Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Recent polls showing that a sizable majority of Americans favor limitations to the influence of money on political campaigns points to a rather nuanced understanding of what we really value in freedom of speech.
Free speech is never absolute. We have laws proscribing libel, sedition, reckless endangerment (yelling “fire” in a crowded theater), conspiracy, lying in advertising, pornography and perjury, which set limits on context, subject matter and intent. This suggests a solution.
Prohibit all political TV advertising. This is justified as rationally as are any of the above banned forms of speech.
It is inherently manipulative. It circumvents meaningful application of “truth in advertising” laws because it achieves its purpose regardless of whether its lies are exposed. It is crafted to sell, not to inform or persuade, making it inappropriate for use in electoral campaigns.
Ban this one form of speech and thereby our electoral process is reformed. All other advertising media are comparatively innocuous, because the target retains control and the effects are not subliminal. The amount of money contributed, and by what or whom, cease to be important. Print ads are easily ignored and do not interfere with what you are reading on the same page. Internet pop-ups are annoying, but because there is self-selection on sites, unlikely to be tolerated if they become too intrusive. Robo-calls can be hung up on.
Every day the news reports how much TV advertising was purchased, by whom, in which campaigns. The controversies the ads stir up become news items in turn, always focusing on how they affect the races rather than on their content or even veracity. Without actually calling this process “buying elections,” it clearly is recognized as such by everyone.
Imagine how our politics would be different if all that money raised by partisans were spent to elucidate positions and persuade voters who actually wanted to know and understand the issues at stake, and had to be appealed to as rational adult citizens, instead of being influenced by stealth while their interest is in their interrupted entertainment.
I write in response to the Sept. 17 letter from Ron Kokish.
I guess it depends on what your definition of government is.
Several years ago, Paul Harvey reported that government employment had passed the 50 percent mark.
Now we are not just talking federal government.
There is city, county, state, the educational system, highway department, BLM, state and federal forest service, DOW, building departments, sheriff’s departments, NASA, airport authorities, prison facilities, toll takers, FBI, CIA, social services, private contractors working for government agencies, and don’t forget all the organizations like Planned Parenthood that are running, at least partially, with government money.
You can add the Department of Agriculture, emergency response people, dock workers, weather departments, military hospitals, the Veterans Administration, embassy personnel in many countries, overseas schools for military children etc., etc., etc.
And by the way, you can now add GM (“Government Motors”).
Also consider that none of these creates wealth. They just suck it up.
To quote a line from the Popeye movie, “Somebody owes me an apology.”
Ross L. Talbott
Why would anybody want to put the burden of another four years on President Obama? All you have to do is look at his accomplishments in his first term and you know he must be overworked and stressed.
He has arranged to lower the credit rating of the country, raised the nation’s financial burdens, increased unemployment, increased dependency on welfare hand-outs, shut off development of oil, gas, pipelines, refineries and coal, illustrated his ability in industry by establishing and then trying to save solar corporations which were doomed to fail, divided the country along ethnic, gender, wealth and religious lines, worked hard to establish his world order, and endorsed such programs as Fast and Furious. His record in the Mideast has no precedent for failure.
True, he did nod his head when asked if the Seals should take out a skunk from his lair. He and Michelle have supported golf courses and vacation centers like Vail and Hawaii and created employment for czars, staffs and servants.
Let the man have a well deserved rest. I am sure he and his family will still patronize their favorite golf courses and vacation spots, thus continuing growth in that sector of the economy.
Jack E. Blankenship
On behalf of the Bureau of Land Management, I’d like to invite readers to one of several public meetings about managing oil and natural gas development over the next 20 years on a large part of the Piceance Basin, a place rich in both energy and wildlife resources.
The BLM’s White River Field Office in Meeker recently released a draft plan outlining multiple alternatives for managing the expected increase in oil and natural gas development on 1.7 million acres of federal mineral resources in Rio Blanco County, southern Moffat County, and a small part of northern Garfield County.
The White River Resource Management Plan Oil and Gas Development Amendment looks at the potential impacts of this anticipated development and proposes various options for mitigating those impacts. With most of the area already leased, BLM’s task is to find innovative ways for managing this increasing development while minimizing impacts to wildlife and other sensitive resources.
The plan and supporting documents are available on-line at http://www.blm.gov/co/st/en/fo/wrfo.html. You can learn more and have your questions answered at one of the open house meetings we are holding throughout the region.
Stop by anytime between 4-7 p.m. Sept. 24 in Meeker at the Rio Blanco County Fairgrounds, Sept. 25 in Rangely at the Colorado Northwestern Community College, Sept. 26 in Silt at the BLM Colorado River Valley Field Office, or Sept. 27 in Grand Junction at the Clarion Inn.
We’ll have brief presentations at 4:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. each night, and a wide variety of specialists available to tell you more about the draft plan. We’ll take written comment at the meetings, or you can take the information with you and provide comments later. The public comment period closes Dec. 14, 2012.
Kent Walter, Field Manager
BLM White River Field Office
Three million delinquent mortgages, over 500,000 manufacturing jobs lost, 23 million people out of work including 213,000 Colorado residents, one in six people living in poverty, half of recent college grads can’t find a job, stagnant unemployment and poverty at record levels: is this America or some Third World country?
Political polls show people are voting for President Obama because of his likability. Since when is that criteria good for our country?
Do readers see what’s happening to our great country because of him and his demented liberal ideas? Mitt Romney wants to ally us with civil societies, President Obama wants to ally us with Islamists. That’s working out real well.
We need likability like we need another hole in our heads. We need a president who can solve our problems and put our country on the right fiscal path.
Mr. Obama got elected because of the sentiment behind affirmative action laws, which are designed to make liberals feel good about themselves. Let’s face it, Mr. Obama is totally unqualified for the presidency.
Liberals are basically racists when they support a candidate based strictly on skin color. What else could it be?
The leadership of the U.S. has become more and more corrupt and divided. Hopefully, patriots will eventually emerge and become heroes. Even the Carter years were better than Mr. Obama’s so-called leadership style, which has resulted in huge debt and doubt for our future.
If the president is re-elected, economists predict our economy will collapse, with a 90 percent stock drop and 100 percent inflation, just like Greece.
Our country has two enemies, those who wish to destroy us from the outside and Mr. Obama and his appointees who are attempting it from within. Why?
America is undoubtedly a great idea. But once people lose faith in the Constitution, it will cease to exist.
Don’t vote for false “hope and change.” It’s the same exact political rhetoric used by Fidel Castro in Cuba in 1959 before he took over that country.
Think. It’s patriotic.
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