Email Letters: July 25, 2017
Don’t gut the Johnson Amendment
If House Republicans succeed in their efforts to gut the Johnson Amendment, it would open the door for big money donors and political interest groups to pressure and manipulate our nation’s churches and charities.
Without this amendment, big donors would have free reign to use institutions meant for the social good to funnel unlimited amounts of money into political elections in secret – and get a tax break for doing it.
The Johnson Amendment is crucial to uphold the integrity of our churches, our charities and our elections. This is why House Republicans should not gut it!
BETSY A. LEONARD
There is no real morality without God to compare ourselves to
David Brooks’ editorial in the July 16 Daily Sentinel speaks of the “moral vacuum” in the house of Trump as if this moral vacuum is something abnormal. He drives this thought home by saying, “It takes generations to hammer ethical considerations out of a person’s mind.” He speaks of the “normal human yearning to be good” and the “normal human instinct for kindness” as if these are normal attributes.
There is no real morality without God to compare ourselves to. Our whole society is saturated with immorality. Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. The press has become corrupted by its power to frame our thinking. Kings were corrupted by their power to kill or imprison or tax or sexually abuse their subjects. Indians were corrupted by their power to steal from and kill weaker neighboring tribes. Powerful nations are corrupted by their power to bully and kill people of weaker nations. Governments are corrupted by their power to issue worthless paper as money. Voters are corrupted by their power to choose representatives that change the laws concerning killing babies, sexual promiscuity, homosexuality, drugs, and other laws that frame social morality. Lying and cheating are only considered immoral if you get caught. Ask the “normal” taxpayer. Ask Volkswagon and the big banks. Ask the myriads of businesses that create products with planned obsolescence.
Mr. Brooks is correct on one thought, wrong on another. Three generations ago we took God out of our schools, out of our courts, and out of the social consciousness. Since then we have been hammering ethical considerations out of the American mind. We are suffering the consequences; from the top down, morality is abnormal. Human good and kindness are now abnormal. “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked.” (Jer. 17:9)
Contact CASA if you were the kind stranger referenced in You Said It
Thanks to the Daily Sentinel for continuing in their efforts to reduce child abuse in Mesa County by highlighting the Connecting for Kids training held last week.
A perfect example of this concept playing out in real life was shared in a You Said It comment last year. A young mom relayed an incident where she was leaving a store and trying to get her packages and kids in the car. The kids were not happy, and as she struggled to keep her composure while getting her kids to mind, a woman came by – a complete stranger – and made light of the situation while she assisted in getting the kids buckled in her car seats. In the You Said It, the young mom thanked the kind stranger, noting that by the time she left, she and her children were calm and ready for the drive home.
CASA of Mesa County
Gardner needs to give the facts, not generalizations, about proposed BLM move
In 2014 Cory Gardner was inducted into the Dirty Dozen program by the League of Conservation Voters. He earned a nine percent lifetime score on the National Environmental Scorecard, a non-partisan yardstick used to rate members of Congress on environmental issues. His current voting record keeps his membership firmly intact.
Two of his most recent votes include; voting to confirm Pruitt as head of the EPA when Pruitt’s record shows him to have undermined the protection of the environment; and voting against the Methane Gas Rule. These are the headline issues. Other votes show he is against mitigating impacts on fish and wildlife, attacking the Clean Water Rule, and not encouraging energy-efficient homes. The list goes on but my space in this letter cannot.
He is also on record and has voted that, while climate change is real, human actions do not significantly cause it.
So when he touts moving the BLM west I am suspicious. His campaign donors and allies include Club for Growth, the Koch Industries, Anadarko Petroleum, and Noble Energy.
Gardner stated in a recent article, “Every U.S. senator representing a Western state should want to give their constituents a louder voice when it comes to a federal agency’s decision-making process that directly impacts their constituent’s everyday lives.” While that sounds good on paper, Gardner himself does not practice open dialogue and town halls with his constituents.
Gardner also states, “…partisanship is on the rise in Washington, it is increasingly difficult to achieve real results…” He is leaving out the fact that his party controls Congress and his party owns the presidency. If Washington can’t manage the BLM in its current location under this scenario, how can relocation manage it better?
Gardner has dangled the possibility of the BLM move to Grand Junction. More local jobs could be a benefit to the move to Coloradans, but to be fair, the move might be better suited to northern Nevada if we are looking at proximity to the largest BLM area.
If any other senator proposed this legislation, I might give it clear consideration. But coming from Senator Gardner, I need non-partisan transparency, facts and a clear reason to make a move. Give me the facts and not generalizations. What would be achieved with this proposed move?
Pointless to research ways to make coal usage and mining better as coal is not here to stay
I am writing in response to the previous article “Colorado acts where the U.S. won’t on climate change” by The Daily Sentinel published on July 13.
