Printed letters, September 26, 2012

This is in response to Neville Woodruff’s Sept. 23 letter castigating The Daily Sentinel’s support of free speech and criticism of Muslim overreaction to the recent anti-Muslim video.

Does Woodruff really expect us to relinquish our right to free speech simply because someone, somewhere in the world might take offense and respond in an irrational manner?

Yes, the anti-Muslim video was insulting to Islam, but I have a suggestion for radical Islamists: Grow up and get over it. Your version of Islam is less a religion than a totalitarian ideology akin to Stalinism or fascism.

Radical Islamists are not responsible members of world society. They demonstrate total intolerance of any but their own worldview.  They have no respect for individual rights at all. To surrender any of our constitutional rights to cater to such a group is to mock our entire history.

Woodruff claims the attacks on our embassies were “spontaneous demonstrations.” How absurd. Spontaneous demonstrations do not occur with coordinated attacks using sophisticated small arms and rocket-propelled grenades. Our own State Department states that, at least in Libya, the attacks were premeditated acts.

Woodruff concludes by asking how fundamentalist Christians would react if Muslims showed Jesus as a womanizer and buffoon. As a matter of fact, Christians suffer attacks on their religion throughout the Muslim world.  Muslim governments routinely harass, discriminate against and kill Christians in the Mideast, Africa and Asia. I recall no violent “spontaneous demonstrations” against Islam in these countries. Oh, right, they would be shot down in the streets.

Indeed, right here in the U.S. Christianity was insulted by the display of a crucifix immersed in a beaker of urine by the artist Andres Serrano. No outraged Christians stormed the art gallery and murdered the artist or torched the gallery.

Yielding to the demands of primitive, savage, ideological fanatics is fruitless. Giving up any of our individual rights for fear of offending the likes of radical Islamists means we are defeated.

Full disclosure: I am an agnostic and a member of no religious group of any kind.



Where did the love 
of our neighbors go?

Chaos through anger — where does it ever get us? The world is changing, and not for the better. America has helped many countries move toward the good life and improve their health. America has helped nations grow financially.

There are more different religions in America than any country and more nationalities living together here, as well. Aren’t we all neighbors on Earth?

Our country grew through the centuries by living at peace with one another and learning from our fellow man. Look where it has gotten us — that terrible movie to promote hate and terror throughout the Earth.

What love for our neighbors is there in that? Where is our love for our neighbor, wherever they live on Earth?

Where’s our peace gone, the peace of the good life, the love of living together?


Grand Junction


Find out how candidates 
would vote on PERA issues

With the election coming, public employees and retirees need to be aware of what the candidates know and how they would vote on PERA issues. During the last legislative session, seven bills and three initiatives were introduced. If passed, they would have weakened or eliminated our retirement package that we are paying for as we do our jobs.

The sponsors would have us believe that PERA should be reformed, ignoring the comprehensive legislation enacted in 2010 that returned PERA to long-term sustainability. Their efforts would weaken and eventually dismantle a system that has worked for more than 80 years. Contrary to their arguments, PERA has never been and never will be a burden to Colorado taxpayers. When a public job is required, a public employee is hired to do it and a shared contribution to that employee’s retirement is enacted.

PERA payments are a critical source of reliable income and provide an automatic economic stabilizing effect on state, regional and local economies, especially in economic downturns.

When a household receives PERA benefit payments, it represents an infusion of income into the local economy that creates a chain of economic activities whose total impact is greater than the initial benefit payments.

The question that every candidate should have to answer to get our vote is, why weaken and eventually eliminate an economic stabilizer that is vital to every business in the state, generates $230 million in tax revenue and creates more than 23,000 jobs?


Public Employee

Retirement Association



Romney would use astute 
business skills as president

I must comment on the Sept. 23 article about how Romney’s 2011 tax returns showed he and Ann paid $1,935,708 in capital gains tax. Bravo for them!

The comparison between Obama and Romney just shows how astute in business Gov. Romney will be as our president. Obama is working in the public sector, where one’s income is fixed, whereas, in private industry one’s income is not fixed.

Please vote for Mitt Romney. He is our country’s only real hope and promise.


Grand Junction


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Jim Spehar’s Tuesday column – “’Just the facts’ were presented about county jobs” – aptly debunks two myths which underlie the entire Romney-Ryan campaign. 
  First, as evidenced in Mesa County, “government” does indeed “create jobs” – as well as the infrastructure upon which “business” depends for success.  Republicans spent “day one” of their convention disingenuously attempting to dispute this obvious “fact”.
  Second, business acumen and/or financial success do not necessarily translate into commensurate capacity for public governance.  Nevertheless, some still naively equate income with leadership ability (see Dr. Barbara Ann Smith’s letter, “Romney would use astute business skills as president”, September 26, 2012).
  Except for “RomneyCare”, Mitt was a failed governor who could not have won re-election in Masachussetts.  At Bain Capital, he was the beneficiary of a $10 million loan write-off by the FDIC and of gratuitous “corporate welfare” redistributed through a distorted tax code.
  The investment strategy of Bain Capital was to “cherrypick” companies ripe for take-over because of their cash-on-hand or fully-funded pension plans.  If the entity survived, Romney et al. justifiably made money. 
  If the entity failed, Bain Capital had not risked investors’ stake, but rather also profited – having legally absconded with the entity’s cash reserves and/or mortgaged its pension funds (insured by the federal government), and then transferring the costs of unemployment benefits, Food Stamps, medical care, etc. onto taxpayers.  A dubious change to tax law converted profits distributed to partners in such “vulture capital” firms from “income” into “capital gains”.
  Thus, Romney used fine-tuned financial spreadsheets to maximize profits by targetting “low hanging fruit” – and by “outsourcing” thousand of American jobs.
  As Spehar properly suggests, but Smith ignores, President Obama daily confronts decisions not so readily reducable to spreadsheets or of his own choosing – but rather must deal with the most unpredictable situations requiring only the most difficult decisions.  Not only may there be no “right answers”, but he cannot “cherrypick” either the decisions to be made and/or the other elected officials upon whom he must rely. 
                Bill Hugenberg

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