Letters: 11/3/16

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Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

BW’s Inexplicable Presidential Endorsement

Thanks for the article “The New Harvest of Rage,” by Joel Dyer in the October 27, 2016 edition of BW. Unfortunately, I must agree with Dyer’s prognosis that our rigged election system will feed the rage of voters for the foreseeable future.

Dyer wrote, “We have given [our democracy] away as the result of our apathy and our inexplicable willingness to vote for the lesser of two evils out of fear.” In the presidential race BW itself inexplicably endorsed the lesser evil of the Democratic and Republican presidential candidates, even though Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein would fight new oil/gas wells and pipelines, reduce income inequality with fairer taxation and higher workers’ wages, fight corporate trade deals like the TPP, work for single-payer health care, get corporate money out of our elections, slash the country’s obscene spending on war and weapons of mass destruction, reform our inhumane and over-used prison system, etc.

But the power of our election system to get people to vote contrary to their best interests is not really so inexplicable. George Washington understood that a two-party system is inherently a “frightful despotism,” and wrote in his farewell address to the nation in 1796, “the common and continual mischiefs of the spirit of party are sufficient to make it the interest and duty of a wise people to discourage and restrain it.”

I am outraged that after 220 years of attempting to restrain our two-party system, Democratic and Republican Party control of government is stronger than ever.

Hillary Clinton said in a presidential primary debate this spring that the two-party system “needs to be strengthened” to fix Congress. That is when she lost my vote.

Harry Hempy/Jamestown

Polis lack of endorsement

Boulder Weekly’s non-endorsement of Congressman Jared Polis should not go unnoticed. Despite its acknowledgement of Mr. Polis’ good deeds, the Weekly pointed to the congressman’s worrisome position on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) as a major factor why he was not endorsed.

It seems Weekly editors understand the good things Mr. Polis supports will be seriously compromised if the U.S. Congress ratifies the TPP. The TPP empowers corporations from 12 Pacific Rim member nations to sue member governments over the very clean air and water standards, fracking regulations, green jobs programs and carbon taxes candidate Polis talks about.

International tribunals set up under the TPP will have the power to invalidate national, state and local laws that are “inconsistent” with the agreement. Countries will be forced to repeal public protections — or pay “compensation” to aggrieved corporations.

Mr. Polis claims the TPP will lower trade barriers. But, trade isn’t the TPP’s main focus. Only six of the TPP’s 30 chapters address trade issues. Besides, most trade barriers are already gone and the few that remain are low. The agreement’s primary function is to ensure multinational corporations unfettered access to virtually any international investment opportunity free from what they consider to be cumbersome laws, rules and regulations.

Another important TPP function is to export U.S.-style patent and copyright laws thereby globalizing the monopoly power of large drug makers, media corporations and software developers like Microsoft and Google. Granting long-term monopoly power to select corporations sure doesn’t sound like “free trade.”

The TPP is a colossal corporate power grab. Let Mr. Polis know he can’t have it both ways. He can’t claim to support some good things and then vote to let powerful corporations run roughshod over domestic policies, the democratic process and most of his own constituents.

Ken Bonetti/Boulder

The singular party

Mr. Dyer well pre-empted my latest contribution (not used) in the October 27 issue. (See page 12.) I liked the metaphor of the funnel [Re: “The new harvest of rage,” Oct. 27].

There is one aspect of the 2016 national election I have yet to see addressed in any responsible way: What happens if Trump wins?

I envision in that event a scramble to realign and suck up big-time, among party “regulars” who shrugged or shirked or shunned the candidate while we were learning what a freaking jerk he really is. In order to be back on the “inside” many would probably wish to do the “master’s” bidding in spades.

Where might that lead? Can you say, NSDAP (Nazi Party) II? Don’t dismiss that so quickly. Even a cavalier pretense toward that insular or secular kind of “institution” built around one individual and bent on pushing an agenda as hard as it needs to be pushed, poses a nightmarish danger for all of us.

