Email letters, July 18, 2014

Sentinel’s commentary page unrecognizable

Does anyone recognize the commentary page in our beloved old Grand Junction Sentinel?

I have concluded that if geographic references and widely known local names were removed, what was once a centerpiece of our morning ritualistic perusal wouldn’t be recognized.

Things have been changed in six months, even the taste of that first cup of coffee.


Sheriff candidates need to clarify views on militarization of police forces

I have supported most Republican candidates over many decades, and have served in a number of capacities including a term as a county chairman in Colorado. But that should not be deemed automatic support, particularly as it comes to sheriff.

An issue for whomever runs the sheriff’s department is the troubling and increasing militarization of our police forces across the country. Citizens who wish to preserve their 4th Amendment rights (unreasonable searches and seizures) and who support “the Castle Doctrine” (“my home is my castle”) must demand accountability and pushback. It should come from our elected sheriff.

I just perused the sheriff’s website and came up with the following:

1) The SWAT team was using the BLM range on Monday July 14th for training. The accompanying picture shows camouflage-dressed men who looked like they were ready for Operation Iraqi Freedom.

2) According to the web page, “In the last two years the SWAT Team has averaged 30 calls a year.” The department breaks these into “Planned” and “Unplanned.” To further quote the website, “‘Planned’ S.W.A.T. events involve supporting or executing a search warrant.”

3) There is the “Unmanned Aerial System Team.” Again citing the website, “To date our program has flown more than 55 missions with a combined 225 (plus) flight hours. We are beginning to implement UAS into day to day operations.”

In a free society, we have always drawn sharp lines between the military and police officers. The use of force in executing search warrants by highly armed and non-uniformed cops is a bad thing. Multiply the 30 or so SWAT incidents per year by Mesa County Sheriff’s Department across the country and we are looking at an estimated 60,000-80,000 “deployments” per year, according to investigative journalist and author Radley Balko.

In sum, what started with about 300 SWAT team uses in the entire country in the 1970’s, has grown to where the use of SWAT teams is now the default option. SWAT was initially an acronym for “Special Weapons Assault Team”. The PR has changed, but the missions have involved far too many assaults.

All of our sheriff’s candidates need to clarify their views on these issues.

Grand Junction

Roice Hurst developing program for humane treatment of feral cats

Roice-Hurst Humane Society prides itself on providing humane treatment and care for all of the animals at our facility. In 2013, we sheltered and provided veterinary care for 941 cats and dogs and we are on a path to exceed that number in 2014. We have great compassion for all of the pet animals in our community and work together with other agencies, veterinarians and national animal welfare organizations through the Mesa County Animal Welfare Partnership to identify and find solutions for animal issues in our community.

At our planning meeting in 2014, the MCAWP and Roice-Hurst Humane Society prioritized developing a comprehensive program to address feral cats. However, it is a complicated issue and any solution needs to address concerns about the humane treatment of feral cats and the safety and welfare of the neighborhoods in which they live. We have reviewed programs across the country and are developing a plan unique to our community.

Please know that the humane treatment of all animals is always foremost in our minds.

Roice-Hurst Humane Society, Board of Directors
Grand Junction

Reader disappointed in Sentinel’s King coverage

Congratulations to the Daily Sentinel. You were on a witch-hunt to get Steve King. You not only provided the noose, you participated in the hanging. It was not (and is not) your job to find him guilty or innocent; that is why we have courts of law.

There is not enough print to tell you how despicable we find your coverage. Good luck sleeping at night.

Grand Junction

Inadequate revenue a serious national security issue

Albeit predictably not reported in the Daily Sentinel, “Tea Party” Congressman Scott Tipton is casting hypocritical votes in the House – supporting H.R. 4718 (permanently renewing gratuitous “bonus depreciation” for already-profitable corporations) and H.R. 4719 (increasing the deductibility of foodstuff charitable contributions).

Because neither are “paid for,” H.R. 4718 would add $287 billion to annual deficits over the next decade, while H.R 4719 would add another $16.3 billion.

While Tipton insists that “spending is the problem” (and offers bogus deficit projections to “support” that argument), he conveniently excludes any such “tax expenditures” from his definition of “spending” – which credible tax-policy analysts don’t.

Tipton and his cronies in the “Tea Party” controlled House insist that we cannot afford to extend unemployment benefits (costing $8 billion in 2014, but saving $9 billion over five years), or fully-fund the Food Stamp program (cutting $8 billion over ten years), or better secure our borders (costing $43-$45 billion over ten years), or keep promises to veterans (costing $38 billion to fix the VA healthcare system), or repair crumbling infrastructure (costing $50 billion a year), or deal with the humanitarian crisis at the border (costing $3.7 billion) – but Republicans would willingly waste another $303.3 billion on tax giveaways.

