April 30, 2013
Colorado, you're hurting yourself
Colorado. When you hear it, what comes to mind? I find it disheartening to hear the reputation my fellow Coloradans have been labeled with by our neighboring states. 'High, ' and I don't mean a mile high. As a student attending an out of state college, I frequently get asked where I'm from. Before the legalization of marijuana, when I responded with 'Colorado, ' people would talk about the beauty of the state, how they would love to visit, and ask relevant questions, such as if I snowboard or ski, etc. Now when my response is Colorado, I can single-handedly predict word for word, what they are going to say. 'Oh, so you smoke weed? ' I then have to explain to the ignorant individual that not everyone in Colorado smokes weed.
In reality, we have to question what we did, and why we did it. Marijuana is legal. We can't change that fact. It was already legal to be used for medicinal reasons, so why change it? Although I agree, marijuana has positive medicinal effects for people who are sick and need the relaxation.
Although marijuana may not have serious side effects on your physical body as much as meth or cocaine would, it has hundreds of mental and psychological impacts on the brain. These side effects range from mild and unnoticeable changes, such as having a clouded memory, not being able to process thoughts clearly, lower academics levels, job performance, all the way to altered judgment and decision making (isn't that why driving under the influence of alcohol is illegal?), birth defects and fertility problems, immune system malfunction, hallucinations, depression, cancer (due to its cancer-causing chemicals), and an increased risk of psychological illnesses, including schizophrenia.
The reputation of Colorado is going downhill, from a beautiful place to visit, to a 'marijuana infested sector ' of America - Colorado - home of purple mountain majesty, of quality health, top-level education, and friendly people; Colorado - the hands down most beautiful place in America. Colorado, you're hurting yourself. Why have we lowered ourselves to the desires of the select few?
A call for some self-examination
Self-radicalization? We made Dzhokhar Tsarnaev one of our own, and then tossed him on the streets - with our own home-grown kids. We need to look at our own culture's culpability to find some answers.
We've been turned into an underpaid 'service economy ' because corporations have externalized their expenses - eliminating jobs with benefits by outsourcing to other countries and 'contracting ' for the services they need from American employees. Students, like Dzhokhar, who begin asking questions may well lose faith in the 'American Dream ' because corporations now decide who will be elected to office and how those elected officials will vote. Ninety-three percent of the candidates elected had the biggest war chests, and its corporations - not the middle-class voter - filling those war chests.
I'm not arguing that all corporations are bad. They're not. But we have created a system that impels business to act according to its own self-interest, and we've legalized it as a 'fiduciary responsibility. ' We learn about the hazards of genetically modified seed, but we're force-fed GMOs since corporate influence has resulted in the failure of the federal government to require labeling. We can't protect ourselves from guns because the NRA, funded primarily by gun corporations, calls the shots. The gas and oil industry won't let us exploit green energy resources - while they exempt themselves from environmental regulations through intense corporate lobbying. Investment and banking executives can halve the value of our investments, including retirement 401Ks, with their bubble-making and fee-charging schemes, while stopping the government with their lobbying when we seek to regulate them - as they pay themselves bonuses.
It doesn't take much information to begin to feel hopeless about our situation. I'm pretty depressed when I think about my children's future. Couple that sense with the inordinate confidence that comes with youth, and you've made a radical. A little Internet instruction about a 'higher power ' and 'greater causes ', and you've got a problem.
This is not an attempt to justify the recent horror at the Boston Marathon, but it is a call for some self-examination. What are we condoning by allowing corporations to control our government? We've slid back to the inequities our culture experienced at the beginning of the 20th century, the Gilded Age. The question isn't what did the FBI miss; the question is how do we create a more just and inclusive society.
Lois A. Fornander
Minimizing the president's failures
Re: 'Boston attack proves U.S. intelligence collection has its limits ' The Gazette, April 18: I find it tiresome to read apologies by left-wing columnists, like David Ignatius, seeking to minimize the failures of President Obama's current policies to fight unlawful Islamist combatants around the world. Terrorists have improved their own operational security since September 11, 2001. In many regions of the world, clans provide the main support for terrorists so it is difficult to infiltrate a spy in among relatives. Often, clans will reject large rewards and will not tell authorities of relatives engaged in terrorist activity. NSA can decrypt any PGP encrypted email, but it lacks the computing power to decrypt even a small portion of the total PGP encrypted traffic.
We don't know the true limits of U.S. intelligence capability because President Obama has restricted the operations permitted. President Obama has handicapped U.S. intelligence collection efforts by his risk-averse use of drone attacks in lieu of human intelligence action. For reasons of obtaining domestic partisan political advantage, with the leaks of intelligence after Osama bin Laden was killed, the physician assisting us still sits in prison. Thus, others will be reluctant to help us because they don't trust the President Obama administration to keep them safe and their identities secret.
President Bush directed U.S. intelligence to capture and interrogate terrorists and protected sources. This breaks through the operational security used and was part of the chain of intelligence leading to bin Laden.
In the future, I hope the editors would actually choose columns that are more factual, informed, and neutral.