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KKK-style bigotry lives

I'll defer to Ed Quillen's experience and knowledge of Colorado (cover story, Aug. 4) in stating the KKK never had a stronghold in the Springs. I'm sure the vast wealth and resort status also helped. But I'm sure he won't deny that there was strict racial segregation here in the past (see citizensproject.org /watch/fw0597.htm), and that some of those attitudes continue today. If we define the KKK in its most simple terms, we see a white Christian terrorist group, supported by "respectable" citizens and successful businessmen, intent on keeping those "others" from their God-given freedoms.

We see some of the same attitudes on display in today's society. I have no doubt whose side the likes of James Dobson and Tom Tancredo would be on today. Today's Minutemen, who claim to be protecting us from the "evil aliens" who pick our crops and clean our hotels, are also turning out to be a nice haven for neo-Nazis. What a surprise.

With many provisions of the Voting Rights Act up for renewal, now would be a good time, once again, for ALL our leaders to ensure that the Voting Rights Act is extended; to denounce the ignorance and hatred of those who are following in the footsteps of the Klan; and to embrace the diversity that has given this country our great strength and made us the shining city on the hill for most of the world.

What say you, Tom and Jim?

-- Bud Gordon

Colorado Springs

I want to scream

I am so tired of hearing that American soldiers are giving their lives for my benefit that I want to scream. I've come to expect it from radio talk-show hosts, who regularly can be counted on for passing on mindless propaganda. But from a chaplain? In the context of those who have died or been injured in Iraq, Michael de Yoanna (cover story, July 28) quotes Fort Carson chaplain, Col. James Ellison: "We live in blissful peace here because of the sacrifice and dedication of our soldiers."

I mourn for these men, women and their loved ones who are victims of this undeclared "war," not only because some of them have been killed and the rest are wounded in mind and body, but because all of them have been lied to. They are not making life more safe for anyone.

This adventure they've been sucked into has increased the number of terrorists throughout the world. It has unveiled the hypocrisy of our government, which insists we are champions of democracy while we commit war crimes with impunity (and declare that international courts have no jurisdiction over us -- thus admitting our guilt).

Meanwhile, within our own borders, in the name of patriotism, our government robs us blissful Americans of our constitutional rights and protections. With that kind of help, who needs enemies?

-- Barbara Huber

Colorado Springs

Fighting demons

I always like to thank those that take the cause of children being abused by our justice system. Thank you for the article "Life Without Life" (cover story, July 14). Even though I am in Alabama, we are still fighting the same demons. We have approximately 31 serving life without parole in Alabama who were convicted under the age of 18. Unfortunately, my son is one of them and he just turned 30 on July 3. He was convicted of capital murder by complicity and sentenced to LWOP at the age of 16.

We don't have enough allies and I am always grateful and thankful to those in the media that write articles such as yours.

Thank you and God bless you,

-- Pam Thrasher

Hanceville, Ala.

Slippery credibility

John Hazlehurst (Outsider, Aug. 4) seems to think The Economist's recent endorsement of the Bushies as "smart, bold leaders who aren't afraid to make mistakes" (in contrast to "dim-witted, nuke-lovin' neocons") is evidence for "protective tribalism" or "pet prejudices" on the left.

Hardly! All it shows is that even some of the most esteemed journals and news magazines can emulate purblind morons.

Case 1: The New York Times' admission some months ago of being taken for a ride in cheerleading for the Iraq war -- through the drumbeat of a number of its resident eggheads (Judith Miller, Thomas Friedman, etc.) getting carried away in their dubious support for WMD "evidence."

Case 2: The Washington Post, which just celebrated an anniversary of Watergate and Deep Throat's outing of the Nixonites -- yet in the same breath, it castigates left sources and newspapers for "over-dramatizing the Downing Street Memo," around which "intelligence was fixed for the Iraq war."

So, The Economist provides no superior standard at all for Hazlehurst to create or fashion a niche of doubt for the Bushies' actions, or to cause those of us with more than air between our ears to reassess them from what we've always known the Bushies to be: greedy, warmongering idiots without sense or conscience.

Because when all the spin, specious apologias and PR are done, "smart, bold leaders" do not lie, deceive and fix intelligence to start an illegal, pre-emptive war that's already claimed more than 1,800 American lives and 25,000 Iraqis, nor do they out a covert CIA agent for political revenge and expose her network to harm while undermining national security.

Hazlehurst is wrong here, and isn't providing us with any novel insight. The Bushies are morons, greed-heads and assholes, just as we always knew they were.

