If the best deal the Obama administration could negotiate for accused deserter Bowe Bergdahl was the release of five Taliban commanders, who in the heck would expect them to be able to negotiate a good deal for the U.S. in the negotiations with Iran (4-1, A10, “Iran nuclear talks extended”)?
Our country has and still is experiencing massive protests regarding the law in Indiana exempting organizations from doing business involving activities that violate the consciences of their members.
Now I read that American Pharmacists Association is recommending that its members refuse to supply law-enforcement organizations with drugs used in executions (3-31, A1, “Pharmacy association faults death penalty role”).
There has been no outrage, even though there may not even be a law permitting this as there is in Indiana. In fact, it is likely pharmacists following this recommendation would be praised by those criticizing the Indiana law.
Now, I am OK with allowing people to be exempt from laws that violate their consciences, but should only liberals get to choose which causes are worthy and which are not?
Not in this country.
As an American, a Missourian, a taxpayer and a Christian, I am deeply distressed that my federal tax dollars are sent to other states to pay for their citizens’ health care while my fellow Missourian single mom or dad with two kids, working minimum-wage jobs and struggling to earn from about $3,700 to $26,000 annually, gets no health care simply because our Missouri legislators refuse to accept federally funded Medicaid expansion.
How can these legislators claim to represent us when their actions show callous disregard for us and our needs if we are constituents with limited income, and disdain for us if we want our tax dollars to help other Missourians?
I cannot understand principles that result in this mean-spirited treatment of 260,000 of our Missouri neighbors whose only crime is being one of the working poor.
When voting, I urge people to consider candidates’ stances on the basic American value of fairness toward “the least of these.”
Kids’ health care
The future of children’s health care is in serious jeopardy if Congress fails to pass the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act to renew funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Plan.
CHIP is responsible for providing affordable health care to about 8 million children nationwide and 69,100 children in Missouri.
The program has reduced the number of uninsured low-income children by more than 50 percent. These numbers clearly show that CHIP is a proven program that works for children.
CHIP is designed to ensure that children and pregnant mothers have access to comprehensive health services, including well-baby and well-child visits, immunizations and dental services.
Enabling children to receive quality, integrated health care improves their likelihood of having successful childhoods and future healthy lifestyles. If we fail to renew funding for CHIP, we are failing our kids.
The Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act is a bipartisan effort to renew funding for the existing program.
We must ask members of Congress to vote in support of this bill to maintain CHIP as is.
This is not the time to mess with success, especially when it comes to the health of our children.
The U.S. reached agreement with China to cut carbon emissions 28 percent by 2025, which should encourage other nations to take similar steps.
Unfortunately, climate experts say we may not avoid a 3.6-degree increase, resulting in rising seas, coastal flooding, dramatic storms and droughts. With collective action, we can still mitigate more extreme consequences.
Currently, there is a legislative proposal to establish a carbon fee and dividend payments program, by which carbon fees would be assessed on fossil fuels and greenhouse gas emissions at the point they enter the economy.
It would be collected by the Treasury Department at $15 per ton of CO2 equivalent.
The carbon fee would be an efficient, transparent and enforceable mechanism to encourage fair transition to a domestic energy economy, stimulating growth of alternative fuels.
Equal monthly dividends (rebates) from carbon fees paid to American households would help ensure families and individuals can afford the energy they need during the transition to a greenhouse gas-free economy.
And such dividends would stimulate the economy.
In the months ahead, there will be discussion about this proposal.
Please read about this plan, and if it makes sense to you, write Congress to express your support.
When filling budget holes, elected Kansas officials need to ask whether the state and local tax system complies with state and local tax policy principles.
Here are some of the concerns:
▪ Accountability: Does it identify for the public those who are responsible for the calculation, payment and collection of taxes?
▪ Adequacy: Does it raise enough revenue to finance state and local services and emergency reserves?
▪ Broadness: Does it contain few tax exclusions, exemptions, credits, etc. that cause higher tax rates for taxpayers who do not have these loopholes?
▪ Convenience: Does it minimize time, effort and cost that individuals and businesses spend to comply with tax laws?
▪ Efficiency: Does it have administrative costs that are low compared with collected tax revenues?
▪ Equity: Does it treat people at different income levels fairly?
▪ Exportability: Does it require individuals and businesses in other states to pay their fair share if they benefit from Kansas and local services?
▪ Neutrality: Does it avoid interfering with investment and spending decisions of businesses and individuals?
▪ Transparency: Does it clarify for the public the methods of taxation and total amounts of revenue collected from individuals and businesses?
Officials need to correct all “no” answers.
Allyn O. Lockner
I see that an atheist organization has gotten into some serious trouble for its financial misdealings (3-31, A4, “Atheist group’s finances spurring questions”). I suppose that’s what happens when you go chasing after the almighty dollar.
The propaganda promoting the Keystone XL pipeline has confused Americans as to methods of transferring tar sands oil to the Gulf. Opposition is based on a number of issues:
The tar sands extraction is one of the ugliest environmental projects on the planet.
The quality of the oil is low compared with oil from North Dakota.
Investors will not refine it for use in the U.S., and opponents are urging reconsideration of the project from Alberta to the Gulf.
Competing oil coming out of North Dakota is light crude free of grit, very volatile, and is the oil being shipped in modern rail cars — sometimes ending up in rivers and the source of spectacular fires seen in West Virginia and Illinois. Both sources pose dangers associated with use and transport.
The end game for hydrocarbons will see investors who wish to discard all concern, i.e., benzene emissions around refineries, water contamination and air pollution, as well as additional concerns too numerous to list.
As we approach the end game for hydrocarbon energy, I predict the vested interests will make every effort to paint their reasoned opposition as wackos and unrealistic.
We should all know better.