Letters 2/25/21

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Refuser protection laws needed

The majority of American people, coming out of four years of the most corrupt, anti-democratic, nation-destructive presidential administration in our history are desperate for answers, desperate to know how we’re going to return to normal governance and strengthen our ability to resist attacks by perfidious forces within our governments.

Refuser protection laws empower conscientious government employees, oath-taking and otherwise, to do right by refusing to do wrong and thereby helping prevent the fulfillment of dastardly plans. Workers need to know they will be shielded from firing and/or other punishment if they refuse an unlawful order from a superior.

Existing whistleblower protection laws don’t sufficiently protect the U.S. from damage done when employees follow unlawful orders. Refuser protection laws allow subordinates to powerfully say no to such orders and prevent lawbreaking from occurring. To restore American citizens’ trust and confidence in our governments — federal, state, county and municipal — refuser protection laws should be enacted at the earliest possible.

The non-partisan organization leading the call for refuser protection in America is based here, in the Boulder-Denver area. Sworn to Refuse, founded in early 2017, is active at the local, state and national levels. We’ve made significant progress toward our goals, but now, when the time is right and the need so strong for the whole nation to consider refuser protection law proposals, there’s a great deal of work required to take things to the next level. We’re seeking a wide variety of people with different backgrounds, skills and resources to assist our project.    

Eager to hear from fellow citizens who share our commitment to change that will, at this historic moment, help make these United States all we can and must be, we encourage readers to visit our Facebook page, Sworn to Refuse, and contact us at sworntorefuse.info@gmail.com.       

Matt Nicodemus, co-coordinator, Sworn to Refuse

The time is right for public banking in Colorado

The COVID pandemic has turned our economy upside-down, pushing us into another destructive recession. Many things would be helpful in improving our situation, such as government stimulus funds, infrastructure spending and tax reform. Another idea for positive change is not heard of as often but should also produce beneficial results: the creation of local and state public banks in Colorado. A public bank is one that is owned by the government entity that creates and manages it, is the recipient of that entity’s funds, and creates loans for the benefit of the people and businesses who live in that area.

There are many laudable characteristics of a public bank which could help Colorado’s economy. The government’s money would earn interest at a public bank for the benefit of the people, not the private bank owner that now holds the public money. A public bank can create loans that will further the values of the people in the area, not those dictated by special interests. Further, a public bank can fund projects that benefit the public good and not be purely based on making profit for a private bank’s stockholders. Public banks that already exist — such as in North Dakota, Alberta, Canada, and 1,500 city-owned banks in Germany — prove that the concept works and that it promotes prosperity in areas fortunate enough to have these institutions.

It is expected that a bill authorizing the creation of public banks in Colorado will be proposed in the present session of the legislature. If you would like to see the people of Colorado benefit from public banking in the way that folks in North Dakota already do, urge your state representatives and the governor to support public banking.

Judy Lubow/Longmont

Big freeze and big oil

The epitome of big oil money is on full display in Texas; in the ever-swelling skylines of Houston and Dallas, and on the campuses of the University of Texas and other universities across the state. Over the decades, through national booms and busts, the oil and gas industry has left an indelible mark.

  But in the aftermath of the Texas “deep freeze,” will unprotected frozen pipes busting everywhere finally bust the big oil stranglehold on Texas politics? Will voters see through the blame placed on frozen wind turbines, when wind power actually out-performed other sources of energy in the days following power blackouts? Will Texas voters instead tie this colossal catastrophe to state lawmakers, who poo-pooed the idea of winterizing state and local government infrastructure because it was deemed unnecessary or wasteful government spending, in the vein of what Ronald Reagan used to call “big gommint”?  Will such short-sighted arrogance finally be the last straw for politicians and a political system that has been the best money can buy? Money largely from the oil industry.

Pete Simon/Arvada

We must eliminate the filibuster

In his first few months as Senate Minority Leader, Mitch McConnell has given us a preview of how Republicans will behave for the next four years. They will use every tool at their disposal, like the filibuster, to cling to power and stop progress. They used it to block civil rights legislation in the ’60s. They used it to block background checks for gun sales in 2013. They used it to get Supreme Court Justices Gorsuch, Kavanaugh and Coney Barrett. And they’ll use it to block everything Democrats vote for and won the election 2021.

Republicans have changed the rules to entrench their power. The only reason McConnell hasn’t already gotten rid of the filibuster is because he hasn’t needed to.

He has changed the rules in order to pack federal courts with judges who will overturn Roe v. Wade, declare the ACA unconstitutional and go after our civil rights, at a minimum.

Democrats won the majority. They promised Americans bold relief on climate change, social and economic justice and many critical issues. Dems should eliminate the procedural hurdle of the filibuster to pass this legislation. It is what the majority voted for and won.

Mike Mills/Boulder

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