Letters: 5/23/19

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Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

Partial Mueller report

Was there collusion, conspiracy or crime? Of course not, didn’t need to be. The Russians interfered to help Trump. Putin admitted he wanted Trump to win. All Trump did was stand by and watch it happen, simply co-operate and not get in the way. Trump is right, the partial Mueller/Barr report is “Total Bullshit.”

Ted Cackowsky/Broomfield

Bobcats, etc.

In allowing a greatly expanded hunting and trapping of bobcats, their fur currently a prized item in the fashion industry, Colorado Parks and Wildlife continues its regard of wildlife as a revenue resource and commodity to be harvested. There are some who hunt and fish for food, but there remains a massive swath of male ego in hunting success and trophy taxidermy. Catch and release fishing, similarly considered a “sport” requiring skill, is more truthfully the torture of living beings for fun. Our human psyche is indeed a strange presence on the earth.

Robert Porath/Boulder  

How can a woman do
such a thing? 

Many women around the country are in shock after Alabama’s female governor signed the most stringent abortion legislation since Roe v. Wade yesterday, effectively banning all abortions — even for incest and rape — and making performing an abortion a felony. 

She was just defending Alabamians’ deeply held belief, Gov. Kay Ivey said, “that every life is precious and that every life is a sacred gift from God.” As a rabbi, I call this into question. Is this the way we honor sacred life? By putting women’s lives at risk? The statistics tell us that when reproductive rights are diminished, women suffer.  

What do we do with this? We fight it, of course. Money and support are pouring in to Planned Parenthood, ACLU, the Yellowhammer Fund and others as advocates vowed swift legal action. Each of us needs to get behind the fight.  

Why do people — in this case, women — vote against their own self-interests? One way to understand this is by understanding the psychology of trauma, which I have observed in my years of counseling patients. One of the repercussions of long-term discrimination is internalizing the violence we have experienced. After centuries of being a second-class citizen, it’s easy to identify with our aggressor, believing that we are indeed shameful, deserving of cruelty. We see this with children who are abused, prisoners of war and women who believe that their bodies belong to men. It’s a kind of survival instinct, to align with the ones in power. But it means that the trauma of discrimination has seeped deep under our skin and into our psyches. 

As restrictions on our reproductive freedom intensify, we can remember that the fight for control of our bodies is the fight of our lives. As Gloria Steinem says, “Democracy begins with each person’s control of his or her own body. Without reproductive freedom, there is no democracy for America[n] women.”

Rabbi Tirzah Firestone, PhD/Congregation Nevei Kodesh in Boulder

Danish wrong on lithium mining

In “The Coming Lithium Wars,” (Re: The Danish Plan, May 9, 2019), Paul Danish vents that if some environmentalists oppose access to desert areas for lithium exploration, then all people concerned about global roasting must not think the problem is really any threat. Danish’s broad-brush dismissal of the sincerity of millions of Americans who understand and respect science and care about their country and their environment, based on a single data point of opposition by some individuals to mining in sensitive environmental areas, is a breathtaking example of illogic. Danish should know better. 

As a scientist, I see climate change as the single biggest threat to democracy in the short run and to our planet and humanity in general in the long run. I’m for whatever gets us away from burning carbon. I therefore support nuclear power as one solution. The fact that my position is an outlier relative to most environmentalists in particular and most Americans in general does not make me jump to the erroneous conclusion that my fellow citizens don’t really believe that we are looking straight down the barrel of the worst single crisis for our species in the last 100,000 years. I’m sure Danish, as a scientifically well-informed person, likewise recognizes our situation is critical, and that we’re all in this together.

Lithium can be extracted without trashing sensitive environments along the way, albeit at additional financial cost. (BTW, I’ve done paleontology, basically fossil mining, in deserts, carefully. Just because deserts don’t look like Yellowstone doesn’t mean they deserve to be wrecked.) Instead of wasting a column in carping about environmentalists, Danish could have done us a genuine service by instead discussing how lithium mining could be done responsibly to assist in fighting climate change without sacrificing the places where it’s found.

Frank Sanders/Nederland

Don’t suppress independent candidates

Colorado’s General Assembly has rushed through House Bill 1278, which makes “miscellaneous” changes to Colorado election law. It vastly increases the number of petition signatures required to place independent and minor party candidates on Colorado’s ballot. 

The Unity Party, the Approval Voting Party, the Libertarian Party, Best Democracy and Unite Colorado (which represents independent candidates) oppose Section 19 of House Bill 1278. If this bill becomes law, the new ballot access restrictions should be repealed next year. 

The political system should be more inclusive, open, fair and representative. We should encourage people to participate in the political process, rather than looking for more ways to shut them out. Under the original language of the US Constitution, about 94 percent of the population was denied the right to vote. We have made progress since then, but we still have a long way to go.

House Bill 1278 would not obstruct the nomination of Unity Party candidates because we are an established minor party. However, we support reasonable ballot access for independent candidates. The Unity Party has an open and democratic nomination process. Prospective independent candidates are welcome to seek the Unity Party’s nomination.

Most candidates of Colorado’s recognized political parties are nominated by party assembly. They don’t need to petition. Independent candidates must petition onto the ballot. This is a labor intensive, expensive, and frustrating process.  Unite Colorado reports that average petition drives for major party candidates for statewide office in Colorado cost more than $200,000. House Bill 1278 extends this “pay to play” system.

Gary Swing, Unity Party candidate 

Editor’s note: The bill passed on May 20. 

For the Approval Voting Party

The Approval Voting Party advocates the adoption of approval voting, a simple voting method that allows voters to choose any number of candidates for a given office. “Check all the candidates yeah or nay. The most yeahs win at the end of the day.” 

The candidate with the broadest appeal wins. Approval voting discourages negative campaigning and political extremism. 

Under the current system, popular candidates sometimes lose when a minor candidate draws some votes away from them. Approval Voting resolves this by allowing supporters of alternative candidates to also support a more electable frontrunner as a compromise. 

I was the Approval Voting Party candidate for President in 2016. In 2018, Blake Huber was the Approval Voting Party’s candidate for Secretary of State. Blake was the only “unaffiliated” candidate who successfully petitioned onto Colorado’s statewide ballot in 2018. His petition drive gave Colorado residents the option to affiliate with the Approval Voting Party on their voter registration. 

Colorado recently passed legislation obstructing independent candidates from petitioning onto the ballot. However, if one thousand voters affiliate with the Approval Voting Party on their voter registration by April 1, 2020, the Approval Voting Party will qualify as a recognized minor party in Colorado, legally authorized to nominate candidates by party convention. As of May 1, 648 active Colorado voters were affiliated with the Approval Voting Party.

Express your support for a more sensible voting system by changing your political party affiliation to the Approval Voting Party.

Frank Atwood/Chairperson, Approval Voting Party