Make America great [again]. As compared to what? Does it strike anyone else as odd that The Donald’s supporters are apparently out of jobs, out of luck, out of largesse, etc., and that these government haters appear to aim to force government to help them in many ways? They may use it, but based on past evidence, they would not yet like it. In other words, our government would become disposable to them.

Remember: Most of these folks pack heat. Lots of it. And I thought raid was an insecticide.

Gregory Iwan/Longmont

Vote NO on 1A (Road and Bridge Mill Levy Increase)

Do not take the bait on this ill-conceived extortionist scheme. The money to fix roads is already available in the Boulder County budget.

The allocation of funds has simply been reprioritized and road maintenance funds have been diverted to discretionary projects. Prior to 1995 when road maintenance was “redefined,” 9 percent of property tax revenue was allocated for road maintenance. By 2012, allocation had dwindled to a meager 1 percent.

The County Commissioners have a fiduciary duty to fund core services. I realize that the mistake was initiated back in the 1990s, when the road maintenance “redefinition” plot was hatched. But upon learning about the problem, there was only one correct response: Make it right. Instead, the Commissioners have marched in lock-step, arrogantly refusing to allocate funds to maintain basic infrastructure. Additionally, their recent shenanigans aimed at inappropriately rezoning the Twin Lakes parcels — against the valid concerns and intense protests of Gunbarrel residents — has poured salt in the wound. No wonder why residents of unincorporated areas are incensed by this failure of leadership.

Yet the ballot offers difficult choices. Republican candidate Paul Danish served on the Commission during the 1990s. He now admits the mistake and supports full funding for roads. Great, but his platform positions on important local issues are a mixed bag. I have listened to Danish speak at Longmont city council meetings in opposition to more stringent oil and gas regulations. Alarming. He supports GMO crops on open space, which requires the attendant use of Monsanto’s herbicide Roundup — a complex issue that deserves intense scrutiny.

Vote your conscience and then please join me in seeking future candidates who support progressive values and understand the core priorities of this critical public service role.

Kimberly Gibbs/Gunbarrel

Just say no to 71

Thank you to Boulder Weekly and Representative Jared Polis for your passionate advocacy for a no vote on amendment 71.

Amendment 71 is an anti-democratic proposal that would lessen the power that citizens have over our political process. Only roughly half the states in the country have a ballot initiative process, and we’re lucky that Colorado is one of those states. Running a ballot initiative campaign is very expensive and time-consuming, but that effort is worth it to be able to directly change state law by way of amending the Constitution. This “direct democracy” allows for each and every one of us to have political power. In an era of social media and rapid information proliferation, such a process makes a lot of sense.

Amendment 71 would make it significantly harder for citizens to change the law, by mandating a 55 percent  approval plus broader geographical support to even get a question on the ballot, with 2 percent of voters needed from every county in the state. If 71 had been the law of the land four years ago, marijuana legalization would have narrowly lost. How does this make sense? It doesn’t. Please vote no on 71.

Adam Hurter/Boulder

Break free of fear

To all those who will vote for Hillary because Trump is so bad: He is. He’s horrible, but the thing is, why is it even close? Remember, Tim Daschle (D) could have stopped the war but allowed Bush his escapades. Remember also, the Democrats stalled for years on climate chaos. Also, they could have stopped the Bush tax cuts to the wealthy. And, they were impotent against horrendous Republican voting records. All this, because they didn’t want to upset their corporate sponsors.

Democrats, now with Hillary, have repugnantly turned off many. The Democrats are weak and as we saw recently with the DNC emails, clearly they are corrupt.

And if you are holding out because of the Supreme Court, I was reminded of a little fact: That these Republican Justices — Scalia, Thomas, Alito and Roberts — all were allowed by the Democrats. They failed to use the filibuster, as the Republicans know so well, to stop these appointments. So there’s no guarantee.

