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In name only?

Instead of your newspaper being called the Independent, why not change it to Obama Times or maybe Liberal Rant? Why pretend anymore you are open-minded or thoughtful in your reporting?

The Oct. 7 endorsements could have saved a great deal of space by saying, "We endorse all Democrats, regardless of their qualifications." Any time you endorse someone like Kevin Bradley, who is just meat thrown out there, your credibility becomes nonexistent. You did the same with endorsing some Boulder DA over John Suthers. All this tells me your endorsements are strictly party-line, rather than about qualifications.

Oh, I have seen how Sen. Michael Bennet has been nothing but a pawn for Obama on every important issue, leading us toward complete dependency upon the federal government. Regardless of your thoughts, I would never vote for him.

I was hoping to get some thoughtful insight into some of the amendments and propositions. I'm tempted to discount your thoughts as being strictly political rather than factual evaluations of the issues.

Surely the Independent can be just that; a voice of factual analysis and reasoning, rather than trekking down some party line.

— Duane C. Slocum

Colorado Springs

Can't have it all

It's beginning to look like this election will be a referendum in minutiae. Many feel they are part of a persecuted minority, even old, white tea drinkers. They're mad as hell. They don't want their taxes going to anything that doesn't directly benefit them. Why should taxes go toward education? (Because it behooves all of us to live in an educated society, duh.) They don't want to pay for roads because they don't drive, or they don't want to help pay for public transportation because they do drive.

They rail against entitlement programs but don't even realize they're talking about Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security, the main things that allow people to take care of themselves. They really love to complain about bailouts although much of that money has already been paid back, and the stimulus spending has, in the words of almost every economist, kept us from the second Great Depression.

The biggest, saltiest thing in their craw is taxes. It's almost as if they want an à la carte tax menu to pick and choose what they support. Here's a clue: We're all in this together. We elect representatives and they are supposed to figure it out and make good decisions, but a few things are for certain. We all need to support education, infrastructure, the elderly and the young, or we risk becoming a Second or Third World country.

Tea drinkers need to stop treating all other Americans as "The Enemy" and start listening more than bitching about anything and everything having to do with the president. Those who are very vocal and very loud get a lot of air time. But that doesn't make them right, wise or smart. It just makes them loud, persecuted minorities that aren't really persecuted and aren't really minorities.

— Max Lowe

Colorado Springs

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That's rich

This election could see a sharp turn toward government that exists only for the benefit of the super-rich and large corporations — and a sharp turn away from a democratic capitalism that is absolutely necessary for a thriving middle class, now the fastest-shrinking minority in America.

The same disgruntled voters who blame Obama for the TARP (which was in fact a scheme by Bush’s Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson to grab as much public wealth as he could for his Wall Street cronies) now seem eager to hand over the reins of government to the same greedy bunch who stole our retirement funds and brought our economy to a grinding halt.

We can look forward to an even bleaker future where all focus is on enriching the rich, killing any possibility of reform, and deregulating big corporations and Wall Street so they can run wild. We hear much talk of lower taxes, always with the inference that average workers benefit when the wealthiest get huge tax breaks, and never the truth that the middle class must make up for the shortfall.

We hear the phony claims that they will use these tax breaks to create jobs, when the record shows they invest in overseas schemes where their profits are higher and taxes are low or nonexistent.

When the untested new faces get to Congress, we'll see how far they get with cutting the Pentagon and entitlement programs like Medicare and Social Security. It will be fun watching their Republican peers try to silence them.

Twenty years of Reagan and Bush presidencies created massive national debt while devastating the middle class, George W. alone adding a colossal $5 to $7 trillion by the time the Iraq war debacle is tallied. Will we now vote for even more of the same?

— Jerry Newsom

Colorado Springs

The enemy is us

We've had to drag out the Constitution a lot lately, particularly that First Amendment. The offending issues are issues because they seem to be working the fringes of free speech. There's a reason for the confusion and indecision: These affairs are not as much about free speech as they are about every human's right to privacy. In today's world we need protection from each other as much as from the government.