The GAO reports that $330 to $400 billion in federal taxes owed are uncollected every year – but Republicans still seek to cut IRS budgets by $1+ billion per year, even though every dollar invested in increased enforcement yields a 600% return.

The reason is simple:  government revenues cynically diverted into corporate coffers are being recycled into campaign contributions (which go mostly to Republicans), and/or to purchase “free speech” (under Citizens United), while the failures of the chronically under-funded federal government are being disingenuously blamed on President Obama.

Even Dick Cheney now admits that inadequate revenue is a serious national security issue.

Grand Junction


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Dear Buffaloed Bill, or as he thinks of himself, the “bill of no-rights” I wish you would just loose your “fact check app for Liberal communists” all together. Again you insight hate and discontent at anything you don’t agree with. YOU agree with the weaponization of government agencies against all conservative groups and individuals. That’s typical for a Lawyer like yourself that has created all those jobs and likes to inject his caustic opinions upon everyone in the paper every morning. Thanks for playing No-Bill. Mr. Bright

Kudos to Dennis Patton for raising a key fact about our contemporary politics.

The “tea party”—while originally a “grass roots” response to perceived governmental irresponsibility—was coopted first by self-serving corporate interests and then by the Republican Party to exploit the visceral motivation of “unsophisticated” (and thus gullible) “conservative” voters for partisan political gain.

Given the incessant flow of “FoxNoise” false propaganda (consider, for example, “death panels” versus the lives-saving success of
“ObamaCare”) and the fact-free rants of neo-confederate anti-Obama nativists (see, e.g., Virginia/Mr. not-so-Bright below), the very definition of “conservative” has become so hopelessly muddled that “tea partiers” cannot appreciate that Democrats have been far more fiscally responsible (and have created millions more jobs) than have Republicans.

Dear Bill of no rights, KMA please, it’s part of your healthcare plan. I love it when you bare your butt and spread hate and discontent my way. After all you are DA man, you know every thing about anything Obama. Your Buddy Buffet is tying up Keystone so he can reap $10 a barrel on trains rather than $4 a barrel on pipeline oil shipments. Collusion? oh yeah, just like your lawyer mind finds it so cleaver to insult me and my wife as you have nothing to be proud of. You pretty much resemble what Pelosi called, “we have to pass it to see what’s in it” Bill, that’s a stool sample by any measure of common sense. of which you have none.

WTH. There is NOT one single politician that deserves re-election. As a whole the entire lot is succeeding in destroying our country for each of their individual gain. Well, I take that back. There are some. None of which are located in Colorado. Until we lose the “other side of the aisle” and crapola like that and become Americans we are destined to continue spiraling down the porcelain chair. Both of these parties have put there destined candidates in office for years. Giving us no real choice. We fight amongst ourselves. We have no allies left. And we continue to allow thousands of crooks into this country. Where will all of the sellouts be when it comes to manning the guns. Fratricide occurred many times in many wars.

To Stephen M. Davis:  Sir - I believe you are wrong on at least one count in your letter.  “SWAT”, at least in the beginning, stood for ‘Special Weapons and Tactics’, not, as you stated “Special Weapons Assault Team”.  There may be instances where the latter moniker fits, but the former is what SWAT originally stood for.

Does is it really matter. Jeez

just like every other Democrat run city and state we are becoming poorer, more taxed, less productive, and driven into the ground by rising crime rates, less jobs, fewer rights and over regulated and legislated everything. Dick Cheney for President! Mr. Bright

It is NOT just democrats. It is the 95% of the whole damned lot. Look at this sorry valley and ALL of the self appointed gop elitists. Hell we are just all just a bunch of punks. They will all answer one day. Soon I hope.

it’s moderates and millenials that can’t make a decision because they know nothing of HISTORY! that vote against their own economic precedence. I blame Democrats at this time, they put the (0) in the whitehouse and shown what the party is all about! Personally I don’t want Boulder running the state! I’m a Conservative with a knowledge of history and not an entitled self centered elitist, like so many that respond here so often. AT this time 95% may be a true statement but the MAJORITY of the problems right now is Liberal drivel brought on by a do-nothing president out there importing problems and voters.
Mr. Bright

To Jerry Sanders:  I cannot tell from your response if it was meant for me, or for someone else.  If meant as an answer(?) to my comment about ‘SWAT’ - yes, it does matter.  I think all people deserve to comment about different topics.  With that freedom comes responsibility to know of what you are speaking.  Truth matters.  As someone who holds a degree in Administration of Justice, I was around when ‘SWAT’ was first formed, and know what the term means.

