Email letters, January 17, 2014

Clapper’s lying to Congress denigrates founders’ vision

Why should James Clapper, Obama’s director of National Intelligence, be prosecuted for lying to Congress about the NSA, which is a felony?

The central tenet of America’s founding was: The rule of law would be the equalizing force, the ultimate guardian of justice. We’re all equal before the law.

Justice is blind. No man is above the law. We are, in the words of John Adams, “a nation of laws, not men.”

Our founders considered inequality to be inevitable. Some would be rich; many would not. Some would achieve great power; most would not. Some individuals would be naturally endowed by God with unique and extraordinary talent, while most people would be “ordinary.”

Thomas Jefferson wrote of “a natural aristocracy” among men, based upon “virtue and talents.” The one exception was the rule of law: the “level playing field,” a universal set of rules. It was, in the words of attorney and journalist Glenn Greenwald, “the nonnegotiable prerequisite that made all other forms of inequality acceptable.”

The founders believed that only if everyone operated under the same rules would outcome inequality be just. To the founders, nothing constituted a greater threat to our republic than to allow this inequality of wealth or power to determine the treatment of citizens before the law.

The law can ensure that the elites are subjected to its dictates on equal terms with the powerless. Jefferson argued that the essence of America was that “the poorest laborer stood on equal ground with the wealthiest millionaire.” Thomas Paine wrote that “the true and only true basis of representative government” is equal application of the law to all citizens: rich and poor, strong and weak, elites and peons, homeowners and renters.

Without equal application of the laws, Ben Franklin warned that society would fracture into two tiers: the “favored” and the “oppressed.” The result would be “great and violent jealousies and animosities” between these classes.

Equal application of the law to our financial and political elites is a prerequisite for a free and cohesive society. James Madison wrote that it is “one of the strongest bonds by which human policy can connect the rulers and the people together” and warned that once it’s missing “every government degenerates into tyranny.”

LEE MULCAHY
Aspen

Sentinel urged to investigate real street price of marijuana

Two (more) articles concerning marijuana appeared on Thursday’s front page. The price of pot in our state-approved marijuana stores is up to $400 an ounce. Add to that the 25 percent tax, and the price is up to $500 an ounce.

The main reason I voted to legalize pot was my natural libertarian tendencies, but another reason was to get pot off the street. Of course, the first thing politicians saw was just a new way to tax us ... for a good cause, of course. We’ll tax for schools, for kids, for parks, for “puppies and kittens.” Tax for things that nobody can seriously oppose. Tax, tax, tax! It seems that all our elected officials ever give a damn about is extracting money from our wallets and purses. Solving a real problem? They seem to be incapable of dealing with that.

I am asking (challenging) The Daily Sentinel to do a real article on marijuana. Tell us what the street dealers are selling pot for. That’s the secret subject that nobody wants to discuss. Selling pot in our approved marijuana stores for more than it goes for on the street will not end our marijuana “problem.”

The real marijuana problem? Street dealers have a built in incentive to “push” their clients onto hard drugs where the profits are greater. It’s why they are called “pushers.” Getting casual pot smokers out of the clutches of the pushers is another reason I voted to legalize marijuana.

Please, investigate this subject and inform us, your readers, as to what the real street price of marijuana is today. This is the only way we can judge how effective these state-approved marijuana stores will be in getting pushers off the street. This is the “untouchable” subject we need you to report on.

ALEXANDER G. WALKER
Fruita

Governor’s emphasis on water conservation heartens young farmers

In Gov. John Hickenlooper’s State of the State address Jan. 9, he took time to mention the importance of water, and he more than placed an emphasis on water conservation. The need to seriously consider conservation does not only apply to cities, but is one way to prevent buy-and-dry of our agricultural lands, which the governor pointed to as a priority.


