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Home / Articles / Views / Letters /  Letters | Corporations vs. people
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Thursday, May 26,2011

Letters | Corporations vs. people

Correction: A May 19 story, “We the corporations,” incorrectly reported the number of signatures that have been collected by the Move to Amend initiative. More than 111,700 people have signed the petition.

Corporations vs. people

(Re: “We the corporations,” cover story, May 19.) Thank you very much for the article on David Cobb and the Move To Amend campaign last week. As David described so well in his talk in Boulder that I attended last Saturday, the issue of whether corporations should be entitled to constitutional rights deserves to be more widely discussed, as it is the root of a key political struggle of our times. Your article was excellently written and researched, and we deeply appreciate your coverage of it — and hope it will continue! We at Move To Amend Boulder will be working on getting a resolution passed by Boulder City Council and/or a ballot initiative for the fall vote. It would be a great public service to have the issues around that covered by your publication as well.

It may interest you to know that Madison, Wis., held a vote and passed their own resolution in April, where it passed by a staggering 84 percent of the vote.

Rick Casey/via Internet

I appreciate the brilliant cover graphics and story about Move to Amend. I’m going to start visiting your website in the hopes of keeping an eye on what the City Council will do. Thanks.

Mary O’Neal/via Internet

I appreciated Jefferson Dodge’s article regarding Macon Cowles’ proposed Boulder referendum on corporate constitutional rights and David Cobb’s visit to Boulder on behalf of Move to Amend. Those who attended Mr. Cobb’s talk on Saturday were treated to a lively mix of joy, righteous anger and an analysis of American history worthy of Howard Zinn. People are waking up to the fact that democracy in America is illusory. Most of us want an end to the wars, yet the wars continue. Most of us want single-payer health care, yet health care is still a profit-extraction zone for the insurance companies. Most Americans want GMOs to be banned, as they are in Europe, but our concerns are ignored. Some 92 percent of Americans said the Bush tax cuts for the rich should expire, yet Congress renewed them.

Clearly, we are not a self-governing people. We are a subject people, just as the colonists were in 1770. The corporations rule. Whereas many Americans sincerely fight these harms issue by issue, battling the corporate elites on a thousand fronts, begging Congress to please do the right thing, Move to Amend is pursuing a systemic remedy: We are going to change the defining law, the legal doctrine that defines corporations as persons having the same Constitutional rights as humans. Just as the 19th Amendment (giving women the right to vote) overturned a Supreme Court decision (Minor vs. Happersett), so we need another Constitutional amendment to overrule the Supreme Court again.

We the People must overrule the Court on Citizens United, and many other cases in which the Court allowed corporations to use their so-called “Constitutional rights” to weaken or overturn laws written by humans for humans: labor laws, environmental laws, banking laws, consumer protection laws, etc. The silver lining of this cloud, this long-term collusion between the corporations and the Court? It has shown us one thing: The people do not rule here. But once we have clarity and act together as sovereign people, we can change the defining law and create a true democracy.

To that end, David Cobb described a joyful path for becoming a self-governing people. KGNU recorded the speech and will air it. Call them to find out when. Tell the Boulder City Council that you support Macon Cowles’ proposed referendum on corporate constitutional rights. You can email them at council@bouldercolorado.gov. If you want to learn more about Boulder Move to Amend, call the Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center at 303-444-6981, and come to our next meeting on June 8.

Anita Li/via Internet

Protect our view

Although I am not a resident of South Boulder’s Cherryvale Road community, I feel it is my duty as a citizen of Boulder to preserve the integrity of its open space and breath-taking scenery. This area serves as a highly frequented recreational destination on foot and two wheels. Unfortunately, a 15,000-foot-by-30-foot indoor riding arena is being placed not only on one of Boulder’s most beautiful valleys, but in front of a 50-year-old neighborhood’s view of the Flatirons. The owners of the land have gone through all the steps to make sure it is legal, but I would argue that beyond legality, where is the humility and integrity?

Boulder as a community is focused on natural and organic beauty, and money is prevailing over justice in this case.

Brooke Stamper/Boulder

Our dying drug war

Recent letters written by United States attorneys to states that have medical marijuana are proposing to state that the federal government will use “civil and criminal remedies” for the distribution and sale of marijuana even if it is done within the bounds of state medical marijuana laws.

With some states actually responding to the federal threats, the risk is beyond just that of raids and criminal prosecution. The greater risk is that all the progress made to bring marijuana into mainstream culture as an acceptable, effective medicine is continually harmed by the prevailing attitude that most people who use marijuana do so recreationally and that such recreation is criminal behavior.

