Letters: 3/23/17

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

Unity to protect human rights

People gathering in legislative forums and the streets understand that a time of oppression is a time of opportunity. Democratic power is built from calling out injustices, realizing connections and building unity.

War, drought, globalization, urbanization and population growth have moved Western governments to become protective and autocratic. Today more refugees seek survival than at any time since World War II. Doors are closing under right-leaning European governments. Soon they will be slammed shut by America, which led the invasions that created state breakdown and chaos in the region Trump now targets with immigration bans. We need to realize the potential of unity against the real vulnerabilities experienced by Native Americans, women, LGBQT individuals, the poor and neighbors losing health insurance.

Please join a wide-ranging discussion of Human Rights in the Age of Trump, sponsored by the Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center and the CU Peace and Conflict Studies Program on March 23, 250 Humanities Building, CU Boulder, at 7 p.m. Q & A will follow presentations by panelists.

Vinnie Cervantes from the Denver Justice Project will speak on the role of police and DJP’s goals to end mass incarceration and seek racial justice. Hadi Hashmi will discuss the impacts of Trump policies on Muslims. Martín Chamorro, a former adjunct professor at CU Boulder and founder of the software company BigSIS, will speak about how the Trump administration’s policies pose the greatest threat yet to the rights protected by the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965. Christinia Eala, a Sicangu-Lakota elder who spent three months at Standing Rock, will speak about the Native American struggle against the Dakota Access Pipeline. Ron Forthofer from the Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center will talk about human rights and U.S. foreign policy.

Dean Birkenkamp/Boulder


In a rare tidbit from Conservative Talk Radio, a man decried America’s lack of “courage” in the negative public response to the Trump replacement plan for the Affordable Care Act. He went on to add that people no longer had the courage to accept the death penalty, and, in reality, the plan regards those unable to afford health care as unfortunate collateral damage in modern life. The simple extrapolation from this is that apparently it takes courage to embrace cruelty. Where is the Christian Right on this?

Robert Porath/Boulder

Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain

As the new administration continues to step all over itself with foibles, lies and misdirects, I’d like to offer up a little warning for future reference. As the president cannot come up with any proof that he was wiretapped, the Trump/Ryan health care bill continues to wilt under the light of day (“It’s an unbelievably complex subject. Nobody knew health care could be so complicated.” D. Trump, 2/2/17), and Russian connections come more to the front, here is my prediction: Jefferson “Jeff” Beauregard Sessions, our esteemed attorney general, and the White House will issue orders to end the marijuana experiment in all recreational legal states and possibly medical, perhaps enlisting the National Guard to close down shops and confiscate properties and everything associated with the marijuana industry.

This administration is adept at diversion and obfuscation. As Kellyanne Conway said, “You always want to go by what’s come out of his (Trump) mouth rather than look at what’s in his heart,” (01/09/17) or Sean Spicer saying the Trump tweets about wiretapping weren’t really about wiretapping (3/13/17). Hey, when is a tweet not a tweet? When it comes from a twit? At least that’s my take. So don’t be surprised to see an attack on the pot industry if the pressure continues to get to the least prepared person to ever occupy the Oval Office. The press will be scurrying to cover a story of such magnitude, and will forget all about wiretap-gate, Ryan/Trump-care insurance fraud and Putin-gate. No one will follow his kids as they continue to use their father’s influence to secure more deals overseas, while still having their clothes made there.

Get ready to link arms and protect states’ rights. While Spicer and Trump have defended states’ rights when it was convenient for them (like not allowing transgender kids to use bathrooms), Spicer now takes another position on the rights of states, promising that Trump’s Department of Justice would be taking action against states that allow recreational marijuana (Spicer 2/23/17).

I sincerely hope I’m wrong, but only time will tell. Remember the definition of “trump” includes to devise fraudulently, or to make up, as in trumped up charges. Trumpery (from Webster’s New World Dictionary): 1) something showy but worthless; 2) nonsense. It also includes a wild card or suit. It appears we have a wild card in a suit in the White House.

Craig S. Chisesi/Rifle, CO

Don’t sit there, take action

This is a call to action. Many of us are waiting for our politicians to make significant efforts to go beyond a fossil fuel-powered society. Of course there is an activism component to change things at the local, state and national levels, but we can also take matters into our own hands to change things at home right now. Don’t dwell on how bad things are, and take action by making choices using your conscience.

Observe ways that you support the fossil fuel industry, then discover where you can modify your daily activities to get away from them. First and foremost, use less energy. Make it a priority, and research ways to make it happen. If you can, purchase a hybrid or better yet an electric vehicle (EV). When you need a rental car or taxi, request an EV. If we persistently ask, perhaps they’ll eventually provide us with an EV option. Electric bicycles are another choice. Buy a solar grill to get away from propane and purchase an electric or solar water heater to depend less on natural gas. If you cannot purchase rooftop solar, call your electric company and ask them to purchase blocks of alternative energy to modify the sources of energy that flow into your home.

Longmont Power Company (LPC), a city-owned utility, has a Renewable Power Purchase Program that certifies 100 percent of your energy comes from renewable sources. It’s also cost effective for those on a tight budget. The City’s website states that “LPC’s electric rates are among the lowest in Colorado. Even when combined with the cost of a Renewable Power Purchase subscription, rates remain 31% lower than state average.” Xcel energy offers a few similar options called Windsource® and the Solar Rewards Community® program. The citizens of Boulder County would have more of a “moral” leg to stand on against the impending fracking invasion if we all just implemented a few things above to divert our home’s energy from non-fossil fuel energy sources.

Jake C./Longmont

It’s about us not industry

Our elected officials are talking right past us with their jargon about health care. Do they really think we give a darn that our health care system is “market-based” as Congressmen Buck, Tipton, Coffman and Lamborn have all stressed? Do they honestly imagine that what we want is more “choices” as Senator Gardner has emphasized. We don’t care about “the market” or “choice.” We want what the citizens of every other developed nation in the world already have: a comprehensive, universal health care system that works for all of us.

The term “market-based” is code language intended to signal to the insurance industry that elected officials are on their team and will protect their opportunities to make money from our misfortunes. You’d think that they’d care more about the right of the people of Colorado to health care than about the right of insurance industry to make huge profits. Sure, universal health care would hurt them. Somebody would have to take a hit: either the people, or the corporations.

And do our senators and congress members really think that what we want is a health care menu loaded with more bad choices? Anyone who’s tried to make such choices knows that it’s a confusing and often expensive prospect, sort of like ordering off of the menu at a fancy French restaurant. You’re really not sure what you’ll end up with. How about just a good, basic, well-balanced universal health care menu?

It’s really a question of whose interests our elected officials intend to serve — the citizens of Colorado, or the executives and investors in a particular industry, and of course, “The Trump Agenda.” Please, Senator Gardner, please Congressmen Buck, Lamborn, Tipton and Coffman, show us that you are not serving the insurance industry or the Trump agenda. Show us that you are serving the people of Colorado.

Doug Holdread/Trinidad, CO

Women’s rights

Tens of thousands of people joined the March 8 “A Day Without a Woman” action to stand up for equality, dignity and respect. Disrupting business was the point as a means to center the struggles of women and force our leaders to take note. Many women still aren’t guaranteed paid family leave or sick days that enable them to care for themselves and their families. Union women have the power of collective bargaining to negotiate better wages and conditions, but many working women still face sexual harassment and discrimination, as well as wage discrimination at the job. Women deserve to be treated equally and to receive equal pay for equal work.

Elizabeth Kretchmer/Littleton

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