Letters: July 23, 2020

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Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

Trump can’t afford to lose in November

John Bolton, the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and President Trump’s national security advisor from 2018 to 2019, writes, in his recently released book, The Room Where It Happened, “I am hard-pressed to identify any significant Trump decision during my White House tenure that wasn’t driven by reelection calculations.”

It is important to ask, once more, why Donald Trump desperately wants not to lose on Nov. 3. He’s already proven he can win the presidency, and if that doesn’t happen again, he could declare victory was stolen from him; he’s already setting the stage for such a claim. Such bluster could comfort his bruised ego, but it would not reverse the defeat and its consequences for him.

Becoming a private citizen would leave Trump without protection against criminal investigations, indictments, convictions and punishments. Legal proceedings against him could expose how little money he really has, and could result in government seizure of his financial assets. Furthermore, he may have good reason to fear for his and family members’ lives, as powerful actors with whom he’s connived will wish not to be exposed by official inquiry.

The president and his party will do anything to win again. We, the people, must be ready, and begin acting now, to protect the November elections. Most immediately, all oath-taking government workers who may be directed to violate campaign and election laws in ways that could assist any particular candidate or candidates must be informed, encouraged and supported that they have the right and responsibility to say no to any such orders.

Sworn to Refuse has initiated a MoveOn.org petition: Oath-taking Election Workers, Refuse Illegal Orders to Ensure Fair 2020 Elections. Please circulate it widely to help our essential front-line facilitators of American democracy get the information and support they need: sign.moveon.org/petitions/oath-taking-election-workers-refuse-illegal-orders-to-ensure-fair-2020-elections?just_launched=true

Matt Nicodemus/Boulder 

On Trumpism

The current occupant of the White House has directed his administration to do whatever it can to erase the Obama legacy. From disbanding agencies, undoing environmental regulations, defunding organizations, and fighting to end the Affordable Care Act, one would be hard-pressed to find any good that President Obama did, by his account. He’s even gone so far as not scheduling the hanging of President Obama’s official portrait. What a petty thing. Trump’s animosity toward Obama is unprecedented, according to numerous news outlets. The only thing that Trump’s actually done is take credit for 10 years’ growth of the economy, six of which Obama was responsible for after the Great Recession, brought to us care of another under/unqualified president, George W. Bush.

Now with the unbelievable failure of Trump and “only the best people” handling the COVID-19 crisis, having tried to defund the CDC and firing, or not hiring, top officials that left the CDC in 2018, this administration is requiring all reports of cases, hospitalizations and deaths be reported to the White House, not the CDC. If that doesn’t scare the dickens out of you, I don’t know what will, short of his reelection. Taking a page from the autocrats’ playbook, do any of you readers actually believe that the liar–in-chief will actually announce the real numbers? The easiest way to have the problem go away is to just say the numbers are decreasing. What third party is there to refute the claim?

Aside from trying to blame the Obama administration for the pandemic, this White House is actually and actively trying to discredit one of the foremost epidemiologists in the world, Dr. Anthony Fauci. His crime? He actually knows more about the virus than our “very, very, large brained” president. I thought that COVID-19 was a bad disease. Reading the support that Trump still has with his base shows me that Trumpism is much, much worse. Hopefully we will have a vaccine on Nov. 3, and the disease is fully eradicated on Jan. 20 of next year. In the meantime, wear a mask and vote (by mail)!

Craig S. Chisesi/Rifle

On local power

Xcel is required to provide undergrounding of electrical wires to reduce maintenance to all urban Colorado customers exclusive of franchise status. Undergrounding is a capital improvement like a coal plant. It costs about $1 million/year and is passed on to the ratepayer.

However, Xcel discontinued undergrounding service to Boulder in 2010 when we broke franchise to purchase our own independent utility. We were denied a $10 million service we paid for. Yet recently at four listening sessions on the potential of a settlement with Xcel, City representatives presented the return of the undergrounding as negotiating capital. $15-20 million per year is profit Xcel realizes from our region. If Boulder took in this money, it would have come to a $150-$200 million credit over the past 10 years. To separate the system, we spent about $26 million so far, most paid for by the right-of-way occupancy tax, and some was paid by taxing ourselves for the long-term gains we would realize from ownership.

Bob Dylan pretty well explained in 1965 what Xcel did to Boulder in the last 10 years: “Well, the sword swallower, he comes up to you and then he kneels / He crosses himself and then he clicks his high heels /And without further notice, he asks you how it feels / And he says, ‘Here is your throat back, thanks for the loan’ / And you know something is happening but you don’t know what it is / Do you, Mr. Jones?”

In the lyrics, “Mr. Jones” represents a reporter that is observing activities of the counter culture of the ’60s. Back then the perspective was that he was outside looking in. Fast forward to 2020.

“We are all in this together.” Now Mr. Jones is included. The new media is the network of interdependent humanity. It’s the renaissance you see every day in the long line at the big grocery store and the short line at the local one, the shuttering of Starbucks and the thriving of the small coffee shop, the closing of three restaurants under one ownership, offset by the persistence of the single-ownership small restaurant. The silence of the office, school and football stadium and the bustling of the home front.

CU now must ride on its online academic excellence and attractiveness to professors world-wide instead of resort to dining and housing amenities. Downsizing its physical population and consequently existing physical space is inconsistent with building a new campus on a floodplain. The jobs/housing imbalance is replaced with live/work and home office adaptations, the commute is gone, time returns and housing for service workers is reduced.

Telecommunication advances replace asphalt maintenance and jet fuel.

Health care becomes more essential than meat production. Bars are shut since alcohol inhibition is found more life-threatening than the fun it generates. Firearms, police and nuclear war dollars are repurposed to supply basic human needs. Seeking icons to worship at the cinema, sports event or podium are replaced with icons of individual integrity. Election time and expense is futile since we have to rule ourselves anyway. The virus balances the right to live with the quality of life while directing attention to reduce climate change and war.

We know something is happening and now we know what it is. It’s the systematic deconstruction and restructuring of the sheer scale of the human footprint. Automation and robotics replace human labor.

Universal Basic Income will replace stimulus checks and unemployment. The elegance of wealth redistribution liberates the passion of the human psyche to music, arts and creativity from that of self-medication, disease and the mundane.

Life was predictable before the pandemic. Likewise, the use of energy was thought about little and depended upon much. Yet now the mechanism, costs and sourcing of energy delivery is shrouded in nondisclosure agreements in a settlement with a company that has a proven track record of failing to live up to even it’s obligation to deliver on the paid service of undergrounding. The City on the other hand, has a track record that exceeded its climate goal from 50 MW renewables generation up to 60 MW by 2020.

So, at this pandemic pause, reset energy sourcing to that of long-term benefit, and abandon that based on short-term gain. Reinvent fire, as Amory Lovins said, and dig conduit for it underground, the same undergrounding the ratepayers paid for once. Boulder Power and Light. No lawsuits. Just local service. And now, breathe.

Lynn Segal/Boulder