United States attorneys all over the country are stating that they believe many medical patients are not legitimate. John Walsh implies as much in his letter to the Colorado attorney general.

The opinion of the federal government is that patients in Colorado and other states where medical marijuana has been legalized are receiving marijuana for conditions that it deems frivolous or fraudulent. To actually enforce this opinion would not only be impossible, but would resemble a witch hunt in the worst ways.

The DEA simply doesn’t have the resources to begin investigating who is a legitimate patient and who isn’t. Moreover, they aren’t in a position to question the conditions for which patients have been recommended medical marijuana and cast judgment on whether they are legitimate or not.

What does this mean? The DEA is not going to go after patients. Walsh’s letter makes note of one portion of House Bill 1043 (a bill clarifying medical marijuana regulations) that would allow for producers of infused products to have up to 500 plants. He mentions it because the threat of “civil and criminal remedies” is targeted at the producers and distributors of marijuana.

A giant contradiction comes to the surface. They have an opinion that marijuana is being distributed to patients for whom it is recreational, but that they can do nothing about. So they threaten the supply chain that produces medicine that is used by patients who need it.

The convoluted logic that would drive patients back to the black market (which is the real danger) to get medicine because some people are abusing the medical marijuana system is not only ingrained in law enforcement and the judicial system, but is also advocated by opponents of medical marijuana.

I will offer an analogy. There is a black market for prescription pain killers which are abused by some people, but U.S. attorneys aren’t writing threatening letters aimed at the pharmaceutical companies that produce those pain killers. Why not?

Well, pharmaceutical companies are given a lot of protections, but it also doesn’t make sense to pursue the producer of something for what ends up happening to the product.

The most commonly abused painkillers are synthetic chemicals made to mimic the action that opiates, such as heroin and morphine, have on the body. It is illegal to acquire painkillers fraudulently, but they are still sold, and the companies that produce the drugs are not held liable for what happens to the drug when it reaches the black market.

The reefer madness apparent in these letters is a backlash attempting to slow the progress of medical marijuana in the United States as it has in Washington state, where the governor vetoed a bill setting forth regulations for Washington’s many dispensaries and collectives.

It is the last gasp of a dying war on drugs trying to convince itself that the opinions of marijuana in decades past are still relevant today.

Christopher Meyer/Denver

American Doublethink

There were many photographic images from Vietnam that turned public opinion against that war: a young naked girl running from a village that had been hit with napalm, bodies of women and children lying in a ditch at My Lai, bombs falling like rain from B-52s.

A particularly graphic picture was of a Vietnamese general killing a handcuffed man suspected of being Viet Cong with a pistol shot to the head. These images flew in the face of a general belief that we were not only there justly, but that we “respected life” differently than did other peoples.

War scrambles ideas in odd ways (the My Lai massacre became a war crime, but napalm, white phosphorus, saturation bombing and Agent Orange did not), but George Orwell was brilliant in linking Doublespeak and perpetual war in the slogan “War is Peace.” Such “Doublethink” allows us to accept that which is not true as Truth, that we are righteous when we are not, and, let’s face it, we are there.

Torture is termed “enhanced interrogation,” the death of innocent people is “collateral damage,” “saving lives,” never an issue in revolutions across Black Africa, is a rationale for firing cruise missiles into oil-producing Libya, not having “boots on the ground” means we are not engaged, while predator drones serve as emotionally detached, video-game assassins.

The saddest part is that, unlike mental illness, Doublethink is a conscious disconnect from reality. Those who believe assassination is “justice served” are, in truth, following in the same footsteps as John Wilkes Booth, Lee Harvey Oswald, James Earl Ray, Sirhan Sirhan and Osama bin Laden himself. We know it, but we don’t care.

Robert Porath/Boulder

Equal under the law

Sometimes America shows the very best of itself in terms of justice, and it is both a beautiful thing to behold and something I think we can all be uniquely proud of, almost but not quite, to the point of what — gushing? That a poor, black African immigrant widow and mother and the all-powerful head of the International Monetary Fund are seen as equals in the eyes of American jurisprudence really and truly proves that in terms of basic human dignity, justice and human rights, we are are exactly who we say we are. Bravo, my incredible country, bravo!

Grant D. Cyrus/Boulder

Stand by Israel

Peace in the Middle East can come only through negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. Imposing a settlement by the U.N. cannot work.

The Palestinians are asking for a state that includes Hamas, an organization that has the destruction of Israel as its goal. This same government does not recognize the existence of a Jewish state. Hamas has fired 300 rockets into Israel this year even though Israel pulled out of Gaza.

I’m asking you to stand by Israel, the only stable country in the Middle East.

Rhoda Reiss/Greenwood Village

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