I need to vent. Maybe you do, too. I'm sick of the political rancor along with any outrageous view that it's OK for corporations to buy political influence in America without any caps. It's campaign finance reform that we need, not more influence being bought by corporations here, and abroad.
We need to stop the party bickering, open our eyes and pay attention to what is being stolen from us while we have become so polarized.
We are losing our democracy. That's right. Five of nine Supreme Court justices have declared rank over the intent of our forefathers to protect us from corporate takeover.
I might not always agree with Michael Moore, but I like a line he used and I'm going to borrow it: I don't like what's going on in my country and I'm not leaving. Here's another well-known line: I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore!
What about you?
— Lauren Duncan
Where did the Supreme Court ever come up with such a ridiculous notion? In 1776 we declared independence from British rule. This freed us from English corporations that controlled trade and extracted wealth from colonies. As we set up our own government, our forefathers made sure corporations would not control the people here. According to resources found at reclaimdemocracy.org, in the first 100 years:
• Charters (licenses) were granted for a limited time. Corporations were chartered explicitly to serve the public interest — profit for shareholders was the means to that end. Corporations could engage only in activities necessary to fulfill their chartered purpose. Corporations could be terminated if they exceeded their authority or caused public harm.
• Corporations could make no political contributions or spend money to influence legislation. They could not purchase or own stock in other corporations, or own any property other than that necessary to fulfill their chartered purpose.
After the Civil War, which facilitated the growth of massive corporate wealth, things changed:
• Corporate executives paid "borers" to infest Congress and state capitals, bribing government officials. Limited liability was established and the duration of charters was extended. Citizen sovereignty was undermined as legal doctrines morphed to make protection of corporate property the center of constitutional law.
• The doctrine of "corporate personhood" was established by using a transcription clerk's erroneous headnotes to establish precedent that a corporation is a "natural person."
Today many corporations are transnational, but corrupted charters remain the basis for their legal existence. To regain sovereignty of citizens, we must re-establish that corporations are artificial creations that do not enjoy the protection of the Bill of Rights, that no corporation should exist forever, and that owners and officers must be liable for any harm they cause.
— Harry Wrede
Don't let them win
The schools allowed Coca-Cola, etc. to put vending machines into schools in exchange for substantial amounts of money. Instead of buying healthy lunches, kids were taking that money and buying chips and sodas. We now have a generation of young adults fighting their weight much too soon, not to mention dental bills. The schools are now taking the very same machines out of the schools, or restricting their use.
This is an example of big business using its money at the expense of we the people. Now the Supreme Court has given big business the same rights as citizens! They can buy their way into government just as they did in the schools. Yes, they have always been able to give to their favored candidates, but now there's no stopping them. They will be able to pour money into their candidates and blanket us with their ads, etc.
America's people will mean nothing to them. The bottom line is all that matters. Our laws could be changed to favor them. Food inspections could be stopped; inspection of vehicles for safety could be halted. The ramifications are endless.
If ever there was a time to think of our children, it's now. We must add an amendment to the Constitution to change the Supreme Court's recent decision. We need to do this for all of us and for all of our futures.
— Stephanie Hill
Beware big business
You have to admire the persistence of corporations. Their only equals are kids who dogmatically wear down their parents for demands that were expected to be denied — like running the house and having total control.
Corporate persistence for ultimate dominance has been going on since the early railroad days, when they conspired to change laws to their advantage. Little by little they got their corporate attorneys placed into judgeships while they poured money into political campaigns. They even managed to squash resisting unions who fought for workers' rights.
Corporations are good at this.
Regarding the recent Supreme Court ruling granting unlimited campaign spending for corporations, it surely helps that so many Americans are focused on getting and keeping jobs and who are desperately worried about health care coverage. Just as kids know that parental weariness works on their behalf, corporations get it that in a beleaguered economy it's prime time to pull off a major caper, with very little mounting outrage from the masses — the very people the Constitution sought to protect.
They can buy judges. They can win over Supreme Court justices.
So long, American democracy, I'm going to miss you! I'll write about your once-great saga for my future descendants. I'll tell them what we used to be, when our government was about the people of the United States of America, before we evolved into the Corporations of America. I need to set the story straight for them, before the special-interest groups decide to rewrite history, too.
— Micheale Duncan
2016: An odd odyssey
Let's time-travel to the future and take a brief look at the year that was, 2016.
We finally emerged from the triple-dip recession! After several delays, the Colorado Springs Renaissance Hotel opened to great fanfare. Thanks to the tireless efforts of the Economic Development Corp. to secure new jobs, Colorado Springs is now the call-center capital of Colorado. Fortunately, the city has a well-qualified workforce eager for jobs that pay $8 to $10 an hour. Unfortunately, the city hasn't offered evening or weekend bus service in six years. Bicycle repair shops are booming.
In a move expected to boost the sagging American economy, the administration sold Hawaii (and other Pacific possessions) to China. In exchange, China forgave the substantial portion of our national debt it had accumulated in U.S. treasury bonds. In addition to being the new 50th state, Puerto Rico is now the first official Spanish-speaking member of the union, a budgetary compromise to economize on new federal flag purchases.
Following California's legalization of marijuana in 2012, that state closed its budget deficit last year with a bounty of new tax revenue. Imperial Valley has never been so green. But national legalization was narrowly defeated in Congress, largely thanks to lobbying interests who feared hemp's potential to displace cotton and timber production. On a higher note, local marijuana dispensaries can now follow liberal medical guidelines, including treatment for headaches, common colds and sore feet, as approved by the state Legislature last May.