Plus, recall the values contributed by healthy third parties. If it weren’t for Sanders competition Hillary would probably still be for the TPP. And, thanks to Jill Stein for helping put pressure on Hillary by pointing out her flirting with the real possibility of nuclear war. This information is equipping us to make Hillary a better candidate.

Realize, the real threat will come in 2020 when we will get the same inner Trump but a slick-coated exterior in the form of Paul Ryan. Jill Stein has the numbers to actually flip the votes, not split them. This is the best year ever to break free and vote your conscience, so that next cycle they’ll get federal funding for doing so well now.

James Duncan/Boulder

Big Tobacco blowing smoke

Big Tobacco knows that if people smoke one less cigarette a day they will lose billions of dollars. So it is no surprise that out of state tobacco companies are spending more than $16 million dollars here (more than the casinos spent keeping racetrack betting in Colorado) to try to defeat Amendment 72 through a barrage of negative and misleading ads.

Ten years ago, Judge Gladys Kessler ruled that 10 tobacco industry defendants had violated civil racketeering laws due to decades-long, industry-wide conspiracy to deceive the American public about the harmful effects of tobacco use and their knowledge of those dangers. Has the industry changed?

Big Tobacco has a history of fighting any legislation that will affect their profits. They have poured millions into opposing local and statewide restrictions on smoking in public places and workplaces like the one that passed in Boulder in 1995, and laws restricting sales of cigarettes to youth. They have opposed every attempt to raise the cigarette tax in Colorado since 1990.

Amendment 72 will help low-income populations quit smoking at a rate four times greater than higher income populations because they are more price sensitive. In addition, some of the crafters of Amendment 72 from Children’s Hospital Colorado, National Jewish, American Heart, and the Lung and Cancer Associations made sure that the tax revenue would be reinvested in the communities most impacted by smoking particularly in medically underserved areas in the amount of $34 million. Amendment 72 will also invest in teen mental health at $34 million, veteran services at $48 million, as well as medical research into smoking-related diseases at $92 million.

Do you think Big Tobacco cares about targeting low-income populations? According to their internal documents an executive with R.J. Reynolds said, “We don’t smoke that S&*$#. We just sell it. We reserve the right to smoke for the young, the poor, the black and stupid.”

Big Tobacco spends $134 million in Colorado each year to market a product that when used as intended causes disease and death. Amendment 72 will help counter Big Tobacco’s efforts and will more than double the amount of funding for Colorado’s tobacco-prevention and cessation program, which are the levels recommended by the Center for Disease Control.

I urge you to vote yes on 72 and help us beat Big Tobacco. Visit HealthyCO2016.com to get the facts you will not hear from Big Tobacco.

Pete Bialick, President Group to Alleviate Smoking Pollution

Observations on letters supporting Amendment 69

Having read several letters in the opinion sections of local papers recently touting the benefits of Amendment 69, two things become apparent. That, if passed, according to supporters Amendment 69 will create a healthcare utopia in Colorado and that the funding mechanism is not something to be mentioned in any editorial correspondence. This holds true in James A. Mischke’s recent letter in the Weekly dated Aug. 25, 2016 in which he outlines all the possible benefits but neglects to mention how it is to be funded.

Could it be that the funding of this proposal is of little significance to citizens and they shouldn’t be concerned with such pesky details? Maybe it is something that slips the minds of the proposal’s supporters? Or is it possible that it is a deliberate attempt to omit something that’s so unpleasant many people will not support the idea if they know the true cost of this proposal. After all, a 10 percent tax on all Colorado state income is no small detail, especially when it applies to every type of income, including, but not limited to: earned income, interest, capital gains, dividends, rental, business, farm, Social Security benefits, pensions and annuities with some age and amount exemptions for the last three categories. There is no exemption for seniors on Medicare. Proponents argue seniors should feel good about contributing to such a noble cause.

If you are going to advocate for something it might be taken more seriously if you presented the complete picture instead of omitting half of the equation. As Mr. Mischke warns us at the end of his letter with one simple word: “Beware.” I couldn’t agree more.

