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Just like the movies

I happen to recall a movie by the name of Wag the Dog that came out a couple years ago, wherein a PR firm was hired by a president to create an international incident out of special effects to distract the public from his personal foibles while running for re-election. The showdown with Iraq brought it to mind. Admittedly, Saddam Hussein is not a good guy, but why are we gearing up for war with him when we don't have Al Qaeda in the box yet? Could this be an attempt to get people to forget about Enron, Global Crossing, Qwest and all the other companies affected by corruption?

-- Donald Pelton

Colorado Springs

Dirty tricks

Last weekend I had the unfortunate experience of discovering that the sign that I placed in the front of my house supporting Michael Merrifield for District 18 had been selectively and discretely removed.

Other signs, including one right next to it put up by a real-estate agent advertising a nearby private home for sale, were left undisturbed. This wasn't the only Michael Merrifield sign to be removed in my neighborhood, as other Michael Merrifield signs directly across the street were also removed the same night. Signs in the neighborhood supporting his opponent were left undisturbed.

I understand that not all of us favor the same candidate. I thought that one of the things that made this country great was that, unlike some other places, here we are supposed to be able to freely support the candidates of our choice without fear of reprisal or harassment. This is one of the basic tenants upon which our country is based.

There clearly are better ways to oppose a candidate than by violating the basic rights and liberties for which this country stands. I hope whoever is responsible for this immature act develops more of an understanding of what it means to live in a democratic society.

-- Kenneth Kassover

Colorado Springs

More dirty tricks

House District 18 candidate Michael Merrifield should be indignant about the mean-spirited and misleading campaign tactics of his opponent. I certainly am. His opponent, Dan Stuart, likes to present himself as an honest candidate with bipartisan credentials who doesn't follow the marching orders of the party. But the long "push-polling" phone call I recently received tells a different story.

Dan Stuart's campaign's tactic is to call voters and grossly misrepresent Michael Merrifield while telling us what a nice guy Dan is.

This type of "polling" should dispel any myths that Dan Stuart is anything more than a narrow, party-driven loyalist who is unlikely to distinguish himself from the dictates of the far-right agenda in the Colorado state House. I was indignant, and I called Mr. Stuart to let him know. His answer was perhaps more outrageous than the poll itself. He stated that he was unaware that anyone was conducting a poll like this.

This made me more convinced that the independent, self-thinking style that Mr. Stuart says he will demonstrate in Denver on our behalf would simply not be possible. He is being handled by much narrower political interests who care nothing about representing a broad constituency in House District 18.

The poll maligned Michael Merrifield on several issues and glorified Mr. Stuart. I love a good campaign, but Mr. Stuart should quit fooling himself and us with a squeaky-clean, bipartisan image. He should tell us the truth about himself, stop the mudslinging about Michael Merrifield, and allow Mr. Merrifield to speak for himself.

-- John Gudvangen

Colorado Springs

Pure propaganda

A few days ago, I received a giant postcard from the Colorado Republican Committee on behalf of U.S. Senator Wayne Allard. The subject of this card was Social Security for seniors. To say the least, it is pure undulated propaganda. It speaks highly to the phrase "the first victim of any political campaign is the truth."

The following quotes are what I will address as totally false: "Wayne Allard believes Social Security is a sacred trust ... also, he opposes a privatization scheme that puts your benefits at risk."

Wow, a sacred trust; there is nothing scared about the trust fund when the federal government cooks the books then issues worthless IOUs to cover their rear ends ... that's not what I call sacred.

Then the fear factor enters in with the words "privatization scheme." A scheme is exactly what the Feds have turned Social Security into by their own actions: robbing the trust fund of any equity; a very minimal death benefit; and a pay out of a measly 1.2 percent ... that is what I call a Monumental Scheme.

Senator Allard, you know full well that my words are the truth and can be easily proven. The very first important step to Social Security preservation is a lock-box bill, which will prevent the federal Government from cooking the books.

