Email letters, Dec. 19, 2011

Defense Authorization Act leading our fall

It appears that Barrack Obama will sign the National Defense Authorization Act into law. Initially reports feigned his opposition based around objections to the obvious deleterious nature of allowing military detention of U.S. citizens without charge but as the water clears and the details emerge it is exactly the opposite.

While the mainstream media reported that it was Obama’s objection to military detention of U.S. citizens without charges that prompted his veto threat, Sen. Carl Levin pointed out that it was the exact opposite. While the bill was in committee, the sections that allow for military detention of the citizenry were removed which is actually what prompted the veto threat. Although this appears to be a dramatic change from the Constitutional protections against indefinite detention without charges, these acts only officially codify what has been claimed as a rightful power of the executive since George W. Bush occupied the White House. The nature of these executive claims was obviously highly dubious but is now codified into statutory law.

What this amounts to is the final conclusion of our century-long fall from a Republic to a military dictatorship where the head of the military, the president, can arrest and detain according to his will without any check to his power by anyone.

Grand Junction

Gingrich is a threat to the judicial branch

Former U.S. House Speaker and current Republican presidential primary candidate Newton Leroy “Newt” Gingrich’s disdain for the federal judiciary is well-known, but his latest proposal moves from the ridiculous to the frightening and dangerous.

Speaking on CBS “Face The Nation” recently, Gingrich pledged that if elected, he would abolish certain courts, force judges to appear before Congress to explain their decisions and send U.S. Marshals to arrest judges whose decisions he deemed “unamerican” or too deeply infringed on the powers of the commander-in-chief (in other words, Gingrich himself).

“You have an increasingly arrogant judiciary,” he said, “The question is: Is there anything we the American people can do? The standard answer has been eventually we’ll appoint good judges. I think that’s inadequate.”

To get an idea of what life could be like under a Gingrich administration, Daily Sentinel readers might want to go on the internet and watch the infamous 1935 Nazi propaganda film “Triumph Of The Will,” which is no less frightening than Gingrich’s proposal for the judicial branch of our government.

Grand Junction

What’s the point of a budget amendment?

A few days ago Sen. Mark Udall sent an email explaining his support for a balanced budget amendment that was going to be voted upon. (It was eventually defeated on the Senate floor 47-53.) He asked about constituent interest in supporting it.

Before arguing the merits and demerits of such an amendment, one must ask the pointed question: “If there is no budget —our federal government has been operating for several years not on a budget, but a series of continuing resolutions — what’s the point of balanced budget amendment?”


Kadrich couldn’t be micromanaged

No need to look into the details of Laurie Kadrich’s dismissal because it has a feel about it: She was dismissed because she couldn’t be micromanaged?

Despite all, may the quality of service and government remain open and responsive.

Grand Junction

Warmongers have no limits

Charles Krauthammer, in criticizing President Obama, would have us believe that “such are the wages of appeasement.” Could it be that Krauthammer has not taken into consideration the wages of war?

Personally, I have always disliked such men — old men who send young men to fight their unjust wars. They will encourage others to fight while they themselves are afraid to do so. They know that, in any battle, they will not have to be there. It is unbelievable that, since they needn’t worry about being in battle themselves, they are so willing to encourage the sacrifices of others.
Still, I understand that in the spectrum from peace to war there are times when we should be “all in.” We were not, and we should not have been “all in” in Vietnam or, more recently, Iraq. For all intents and purposes, these were supposed to have been police actions or minor conflicts — big countries slapping small countries around so as to put them in their place. Appeasement, negotiation, embargo and any other peaceful means of settlement should have been attempted before entering into those bloody conflicts.
Warmongers, such as Krauthammer, don’t seem to care about appeasement. They seem to think that you can just send in the military and destroy whatever part of the world seems to be troubling at the moment. Yet, the extent of the real world problems caused  and encountered by and through these “smaller conflicts” should provide a glimpse of what is likely to happen in larger, more disastrous wars.
Krauthammer encourages disastrous wars as though there were some actual benefit to waging them. Might he be thinking that not having any bodies to bury would be a benefit? In fact, you have to wonder if anyone would be left that could do the burying. I have to wonder whether Krauthammer, if he were one of the survivors, would lift a hand to help other survivors? My experience has been that those that encourage fighting are usually not around to help those left injured because of the conflict. The instigators delight in the carnage from a distance as though they were spectators at an MGM Grand title boxing match.
I can think of no worse outcome than the annihilation of mankind. Another possible outcome would be that there would be few people left and Krauthammer would still be there writing articles to encourage tribal warfare. Don’t bless the warmongers; they truly have no limits.
Grand Junction

So, according to Dave Kearsley in his Dec. 7 letter to the editor, big-daddy corporate America is the puppet master of this recession. Kearsley confirmed that all we have to do is get Obama out of office and we’ll see how magically jobs will open up, unemployment will drop dramatically and we’ll find comfort in Neverland once again.  

