Email letters, June 27,  2013

First Amendment guarantees panhandlers’ free speech rights

As we are on extreme ends of the political spectrum, I seldom read Rick Wagner’s column. However, the headline on his June 20 column caught my eye. After reading his vitriolic diatribe, I felt the need to respond.

Wagner, don’t blame the city Council (past or present), the city manager (past or present or the chief of police (past or present) for the lack of a strict panhandling law. Put the blame where it really belongs, on the First Amendment of United States Constitution that guarantees freedom of speech. This has been upheld by many Supreme Court rulings.

If Grand Junction City Council members were to consider such a law, it had better be one that is within the framework of the First Amendment, or I am sure there will be a lawsuit brought against the city.
As long as the panhandler does not accost you, touch you or get in your face and is on public property, the panhandler has every right to fly his or her sign or extend a hand and/or hat for an offering. 

I am sure there are laws in the Grand Junction law books that cover this sort of thing. So, if you were disturbed or frightened by noises in the night or offended by someone asking for a handout, call 911. Their response time is excellent.

WILLIAM S. ROBINSON
Grand Junction

Telluride aviator’s story was just routine event to other pilots

A wedding shower recently for one of my flight students included as guests a retired airline captain along with five other pilots (including three instructors), five mechanics, an aviation writer and an airport manager who collectively have logged around 100,000 hours of flight time. The topic of the day was the “life-saving” hoax in the news. This story had all the elements of an April Fool’s joke.

It is a mystery to most that the Telluride pilot ever obtained a license and sign-off to fly the high-performance Bonanza he was in. His life was never in danger according to the facts offered, and the TSA rep should have just had the pilot call the tower.

TSA reps are not usually pilots. Nothing merited concern or an emergency once the gear down was confirmed. All private pilots are tested on loss of communication rules as well as relevant systems (landing gear for main circuit breaker?).

I would guess that about 80 percent of the pilots or planes today have some form of GPS for basic navigation, usually a GPS or an iPad with a navigation program, one of which this pilot had. These are vastly more helpful than older standard navigation equipment. Grand Junction is not difficult to locate, day or night, even without a map.

It is embarrassing to have such a nonevent in aviation published as if there had been some legitimate danger and rescue. There are so many incompetent actions in the entire sequence that space does not justify the list. The worst that could happen was to make a gear-up landing. They are noisy and expensive, but injuries are virtually unknown, and his gear was down, anyway.

One of the guest pilots owned a virtually identical Bonanza for 37 years and just shook his head in disbelief at the event.

To be credited with saving a life, one of the basic criteria is that the life would have been lost without outside intervention. This would have been a minor event to most pilots. Many planes have no electrical or navigation equipment at all, except a simple magnetic compass required by law in all aircraft.

With due respect to the sincere efforts of the TSA rep, this pilot’s life was never in danger and therefore not subject to being saved. We certainly do not fault him for anything he did, and it was proper procedure to ask the tower for a gear check, something done frequently. While we are pleased that all turned out well, we just can’t believe it made any news.

DONALD R. GEDDES, CFI
Crawford

Supreme Court decision marks ‘new day’ for gay rights

This week, our Supreme Court selectively applied its “standing” doctrine to issue four “landmark” decisions – three of which incrementally advanced our nation toward “a more perfect union.”


On Monday, having accepted the complaint of an academically unqualified plaintiff, it ruled that “affirmative action” admissions criteria at public universities require “strict scrutiny” – proof that considering race as a factor in admitting students is both “narrowly tailored” and the “least restrictive” way to further “a compelling governmental interest” (i.e., student body diversity).


On Tuesday, it disingenuously departed from well-established precedent by gratuitously granting “standing” to another dubious plaintiff that had not exhausted available remedies under the Voting Rights Action of 1965 and by substituting its factual judgment for that of Congress.  By eviscerating the VRA’s “pre-clearance” requirement, the Supreme Court has reopened our elections to the chicanery of state/local authorities seeking to perpetuate “white” political power by denying minority voters “equal protection under the laws.”


On Wednesday, it ruled that the “one man, one woman” provision of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act violates the Fourteenth Amendment by discriminating against GLBT citizens whose marriages are legally recognized in any of the several states.


Also on Wednesday, it held that proponents of California’s Mormon-backed “one man, one woman” Proposition 8 lacked legal “standing” to defend its constitutionality because – contrary to oft-repeated religiously-based arguments — “same-sex marriage” does not harm anyone, much less “concretely injured” them.


