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Up to its eyeballs

About your Jan. 19 James Dobson-Abramoff-casino article ("Dobson roused faithful for Abramoff's aims," News), if I understand correctly:

1. Abramoff contacted Focus on the Family's Dobson through Ralph Reed, a mutual acquaintance, and asked him to help oppose a casino. Dobson did.

2. Reed denies taking any money connected to Indian casinos, and there is no evidence he did. There also is no evidence of any other communication between Dobson and Abramoff.

3. Nevertheless, it's reasonable to wonder how much influence Dobson wielded in support of Abramoff's goals, including those that were illegal.

It's inspiring and scary when good investigative journalism connects the dots and reveals under-the-table goings-on such as these. I'm so inspired, in fact, that I did some investigation of my own:

1. The Independent ran an editorial joining Dobson in opposing gambling ("False advertising," Feb. 7, 2002). There is no evidence that this was anything more than finding common ground with someone against whom you are usually opposed. Nevertheless, it is therefore quite reasonable to ask how just deeply you're involved in the Abramoff scandal.

2. The Independent endorsed both John Kerry and Ken Salazar in 2004. Records show that Kerry took nearly $100,000 from Abramoff, and Salazar accepted $4,500.

3. The Independent belongs to the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies (AAN), a trade organization with offices in Washington, D.C. the city in which the Abramoff scandal occurred. Furthermore, the Independent and AAN both have Web sites hosted at Opus One, a hosting provider in Tucson, Ariz. And Opus One's other hosting clients include TiltPix.com, a domain squatter whose index page has at least six links to pornography.

It's possible you had no knowledge of or responsibility for any of this, but it's also quite reasonable to wonder just how complicit you are in the pornography industry's abuse and objectification of women.

By your own standards, I'd say it's obvious the Independent is up to its eyeballs in the Abramoff scandal and in pornography. It's a good thing you're so inconsistent about applying your own standards, or your next editorial would be demanding that everyone who works for the Independent be thrown in jail.

Greg Hartman

Colorado Springs

Editor's note: Greg Hartman is a senior online editor at Focus on the Family.

Bircham & Bruce

Why am I not surprised that Ed Bircham and Doug Bruce would so flagrantly violate lobbying rules so as to divert a lucrative county contract to Bircham's store?

Perhaps we should just refer to them as "Abramoff and DeLay" from now on.

Thomas McCullock

Colorado Springs

No contradiction

Here is one more to add to the list: You are sooo Colorado Springs ... if your license plate says, "Respect life," and your bumper sticker claims, "I support the troops," and you find no contradiction in this.

Peter Brebach

Manitou Springs

Squishy legal ground

NOT ALITO!!! As our president is on squishy legal ground and low moral ground, we cannot place his nominee in the Supreme Court.

It is long overdue for our "commander-in-chief" to be called to accountability as well: In spite of having any legal counsel he needs at his beckon call, and having "God on his side," our "commander-in-chief" cannot make decisions that keep families out of harm's way and provide for living wages.

So much for the "good counsel." Bush just can't channel it.

Catherine Lee

Manitou Springs

Power unchecked

This is the biggest constitutional crisis we've had in several generations. Confirming Alito is not a partisan Democrat-versus-Republican issue. It's about the very nature of our republic, which requires a balance of power between the branches of government.

It's not about Roe v. Wade, either. It's about civil liberties. Every citizen should be concerned about Alito. For the Democrats, a filibuster is required and this is the correct time to use it. Republicans need to put partisanship aside and see Alito for what he really is and what the ramifications are to America and the constitution.

Alito has a very long and consistent history of judging against individual civil liberties and for unchecked presidential power, called the "unitary executive."

I would summarize by saying Alito is anti-Constitution and anti-American.

Thomas Griesan

Colorado Springs

Stories untold

This letter is asking the question about self-censorship by the local TV and print media. The "Defending America/Space Comm 2006" symposium concluded on Jan. 26 at The Broadmoor Convention Center with virtually no local press coverage. It is sponsored by the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association, Air Force Space Command, Northern Command and Army Space and Missile Command, and has major participation from a host of military contractors. There were 70 exhibitors in the trade-show room. More than 600 were in attendance.

