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If there's one thing I've learned from this election, it's that you can't trust the wealthy. Or the poor. Or the middle class. You can't trust the government or the private sector or foreign countries. You can't trust the sick or the health care system, the oil companies or the green companies, the Republicans or the Democrats, liberals or conservatives, capitalism, socialism or communism, the banks or the stock market, retirement plans or welfare, Big Brother or a friend with a camera phone, women or men, gays or straights, the religious or the religulous.
If there's one thing I've learned from this election it's that you can't trust the media, politicians or their election campaigns either.
— Steve Suhre
Thank you, Jim Rottenborn, for scolding Mr. Routon ("Over the line," Letters, Sept. 5). I completely agree with your thoughts on him "inviting" people to come into the burned Mountain Shadows area. You are correct in stating that he has no right to do so.
Weren't the pictures enough for him and everybody else! What is it about our human condition that is fascinated by the images of tragedy, be it a car accident, shooting, or in this case a fire that destroyed homes? Shouldn't we rise above that feeling, especially when other people are involved, and respect their need for privacy and grieving?
I was disappointed in Mr. Routon's comments. He does not seem to take his position as editor seriously for somebody who reaches a lot of people. He needs to admit that he was wrong and issue an apology to the residents of Mountain Shadows.
— Chris Jones
John Thomas Spencer's recent letter ("Age and wisdom," Letters, Sept. 5) chastising Ralph Routon for sharing his 36-year perspective on Colorado Springs and what it means to him as he turns 60 really irked me.
I am 36, was born at Fort Carson and have lived here most of my life. And due to the transient nature of this city, the majority of people living here probably haven't even called Colorado Springs "home" for that long.
As a 61-year-old native, you Mr. Spencer, are actually in the minority. Did it even cross your mind that for those of us who were born here or moved here in the 1970s or later, Ralph's reflections on the many changes this city has undergone might be of interest? Or that his local journalism background gives him a unique viewpoint on those events?
In fact, I'd be willing to bet that there were more changes here in that 36-year period than had occurred in the 25-year period between your birth and Ralph's arrival.
I found it all interesting, just like I find it interesting when John Hazelhurst (who predates you) does the same.
Maybe instead of spending your time writing smug mail to Ralph, you could contribute by sharing your own unique historic perspective on the Springs.
Keep on keeping on, Ralph. This reader appreciates it.
— Andrew de Naray
Taking out the twists
I am appalled at the twisting of the simple concept of "religious freedom" and wish to point out what should be obvious to all — specifically that "religious freedom" does not mean your freedom to shove your religious beliefs down my throat or into the nation's laws.
Pharmacists who don't believe in birth control shouldn't take it. Churches that do business in the public square (Catholic hospitals) should never force their beliefs on others. Women who believe abortion is never justified should never have one. I believe that contributing to the rape and overpopulation of the planet is a mortal sin against Gaia, but I won't push for a law forcing you to limit your family size and ridiculously large eco-footprint.
Gaia is great. She gives life and she takes it. I have absolute faith that she will correct the problem in her own time and way — namely disease, starvation and wars. If we continue to sin against her, nothing your gods or scientists do will stop her.
— Fern deLise
Fresh FREX idea
A lot of people commuted from Colorado Springs to Denver for work and job-search reasons using the FREX transit system, but it has been discontinued. According to FREX's old schedule, they ran back and forth between Colorado Springs and Denver all day, which probably caused the system to be discontinued for lack of passengers throughout the day.
Thus, I believe that if FREX began to run again between Colorado Springs and Denver but just, let's say, once in the morning and once in the evening to commute passengers during rush hours, people would be able to get back and forth more economically for the system.
— David L. May
Jennifer and Gerald
I am a physician and small-business owner. Like most Americans, I tend to live and let live with regards to social issues, but I get more conservative with monetary policy. I am neither Republican nor Democrat. I vote for the candidate who I believe can best accomplish the task of bringing us closer to prosperity with less government intrusion.
I believe that in state House District 18, Jennifer George is that candidate. Mrs. George advocates a free market approach that calls for governmental regulation only when required to make the marketplace run fairly and efficiently. She believes that less government is better government. So do I.
President Gerald Ford said, "a government big enough to give you everything you want is strong enough to take everything you have." The incumbent, Mr. Lee, has given it his best shot as a big-government Democrat. Let's put a fiscal conservative in office and see if we can't shrink our state government and get Colorado back on a sound financial footing.
— Ron W. Pelton
For the first time, I've put a political sign in my yard. And it's for Jennifer George. Jennifer is more than a fresh face — she is an authentic leader. One reason I'm voting for her is to represent me in promoting and supporting legislation that helps our schools.
I served with Jennifer on the Gold Camp Elementary School Accountability and Accreditation Committee. I saw first-hand her commitment to student achievement and our schools and was impressed with her insights and actions.