In 2007, the walls of our public library were desecrated by religiously-motivated anti-gay placards – quoting Leviticus to virulently disparage same-sex families.  The Supreme Court has now disassociated the sacramental traditions of heterosexual marriage from the constitutional privileges and immunities to which LGBT citizens are equally entitled.


Thus, just as we now have a bright new public library, so, too, dawns a bright “new day” for gay rights.


BILL HUGENBERG                 
Grand Junction

Two mayors disagree with Scott’s views on Thompson Divide

It is unfortunate that in a recent column state Rep. Ray Scott characterized Gov. Hickenlooper’s support for a balanced, middle-road solution to protect the Thompson Divide as siding with the “well-financed environmental lobby against the people of Western Colorado.”

We appreciate Scott’s concern for our interests. We have no reason to believe it is not genuine, which is why he should rest assured that the governor’s support for the Thompson Divide puts him squarely on the side of the citizens, ranchers, sportsmen, local governments and counties in our region.

The Thompson Divide supports nearly $30 million in annual economic activity and nearly 300 existing jobs in this rural area of the state. That is exactly why a broad, bipartisan coalition of community members – farmers,
ranchers, outdoor enthusiasts and small business owners – supports efforts to protect their economic interests in this very special place.

Furthermore, the bill Scott refers to as the cause for his consternation is far from the environmentalist pipe dream he claims it to be. It is a balanced, middle-road solution that respects private property rights and existing rights while acknowledging local concerns about the long-term economic needs of our communities.

Scott may claim to speak for the “people of Western Colorado,” but when it comes to the Thompson Divide, we must submit that he does not speak for us. Hickenlooper and Sen. Michael Bennet have taken the time to listen to our community, and we deeply appreciate their decision to stand with us.

MAYOR LEO MCKINNEY
Glenwood Springs
MAYOR STACEY BERNOT
Carbondale

There’s no need for Communist Party to take over

A month before the attacks of September 11th on New York City and other sites, they were predicted quite accurately. On Bill O’Reilly’s show on FOX News the London subway bombings were predicted and said they would happen within one week. O’Reilly laughed out loud. Hmmm.

Both of these predictions and more were made by an Israeli, Juval Aviv. His involvement in the Munich terrorist events during the Olympic games is legendary. He suggests we all prepare for a very different world of the future, with
suicide bombers the normal occurrence unless we become far more vigilant than we are.

We have one of the most irresponsible and crooked organizations of government about to take over our health care at this president’s decree. We have our own government spying on us, against the laws set down in the
Constitution. We have a man in office who has lied repeatedly to Congress under oath — oh, wait, more than one man, including the anointed one for which we must be eternally grateful because “he” captured Osama Bin Laden?

When we can’t answer questions honestly without incriminating ourselves, these same two claim presidential privilege and forget who got killed. After our brave men in Benghazi were killed and dragged through the streets, we are unable to even remember where we were and what we were doing? Or why we were too stupid to send someone to help them? Apparently, “it just doesn’t matter.”

Next on the agenda, it would seem, is to take 12 (though I’ll wager closer to 20) million illegals and make them Democratic voters. I watched a news report of a reporter in Illinois who taped men telling of how they claimed their whole village in Mexico as dependents and received more than $10,000 back in tax refund. They laughed at how Uncle Sam wouldn’t touch them. When the reporter went to Washington and was turned away from the IRS, he was given no reason.

I watched as an illegal alien was put into handcuffs and loaded into a van. He looked right at the camera and laughed, “Obama will set me free in two days. I’ll be back.” 

Be vigilant, America, it’s already started. The Communist Party doesn’t have to promote its agenda any more. The Democrats have adopted it.

RICHARD BRIGHT

Grand Junction

Supreme Court’s decision may put us into ‘Brave New World’

With Wednesday’s Supreme Court ruling regarding California’s Proposition 8 that no citizen (aka subject) of a state has legal standing to defend a portion of his state’s constitution, have we entered a ‘Brave New World’ of so-called law, where any group with a “bee-in-its-bonnet” can now attack any section of a state’s constitution, up to and including its bill of rights, and, with the collusion of a single federal judge, the state’s governor and its attorney general, delete the desired section (maybe even retroactively)?