Scott Robinson/Boulder

Give third parties a chance

Our government, is dominated by two political parties. The problems we have today will not be solved by sending more of them to Washington. Let’s hire a third party team, Libertarians Gary Johnson and Bill Weld, to resolve problems with liberty principles. Every four years individuals running for chief executive promise to bring the change we all know we need, but what do we get? More of the same! Consider the evidence:

The last period of peace and prosperity we had was in the late 1950s. Since then our national debt went from $286 billion in 1960, to over 19 trillion today. For over 60 years we’ve been continuously at war, even today we’re bombing other countries. Our economy is down the drain yet we keep sending the same corrupt two-party monopoly back to DC.

The wise among us know that you don’t solve problems by applying more of the same things that caused the problems in the first place. The only way to shake free from the stranglehold of the two-party monopoly is to bring in a new perspective. Governors Johnson and Weld are competent and honest statesmen. Please consider giving them a chance to tackle the problems of the nation. If we don’t like their work, we can always replace them in four years with a Democrat or Republican.

Jane Kenny/Bluffton, South Carolina

Atrophy, then entropy

If the media, now being regularly bullied by D. Trump’s minions and supporters, are not over-sensationalizing, then this year’s presidential election may be the last in the USA, at least in current “form.”

I have long been predicting intimidation, confiscation and worse at polls in numerous places. I foresee challenges in courts all over the land to an election result not “conforming” to the red-baseball-cap crowd’s emphasis of “my way or the highway.” I foresee a refusal on the part of The Donald to concede, and a huge clash regarding the Electoral College. Or a restart — intimidation, etc. Finally my forecast is for at least a disruption of the inauguration next January 20.

The unbalanced and weak-minded who will not any longer ally themselves with civility and civil authority, will not accept a legitimate opportunity to offer an alternative point of view and so deny legitimacy for everyone and everything else, and who will not abide by the law while claiming they can and will “Make America Great Again” only fool themselves.

On October 18 in Boulder some of these automatons openly stated that The Donald’s opponent “started” ISIS, or at least is likely a member of thegroup. I hope the fire department is on hand at future Nuremberg rallies, to attend to all the pants on fire.

The political landscape is no longer flawed or dysfunctional — it is dangerously skewed, fraught with myopic dangers, and closer to chaos than it was even in 1968, with the Chicago riots, the RFK murder, the assassination of Martin Luther King, and the Vietnam war.

We lost a great deal then, but survived. But only the National Guard pulled triggers at Kent State. This time, I fear, just might be different — and worse. If sense cannot be restored, maybe the GOP needs to get a [different] horse. And fast.

Gregory Iwan/Longmont

Vote Trump

First, we were told NAFTA will create jobs in America. Huffington Post reported: “Such outcomes include a staggering $181 billion U.S. trade deficit with NAFTA partners Mexico and Canada and the related loss of 1 million net U.S. jobs under NAFTA.”

Now the WikiLeaks email confirms it. Clinton said, “My dream is a hemispheric common market, with open trade and open borders.”

That’s TPP. Competing against 17 countries with slave labor, devalued currency, and no government regulations will cost what few jobs we have.

The emails, published by WikiLeaks after a hack of Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta’s private account, also show Clinton campaign officials and Democratic leaders disparaging supporters of Sen. Bernard Sanders as “self-righteous” whiners, calling Hispanic party leaders such as Bill Richardson “needy Latinos.”

It’s very simple. If you want term limits on politicians, lower taxes, JOBS, to stop drug epidemics, stop 20 Veteran suicides a day while they wait on VA appointments, a voice in your country, stop lobbyists, foreign money in our politics, Vote Trump. Otherwise, we continue the handouts, bad trade deals, open borders for drug traffickers, terrorism to our cities and genocide to Christians worldwide to include our freedom of speech. Oh, and continued higher taxes, regulations, non-vetting of refugees, dishonesty and national debt rising.

Mike Martino/via email