Letter to the Editor

Amazing response

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Dear Editor,

I find it interesting the times we live in today with respect to how U.S. Federal Government is conducting business.

I have known Mr. Trail for the better part of my life and for a simple man such as him to attract so much attention from retiring Sen. Nelson and his staff is simply amazing to watch. As a conservative, I really thought that Mr. Trail's opinion piece was quite kind to the retiring senator.

With respect to retiring Sen. Nelson's response to Mr. Trail, he conveniently left out some facts regarding his controversial vote on health care. Currently 27 states are suing the U.S. Federal government over the individual mandate of the Affordable Health Care for America Act, forcing individual citizens to buy a product. The bill was pushed through the U.S. Senate with such tactics as buying individual votes, as was the case with Sen. Nelson and Sen. Mary Landrieu from Louisiana, reconciliation procedures, and no actual debate on a bill that no one could have possibly read. However, once the bribes were exposed all Democrat senators demanded a kickback for their vote.

At this time, the federal government has granted approximately 1,500 waivers for companies and groups to be exempted from the implementation of the Affordable Health Care for America Act, with more than 90 percent of the exemptions given to Democrat friendly unions. Isn't that convenient? If the law is so great, why are so many groups and companies being exempted from it?

By the way, the name of this bill was laughable. That is how liberals get things done, by creating names and titles that are just the opposite of what will happen when the idea is fully implemented. It plays very well with an un-informed and ignorant population, not with those who seek the truth and educate themselves.

How many people have seen their healthcare costs go down since passage of this legislation? If the health care market thought it was an appropriate measure, it would respond accordingly. There is the problem, the people who wrote the Affordable Health Care for America Act do not believe in free market principles. To the contrary, they believe in a command and control, very large central government that dictates to individuals what to buy and how they conduct their lives, all in the name of fairness.

I will remember Sen. Nelson, as a representative from Nebraska who was allowed by his party to act and vote conservative until the time his vote was really needed. His vote on Christmas Eve 2009 for cloture really exposed to a majority of Nebraskan's that he wasn't who they thought he was. Does anyone know when the last time the U.S. Senate voted on Christmas Eve? It was in 1895 and the legislation dealt with federal benefits for U.S. Servicemen.

Has anyone ever asked the senator why he felt this vote for the Affordable Health Care for America Act had to be done on Christmas Eve in 2009? Maybe Sen. Nelson should have asked for the holiday break to read the bill and go back to Nebraska to talk to his constituents. Could it have been that the Democrat Party knew full well that a majority of Americans were preparing to celebrate Christmas with family and friends, therefore not really paying to close attention to the business in the U.S. Senate? Maybe the Democrat leadership didn't want Senator Nelson to discuss this with his constituents. Could have, should have, would have.

Sure, Sen. Nelson pushed through a lot of earmarks that McCook and Southwest Nebraska need to be very grateful for. As Sen. Nelson cited in his opinion piece, attempting to set the record straight with Mr. Trail, an earmark helped the Keystone Project and many others.

In my opinion, part of what Sen. Nelson has done in his two terms in Washington assisted in accelerating the dependency of individuals and groups on the federal government for their very existence. States, municipalities and individuals are all lining up for the "free" money provided through the federal earmark process. One question that never is answered, what does all of this "free" money cost the people that actually foot the federal tax bill in this county?

In the end, it really would have been nice to see Sen. Nelson run on his record in November. If Sen. Nelson and his staff truly believed in all the internal polls, then he could have tested it against the ultimate poll, an election by the people. Obviously, a lot of Nebraskans are not real happy with his health care vote and unfortunately for the retiring senator, this will be one of the votes that will trump some of his more conservative positions of the past. Sometimes life isn't fair, even if a political party spends all of its time trying to make it so.

Conservatism is on the ascendancy in this county simply because this socialistic experiment in the United States isn't working, especially with the current president pushing it into overdrive. I think that Sen. Nelson can see that the liberal policies, put into place during his tenure, are not working and that is why you are seeing so many Democratic Party representatives "retire." The very weight of their votes against the will of their constituents becomes too much to bear. I would get tired, too. We will see what the future holds for Nebraska and this nation in the post Senator E. Benjamin Nelson era.

