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Letters to Editor 2-18-10

End game

Dear Editor:

Musing again, now I’m curious about the end game for all the angry people in the U.S. What are the Tea Baggers really mad about? Is it growth in government? Well if less is more, like the Republicans espouse, then the ultimate status of the U.S. will look a lot like Somalia, which hasn’t had a government since 1991. No increased taxes in Somalia, just chaos, murder and piracy.

Nah, can’t be or is it they correctly perceive that this administration is asking us to change to survive, which means we have to temporarily trade more government for the ability to maintain “the dream.” Wasn’t that exactly what we did for security in the Patriot Act? What seems impossible for these angry people to see is the Cold War is over and slinging the term “socialist” around is an outdated feel-good-dumb-thing to say that’s destructive to progress.

Easy to be angry at the bankers paying themselves outrageous compensation. All eyes are on the bonus that rival Lloyd C. Blankfein will receive from Goldman Sachs. Probably not, as the bankers and Tea Baggers are lining up together opposing banking reform. Our Great Recession happened for two reasons: unfettered/unsecured risk by banks and citizens (that’s us) abusing credit. Why not be angry about corporations enjoying more rights and at ourselves?

Another confusion: everybody supports the small businessperson and recognizes their role in employment, innovation and development. However, the timeline of global competition is working against them. Presuming a globally important start-up occurs, there may not be time to scale up against a foreign government’s potential “adoption” of the technology (intellectual property rights tends to be a western country agreement; Baidu is the Chinese Google). Without tariffs, nanotechnology may be the only viable remaining scalable way for the U.S. to compete in manufacturing; and guess who’s pouring billions into that research and clean energy technology. Not us.

We all have a right to be angry with political parties, as the business-friendly enablers of the usurpers of the “dream” are none other than the Tea Baggers political party of choice that has decided to be the party of “no.” The Republicans also handed America it’s current staggering debt. Then the Democrats mucked about with it for two years. And now the Tea Baggers (Baby Boomers) want to “take back the country.”

Baby Boomers are receiving two of the three drivers of the Federal budget, Medicare and Social Security. Is it possible, they’re just angry they won’t get all they thought?

So can you conclude that these “angry people” will prefer to keep jumping up and down, lose more jobs/industries, confuse dreams with reality and turn down governmental change that benefits themselves rather than work together for survival as a superpower? Fixing problems has associated costs.

Dave Blake

Special seniors

Dear Editor:

Hats off to four special senior adults!

As we conduct business in our efforts to enhance the lives of senior adults in Archuleta County, we are aware that four members of the Archuleta Seniors, Inc. (ASI)Board of Directors are providing major assistance. These four people are Judy Estell, Gene Moran, Rick Sautel and Lynnzie Sutton.

These four also served last year on the ASI board. During that year, they, along with their respective spouses, contributed together more than 100 hours of volunteer service in the success of projects including the Senior Prom, ASI’s participation in the community rummage sale and Oktoberfest.

They continue to offer guidance and their individual talents as we work together for the benefit of senior citizens of Archuleta County.

We express heartfelt gratitude to these four veteran ASI board members. Their service is priceless.

Mary Lou Maehr


Dear Editor:

I saw the show “Avatar” down at the Liberty Theatre the other night. I was amazed at the incredible artwork and the story line. The credits did not show the names of all the artists involved in this film. Had they listed them all, I would probably still be sitting there reading them. I was also impressed with the political comparisons to the world we live in today.

Thinking about all this as I left the theatre, I had an “aha” experience. Art has been used to expose and tell the truth for as long as the world has turned. Artists have been murdered, imprisoned, tortured and exiled for exposing governments and religions. Maybe that is why the “Arts” are the first to be cut when they already are extremely underfunded. Maybe artists make governments and religions nervous somehow. It is so fascinating to me how sports, for example, never seem to lose ground in the schools or in the nation. The government has stepped into the sports field many times to keep that institution going. Sports are about competition and aggression. Art is about the truth. It makes sense doesn’t it, why the arts are set on the back burner? Hmm?

Are there any artists out there that might like to do a show expressing all that goes on in the government just in this county? I went to a poetry reading last week at the Pagosa Baking Co. It was refreshing to hear a couple poems that actually spoke out. History shows Art to be the most effective tool for change whether it be music, visual, theatre, dance, whatever. It not only exposes but wakes up the unconscious.