-- Phil Stahl

Colorado Springs

Transcending party lines

First off, for those who believe that only middle-aged and senior folk care about issues, they have another thing coming. I am 22 years old and one of millions of young people that care every bit as much about issues, such as the environment, as those folks older than myself.

I have been following this energy bill through Congress and agree with its few outspoken Democratic opponents (e.g., Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., House Minority Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., etc.) that this bill will do virtually nothing to lower record gas prices in this country; will circumvent (and probably contravene) the Clean Water Act by "exempting construction activities for oil and gas development from [the act]"; permits toxic chemicals (e.g., benzene) to be leaked into Colorado's ground water; gives $25 billion in "giveaways" to the fossil fuel and nuclear industries (in addition to the tens of billions in profits oil companies have made from record gas prices); and opens such treasured public lands as the Roan Plateau here in Colorado to oil and/or natural gas exploration.

The above facts are from Environment Colorado. Unfortunately, bowing to corporate lobbyists and disregarding the public's health and safety, both senators Allard and Salazar voted for this horrible energy bill. Now, because of their poor -- and, frankly, wrong -- choice in voting for this bill, it will be ordinary Coloradans and tens of millions of other Americans who will suffer the consequences of their votes.

The citizens of Colorado must hold their Congressional representatives accountable when it comes to endangering the public's health and safety. I urge Coloradans of all political stripes to contact their member of Congress or U.S. senators and voice their disapproval and opposition to this newly passed bill, as the environment and public safety are issues that transcend party/ideological lines.

-- Sam Schlabaugh

Colorado Springs

Bush slips Bolton through

It was extremely disappointing to see President Bush use a recess appointment to force through John Bolton's nomination as United States ambassador to the United Nations. This crucially important diplomatic position has never before been filled in such a manner. By circumventing the conventional procedure, the president has thumbed his nose at the U.S. Senate and its constitutional role in the appointment process. Moreover, he has weakened the U.S. negotiating position by depriving Mr. Bolton of much of the moral stature and legitimacy that would be conferred upon him by the normal confirmation process.

Nevertheless, the appointment is now water under the bridge. We can only wish Mr. Bolton well and hope that he will succeed in his very important mission of representing U.S. interests. In his confirmation hearings Mr. Bolton promised to work for a stronger and more effective United Nations. We will insist that the president hold him to that promise. Reforming the U.N. and combating global terrorism are only two of the enormous tasks that will require greater engagement than ever with the other member states of the United Nations.

-- James J. Amato

Membership co-chair, Pikes Peak Chapter of UNA-USA

Woodland Park

Speak out, scientists

Pictures from the Hubble telescope show the world is billions of years old. Born-again Christians, Christian rightists and the Bible say the world is about 6,000 years old. How is it possible to reconcile scientific studies and a literal interpretation of the Bible?

Every major university in the world, through paleontologists, astronomers and cosmologists, says this is an ancient earth within an even more ancient universe. However, fundamentalists, through their belief in the "Word," basically purport that all the scientists of the world are wrong.

We cannot allow these myths to be taught in school as reality. Misleading children is wrong. The people who are expounding this as a young universe are the very people working to turn this nation into a theocracy, turning from our beloved democracy.

The scientists of the world must speak out. If the current trend toward the right continues, science will become irrelevant.

-- Irwin MacLeod

Colorado Springs

Who are the reformers?

I've seen several references in letters to the editor in Gazette editorials referring to the minority board members (Christen, Cox, Breazell) in School District 11 as "reformers."

I think the true reformers are the majority board members who are responsibly working through the maze of mandates passed by lawmakers who often come up with simplistic answers for complex issues. I admire how the majority board members have steadily worked to improve education for all students under some difficult circumstances, with a minority board that seems more bent on destroying public education than reform!

I encourage voters, come November, to vote for thoughtful, responsible candidates who care about quality education, and not let money from people with a narrow political agenda hijack our school board.

-- John Gartin

Colorado Springs

A fabulous time

We spent a warm and luscious Friday evening at Shove Chapel on Friday, July 29. The event was free world music featuring Geno Delafose & French Rockin' Boogie. We had such a good time at this show that we really wanted to thank the Independent for co-sponsoring this event, as well as acknowledging and thanking The Gay & Lesbian Fund, Bee Vradenburg Foundation, Colorado College and last but certainly not least, the Pikes Peak Library District.

Not only was Friday a fabulous time had by all, Old Blind Dogs, the last feature act, was amazing as well. We don't know how to thank you enough, and will be looking for this wonderful event next year with great anticipation!

-- Deirdre deProspero and Nelson Ferencic

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