Email letters, Jan. 23, 2012

Several battles had more dead than Pinhook Battle

I have to believe that Kathy Jordon — author of the article “Deadly Confrontation in Utah” published Jan. 202) knows better. However, to clear up any confusion that her article might have caused with The Daily Sentinel’s readership, I feel it necessary to correct her statement that the Pinhook Battle that took place in Utah in 1881, where 13 white men and two or more Utes were killed, was “the largest and most tragic Indian-white confrontation ever in terms of numbers killed.”

Just to name a few of the numerous other incidents in the western United States that were far more deadly and, indeed, tragic, there was the Battle of the Little Bighorn in South Dakota (268 cavalry and approximately 150 Native Americans dead), the Sand Creek Massacre in southeast Colorado (70 to 163 Indians killed and mutilated), and, closer to home, the Meeker Incident and its associated Battle of Milk Creek (13 soldiers and approximately 19 to 26 Utes dead).

CURTIS MARTIN, principal investigator
The Colorado Wickiup Project
Dominquez Archaeological Research Group (DARG)
Grand Junction

Vote Obama out to save our country

Barack Obama once again shows the American people that he doesn’t care about the their lives and the importance of jobs. He talks about helping the American middle class and the most important thing that he can and will do is create jobs. Of course he says this while playing golf with one of his multi- billionaire pals.

Obama’s “No” decision about the Keystone XL pipeline is typical of a big government socialist ideologue like our president. Instead of allowing the private sector the opportunity to make a difference in our countries economic recovery, he would rather just say no. He is not talking about drugs. It’s about the economy and jobs. If he were to allow the pipeline to move forward, it would employee 20,000 people and would in all likelihood, destroy his quest for a socialistic form of government in the United States and would hit a brick wall. He would rather allow the worst recession since the Great Depression to continue, rather than allow the private sector prove it works. Obama would rather spend another trillion dollars of taxpayer money on another stimulus package that would fail as miserably as the first one did. The only winner being government.

We cannot afford another four years of Obama. I urge everyone who desires our vibrant, traditional American way of life to vote him out of office. This is not about party affiliation. It’s about keeping America great. It’s about allowing the American dream to move forward. It’s about keeping America the greatest country in all of world history. Four more years of Barack Obama would forever tarnish world history.

DOUG THOMPSON
Grand Junction

Wealth distribution is dramatically skewed

I was glad to see The Daily Sentinel’s recent article on the growing concern about the way wealth is concentrated in this country. Most people don’t realize how badly distorted it has become.

For example, say you have a big apple pie sitting on the table and five people gathered round, each one waiting for a slice. The pie represents the total wealth of this country.

Now you can cut the pie into five equal pieces, but here’s the problem: If we follow the way it presently works in this country, then one person’s plate will get piled with fully four pieces of the pie plus part of that last piece which must be shared by the remaining four. That’s right, four of the folks at the table will end up sharing less than one slice of that apple pie.

The way that last piece is shared out among four people is that one person gets about three fifths of it, one gets the remaining sliver and two people basically get to lick the knife, one each side. In other words, if each person represents 20 percent of the total population then the wealth pie is shared out roughly like this: One gets 84 percent, one 11 percent, one 4 percent, one 0.3 percent and the last one gets 0.1 percent.

This is not a natural, healthy or stable basis for the economy of a democratic nation. The table is tilted and the chips are sliding toward one end. It’s one thing to have a vote, but it’s equally important to be an economic player in a fair game.

This badly skewed distribution of wealth is not the norm among developed countries. In Sweden for example, the bottom 20 percent of the population holds 11 percent of the wealth. This is almost as much as is held by the bottom 80 percent in this country.

And wealth is not just gold ingots in a vault; it can be as simple as a means of getting to work or a shovel for smoothing out the bumps. It functions like the flywheel in an engine by keeping things going between paydays. I believe a more equitable distribution would make for a healthier economy and less social costs.

While this is a systemic problem that can’t be fixed simply through taxation it does put tax cuts for the wealthy or the present limits on estate tax in a very different light.

DON FOSTER
Hotchkiss

Organization can help victims of sexual harassment

Sexual harassment occurs in all types of occupations and workplaces. There are steps everyone can take to stop and prevent it.

If you experience harassment on the job, remember that you’re not alone. Trust your instincts, and don’t blame yourself. Be assertive and say no clearly.