Todd Cappel,


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  • We are not looking for kindness from Mr. Trail or from you - we are looking for comments based on facts.

    Speaking of facts, would you be so "kind" as to provide your source of facts.

    -- Posted by Geezer on Tue, Jan 10, 2012, at 3:04 PM
  • I wish to correct one of the facts presented here: The federal funding that was received for the construction of the Keystone Business Center was not the result of an earmark. It was awarded by the Economic Development Administration, a branch of the Department of Commerce through a very competitive scoring process backed up by extensive documentation of economic stresses in Southwest Nebraska at that time as well as estimates of potential job creation, economic impact and intangible benefits from downtown improvement and historic preservation. While Senator Nelson and his staff offered their support, it was not a politically driven process. - Rex Nelson

    -- Posted by Developer Guy on Wed, Jan 11, 2012, at 9:26 AM
  • Todd notes that his comment on earmarks was specifically referencing Senator Nelson's letter, which I had not read prior to making this post. My apologies to Mr. Cappel;the error is in fact in Nelson's information. -Rex Nelson

    -- Posted by Developer Guy on Wed, Jan 11, 2012, at 11:39 AM
  • That's what happens when you copy and paste responses onto more the one article. It can make you look stupid and like an advertiser. I would keep that in mind in the future. Keep each response unique.

    As far as the article I believe they voted on it Christmas eve to get it done before the recess not to deceive Americans. If I remember right when they came back from recess that year the new seats in each house where replaced and the dems lost their lock on the house.

    -- Posted by carlsonl on Wed, Jan 11, 2012, at 12:38 PM
  • Developer Guy

    Can you provide a little more information about the role the USDA played in supporting the Keystone Business Center development. Your comments included in a USDA Rural Development Success Story released Jan. 14, 2011 are as follows:

    "We are immensely grateful for the USDA support in this project. We just would not have been able to achieve the full potential of our project without their help in outfitting the facility with the right computer technology, audio visual equipment and furniture."-Executive Director Rex Nelson, MEDC


    How did those USDA funds to support the Keystone Project become available? Was it also through an application process?

    A little history of this process would greatly be appreciated.

    Best Regards

    -- Posted by Geezer on Wed, Jan 11, 2012, at 12:57 PM
  • Senator Nelson's earmarks did contribute to the Keystone. 21st Century Systems had to pay a portion of the costs. Where did they get their capital? From previous gains from projects funded by earmarks. Earmarks were 21st Century System's bread and butter. There is no denying it. Without earmarks, 21st Century Systems wouldn't have made huge profits. Without those profits, the Keystone wouldn't have been a reality. That's why 21st Century Systems and the Keystone were in such a pickle when the effects of the loss of earmarks started to be recognized. 21st Century Systems couldn't make it without the earmarks. The EDC/Keystone were also about to be in a bind because 21st Century Systems was leaving town if I recall.

    Also, didn't Senator Ben Nelson's son work for 21st? After earmarks came to end, wasn't he terminated?

    Also, isn't it true Rex Nelson's son worked for 21st? hmmmm.....

    -- Posted by blueCollarWorker on Thu, Jan 12, 2012, at 1:10 PM
  • Rex,

    That is good to know. Where does the Dept of Commerce get their funding? It is with federal tax dollars correct? While the Keystone project may not have funded with an "earmark" , the cornerstone company for the basis of remodeling the building, 21CSI, was entirely funded with Nelson earmarks. I did specifically ask you this in early 2009 prior to the Keystone Project:


    Now that the current administration is cutting defense spending first in this country to try and convince the masses that they intend to reduce the size of government, it might not have been such a wise move to count on 21 CSI for the Keystone. If you understood what liberals think about the military you might not have built a building for a military software company funded by federal earmarks. You and I will always disagree on the role of federal tax dollars being spent to stimulate an economy. It darn sure hasn't worked on the federal level and it doesn't appear to be working here in McCook. I officially haven't heard yet, is 21CSI still operating in McCook?