It was a quiet election year, with a drought of state and local ballot initiatives. Since Doug Bruce's untimely accident in 2015 — crushed by the toppling tower of petitions he'd collected at Sam's and Costco — the city's political scene hasn't quite been the same.
— Stu Woods
I've read a bunch lately about calming traffic in residential neighborhoods. Some people think the best way to slow motorized vehicles is to throw a bunch of yellow plastic sticks in the middle of the road. Bumpouts. Bump what? How much did this plastic junk cost?
Why is the city broke?
Every week on every residential street, almost a dozen 10-ton garbage trucks pass. Thank you to the drivers for not smashing these yellow plastic bumpouts to bits 40 times a week. Nothing about your job is easy. It might be better if only one or two garbage trucks came down the street each week and got it all at once.
Once upon a time, the city plowed snow from the streets and onto the tops of our cars. Most of us were OK with this plowing activity. Most of us miss it. Bumpouts would get broken just as easily by plows, if there were any plowing the streets after a storm.
Dear professional thinkers, think about ways to slow traffic on residential streets. Traffic circles, expensive. Plan, replan, have a vote. Paint lines on the pavement. Plan again. Vote again. Oops, now we can't afford it.
We don't want a bunch of ugly yellow plastic junk for garbage trucks to drive over. The yellow sticks have to be replaced every week. No, Mr. Taxpayer, we can't afford that, either, but that won't stop us from trying to blow as much cash as we can.
Solution: speed bumps. Old-fashioned speed bumps. They can't be broken. They are cheap as dirt. They don't have to be replaced for 20 to 50 years. They work. Does it take neatly groomed politicos and a bunch of votes, meetings full of angry citizens and red tape to decide that speed bumps effectively calm traffic?
— Matt Hinkley
Build a pagan worship field; some Christian nutjob will desecrate it. Push evangelical Christianity as a military honor and you wind up with some very scary, unstable soldiers.
The Air Force Academy is funded with my tax dollars. The idea of Christian domination within the ranks of the staff and cadets is sickening. However, any and all religious practices should be up to the staff and cadets to do on their own time, off campus, without any support using my money. It is bad enough that a supposed learning institution has a population steeped in the ignorance of religion. But to support the ignorance (in all its forms: Christian, Wiccan or whatever else) with my tax dollars is a true abomination.
I am proud to be a member of Military Religious Freedom Foundation and think that all religion, as an institution, is private and has no place in the military, within government, or anywhere tax dollars are used to support it, sanction it or "tolerate" it.
— Dwayne Free
Fire in the theater
I was mildly surprised at Jean Garren's letter ("More serious, please," Feb. 4). I didn't think the theater-going audience paid much attention to the Independent when it came to live theater. It's been years since the "Best Of" pages had any categories that celebrated the theater arts. I am not aware of anyone on the Indy staff that is knowledgeable when it comes to live theater. (Perhaps you may be lurking in the hallways but not spending time penning reviews?)
I have been an active participant in the local theater scene for 16 years and, quite frankly, I am often disheartened. Just 60 miles to the north you have to get tickets weeks, sometimes months, in advance to get a seat. My mom directs plays (at 80 years old) in Hilton Head, S.C., and they sell out a 300-seat house routinely. She draws from a population of about 90,000.
Here we have 600,000 or more in the region? While I don't blame the local media for the lack of audience, I do blame them (including the Indy) for lack of attention.
Over the many years I have worked in theater locally, I have seen an amazing growth in local talent and resulting productions. Local productions often get more press in the Denver papers, and many Denver awards have been won by local talent. Theater will grow in Colorado Springs because it is exceptional entertainment and the city is becoming more cosmopolitan all the time. It would just be helpful if the local "artistically oriented" publications would help with a little public education. Thanks, Jean.
— Michael Augenstein
Juror #2, Twelve Angry Men
Colorado SpringsTo read a response to this letter, click here.
Pass the collection plate
I keep hearing Christians complaining about Christianity under attack in America. They're right: I'm one of the attackers. Why? "Christianity under attack" is just a backlash of their attack on this country, basic education and civil rights.
Let's start with the letter ("Defending religion," Jan. 28) stating that science keeps showing the Bible to be irrefutable and evolution has been discounted. Sorry, I'm tired of hearing science "facts" from people who don't read science books newer than 1952 Salt Lake City texts. I've read the Bible cover to cover 7 times, and as far as I can tell, the only thing science has confirmed is that yes, the Romans did occupy the Jewish territories now known as Israel. That's it. No, not even proof that Jesus actually existed.
Also, I'm sick of religious zealots using their tax-assisted status to affect politics. Focus on the Family just finished three rounds of layoffs. What did they do with the payroll surplus? They spent $800,000 to prevent gay marriage in California, then they bought the most expensive commercial time on the planet (during the Super Bowl). They spent a truckload of money on a few seconds of air time to tell you how to run your family.
Tax-free? Even the arguably most Christian nations on Earth (Spain, Italy, Germany) tax churches. So should we. What happened to "render unto Caesar" and all that? Churches are just another business, selling entertainment and enlightenment. Come to think of it, so do comedy clubs. If comedy clubs have to pay taxes, so should churches; there's very little difference. Except that comedy clubs don't lay off their employees to run political ads on national TV.
— Thor Cameron