Printed letters, February 18, 2014

Those of us who live in Grand Junction don’t need an air quality monitor to identify air pollution. Every winter we smell it and taste it.

Smog burns our eyes, noses and throats. We suffer from upper respiratory and sinus infections more often, and they last longer than normal.

I cough for months and feel dizzy. Every year, my physician insists I take antibiotics, because my sinus infection won’t clear out. I think antibiotics add to the problem, but physicians don’t have any other tools.

Air is our most basic, most fundamental need. Clean air must not be subject to the whims of agencies, officials, politicians or uninformed bureaucrats. Employees and students, struggling to stay healthy in order to work, should not have to compete with woodstoves, malfunctioning automobiles and volatile organic compounds.

Since 2006, the nation’s premier air pollution scientists who advise the EPA have been writing letters to the agency, condemning it for allowing politics to overwhelm science in setting those standards. For years, virtually every major medical organization has been calling on the EPA to make national air quality standards stricter.

Hundreds of new medical studies demonstrate smog’s adverse health effects, even if air quality is well within the EPA’s current guidelines.

Does the Western Slope, and all of Colorado, deserve improved air quality safeguards? Or will we settle for second-class status?

Before its meetings in Denver Feb. 19, the Colorado Air Quality Control Commission needs to know how you feel about Grand Junction’s inversion and smog. Please ask for safe, statewide air standards on the Western Slope by visiting


Grand Junction

Monument too small, too close 
to urban area for park status

We are again bombarded with pleas from the local economic development crowd to change Colorado National Monument to park status. It seems economic development is the only argument for the change. Calling a frog a puppy, just because more people like puppies, does not make it so.

A quick search of the 58 national parks shows only three smaller than the monument’s 20,000 acres. They are Virgin Islands, American Samoa and Hot Springs national parks.

The two former are limited by their island locations; the latter was probably declared for economic reasons. On a trip a few years ago, my family made a 100-mile detour to visit Hot Springs National Park. Never in our visits to dozens of Park Service areas have we been so disappointed.

The urbanized area of the Grand Valley is visible from all of the viewpoints along Rim Rock Drive. Only for a few miles in the interior canyons can one escape views of the road or the urbanized valley. The monument is a great resource and well worth visiting, but it does not deserve park status.

A name change would also be required since “Colorado National Park” would imply a broader inclusion of Colorado’s ecosystem types.

How about changing the name to “Colorado Canyons National Monument”? This would be more descriptive to potential visitors, clearing up confusion for those looking for a statue or concrete monument, while not overstating the experience.

Grand Junction

Government workers provide 
services and support economy

A simple idea that seems reasonable to some is that government jobs do not add to the economy because they do not make anything. Unfortunately, simplicity often neglects reality.

Most businesses are not manufacturers. They buy manufactured items from anywhere and sell them for more money plus sometimes adding services or labor. These businesses are exchanging money for money, not making something. Grand Junction’s worth is measured by more than manufacturing.

Those who have jobs producing service in business also spend money, but they also are not manufacturing anything. Their wages help the community by circulating money.

Government employees provide various services. Police keep an orderly society. Teachers prepare the next generation. Firefighters protect us from fire. The Colorado Department of Transportation keeps the roads working. Local government workers pick up our trash, keep our streets clean, keep courts running and perform a host of other things.

That may not be manufacturing, but all of those jobs add value to the community. Their wages also circulate in the business community. In addition, government wages, pensions, etc. do not collapse so quickly in economic crashes. That mediates the effects on the whole economy.

Good government is us adding to the collective benefit of our country in a way we individually cannot. It makes nicer places to live and contributes to upward mobility. Good government is corrupted through indifference and antipathy when we believe that it gives nothing to our lives. Good government makes our country better for all.

Misunderstanding government’s role and benefits allows government to drift into Third World status regarding service to its populace.


Grand Junction


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PART 1. With all due respect, Harry McDonald needs to look in a mirror when he says, “unfortunately, simplicity often neglects reality.” Let’s deconstruct his simplistic pseudo sophistry (whether intended or unintended).
One hard core reality related to Economics 101 is that every human wants to get paid as much as possible for his own labor and products as possible while simultaneously paying as little as possible for the “other guy’s” labor and products. Only a free marketplace comprised of willing buyers and willing sellers in an atmosphere 100% devoid of coercion can solve that problem/conundrum/dilemma.
One hard core reality/dilemma related to Politics 101 is that those who refuse to become involved in the inherently evil and inevitably corrupting stupid-human manipulation contest best known by the euphemism “politics” are destined to be ruled by their moral and intellectual inferiors. Another Politics 101 truism/dilemma is that you can’t beat somebody with nobody. Folks like the Amish and Hutterites deal with that problem on a regular basis because various manipulative “government”-believing jerks who have to buy labor to produce their products can’t compete with Hutterite prices, so they go to government asking for rules to hurt the religious cooperatives.
Another hard core reality is that there is no such real thing as “government”. “Government” is merely the euphemistic name the dominant members of the stupid-human pecking-order contest love to call them selves so their subjects will be more amenable to obeying “government’s” edicts, whether corrupt or not. “Authority” is merely delegated individual will. Of course “government” always looks with harsh disapproval at any individual with enough moral and intellectual insight to not want to delegate his or her will to any human who is stupid enough and intellectually corrupt enough to want to possess the inherently evil and inevitably corrupting One Ring of (“government”) Power (over the Other).
I love to tell people like Mr. McDonald that if you want to understand the empirically observable (and scientifically testable) material realities of the universe, imagine you are the only human on the face of the Earth. In that case, money is useless because it will not buy you the labor of another person. You have to produce for yourself, by yourself, NOT “services”, but real THINGS which will facilitate and enable your physical survival. So, when money is allowed to be comprised of political manipulation, it is nothing more or less than a tool for wannbe-clever dishonest individuals to steal the labor of more honest, gullible and naïve individuals.