I completely agree with the decision of Governor John Hickenlooper to limit the carbon emissions of Colorado. It shows that despite our president’s efforts to deny that any climate crisis exists, we can still act on our own to lower emissions and pioneer renewable energy. However, I noticed that the previous editorial called for research in coal’s renewable energy. I disagree with this because coal jobs have been and will continue to decrease because coal is no longer an efficient or clean energy source. Take a look at a graph of the people employed by the coal industry over time and anyone can see that coal jobs have suffered huge losses over time.
Therefore, I see it as pointless to research ways to make coal usage and mining better because coal is not here to stay. It would be more beneficial to start a government program dedicated to retraining coal miners into occupations that will not go out of business anytime in the near future. This would ensure that the miners would have a job to go to when they are laid off. Some programs already exist but they are independent. Furthermore, their cause is not helped by Trump cutting off government funding from these programs. Programs like Bit Source retrained miners by teaching them coding and by the end they were able to code for software companies. It is these industries that we must set store by. The software industry is one of the fastest growing employers in the United States, which means that there is a shortage of jobs that could easily be filled by former miners.
This evidence points to a conclusion that we must lobby and write to our representatives in order to make sure that miners will still contribute to the economy and have work. We can also donate to programs dedicated to the retraining and teaching of miners. Instead of trying to compete with the federal government, see what you can do in your own state, county, or town. As you take these actions, keep in mind that this will benefit you in the long run because you are helping to preserve the Earth.
We should be behind states declining to send voter information
I’m 100 percent behind the states that declined to send voters information to the Trump administration; that information could very well be forwarded to Russia. By the way, does Vladimir Putin have something so bad on Donald Trump that Trump is speculating firing Jeff Sessions (Attorney General), Rod Rosenstein (Deputy AG) and Special Counsel Robert Mueller, and also thinking of pardoning everyone?
Zinke and administration need to stand up for our public lands
While serving as a U.S. Army sniper in Iraq, who enlisted from the Western Slope of Colorado, I thought a lot about returning to my beautiful home in the Rockies. The sagebrush sea is my backyard and part of my identity. It represents the ‘”and of the free” I swore an oath to protect. That includes protecting the entire ecosystem that preserves our way of life.
Unfortunately, Department of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is threatening all of that. Just last month, Secretary Zinke released a Secretarial Order that endangers the sagebrush steppe ecosystem, the habitat sage-grouse depend on, and puts the needs of oil and gas lobbyists ahead of Coloradans. Through a long and collaborative process, stakeholders across the West – including governors, business leaders, ranchers, sportsmen, industry officials, veterans, and conservationists – finalized a conservation plan that protects the sage-grouse, bolsters the local economy, and preserves our national heritage. I’ve made great sacrifices for this country, Secretary Zinke’s actions threaten to undermine those sacrifices should he ultimately dismantle the management plans that are helping wildlife and local economies thrive.
Across 11 western states, more than 350 species call the sagebrush steppe ecosystem home. Historically, Western communities have depended on these landscapes and will continue to do so for generations to come – unless Sec. Zinke gets his way and sells our national heritage off to oil and gas companies.
At this crucial time for our public lands the Bureau of Land Management, the agency responsible for overseeing our public lands, is without a director. Zinke’s Secretarial Order takes direct action that would potentially gut the conservation plans and open them up for review. The last thing our state and communities need is an agency in Washington – that’s still finding its footing –conducting a rushed, internal “review” process, and substituting the judgment of special interests and politicians for years of hard work and investment by stakeholders across 11 states.
One of the reasons that sage-grouse conservation plans were so successful is that, from the beginning, they were locally driven. Stakeholders from across the West worked together to find common sense solutions to a problem that threatens their livelihood. They recognized the need to protect sage-grouse habitat because what happens to the sage-grouse and its ecosystem effects Westerns everywhere.
The sage-grouse habitat is so much more than the home of one funny-looking bird – Western economies depend on these landscapes for the outdoor recreation and tourism sectors, which totals $1 billion dollars in economic output each year. Sec. Zinke’s attempt to reevaluate and potentially weaken these sage-grouse conservation plans is a slap in the face to Coloradans who rely on the sage-grouse fueled economy.
Sec. Zinke should listen to leaders like Governor Hickenlooper and other Western stakeholders and leave the conservation plans intact. He inherited policies that were well on their way to making our public lands and waters work better for everyone, but now he’s creating uncertainty for industries and communities that need to plan for a prosperous future and for veterans like me who rely on recreation on our public lands to transition back to life as a civilian. We have fought for and protected our lands for centuries and Sec. Zinke and this administration need to stand up for our public lands, not bend to the wishes of corporate polluters and CEOs.