This year Colorado will complete a draft of its state water plan that will lay out the water management policies to guide our future. At the National Young Farmers Coalition, we want to be sure the plan supports — rather than hinders — the next generation of farmers. Our organization works to ensure the success of young and beginning farmers at home and across the nation. How we manage our water will be one of the most pressing issues defining the success of young farmers. But without healthy sources of water keeping our agricultural communities alive, the tests of the future may prove too big for us to bear.


For that reason, we are especially heartened by the governor’s additional words in Grand Junction the next day about prioritizing water conservation, specifically on the Front Range, and for Mesa County Commissioner Steve Acquafresca’s firm stand on disallowing additional transmountain diversions.


To be leaders in our own water future, we need to do as much as we can with innovative technologies, smart management and incentivized efficiency and conservation measures to ensure enough water for our farms and the river systems on which they depend. When the governor says, “No matter where we live, we cannot afford to let our farm and ranch land dry up,” we trust that he understands this, as well.


KATE GREENBERG
Western Organizer
National Young Farmers Coalition
Durango

Family of Randy Cook, who was loved by many, deserves justice

I know you must be getting an enormous number of letters that look identical to one another as far as the character of Randy Cook. It is true; Randy was “one of a kind.” He was a wonderful person who had a charismatic personality with which everyone fell in love.

I have known Randy for a very long time … as many people have. Randy was friendly and kind to everyone who came across his path, and he never had an unkind word to say about anyone, even if hurt by them.

His mother and I were just having this conversation about Randy when I saw the whole family in Las Vegas in November. She expressed how proud she was of all her sons, but she was saying specifically how Randy never says anything bad about anyone and that he has a big heart. He was loved and adored by too many people to count and understandably so. If you knew Randy, you know exactly what I am talking about.

What happened to Randy is heartbreaking. The fact that no arrest has been made is infuriating.  His family is heartbroken and now mourning the loss of Randy. It will be very difficult for them to be without him, but even more difficult to deal with the fact that there is no justice for the unfortunate way he was taken from them.

I, for one, will never forget Randy because he is without a doubt “unforgettable,” and I know hundreds and hundreds of people who feel as I do. I hope the media can help members of the Cook family get the justice they deserve … the justice Randy deserves.

Randy always had a smile on his face and was a friend to everyone. I hope and pray that law enforcement personnel uncover the evidence they need in order to make an immediate arrest to help give the family the peace that they deserve for their beloved Randy.

TRACY MAEZ
Alta Loma, Calif.

‘Student of the Week’ often comes from traditional family


I was pleased to read Kathleen Parker’s column on Thursday,  “Encouraging marriage is a key tool in fighting the War on Poverty.”  How courageous of her to go against the politically correct ideas of our time with regard to the traditional norms that have been so effective in the past, contributing in a major way to the backbone and strength of our country.


Also, I always look forward to reading “The Student of the Week” article in the Sentinel, and I have noticed that the student and parents almost always, if not always, have the same last name. This tells me that the student is the product of the traditional nuclear family that shares the love, concern and ideals necessary to raise children in spite of the sacrifices, selflessness and commitment a marriage requires.


Kids today need to be impressed with the knowledge that before dropping their pants, marriage comes before sex, and it is followed by children and the adult obligations that raising them requires.


It would be a valuable service to the community if The Daily Sentinel would mine the Student of the Week data and publish it in lieu of the incessant fixation on dope and how dope increases the wealth of the lice of society, which prospers from its sale while effecting the dumbing-down of America.


ROBERT A. TALLARICO
Grand Junction

Cook case worthy of a full investigation

Please assign someone to investigate the Randy Cook case. Run a story demanding answers.

Witnesses have called Sgt. Norcoss trying to give more information, and she has been reportedly rude to them. Investigators haven’t re-interviewed anyone there that night who was too upset to interview. The DA hasn’t fully reviewed the case but is already making assumptions about the difficulty of the case and how hard it is to prove because of the “Make My Day” law.

We just want a full investigation and justice. We would have more faith in the investigators if they would actually talk to the witnesses who are calling them. They want to tell their story. Please help us put pressure on them.

JESSICA MORRIS

Grand Junction



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