    -- Posted by Todd Cappel on Thu, Jan 12, 2012, at 8:55 PM
  • While most of the conservatives like to blame earmarks almost entirely on democrats, it should be noted that the so called "earmark Lord" of the House, has decided to retire. GOP Congressman, Rep. Jerry Lewis, of California has consulted with his wife and family and has decided to retire. Could it be that he also decided to retire because the polls show he was going to have a very difficult time winning? But I guess this one is different.

    It might also be noted that Rep. Lewis steered 100's of millions of dollars to his district over his 33 years in congress. In fiscal year 2010 he secured over 100 million dollars for his district, and consistenly ranked as one the leading earmark earners. So it has not been just those crazy liberals that like earmarks.

    It might also be noted that according to the latest count that I could find, retirements from both houses is close to being a draw between the parties.

    House retirements: 17 democrats, 11 republicans.

    Senate: 4 democrats, 3 republicans, 1 independent.

    Mr. Cappel you state that Conservatism is on the ascendancy in this country. Perhaps so, or maybe not. Guess we will see in November. I think it depends on which brand of conservatism you are talking about, some of the crazy right wing teabagger conservatism isn't doing too well.It might be noted that at the present time Wisconsin teabagger conservatism isn't doing too good. Gov. Walker and 13 GOP State Senators are facing recalls, and Governor Brewer of Arizona is facing a recall.

    What I would really like to see, is all incumbants in the House and Senate be replaced,and with term limits on all new members. Time for our representative to work for the people not themselves and their party. Time for more compromise and get this country back on it's feet. Not all this constant bickering and hate going on towards the "other" party.

    -- Posted by goarmy67 on Thu, Jan 12, 2012, at 11:53 PM
  • Good point Wondering70 on Republicans supporting earmarks. I think that instead of taking the money through taxes and redistributing is back to the constituents via the earmark process, the federal government should just take less. When you listen to those that support the process that is currently in place with respect to the federal tax dollar spending game, they alway say that if a community doesn't take the federal dollars then they will go to some other community. My position is don't let the government have that kind of power with your money. If you believe that the money earned by the fruits of your labor is yours, then it is a simple message. If you believe that all belongs to the government and you get an allowance to survive, then nothing can be said to change your mind. To be clear my comments were regarding Sen. Nelson, a Democrat, to his response to Mr. Trail. If their are Republicans that lend their support toward a Marxist/Socialist agenda, they should evaluate their careers as well, because that is not why this country was founded.

    It is difficult to take anyones comments seriously when they hide their name. Either have the courage to post your name to your comments or hide in the shadows you cowards. Nice shot at the Tea Party by the way Wondering70. They have a simple message, in that the people that foot the tax bill in this country are Taxed Enough Already. I will take the TEA party any day over the Occupy movement that represents the Democratic Party base.

    Seriously, get after it if you support a political ideology other than the basis of what the USA was founded on and start posting Op Ed pieces with your name attached to them. I am a conservative and there is no doubt because I am not afraid to put my name to it.

    Todd Cappel

    -- Posted by Todd Cappel on Fri, Jan 13, 2012, at 5:34 AM
  • Choosing not to attach my name to my opinionated blog posts on an internet website has nothing to do with cowardice, Todd. It has everything to do with keeping my place of business out of the equation. When I see you again, I'll tell you who I am, but I cannot have my personal opinions attached to my career.

    On that note, if the gestalt of what you are saying is what I think you are saying, I agree: he who has the money has the power. The tax code MUST be changed and the power MUST be taken away from congress.

    -- Posted by speak-e-z on Fri, Jan 13, 2012, at 7:57 AM
  • Mr. Cappel;

    There is legislation that has been introduced to permanently ban earmarks.


    The legislative process will determine if it ever makes it out of Committee to the floor of Congress for debate and consideration. Most legislation never makes it out of Committee. Following is a link that provides a breakdown of all earmarks for Fiscal Years 2008-2010. If your computer has Excel compatibility you can download the data by year and sort that data by Congressman, legislation granting the earmark, geographical location (State, City, etc.), Party Affiliation, Senate, House, etc., etc.


    Earmarks have been replaced with legislative riders, which perform the same function as an earmark except they are generally used to prevent application of approved funds for specific purposes. So even if legislation appropriates funds, riders can prevent it from being used for its intended purpose. A good example of this is the riders attached to HR1 passed Feb. 19, 2011 which contained over 80 such riders.


