Letters: 8/3/17

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Other motives for Russia

Boulder Weekly columnists (Joel Dyer [also, Editor], Paul Danish and Dave Anderson) have spent lots of column inches demonizing Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russia. The demonization of the leader of another nation is often a key part of a campaign to build up public support for an attack on the targeted nation. Russia is a target because it is a nation that can challenge U.S. Imperial designs.

In particular, Dyer and Danish write as if they know why Putin takes the actions he does. They build their cases based on speculations and false claims while ignoring facts that don’t agree with their reasoning. These writers downplay another more obvious reason for Putin’s actions: the fear of an attack from the U.S. and NATO.

After the fall of the Berlin Wall, the U.S. along with West German leader Helmut Kohl, pushed for the reunification of Germany. The Soviet Union allowed reunification based on the promise made by U.S. Secretary of State James Baker (under President George H.W. Bush). Baker said if the Soviets would allow reunification, that NATO would not expand “one inch” further east.

This promise was key for the Soviets, who remembered previous devastating invasions by Western European nations. For example, during World War II, estimates are that the Soviet Union lost over 26 million people, about 13 percent of its 1939 population. The Soviet Union was thus understandably concerned about a possibly hostile military group coming closer to its border.

After the breakup of the Soviet Union, the U.S. had unchallenged military power. Given this situation, the Washington establishment increased the risk of a new Cold War and the possibility of an eventual war with Russia. President Bill Clinton started this process when, in violation of the promise made to the Soviets, he supported the eastward expansion of NATO.

In 1996, George Kennan, architect of the U.S. containment policy towards the Soviet Union after WW II, warned that NATO’s expansion into former Soviet territories would be a “strategic blunder of potentially epic proportions.”

The U.S. continued the expansion of NATO and subsequently also dropped out the the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. The U.S. also supported the illegal coup in Ukraine on Russia’s border, a coup that ousted a democratically elected president who wanted to be on friendly terms with both Russia and the European Union. The U.S. has also shipped weapons systems for placement close to the Russian border, including anti-missile weapons.

Recent history clearly demonstrates that one country, the U.S., has been responsible for causing incredible devastation and killing through its illegal attacks on non-threatening countries. These U.S. attacks also laid the foundation for groups like ISIS. Thus Russian fear of an unwarranted and illegal U.S./NATO attack seems very reasonable.

Ron Forthofer/Longmont

GOP brainwashing

It is reprehensible to me that the GOP keeps repeating that, “We promised the American people that we would repeal Obamacare” even as thousands of their own constituents line the streets begging to keep the critical components of the ACA alive. Since its inception, the GOP and the right-wing media have relentlessly pounded into their voters’ heads that the ACA was a failure and that it should be repealed. Follow the money. Who is financing the Republican congressmen? Big Pharma and Big Insurance companies who know if they supply the money to elect right-wingers that almost to a man they will do their bidding. Sure, they need the public to vote them into office but most politicians need big business to supply the cash. Why would these enormous entities wish to finance Republicans? Because they don’t want to insure people with pre-existing conditions, they don’t want limits on their profits, they don’t want government scrutiny and they surely don’t want to compete with publicly funded Medicare and in open exchanges. “Say it often enough and people will believe that it is true.” Brainwashing has become the de facto strategy to convince certain people to vote against their own best interests. So sad…

Tom Lopez/Longmont

Protect the integrity of voting

It’s time for Americans to ponder what it means to cherish and protect our freedom. To the League of Women Voters, freedom means every citizen has a voice in our government. The measure of this freedom is access to the voting booth.

The League is raising a strong warning that the Pence-Kobach/Election Integrity Commission threatens this freedom. Commission members have been discredited as political ideologues with dangerous agendas. This Commission is laying the groundwork to roll back voting access, creating the potential for voter suppression through wrongful removal of eligible voters. The League warns this is part of a wider effort to suppress the vote, keep certain politicians in power, and undermine elections by spreading falsehoods about the process.

Kris Kobach’s (co-chair of the EIC) request for sensitive voter-roll data, including names, addresses, dates of birth, political party affiliation, past voter history, and partial social security numbers of registered voters, is a dangerous violation of privacy. The League questions the legality of releasing this personal information. According to reports from election officials, people are choosing to withdraw their voter registration to protect their privacy. Such withdrawals are counter-productive to the goals of League and may have long-term consequences for voter participation in the election process.

Real problems with our election system are: polling place closures, cuts to early voting, onerous voter ID laws, and the illegal purge of registered voters. The presidential election of 2016 proceeded without the full protection of the Voting Rights Act. Without this protection, some state governments have: wrongly removed eligible voters from voter rolls, made severe cuts to early voting hours in targeted areas, and strictly limited what qualifies as a “valid” ID.

The LWV Colorado urges Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams to deny this request and defend freedom.

Nancy Crow/President, League of Women Voters of Colorado

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