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Vote out the war mongers

Dear Editors,

Three and a half years ago, I wrote a letter to the editor of the Durango Herald stating, among other things, “there is no way we will win this war.” I mention this simply to create context for a question: How is it that a semi-illiterate, ditch-digger from Podunk, Colo., knew that this would become the treasonous boondoggle that it has, yet the high-paid, highly educated officials in Washington (including the Democrats who voted for the war) did not know? Are they stupid? I think not! I think they knew exactly what they were getting into – hugely profitable military contracts. And if the legislators were not standing to profit directly from the war then they must have voted out of fear, which is exactly the goal of terrorism.

We are approaching a half trillion dollars for this war, and does anyone really see an end in sight? The connections between government and the military industrial complex are so tight and transparent these days that it is no longer just a revolving door but a grand promenade. Over 50 percent of all our federal tax money goes to the military, at the great expense to countless domestic programs, and are we any safer from terrorism? Are billion-dollar fighter jets and nuclear subs with sonar bombs going to protect us from jihadists who aspire to martyrdom? It’s like building an eight foot razor-wire fence to protect your house from cockroaches; but if you’re a razor-wire fence contractor... .

My point is this: let’s vote out all the bastards who voted for this war. In Colorado, the ayes and nays on the resolution to invade Iraq (res. 114) were split directly down party lines. Nationally, however, there were a number of Democrats who supported the war, including John Kerry, John Edwards, Hillary Clinton, Joseph Biden, Evan Bayh, Tom Daschle, Wesley Clark, et.al. Of the likely contenders for the 2008 Democratic presiden

tial nomination, the only ones who were opposed to the war in Iraq were Russ Feingold, Howard Dean, Al Gore (kinda-sorta opposed), and Dennis Kucinich. We won’t know for another year or more who is a serious contender, but let’s never forget their records.

– Paul Iverson, Durango


A very brief history of A-LP

Dear Editors,

With the airing of the documentary, “Cowboys, Indians and Lawyers,” on PBS I thought viewers might appreciate further illumination of the struggle to stop the Animas La Plata Project. The filmmaker being constrained by the one hour format by necessity had to condense and simplify.

The events portrayed in the film for the most part cover the years 1996-97. In 1996, frustrated by seeing the millions of tax dollars spent by the A-LP supporters to buy political influence, Taxpayers for the Animas River, along with other local groups, hired our own lobbyist in Washington D.C. It was not difficult raising the money. Locals gave very generously. We could not have found a better qualified person to get out our message. He worked along with other environmental and taxpayers groups to fight the 1996 Animas La Plata Project appropriations in the House of Representatives. Fighting a small (by D.C. standards) appropriation of only $6 million was almost unprecedented. Even more shocking was the fact that we won and the House voted down the A-LP. While the money was put back in by the Senate, it was none-the-less a significant victory by locals working alongside the national enviro groups. The film shows that in the following year the appropriations passed. However, that was not the end of the fight. Our folks in D.C. managed to attach wording to the appropriations that prevented the A-LP supporters from spending any of that money on construction. To this day I don’t know how our lobbyist worked that magic but he did. And the A-LP was, once again, at a standstill.

The A-LP did not get reauthorized until late in the year 2000 as a result of a secret deal cut between the Secretary of Interior Bruce Babbitt and project supporters. Having held up the project for 7 years Babbitt finally rolled over and the boondoggle was approved. I would not attribute this to any political genius on the part of project supporters. Rather it was a result of Senator Campbell hanging around long enough (and doing enough favors) to get appointed to the Senate Appropriations Committee. In the present political environment everyone on the appropriations committees are assured their pork. No matter how fiscally irresponsible or environmentally damaging that might be. As far as construction of the A-LP is concerned I have to concede that the project has already been a success. As near as I can tell, its sole purpose was to liberate gargantuan amounts of tax dollars from the Federal Treasury to be spent to enrich a select group of lawyers, engineers, construction companies, and individuals. In that I have to conclude the A-LP has achieved its goal spectacularly.

– Michael Black, Durango


Trash and the gene pool

To the Editors: The river trail that crosses Junction Creek off Alamo Drive is littered and disgusting with lunch debris, Subway cups and other stuff, paper and general trash. This portion of the trail was quite clean before school was in session. Perhaps these litterers are related to others who throw trash on the roads, streets and highways. Maybe it’s a recessive gene pool.

– Darrel Parmenter, Durango


Bring back the Broncos

Fellow Denver Broncos Fans,

Every NFL season, one or two Broncos games are not broadcast in southern Colorado because we are in a “Designated Market Area” (or DMA) which is required to carry the Albuquerque FOX station (KASA), and KASA seems to think that it is part of the Dallas sports market. This year, the schedule conflict arrives on Dec. 31 when Denver hosts San Francisco. FOX Sports is not broadcasting a doubleheader that day, and so the priority will be given to airing the Dallas vs. Detroit game, not the Denver game.

What can be done to change this situation?

We probably cannot force KASA FOX to change its preference because there are too many Dallas fans in New Mexico, KASA may be under contract or regulation, and the Dallas Cowboys are an NFC team. (FOX Sports covers most NFC games, while Denver is in the AFC covered primarily by CBS.)

It could take years to get the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to change the DMA for southern Colorado over to Denver’s DMA because the process seems to be mired in bureaucratic, red tape B.S. even despite efforts from Colorado legislators to expedite it.

La Plata County’s Bresnan Communications franchise is legally bound to obey the FCC and carry the Albuquerque FOX affiliate –however, Bresnan can carry the Denver FOX station as well!

How so? Cable companies can show an affiliate other than the required affiliate, as long as the stations are showing different programming and the required DMA station is still available. They’re not allowed to carry duplicate programming. Bresnan carries two NBC and two CBS stations, and the Denver affiliates of these two networks are blacked out most of the time except when they air different programming. This was done so that southwestern Coloradoans could get Denver news broadcasts, however it applies to sports as well. Haven’t you ever noticed that channels 13 and 16 are both showing NFL games, and occasionally they are different matchups altogether?

So despite Bresnan’s attempt to “pass the buck” by putting the onus on the FCC, the fact is that they certainly can do something to help us get the Broncos game!

We should request that Bresnan fill an empty channel with the Denver FOX station, which will only blink on for alternate programming, news and NFL games! Last year, Sean Hogue, regional vice president for Bresnan said, “We are carrying as much Denver television programming as we legally can.” Is this really true? If so, then let’s request that they drop the extra NBC Denver affiliate, and put the Denver FOX station in there instead. Problem solved!

Contact Bresnan Cable immediately: Phone: (877) BRESNAN (273-7626), 146 E 15th Street, P.O. Box 1097, Durango, CO 81301. Corporate Headquarters: Bresnan Communications, One Manhattanville Road, Purchase, N.Y., 10577-2596.

– James Bader, Durango


In this week's issue...

May 2, 2019
In the flow

Rafting season is already under way on the Animas River, which has been flowing at near record levels and almost double the average rate for this time of year.

April 25, 2019
Laying down the law

Over the past couple decades, Jeff Robbins’ work as an  oil and gas lawyer – with a specific focus on serving local communities – allowed him to build relationships and gain the experience needed to carry out one of Colorado’s most sweeping reforms to oil and gas regulations, Senate Bill 181. 

April 18, 2019
A new kind of cold war

It’s a good thing Heidi Steltzer can’t tolerate the heat or the open ocean. “I thought I wanted to be a marine biologist, and I got seasick,” said Steltzer, a professor in the Biology Department and Environmental Science program at Fort Lewis College.