Document every incident in detail. Look for witnesses and other evidence from co-workers or former employees. Research and use your employer’s and union’s channels for reporting sexual harassment. As Myrl Serra’s staff found out, addressing sexual harassment in the workplace is difficult, so seek emotional support. If all else fails, take legal action.

If you’re not the one being harassed, support your co-worker by validating that harassment is wrong, affirming her feeling, and listening without judgment. Be sure your behavior isn’t part of the problem. Challenge the harasser’s inappropriate behavior. Work with others toward a harassment-free work environment, whether harassment is sexual in nature or based on someone’s race, sexual orientation or other characteristics.

If you’re a manager, you have special responsibilities and special opportunities to be part of the solution. Be a role model, a good listener, objective and consistent. Be informed, and be willing to ask for help when you need it. Be vigilant, and don’t wait for a crisis.

Employers can develop, update and uniformly implement policies to stop and prevent harassment. Emphasize prevention through education and training. Clearly define procedures, give several options for reporting, and conduct prompt and fair investigations. Administer appropriate discipline, regardless of the harasser’s position.

The Serra case provides a reminder about what each of us can do to eradicate sexual harassment and create workplaces that are welcoming, safe and respectful for all.

For more about what you can do at work and through the legal system, contact 9to5’s Job Survival Helpline: 1-800-522-0925 or http://www.9to5.org.

LINDA MERIC
Denver

New mercury standards are much needed

Over the last year, the EPA received over 900,000 comments that led to the finalization of the Mercury Air Toxic Standard (MATS) on December 16, 2011.

These standards will put an end to 20 years of industry uncertainty since the 1990 amendments to the Clean Air Act and level the playing field for power plants across the country — over half of which are already using widely available pollution control technology and are forced to compete with facilities that have taken advantage of loopholes, or with aging plants, often 40 years old or older, that have never been updated with modern pollution controls.

The Mercury and Air Toxic Standards will save thousands of lives and provide important health protections to the most vulnerable, like children and older Americans. The standards will slash toxic emissions nationwide and prevent as many as 11,000 premature deaths, 4,700 heart attacks and 130,000 asthma attacks each year.

Just a teaspoon of mercury deposited annually can contaminate a 20-acre lake; over 1,100 pounds of the heavy metal are emitted in Colorado every year

At least 1 in 12, and as many as 1 in 6 American women have enough mercury in their bodies to put a baby at risk. This means over 300,000 babies are born each year at risk of mercury poisoning. Exposure to mercury while in the womb can contribute to birth defects, neurological disorders, learning disabilities, developmental delays and cerebral palsy.

The EPA estimates the new standards will prevent up to 140 premature deaths while creating up to $1.1 billion in health benefits in 2016 alone.

Colorado Attorney General John Suthers joined 24 other AGs from around the nation in signing on to a letter backed by the coal industry attempting to delay the mercury safeguards designed to keep families safe. Shame on Mr. Suthers.

The obstructionist attitude of Attorney General Suthers and coal interests are just the beginning; the MATS and EPA are enduring mounting attacks against them and need continued public support.

It is not too late for Attorney General Suthers to get on the right side of this issue, for he can publicly support the standards.

Thank you to President Obama and EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, for standing up for Americans who care about clean air and their families.

WAYNE FLICK
Cimarron

Pipeline will create our own jobs and energy

After the Jan. 17 edition of The Daily Sentinel, it became even more obvious that we need to build the Keystone Pipeline. Civil unrest in Nigeria, Iranian threats to the Straights of Hormuz and Venezuelan despot Cesar Chavez threatening to cut off his oil. 

To all of the “greenies” out there, this pipeline running north to south from western Canada to the gulf coast of Texas, will have to cross over, under and around dozens of existing pipelines that we have been living with very peacefully and productively for many decades. We will be dependent upon refined petroleum products for many years to come, get used to it.

The “pipe dream” (pun intended) of a green utopian society, is no more than that, a dream. Solar, wind, geothermal, hydrogen, wave power, anything you care to name, will never come close to fulfilling our energy needs. 

Please stop saying no to every project that comes along . We can create our own high-paying private sector jobs, and reduce the amount of business we’re forced to do with people who hate our society, and have more control over our future. We’ve been paying a threat premium for oil for years now. The world is laughing at us and rightfully so.
 
MARK BROWN
Grand Junction

It’s time to show our rage

One percent of the population hold 99 percent of the wealth. Meanwhile we have soldiers on food stamps and 20 percent of our children in poverty. They are obviously 99 percenters. Not so obvious is that the police who have been gassing and beating peaceful protestors are 99 percenters. It’s likely most readers are, too. It’s a big tent. It’s not partisan.

