Associated Press

The Deseret News received more than 1,000 letters to the editor in 2013, covering a variety of topics.

Here is a look at the 20 most popular letters from the past year. These letters received more page views than the rest of the batch. The list starts at the 20th most popular letter and concludes with the No. 1 most popular letter of 2013.

Each letter is hyperlinked to its original post for easier access to the comment sections that accompany each letter.

20 Blaming Republicans
Associated Press

Stop blaming the Republicans for the government shutdown. It is President Obama, Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., and the Democrat-controlled Senate who refuse to negotiate.

The Republicans have made many compromises. It is time for the Democrats to compromise and for President Obama to act like a president and not a dictator.

Lynn Price

Salt Lake City

See original letter

19 Dishonest president
Associated Press

In response to Richard Burt's comments ("Honest president," Nov. 15), he is correct about one thing: now is a bad time for President Obama. He is getting tremendous heat from within his own party — Democrats who are up for re-election next year are starting to distance themselves from him and his plans.

Did he intentionally lie? That's quite hard to prove, and he knows that. But remember, the best con men are the ones who draw you into their confidence. The more they smile and joke around with you, the better they draw you in. Even after you realize you've been "taken," you still find it hard to accept that they did something like that to you.

Please remember that politics are a very powerful and addictive drug. Also consider this: If Obamacare is now the law of the land, does one individual have the power to change that law? According to history, the only ones able to do things like that were dictators and kings.

Wayne Maden


See original letter

18 Our Congress needs to learn how to compromise
Associated Press

In the musical "1776," John Adams is lamenting the inability of a fractured Continental Congress to arrive at any consensus on the divisive subject of independence. He states that, "One useless man is a drone, two are a law firm and three or more are a Congress."

Considering the current situation in Washington it is apparent that not much has changed in the last 237 years. In 1776, neither side wanted to compromise. Sound familiar? But in the end gut-wrenching choices and compromises were made, some that did cause serious problems down the road. However, without the compromises the Declaration of Independence and the United States of America may not have ever come to be.

I wish that our current representatives could do the same and realize that no agreement involving widely different and passionate ideologies is perfect. But then "1776" was a musical and not reality — though I am becoming a firm believer that our elected representatives may be living in their own fantasy world. (The official House recess calendar shows 182 recess days plus 104 days for weekends) How can they expect to carry out the business of the nation in just 79 days? Instead of sound bites and highly promoted town meetings, how about sequestering them in Washington for enough days to actually accomplish something.

Michael Nielsen

West Valley City

See original letter

17 Global warming reality
Associated Press

I share Tom Harris' sadness over the death of coal miner Elam Jones, but I am dismayed that he used Jones' death to advance his propaganda about the cause of climate change ("Coal is crucial," March 28). He asserted that carbon dioxide emissions from coal are not a major contributor to dangerous climate change. This statement could not be further from the truth.

Former college president and National Science Board member James Powell recently completed a study of peer-reviewed publications on global warming. He studied articles published from January 1991 to November 2012 and found that of 13,950 articles, only 24 rejected human-caused global warming. The major human contribution to global warming has been burning fossil fuels, especially coal.

Fortunately the majority of the American public is no longer buying the propaganda from the International Climate Coalition and similar groups. The latest poll from the Yale Project on Climate Change Communications revealed that 45 percent of Americans are concerned or alarmed about human-caused climate change, and another 25 percent recognized that climate change is occurring.

Before readers accept an assertion about climate change, they would do well to consider the source.

David Folland, M.D.


See original letter

16 No welfare, ever

Why can't people learn from history and realize it is not the role of government to "provide" for the poor? When the government confiscates from taxpayers, which is mandatory, to give to the less fortunate, everyone loses. There is no volunteer charitable element in this. It's a "Robin Hood" approach ... rob the haves to give to the have-nots.

We know anything done through the government has a huge amount of waste. The people receiving the assistance begin to look at it as an entitlement and don't really appreciate it. It makes them dependent and resentful. Welfare assistance should only be done through the private sector with "voluntary" donations from those who want to help. We did this for almost 200 years in our country and it worked fine. And it creates a win/win situation because those who give feel the reward of generosity and the receivers feel more appreciation because they know it's a voluntary sacrifice to help them.

There is no good that comes from government welfare programs. We can look around and see what an abysmal failure the notion has been in recent decades. It's time to turn things back to the private sector where this giving properly belongs.