    Insinuations of being a coward due to a persons right to remain anonymous does not disprove their argument. Isn't that what the Supreme Court decided in the Citizens United case which gave birth to the Superpac? Just think of all those cowards hiding behind that wall -- and yes, it does include Conservatives. I prefer to let my opinions be based on their merits, that is my choice.

    -- Posted by Geezer on Fri, Jan 13, 2012, at 8:52 AM
  • I too Mr. Cappel, chose to not sign my name.

    Due to business and personal reasons, that is my choice and has nothing to do with being a coward. You seem to use that word very loosely. A couple of hundred years ago, someone might just be really offended by your name calling. Some veterans might take offense with that word being thrown around like a football.Guess you are unable to see someone else's side, I feel that this kind of onesided vision is part of the trouble facing this country. It seems there is way too much of this, my way or the highway attitude. Geezer has a very good point about the Citizens United and hiding who they are.

    Seems like you are fortunate enough that your comments will not hurt your family business, some people are not. No need to call people names when they have a different situation or belief than you. I am neither a conservative nor a liberal,I consider myself an independent/moderate. I just feel that our elected people need to be more willing to be more bi-partisan and able to compromise once in awhile for the good of the country. I have never seen such hate being displayed towards other people just because they do not follow the political beliefs of others. A sorry state of affairs for this country.

    I also feel that Senator Nelson has the right to defend his honor against attacks that are often not true.

    -- Posted by goarmy67 on Fri, Jan 13, 2012, at 2:31 PM
  • "At this time, the federal government has granted approximately 1,500 waivers for companies and groups to be exempted from the implementation of the Affordable Health Care for America Act, with more than 90 percent of the exemptions given to Democrat friendly unions. Isn't that convenient? If the law is so great, why are so many groups and companies being exempted from it?"

    Speaking of leaving out facts:




    Brian Berry

    -- Posted by bberry on Fri, Jan 13, 2012, at 3:04 PM
  • I apologize for the broad use of the term coward as it should have only been directed toward wondering70. There term that wondering70 used was intended to slander an entire group of Americans that do not agree with what the some in the government are doing to the country.


    What was the term "teabagger" used for in your post then if not name calling? The term "teabagger" seems to be a common part of your everyday vocabulary. Do you even know what the term means? I'll use the term coward all day long for you as long as you want to disparage an entire group of Americans with a term such as 'teabagger". There are a lot worse names to respond to you with that fit beyond being a coward and after your last post the term hypocrite comes to mind. Did you not chose to call the conservative movements in Arizona and Wisconsin a very disparaging name?

    If you are referencing the hate directed toward Christian's and conservatives in the USA then I agree that it has gotten way out of hand. Do people have the right to defend themselves against the attacks from their government that destroy their liberty and freedoms? Sen. Nelson has every right to his own set of facts and defend them but not the truth. If he doesn't like people questioning his motives when it flies in the face of their beliefs, then he shouldn't be in public office.

    -- Posted by Todd Cappel on Fri, Jan 13, 2012, at 3:17 PM
  • bberry

    The waivers are temporary and are designed to be a bridge to the 2014 implementation deadline.

    In order to protect coverage for workers in mini-med plans until more affordable and more valuable coverage is available in 2014, the law and regulations issued on annual limits allow the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to grant temporary waivers from this one provision of the law that phases out annual limits if compliance would result in a significant decrease in access to benefits or a significant increase in premiums. Plans that receive waivers must comply with all other provisions of the law and must alert consumers that the plan has restrictive coverage and includes low annual limits. Additionally, these waivers are temporary and after 2014, no waivers of the annual limit provision are allowed.

    On June 17, 2011, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) introduced a process for plans that have already received waivers and want to renew those waivers for plan or policy years beginning before January 1, 2014. The new guidance extends the duration of waivers that have been granted through 2013, if applicants submit annual information about their plan and comply with requirements to ensure that their enrollees understand the limits of their coverage. Existing waiver recipients must apply to extend their current waiver and all applications must be submitted by September 22, 2011; after that date applications for an extension will no longer be considered. Any plans that have not yet applied for a waiver also must apply by September 22, 2011.