Bush signed in the USA Patriot Act, Obama signed the MDDA, both of which shred our Bill of Rights. It’s time to admit that both parties are almost pathologically under the power of gold. It’s time to act, whether you choose to protest a foreclosure auction, or crowd a congressman’s office, or something else altogether nonviolent and creative.

Henry Ford, a capitalist icon, paid his workers remarkably high wages because he knew that some of that money would be used to by a car from him. Until we see that sort of attitude again, we must pressure both big business and politics as usual. Wake up and rage.

ERIC L NIEDERKRUGER
Grand Junction

Senators should support Keystone XL Pipeline

It is unconscionable and defies logic as to why our U.S. Sen. Mark Udall and Michael Bennet refuse to support legislation to get the Keystone Pipeline constructed as soon as possible. It is crucial to the prosperity of this country and to provide jobs and the economic stimulus that communities need.

There is no rational factor to prevent their advocacy. Neither senator has anything on their websites about Keystone. We all have ways we can support our country. My son is stationed in Afghanistan and is doing his part to keep us safe. The least the senators can do is to vote for Keystone. Or are they against economic growth and energy independence?

Thank you, U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton, for your Keystone support.

LINDA FIELDING
Grand Junction

Romney is out of touch with average American

Specific policy positions aside, the current scrutiny being afforded Willard “Mitt” Romney regarding his reluctance to release his tax returns and his uneasiness at “retail” campaigning, isn’t surprising considering his upbringing and experience.

In the world Romney was born, raised, educated and worked in for most of his career, discussions about or overt displays of wealth is considered very bad manners and a major breach of social etiquette. It simply isn’t done. To Mitt, his personal wealth is his private business, and he simply doesn’t understand why anyone else would be interested.

When his tax returns are released, don’t be surprised to see the handiwork of the phalanx of highly paid accountants and attorneys who prepared them. This means seeing numerous offshore accounts in countries offering the best return on investment and those having the laxest tax laws. Also, don’t be surprised if Mitt’s average annual tax liability is well below the standard 15 percent capitol gains rate he’s mentioned publicly. My guess is that it’s actually around 9-12 percent.

Romney’s obvious unease with “retail” campaigning is also understandable. He has never spent much time around common people and doesn’t really know how to act when he’s forced to interact with them.

The decision Republicans must make is whether they can live with a truly elitist presidential candidate; someone whose natural tendency is to favor the interests of the extremely wealthy strata of society from whence he comes over the interests of the vast majority of citizens with whom he has absolutely nothing in common.

E. MICHAEL ERVIN
Grand Junction

Keep the cycle of capitalism moving

Again we see our state Senate trying to pass funding for illegal aliens to get in-state tuition. Did we not see this get voted down the last time it was introduced? I wonder if that is just how government runs.

The polls showed that the majority of people in the nation did not want Obamacare, they passed it anyway. The people of Grand Junction voted down the taxation increase to build a new Justice Center. How is the construction going on that by the way? We voted to not raise taxes for our education in the valley, when are we going to be screwed with the over ride on that vote?

I see a perpetual big brother program agenda and am exhausted from trying to keep up with what someone else thinks is good for us. Seriously, when are we going to see government step back and actually enforce the main laws that were passed so long ago, get those right and then move forward.

This legislature for illegal aliens having the right to in-state tuition is theft by a government body of its taxpayer base. If you are going to do that, then you might as well let out all of the drunk drivers ( oh wait that is happening due to one officers biased on drunk drivers) so we should let out the drug dealers, murders, pedophile, and rapists. They broke the law, I am sure it was a temporary lack of judgement, it won’t happen again.

Kindness only goes so far, we have people who need jobs, and our overly inflated higher education system is not worth the money it will cost to send some illegal kids to school, we need that money to go to the development of jobs in this state.

Get GM or Ford or Dodge to open a plant to build widgets here. Get a bio-tech company to open a business here so that our educated kids can get a job in Colorado and keep the cycle of capitalism moving forward. I am tired of seeing people throwing money at feel good things and not taking care of people in the area that have payed their taxes and are working their tales off to feed their families and keep their jobs.

I could go on and on about this, folks we need to take care of Coloradans.

MICHAEL PARKER
Fruita

Gingrich wrong about post-WWII tax policy

Asked to describe his plan to revive the U.S. economy, newly resurgent Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich glibly proclaimed that he would emulate tax policy following World War II – when (purportedly) tax cuts engendered two decades of economic growth.
 