Jim Green

Heber City

See original letter

15 Tea party, Mike Lee poisoning all institutions
Associated Press

Objections to President Barack Obama are often less reasons worthy of serious consideration than self-serving manipulative tactics to delegitimize his presidency. Mostly we believe what we want to believe and find what we look for. Beliefs determine what we can see. Nowhere is this more evident than with the tea party coalition, whose uninformed and irrational radicalism poisons all institutions, political and religious, that embrace its narrow-minded ways.

Sadly, it has discredited the Republican Party to the point that it no longer functions as a meaningful counterweight to the Democrats. It has falsely demonized an obviously capable and well-intended president and has paralyzed our government. Our democracy is in crisis as minority right-wing threats and intimidation seek to override elective government and constitutional ways. Their revolutionary creed echoed in the actions of our tea-party-minded Sen. Mike Lee seems to be that to save this nation we must first destroy it.

Andrew McDonald


See original letter

14 The ‘cliff’: A shady story, and violation of Obama’s campaign promise
Associated Press

"I can make a firm pledge. Under my plan, no family making less than $250,000 a year will see any form of tax increase," President Barack Obama promised during his campaign. "Not your income tax, not your payroll tax, not your capital gains taxes, not any of your taxes."

He soon violated that promise when he signed the "fiscal cliff" deal (H.R. 8) into law. This so-called "deal" raises taxes by $620 billion over 10 years and only cuts $15 billion in spending.

What the president didn't mention in his press conference about this "deal" is that a payroll tax cut will lapse, resulting in a tax increase for 77 percent of American households. Everyone from Utah rightly voted against this so called "deal" except for our senior senator, Orrin Hatch.

Blake Cozzens

Cedar City

See original letter

13 It’s clear: limit vehicles

In light of recent accidents, we must impose the following restrictions on all vehicles: 1) Limit horsepower to 250 hp; 2) No more than four cylinders; 3) No more automatic transmissions.

Obviously, the only reason anyone would need a vehicle with any of these features is to injure or kill pedestrians quickly. Vehicle manufacturers should be held accountable when one of their vehicles is used for these purposes. After all, it's not the driver who is at fault; it's the vehicle.

We also need to take away all vehicles from private citizens, and only allow law enforcement, the military and certain government officials to own and operate vehicles. That way, governments can completely control movements and guarantee no more mass injuries from vehicles.

Curt Wilbur


See original letter

12 Horses do not belong in an urban setting
Deseret News

This last week, Jerry the carriage horse was struck down in the middle of the day downtown — with what was perceived to be colic. It was pushing 100 degrees outside, so the real reason for his collapse is disputable. Nonetheless, I am of strong belief that horses do not belong in the downtown area.

When horses and huge carriages are mixed with cars, taxis, buses, pedestrians, bikes and emergency vehicles — fire trucks, ambulances and police cars — they are a recipe for disaster. Not to mention this animal is forced to breathe in car fumes all day in the hot sun. And for what? Carriage horse rides downtown are from another century. The horses are exploited for profit and forced to live and work a very grueling existence in modern-day Salt Lake — all for profit and for a relatively few number of tourists who are attracted to them.

I am a former carriage driver. I witnessed many abuses and injuries over the years, for none ever saw a pasture. Their veterinary care was minimal. It was so dangerous — I cannot tell you how many near misses I had with cars.

Although I worked in Chicago, this can happen in Salt Lake City, too. Even if they are a responsible company, these horses just do not belong in an urban setting. There have been too many accidents across the country where both horses and people have been seriously injured and some in which horses have died. Let's not have this happen to Jerry.

Marie Walsh-West


See original letter

11 Honest president
Associated Press

I realize that these are very bad times for President Barack Obama. The prognosis for the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) is not good. I share the view that the health care website is a disaster. I also acknowledge that he gave numerous assurances that those who had a health care plan would not lose it.

Only time will reveal the ultimate fate of ACA. However, I do not believe that President Obama intentionally lied. I believe that he is a man of the highest personal honesty and integrity.

I am well situated regardless of the outcome in this matter. My sympathy goes out to the poor and needy who have been exploited and victimized by insurance and medical providers. It is said that almost two-thirds of all bankruptcies are due to individuals and families who were overwhelmed by excessive medical costs.

Our nation pays a substantially greater portion of its GDP for medical cost than do other comparable countries. We are also less healthy than comparable countries.

