Guns have recreational merit
This past summer I accompanied my 10-year-old grandson to summer camp at Peaceful Valley Scout Ranch near Elbert, Colorado, where my grandson qualified for the shotgun merit badge. I wish Carole Bayer, who wrote, “Guns are manufactured for only one reason: to kill,” (Re: Letters, Aug. 22, 2019) would have seen the joy on my grandson’s face as he gained confidence shooting at and eventually hitting the clays.
Was the shotgun my grandson used designed to kill, or was it designed to bring joy to a young boy?
Actually, firearms are not designed to kill or bring joy. Firearms are tools designed to safely accelerate a projectile, or in the case of shotguns, projectiles, to high velocity in a direction desired by the user. How the tool is used is up to the user. Yes, the firearm tool can be used to kill, but it can also be used to bring joy, save lives, hunt and win Olympic medals.
My grandson is never going to forget the wonderful experience he had earning his shotgun merit badge at summer camp. That wonderful memory will be with him for the rest of his life. I urge young boys and girls to become Scouts so they too can earn the shotgun merit badge and take advantage of the other wonderful things Scouting has to offer.
Trump broke the law
Currently, 130-plus Congressional representatives have taken a stand against corruption and support an impeachment inquiry into Donald Trump. It’s imperative that every member of Congress recognize the danger of letting Trump get away with his criminal activity and publicly support an impeachment inquiry. It would be unconscionable to do otherwise.
We’ve got the facts. Bob Mueller did not exonerate Donald Trump — not by a long shot. His investigation found extensive criminal activity and resulted in 37 indictments and at least 7 convictions or guilty pleas, including Trump’s national security advisor, personal lawyer and campaign chairman.
Mueller uncovered over 100 secret meetings and communications between Trump’s team and Russia and their cronies — and found at least 10 episodes of obstruction of justice by Trump, in which he tried to bury the truth.
Obstruction of justice is a serious crime. If anyone else did what Trump did, they’d be in jail. Mueller made it clear that the Department of Justice prevented him from indicting Donald Trump.
No one is above the law in our country, not even the president.
Mueller did his job. It’s time for Congress to do theirs. That’s why our representatives must publicly voice their support for holding Trump accountable through a formal impeachment inquiry now.
Doing nothing will only embolden Trump to continue breaking the law and will set a dangerous precedent for our democracy. That’s not the America I know.
We can do better on Boulder energy
We are 45-year Boulder residents, involved in church, community and networks we continue to be grateful for, across three generations now. We love Boulder and the clear investment made here in being a beautiful, special, values-driven community. In contrast, Xcel’s taking $20 million in after-tax profits out of Boulder every year is something none of our communities can afford. Just think if we directed that money toward local generation, low-income support, undergrounding, microgrids and more.
Boulder’s RFIP (Request for Indicative Pricing) showed that we can reach 89% renewable energy by about 2024 and save about $40 million per year in power costs.
Now, Xcel is in front of the PUC asking us to pay for hundreds of millions of dollars on expenditures on old coal and gas/fossil methane plants, and they expect to earn 10.35% return on equity for these expenditures. It’s unbelievable that this is still happening and allowed in 2019. We have to be adults, stand up and say it’s past time to change all this for the better.
Xcel was over 70% fossil fuel in 2018 in Colorado (39% coal, 33% natural gas/fossil methane) Elsewhere in Colorado, Holy Cross Energy will be at 70% renewable energy in 2021. In the meantime, Xcel plans to stretch out its use of fossil fuels far beyond what pace and price of the market today.
Xcel Energy has thousands of MW of wind, solar and storage project bids from 2017 and 2018 waiting to be developed at an average cost below 3 cents/kwh (renewables plus storage). Instead of expediting the transition, Xcel would have us stay on track for an 80%-plus chance of a 30-year Dustbowl this century.
We can and must do better. That is going to involve moving away from an extractive utility that is currently asking for rate increases that range from about 5%-9% for most classes, despite having $551 million in after-tax net income from Colorado in 2018 — an 11.6% increase over their 2017 after-tax net income from Colorado.
The better world — cleaner air and cleaner energy — is around the corner. We just need to stop giving excessive amounts of money, which our communities need, to out-of-state, Wall-Street-traded firms, that put profits over people and the future we want and owe our kids.
Trump won’t run again
It is my expectation that President Trump is going to do all of us a big favor and decide some time in early-to-mid 2020 not to run for reelection partly because of a slow-down in the economy. When that happens, I hope that the Republicans will nominate someone of good character such as Nikki Haley or Carly Fiorina.
Personally, I don’t know what I find to be more despicable about the guy — the way that he makes fun of and insults people’s physical appearance, or the way that he views women as sex-objects.
Stewart B Epstein/via internet
Payroll tax cut?
A payroll tax cut certainly sounds good. (Payroll tax is just the tax paid to fund Social Security and Medicare.) It would cut the money taken from our paychecks. But that is money used, specifically, to fund Social Security and Medicare. Up to a point, both of these funds get money by taxing our income while we work. Any income over $133,000 is not taxed, and unearned income such as rents, capital gains and dividends are not taxed. We wouldn’t want to unduly burden the rich folks in our midst.
Both these funds are ones that most of us will rely on. And, both these funds will be coming up short, some sooner, some later. The payroll tax isn’t quite keeping up with the demands of the two systems.
Social Security and Medicare could easily be made solvent for the future by eliminating the $133,000 cap and collecting tax from unearned income. A payroll tax cut just weakens them.
How does a payroll tax cut help reelect Trump? 1) Money, taken from Social Security and Medicare, will flow in DT’s already “wonderful economy,” 2) On Election Day we’ll remember that we got you a couple of hundred to spend. And we won’t notice that Social Security and Medicare are short funded for what they need to help us when we need it.
So, what is the point of this little essay? Do not cut payroll taxes. It is a gift to reelecting Trump.
I’m 50 years old, half-white, half-black (identified black), and have always lived in white communities.
I’ve comforted white people when they realized what they said may be offensive. White strangers have called me a “nigger” and meant the worst.
But mostly, I have no idea whether people’s words and actions make them racist or not. So I don’t let people in quickly, have spent decades studying language, and am always looking for consistencies and hidden meaning in people’s words and actions.
Trump has been consistent. He announced his run for president with, “Mexicans are rapists.” He didn’t say all Mexican’s are rapists, but he regularly demeans and dehumanizes them, like laughing and joking at his rally when someone yelled, “Shoot them!”
Former FBI official Frank Figliuzzi mentioned Trump’s sending a message to neo-Nazis for raising flags after the racist attack in El Paso on August 8 (code for Heil Hitler since H is the eighth letter of the alphabet).
“WINNER!” Conservative Ann Coulter tweeted, “Craziest thing ever said on TV: MSNBC regular Frank Figliuzzi claims Trump ordering flags at half-mast until Thursday was secret ‘HEIL HITLER!’ signal.”
Figliuzzi responded, “Dear craziest person on TV, listen carefully; I clearly said I’m not saying Trump did this deliberately, I’m saying he needs advice on how extremists will interpret raising the flag on 8/8. He needs advice on putting out the fire he started. Are you part of that solution?”
I’ve known racists would kill in mass under Trump’s watch since Charlottesville. It was never a bad bet, America’s always been home to murderous racists (it happened under Obama). But the hate-filled vitriol white conservatives use to dismiss Trump’s contributions (intentional or not), makes violence a sure thing.
We must hold our leaders to higher standards. And vote.