Actually, in 1942 (following Pearl Harbor), the top marginal tax rate increased from 81 percent on income over $5,000,000 to 88 percent on income over $200,000 and to 94 percent in 1944-45. 
 
True, in 1946, the top marginal tax rate was reduced to 86.45 percent and, in 1948, to 82.13 percent on income over $400,000. However, Gingrich conveniently forgo” that the top tax rate was increased to 91 percent in 1950, where it remained until 1964 (except for 1952-53, when it was raised to 92 percent under Democratic President Truman to pay for the Korean War).
 
Thus, our post-war economic recovery occurred during and despite historically high top marginal tax rates — precisely because those needed revenues were used by Truman to fund the G.I. Bill (providing educational and housing subsidies for returning veterans) and by Republican President Eisenhower to build the interstate highway system (the biggest infrastructure project in our history).
 
While Republican President Reagan lowered the top marginal tax bracket to 50 percent on income over $106,000 in 1982, in 1988 — after running-up huge deficits — he increased taxes by lowering the top marginal rate to 28 percent, but applying it to income over $30,000.
 
After Democratic President Bill Clinton raised the top marginal tax rate to 39.6 percent on income over $250,000 in 1994, America enjoyed its most robust economic growth in modern times, resulting in surpluses which Republican Bush quickly dissipated.
 
Independent economists conclude that Gingrich’s plan would “blow a hole in the federal budget and lead to huge deficits”. Meanwhile, President Obama would return to Clinton-era tax rates to fund infrastructure and public-sector jobs while reducing deficits.
 
BILL HUGENBERG
Grand Junction

Developing energy responsibly will help our economy

When Occupier Penni Palthe criticized Scott Tipton because his House Resolution 3225 amounted to “coercive tactics” “forcing people to trade off their children’s health for education,” she, like so many others, missed a crucial point. Every time the environmental community declares victory because they have, once again, been successful in shutting down energy projects, and closing off land to further energy development, they are willingly trading off their children’s education for a political gain, using scare tactics and political rhetoric to do so.   

The regrettable cut backs in education, caused by the economic downturn, could be restored if Colorado returns to traditional economic growth, if such a return was not hampered and threatened every step of the way by these groups. It is not just the renewed economic vitality that would be restored. Our state and local governments receive direct dollars from energy activity in the form of severance taxes, school trust land income and others.

I grew up in western Colorado. I remember when we had clear- cut forests, mill tailing piles, sump ponds draining into rivers, flare offs and mining debris. But we no longer use such practices, one would be hard pressed to find any such evidence now.

We know how to develop energy wisely and responsibly. We value our workers and wonder how they will provide for their families when coal mines are closed and other projects shuttered.

“Producing secure, reliable American energy is the economic solution for our current dismal economy.  Company investments and high tech, high paying jobs will produce sales and property taxes for our state and local treasuries Without it, education will continue to face budgetary challenges with no solutions offered except that of higher taxes. We would do well to keep that trade-off in mind.

MARCIA NEAL
Colorado State Board of Education
3rd Congressional District
Grand Junction

Romney must make a case against Gingrich

Newt Gingrich says sitting on the couch with Nancy Pelosi promoting concern over global warming was one of his biggest mistakes. What else does Newt have in common with Nancy Pelosi and many other Washington politicians like President Obam?. Newt is an expert in cashing in on crony capitalism. We have seen it in the $1.6 million he received from Fannie and Freddie. He then has the nerve to attack real capitalism.

The list goes on and on, but Newt still won a significant victory in South Carolina. Are Republicans there that dumb? Do they really think this guy is a winner? What it does show is how hungry they were to have a candidate who will take the gloves off and does not mince words in attacking a president they believe is leading the country down the road to European-style socialism. Is an nasty attack dog really all we need to win? 

Romney is the cool-headed, highly successful corporate executive who has the skills and experience needed to turn things around and help the private economy create jobs. The problem in politics is too often it is talk not walk that counts. If Mitt can’t make the case against the highly flawed Newt, he will not be able to make the case against the equally flawed, but smoother President Obama. That was the message coming out of South Carolina. Mitt has to come of the matt and hit Newt hard. He has to be both smart and tough.

DAVE KEARSLEY
Mesa

 



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Doug Thompson - You said, ” Four more years of Barack Obama would forever tarnish world history.” It would be helpful if you offered SPECIFIC EXAMPLES of what you mean, rather than simply blowing the same old tired right-wing smoke.

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