Email Letters: October 12, 2016

Vote by conscience, not by your party line

I have been registered as an independent since I first voted in 1976, with two exceptions. In those exceptions I registered as a Republican so I could vote here in the local primaries. As you may have figured out over the years, that’s where local elections are usually decided here in Grand Junction.

I’m beginning to think that because of my 40 years as an independent I must be just plain ignorant or stupid – because I just don’t get it. I just can’t wrap my head around why obviously smart, successful and otherwise reasonable people here in Grand Junction vote for someone just because they have an “R” in front of their name.

In my 40 voting years I have participated in every presidential election, probably in every election, but I couldn’t swear to that (my memory is not that good). I have voted for Republicans and Democrats alike – I voted for whomever I felt demonstrated that they were the best man or woman for the job. I’m glad that I’m not saddled with an “R” or a “D” that guides my vote. I vote my conscience not by party line.

What keeps me banging my head against the wall is that there are still people that actually think that Donald Trump will make a good president just because he has an “R” in front of his name. Would not these very same people decry his tantrums, lack of respect for others, racism, lack of knowledge on vital issues and immorality as disqualifiers had he been labeled with an “L” Libertarian or even worse, a “D.” – You know darn well they would. They would be burning him at the stake!

It is way past the time for individuals to stand up for the real big “R.” Do what is “Right,” not what is “Republican.” Follow John McCain’s example; he put his morals, intelligence and clear judgment ahead of politics. He withdrew his endorsement of Donald Trump at risk to his own political future.

I do get it if you can’t vote for Clinton either; she has many shortcomings too (I don’t have room to get into them here).

Write in a candidate, vote for a third party candidate, skip voting for president but make sure your congressman and senators get your vote. Do any of these things, but keep your integrity, keep America’s integrity and do what is right, not what is Republican. Don’t vote for someone who you wouldn’t leave alone with your daughter much less represent our country – what an embarrassment that would be.


Grand Junction

Tell candidates to keep our public lands open

Over half of Colorado’s 919,000 sportsmen and women depend on public lands for access to some of the best fish and wildlife habitat on earth. Public lands are not only the headwaters to our vital water supply, conservation efforts and renewable resources but these magnificent lands also generate $3.45 billion in annual revenue and support over 200,000 jobs in Colorado. Federally managed public lands are the foundation to the booming recreation and tourism economy in many western slope communities.

As an outfitter in northwest Colorado, we depend on public lands to provide the quality experiences our clients are looking for. The opportunity to showcase this remote habitat, clean water, native fisheries and abundant wildlife to so many folks, adds value and credibility to our way of life on the west slope, that’s why I strongly oppose the transfer of national public lands to states. The serious truth is, Colorado and other western states don’t have the resources to properly manage these vast lands – the cost of fighting wildfires alone would bankrupt state agency budgets. The likely scenario to solve these budget deficits would be to sell our public lands to wealthy private interests – and lock them away from the public access.

As sportsmen and Americans, public lands are our birthright and the essential keystone to our freedom. This election season let the candidates know that you strongly oppose the transfer or sale of this uniquely American treasure – it’s your public land.


Trump will benefit the country in the long term

Two questions are at the core of the upcoming presidential election. They are:

Which candidate will benefit me in the short term?
Which candidate will benefit the country in the long term?

The answer to the first question is Hillary Clinton. This answer is clear because she knows how to use government to transfer wealth to herself and to her supporters by taking money from those who have it and giving it to those who want something for nothing. The problem with this short-term solution is that it impedes the creation of wealth and you eventually run out of someone else’s money. More troubling is the fact that after years of getting something for nothing individuals lose the skills required to earn money.

The answer to the second question is Donald Trump. The answer is clear because he understands how government can impede the creation of wealth and the most significant actions the president and Congress can take to remove those impediments.

Creating stability and minimizing uncertainty improve the climate for creating jobs, wealth, and prosperity. The unrest in our country and abroad increases the risk to entrepreneurs investing money in new ideas. We see the effect of this unrest in slow economic growth rates world wide, and increasingly risky financial maneuvers to prop up sagging economies.

Underneath this wet blanket lies a latent technology revolution that will propel our country and the world to levels of health, wealth, and prosperity so great they tax our imagination. The country that will benefit most from this revolution is the country with the fewest impediments to the creation of wealth.

Our electorate will decide which of these questions is most important. Most of the current political debate topics are irrelevant to understanding these questions.

Grand Junction

Do we really want a federally investigated Clinton as president?