Pete Lee voted against charter schools' being able to use vacant school buildings (HB11-1055), against requiring transparency in collective bargaining between school boards and their employees (HB12-1118) against public school employees' right to opt out of a union (HB12-1333), and against empowering parents of children in failing schools to petition the state school board to take action (HB12-1149). Lee has voted against the interests of students, parents, and teachers.
Jennifer George emphasizes improving all of our schools through increased accountability and providing parents with more control over their children's education. If you agree, put a Jennifer George sign in your yard, too!
— Lisa Travis
Tax system reboot
So Willard Romney says "Forty seven percent of people don't pay income taxes" — let's cut income and capital gains taxes on the überwealthy to zero! Let's just have a national sales tax. Eliminate income tax completely.
How about 5 percent on everything except groceries and medicine, double that for luxury items, triple it for imported goods, and quadruple it for cigarettes, alcohol and recreational cannabis (legalize it!).
We would pay off the deficit in 37 months! By the way, we would tap into a new income stream, illicit activity. Just sayin'.
— Kenton Lloyd
Many happy returns
I recently wrote a letter regarding Willard M. Romney's income tax. I said at the time that I didn't think he needed to release any more tax returns because it was clear what his intentions were if he became president — cut his tax liability to near zero by lowering the tax rate for capital gains, interest and dividends to zero.
I think he should submit several years of tax filings for a couple reasons.
First, there was evidence of foreign bank accounts that needs to be addressed. In October 2009 the IRS ended an amnesty program that would have prevented the filing of criminal charges against those who voluntarily revealed foreign accounts that had not previously been reported to the IRS. Did Willard take advantage of this program and pay a stiff fine to not be prosecuted? Would this be revealed in his 2009 return?
Second, it was revealed in the 2010 tax return that he had an IRA worth $100 million and the maximum that can be contributed is $30,000 a year. There seems to be some smoke here. If he has nothing to hide, let's put some daylight on this and dispel the questions.
— David M. Justice
We're not European
Janet Brazill shakes her fist at the land-hoarding Catholic Church ("Be like Europe?" Letters, Sept. 19) and gleefully proclaims "Those smart Europeans!" are considering waiving the Catholic Church's insulation from taxation against "tax-exemption for church property/businesses used for non-religious purposes."
Since those mental giants do not have a U.S. Constitution, I hope to dazzle Ms. Brazill with some constitutional kung fu, and a good wallop from the Declaration of Independence.
Amendment One of the Bill of Rights: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof."
The State (i.e., federal government) cannot favor any one religion, nor expect the direct political influence of any religion in domestic or foreign policies. Conversely (and unwritten) are harsh penalties for religious institutions attempting to contol public policy. The Catholic Church is prohibited from discussing politics during mass, and barred from using money to influence politics in any way. The penalties can result in seizure of church property and hefty IRS fines.
The government cannot have religion as a governing foundation, and the church cannot dictate political policy to U.S. citizens.
Secondly, in the Declaration of Independence, the Founders criticized England "for imposing taxes on us without our consent." U.S. citizens, who are taxed, are given a voice in how their taxes are spent.
This is a check-and-balance for the redistribution of wealth. We are allowed to vote for those people whom we feel will govern wisely and frugally.
If we as citizens, as Ms. Brazill suggests, eliminate the constitutional protection of religion in the United States, the Catholic Church would be allowed to give money to elections and dictate church policy to their parishioners, without penalty. With taxation, they would have representation.
Do you, Ms. Brazill, want one of the largest Christian religions in the United States, to dictate and control U.S. policy?
— Chris Wiehle
Keep it clean
My love and I walked at sunset in the sandstone hills of Pulpit Rock. We picked our way to a valley floor, where we crept to within 20 feet of two deer. We crouched when their heads rose in fear to speak to them; we were not a threat. They returned to eating leaves, and we picked a side path so as not to disturb their meal.
Alas, already having to watch our step with slippery slopes and sandy rocks, we also had to beware of many protruding shards of broken glass.
I would ask that all you alcohol drinkers remain indoors, in bars and clubs, but then again, people also walk those floors, and drive home drunk.
There is no such thing as "drinking responsibly," because the drink's effects transcend the brain's ability to function in responsibility.
Alcohol does worse damage to you than you want to believe, and possibly more damage to those around you than to you. Don't throw statistics at me; I trust my perceptions, experience and common sense more than any fictitious concoctions of biased numbers on paper. And don't tell me to turn away, because I cannot go anywhere anymore where someone hasn't broken 20- to 40-ounce bottles or left trash. Nor do I have the means to reach undeveloped/non-"owned" nature as much as I need to keep my spirituality wholesome (which is every day).
You may be thinking you enjoy these things too much to give them up, but you may not be thinking of how much more you would enjoy life without them. I promise, life is much better when you live in compassion and empathy with Mother Nature (no matter your religion)!
— Jeff Welch