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LETTERS: BLM’s First Amendment area egregious

To the editor:

The ongoing battle between rancher Cliven Bundy and the Bureau of Land Management is interesting from a constitutional perspective. It’s an extension of the running battle between state and national government power that’s been going on since the Constitution was ratified.

Mr. Bundy’s views are heartfelt, but I doubt he will win. However, the Review-Journal’s Wednesday article did contain a picture that ought to be of concern to all of us (“Rancher taking fight over land use to limit”). The picture was of a fenced-off space with signage noting that it was a “First Amendment area.”

It’s been firmly established that no First Amendment right is absolute; for instance, yelling “fire” in a crowded theater is not protected speech. As for a First Amendment area, that’s a problem. While pursuing my doctorate in political science, I’m sure I learned that the “First Amendment area” is that piece of land north of Mexico and south of Canada. A limited First Amendment area is a very serious overreach by BLM and needs to be challenged.



Campaign contributions

To the editor:

I wonder what sort of present Chief Justice John Roberts and the other conservative Supreme Court justices expect to receive from the Koch brothers and the other 1 percenters, because the court sure handed them a great present this week (“High court removes campaign contribution limits,” Thursday Review-Journal).

This decision is just one more step to make it easier for our government to be bought and paid for. Wouldn’t it be great if we could vote to elect, or better yet, remove Supreme Court justices? The old saying from a century and a half ago becomes more true every day: “We have the best Congress (read governments) money can buy.”



Obamacare celebration

To the editor:

If you watched President Barack Obama’s speech in the White House Rose Garden last week celebrating 7.1 million signups by the Affordable Care Act’s March 31 deadline, you got the impression that number means the new law, enacted in 2010, is a huge success. What was President Obama thinking? Did he not remember President George W. Bush’s infamous “Mission Accomplished” banner on the aircraft carrier?

Is it possible he believes we are at a point where the ACA is considered a success? The law was enacted to provide health coverage for the estimated 40 million people who were uninsured, yet 7.1 million signups is our government’s definition of success? If you take from that number individuals who had insurance but had their policies canceled due to the law’s coverage mandates, and those who signed up but didn’t pay the premiums, it is estimated that less than 10 percent of the original 40 million uninsured now have health insurance.

How can the president stand in the Rose Garden and tell the American people that 10 percent is a passing grade? Recall what we were told when the ACA was being debated and passed in 2009. Those of us who had insurance could keep it and, with the exception of modest tax increases, would not be impacted by the law. But as Rep. Nancy Pelosi so eloquently expressed, “We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what’s in it.”

What we found was not pretty. Not only did many of us find we could not keep our current health insurance, but large numbers could not even keep their doctors. The doctor-patient relationship is one of the most important relationships consumers have. The ACA’s unintended consequence of interfering with that relationship all but assures the law will remain unpopular with a majority of Americans.



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