How about an assumption? Let’s assume Hillary Clinton is elected as our president. She has been under investigation by the FBI for many months, utilizing the time and effort of 140 FBI agents. She is married to ex-president Bill Clinton, an impeached president who has also been disbarred from practicing law.

So, come Jan. 2017 we would have a federally investigated president, living with an impeached president, in your White House.

Is that what you really want?

Grand Junction

Vote no on ColoradoCare, socialism at its finest

ColoradoCare would impose the largest tax increase in state history and double the state budget by $25 billion. The $25 billion tax increase is about $5,000 per person, or $12,500 per household, and would give Colorado the highest combined income/employment taxes in the nation. More specifically, it will increase state taxes on employees at least 72 percent (and generally more), impose the ColoradoCare tax on all wage/income-earning members of a household, more than triple state taxes on non-wage income, and impose a 6.67 percent payroll tax on all employers, including small, locally owned businesses and farms. Amendment 69 will devastate these small entities or require them to lay off their employees. Bigger businesses and corporations will undoubtedly pass the new 6.67 percent employer tax along to consumers.

Most middle-income households are typically in a 15 or 25 percent federal income tax bracket. Combining that with the current state tax of 4.625 percent, the employee portion of social security and Medicare – i.e. 7.65 percent – and the ColoradoCare tax of 3.33 to percent, results in payroll and income taxes of 30 to 47 percent; roughly one-third to one half of income just for income taxes, before life’s necessities of food, housing, or even other taxes.

Coloradans will pay an estimated $2 billion/year for at least the next two years to “re-invent” the wheel and provide the administrative infrastructure, IT systems, provider contracts, and rate/payment systems that insurance companies and the federal government already have in place.

Unlike Obamacare, which allows one to keep his/her current health coverage, all residents pay the ColoradoCare tax, even if they prefer their current coverage. The tax is mandatory – no exceptions! However, without the mandatory requirement, such a proposed health plan would likely be declined by some (if not many) and thus become totally infeasible. Vote no on 69.


Americans must unite as a people, work for justice for all

What defines an American?

Like most, I am concerned about the upcoming election. With either candidate, we will see changes in our nation, some to our liking and others not. It occurs to me that what we are as Americans does not fundamentally depend upon the bureaucrats in Washington, but rather whom we choose to be as individuals. Historically, Americans have had faith in God, e.g., “In God We Trust,” and have shown love, kindness, goodness and generosity to others. And many of our finest have bled and died to defend those who needed our help. Because of our faith and the character of this nation, God has blessed us beyond measure.

I believe that who we are as Americans has been and will continue to be defined by who we are as individuals. My prayer for this nation is that we will love God with all our heart, mind, soul and strength, and love our neighbor as ourselves.

We all want to live in peace and safety. For that to occur, there must be justice for all. We must unite as a people and work for justice for everyone, regardless of the differences that now divide us. This is my hope for America.

Grand Junction

Thanks to Schwartz, voters have a real chance to change Congress

Our do-nothing Congress is dominated by politicians who have been bought and sold by special interests. If you need evidence, just look at the fact that our government is prohibited from negotiating with Big Pharma to bring down prescription drug prices, something that would save taxpayers untold amounts. The current Congress is more interested in protecting the special interests than in saving money and solving problems.

Thanks to the candidacy of Gail Schwartz, voters in the 3rd Congressional District have a real chance to change Congress. While serving in the Colorado Senate, Gail was responsible for passing some of the most significant legislation in the past decade, and the majority of the time she did so in a bi-partisan fashion. She has that rare blend of private and public experience that makes her independent, innovative and grounded in reality. As a former Mayor of a Western Slope city, I can tell you that Gail understands the economies of communities like ours and will work as hard as she can to improve the lives of ordinary Coloradoans.

In this year of troubling political choices, we have an extraordinary candidate in our midst. I hope that you will support Gail Schwartz for the 3rd Congressional District.


Voters left with the worst presidential choice in generations

The “mainstream media” are to be congratulated – and deplored. Their withholding of candidacy-killing information on Donald Trump until after his nomination, and their steady championing of Hillary Clinton in the face of mounting evidence of her long-term corruption have left American voters with the worst presidential choice in generations.

