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Illegal allies
I feel compelled to notify fellow citizens of what is now occurring during the early morning hours in our downtown streets. This past Friday, July 11, after an evening at Rum Bay, I was met with an unexpected and disturbing sight. It was not the ever-increasing number of police officers that I found so disturbing. It was the three Fort Carson Army soldiers in full camo, armed with 9mm handguns, standing in the middle of Tejon Street with Colorado Springs police as people exited the night clubs.

I knew instantly what was occurring, but delayed my departure to watch and confirm my suspicions. After 30 minutes I approached an officer and inquired, "With all due respect, sir, why do we have armed soldiers in our streets?" He smirked slightly and responded in a more serious tone, "There are people that do certain things that need to be stopped; we started a program with the local base to bring some soldiers out with us to quell those things that go on ... even just their presence has a quelling effect."

That confirmed my suspicion: It was solely to create a sense of fear and intimidate the people under direction of the CSPD.

The Posse Comitatus Act was passed in 1878 to prevent our military from being used for general civilian police activities. Since the U.S. Patriot Act, and the Defense Authorization Act, virtually all aspects of the Posse Act were overwritten but directed at events of large civil disobedience, natural disasters or terrorist threats.

On this evening there were no organized masses, just the normal instances of confrontation between random people. In short, what CSPD is doing is illegal, and the CSPD and our local government need to be "quelled" of thinking that such blatant violations of civil law can continue.

Justin Blough
Colorado Springs

Meeting Dougster
I met Doug Bruce at the post office on a recent Saturday. He seemed like a nice guy. He is probably the most recognizable politician in Colorado, as every person who walked in the door said hello to him.

Quite a hustler too, he asked everyone to help him on his latest project. Tear down the Stormwater Enterprise. I drive all over the area and notice the waste of my tax dollars all the time. I noticed right away the new trucks and new employees of the enterprise.

Politicians always want to spend all the money, fast. Everything goes over budget and they go to the well for more. I support Bruce's general concept of reining in the spending, but his scorched-earth, slash-and-burn approach is too extreme for me. The poor and helpless are always hurt first.

Government has its place in our society (just not too much of it). We need the energy of 50 Doug Bruces working the convention in Denver. Lobby the future leadership of our country for a energy policy that has a sunny future for Colorado. I estimate the cost of one nuclear power plant equals 3.3 million complete solar arrays on homes, and 20 nuclear plants equals solar power and a plug-in hybrid for every home in America.

Karl Knapstein
Colorado Springs

Lamborn's flip-flops

It is imperative that candidates seeking public office, requesting the trust and faith of the citizens they represent, uphold that pledge with fortitude. First-term congressman Doug Lamborn has failed that test. Months after being sworn into office in 2007, Lamborn co-sponsored a resolution to reaffirm the Armenian genocide. Within months, he floundered and withdrew his support. This was the first in a series of flip-flops on an issue of conscience.

Historical records describe the 20th century's first genocide, the Armenian genocide, as a campaign of race extermination. In all, 1.5 million Christian Armenians perished by order of the Ottoman Empire. It was, in fact, the first "final solution" of the century and Hitler, on the eve of his 1939 invasion of Poland, said, "Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?"

In May, under great public pressure to blunt criticism of his withdrawal from the Armenian genocide resolution and facing the threat of a vigorous Republican primary, Lamborn issued a Congressional Record statement acknowledging the Armenian genocide. This was his second flip-flop.

His third and final flip-flop came in his response to an election-issues survey sponsored by a national American-Armenian organization. He placed a stipulation a caveat, if you will on his support for future Armenian genocide reaffirmation resolutions.

Genocide is not an issue that allows for clarification or equivocation.

Lamborn's challenger, Jeff Crank, in contrast, has pledged unequivocally to support congressional efforts to re-establish United States foreign policy recognizing the Armenian genocide. If he's elected, the American-Armenian community of Colorado will hold Crank to his word. Isn't that what all citizens should expect of an elected member of Congress?

Pamela Barsam Brown
Boulder

Bad program
One thing that contributes to people going hungry is problems with the "computer program" used to "speed up the food-stamp" process. I, along with others I know, get left out in the cold when it comes time for recertification. Last year I was without food stamps for over two months while I waited.

