Email letters, Nov. 11, 2011

Wars involving Americans should be a priority

On Aug. 16 we buried my father, a World War II veteran. In his effects, we discovered several citations and medals that we never knew about. When he told us war stories, they were about funny incidents. He didn’t talk about the bad experiences which were the ones where he most likely earned those citations and medals.

I have read and heard it said that my dad’s generation went to war considering it a job that needed done; and when it was done, they came home and got on with their lives. They did not feel the need to advertise the fact that they were veterans, unlike veterans of more recent wars.

When my father served in World War II, the whole country was involved. The whole country sacrificed. The whole country kept up with the war news. The media reported on the war constantly. People used ration books and stamps to get gasoline, sugar, tires, and any number of other items that were scarce or sometimes impossible to get. Men went off to war and women ran the farms. Women joined the armed forces and performed vital combat support roles. Women went to work in the factories and produced thousands of planes and tanks and uncounted tons of ammunition. Involvement in World War II was nationwide and the entire population took part.

Today, we have soldiers in harm’s way in Iraq and Afghanistan. The enemy is vicious and fights with no honor. He doesn’t wear a uniform so he can be identified; in fact, he hides behind scarves. He doesn’t just attack armed forces, he kills women and children and other civilians. I agree with people who say that we should not be fighting in those countries. But, at the same time, I firmly believe that if our military were not fighting over there, we could very easily be fighting here. None of the deaths or injuries have been in vain.

I wondered how many soldiers we lost on the day of my father’s funeral. I had to look it up and it wasn’t easy to find. There were three American soldiers who died that day in Afghanistan. That may not sound like many, but I assure you the families of those men don’t care if “only” three died. Their lives have been irreparably altered.

During World War II, the whole country was at war. In conflicts since then, the whole country is barely involved. Every newspaper in the country should have a casualty count right under the banner. Every local, state and national television newscast should start their news program with a casualty count.

Then maybe these veterans can come home, consider they did a job that needed done, and get on with their lives.

On this Veterans Day, let’s make America’s wars a nationwide priority again.

KAREN MARTY
Hotchkiss


This is in reference to the article in the Post Independent about a presentation by Garfield County to the EAB concerning the fact that Garfield County is flush with cash because of the taxes paid by the energy industry.

Regarding the comments about the Health Impact Assessment (HIA), it should be pointed out that the county funded only a draft of the HIA and that the three elected public servants on the Board of County Commissioners refused to use some of the cash to fund a final report of the HIA which has left it in a state of limbo and unfinished.

An assumption can be made that this was done because the drilling companies were not pleased with an HIA that indicated that there were many health and other risks connected with drilling activities within the confines of a heavily populated area like Battlement Mesa.

Regarding the comments by Mesa county Commissioner Craig Meis, concerning the large amount of taxes assessed on the personal property of the energy companies, he conveniently omitted the fact that these taxes are credited against the state severance taxes which results in Colorado having one of the lowest effective tax rates on the oil and gas industry in the country.

GARRY EVENSON
Battlement Mesa

Consider banning open burning

Please consider banning the burn. There are better and more environmentally friendly ways to get rid of yard clippings, garden clean up and left over field cuttings. They can be tilled into the ground, instead of being burned. Burning always causes air pollution, it smells terrible and makes it harder to breathe.

Re-training ourselves to be pro-active about taking care of our environment will create a win-win situation for all of us, now and for our children, in the future.

Breathe deeply and enjoy the ride.

BARBARA E PARISH
Grand Junction

Recent vote suggests people want services without having to pay

A letter to the editor on Nov. 11 specifies that the people have spoken regarding school funding. Unfortunately from my perspective what we said is that we want services from the school system we will not pay for. The cover for this perspective is that the shortfalls are a product of waste, fraud and bad leadership. No hard decisions are necessary.

I would suggest that fraud in the school system is minimalistic, waste is primarily a product of unfunded mandates imposed on the system and that on an everyday basis, the leadership is forced to cope with the bad hand they have been dealt.

Ultimately the school budget shortfall will not be met with elimination of waste and fraud, but from diminishment of core programs. Worse yet the hard pressed leadership will not be allowed to cut costs where they think most prudent, but from an analysis of where the mandates are the weakest. It has come to that.

JIM CAGNEY
Grand Junction

Congress has placed our sovereignty in hands of the elite

The arrogance of this administration is legion. This was demonstrated when the Democrats bribed, lied and forced Obamacare legislation through the Congress when the majority of our citizens opposed it. This legislation lent representative government a serious blow, and insult was added to injury with Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s comment that we had to pass it to find out what is in it. These are coercive fascist actions and attitudes, not the republican legislative process as envisioned by our founding fathers.