As an artist it is sometimes easy to get focused on the dime instead of the responsibility to the craft. Because we have the privilege of being artists, we have to show up and tell the truth. If we don’t we have really let down humanity.

Donna Merchant-Crooks


Dear Editor:

Since “Red Ryder and Little Beaver” is our clearest window into Pagosa’s past, I cannot suppress my fascination. In an earlier letter, your readers may recall that I wondered why Little Beaver spoke Pidgin English, when any child, after living a few months here with Red and the Duchess, would speak fluent Pagosan, a dialect similar to American English but much simpler.

One of our old-timers, who prefers to keep his name out of this but who is old enough to have known Little Beaver as an old man, told me that the me-go-um-get-sheriff stuff was just part of his assigned role. When his work on the daily strip was done, Little Beaver was funny and articulate and known for his wicked impersonations. He could imitate the speech and walk of anyone in town. The Duchess didn’t see the humor in this. LB’s impression of her was particularly telling.

Back in the bunkhouse at night, Little Beaver would crack up Red Ryder with his recital of William Jennings Bryan’s “Cross of Gold” speech, and when Red was lying helpless on the floor begging for mercy, the Beav would finish him off with his impression of Lily Langtry, who had played the Liberty Theater once. That was on the same tour that took her to Judge Roy Bean’s Opera House down in Langtry, Texas.

I swear this is true.

Jim Milstein


Dear Editor:

The outpouring of compassion and generosity for the 3 million homeless from the earthquake in Haiti is evidence of American’s characteristic care for the less fortunate. So, where is the equivalent compassion and generosity for America’s own 50 million citizens without health insurance? In the wealthiest country in history, why should citizens be denied health insurance because of a preexisting condition or have insurance cancelled when they get sick and need it most? Why should citizens be driven into bankruptcy or have their health care rationed or suffer and die because they have no insurance? Does anyone out there really believe that people without insurance really do get the best of medical care? Does anyone out there really believe that we aren’t already paying for the uninsured who show up in emergency rooms for routine care? Or maybe we should just throw them out in the street and let them suffer.

Why? Because instead of a rational discussion of health care reform options, the dialogue has been hijacked by the insurance and pharmaceutical industries and their puppets in the Republican Party. The right wing Tea Partiers have drowned out any intelligent debate with their simplistic and blatantly bogus shouted slogans — death panels, socialized medicine, government takeover, the ruin of Medicare, and on and on — even though none of the current legislation has any such provisions. Of course, we wouldn’t want to adopt the model of those “Commies” in Canada, Mexico, England, Germany, France, Australia, and every other industrialized nation on Earth! Even developing nations like Brazil, China, Pakistan and Thailand have universal health care as a right of citizenship. Despite spending far more on health care than any other nation, America ranks 41st in infant mortality and 46th in life expectancy.

How ironic is it that the voters of the only state in the nation with mandated health coverage for its citizens voted for a senator who promises to stop the president’s reform legislation? Exit polls suggest that one of the reasons the good citizens of Massachusetts voted the way they did is that they liked their health coverage and were afraid the national legislation might hurt their coverage. What a fine sense of public spirit — I’ve got mine and I like it, so screw the rest of you! I suspect that that is also the motive of many others who oppose reform.

Perhaps the ultimate irony is that the major concern of the right wing about health care reform is the long term cost, even though the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has again and again calculated that the current legislation will reduce taxes and the deficit in the long term. Yet, health care costs continue to spiral upward out of control. Respected economists suggest that in 20 or 30 years at the current rate of increase, health care could bankrupt our nation. So, our failure to act now because we don’t want to pass on a deficit to our children and grandchildren may well leave them with a health care system that is unaffordable for all but the wealthiest Americans and an economy in shambles.

Now that the “government takeover” may have been derailed, I hope the Republicans will do the right thing and work to abolish those other “public options”: Medicare, Medicaid, Veterans Affairs, TRICARE, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, and the Indian Health Service. To do less would constitute hypocrisy of the highest order. Oh wait, that would be political suicide, wouldn’t it? We wouldn’t want hypocrisy to stand in the way of winning elections, now would we?

John W. Porco