Subjects covered included the range of big-budget items such as missile defense, electronic surveillance, new weaponry, and, by extension, the important issues of waste, fraud and abuse, and civil liberties questions relating to secret surveillance of American citizens.

And yet, none of our TV stations or daily or weekly papers did any coverage of the event. It could be argued that local reporters would be overmatched trying to decipher the details of the latest in high-tech gadgetry and weaponry that were discussed there. But I know a lot of local reporters who are more than qualified to ask about waste, fraud and abuse, and about civil liberties and secrecy in government, etc.

These participants provide the bread and butter of our local economy. That should not mean they get to have their own private "county fair" of self-congratulation and sensory enjoyment at in-house discussions of current and future multibillion-dollar contracts.

It appears the press did not attend because they were not invited. One could assume that they would have gone if they had gotten a PR hype invitation to cover a "good news" story. But since they didn't, they didn't feel obligated to inform us at all.

Bill Sulzman

Citizens for Peace in Space

Colorado Springs

Supply and demand

It's hard to be surprised by what Congress does anymore, but its latest game over high gas prices has me stunned. Because prices rose during last year's tragic hurricane season, politicians want to create a mechanism to magically lower gas prices and punish oil companies for making profits.

But Congress' approach is to cripple U.S.-based companies with provisions in Bill S.2020 that would amount to a huge "windfall profits" tax. But the effect of a greater cost of doing business won't be more supply; it will be less much less. So while Republicans, Democrats and independents are all clamoring for less reliance on foreign oil, Washington is poised to up the ante to ask for even more from the Middle East.

The answer to high gas prices isn't found on Capitol Hill. It's found in increasing domestic supplies, more exploration, and less regulation. And the problem has already begun to resolve itself. Prices have fallen well off their hurricane highs. That's what we call supply and demand. Someone should tell Congress.

John Graczyk

Retired veteran, concerned citizen

Monument

Wolf in sheep's cloth

Wal-Mart is clever for how it advertises, but as a consumer, union worker, and someone with human decency, I choose not to spend my money at Wal-Mart for a number of reasons:

1. They claim to create jobs, but they don't tell you how they continue to mistreat workers.

2. They talk about how they serve the local community in other ways, but will they ever tell you about the sweatshops they own in China?

3. If you mention the word "union" to Wal-Mart management, they will accuse you of using profanity.

4. They will never tell you how they destroy small business, nor will they ever tell you about how they invade quiet neighborhoods.

If Wal-Mart is such a great company, then the moon must be made of green cheese.

Does Colorado Springs really need another Wal-Mart, or should companies with a sense of corporate responsibility come to Colorado Springs?

If a fair-minded employer came to Colorado Springs, that might be the same concept as our City Council redeeming itself and telling developers to stop tearing into our landscape.

Ed Billings

Colorado Springs

Another casualty

It seems another casualty of our times is old-fashioned news radio. There used to be stations, precursors to the all-day TV news stations, that could be counted on. You could tune in anytime and at least hear the headlines, if the local baseball game wasn't being aired.

Sure, there are still those stations that call themselves news stations, but have you listened to them lately? There is very little news. Three or four minutes once or twice an hour is about all they can muster. The rest of the time is spent in a frenzy of partisan bashing, disinformation, and yokels calling in yelling their party's talking points. There is no journalism and little pretense of objectivity and, like all mob action, the participants are allowed, or even encouraged, to howl and rant against that day's perceived threat to the American way, no matter how phobic or hateful the topic.

Yesterday, a host of one of these witch hunts was asking callers to voice their opinions as to whether "liberals hate America." Not a real nice topic, but that's what passes today for radio. It's mob radio actually, or hate radio. It's a shame, and I guess, these days, any news is good news.

Mike Clow

Colorado Springs

Imagine this

Imagine if all that effort/energy/time/communication was put into learning/understanding/developing our diversity rather than unifying one side against all others.

Brian Elyo

Colorado Springs

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