in Boise the average price is $3.752, a difference of 40 cents a gallon. I would like to see the Idaho Statesman conduct an investigative report on the issue of gas prices in Boise. It takes courage to take on the oil/gas companies. It seems that the industry is gouging customers in Boise. Does the Idaho Statesman have the courage to take on this issue which affects all families and their financial situation?

BILL BURNS, Boise

U.S. debt

The problem we are having with our economy is not about individuals in Washington, D.C. It is a reflection of a broader nationwide difference in philosophy for which there is no compromise. Think of the economy as a car careening toward a chasm (bankruptcy). There are two people wrestling for control. One says, “Hit the brakes! We’ve got to stop this thing before we go over the edge!” The other says, “No, we’ve been through this before. We have to step on the gas so we can get up enough speed to jump the chasm and land safely on the other side!”

Which one is right? It can’t be both. I personally think we should hit the brakes on spending as hard and as fast as we can. For those of you who favor the gas pedal, you might want to notice that this time the gas gauge reads “Empty!”

ROSELLE CAESAR, Boise

The sign of the times for our leaders in Washington that are struggling with a $17 trillion budget deficit that Congress has created, quietly released to Pakistan $1.6 billion in military and economic aid. That is money that had to be borrowed by the federal government to give away. What’s wrong with this picture? Our congressmen bring back to the state money for local projects that also is borrowed money. Money that you the taxpayer is going to make up somehow. There is no leadership in the White House and what little there is in Congress is being pushed aside by the “me first” attitude of our political parties.

Politicians, I don’t care what party you support, if you will just do the job you were elected to do I will vote for you. If not, I will do all I can to see that you are replaced. This $17 trillion deficit pill is hard to swallow and it’s going to be even harder to pass.

DON DUSTIN, Boise

Climate change

As Rocky Barker's article “Wildfires: ‘Something bigger is going on’” points out, we will need to adapt to the changes in our forests brought about by climate change. Clearing of brush, replanting of extreme high temperature burn areas and increased fire insurance premiums will result in greater and greater costs to local governments and homeowners. However, there are other costs to quality of life that are harder to quantify: the loss of pristine forestlands, the trauma from threat or fires or the destruction of our homes and their contents. What price do we put on these?

Adaptation is not our only choice when it comes to climate change. We can also mitigate its effects by slowing or eliminating the increased release of greenhouse gases. If we simply put a fee on the extraction of fossil fuels and return all fees as a dividend to consumers, we promote a transition away from carbon fuels. The dividend would offset economic impact to a majority of families.

Mitigation of climate change by lowering fossil fuel emissions will reduce adaption costs and improve the ecosystem the next generations. We need multiple responses to this growing threat.

TIM DEC, Middleton

Prison problems

Here is the problem with private prisons like CCA: Their highest priority is not safety of inmates, or rehabilitation, or operating efficiently. Their highest priority is profits for their shareholders. That is why they are in business. There is something immoral or unethical about making a profit from incarcerating fellow human beings. I recommend we cut out the profit-making and spend that money on running our prisons humanely. Anything else reflects poorly on all of us and does not help our prisoners.

JILL JASPER, Boise

SNRA

Sawtooth Valley resident Bob Hayes is correct regarding the proposed national monument status for the Sawtooth National Recreation Area. I echo his question, “What is broken in the Sawtooth NRA that a monument designation can fix, which cannot be addressed by the law (PL92-400)…?” If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it. If it needs to be fixed and impacts the Idaho, then the people of Idaho should be able to weigh in.

To the Idaho Conservation League and Washington D.C.: Why the mystery?

KENDALL KOPPENHAFER, Boise

School shootings

At first, it surprised me to see that the Statesman reported recent school shootings and murder on page 6, made worse because page 1 reported the shooting of a dog and a long car ride. But then, I realized these shootings are so common and acceptable these days we were lucky it was in the press at all. Last year everyone was sick about the Sandy Hook rampage, yet absolutely nothing came of it. If anyone cares about school shootings anymore, or anywhere actually, I have a common-sense solution. It even helps the economy.

Each school, with a modest tax increase, will be required to buy a firearm for each student regardless of age (not sure, maybe not for nursery school). Had these kids had sufficient firepower, this shooting would have been avoided. Parents and friends are responsible for teaching gun safety, although the NRA may make classes available. Given these shootings happen anywhere, legislation is required to allow — even mandate — all students to carry firearms at all times. Teachers' unrelenting grab for power and their part in killing our economy require us to think carefully before arming them.

JEFF MANDELL, Boise

Obama’s policies

Awhile back I requested that enlightened liberals explain what they liked about Obama’s policies and the direction the country is going. I received no responses. This time I have two questions: What is good about raising the debt ceiling for a government that is $17 trillion in debt? It seems like raising the limit on your kid’s credit card when they have maxed it out rather than stopping the wasteful spending. Why is it good policy to reward unproductive people (food stamps, unemployment for 99 weeks, disability for the non-disabled and on and on) by taking money from the productive people?

Please enlighten me with examples where these policies have worked. Possibly you could name just one country, state, city, etc. that has successfully employed these policies.

MICHAEL MILLER, Eagle

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