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A history of American missteps

Dear Editors,

For those who tune only into the conservative right radio and TV programs or read only conservative-slanted opinion pieces and news items, it would be easy to assume that all of the problems – especially the economic and political ones – began when Barack Obama became President of the United States in January 2009.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Most of the problems this nation faces –problems that are monumental and that threaten the political and economic future of the United States – have little to do with President Barack Obama, the radical, right-wing media not-withstanding.

These problems are the result of irresponsible actions going back at least 40 years. The fault is not with Obama but with presidents and congresses from both major parties across those 40 years. This is not to say that Obama has not made mistakes. He has.

President Reagan accelerated the development of the major problems with his misguided supply side economics. Presidents George H. W. Bush and Clinton both contributed – Bush by following closely in Reagan’s footsteps for a time and Clinton by signing into law The Telecommunications Act of 1996 and The Financial Services Modernization Act of 1999. These laws allowed media conglomerations and excessive risks in the banking industry.

A rather substantial measure of the blame must rest squarely on the shoulders of George W. Bush (GWB) and the conservative Congresses from 1994 - 2006.

It was GWB and the GOP’s radical right in Congress that turned the surpluses of the Clinton/Gingrich era into ever-increasing deficits. It was GWB who slashed taxes for the wealthy and, by doing so, created the rising tide of deficits. This also increased the vast – and ever-increasing – gulf between the wealthy few and the increasingly impoverished multitudes that make up the shrinking middle-class and the ever-more-numerous poor.

It was GWB and the Congress who decimated the4laws and policies which kept the greed-driven financial and banking sector scoundrels under some measure of control. Once GWB and the radical right in Congress got rid of the constraints, the most awesome financial crisis since the Great Depression was guaranteed. And, that crisis began while GWB was president.

It was GWB who destroyed the global goodwill and unity of post-9/11 and turned the United States into a pariah by invading Iraq on false assumptions. It was GWB, by invading Iraq, that let Osama bin Laden escape capture, first into Tora Bora and then into Pakistan.

It was GWB and the Congress that, as part of his tax giveaway to the rich, stood by while millions of American jobs were outsourced to other countries and who saw to it that corporations got tax breaks for such transfers.

Are millions out of work? You bet. Actions by GWB and the conservatives in Congress made that happen, eventually. In fact, during part of Obama’s time in office more jobs have been created than lost.

It was GWB and Cheney who mindlessly pursued energy policies that focused on the use of declining reserves of fossil fuels. GWB made sure that dirty coal would continue to be the primary fuel for electric generation, thus ignoring both nuclear and renewable options and ensuring that the pump price of gasoline would skyrocket.

It was President GWB who vacationed more than any previous person in that office, who turned world opinion against the United States, who involved this nation in two unwinnable wars, who enriched the wealthy at the expense of the rest of us, who let bin Laden slip away, who started the great flow of government red ink, and who will go down in history – if history is fair and honest – as one of the worst presidents this nation has ever had.

What President Barack Obama is trying, mightily, to do is to steer this nation back to economic stability, to a less-contentious political climate and to a higher standing in the eyes of the rest of the world. While some may

see that as campaigning, it is more truthful and correct to label it as responsible leadership at home and statesmanship abroad. Leadership and statesmanship that are badly needed.

– Sincerely, Hal Mansfield, via email

The same old Wildcat

Dear Editors:

Hey folks, open your eyes and see what’s happening to the Animas River in Silverton.  Surely you don’t want to have a potential Superfund site in La Plata Canyon. La Plata Canyon is one of this county’s few pristine places left. It is not only here for those of us who live here, but for you to enjoy as a recreation area. There are so many opportunities here for camping, hiking, biking, hunting and more.

Help stop Wildcat Mining Company.  They have a history of violations and disregard for government regulations. In fact, I would call it utter disrespect for those we have entrusted our lands to and to you, who have the right to enjoy La Plata Canyon. So what if the Colorado Bureau of Mines, Reclamation and Safety is not allowed to consider past violations, we can. Remember the law governing mining was signed into law by President Ulysses S. Grant.

James Clements is still the president of Wildcat Mining Company. Nothing has really changed.  Wildcat Mining only brought a prettier face to smooth talk the people at the last Neighborhood Compatibility Meeting. There is nothing compatible being suggested for our neighborhood with this proposed destructive mining operation. Speak up folks and get involved before it’s too late. Look around at our country. Where would we be now if more people had exercised their right to give a damn and speak out?

Write the Colorado Bureau of Mines, Reclamation and Safety, the County Commissioners, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Army Corps of Engineers, the Colorado Division of Water Quality, and the U.S. Forest Service and demand they stop Wildcat Mining Company. All except Wildcat are here for We the People. We can make a difference.

– Poppy Harshman, Mayday

Avoiding dual enrollment

To the Editor:

On April 5, the boards of Animas High School, Durango School District 9R and Mountain Middle School met to work on behalf of our community’s children. One of the topics of discussion at the meeting was the challenge schools face when students enroll at more than one school. It is difficult for schools to plan for the following school year without an accurate count of the number of students each school can expect. Staffing decisions are particularly challenging without an accurate enrollment count.

We need your help. Please take the time to learn about each school. Then, make an informed decision to enroll your child at one school only.  

To help with your decision, please contact the principals at our secondary schools: Michael Ackerman, Animas High School at 247-2474; Alain Henry, Durango Big Picture High School at 259-0203, Diane Lashinsky, Durango High School at 259-1630; Tim Arnold, Escalante Middle School at 247-9490; Tam Smith, Miller Middle School at 247-1418; and Jackie Oros, Mountain Middle School, 403-5603.

– Tom Morrissey, Animas High School Board of Directors, Floyd Patterson, Durango School District 9-R School Board, Nancy Heleno, Mountain Middle School Board of Directors



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January 25, 2024
Bagging it

State plastic bag ban is in full effect, but enforcement varies

January 26, 2024
Paper chase

The Sneer is back – and no we’re not talking about Billy Idol’s comeback tour.

January 11, 2024
High and dry

New state climate report projects continued warming, declining streamflows