One of the most troubling things about this recession is that prices dropped only momentarily and then began going back to the levels of 2008 that made people quit buying. Middle-class income continues to drop. The cost of doing business, at least for the big guys, has dropped since they’re paying temps minimum wage instead of hiring. Small business, the “poor people” of corporate America, lost every bit as much as the millions of unemployed.

And while everyone is squawking about how the only good taxes are no taxes, utilities such as Ute Water have been actively taking advantage of lower construction wages to upgrade their system, which is a good thing, even though they raised prices last year and are doing it again this year. They always do that when empty houses aren’t paying their bills. Xcel Energy constantly raises prices for whatever reason they can think of. Yet it’s a good bet they think raising taxes to upgrade failing public infrastructure is a bad idea.  Heck, in ultra-right-wing western Colorado, it’s better to go out of business than to agree with President Obama and pay higher taxes for jobs that can’t go to China.

So by all means, let’s all go out and vote for the right-wing tyranny and keep dancing for the puppet masters.

Grand Junction

Sentinel hunter coverage is too liberal

I’m concerned about the negative portrayal of hunters in The Daily Sentinel lately. Especially by the Associated Press articles. 

For example, in the Dec. 18 sports section, there was an article about the I-70 wildlife checkpoint station written by the Associated Press. I did some fact checking and it does not match up. It appears The Daily Sentinel went with the Justin Adams or Wayne Harrisons version (Denver News) that focuses on the negative of the 1993 operation instead of the much-improved results of 2011 operation.

Hunters are more ethical than ever before and that fact should be pointed out. 22 people cited out of 300 is minor, especially for minor violations, such as how to tag an animal. If you reviewed the DOW big game regulations, you would see a 54-page, 8.5x11 book that is printed in #9 font. I’ve been hunting big game in Colorado for 15 years and I still learn more every year. Also its worth noting that some of the 2011 violations were fishing violations where as it appears the 1993 operation is where “thousands of hunters were cited.”

The best example of my observation is in The Daily Sentinel article, it states that in 1993, 1,250 vehicles were searched and thousands of hunters were cited. That’s appears to be bad math unless every vehicle that was searched had 3-4 violations. Additionally were 180 or 300 vehicles searched in the 2011 operation? The article below says 300, The Daily Sentinel says 180?

Were mostly conservatives in western Colorado, that means we like our news factual. In closing, the other article in today’s paper about Montana hunters abusing disabled hunters permits is another fine example of the Denver liberals trying to make all hunters look bad. Why is this Grand Junction news?  Sounds like a Montana problem to me? 

Perhaps a good article would be to do some investigative journalism on whether or not these road-block searches are a violation of our Fourth Amendment, which protects us against illegal search and seizure? After all, where is the probable cause for such an event? Do you think it’s odd that we do road blocks for outdoorsman, but we don’t do road blocks for felons, drug cartel operations and illegal aliens? I guess we would not want to upset the liberal voting base. 

Grand Junction

Who is more out of touch?

Mitt Romney has been accused of being out of touch because he tried to make a $10,000 bet with Rick Perry. And, President Obama made a $500,000,000 bet by giving U.S. government loan guarantees to Solyndra, which then went bankrupt.

Now, forget the difference in the amounts because comparing them wouldn’t be fair as one is 50,000 times greater than the other. But who is more out of touch, the guy who bets with his own money or the one who gambles with the taxpayers money?

Grand Junction

Being nice goes a long way

Most people out there are gracious and kind. Unfortunately it only takes one person with a real nasty attitude to ruin a day and exhaust one’s faith in humanity. I believe I speak for all people who work with the public; more specifically, I’m thinking of the people who work in the service industry, retail and the grocery business. This is a manifesto in defense of those workers against the rudeness of customers.

We are here to help and serve you, the public. This doesn’t mean that we are indentured servants to you. Please don’t treat us like dirt when something doesn’t go your way. Chances are it is not our fault, and what benefit does anyone get from a verbal lashing? I have seen time and time again customers who belittle and yell at a person because something, which is usually very minor, doesn’t go exactly the way they wanted.

If you don’t like a service you are receiving, wouldn’t it be best to just not go there anymore? Stop griping and find another place to shop or eat. I say these are minor problems because given the whole scheme of things, not having a certain brand of cookies or a shirt in your size at that exact moment, is not the end of the world.

