LETTERS | Week of Jan. 23


Goodbye, civil liberties

[“Obama announces changes to NSA surveillance,” boulderweekly.com, Jan. 17.] The dystopian fantasies of yesteryear are now a reality.

We’ve allowed the coming of an age where the civil liberties our forefathers fought so hard for are being eroded by the day. Freedom of press, freedom of speech and freedom of assembly are mere ghostly images of their original intent. We’ve woken up to an Orwellian society of fear where anyone is at the mercy of being labeled a terrorist for standing up for rights we took for granted just over a decade ago.

Brandt Hardin/via Internet

Thanks, Jared

East Boulder County United is pleased to see Rep. Polis’ open letter to the Colorado Oil & Gas Association regarding the latest industry lawsuits against local communities and citizens.

Indeed, elections matter and so does democracy. Through its power and influence, the oil and gas industry is not only risking the public health and quality of Colorado life, it is attempting to eliminate the voice of the public altogether. The industry’s endless lobbying, its spare-no-expense attempts to influence lawmaking and local citizens’ votes, and its litigation against the people of Longmont, Lafayette, Fort Collins and Broomfield all show quite clearly that hydraulic fracturing and oil and gas extraction cannot function in an environment of democracy and community participation. And, of course, if state law does not respect the democratic will of Colorado citizens, the law and the politicians that support it must be changed to bring our government back to its intended purpose. This means we will need to address the four key legal doctrines that give corporations superiority over communities: state preeminence, Dillon’s Rule, corporate personhood and the corporate commerce clause.

The legal proceedings against four communities and hundreds of thousands of citizens will determine if Colorado law places corporations as the legal masters of the public, which would turn the environmental issue of fossil fuel extraction into a potential civil rights movement.

I think we’re all in agreement that people have rights to clean air and water, freedom from chemical trespass, sovereignty and community self-determination. If so, then we (citizens, communities, legislators and state officials) must conclude that peoples’ rights supersede corporate rights.

We look forward to Rep. Polis’ support on this critically important issue.

Mandi Papich and John Lamb, East Boulder County United/Lafayette

Californians are wimps

I remember attending a plastics conference in Colorado Springs over a decade ago and hearing a local speaker say that his ancestors made it out to Colorado but apparently did not have the right stuff to make it the rest of the way to California.

Well, it seems to me that the ouster of Senate President John Morse and Sen. Angela Giron, as a result of their war on guns, proves that ultimately the ones who made it to California evolved into wimps!

You have no idea how such a victory for our dwindling freedoms restores the faith of the rest of us Americans that all is not lost. This news and the news that Vladimir Putin may have averted WW3 truly makes this a moment to cherish.

Joseph DuPont/Towanda, Pa.

Christy’s bridge debacle

Had any other of our 49 states experienced congestion like we saw on the George Washington Bridge connecting New York and New Jersey, any other governor would have been on the phone demanding answers as to the cause and persons responsible within an hour of the first report. (The fact that it occurred during the week of the anniversary of 9/11 should throw up a bright red flag by all itself.)

Our own I-25, had it been similarly blocked for four days, with subsequent missed appointments, deliveries, kids missing most of their first days of school, EMTs delayed, etc., would result in Gov. Hickenlooper looking for a new gig at the very least.

Or being charged with domestic terrorism at the other end of the scale.

All Americans can understand the frustrations with traffic jams, whatever the cause. And if Gov. Christy is found innocent of all charges, he is still the governor on whose watch interstate commerce was disrupted, infrastructure compromised, lives endangered and American citizens prevented from conducting business as usual.

However the result of the investigations turn out that [the traffic jam] appears to be business as usual for the governor of the state that watched the WTC destroyed from across the river.

“Business as usual” ceased on 9/11/2001.

Tommy Holeman/Niwot

No new Iran sanctions

From the agreement to eradicate Syria’s chemical weapons to the deal to limit Iran’s nuclear program, 2013 will be remembered as a year of historic diplomatic accomplishments.

I hope 2014 is not the year the U.S. Senate passes sanctions that sabotage our diplomats’ achievements. I hope Sen. Mark Udall and Sen. Michael Bennet will oppose the Menendez-Kirk-Schumer legislation that would increase sanctions on Iran and encourage Israel to launch a preemptive attack on Iran.

If these sanctions passed, it would violate the first-step nuclear deal and likely lead to the collapse of the negotiations with Iran, which is why the White House has issued a veto threat. The Senate should heed advice from a recent U.S. Intelligence Community assessment, which stated that “new sanctions would undermine the prospects for a successful comprehensive nuclear agreement with Iran.”

The Friends Committee on National Legislation has more on how Congress can support, not sabotage, diplomacy with Iran: fcnl.org/iran.

Sara Avery/Lafayette