Is this “the broad path cut through the law” of which Sir/Saint Thomas More (in “A Man for All Seasons”) warned, or is it an expressway?

RUSSELL W. HAAS
Golden

In decision on gay marriage, high court ignored important precedents

The Supreme Court majority by its decision Wednesday announced again it is divorced from the fundamental law: “Religion, morality and knowledge being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind…” as noted in Article III of the Northwest Ordinance.

Likewise, the majority ignored the precedent of Murphy v. Ramsey and Others (1885), which rightly defined marriage as the union between a man and a woman in the holy estate of matrimony.

I can recall the late Robert H. Bork publishing in “The Tempting of America” that “when Constitutional law is judge-made, and not rooted in the text or structure of the Constitution, it does not approach illegitimacy, it is illegitimate, root and branch.”

After reading Bork’s book and finding Justice Scalia resonated as more reasoned than anything in the majority, I am then reminded of the Acts of the Apostles and the legal defense of Peter and the other apostles before the Temple Court (Acts 5:29f): “We ought to obey God, not man.”

The Magdeburg Confession in April 1550 was in response to the Augsburg Interim by the Holy Roman emperor, Charles V. On the Right to Rebel against Governors, a sermon by Samuel West in 1776, and similar political sermons of the American founding era inspired laws and good government. We should not forget Grotius, Locke and Blackstone, as these European writers influenced our American system. See James Wilson’s lectures on law at the College of Philadelphia.

Marriage is and will ever remain the union of a man and a woman in the holy estate of matrimony. Anything else is not marriage. It may be fraud, or an abomination, sinning before the Lord, fornication and adultery, or rebellion against God.

When the state (or its agent, the Supreme Court) makes law contrary to the laws dictated by God himself, it lacks authority. And I will obey God, not the state.

ROBERT JAMES BURKHOLDER
Fruita

Snowden’s only recourse was to leak to American citizens

As a member, long ago, of the U.S. Armed Forces, I took an oath to preserve and protect the Constitution of the United States. Every judge, political office holder, governor, member of Congress and president of the United States also took the same oath. So did Edward Snowden.

Anyone advocating Snowden “go up the chain of command” to John Clapper, head of the National Security Agency, or Attorney General Eric Holder, both whom intentionally lied to Congress, has to have rocks in his or her head. 

No one in the NSA, the CIA and the administration or those on either the House or Senate Intelligence (oxymoron here) Committees believe that they’re doing anything wrong, simply because they passed a law or laws that are in conflict with the Constitution. Snowden had no choice but to go to the American people.

The recent IRS illegal abuses to intentionally target anyone that openly supports the Constitution or calls himself or herself a patriot or supports the Tea Party clearly illustrates the point. The illegal viewing of the Republican presidential candidate’s tax records without his permission by Harry Reid is another example.

The Fourth Amendment in the Bill of Rights states: “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

The Fourth Amendment is very clear. There shall be no blanket warrant but only one issued on “probable cause.” The NSA violated the Fourth Amendment. It was the duty of anyone aware to inform the American people.

Sen. Mark Udall (member of the Senate Intelligence Committee) was aware, but failed to inform his constituents of this gross violation — that is, until Snowden spilled the beans.

President Obama said, “Trust us” not to use the NSA for political purposes. He lost that trust by the actions of the IRS and by lying about Benghazi being about a B-grade movie instead of the preplanned terrorist attack he knew it to be.

The wholesale NSA spying on the American people in violation of the Fourth Amendment requires that it be dissolved as an illegitimate misuse of government power. Someone needs to go to jail but it isn’t Snowden. Clapper, Holder, Obama and Hillary would be a good start.

The Declaration of Independence states: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

Clearly stating the purpose of government is to secure our inalienable rights, something the present government seems hell-bent on destroying.

It is now clear what Obama meant by transforming the country: changing government from one of liberty and freedom as defined in the Constitution into one of tyranny and runaway unrestrained government. I oppose his goals and the shared goals of the Democratic Party with every fiber of my being.

Edward Snowden, in revealing just the latest trampling of the Constitution, has shown his bravery and loyalty to his oath and to the Constitution he swore to uphold. He is a true patriot.

I will and would hope you also will support (send money) to his legal defense fund if and when he is ever tried for espionage. A robust defense based on the Constitution would be a further education for all.

MIKE MASON

Grand Junction

 



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