Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor for Feb. 8

Don’t place bottom line above democracy

If you prick a corporation, does it bleed? Does it have hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions? Is it fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, healed by the same means as a natural person is?

With thanks to Shakespeare for these questions, I have one more: By what contorted logic do five Supreme Court justices determine that a corporation is a person, entitled to the same rights as a human being?

Combined with the equally bizarre notion that speech is the same thing as money – should I forget words and just put a dollar bill here? – the door is now wide open for corporations (regardless of who owns them) to overwhelm the election process with unlimited cash. How long before we have the senator from Goldman-Sachs – or the representative from Toshiba?

It’s already difficult enough to get Congress to impose sensible restraints on corporations – mega-bonuses, anyone? If this judicial interpretation stands, we can kiss the whole notion of regulation goodbye.

Forget limits on toxic waste dumping. Forget truth in advertising. Forget consumer protection laws.

And why do we need consumer protection laws? Because corporations – home-grown or foreign-controlled – have only one imperative: To increase their own bottom lines. They have no constituents, only customers; no compassion, only contracts; no patriotism, only profits.

Since the Supreme Court seems not to get this, I think we have to spell it out, by constitutional amendment.

We’ve done it before, we can do it again.


School cafeterias need vegetarian options

Recently, first lady Michelle Obama called on the U.S. Conference of Mayors to help her fight the national scourge of childhood obesity. She noted that one-third of all children are overweight or obese. She proposed healthier school lunch fares, increased physical activity, and nutrition education.

Traditionally, the national school lunch program has served as a dumping ground for USDA’s surplus meat and dairy commodities. Not surprisingly, USDA’s own surveys indicate that 90 percent of American children consume excessive amounts of fat, and only 15 percent eat the recommended servings of fruits and vegetables. Their early dietary flaws become lifelong addictions, raising their risk of diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.

In the past few years, several state legislatures have asked their schools to offer daily vegetarian options. According to the School Nutrition Association, 52 percent of U.S. school districts now do. Last fall, the Baltimore City Public School system became the first in the United States to offer its 80,000 students a complete weekly break from meat.

Parents and others who care about our children’s health should demand healthful plant-based school meals, snacks, and vending machine items.

Additional information is available at schoolnutrition.org, schoolmeals.nal.usda.gov, healthyschoollunches.org, and choiceusa.net.


Help the port in Grays Harbor, not Oregon

“Only ports in the Puget Sound provide this proximity to the regional center as well as proximity to a large number of other NOAA facilities,” reads the press release Sen. Maria Cantwell and members of Washington’s delegation wrote urging NOAA to re-examine the proposed move of the marine operations center from Puget Sound to Oregon.

It seems that our senator has a lack of knowledge about the geography of the state she represents, unless that state ends at the Thurston County line. East and south of Puget Sound there is a port with everything NOAA wanted, and more.

Grays Harbor is only 83 miles from Seattle, much less than the approximate 300 miles to Newport, Ore. Yet in the eyes of the senator from the entire state of Washington this site may as well be on the moon.

At Grays Harbor it takes a ship only two hours to reach the open sea, not the 36 hours from Seattle. Also it is the deepest port on the West Coast north of California. Also there exists a network of highways capable of handling greater traffic than Newport and a rail link to the major rail lines serving this state.

Our senators would do well to take a lesson from the Sen. Robert Byrd from West Virginia who jumped at the opportunity to locate the FBI fingerprint lab in Clarksburg, W.Va., and did not insist on putting it in an already wealthy part of that state.

This in my opinion is a way to represent the state’s interest.

TOM BART, Shelton

Blame corporate greed, not government

Government has to be in proportion to its population.

The more people, the more need for government. During the last five decades our population nearly doubled, while our representational pattern remained the same.

Somehow Republicans and the media have brainwashed Americans into alleging government is bad, while Wall Street, the real culprit and driver of this nation, escapes their wrath.

Where is the outrage?

Traffic lights regulate our excursions. Banks need to become regulated – transparent for the benefit of communities, not their own insatiable greed.

When will the people recognize what has been happening? Stop blaming President Obama, who inherited this mess, and encourage him to step up regulating enforcement.

The ongoing wishy-washy blaming of Congress – no more than a pathetic waste of time – must be replaced with a thorough understanding of the evil of CEO capitalism at home and abroad in order to bring about more equality among the people.