I am on SSI disability and did not have dollars to cover my food needs for those two months. When I talked with my former worker, she stated problems with the computer program, which had lots of "bugs," and lack of staff. (She also told me reporting changes resulted in longer waits, etc.) I recently spoke with several other people who have told me this is "par for the course."

This also puts a strain on the food banks, because without food stamps, that is where I and others end up even though, when they do get things processed, a person gets the full allotment of two to three months. However, food given by the food banks for those months is not replaced.

Food stamps for a single person are running at about $156 a month, which doesn't go far these days. A significant part of the food-bank problem includes the Republican pro-life (more like pro-fetus) policies which end at a baby's birth and fail to keep up with inflation and the growing number of families needing food stamps.

Name withheld
Colorado Springs

What goes around ...

As the presidential election unfolds, Americans' concern over their so-called war on terrorism will take precedence.

I have heard, time after time, one of the biggest concerns Americans have is that the Islamic extremists want to take away their way of life. Americans afraid of having a people take away their way of life: Isn't that interesting?

Truth is, no country in history has been more adept in taking away a people's way of life, culture, history and heritage than America. It started as the U.S. was being formed; the land was inhabited by a people with ancestral rights. So the U.S. broke every treaty with the natives, then massacred them, justifying their deeds through their contrived idea of manifest destiny.

How about the American slave? These were men, women and children taken violently, against their will, from their homeland in Africa. Once here, slave owners took away their African names and gave them "white" names. They were not allowed to practice their cultural activities or become educated.

There is a concept common to the majority of world religions and various spiritualities. It is the law of reaping and sowing; others refer to it as karma. If you sow bad things to others, you must experience or reap those same bad things.

So, America, take a good long hard look at your history, your past and the country's foundations built on lies, deceit, murder and the absolute destruction of people's ways of life, including genocide. Maybe the universe is saying your time has come. Maybe it is now time, America, to reap all that you have sown.

Michael McMahon
Colorado Springs

Misguided Congress
It is evident why Congress has the lowest approval rating of all time. Its members have demonstrated their uselessness time and time again by caving into President Bush's desires. We are told this is a Democratic Congress, but not so. It is very uneven in that some of the Democrats are more conservative and hawkish than many Republicans. This fact is evident in their not holding immediate impeachment hearings for the many war crimes the Bush administration has committed and continues to commit, not to mention the crimes against Americans. Even House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has proven weak in this area.

Dennis Kucinich recently introduced another article of impeachment for this administration's intentional lying to the American people in order to attack Iraq. What could be a worse crime than this, costing many thousands of lives? I suppose many members of Congress are afraid people will not vote for them if they stand up for us. We all need to let them know that we won't vote for them if they don't.

Sharlene White
Santa Fe, N.M.

Another option
I have been a loyal Democrat for over 40 years. However, this past primary season I have become very disillusioned with the Democratic National Committee. I supported Hillary Clinton and believe her campaign was railroaded by the DNC and media. I am not a sore loser, I am not whining, I am not menopausal, I am not bitchy, and I am not "falling in line." I am a patriotic, loyal American.

I do not trust Barack Obama. His promises have not materialized, he has gone back on his words of great speeches, his questionable associates leave me feeling very uneasy, and his Internet supporters have shut down sites that oppose him.

What other choice do I have? I could vote for John McCain, and I will if Obama is the Democratic nominee. Although I do not agree with many of McCain's policies, I consider him an honorable man and a loyal American.

I do not want to remain silent. I want my voice to be heard and my vote to count. My father died in World War II defending my freedom. I cannot just sit still and do nothing.

So, I researched online and discovered millions of voices that are actively involved in making a difference. I found my voice in PUMA Pac. This group mirrors my particular views, but there are others. Many are under one coalition called Just Say No Deal.

They are people just like me, concerned about the direction of America.

I would hope that others take the time to find their voice and make their vote count. America's future really does depend on it!

B. Shine
Midvale, Utah

Correction
A story last week about Democratic candidates for the county commission listed incorrect background information about Pam Berry. In a 30-year career at School District 11, Berry worked in a school library, as a receptionist and in other capacities before spending 10 years in the business office and 11 years in human resources. The Independent regrets the error.

  • Illegal allies, Doug Bruce, Rep. Lamborn, food stamps and more

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