Jerry Sanders:  I would agree with you about the GOP elitists.  Has not been that long ago that Scott McInnis was ‘coronated’ (the paper’s word, not mine) by the local GOP leadership, as county commissioner.  As a conservative, and a voter - I totally agree with you that the GOP hierarchy, local or otherwise, should not be picking who is to run, especially not in a manner that leaves the impression that it is a ‘done deal’.  McInnis may have done what is necessary to get on the good side of the GOP, but not on my good side.  The best two traits of a politician of any stripe should be honesty, and common sense.  McInnis has neither in my estimation.

Yes it was aimed at you Mr Zulian. And indeed I have the freedom as well. And I still do not see the significance of the correction? I do however see your horn blowing.

Mr. Sanders:  You can ‘see’ my horn blowing?  You may in fact, be the only person who can.  If you cannot see the significance of the correction, maybe I can explain it to you.  The differences between ‘and tactics’ and ‘assault team’ are many.  SWAT goes in when there is a bad person or persons barricaded within a structure, with or without hostages.  They aren’t called in to ‘assault’ anyone, they are called in because of their ‘Specialized training’ i.e., ‘tactics’.  They are not an ‘Assault team’, but do have available to them special weapons, and the training needed to utilize said special weapons, such as search robots.  Their main objective is to
secure any hostages, and arrest the suspect(s) - not to ‘assault’ as a team or as individuals.  What do you picture when you see the title “Assault team”?  The ‘correction’ has to do with truth.

I honestly believe that every single person who read understood Mr Davis’ intent. That is except you. In the words of hillary—“at this point what difference does it make.” Do you really believe that it makes one tinkers dam to the average citizen as to the “exact” interpretation of the acronym SWAT. Next time I call for SWAT I will be sure and look up the difference. I have now given you more than ample time to blow your horn.

Mr. Sanders:  I’m sorry you feel as you do.  Quoting Shrillary just doesn’t do it for me, but it does say something about you.  ‘Tinker’s damn’ notwithstanding - it does make a difference whether a person uses words that mean “assault” of citizens, or “tactics” to put down the insurrection that caused them to be called upon.  It is beginning to appear that you don’t know, or care about the difference in the interpretation of ACRONYMS, but the differences between the ‘assault’ of perpetrators, and the ‘apprehension’ of same through the use of specialized ‘tactics’ known to SWAT teams, just may mean the difference of the outcome of the insurrection.  I did not know that you had the authority to “call” SWAT, but since you say you may have the need to ‘call’ them, you really should know what that particular ACRONYM stands for, so you won’t be so disappointed when they ‘arrest’, as opposed to ‘assault’.

It was obvious to everyone that he was referring to the armored vehicles that are being transferred from military units to police agencies. And questioning what need the police have for them. I wasn’t quoting anyone. You, sir, almost as well as barry, mr. heinz or hillary. Jeez. Get over it. You are a SWAT expert. We got it already.

Mr. Sanders:  Just a couple more things you should be aware of:  In my first comment to Mr. Davis, I wrote of ‘one’ thing he was wrong about.  I read his whole letter, though.  In your efforts to make me somehow wrong, and you right - you step on your own statements.  In your third comment to me, you write:  In the words of Hillary - ‘At this point, what difference does it make’.  Now, in this last comment of yours, you say:  ‘I wasn’t quoting anyone’.  Really?  I believe the quotation marks book-ending what she said, give it away as a “quote”, albeit not an exact quote.  As for me being a “SWAT expert” - actually, I’m not - so you, and whomever haven’t “got it already” - you just think you have.  While you are doing your level best to make me wrong and you right, did you even notice that I’ve mostly agreed with you about the ‘elitists’ in your comment?  What I commented regarding Scott McInnis, (the last two sentences in my comment) is what I would expect from ANY politician.  As for those who comment on these pages - not so much - you included.

Touche. You win. Not so much is right.

Mr. Sanders:  If you thought I was trying to “win” - you are wrong once again.  Just trying to clear up what the acronym “SWAT” originally stood for, to Mr. Davis.  Read his missive again.  He does use the word “initially” when referring to what ‘SWAT’ stands for.

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