I am responding to the June 5 article, “Defiant Obama names choices to judge.” It glaringly left out very pertinent facts, one might say even damning ones, such as the sitting Democratic president and vice president, who as U.S. senators, used their seats for political obstruction, holding up nominees when it was convenient for them to do so.
Obama personally led a filibuster against Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito in 2006, although he failed in his effort. Biden, along with John Kerry, successfully defeated distinguished appellate lawyer Miguel Estrada, and the Democrats denied a vote for 918 days to Peter Keisler.
Both men had majority support in the Senate, but were not confirmed, as they did not get the Democrats’ mandated 60 votes.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid now threatens to modify Senate rules to require only a simple majority, to ramrod through three liberal appointees from this nontransparent administration.
I can only hope the press will expose the political games being played by Reid, who in January reiterated a promise to “oppose any effort in this Congress or the next to change the Senate’s rules other than through the regular order.”
Why the rush? The D.C. Circuit Court is now split 4 to 4, Republicans and Democrats. Those are not good enough odds to have all rulings in the Democrats’ favor, it seems.
If we want nonpolitical action on appointments that are indeed urgent, let it be the six inspectors general mandated by the Inspector Generals Act of 1978, whose job it is to find and report fraud and other abuses and mismanagement at the departments of Labor, State and Justice.
The positions have been vacant under Obama for between 18 months and five years
Could the whistle-blowers who were supposedly demoted due to Benghazi have been protected if there was a nonpolitical inspector general to protect them, and are there other whistle-blowers out there afraid to stand up?
If there are no inspectors general to inform the president, it is easier to say he does not know anything about whatever might be a negative reflection on the executive branch. Now, even reporters are in trouble if they tell him.
Put all children on transplant list
A federal rule prevents children under 12 from getting adult transplants, regardless of need.
Last week, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius refused to include 10-year-old Sarah Murnaghan on the list. A judge has ruled to temporarily stop enforcing the rule for Sarah for 10 days.
This doesn’t guarantee her getting a transplant, it only gives her a slim chance. Once she is sicker than all others and makes it to first in line, she still has to wait for a compatible lung.
The policy needs to be changed. Why should children be excluded from the transplant list in the first place? Right now, children have to wait until all other adults and teens in the region refuse a viable transplant, even if the child is sicker.
They should be included on the list based on need like everyone else. I saw a report that children have a lower success rate.
Maybe if the policy did not make the kids wait until they were literally at death’s door, their young bodies could survive better. The waiting list should simply be based on need.
Doctors don’t even rate the need of children because they aren’t eligible for the transplant list. This is wrong.
The children aren’t asking to be at the front of the line — only to be in the line. Doctors have said that the rule is out of date because children can have successful transplants, given the right blood type and size.
We need to demand that the rule be changed to reflect advances in medicine. Other children also want to be on the lung transplant list.
Unnecessary show of force
As a resident of Portage County who attended the May 30 Ohio Department of Natural Resources meeting at Wingfoot Lake State Park, I feel compelled to add a few personal comments to the fine article by Bob Downing on May 31 (“Armed staff at park event annoys crowd”).
The ominous presence of one guard for every four people, in addition to a canine unit, was, to say the least, a bit intimidating. They followed us everywhere, surrounding our small group at each of 10 stations.
Television cameras were prohibited at the meeting; audio tapes were allowed only at the discretion of the ODNR person being questioned.
Those at the stations I attended refused to be recorded. As Downing pointed out, most of our concerns related to the seven proposed injection wells in Nelson and Windham townships and to horizontal drilling (or hydraulic fracturing).
The presentation, however, dealt with a general overview of drilling, with emphasis on advances in injection-well technology. Questions posed after the presentation went unanswered. Instead, we were told, they would be addressed on the ODNR website at a future (unspecified) date.
While I do understand the concerns about unruly demonstrations, it did seem a bit of an overkill to designate a field some distance from the meeting site as a “demonstration area.”
There were no “demonstrators,” save a lone woman who had hoped to get a few people to sign her petition.
This, of course, proved impossible because there were no other people in the demonstration area. It was not our intention to generate a demonstration. We attended with what turned out to be the false hope of gaining information about issues of serious concern to each of us.
My own contact with ODNR began at a legislative hearing at the Ohio Statehouse in April 2012.
The hearing was called to discuss a bill allowing gas drilling in our state parks. Thirty-eight people testified. The only one to speak in its favor was the (then) director of the ODNR. The bill passed.
I was pleased to note that the drillers have not yet invaded Wingfoot Lake State Park. The noise they raise would have made it even more difficult to hear the speakers.
Issa’s witch hunt
Will someone please explain how long U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa is to be indulged in his investigation of the Internal Revenue Service matter before he has to produce actual evidence that the issue arose from malevolent intent rather than clumsiness?
Obama’s legacy still in doubt
In a May 28 letter, “Vision and achievements,” the writer concluded that Barack Obama will go down in history as one of our greatest presidents since Abraham Lincoln. In many Americans’ opinions, mine included, Obama has not earned that right.
Lincoln took a severely divided country and brought it back together after a civil war. Obama took a country where people who have many different cultures, religions and opinions thrive and live together peacefully and turned people and groups against each other.
Any opinion that differed from the Obama administration was demonized and put down. The Internal Revenue Service went after the tea party, which in the beginning was just a bunch of conservative Americans looking for less government control, less taxes and more budget control.
The IRS went after any conservative group or individual who didn’t agree with his party line. Of course, Obama knew nothing about this. It was the idea of some lower-level bureaucrats in Cincinnati. Right.
Another group Obama’s administration went after was the media. It wasn’t just Fox News, but also the Associated Press and any other news organization or reporter that printed something that the administration thought was subversive.
Attorney General Eric Holder recused himself, but he signed the order to wiretap and collect private phone and email records from reporters.
This hurt the First Amendment and freedom of information rights the American people hold so dear.
The Benghazi scandal came about because of the actions of Obama’s State Department and White House to whitewash an Islamic terrorist attack known to have ties to al-Qaida (within hours) and lie to the American public. The cover-up appears similar to Nixon’s Watergate but is much worse because it led to the deaths of four Americans.
If you can swallow the idea that Obama knew nothing about these three scandals, then you have to wonder: Who’s running the show?
The writer said that if Obama can sidestep these scandals, he would be compared to a great president like Lincoln.
Sidestepping is not the way to run a country. Getting us out of Iraq, ending the Afghanistan war, staying out of Syria, those are all good things that Obama’s administration has done.
But you can’t sweep the scandals under the rug, and say, as Hillary Clinton did about Benghazi, “What difference does it make?”
Many Americans want a president to lead with integrity. It makes a big difference.
Connie M. Kubilus