Letters: 3/21/19

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On the new NAFTA

The revised North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) will soon come up for a Congressional vote to approve or disapprove. The House of Representatives will be the principal battleground over Trump’s recently renegotiated trade agreement for the U.S., Mexico and Canada. The question is whether our representatives will stand up for the people or go along with Trump on a bad deal.

Remarkably, there are some good points in the new version. Shadowy international tribunals that enable corporations to sue governments and override democracy will be eliminated for the most part. There are new requirements on the Mexican government to raise wages for Mexican workers so that loud sucking sound of American jobs leaving the country for super low Mexican wages will quiet down a bit. Countries will no longer be forced to endlessly export precious natural resources.

But like all things Trump, there are serious shortcomings. Worker and environmental protections are spelled out, but with no enforcement. The phrase “climate change” is nowhere to be seen in that document. Food inspections at the border would be watered down, risking more outbreaks of noxious food-borne diseases. Worst of all, Big Pharma has been offered a slew of extreme patent protections that would virtually guarantee higher drug prices and fewer generic substitutes. The impact on public health in all three countries would be dire indeed.

Congress has the power to improve the revised NAFTA or kill it outright. Congressional action may happen soon so it will be important for citizens to be vigilant. Tell your representatives you want “fair trade” that benefits people and the environment not corporate-friendly “free trade” that profits large corporations at the expense of everyone else.

Ken Bonetti/Boulder

Beware the democratic

I agree with The New York Times when they warn Nancy Pelosi not to give too much power to the newly-elected House Democrats who call themselves “democratic socialists.” They will be a minority of the Democrats in the House of Representatives.

I don’t enjoy being unkind or insulting toward anyone, even the Republicans in Congress, a sizeable minority of whom are really scary “Survival-of-the-Fittest” Social Darwinists whose dream it is to abolish all of the safety-net programs, but, to me, you have to be a total and complete moron and idiot to call yourself a “democratic socialist,” and that includes Bernie Sanders, who I like and agree with 90 percent of the time.

First of all, they are not true socialists because they do not advocate abolishing our capitalist economic system.

Second of all, if you believe that anyone can be elected president of the United States who calls herself/himself a “socialist,” then you must live in DreamLand and drank the Kool-Aid.

Third of all, where I do agree with them is in their belief that our federal government should do more and spend more to help the poor, the near-poor, the lower-middle-class, and the middle-class who are struggling to survive and to pay their bills.

They need to inform and educate the public to the fact that almost every single one of our traditional allies (if not all of them) have federal governments that do more and spend more (in proportion to their population sizes) than we do in the U.S. to help their citizens.

And, to paraphrase Al Pacino in the movie And Justice For All, for us in the U.S. to be right about this, all of these many other countries have to be wrong.

I don’t think so.

Stewart B. Epstein/via internet

Action on climate change

I am a student at CSU and an intern for the climate action group Defend Our Future. As a young professional seeking to join the workforce, these are times of great uncertainty. My generation is uncertain about the careers we will enter and the families we will start, and we have to wonder if the world will be healthy enough to support those careers and families in the coming decades. This is not an exaggeration, and many young people feel real anxiety surrounding the future state of our planet if climate change is not addressed.

In February, President Donald Trump spoke for 1 hour and 22 minutes in the State of the Union Address and failed to mention climate change even once. Almost every president dating back to the elder George Bush has acknowledged the need to act on climate issues and the threat it represents to the United States and the world. In the past year, we have witnessed unprecedented weather events and two comprehensive reports regarding the urgency of the climate change. Last week, President Trump squandered an opportunity to unite an uncertain generation that clamors for action.

This is an issue that dwarfs the threats expounded on by the current administration. Climate change is the real national emergency. We need stronger leadership from the White House, but instead this Administration continues to ignore the threat. That’s why we need our Senators Cory Gardner and Michael Bennet, and our new Congress to demand action on climate change.

Braden Carey/Fort Collins

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