Obama’s Africa trip wastes taxpayer cash

To the editor:

What would you do with the money if you had $60 million or more available to you, with no accountability, to spend as you wish? President Barack Obama and his family have just that scenario later this month, for their trip to a few African nations. True, he is legitimizing the trip by meeting with foreign leaders, doing tours and the like. But not even White House mouthpiece Jay Carney can rationally explain this expensive junket. Too bad. It would be the perfect chance for him to earn his $172,200 salary (as of 2012).

The $60 million figure is a modest estimate; many reports state the cost of this trip could go as high as $100 million, factoring in all the security personnel, specially built vehicles, military escorts, fighter jets patrolling his areas of visit, even a Navy aircraft carrier to act as a personal sick bay. With the costs of transporting, housing and feeding all these people and equipment, what’s the point of this trip? Visiting large industrialized trading partners could have some merit, but the most likely result of this effort will be giving away large amounts in aid.

Could the real reason for this trip be to show that he can still waste our money, despite the sequester, and still cancel areas of spending that make the opposition look bad? Case in point, the traditional jet flyover at the Air Force Academy commencement was canceled, which only deprived the graduates of something to remember in return for their hard work. Mr. Obama’s excuse was to save the cost of putting the planes in the air, but how about the transportation costs to Africa and back?

Another example is not allowing a manufacturer of military vehicles in Oshkosh, Wis., to supply our armed forces with more armored vehicles, causing nearly 1,000 workers to be laid off by claiming the Defense Department did not have the money. Why then, a few months ago, did he allocate hundreds of millions of dollars in spending to ship fighter jets and Abrams tanks to Egypt, and why was he pushing so hard to arm the rebels in Syria? The president seems to speak from both sides of his mouth.



Gun veto misconceptions

To the editor:

Dan Zampirro’s letter (“Real statistics support gun bill veto,” Saturday) illustrates some of the many misconceptions and misuses of statistics. Mr. Zampirro’s main thrust of evidence is based on numbers without an understanding of what they represent. He questions the results of a survey of 800 Nevadans because it’s just a minuscule share of our state’s population. He stated that the “critical questions about gun control were leading those surveyed in a fashion that appeared to favor gun control.”

I agree with him that a survey question needs to be properly structured to avoid bias, but since he failed to quote the way the question was given, I cannot agree with his premise.

What he failed to understand is that a sample of 800, if properly selected under valid statistical methods, is a valid representation of the feeling of the entire state. The Nevada survey, even with a realistic margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 to 4 percent, still indicated overwhelming support for the gun bill, which, sadly, Gov. Brian Sandoval chose to ignore.

Mr. Zampirro further cites the governor’s automated phone system, which was set up to handle calls on this issue (press 1 if you are in favor, press 2 if you are opposed and press 3 for other government business, which connected you to a “real person”). This poll resulted, as was reported by The Associated Press, in a 6-to-1 ratio against the bill.

This is called a voluntary survey and has no controls on how the data is gathered. For example, I called the governor’s office on this issue and voted five times in 10 seconds. Press 1, hang up, dial again, press 1, hang up, dial, etc. I then called and spoke to a receptionist and told her what I had just done and to tell whoever is advising the governor to disregard this bogus phone survey. She told me that “they” (whoever “they” are) knew that this type of survey wasn’t proper. All it takes is a good organizational effort and a few people sitting by a phone to make a survey like this tilt to one side or another.

This is an important issue, and the governor will face many questions about his unfortunate veto. He’ll need to have a better answer than a telephone survey.



Background checks

To the editor:

Thank you, Dan Zampirro, for that absolutely on-point letter regarding politicians using numbers in a way they know are inaccurate and incorrect (“Real statistics support gun bill veto,” Saturday Review-Journal).

That being said, what else can anyone expect with today’s Democratic Party? Just look at the leadership. President Barack Obama promised the most transparent government ever, and what we have are problems with the Internal Revenue Service, Benghazi and the National Security Agency, and ObamaCare right around the corner with all of its “savings.” Our highest law enforcement officer, Attorney General Eric Holder, lies while testifying before Congress. And we have our own esteemed Sen. Harry Reid. Can anyone believe anything he says? So it’s absolutely correct to express skepticism that 0.00029 percent of this state’s population equals wide acceptance of gun background checks. It’s absolute hyperbole.



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