FOX obsession

I should just say that I am miffed, but actually, I am horrified that at the Air Force Academy building that serves as a kind of "holding pen" for those seeking security clearance to get on to the Academy's grounds, they have not one but two televisions blaring FOX News all the time. Why these TVs at taxpayers' expense, in the first place?

But it is also quite jarring to hear the president of the United States, also known as the commander in chief of the American armed forces, being lambasted and demeaned while on a United States military reservation.

Similarly, at city-owned Memorial Hospital they seem to broadcast only FOX News in their public spaces.

People are entitled to their opinions but, between the Gazette and these government-funded establishments, all the good people of Colorado Springs seem to be getting is right-wing propaganda.

— Frank Merritt

Colorado Springs

A sub's delight

The other day, I substituted at Oak Creek Elementary School in Harrison School District 2. The teacher had left lesson plans for language arts. The plans included exchanges and combinations of students from adjoining classrooms. In the course of the day, I taught second- and third-graders.

Those educators are doing something right! At the culmination of four different periods, the second- and third-graders broke up into groups around the room — with almost no direction from me.

Students in each group practiced, experimented and decided among themselves how to present a given poem. Then each group performed a full-page poem for the rest of the class, in ways devised by the students, such as by choral reading, alternating, in pairs, by taking parts or individually. I witnessed immense enjoyment, displays of confidence, leadership, group building, problem solving, cooperation, and appreciation of poetry.

— Janice Black

Colorado Springs


A sub's disgust

It must be hard to go to all the trouble of proposing a new tax increase, knowing it will fail. They all do around here.

Let's look at what they're trying to save with the money: our schools ("Sinking ship," cover story, Sept. 29). As a substitute teacher, I know the critical value of a quality education. However, I am also acutely aware of the difficulties that prevent good teaching from occurring.

These kids are buck wild. I don't know how any of the teachers can present material at all. Kids who are motivated to go to college should take their GED as soon as they are ready. Go Doogie Howser on it.

Current junior and senior high schools should be converted to trade schools or art schools. You'll see your friends at soccer practice. Elementary schools should go to grade eight. The 'Net will fill in the three Rs.

— Kenton Lloyd

Colorado Springs

Biblical reality

It is a popular teaching, but completely inaccurate, that Romans 13:1-4 applies to secular/civil government ("God before country," cover story, Sept. 22). It is specific to, and only to, the "Church" (Body of Christ).

This is established by at least two scriptures in the New Testament: John 18:36 (My Kingdom is not of this world...) and Romans 12:1-2 (I beseech you therefore brethren... And be not conformed to this world...). The Old Testament also verifies this in 1st Samuel 8, when the Israelites demanded that Samuel (Yahweh's prophet at that time) appoint a king over them, like the surrounding nations had. There is also the refusal of Satan's offer to Christ of all the kingdoms of this world when they were both in the "wilderness."

Yahweh God has very little to do with secular authority, unless His children are involved or are praying in that regard.

— Gregory Alan Johnson

Colorado Springs

Not a Ponzi scheme

Social Security is not a Ponzi scheme ("A Ponzi scheme," Letters, Sept. 29). Really. The essential difference is that Ponzi was promising returns on investments that did not actually exist. It was fraud. He promised investors a return of 50 percent in 45 days. The only way to satisfy withdrawals when he didn't really earn 50 percent on the money was to pay out of the new investor revenues.

To say that Social Security resembles Ponzi schemes merely because of a similarity of paying benefits to current beneficiaries from revenue is like saying that a zebra has stripes, and a tiger has stripes, so a zebra is a tiger.

Social Security is a pay-as-you-go investment, actually a feature I thought was attractive to the conservative-finance tea party. Current revenues pay out as benefits to current beneficiaries, plus overhead. There is no fraudulent bookkeeping of benefits. When there was a large balance of wage-earners to beneficiaries, and revenues exceeded benefit payments, a trust fund did accumulate a net positive balance.

With the baby boom potentially turning around that proportion of beneficiaries to wage-earners, the concern now is that future benefits could require more money than the trust fund has in net balance, plus lower future tax revenues. To fix such an anticipated shortfall, the obvious solutions would be to either reduce benefits, increase revenue, or some combination thereof, or a structural change from defined benefits to investment accounts.

Republicans don't want to increase the tax revenue, and Democrats don't want to decrease the benefits. Well, Republicans really don't want their benefits decreased, either.

The point here is that Social Security is not a fraudulent Ponzi operation. Framing it as such is disingenuous, and the deliberate negative connotation is in itself a game of political deception.

— Dan Marvin

Colorado Springs

The pork problem

It's more than a little troubling that misconceptions about Social Security being a "Ponzi scheme" continue to be circulated, as with Jason Martin's letter. However, as the recent issue of the Economist has noted, it isn't a Ponzi scheme because it doesn't meet the core definition. That is, later contributors being unaware they're paying in for current beneficiaries; 99 percent are for Social Security!

In fact, this was the only way Social Security could be politically practical. Further, other industrial nations (e.g., Germany) were already using this method to subsidize their own social insurance. Barbados has been doing it now with its national insurance system for over 40 years.

Contrary to Martin's opinion, the problem with Social Security isn't too few workers to pay in, but rather too many raids on its monies, especially in the past 10 years, to disguise the size of the deficits. Since 2000, a total of $2.56 trillion has been raided from Social Security to pay for pork projects, defense and other domestic items. This is absolutely intolerable. Last year alone, out of $150-odd billion taken in, some $87 billion was ripped off.