PART 2. If, on the other hand, money is comprised of a real commodity, such as gold, silver, nickel, copper, or even iron or any other such real commodities, then that money can function honestly in the marketplace because it has a commensurate amount of human labor inextricably attached to its production. Lots of smart people throughout history have understood these facts, which explains the axiom “good money will drive out bad” (in a free marketplace).
Most of the so-called “services” provided by “government” which Mr. McDonald speaks of, would not even be necessary if enough people were moral enough, intellectually honest enough, and well enough educated to understand deep in their gut that when you try to steal the other guy’s labor, no matter how clever and complicated your burglar’s tool (e.g. “law”, “government”, “money”, “God”, etc) is, you are really hurting yourself and the concept/hope of an open and free society.
Any person who has not been dumbed down by compulsory “government” “education” can easily understand that real “wealth” is REAL things, NOT “money”. “Money”, as it currently exists in its fatally corrupt debt-as-money legal-tender fiat currency form, is merely the dishonest system of weights and measures (condemned in the Torah) by which clever non-producers (aka the “political class”) steal the labor of the more honest, gullible and naïve productive classes.
Money (aka “capital”) did not come before labor. Primitive man did not need debt-as-money legal-tender fiat currency to dig a ditch from the river to his garden to water his crops. Labor came before money. And, in the final analysis, LABOR creates all real THINGS which are of use to human beings. Labor creates all real things capable of being “taxed” (aka stolen) by “government”. Money is merely the lubricant for all the wannabe-clever manipulations by which stupid humans compete for the “political” power with which to steal each other’s labor.
In Federalist #51, James Madison said, “If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary.” In rebuttal to that wannbe-clever argument justifying “government”, I would offer the corollary suggestion that since men obviously aren’t angels, just how collectively stupid are we humans to give a flawed (as we all are) human possession of the inherently evil and inevitably corrupting One Ring of (“government”) Power (over the Other)?
I submit that, unless humans are somehow able to come to grips with, and thoroughly understand and reject, all forms of wannbe-clever human manipulations, our species will never be able to build ships capable of traveling around the universe at speeds in excess of the speed of light. We will be forever consigned to a never-ending hell of quarreling with each other and spoiling our habitat known as Earth.

PART 3. Real “government” is real control by each natural individual over his or her own self, not “legal”-monopoly-on-violence control over everybody else by a “government” elite in the fraudulent name of “self-government”. Real “salvation” is the certain gut knowledge that when you harm another you are actually harming your own quality of life in a peaceful and harmonious free and open society.
Since so many people want to treat their neighbors in ways they themselves would not like to be treated — this is all the more true for the intellectually corrupt elitists who call themselves “government” — “government” becomes a fatally attractive delusion and faux solution to the human conundrum/condition/dilemma.
Perhaps the most serious problem currently most pressing is that the global debt-as-money oligarchs have succeeded in destroying America’s can-do culture of self-reliance and replaced it with a freebie-addicted culture of criminal-minded people who are ignorant enough to actually believe they can vote (or have “government” “jobs”) for a living instead of producing real things and selling them at a profit to willing buyers for a living. And arguably the worse (and most dangerous) part of that phenomenon has been the racializing of that difficult problem/conundrum by such wannabe-clever criminals and race hustlers as those who routinely populate all three branches of the federal government.
The good news? I believe humans as a species inherently have the basic intelligence necessary to understand what the great minds among us have tried to teach us. The bad news? The solution is an individual one which each individual must find in his or her own heart and mind. It is the inherent nature of inherently evil and inevitably corrupting “government” to grow itself and become its own means and its own ends. The self-ownership-based solution cannot come from the top down. It will have to come from the bottom up. That means serious self-examination by every individual. And changing one’s own fundamental false-pride-based “how I am-ness” is probably the most difficult thing any human can undertake to accomplish. After all, aren’t we all wise in our own eyes? It is not for nothing that in the first chapter of Ecclesiastes Solomon (son of David) said, “vanity of vanities; all is vanity”.
For the spiritual and intellectual edification of those who share Mr. McDonald’s simplistic views of “government” and “services”, I suggest reading such as: Ludwig Von Mises (“Human Action”, “Socialism: An Economic and Sociological Analysis”), Frédéric Bastiat (“The Law”, “Economic Sophisms”), Friedrich Hayek (“The Road To Serfdom”, “The Fatal Conceit: The Errors of Socialism”), Murray Rothbard (“Man, Economy, and State”, “The Ethics of Liberty”), Edmund Contoski (“Makers and Takers”), Hans-Hermann Hoppe (“A Theory of Socialism and Capitalism”).

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