Things happen. Stuff sells out. People make mistakes. Ever hear of accidents? Where have you been living that things always go your way?

Where does this sense of entitlement come from? It’s this entitlement that corrupts the minds of consumers and turns them into demanding and seemingly horrible human beings. You may not be a horrible human being, but when you treat someone rudely who is trying to do a service for you, that is exactly what you come across as.

Once we’ve made up in our mind that you are Mr. or Mrs. Nasty, well, then, we are so much less inclined to want to help you at all. Perhaps you receive bad service because you are rude. Like attracts like. You get what you give. That’s the truth. The world is not
obligated to serve you. But it would happy to help you if you’d maybe smile
a little.

I know what a difference it makes when a customer has a nice attitude. It means the world to us when we are respected and treated like intelligent people. Please try to practice more compassion, patience, and common sense out there this holiday season, and every day after that. It is a common sense thing, after all, to be good to one another.

Grand Junction

New light bulbs will save lots of money

It’s no surprise that the GOP has a dim view of the new, light-bulb standards. They have a dim view of the middle class, creating jobs, the environment and most anything else that doesn’t benefit big corporations.

They don’t tell you that the new light bulb standard is expected to save electrical costs anywhere from $10-to-12.5 billion per year by 2012 when fully implemented. If these people were still in office when the automobile was being developed and Obama supported it we would still be riding horses and buggies.

Grand Junction

Kadrich did a good job for the city

I am saddened that Laurie Kadrich seems to be getting the boot as new council members take their seats.

Yes, I don’t know the inside facts, but I do know she came in at a difficult time for the city, stepped up to the plate and worked hard to bring the city up from some downward financial difficulties. Yes, she is about working, doing the job, not a soft, sweet hand, but look at what she accomplished.

She tried her best for city workers by at least trying for a 1.5 percent restoration of their salary levelof three years ago. Is this the bump that broke the camel’s back? We do live in an area where it seems standard to get people to work for you but pay them as little as possible.

Does this mean some council members want more power or some prestige in their hands? It could  mean anything from severe micromanagment by some who do not know all the ropes or it could mean “I pat your back if you pat mine.” Wonder which it will be?  Time will tell. Should be interesting.


Ramunno is a class act

The Dec. 15 edition of The Daily, Sentinel cited the achievement of CMU defensive end, Connor Wright – selected as a First-Team All-American in Division II. What was notable about the piece was Wright’s stated desire to make his coach, Joe Ramunno proud.

This deference of CMU athletes to Ramunno is not unique. Clearly his players respect him and love him as he does them. Having had the privilege to introduce Ramunno at an event last year, I called him a dinosaur. People giggled. I was serious. Joe Ramunno is one of the few coaches who care more about his players being good students and quality human beings than he does about winning. He works hard to teach life’s lessons through football and is a very successful educator.

This quality doesn’t resonate well with academic institutions that see winning programs as a necessary revenue source, a means to keep alumni involved and Trustees happy. That is today’s filter for success. We have seen a lot of that concept gone wrong of late – witness USC, Ohio Sate and Penn State.

Call me old school. Coach Ramunno is a good man, good coach and winner – ask those that know best – his players and their parents. They will speak of his greatness as a man, not his won – loss record. He may not be the right coach, for CMU at the moment - that is not the point. He did well, however, in a situation where he could award only15 scholarships as opposed to the 25 scholarship players allowed by much of his competition. That gap is huge.

Joe Ramunno is a class act. Future coaching assignments will see him transition “kids” into responsible well-grounded men. Like most, I wish him continued success. One can only hope that this species of dinosaur never disappears.

Grand Junction

Council is seeking too much power

For years I have felt that if you are unhappy about how your elected officials are doing their job, then come up with a better solution and get involved. The result has been considerable involvement in my local governments where ever I have lived. Upon moving to Grand Junction, I found it to be in a reasonably good situation, and was well run — with a few exceptions. So, I decided to not get involved beyond exercising my right to vote.
Unfortunately we seem to have elected a City Council that has other ideas. They seem to want to govern, and that is not their job. Their task is to provide guidance, approval and disapproval of how the city administration does their job. On the surface, it would seem that is what they are doing with the firing of Laurie Kadrich.
Read between the lines, and they want; more control, more say about how things are done, to be involved in more of the day to day operation of the city and become a governing body, administrative body, and a controlling body. None of this fits into their job description. That is the reason the city hires a professional administrator to handle the day-to-day management of the city. This person then retains other professional department heads to run their departments.
If the City Council choose to go this route, then they need to: quit their day jobs, each take on the responsibility of four or five city departments, (eliminating the department heads), turn the running of the city into a full-time job and show all the voters just how good at governing and administrating they can be.
Unfortunately, this comes real close to the czar system Obama has set up at the federal level. People who do not know what they are doing; running the show, making rules and thinking they are doing what is best for all people. I suggest voters examine Obama’s czar program and how effective it has been before they sign off on this real stupid move recently made by the City Council.
Perhaps it is time to once again get involved?
Grand Junction

Land swap would hurt hunters

The proposed Bear Ranch land exchange above Paonia Reservoir would be a blow to hunters. The swap would turn 1846 acres of BLM land that is contiguous to National Forest, over to billionaire Bear Ranch owner Bill Koch.

