Celebrate our common humanity
I am a Lutheran pastor and member of Together Colorado, an interfaith organization advocating for the common good. In our Together Colorado Covenant, we pledge “to walk together in faith, courage, hope and action, committed to one another, our communities, and all of creation.” As such, we cannot be silent or still when we understand the hate that threatened our sisters and brothers of Temple Emmanuel in Pueblo and the integrity of that community.
We believe that all in our nation have the right to worship in safety, without fear of violation. We are thankful for the expertise of the investigators who identified the risk and intervened. And we encourage all who are outraged by this white supremacist narrative to reach out to your neighbors who worship differently, or pray differently, and celebrate your common humanity.
Tell your children and your grandchildren why we respect the dignity of one another, not because we always agree, but because our society’s sustainability depends on it.
The Rev. Paula M Stecker
Reality of sentencing guidelines
You recently published a letter in which a writer lamenting that one actress, Lori Loughlin, is facing 45 years in prison “for exercising her constitutional rights”, while another, Felicity Huffman — who was “accused of essentially the same offense” — received a 14-day prison term. That is inaccurate and ignores the reality of prosecuting a large number of people.
The U.S. does not provide nearly enough funding to take to trial all people charged with crimes. Therefore, those willing to plead guilty are usually able to negotiate a significantly lighter punishment recommendation than the maximum possible sentence. Fifty-one people have been charged in this case. Huffman is the first parent to plead guilty and go to trial. For doing so, she might well have gotten the “best deal”.
Although both actresses were initially charged with “conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest-services mail fraud,” Huffman was accused of paying $15,000 as a bribe. Loughlin and her husband are accused of paying $500,000. Possibly as a result of that amount, a subsequent charge of conspiracy to commit money laundering was added. They face a maximum sentence of 20 years for each charge, or 40 years.
U.S. sentencing guidelines guide judges in punishments. Since I do not know all the surrounding circumstances, I’m forced to estimate: My guess is that Loughlin and her husband, if found guilty, will receive a sentence including 14 months incarceration.
‘Medicare for All’ won’t be free
Having read over and over about the drive by some politicians to bring about “Medicare for All”, I suggest those who are rallying around this movement spend a little time understanding it. Medicare is not free. While we have been paying into the free medical insurance system (Medicare) for decades, it is anything but free!
Part “A” is provided to retirees free of any additional charge at age 65 and up. But, Parts “B” and “D” are not free and cost extra. So to get “full” coverage, you must purchase “supplemental” plans from private health care providers such as BCBS or Aetna, for example, to cover the shortfalls. These plans also have their own deductibles.
Before the ACA was enacted, my family’s monthly health care insurance cost was about $450 per month. After the ACA was enacted, our monthly health care insurance bill skyrocketed by a 4X factor. Now being retired and on Medicare, my wife’s and my free health care insurance (Medicare plus Supplements) costs us a mere $5K per year, plus deductibles. This is hardly the free health insurance being touted about by those espousing “Medicare For All.”
Don’t we deserve just a little honesty from those asking for our votes?
Strong climate solutions
President Donald Trump’s administration has taken the next step to withdraw the United States from the international Paris Agreement on climate change. This is a terrible idea, and the timing couldn’t be worse.
Last month, thousands of protesters came together at the climate strike in Denver only to join an even larger crowd a few weeks later to rally with Greta Thunberg when she came to our state. Young Coloradans have added their voices to other young people across the globe, demanding that our leaders enact the strongest possible climate solutions as soon as possible.
It is obvious that President Trump does not care what we think, nor has he been listening to us. But our representatives should — I hope that Sens. Cory Gardner and Michael Bennet and our state representatives will speak out against the withdrawal and take action in their power to prevent it.
Where are the water projects?
Now that Referendum DD has seemingly passed, should not its sponsors (those partners in this latest crime, i.e. the casino operators and legislators) finally tell us what or where the ephemeral water project(s) might be, or do they even know?
Will they benefit those east or west of the Continental Divide? Or might they eventually benefit those legislative districts held by the Legislature’s majority party du jour?
Or might the moneys so derived, simply vanish into the great maw of our Legislature’s General Fund?
Russell W Haas