We have met Big Brother, and he is us. Just like the Founding Fathers had trouble dealing with the problems that came with the Industrial Revolution, today we're experiencing the first problems of a Privacy Revolution. We're trying to squeeze these new problems under the umbrella of the old Constitution, when what we really need is an updated Second First Amendment that protects an individual's basic right to privacy.

Look, here's Big Brother now! Uh oh...he says he can't let that happen.

— Steve Suhre

Colorado Springs

Clarifying rights

When does a "person" acquire "rights"? Amendment 62, the so-called Personhood Amendment, would apply the term person to "every human being from the beginning of the biological development of that human being," specifically as used in Sections 3, 6, and 25 of Article II of the Colorado constitution. These sections concern inalienable rights, equality of justice and due process of law.

Such a change would create a legal quagmire, so before we open our future to years of court interpretations, we should consider the basic question.

Proponents argue that a new, distinct life is created when the "sperm and the ovum touch," and that this is an actual "human being" in an early stage of development. Their argument breaks down, however, when they claim the classification of "human being" entitles this entity to the right to life addressed by civil laws.

These laws establish the freedoms necessary for individuals to engage in society. They create rights that originate in a social context and pertain to that framework, enabling groups to coexist. Being designated as a human while still in the womb does not create an entitlement to societal rights of living, freely functioning citizens, because the unborn is completely dependent upon someone else.

Not until the "human being" emerges from that womb to become an individual member of society, capable of interacting with others, can it assume individual rights.

Prior to this point, the rights of the person who carries it must be fully honored, including her liberty to make choices benefiting her own welfare.

The Personhood Amendment would deny the mother those rights. Vote NO on Amendment 62.

— Janet Brazill

Colorado Springs

 

Devious pattern

The originators of Amendments 60 and 61 and Proposition 101 want us to believe they are simply a grab bag of tax relief measures. Hardly. When taken together, they represent a thorough blueprint for crippling state government.

Step one, shift local responsibilities to the state. Thus, 60 and 101 result in lost local revenues for schools being replaced by state revenue.

Step two, ensure that local taxes are cut and stay at a very low level. Amendment 60 cuts property taxes, regardless of local-level desire. It lowers the potential for future increases by limiting the terms of any voter-approved increases and allowing non-resident property owners to vote to defeat increases. Non-residents don't care if streets are plowed or schools in good working order. And 61 ensures future local tax cuts by requiring a tax cut every time a loan or bond is paid off.

The third and final step to catastrophe? Hamstring state legislators to ensure they have no path to relief. Amendment 61 makes it impossible for them to borrow for any purpose; 101 cuts off current fees and taxes, immediately lowers the income tax rate, and enshrines a dollar amount for vehicle registration fees into our constitution! Also, 101 ensures the income tax rate decreases every time revenue increases.

Taken individually, each element of the three issues no doubt has appeal. The problem is in the pattern. Within very few years, these amendments would create a state government with a dramatically increased level of fiscal responsibilities and very little flexibility in trying to meet those responsibilities.

Forget about the ads. Read the amendments, then step back and think about the combined impact and imagine the great state of Colorado five years from now.

It's not a pretty picture.

— Niel Powers

Colorado Springs

Stop the nonsense

May we please hear no more of the oft-repeated myth from the tea party and the Libertarians, that if we give more tax breaks to the rich to make them richer, they will turn around and use that wealth to create jobs for the masses of unemployed?

Tea partiers and other Libertarians never tire of repeating the legend that redistributing the wealth from the working class to the rich class, via tax cuts favoring mainly the wealthy, will solve our unemployment problems.

The Bush administration did just that kind of redistribution, and look at what happened. The unemployment rate did not go down, but instead it shot up to a ruinous 10 percent, with untold suffering in the nation. If the Libertarians were right, we should now have full employment. Never in America has the chasm between the ultra-rich and the average workers been so wide.

This is one of the worst examples of "class warfare," as the rich lounge on Caribbean beaches, enjoy multiple homes and wallow in luxury, while millions of Americans live in grinding poverty.

So much for the Libertarian Legend. Let's hear no more of it.

— Larimore Nicholl

Colorado Springs

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