In trade the public would acquire 911 acres of land along Blue Mesa Reservoir and 80 acres of land in Dinosaur National Monument in Utah. Additionally, Koch would fund the improvement of an ATV access trail and construction of a new mountain biking trail in the Roadless National Forest adjacent to the Raggeds Wilderness area near the ranch.

Currently there is one trail through this Roadless area that bikers, ATVs, hikers, horseback riders and hunters share. Most of the time the trail receives light to moderate use, though it is popular with hunters in the fall as it is excellent elk habitat.

The swap would eliminate 1846 acres of good, mid-elevation, shrub, habitat, public, hunting grounds. The 991 acres of parcels to be acquired by the public will not be open to hunting as they will be within a Monument and a National Recreation Area. Also, with the loss of the 1846 BLM acres will go the loss of a public access road and dispersion point into the Roadless National Forest.

Construction of approximately five miles of new bike trail that would roughly parallel the existing, motorized trail would degrade habitat and hunting quality on thousands of acres of the National Forest. The sizable elk herd in this area already has a tendency to move from the Forest onto the Bear Ranch during the height of the hunting seasons, but compound the added trail traffic with the expanded private lands and the elk herd will more than ever get pressured off of public lands and become inaccessible on the private

The land swap requires an act of Congress. The well-funded Bear Ranch lobbying team is moving towards getting a bill introduced in the 2012 congress. Congressman Scott Tipton will be a key player in whether or not this happens. Also our senators would have to introduce a companion bill in the Senate.

Hunters, let your voices be heard.


Whining won’t help LOC get leg of bike race

As Ronald Reagan famously quipped to a presidential debate opponent who continually raised the same point: “There you go again.” So the blame game begins anew, this time led by Scott Mercier, chair of the Grand Junction Local Organizing Committee which submitted an unsuccessful bid to host a leg of the 2012 Pro Bicycle Challenge.

At least he is consistent – the Colorado National Monument and National Park Service are to blame and have been the target of LOC vilification for nearly two years. Once the finger-pointing stops, the LOC may have a better chance to win a future leg of this race, since race organizer Medalist Sports probably wants nothing to do with a committee that uses heavy-handed tactics to bully and disrespect the park service and its management, including threatening legal action.

Mercier and other LOC members would benefit from re-reading NPS regulations and the correspondence between the monument, NPS and LOC which clearly outlines the reasons for denying a for-profit event in a national park or monument.

Mercier might also note there is no inconsistency in NPS applying these regulations. For the 2011 Pro Challenge and again in 2012, no leg will go through a national park or monument. An apparently clueless and puzzled chairperson should do more homework and conduct a more effective post-mortem as to why Grand Junction’s bid was denied and how to better present a bid for 2013.

Interestingly, the Pro Challenge CEO indicated exclusion of the monument had nothing to do with the decision. Twenty four cities bid for a race leg; only twelve were selected. Are other LOCs whining as loudly as ours? It is also noteworthy that Montrose did not rely on a route through Black Canyon of the Gunnison to win their leg of the race. The case to run the race through the monument should be closed forever.

A more positive outcome can only be achieved when the LOC takes responsibility and understands that Grand Junction was in stiff competition for a leg of the 2012 race and we just didn’t win it this time.

Grand Junction

EPA should work with industry, not against

Like Sue Benjamin, whose thoughtful letter was published in The Daily Sentinel on Dec. 16, I grew up, went to college and lived and worked in Pittsburgh, Penn. Like her, I fondly remember a friendly, healthy and fun-filled time. Of course, the city is cleaner now than it was, the steel mills are no longer there and neither are the high-paying jobs.

I agree with Ms. Benjamin that the EPA seems to be accountable to no one and is over-regulating industry and our lives. Wouldn’t it be better if the EPA not try to regulate our industries out of existence, but work with them to keep their workers employed?


Endorsements for Newt

Every time I read another negative comment about Newt coming from a present or former congressperson, I can’t help but look upon it as an endorsement. Anyone who can alienate so many people serving in Congress can’t be all bad.

Grand Junction


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