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Letters to Editor

What’s not to like?

Dear Editor:

Thanks to those who keep the Riverwalk clear of snow during this season. It was simply a wonderful experience to walk the path on a sunny morning. River scenery during the winter is simply gorgeous. Couples were out pushing strollers with babies inside, people were walking dogs — even if it is “Siberia with a View,” what’s not to like about Pagosa Springs in the wintertime? Thanks to those who make it possible to enjoy “on foot” our lovely scenery.

Beverly Arrendell

Missed

Dear Editor:

This letter is addressed to the editor. It is about a missed opportunity. Once a year we have the chance to reflect upon a critical moral issue that continues to face us as Americans — racism. We can’t gloss it over. The problem remains, even after a civil war and a civil right movement and significant legislation and the creation of a National Holiday — Martin Luther King Jr. Day. That was the missed opportunity.

No editorial on what the day means to us. No looking at the problem and what it cost us in moral capital. It does not matter what we think of personalities. What matters is that the problem remains and by not reflecting on it we are more comfortable. The only mention of the holiday that I could find last week (and maybe I missed something) was in the Preview article submitted by John Graves giving notice of the Unitarian Universalist service. The service celebrated a UU minister whose death occurred during the march with King in Selma and allowed those in attendance to reflect upon that individual sacrifice as well as upon the universal moral question. As one of those in attendance, I appreciated that opportunity. I hope that there were other Sunday morning gatherings with that same focus. It would be good for us to know about that.

By the way, the editorial that did appear was right on the mark — it is “time to put up or shut up.”

Pauline Benetti

A shift

Dear Editor:

Listening to the news the other day I was impressed by the shift in dynamism from the U.S. and Middle East to Asia.

Then I asked. Where did we go wrong? And of course the follow-on question: Is there anything we can do about it? And I’ve been wondering whether there are any persons, groups, intellectuals other than some misguided misanthropes that are interested in getting mankind from here (?) to a safe place?

Whenever I get a little pessimistic, I recall how mankind embarked on the current global economic journey (some call it civilization): first the “silk road” where greed and gate-keeping stood us in good stead, the Mediterranean empires, next Christianity popped up empowering the individual to be greedy. But the greatest dynamo of all for global change was capitalism … until Japan … then the “Singapore Model.”

Have you ever been to Singapore? On my first trip it was a sleepy Asian city state that was being ripped apart. The individual responsible for the change has a belief regarding mankind that centered around a philosophy that “you can train them but they will never improve themselves.” Well that “benevolent” dictator transformed the city into a global powerhouse by imposing inviolable controls on freedom but none on capitalist growth or choice of religion. Voila!, mankind chose greed, good food, a warm bath, fine clothes and a nice apartment over freedom.

Then there’s China. My gosh, an unbelievable ongoing “capitalist” economic miracle. That was imposed by an authoritarian dictatorship.

So, really, who brought these guys up-to-snuff on globalization? Well, don’t look too far. As our living standard improved U.S. corporations began venue shopping for cheaper manufacturing, and that was the beginning of the exportation of our jobs. So essentially our success was the proximate cause for China to be what it is today.

The Chinese government does not share any concept or belief of the need for democracy or freedom with the U.S., culturally, politically or morally. Maybe China will fail, but don’t bet on it. They’ve got $2 trillion in foreign reserves and are blowing past the U.S. in students entering their graduate schools (paid by the state). In fact, many Chinese successfully working in the U.S. are returning home. Right now the U.S. is their largest customer; as their middle class emerges and their market matures the global “game” will get very nasty.

So now that we know you don’t have to be a Christian or Republican to “own” free market capitalism, the question is how to compete. Well if you ask a religious “born-again-type,” they’ll probably say this is God’s plan (like pollution I guess, or better yet the late British Empire). Ask a retrograde and you’ll get an equally if not more inanely destructive response — a Republican, less government, or a Democrat, more government. So, what to do? It’s our country at stake ... what do you think?

Dave Blake

Choose truth

Dear Editor:

Once again Jim Sawicki propagates fabrications. This time the story is President Obama telling veterans that injured military personnel should pay for their own health care.

Jim, as usual, offered no substantiation for his slur. So, I decided to search for the quote. Couldn’t find it.

But, I did find references at FactCheck.org, TruthOrFiction.com, and Snopes.com with corroboration from the Washington Post (3/21/09) and Fox News (3/17/09).

The quote Jim spreads as fact is a fictional quote created for satire by the writing staff of Comedy Central’s Jon Stewart Show. The quote was also published 3/21/09 on the John Semmens’ Web site entitled “A Satirical Look at Recent News.”

The satirical source was a 3/16/09 meeting the Obama administration held with American Legion members. A proposal was discussed to have veterans bill their private insurance carriers for treatment of service-related injuries thereby saving the government $540 million.

The American Legion voiced strong objections saying it was the government’s responsibility to care for veterans. The administration withdrew the idea from further consideration a day later.

The proposal was a bad idea in my view, but discussing an idea does not constitute evil intent. At any rate, I’m happy the Obama administration listened to the veterans and quickly abandoned further discussion.

Jim wondered what I think, and the answer is I see his continual slurs, invectives and falsehoods as hypocritical and subversive.

Jim says his cause is “that of all men.” Yet, without any specifics he denigrates all Democrats (“dumbocrats”), discounts those who vote differently (“stupid people”), and casts slurs in place of reasoned thought. Jim shows no understanding or compassion for “all men” in his letters, unless they agree with him.

Jim claims to “make no peace with oppression” yet employs the tyrant’s tactics of subjugating people through threats, fear and intimidation. The tyrant demonizes the opposition so any attack on them is acceptable and not to be questioned. Like a cult leader, Jim’s demagoguery seeks to convince people they would be smart, well off and beautiful if only they would stop thinking for themselves and follow his teachings.

I’m happy to see Jim’s writings published so they are subjected to the harsh light of competing ideas and values. I have confidence from our citizenry’s two-century voting history that Jim’s writings will be judged void of intellectual or moral weight. Our citizens are not “stupid” as Jim claims.

We need help from all citizens to figure out how we turn our country’s economy around, exit from two wars responsibly, respond to climate change, and reform our health care so our life expectancies rise and infant mortality rates fall to those of other industrialized nations. Civil debate followed by an informed electorate voting on their issues and representatives will carry the day in spite of Jim’s attempt to subvert our Constitutional processes.

We are a better country than Jim envisions, and I am required by oath to oppose his subversion at every turn.

Jay Davison

Mad as hell

Dear Editor:

The people of Massachusetts have spoken. The revolution against big arrogant government has begun. In 2006 the Republican majority passed a spending bill with 9.963 items of pork in it and in 2009 the Democratic majority passed a spending bill with 10,160 items of pork in it. This is according to the citizens against government waste.

I’m mad as hell and not going to take it anymore! All politicians are you listening!

John Meyer

Satan supports liberty

Dear Editor:

Reverend Pat Robertson’s shameful comments about the Haiti earthquake victims shows what he really is — an intolerant, unforgiving, mean-spirited human being who has no understanding of history and a perverted sense of religion.

Did he offer consolation and compassion as one might expect from such a strident and fervent devotee of Christ? No! As he has so often in the past, he blamed the victims!

As I understand his idiotic reasoning, Satan is actually the champion of liberty and freedom from slavery, helping the black slaves of Haiti depose their brutal French oppressors 200 years ago. Presumably, then, the demented logic of the sanctimonious cleric would suggest that Jesus would be on the side of cruelty and tyranny. Really?

There should be outrage and condemnation among genuine Christians and people of good will everywhere.

John Porco