On the one hand, we have an unbalanced, misogynistic, ignorant, vulgar thug. On the other, we have a polished liar whose behavior over a generation has shown her also to be a misogynist, Machiavellian in the extreme, contemptuous of the most defenseless in our society and “everyday Americans,” and with a pattern of corruption and unethical behavior stretching back to her firing from the Watergate Committee. On the one hand, we have a candidate who speaks of disregarding civil liberties and who may get us into a war that would destroy civil society. On the other, we have a candidate who, if elected, is likely to appoint justices who would assure the ongoing murder of babies, and who would seek to deprive citizens of their fundamental constitutional rights; a candidate who sacrificed state secrets for the sake of her own “convenience” and, if truth be told, in order to hide her own lies, corruption and treason.

Our country finally looks to be getting what it deserves after decades of moral decay, a choice between two embodiments of great, not lesser evil. Media outlets such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, ABC, CBS, Fox News, MSNBC, NBC, NPR and PBS deserve full recognition for the major parts they have played in facilitating the progress toward the position in which we find ourselves today.

Grand Junction

Trump wants to be a dictator

He wants to be a dictator Those with hate in their brains and the weak-minded will follow the dictator wherever he wants them to go because their brains are so clouded with hate that they no longer function properly. He has already told them he wants to make a police state, so the police can stop and search anyone they want to any time. And then he wants to get rid of the military officers that do not agree with him. That way he thinks he will have all of the military behind him. That shows me that he want’s to be a dictator. Any one with any intelligence will see what he wants to be. He has said there will be a revolution if he loses. Isn’t that what a dictator would do?

He and Putin want to be dictators of the world. So if you want to be told what you can and cannot do and lose all your freedoms, then go ahead and vote for him. I do not want a dictator in the White House.


Grand Junction

Law allowing citizens to sue Saudi Arabia would have consequences

The majority leaders in Congress passed the 911 law allowing citizens to sue Saudi Arabia. Do they and Rep. Tipton realize that an Islamic country could enact a law allowing families that had a family member killed in a drone strike to sue the U.S.?

Do these “leaders” also realize that, since the law would be enacted in a foreign country, that country gets to say what proof is required to win the lawsuit? Do they realize that country could simply say that the only proof to win the lawsuit is a finding by the UN that a drone strike killed civilians is all that is needed? They could even set a lower standard than that. By the way, no jury trial would be provided.

Assuming the U.S. wanted to send people to defend a lawsuit, the U.S. would have to get a visa for its lawyers from the country where the lawsuit is pending. How many people will want to go defend the U.S. since there would be no diplomatic immunity for the lawyers – although some would say that’s not a bad idea?

Obviously, McConnell, Ryan and Tipton gave absolutely no thought to the potential consequences. Naïve or dumb?



Hillary’s transgressions far more serious than Trump’s

Donald Trump has said some things in very poor taste. I’ve heard worse from both sexes at different times. I bet most people have as well. Yet, when a rap artist puts out lyrics even more vulgar they are most likely going to have a #1 hit. You could have a young lady “twerking” as she
singing on stage and you might find some people perhaps offended. If you watch any number of reality TV shows you will likely see and hear things in equally poor taste.

Supporters of Mrs. Clinton will say that these people aren’t running for president, to which I say her husband did and became president. Which is worse; the words from 11 years ago from Donald Trump or actions by Bill Clinton? Maybe worse yet is the person that enabled his actions by attacking these many women.

It wasn’t Donald Trump who set up a private email server that was used for government business, including classified information. Mr. Trump did not have the said server scrubbed, destroying over 30,000 emails that belong to the American people. It wasn’t Mr. Trump who neglected dozens of requests for additional security in Benghazi and evidently was nowhere to be found during the eight-hour attack that left our ambassador, Chris Stevens, dead after being subjected to torture. You want something really vile, there it is. Then it wasn’t Mr. Trump who lied to the loved ones when the bodies were returned and then lied about lying about what happened which I find even more disgusting and vile. Wasn’t she also fired for lying from the congressional committee investigating the Watergate cover-up?

Apparently, it is a more serious offense to people to say things that offend them than to put our national security at risk, lose $6 billion of State Department funds, viciously attack her husband’s numerous victims, to wage war on coal, hold her stance on the Supreme Court, or hear her comments on supporting open borders.

Grand Junction

Vote yes on Amendment 72 to make Colorado a healthier place for future generations

Amendment 72 is a proven strategy to reduce smoking and save lives – especially the lives of our youngest Coloradans.

