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letters 5/23/11

- May 23rd, 2011
Corporate takeover
The first anniversary of Citizens United v. FEC, the Supreme Court
decision conferring full political personhood on corporations, slipped by
in January with little notice, sadly, from the two political parties and
the media.
This incredibly bad and immensely unpopular decision allowed --
encouraged? -- corporations to pump money directly (usually through
“front” groups like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce) into the political
process. Nearly all of the unmarked bills flowed into Republican coffers,
no doubt greasing the skids for the GOP landslide last November. So it
makes sense that Republicans wouldn’t invite attention to this decision
and its very favorable consequences for them.
It makes less sense, though, why the Tea Partiers aren’t screaming bloody
murder about it, given their well-demonstrated anger about various threats
to freedom. When powerful corporations can covertly operate politically,
everyone else’s freedom is surely diminished.
But let’s be clear about what this Supreme Court decision does: it turns
over the financing of our political campaigns to the direct and more or
less complete control of corporations and the wealthy.
Of course, with our pre-Citizens United v. FEC “system” of campaign
finance our democracy was already on the proverbial slippery slope. Now we
are in free fall. Corporations will spend whatever they want to in the
next election to get what they want. Unless we --the people-- decide
this is unacceptable, and take action, we will soon lose what’s left of
our democracy.

Ron Tschudy • Central Lake

Teachers taking the heat
State Sen. Howard Walker wrote he believes taking money from schools is
justified (5/16). Not reform but taking money taxpayers thought was
dedicated to K-12 education. That is his answer to solving our state
finance problems. REALLY!
Howard, we know better because a teacher taught us Economics 101. Rather
then take salaries, healthcare and retirement from teachers, let‘s do an
investigation of your salary, healthcare and retirement package. If the
public were aware of what YOU gave yourself, they would be shocked and
dismayed. It would be nice if you would spend more time on creating jobs
and less time on destroying our educational advantage in Michigan.

Melissa Culver • Rapid City

Power struggle
Wolverine Power, planning a coal-fired power plant in Rogers City,
consistently refuses to answer financial questions, especially those that
deal with costs 5, 10 or 20 years out. Rate payers of four electric
cooperatives, living in far-reaching Michigan rural areas, will be forced
into this. Rate payers are in a trap.
The Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) has predicted astounding
rate increases here. Monthly electrical rates will increase about $77 per
household. The MPSC also revealed that there was no need for this plant.
Wolverine had not pursued cheaper energy formulas and had questionable or
out-of-date calculations.
New DEQ appointees have now promised Wolverine help in securing their air
permit, previously denied May of 2010. Construction can then begin.
But hold up here; 220,000 rate payers get a coal plant we don’t need. This
defies reason. While rate payers pay punishing electrical rates for
decades... who gains? Who loses?

Jean Veselenak • Rogers City

 
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