Senator Allard, three times the House has overwhelmingly passed a lock box bill (HR2) with which the Senate has done absolutely nothing. Therefore, Senator, I am asking you to do the right thing for all the seniors and their extended families in Colorado and America by introducing and strongly supporting until the passage of the Lock-Box Act in the Senate.

If the senator will at least make this commitment by the end of October, it will be greatly appreciated by everyone.

-- Bob Bock

Colorado Springs

Mention they're Jewish

Last week's Your Turn about Boise's Anne Frank Memorial continues a pattern in the Independent which diminishes what I call "The Invisible Minority." As reported in your newspaper, Jews have become an "Invisible Minority." This was exemplified by Rocky Barker's column about hate groups in Idaho. In a story clearly about Jews, he can barely mention the word.

The main platform of the Aryan Nations Church was hatred of Jews. In mentioning Alan Berg, the writer failed to state that Berg was killed because he was a Jew. His characterization of Anne Frank as a Dutch girl who died in a Nazi concentration camp omits the fact that the only reason she and her family were murdered was because they were Jews.

Your reporters and editors have forgotten that Jews are a minority group, not an invisible elite. They compose less that 4 percent of the U.S. population and are less than 1 percent of the world population. As Barker's column shows, there are many people and organizations who don't like Jews, and they are still being targeted solely because of who they are, not what they do.

Instead of depicting Jews as an invisible minority, how about doing what a majority is supposed to do for a minority group: Stand up for them.

-- Gary Altman

Colorado Springs

Toilet to tap

Dadblastit, Hazlehurst, can you say population growth? Can you say immigration?

If your trip aboard the Paisano (as described in the Sept. 19-25 Outsider) had included more passengers than she could sustain, you would have run out of water.

Everything you say about water conservation is true. It should be ongoing, not just a reaction to drought. But with each increase in population numbers, water consumption ratchets upwards and the most dedicated conservation won't prevent water shortages even in wet years.

Conservation? Yes, sure, fine, great! But unless we limit the crew and passengers on our ship, we will all be drinking toilet-to-tap.

-- Barb Vickroy

Escondido, Calif.

Rise up

In response to Culture Vulture, Sept. 19-25:

I'm the president of the Pikes Peak Gay and Lesbian Community Center, here in Colorado Springs. If in fact attendance at the recent Lavender Film Festival was low (and I don't know that it was), please be assured that it is not an indication of our local gay index. As you and many of your readers know, our LGBT and allied community is made up of business owners, activists, homeowners, single people, people with children, lawyers, judges, journalists, artists and all other walks of life.

Amendment 2 was a catalyst for many to come out of their closets, or comfortable armchairs, and rise up against oppression. However, Amendment 2 was over 10 years ago. People do become complacent and that complacency is admittedly evident in many circles of our community including support to arts organizations and events in the Pikes Peak region.

My purpose in writing is to offer a solution to the complacency. Each lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and allied person in this community needs to get involved in this community again. The time is now.

Please call the Pride Center at 471-4429, or access its Web site at, and again, become involved.

Through coming together as a community we can rise from our lethargy and be known for our creative and economic impact and not for a city that organized around Amendment 2.

-- Gary Renville

Colorado Springs

Coal is key

Congress is currently working out the details on comprehensive energy legislation and it is vital that our elected officials create meaningful, energy security for Americans before adjourning this year. An essential component of energy security for Coloradans is affordable and clean electricity from coal.

Most Coloradans are unaware that 80 percent of our electricity comes from coal. That gives our state a reliable, abundant and cost-effective power supply for everything from our refrigerators and air conditioners to our computers and medical equipment.

A study conducted by researchers at Penn State University looked at both the direct and indirect economic advantages of using domestic coal reserves to generate electricity.

According to the study, access to affordable energy from coal will be responsible for as much as $9.6 billion in increased household income and 277,000 Colorado jobs in the year 2010. That's more high-paying jobs in the state and more money in the pockets of Colorado families.

Coal is an essential part of Colorado's energy mix. It is crucial that our own Senator, Ben Nighthorse Campbell, works to pass legislation that ensures Colorado will continue to have affordable electricity from coal!

-- Jean Haynes

Colorado Springs

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