We know that smoking during pregnancy is bad for moms and their babies and quitting smoking, even if already pregnant, can make a big difference in improving the baby’s life, for the baby’s lifetime. Smoking harms nearly every organ in the body and can cause serious health conditions, including cancer, heart disease, stroke, gum disease, and eye diseases that can lead to blindness.
When a woman smokes during pregnancy, she is more likely to have a miscarriage or a stillbirth. Babies of moms who smoke are more likely to suffer growth restriction that leads to later life problems of diabetes and heart disease and to be born preterm and face numerous challenges at birth and for the lifetime including:

• Serious health issues such as cerebral palsy, respiratory distress syndrome, asthma, brain bleeds, heart problems, and vision loss

• Birth defects, including birth defects in a baby’s mouth called cleft lip or cleft palate

• Developmental delays, both motor and mental

This November, voters in Colorado will have the opportunity to increase the cigarette tax by $1.75 per pack to encourage moms to quit and to stop tobacco companies from getting more kids hooked on cigarettes. The tax will raise money for medical research for treatments and cures for tobacco-related diseases and for efforts to support Coloradans most affected by smoking. The tobacco tax measure, known as Amendment 72, was originally identified by a group of doctors and medical providers as the best way to reduce the harm caused by cancer in our state.

It’s not surprising that the tobacco industry is waging a high-priced campaign against Amendment 72 and they’ve seen the success that similar tax increases have had across the country. They know that higher cigarette taxes are THE number one way to get people to quit – and they don’t want that. Don’t be fooled by their tactics and bogus claims. This is the same industry that used to claim, with ‘scientific’ studies, that cigarettes were harmless. This is the same industry that spends an estimated $134 million a year in Colorado to market their deadly products to kids and adults. This is the same industry that is responsible for adding over $386 million in Medicaid costs to our state budget, and over $700 a year in taxpayer costs for every household in the state. Low-income children and families stand to gain the most from Amendment 72 because of higher rates of quitting and because the funding goes to programs that increase their access to health care and to cessation and education programs.

Here are the key facts about Amendment 72: the tax will prevent more than 34,000 kids from becoming smokers, save over 20,000 lives and over $1.4 billion in future health care costs. Amendment 72 is supported by over 100 organizations, including the March of Dimes, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Lung Association, Children’s Hospital Colorado, National Jewish Health, and the Colorado Academy of Family Physicians. Vote yes on Amendment 72 to make Colorado a healthier place for future generations.

Chair, March of Dimes of Colorado Advocacy & Government Affairs Committee
Regional Communications Manager


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Mrs. Reyher, you are right. God is being left out. Not out of some liberal agenda, but because the United States is not a theocracy. Not everyone believes as you do, and they have that right. Telling Christians they can’t do something that they should not have been doing in the first place is not restricting their religion - it is bringing them into compliance with the laws of this country.

While Hillary Clinton may be taking some cues from widely-read Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman – campaigning Tuesday in Florida with Al Gore to emphasize the reality of man-made global climate change and the potential value of every single vote (see: –
Donald Trump seems to be parroting right-wing conspiracy theorists (insisting that climate change is a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese) and Kremlin-controlled websites.

As self-servingly suggested by Trump himself, the recent media focus on his disgusting “locker room” misogyny (see Wednesday’s timely Sentinel editorial: “Trump’s locker room is a distortion of truth”) is serving as a distracting diversion from other issues – particularly his undisclosed tax returns and his financial ties to Russia (which should be of much greater concern to genuinely manly “American Patriots”).

Thus, during the first presidential debate, Trump dismissed the assertion that Russia was behind the various hack-attacks against Democrats (but not Republicans) – even though he had already received a classified briefing explaining why our intelligence community is more than 90% certain that Putin’s government was responsible for those attacks.

Yesterday, it was widely reported that Trump’s pal Roger Stone admits contacts with WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange, and that – last August—Stone e-mailed Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager John Podesta a veiled threat that politically embarrassing e-mails (now known to have been hacked and potentially altered by Russian intelligence) would be released by WikiLeaks – thus suggesting at least the possibility of some coordination between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin, with Assange a willing middleman.

Such speculation becomes less “idle” and more ominous because of Trump’s refusal to release his tax returns – which could confirm the extent to which the Trumps have been doing business with Russian plutocrats (and thus with Putin), the amount of income he derives from those deals,  and the magnitude of Trump’s financial indebtedness to them.

Meanwhile, Trump continues to parrot Putin’s propaganda.  On Monday, at his rally in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, Trump read from an erroneous Sputnik News (a Kremlin-controlled website) article falsely critical of Clinton’s response to the Benghazi attack.  See:  Consequently, some U.S. intelligence experts consider Trump an unwitting agent for Russian interests (known in KGB circles as a “useful idiot”).

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