Readers weigh in on President Obama, Veterans Affairs, Hillary Clinton
07/01/2014 6:21 PM
07/01/2014 7:15 PM
The Obama administration’s choice once again to not enforce federal law is troubling.
Whether one agrees or disagrees with states’ legalization of pot, it is an ominous sign that the president would knowingly and willfully disobey his oath to uphold the law.
The administration’s decision to postpone enforcement of the federal health-insurance employer mandate is but one other high-profile example. Such decisions have serious consequences.
In turning a blind eye to the clear violation of federal narcotics laws in states’ legalization of pot, the administration could place bankers and others doing business with pot dealers in a position of great legal risk.
By postponing until after the midterm elections enforcement of the federal health-insurance employer mandate, insurers are at greater risk of servicing a sicker and more expensive population.
This pattern of willful neglect of the law in favor of issues that appeal to one party’s base creates a dangerous precedent.
As a word of warning to the president’s supporters willing to accept such legal neglect, he will not be the only person to occupy the Oval Office, and his party will not forever control the executive branch.
Future presidents will likewise have such power.
VA audit needed
Veterans Affairs management has falsified reports. There is always bullying by the unknowing to lower costs so funds can be redirected elsewhere.
Management found that honestly answered performance reports would lose it performance bonuses. It submitted falsified reports and took the bonuses instead of challenging its budget levels. Stories have not been specific on whether the bonuses went to facilities operations or administrator salaries.
The FBI and the Government Accountability Office need to seize all records and do a forensic audit before the guilty have a records-burning party. All pay bonuses must be refunded, with a 300 percent fine and jail time appropriate to the fraud committed.
Whistleblower awards should go to those who have complained. Complacent subordinates need to be fired or reassigned. Everyone needs to know that the old order and culture of denial is gone.
Additional VA funding could come from canceling legislators’ and their staff’s medical insurance. Their irresponsible policies created this hot mess.
Gen. Eric Shinseki, who was VA secretary, resigned. The wrong man was forced upon his sword.
Clinton’s new book
Former secretary of state Hillary Clinton has a new book titled, “Hard Choices.” In it, she has an entire chapter dedicated to defending her handling of the Benghazi attack.
Perhaps she could take advice from another famous Democrat and implement a “The buck stops here” strategy. No matter what lame excuses she comes up with in this book, it still won’t change the fact that it happened on her watch as secretary of state.
Why should she be allowed to profit from book sales off a deadly situation she is largely responsible for and helped create?
For me, boycotting this book won’t be a hard choice.
Hobby Lobby case
Anti-Islamic activists warn that Muslims are trying to sneak Sharia law into our legal system in ways that do not reflect our legal principles or beliefs. But the 5-4 Supreme Court decision against the Affordable Care Act and for Hobby Lobby allows a corporation to implement its own version of Sharia law when it comes to its female workers’ health decisions.
The Hobby Lobby people have a strange way of showing their private corporate religious convictions. They will do business with China while overlooking the Chinese system of forced abortions and slave labor used to create the merchandise sold at their stores.
The Supreme Court decision appears to be a win for private corporations and their bogus claim of religious rights. But perhaps now is the time to remind everyone, “Be careful what you wish for.”
Corporations are driven by the bottom line. And we, the customers, have the final say in whether to do business with a corporation pretending to be something it is not.
Rather than shop at Hobby Lobby, we can choose to shop at its competitors. Imagine an army of women shopping elsewhere and the message it would send.
Climate change fix
On the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed rules to cut carbon-dioxide emissions from coal-fired power plants by an average of 30 percent nationwide by 2030 from their 2005 levels, that effectively would cripple the coal industry in particular.
This is counterproductive to any economic upturn and would continue to contribute to the United States’ economic downturn.
I believe I speak for many Americans in stating that the problem of climate change should be a world priority. Why not entice China and India to participate in these extreme measures?
America alone did not create the entire climate-change problem, as the popular vernacular prefers to address the questionable problem. It’s time to hold other nations accountable for their unbridled pollution practices.
Cause of violence
The media and the government are focused on gun violence, understandably because of the number of mass shootings in the last several years. But I never hear anyone discussing violence in general or the root cause of violence.
Why has our society become so violent?
We have always had guns. Thirty years ago, we could buy guns in pawn shops without background checks, but we didn’t have the violence then that we have now. So what has changed?
Focusing on guns addresses a symptom. Find the root causes of violence and resolve them.
As drivers, we are taught to pull off to the side of the road and stop when emergency vehicles with lights and sirens on are approaching or passing us. However, at about 1:50 p.m. on a recent Wednesday in south Overland Park, I was yelled at by officers, including a Topeka officer, for attempting to do just that.
A large motorcade of motorcycle officers and patrol cars, with lights and sirens on, was heading north on Metcalf Avenue, quickly coming up behind me. I and other drivers tried to slow down to stop to let the motorcade pass, but the motorcycle officers drove up next to my window, got angry at me and started yelling at me and motioning me to continue forward.
A very confusing situation — being yelled at for trying to do the right thing. How else was I supposed to know to do anything different?
If there had been more professional behavior from the officers, I would have been a lot better with the situation.
Some tell us that our federal government is a tyranny seeking to limit our freedoms. I recently relished two days of extreme liberty thanks to the National Park Service’s Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve at Strong City Kan.
It gave me more than 10,000 acres of lush prairie and many trails to wander. Crossing a cattle guard, I walked freely through Windmill Pasture, home to two dozen American bison.
Go there at your own risk. I almost petted a footlong Kansas collared lizard. Camping and bicycle riding are out.
Pets must be on a leash. Take only photos. Leave only footprints.
Otherwise, both night and day, that great green expanse of freedom belongs to all of us.
KC archivist retires
David Boutros has gathered more “secrets” on us than anyone else in town. David will retire this month after 35 years as the local champion historical manuscripts archivist of a treasure trove of history held at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.
No other individual can match the extraordinary achievements of David Boutros. We and future generations are indebted to him.
Sidney L. Willens
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