    Steven B. Larsen, director of the federal Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight, which carries out many of the health law's provisions, said the waivers provided a "bridge to 2014," when more affordable insurance options should be available. He denied that unions had received "special treatment." Indeed, he said, the center has granted waivers to 94 percent of all applicants. Many of the Unions are bound by contracts that last for several years and prevent either the employee or employer from changing negotiated insurance limit coverage.

    Following is a link that explains the Annual Limits Policy and also provides direct links to all approved waiver applicants organized by type.


    -- Posted by Geezer on Fri, Jan 13, 2012, at 10:21 PM
  • Ok Mr. Cappel, like my Mom used to say sticks and stones!

    You can call me a coward,or hypocrite all you want, I really could care less.

    Ok I will now try to use the term teaparty (after I goggled teabagger) if that is what has gotten you in an uproar. A little thin skinned? I know a few gay people I do not want to offend them.

    When I said I did not like the hate now being displayed in our country, that goes both ways, Mr. Cappel, I do not condone the hate displayed in our country, in your case you think towards conservatives and Christians, but I also see a lot of hate towards what your other side labels as liberals and almost anyone that does not agree with the teaparty. Hate is an evil thing that has gotten mankind into a lot of needless wars and conflicts. This country is a nation that most of us feel was founded on Christian values, but the hate being shown anymore is not very Christian.

    What has happened to normal discourse and discussion on politics and the problems facing this country?

    I have a hard time understanding your statement about Senator Nelson having the "right to his own set of facts and defend them, but not the truth"??

    I guess all the times he voted with the republicans he was "truthful", but the few times he did not, those were not the truth? Perhaps your vision of the "truth", but not everyone has the same vision as you. But there is little use in trying to see both sides of something out in the good old 3rd district, out here there is only one truth, right Mr. Chappel?

    Geezer thank you for your posts in trying to show the other side of an issue, but sorry to say very few out here will even try to understand someone else's point of view.

    -- Posted by goarmy67 on Fri, Jan 13, 2012, at 11:47 PM
  • Geezer,

    I know, that is all in the links I provided. The beginning of my response was a quote from Mr. Cappel.

    -- Posted by bberry on Sat, Jan 14, 2012, at 6:55 AM
  • Reformed,

    I also did not understand "right to his own set of facts and defend them, but not the truth".

    -- Posted by bberry on Sat, Jan 14, 2012, at 7:39 AM
  • Reformed, This is useless because you use terms without even knowing the meaning.

    As far as protecting a business. If someone choses not to do business or associate with me because of my beliefs then I am ok with that. I understand the point of view of protecting a business or a job by hiding opinions and view points but (This is only an OPINION) that must be a difficult thing to manage in ones life, having values that are contradictory to what one portrays in public life. I simply chose not to live that way and I am sorry if I came off in a way that gave the impression that I feel everyone should live like that.

    If you don't like the way the good old 3rd district is they by all means try to change it, just don't expect a majority of the third district to agree with you.

    The debate and presenting different view points is good. I don't agree with the numbers the white house is putting out but they are free to publish whatever they like just so long as they don't suppress someone else opinion. With elections, if they published bad information then they are out of a job.

    I did say it was unfortunate the Sen. Nelson's vote on the healthcare legislation would probably trump his more conservative position in the past. I do not feel that Sen. Nelson is a far left liberal but part of what he did with certain votes as a member of the Democratic Party, advanced some very radical and far left ideas based on my set of principles and values. He made that choice and was free to do so. I don't agree with those positions and I am simply stating my OPINION on the matters. I know full well that some don't agree with my opinions.

    -- Posted by Todd Cappel on Sat, Jan 14, 2012, at 8:20 AM
  • bberry

    I did read your links and understood them. I provided the links because they take you to the website containing the waivers - you usually like to verify my sources. Sorry for any confusion.

    -- Posted by Geezer on Sat, Jan 14, 2012, at 8:21 AM
  • Geezer,

    It was my misunderstanding then. Thanks for the info.

    -- Posted by bberry on Sat, Jan 14, 2012, at 10:05 AM
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