No wonder Social Security has funding problems, especially as an increased number of non-retirees are taking Social Security disability because they are no longer able to get work or collect unemployment. This added drain, according to GAO stats, will have Social Security in the red for several years running.

Nonetheless, Mr. Martin shouldn't lose sleep that he won't be receiving his money. Only a few minor changes are needed, provided we make them early. The primary one is to just increase the payroll tax to about twice its current threshold ($106,000). That will keep it fully funded through 2047.

— Phil Stahl

Colorado Springs

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Stuck like squirrels

I write with hope that our community can see through the Washington fear-mongering and get a grip on what is really wrong with our once-great nation.

Real wages (non-union) have been stagnant since about 1977. When I started my first skilled blue-collar job as a jeweler, the top wage for a fully functional bench jeweler was about $20 per hour. Today? Maybe $25. My current profession is about the same, $20 to $25 per hour.

No wonder most feel stuck in the financial squirrel cage of this life. Barring a change of heart by the corporate powers that rule Washington, we are stuck for the foreseeable future.

What can we do? Colorado Springs could implement a small sales-tax increase to buy certificates of deposit in our better local credit unions, with the condition that said credit unions make start-up loans to help bright ideas blossom into brilliant new small businesses, and finance expansion of ongoing concerns.

It is a sick and twisted financial system that gives basically free money to the well-to-do and shuts out the rest. I propose an Enterprise Zone from Skormanville to Manitou, where entrepreneurs can get long-term loans at reasonable rates and short-term leases to try new ideas or work their current talents into lifelong endeavors. This "zone" could encompass the whole county, but should look forward to a day when Tejon and Colorado might be a pedestrian mall with large parking garages and shuttle buses, à la Denver's 16th Street Mall.

I like the idea of volunteer mentors from the community. I am sure plenty of retired people skilled in business, accounting and promotion would love an opportunity to help. Every large business was started as an idea, and we should nurture and build on the talent that surrounds us.

— Karl Knapstein


'Lies of their leaders'

I know the Mainstream Fascist Media have officially whistled the ball dead on Doug Lamborn's racist remark, which is bully for their side: Lamborn gets full control of the game, especially since his side owns the referees. But, you know, I just don't go around shutting up just because some racist pukes tell me to do so.

So, here's a little challenge to the half-wits who parrot The Dougster's spin doctors and their explanation that "tar baby" is more commonly used as a synonym for "quagmire" and that anybody who has never heard this "common" usage must be stupid:

Why not provide documented proof of Lamborn ever using the term in that "common usage" before? Better yet, before sneering at us "inferior" types, why not prove, with documentation, that they themselves have used that term in the "common usage" form? Or provide documentation that others have. It's common, right?

Doug is a politician, a very controversial apologist for corporate welfare and warmonger, and thus his public statements have been recorded. Doug blogs as a guest for the Heritage Foundation, who claims that slavery wasn't racist. They and he stuck to the WMDs lie which "legitimized" their conquest of the oil fields of Iraq, long after it was disproven. Then they told the rest of us that their original lies didn't matter.

Lie to us, dismiss your lies as unimportant, then tell us that we have to believe your lies, or at least shut up about them? Not half-likely.

As always, I eagerly await the wails, shrieks and invective the Might-Makes-Right Wing heaps upon any such challenge to the lies of their leaders.

— Jonah Elijah Brown

Colorado Springs

Troy Davis tragedy

This country was founded on being a safe haven for everyone — a melting pot for all cultures, races, and religious backgrounds. Yet in a short 235 years we have evolved into an industrial superpower of wealthy, "straight" Christian, white Americans, surrounded by a myriad of racial, social, ethnic and religious minorities that are effectively enslaved and repressed, yet do the bidding of the ruling class.

In the mid-1800s, we fought a horrific war between states, between brothers and families, over our "entitlement" to own slaves. In 1865, the war and slavery ended and blacks were freed, but were they really? Do they have the same advantages and opportunities growing up as their white equivalent? Hell, no!

A white man under the same circumstances as Troy Davis would not have been murdered by the state of Georgia. But now, some in the prison system in Georgia, and elsewhere, can mutter: "See, that will show these uppity n-----s to remember who is boss! We lynched another one..."

The state of Georgia murdered Troy Davis!

— Dave White

Oceanside, Calif.

Handling doctors

This is a follow-up to "Hurt on the job?" (Letters, Sept. 29). I want to give a few clues to injured workers who may be falling victim to a corrupt physician or provider. A classic pattern of abuse is employed that can be detected if you think back. It is the pattern of dominating, humiliating, control.

The domination begins with a doctor who will not talk to you as an equal. Mine used a demeaning tone of voice and insisted on speaking to me as though she were talking to a very small, very ignorant child.

If you refuse to fall into the submissive role, the next move is usually to accuse or insinuate that you have done something wrong. For me, this was accompanied by the physician adding very negative, untruthful things to my medical report. The reduction of care is the goal, and they will use any excuse to do it.

If demeaning you is not effective enough, they may move on to more overt domination. The doctor treating me actually snarled, showed her teeth, and accused me outright of making up symptoms when I presented a possibly related issue.

You must not be intimidated out of telling the doctor what is wrong. That is the whole ploy: discouraging the injured worker from actually getting treatment by making them too embarrassed, afraid or ashamed to seek care.

Control of your person and diminishing the courage to speak of what is wrong with you is the intended outcome. That is a major method of keeping the money spent on your care to a minimum.

— Lisa L. Ruffin-Smith

Colorado Springs

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