E-mail letters, June 20 2011

Lottery not a viable
solution for K-12 funding

Perhaps two months ago, a reader suggested a special lottery to fund K-12 education. While I applaud the effort of looking for solutions (and I too participate in the lottery) it is not a viable solution. The Lottery does not create wealth; rather it merely is an exchange of wealth.

Unfortunately, the things that do create wealth — agriculture, manufacturing, mineral extraction and forestry — have all been legislated or regulated to the point that they no longer can compete on a global scale.

This nation may not be defeated from the outside, but it surely is being beaten from within. Now, the optimistic news: Congress, the administration and the judiciary all recognize this and are prepared to act!

Naw, probably not.
John R. McCallister

Use of Predator drones
no longer justifiable

The use of remote-controlled, aerial “Predator” drones in Afghanistan and Pakistan over the past two years has escalated out of control and beyond any reasonable moral justification.

The U.S. military use of Predator drones to kill suspected “high value targets” in the war on terrorism has led
to a situation where extrajudicial killings by U.S. forces of large numbers of civilians has become the new norm.

Just three days after Osama bin Laden was killed, a drone attack killed 15 villagers in Pakistan and wounded four. CNN reports from its Islamabad bureau that there have been 21 drone strikes this year, after approximately 111 in 2010, including an attack on March 17 that killed 44 villagers in Pakistan’s tribal region. The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan estimates that in the 111 attacks last year 957
innocent civilians were killed, and thousands of survivors were pushed into wretched refugee camps.

I can’t stand by silently any longer while my tax dollars are spent to kill innocent, impoverished civilians in a method of warfare that accepts taking on “collateral damage” at such shocking levels. I urge members of
Congress to investigate these atrocities, to hold hearings about the drone decision-making, and insist that each mission have public accountability.

I realize there is a great deal of money to be made in the United States, particularly in a recession, by the manufacture of Predator drones, Apache attack helicopters and missiles, but that doesn’t make it right, and it doesn’t win hearts and minds in the Middle East. In the end we will simply have to change our tactics or get out of the region, preferably both. The poor people of Afghanistan and Pakistan can simply no longer fight both the Taliban and the U.S. military at the same time. Give them a chance to survive.
Dave Murphy
Grand Junction

CAP cadets were big help
during the Relay for Life

I would like to thank the Civil Air Patrol cadets who worked the Relay For Life June 17 and 18. They worked tirelessly doing whatever needed to be done all day, all night, and into the next day, cheerfully and happily.

They are examples of great young men and young women. The whole Relay went easily and without problems thanks to them. They helped unload and load the teams, empty trash, and anything that was asked
of them. They looked sharp in their uniforms all the while.

Thank you, Cadets!
Bonnie Emmert
Grand Junction

Economy would be worse
without federal spending

Letter writer Rod Martinez complains about Obama putting us drastically deeper in debt. Our economy tanked after the housing and mortgage balloon and bust. The economy depends on spending. Your own livelihood depends on it. No other activity considered to be economic occurs unless somebody is there to buy — spending — whatever is produced.
Our GDP dropped dramatically after the bust, with which Obama had nothing to do. That means spending dried up. The federal government is a perpetual operation. It is not going to stop and it has commitments that people’s lives, both in and out of government, depend on. The added debt kept things going, albeit at a reduced level.
What would have happened if an attempt to fulfill commitments and try to add more spending to the economy would not have taken place? Those old enough to have lived during then Great Depression can tell you. The current Great Recession is a lack of spending. The new debt kept those out of work and their families in food and some semblance of a decent life, for just one example of what the spending accomplished

You can argue about what the government spending was on, as always happens, but arguing that the spending should have not been done would have been advocating a bigger disaster than we already had.

I fault Obama for not spending even more to make up for the consumer spending that was so seriously diminished, which has usually been about 70 percent of a more robust GDP.

We are not going to be able to get out of this hole by cutting spending. That makes things worse in at least two ways; diminished spending in the economy and diminished tax revenue. We need tax revenue to get out of the rut and work toward cutting deficits.
John Borgen
Grand Junction



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