We are broke. Yet the U.S. government spent 5 percent more in fiscal year 2011 as it did in fiscual year 2010. Our government is failing us. The only fiscal year 2012 budget that tends to balance the budget, and that in a distant 10 years, is the Ryan Plan passed by the House. It was not even brought to a vote in the Senate by Leader Harry Reid. Because of their ineptitude and lack of courage our congressmen have instituted a super committee of only 12 members, meeting in secret, to reduce the deficit. This is legislation by an oligarchy and doomed to failure.

Only 12 of a total 535 members of Congress will determine the budget cuts. No Colorado Congressmen are on this committee so none of us are represented in one of the most critical decisions of our decade.

Where are the open committee hearings and a real political debate by our representatives with an opportunity for public comment? “We the People” are sovereign, and the U.S. Congress has taken our sovereignty and placed it in the hands of a dozen elites. This is secretive fascism, government by a chosen few, pure and simple. Our sovereignty has been stolen by the Washington elites and few seem to realize it, or care.

John Adams warned, “Liberty once lost, is lost forever.”

HANS CROEBER
Montrose

Protecting wilderness should be a bipartisan effort

I write to applaud Timothy Wirth’s Nov. 6 article on new wilderness designations. I want to reinforce the point that support for wilderness is consistent with support for economic enterprise.

We in Grand Junction know that JUCO is a major draw of visitors to our valley. I have a friends from Missouri who I met through JUCO. Their JUCO affiliation is over now. What’s going to bring them back to Grand Junction? The beauty of the desert that I was able to show them while they were here for JUCO. It will be the desire to see yet again our majestic desert creatures whether its the small but dramatic yellow-headed-collared lizard, the inquisitive prairie dog or the majestic big horned sheep.

By protecting our precious wild lands, we preserve such wild life that continues to entice repeat visitors to Colorado and other parts of the west. I also believe that support for wilderness can be, should be and is a bi-partisan issue. I’m not sure why so many people assume that support of wilderness is limited to members of the Democratic Party.

Look at Teddy Roosevelt. I’ve been delighted to meet members of Republicans for Environmental Protection (REP) here in Grand Junction. The San Juan Wilderness bill has wide support from groups such as western Colorado hunters and ranchers, many of whom I’d guess are life-long Republicans. Together we can and should protect the land that we love.

JANICE SHEPHERD, member
Great Old Broads for Wilderness
Grand Junction

Christmas shouldn’t be about sending our money to China

As the holidays approach, the giant Asian factories are kicking into high gear to provide Americans with monstrous piles of cheaply produced goods. Merchandise that has been produced at the expense of American labor. This year will be different. This year Americans will give the gift of genuine concern for other Americans. There is no longer an excuse that, at gift giving time, nothing can be found that is produced by American hands. Yes there is.

It’s time to think outside the box, people. Who says a gift needs to fit in a shirt box, wrapped in Chinese produced wrapping paper? Everyone —  yes everyone gets their hair cut. How about gift certificates from your local American hair salon or barber?

Gym membership? It’s appropriate for all ages who are thinking about some health improvement.

Who wouldn’t appreciate getting their car detailed? Small, American-owned detail shops and car washes would love to sell you a gift certificate or a book of gift certificates.

Are you one of those extravagant givers who think nothing of plonking down the Benjamins on a Chinese-made flat-screen? Perhaps that grateful gift receiver would like his driveway sealed, or lawn mowed for the summer or driveway plowed all winter or games at the local golf course.

There are a bazillion owner-run restaurants — all offering gift certificates. And, if your intended isn’t the fancy eatery sort, what about a half-dozen breakfasts at the local breakfast joint. Remember, folks this isn’t about big, national chains — this is about supporting your home town Americans with their financial lives on the line to keep their doors open.

How many people couldn’t use an oil change for their car, truck or motorcycle, done at a shop run by the American working guy?

Thinking about a heartfelt gift for mom? Mom would love the services of a local cleaning lady for a day.

My computer could use a tune-up, and I know I can find some young guy who is struggling to get his repair business up and running.

OK, you were looking for something more personal. Local crafts people spin their own wool and knit them into scarves. They make jewelry, and pottery and beautiful wooden boxes.

Plan your holiday outings at local, owner operated restaurants and leave your server a nice tip. And, how about going out to see a play or ballet at your hometown theatre?

Musicians need love too, so find a venue showcasing local bands.

Honestly, people, do you really need to buy another 10,000 Chinese lights for the house? When you buy a five-dollar string of lights, about fifty cents stays in the community. If you have those kinds of bucks to burn, leave the mailman, trash guy or babysitter a nice, big tip.

You see, Christmas is no longer about draining American pockets so that China can build another glittering city. Christmas is now about caring about us, encouraging American small businesses to keep plugging away to follow their dreams. And, when we care about other Americans, we care about our communities, and the benefits come back to us in ways we couldn’t imagine.

This is the new American Christmas tradition.

Forward this to everyone on your mailing list, post it to discussion groups, send it to the editor of your local paper and radio stations and TV news departments. This is a revolution of caring about each other and isn’t that what Christmas is about?

JAMES C. SPARKS
Grand Junction



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