Letter to the Editor: Responding to Elsa Van Leuven

Dear Editor: 

I would like to respond to Elsa Van Leuven’s letter in the January 21 issue, titled “Fake Tears”.

The primary focus of her letter is to question President Obama’s sincerity when he was moved to tears when discussing children murdered by guns at Sandy Hook because he didn’t publiclyly cry about other deaths in the world. She then goes on to make certain claims as “fact” and some of these I would like to address:

1.) She references thousands and thousands and babies murdered by Planned Parenthood and claims that almost half a billion dollars of our tax money are given to Planned Parenthood to perform abortions. This is not true. Not one cent in federal money can legally be used for abortions. The money congress allocates to Planned Parenthood can only be used for cancer screenings and other health services, but not abortions.

2.) She claims that Obama, Hillary Clinton, and Susan Rice lied about the deaths of four people in Benghazi. And yet, after EIGHT congressional investigations into the Benghazi incident, there has been NO evidence of lying, wrong-doing, or security breakdowns.

3.) She compares Obama’s executive order regarding guns to the way that Adolph Hitler took over Germany. She seems to be unaware of the fact that the executive order is a common tool that has been used by presidents since the founding of our country. Obama has averaged 33 executive orders per year since taking office. For George W. Bush this figure was 36, for Clinton 46, George Bush 42, and Ronald Reagan 48. Furthermore, Obama’s directive on guns was NOT to take them away, as Ms. Van Leuven would have us believe, but to make it more difficult for criminals and the mentally unstable to get them.

4.) She then claims that Obama has been “tearing down our military.” In her letter from last month, she claimed that Obama had cut military spending to pre-1942 levels. This claim is also false. Pre-1942, the military budget was about 3% of the GDP. It is now about 6%. And the US spends about 40% of the world's military budget. This would hardly qualify as “tearing down our military.”

She writes several more paragraphs complaining about virtually everything that Obama has done during his presidency, none of which is worth mentioning here because the complaints consist of a long string of insults and characterizations about the president that have no basis in fact.

Ms. Van Leuven clearly hates this president, but when she goes on the rant, it would be better if she would present actual facts rather than innuendo or outright falsities.

Arnold Richards


Dear Editor:

I wanted to clear up some misinformation Elsa Van Leuven wrote in her letter. 

To begin with, I noticed a few times in her past letters she mentioned that Planned Parenthood kills thousands of babies through abortions using the almost half-billion dollars that Planned Parenthood receives in federal funds. Did she not read my letter titled “Standing With Planned Parenthood” from 9/30/2015? I gave statistics on what services Planned Parenthood provides, and abortions only account for 3% of total services. Also, federal funds cannot be used to perform abortions, except in the case of rape, incest or to protect the life of the mother. 
One last thing concerning this topic, Planned Parenthood has been federally funded since 1970, long before the Obama administration.

The next item is regarding her comment about President Obama’s gun control. When did Obama ever say “he wants to do away with guns” as she put it? Obama never said he wanted to ban guns, he wants more gun control: keep guns out of the wrong hands through background checks, make our communities safer from gun violence, increase mental health treatment and reporting to the background check system, and shape the future of gun safety technology. 

Those four items actually sound possible to accomplish and could possibly work, but we will never know unless we try (gun violence will always exist, and we should at least try to decrease it to lower levels). If you have a clean record and no mental health issues, then you have nothing to worry about; you can still legally buy guns. And comparing Obama to HItler regarding gun control, Hitler actually loosened gun laws through the 1938 German Weapons Act (although the Jews were banned from owning guns).

Concerning her statistic that Obama has brought thousands of young Syrian men is also wrong. 67 percent have been children under the age of 12 and women, according to State Department data, and to date, just under 2,200 refugees have been admitted to the US with a total of 10,000 that Obama wants to bring in this year. Germany has accepted 38,500 refugees and Canada has accepted 36,300 refugees, so maybe when she says “many, many thousands,” perhaps she was referring to those countries. As for the vetting process, there is no perfect method, regardless if we vet refugees or non-refugees.

Those were the main items I wanted to go into detail, some other items in her letter regarding the weakening of the military, it was a Republican controlled Congress that passed the budget that included budget cuts to the military; the US has given Israel about $121 billion in aid since the founding of Israel (and we do have allied Middle Eastern countries, i.e. Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, just to name a few); when compared to past Presidents and their total count of executive orders, Obama has less when compared to presidents like Reagan, Clinton and W. Bush. 

There are many other items I want to discuss, but I’ll stop here and give someone else the opportunity to correct her misinformation.

Guillermo Vazquez