Richard Burt


See original letter

10 Gun logical fallacies
Getty Images/iStockphoto

In nearly every debate on gun policy someone will argue that registration is the first step toward confiscation and then tyranny. While this is technically true, it is also an example of an informal logical fallacy called the slippery slope. A slippery slope argument is one in which a small first step will lead through a series of other steps to some inevitable outcome. It is a fallacy because the claimed outcome is usually not the only possible result of that first step. If you look up the article on the "slippery slope" as a logical fallacy, this gun registration argument is often presented as the very first example.

For example, picking up a gun is the first step toward murdering someone with it. Everyone that has ever used a gun to murder someone else has always picked up a gun first. However, not everyone who has ever picked up a gun has gone on to murder others with it. Murder is not the inevitable outcome of picking up a gun.

Tyrannical oppression is not the inevitable outcome of requiring background checks before the purchase of a weapon. Will everyone please stop using this particular logical fallacy to support their arguments?

Hyrum Anderson

Cottonwood Heights

See original letter

9 Two-way bigotry
Deseret News

A week ago, proponents of same-sex marriage ostracized Orson Scott Card for his personal views on this subject. They have launched campaigns to punish this individual for his personal views, because they do not fit the views of these left-leaning proponents on this issue.

The liberal media and organizations that have promoted the idea that same-sex marriage is a right have polarized the American people with this idea and concept. In reality same-sex marriage is not a right. The Supreme Court's action on DOMA restores and upheld the right of the individual states to define marriage. The return of the Proposition 8 case to the lower court further upheld this decision. There is no fundamental right that prevents same-sex marriage from being legislated against. This issue falls into the same category as polygamy, polyandry and incest. If same-sex marriage is acceptable then all of these and others should also be acceptable.

Suggesting that because of Card's concept of marriage (he and those he associates with, whether they support or disagree with his personal views) should be economically punished demonstrates that bigotry on this issue can run both ways.

Vaughn Weston


See original letter

8 There were embassy attacks during Bush era, too
Associated Press

During the presidency of George W. Bush, there were 12 attacks on U.S. embassies, resulting in 53 deaths.

Why is it that neither Fox News nor any Republican politicians made an issue of these attacks, yet they treat Benghazi as a bigger scandal than Watergate or Iran-Contra?

Roland Kayser


See original letter

Editors note: Although this letter was originally published in 2012, it was one of the most popular in 2013.

7 No war with Syria
Associated Press

President Obama was right to seek "congressional approval" for his planned U.S. military force against the Syrian government, especially since the Constitution requires him to do so.

However, U.S. military involvement in this Syrian civil war is neither wise nor justifiable. The United States has no national security interest at stake in Syria. Syria hasn't threatened the United States, and poses no direct danger to us.

This Syrian civil war — which has claimed over 100,000 lives — is basically a contest between groups aligned with Iran-allied supporters of Hezbollah on the one side, and predominantly al-Qaida-affiliated rebels on the other.

Recent chemical attacks on Syrian citizens — supposedly by Syrian President Bashar Hafez al-Assad — is indeed horrific, but there's no actual evidence that Assad was behind this terrible deed.

More likely, Obama is trying to pull a "Clintonesque" political stunt to distract us from the current domestic upheaval in the U.S., like defunding "Obamacare," by redirecting our focus toward this misguided invasion of Syria.

Needless to say, it's foolhardy, and will likely catapult this now confined conflict into an international disaster.

I stand with the vast majority of Americans in demanding Congress vote no to U.S. military action in Syria.

Stefani Williams


See original letter

6 LGBT discrimination
Deseret News

In her letter ("Non-discrimination bill," Nov. 23) opposing a proposed statewide non-discrimination bill that would protect gay and transgender Utahns from discrimination at work and at home, Carie Valentine's argument is as ridiculous as it is wrong.

First, the ridiculous: Ms. Valentine would have us believe there is an army of men in Utah, just waiting for permission to put on a dress and march into the women’s bathroom. If so, these deviants don’t need a law to carry out their lewd behavior, which is and would continue to be against the law, as would the purported abuse they seek to inflict on innocent people.

Now, the wrong: Utah does not have non-discrimination laws to protect gay and transgender Utahns from being fired or evicted from their homes based on their sexual orientation and gender identity alone. Individual municipalities across the state do, like the Salt Lake City ordinance, endorsed by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, enacted in 2010, but there is no statewide, consistent protection for our LGBT friends, family, neighbors and colleagues.

Unlike Ms. Valentine’s bogeyman-in-the-bathroom scenario, the fear for gay and transgender Utahns is real. In fact, four in 10 LGBT Utahns report having faced discrimination from employers and landlords. It’s past time we amend existing Utah law to include sexual orientation and gender identity alongside religion, age, race, color, sex, pregnancy, national origin and disability.

Emily McLaughlin-Tutton

Salt Lake City

See original letter

5 If marriage has many benefits, why not extend benefits to all?

It's almost a daily requirement these days with the Deseret News to have at least one article that bemoans young people delaying marriage, deciding not to marry, missing out on the financial benefits of marriage or any number of other topics trumpeting the cause of marriage. Yet the Deseret News loudly advocates against allowing a certain segment of the population the very opportunity to partake of the benefits and blessings of marriage.

It takes a special kind of cold heart to proclaim innumerable benefits of something and then actively fight to deprive an entire group of people a chance to enjoy those blessings.

Isaac Higham

South Jordan

See original letter

4 Mitt Romney lost because of just one reason
Associated Press

Regarding the article by Lisa Roche, "Romney insider details what went wrong," on Aug. 11, Romney insider Spenser Zwick, reports, "I think if people could have seen and understood Mitt Romney the man, he would be commander in chief today. There's no doubt in my mind."

People did see and understand Mitt Romney. Mitt Romney lost because of just one reason … Mitt Romney.

There's no doubt in my mind.

Alan Heap

Salt Lake City

See original letter

3 Imbalanced reporting on Mormon feminists
Deseret News

I am a 52-year-old, liberal-voting Mormon woman. I am about as fully immersed in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as a woman can get. I am also a working woman and a graduate student at the University of Iowa. I have lived in the West, on the East Coast, and in the Midwest.

But I am not a Mormon feminist, nor do the Mormon feminists speak for me. I find their tactics divisive. Their agenda is self-serving at best and narcissistic at worst. Unfortunately, the media loves them. While I am tired of the feminist murmuring, I am equally, if not more, frustrated at the media's imbalanced reporting of the "plight" of the modern Mormon woman. For every outspoken or closeted Mormon feminist there are two or even three Mormon women who quietly go about their lives serving God according to the dictates of their own consciences.

Any woman worth her testimony fully understands that the God she worships loves her and recognizes her greatness every bit as much as he loves the priesthood holders of his church, be they a deacon or an apostle or anywhere in between.

When the media feels drawn to the sad song of the Mormon feminist, can they also reach out to the other Mormon women who will be able to provide a much-needed perspective?

Lynne Cropper

Pleasant Valley, Iowa

See original letter

2 Glenn Beck needs to moderate his rhetoric
Associated Press

Glenn Beck's reputation as a polemist has become worldwide. Here in France, he is specifically known for two things: being a Latter-day Saint and making hateful comments about my country and fellow citizens.

Agreed, freedom of the press only wears out if not used. As a political commentator, he has the God-given right to hate and bash us, even in the most rabid way.

However, as a Latter-day Saint, he should realize that he might give French people the wrong idea that being anti-French is part of Mormon doctrine.

He may have heard of the opposition, including court actions, the church is facing right now as it tries to build a temple in le Chesnay, a suburb of Versailles with a very conservative, very Catholic and very prejudiced population. Does he think that his anti-French diatribes are helping to solve the litigation, or more generally, to improve the image of the church in this country? Moderating his rhetoric might make things much easier for us French Saints as well as for the missionaries working in France.

Laurent Lechifflart

Saint-Vallier, France

See original letter

1 Obama and Trayvon
Associated Press

President Barack Obama said Trayvon Martin could have been him 35 years ago.

The death of Trayvon Martin was a tragedy. Not just for his family, or for any one community, but for America.

I think it was a tragedy for America. But not in the way our president does. I view it as a tragedy that all of America had to endure a trial that had nothing to do with the entire country, let alone the entire world. This was a case that should have stayed in Florida.

Regarding African Americans that have witnessed women on elevators clutch their purses tighter, etc. I have seen many Caucasians that would elicit the same reaction. What a racist comment, by the president of the United States no less. There is too much rhetoric and vitriol that is leading us toward the Divided States of America.

There were 61 murders in Chicago during the Zimmerman trial. Where is the outrage? No, we need to focus our attention on one shooting of an African American, by a non African American — by a United States of American.

Let's move on with no further discussion regarding this tragedy. Yes, it is a tragedy when anyone loses their life.

Let's find a way to be more united.

Israel Grossman


See original letter